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Dino Detectives
(3-20 minute .stations)
u 'Theories"
* Ho\v do \ve know dinos ever existed?
* \Vhat can we learn from fossils? What vvill \ve never be able to
knO\V from fossils?
* How do fossils fann? What makes a fossil? eggs, bones, teeth,
skin, shells, footprints
* \Vhy are all the dinosaurs gone? Are they really extinct?
o RNITHISCHIAN = bird -hipped herbivores
/
Ornithopods = Ceratopsians =
bird-footed horned/beaked dinos
e.x: Parasaurolophus ex: Protoceratops
and Triceratops
annored dinos
Pachycephalosaurus
-(thick-headed)
Stegosaurus
-(annar-plated)
·..·..·.. ····· ... ·· .. ·/tJ:RiSc~~~pped·ai'iiOsaurs .......................

CARNIVORES HERBIVORES
Therapods = Sauropods =
wild-beast footed reptile-footed
e.x:: Dilophosaurus ex: ApatosaU11.LS
and Velocirc;zptor
and T. Rex

"Fossil Dig"
Dig for fossils in sand pit --- talk about paleontologists, tools
used in fossil digs, museums --- fossils found in Austin:
icthyosaur and plesiosaur, cephalopods, gastropods, exogyra,
graphea, echinoids, mastodons, prehistoric turtles, but NO
DINOSAURS!!! Why? Austin was under the ocean at the time
dinosaurs lived --- research still happening today --- bury again
at end for next class
u
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:
DINOSAURS
u
Part I Basis for program
Title: Dinosaur Detectives
Course Description: Search· for dinosaur tracks while gathering clues
about the creatures that made them .. Dig for bones like a
paleontologist and create a story about your favorite beast.
Age Level: preK- grade 2
Time: 1 hour
Goal: Participants will learn about the characteristics of dinosaurs and the
uncertainty of existing theories.

Part II Instructional Plan


Course Outline: Two 30 minute sessions:
1st: Program box---dino relics to learn physical characteristics. life
strategies and defenses.
2nd: Fossil hunt---follow tracks to fossil pit and dig for fossils.
(Rain plan: bubble in classroom)

Part III Resource Support


Site Needs: 1 clas·sroom and sand pit (good weatn.er), 2 classlooms (bad).
Participant Thresholds: up to 30 students with 2 instructors. .
Transportation Needs: Outreach would require use of rain plan, also ta~es
extra time to set up.
'Resource Needs: Dina program box
Dina egg nest
Bones to bury and digging equip.
. Laminated tracks -
Dina poster
Dinosaur graph with die cut npeople"

u . tnt ~ fp'rst ~ "n1rUU~. 1'c« .I..Idt ~tI ~/YJ ~f)1.f '1 tAL
f'Y1i)c/lA'-<. Into a d"n~,. lihAf-'. Atld eyes, ~~ ~ to ~
~ p!\L -ktA~ iJtIA Izu 'I· eM· '
PROGRAM SCRIPT:
DINOSAURS

u First Station:
Dinosaurs were a special group of animals that lived during the Mesozoic
Era, which lasted for almost 180 million years.
How d,o we know they existed? Scientists have found their remains: bones,
eggs, tracks, coprolite (fossifized feces), nest, 'skin impressions, and gastroliths
(stomach stones). '
Show a bone from a known animal. Don't tell them what the bone is from.
Imagine,that you are a paleontologist and you come across the bone. From only
this information can you tell me what this animal was, where it lived, what it ate and
I

what color it was? How about how it raised its young or protected itself? These are
the questions scientists must answer from only fossil records. Because the :.
information is limited, theories on dinosaurs are constantly being revised.. Because
we can not go back in time to see and study dinosaurs, our information wiJI always
be theories. This can be very exciting because it means that maybe one of you in
the future may find evidence that unlocks the answers to some of the baffling
questions about dinosaurs like how they died.
Let',s look a1 what evidence has been discovered.
Bones:, The first dinosaur bone was discovered in 1822 by Mary
Ann Mantell in England. She found an Iguanodon tooth which she gave to her
husband, a scientist. It was not until 1841 that another ,English paleontologist,
Richard Owen invented the word-dinosaurto describe the extinct animals whose
D
fossilized bones they were finding. The word dinosaur means "terrible Iizard •

Size: How big were dinosaurs? From excavated bones,


u dinosaur skeletons haye been assembled. They give us a more accurate record of
the size and kinds of dinosaurs.
For example: - Height Length Weight
Com psognathus 1 foot 2 feet
Tyrannosaurus 43 ft. 50 ft. , 7 tons
Triceratops 30 ft. 25 ft. 6 tons
Diplodocus 90 ft. 100 ft. 13 tons
Velociraptor 4 feet 6 feet
(For comparison: a small car weighs about 1 ton. )

, Let1s get an idea of how big a Tyrannosaurus was? Measure 40 feet on the
g~ound with a tape measure. Have the children lay head to toe until they reach 40
feet. How many children, did it take? Show children a poster-size graph of the
relative sizes of a few of the dinosaurs.
What color were dinosaurs? What texture was their skin? Show samples of
simulation dina skin. Discuss various colors in nature and show a short slide show
or pictures of variety"of colors that exist.. Examples: Painted bunting, c;ollared lizard,
alligator monitor, poison arrow frogs, zebra. Could dinosaurs have been tho~e
strange colors?
WhC\t did dinosaurs eat? We can tell by looking at their teeth." Show a
Tyrannosaurus tooth as an example of a carnivore. Tyrannosaurus had 60 I~rge
curved back teeth. The teeth were very sharp and had razor-like edges like a stake
knife. They were perfect for stabbing and slicing through flesh. Contrast Tyrano vs.
u ~tegosaurus, an herbivore. Stegosaurus had a turtle-like beaked mouth to chop
soft vegetation, then it ground the food with small weak teeth in the back of its
mouth. Show a turtle skull for comparison.
o~_oo_,- 0-

--

DINO-Prog Script continued

U Dinos and their young: Paleontologists think most dinosaurs hatched


from eggs. Many dino eggs have been found. Surprisingly, even the giant dino's
eggs are relatively small. Dinosaur eggs were only bout 12 inches around
because an egg larger than that would have had to be too thick to support the
weight of the brooding parent. Thick egg shells would not allow oxygen to reach
the baby inside and consequently it would die.
Dinosaur nests have been dug up in Montana and other parts of the world. These
nests resemble modem crocodile and marine turtle nests. The fossilized eggs are
clustered.in piles of sand and mUd. It is thought that the females dug the nest with
the claws on their hind feet. Some nests found in France are over 15 feet wide.
There ;s also evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young much the way
birds do today. Food may have been brought back to the nest for the young.
How did they die? Sixty-five million years ago dinosaurs became extinct.
How and why did they die? No one really knows for sure, but there are many
theories. See note cards.

Activity:
You are all paleontologists on a great dinosaur fossil hunt. You have
discovered the bones in front of you. Try to put them together the way you think
they were inside a living dinosaur. Glue the bones on a piece of paper. (Bones
are packing peanuts or shapes of ~hite paper.)

u Second Station:
Before your group arrives, hide obones in the sand pit and place laminated
-footprints from the meeting place to the pit. Tell children today you will be
"Dinosaur Detectivesn • There have been stories that dinosaur bones may have
been found on the site. You will follow the tracks to the pit. Read the clues on the
tracks to find out which dinosaur you are tracking. This keeps the group more
°focused on learning.
Indoor Option for rainy days: Tell the kids you are traveling back though time
to the days of the dinosaurs. Enter the environmental bubble. Take a moment to
settle. listen to the tape. Read the clues and have kids guess which din you are
talking about.

REFERENCES:
A Field Guide to the Dinosaurs, David Lambert, Avon Books 1983.
The Big Beast Book. °Dinosaurs and How They Got That Way. Jerry Booth, Little
Brown & Co. 1988.
Nature Scope - Digging Into Dinosaurs, National Wildlife Federation 1988.
Dinosaurs, Rick Gore, National Geographic Vol. 183, No.1, Januaryo1993.

u
Dino Detectives
U
Classification Station

Tape recorder

Dino sound tape

Plastic Parasaurolophus (3)

Picture ofParasaurolophus

Duckbill tooth row (in green bag)

Plastic Pachycephalosaurus

Picture of Stegoceras

Plastic Ankylosaurus (small)

Picture of Ankylosaurus

Plastic Triceratops

Picture of Triceratops

Triceratops hom core (in green bag)

Plastic Stegosaurus

Picture of Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus Plate (in green bag)

Stegosaurus spike (in green bag)

Camptesaurus hand bones (in green bag)

Laminated picture of Camptesaurus

Plastic Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) (large)

Picture of Apatosaurus

(OVER)
U I
Plastic Brachiosaurus

Picture of Brachiosaurus

Allosaurus claw (in green bag)

Picture of Allosaurus

Nanasaurus skull profile (in green bag)

Plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex

Picture of Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth (in green bag)

Tyrannosaurus Rex brain case (in green bag)

Tyrannosaurus Rex front claw and phalange (in green bag)


