Kayentavenator (meaning "Kayenta hunter") is a small carnivorous dinosaur genus which lived during the Early Jurassic Period; fossils were recovered from the Kayenta Formation of northeastern Arizona and were described in 2010.[1]

Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 189 Ma
Life restoration
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Tetanurae
Genus: Kayentavenator
Gay, 2010
K. elysiae
Binomial name
Kayentavenator elysiae
Gay, 2010


The holotype specimen of K. elysiae is a juvenile, as shown by unfused neural spines[1] and would have stood about 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) high at the hip. The adult size of Kayentavenator is unknown. The inclusion of a pubic fenestra is one of the characteristics that Gay uses to set Kayentavenator apart from the contemporaneous, and better known Dilophosaurus.[1] As Dilophosaurus lacks a pubic fenestra as a subadult or an adult,[2] it is unlikely that it had one during any stage of ontogeny. Apomorphies include an ellipsoid acetabulum, the greater trochanter and the head of the femur having been fused, a mediodistal crest that extends 50% of the length of the femur, as well as a prominent accessory condyle on the medial femoral condyle, a groove in dorsal surface of the femoral head that extends out from the centerline of the body, and highly constricted ("waisted") caudal vertebra centra.[1]


The only known fossils of Kayentavenator were excavated by the University of California Museum of Paleontology from the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. It was described in 2010 based on a partial fossil skeleton, consisting of part of the pelvis, partial hindlimbs, and vertebrae.

Cladogram of Theropods (Gay 2010[1])















Timothy Rowe originally assigned the holotype specimen of Kayentavenator to the coelophysoid Syntarsus kayentakatae (now Megapnosaurus kayentakatae or Coelophysis kayentakatae).[3] It is unlikely that Kayentavenator is actually congeneric with Megapnosaurus kayentakatae due to the number of tetanuran characters that Kayentavenator possesses and M. kayentakatae lacks, such as the pubic fenestra and a sharp ridge on the medial side of the tibia.[1] A cladistic analysis of the remains showed Kayentavenator to lie outside of Coelophysidae, and was closer to Allosaurus.[1] This would make Kayentavenator the oldest known tetanuran from North America. The fragmentary remains of Kayentavenator make this open to further interpretation.



The only known specimen of Kayentavenator, UCMP V128659, was recovered from the Silty Facies Member of the Kayenta Formation, in northeastern Arizona. A definitive radiometric dating of this formation has not yet been made, and the available stratigraphic correlation has been based on a combination of radiometric dates from vertebrate fossils, magnetostratigraphy and pollen evidence.[4] It has been surmised that the Kayenta Formation was deposited during the Sinemurian and Pliensbachian stages of the Early Jurassic Period or approximately 199 to 182 million years ago.[5] The Kayenta Formation is part of the Glen Canyon Group that includes formations not only in northern Arizona but also parts of southeastern Utah, western Colorado, and northwestern New Mexico. The formation was primarily deposited by rivers. During the Early Jurassic period, the land that is now the Kayenta Formation experienced rainy summers and dry winters. By the Middle Jurassic period it was being encroached upon from the north by a sandy dune field that would become the Navajo Sandstone.[6] The animals were adapted to a seasonal climate and abundant water could be found in streams, ponds and lakes.


Kayentavenator shared its paleoenvironment with other dinosaurs, such as several theropods including Dilophosaurus, Coelophysis kayentakatae, and the "Shake N Bake" theropod, the basal sauropodomorph Sarahsaurus,[7] heterodontosaurids, and the armored dinosaurs Scelidosaurus and Scutellosaurus. The Kayenta Formation has produced the remains of three coelophysoid taxa of different body size, representing the most diverse ceratosaur fauna yet known.[8] The Kayenta Formation has yielded a small but growing assemblage of organisms.[9] Vertebrates present in the Kayenta Formation at the time of Kayentavenator included hybodont sharks, indeterminate bony fish, lungfish, salamanders, the frog Prosalirus, the caecilian Eocaecilia, the turtle Kayentachelys, a sphenodontian reptile, various lizards, and the pterosaur Rhamphinion. Also present were the synapsids Dinnebitodon, Kayentatherium, Oligokyphus, morganucodontids,[10] the possible early true mammal Dinnetherium, and a haramiyid mammal. Several early crocodylomorphs were present including Calsoyasuchus, Eopneumatosuchus, Kayentasuchus and Protosuchus.[9][10][11][12]

