Compsognathus is an interesting find for it was the very first complete dinosaur every found (only the very tip of the tail was missing), no other dinosaur before could claim a better fossil than Compsognathus. What is very perplexing to notice is the way in which he died, based on the fossil.

Compsognathus Features

  • Hollow limbs
  • Long tail
  • Big thumb
  • Powerful legs

Compsognathus Analysis


The head of this rather small dinosaur was quite large and contained many, many sharp, curved teeth. These teeth ripped at flesh or caught them in a fast hold. It does not seem that the teeth could be of much use taking down herbivores so Compsognathus probably ate smaller lizards or mammals. The jaws also back-up this point as they are slender and not capable of pulling off such a feat as killing large animals.


As is common with these smaller, more unprotected dinosaurs, the legs are built for speed. The limbs are hollow and, like Coelophysis, they give it one extra advantage against predators, more agility and speed.

Even though the feet were clawed these claws were probably used for nothing else except better traction. If his prey decided to pursued up a rocky slope than Compsognathus would follow, bearing his feet into the rocks (probably spreading his toes out too) and grasping with, what would be considered, our toes.

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