A close relative of Albertosaurus, king of the tyrant lizards Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the amazing dinosaurs to ever live. The largest known meat eater, it was more than 12 metres (37 ft) long and stood almost as tall as a giraffe. Unlike a giraffe, however, Tyrannosaurus rex was massive and powerful.
Its skull in particular was an imposing unit of bone. Up to 60 teeth, some of them longer than a human hand, lined its jaws. If humans had been around, they could have slid down its gullet with ease. Its eyes faced forward, providing better depth perception, important for a predatory animal, and its narrowed snout gave it a clear field of vision. At the other end, a heavy tail counterbalanced the skull. A complete tail has never been found, so no one knows exactly how long it might have grown.
At nine meters (30 ft) in length, Triceratops was among the largest ceratopsians and one of the last to become extinct. It made up the bulk of the plant eating population just before the end of the Cretaceous. Its remains are particularly common in coastal lowland sediments. Triceratops had a single, short nasal horn and horns as long as hockey sticks protruding above its eyes. Its head, sometimes as much as three meters (10 ft) long, was the largest ever possessed by a land animal. It had large eyes and a relatively large brain.
Triceratops was probably a feisty animal. Many specimens have bones damaged in combats with rivals or predators.
Triceratops remains were first discovered near Denver, Colorado, in 1887. At first they were identified as the remains of a recently extinct species of buffalo.
Deinonychus is a spectacular, but fairly small dinosaur. It measured about three and a half feet tall, and about nine feet long. Its weight is estimated at 150 pounds. By hunting in groups, members of a Deinonychus pack could have brought down dinosaurs much larger than themselves. In fact, the bones of several individuals of Deinonychus have been found with the skeleton of a large plant eating dinosaur, called Tenontosaurus.
Deinonychus belongs to a family of dinosaurs called dromaeosaurs. They all share the same characteristics a lightly built skull with sharp backwardly curved teeth, elongated arms and hands with sharp claws, and an extraordinary sickle-like second toe claw which was carried raised off the ground to protect the sharp point. Dromaeosaurs probably had keen vision and their brains were relatively large for a dinosaur.
The dromaeosaurs lived throughout the Cretaceous period, 140 to 65 million years ago.
Deinonychus was highly specialized for swift movement and savage attack. With its terrible claw flicked forward it slashed its prey with one foot while standing on the other. This kind of behavior required good coordination, excellent eyesight and a high level of energy. By hunting in packs they may have brought down prey much larger than itself.
Stegosaurus was a herbivorous "bird-hipped" dinosaur. It had four sturdy legs and a line of plates running down its back. Its back legs were considerably longer and straighter than its front ones and it had a powerful beaked mouth for cropping vegetation.
For defence it used its formidable tail - a short and muscular weapon equipped with four 1 metre long spikes. It also had a series of bones under its neck that acted like chain mail to protect its throat.
Brachiosaurus was one of the biggest land animals ever. Its weight has been estimated at about 80 tonnes, twenty times as heavy as a large elephant. Unlike other dinosaurs it had front legs longer than the hind ones, so that its back sloped upwards towards the head. In the Natural History Museum in Berlin there is a mounted skeleton of Brachiosaurus; the head is 13 metres above the ground, its upper arm bone is over 2 metres long, and it dwarfs the Diplodocus standing next to it.
With close cropping teeth for nipping food, it was adapted to eat the most elevated plant material such as conifer leaves and fruit. The upright stance and elevated neck meant that it could graze from trees at heights no other sauropod could reach . Its jaws were comparatively short and armed with chisel-like teeth for nipping leaves and fruit from tall conifer trees.
Velociraptor (pron.: /vɨˈlɒsɨræptər/; meaning 'swift seizer') is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period. Two species are currently recognized, although others have been assigned in the past. The type species is V. mongoliensis; fossils of this species have been discovered in Mongolia. A second species, V. osmolskae, was named in 2008 for skull material from Inner Mongolia, China.
Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the same anatomical features. It was a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to kill its prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout.
Velociraptor (commonly shortened to 'raptor') is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public due to its prominent role in the Jurassic Park motion picture series. In the films it was shown with anatomical inaccuracies, including being much larger than it was in reality and without feathers. It is also well known to paleontologists, with over a dozen described fossil skeletons—the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen preserves a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops.
Spinosaurus (meaning "spine lizard") is a genus of theropod dinosaur which lived in what is now North Africa, from the lower Albian to lower Cenomanian stages of the Cretaceous period, about 112 to 97 million years ago. This genus was first known from Egyptian remains discovered in 1912 and described by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1915. The original remains were destroyed in World War II, but additional material has come to light in recent years. It is unclear whether one or two species are represented in the fossils reported in the scientific literature. The best known species is S. aegyptiacus from Egypt, although a potential second species S. maroccanus has been recovered from Morocco.
Spinosaurus may be the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs, even larger than Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus. Estimates published in 2005 and 2007 suggest that it was 12.6 to 18 metres (41 to 59 ft) in length and 7 to 20.9 tonnes (7.7 to 23.0 short tons) in weight. The skull of Spinosaurus was long and narrow like that of a modern crocodilian. Spinosaurus is thought to have eaten fish; evidence suggests that it lived both on land and in water like a modern crocodilian. The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 meters (5.4 ft) long and were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail-like structure, although some authors have suggested that the spines were covered in fat and formed a hump. Multiple functions have been put forward for this structure, including thermoregulation and display.
Pterodactylus (pron.: /ˌtɛrəˈdæktɨləs/ TERR-ə-DAK-til-əs, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning "winged finger" /ˌtɛrəˈdæktɨl/) is a genus of pterosaurs, whose members are popularly known as pterodactyls. It was the first to be named and identified as a flying reptile. Its fossil remains have been found primarily in the Solnhofen limestone of Bavaria, Germany, dated to the late Jurassic Period (early Tithonian), about 150.8–148.5 million years ago, though more fragmentary remains have been identified from elsewhere in Europe and in Africa. It was a carnivore and probably preyed upon fish and other small animals. Like all pterosaurs, the wings of Pterodactylus were formed by a skin and muscle membrane stretching from its elongated fourth finger to its hind limbs. It was supported internally by collagen fibres and externally by keratinous ridges.