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Useful Notes: Prehistoric Life - Dinosaurs
Non-stock dinosaurs are really numerous, so it could be useful knowing the scientific history at least of the most prominent ones. Of course we shouldn't omit their more popular fellows, so you'll find also references to T. rex, Triceratops, and even some non-dinosaurs like Pteranodon in the folder below.

     Dinosaur history 


EARLY AND MIDDLE 1800: the first discoveries

In 1801, in full Napoleonic age, Baron Georges Cuvier described the first "antediluvian reptile": the "Ptero-dactylo" — later re-named Pterodactylus by other scientists which chose to follow the Linnean convention to name animals with latin italicized names. Few years later the founder of Paleontology named the first marine reptile: the "mosasaur" (Mosasaurus), whose jaws were re-discovered in the Netherlands. These two creatures showed that before the "mammal era" populated by mammoths mastodons megatheres (already known since the late 1700) there was an era dominated by reptiles, named the "reptile era" indeed (what today is called the Mesozoic). But there weren't still dinosaurs. The first dinosaurs came to light about twenty years after the "ptero-dactylo".

  • In England

In the middle of the 1820s, the first giant carnivorous and the first giant herbivorous dinosaur were discovered in Southern England. Known mainly from their jaws and teeth, they were named Megalosaurus ("big lizard") and Iguanodon ("iguana tooth") by reverend William Buckland and medician Gideon Mantell respectively. Both were already aware they have not found simple "giant lizards": their teeth were in sockets like those of crocodilians and mammals (and unlike those of lizards), and the Iguanodon ones were worn, showing the animal actually chew its food, again like mammals and unlike iguanas.

When Mantell described the incomplete skeleton of a third large terrestrial reptile he named Hylaeosaurus armatus (armored lizard of the forest), it was clear that a whole fauna of huge land-reptiles shared the "reptile era" with the more-familiar-at-the-time pterodactyls and sea reptiles — whose typical representants were discovered before the first non-bird dinosaurs: Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus and the pterosaur Dimorphodon were found in England in the 1810s by another paleontologist (Mary Anning), joining Pterodactylus & Mosasaurus above.

Howewer, the father-of-paleontology Cuvier initially didn't recognized the iguanodon/megalosaur/hylaeosaur as dinosaurs, and (in the iguanodon's case) not even as a reptile — he thought it was a rhino-like mammal or even a fish! It was his English colleague Richard Owen that did that, announcing in 1845 the creation of the name Dinosauria in a scientific meeting in Plymouth. Even though Dino-saur is usually translated in "terrible lizard", Dino- can also be seen as "magnificent", "fearfully great", while the meaning of -saurus can be extended to "reptile" (non necessarily a lizard). After the invention of the group name, Owen himself described several new genera of english dinosaurs from the 1850s to the 1880s, usually herbivores (the carnivores were mostly classified in the genus Megalosaurus). The best-known today include the small biped Hypsilophodon (which was initially believed a tree-climber, not a ground-runner), the armored Scelidosaurus and Polacanthus, and the first sauropod, the huge Cetiosaurus ("whale lizard"), believed by Owen to be a marine-reptile because of its size — and because its limbs weren't initially found. About the famous sculpture of the Crystal Palace Park made in London in year 1856, see Stock Dinosaurs: "Iguanodon", Stock Dinosaurs: "Megalosaurus", and Prehistoric Life: "Hylaeosaurus"

  • In continental Europe

The other european country that mainly contributed to the early dino-paleontology is Germany. Here, Hermann Von Meyer described the first bones of Plateosaurus in the 1830s, and in the 1963 announced to the scientific world what since then has often been celebrated as "the most important fossil ever discovered": Archaeopteryx. Also the original Compsognathus specimen was found in Germany in the same site and period of the archeopteryx (the other known specimen was found in southern France in full XX century). The "compy" example demonstrates that really small dinosaurs were already known to science well before the great entry of dinosaurs in the XX century pop-culture: obviously, films and non-documentary media have usually ignore them — for example, Compsognathus waited 130 years until it was definitively popularized in the 1990s thanks to one single popular series (which portrayed it in an unrealistically overscary way to make it interesting to the public).

Among non-dinosaurian reptiles, other than Archaeopteryx (which was considered a non-dinosaur at the time), the pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus was also found in XIX century Germany: the print of its membrane-wings ultimately demonstrated that pterosaurs were flying creatures (though believed by most experts as very poor flyers until the second half of the XX century).

