Sunday, 11 December 2011


Protoceratops (Greek for "before the horned faces"); pronounced PRO-toe-SER















Scrublands and deserts of AsiaHistorical Period:
Late Cretaceous (85-70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 6 feet long and 400 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Blunt horn; humped tail; large frill over face

About Protoceratops:

Protoceratops is one of those dinosaurs that people think was a lot bigger than it actually was: today, it's often mistakenly pictured as a giant, but this horned dinosaur was only about three feet high (in its quadrupedal stance) and weighed in the neighborhood of 400 pounds---ah-tops
meaning Hulk Hogan might have been able to wrestle one to the ground. It's believed that large herds of these pig-sized ceratopsians roamed the plains and woodlands of middle Cretaceous Asia, where they were preyed on by hungry tyrannosaurs and raptors. (See also 10 Facts About Protoceratops.)
As tiny as it was compared to later herbivorous dinosaurs, Protoceratops lay near the trunk of a mighty dinosaur evolutionary tree, giving rise to the giant ceratopsians of the late Cretaceous period--including such famous and familiar dinosaurs as Triceratops, Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus. However, Protoceratops wasn't the most "basal" ceratopsian; that honor probably belongs to the much earlier Psittacosaurus, if not an even earlier genus.
Protoceratops has earned a place in the paleontology hall of fame for a rare fossil find: the tangled skeletons of a Protoceratops and a Velociraptor, who were presumably in mid-fight when they were both buried together by a sudden sandstorm.



Stegosaurus Fast Facts

  • You pronounce their name 'steg-uh-sawr-us'.
  • The meaning of Stegosaurus is 'roofed lizard'.
  • They lived in the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaciaous Period.
  • Stegosaurus had brains the size of ping pong balls.
  • Their length was up to 9 meters (30 feet)
  • They were 4 meters (14 feet) tall.
  • They weighed 2 tonnes (about an average American car).


            Alamosaurus was a massive plant-eater (herbivore) that lived in the late Cretaceous period, between about 70 and 65 million years ago, in North America - in the region that is today the southwestern part of the United States.

           Alamosaurus was usually around 69 feet (21 meters) long, and probably weighed around 33 tons.

           The first fossils of Alamosaurus were found by Charles W. Gilmore in
1922. He found a pelvic bone ("ischium") and a shoulder bone ("scapula"). Later in 1946, Gilmore discovered further fossils, including a complete tail, a nearly complete right forelimb, and both pelvic bones ("ischia"). Various other Alamosaurus fossils have also subsequently been found in the southwestern US, but no skull material (other than a few teeth) have yet been found.

About T-Rex

           Just say the word "tyrannosaur," and most people immediately picture the king of all dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, as any paleontologist worth his pickaxe will tell you, T. Rex was far from the only tyrannosaur roaming the forests, plains, and swamplands of the Cretaceous period (although it was certainly one of the biggest). From the perspective of a small, quivering herbivorous dinosaur, Daspletosaurus, Alioramus, and a dozen or so other tyrannosaur genera were every bit as dangerous, and their teeth were just as sharp.
            As with other broad classifications of dinosaurs, the definition of a tyrannosaur (Greek for "tyrant lizard") involves a combination of arcane anatomical features and broad swathes of physiology. Generally speaking, though, tyrannosaurs are best described as large, bipedal, meat- eating theropod dinosaurs possessing powerful legs and torsos; large, heavy heads studded with numerous sharp teeth; and tiny, almost vestigial-looking arms. As a general rule, tyrannosaurs tended to resemble one another more closely than did the members of other dinosaur families (such as ceratopsians), but there are some exceptions, as noted below. (By the way, tyrannosaurs weren't the only theropod dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period; other members of this populous breed included raptors, ornithomimids and feathered "dino-birds.")

Extinction of Animals

 An educational poster showing some examples of dinosaurs from the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic period - collectively known as the Mesozoic Era.