Dino Detectives

Theories Station

Large imprint of foot

Cow bone

Real dino fossil

Duckbill skin replica (in green bag)

Protoceratops egg (in green bag)

Ziploc bag of small dino skull replicas

Plastic egg with baby parasaurolophus hatching out

Plastic Maiasaura

Picture ofMaiasaura

Plastic Maiasaura with babies


u Plastic Apatosaurus (small, green)

Plastic Pterariodon

Plastic Plesiosaur

Plastic DemitridonJEdaphosaurus (red and yellow)

Laminated pictures ofDino becoming a fossil (4)

Laminated picture of dino eggs spread out on floor

Laminated picture of Model of Fossil Embryo with Hand

Laminated picture of Model reproduction of Fossil Embryo

Laminated picture of Bone Comparison

Dino herd problem solving box

u "-
Austin Nature and Science Center
Paleo Explorers Program

Time Line and Dino-Dino Not Game Station:

Time Line Activity

Where: Arbor near Entrance to'Dino Pit /Rainy Day-do inside


Time Needed: 15 minutes
Materials: Time line activity, dinosaur models, present day creature models, Texas
geologic highway map

Paleo Explorers Concepts:


*Participants study about the past to learn about the present

Station Concepts:
*Students begin to understand the concept of geologic time.
Students actively place events in order of occurrence on time line
"* Students learn characteristics of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures
Procedure: See attached "The Sands of Time" lesson

DinolDino Not Game

Where: Arbor near Entrance to Dino Pit


Time Needed: 15 minutes
Materials: DinolDino Not cards, pictures and models of dinosaurs and other
prehistoric creatures, Life on Earth poster

. Paleo Explorers Concepts:


*Participants learn characteristics of dinosaurs and how to distinguish
dinosaurs from other prehistoric creatures.

Procedure: See attached DinolDino Not lesson


Lesson #3 The Austin Nature and Science Center
Pre-Historic Paleontology Kit
The Sands of TIme
• l-esso'ns #3, 4 and 5 ore -designed to build up knowledge helping
students better understand ihenext activity. Do these activIties in order

This activity helps students understand the immense amount of time that
passed before we walked on the Earth. This lesson will also help students
understand the connection between human appearance on Earth
relative to the development of other animals and plants.

Materials: (Materials provided unless noted otherwise)


• Multi-colore'd beaded time line
• Time Line activity cards (in the bag with the beaded time line)
• A laminated sheet titled "Geologic Time Scale" (bagged with the
time line)
Procedure:
1) Have two students hold each end of the time line or tie it
someplace in your classroom so that the time line is outstretched
2) Explain that the earth was formed right before the first blue bead.
Present day is at the other end, represented by a very small white
bead. Each bead represents approximately 10 million years with
the exception of the very small white bead, which represents 1.8
million years. Each gold t:>ead represents a break or end of each
, time period. Each group of colored beads represents an epoch.
3) The "Time Line Activity Cards" represent some important events in
Earth history. Have your students place each time Jine card on the
time line where they think that event would have taken place. They
can use educated guessing/hypothesizing for this activity. The time
line helps students understand the immense amount of time that
has passed before humans walked on the Earth.
After they have finished placing their activity cards on the time line, move
the time line cards to their proper place in Earth history. Consult the sheet
included in the time line activity bag titled "The Geologic Time Scale" to
help find the correct place in time to place them. liThe Geologic Time
Scale" sheet shows the Earth history represented by dots. Each dot
represents one million years (instead of each bead representing 10 million
years as is shown in the time line provided). The events on the time line
activity cards correspond to some of the events represented by red letters
or numbers interspersed within the dots on this sheet. Each time line
activity card also has letters or numbers in parenthesis that correspond
directly to liThe Geologic Time Scale" sheet to make it easier to look up
where that organism belongs in time.

• This less·:)n was adapted from a lesson created by the Indiana and
Kentucky Geologic Survey
Lesson #2 The Austin Nature and Science Center
Pre-historic Paleontology Kit

Dlno or Dino Not?


u Students will observe, classify, question and use logic to learn that all
prehistoric animals were not dinosaurs. Students will be able to distinguish
between. dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

Materials: (Materials are laminated & found in one clear plastic envelope)

.• IIWhat's a Dinosaur?" (laminated white 8 1/2" x 11" paper)


• Set of pre-historic animal description sheets about each "Dina or
Dina Not?" {laminated white 8 1/2"xl1" paper)
• Set of brightly colored "Dina or Dina-Not?" cards (laminated)
Procedure:

IIWhat makes a dinosaur a dinosaur?" is often asked. Paleontologists


have determined that there are four "rules" we can use to "test" a
dinosaur. By using these rules and the "Dina or Dina Not?" cards, you can
work with the students (or have them work together) to separate
dinosaurs from the other, well-known prehistoric animals. The "Dina or
Dina Not?" cards can be used to test the knowledge of your students and
to teach them the rules of what determines a dinosaur.
1) Engage the students in a simple discussion of the four rules of what
determines a dinosaur. While explaining the rules, show your students the
U· "Dina or Dino Not?" card or animal that would best demonstrate the rule.
Below are the rules and an appropriate animal to help explain each rule.
Rules: vY"l
Rule l-Dinosaurs did sst live during the Mesozoic Era ,ttike the Mastodon)
Rule 2-Dinosaurs walked fully erect and had their legs under their body
(unlike the Dimentrodon who has his legs to the side of his body)
Rule 3-Dinosaurs lived on land. They did not have wings (like the
Pteranodon) or flippers (like the Mosasaurus )
*It is rule 4 and only rule 4 that makes an animal a dinosaur. Rules 1
through 3 ar~ only interpretations based on animals that qualify as
dinosaurs under rule 4. Rules 1-3 are easier to use with your students.
Rule 4 - the unique features that define dinosaurs are:
a) Three or more fused sacral vertebrae (there are at least three
vertebrae to which the hips are attached).
b) The scapula is long and strap-like (the shoulder blade is ot least
three times as long as it is wide).
c) The glenoid faces backward (the shoulder socket faces the rear of
the onirrlol)

u
Lesson =#2 The Austin Nature and Science Center
Pre-historic Pale'Ont'Ol'Ogy Kit
d) The acetabulum is fully 'Open (the hip socket has a hole through it).
e) The head 'Of the femur is bent inward, yvith a distinct head .and neck
(the top 'Of ihe femur is ball-shaped with a narrow neck attaching it
at an angle te the rest 'Of the femur).
f) The f~mur is usually sherter than the tibia.
g) The fibula is greatly reduced (the fibula is very small cempared te
the tibia).
h} The ascending.precess 'Of the astragaJs is well develeped (e!1e 'Of
the ankle bones develeps a projection which extends onto the
tibia). (See the labeled Dinesaur Skeleten on page 33)
2) Using the "Dine 'Or Dine-Not?" cards and rule sheet, have your students
determine which 'Of the animals en the "Dirie or Dine Net?" cards are
dinesaurs and which 'Ones are pre-histeric animals that are net dinosaurs.
This can be done as a class assignment 'Or as a smallgreup preject. The
cards can alse be' used as an individual preject or fer self-testing.
*/nfermatien for the "Dine 'Or Dine-Net?" game has been campiled fram
the fallewing seurces:
-Fragments 'Of Time - Field Museum 'Of Natural Histery, The Chicage
Science Explarers Program, Chicage, lIIinais
-Enchanted Learning - Website
~I_"';_ .... _I r-.: .... _ ... _ .... kA • .... _ •• ~ \1\1_h,.;+_
Austin Nature and Science Center

Paleo Explorers Program


Where: Mosasaur Pit
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Group size: 20 students
Materials: tape measure, paper, pencil, calipers, compass, north arrow, grid,
magnifiers, small rulers

Paleo Explorers Concepts:


*Participants learn about the "process of paleontology"
*Participants practice doing science by using small tools
*Participants .study about the past to learn about the present
*Participants learn to be good stewards of fossils that can tell us about
creatures that lived before

Station Concepts:
*Students use small tools to observe and measure fossils that they fmd
*Students use prior lmowledge to infer information about adaptations

Begin: At the signs near the 301 Congress Pit on the "Process of Paleontology"

What is the name of the science that is concerned with the study of fossils?
Paleontology-this is based on the study of plant and animal fossils
What is a paleontologist?
A scientist who studies fossils
U What is a fossil?
The remains or evidence of ancient life.
Why would scientists want to find and study fossils?
Fossils tell us the history of the earth. They let us mow what happened before.
Read tbru the signs to learn about the process of paleontology from field to lab.

Mosasaur Pit

*How would you conduct a search of this pit for fossils?


*Go over stewardship of fossils-no walking on fossils, once they are uncovered with the shovels,
use brushes. What to do if you find fossils on your own.
*Let all children dig on the Mosasaur or the Starfish slab.
*If children need more jobs, these are suggestions:
Use a copy of the grid paper to sketch where the fossil is found.
Use the big tape measures to find the length of the complete creature.
Use calipers to measure smaller parts of the fossil.
Study the diorama signs to learn more about the habitat of the creatures.

VYhat are some of the adaptations found on this creature?


VYhere do you think it lived?
Do you think it was a predator?
Is it a dinosaur?