In the 1870s, one of the most unexpected discovers was made in the small country of Belgium: a "graveyard" of about 40 Iguanodons found... into a coal mine. The completeness of several specimens made the scientist Louis Dollo able to re-describe this dinosaur in a more updated way, as a bipedal critter with a kangaroo-like posture and browsing the tree-tops like a giraffe (and even with a giraffe-like extensible tongue). Just few years later other spectacular "dino-graveyards" made of other kinds of dinosaurs will be found in the USA, and in the X Xth century still others will astonish researchers in USA, Canada, Europe etc.

  • In the USA

The first dino-remains found in the Americas were simple isolated teeth. They were found in the 1850s in USA, and described by Joseph Leidy: Trachodon, Troodon, Palaeoscincus, and Deinodon. Deinodon was probably a tyrannosaurid, Trachodon a hadrosaur, Palaeoscincus an ankylosaur, and Troodon a small carnivore — all them were treated as "wastebins", attributing to them other remains found later which is hard to say if they really pertain to them.

Then, in 1858 in New England, Leidy described the first proper bones (mainnly leg bones, but not the skull) of an animal related with Iguanodon & Trachodon he called Hadrosaurus ("heavy lizard"). It was also first big dinosaur recognized as biped, and the first dinosaur mounted in an exposition. It was even created a life-sized model of it (made by Benjamin W. Hawkings, the same sculptor that created the Crystal Palace Park models), that unfortunately was destroyed by the local mafia.

However, some important findings had already been made in New England much before the hadrosaurus' discover (we're talking about the start of the century); several footprints of theropods of uncertain attribution, that were initially mistaken for prints of a giant bird (some went far away to think they were made by Noah's crow!); and the early dinosaur Anchisaurus, whose incomplete fossil was found in 1818 (even before the description of Megalosaurus), but was recognized as a dinosaur only at the end of the century. note 


LATE 1800: the "Bone Wars"

After the first American discoveries above, two palaeontologists of the North-East of the USA, Edward D. Cope & Othniel C. Marsh, were attracted by the great plenty of fossil material casually found in the Far West. Their wish of glory and scientific prestige caused them becoming archrivals for their whole life. They obsessively searched for the most spectacular dinosaur possible and then published the discover in scientific papers — both arrived to the point to destroy some fossils found by the other scientist! However, we have to thank them if so many dinosaurs were found in this period: among them, just the most famous dinosaurs in the XX century. (Interest in dinosaurs was still bland at Marsh's & Cope's times). Many names of dino-groupings were also created within the "wars": Theropods, Sauropods, Ornithopods, Stegosaurians, Ceratopsians. Some of these groups were invented just to include bone-wars dinosaurs.

One of the first animals described by Marsh was the today-obscure sauropod Atlantosaurus immanis (immanis = immense), publicized as "the biggest creature that ever lived" (extimated even 40 m/130 ft long, twice a Real Life apatosaurus and even longer than a Real Life diplodocus!). Cope responded with his Camarasaurus supremus (supremus = the biggest), also initially extimated up to 40 m/130 ft of length. But it was Marsh that won the sauropod-competition describing the two most famous sauropods, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus indeed (but also Barosaurus). It was also Marsh the responsible of both the notorious "Brontosaurus" misunderstanding, and the classic theory about water-living sauropods lasted until the late 1900. It's worth noting that both scientists often discovered the same animals, but gave them different names; usually the names coined by Marsh are still valid today, while the Cope's ones are simple invalid synonyms; exceptions are Camarasaurus, Coelophysis & Monoclonius, all Cope's creations. But the Marsh ones include names like Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Allosaurus other than Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus, Diplodocus. Also named by Marsh were: the horned carnivore Ceratosaurus, the ornithopods Camptosaurus and Dryosaurus, the small carnivore Coelurus, the ceratopsid Torosaurus, the ankylosaur Nodosaurus, and Ornithomimus, the first bird-like dinosaur recognized as "bird-like". Curiously, Cope described some "sensational" animals that are not much known today: the huge allosaur Epanterias and the mysterious giant vertebra of Amphicoelias (which has recently become popular thanks to Internet). And it was Cope that discovered the first complete hadrosaur skeletons, named Trachodon copei (now called Anatosaurus copei, Edmontosaurus copei or Anatotitan copei, see Stock Dinosaurs)

It's also worth of note the fact that some non-dinosaurs that are stock today were also found during the "bone-wars" (usually by Marsh): the pterosaur Pteranodon, the plesiosaur Elasmosaurus, the mosasaur Tylosaurus, and the mammal-like Dimetrodon. Not to mention some extinct big mammals, like Uintatherium & Brontotherium. More precisely, however, Elasmosaurus was discovered and described by Cope slightly before the beginning of the scientific competition: there is a curious story tied with the elasmo's reconstruction made by Cope (see "Heads or Tails?")


