Animals

World’s Most Popular Dinosaur Fossils Discovered

World’s Most Popular Dinosaur Fossils Discovered

Who would have thought that dinosaurs lived in this planet? Giant lizards roaming around, some were flying, some were predators, some are gigantic and some are as small as a pigeon.

Even at early times, paleontologists cannot believe that these prehistoric creatures existed. They even make a mistake that the remains they found are from a giant human.

They also quarreled if these remains are from a giant fish or from a rhinoceros. We already know some famous dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and the Pterodactyl but do we already know what is the first dinosaur fossil found?


If you have no idea what it is, then I suggest that you read this fascinating article featuring the origins and significance of the famous dinosaur fossils discovered.


Megalosaurus


Robert Plot, a professor from Oxford University thought that the unearthed partial giant femur which was found in England in 1676 belongs to a human giant.

That time the idea that dinosaurs exist was not yet accepted or not even thought of.

After 150 years, William Buckland, a Geology professor in Oxford University gave this genus a distinctive name and after twenty (20) years, a famous paleontologist named Richard Owen identified the Megalosaurus as a dinosaur.

Megalosaurus came from two Greek words “megalo” which means big or tall and “sauros” which means lizard.

This dinosaur is very significant because it is is the first described and named from its genus.
Modern restoration of Megalosaurus


Iguanodon


Iguanodon means “iguanatooth” (came from the Greek word “odon” which means toot) is the second dinosaur which was given a formal genus name (firs if Megalosaurus, as mentioned earlier).

Though there’s a controversy on how the first teeth of the Iguanodon were obtained by Gideon Mantell, this physical evidence is very significant because a genus was named for some of the duckbilled types.

Many scientists dismissed them as fish teeth or incisors of a rhinoceros. But when Gideon Mantell brought them again to Cuvier, it was determined that the teeth was from a reptilian animal… or to a giant herbivore.

The initial name of Iguanodon is Iguanasaurus but William Daniel Conybeare suggested Iguanodon because it is more applicable.
Modern restoration showing Iguanodon in quadrupedal pose.


8 – Hadrosaurus


The first unearthed bones of the Hydrosaurus was obtained by John Estaugh Hopkins in a marl pit in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He displayed it at his home and one visitor became interested in digging more of these bones. In 1858, William Parker dug out a skeleton on the marl pit and that excavation area is now a national historic landmark. Parker contacted Joseph Leidy, a paleontologist and together they studied the fossils and named it as Hadrosaurus foulkii.


Archaeopteryx


This feathered dinosaur’s name came from two Greek words “archaīos” which means “ancient”, and “ptéryx” which means “feather” or “wing”.

The Germans call it “Urvogel” which means “original or first bird”. I’ll probably agree that this creature might be the missing link between the dinosaurs and birds.

Its fossils were found in Solnhofen limestone in Bavaria and theses fossils are not just fragments, they were complete preserved fossils of the flying creature.

As of now, there are eleven body fossils and a feather of the archaeopteryx, and all were found near from the quarried areas near Solnhofen.

Here are some of the specimens found: Berlin Specimen, Haarlem Specimen, Eichstätt Specimen, Munich Specimen, Daiting Specimen, BürgermeisterMüller Specimen and Thermopolis Specimen.
Artist's restoration illustrating one interpretation of Carney's study


Maiasaura


The name came from two Greek words which means “caring mother lizard” This type of duckbilled dinosaur can walk both on two (bipedal) or four (quadrupedal) legs and live together with a herd in an extremely large number.

Maiasaura was discovered by Laurie Trexler and described by Jack Horner and Robert Makela in Western Montana.

Also, Marion Brandvold discovered fossils of nests of eggshells and dinosaur hatchling in the rocks of the Two Medicine Formation which became known as the Egg Mountain.

After these discoveries, many scientists went to that area and they discovered many kinds of dinosaurs.

Illustration of a herd of Maiasaura walking along a creekbed, as found in the semi-arid Two Medicine Formation fossil bed. 

This region was characterized by volcanic ash layers and conifer, fern and horsetail vegetation.


Sinosauropteryx


Chinese called it as zhonghua longniao which means “Chinese reptilian wing”, the first genus of dinosaur not included in the Avialae but has feathers.

Also, this nonavilian dinosaur is the first to have a determined colour of its feathers because some colouration was preserved for some of its feathers.

The first fossils were found in 1196 by Li Yumin, a farmer and parttime fossil hunter as well. He obtained the fossils around the Liaoning Province and these specimens were separated in two slabs.

Phil Currie, a Canadian paleontologist was amazed when he saw the specimens and though photos of the specimen were barred, he managed to bring a photograph that was seen by different paleontologists.

That became the start of the interest of different paleontologists around the world to examine the fossil.
Reconstruction illustrating colouration as suggested by the study of preserved melanosomes. 

Black regions and most of the sides lack fossilised feathers.


Brachylophosaurus


Its name was from three Greek words: “brachys” which means short; “lophos” which means crest and “sauros” which means lizard.

In 1953, a skull and some skeletons were found by Charles M. Sternberg but he thought it belongs to a Gryposaurus.

In 1988, another specimen was found by Jack Horner and he found it in the Judith River Formation of Montana. Paleontologists have a habit when they discovered something, they give nickname to it.

Nate Murphy discovered a complete and uncrushed skeleton of it and named it “Elvis”, in year 2000, Murphy together with the group found another skeleton of a brachylophosaur and it was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most spectacular finds ever.

After that they have unearthed “Roberta and Peanut” and a public relations coordinator named Steven Cowan named his discovered skeleton as “Marco”.
Restoration Sample


Mosasaurus


Its name is a combination of Latin and Greek word. Meuse lizard, this is the meaning of its name which was derived from “Mosa” a Latin word and “saurus” a Greek word for lizard.

The first fossils were found in the Meuse River, it resembles an aquatic lizard, a flippered crocodile perhaps and it has an elongated jaw.

German biologist Hermann Schlegel is the first to assume that the mosasaurus had flippers instead of normal feet. The first artifact was found in a chalk quarry in St. Pietersberg, near Maastricht, Netherlands in 1764.

It was collected by Jean Baptiste Drouin and procured by Martinus van Marum, the director of Teylers Museum.
Artist's restoration of two M. hoffmannii


Diplodocus


It was first discovered by Samuel Wendell Williston in 1877 and on the following year, its generic name was given by Othniel Charles Marsh.

Diplodocus means “double beam” which came from a NeoLatin term derived from Greek.

It was first found at Canon City, Colorado, it was also fund in the Morrison Foundation (west US States of Colorado), Wyoming, Utah and Montana.

This dinosaur has been famous, muchdepicted and it has been on display in more places than any other sauropod dinosaur.

The reason probably is because of its wealth of skeletal remains and former status as the longest dinosaur.
Restoration of D. carnegii


Raptorex

Photo credits: Archosaur Musings
Meet the “MiniMe” of the Tyrannosaurus Rex! Raptorex is like a miniature TRex because it has all the characteristics of its larger descendant.

Paul Sereno, study leader at the University Chicago said that this prehistoric creature appeared 125 million years ago, twice as far from the time the TRex exists.

Its estimated weight is 150 pounds or 70 kilograms and stands nine (9) feet high.

Raptorex kriegsteini, named after the collector’s father, an Auschwitz survivor, will eventually be shipped back to Northern China and it will be displayed in a museum in Hohhot.
Artist's restoration of the juvenile specimen in life





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