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Understanding the Three Main Types of Dinosaurs

"The dinosaurs were a diverse group of animals, known from fossil remains. Here’s what you need to know about types of dinosaurs."

When you start learning about dinosaurs, it can seem a little daunting. There are so many different types of these extinct reptiles! To help cut through the confusion and make it easy for you to understand different dinosaur species, first thing’s first: you need to break them into three main types; those being the herbivores (plant eaters), the carnivores (meat-eaters), and the omnivorous ones (eating both plants and meat).


Types Of Dinosaurs

How Would You Define Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs lived from the Triassic period to the Cretaceous period. There were said to be over 1000 known species and probably more than that unknown. They were the dominant species for almost 160 million years until they went extinct 65 million years ago. They include some of the largest land animals that ever lived, such as Argentinosaurus and Supersaurus.

The term “dinosaur” was coined by Richard Owen in 1842 and derived from the Greek meaning “terrible lizard.” The name refers to their large size, powerful build, and unusual features such as horns or crests on their heads.

Types Of Dinosaurs

What Are the Three Main Types of Dinosaurs?

There are many different types of dinosaurs, but three main groups: Carnivores, Herbivores, and Omnivores. Carnivores are a group that includes all the meat-eating dinosaurs. Herbivores are plant-eating dinosaurs. Omnivores eat meat and plants.

Carnivores

Carnivores are one of the three main types of dinosaurs. Carnivores were animals that ate meat and other animal products, and they came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are some popular carnivorous dinosaurs.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex lived during the Cretaceous period, which lasted from 145 million to 66 million years ago. The T-rex was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs that ever lived, with an average length of 40 feet and a weight of 6 tons. The most notable feature of Tyrannosaurus rex was its large skull with two large canine teeth used to bite prey.

Velociraptor

Velociraptors had large heads with sharp teeth. The name “raptor” means “seizer,” so it’s no surprise that these creatures were designed specifically for hunting! They had powerful arms and legs and long tails that helped them balance when running or jumping through trees after prey animals like herbivores (plant-eating dinosaurs).

Giganotosaurus

Giganotosaurus was about 39 feet long and weighed about 7 tons. It was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs ever discovered, but it was smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex. The largest known Giganotosaurus skull measures over 7 feet long; however, there may have been larger animals that were discovered but not recognized as belonging to this species.

Spinosaurus

Spinosaurus lived approximately 112 million years ago. The name Spinosaurus comes from the Greek words spino, meaning “spine,” and saurus, meaning “lizard.” Spinosaurus was a big dinosaur. It was up to 50 feet long – the same length as an average school bus! It had an elongated neck and a long tail, which helped it keep its balance when it stood upright on two legs. Spinosaurus had long, sharp claws on their hands and feet that allowed them to catch prey and pull them close enough to bite them with their teeth.

Allosaurus

Allosaurus is a carnivore dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. It is known for its large size and sharp teeth. While it was not the largest meat-eater of its time, it was one of the most agile and could run about 6 mph (10 km/h). It had a massive skull with large teeth to tear meat from prey. Its neck was S-shaped and could rotate 180 degrees, allowing this dinosaur to look behind without turning its whole body.

Ceratosaurus

Ceratosaurus was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs. It had a long, pointed snout and large nostrils on its upper jaw. It also had small eyes and short arms with three fingers on each hand. The claws on its fingers were sharp, which allowed it to tear apart its prey.

It was believed that Ceratosaurus hunted in packs because they had no armor or other defense mechanism against predators or other threats besides their size and strength, which would make them vulnerable if they went after prey alone.

Types Of Dinosaurs

Herbivores

Herbivores are characterized by their large size, with bulky bodies and limbs. Herbivores are also characterized by having relatively small heads, although this is not always the case. The word “herbivore” comes from the Latin word herba, which means “plant.” The name refers to their diet of plants rather than meat.

Here are some of the popular herbivorous dinosaurs.

Triceratops

Triceratops had a long, low-slung body with three horns on its head and a large bony frill around its neck. It was about 30 feet long, 15 feet high at the hips, and weighed 5 tons. They lived in herds during the late Cretaceous period (roughly 66 million years ago).

Stegosaurus

The Stegosaurus weighed about 4 tons, and it was approximately 25 feet long and 9 feet tall. It had large plates on its back called a “plastron” that may have protected it from predators. The plates were arranged in two parallel rows along the sides of its body.

The most distinctive feature of the Stegosaurus is its tail spikes, which were arranged in pairs along either side of its body. These spikes could reach up to 6 feet in length, but they were not sharp enough to be used as weapons against predators; instead, they may have been used for defense against their rivals.

Ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period. It was named for its bony armor, consisting of two rows of triangular plates and the back and tail club at the end of its tail. It was about 9 meters (30 feet) long and weighed about 4 tons. The skull was short, wide, and flat with a beak-like jaw filled with small teeth. It had small eyes and nostrils on the top of its head.

Its vertebrae were fused to form a stocky body that could not contract or extend very well—so it could not run fast or turn quickly. Its legs were short, stout, and ended in three hoof-like claws used to dig roots and tubers.

Brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus is a herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period. It was among the largest animals living on land, with an estimated length of up to 30 meters (98 feet) and a height of 7 meters (23 feet). Brachiosaurus had short forelimbs and long hind limbs, which enabled it to stand upright on its hind legs when necessary. The name Brachiosaurus means “arm lizard” in Greek, referring to this unusual posture.

Brachiosaurus had a relatively small head compared to its body, with small nostrils on top of the snout. The teeth were spatulate (shaped like spoons) and recurved (bent backward). These features would have enabled Brachiosaurus to crop plants close to the ground and strip leaves from branches above its head. 

Diplodocus

Diplodocus was a herbivorous dinosaur that existed during the late Jurassic period. It had a long neck and tail, and it was among the longest dinosaurs that existed. Its name comes from two Greek words: diploos (double) and daktylos (finger). The first part of its name refers to its unusually long neck, which was made up of two vertebrae fused together. The second part refers to its short forelimbs, which were only half as long as its hind limbs.

Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. It had a relatively small skull, but the rest of its body was quite large. The neck was long and S-shaped, giving it an appearance similar to that of a giraffe. The tail was also long and flexible, allowing it to balance its body weight as it grazed on low-lying plants.

Camarasaurus lived in herds and could reach about 30 ft (9 m) long and weigh up to 10 tons. It may have been preyed upon by large carnivorous dinosaurs such as Allosaurus or Ceratosaurus.

Types Of Dinosaurs

Omnivores

Omnivore dinosaurs are a classification of dinosaurs that can eat both plants and animals. They have been documented in the fossil record since the Triassic Period, and they were incredibly diverse until the end of the Cretaceous Period. Omnivore dinosaurs are often considered “carnivorous” because they ate meat and other creatures, but many also ate plants or other non-animal sources of food.

Here are some popular omnivorous dinosaurs.

Deinocheirus

Deinocheirus was an omnivorous dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period. It was a large theropod with a long neck, tail, and small arms. It has a large, deep body and relatively short legs. The skull is small for its size, with relatively small teeth for a theropod of its size.

The large forelimbs are thought to have been used for digging up roots and tubers from underground. The front limbs also had grasping hands with three fingers each. The back limbs were smaller but still had grasping hands with two digits each.

Chirostenotes

Chirostenotes lived during the Jurassic period. It was a bipedal animal with a long tail, sharp claws, and teeth. The Chirostenotes had long legs and arms, which were about 3 meters long. Its head was large compared to its body size, and it had large eyes that gave it good vision. Its teeth were sharp and pointed, used for hunting small prey such as lizards and insects.

This dinosaur was about 2 meters tall. It weighed about 50 kgs when fully grown, which means that it was not very big compared to other dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) or Brontosaurus (Bronto).

Ornithomimus

Ornithomimus lived during the late Cretaceous period, around 70-65 million years ago. It was about 10 feet long and weighed about 200 pounds. This fast runner had long legs, a short body, strong arms, and three-toed feet. It could run up to 50 miles per hour for short periods and had light bones that allowed it to move quickly.

Ornithomimus probably ate plants and small animals like insects, lizards, and maybe even other small dinosaurs. The teeth in its upper jaw were curved towards the front of its mouth for grabbing prey and tearing meat off of bones or shells. Its lower teeth were also curved back towards the front for grinding food into smaller pieces before swallowing it whole.

Types Of Dinosaurs

Conclusion

To summarize, the three types of dinosaurs are:

Herbivores: These were the largest land animals to ever live on our planet. They had long necks and tails and lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Carnivores: Carnivores walked on two legs, had sharp teeth and claws, used their hands to grab prey, and lived during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Some well-known examples include Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.

Omnivores: Omnivorous dinosaurs were known for their ability to sprout new limbs as needed. Fossils of these dinosaurs are found in almost any environment. It has been found on every continent except Antarctica and has been spotted in various environments, including desert, jungle, tundra, and mountain ranges.

It’s worth studying the three types of dinosaurs if you’re interested in paleontology, as they each represent different stages of the evolutionary process. Each type was unique in its own right, with some being monstrous carnivores and others being smaller, herbivore-like creatures that were easy prey for larger dinosaurs. No matter which type of dinosaur you’re studying, it’s important to understand the genetic variations that separate them from one another.

Priyanka Monteiro

Priyanka Monteiro

Writer

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Dinosaur Evolution

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