EARLY 1900: dinosaurs everywhere

In this time the dino-groups that are the most familiar today (giant quadrupedal sauropods ceratopsians & stegosaurs and ERECT giant carnivores) made their triumphant entry in the western pop-culture. The old four-legged dragons of the british "crystal palace park" were replaced by much more diversified animals with long necks, horned heads, armored backs, upright stances, bird-like bills and so on. For the joy of pop-culture-makers this available diversity increased even more just in this period: in Europe, Asia, Africa, and expecially North-America were (sometimes re-) discovered many new kinds of dinosaurs that soon later joined their relatives in museums, paleo-art, and sometimes films and cartoons. Above all, they added more material for scientists to rebuild the mosaic of the dino-evolution. Among them, Harry G. Seeley was able to separate dinosaurs in two great branches: Saurischians & Ornithischians.

  • In the USA

If we don't count two of the greatest (in all senses) dino-stars, Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachiosaurus (both announced just at the start of the century) the fossil sites of Eagle Land has not added many new genera to the world-dinosaur-list in the first portion of the XX century. Rather, several skeletons of already-known creatures were dug out in the same places where the "bone-wars" were "fought" some decades before: ex. the famous two Diplodocus skeletons found thanks to Carnegie's money and enthusiasm, the "bone-quarry" in Utah full of Allosaurus dead in a prehistoric tar-pit, and even a small "hut" made of sauropod bones discovered by Earl Douglass where today is the Dinosaur National Monument (between Utah and Colorado, and a great source of Jurassic dino-bones still-today). More spectacular was the discover of the so-called "Trachodon mummies" which showed the first ever remains of skin and even muscles in a dinosaur fossil; but from the 1930s until recently the "bone-wars" Trachodons and the "mummies" were rechristened Anatosaurus. Among brand new animals described in early 1900, Ornitholestes (which joined Coelurus and Compsognathus among the typical small Jurassic theropods), and the ceratopsid Pentaceratops found in Texas. Among non-dinosaurian reptiles, the giant turtle Archelon was found in South Dakota slightly before the start of the 1900.

  • In Canada

After the discover of the first skull of the T-rex relative Albertosaurus made by Joseph Tyrrell in Alberta at the end of the XIX century, much more new type of dinosaurs came to light in this canadian province. The latter revealed itself to be a veritable "mine" of Late-Cretaceous dinosaurs, increasing drammatically the relatively-low number of animals known from the end of the Dinosaur Era. Within this context, several characters competed with each other for "the one that excavates the best fossils" title, similarly to what Cope & Marsh did previously in the western USA: because of this, some have named this competition the "2nd great dino-rush" (after the "bone-wars"). The main fossil-hunters were Barnum Brown (the same guy who had found the first two T.rex skeletons some years before), the Sternberg family, and Lawrence Lambe; the main field was the badlands around the Red Deer River not far away from the capital Edmonton. The discoveries included all the main Late Cretaceous dino-groups, but expecially ceratopsians and hadrosaurians. Among the former, the hook-frilled, Centrosaurus, the triangle-shielded Chasmosaurus, and the spectacular multi-spiked Styracosaurus (which managed to enter the pop-culture thanks to its look), but also the small Leptoceratops — other than several new Triceratops specimens (expecially skulls). Among hadrosaurians, the huge Edmontosaurus (whose name is a clear reference to Edmonton), the glove-crested Lambeosaurus (named after L. Lambe), the allegedly hump-nosed Kritosaurus, the dish-crested Corythosaurus & Hypacrosaurus and, more famous of all, the tube-crested Parasaurolophus — the name of the latter was in turn ispired from another hadrosaur found in these sites, Saurolophus. And then, the armored ankylosaurians (which were definitively recognized distinct from stegosaurians): Euoplocephalus, Scolosaurus, Edmontonia (Edmonton again), and the prototype of the group, Ankylosaurus. The Alberta's fossil sites also revealed smaller slender animals: among them, the first complete ornithomimids (the name Struthiomimus was coined in this time), the first incomplete "raptor" (Dromaeosaurus) and its relative Stenonychosaurus (today synonimized with Troodon), the hypsilophodontian Thescelosaurus, and the first-found pachycephalosaurian, Stegoceras.

