Dinosaurs: Most Popular Articles
Megalodon was the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this enormous predator.
Many people mistakenly believe that oil comes from long-decomposed dinosaurs--and at least one prominent oil company has contributed to this myth by adopting a dinosaur as its trademark. Here's the truth about what dinosaurs do, and don't, have to do with the world's supply of fossil fuels.
How heavy was Argentinosaurus? What was the wingspan of Quetzalcoatlus? Read this list of the 10 biggest dinosaurs (as well as non-dinosaur reptiles like pterosaurs, pliosaurs and therapsids) to find out.
A complete, alphabetical list of every dinosaur that ever lived during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
How many types of dinosaurs were there? Here's a list of the 15 most important dinosaur types, ranging from ankylosaurs to tyrannosaurs, complete with links to additional information.
It wasn't technically a tiger, but the Saber Tooth Tiger (aka Smilodon) was one of the most fearsome predators of the Pleistocene epoch. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this big-toothed beast.
Not all dinosaurs were equally deadly--some were built for exceptional mayhem, sporting huge teeth, sharp claws, and (occasionally) even the ability to outwit their prey. Here's a list of the 10 fiercest, deadliest, and just plain most dangerous dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and marine reptiles. If you see one of these guys on the street--run!
A list of 100 animals that have gone extinct in historical times, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and invertebrates.
Next to Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor is the world's most famous meat-eating dinosaur. Here are 10 facts about this Cretaceous carnivore that you may (or may not) have gleaned from repeated viewings of Jurassic Park.
The last 10,000 years have witnessed the extinction of a large number of lions, tigers and cheetahs, with many species surviving well into the 19th or early 20th centuries. Here are the 10 most notable big cats that have gone extinct in historical times.
What does it mean to say that a dinosaur lived in the Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous period? Here's a description of these three stretches of the Mesozoic Era, and the prehistoric plants and animals that set them apart.
Why did the T. Rex cross the road? How can you tell when there's a Stegosaurus in your refrigerator? Read this collection of dinosaur jokes and riddles to find out!
Did you know that the average Tyrannosaurus Rex lived to be about 30 years old? Or that T. Rex babies may have been covered in feathers? Here are 10 essential facts about the king of the dinosaurs.
It wasn't the biggest Mammuthus species, but the Woolly Mammoth is still the most famous prehistoric elephant of the Pleistocene epoch. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this huge, shaggy pachyderm.
Could Triceratops have beaten Tyrannosaurus Rex in one-on-one combat? How about Allosaurus vs. Stegosaurus, or Megalodon vs. Leviathan? Here are ten battles involving various dinosaurs, reptiles, sharks and prehistoric mammals, with our picks for the likely winners.
Did you know that most dinosaurs were vegetarians? Or that dinosaurs lived alongside the earliest mammals? Here are 10 important dinosaur facts that every person should know.
Leviathan was a 50-foot-long, 50-ton sperm whale that prowled the waters of Miocene South America. Megalodon was a comparably sized prehistoric shark that occasionally ventured into Leviathan's territory. Who wins in a battle between these two undersea titans?
Everything You Need to Know About Pterodactylus and Pteranodon
Species by species, individual by individual, dinosaurs were bigger than any other land-dwelling animals that ever lived. Here are some theories that just might account for dinosaur gigantism.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Of all the reptiles
The Dodo Bird disappeared so quickly from the island of Mauritius, in the 17th century, that it has become the poster creature for sudden extinction. But what do we really know about this squat, flightless pigeon relative?
How big was Argentinosaurus compared to a full-grown human being?
The Tasmanian Tiger wasn't really a tiger, but a dog-like marsupial that went extinct in the 20th century. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this striped predator.
As relentless a killing machine as T. Rex was, this dinosaur was still equipped with tiny, almost vestigial arms and hands. Why?
Modern elephants belong to a long and distinguished evolutionary line that dates back 60 million years, to shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Here's what we know about the evolution of elephants, along with profiles of prehistoric genera ranging from Amebelodon to Tetralophodon.
It's not quite true that mammals succeeded the dinosaurs--they lived right alongside these lumbering beasts, in small, quivering, furry form, all through the Mesozoic Era. Here's a look at the evolution, anatomy and survival strategies of the first mammals of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Pound for pound, dinosaurs were some of the dumbest creatures ever to roam the planet. However, some may even have attained a mammalian level of intelligence.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Name: Giganotosaurus
Often considered to be the first true bird, Archaeopteryx was actually something far more complex: a tiny dinosaur with distinctly bird-like characteristics. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Archaeopteryx.
