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Ceratosaurus growth series by ScottHartman Ceratosaurus growth series by ScottHartman
I don't normally use photograph composites here, but I don't have time to illustrate the (more) juvenile specimen right now and when scaled it shows a very nice growth series. Also, note that the adult is NOT a new specimen...it was described 10 years ago and discovered in the 1970's.

This shows the importance of doing reconstructions of every specimen I'd have to say. Anyways, the take-home message here is that the middle specimen is the USNM type (Smithsonian) and is what everyone thinks of when they think of Ceratosaurus. But 20-footers like that grow up to be something different and a bit more beastly.

Edit: Updated the pose and the silhouettes, and the comparison now includes a skeletal reconstruction of the juvenile rather than a photograph. I personally suspect that these are growth series of a single species, but currently there are several species names floating around in the literature and there is enough weirdness with Morrison stratigraphy that I wouldn't bet money on it. Even at worst we would probably be looking at close relatives, possibly even one species that evolved from an earlier one, so the growth series will probably hold up either way.
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:iconnightmarishwarlord:
NightmarishWarlord Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2018
which of the 2 is the juvenile a species of
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:iconmegasupream:
Megasupream Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
It's an unknown species. That's why it says "sp."
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:iconnightmarishwarlord:
NightmarishWarlord Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2018
alright , but i was looking for a answer from the artist
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:iconmegasupream:
Megasupream Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
The artist himself put "sp." in the image. It is unneeded to ask him for an answer he's already given.
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:iconnightmarishwarlord:
NightmarishWarlord Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2018
i just wanna hear it from him
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:iconacrocanthosaurusa:
AcrocanthosaurusA Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016
Just a question,do you think the 8.8 meter ceratosaurus is true?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
It doesn't sound impossible, but no published specimen is that large.
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:icongrisador:
grisador Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2015
The dinosaurs grew up really fast weren't they ? :o
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:iconsaranin2002:
saranin2002 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Ceratosaurus is my personal favorite theropod. Nice comparison. BTW I tend to agree that we're too quick to slap a new name on a find.

I tend to agree that the horns served as a form of armor for hunting or combat.
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:iconblade-of-the-moon:
Blade-of-the-Moon Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey Scott,  on the C. Nasicornis, is the tooth length shown as they would appear in the fossil skull ( slid out from mineralization) or are they a living specimen length ? Trying to figure out what length of teeth to give my 1:1 Cerato.
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:iconastrosaurus-art:
Astrosaurus-Art Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Student General Artist
nasicornis: (to allosaurus) YOU FOOL! THIS ISN'T EVEN MY FINAL FORM! WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE MY TRUE POWER! *grows up into dentisulcatus* HYAAAAAHHHHHH!

sorry for the meme
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:icondaltharion:
Daltharion Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2018
Right on! XD
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:iconstanleyrabbid:
StanleyRabbid Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So the Ceratosauruses over in the Museum of Ancient Life were juveniles- that would make sense.
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:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Do we know the age of those specimens? It would be really interesting to see how fast they could grow to their fully grown size.
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:iconsaranin2002:
saranin2002 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Find of many theropods like Allosaurus, indicate they lived a standard of 5 years growing slowly from the size of a chicken (or smaller), then hit a growth spurt reaching sexual maturity sometime in their mid to late teens. Their growth plateaued around 20 years or so and most died within 6 years (the oldest theropod was the famous T-rex Sue at 28).

Now that being said, the theropods discovered tended to be in their adult years so theoretically they could have lived into their 40s or 50s, but died as the injures and strains of their violent lifestyles added up.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
As far as I know there aren't any histological age-determination studies done on any specimen of Ceratosaurus, although I share your desire to see it get done.
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:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, too bad then.
Anyway, thanks for the help :)
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:iconteddyblackbear2040:
TeddyBlackBear2040 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
very good analysis.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Probably fairly narrow across the chest I'm afraid, so they would probably look more imposing from the side than the front.
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
one of my all time favourite theropods, along with Carnotaurus! =)
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:iconpatrikia-bear:
Patrikia-Bear Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
AWESOME. :D
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:icondesmodeus:
Desmodeus Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't suppose the frequency of the scutes would lend credence to the separate species idea?
Or is this the type of thing that could vary a lot between individuals?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Honestly, the type specimen is the only one for which we are fairly certain about the placement of the scutes, and even they feel more irregular than some would expect. The big scutes on the large specimen are real, but exactly how they were arranged is not certain. What we'd need are more articulated specimens to be found with the scutes in situ - preferably of different sizes.

