Fossil range: Middle JurassicLate Cretaceous
A replica Allosaurus skeleton.
Scientific classification










Carnosauria von Huene, 1920


Carnosauria is a group of large predatory dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. While it originally contained a wide assortment of giant theropods that were not closely related, the group has since been defined to encompass only the allosaurs and their closest kin. Recently, scientists have discovered some very large carnosaurs in the carcharodontosaurid family such as Giganotosaurus and Tyrannotitan which are among the largest known predatory dinosaurs.

Distinctive characteristics of carnosaurs include large eyes, a long narrow skull and modifications of the legs and pelvis such as the thigh (femur) being longer than the shin (tibia).


Modern cladistic analysis defines Carnosauria as those dinosaurs sharing a more recent common ancestor with Allosaurus than with modern birds.[1]


Carnosauria has traditionally been used as a dumping ground for all large theropods, but analysis in the 1980s and 1990s revealed that other than size, the group shared very few characteristics. Most former carnosaurs were reclassified as more primitive theropods. Others were placed in Coelurosauria if they were more closely related to birds, like the tyrannosaurids. Other former carnosaurs include the megalosaurids, the spinosaurids, and the ceratosaurs. Even non-dinosaurs have been considered carnosaurs, such as the rauisuchian Teratosaurus.


"Carnosaurus" is an informal generic name, attributed to Friedrich von Huene, 1929, that is sometimes seen in lists of dinosaurs. It is probably a typographical error; von Huene intended to assign indeterminate remains to Carnosauria incertae sedis, but at some point in the process of publication, the text was revised to make it appear that he was creating a new generic name "Carnosaurus" (as described by George Olshevsky in a 1999 post to the Dinosaur Mailing List). The name is undescribed and has not been used seriously.


  • George Olshevsky. "Re: What are these dinosaurs". (on "Carnosaurus"). Retrieved on 2007-01-29.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.