DINOSAURS

Here is an overview of all the dinosaurs in chronological sequence encountered by Lucy and her dad during their time travel adventure in Dinosaurs@Dusk.

Archaeopteryx

150.8 - 148.5 MA

Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is a genus of early bird that is transitional between feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. Since the late nineteenth century, it had been generally accepted by palaeontologists, and celebrated in lay reference works, as being the oldest known bird (member of the group Avialae). However, older potential avialans have since been identified, including Anchiornis, Xiaotingia, and Aurornis.

Archaeopteryx lived in the Late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany during a time when Europe was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm tropical sea, much closer to the equator than it is now. Similar in shape to a European Magpie, with the largest individuals possibly attaining the size of a raven, Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx has more in common with other small Mesozoic dinosaurs than it does with modern birds. In particular, it shares the following features with the deinonychosaurs (dromaeosaurs and troodontids): jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes ("killing claw"), feathers (which also suggest homeothermy), and various skeletal features.


Iguanodon

126 - 125 MA

Iguanodon is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that existed roughly halfway between the first of the swift bipedal hypsilophodontids of the mid-Jurassic and the duck-billed dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous. While many species have been classified in the genus Iguanodon, dating from the late Jurassic Period to the late Cretaceous Period of Asia, Europe, and North America, research in the first decade of the 21st century suggests that there is only one well-substantiated species: I. bernissartensis, which lived from the late Barremian to the earliest Aptian ages[1] (Early Cretaceous) in Belgium and possibly elsewhere in Europe, between about 126 and 125 million years ago. Iguanodon were large, bulky herbivores. Distinctive features include large thumb spikes, which were possibly used for defence against predators, combined with long prehensile fifth fingers able to forage for food.

The genus was named in 1825 by English geologist Gideon Mantell, based on fossil specimens that are now assigned to different genera and species. Iguanodon was the second type of dinosaur formally named based on fossil specimens, after Megalosaurus. Together with Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, it was one of the three genera originally used to define Dinosauria. The genus Iguanodon belongs to the larger group Iguanodontia, along with the duck-billed hadrosaurs. The taxonomy of this genus continues to be a topic of study as new species are named or long-standing ones reassigned to other genera.


Yutyrannus Huali

125 MA

Yutyrannus (meaning "feathered tyrant") is a genus of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs which contains a single species, Yutyrannus huali. This species lived during the early Cretaceous period in what is now northeastern China. Three fossils of Y. huali, all found in the rock beds of Liaoning Province, are currently the largest known dinosaur specimens that preserve direct evidence of feathers.

Yutyrannus were gigantic bipedal predators. The holotype and oldest-known specimen has a length of 9 metres (30 ft) and an estimated weight of about 1,414 kg (3,117 lb). Its skull has an estimated length of 905 millimetres (35.6 in). The skulls of the paratypes are 80 centimetres (31 in) and 63 centimetres (25 in) long and their weights have been estimated at 596 kilograms (1,314 lb) and 493 kilograms (1,087 lb) respectively.

The describers established some diagnostic traits of Yutyrannus, in which it differs from its direct relatives. The snout features a high midline crest, formed by the nasals and the premaxillae and which is covered by large pneumatic recesses. The postorbital has a small secondary process, jutting into the upper hind corner of the eye socket. The outer side of the main body of the postorbital is hollowed out. In the lower jaw, the external mandibular fenestra, the main opening in the outer side, is mainly located in the surangular.


Sinosauropteryx

124 MA

Described in 1996, it was the first dinosaur taxon outside of Avialae (birds and their immediate relatives) to be found with evidence of feathers. It was covered with a coat of very simple filament-like feathers. Structures that indicate colouration have also been preserved for some of the feathers, which makes Sinosauropteryx the first non-avialian dinosaurs where colouration has been determined. Colouration includes a reddish and light banded tail. Some contention has arisen with an alternative interpretation of the filamentous impression as remains of collagen fibres, but this has not been widely accepted.

Sinosauropteryx was a small theropod with an unusually long tail and short arms. The longest known specimen reaches up to 1.07 m (3.5 ft) in length, with an estimated weight of 0.55 kg (1.2 lb). It was a close relative of the similar but older genus Compsognathus, both genera belonging to the family Compsognathidae. Only one species of Sinosauropteryx has been named: S. prima, meaning "first" in reference to its status as the first feathered non-avialian dinosaur species discovered. Three specimens have been described. The third specimen previously assigned to this genus represents either a second, as-yet unnamed species or a distinct, related genus. Sinosauropteryx lived in what is now northeastern China during the early Cretaceous period. It was among the first dinosaurs discovered from the Yixian Formation in Liaoning Province, and was a member of Jehol Biota. Well-preserved fossils of this species illustrate many aspects of their biology, such as their diet and reproduction.

