Carnotaurus (meaning “meat-eating bull”) is a genus of moderately large abelisaurid theropod dinosaur, discovered in 1984 by Argentinian paleontologist José Fernando Bonaparte. It is known from a single adult skeleton, mostly complete, which was unearthed on the farm Pocho Sastre located in La Colonia Formation of Chubut Province, Argentina. The only known species of Carnotaurus, called C. sastrei, is named in honor of the farm’s owner Angel Sastre. This dinosaur lived during the Maastrichtian age of the late Cretaceous period, between 72 and 69.9 million years ago.
Its discovery ushered in a new age of paleontology in the Southern Hemisphere. Carnotaurus was discovered during the eighth Jurassic and Cretaceous Terrestrial Vertebrates of South America expedition sponsored by the National Geographic Society, which also discovered the sauropod Amargasaurus. At the time it was discovered, abelisaurids were not very well understood. The exceptional quality with which the Carnotaurus was preserved allowed paleontologists new insight into its physiology. Extracting the fossil was a laborious process due to its being embedded in hematite concretion, which delayed the animal being named until 1985. A full description was not published until 1990. For many years, it was the best-known abelisaurid and the best-known theropod from South America; since its discovery, paleontologists have discovered numerous other dinosaurs on the continent, including some of the largest dinosaurs ever known. In other parts of the world, new abelisaurid species were discovered (such as Majungasaurus), which helped paleontologists better understand Carnotaurus.
Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, at around the same time Carnotaurus was being described and understood, International Genetic Technologies succeeded in cloning the dinosaur from ancient DNA recovered from amber samples. However, it faced difficulty in being exhibited and was kept in a restricted area up until the park closed in 2015.
This abelisaur is large, but lightly built. InGen’s specimens can reach 10.4 meters (34.1 feet) to 10.9 meters (35.8 feet) in length and weigh 1.0 to 2.4 U.S. tons (907 to 2177 kilograms) in adulthood, somewhat larger than the 7.5 to 9-meter (24.6 to 29.5-foot) fossil specimen. Some have been measured to be even heavier, but this is probably rare. To the top of its head, it can grow to 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) tall. It is built for speed and is believed to be among the faster large theropods, achieving a running speed of 16 miles (27 kilometers) per hour.
Its unique appearance makes Carnotaurus sastrei instantly recognizable at a glance. The first thing one is likely to notice about this dinosaur are the large horns, which are roughly triangular in shape and protrude obliquely from above its eyes. InGen research has found that the horns are not used in physical combat, but rather as a form of species recognition. No other known theropod has such prominent horns, making these an easy way for a Carnotaurus to identify its own kind. The skull is noticeably deep, with a short, blunt snout; its eyes are small and round, with yellow sclerae. Both the eyes and nostrils face forward, as evolutionary adaptations to a predatory lifestyle. The jaws can open very wide and are filled with comparatively small but sharp teeth. InGen’s Carnotaurus exhibit shorter and more robust teeth than those of the only known fossil, which has longer, more slender teeth. Its jaw is, compared to its skull, less powerfully built, but the neck is thick, straight rather than curved, and strong. The tongue is pinkish, quite long, and muscular.
The second most noticeable feature of a Carnotaurus is the armor on its body. The bones of its head, for example, not only form large horns from the frontals, but also feature pits and spikes which are covered with wrinkled, keratinous skin. The skin of its head is made up of irregularly-patterned scales, while over the rest of the body, its polygonal scales form a regular non-overlapping pattern. Each scale is about five millimeters in diameter. In addition, it has irregular rows of pointed bumps on its head, sides, and tail, which give it some limited degree of protection. Larger such bumps are located toward the dorsal side, whereas those on its flanks are smaller; the bumps are about three to four inches apart from each other. These are made from scales and lack bony cores. Many people mistake them for osteoderms because of their appearance.
Carnotaurus has a lengthy and powerful tail, which assists in balance while running and to help the animal achieve its high speeds. The caudofemoralis muscle, located between the tail and thigh, is also quite powerful; this permits the animal to deliver strong kicks using its hind legs. The feet are birdlike, like most theropods, with three toes bearing large talons and a small vestigial hallux. Its forelimbs, though, are extremely tiny. The arms of Carnotaurus are reduced even further than in tyrannosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus; it could not even touch one of its hands to another, and the four fingers are so small as to barely be noticeable at all. The first and fourth fingers contain only one bone, and none of the fingers are particularly mobile; it does possess claws on all of its digits, but they are too small to serve any real function. InGen’s specimens have slightly more enlarged arms than the fossil specimen, but they are still far too small to be functional. Like in its other theropods, the hands are pronated, which also differs from fossils.
