|Name Meaning||“Cuenca hunter with a hump”||Height||2 meters (6.6 ft.)|
|Pronunciation||Con-cav-eh-nate-or||Length||5 to 6 meters (16 to 20 ft.)|
|Era||Mesozoic – Early Cretaceous||Weight||320 to 400 kgs (710 to 880 lbs.)|
|Classification||Dinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda||Location||Spain (Europe)|
The Concavenator is a member of the Carcharodontosauridae family that lived around 130 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous period. This dinosaur dates back to the Barremian age.
The type species Concavenator corcovatus is the only known member of this dinosaur’s genus.
Their name translates to “Cuenca hunter with a hump” and refers to the hump on this species’ back and the region in Spain where it was found.
The Concavenator is a unique theropod because of the camel-like hump it had.
Discovering this species also helped researchers learn more about the feathers that dinosaurs could have had.
This article will cover the Concavenator and go over some of the amazing things scientists have learned about this dinosaur since its discovery.
The Concavenator was a large dinosaur that weighed between 320 to 400 kg. (710 to 880 lbs).
This dinosaur stood at around 2 meters (6.5 ft.) tall. Like other theropod dinosaurs, the Concavenator was bipedal and had small arms.
While not the largest, this species had an estimated length between 5 to 6 meters (16 to 20 ft).
There were a few traits the Concavenator had that made them a uniquely looking dinosaur.
One of their oddest features is the hump or crest located on their back right before their hips.
The function of this dinosaur’s hump is not known. Its purpose may have been to store energy or even to attract mates.
Like other theropod dinosaurs, the arms of the Concavenator were small.
Fossils of the arms show this species may have had forearm feathers, but this theory is debated.
Feathers on the Concavenator are peculiar since this trait is typically seen in small dinosaurs like raptors.
This also changes the evolution timeline, as it comes millions of years before feathers were thought to evolve this way on dinosaurs.
Concavenator was a larger predator that had a large head and sharp teeth to take out its prey.
They had clawed feet and hands and scales covering their body.
There are several depictions of this dinosaur, and many have them covered with scales and feathers.
Habitat and Distribution
The Concavenator lived in the early Cretaceous period, in the Barremian age, approximately 130 million years ago.
This dinosaur was discovered in Central Spain but likely lived all over Europe.
During the early Cretaceous period in Europe, the ecosystem was very moist, and deciduous.
Wetlands and swampy plains are habitats Concavenator would have lived in.
In places with lots of freshwaters like where the Concavenator lived, angiosperm plants were very common.
This can include things like flowering plants, conifers, and cypress trees.
Europe in the Cretaceous period was very wet and surrounded by ocean.
Lakes and lots of swamps in the habitat of the Concavenator made it possible for the fossils to be preserved.
These conditions are why the specimen of Concavenator was near complete, but only one has been discovered.
Behavior and Diet
Concavenator was a carnivore that preyed on other dinosaurs and mammals that lived in its region.
Since very little fossil evidence of this dinosaur has been discovered, not much is known about this dinosaur’s diet.
Carcharodontosaurids were the largest predators in the Early, and Middle Cretaceous periods, along with spinosaurids they lived.
Concavenators are not the largest predator where they lived, but this dinosaur was likely feared by most dinosaurs it came across.
Compared to other Carcharodontosaurids the Concavenator is very small and is in fact and the smallest known species within their family.
Other relatives of the Concavenator grew to be larger.
The largest of Carcharodontosaurids grew to have a length between 12 to 13 meters, (39 to 43 ft.) long, and weighed up to 18.8 t (15.2 short tons).
Despite that, the Concavenator still had large sharp teeth and a powerful body that helped it overpower much other prey.
It is not known whether the Concavenator hunted in packs, as this fact is hard to tell with extinct animals.
Hunting in packs could have helped the Concavenator take out larger prey since it was one of the smaller predators.
The Concavenator, like other dinosaurs, started its life from an egg, as this dinosaur was oviparous.
After birth, Concaventors likely raised their young and protected them from larger predators.
There have been limited findings of the Concavenator, and there has yet to be a juvenile found.
What is known of the Concavenators life cycle comes from the small amount of fossil evidence, and also findings from other similar species.
Studies into the Meraxes genus suggested carcharodontosaurids grew constantly throughout their life.
The lifespans of these dinosaurs are estimated to be around 50 years, and it could have taken as long as 30 to 40 years for them to reach maturity.
In 2021 one paleontologist Andrea Cau theorized that a discovered fossil of Scipionyx, first classified as a compsognathid was actually a hatchling of a carcharodontosaurid.
Evolution and History
The Concavenator was discovered in Spain, in the Las Hoyas fossil site, by paleontologists Jose Luis Sanz Francisco Ortega, and Fernando Escaso in 2003.
