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Dinosaur Biographies


Triceratops used its giant, bony frill to defend itself against predators and to compete with others of its kind. The biggest and
most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered can be found at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. Her name is Sue.
Stegosaurus’ name means “roofed lizard.” Early paleontologists thought its armored plates looked like the shingles on a roof. Allosaurus’ name means “different lizard.” It was one of the most dangerous predators during the Jurassic period. Scientists still debate the purpose of Iguanodon’s prominent thumb spikes to this day. Combat? Feeding? A display of friendly approval?
Ankylosaurus weighed up to four tons. Its wide, flat body and heavy armor made it a tough mouthful for potential predators. The discovery of Deinonychus fossils bearing quill knobs suggests that it and its relatives may have been feathered like birds. The research of historian Adrienne Mayor suggests that Protoceratops fossils may have given rise to ancient Greek legends of griffins. Pachycephalosaurus had a thick, domed skull that may have been used in head-butting contests for dominance. The gigantic, meat-eating Spinosaurus hunted in both land and water, much like a modern crocodile does.
The diminutive, meat-eating Coelophysis lived during the Triassic period and is one of the first known dinosaurs. The discovery of Archaeopteryx fossils with detailed feather impressions helped to cement the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. Diplodocus could whip its long tail at supersonic speeds. This may have been used for defense, communication, or courtship. Like modern giraffes, Brachiosaurus’ long neck helped it to reach food sources that were too high for other dinosaurs. Elasmosaurus was a marine reptile that used its long neck to stalk schools of fish during the late Cretaceous period.
Mosasaurus was a marine reptile from the Cretaceous period. Like modern whales, its legs were modified into flippers that helped it swim. Dimetrodon was a mammal that lived 40 million years before the dinosaurs. It may have used its sail to regulate its body temperature. Velociraptor’s name means “swift seizer.” It is one of the best-known dinosaurs, with more fossil specimens than any of its relatives. Pterodactyl is a winged, flying reptile that exists alongside the dinosaurs. It preys on fish and other small animals. Parasaurolophus’ large, hollow crest may have helped it to communicate through loud, low frequency sounds.

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