The coloration of Carnotaurus is generally a reddish-brown hue. Most observed specimens have a rusted red body color with shady brown markings, while the horns and larger scales are dark brown or black. Some show distinctly more vibrant colors, with dark gray on the head and spine while other parts of the body are rich orange. A male specimen described in the junior novel Prey has a red stripe down its back.
According to Jurassic World: The Game, InGen’s Carnotaurus possess the ability to change their skin color in order to camouflage with their environment, but this has not actually been observed in the animals. It is unlikely, but possible, that the presence of chromatophores in the skin is limited to specimens originally bred by InGen on Site B, and that they are absent in those bred on Isla Nublar during the twenty-first century. This hypothesis would be contingent on whether InGen’s original specimens bred in the late 1980s or early 1990s are different versions than those bred later.
Concept art of hatchling Carnotaurus demonstrates that it starts life with a considerably larger head in proportion to its body, similar to many baby animals. The jaws are less developed, though its legs are already strong and it is capable of running from an early age. The horns and scales are less prominent, growing out as the animal gets older.
While its growth rate is not known, a female Carnotaurus hatched in 2008/2009 was a fully-grown adult by 2018, so it reaches adulthood in at most nine or ten years. This growth rate may have been boosted by growth supplements provided by its creators, or by genetic modification.
At one point, the more distinctly colored animals were thought to be males, but some males also have the paler rusty colors known in females. There is currently no confirmed sexual dimorphism in Carnotaurus. While many modern birds exhibit noticeable dimorphism, others, such as penguins, do not; this lack of visual differentiation is therefore precedented among modern dinosaurs. Alternatively, similar to some lizards, it may be that certain male Carnotaurus may be colored like females in order to avoid directly competing with rival males during their mating season.
Carnotaurus has been sighted at the edges of forests, similarly to Tyrannosaurus rex. Like its larger neighbor (and ecological analogue), it likely prefers such environments due to the ready availability of cover which allows it to ambush prey and hide from danger. Due to its opportunistic nature, though, Carnotaurus often ventures into the open in order to locate food sources. They are comfortable in human-affected areas, though they may have difficulty navigating small spaces with narrow turns or staircases due to their size. Their ancestral environment was relatively warm, but they are able to withstand both hot and cold temperatures, being warm-blooded like all dinosaurs. Softer substrates, such as sand, help cushion their footfalls when running at a full tilt, though they need to be able to gain purchase on the ground too.
InGen bred Carnotaurus on Isla Sorna sometime between 1986 and 1993. Population statistics remain unknown for that period of time, as do the animals’ range; John Hammond‘s statements in 1997 would imply that the Carnotaurus inhabited the island’s central reaches. As of last count in 1993, InGen reported two Carnotaurus living on Isla Sorna.
In an earlier script of The Lost World, some Carnotaurus would have appeared near a laboratory, presumably the infrastructure that later was adapted into the Workers’ Village. In an earlier script of Jurassic Park ///, an adult Carnotaurus would have appeared on the bank of Isla Sorna’s central channel in the southwestern region of the island. This role was eventually given to a Ceratosaurus. These deleted concepts and alternate scenes suggest that this dinosaur inhabited the central and western parts of Isla Sorna.
The junior novel Prey, which has not been reviewed by Universal Studios for film-canon status, shows three adult Carnotaurus including at least one male inhabiting the area near Mount Hood at the end of 2001. The third animal, if both this source and InGen’s own documentation are to be considered canon, is likely the offspring of the other two. They were relocated to another part of the island on December 30; what became of them afterward is unknown.
Between 1998 and 2004, Isla Sorna experienced an overpopulation crisis which resulted in the total collapse of its fragile ecology. If any Carnotaurus still lived on Isla Sorna in 2004 or 2005, they would have been relocated to Isla Nublar by Masrani Global Corporation.
