When you think of flying dinosaurs, pterodactyl is most likely to cross your mind. This giant bird-dinosaur has inspired almost every portrayal of winger dinosaurs in modern fiction. These were typically found in Africa and Europe. You will be surprised to know that although these beasts have enormous, flappy wings, recent studies have proven that they could not fly.
Did you know that dinosaurs could be herbivorous too? Liranosauruses belonged to that group of dinos and had long necks. They loved fresh, juicy leaves and substantial green fields were their paradise. Like giraffes, these creatures used their long necks for chewing leaves from the trees’ higher parts. Mostly, they resided in Spain but were also found in parts of Europe.
Iguanodon was the very first dinosaur that the scientists identified. Fossil teeth were unearthed by the local workers of a British forest. They carried the teeth to Gideon Mantell, a doctor who could tell it was extraordinary just by the glimpse of the findings. Just like liranosaurus, iguandon was also a herbivore. These gigantic beasts ran on their two legs and inhabited present-day Asia, Australia, North America, Europe, and North Africa. Their clawed fingers were useful to cut plants as well as to fight off the predators. They roamed the planet around 162 million years back, in the Jurassic and the early Cretaceous world.
Allosaurus inhabited the Earth some 150 million years back. These fierce meat-eaters had jaws lined with razor-sharp teeth. What added to their terrifying appearance were their hand claws, which were over a foot long! Also, the allosaurus could cover distances at 40 mph. These were hands-down the deadliest hunters of the prehistoric era.
‘Brontosaurus’ is a name derived from the Greek language, which means ‘thunder lizard.’ Hollywood is in love with these gigantic creatures. This species was not just featured in movies and other forms of fiction, but they even became a face of postal stamps. These herbivorous dinosaurs had a vast, bulky torso along with a long, thin neck. Present-day North America was once the favourite habitat of the brontosaurus. Weighing around 17 tons, they were 22 meters in length.
With a small head and huge eyes, an adult gallimimus would weigh close to 44 kilograms. They were 6 meters in length and resided in prehistoric Asia. As per scientists, there are possibilities of gallimimus having their bodies covered with feathers. Interestingly, this species of dinosaurs did not have teeth and used their beaks for eating. The thin and long neck offered extreme agility while feeding and preying. These creatures are also featured in The Jurassic Park films.
These herbivorous beasts roamed Asia and lived in the Triassic era, 250 to 199 million years back. Asia was their home, and they were more inclined, especially towards Thailand around 210 million years ago. Unlike other “lizard-hipped” dinos, isanosaurus used their four legs for moving around.
Mosasaurus was among those unique dinosaurs which lived in water. Often called Meuse Lizard or the lizard of Meuse River, this carnivorous beast is an extinct water reptile. They lived approximately 65-70 million years ago. As per experts, the Mosasaurus stayed away from deep seas and lived close to the water’s surface. The largest species of this dino can be as long as a whopping 17m!
Did you know the length of a diplodocus can be as long as your city bus? Yes, you read that right. This dinosaur gets its name from the way its body is structured- double-beamed. To put it simply, the underside of a diplodocus’s massive tail had bones. If humans co-existed with the diplodocus, the former would have still been safe as these creatures, although colossal, were herbivores and only fed on green, juicy leaves.
Usually called T-Rex, the tyrannosaurus is obviously, the most famous dinosaur. But did you know that ‘tyrannosaurus’ literally translates to ‘tyrant lizard king’? Interesting, right? After watching all the T-Rex depictions in documentaries, films, and TV shows alike, we all know that this beast is a hardcore carnivore. Most of the depictions of a T-Rex by the media are of the creature chasing its prey and then using its comically tiny arms and strong jaws for devouring its meal. However, as per recent studies, there are high chances of T-Rex having a body covered with feathers all over! Just imagine a 40ft ferocious giant covered in feathers!
The Cretaceous era saw styracosaurus roaming our planet Earth. This geological period spanned around 70 million years. This period ended some 66 million years ago, and that was also when the dinosaurs went extinct. This makes it safe to say that the styracosaurus was among the last generations of dinosaurs. This reptilian being was herbivorous, and as per the discovery of fossils, styracosaurus inhabited North America and especially Canada. Alberta and Montana were the places where its fossils were discovered.
‘Baryonyx’ is the Latin word for ‘heavy claw’. Staying true to the name, Baryonyx had strong claws that were helpful for hunting and feeding. However, what makes it famous is not its long tail or colossal claws but the crocodilian head. Although there is no proof that this beast used its razor-sharp claws for fishing in waters, most artists have depicted it in this way, fishing with its huge claws.
Commonly called the Raptor, raptorex is yet another famous carnivore from the realm of dinosaurs. These originated in Asia. Few of the most important fossils of raptors were discovered in Mongolia and China. By appearance, raptorexes were the miniature versions of the tyrannosaurus. One can easily get confused as a raptorex looks like a baby tyrannosaurus. Please don’t go by their size, though, as these were equally frightening. You can call these the little tyrants of the prehistoric period. Moreover, their sharp incisors added to their terrifying hunting skills. There are claims that raptors were among the most intelligent species among the dinosaurs.
