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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Pterodactyls (by
As relentless a killing machine as T. Rex was, this dinosaur was still equipped with tiny, almost vestigial arms and hands. Why?
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?
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!
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.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Of all the reptiles
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most fearsome dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period.
A giant killer sperm whale of the Miocene epoch.
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 carnivorous 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.
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.
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.
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.
A profile of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the once--and always--king of the dinosaurs.
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.
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.
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.
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 was probably the biggest raptor that ever lived.
Pound for pound, dinosaurs were some of the dumbest creatures ever to roam the planet. However, not all raptors, tyrannosaurs, stegosaurs and hadrosaurs were equally stupid; some may even (just barely) have attained a mammalian level of intelligence. Here's a list of the 10 smartest dinosaurs, based on an analysis of their anatomy and behavioral patterns.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Like archeologists
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).
An early dinosaur of Triassic South America.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >There's a lot
Stegosaurus is one of the most familiar dinosaurs of the late Jurassic period, but how much do you really know about this plated plant-eater? Here are 10 facts you may (or may not) have known about Stegosaurus.
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.
This mean-looking pliosaur was one of the biggest marine reptiles.
Possibly the largest plant-eating dinosaur that ever lived.
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.
Name: Giganotosaurus (Greek for "giant southern lizard"); pronounced GEE-gah-NOTE-oh-SORE-us Habitat:
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.
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.
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.
One of the most common predatory dinosaurs of the Jurassic period.
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.
This dinosaur was vicious--but a lot smaller than you thought.
One of the largest dinosaurs on earth during the Jurassic period, Brachiosaurus has become the poster lizard for huge, slow-witted sauropods. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Brachiosaurus.
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?
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.
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.
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!
This huge museum contains some of the world's most famous dinosaur fossils.
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.
This pliosaur made a great white shark seem like a guppy by comparison.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The bleached skeleton
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.
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.
400 million years ago, give or take a few million years, a brave fish climbed out of the water and onto dry land, armed with primitive lungs and four stumpy limbs. Here's what we know about the first tetrapods that blazed the trail for the earth's land-dwelling animals.
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.
Dinosaurs aren't only found in dried-up riverbeds and ancient quarries--fictional versions can also be seen in TV shows, movies, comic strips and video games. Here's a selection of pop culture's most notable dinosaurs, most of which wouldn't stand a fighting chance against their paleontologically correct forebears.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Among the most
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.
Ankylosaurus was the prototypical armored dinosaur: low-slung, slow-moving, and covered with thick, knobby, nearly impenetrable skin. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Ankylosaurus.
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.
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?
The biggest prehistoric whale 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.
Pictures, illustrations and photographs of Megalodon, the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Pterosaurs ("winged
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.
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.
A giant, gentle, long-necked dinosaur.
The largest pterosaur--and the largest flying animal--that ever lived.
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.
A giant wolf of the Pleistocene epoch.
One of the earliest known ornithischian dinosaurs.
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.
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.
The Dire Wolf (Canis dirus) and the Saber-Toothed Tiger (Smilodon fatalis) shared the same North American landscape during the late Pleistocene epoch.
Name: Sarcosuchus (Greek for "flesh crocodile"); pronounced sar-co-SOOK-us Habitat: Rivers of Africa
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.
Pictures, illustrations and photographs of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the world's most popular dinosaur.
The biggest (and scariest) shark that ever lived.
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.
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.
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.
This may have been the smartest dinosaur that ever lived.
The dinosaur formerly known as Brontosaurus.
Some of the world's most famous dinosaurs have been discovered in North America. Here's a list of the 10 most important North American dinosaurs, ranging from Allosaurus to Tyrannosaurus Rex.
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?
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" >There's a new
The marine reptiles known as mosasaurs were sleek, vicious, and fast, which made them the terrors of the late Cretaceous seas. Here's everything you need to know about these dangerous aquatic predators.
The famous three-horned, big-frilled, plant-eating dinosaur.
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.
This tyrannosaur was a close cousin of T. Rex.
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.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Part of the reason
Fossilized dinosaur dung, preserved in the form of coprolites, can be a useful tool for paleontologists. Here's the poop about dinosaur poop.
Yes, its teeth were like sabers, but it wasn't technically a tiger.
What caused the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? Most scientists blame an astronomical impact.
Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals by State The United States has been home to a wide diversity of prehistoric
The shortest arms of any meat-eating dinosaur--and horns to match.
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.
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.
A list of 100 animals that have gone extinct in historical times, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and invertebrates.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The Permian period
Some people believe the world still harbors living, breathing dinosaurs. Here's a peek into their reasoning, and why they're probably wrong.
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.
Like all living creatures, dinosaurs evolved from preexisting ancestors. Here's an overview of current thinking about dinosaur evolution.
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.
It's often mistaken for a dinosaur, but Dimetrodon actually walked the earth millions of years before dinosaurs had even evolved. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about Dimetrodon.
The most recent geological epoch in earth's history, the Pleistocene witnessed the flourishing - and extinction - of a wide variety of megafauna mammals.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >There's an important
Bird evolution commenced with the small, feathered theropods of the Jurassic period, and after these dinosaurs went extinct, birds spread to fill every available ecological niche--hunters, flyers, swimmers and more. Here's everything you need to know about the evolution (and extinction) of birds.
Dinosaurs weren't the only animals to grow to huge sizes in prehistoric times. Here's a list of assorted amoebas, rats, parrots and beavers that were in a different weight class from their contemporaries.
Whether you pronounce it correctly (dip-LOW-doe-kuss) or incorrectly (dip-low-DOE-kuss), Diplodocus was one of the biggest dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era. Here are 10 facts you may or may not have known about this gigantic sauropod.
Ornithopods--small- to medium-sized, mostly bipedal plant-eaters--were among the most common dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, roaming the plains and woodlands in vast herds. Here's what we currently know about these plant-eaters, along with a list of notable genera.
The famously spike-tailed, small-brained dinosaur.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Before the Cambrian
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.
Did all dinosaurs have a brain the size of a walnut, or might some of them have been as smart as very small mammals? Here's a look at modern views of dinosaur intelligence.
This pterosaur is what folks are usually referring to when they say
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.
The biggest terrestrial meat-eating mammal that ever lived.
This fierce raptor was discovered in modern-day Mongolia.
Tyrannosaurus Rex , with fairly short arms and a bipedal gait, and "only" weighing about two tons, max.
This prehistoric sloth was bigger than an elephant.
The nearly 20 million years of the Miocene epoch witnessed the continuing evolution of various types of mammals, as well as steady (but not drastic) global cooling. Here's a look at prehistoric life on earth during the Miocene epoch.
Pictures, illustrations and photographs of raptor dinosaurs, ranging from Achillobator to Velociraptor.
Except for the ensuing Pleistocene, the Pliocene was the shortest of all the epochs of the Cenozoic Era, lasting less than three million years. Here's a look at the prehistoric life on earth during the Pliocene epoch.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Sarcosuchus ,
The largest predator of the early Cretaceous period.
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?
The Cretaceous equivalent of a Sherman tank.
Not all books about dinosaurs are created equal. Here's a list of the 10 most informative, and well-written, books about dinosaurs and prehistoric life.
How do we know what we know about Tyrannosaurus Rex? Here's a timeline of pertinent fossil discoveries.