Between late September 2004 and Jurassic World‘s opening date at the end of May 2005, any Carnotaurus that still survived on Isla Sorna would have been shipped to Isla Nublar. There, they would have been briefly kept in the quarantine paddock before being introduced to habitats in Sector 5 in the north of the island. It is not known how many, if any, individuals survived up until that point.
The first Carnotaurus truly confirmed on Isla Nublar was a female which hatched between May 16, 2008 and May 15, 2009. Between this date and Jurassic World’s December 22, 2015 closing date, the Carnotaurus were maintained in a paddock in Sector 5; more were cloned in the hopes that they would be a viable attraction. Efforts to put them on exhibit were made, but the animals proved too aggressive for park exhibition and were removed from public areas until a solution could be found. During the 2015 incident, an adult male nicknamed Toro escaped from his paddock and moved south across the island, eventually reaching the Mosasaurus Feeding Show arena. From here, he entered the maintenance tunnels, pursuing survivors of the incident south to Ferry Landing. After arriving here, he was fought off and severely burned in an explosion, retreating north again. He eventually settled in a valley not terribly far from the golf course, building a nest and hunting the local animals. Toro was, in June 2016, captured by Mantah Corp operatives and taken off the island.
With their paddock fencing damaged, the Carnotaurus were released into the wild of the island. Based on population monitoring shown on June 22, 2018, Carnotaurus were known from the northeastern part of Isla Nublar, near the northern end of the Jungle River. Artwork on the Dinosaur Protection Group website suggests that at least two adults lived in what was once the tyrannosaur paddock, which had gone mostly untouched during Jurassic World’s ten years of operation.
On June 23, 2018, at least two adult Carnotaurus were observed just east of Mount Sibo. One of the animals was killed in territorial conflict with a Tyrannosaurus, while the other (a heavily battle-scarred individual) was driven over a cliff during the volcano’s eruption. At least two Carnotaurus were removed from the island by Ken Wheatley and mercenaries via the S. S. Arcadia. One of these was the scarred individual, while the other was more standard in appearance. The last one to be logged into the Arcadia‘s manifest was weighed at 2,900 kilograms (3.2 tons), making it the heaviest-known Carnotaurus ever measured. It was cosigned by Jamie Wood and logged in at 13:55, kept in Container #34-1015-4951 (Cargo #15347). Its name was highlighted in green, possibly indicating good health. All together there were at least four adult Carnotaurus living on the island between 2015 and 2018, including one male and at least one female.
Any other animals remaining on the island would either have died during the eruption and its immediate aftermath, or starved due to a lack of prey.
Mantah Corp Island
InGen’s rival Mantah Corporation constructed a secretive testing facility, known only to the highest executives and certain administrators and security staff, on Mantah Corp Island to the southeast of Isla Nublar. During a demonstration to potential buyers (including another InGen rival, BioSyn Genetics), an adult male Carnotaurus nicknamed Toro was captured from Isla Nublar and transported to Mantah Corp Island. Had the deal with BioSyn concluded, Toro would have been sold, but this was not to be. Toro had been chipped with a V-55 neural implant and controlled by Mantah Corp operatives; when he was set free, he was in the redwood forest biome area. He probably still lives there, or in one of the adjoining biomes.
BioSyn Genetics Sanctuary
After the introduction of this and other de-extinct species into the wild in June 2018, several governments declared them a problem and authorized BioSyn Genetics to capture them. Carnotaurus were captured from the wild, or seized from the black market, and transported to secure facilities for containment and research. This was among the species that were housed at BioSyn’s largest such facility, the BioSyn Genetics Sanctuary, located in BioSyn Valley, Italy.
However, none were directly seen at the time BioSyn operated the facility; it may be that this dinosaur did not find its way into the valley until the United Nations took over operations in early 2022. Graphics describe both adult and juvenile carnotaurs living in BioSyn Valley that year.
At least two Carnotaurus including a heavily-scarred individual were removed from Isla Nublar on June 23, 2018 by a mercenary team led by Ken Wheatley at the behest of Eli Mills. Both were intended to be sold at auction, but neither were successfully sold. The animals were stored at Benjamin Lockwood‘s estate after arriving on the night of June 24 via the S.S. Arcadia; due to a hydrogen cyanide leak, they were released into the surrounding forest by Maisie Lockwood.
