When thinking about dinosaurs, many questions come to mind, and we try to imagine how they lived on Earth millions of years ago. We read about them and try to imagine if it were possible to co-exist with them – maybe not.
We know a lot about them today; thanks to fossils that gave us information on their eight sizes, we know that we have dinosaurs the same size as a house cat, and others were taller than 7-story buildings. We know that some lived in herds, while other species lived solo. We know that some were carnivores, some were vegetarians, and others omnivores. We even know when they existed and when they all died out. All thanks to fossils sometimes preserved by strange methods and in the most unlikely locations.
Since the 17th century, paleontologists have been traveling the world and finding locations that withhold dinosaur remains. Let us look into some of those discoveries.
Femur of a Megalosaurus
In 1676, an English professor found what seemed to be part of a femur bone. Nobody knew what animal or belonged to, but they were surprised at how big it was. Scientist William Buckland classified this fossil under the genus Megalosaurus; he was given the scientific name Megalosaurus Bucklandii. Twenty years later, scientist Richard Owen coined the term dinosaurs.
Fossilized dinosaur feces
The scientific name for fossilized dinosaur feces was coprolites, first discovered in 1811. This discovery was made by 12-year-old Mary Anning, who noticed strange-looking stones in the stomach of the Ichthyosaur. Coprolites helped scientists know what species of dinosaurs ate; this is how we found that the plesiosaurs were bottom feeders.
The Archeopteryx fossil was found in limestone deposits in Solnfehn, Germany, in 1860. This discovery was the missing link between extinct dinosaurs and modern birds as it had features of both a dinosaur and a bird. To this day, it is considered by scientists to be the oldest prehistoric bird that lived during the Late Jurassic period.
Archeopteryx comes from the Greek words “archaios,” which means ancient, and “pteryx,” which means feather. The discovery of the Archeopteryx led to the discoveries of other transitional organisms, but none were as significant as the Archeopteryx.
Discovery of Hadrosaurus
The first discovery of the Hadrosaurs fossil was in 1868 in North America. It was named by the American paleontologist Joseph Leidy. These duck-billed dinosaurs lived in the freshwater and forests in North America. When it was discovered, scientists thought it walked with tripodal like a kangaroo, but modern research showed that it walked upright. This is also one of the most nearly-completed dinosaurs remains to be excavated in history.
Discovery of Diplodocus
The Diplodocus is certainly one of the longest dinosaurs, but aside from this fact, it is also known for its unique body structure, as it has two rows of bones under its tail for more structural support. The first fossil of the Diplodocus was found in 1878 at the Como Bluff, Wyoming, the USA, by scientists Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston. The Diplodocus’ skeletal remains are repeatedly found, but the skull is often missing from the rest of the body. Of all the Diplodocus species found, the D.Hallorum was the longest as it was 33 meters long overall.
Discovery of Coelophysis
The first discovery of the Coelophysis was made in 1881. Coelophysis comes from the Greek words “koilos,” which means hollow, and “physis,” which means condition. Upon more discoveries, fish, small reptiles, and bones of other Coelophysis were found in their stomach, which supposes that this species was a cannibal and a carnivore. Many Coelophysis fossils were found in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and most of these were between 205 to 210 million years old.
Although the discovery of this species was not as prominent, it did lead scientists to find out that most dinosaurs who traveled in groups could easily drown from flash floods.
The ongoing fossilized combat
A brilliant discovery was made in 1971 in the Gobi desert, Mongolia; two fossils depicting a carnivorous Velociraptor and a herbivorous Protoceratops wrestling viciously, as you can see how violent it is because you see how the Velociraptor inserts his claw into the Protoceratops throat, which could have cut the carotid artery. However, the Protoceratops fight back by biting into the Velociraptor’s arm. This combined fossil showed how the relationship between prey and predator was savage and ruthless in those times. Scientists believe that while this fight was happening, a land mass like a dune fell on them and killed them.
Good mother lizard
The fossil of this dinosaur was extracted from a bone bed in the western part of Montana in 1978. It depicts a Maiasaura either about to lay eggs or cover her eggs. This fossil gave scientists insight into how the dinosaurs lived as a family and indicated that they didn’t leave their young (hatched or unhatched) unattended. The bones also gave information on metabolism, growth rate, sexual maturity, and physical maturity.
Complete Plesoisaur skeleton
This species of Plesiosaur is known as the Nichollsia Borealis and was found in 200 feet deep surface mine in Alberta, North America, in 1994. The whole skeleton was extracted and still intact, making it one of the oldest and most complete fossils. It gave scientists insight into what aquatic life was like in prehistoric times.