Related topics: fossil · birds · skeleton · mass extinction · plos one

Rise of dinosaurs linked to increasing oxygen levels

Scientists have found that increasing oxygen levels are linked to the rise of North American dinosaurs around 215 M years ago. A new technique for measuring oxygen levels in ancient rocks shows that oxygen levels in North ...

Dinosaur egg bonanza gives vital clues about prehistoric parenting

Perhaps the most amazing thing about fossils is that they don't just show us what extinct animals looked like, they can also reveal how those animals lived. Even a fossilized dinosaur egg can provide a wealth of clues about ...

Sex appeal helped dinosaurs take flight

Attracting mates with showy displays may have helped dinosaurs develop feathers that let them take flight, according to new research by University of Alberta paleontologists.

Hidden life revealed inside dinosaur bones

One of the tricks you learn hunting dinosaurs in Canada is to look for orange. Dinosaur bones are dull browns, tans, and greys. But in the middle of the drab sandstones of the badlands—a dry landscape where wind and water ...

Strange new species of duck-billed dinosaur identified

The most complete skull of a duck-billed dinosaur from Big Bend National Park, Texas, is revealed in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology as a new genus and species, Aquilarhinus palimentus. This dinosaur has been named ...

Bird-like dinosaur is oldest unearthed in North America

A team of palaeontologists from the UK and US have identified a one of a kind 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton. The specimen has been classified as a new species to science with the discovery also raising questions ...

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Dinosaur

Dinosaurs (Greek: δεινόσαυρος, deinosauros) were the dominant vertebrate animals of terrestrial ecosystems for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago), when most of them became extinct in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. The 10000 living species of birds may be classified as dinosaurs.

The term "dinosaur" was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen and derives from Greek δεινός (deinos) "terrible, powerful, wondrous" + σαῦρος (sauros) "lizard". It is sometimes used informally to describe other prehistoric reptiles, such as the pelycosaur Dimetrodon, the winged pterosaurs, and the aquatic ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, although none of these animals were dinosaurs. Through the first half of the 20th century, most of the scientific community believed dinosaurs to have been slow, unintelligent cold-blooded animals. Most research conducted since the 1970s, however, has supported the view that dinosaurs were active animals with elevated metabolisms and numerous adaptations for social interaction. The resulting transformation in the scientific understanding of dinosaurs has gradually filtered into popular consciousness.

The 1861 discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx first suggested a close relationship between dinosaurs and birds. Aside from the presence of fossilized feather impressions, Archaeopteryx was very similar to the contemporary small predatory dinosaur Compsognathus. Research has since identified theropod dinosaurs as the most likely direct ancestors of birds; most paleontologists today regard birds as the only surviving dinosaurs, and some suggest that dinosaurs and birds should be grouped into one biological class. Aside from birds, crocodilians are the only other close relatives of dinosaurs to have survived until the present day. Like dinosaurs and birds, crocodilians are members of Archosauria, a group of reptiles that first appeared in the very late Permian and came to predominate in the mid-Triassic.

Since the first dinosaur fossils were recognized in the early nineteenth century, mounted dinosaur skeletons have become major attractions at museums around the world. Dinosaurs have become a part of world culture and remain consistently popular. They have been featured in best-selling books and films (notably Jurassic Park), and new discoveries are regularly covered by the media.

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