Illegal trafficking and breeding of de-extinct animals have become a global issue, with the Department of Prehistoric Wildlife attempting to track the locations of these species. The scarred individual was captured by poachers sometime after 2018 and, within four years, found itself in the Amber Clave night market in Malta. There, it was forced to fight other theropods for the entertainment of high-paying viewers until it was eventually released into the streets of Valletta in 2022. Other Carnotaurus, as well as DNA samples from this powerful species, are likely still in circulation on the international black market. One or two juveniles were confirmed in the Amber Clave in the spring of 2022. These juveniles and the scarred adult may have been transported to BioSyn Valley after a sting operation in Valletta revealed their location to authorities, removing them from the cruel conditions of the black market.
When it first evolved, Carnotaurus lived in South America and inhabited the southern end of the continent. It first evolved roughly 72 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. At the time the world had a fairly warm climate with high sea levels. Earth’s climate cooled down and sea levels dropped later in the Cretaceous, and as the climate changed, Carnotaurus went extinct close to 69 million years ago. In the late twentieth century, geneticists used revolutionary genetic engineering techniques to restore it to life.
The first wild populations of this dinosaur outside the Gulf of Fernandez were in Orick, California, where at least two were illegally transported and then released into the wild on June 24, 2018. By 2021, this animal’s range in the wild had expanded as far south as Arizona, and the CIA was also tracking populations (likely bred illegally and released into the wild or escaped) in Mexico all along the Sierra Madre Occidental, from the Rio Conchos to Lake Chapala. In June 2022, one adult was spotted in Richlands, North Carolina. Two Carnotaurus are, in the game Jurassic World Evolution 2, shown to have been captured by poachers and held at a camp in the remote North Cascades of Washington State. The dinosaurs escaped captivity, killing the poachers and innocent civilians, before being recaptured by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the course of the game. These two are subsequently transported to the USFWS’s Dinosaur Housing and Transport Hub in the Pennsylvanian Appalachians. Like many of the dinosaurs contained by the USFWS, their eventual destination is BioSyn Valley.
After around seventy million years, Carnotaurus has now returned to South America as well. In 2021, the CIA was tracking a population that established around the Paraná River in northern Argentina. As of early 2022, Carnotaurus individuals have been spotted in Cañahuas, a national wildlife reserve in the Peruvian Andes. This is nothing like their original forested habitat, but these speedy carnivores have become adept at running down mammalian prey in the open.
Eurasia seems to have a small number of Carnotaurus too. Large theropods identified by experts as Carnotaurus have been reported in the British Isles, such as a pair spotted in Glendower Holiday Park on the border between Llangynog, Wales and Oswestry, England. A population being monitored by the CIA has been reported in the Alborz Mountains of Iran. A single African population is known, one located near the Aïr Mountains of Niger on the edge of the sandy Ténéré and another located near the Wilge River in South Africa. Any carnotaurs so far from their original location in North America are probably escapees from captivity, having been transplanted onto new continents by human intervention.
Behavior and Ecology
Carnotaurus may be cathermal, active periodically throughout the day. Most activity in the wild is observed in the daytime. The junior novel Prey describes them as engaging in territorial behavior during the morning near sunrise, and later engaging in hunting behavior late at night.
Diet and Feeding Behavior
The Carnotaurus is a carnivore; even its genus name, which means “meat-eating bull,” references its diet. While most of its dietary preferences are not known, it has been observed attempting to prey on Sinoceratops; this suggests that it might feed on species considerably bulkier than itself. The Jurassic World Employee Handbook makes mention of it attempting to prey on Triceratops as well. In its native time period, the sauropod Chubutisaurus has been suggested as a prey item, and it is known to eat turtles. Most of its diet consists of medium-sized animals, and humans are not exempt from being targeted. Since its introduction to modern ecosystems, its diet has expanded to include more mammals. For example, in the Andes, it is known to feed on the vicuña (Lama vicugna).