~eplace sand on fossils before going to next station.


What .can we learn irom dinosaur 1racks?
1. How long is 1he dinosaur footprint? Measure the longest part, from toe to· heel in
centimeters.
u Footprint length:-_ _ _ _cm

2. Paleontologists have figured out that dinosaurs had legs that were four times longer
than their feet. How long was the dinosaur's leg? Multiply the footprint length from above
by the number four (4).
Leg length_ _ _ _ _ _ cm

3. We can a'lso tell how long the dinosaur was from top of head to tip of tail. Multiply the
foot print length by the number fourteen (14). .
Body length:-_ _ _ _ _cm

4. Now measure the dinosaurs stride length. Stride length is the measurement from the
heel of the rightfootprintto the heel on the next right footprint.
Stride length_ _ _ _ _ _cm

5. We can determine how fast the dinosaur was moving by knowing the leg length and
stride length. Take the stride length from question 4 and find where that number would
be on the bottom of the graph on the next page. Draw a straight line up until you
intersect the curved line that represents the dinosaurs leg length. Now draw a straight
line to the left"side of the graph to find out how many miles per hour (mph) the dinosaur
was traveling. "

u Dinosaur's speed_ _ _ _mph

6. Humans walk at an average speed of 4.5 mph and can sprint up to 14 mph. How does
the speed of your dinosaur compare to human walking speed?

Is it slower of faster?

Do you think the dinosaur was walking or running?

Extra
7. Measure the following parts of your body.
a. Foot length (without shoes) em
b. Leg length (from the floor to the top of your hip) _ _ _ _em
. c. Body length (height) cm

8.00 we have the same proportions as dinosaurs? Divide the answer to question b from
above by the answer to question a. Is it close to the number four (4)? Yes/No If yes, we
hctve the same proportioned legs as dinosaurs. Now divide the answer to question c by
question a: Is it close to the number fourteen (14)? Yes/No:lf yes we have the same
proportioned body as dinosaurs.

u
c c
c

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Stride Length (centimeters)
Austin Nature and Science Center

v Paleo Explorers Program


11-18-03
301 Congress Station:

Where: 301 Congress Pit


Time Needed: 30 minutes
Materials: grid, pencils, note pads, magnifiers, measuring tape, calipers, small rulers, north
arrow, compass

Program overall concepts:


*Participants learn about the "process of Paleontology"
*Participants practice doing science by using small tools.
*Participants study about the past to learn about the present and predict what may
happen in the future.
*Participants learn to be good stewards of fossils that can tell us about creatures
that lived before.

Concepts at 301 Congress Station:


Science is made meaningful with a local story.
Anyone can find a fossil.

This pit represents how fossils can be found even when scientists are not looking for them.
Scientists were not looking for fossils in downtown Austin in December of 1984, in fact these fossils of
u some really large animals were found by consguction workers who were bulldozing a site for a 22 story
building.
*How would you search an area for fossils in an organized way?
*What would you do if you found a fossil while you were searching through a creekbed?
*Who would you contact if you thought you had found a fossil? In Austin -Paleontqlogists at
the University of Texas or the Texas Memorial Museum
*If you were looking for fossils in the Austin area, what kinds of fossils would you likely find?
Depends on the age ofthe rock 65,000,000 years ago you would find remains of marine life.
200,000- J 0,000 years ago you might find mastodons and mammoths and many other small
mammals that are still alive today. 65,000,000 years ago the Austin area was under a shallow
sea. Creatures that lived in the sea were not dinosaurs.

Procedure:
1. Have partiCIpants decide on an organized way to dig thru this pit and find what is buried
here.
Everyone can dig the mammoth skull and tusk and do some measurements.(use calipers)
Concentrate on the 2 slabs of small animal bones.
2 .. Dig and discover what fossils are in the slabs.
3. Record your findings (map and sketch)
4. Discuss what you think you have found. What inferences can you make from what you see?
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- tort-Oi6e
-- eot+-uY) teAt '\ ~bb, 't
- (NI)t
Be a Paleontologist
(9/24/03)

Materials needed:
Plastic Dinos
Baking Soda
Vinegar
Red food coloring
Plastic vials
Tool kits wlshovel, brush, goggles, tape measure, notebook, pencil, and magnifying lens.
Green canvas bag with extra equipment
Digital camera w/disk

The Time of Dinos (10-15 minutes)


In the classroom have a variety of plastic dinos out for the children to play with as they arrive.
Free play while waiting for all the guests to arrive.
Gather children on the rug with their dino.
Discuss anything they want to talk about:
Plant eater or meat eater?
Dino or dino not?
Have we ever seen a real dino?
Were any of these alive in TX?
What ever they want to talk about.
Lead the discussion towards the topic of "What happened to the dinosaurs?" Entertain all theories, when
they get to volcanoes, ask if they would like to go make volcanoes.

One Theory of the Dinos Demise (10-15 minutes)


Lead the party to the sand pit outside the Cottonwood room
Get them started building their own volcanoes, then you get all the prepared volcanoes stuff off the top of
the candy machine.
Insert a vial of baking soda in the top of each volcanoe.
Let each child pour the red vinegar (lava) into their volcanoe. (If they want to do it again, let them)
Lead the discussion, after everyone is through with their volcanoe, towards "If the dinos are all gone
(extinct) how do we know they were ever here?" Fossils .... would you like to go on a dig to see if we can
find some fossils?"

Looking for evidence of dinosaurs. (30 minutes)


Paleontologist need tools. Pass out tool bags.
Walk to the pit, either across the lily pads or around the pond.
Choose a pit to dig in.
Use all the tools you can.
Take a picture of the party either around the specimen they dug up or where the mom decides the picture
should be taken.
Round the children up to lead them back to the party room
Remind them to wash their hand before starting to eat.

While the party guests are eating, print out the picture for the birthday child.
Dino Detectives
v (3-20 minute-stations)
''Theories tt

* How do we know dinos ever existed?


* \Vhat can we learn from fossils? What will we never be able to
know from fossils?
* How do fossils fonn? What makes a fossil? eggs, bones, teeth,
skin, shells, footprints
* Why are all the dinosaurs gone? Are they really extinct?
~~'7~ ;RNITffiSCHIAN =bird-hipped herbivores

Ornithopods = Ceratopsians =
bird-footed homed/beaked dinos
ex: Parasaurolophus ex: Protoceratops
\;ld~ ,_ C.f'\Q~ , • and niceratops II A-~_~~CJ,: -z- ~
lD~~~\J'~ ored dmos . -,11 u;WJ~ ~~
L~\ ~'~~U2) paChYCePhalosaurus~~"'tr ~ ~ ~ "
~ ctJci ~d (thi k h d" d) "'\Y./ ... ~~~ -::-l P'T-' .
~d. - ~ - .£ - ~ e. ~~~e'~~ /"" t\~~ 'V ()~~-
J

lU'nV\.M ~~~ Stego~a~ry.~Q~~ ~ ~ ~~~ D ..


o V -(aixfi~p1ateaf . ~~ ~ w.-* ~-<.<~~ ~. ~(11
.
S\-~*' i?~ ~tiiUSC~~~ea:.ainOS:~. ".""~ .p"P'~
1

~~CARNIVORES . HERBNORES ~~-"v+-'~~


~ Therapods = Sauropods = t--", ~ ~ ,.\ )J..~
wild-beast footed ~~ reptile-footed <?~~~ w'"t..-=>
ex: Dilophosaurus .~ ~ j.JJr<.I v--4 ex: ApatosauruS . _In.v ~ ,J..t.-
and Velocirapt0J.j. ~o ~ V"" lP'-~'V~~
s~~ a:t . Rex IJ./"- ~J<. 4eev:l ~~
dT ,h _.. . - - - , ..- - - -

/q}-f ./ ~ A\cJ.ur C~~ ~~ ;;tJ-;ru~ :k>o ~o cLz-~L-~u::klEn'-


: ./' '\P{,~ "Fossil Dig" &-\~--'~'/'('~
Dig forfossils in sand pit --- talk about pa1eon.:4:t=olr:::o~gt::-;:s"'s;::;-,~oA'ot;::;s~-~-r.-~--
used in fossil digs, museums --- fossils found in Austin:
icthyosaur and plesiosaur, cephalopods, gastropods, exogyra, .~
graphea, echinoids, mastodons, prehistoric turtles, but NO lU~t¥~
DINOSAURSI!! Why? Austin was under the ocean at the time Q
dinosaurs lived --- research still happening today --- bmy again
at end for next class .
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:
DINOSAURS

Part I Basis for program


Title: Dinosaur Detectives
Course Description: Search for dinosaur tracks while gathering clues
about the creatures that made them .. Dig for bones like a
paleontologist and create a story about your favorite beast.
Age Level: preK- grade 2
Time: 1 hour
Goal: Participants will learn about the characteristics of dinosaurs and the
uncertainty of existing theories.