Sharks are among the oldest and most successful vertebrates on earth; the first species appeared about 420 million years ago and their descendants have survived down to the present day. Here's everything you need to know about the behavior and evolution of prehistoric sharks.
Titanoboa was the biggest prehistoric snake that ever lived, measuring almost 50 feet from head to tail and weighing over a ton. Here are ten facts you may (or may not) have known about Titanoboa.
It's impossible to mistake Triceratops for any other dinosaur--but very possible to hold some mistaken notions about this ancient ceratopsian. Here are 10 things you may (or may not) have known about Triceratops.
Not all dinosaurs (or archosaurs, or pterosaurs) sported the same plain-vanilla body plans. Some of these creatures stood out even by the bizarre standards of the Mesozoic Era, with strange adaptations that continue to puzzle paleontologists to the present day. Here's a list of the 10 weirdest reptiles ever to walk (or crawl, or fly) the earth 100 million years ago.
Spinosaurus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur yet identified, bigger (and possibly nastier) than either T. Rex or Giganotosaurus. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Spinosaurus.
Some dinosaurs have better names than others--mostly because some paleontologists have more imagination than others. Here's a list of the 10 most impressive dinosaur names, ranging from Achillobator to Vulcanodon.
The largest canine that ever lived, the Dire Wolf was the scourge of Pleistocene North America. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this fierce predator.
During the Carboniferous period, over 300 million years ago, the first tetrapods evolved features that allowed them to prosper on land as well as in water. For tens of millions of years, these early amphibians were the dominant terrestrial animals on earth, paving the way for the reptiles (and dinosaurs) that eventually followed.
Among the most feared dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, raptors were closely related to modern birds. Here's a look at how paleontologists classify raptors, as well as profiles of famous genera ranging from Achillobator to Velociraptor.
This huge dinosaur had an equally impressive sail on its back.
It may be hard to believe, but the story of whale evolution begins with terrestrial, dog-sized mammals that roamed central Asia about 50 million years ago. Here's what we currently know about whale evolution, along with profiles of the most important whale species.
One of the most fearsome dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period.
A giant killer sperm whale of the Miocene epoch.
Tyrannosaurs were the killing machines of the Cretaceous period: these huge, powerful dinosaurs were all legs, trunk and teeth, and they preyed relentlessly on smaller, herbivorous prey. Here’s a look at how paleontologists classify tyrannosaurs, as well as profiles of the most notable genera, ranging from Tyrannosaurus Rex to Guanlong.
Most people know the end of the story of dog evolution--when wolves were domesticated by early humans. The fact is, though, that prehistoric dogs roamed the plains of North America for tens of millions of years before humans appeared on the scene. Here's everything you need to know about prehistoric dogs and dog evolution.
Scientists have a pretty good idea why the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago--but that hasn't prevented some popular myths from spreading about how, when, and even whether the dinosaurs went down for the count. Here are the top 10 misconceptions about dinosaur extinction.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >What can you say
Dinosaurs weren’t the first four-legged reptiles to prosper on land. The Carboniferous and Permian periods witnessed a large variety of
Possibly the largest plant-eating dinosaur that ever lived.
Turtles and tortoises branched off from the mainstream of reptile evolution hundreds of millions of years ago, and have persisted down to the present day with the same basic body plan. Here's everything you need to know about the evolution of turtles and tortoises.
A profile of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the once--and always--king of the dinosaurs.
The origin of snakes is shrouded in mystery: the first, fragmentary forms appeared about 150 million years ago, but it's unclear whether they evolved from land- or water-dwelling ancestors. Here's everything we know about snake evolution, complete with a list of the most important prehistoric snakes.
The last 1,000 years have witnessed the extinction of various birds--and some species disappeared off the face of the earth as little as 100 years ago. Here's a list of the 10 most notable birds that have gone extinct in historical times.
What we don't know about dinosaur mating can fill a library--after all, it's not as if the act of sex leaves fossil evidence. But we can make some educated guesses, based on the size of dinosaurs and their reptilian heritage.
The sauropods were the true giants of the dinosaur family, some genera attaining lengths of over 100 feet and weights of over 100 tons. Here's a brief overview of sauropod evolution and behavior, as well as an alphabetical list of genera ranging from Apatosaurus to Vulcanodon.