Vertebrate trace fossils from this area included coprolites[13] and the tracks of therapsids, lizard-like animals, and dinosaurs, which provided evidence that these animals were also present.[14] Non-vertebrates in this ecosystem included microbial or "algal" limestone,[13] freshwater bivalves, freshwater mussels and snails,[6] and ostracods.[15] The plant life known from this area included trees that became preserved as petrified wood.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gay, Robert. 2010. "Kayentavenator elysiae", a new tetanuran from the early Jurassic of Arizona" In: Notes on Early Mesozoic Theropods. Lulu Press. p. 27-43. ISBN 978-0-557-46616-0
  2. ^ Welles, S. P. (1984). "Dilophosaurus wetherilli (Dinosauria, Theropoda), osteology and comparisons". Palaeontogr. Abt. A 185: 85–180.
  3. ^ Rowe, T. 1989. A new species of the theropod dinosaur Syntarsus from the early Jurassic Kayenta Formation. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. vol. 9 no. 2. p. 125-136.
  4. ^ J. M. Clark and D. E. Fastovsky. 1986. Vertebrate biostratigraphy of the Glen Canyon Group in northern Arizona. The Beginning of the Age of the Dinosaurs: Faunal change across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, N. C. Fraser and H.-D. Sues (eds.), Cambridge University Press 285–301
  5. ^ Padian, K (1997) Glen Canyon Group In: Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, edited by Currie, P. J., and Padian, K., Academic Press.
  6. ^ a b Harshbarger, J. W.; Repenning, C. A.; Irwin, J. H. (1957). Stratigraphy of the uppermost Triassic and the Jurassic rocks of the Navajo country. Professional Paper. 291. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Geological Survey.
  7. ^ Rowe, T. B., Sues, H.-D., and Reisz, R. R. 2011. Dispersal and diversity in the earliest North American sauropodomorph dinosaurs, with a description of a new taxon. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278(1708):1044–1053.
  8. ^ Tykoski, R. S., 1998, The Osteology of Syntarsus kayentakatae and its Implications for Ceratosaurid Phylogeny: Theses, The University of Texas, December 1998.
  9. ^ a b Lucas, S. G.; Heckert, A. B.; Tanner, L. H. (2005). "Arizona's Jurassic fossil vertebrates and the age of the Glen Canyon Group". In Heckert, A. B.; Lucas, S. G. (eds.). Vertebrate paleontology in Arizona. Bulletin. 29. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. pp. 95–104.
  10. ^ a b Jenkins, F. A., Jr., Crompton, A. W., and Downs, W. R. 1983. Mesozoic mammals from Arizona: new evidence in mammalian evolution. Science 222(4629):1233–1235.
  11. ^ a b Jenkins, F. A., Jr. and Shubin, N. H. 1998. Prosalirus bitis and the anuran caudopelvic mechanism. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18(3):495–510.
  12. ^ Curtis, K., and Padian, K. 1999. An Early Jurassic microvertebrate fauna from the Kayenta Formation of northeastern Arizona: microfaunal change across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. PaleoBios 19(2):19–37.
  13. ^ a b Luttrell, P. R., and Morales, M. 1993. Bridging the gap across Moenkopi Wash: a lithostratigraphic correlation. Aspects of Mesozoic geology and paleontology of the Colorado Plateau. Pages 111–127 in Morales, M., editor. Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ. Bulletin 59.
  14. ^ Hamblin, A. H., and Foster, J. R. 2000. Ancient animal footprints and traces in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, south-central Utah. Pages 557–568 in Sprinkel, D. A., Chidsey, T. C., Jr., and Anderson, P. B. editors. Geology of Utah's parks and monuments. Utah Geological Association, Salt Lake City, UT. Publication 28.
  15. ^ Lucas, S. G., and Tanner L. H. 2007. Tetrapod biostratigraphy and biochronology of the Triassic-Jurassic transition on the southern Colorado Plateau, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 244(1–4):242–256.

Gay, Robert. 2003. A new theropod from the lower Jurassic Kayenta Formation of Arizona. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.


The Anchisauria were a clade of sauropodomorph dinosaurs that lived during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. The name Anchisauria was first used by Galton and Upchurch in the second edition of The Dinosauria. Galton and Upchurch assigned two families of dinosaurs to the Anchisauria: the Anchisauridae and the Melanorosauridae. The more common prosauropods Plateosaurus and Massospondylus were placed in the sister clade Plateosauria.

However, recent research indicates that Anchisaurus is closer to sauropods than traditional prosauropods; thus, Anchisauria would also include Sauropoda.The following cladogram simplified after an analysis presented by Blair McPhee and colleagues in 2014.


Averostra, or "bird snouts", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs that have a promaxillary fenestra (fenestra promaxillaris), an extra opening in the front outer side of the maxilla, the bone that makes up the upper jaw. Two groups of averostrans, the Ceratosauria and the Orionides, survived into the Cretaceous period. When the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event occurred, ceratosaurians and two groups of orionideans within the clade Coelurosauria, the Tyrannosauroidea and Maniraptoriformes, were still extant. Only one subgroup of maniraptoriformes, Aves, survived the extinction event and persisted to the present day.


Avetheropoda, or "bird theropods", is a clade that includes carnosaurians and coelurosaurs to the exclusion of other dinosaurs.


Cerapoda ("ceratopsians and ornithopods") is a clade of the dinosaur order Ornithischia.

