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One of the first dinosaurs discovered and recognized by scientists in the United States, Dryptosaurus lived in the area that is now New Jersey during the late Cretaceous Period, 67 million years ago.

It was a tyrannosauroid, related to England’s Eotyrannus and the Guanlong dinosaur from China. It was distantly related to the Tyrannosaurus, which lived in western North America.

Fun Facts

  • Dryptosaurus had some of the features, such as thin, smaller teeth, of dinosaurs that had lived many years before it. Scientists think that because it lived on the East Coast of North America, it was separated from larger predatory dinosaurs by the Western Interior Seaway, a shallow sea covering the central part of the United States. It didn’t need to develop adaptations to deal with these larger animals.
  • This dinosaur probably had feathers. It was twenty five feet long from its nose to its tail.
  • It had very long claws and longer arms than most tyrannosauroids.
  • This dinosaur’s genus name Dryptosaurus means “Tearing Lizard.” Its species name aquilunguis means “Eagle Claw,” after its large, curved claws.
  • The dinosaur was originally named Laelaps, after a mythological dog known for never losing its prey. The name was changed when scientists realized that a mite had already been given that name.
  • Dryptosaurus probably ate fish and reptile eggs, as well as smaller prey, since it lived in a coastal area.


Questions and Answers

Question: Is Dryptosaurus a famous dinosaur?

Answer: Because Dryptosaurus lived in what is now the East Coast, scientists haven’t been able to learn as much about it as dinosaurs living in the western United States. The number of people and buildings in this part of the country make it harder to excavate and look for fossils.

Learn More

Watch a video about an animatronic Dryptosaurus.



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Declan, Tobin. " Dryptosaurus Dinosaur Facts for Kids ." Easy Science for Kids, Aug 2020. Web. 08 Aug 2020. < >.

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Tobin, Declan. (2020). Dryptosaurus Dinosaur Facts for Kids. Easy Science for Kids. Retrieved from

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