Carnotaurus is capable of taking down larger prey when it sees the opportunity. It is a calculating hunter, scoping out and sizing up its prey from a distance before racing in to attack. While it may hunt by ambush, its speed gives it an edge; it excels at chasing down prey items and is shown to be perfectly capable of tackling prey from a position out in the open. When attacking larger prey items, it will make quick biting attacks to tug at the prey; it may also try and topple the victim by ramming with its side, as well as delivering powerful kicks with its legs. It is a clever fighter, frequently attempting new strategies in order to overcome challenges it faces. Though it is very fast, its main weakness is making sharp turns; prey can escape it by moving in a rapid zigzag pattern or using narrow spaces to try and escape. Still, the Carnotaurus is persistent and has good endurance, so it can pursue prey over long distances until the prey collapses from exhaustion.
It is known to capitalize on any situation that gives it the advantage when hunting. On June 23, a Carnotaurus was seen taking advantage of the panic caused by Mount Sibo’s eruption to try and capture stragglers in the wake of a stampede. Another Carnotaurus used its swiftness to steal food directly out of the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus in an example of kleptoparasitism. It is just as likely to be a victim of such behavior, according to Jurassic World Alive and the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Official Annual; these claim that Tyrannosaurus often steals food from Carnotaurus using its superior strength. As a result of this risk, Carnotaurus eats food rapidly after making a kill.
It does not appear to be particularly fond of company, as they are not seen in large groups and often are solitary. The horns, however, are used in social functions; InGen scientists have determined that they are not used in physical combat, but rather serve a species-recognition purpose. It is possible that individual Carnotaurus may tell one another apart by differences in their horn shapes. They also build foreboding territorial markers as nests, utilizing the bones of animals they have killed. A larger such marker indicates a more successful Carnotaurus, making this an advertisement of its skill. While they often live alone, they are sometimes seen in pairs, and clearly have sophisticated ways of communicating to each other.
A trio of Carnotaurus appears in the junior novel Prey, which gives some amount of insight into their social lives. The groups are led by a dominant individual, in this case a male dubbed “Big Red,” who leads charges in defense of territory and during hunts. Non-dominant animals may attempt to usurp the leader after the leader fails at a hunt or territorial attack, but rather than by using physical violence, the attempted usurper moves to the front of the group while traveling in a show of dominance. The leader, in this particular case, reestablished his dominance by biting at the subordinate animal and taking the lead again.
An encounter documented in Wales also marks Carnotaurus as a potential pack hunter, with two specimens being recorded assaulting a trailer home.
As with all dinosaurs, the Carnotaurus reproduces by laying eggs. It presumably has a cloaca, as with other dinosaur species, but details about its courtship behavior, mating, and reproduction are unknown. While speculative, the territorial markers it builds from animal bones may be advertisements to potential mates. Since more bones means the territory’s master is a better hunter, this would make the Carnotaurus a highly appealing mate.
The horns are most likely used in courtship, as they are known to be used in social displays. The eggs of theropods are ovoid, like those of modern birds. Eggs belonging to medium-sized dinosaurs like Carnotaurus generally have incubation periods lasting for three to six months.
Carnotaurus communicates with low, rumbling roars and bass-like howls. It can be heard vocalizing loudly even when it is on its own, suggesting that its calls may serve to communicate to other species as well as its own kind. For example, a Carnotaurus produced loud cries while approaching several humans on June 23; it was not hunting the humans, but rather scoping out the tail end of a stampede for vulnerable stragglers. The dinosaur may have been threatening the humans to keep back, claiming the stampede’s weakest as its own prey. During the confrontation, it also used eye contact to intimidate the humans. It was later heard growling and roaring in frustration after failing to make a kill, immediately charging the humans while roaring at them.
When socializing with its own kind, the Carnotaurus uses its horns as visual signals. They may play a role in intraspecific combat, with rivals headbutting or shoving one another; the neck is highly muscular and would allow for strong combative ability. Some scientists suggest that the horns may act as shock-absorbing structures.
Despite its predatory nature, the Carnotaurus is quite tolerant of other animals nearby. It lived in close proximity to other large carnivores on Isla Nublar, such as Baryonyx, Allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus; while it may have competed with Allosaurus for prey, it would probably not have faced competition from the fish-eating Baryonyx. This theropod is highly territorial and will approach an invader with a bold display, gaping its jaw and showing its horns while roaring. When food is in abundance, though, it may not always expend energy fighting rivals if it does not have to. One individual, having been freed from the black market, was observed associating with an Allosaurus in an apparently friendly manner.
