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dinolegend - Animated



Allosaurus (Greek: allos {"other"}; saurus, {"lizard"}), a large, carnivorous DINOSAUR of Late JURASSIC to the Early CRETACEOUS Period, ranged in length from 5 to 12 m (16 to 40 ft) and probably weighed 4 metric tons (about 8,800 lb). Like all other theropods, Allosaurus walked on only two legs, using its long, heavy tail for balance. The short forelimbs bore three sharp, curved claws adapted for grasping prey. The hindlimbs were powerful, with birdlike feet and less-curved claws. The head was large, nearly 1 m (3 ft) long, with long jaws armed with serrated, bladelike teeth suited to eating flesh.

Allosaurus apparently was the most common of the later Jurassic theropods in North America (others included ORNITHOLESTES, Ceratosaurus, and Coelurus) and probably was the chief predator of such contemporaneous herbivores as BRONTOSAURUS, CAMPTOSAURUS, DIPLODOCUS, and STEGOSAURUS


Apatosaurus was one of a number of giant, plant-eating DINOSAURS that roamed western North America during the Late JURASSIC PERIOD, more than 140 million years ago. The animal probably will remain better known for some time under the name Brontosaurus, because this name has been used in many books and films about dinosaurs. Paleontologists use the name Apatosaurus, however, because the first fossil fragment of the animal was so labeled, and by scientific convention the first name given is the one accepted. Apatosaurus and other giants such as BRACHIOSAURUS, DIPLODOCUS, and Camarasaurus constitute the suborder Sauropoda. These five-toed, long-necked dinosaurs were the dominant herbivores of their time. Their fossils occur in abundance in rock formations in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Apatosaurus had an enormous, barrel-like body supported by thick, heavy legs. Its tail and neck were long and stout. More than 25 m (82 ft) in total length, it weighed from 18-32 metric tons (20-35 U.S. tons). The skull was elongated and had short but pointed teeth. Apatosaurus skeletons are usually headless when they are found, however, because of fragile skull and neck connections. When the American paleontologist O. C. MARSH uncovered the first such skeleton, in 1879, he paired it with a wrong skull found nearby--that of the dinosaur now known as Camarasaurus. As a result, Apatosaurus was depicted as having a snub-nosed head with peglike teeth until the late 1970s, when the error was corrected.

Traditionally, paleontologists have regarded Apatosaurus as semiaquatic, feeding and wallowing in lakes, swamps, and rivers, because they believed that the animal's enormous weight was too great for the legs to bear and that it therefore needed to live in water to support its weight. Using this line of reasoning, some scientists suggested that the animal's long neck permitted it to breathe while at depths of 6-8 m (20-25 ft). This theory is flawed, however, because water pressures at depths of only a few meters would have been too great to permit the animal to breathe. More recently it has been suggested that all of the sauropods lived on land, using their long necks to reach and browse on treetop foliage


Baluchitherium is an extinct rhinoceros of the order Perissodactyla, class Mammalia, that lived during the late Oligocene and early Miocene epochs of the TERTIARY PERIOD (about 20-30 million years ago). It is believed to be the largest land mammal that ever lived. The first baluchitheres were found in central Mongolia. Unlike its modern descendants, Baluchitherium was hornless, but other features clearly indicate that this huge beast was a rhinoceros. Its skull was about 1.2 m (4 ft) long, and it stood about 5.5 m (18 feet) high at the shoulder. A long neck and huge, pillarlike legs enabled the animal to browse among the higher branches of trees. Baluchitheres were probably limited to Asia, for their remains have not been found elsewhere.


One of the largest of the sauropod DINOSAURS, Brachiosaurus (Greek: brachion, "arm"; sauros, "lizard") was about 21 m (70 ft) long, 12 m (40 ft) high, and weighed an estimated 78 metric tons (more than 170,000 lb). It is believed to have been amphibious, seeking deep waters to avoid predators and to feed on water plants. Specimens were first found in Upper JURASSIC rocks in Colorado, and are now also known from Europe and Africa. As in other sauropods, the head was relatively small; the neck, however, was much longer and the tail was shorter than is usual in this suborder. The forelimbs were unusually long, as the name suggests. A spectacular articulated skeleton from Tanzania is on exhibit at the Berlin Museum


Corythosaurus (Greek: koryth-, the stem of korys, "helmet"; sauros, "lizard"), a late Cretaceous duckbill (hadrosaurian) DINOSAUR of North America, reached a length of 950 cm (31 ft) and weighed up to 3.8 metric tons (more than 8,000 lb).The genus is characterized by a helmetlike crest containing convoluted loops of the nasal passage, a structure that some paleontologists believe was involved with vocalization. Like other hadrosaurs, Corythosaurus was a herbivore, equipped for its vegetarian diet with a flattened ducklike bill behind which batteries of several hundred teeth were arranged in superimposed rows that functioned as a shearing device. A long, transversely flattened tail and evidence of webbed feet suggest that the animal lived mainly in water but could also walk on land. Specimens are most common in Alberta, western Canada, where occasional impressions of the skin on rock surrounding the skeletons reveal small, elevated scales arranged in geometric patterns