Not all dinosaurs were as big as houses--some were as small as wiener dogs, or even smaller. Here's a list of the 10 smallest dinosaurs, plus a few bite-sized pterosaurs, marine reptiles and mammals).
Pictures, illustrations and photographs of Megalodon, the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived.
Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops were two of the most popular dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous period, and they both occupied the same North American territory. Who would win in a battle between a full-grown Triceratops and an adult T. Rex?
By the end of the Cretaceous period, the only sauropods left standing were the titanosaurs--mysterious, armored plant-eaters whose partial skeletons have been unearthed all over the world. Here's a look at how titanosaurs are classified, along with profiles of genera ranging from Aegyptosaurus to Uberabatitan.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >There's a lot
A list of 10 snakes, turtles, lizards and crocodiles that have gone extinct in historical times.
In the early 1860's, the discovery of a series of small, birdlike, feathered fossils in a German quarry created an international sensation. Here's the story of the discovery, and naming, of Archaeopteryx.
There were literally hundreds of dinosaurs, but only a handful merit memorization by eager dinosaur lovers, young or old. Here's all the information you need about the 10 most famous dinosaurs that ever lived, ranging from Allosaurus to Tyrannosaurus Rex.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The bleached skeleton
Among the most plentiful dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, hadrosaurs were large, low-slung plant eaters with tough beaks on their snouts to dig out vegetation. Here’s a look at how paleontologists classify duck-billed dinosaurs, as well as a list of notable genera ranging from Acristavus to Zhuchengosaurus.
The story of horse evolution began with fleet, deer-sized mammals that prowled the woodlands of North America 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Here's a look at the evolution of horses, along with profiles of various prehistoric horse species.
The Dire Wolf (Canis dirus) and the Saber-Toothed Tiger (Smilodon fatalis) shared the same North American landscape during the late Pleistocene epoch.
This mean-looking pliosaur ruled the Jurassic seas.
In the spirit of the Discovery Channel, here's a (completely fictitious) list of all the things the giant shark Megalodon could swallow whole.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Among the most
A list of 10 amphibians--including frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians--that have gone extinct in modern times.
Hunting has been a human pastime since the dawn of civilization--and, not surprisingly, the spread of civilization has been accompanied by the extinction of various game animals. Here are 10 deer, elephants, bears and hippos that have gone extinct in historical times.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Does Megalodon:
During the Mesozoic Era, mammals were tiny, quivering creatures that lived high up in trees--but after the dinosaurs went extinct, these same mammals were free to evolve to giant sizes. Here are the 10 most important giant mammals that succeeded the dinosaurs.
Ever since Jurassic Park, people have wondered if it will one day be possible to clone a living, breathing dinosaur. Trouble is, the scientific challenges are much heftier than you've been led to believe.
Fish, just like other animals, can be driven to extinction by predation, pollution and changes to their habitats. Here are 10 fish that have gone extinct in historical times.
Thanks to its brief (but inaccurate) cameo in Jurassic Park, Dilophosaurus has become one of the world's most popular dinosaurs. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Dilophosaurus.
Ankylosaurs were among the last dinosaurs standing 65 million years ago, and with good reason: these otherwise gentle plant-eaters were the Cretaceous equivalent of Sherman tanks, complete with armor plating, sharp spikes and heavy clubs. Here's a look at how paleontologists classify ankylosaurs, as well as profiles of genera ranging from Acanthopholis to Tianchisaurus.
This dinosaur was vicious--but a lot smaller than you thought.
Dinosaurs inhabited all seven continents during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Here are lists of the 10 most important dinosaurs of North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Antarctica.
It was probably the biggest raptor that ever lived.
Velociraptor gets all the press, but it was another raptor dinosaur, Deinonychus, that really stole the show in Jurassic Park. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Deinonychus.
Spinosaurus was the largest carnivorous dinosaur that ever lived. Sarcosuchus was the largest crocodile that ever lived. Both of these reptiles lived in middle Jurassic Africa. Who wins in a battle to the death between Spinosaurus and Sarcosuchus?
Although the genus Equus is still going strong, various species (and sub-species) of horses, donkeys and zebras have disappeared during historical times. Here's a list of 10 recently extinct equines.
It seems that every animal on earth grew to giant sizes two, 20, or even 40 million years ago--witness the Giant Wombat, the Giant Beaver and the Giant Sloth, to name just three. Here's everything you need to know about the giant megafauna, mammalian and otherwise, that prospered after the age of the dinosaurs.
