15 Ferocious Carnivorous Dinosaurs Worth Knowing About

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 23rd September 2023

Roaring Ceratosaurus dinosaur scene 3D illustration
Does Ceratosaurus make the list? – warpaintcobra via Istock

Prehistoric Earth was just as brutal as today’s world. 

It was a dog-eat-dog world ruled by carnivorous dinosaurs that preyed on defenseless herbivores for food.

For over 150 million years, the dinosaurs were the dominant animal group, preying on other dinosaurs, reptiles, and small mammals. 

These carnivores also came in various forms. 

They ranged from two-pound raptors to giant tyrannosaurs.  

Earth’s biggest predators lived during the Mesozoic Era

They were heavily built, with massive jaws and dagger-like teeth, which made them effective for taking down prey. 

In this article, we’ll list the most ferocious carnivorous dinosaurs that have ever walked the planet and detail some of the most interesting facts about them.  

Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Plush Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Plush Collection

15. Dilophosaurus 

Dilophosaurus dinosaur roaring 3D render
Dilophosaurus dinosaur roaring 3D render – elenarts108 via Istock
NameDilophosaurus
Name MeaningDouble-crested lizard
PronunciationDie-lof-oh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Early Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height2.1 meters (7 feet)
Length7 meters (23 feet)
Weight400–500 kg (880–1,100 lbs)
LocationUSA (North America) 

Dilophosaurus was one of the predatory dinosaurs that made it to the big screen. 

However, like many of the other dinosaurs that have been depicted in movies, the Jurassic Park Dilophosaurus was highly inaccurate. 

Although a ferocious dinosaur, Dilophosaurus didn’t spit venom at prey, and it also didn’t have an expandable neck frill as the movie suggested. 

The film producer also scaled down the Dilophosaurus’ size. 

In real life, it was a 20-foot-long dinosaur about the same size as a brown bear. 

Dilophosaurus was one of the largest land animals of Jurassic North America. 

It lived at a time when large predatory dinosaurs were just starting to emerge and was one of the biggest ones around for several million years. 

14. Deltadromeus

Deltadromeus 3D render
Deltadromeus 3D render – CoreyFord via Istock
NameDeltadromeus
Name MeaningDelta runner
Pronunciationdel-tuh-DROH-mee-us
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height2.4 meters (8 feet)
Length8–10 meters (26–33 feet)
Weight1–2 tons (2,200–4,400 lbs) 
LocationMorocco (North Africa)

Deltadromeus was a medium-sized dinosaur that lived in North Africa from the Middle to Late Cretaceous Period. 

It lived alongside large Cretaceous dinosaurs such as the Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus

Although significantly smaller than these giant carnivores, the unusually slender hind limbs of this dinosaur suggest that it was built for speed. 

This was unusual for a 30-foot-long dinosaur that may have weighed as much as four tons. 

Being such a swift runner would have favored this dinosaur in going after smaller, agile prey that the other large carnivores in its habitat could not target. 

13. Majungasaurus 

A blue 3D concept Majungasaurus
A blue 3D concept Majungasaurus – Coryford via Istock
NameMajungasaurus
Name MeaningMajunga lizard
Pronunciationmah-JOONG-uh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height2.5 meters (8 feet)
Length6–7 meters (20–23 feet)
Weight750–1,100 kg (1,650–2,430 lbs)
LocationMadagascar

The Majungasaurus is native to the East-African Island of Madagascar. 

The island was once a part of the Indian sub-continent but started to drift away during the Cretaceous Period. 

Majungasaurus was alive until the end of the Cretaceous, meaning it was one of the last known non-avian dinosaurs. 

Not only was the Majungasaurus a carnivore, but evidence also suggests it was a cannibal. 

Scientists have found numerous Majungasaurus fossils with tooth marks that appear to have been made by other Majungasaurus individuals. 

It is unclear if these dinosaurs hunted each other actively or simply fed on carcasses of already-dead relatives. 

However, the fact that they may have hunted members of their kind further adds to the badass reputation of this dinosaur. 