Which is a long-winded way of saying I don't know, and I doubt anyone else does either :(
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:icondesmodeus:
Desmodeus Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, oh well!
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:icondrawingdinosaurs:
DrawingDinosaurs Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't tell if the legs are just short or the big head is making them look short.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
The legs are short - in fact the lower limb elements don't seem to lengthen at all between the middle and biggest stages (though the femur does), instead they just get more robust.
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student Artist
This is growing up Ceratosaurus of both Morrison and Lourinha Formation in the Jurassic World!!!:omfg:
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Actually there aren't any Lourinha specimens in this comparison - whether there is any such thing as C. "dentisulcatus", and if so whether the Lourinha Formation specimens belong to it is still a very problematic question that lacks enough data to answer it.
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student Artist
I see.:hmm:
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:iconrredolfi:
RRedolfi Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional
I've always been impressed by the crests on Ceratosaurus, and your reconstructions here have definitely moved them up quite a few pegs in my "favorite non-popular" theropods list! I am most intrigued by the development of the skull and particularly the shape of the jaw and dental-structures as these reconstructions progress - it makes me wonder about the change in diet and behavior through the growth and maturity of an individual; the juvenile looks like (aside from just size-constraints) due to the shape and size of its jaw it may have relied more on scavenging while the "dentisulcatus" specimen in particular looks as if it could have crushed bone quite easily.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I tend to doubt scenarios that require juveniles to scavenge more often than adults (size is usually the limiting factor in how many carcasses you have access to), but I agree that they must have been doing something else when it comes to food acquisition.
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:iconrredolfi:
RRedolfi Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional
As an arm-chair biologist and paleontologist, I have very little evidence to support my theories - if you know of any literature or articles off the top of your head that can help me correct my theories I'd love to read them. The quest for knowledge never stops!
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:icongrroselli:
grroselli Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
so how big was ceratosaurus's max?
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:iconeusou123:
Eusou123 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013
The normal ceratosaurus was 6m long but some specimens can pass 8m
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Why would you think 6m is "normal"? There are maybe 5 specimens published, which makes it pretty much impossible to generate an accurate size curve.
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:iconigglebock:
Igglebock Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Woot! Always loved this dinosaur! Very cool!
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:iconrajaharimau98:
RajaHarimau98 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ceratosaurus is so underrated; that's why it's one of my favorites. I personally would probably be more scared of it than an allosaur, because look at those horns and teeth! It's like the Devil! :P And those teeth could leave a ragged wound.
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:iconkazuma27:
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
One of my fav theropods of all time... Along with T.rex this can be truly called a sabertooth dinosaur ;)
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:iconneonboneyard:
NeonBoneyard Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Definitely not a wuss! Ceratosaurus was really one of my favorite theropods, I always would try to draw them when I was little.
And can I say that you have to a genius to illustrate such accurate skeletal structure, this is flawless!
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I have to say that this project was a lot of fun. :)
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:iconpikokoho:
pikokoho Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
which specimen did you base your reconstructed adult drawing off of? did you just measure the length of the big ceratosaurus skull at CLDQ and scale up the rest of the skeleton to fit it? or did you resize the main individual bone of the skeleton according to the associated info for the skeleton associated with the skull at CLDQ?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
The adult is the type specimen of Ceratosaurus "dentisulcatus" from the UMNH.
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:iconvor-d09:
VOR-D09 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011
Really nice work!

Which species of Ceratosaurus does this represent? C. nasicornis? C. ingens? C. dentisulcatus? C. magnicornis? I'm working on a mixed media sculpture of a juvenile C. nasicornis using the 17.5 ft type specimen as a reference; a pain when there are very few reliable sources describing the genus to work from online, and the local library's selection of books on the subject is downright pitiful.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I would argue that C. nasicornis is the only species of Ceratosaurus that is sufficiently established, but the large adult is the C. "dentisulcatus" type specimen, so there's always a possibility we could be looking at species differences as well as ontogenetic differences.

C. "ingens" is a binomial that Greg Paul suggested in PDW and it hasn't been followed. Either way they are just shed teeth, so I won't be restoring it any time soon ;)
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:iconthewhiningrhino:
Thewhiningrhino Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2010
Hmmph, well I never thought of Ceratosaurus as inferior! My rule with theropods is if it could kill me, then it has my respect and awe, no matter what the size!
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well sure, that's a fair attitude. But it includes a lot of things that aren't terribly impressive visually, like many parasites. That said, I never disliked Ceratosaurus, but I do feel like it got sort of a bad rap as being the "little" Morrison big theropod.
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:iconthediremoose:
thediremoose Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2010
Also: Though it's difficult to confirm due to the rarity of Morrison egg sites, Ceratosaurus is looking a lot like an R-strategist to me. Most of the young die early due to the larger predators killing them off while the ones that make it to adulthood have little to fear.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
That's an interesting idea, but at this point I'm afraid any signal is likely being totally overshadowed by the sample size. Still, something to think about as more discoveries are made.
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:iconthediremoose:
thediremoose Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2010
I'd heard that C. dentisulcatus was supposed to be fairly large compared to other Ceratosaurus specimens, but I was taken completely off-guard when I visited Cleveland-Lloyd and saw their reconstructed cast of the skull. It was about the same size as the large Allosaurus skull (UUVP 6000) at Dinosaur National Monument and had the same tooth-to-jaw proportions of the other Ceratosaurus specimens.

Needless to say, my previous impression of Ceratosaurus as the little guy of the Morrison ought to be revised somewhat.
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August 16, 2010
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