One of the most common predatory dinosaurs of the Jurassic period.
Better known as the SuperCroc, this large crocodile makes modern crocs and gators look like tiny geckos by comparison.
Not every fossil discovered in a dried-up lakebed or arid mountain plain has had an equally profound effect on the course of paleontology. Here are 10 famous discoveries that changed, sharpened, or completely altered the views of working scientists (and the general public) about dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles.
As a rule, biologists and evolutionary scientists don't like the word "first"--evolution proceeds by
It made a great white shark seem like a guppy by comparison.
Mastodons coexisted with Mammoths for almost a million years, until both of these prehistoric elephants went extinct during the last Ice Age. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Mastodons.
Some time in the middle to late Triassic period, about 230 million years ago, the first dinosaurs evolved from their archosaur ancestors. Here's everything you need to know about these early templates for dinosaur evolution.
Giganotosaurus is rapidly gaining on T. Rex as the most popular meat-eating dinosaur. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this terrifying hunter of the middle Cretaceous period.
They weren't technically tigers, but saber-toothed cats were every bit as dangerous to the grazing mammals (and early hominids) of their day. Here's a look at saber-tooth evolution and lifestyles, along with profiles of various species.
A giant, gentle, long-necked dinosaur.
Creationist don't believe in evolution, and they insist that the earth is only a few thousand years old. How do dinosaurs fit in their world view?
Allosaurus and Stegosaurus both lived in late Jurassic North America, about 150 million years ago--and it's a sure bet that these two dinosaurs had a predator-prey relationship. The question is, could an adult Allosaurus hope to take down a full-grown Stegosaurus in a fair fight?
Lists of the most notable dinosaurs and prehistoric animals found in each of the 50 United States.
Apatosaurus is famous for once having been named Brontosaurus--and Brontosaurus is famous because it was one of the first sauropods ever to be discovered. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Apatosaurus.
Carbonemys was a one-ton, meat-eating turtle of Paleocene South America. Titanoboa was a 50--foot-long, one-ton snake that lived at the same time and place. Who wins a battle between Carbonemys and Titanoboa?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >There's a new
Like other animals around the world, the marsupials of Australia are prone to extinction, usually as a result of habitat loss or predation by invasive species (including human beings). Here's a list of 10 kangaroos, wallabies and wombats that have gone extinct in historical times.
One of the biggest raptors ever to walk the earth, Utahraptor terrorized North America during the early Cretaceous period. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Utahraptor.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Name: Sarcosuchus
It may have been the smartest dinosaur that ever lived.
The story of vertebrate evolution began over 500 million years ago, with the appearance of tiny, translucent proto-fish in the Cambrian seas, and culminated in the vast variety of birds, mammals and reptiles that inhabit the earth today. Here's an overview of the evolution of vertebrates, touching on creatures both still extant and long extinct.
The fossils of the Cave Bear, Ursus spelaeus, have been discovered in Europe by the tens of thousands. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this Pleistocene ursine.
The world may be teeming with insects and invertebrates, but that doesn't mean individual species can't go extinct. Here's a list of 10 moths, butterflies, worms and snails that have gone extinct in historical times.
A giant wolf of the Pleistocene epoch.
The first vertebrates on the planet, prehistoric fish lay at the root of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Here's everything you need to know about the evolution (and extinction) of ancestral fish.
Yes, its teeth were like sabers, but it wasn't technically a tiger.
If it weren't for the efforts of thousands of paleontologists, evolutionary biologists and geologists, we wouldn't know nearly as much about dinosaurs as we do today. Here's a list of 10 dinosaur hunters who have contributed more to our knowledge of these ancient reptiles than anyone else in the field.
Like all living creatures, dinosaurs evolved from preexisting ancestors. Here's an overview of current thinking about dinosaur evolution.
A list of the most notable dinosaurs and prehistoric animals discovered in the state of Pennsylvania.
Some people believe the world still harbors living, breathing dinosaurs. Here's a peek into their reasoning, and why they're probably wrong.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Part of the reason
One of the biggest prehistoric whales that ever lived.
The Discovery Channel wants you to believe in living Megalodons and 40-foot-long Great White Sharks. Here are all the reasons these creatures don't really exist.
Argentinosaurus was one of the largest sauropods that ever lived, adults weighing in the neighborhood of 100 tons. Giganotosaurus was a T. Rex-sized predator that may have hunted in packs. Who comes out on top in an encounter between these two huge dinosaurs?