  • In Europe

The main figure of dino-expert there was Friedrich Von Huene who divided theropod dinosaurs into Carnosaurs and Coelurosaurs and discovered a huge graveyard of Plateosaurus in his country (Germany), making the latter one of the best-known triassic dinosaurs since then, and the typical example of the new subgroup conceived by Huene, the "prosauropods" . Also found in Europe at the start of the 1900 were two tiny early theropods, Procompsognathus & Saltopus, the much bigger sauropod Hypselosaurus (maybe the owner of the biggest ever-found non-bird dinosaur eggs), and some Late Cretaceous "dwarf dinosaurs" such as Struthiosaurus (described by another European scientist of the time, Franz Von Nopsca).

  • In Africa

Some fragmentary dinosaurs were already known in Africa before the XX century (ex. Massospondylus), but two animals dominated the early XX century of paleontological Africa: Spinosaurus and Brachiosaurus. The former was found in Cretaceous Sahara, but was initially described as a carnivore smaller than T. rex and with nothing interesting apart from the crest of its back; the latter was discovered far souther, in Tanzania, and being the first complete specimen of brachiosaur ever found, became the model of all the brachiosaurs found in popular culture. Both dinosaurs were found by German scientists (E. Stromer & W. Janensch respectively) note  and stored in German museums; sadly, World War II aerial bombing destroyed most of the Spinosaurus ones, while the "Brachiosaurus" (renamed Giraffatitan since 2009) is still towering in the Berlin Nature Museum. Other dinosaurs came to light in that years in the same site of the brachiosaur (Tendaguru), ex. the small spiky stegosaurian Kentrosaurus and some diplodocoids (one of them was long classified in the north-american genus Barosaurus). While in South Africa Robert Broom and other scientists found several non-dinosaurs lived in the Early Triassic (before the apparition of the first dinosaurs): many new "mammal-like reptiles" (among them the very-close-to-mammals Cynognathus & Thrinaxodon) and also what was long believed the ancestor of dinosaurs, the archosauromorph Euparkeria.

  • In Asia

Apart from some fragmentary remains found in India (Titanosaurus), the first asian dinosaurs were discovered by american naturalist and adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews and his team which made in the 1920s a perilous expedition in Mongolia, precisely in the Gobi Desert. Andrews (which was working for the American Nature Museum in New York at the time led by Henry F. Osborn) found the first remains of what he believed the common ancestor of the horned dinosaurs, Protoceratops ("first horned face"). They were coupled with some eggs he attributed to it, and also a crushed Oviraptor skull nearby — hence the classic theory about Oviraptor as a nest-robber, see Stock Dinosaurs. Andrews also discovered the very first incomplete Velociraptor remains —- not even furtherly imagining the huge success this name will gain 80 years later. And then, the first specimens of the "parrot-bill" Psittacosaurus, the ankylosaur Pinacosaurus, and the Velociraptor-relative Saurornithoides.


MIDDLE 1900

The middle portion of the XX century is sometimes known as "the dinosaur Middle Ages": from the 1930s to the 1970s few new dinosaur kinds were added to the list, and very few new theories about their life were ideated. The classic image of "big stupid beasts condemned to extinction" was dominant, filling many movies and popular reconstructions of the time. North America assisted the last findings of the former dino-rush — from Wyoming came Pachycephalosaurus, aka the modern prototype of the thick-headed dinosaurs. Then, in the sixties, it was discovered the huge graveyard of Coelophysis in New Mexico, making the coelophysis joining Plateosaurus as the most best-known early dinosaur (and leading the hypothesis that Coelophysis was cannibalistic). In Europe, "Megalosaurus" was still treated as a Wastebasket; however, the theropod Eustreptospondylus was deemed distinct from Megalosaurus in the 1930s.

