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Did Allosaurus Live With Long Neck Dinosaurs? What We Know

Ever wonder what the world was like when Allosaurus roamed? Allosaurus is often regarded as the most famous predator from the Jurassic period. Although it has been speculated that the Allosaurus was a scavenger, the majority of paleontologists in this day agree that the dinosaur could hunt down dinosaurs even larger than itself. It makes me wonder, did Allosaurus live with long-necked dinosaurs?


Did Allosaurus Live With Long Neck Dinosaurs?

Yes, based on fossil evidence, Allosaurus lived with long-necked sauropods in the Western states of the US, Portugal, and Tanzania. Allosaurus fossils have been found in the same rock formations where sauropods such as Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Camarasaurus have been found. Further, paleontologists suggest that Allosaurus may have hunted sauropods as fossil bones indicate bite and scratch marks that match Allosaurus teeth. 

The Allosaurus existed 163 million years ago – 89 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period, and it is famous for being an apex predator during that time.

It is often referred to as the “different lizard” because of its unusual vertebrae and agile body structure, smaller than other carnivorous theropods. (Source)

When researching about sauropods that lived in similar geographical areas as the Allosaurus, it became apparent that some sauropod fossils were even found relatively close to the same fossil excavations as the Allosaurus, for instance, in the Morrison formation in North America. More about this later in the article.

Let’s get started!

Where Did Allosaurus Live?

Unlike most dinosaur species, paleontologists know pretty much about these vicious carnivores, popularly called the ‘different lizards.’

Allosaurus lived in semiarid floodplains and river forests within North America, Tanzania, Portugal, and Siberia. Its long legs reinforce the belief that the carnivore lived in flood plains or wet forests. 

In the forests, ferns and conifers comprised the majority of the forest plantation.

North America is home to the fossil-rich Morrison Formation, which preserved most Allosaurus species in museums and science collections.

The Morrison Formation formed about 150 million years ago, and it is famous for its paleontological value. Scientists have collected dinosaur fossils in the formation for over a century.

A similar site in Africa preserved fossils of the same nature. From 1909 to 1913, paleontologists excavated over 225 tons of dinosaur bones from the Tendaguru archeological site.

This collection of sites had similar demography of Jurassic dinosaurs to the one in the Morrison Formation. The scientists found Allosaurus fossils among the sauropods on which it preyed.

Allosaurus species were found in fossil-rich deposits in Portugal and Siberia. In Portugal, the Lourinha Formation had abundant fossils.

To date, the Morrison Formation is the biggest source of Allosaurus fossils.

The most famous Allosaurus discoveries:

The first recorded discovery of Allosaurus fossils dates from 1869. In 1927, the Cleveland-Llyod Dinosaur Quarry revealed its paleontological potential. Since then, the quarry has produced 73 different dinosaur specimens, 46 of which were Allosaurus fossils.

The 95% complete Allosaurus discovery of 1991 put Wyoming in the spotlight. The skeleton was about 26 feet (8M.)

Professors in Germany also examined Euhelopus zdnskyi, a sauropod of average size. It was approximately 3.8 tons heavy and 39 feet long.

The species existed between 89.3 and 163.5 million years ago. It hunted sauropods and other herbivorous dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic epoch. 

Allosaurus fossils are plenty and among the earliest paleontological findings. 46 of 75 unearthed in an area with diverse Jurassic fossils were from Allosaurus. (Source)

Thus, Allosaurus could have been abundant within dinosaur ecologies. The U.S Bureau of Land Management reports that paleontologists enjoy comprehensive insights into the species. It’s all thanks to the abundance of fossils from this ancient, different lizard. (Source)

Paleontologists excavated most Allosaurus fossils close to those of sauropods or ornithischians. At the time of its existence, it co-existed with:

  • Other dinosaurs
  • Crocodylomorphs
  • Turtles
  • Lizards
  • Pterosaurs

The Greek meaning of Allosaurus translates to ‘different lizard.’ The name alludes to its unique vertebrae, which were concave on both sides. The vertebrae also contained shallow cavities that made them resemble hourglasses.

It was weird for the carnivore to have light, weaker bones. Paleontologists believe the hollow cavities provided capacity for air sacs.

Scientists disagree about the number of Allosaurus species. They all agree the dinosaur was a carnivorous theropod. They’re yet to find consensus on the different Allosaurus variations. (Source)

The most common Allosaurus species include:

  1. Allosaurus fragilis
  2. Allosaurus atrox
  3. Allosaurus jimmadseni
  4. Allosaurus lucasi

Thus, it helps to classify the different species among Allosaurus instead of categorizing them as one. 

