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Prehistoric Animals Encyclopedia

Tyrannosaurus

Tyrannosaurus — Tyrannosaurus meaning ’tyrant lizard’ is a genus of theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex, commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is one of the dinosaurs most often featured in popular culture around the world. It lived in what is now western North America. Some scientists consider Tarbosaurus bataar from Asia to represent a second species of Tyrannosaurus, while others …

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Triceratops

Triceratops — Triceratops was a herbivorous genus of ceratopsid dinosaur that lived during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 68 to 65 million years ago (mya) in what is now North America. It was one of the last dinosaur genera to appear before the great Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Bearing a large bony frill and three horns …

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Trachodon

Trachodon — Trachodon (meaning “rough tooth”) is a dubious genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur based on teeth from the Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana, U.S.A. It is a historically-important genus with a convoluted taxonomy that has been all but abandoned by modern dinosaur paleontologists. Interestingly, despite being used for decades as the iconic duckbill dinosaur per antonomasia (see …

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Struthiomimus

Struthiomimus — Struthiomimus was a long-legged, ostrich-like dinosaur of the family Ornithomimidae, which lived in the area that is now Alberta, Canada, during the late Cretaceous Period, approximately 75 million years ago. Its generic name is derived from the Greek strouthion meaning ’ostrich’ and mimos meaning ’mimic’ or ’imitator’. The specific name altus is from Latin, meaning ’lofty’ or ’noble’. …

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Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus — Stegosaurus is a genus of stegosaurid armoured dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (Kimmeridgian to Early Tithonian) in what is now western North America. In 2006, a specimen of Stegosaurus was announced from Portugal, suggesting that they were present in Europe as well. Due to its distinctive tail spikes and plates, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable …

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Rhamphorhynchus

Rhamphorhynchus — Rhamphorhynchus was a long-tailed pterosaur of the Jurassic period. Its name means ’beak snout’. Only 17.5 cm (7 in) long but with a wingspan of 100 cm (3 ft), it was less specialized than the later pterodactyloids. It had a long tail stiffened with ligaments which ended in a diamond-shaped vane. Rhamphorhynchus ate fish, frogs,and insects and it …

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Plesiosaurs

Plesiosaurs — Plesiosaurs Greek: plesios meaning ’near’ or ’close to’ and sauros meaning ’lizard’) were carnivorous aquatic (mostly marine) reptiles. After their discovery, they were somewhat fancifully said to have resembled “a snake threaded through the shell of a turtle”, although they had no shell. The common name ’plesiosaur’ is applied both to the ’true’ plesiosaurs (Suborder Plesiosauroidea) and to …

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Plateosaurus

Plateosaurus — Plateosaurus (meaning ’flat lizard’) is a genus of plateosaurid prosauropod dinosaur that lived during the Norian and Rhaetian stages of the Late Triassic period, around 216 to 199 million years ago in what is now Europe. There are two currently recognized species, P. engelhardti and P. longiceps, although others have been assigned in the past. Discovered in 1834 …

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Mastodon

Mastodon — Mastodons or Mastodonts are members of the extinct genus Mammut of the order Proboscidea and form the family Mammutidae; they resembled, but were distinct from, the woolly mammoth which belongs to the family Elephantidae. Mastodons were browsers while mammoths were grazers. Mastodons are thought to have first appeared almost four million years ago. They were native to both …

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Iguanodon

Iguanodon — Iguanodon is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived roughly halfway between the first of the swift bipedal hypsilophodontids and the ornithopods’ culmination in the duck-billed dinosaurs. Most Iguanodon species lived between 140 to 120 million years ago, in the Valanginian to Barremian ages of the Early Cretaceous Period of Europe, although possible remains are known from North …

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