Part II Instructional Plan


Course Outline: Two 30 minute sessions: .
1st: Program box---dino relics to learn physical characteristics, life
strategies and defenses.
2nd: Fossil hunt---follow tracks to fossil pit and dig for fossils.
(Rain plan: bubble in classroom)

Part III Resource Support


Site Needs: 1 classroom and sand pit (good weath~r), 2 classlooms (bad).
Participant Thresholds: up to 3'0 students with 2 instructors. . 0
Transportation Needs: Outreach would require use of rain plan, also ta~es
extra time to set up.
'Resource Needs: Dino program box
Dino egg nest
Bones to bury and digging equip.
. Laminated tracks - .
Dino poster
u
Dinosaur graph with die cut npeople

. Dino d0U4h
I Wf' .~ bc4;te'-
I/~ C. ~ ~\~.p~et­
~ .fa..blespOOt\5 koney
V£lVlilla wa-ferr' ·
RClISI"S
Pre h:e I $h'CJlS

!nne fp'rst~. in~ruLl~. ~ .I.uJt chJtI ~m.:so~ '1 tu


rn"~J.( Into a riln~,. ~.Md eyes, ~~~ to ~
~ p;tt. -hiA.s iJ'A Itu 'I. eJ). . ,

\ - '.~
'I .
:> ~ ~ .-,

Welcome to
the Dino Pit!·
Here you can be a scientist and dig for Texas fossils. Fossils are
the remains of plants and animals that lived a long time ago.
People have found incredible fossils all across Texas. Casts of
u some of the best and biggest ones are buried in the pits here.

Paleontology [say "pale-ee-on-TALL-oh-gee"] is the study of


ancient plants and animals. Your job as Paleontologist is to
carefully uncover the fossils here. What do the fossils tell you
about the animals they came from? What do they reveal about
what Texas was like when they were alive?

Ready? Pick a pit and get to work!

All casts in the Dino Pit are replicas of specimens from the Texas
Memorial Museum of The University of Texas Collection. They
I
V
I
were produced by the staff of the Museum's Vertebrate
Paleontology Laboratory.

1 July 12, 2003


.

2 July 12, 2003


u

The Austin Nature and Science Center • 301 Nature Center Drive· Austin, Texas· 512-327·8180

The Dino Pit is an outdoor paleontology exhibit, built for permanent display at The
Austin Nature and Science Center located in ZUker Park. The project was developed
and built through a collaborative effort of The Austin Nature and Science Center,
UT's Texas Memorial Museum, the Austin Community Foundation, and the architec-
tural firm of Graeber, Simmons & Cowen, which also served as project manager. The
exhibit is designed to instruct visitors about paleontology through hands-on educa-
tional experience.
Artist John Maisano was instrumental in the development and completion of the Dino
Pit project, working to transform a large area at the Austin Nature and Science Center
u into an educational dig site for finding fossil casts. Maisano modeled the casts using
many of the important and unique specimens from the collections of the Texas Memo-
rial Museum. He created an 8' x 6' mammoth rib cage cast in bronze, for the
children's entrance to the site, as well as 19 oil paintings depicting the creatures the
children will find as they explore the pit.
Other features of the exhibit include dinosaur trackways, a field collection display
(highlighting fossils found at the 301 Congress Avenue construction site several years
ago), and an observation deck. The exhibit is incorporated into the visitor programs
currently offered at the Austin Nature and Science Center including youth programs,
school field trips, camps, birthday parties, adult workshops and teacher training.

"The Dino Pit will help children experience the joy of discovery," says Sarah Butler,
who serves as honorary chair of the project. "It will teach respect for natural science
as well as scientific principles for determining factual infonnation."
"Children get to learn about science hands on, and that is very exciting," says TMM
Director, Ed Theriot. "It's wonderful to see the City of Austin and the University of
Texas in partnership on this. We are particularly fortunate to have backers such as
v Ernest and Sarah Butler - their vision has been instrumental."

3 July 12, 2003


Dino Pit Rules

1) Have Fun!

2) No metal digging tools.

3) Play nice.

4) No climbing on hillsides.

5) No digging in cliff.

6) Leave no trash behind.

7) No food in pits or around pond.

4 July 12, 2003


'.
u

1. I will respect both private and public property and will do no


collecting on privately owned land without pennission from
the owner.
2. I will remember that I am a guest at each site and will obey
all regulations and policies and collect in designated areas
only. I will park in designated areas only.
3. I will leave each site as I found it. Gates should be left open
or closed according to how they were found. Litter and gar-
bage should be removed.
U 4. I will fill all excavation holes, which may be dangerous to
wildlife or livestock.
5. I will be sure that all land, property, plants and animals are
left without damage to property or ecology as a result of the
collecting activities.
6. I will report any significant discoveries of scientific or public
interest.
7. I will follow safety guidelines, never collect near vertical
walls, overhangs, edges of cliffs, unstable shelves, or any
other dangerous areas. Be aware of those above and below
you to avoid accidents from falling rocks.
8. I will practice conservation and take only what I can reason-
ably use and will not cause damage to collecting material.

5 July 12, 2003


Theme 1
A PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
The techniques of science help us learn about the past.

Messages:

Know where to look.

Know where the fossil is, and what is with it.

Compare the present with the past.

It takes a team.

Anyone can find a fossil.

Theme 2
CLUES FROM THE PAST
Fossils reveal the secrets of life on Earth.

Messages:

Rebuilding the Tree of Life

Solving a mystery of sudden death

Ruling the sky

Surviving extinction

6 July 12, 2003


A PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
u The techniques of science help us learn about the past.

Know where to look.

Sailbacked Vertebrate
(Edaphosaurus pogonias)

If you wanted to find a fossil, where would you start? To find fossils, Paleontologists
need to lmow about geology (the study of rocks).

To find fossils from a certain time, they look for rocks that formed during that period.
u This sailbacked animal, for example, was found in rocks called the "redbeds" of
Baylor County. Scientists mow that the redbeds formed 200 million years ago. The
age of the rocks gives scientists clues about the age of the animal.

Researchers also look for rocks from the type of environment where fossil animals
might have lived. Long ago, what are now the redbeds were fonned by a river delta
lush with plant life. The delta attracted many kinds of animals, including the Sailback.
Silt from the river quickly buried dead animals. This helped fossils to form.

This Sailback is a distant relative of living mammals. It has crossbars on its fin that
make it look bumpy. Scientists still don't lmow what the crossbars and the fin did.
Some think the fin controlled body temperature. Others believe it helped the animals
tell each other apart or attracted mates.

Questions like these are common in science. Maybe one day you can answer them.
u
H. J. Sawin and E. Jones found this fossil in 1944.
7 July 12, 2003
A PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
The techniques of science help us learn about the past.

Know where the fossil is, and what is with it.


Giant Sauropod Dinosaur
(Alamosaurus sanjuan ens is)

By studying the place this skeleton was found, and the things that lay near it, we can
figure out what this animal probably ate and how it lived.

Scientists found these sauropod fossils in Big Bend National Park, Texas. The fossils
lay in a rock layer called the "Javelina Formation." This rock layer reveals that 65 to
70 million years ago the Big Bend area had a warm climate. Streams and flood plains
crisscrossed the land.

Sometimes Paleontologists fmd an object with a skeleton that tells a lot about an
animal. Scientist found polished stones inside the ribcages of sauropods like the one
here. The stones probably helped the dinosaur grind up tough plant fibers that it ate.

The shapes of the bones reveal clues to a dinosaur's family tree. Texas alamosaurs, for
example, descended from South American sauropods.

Sauropods were the largest land animals that ever lived. The biggest ones may have
weighed around 50 tons. This is about 10 times more than African Elephants, the
largest land animals alive today.

Dr. Wann Langston, Jr. and a crew from the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of the
Texas Memorial Museum found these bones in 1971 and 1973.

8 July 12, 2003


A·PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
u The techniques of science help us learn about the past.

Compare the present with the past.


Onion Creek Mosasaur
(Mosasaurus maximus)

Scientists can learn about an extinct animal by comparing it with living ones.

For example, living meat-eating animals have long, pointed teeth. Mosasaurs have
long, pointed teeth too, which means that they ate meat.

u A modem snake's jaws are loosely hinged together. So were the mosasaur's jaws.
Like a snake, a mosasaur could probably swallow animals larger than its own head!

Some mosasaur bones are similar to the shoulder and pelvis bones of living whales.
These bones are loosely connected to the skeleton, and could not support an animal
on land. Like whales, mosasaurs breathed air but they stayed in the water.

Mosasaurs were not dinosaurs, but giant marine reptiles. They lived during the Late
Cretaceous period, about 65 to 95 million years ago. During that time, a shallow sea
covered most of central North America. Mosasaurs' closest living relatives are lizards
such as the Komodo Dragon and Gila Monster.

This fossil is special because at 30 feet long it is one of the largest mosasaur skeletons
ever found. It is also one of the most complete.
u
Two UT geology students, W. Clyde Ikins and John Peter Smith, found The Onion Creek Mosasaur
in 1935 in a creek bed near south Austin.
9 July 12, 2003
A PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
The techniques of science help us learn about the past.
It takes a team.
Zilker Park Turtle
(Osteopygus)

Getting a fossil from the ground to the lab takes teamwork. Many people cooperated
to prepare this fossil for all to see. This turtle fossil was found right here in Zilker
Park, at the Austin Area Garden Center.
Who helped?