Microraptor

120 MA

Microraptor was a genus of small, four-winged paravian (possibly dromaeosaurid) dinosaurs. Numerous well-preserved fossil specimens have been recovered from Liaoning, China. They date from the early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation (Aptian stage), 125 to 120 million years ago. Three species have been named (M. zhaoianus, M. gui, and M. hanqingi), though further study has suggested that all of them represent variation in a single species, which is properly called M. zhaoianus. Cryptovolans, initially described as another four-winged dinosaur, is usually considered to be a synonym of Microraptor.

Like Archaeopteryx, well-preserved fossils of Microraptor provide important evidence about the evolutionary relationship between birds and dinosaurs. Microraptor had long pennaceous feathers that formed aerodynamic surfaces on the arms and tail but also, surprisingly, on the legs. This led paleontologist Xu Xing in 2003 to describe the first specimen to preserve this feature as a "four-winged dinosaur" and to speculate that it may have glided using all four limbs for lift. Subsequent studies have suggested that it is possible Microraptor were capable of powered flight as well.

Microraptor were among the most abundant non-avian dinosaurs in their ecosystem, and the genus is represented by more fossils than any other dromaeosaurid, with possibly over 300 fossil specimens represented across various museum collections.

Deinonychus

115 - 108 MA

Deinonychus is a genus of carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. There is one described species, Deinonychus antirrhopus. These dinosaurs, which could grow up to 3.4 meters (11 ft) long, lived during the early Cretaceous Period, about 115–108 million years ago (from the mid-Aptian to early Albian stages). Fossils have been recovered from the U.S. states of Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma, in rocks of the Cloverly Formation and Antlers Formation, though teeth that may belong to Deinonychus have been found much farther east in Maryland.

Paleontologist John Ostrom's study of Deinonychus in the late 1960s revolutionized the way scientists thought about dinosaurs, leading to the "dinosaur renaissance" and igniting the debate on whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold blooded. Before this, the popular conception of dinosaurs had been one of plodding, reptilian giants. Ostrom noted the small body, sleek, horizontal posture, ratite-like spine, and especially the enlarged raptorial claws on the feet, which suggested an active, agile predator.

"Terrible claw" refers to the unusually large, sickle-shaped talon on the second toe of each hind foot. The fossil YPM 5205 preserves a large, strongly curved ungual. In life, archosaurs have a horny sheath over this bone, which extends the length. Ostrom looked at crocodile and bird claws and reconstructed the claw for YPM 5205 as over 120 millimetres (4.7 in) long.[1] The species name antirrhopus means "counter balance", which refers to Ostrom's idea about the function of the tail. As in other dromaeosaurids, the tail vertebrae have a series of ossified tendons and super-elongated bone processes. These features seemed to make the tail into a stiff counterbalance, but a fossil of the very closely related Velociraptor mongoliensis (IGM 100/986) has an articulated tail skeleton that is curved laterally in a long S–shape. This suggests that, in life, the tail could bend to the sides with a high degree of flexibility.

Giganotosaurus

97 MA

Giganotosaurus is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs that lived in what is now Argentina during the early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately some 100 to 97 million years ago. It included some of the largest known terrestrial carnivores, with known individuals equaling the size of the largest of the genera Tyrannosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus, but not as large as those of Spinosaurus.

The most complete find of Giganotosaurus was made by Rubén Dario Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who, on 25 July 1993, discovered a skeleton in deposits of Patagonia (southern Argentina) in what is now considered the Candeleros Formation. The discovery was scientifically reported in 1994. The initial description was published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado in the journal Nature in September 1995. The type species is Giganotosaurus carolinii. The generic name means "giant southern lizard". The specific name honours Carolini.



Argentinosaurus

95 MA

Giganotosaurus is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaurs that lived in what is now Argentina during the early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Period,[2] approximately some 100 to 97 million years ago. It included some of the largest known terrestrial carnivores, with known individuals equaling the size of the largest of the genera Tyrannosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus, but not as large as those of Spinosaurus.

The most complete find of Giganotosaurus was made by Rubén Dario Carolini, an amateur fossil hunter who, on 25 July 1993, discovered a skeleton in deposits of Patagonia (southern Argentina) in what is now considered the Candeleros Formation. The discovery was scientifically reported in 1994. The initial description was published by Rodolfo Coria and Leonardo Salgado in the journal Nature in September 1995. The type species is Giganotosaurus carolinii. The generic name means "giant southern lizard". The specific name honours Carolini.