One of the best known of all DINOSAURS, Diplodocus was one of the gigantic sauropods, the dominant herbivores of the Jurassic Period. Many specimens have been collected from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of western North America. Diplodocus had the typical sauropod build, with a large barrellike body, postlike legs, a long neck and tail, and a very small head. The name (meaning "double beam") alludes to the peculiar construction of certain tailbones, which had projections fore and aft and which protected blood vessels from friction with the ground. Although less robust (estimated live weight--11 to 15 tons) than APATOSAURUS, it grew to a greater length--23 m (90 ft) or more. Usually thought to have been a semiaquatic animal that fed on soft water plants, it has also been pictured as a terrestrial treetop browser.


Iguanodon was a bipedal herbivorous ornithischian DINOSAUR whose fossils appear in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous rocks. With massive bodies weighing more than 6 metric tons (13,200 lb), iguanodons stood up to 4.9 m (16 ft) high and were up to 9.5 m (31 ft) long. The jaws, lined with broad, flattened teeth, ended in the front with a toothless, horny beak. Arm-like forelimbs had five-fingered hands with a large sharp bony spike in place of a thumb. Four-toed feet (three functional toes and a fourth very small one) produced birdlike tracks that are preserved in certain strata. The tracks indicate that the Iguanodon was a herding animal.

Iguanodon specimens have been found principally in Europe, with fragmentary remains recently reported from the United States, in Utah, and from Mongolia. Among the first dinosaurs to be discovered (in England in 1822), Iguanodon became one of the best known through the discovery in 1878 of some 33 skeletons in a Belgian coal mine. The name (Greek for "iguana tooth") alludes to a vague resemblance of the teeth to those of the existing but unrelated iguana lizard


The mastodon, an elephantlike mammal belonging to the order Proboscidea, was widespread from the Miocene through the Pleistocene epochs (26 million to 10 thousand years ago). Mastodons were in the mainline of PROBOSCIDEAN evolution and were probably derived from Moeritherium, which inhabited what is now Egypt in the Early Oligocene. Mastodons first appeared in the Early Oligocene (38 million to 26 million years ago) and were considerably larger than the moeritheres. Phiomia, an Oligocene form, had well-developed tusks, an elephantlike skeleton, and relatively long legs; its skull suggests that it also had a well-developed trunk. Its teeth were typical of all mastodons, consisting of a series of paired conical cusps. When seen in profile, these mound-shaped cusps resemble a woman's breasts; hence the name mastodon was derived from the Greek for breast tooth.

Gomphotherium (also called Trilophodon) lived during the Late Miocene and the Early Pliocene (12 million to 3.5 million years ago). It resembled Phiomia, but the teeth were more breastlike and the trunk was more fully developed. Shovel-tusked mastodons such as Amebelodon developed broad, scoop-shaped lower tusks that were useful for digging vegetation. Mastodon americanus, common in North America during the Pleistocene Epoch and perhaps up to a few thousand years ago, was not as tall as modern elephants. Its strongly curved upper tusks were very large, and its body was covered with long, reddish brown hair


The best-known dinosaur of the infraorder Prosauropoda (suborder Theropoda, order Saurischia) is Plateosaurus, which is widely viewed as the archetypal prosauropod. The prosauropods were the ancestors of the gigantic sauropods, such as Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) and Diplodocus, of the following Jurassic Period. The plateosaurus is known from dozens of European specimens from the late Triassic Period, about 200 million years ago. Its teeth and its heavy-bodied shape and stout limbs indicate that, like most other prosauropods, it was essentially herbivorous, but it may have occasionally supplemented its diet with animal food. Its forelegs, although much smaller than the hind legs, were still relatively large and heavy, with broad forefeet that were somewhat modified for grasping; it was apparently capable of moving either on all fours or on its hind legs. The plateosaurus measured more than 6 m (20 ft) long, about 5 m (16.5 ft) high when standing erect, and weighed perhaps 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); it was the largest reptile of the Triassic Period


Plesiosaurs are an extinct group of large aquatic reptiles that ranged through the oceans of the world from the late Triassic until the end of the Cretaceous, or from about 195 million to 65 million years ago. The plesiosaurs make up the suborder Plesiosauria in the order Sauropterygia and are usually divided into the superfamilies Plesiosauroidea, or long-necked plesiosaurs, and the Pliosauroidea, or short-necked plesiosaurs. The number of neck bones, or vertebrae, in these differing forms varied from as few as 13 in Brachauchenius to 76 in Elasmosaurus, whose neck was twice as long as its body.

Plesiosaurs ranged in size from about 2.5 to 14 m (8 to 46 ft). As larger forms evolved, the necks of the long-necked forms tended to get even longer, whereas in the short-necked forms the ...

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