Also interesting were the dino-news from the asian Far East: the second dino-hunt in Mongolia (this time led by Russian scientists) revealed in the 1950s the eastern T.rex relative Tarbosaurus, the asian species of Saurolophus, and the huge claw of Therizinosaurus (other than several new specimens of Protoceratops, nicknamed the "sheep of the Cretaceous" just for its abundance). Meanwhile, in China, Young Chung Chien (the father of Chinese paleontology) announced the first well-preserved dinosaurs found in his country: the huge-necked sauropod Mamenchisaurus, the unicorn-like hadrosaur Tsintaosaurus, other than the first asian stegosaurs and carnosaurs, and the early Lufengosaurus — which started the tradition of portraying dinosaurs in postage-stamps.


THE 1970s AND 1980s: the Great Renaissance

The dino-discover that dominated the 1970s was undoubtly Deinonychus, the "sickle-clawed dinosaur", described in Montana by John Ostrom as a cunning vicious hunter of big game (namely the ornithopod Tenontosaurus), so debunking the traditional vision of all dinosaurs as slow and foolish, and leading to the famous "Dinosaur Renaissance" led mainly by Ostrom's pupil Bob Bakker. Meanwhile, in Mongolia, the third historical expedition there (this time led by Polish scientists) note  uncovered the famous combat between Velociraptor & Protoceratops. So a Canadian palaeontologist, Dale Russell, decided to put Deinonychus & Velociraptor in the same family, Dromaeosaurids. Also another Jurassic Park guy, Gallimimus, was found in Mongolia in the Seventies, as well as his huge relative Deinocheirus (better, the latter's forelimbs), and a variety of other animals (the flat-headed pachycephalosaur Homalocephale, the Mix-and-Match Critter Segnosaurus, the late-surviving sauropod Opisthocoelicaudia, and a whole herd of juvenile Pinacosaurus among the others). Souther, in China, Dong Zhiming started adding new dinosaurs to his predecessor Young's list: among them the stegosaur Tuojiangosaurus, the carnosaur Yangchuanosaurus, the club-tailed sauropod Shunosaurus, and also the huge-named Micropachycephalosaurus. Even souther, in India, a very fragmentary plesiosaur (Dravidosaurus) was wrongly publicized as "the last-surviving stegosaur". In South Africa, the curious tusked Heterodontosaurus and the more generic Lesothosaurus gave new light to the ornithischians' first evolutionary steps, as well as new more complete remains of Massospondylus did with the sauropodomorph branch. In Northern Africa a sail-backed animal, the duck-billed Ouranosaurus, joined the other more famous sailback, Spinosaurus. In Argentina Jose Bonaparte discovered the first armored sauropod, Saltasaurus, and the horned theropod Carnotaurus (which revealed the best print of skin ever in a large dinosaur), as well as several primitive dinosaurs (Riojasaurus, Mussaurus etc.) But the most primitive of them all, Staurikosaurus & Herrerasaurus, were not described by Bonaparte — Staurikosaurus was not even found in Argentina but in Brazil. The description of these two middle triassic small carnivores broke up for some time the dichotomy Saurischians vs Ornithischians, as they were believed too primitive to belong to either; today they are believed very unspecialized saurischians.

In the USA, other than Deinonychus was announced the early jurassic Dilophosaurus (formerly believed a species of the "wastebasket taxon" Megalosaurus), as well as its possible prey, the small armored Scutellosaurus, the equally-armored but much larger ankylosaur Sauropelta, and still other new genera. Meanwhile (also in USA) James Jensen resurrected the old tradition of ballyhooing incredibly huge sauropods to the media: his Supersaurus was briefly "the biggest dinosaur ever" until the even bigger "Ultrasaurus" was announced by Jensen some years later. In Canada, Phil Currie found a huge herd of Centrosaurus dead together in a flood, and described Troodon as "the biggest-brained dinosaur". His colleague Dale Russell got this Up to Eleven thinking it could have become similar to a humanoid if survived to the extinction. Dale Russell also lumped Gorgosaurus into Albertosaurus (but judged Daspletosaurus distinct from the latter) and separated "Dromiceiomimus" from Ornithomimus. But the most prominent palaeontologist was perhaps Jack Horner. In the 1980s, his discover of the nests of the hadrosaur Maiasaura got ultimately the proof that some dinosaurs underwent parental care just like mammals and birds. In the same site Horner also discovered the nests he attributed to the smaller ornithopod Orodromeus. In England great mediatic coverage was dedicated to Baryonyx, a new kind of big theropod totally different to the others, specialized to fishing. While in the other side of the world, the first complete Australian dinosaurs came to light: the most known is perhaps Muttaburrasaurus, and then Minmi and Leaellynasaura. Finally, the Ice Continent unvealed its first dinosaurs: an (for 20 years) unnamed ankylosaurian and an (still-today) unnamed hypsilophodontian, both found in the ice-free portion of Antarctica.