Euoplocephalus

76.5 - 67 MA

Euoplocephalus is one of the largest genera of herbivorous ankylosaurian dinosaurs, living during the Late Cretaceous of Canada.

The first fossil of Euoplocephalus was found in 1897 in Alberta. In 1902, it was named Stereocephalus, but that name had already been given to an insect, so it was changed in 1910. Later, many more ankylosaurid remains were found from the Campanian of North America and often made separate genera. In 1971, Walter Coombs concluded that they all belonged to Euoplocephalus which then would be one of the best-known dinosaurs. Recently however, experts have come to the opposite conclusion, limiting the authentic finds of Euoplocephalus to about a dozen specimens. These include a number of almost complete skeletons, so much is nevertheless known about the build of the animal.

Euoplocephalus was about five to six meters long and weighed over two tons. Its body was low-slung and very flat and wide, standing on four sturdy legs. Its head had a short drooping snout with a horny beak to bite off plants that were digested in the large gut. Like other ankylosaurids, Euoplocephalus was largely covered by bony armor plates, among them rows of large high-ridged oval scutes. The neck was protected by two bone rings. It could also actively defend itself against predators like Gorgosaurus using a heavy club-like tail end.

Dromaeosaurus

74.8 MA

Dromaeosaurus was a genus of theropod dinosaur which lived during the Late Cretaceous period (middle late Campanian), sometime between 76.5 and 74.8 million years ago, in the western United States and Alberta, Canada. The name means 'running lizard'.

Dromaeosaurus was a small carnivore, about 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length and 15 kg (33 lb) in weight. Its mouth was full of sharp teeth, and it had a sharp "sickle claw" on each foot. It lived during the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, however, some fragmentary remains such as teeth which may belong to this genus have been found from the late Maastrichtian age Lance and Hell Creek Formations, dating to 65.5 million years ago. Dromaeosaurus had a relatively robust skull with a deep snout. Its teeth were rather large and it had only nine of them in the maxilla. In Dromaeosaurus albertensis, a vein at the back of the head, the vena capitis dorsalis, drains the front neck muscles through two long canals running to the posterior surface of the brain.


Triceratops

68 - 65 MA

Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur that lived during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 68 to 65.5 million years ago (Ma) in what is now North America. It was one of the last non-avian dinosaur genera to appear before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Bearing a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body, and conjuring similarities with the modern rhinoceros, Triceratops is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs and the best known ceratopsid. It shared the landscape with and was preyed upon by the fearsome Tyrannosaurus, though it is less certain that the two did battle in the manner often depicted in traditional museum displays and popular images.

The exact placement of the Triceratops genus within the ceratopsid group has been debated by paleontologists. Two species, T. horridus and T. prorsus, are considered valid although many other species have been named. Research published in 2012 suggests that the contemporaneous Torosaurus, a ceratopsid long regarded as a separate genus, represents Triceratops in its mature form, a view not accepted by everyone. A study published in 2012 by Daniel Field and Nicholas Longrich, researchers from Yale, would later disagree with this assertion upholding that the two should be classified as separate species.


Citipati

84 - 75 MYA

The largest Citipati were emu-sized animals and, at about 3 meters (10 ft) long, were the largest known oviraptorids until Gigantoraptor was described in 2007. Like other oviraptorids, Citipati had an unusually long neck and shortened tail, compared to most other theropods. Its skull was unusually short and highly pneumatized (riddled with openings in the bone structure), ending in a stout, toothless beak. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Citipati was its tall crest, superficially similar to that of a modern cassowary. The crest was relatively low in the type species, C. osmolskae, with a nearly vertical front margin grading into the beak. In contrast, the crest of one referred specimen which has not yet been assigned a specific name (provisionally labeled C. sp.) was taller, with a prominent notch in the front margin, creating a squared appearance.

The name Citipati is formed from the Sanskrit words citi, meaning 'funeral pyre' and pati meaning 'lord'. In Tibetan Buddhist folklore, the citipati were two monks who were beheaded by a thief, while deep in a meditative trance. The citipati are often depicted as a pair of dancing skeletons surrounded by flame, hence the application of the name to the beautifully preserved oviraptorid skeletons. The type species of Citipati, C. osmolskae, was named by Clark et al., in honor of Halszka Osmólska, a noted paleontologist whose work has dealt extensively with oviraptorids and other Mongolian theropods.

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