What was found of the Concavenator was a nearly complete skeleton.
Difficulties arose in describing this dinosaur since the skull was crushed, and some structures of their skeleton in their tail and legs were missing.
One of the biggest controversies about the Concavenator is whether it had feathers on its forearms.
The fossil found of this dinosaur had quill nobs on its ulna bone, which is only seen in other birds and feathered dinosaurs.
Other types of dinosaurs that have these feathers are the Dilong and Tianyulong.
Christian Foth is one researcher who questions the feather theory and suggests the knobs are actually intermuscular lines that attach tendons.
Still, today the debate is still underway, and there is ample information for scientists to discover about the Concavenator.
Evidence of the Concavenator’s feathers suggests all dinosaurs could have had features much earlier than what was previously thought.
The hump also stumps scientists as to how they evolved to have this trait.
Interactions with Other Species
The Concavenator was a predator that preyed on herbivorous and small dinosaurs.
The longer lifespan, quill nobs, and fossil discoveries are some of the evidence that this dinosaur hunted in groups.
Being smaller in size, hunting success would increase, and so would the capability to take out larger dinosaurs if they hunted in packs.
Due to the habitat the Concavenator lived in, most of the organisms found nearby are aquatic species.
The Concavenator was one of the largest terrestrial predators where it lived.
Other crocodilian and spinosaurus teeth have been discovered in the same formation as the Concavenator, suggesting they coexisted together.
Prey that the Concavenator could have hunted included the Europejara, Pelecanimimus, and the Iguanodon.
The overall size of Carcharodontosaurids would increase over time to match larger predators that would evolve like the Tyrannosaurids.
The Concavenator gives us a look at how these dinosaurs’ earlier ancestors fit into their ecosystems.
The Concavenator is an extremely beneficial dinosaur in helping scientists understand dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous period.
Being so well preserved, its fossil showcased the dinosaur’s scales on their feet which look similar to birds, and the possible feathers on their arms.
Concavenator is an important discovery in understanding earlier ancestors of the larger Carcharodontosaurids to come and how these dinosaurs could have been pack hunters.
As well as being an important discovery to science, the Concavneator has been a featured dinosaur in many games and is even sold as a toy.
The fierce carnivorous nature and unique humpback are why many take a liking to the Concavenator.
With only one fossil discovered, in the future, what is known about this species may change with new findings.
The Concavenator is a unique dinosaur as it was a large predator that had a very unique hump.
The hump could have been used like that of a camel to store water, but its purpose is not known.
During the early Cretaceous period, the Concavenator was a dominant predator that had the capability of taking out even large sauropods.
This species could have been an apex predator, but there were much larger Carcharodontosaurids and Spinosaurids that lived alongside this dinosaur.
These types of dinosaurs were dominant until later in the Cretaceous period when Tyrannosaruids evolved.
With more in-depth research, hopefully, the debate about this dinosaur’s feathers and what its hump was used for will come to light.
Researching dinosaurs takes time.
Even though fossils of this species were discovered in 2003, it took seven years for paleontologists to remove the fossil from limestone and describe it.
Concavenators helped fill in the fossil record and extended the carcharodontosaurid’s known existence by around 25 million years.
Most types of Carcharodontosaurids lived in North Africa, but the discovery of Concavenator also extended the family’s known range.
Being billions of years old the majority of Earth’s history remains relatively unknown.
Discoveries like that of this dinosaur are important in understanding how dinosaurs lived and evolved over time.
Did the Concavenator have feathers?
There is evidence to suggest the Concavenator had feathers on its arm, but this has been heavily debated.
Fossils found of this dinosaur suggest there were quill knobs attached to their bones, but some scientists have suggested these to be muscle fibers.
The bumps on this dinosaur’s forearms look very similar to the ones seen on modern birds.
It is likely the Concavenator had feathers, but further research is needed since this theory is controversial.
How large was the Concavenator compared to other Carcharodontosaurids?
Despite its large size, the Concavenator is actually the smallest known Carcharodontosaurid.
This largest of Carcharodontosaurids are estimated to have reached up to 14 meters (46 ft.) large, while the smallest of them the Concavenator, was around 6 meters (20 ft.) in length.
Carcharodontosaurids are some of the largest land predators to exist.
Despite being smaller than other relatives, the Concavenator was still much larger than most other dinosaurs, as the estimated size of dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous period was around 2 meters (6.5 ft.)
Why did the Concavenator have a hump?
Researchers have yet to figure out the reason for the Concavenators hump, but theories suggest its purpose could have been to help regulate temperature, store energy, or even just for display.
The Concavenator’s hump still remains a mystery, but makes this dinosaur unique among others of its type.
The hump of the Concavenator is similar to the one found on spinosaurids.
These theropods are the few discovered with a hump on them.