Pterosaurs were the first creatures (other than insects) to take to the skies. Here's a look at the evolution and behavior of pterosaurs, along with profiles of the most notable pterosaur genera.
The famous three-horned, big-frilled, plant-eating dinosaur.
During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, the earth's oceans, lakes and rivers were filled by large, agile reptiles, the plesiosaurs and pliosaurs, that looked uncannily like sea serpents. Here's an overview of the evolution, behavior and characteristics of these fearsome creatures, along with a list of genera ranging from Aristonectes to Woolungasaurus.
Allosaurus was one of the most common, and dangerous, carnivorous dinosaurs of the late Jurassic period. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this agile predator.
Sixty-five million years ago, dinosaurs, pterosaurs and marine reptiles were wiped off the face of the earth by the K/T Extinction--while their close cousins, the crocodiles, managed to survive this global cataclysm. The question is, why?
Although many people think the issue has been settled once and for all, scientists still debate whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold-blooded (or something in between). Here's a look at the evidence for and against warm-blooded dinos.
What caused the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? Most scientists blame an astronomical impact.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" >Tyrannosaurus Rex , with fairly short arms
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to raise a newly hatched Stegosaurus, or adopt a full-grown Velociraptor from your local animal shelter? Well, be careful, because there's a big downside to keeping a dinosaur as a pet.
This tyrannosaur was a close cousin of T. Rex.
The Cave Bear, Ursus spelaeus, was one of the most common megafauna mammals of Pleistocene Europe. The Cave Lion, Panthera leo spelaea, was a huge cat that shared the Cave Bear's territory. Which of these animals would have come out on top in a pack-on-pack rumble?
The dinosaur formerly known as Brontosaurus.
The largest pterosaur--and the largest flying animal--that ever lived.
Pictures, illustrations and photographs of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the world's most popular dinosaur.
This shaggy prehistoric elephant was on the lunch menu of early humans.
We know all about tyrannosaurs and raptors, but those two families comprised only a small percentage of the bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs known as theropods. Here's a look at the larger theropods of the Mesozoic Era, including allosaurs and abelisaurs, as well as profiles of representative theropod genera.
Paleontologists once believed that Stegosaurus had a brain its butt, that Brachiosaurus lived underwater, and that you could find Hypsilophodon nesting in trees. Here's a list of the 10 most notable mistakes in the history of paleontology.
Fossilized dinosaur dung, preserved in the form of coprolites, can be a useful tool for paleontologists. Here's the poop about dinosaur poop.
It wasn't a dinosaur, despite what most people think.
Some dinosaurs were meat-eaters, and some dinosaurs were plant-eaters--but all dinosaurs, large or small, had to eat constantly in order to survive. Here's a look at the favorite diets of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era.
Some dinosaurs were cuter than others. Here's a list of the 10 most adorable dinosaurs of the Mesozoic era.
Like modern mammals, dinosaurs occupied a wide range of habitats, ranging from deserts to tropical jungles to polar regions. Here's a list of the 10 most important habitats prowled by dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era.
After long, weary months collecting bones out in the field, cleaning them in the lab with tiny toothpicks, and laboriously piecing them together for display or further study, paleontologists can be forgiven for occasionally bestowing strange names on the objects of their research. Here are the 10 dinosaurs with the weirdest, funniest, and (in one or two cases) most inappropriate names.
Are you a fierce tyrannosaur, or a towering sauropod? Would you rather be a small theropod or a horned, frilled plant-eater? Take this quiz to find out what type of dinosaur you are!
You might think of them as pests and vermin, but shrews, bats and rodents are every bit as important to our ecosystem as larger mammals. Here's a list of 10 pint-sized mammals that have gone extinct in historical times.
The Cretaceous equivalent of a Sherman tank.
Quetzalcoatlus was the biggest pterosaur that ever lived; in fact, this airplane-sized reptile was the biggest flying animal in earth's history. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Quetzalcoatlus.
Kronosaurus, a deadly marine reptile
The shortest arms of any meat-eating dinosaur--and horns to match.
Tyrannosaurus Rex (or T. Rex, as it's often called) is the most popular dinosaur in the world. Here's everything you need to know about this fearsome dinosaur, complete with links to additional information.
Stegosaurus may be the most famous example, but at least a dozen stegosaur genera lived during the Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. Here's everything you need to know about these plated, spiked, plant-eating dinosaurs.
This Jurassic feathered dinosaur was about the size of a modern pigeon.