A stegosaurus is the most distinctive dinosaurs out of all. Thanks to the two rows of armoured plates, which go all the way down to its heavy back, moving through its spine and ending at the tail. Stegosaurus has small bulky bodies with tails holding down to the ground. There squatted a little as their front legs were shorter than the hind legs. This herbivore usually liked to graze over the land. Although experts opine that these creatures lived in North America and Europe, fossils of stegosaurus were discovered in China!
This is one of the terrifying dinosaurs of the prehistoric era. With a name that literally translates to ‘meat-eating bull’, carnotaurus had devil horns emerging from each side of its head. It made the creature look even scarier. South America and especially Argentina was the region where its fossils were primarily discovered. The body structure of this dino was similar to that of a T-Rex. However, the former’s arms were relatively smaller. Some experts even debate that their arms had zero purposes and were totally vestigial.
You can call these natives of Asia the unicorns of the dinosaur world. Interestingly, nobody knows how did a tsintaosaurus precisely looked. It continues to be a mystery. Although we have its bone structures and skull, it is not easy to recreate an extinct creature’s original look just by the shape of some of its bones. All that we know is this creature had a horn that protruded right from the middle of its skull. Some scientists claim that it was more like a shoehorn and not a unicorn. On the other hand, some paleontologists, such as Philippe Taquete, opined that their ‘horn’ was merely a nasal bone that was dislocated once the animal died.
Hundreds of coelophysis have been unearthed by scientists. These creatures were born to be hunters. As per beliefs, these beasts would eat anything and everything, and that includes their fellow coelophysis! Although they were a brilliant hunter, coelophysis were smaller in size and could grow up only up to 1.3m in height and 3m in length.
Triceratops, an ancient reptile, has a bony frail on its neck and three horns that make it look very distinctive and unique. All Jurassic Park lovers would be familiar with how a triceratops looks. Despite being herbivores, these dinosaurs are often depicted and described as aggressive. When it comes to their size, these dinos were as big as African elephants that we see today.
Ankylosaurus lived on our planet over 66 million years back. These were among the last remaining dinos. In fact, as per experts, these dinosaurs even witnessed the dino-apocalypse as well as a mass extinction. The word ‘ankylosaurus’ literally means ‘a fused lizard’. Adult ankylosaurus weighed close to 6,000 kilos, and their height could go on to 30 feet. The teeth of these giants are surprisingly small in comparison to their bodies. These herbivores had scales all across their bodies. Their tail was the most astonishing part of their body. They could swirl their gigantic tail club during fights to create immense energy. As per estimates, a swirl of ankylosaurus tail could even break the bones of their fighter.
Parasaurolophuses were herbivorous creatures that could use two as well as four limbs to walk. Its weirdly shaped head with a curved crest is its distinct feature. Their crest curved backward from its skull. As per experts, this helped them differentiate between females and male species and increased their hearing ability and maintained body temperatures. These usually roamed the North American plains some 75 million years back. Interestingly, their fossils have been discovered across the globe- the USA, Mexico, Alberta, Utah, and Canada.
Europasaurus is most likely to be the smallest member of the Sauropod family. Interestingly, these dinosaurs are known from just one excavation in Germany. The excavation site had over ten animals. Although an entire skeleton was never discovered, scientists have found multiple bones that helped discerning these creatures’ anatomy. Due to their tiny small, which is just 6 feet, and weight close to that of a cow, people call it an example of Island Dwarfing. Island Dwarfing is the process in which there is a decrease in certain species’ average size due to scarce resources.
Andesaurus was a true giant in the world of long-necked dinosaurs. These herbivores were also called vine lizards and had a height of 13 meters, length of 40 meters, and weighed around 80 tons. To put it simply, an andesaurus weighed nearly 16 elephants combined! Although there is ambiguity about how these giants looked, experts agree that they were probably among the hugest dinosaurs of their time.
Undoubtedly, Jurassic World III had spinosaurus as its leading star. These carnivores are also called spine lizards and could reach up to 16 meters in height and 15 meters in length. Sadly, there had been just one almost complete Spinosaurus skeleton displayed at a German museum, which got destroyed in World War II.
These are among the armoured dinosaurs. Four-legged herbivores with unique body armour are defined as armoured dinosaurs. Silvisaurus was a small dinosaur with a length of not more than 4 meters. Their fossils were unearthed all across North America, and that included Kansas. These were probably among the gentle dinos that the Earth has seen. (See Who Discovered the First Dinosaur Bone?)
Brachiosaurs are also gentle dinosaurs that just fed on fresh leaves growing on tree-tops. These mighty herbivores had supremely long necks along with long front limbs too. Their body structure was specially designed for reaching the tops of trees.