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Temporal range: Late Jurassic
Allosaurus Greg Paul.png
Allosaurus skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Allosauridae
Subfamily: Allosaurinae
Marsh, 1877
Genus: Allosaurus
Marsh, 1877
Type species
Allosaurus fragilis
Marsh, 1877
Referred species
  • Allosaurus europaeus
    (Mateus et al., 2006)
  • Allosaurus lucasi
    (Dalman, 2014)
  • Creosaurus Marsh, 1878
  • Epanterias? Cope, 1878
  • Labrosaurus Marsh, 1878

An artist's illustration of Allosaurus fragilis

' Allosaurus (al·lo·saur·us) (al-OH-sore-US) (March, 1877) meaning, "different, other-lizard", is arguably one of the most well known Jurassic predators known, growing to about 28 feet (8.5 meters) on average and reaching up to 12–13 meters. It had a large skull with eye ridges, and claws designed for gripping. Its diet may have included many different dinosaurs, mainly smaller ones such as the Dryosaurus and Camptosaurus, but in packs it may have hunted the stegosaurid Stegosaurus, and even young sauropods.

Diplodocus Herd - Walking with Dinosaurs Ballad of Big Al - BBC03:57

Diplodocus Herd - Walking with Dinosaurs Ballad of Big Al - BBC

Allosaurus hunting a Diplodocus

There are currently three species of Allosaurus known: A. fragilis, A. europaeus and A. lucasi.

Allosaurus was certainly not the only apex predator in the Jurassic, as it would have to compete against bigger predators, such as Saurophaganax and not the bigger but the main rivals Ceratosaurus and Torvosaurus.However, it's weak bite force is misleading. It's skull would have been used almost like a hatchet to smack down on prey, causing heavy bleeding. It couldn't take down sauropods, but it was the perfect predator for smaller prey items. Smaller prey such as Dryosaurus and Camptosaurus would be ideal because Allosaurus was speedy with a "hatchet" mouth that could cause bleeding, and the smaller animals would bleed out quicker.

Allosaurus - Planet Dinosaur - Episode 4 - BBC One04:51

Allosaurus - Planet Dinosaur - Episode 4 - BBC One

Allosaurus hunting a Camptosaurus, planet dinosaur

One particularly well-preserved specimen, nicknamed "Big Al", was found not too long ago in Wyoming. While Allosaurus was a hunter, it was also a scavenger (like all predators). It would find dead animals or animals dying to feast on. "Big Al" had many different injuries from throughout its short, seven year life, yet surviving all but the last one, an infected toe wound. This would have left the animal unable to hunt, and it would have starved and/or died of thirst.



Skulls of other large predators that lived with Allosaurus

Allosaurus' skull was double hinged. This allowed it to open its mouth extremely wide, allowing it to have a huge bite radius. One hinge was near the front of the jaw like a snake's, and the other was near the back of the jawbone. However, recent studies seem to show that Allosaurus had a relatively low bite force of only 3500 pounds per square inch,much less than the value of sharks and crocodiles and even inferior to that of most big cats, despite being much bigger.

Allosaurus europaeus-0

Skull material from Allosaurus fragilis.

It seems that Allosaurus attacked like an axe, using its double-hinged jaw to open really wide and dropping the top part of its skull into its prey with a large amount of pressure while holding it steady with its strong arms.

A constant repetition of this method would have led to a massive amount of blood loss and shock. It was a very efficient way of killing, and it's probably why Allosaurus was so successful as a hunter.
Stegosaurus Threat - Walking With Dinosaurs - BBC02:39

Stegosaurus Threat - Walking With Dinosaurs - BBC

In Popular CultureEdit

Allosaurus fragilis has appeared multiple times in the famous Walking With Dinosaurs series. It was featured in the special, The Ballad of Big Al.

Allosaurus fragilis has been featured in three episodes of the History Channel series Jurassic Fight Club fighting two Ceratosaurus as three Allosaurus attack a Stegosaurus, however one gets killed as a herd of Camarasaurus come to drink the water but one gets stuck, as it gets the Allosaurus's attention.
Camptosaurus and allosaurus

Allosaurus from BBC Planet Dinosaur

Allosaurus can also be found in the Dinosaur Digs expansion pack for the popular PC game, Zoo Tycoon.

Allosaurus can be created in the Jurassic Park section of Jurassic Park: Builder. John Hammond says it is his favorite dinosaur.

Allosaurus can be created in the park in Jurassic World: The Game as a rare dinosaur.

"Allosaurus tendagurensis" has also been featured in the Jurassic Park park-builder sim Operation Genesis. While classified as an Allosaurus for years, the most recent analysis has placed Allosaurus tendagurensis in Carcharodontosauridae.

Allosaurus appears in the game Dino Crisis 2 as a mid-game rival and in the arena as a fighter. Allosaurus also appears in Dinosaur King and Dinosaur Master.

Allosaurus europaeus appears in Dinosaur Revolution. The main allosaur in the show has its jaw broken by the tail of a Dinheirosaurus (now synonim with Supersaurus). It also was shown to attack a Torvosaurus despite the size difference.

Allosaurus fragilis appears in Planet Dinosaur where it fails on its first hunt for a Stegosaurus. It later kills a Camptosaurus, but unfortunately a Saurophaganax steals its prey.

Allosaurus has only appeared in The Land Before Time VI: the Secret of Saurus Rock, where she serves as the main antagonist of the film.

In the cartoon The Terrible Thunderlizards, Squat is an Allosaurus.

In Power Rangers Dino Charge There is a crimson colored Allosaurus themed Dino Charger also known as the Dino Blaze Charger.

The Allosaurus appears in Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores in Region 2 - Jungle Mists. It also has a Trophy Hunt variant named "Lizard Eater".

In Ice Age, Sid encountered an Allosaurus frozen while in a cave and was caught in fear and surprise at having run into the beast's frozen visage, replete with pointed teeth and claws.
Ice age frozen allosaurus

Frozen Allosaurus in Ice Age

An Allosaurus appears in the movie "The Valley of The Gwangi"

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