Paleontology By: Austin Becker
Fossils • Fossils are made through earthly processes. To explain how fossils are formed, I will use the most common example. As a dinosaur drank from the river, it slowly died. As time progressed, the dinosaurs body slowly sank into the earth and began to be buried by eroding soil. The flesh decomposed and the skeleton was left. Water infused with minerals seeped into the small air-pockets throughout the bone. The original bone decayed and the new rock-like mineral is left behind. This is a new fossil now. This process of events causes fossils to be placed under the sedimentary category of rocks.
About Paleontology • Paleontology is the study of earth’s past life forms as portrayed in the fossil record. There are multiple fossil sites throughout the globe. • Jack Horner is a Paleontology legend. • One of Jack’s many discoveries is that he discovered a breeding grounds in the Badlands of Montana. • Benjamin W. Hawkins helped the world see what dinosaurs were like by creating his images of them in statues.
Fossil Hot-spots • North America- Montana, Colorado, and Alberta, Canada • South America- Argentina • Africa- South Africa • Asia- China and Mongolia • Europe- England, France, Germany, and Great Britain • Australia and Antarctica do have fossils but there are no hot-spots in the continents.
Tyrannosaurus Rex • Name means “Tyrant Lizard King” • Discovered by: Barnum Brown and named by Henry Fairfield Osborn. Tyrannosaurus lived in the Late Cretaceous and had good vision and sense of smell. It was 40 ft. long, 15-20 ft. tall, and weighed 5-7 tons. It lived in tropical open forests where it hunted large herbivores. It could run up to 15 mph but usually didn’t because if it fell, severe damage was dealt to its skeletal structure.
Dilophosaurus • Name means “Double-crested lizard” • Discovered by: Sam Welles Dilophosaurus lived in the Early Jurassic Period in the riverbanks of Asia and North America, where it hunted in packs or scavenged. It had an ornate crest used to attract mates or warn predators. It spit a paralyzing venom to stun its prey helpless. This carnivore was 20 ft. long, 5 ft. tall, and weighed 650-1,000 lbs.
Triceratops • Name means “Three-horned lizard” • Discovered by John Bell Hatcher Triceratops lived in the Late Cretaceous Period Woodlands of North America. When discovered, this dinosaur was identified as an extinct buffalo species. The frill on its head was used for protection and attracting mates. It ate cycads and other low-lying plants. Its defensive and offensive techniques were much like that of a modern-day rhinoceros. It was 30 ft. long, 10 ft. tall ,and weighed 6-12 tons. The larger horns at the top of its head are 3 ft. long.
Stegosaurus • Name means “Covered (Roof) lizard” • Discovered by: M. P. Felch and named by Othniel C. Marsh. Stegosaurus may have lived in herds in the Late Jurassic Periods Woodlands. It’s brain was the size of a walnut. The 17 plates along its back are believed to help regulate body temperature. The thagomizers at the end of its tail were used in self-defense. It was 26-30 ft. long, 9 ft. tall, and weighed 6,800 lbs.
Brachiosaurus • Name means “Arm lizard” • Discovered by: Elmer S. Riggs. Brachiosaurus lived in the woodlands or North America, North Africa and Europe in the Mid-Late Jurassic Period. Its tall front legs and short hind legs helped it reach the tops of tall trees for vegetation. These sauropods swallowed stones to help digest their food. It was 85 ft. long, stood 40-50 ft. tall, and weighed 33-88 tons. This size advantage helped Brachiosaurus dwarf all of the Predators of the Period resulting in few Predators.
Giganotosaurus • Name means “Giant southern reptile” • Discovered by Ruben Carolini and named by Rodolfo Coria. Giganotosaurus lived in the Mid- Cretaceous swamps of South America and was 44-46 ft. long, 12 ft. tall at the hips, and weighed 8 tons. Its brain was the size of a banana. This carnivore ate large herbivores and may be the largest carnivore to exsit, due to its size over Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Iguanodon • Name means “Iguana tooth” • Discovered by: Mary Mantell and named by Gideon A. Mantell Iguanodon lived in herds eating cycads and other prehistoric plants in the Early Cretaceous Period. It could run on two legs or walk on all fours. It’s front two arms were equipped with thumb spikes used for self-defense. Iguanodon is also a species of Hadrosaur. It was 30 ft. long, 16 ft. tall, and weighed 4-5 tons.