What Long Neck Dinosaurs Lived Where Allosaurus Lived?

It seems that Jurassic dinosaur demographics were alike across North America, Europe, and Africa. For example, you’ll find a balanced ratio of Allosaurus to sauropods across the:

  • Morrison Formation (North America)
  • Lourinha Formation (Portugal, Europe)
  • Tendaguru archeological site (Tanzania, Africa)

The long-necked dinosaurs that lived where Allosaurus lived included:

  • Diplodocus – It was one of the biggest dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic. It roamed North America, eating plants and growing up to a length of 175 feet.
  • Camarasaurus -This herbivore was one of the smaller sauropods, stretching about 60 feet in length. It made an easier target for Allosaurus compared to adult Diplodocus.
  • Apatosaurus: The tail whip of this enormous dinosaur could break the limbs of Allosaurus. This North American long-neck herbivore could grow up to a length of 75 feet.

Long-necked dinosaurs were spread all over the planet and the earliest species from the Early Jurassic period. 

They went extinct after hell-fire meteor showers violently ended the Late Cretaceous period.

Herbivorous dinosaurs had puny brains relative to their body mass. Sauropods were long-necked plant-eaters. They also had thick legs to support their massive size.

They could bring down robust tree clusters and swallow treetops without chewing.

The teeth of sauropods were sharp and strong to clear plant matter. The chisel shape was not appropriate for chewing, but it had an elaborate digestion process to break down the vegetation.

Did Allosaurus Hunt Sauropods?

From the fossil-rich deposits, we can tell that Allosaurus lived among long-necked dinosaurs. The massive predator hunted large herbivorous dinosaurs, especially vulnerable sauropods. The predator and prey interacted in North American flood plains and river forests.

Yes, Allosaurus hunted sauropods. Long-necked dinosaurs were in size, and only apex predators could take them on successfully. Allosaurus was powerful and agile enough to kill a healthy sauropod. Its major advantage over the huge dinosaurs was its intelligence.

Moreover, this species could attain speeds of 34mph when hunting.

The average Allosaurus was 28 feet long. Some grew to a length of 39 feet. Moreover, they were light relative to their massive size because their bones were hollow.

Its teeth were adapted for serrating action, and its bite was efficient. Its biting didn’t focus on breaking bones but taking off chunks of flesh.

The majority of Allosaurus fossils indicate the dinosaur incurred injuries during active hunts.

Fossil evidence proves that Allosaurus hunted one of the most armored herbivorous dinosaurs: stegosaurus. The Allosaurus fossil had a semi-healed puncture wound from the long-neck dinosaur’s tail spike.

Sauropods produced some of the biggest terrestrial creatures in history. Paleontologists estimate the longest sauropods attained a length of 110 feet. They also weighed as much as 80 tons. The smallest of long-neck dinosaurs stretched over 20 feet. (Source)

The small ones were a favorite meal for the Allosaurus packs. For example, it would go for Camarasaurus if the only other option was an adult Diplodocus. Its teeth were specialized to hunt gigantic targets as well as tiny prey.

Most long-neck dinosaurs did not live in herds. Even when they did, they broke off the herds. Predators could easily isolate them.

Most fossils from this predator are significantly scarred. It specialized in hunting big targets, making it prone to violent, powerful strikes. The sauropods didn’t go down without a fight unless they were unhealthy.

Allosaurus also fought among themselves, which is common for territorial predators. They also fought within their packs in pursuit of feeding and mating dominance.

Sauropod bones also prove the deadly interaction with Allosaurus. Their bare scrapings and scars are consistent with Allosaurus teeth patterns.

Long-neck dinosaurs had diverse protection mechanisms. Some growled and stamped to strike fear in adversaries. Some whipped their armored tails at predators to break bones. Others charged and gored opponents with sharp facial horns.

Allosaurus could not take down fully grown sauropods on its own. Its teeth and skull jaws were not as powerful as those of T. rexes. It could have hunted in packs, which explains why there was so much in-fighting within the species.

Those that couldn’t move in packs had to target juvenile sauropods or scavenge corpses.

Parting Shot

Allosaurus is a fascinating creature that lived in North America, Portugal, and Africa. Fossils of sauropods have been found in similar places. It’s suggested that Allosaurus also hunted sauropods like Diplodocus! Although there are not many fossils left to study, the ones we do know about showing us an interesting perspective on what life was like during the Jurassic Period. 

It’s interesting to note that Allosaurs lived for many millions of years, covering a span of roughly 74 million years. By comparison, T. Rex lived only 1.2 million to 3.6 million years. (Source) That’s a big difference in time span and let’s hope that paleontologists will discover more Allosaurus fossils as the years go by.