12. Australovenator

Model of megaraptor Australovenator wintonensis
Model of megaraptor Australovenator wintonensis – Pyotr Menshikov – License
NameAustralovenator
Name MeaningSouthern Hunter
Pronunciationaw-STRA-loh-VEH-nay-tor
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height2 meters (6.5 feet)
Length5–6 meters (16–20 feet)
Weight500–1,000 kilograms (1,100–2,200 pounds)
LocationAustralia

Nicknamed the “cheetah of its time,” Australovenator was a relatively lightweight predator that preyed on smaller herbivorous dinosaurs in Middle Cretaceous Australia. 

This medium-sized carnivore is the most complete predatory dinosaur ever found in Australia. 

It was about 20 feet long and had a mass of about 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds). 

Australovenator was a megaraptor, a group of large-clawed dinosaurs that were the dominant carnivores in mid-Cretaceous Australia. 

Although the jaws of the Australovenator were relatively weak, they were still strong enough to disembowel prey. 

This dinosaur also had flexible arms with shark claws which were effective for grasping and holding prey. 

11. Megalosaurus

Megalosaurus dinosaur roaring 3d render
Megalosaurus dinosaur roaring 3d render – elenarts108 via Istock
NameMegalosaurus
Name MeaningGreat lizard
PronunciationMEG-uh-loh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Middle Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height3 meters (10 feet)
Length7–9 meters (23–30 feet)
Weight1–2 tons (2,200–4,400 lbs)
LocationEurope

The “Great Lizard” lived in Europe during the Jurassic Period, about 166 million years ago. 

Fossils of this dinosaur were discovered as far back as 1699, making it the first non-avian dinosaur ever described in scientific literature. 

Early description mistook the Megalosaurus for a gigantic lizard, but it has now been recognized as a 30-foot-long dinosaur. 

This dinosaur is known from fragmentary fossils, but available evidence suggests it was a massive predator with big jaws. 

The lower jaw of this dinosaur had about 13 teeth, each with a crown length of up to seven centimeters.

As an apex predator of Mid-Jurassic Europe, Megalosaurus hunted large dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus and sauropods

10. Saurophaganax

Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Saurophaganax Concept
NameSaurophaganax
Name MeaningRuling lizard-eater
Pronunciationsore-oh-fuh-GAN-aks
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height5 meters (16 feet)
Length10-12 meters (33-39 feet)
Weight3-4 tons (6600-8800lbs)
LocationUSA (North America)

A North American relative of the Allosaurus, Saurophaganax was the apex predator in Jurassic North America about 151 million years ago. 

Due to the rarity of Saurophaganax fossils, not much is known about the behavior of this dinosaur. 

We know it was a massive meat-eater that reached lengths of about 10.5 meters (34 feet) on average. 

Fossils of this dinosaur were recovered from the famous Morrison Formation, one of the most prolific sources of dinosaur fossils in North America. 

The Saurophaganax was the largest carnivorous dinosaur known from that formation. 

9. Utahraptor 

3D digital render of a Utahraptor - Vac1 via Istock
3D digital render of a Utahraptor – Vac1 via Istock
NameUtah Raptor
Name MeaningUtah’s predator
PronunciationYoo-tah-rap-tore
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Length4.9–5.5 m (16–18 ft)
Weight280–300 kg (617–661 lb)
LocationNorth America

Equipped with a razor-sharp killing claw as long as a small knife, the Utahraptor’s reputation as one of the most ferocious raptors was rightly earned. 

This dinosaur was also the largest dromaeosaurid ever discovered. 

Utahraptor lived in parts of the North American continent from 135 to 130 million years ago. 

Utahraptor was more heavily-built compared to its relatives. It measured up to 5.5 meters long and had a mass of at least 280 kilograms (620 pounds).

This dinosaur had thick leg bones, indicating that it probably had significant leg force. 

A well-targeted hit from such powerful legs with dagger-like claws on its end would have been enough to inflict significant damage to prey of any size. 

8. Mapusaurus

Mapusaurus 3D Render
Mapusaurus 3D render – CoryFord via Istock
NameMapusaurus
Name MeaningEarth lizard
Pronunciationma-poo-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height4 meters (13 feet)
Length10–12 meters (33–39 feet)
Weight3–5 tons (6,600–11,000 lbs)
LocationArgentina (South America)

The Mapusaurus was one of South America’s giant predators during the Cretaceous Period, from 93.9 to 89.6 million years ago. 