On the other hand, the larger but slower Tyrannosaurus directly competed with it for food, and conflict between the two was common. Both species are known kleptoparasites, and they were often one another’s victims; the speed of the Carnotaurus enabled it to rush in and steal food, while the superior physical strength of the Tyrannosaurus allowed it to overpower a Carnotaurus at a kill site.
A Carnotaurus was known on one occasion to make a territorial display against the escaped Indominus, which responded with a similar territorial cry. They appeared to establish a form of communication, though the details of their interaction are unknown; the Carnotaurus was later seen unscathed from the encounter. Since Indominus is now extinct, no further research into their possible interactions can take place.
Numerous herbivorous dinosaurs also lived in the same habitat as Carnotaurus, many of which could have served as its prey. It is known to at least hunt Sinoceratops, and older versions of the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom script show that it would hunt and eat Pachyrhinosaurus in the same manner. Triceratops also inhabited the same area of Isla Nublar, and the Jurassic World Employee Handbook confirms that this dinosaur was also a potential prey item of Carnotaurus. Other herbivores known to inhabit its territories in northeastern Isla Nublar include the armored Stegosaurus, Peloroplites, and Ankylosaurus, the hadrosaur Parasaurolophus, the pachycephalosaur Stygimoloch, and the sauropods Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. These sauropods were likely too large for it to hunt.
It also lived in the same area as the fleet-footed omnivore Gallimimus, the pterosaur Pteranodon, and the tiny carnivore Compsognathus, which has been confirmed to steal scraps of food from kills. Much like how Carnotaurus is weaker but faster than Tyrannosaurus, the Compsognathus are far smaller than Carnotaurus but are quick enough to avoid it. They will flee at its approach, with the main threat being trampling rather than predation. On the mainland, Carnotaurus has been observed predating on extant megafauna, such as llamas in Peru.
Due to its propensity to prey on and compete with dinosaurs that are larger than itself, Carnotaurus must be able to withstand serious physical hardship. Its armored body assists with this, as do its numerous physical adaptations to brawling. When entering into a dangerous situation, it will assess its opponent from a distance before charging in. During combat with prey or competitors, the Carnotaurus uses its jaws, strong legs, and speed to its advantage. They are capable of surviving serious injury and may be seen with heavy scarring. An extreme example can be observed in a specimen retrieved by Ken Wheatley, which shows damage to the left side of the skull in the form of a broken horn and large facial scars which appear to come from a spinosaur’s claws. In spite of these severe injuries, the animal was still in good health and capable of competing with a Tyrannosaurus rex for food sources.
While its tough, scaly skin and armor protect it from many forms of attack, it is still vulnerable to hematophagous parasites. These blood-sucking organisms, such as female mosquitoes, would most likely affect its mucous membranes, such as the nostrils and gums. Parasites in its native Cretaceous period enabled InGen to eventually clone the animal; it is not currently known if modern descendants of these ancient parasites still affect it.
In Jurassic World: Evolution, it is susceptible to infection from Rabies lyssavirus, the rabies virus. In real life, this virus is only known to affect mammals; the game justifies this odd exception by claiming that the dinosaurs’ modified genomes makes them more vulnerable to disease.
Carnotaurus is one of the most popular of the carnivorous dinosaurs and is frequently seen as a symbol of South American paleontology. In many cases, it is used as an “alternative” to Tyrannosaurus in visual media, with its distinctive horns and scaly armor making it stand out against other large theropods. While few dinosaurs have common symbolic meanings, the horns of Carnotaurus are often likened to those of a bull, earning it a reputation for aggression, stubbornness, and impulsivity.
According to Universal Studios, Carnotaurus is the dinosaur of the Taurus astrological sign (April 20 – May 20).
Its species name honors rancher Angel Sastre.
The exciting nature of a predator like Carnotaurus in addition to its stereotypical “devilish” appearance makes it an alluring option for stocking a park, but this species is one of the most difficult theropods to keep in captivity. It is fast, intelligent, and combative, making it hard to contain and even harder to capture in the event of an escape. Jurassic World attempted to exhibit this animal, but its pugnacious behavior made it unsuitable for an attraction; it had to be relocated to quarantine away from visitors. Carnotaurus readily attacks humans in its environment and even tries to intimidate those it cannot reach. While it might seem like a thrilling attraction for visitors, it may end up frightening them more than entertaining them.
