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Compsognathus (also known as the compy) was a small, bipedal, carnivourous dinosaur. Its streamlined body shape allowed it to run swiftly. Only two specimens have been found. Teeth discovered in Portugal may be further fossil remains of the genus. Compsognathus' pointed head was only three inches long. The tail was longer than the head, neck, and body put together. Many presentations still describe Compsognathus as a "chicken-sized" dinosaur because of the small size of the German specimen, which is now believed to be a juvenile form of the larger French specimen, and actually grew to be the size of a turkey.

The diet is known with certainty: the remains of small, agile lizards are preserved in the bellies of both specimens. It most likely lived alongside different species of stegosaurs, sauropods, and was also probably prey to the large carnivore Megalosaurus.

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