It was closely related to the Giganotosaurus, another South American predator species, but was slightly smaller. 

Mapusaurus was a 40-foot monster that hunted large theropod dinosaurs like the Argentionsaurus

To take down such large prey, experts think the Mapusaurus formed a large herd of family groups. 

One piece of evidence for this was the discovery of bone beds with hundreds of Mapusaurus bones. 

Each of these massive carnivores had narrow blade-like teeth effective for tearing prey apart. 

Forming hunting packs like wolves or lions would have made them even more lethal than they already are individually. 

7. Allosaurus 

Allosaurus 3D rendering – Coryford via Istock
NameAllosaurus
Name MeaningDifferent lizard
PronunciationAL-oh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height4.5–5 meters (5–16 feet)
Length12–13 meters (39–43 feet)
Weight1.5–2 tons (3,000–4,400 lbs) 
LocationUSA (North America) 

Allosaurus is one of the most well-known North American Dinosaurs. 

Long before the Tyrannosaurus became the dominant predator on the continent, the Allosaurus was king. 

The giant bipedal carnivore lived during the Jurassic Period, from 155 to 145 million years ago. 

It was the most abundant large predator known from that period. 

Adult Allosaurus individuals were up to 9.7 meters (32 feet) long and weighed about 1.7 metric tons. 

Although they were not as bulky as the larger carnivores that took over after them, the Allosaurus probably hunted in packs. 

This further boosted their advantage against the significantly bigger prey species they had to deal with. 

6. Troodon 

Troodon on the prowl
Troodon on the prowl – CoryFord via Istock
NameTroodon
Name MeaningWounding Tooth
PronunciationTROH-uh-don
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height1 meter (3.3 feet)
Length2-2.5 meters (6.6-8.2 feet)
Weight20-50 kilograms (44-110 pounds)
LocationNorth America and Asia

The large carnivorous dinosaurs that could bite your head off in a single bite are typically more intimidating. 

But smaller ones like the Troodon were equally deadly as well. 

Only 1.3 meters tall and with a paltry weight of just 40 kg (88.2 pounds), the Troodon was just around the same size as a large dog. 

It was also lightly built with a skeleton made up of hollow bones. 

Despite these features, the Troodon was probably one of the scariest carnivores of the late Cretaceous Period. 

Scientists think it was neurologically advanced compared to other dinosaurs thanks to a high brain-to-body ratio. 

Troodons probably hunted in packs and were capable of taking down large prey. 

They were also quite agile and had orb-like eyes that made them effective hunters even in low-light conditions.

5. Deinonychus

Deinonychus 3D illustration
Deinonychus 3D illustration – warpaintcobra via Istock
NameDeinonychus
Name MeaningTerrible Claw
Pronunciationdye-NON-uh-kus
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height1.5 meters (5 feet)
Length3.5–4 meters (11–13 feet)
Weight70–160 kilograms (150–350 pounds)
LocationUSA (North America)

Everyone knows the Velociraptor as the small, slender, pack-hunting predator from Jurassic Park movies. 

But what most people probably don’t know is that the dinosaur featured in the movie was based on the Deinonychus, a close cousin of the Velociraptor

The only reason Deinonychus didn’t get the part was because the directors thought it didn’t have a cool, catchy name. 

The real Deinonychus was bigger than the Velociraptor in real life and was a quick-witted pack hunter built to pursue and kill large prey. 

The highlight of this dinosaur’s appearance was its massive sickle-shaped claws. 

The dinosaur’s name translates as “terrible claw,” a reference to this 4.7 inches long talons. 

4. Giganotosaurus

Giganotosaurus 3D rendering - Coryford via Istock
Giganotosaurus 3D rendering – CoryFord via Istock
NameGiganotosaurus
Name MeaningGiganotosaurus
Pronunciationjy-guh-NOH-tuh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height4.5 meters (15 feet)
Length12–13 meters (39–43 feet)
WeightArgentina (South America) 
LocationNorth America

During the Late Cretaceous Period, the South American continent was home to some of the biggest land herbivores to have ever lived, such as the Argentinosaurus

Expectedly, one of the largest terrestrial carnivores evolved alongside these giant herbivores, dominating the South American landscape from 99.6 to about 95 million years ago.

