Dinosaurs - Lizards Of Prehistory
Dinosaurs explicitely lived in the Mesozoic era, exactly from the late Triassic period about 230 million years ago until the end of the Cretaceous about 65 million years ago.
Some were only as big aus cats like the Saltopus, others got as big as today's blue whales like the Argentinosaurus, which can get as long as 33 metres and reach a weight of about 190 tons. On the one hand there werde dangerous and speedy predator dinosaurs, on the other hand leisurly vegetarians.
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| Saltopus|| Blue Whale|| Argentinosaurus|
As different as they all were, they had one thing in common - they all were land animals. Scientist David Norman of the University of Cambridge listed four characteristics that apply for dinosaurs:
- Dinosaurs only lived in the Mesozoic era. Animals, that lived earlier or later, are not dinosaurs.
- Dinosaurs belonged to the reptilian. Birds, mammals, insects, spiders and amphibians do not belong to dinosaurs.
- Dinosauris were land animals. Neither existed flying dinosaurs nor dinosaurs that lived in the water.
- Dinosaurs had their legs under the body like mammals and
not sticking out like the legs of a crocodile for example. Although crocodiles lived in the mesozoic era, too, they do not belong to the dinosaurs because of this characterstic.
Although all the lizards, that had lived in the mesozoic, are called saurian, only those, who were land animals, are referred to as DINOSAUR, which means terrible or wondrous lizard.
Flying lizards are referred to as Pterosaurs and lizards, that lived in the water, are referred to as Plesiosaur, Ichtyosaur or Mosasaur.
|Their strange Latin name very often describes the characteristic of the dinosaur. |
For example Triceratops, whose name means as much as three-horned face. This special dinosaur had three horns, two longer ones on the front and a smaller one on the nose.
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| ||Sometimes the site is included in the name. |
The first fossilized skeleton of an Albertosaurus for examples was found in the Canadian province Alberta.
|Some dinosaurs Dinosaurier are named after their discoverers or after famous researchers. |
One of the biggest dinosaurs,
Brachiosaurus brancai, was named after the former director of the Berlin
Museum of Natural History Wilhelm von Branca (1844-1928).