Colorado dinosaur discovery – Epanterias

Epanterias compared to other dinosaurs
The Epanterias was larger than the Allosaurus, though some paleontologists believe it’s just a type of Allosaurus. | Image by steveoc 86 and silhouettes by Scott Hartman / Wikimedia Commons


Bones of the Epanterias, a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur that’s the subject of debate among paleontologists, were first discovered at Garden Park near Cañon City in 1877.

Paleontologist Edward Cope named and described the dinosaur, but other scientists have argued that it is just a variety of the Allosaurus.

The case for the Epanterias improved with the 1990 discovery of a jawbone and parts of the neck and tail vertebrae near Masonville, southwest of Fort Collins, by a paleontology team from the University of Colorado Natural History Museum in Boulder led by Robert Bakker.

The Epanterias was about 50 feet long, weighed nearly four tons and predated the Tyrannosaurus rex by 30 million years.

The Epanterias would have eaten 40 tons of meat a year, with jaws designed to open like a snake’s so that it could devour huge pieces of its prey, the equivalent of a 1,400-pound cow in a single gulp.

A single Epanterias would have been able to take on an Apatosaurus, while Allosaurs are believed to have joined in packs to hunt the gigantic plant-eaters in the Jurassic period.