|Name Meaning||Princely lizard||Height||2.44 meters (8 ft.)|
|Pronunciation||Rah-juh-sore-us||Length||6.6 to 11 meters (22 to 36 ft.)|
|Era||Mesozoic – Late Cretaceous||Weight||4,000 kgs (8,800 lbs.)|
|Classification||Dinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda||Location||India|
The Rajasaurus is a genus of dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period around 66 to 72.1 million years ago.
This dinosaur belonged to the Abelisauridae family, which is a group of carnivorous theropods that had stocky limbs and short skulls.
Rajasaurus narmadensis is the only species of the genus, and this dinosaur was a large fearsome predator of its time.
The name Rajasaurus translates to “King Lizard,” and on its head, there was a horn like a crown, making this ginormous dinosaur fit the title.
Its prehistoric fossils were discovered in 1981 and found in the Lameta Formation in the Gujarat state of western India.
The holotype fossil of the Rajasaurus contained a partial skeleton of legs, a spine, a tail, and a well-preserved skull.
The discovery of the Rajasaurus was one of the greatest theropod findings in India at the time.
The fossils from the Rajasaurus took around 20 years to reconstruct but helped scientists gain a better understanding of the various types of dinosaurs around the world.
Since it was so rare to find dinosaur fossils in India, this species became known as one that is princely and of royalty.
The Rajasaurus lived during an exciting time period along with other giant dinosaurs and was one of the most deadly predators of its time.
The dinosaur is unique among carnivores, as it is one of the few to have a head crest or horn.
Description and Size
Like all other theropod dinosaurs, the Rajasaurus was a bipedal species that had a large head with very short arms.
When first described by paleontologist Jeffery A. Wilson, this dinosaur was given an estimated length of around 11 meters (36 ft.).
In 2016, its new estimated size changed to around 6.6 meters. (22 ft.).
The Rajasaurus was extremely heavy and weighed between 1,000 to 3,000 kg. (2,200 to 6,600 lbs).
The overall body of this “Princely Lizard” was long, and it had a large head with a thick neck.
While not the largest of theropods, the Rajasaurus had a height of around 2.4 meters. (8 ft.) The shorter height of this dinosaur comes from its shorter legs.
Being a predator, this remarkable dinosaur had a stout jaw with short teeth used for holding onto prey.
While their limbs are short, their larger necks allow this dinosaur to have more power in their jaws.
This dinosaur has a horn that grew from its nasal bone that is short and rounded.
Habitat and Distribution
The Rajasaurus lived during the Maastrichtian age of the late Cretaceous period.
The first Rajasaurus fossil was discovered in the Lameta Formation, which is the discovery site of several of India’s fossils.
Its species lived in India, but millions of years ago, the country’s landscape looked much different.
In the Late Cretaceous, the Indian subcontinent we know today was its own isolated landmass called Insular India.
While it is possible animals living in Insular India could have traveled to other continents, it is believed the Rajasaurus could have been contained to the region since it was isolated like an island.
The fossilized Rajasaurus likely would have inhabited what is now Narmada River Valley.
Coprolite, or fossilized feces from animals that lived during the Cretaceous period, is how scientists find out the plant life around in a certain time period.
The habitat of Insular India during the time period of the Rajasaurus was very forested.
Pine conifers, palm trees, grass, flowers, and other common vegetation thrived in Insular India during the Late Cretaceous period.
Lots of volcanic activity in Late Cretaceous India helped the region become more biodiverse but would also contribute to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Insular India, while abundant with vegetation, was also filled with lots of muddy water habitats, which is what made it possible for fossil preservation.
Behavior and Diet
The Rajasaurus was a carnivore like other related Abelisauridaes.
This species had a broad head and thick neck, which gave it an extremely powerful bite force.
The bite force of this large predator is estimated to be around 3,500 newtons (790 lbf), which they use to execute their prey and chew through bones.
The muscular build and strong jaw of the Rajasaurus made them a fierce predator in India.
This dinosaur likely ambushed its prey and used its strength to overpower it.
Abelisaurs like the Rajasaurus were not the fastest of dinosaurs but could turn in an agile way.
The ability to turn quickly is how this dinosaur captured and ambushed its prey.
Being a carnivorous dinosaur, the Rajasaurus diet would have likely been made up of herbivorous dinosaurs.
Smaller Ornithopods, or even larger Sauropods are dinosaurs the Rajasaurus likely hunted.
The Narmada River Valley, where the Rajasaurus fossil was unearthed at the time, was a nesting ground, so there were lots of young dinosaurs to feed on.
The Rajasaurus, like other dinosaurs when born, started out in eggs. While there have been discoveries of theropod dinosaurs’ eggs, there has never been one found of its species.
Figuring out what dinosaurs laid the eggs is difficult since finding fossilized embryos in eggs is extremely rare.
After hatching, the Rajasaurus likely lived in family units till they were old enough to live on their own.
While other dinosaurs lived in groups, this does not seem true for Abelisaurs.
Dinosaurs that lived in groups more often were smaller theropods and groups of herbivores, which the Rajasaurus hunted.