• The visitors who found the fossils and reported them to scientists

• Scientists at the Texas Memorial Museum who studied the site


• The City of Austin, that granted a digging permit

• A large crew of volunteers who cleared and excavated the dig site

• Researchers who found bone sticking out of a newly cleared ledge

• The UT Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory staff who collected, prepared, and


preserve the fossils for study

• The scientists from other museums who visit Texas to study this fossil.

This turtle lived in the shallow seas that once covered this area. It was about 5 feet
long and weighed several hundred pounds.

This fossil is unusual because it was found in the same layer of rock with dinosaur
tracks. Scientists are not sure how the turtle ended up here. A hungry dinosaur might
have killed and brought the turtle to the site. Perhaps the turtle traveled here on his
own and the dinosaur attacked it. Maybe the dead turtle simply washed into the burial
site.

Dr. Mike and Karen Duffin found the fossils in 1992.


10 July 12, 2003
A PALEONTOLOGIST'S TOOLKIT
u The techniques of science help us learn about the past.

Anyone can find a fossil.


Shoal Creek Plesiosaur
[PLEE-see-o-SAWR]
(Polyptychodon)

Anyone can find a fossil if they pay attention and mow what to look for.

Dr. Bob McDonald is an Austin dentist and amateur paleontologist. He found this
u fossil while walking along Shoal Creek in Austin, looking for shark's teeth fossils. A
recent heavy rain had exposed the bones of a flipper in the creek bed.

He took the loose pieces to the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the Texas Me-
morial Museum. The City of Austin granted a permit and digging began.

Dr. McDonald found this plesiosaur because he mew what fossil bone looks like. He
had seen fossils on display at the Texas Memorial Museum and had been interested in
fossils all his life. Fossil bone in this area has a distinctive look to it. When it is wet,
it is a different color from surrounding rock.

This plesiosaur lived about 80 to 90 million years ago. It swam in a coastal waterway
with shallow lagoons at the edge of the sea. Its bones were crushed during burial and
are crumbly, so they were left as they were found. This is why you can only see the
upper surfaces of the skeleton.

u
Dr. Bob McDonald, amateur paleontologist, found this fossil in 1990.

11 July 12,2003
.-
CLUES FROM THE PAST
Fossils reveal the secrets of life on Earth.

Rebuilding the Tree of Life


Early four-footed animal
(Seymouria baylorensis)

This early four-footed animal is an important fossil because it may help link together
two branches of the tree of life. It is probably related to the ancestors of both modem
mammals and living reptiles. Scientists do not lmow as much as they would like about
the family tree of land animals, so they are very interested in this fossil.

This small animal lived about 280 million years ago near rivers that once crossed
parts of north Texas. With short legs and a thick body, it was not very fast or agile. To
move around, it may have swung its backbone from side to side, using its legs as
props against the ground. It was probably cold-blooded and had a small brain. Judg-
ing by its teeth, it may have eaten both plants and animals. Scientists think it ate
mainly insects, small animals and dead animals (carrion).

Paleontologists found this fossil near the north Texas town of Seymour. This is how
the animal got its scientific name.

Paleontologists from the u.S. National Museum of Natural History found this fossil in
1917.

12 July 12, 2003


CLUES FROM THE PAST
u
Fossils reveal the secrets of life on Earth.

Solving a mystery of sudden death


Starfish
(Crateraster mccarteri)

What happened here? The starfish fossils in this rock tell a story of disaster that hap-
pened millions of years ago.

Here, whole starfish are preserved in chalk. Fossils like these are very rare because
U starfish are fragile. They tend to fall apart or get eaten when they die. For a starfish to
be preserve~ whole, it must be buried quickly. Yet chalk forms very slowly by the
gradual buildup of calcium-containing ooze on the ocean floor.

A powerful event must have disrupted the ocean floor. A great flood or, less likely, an
earthquake might have quickly buried the living starfish. Geologists often use detec-
tive work like this to figure out the history of the Earth.

This is a small true starfish, with 5 legs. But nature sometimes produces 4-legged
varieties. Can you spot the 4-legged starfish in this slab?

The fossil world owes this rare find to a rainstorm. One day in 1928, two UT Geology
graduate students, W. B. McCarter and M. B. Arick, were searching for fossils. They
found a large boulder in Bouldin Creek in South Austin. The fossils in this boulder
are invisible when dry, but the rain revealed them.
u
M. B. Arick and W. B. McCarter found this fossil in 1928.
13 July 12, 2003
CLUES FROM THE PAST
Fossils reveal the secrets of life on Earth.

Ruling the sky


Giant Pterosaur [TERR-ah-SAWR]
(Quetzalcoatlus northropi)

Birds haven't always ruled the sky. The giant pterosaur, a huge winged reptile, was
the largest flying creature ever. Its wings spanned 40 feet. This is as wide as some jet
fighters.

Imagine this predator and scavenger as it soared over the shores of ancient oceans.
Today, those shores are the desert lands of far west Texas. This section of wing was
found in Big Bend National Park, in Brewster County.

Though huge, the pterosaur was as light as a kite because of its hollow, thin bones.
Fossils like these are rare because the weight of the overlying sediments usually
crushes them.

These flying reptiles are only "cousins" to the dinosaurs. The pterosaurs are also
separate from the other flying animals, birds and bats.

Douglas A. Lawson, a University of Texas geology student, found this fossil in 1971.

14 July 12, 2003


CLUES FROM THE PAST
u
Fossils reveal the secrets of life on Earth.

Surviving extinction
Early Primate
(Rooneyia viejaensis)
[RU-nee-yuh]

This early primate is a is a member of the same branch of the tree of life that contains
humans. It dates back about 35 million years. Think of a lemur, and you will have a
good idea of what this small mammal probably looked like.
u
It is an important fossil for two reasons. First, people have only found a few fossil
primates of this age anywhere in the world. Second, it is incredibly well preserved.
This fossil even shows the size and shape of the animal's brain.

Fossils show us that early primates came from some true survivors. Scientists still
don't lmow the exact reason the dinosaurs died out. They do mow, however, that
small mammals sUrvived the impact of a giant asteroid and volcanic ash that blocked
the SUD. Small mammals adapted to these environmental changes very quickly. Some
of them were the ancestors of early primates like Rooneyia.

Dr. John A. Wilson discovered Rooneyia viejaensis. He is the founder of the Verte-
brate Paleontology Laboratory of the Texas Memorial Museum. Dr. Wilson has spent
more than 60 years looking for fossils all across Texas. Although Rooneyia is a tiny
fossil, it was the find of a lifetime for Dr. Wilson.

v
Dr. lohnA. Wilson found this fossil in {DATE??} July 1, 1963

15 July 12, 2003


Pit 1 - Pertnian Terrestrial Fossils -280 MYA '"

Seymouria baylorensis
Early Land-dwelling Anitllal
TMM43291-1
Clear Fork Formation, Permian
Baylor County, Texas

Seymouria was a small animal that lived roughly 280 million years ago in Texas and adjacent re-
gions. It was a land-dwelling animal that lived in what were then arid regions of north Texas. It is an
important fossil for paleontologists because it is probably a close relative of both the lineage that
include today's mammals and the lineage that includes living reptiles. This early, distant part of the
family tree of land animals is not well understood, so Seymouria has received a lot of attention by
scientists who are trying to reconstruct the tree of life.

With short limbs and a thick body, Seymouria was not very agile or very fast. To move around on
land, it probably relied on undulating its backbone from side to side, using its limbs as props against
the ground . .It was probably cold-blooded and had a rather small brain. Judging from its teeth, it may
have had a varied diet, subsisting primarily off of ~sects, small vertebrates, and carrion.

The specimen buried in the Dino Pit was collected in 1917 from near the famous Craddock Bone Bed
by-paleontologists from the US National Museum of Natural History, a part of the Smithsonian
Institution. The original specimen (USNM 9140) has been periodically placed on display in Washing-
ton DC.

16 July 12, 2003


'0

Pit 1 - Pertnian Terrestrial Fossils -280 MYA


u
Edaphosaurus pogonias
Distant Relative of Living Mammal:
Incomplete vertebral column
TMM40005-1
Arroyo Formation, Pennian
Baylor County, Texas

Edaphosaurus is a distant extinct relative of living mammals. Like Seymouria, another Pennian
fossil that can be found in the Dino Pit, it dates back roughly 280 million years. Edaphosaurus
belongs to the great lineage known as Synapsida, which includes all living species of mammals and
their extinct relatives.

Like its more famous relative Dimetrodon, Edaphosaurus had a fin that was supported by bones of
the vertebral column. Edaphosaurus differs from Dimetrodon in having cross-bars on the spines that
supported its fin. The function of the fin has always perplexed scientists. Some have argued that it
u was for thermoregulation and that the great surface area provided by the fin was used to more rapidly
warm the animal to the level where it could be active. Others have argued that the fin was analogous
to antlers and horns in some modem mammals, and that it was used in species recognition and
courtship. Both explanations may be correct.

