An artist's illustration of Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Family: Herrerasauridae
Genus: Herrerasaurus
Reig, 1963
Species: H. ischigualastensis
Binomial name
Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis
Reig, 1963
  • Ischisaurus cattoi Reig, 1963
  • Frenguellisaurus ischigualastensis Novas, 1986

Herrerasaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs ever to be discovered. It had hinged jaws and it could open it's mouth wide to consume chunks of meat. It had perfect serrated teeth like a saw. It also had short arm bones but had long hands.

Herrerasaurus means 'Herrera's Lizard' for the discoverer Don Victorino Herrera. Herrerasaurus grew to about 20 feet long, 10 feet tall, and lived in Argentina approximately 231 million years ago in the Late Triassic period. It was the biggest dinosaur predator of its time. Unlike the other giant killers, Herrerasaurus stood on it's hind legs. It was a very fierce predator.

Known Specimens

  • The holotype specimen PVL 2566 was 3.5 meters long, and its femur measured 473 mm, which represents the largest upper leg bone found for this genus
  • specimen PVL 2558a had an unknown body length; femur ~440 mm
  • specimen PVL 2054 was 3.1 meters long; femur 385 mm
  • specimen PVSJ 373 had an unknown body length; femur 345 mm
  • specimen MLP 61-VIII-2-3 was 2.7 meters long; femur 335 mm
  • specimen MACN 18.060 was 2.3 meters long; femur 286 mm; skull ~250 mm
  • specimen PVSJ 53 had an unknown body length; skull 560 mm
  • specimen PVSJ 407 had an unknown body length; skull 300 mm


Herrerasaurus was a lightly built bipedal carnivore with a long tail and a relatively small head. Adults had skulls up to 56 cm (22 in) long and were up to 6 metres (20 ft) in total length and 350 kg (770 lb) in weight. Smaller specimens were half the size, with skulls only about 30 cm (12 in) long.

Herrerasaurus was fully bipedal. It had strong hind limbs with short thighs and rather long feet, indicating that it was likely a swift runner. The foot had five toes, but only the middle three (digits II, III, and IV) bore weight. The outer toes (I and V) were small; the first toe had a small claw. The tail, partially stiffened by overlapping vertebral projections, balanced the body and was also an adaptation for speed. The forelimbs of Herrerasaurus were less than half the length of its hind limbs. The upper arm and forearm were rather short, while the manus (hand) was elongated. The first two fingers and the thumb ended in curved, sharp claws for grasping prey. The fourth and fifth digits were small stubs without claws.

800px-Herrerasaurus DB.jpg

In Popular Culture

  • Herrerasaurus‘ icon was located on a map of the Jurassic Park brochure, but the animal was never seen on-screen. On the map, Herrerasaurus‘ enclosure is located at the far northwestern end of the island where the tourist route does not connect. However, it is unknown if this enclosure was ever constructed.
  • Herrerasaurus apparently went into Cruelly after the Isla Nublar Incident of 2015 before Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom it is unknown if there are any surviving populations.
  • Herrerasaurus can be created in Jurassic Park III: Park Builder.
  • Herrerasaurus is listed on the Isla Sorna map seen in LEGO Jurassic World, but does not physically appear.
  • Herrerasaurus figure will be featured in a toy-line for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This has been the first time Herrerasaurus has ever physically appeared in a toy set. The toy varsity resemblance to the JP:TG Video Game version.
  • Herrerasaurus also appears in the first Zoo Tycoon game.
  • Herrerasaurus also appears in PBS The Dinosaurs! Part 3 - "The Nature of the Beast".
  • Herrerasaurus also appears in the game The Isle.
  • Herrerasaurus was added to Jurassic World: Evolution on April 17 in the Carnivore Dinosaur Pack. It accurately have the dual dew claws, but only have 3 fingers instead of 5 and pronated wrists.
  • Herrerasaurus apparently appears in The Land Before Time series episode, "The Lonely Journey", running from the T. rex, Red Claw. It inaccurately have the killing claw of dromaeosaurids.