THE 1990s

In the Jurassic Park decade the main discover was certainly the first print of feathers found in non-avian dinosaurs, in 1996. Before that, only Avimimus (found in 1980 in Mongolia) seemed showing some proof of feathers, but not prints. Then, Sinosauropteryx and other animals found in northern China changed our perception of dinosaurs, which were much more bird-like than usually thought. Today, dozens of feathered dinosaurs are known, as well as some animals which have had some relation with the bird-dinosaur argument — the alleged "first bird" Protoavis, and Mononykus (which was initially believed a true bird). In North America, the diplodocid "Seismosaurus" competed with "Ultrasaurus" in the early 1990s for the "biggest land animal ever" title; today, both animals are considered invalid by official science. Meanwhile, the traditional "Anatosaurus" was divided into Edmontosaurus & "Anatotitan" in 1990; and then, the discover of Utahraptor upscaled dromaeosaurid size at 7 m of length since 1993. It was also confirmed even Alaska was populated by dinosaurs: the bizarre ceratopsid Pachyrhinosaurus (known since 1930s) has revealed in the 1990s a huge fossil herd near the Polar Circle.

Among other continents, South America was particularly plenty of interesting animals: the tiny Eoraptor (long believed the first-ever dinosaur) in 1993, the sail-backed sauropod Amargasaurus in 1990, the nesting ground of Saltasaurus in 1998, and, above all, the incomplete remains of Argentinosaurus (which in turn took over to "Seismosaurus" and "Ultrasaurus" the "biggest ever!" title, now contented by other guys, expecially "Amphicoelias"), and later those of Giganotosaurus (that, together with Carcharodontosaurus, was presented as "bigger than T. rex"; today the record-holder among theropods is officially Spinosaurus). In Mongolia, Oviraptor (better, Citipati) revealed not to be an egg-stealer as traditionally thought. Finally, in Italy, the tiny Scipionyx showed the very-first internal organs in a dino-fossil —- while the alleged "heart" of Thescelosaurus found a bit later in the USA is probably a simple piece of stone casually heart-like.


THE 2000s

The New Millennium opened with an unespected find in Northern China: a four-winged dromaeosaurid, named Microraptor, which demostrated once for all that birds are dinosaurs. Later, also in China, some paleontologists started the trend to name chinese dinosaurs with the suffix -long (ex. Guanlong). Meanwhile, the BBC producers popularized some new theories about dino-life thanks to their computer-graphic: rigid-necked sauropods, for example. Other theories emerged from CGI studies include: non-headbutting pachycephalosaurians, non-killing-in-pack dromaeosaurids, non-quadrupedal prosauropods, and so on. Today, the biggest interest about dinosaurs regards their skin: it seems not only theropods but also herbivorous dinosaurs had some sort of feathers or feather-like structures: the quills on Psittacosaurus, the bristles of Triceratops, even the fleshy spikes of Diplodocus could have had the same origins of theropods' feathers, as (maybe) definitively demostrated by the discover of Tianyulong. Not forgetting that one close dinosaur relative, the pterosaur Sordes, had revealed signs of hair-like things already in the 1970s.

Talking about pterosaurs, they too have undergone a "renaissance" since the Seventies: the huge Quetzalcoatlus and several other kinds (Dsungaripterus, Pterodaustro, and many others) increased greatly the known ptero-variety, demonstrating "flying reptiles" being as diversified as modern birds in ecology, and as efficient as fliers. While the 1 ft long Lagosuchus (found in the 1970s in Argentina) has demonstrated the evolutionary link between pteros and dinos. About other Mesozoic reptiles found since the 1970s are worth of note the marine plesiosaur Kronosaurus found in Australia, the huge ichthyosaur Shonisaurus found in North America, and the giant crocs Sarcosuchus & Deinosuchus, maybe able to transform large dinosaurs in their meals.


And then, the non-stock dinosaurs divided in subgroups according to their real affinites and sometimes to their external appearence.

Prehistoric LifeTropesaurus IndexPrehistoric Life - Large Theropods
    Usefulnotes/Prehistoric LifePrehistoric Life - Non-Dinosaurian Reptiles

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