Size estimates for this dinosaur range between 12 and 13 meters, with an estimated mass of about 13.8 tons for the biggest individuals. 

Despite being heavily built, experts think the Giganotosaurus was an agile predator. 

It also had a formidable arsenal of killing weapons, including a massive skull with long, sharp teeth and big arms with giant claws that could slash at prey effectively. 

3. Tyrannosaurus 

Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosuar walking towards camera with mouth open. 3D illustration isolated on white background.
Tyrannosaurus Rex 3D render – iangoodphotograph via Istock
NameTyrannosaurus
Name MeaningTyrant lizard
Pronunciationtie-RAN-oh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height5.6 meters (18.4 feet)
Length12–15 meters (40–50 feet)
Weight5.5–7.5 tons (11,000–15,500 lbs)
LocationUSA (North America)

The T. rex needs no introduction. 

It is one of the most iconic dinosaurs that stands as the poster child of fierce and scary dinosaurs of the prehistoric past. 

While some experts think the Tyrannosaurus was probably a scavenger that specialized in stealing prey from other dinosaurs, there’s no question that the king of tyrant lizards was an ultimate killing machine that could take on pretty much any prey if it wanted to. 

In addition to being one of the largest known land carnivores, the T. rex’s jaws were massive and filled with long, razor-sharp teeth. 

The Tyrannosaurus’ teeth are the largest of any carnivorous dinosaur found so far.

The jaws were supported by powerful muscles that delivered a bite force of over 35,000 newtons, the highest of any terrestrial predator. 

The Tyrannosaurus was among the last non-avian dinosaurs, ruling till the very end of the Cretaceous Period. 

2. Carcharodontosaurus

Carcharodontosaurus 3D render - CoryFord via Istock
Carcharodontosaurus 3D render – CoryFord via Istock
NameCarcharodontosaurus
Name MeaningShark-toothed lizard
Pronunciationkar-kah-roh-DON-toh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda
DietCarnivorous
Height4 meters (13 feet)
Length12–14 meters (39–46 feet)
Weight6.6–16 tons (14,000–35,000 lbs) 
LocationMorocco, Algeria, Niger (North Africa)

Commonly referred to as the African T. rex, Carcharodontosaurus ruled on the African continent just a few million years before the Tyrannosaurus emerged as king in North America. 

It is considered one of the longest and heaviest carnivorous dinosaurs ever discovered. 

The Carcharodontosaurus’ massive skull was up to 1.63 meters long (5.3 feet), but the highlight of its appearance was the numerous sharp serrated teeth in its mouth. 

Imagine the dentition of a great white shark on a 41 feet terrestrial monster; that’s exactly what the Carcharodontosaurus looked like. 

This unique dentition earned this dinosaur the name “shark-toothed lizard.” 

1. Spinosaurus 

3D digital render of the Cretaceous dinosaur Spinosaurus
3D digital render of the Cretaceous dinosaur Spinosaurus – Vac1 via Istock
NameSpinosaurus
Name MeaningSpine lizard
PronunciationSPY-noh-SAWR-us
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
DietCarnivorous, potentially piscivorous
Height5.5 meters (18 feet)
Length12–18 meters (39–59 feet)
Weight6–12 tons (13,000–26,000 lbs) 
LocationMorocco, Algeria, and Egypt (North Africa) 

Named for the giant sails on its back, the spined lizard ruled both the terrestrial and aquatic landscape of Northern Africa during the Late Cretaceous Period, between 99 and 93.5 million years ago. 

Spinosaurus is regarded as the longest terrestrial carnivore to have ever lived. 

With an average length of about 14 meters (46 feet), this dinosaur rivaled the biggest Mesozoic predators like the Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus. 

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Spinosaurus Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Spinosaurus Concept

Spinosaurus was one of the few dinosaurs capable of an active aquatic lifestyle.

It had powerful croc-like jaws that could take prey underwater and a giant paddle-like tail for maneuvering in the water. 

Spinosaurus also had dense bones similar to those of semi-aquatic animals like hippos and penguins. 

Spinosaurus mainly hunted fish, but it was just as capable of coming on land to take on terrestrial prey as other land carnivores. 

Sources

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