The redbeds of Baylor County and surrounding counties are the richest in the world for fossils of
early Pennian age. These rocks hold a unique record of early synapsid history and have been visited
by paleontologists from all over the world. Edaphosaurus is among the rarest synapsids, and most of
the specimens that have been discovered consist of little more than fragments of its skeleton. Based
on its teeth, it is commonly thought that Edaphosaurus was herbivorous, but we know little of its
habits.

The Edaphosaurus specimen buried in the Dino Pit was cast from an original collected in 1944 by H.
J. Sawin and E. Jones. The only part of the specimen that was preserved is a part of the backbone that
includes some of the spines that supported the fin, but it is one of the most complete examples of
Edaphosaurus on record.

17 July 12, 2003


Pit 2 - Cretaceous Marine Fossils -85 to 70 MYA ("")
Mosasaurus nlaximus
The Onion Creek Mosasaur
TMM 313-1
Navarro Group, Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Mosasaurus maximus was a giant extinct marine reptile. It lived in shallow seas that covered much
of Texas about 70 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period. It is a member of the mosasaur
lineage, which included many other species and achieved a worldwide distribution before becoming
extinct about 65 million years ago. Their fossilized bones are fairly common across the state, and
they are especially abundant in central Texas. But skeletons as complete as this one are very rare.
Some mosasaur species were small (under 6 feet long) but others evolved to huge size. This speci-
men is one of the larger mosasaurs, being nearly 30 feet long. Its head alone is nearly 5 feet long and
its open jaws had a gape of3 feet.

Mosasaurs lived only during the Mesozoic and are sometimes confused with dinosaurs. But lizards,
snakes, and mosasaurs form their own distinctive branch of the reptilian family tree, and they are
only distantly related to dinosaurs. Today the closest living relatives of the extinct mosasaurs are the
members of a lizard lineage that includes the Komodo dragon and the Gila monster.

Mosasaurs were marine animals that spent virtually their entire lives in the oceans and seaways of the
Cretaceous world. They may have come out onto land to lay eggs, like modem sea turtles, although
some paleontologists suspect that they gave birth in the water to live young. For reasons that are not
fully understood, the ancestors of the mosasaur lineage left the dry land and adapted to life in the
seas.

Mosasaurs quickly evolved to tremendous size in the environment of the Cretaceous seas. With long
snake-like tails and paddles for limbs, they were probably excellent swimmers, and they reached all
of the oceans and seas of the Cretaceous world. Their large pointed teeth leave little doubt that they
were predatory, hunting other marine animals. Several known specimens preserve possible stomach
contents, which indicate that mosasaurs ate other vertebrates
(sharks, bony fish, turtles, other marine reptiles, etc.). The shells
of extinct mollusks known as ammonites have also been found
with holes some interpreted as bite marks made by mosasaurs.

The specimen buried at the Dino Pit was cast from a beautiful
skeleton found in 1935 in Travis County, along the banks of
Onion Creek. W. Clyde !kins and J obn Peter Smith, geology
students at The University of Texas at Austin, discovered the
skeleton. They alerted paleontologists at the Texas Memorial
Museum, who excavated the skeleton. It was first put on public
display at the Texas Centennial in 1936. The reconstructed skel-
eton is currently on display at the TMM.

18 July 12, 2003


Pit 2 - Cretaceous Marine Fossils -85 to 70 MYA
u

Crateraster mccarteri
Starfish
TMM BEG 34041
Late Cretaceous (about 85 million years ago)
Travis County, Texas

These starfish were found in large block of "float" in Bouldin Creek, here in Travis County. This is
one of two pieces that were cut out of the 1200-pound slab. The statfish were first exhibited in 1936,
and they have been gems of the Texas Memorial Museum's collections ever since.
These particular specimens are embedded in a type of rock mown as limestone, the "Austin chalk".
This layer of rock was formed from the settling of fine layers of sediment onto the sea floor during
the late Cretaceous, about 85 million years ago.
Starfish (also know as Sea stars) are invertebrates that can be found in oceans allover the world.
u They live in a wide range of marine environments, from rocky shores to kelp beds, tidal pools to
depths of more than 9000 meters. They vary greatly in size and shape. Their size can range from that
of a penny (1 centimeter) to as big as a bathtub (1 meter). In fact, there are about 1800 different
species of starfish alive today, and hundreds more are known from the fossil record.
The body form of a starfish is stellate (star-shaped) with central disc and typically five radiating,
symmetrical, arms (rays). The dimension is measured for the center of the central disc to the tip of
one of the rays. Did you know that, occasionally, a "five-rayed" starfish is born with only four rays?
Variation like this occurs in all natural populations. However, it's very rare that enough individuals
are preserved together for us to see this variation in fossils. Can you find the four-rayed specimen on
this slab? At the other end of the spectrum there is a modem species of starfish that has 50 rays. And
just to add more confusion, starfish can regenerate severed rays, or intentionally remove rays.
The robust starfish have retained much of their detailed
structure on this slab but have lost all their vibrant color.
Modem starfish pigments include yellow, red, purple,
orange, brown, gray, and blue. Original color is only very
rarely preserved in the fossil record.

Modem starfish have diverse eating habits, some are


carnivorous eating sponges, corals or shellfish, others are
scavengers anq some are cannibals. Others are deposit
u feeders extracting their food from the mud, or suspension
feeders sifting food from the water column.

19 July 12, 2003


Pit 2 - Cretaceous Marine Fossils -85 to 70 MYA n

Osteopygis Sp.
The ZUker Park Turtle
Incomplete carapace and plastron
TMM43190-1
Edwards Formation (limestones), Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Turtles are an ancient lineage of reptiles that arose long before the dinosaurs appeared and they have
survived until the present day. Most turtles live on land or in freshwater streams and lakes, but some
have become adapted to life in the oceans. Osteopygis is one such marine species. It lived in the
shallow seas that covered much of Texas during the Cretaceous, living together with animals like
Mosasaurus and plesiosaurs like Polyptychodon. Osteopygis may have grown to about 5 feet in
length, but it was by no means the largest of the Cretaceous turtles. There were others that reached
more tJian twice the size ofOsteopygis, and skeletons of these giants have also been found in Texas.

The specimen that is buried at the Dino Pit was discovered by a hiker in Zilker Park. The specimen
was collected by paleontologists from the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of the Texas Memorial
Museum. Much of the bottom half of the shell (plastron) and a few pieces of the shell's upper half
(carapace) were preserved in this specimen. It is unusual because it was found on the same layer of
rock that preserved several nearby dinosaur tracks. If the entire shell and skeleton had been found, it
would have represented a large animal, weighing several hundred pounds. Like other marine turtles,
it probably ate fish, squid, and other marine animals.

20 July 12, 2003


'.

Pit 3 - Cretaceous Marine Fossils -85 to 70 MYA


u

Polyptychodon Sp.
The Shoal Creek Plesiosaur
TMM42644-2
Eagle Ford Group, Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Polyptychodon is a member of the plesiosaur family, which constituted a group of reptiles that were
adapted to life in the shallow seaways that covered much of Texas 90 million years ago. The plesio-
saurs form their own distinctive branch of the reptile family tree. Although commonly mistaken for
dinosaurs, the plesiosaurs are only distant relatives. They were also very different from the mosa-
saurs, which formed another lineage of giant aquatic reptiles. The plesiosaurs became extinct near the
end of the Cretaceous time period.
u The anns and legs of plesiosaurs were modified into flippers that they used to 'fly' through the water,
much like modern sea turtles do. Some plesiosaurs had long necks and small heads, while others had
short necks and very large heads, and many grew to gigantic size. They had long, shmp teeth charac-
teristic of animals that catch and eat fish. Together with the mosasaurs, they were among the domi-
nant predators of the Mesozoic oceans. Although they were reptiles, they probably spent nearly all of
their lives in the water, occasionally coming onto land to lay their eggs.

Dr. J. R. (Bob) McDonald, an Austin dentist who was looking for shark teeth along Shoal Creek,
discovered the specimen buried in the Dino Pit. He reported the find to paleontologists at the Verte-
brate Paleontology Laboratory, who collected it and put it on display in the Texas Memorial Museum
in the early 1990's.

21 July 12,2003
Pit 3 - Cretaceous Marine Fossils -85 to 70 MYA n

Stantonoceras solisense
Ammonite
TMMUT53002
Late Cretaceous (about 85 million years ago)
Williamson County, Texas
Olohn A. MaiSlllno

This ammonite was found by Mr. Bill Jolley in Williamson County, Texas. It was generously donated
for research because it is a better example of the species than the actual ''type'' specimen. A type
specimen is the unique, official reference specimen for a species or genus.