Carnotaurus can recognize individual human faces, much like other theropods (including many modern birds, such as crows). Unfortunately we currently have no examples of a Carnotaurus forging a positive bond with a caretaker. Instead, only examples of it holding grudges have been documented. Upsetting a Carnotaurus even once may have detrimental effects on a keeper’s ability to interact with it.
Between its irascible personality, expansive territorial needs, and refusal to bond with its caregivers, Carnotaurus is a disappointingly difficult animal to put on exhibit. Even the top experts at Jurassic World had yet to find a way to showcase it safely and effectively by the time the park closed in 2015.
Paleontology in South America moved forward in great strides with Carnotaurus, which provided new information about abelisaurid anatomy and evolution when it was discovered. It is one of the most complete representatives of its kind, even though only one fossil has ever been found. Research into Carnotaurus has yielded knowledge of its biomechanics, allowing scientists to determine that it was among the fastest of the theropods. With such impressive statistics and a unique appearance, Carnotaurus is a popular favorite among laypeople, making it an excellent science communication ambassador and a way to get people interested in paleontology.
In the Genetic Age, this dinosaur’s genome has been sequenced and it was cloned by International Genetic Technologies for the Jurassic World theme park. Previously, it had been cloned by InGen on Isla Sorna, though it was not successfully brought to Isla Nublar at that point in time. It shows fewer phenotypic anomalies than many of InGen’s other animals, making it scientifically one of the most useful specimens. While exhibiting it proved to be too much of a challenge, Carnotaurus DNA was utilized by Dr. Henry Wu in the creation of the Indominus genome. In particular, the horns of the Indominus were derived from abelisaurid gene donors such as Carnotaurus.
Carnotaurus has often found itself at the forefront of political debates. When it was first announced that Masrani Global had bred this dinosaur for Jurassic World, it reawakened the debate on whether genetic engineering, de-extinction, or cloning should be more heavily regulated or even banned. Some members of the public used it as an example of the practice of de-extinction having gone too far, while others such as Dr. Ian Malcolm denied that a ban would be effective and that it would be more realistic to prepare for the inevitable consequences of that science.
The use of Carnotaurus DNA to create the chimerid lineage beginning with Indominus rex means that this dinosaur’s genes have become components in a new type of bioweapon, which has been bought and sold by non-governmental interests in potential violation of international and national laws. The exact legality of genetically engineering new genera for paramilitary purposes is brand-new and largely unprecedented, making it a difficult challenge for the often defunct laws that surround biological warfare.
Most recently, Carnotaurus has become one of the contentious subjects of the de-extinct animal rights controversy. After its species was abandoned in Jurassic World after the 2015 incident, volcanic activity on Isla Nublar began deteriorating the island’s ecosystem and threatening the animals with extinction. Carnotaurus was the first animal used as a propaganda piece by the Dinosaur Protection Group that was not a feature in the park itself. While the public knew that this dinosaur had been cloned, its existence had been largely swept under the rug after it failed to integrate into the park environment; this was the first time that most of the public was aware that Carnotaurus still lived. A nine-year-old female was among the animals supporters to the DPG could symbolically adopt on the website.
Predatory dinosaurs were particularly controversial to rescue after the 2015 incident, but the DPG argued that their presence was a necessary part of the artificial ecosystem that Isla Nublar had developed. Despite lobbying, the United States government eventually decided that no action would be taken regarding Isla Nublar, and the dinosaurs (including at least two Carnotaurus) were rescued illegally. Having been released into the Pacific Northwest after a failed attempt to sell them on the black market, their fates are still hotly debated.
Carnotaurus is valued first and foremost for its DNA, which was not only a valued addition to InGen’s genetic library but an important component of the artificial Scorpios rex genome. This dinosaur gave the Scorpios, and its lineage, the horns over their eyes that distinguish them. Development of this lineage has come to a standstill after the loss of most specimens between 2015 and 2018. A sample of Carnotaurus DNA was, however, sold on the black market in 2018 to a Russian buyer, probably the gangster Anton Orlov.