Coelophysis kayentakatae

Coelophysis kayentakatae is an extinct species of coelophysid dinosaur that lived approximately 196 million years ago during the early part of the Jurassic Period in what is now the southwestern United States. Originally included in the genus Syntarsus, it has been reclassified as Coelophysis along with the African species, Coelophysis rhodesiensis.The name C. kayentakatae refers to the Kayenta Formation, where all known fossil specimens have been found.

Coelophysis rhodesiensis

Coelophysis rhodesiensis is an extinct species of coelophysid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 188 million years ago during the early part of the Jurassic Period in what is now Africa. The species was a small to medium-sized, lightly built, ground-dwelling, bipedal carnivore, that could grow up to 3 m (9.8 ft) long. It was formerly called Syntarsus, but that name was already taken by a beetle, and was subsequently given the name Megapnosaurus by Ivie, Ślipiński & Węgrzynowicz, in 2001, though many subsequent studies have classified it in the genus Coelophysis.


Dinosauriformes is a clade of archosaurian reptiles that include the dinosaurs and their most immediate relatives. All dinosauriformes are distinguished by several features, such as shortened forelimbs and a partially to fully perforated acetabulum, the hole in the hip socket traditionally used to define dinosaurs. The oldest known member is Asilisaurus, dating to about 245 million years ago in the Anisian age of the middle Triassic period.

Haya griva

Haya is an extinct genus of basal neornithischian dinosaur known from Mongolia.


Jeholosaurids were herbivorous neornithischian dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period (Aptian - Santonian, with a possible Campanian record) of Asia. The family was first proposed by Han et al. in 2012. The jeholosaurids were defined as those ornithischians more closely related to Jeholosaurus shangyuanensis than to Hypsilophodon foxii, Iguanodon bernissartensis, Protoceratops andrewsi, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, or Thescelosaurus neglectus. The Jeholosauridae includes the type genus Jeholosaurus and Yueosaurus.


Jingshanosaurus (meaning "Jingshan lizard") is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.

Kayenta Formation

Kayenta, Arizona is a settlement in the Navajo reservation.

The Kayenta Formation is a geologic layer in the Glen Canyon Group that is spread across the Colorado Plateau province of the United States, including northern Arizona, northwest Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.

This rock formation is particularly prominent in southeastern Utah, where it is seen in the main attractions of a number of national parks and monuments. These include Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, the San Rafael Swell, and Canyonlands National Park.

The Kayenta Formation frequently appears as a thinner dark broken layer below Navajo Sandstone and above Wingate Sandstone (all three formations are in the same group). Together, these three formations can result in immense vertical cliffs of 2,000 feet (610 m) or more. Kayenta layers are typically red to brown in color, forming broken ledges.


The Melanorosauridae were a family of sauropodomorph dinosaurs which lived during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic. The name Melanorosauridae was first coined by Friedrich von Huene in 1929. Huene assigned several families of dinosaurs to the infraorder "Prosauropoda": the Anchisauridae, the Plateosauridae, the Thecodontosauridae, and the Melanorosauridae. Since then, these families have undergone numerous revisions. Galton and Upchurch (2004) considered Camelotia, Lessemsaurus, and Melanorosaurus members of the family Melanorosauridae. A more recent study by Yates (2007) indicates that the melanorosaurids were instead early sauropods.


Neotheropoda (meaning "new theropods") is a clade that includes coelophysoids and more advanced theropod dinosaurs, and the only group of theropods who survived the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Yet all of the neotheropods became extinct during the early Jurassic period except for Averostra.


Orionides is a clade of tetanuran theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic to the Present. The clade includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds.


Orodrominae is a subfamily of parksosaurid dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of North America and Asia.


Raeticodactylidae is a family of eudimorphodontoid eopterosaurian pterosaurs that lived in Switzerland during the Late Triassic. The family includes Caviramus, and the type genus Raeticodactylus, which are both known from the Kössen Formation, around 205 mya. Raeticodactylidae was first used in 2014 by Andres et al., as a group of all pterosaurs closer to Raeticodactylus than Eudimorphodon. The following phylogenetic analysis follows the topology of Andres et al. (2014).


Riojasauridae is a family of sauropod-like dinosaurs from the Upper Triassic. It is known primarily from the genera Riojasaurus and Eucnemesaurus. Sites containing Riojasauridae include the Lower Elliot Formation of Orange Free State, South Africa (where fossils of Eucnemesaurus have been found), and Ischigualasto, in La Rioja Province, Argentina ( where fossils of Riojasaurus have been recovered).


Sarahsaurus is a genus of basal sauropodomorph dinosaur which lived during the lower Jurassic period in what is now northeastern Arizona, United States.


Xixiposaurus is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur which existed in what is now Lower Lufeng Formation, China during the lower Jurassic period. It was first named by Sekiya Toru in 2010 and the type species is Xixiposaurus suni.


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