Coelophysis is one of the earliest known genera of dinosaur. It was a relatively small, carnivorous theropod that lived during the Late Triassic - though for its time it was actually a fairly sizeable Theropod. Due to its sleek appearance and bone structure, its name means, 'Hollow Form'. It was about 2 metres long, and had a notably lightweight and yet lithe body.

Coelophysis z1

Walking with Dinosaurs

Coelophysisis was featured in New Blood, when a female Coelophysis tried to survive in the dry season. There were also many more of the genus, seen when they were mauling a dying female Postosuchus. They are shown to flock in greater numbers at the dwindling river, where they also display cannibalism in the harsh conditions of the drought. They were probably all killed by a devastating and sudden flash flood. Similar preserved flash floods have been found in Germany, that have swept away whole herds of Plateosaurus. This is supported by hard evidence from the Chinle Formation in Arizona, especially at the site of

A young Coelophysis inspects the skull of a relatively recently deceased Postosuchus, in the Late Triassic 220 MYA.

Ghost Ranch, where exquisitely well preserved infant skeletons of Coelophysis have been found inside the stomach region of some adult skeletons - victims of cannibalism.


No Coelophysis were seen in the specials. However, their close relative Liliensternus did.

Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular

In Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular, the role of Coelophysis (i.e. Triassic predator) is replaced by the slightly larger Liliensternus.