Ammonites are invertebrates that can no longer be found in oceans today, they are extinct. They
looked very similar to the living (extant), chambered, Nautilus, but are more closely related to squid.
They lived on continental shelves and deep ocean environments and were prolific until the end of the n
Cretaceous. At that point they became extinct. Nautilus survived the stress that led to the extinction
of the ammonites. Why did they survive? We really are not sure; some people have suggested subtle
differences in lifestyles or hatchery location of their larvae. po

Coiling styles of ammonites varied, this example is coiled in one plane others coil in two planes.
This specimen is quite tightly coiled others are loosely coiled. In some each new coil covers the
previous one so that you can only see the last whorl, called involute coiling and this ammonite is of
that involute coiling style.
Within the coil is a series of chambers, the animal actually lived in the very last, the outermost,
chamber. The chamber walls (septa) were connected with a tube (siphuncle) that allowed the animal
to regulate its buoyancy by controlling gases in each chamber. A little bit like regulating a hot air
balloon, except in the case of the ammonite control is within a water column and not the atmosphere.
These chambers have been very useful to paleontologists because the way the chamber wall attaches
(sutures) to the outer shell has changed in complexity over time. This suture pattern is often pre-
served in the ammonite fossil. Paleontologists can identify particular species with the help of these
suture patterns. The patterns evolve quite rapidly and become a proxy for time. Certain patterns
evolved after others and that allows us to place the species in order, to date them relative to each
other.

22 July 12, 2003


·.
Pit 4 - Cretaceous Terrestrial Fossils - 65 MYA
u
AlamosaurllS sanjuanensis
Giant Sauropod Dinosaur
Humerus TMM 41398-2
FemurTMM 41541-1
Javelina Formation, Cretaceous
Big Bend National Park
Brewster County, Texas

Alamosaurus was named for Alamo Creek, San Juan Basin, New Mexico, where the first specimen
was discovered. Alamosaurus roamed over much of southwestern North America during the latest
part of the Cretaceous. It became extinct at the very end of the Mesozoic Era, during the mass extinc-
tion episode that wiped out many other species at the same time. Alamosaurus was one of the very
last of the nonavian dinosaurs in Texas.

Alamosaurus was a member of the sauropod dinosaur lineage. The sauropods were not only the
u largest dinosaurs but also the largest land animals ever to evolve. Only some of today's baleen
whales are larger. The largest sauropods may have weighed around 50 tons. This is about 10 times
more than African elephants, who are the largest land-living animals alive today.

The earliest members of the lineage were small and walked on their hind legs, leaving their hands
free for other purposes. But during the course of the Mesozoic, the sauropods evolved to giant size,
and had to drop to all fours in order to support their gigantic weight. At the same time, they evolved
almost unbelievably long necks but retained relatively small heads. Of all the dinosaurs, they had the
smallest brains compared to their body size.

Alamosaurus and the other huge sauropods were herbivores. They had small blunt teeth, which they
used for cropping and stripping vegetation. The discovery of polished stones inside the ribcage in
several skeletons suggests that they had a large muscular gizzard containing stones to mechanically
break down fibrous plants. The stones accomplished the grinding of food instead of the teeth!

The two huge bones of Alamosaurus buried in the


Dino Pit were cast from specimens collected from
Big Bend National Park in 1971 and 1973 by Dr.
Wann Langston, Jr. and a crew from the Vertebrate
Paleontology Laboratory of the Texas Memorial
Museum. One bone is the humerus (upper ann
bone), which1ies between the shoulder and elbow

u joints. The other is the femur (thigh bone), which


extends from the hip to the knee j oint. These two
. bones came from different individuals of about the
same. size.

23 July 12, 2003


Pit 4 - Cretaceous Terrestrial Fossils - 65 MYA n
Quetzalcoatlus If,orthropi
The Texas Pterosaur

Wing bones
(humerus, radius, ulna, carpals, metacarpals,]
TMM414S0-3
Javelina Fonnation, Cretaceous
Big Bend National Park
Brewster County, Texas

Quetzalcoatlus is the largest flying creature ever to evolve. Its wingspan was somewhere around 40
feet, which is as wide as some small jet fighters. But it was light as a kite, with hollow bones that
were almost paper-thin. Quetzalcoatlus is a member of the extinct pterosaur lineage. Pterosaurs
(pronounced tair-o-saurs) lived during most of the Mesozoic Era and diversified into a tremendous
array of different forms. Often mistakenly called "flying dinosaurs", the pterosaurs are not members
of the dinosaur lineage. Instead they are a side branch from the main stem leading towards the dino-
saurian family tree and are only "cousins" to the dinosaurs. n
Quetzalcoatlus and most other pterosaurs were probably predators and scavengers. Several pterosaur
specimens contain the skeletons of fish in their bellies, and most of these were found in marine
rocks. But many other pterosaurs, including Quetzalcoatlus, were discovered in rocks formed by
lakes and streams, which indicates that they flew over dry land and probably hunted terrestrial (land-
living) animals as well.
The wings of pterosaurs were different from the wings in modem birds and bats. In birds, the feathers
of the wing are supported by the first three fingers of the hand (the thumb, index, and middle fin-
gers). In bats, the thumb is free and a wing membrane of skin is webbed between the remaining
fingers and along the body to the legs. But in pterosaurs, the wing was made from a skin membrane
that was supported by one very long finger, probably the one corresponding to our "ring-finger".
Astonishingly, flight evolved independently in pterosaurs, birds, and bats.
Quetzalcoatlus was the largest and also one of the last of the pterosaurs. It soared over Texas right up
until the end of the Cretaceous Period, looking down on dinosaurs like Alamosaurus and Tyranno-
saurus. It was wiped out in the great extinction event that marked the end of the Mesozoic Era.

The specimen buried in the Dino Pit was cast


from a specimen discovered in Big Bend
National Park by a graduate student named
Douglas Lawson, who was working on his
masters degree in the Department of Geologi-
cal Sciences at The University of Texas at
Austin, under the direction of Dr. Wann
Langston, Jr.

24 July 12, 2003


'. -,
Pit 4 - Cretaceous Terrestrial Fossils - 65 MYA
u

Tyrannosallrus rex
Giant Theropod Dinosaur
TMM 41436-1
Upper jaw and teeth
Javelina Formation, Cretaceous
Big Bend National Park
Brewster County, Texas

TYrannosaurus was one of the largest of the giant predatory dinosaurs, although a few newly discov-
ered species may have been a bit larger. Tyrannosaurus and its carnivorous relatives are members of
the theropod branch of the dinosaur family tree. Their large, curved, serrated teeth are built like steak
knives and are designed for tearing flesh. There is no doubt Tyrannosaurus ate meat, but there is still
some debate over whether it was a predator, a scavenger, or both. Like all predatory dinosaurs,
TYrannosaurus walked only on its hindlimbs. Its forelimbs were unusually tiny and their function has
always been a mystery.

Tyrannosaurus was one of the last non-avian dinosaurs in Texas, and lived in the same environment
as Alamosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus. Like these creatures, TYrannosaurus went extinct at the very end
of the Cretaceous (65 million years ago) in the great extinction event that killed off many other
species. The closest living relatives of Tyrannosaurus are modem birds.

Tyrannosaurus roamed across western North America, but only a few rare bits and pieces of its
skeleton have been found in Texas. The partial upper jaw buried in the Dino Pit is just a small piece
of the skeleton, but it is nevertheless one of the most complete pieces of a TYrannosaurus ever found
in Texas. It was discovered in Big Bend National Park in 1970 and excavated by paleontologists at
the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of The Texas Memorial Museum.

25 July 12, 2003


:

Pit 5 - EarlyTertiaryFossil- 35 MYA n

Roolleyia viejaensis
Early Primate
Skull
TMM40688-7
Vieja Fonnation, Oligocene
Presidio County, Texas

Rooneyia viejaensis is an omomyid, a member of a prosimian primate lineage that dates back ap-
proximately 55 million years. Like other early primates, Rooneyia was small. It was about the size of
the modem tarsier, which inhabits the forests of Indonesia and the southern Philippines; and the
galago, which inhabits the forests of Africa. Only a single specimen of Rooneyia has been discov-
ered, and only the skull was preserved. Without the rest of the skeleton, it is difficult to be certain
how it made its living, but like most other small primates it was probably arboreal, spending its life
in the trees.

Primates are very rare in the fossil record. The tiny specimen that is buried at the Dino Pit is 35
million years old and among the most complete and best preserved primate skulls ever discovered in
North America. Based on the size of its orbits (eye-sockets), Rooneyia was probably active during the
daylight hours. Rooneyia has broad, flattened cusps on its teeth, which may indicate a diet that was
rich in fruit. One of the unique features of this specimen is that some of the bones surrounding the
brain had weathered away to reveal what is referred to as a natural "endocast". An endocast is a
replica of the brain that it is fonned by sediments that fill the space that was occupied by the brain in
the living animal. In animals with large brains, the skull records much of the detail of the brain's
surface, much like the shell of a walnut or a
pecan nut. The infilling of sediment, now
turned to rock, takes on the shape of the brain.

Dr. John A. Wilson, who is the founder of the


Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of the
Texas Memorial Museum, discovered this
specimen in 1964. ·Dr. Wilson has now spent
more than 60 years looking for fossils all across
Texas. Although Rooneyia is a tiny fossil, it
was the fmd of a lifetime for Dr. Wilson.

26 July 12, 2003


'.

