Carnotaurus, also known as Carnotaurs ("Meat-eating bull"), were a species of carnivorous dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous period 72-69.9 million years ago in South America. They appear as the main antagonists in the 2000 Disney CG film Dinosaur, alongside Kron.
The Carnotaurs are vicious-looking, meat-eating dinosaurs with red scales, large tails, sharp teeth, and short horns. The two Carnotaurs that serve as the film's main antagonists are noticeably different in size, though it is unknown whether they are a mated pair or just relatives.
Not necessarily evil, they are predators who need food and water to survive. This is the main reason for the confrontation in the film; they have no real malicious intent. They just care about feeding themselves and only show respect for themselves and no one else. However, they are somewhat smart and cunning, as they follow the herd's footprints to find food and water, then later allow an injured Bruton to escape so he could lead them to the rest of the herd. The two in the movie might be a mated pair, relatives or perhaps the larger carnotaur was the parent of the smaller one, but they have a very strong bond and the surviving one shows a powerful grudge against Aladar, trying to drag him over a cliff even when it was obvious the Carnotaur would die, after the other one was crushed by rocks Aladar's friends caused to fall on it.
Even so, they are extremely vicious, dangerous and feared, described as a "mouthful of teeth with a bad attitude" by Eema.
A Carnotaurus first appears at the beginning of the film where a young Parasaurolophus chases a flying lizard into the jungle. The flying lizard eventually landed on what appeared to be the bark of a large tree. The young dinosaur looks up to where the reptile is, but before it can get close, saliva falls on the branch next to it, causing the young dinosaur to look up where the lizard landed: the nose of a Carnotaur, which quickly awakens. The young Parasaurolophus runs out of the jungle in terror, getting the attention of many of the herbivorous dinosaurs. The Carnotaur bursts out of the treeline immediately after and starts chasing the dinosaurs, smashing all but one of the eggs in an Iguanodon's nest in the process. Ultimately, the chase ends when the Carnotaur runs down and kills a Pachyrhinosaurus.
At the middle of the film, two Carnotaurus (the male presumably the same one from the beginning of the movie) scare off a pack of Velociraptors from the remains of a Struthiomimus. The pair then go after the herd in which Aladar, his lemur family and dinosaur friends are in by following the tracks left behind.
Later, Bruton and a scout are attacked by the Carnotaurus while searching for water. Bruton escapes to warn Kron, albeit injured, as the scout is killed by them. As soon as Bruton tells Kron, he is left behind to fend for himself, having unintentionally led the predators to the rest of the herd. That night, the Carnotaurs stop for water before noticing new tracks in the distance and resuming their hunt.
Later, as Aladar, his family, friends and Bruton take shelter from a rainstorm in a cave, the Carnotaurs inevitably discover them and attack. Bruton comes to the rescue and sacrifices himself by causing a cave-in, burying the female Carnotaur. The male survives, however, leaving and roaring in vengeance, apparently upset at the loss of his mate, before continuing his search for the herd.
After Aladar and company find the Nesting Grounds, Aladar rushes back to warn Kron's herd about the rock pile and ravine blocking the main entrance. On the way there, he see a dead Stygimoloch and quickly hides when he hears the Carnotaur coming to eat the Stygimoloch. Aladar manages to escape shortly after, unintentionally getting the Carnotaur's attention.
The next day, Aladar reaches the herd and tries to warn Kron about the approaching Carnotaur. Kron refuses to listen, however, as he thinks Aladar is leading the carnivore right to the herd. After his battle with Kron, Aladar assumes the herd's leadership. Unfortunately, the Carnotaur arrives shortly after and the herd panics. Aladar orders the herd to stand together to avoid being picked off. The plan works and the Carnotaur backs down. Suddenly, he spots Kron and runs after him, with Neera and Aladar not far behind. After Kron climbs the rocks only to find himself facing a cliff, the Carnotaur corners him. Kron fights back, but the Carnotaur bites him in the back and tosses him against a rock. As it is about to finish him off, Neera comes and assaults the Carnotaur in an attempt to save her brother, but is easily overpowered. The Carnotaur then prepares to finish Neera, but Aladar arrives, and manages to push the Carnotaur to the edge of the cliff. As the Carnotaur faces Aladar, his heavy weight causes the cliff ledge to crumble. As the cliff starts to crack, the Carnotaur grabs Aladar and tries to pull him down with him, but fails, and the Carnotaur falls off the cliff to his death.
In the ride DINOSAUR at Disney's Animal Kingdom, a Carnotaurus is encountered four times. The first time is when the Time Rover's computer locks onto a large dinosaur, although he's not the Iguanodon, the dinosaur meant to be captured. When the Time Rover reached the targeted dinosaur, the computer identified it as a Carnotaurus. He roars at the riders, but they safely get away.