Velociraptor • Name means “Speedy thief” • Discovered by: H. F. Osborn Velociraptor lived in the Late Cretaceous arid desert-like areas with streams and was 5-6 ft. long, 3 ft. tall, and weighed 15-33 lbs. Its long tail acted as a counterbalance to help this agile pack-hunter. Velociraptor had a large talon on its foot to help slicing its prey open.
Gallimimus • Name means “Rooster mimic” • Discovered by Rinchen Barsbold, Halszka Osmólska, and Ewa Roniewicz Gallimimus was a quick Late Cretaceous species with a small brain, but a vast amount of inteligence. It was 13-20 ft. long, 6.3 ft. at the hip, and weighed 970 lbs. Like Velociraptor, it’s tail acted like a counterbalance to help support it while running, which would have helped in the plains and grasslands that it inhabited, where it ate eggs, small animals, and some plant material.
Spinosaurus • Name means “Spiny lizard” • Discovered by Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach. Spinosaurus dwelled in the tropical areas near sea level of the Late Cretaceous and ate large fish and other large dinosaurs. There has never been a complete skeleton uncovered before or assembled and the majority of the found fossils were bombed in London by Hitler during WWII. It was a bipedal carnivore that was 40-50 ft. long, 15-20 ft. tall, and weighed 4 tons.
Brontosaurus • Name means “Thunder lizard” • Discovered by: Earl Douglass, and later named by Othneil C. Marsh Brontosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic Period where it ate conifers and other trees and ferns. It had very limited neck mobility just as Diplodocus had, and couldn’t move very quickly.
Ankylosaurus • Name means “Fused, stiff, or bent lizard” • Discovered by: Barnum Brown Ankylosaurus had a thick armored plate along its back and a huge tail club for defense. It lived in the Cretaceous Period where it ate low-lying plant material. Ankylosaurus was 25-35 ft. long, 4 ft. tall, and weighed 3-4 tons.
Parasaurolophus • Name means “Beside Saurolophus” • Discovered by: William A. Parks Parasaurolophus was 40 ft. long, 8 ft. tall at the hips, and weighed 2 tons as it ate Cretaceous pine needles, leaves, and twigs.
Charcharodontosaurus • Name means “Shark-tooth lizard” • Discovered by: Depret and Savornin Charcharodontosaurus lived in the Cretaceous Period and possibly hunted in packs. It was 26-44 ft. long, and weighed up to 8 tons.
Pachycephalosaurus • Name means “Thick-headed lizard” • Discovered by: William Winkley Pachycephalosaurus lived in the Late Cretaceous, was 15 ft. long and about 950 lbs. It ate small plants, seeds and fruits.
Oviraptor • Name means “Egg robber” • Discovered by: Henry F. Osborn. Oviraptor had quick speed and preyed on eggs of other dinosaurs and reptiles. It lived in the Cretaceous Period in dry-desolate places.
Ceratosaurus • Name means “Horn lizard” • Discovered by: Othneil C. Marsh Ceratosaurus may have hunted in groups in the Late Jurassic Period, where it preyed upon sauropods or scavenged. It was 15-20 ft. long, and weighed 0.5-1 ton.
Pteranodon • Name means “Winged and toothless” • Discovered by: S. W. Williston Pteranodon flew through the skies of the Late Cretaceous Period and fed on insects, fish, and carcasses they found on land.
Archelon • Name means “Late Cretaceous” • Discovered by: D. Wieland Archelon was a prehistoric turtle that was 10-13 ft. long. It has weak jaws so it could only eat such animals as the jellyfish. Archelon swam in the Late Cretaceous Period.
Mosasaurs • Name means “Meuse lizard” Mosasaurs were a group of marine reptiles that resembled snakes and monitor lizards. They swam in the Late Cretaceous, eating fish, turtles, and other marine life.
Cited Sources Information: Col, Jeananda. Enchanted Learning. http://EnchantedLearning.com 2011 Photos: Google Images