The horn of the Rajasaurus was likely not used for hunting but to communicate with other dinosaurs.
The horn could have been used for headbutting and sparring with other Rajasaurus.
The horn also could have been used as a display and helped with getting a mate’s attention.
Around 65 to 70 million years ago is when the Rajasaurus lived, and this species went extinct at the end of the Mesozoic Era.
Volcanic activity caused by the Deccan Traps in India released volcanic gases and sulfur dioxide, which possibly caused climate change.
The Deccan Traps likely helped the Chicxulub asteroid in ending the lifecycle of the Rajasaurus and causing the extinction of dinosaurs.
Evolution and History
The closest relatives to the Rajasaurus are the Carnotaurus and the Majungasaurus.
The Majungasaurus lived in Madagascar during the time period of the Rajasaurus.
At one point in Earth’s history Madagascar was connected with India, which was around 20 million years before the Rajasaurus.
The two dinosaurs could have had a common ancestor when the land where these dinosaurs lived was connected.
The Rajasaurus was rare as it was one of the few meat-eating dinosaurs to have horns, another of which is its relative, the Carnotaurus.
As Abelisaurids evolved over time, species like the Rajasaurus and Carnotaurus suggest these dinosaurs’ head ornaments evolved to become more advanced along with them.
A lot has been learned about the Rajasaurus since its discovery in 1981. For nearly 20 years, the Rajasaurus was reconstructed and examined until officially described in 2003.
The future classification and what is known about the Rajasaurus may change as further information is learned about this dinosaur.
Interactions with Other Species
The Rajasaurus was a fearsome predator of its time, despite its smaller stature compared to other similar dinosaurs.
When the Rajasaurus was alive, there were also other related Abelisaurids around, like the Indosaurus, Rahiolisaurus, Lametasaurus, and Noasaurid.
Since there were so many predators like the Rajasaurus that lived in Late Cretaceous India, the land was also filled with lots of herbivores to feed on.
There were even lots of large sauropods like the Titanosaurus, or Rapetosaurus that the Rajasaurus likely interacted with.
The power of the Rajasaurus made it easy for them to take down their prey.
While their arms were extremely undersized, they had thick necks and large skulls which could have been used for headbutting.
The region where the Rajasaurus was discovered, Gujarat state, is considered the “Jurrasic Park of India” because of the various amazing findings of the area.
While at first, India was not very abundant in fossil discoveries, today, there have been more than 92 dinosaur nesting sites and 256 fossilized dinosaurs found in the region.
The Rajasaurus has been considered the national dinosaur of India because of the wonder it brings people and how complete and important the discovery was.
India itself holds deep history and is where the Deccan Traps were located, which helped contribute to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
India, at the time of the Late Cretaceous, was very wet and had lots of lakes and water sources.
The landscape made it possible for lots of dinosaurs from the era to be well preserved, like the Rajasaurus.
Today you can find attractions in India that honor the various dinosaur discoveries, and these ancient reptiles are a part of the country’s culture.
The many fossil findings and nesting sites, including species like the Rajasaurus, are why paleontologists will continue to study India and its dinosaurs in the future.
The first dinosaur discovery in India was in the Narmada Valley and occurred in 1828.
As time passed, discoveries became more common.
The Rajasaurus was an important fossil found since there were lots of parts preserved of the animal, like the braincase, spine, tail, hip bone, and neck vertebrae.
Since there was so much preserved of the Rajasaurus fossil in India, the species was helpful in learning more about the dinosaurs in Late Creteceas India and other Abelisaurs.
Using the discovery of other dinosaur fossils and similar species, scientists are able to figure out how the Rajasaurus lived and how dinosaurs evolved over time.
The Rajasaurus is one of India’s star dinosaurs and has even been shown in many different movies.
When people think of amazing dinosaurs that lived in India, their first thought may be the Rajasaurus, which is why the species was named the national dinosaur.
Did the Rajasaurus have feathers?
The Rajasaurus is a type of meat-eating theropod, and many of these dinosaurs have feathers.
While some scientists believe that all dinosaurs have feathers, this is still up for debate.
There is no evidence suggesting that this dinosaur had feathers. Relatives of this dinosaur suggest this species had scaly skin.
Is the Rajasaurus related to the T Rex?
The Rajasaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex are both members of the Theropoda dinosaur clade.
Both dinosaurs are meat-eating and also have similar body structures.
These two dinosaurs lived during the same time period but across the world on different continents.
The Rajasaurus is more closely related to other dinosaurs like the Carnotaurus and the Majungasaurus.
These dinosaurs lived in the same period as the Rajsaurus, and they have a common ancestor.
Why is the Rajasaurus important in India?
is the national dinosaur of India. Rajasauruas means “Princely Lizard”, or “King Lizard”.
Their species, named Rajasuarus narmadensis, is in reference to the Narmada River, where their fossils were first found.
The Rajasaurus is such an important discovery in India since many of the fossils in the country are still in the ground.
The dinosaur’s fossil discovery is also very complete.
The Rajasaurus is an important dinosaur in learning the types of dinosaurs that inhabited India in the Late Cretaceous.