In the second encounter, lightning flashes to reveal the Carnotaurus. As he runs towards the guests, the Time Rover flees. After turning left and right many times to avoid meteor strikes, the Carnotaurus is encountered again, rearing to his full height and roaring loudly. Luckily, the riders in the Time Rover escape.
The last encounter is just seconds before the killer asteroid hits the Earth. The Carnotaurus lunges at the guests just as they make it through to the present day as the asteroid marks the extinction of the dinosaurs, including the Carnotaurus.
In Real Life
Carnotaurus is known by a single but well-preserved skeleton uncovered in the Chubut Province of Argentina from rocks of the La Colonia Formation in 1984, complete with partial skin impressions. Only part of the animal's tail and its lower hind legs were missing. It is one of the best-known theropods in the Southern Hemisphere. Carnotaurus was part of a group of theropods (meaning "Beast feet") known as the Abelisauridae (meaning "Abel's lizards") and its sub-group/family Carnotaurinae. One similar relative within the Carnotaurinae was the smaller Aucasaurus, although more derived in some ways such as its extremely reduced arms and almost total lack of fingers. According to the classification of Carnotaurinae, there are 11 members (with the sub-family Carnotaurinae, Brachyrosta, and Tribe Carnotaurini combined), comprising about half of the 22 known members of the abelisaurid family. Carnotaurus is also perhaps one of the fastest of the large theropod (meat-eating) dinosaurs. Studies of the animal's tail muscles (called the Caudofemoralis) indicate that it was a fast-running animal, as this muscle also attaches to the dinosaur's femurs, helping to drive the animal forward when it walked or ran. Carnotaurus would have been able to run incredibly fast, but would also have been unable to make quick, tight turns due to the very large size of said tail muscles. Carnotaurus furthermore is believed to have had a very weak, but rapid bite and specially hinged jaws. Based on studies of both it and the earlier meat-eating dinosaur Allosaurus, it is likely that Carnotaurus would open its mouth with and use its upper jaw like a serrated club or hatchet to strike its prey repeatedly until the victim succumbed to shock and blood loss. Small prey might have been swallowed whole. It is unknown what Carnotaurus actually ate in real life, but as indeterminate hadrosaurs (also known as duckbills) were found in the La Colonia Formation, it can be inferred that it hunted these animals.
- In Dinosaur, Carnotaurus was shown to be much bigger than it was in real life. The film shows it to be as big as the Tyrannosaurus Rex by naming it Carnotaur. In actuality, Carnotaurus was smaller; about 10-13 feet tall and 26 feet long (while Tyrannosaurus was 15-20 feet tall and 40 to 45 feet in length), thus making Carnotaurus smaller than Iguanodon, the main dinosaur of the movie.
- According to the behind-the-scenes features on the DVD, the Carnotaurus is at least 15 feet tall in the movie.
- During the production of DINOSAUR, original plans called for the famous Tyrannosaurus rex, but Disney decided to incorporate the lesser but popular Carnotaurus instead, resembling the devilish appearance as the primary antagonist.
- Another inaccuracy is that while the Carnotaurs in the movie are very big, bulky animals, the real life Carnotaurus was a very slim animal, almost like a cheetah with long, gracile legs.
- The canyon scenes were possibly set in the Americas because Carnotaurus and several iguanodonts (not Iguanodon) were discovered in Argentina. The death spots of the two abelisaurids were in South America and the rest of the film most likely takes place in North America (the nesting grounds), Asia (the desert), and Europe (the original nesting ground/land).
- Many fans and viewers often mistake the Carnotaurus portrayed in the film as T. rex due to their large size. They even nearly resemble a devil-like T. rex in appearance. Carnotaurus does have many differences from T. rex, such as smaller, useless arms, its obvious horns, and shorter snout.
- The vocal effects for the Carnotaurus were based on the roars of big cats.
- The second, smaller Carnotaurus is perhaps the larger one's sibling, twin, or mate. It is also possible given their size differences, that the larger carnotaur is the smaller one's mother.
- Aside from size, the Carnotaurus' appearance is highly accurate in most regards; as skin impressions are known from Carnotaurus, its appearance can be shown with relative confidence.
- Carnotaurus and all other abelisaurs are related to Ceratosaurus, which is a distant relative that shares a common ancestor with them.
- Deleted scenes depicting Bruton and his scouts' attack by the carnotaurs indicate that there was originally supposed to be three carnotaurs instead of two.
- Original storyboards also indicate that the carnotaurs were responsible for the deaths of the discarded characters that were Noah's (an old name concept for Aladar) grandparents.
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