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

Prehistoric crocodile fossil discovered in New Mexico

Jurassic dinosaur fossils were first found in New Mexico more than 100 years ago. Now a crocodile fossil has been discovered in New Mexico's Jurassic rocks. The fossil was discovered in September of 2018 by hikers in the ...

US government unveils final Utah monument plan

The U.S. government's final management plan for land in and around a Utah national monument that President Donald Trump downsized doesn't include many new protections for the cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches found there, ...

New species of stegosaur is oldest found anywhere in the world

The remains of the new dinosaur were found in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco and have since been studied by a team at London's Natural History Museum. Whilst the remains only comprise of a few vertebrae and an upper ...

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 ...

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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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