Compsognathus was discovered in 1859 by
Getman fossil collector Joseph Obemdorfer. After lending the fossil to his friend,German paleontologist Johann A. Wagner, Wagner gave the specimen the name Compsognathus which means
"Elegant Jaw*. Originally describing
Compsognathus as a lizard, he would publish another description in the 1860s, before the specimen was handed to the state collection as a part of Obemdorfer's collection.
Compsognathus was a small theropod that lived in Late Jurassic Europe. It is one of the smallest examples of bird-like dinosaurs, measuring at 30 inches (75 cm) long and 10 inches (25 cm) tall. It was feathered, and had a diet that consisted of small animals and insects. Compsognathus lived alongside other avian dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx. John Gonway
Two different specimens of Compsognathus
I have been discovered, one in Germany and one in France. The French specimen is much larger than the German one, nearly twice the size of the original specimen. Discovered in
1971, the French specimen measured at 3.3 ft m) long, and (.3 m) tall. It was also feathered, but evolved with a slightly different body shape.