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Compsognathus Compognathus was a small, bird-like theropod, about the size of a turkey, but with a slender body, a long, thin tail and a long, flexible neck. It was a native of European islands 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period, at a time when Europe lay in the tropics. Its short forelimbs each ended with three clawed fingers. Compsognathus had a narrow head, tapered to the snout, with jaws full of sharp, curved teeth. 


Compsognathus chasing dragonfliesTo survive on a diet of small, quick-moving insects and lizards, Compsognathus must have had keen eyesight and been quick on its feet. Remains of lizards have been found inside Compsognathus. They had been swallowed whole.

The name Compsognathus means “dainty jaw”, a reference to the fine delicate features of its skeleton.

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