This dinosaur is also a source of unique biopharmaceuticals, though the specific details about these are undisclosed at present. Pharmaceutical research was one of the potential reasons this dinosaur was captured by Ken Wheatley in 2018 at the order of Eli Mills, who intended to sell this dinosaur on the black market to finance Henry Wu‘s research. InGen and Masrani Global intended for it to be used as a park attraction at Jurassic World, with its popularity and thrilling behaviors guaranteeing it stardom; unfortunately, it was found to be too aggressive to safely exhibit, and was relegated to quarantine in Sector 5 where it would never see the public. However, its aggression appeals to some more unsavory tastes: it is highly suspected that the 2018 black-market auction would have seen this dinosaur sold to Russian mobster Anton Orlov to be pitted in a cage match against another carnivore had the auction been allowed to conclude.
Although Orlov did not get both of his carnivores immediately, Carnotaurus has unfortunately made its way into the illegal dinosaur trade. At least one specimen was captured and brought into the notorious Amber Clave market in Malta, where it was forced to fight other theropods for human entertainment. The appearance of Carnotaurus in places as unusual as the British Isles indicates that the problem is likely more widespread than often assumed.
Fast on its feet, highly territorial, and unafraid of combat, the Carnotaurus is a seriously dangerous predator that has yet to be successfully managed by even seasoned dinosaur experts. It goes without saying that you, an average person, should not think about getting anywhere near one. As a matter of fact, if you can even see a Carnotaurus at all, you should already be running.
Although this dinosaur is intimidating, facing one is not necessarily a death sentence. Its preferred habitat is the edges of forests, where it can most easily ambush and chase down its prey; humans are within the size range of animals it eats, though it would probably prefer something larger if given the chance. Even if it is not hunting, you may still be attacked if it perceives you as a threat to its territory. If a Carnotaurus is being territorial, it may give you a warning roar and a head start. If it is hunting, you will get no such chance. This predator cannot be easily intimidated, so the techniques you use to scare off a bear or other mammalian carnivore in the wild will be useless. Instead, prepare to defend yourself by any means possible. Whatever sharp objects you can use as weapons might give you an edge: the sensitive spots on this dinosaur are similar to those of other theropods, so aim for the eyes, ears, or nostrils. Do not try knocking it out with a blow to the head; its skull is too thick for this to work. Wounding it may convince the Carnotaurus that you are more trouble than you are worth, causing it to leave you alone for the moment.
Do not linger in its territory if you manage to stop it eating you. Running and hiding are your best options, and as with all large predators you are best off hiding in a tight space where it cannot reach. It is quite strong and more than willing to topple a vehicle, so sheltering in a building or crevice is a better idea. This is a determined predator, though, and you may have to hold out for quite a long time before it gives up trying to reach you. If you find yourself in the open and being chased down, there is still a possibility of survival. Carnotaurus is a speedy dinosaur and can easily outrun you, but it is terrible at cornering, so run in a zigzag pattern and make frequent sharp turns. It also has difficulty with obstacles at high speed, so use your environment to your advantage. Choose paths with fallen trees, large boulders, or artificial structures. It especially struggles going up and down stairs, which are built for human-sized feet rather than the longer strides of this dinosaur. Finally, while it is unbeatable on flat ground, recall its useless vestigial arms: Carnotaurus cannot climb one bit, so summon your inner ape and scale whatever high ground you can reach, the higher the better. Playing dead will not work because Carnotaurus habitually runs down and exhausts prey. If you drop down, it will assume you have tired out and are free for the eating.
Behind the Scenes
In older scripts, there were plans for Carnotaurus to appear in a laboratory area (presumably what later became the Workers’ Village) in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but this scene never made it to the film. They were described as camouflaged, likely describing the kind of adaptive camouflage depicted in the novel.
A Carnotaurus was scripted to appear in Jurassic Park /// in a scene in which it would approach the characters while they were searching through spinosaur dung, roaring and charging at them but ultimately reacting to the smell in a disgusted manner. In the final film, this was replaced by a scene in which a Ceratosaurus approaches the group non-aggressively and is frightened away when it smells the spinosaur dung.
Perhaps because of its deleted appearance in the film, the junior novel Prey of the Jurassic Park Adventures trilogy (which uses many deleted Jurassic Park /// concepts) prominently features three Carnotaurus.
Toro – individual bred on Isla Nublar
Carnotaurus sastrei “chameleo” (*) (C/N)