'Pit 5 - Late Pleistocene Fossils - 500 to 10 TYA


u
Mammut americanum
A111eri.can Mastodon
Incomplete skull
TMM 1858-1
Pleistocene river terrace sand and gravels
Live Oak County, Texas

The American mastodon has an interesting name. The name Mammut might suggest that it is a
mammoth, but it is not. Instead it is a member of the mastodon lineage, which is related to but
different from the elephant lineage, which includes the mammoths. The scientific name Mammut
means "earth burrower". This name traces back to the Middle Ages when European fanners found
the gigantic bones of mastodons in their fields and mistakenly believed that they belonged to some
kind of gigantic burrowing animals. The common name "mastodon" comes from "mastodont", which
means ''breast-toothed''. This term. refers to the cone-like cusps on the cheek teeth.

Mastodons are members of the group of mammals called proboscideans, which was once much more
diverse and widespread. Only two species survive today, the African and Asian elephants, both
threatened with extinction. Mammut americanum roamed widely over North America for roughly 3.5
million years before it finally became extinct, between about 9,000 and 12,000 years ago. Both
climatic change and human hunting have been implicated in its extinction.

The Mammut specimen buried in the Dino Pit was one of the last of its kind in Texas. Declining
popUlations of Mammut were concentrated in two major areas. These were the Great Lakes and the
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. In Texas they probably occupied lowland valleys and swampy
areas. Stomach contents have been recovered from a few specimens and these indicate that they ate
the twigs and cones of conifers, leaves, mosses, grasses, and aquatic plants. Mammut probably used
its tusks to strip branches from trees upon which it fed.

The specimen buried at the Dino Pit exhibits the process of tooth replacement common to mast-
odons, mammoths and elephants. Over its lifetime, a proboscidean uses six sets of grinding teeth in
each side of both the upper and lower jaws. As the initial set is worn, it is pushed forward by the
eruption of the next larger, unworn tooth.

The original specimen was excavated by paleontolo-


gists from the Bureau of Economic Geology at The
University of Texas at Austin in 1939, working with
support from the Works Progress Administration. Its
age is estimated between 10,000 and 200,000 years
U old. It was long displayed at the Texas Memorial
Museum and is now at the Vertebrate Paleontology
Laboratory.

27 July 12, 2003


Pit 5 - Late Pleistocene Fossils - 500 to 10 TYA n

Geocl,elone sp.
Gian t Tortoise
Shell and partial skeleton
TIvIM 30967-2155
Freshwater pond deposit, Pleistocene
San Patricio County, Texas

Giant land tortoises like this specimen of Geochelone roamed the coastal plain of Texas during the
Pleistocene. Although this particular North American species is now extinct, having died out by
about 10,000 years ago; it has living relatives on several islands of the world and on the mainland of
Africa and South America. Probably the most famous members of the tortoise family are the giant
tortoises of the Galapagos Islands, which were studied by Charles Darwin as he developed his theory
of evolution. More distant and much smaller relatives of the giant tortoises still live North America,
in the southwestern deserts, parts of Florida, and northern Mexico.

Tortoises are part ofa larger group of animals, the Testudines (turtles). Most turtles are adapted for
life in wetter environments like rivers, ponds, and the oceans of the world. But tortoises are adapted
to arid environments. They are almost exclusively vegetarians, and they get all the moisture they
need from the plants they eat. They rarely if ever drink water. In some settings they hibernate during
the winters, while in other settings they are active most of the year. In contrast to tortoises, most other
turtles are carnivorous, eating fish, insects, grubs, wonns, and carrion. All tortoise species are threat-
ened or endangered in the wild today.

We are not sure what led to the extinction of giant tortoises in North America. The change in climate
at the end of the Pleistocene has been suggested, but human activity has also been implicated. In
more recent years, many of the island popUlations of giant tortoises have been extirpated by human
overkill, mostly by sailors who collected the tortoises for food. The introduction of rats, pigs, and
dogs by humans to these islands has also had tragic effects on the slow growing turtles. Adults are
generally safe, but the eggs and young are easy prey to the faster, smarter mammals.

A. H. Witte collected the specimen buried at the


Dino Pit. Witte supervised the excavation, which
was funded by the Works Progress Administration
from 1939 to 1940. The original specimen was
long displayed at the Texas Memorial Museum and
is now at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory.
n

28 July 12, 2003


.
~

Pit 5 - Late Pleistocene Fossils - 500 to 10 TVA


u

Homotllerium serum
Scimitar-toothed Cat
Skull
TMM 933-3582
Friesenhahn Cave, Pleistocene
Bexar County, Texas

Homotherium serum, the scimitar-toothed cat, ranged throughout Texas during the Pleistocene.
Homotherium was a member of the felid lineage, which includes all extant and extinct cats (every-
thing from lions to housecats) as well as the extinct saber-toothed cats. Homotherium was about the
size of a modem lion, but it had a lighter build with long forelimbs and relatively shorter hindlimbs.
These proportions indicate that Homotherium was capable of running after prey as well as leaping
upon them.

u The skull of Homotherium is characterized by its flattened and serrated upper canines and wide nasal
opening. The wide nasal opening has been compared to that of a cheetah, and is thought to have
allowed for maximum air intake, which is important for running after prey. The canines of
Homotherium are not as elongate as those of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon, but were nevertheless
effective weapons for killing prey.

The prey of choice were juvenile mammoths, as evidenced by more than 300 mammoth deciduous
("milk") teeth found in Friesenhahn Cave. There is no doubt that the juvenile mammoths were killed
and dragged into the cave by Homotherium, for in addition to the skull cast for the Dino Pit, skeletal
remains representing 19 adult and 13 juvenile Homotherium have been collected from Friesenhahn
Cave, indicating that the cave was used as a den.

A field crew, including Glen L. Evans and Grayson E. Meade, from the Texas Memorial Museum
found the original specimen during excavation of Friesenhahn Cave in the summer of 1949. Its age is
estimated to be about 20,000 years old. This skull is at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory while
complete Homotherium skeletons (an adult and two
kittens) are on display at the Texas Memorial
Museum.

29 July 12, 2003


Pit 6 - Late Pleistocene Fossils -15 to 10 TYA n
301 Cotngress Ave.

Mamlnuthus sp.
(301 Congress Mammoth)
Partial skeleton
TMM 43067-37
Pleistocene river silts and clay
Travis County, Texas

Mammoths are members of the group Proboscidea, so named for the elongate muscular proboscis or
"trunk" which is a unique tactile (touch) and sense organ. Like other members of this group,
Mammuthus exhibits skeletal modifications for bearing great weight, including column-like limbs.
Mammuthus is more closely related to the extant elephants ofAsia and Africa than it is to the extinct
mastodons like Mammut. Evidence for this includes features of the cheek teeth, which are specialized
for grinding.- The cheek teeth consist of transverse loops or plates of enamel that provide a wash-
board-like surface for chewing grasses. The tusks of Mammuthus are often long and curved and are
found only in the upper jaw.

Mammuthus species that roamed Texas in the Pleistocene included the Columbian and Jefferson's
mammoths, but not the woolly mammoth. There is some controversy as to whether the Columbian
and Jefferson's mammoths are distinct species or just different populations exhibiting geographical
variation. Mammoth remains have been found at several Paleo-Indian kill sites in North America.
These include localities in Texas such as Lubbock Lake (Lubbock County), and the Miami Site
(Roberts County). Climatic change and human hunting have
been implicated in the extinction of the mammoth 11,000
years ago.

Dr. Ernest L. Lundelius, Jr. of the Vertebrate Paleontology


Laboratory excavated the original specimen in 1985, with
assistance from the Trammell Crow Company and Lone
Star Archaeological Services. Its age is estimated to be
about 15,000 years before present, based on radiocarbon
dates obtained from organics in the clay immediately
surrounding the bones. The skeleton is currently housed at
the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory.

30 July 12, 2003


I
~

Pit 6 - Late Pleistocene Fossils -15 to 10 TYA


u
301 Comgress Ave.

Amazing Fossil Discovery in Downtown Austin

On December 30, 1984, while excavating for the foundation of a new 22 - story office building at
301 Congress Ave., workers uncovered what appeared to be the remains of at least three prehistoric
mastodons.

A railway station once occupied this site in the late 19th century, so archeologists working for the
Trammel Crow development company where on-site to recover and document artifacts from Austin's
human history. The fossil remains where found below the level of human occupation. Once it was
detennined that the find was animal in nature and predated human activity paleontologists from the
University of Texas were brought in to help coordinate the removal of specimens.

This discovery intrigued the popUlation of Austin. The construction company arraigned to open the
site on January 19 to the public. Over 4,000 visitors were escorted down into_ the pit and allowed to
witness the specimens for themselves.
u On Jan 20, 1985, a mammoth skull and tusk were uncovered in a different part of the site but in the
same greenish grey clay deposits that had contained the original mastodon find. By February 8, 1985
the specimens had been removed from the site along with 20 tons of dirt and clay. Over the next
years, this matrix was carefully sifted uncovering even more evidence of the biological community
that had called this area of Texas home.

The fossil remains combined with microscopic study of the sediments in which they were found help
researchers develop a model on what this area of Central Texas was like 15,000 years ago. From the
evidence, researchers conclude that this site was a marsh area along what is now the Colorado River.
It probably served as a watering hole. The climate was probably cooler and more humid then the
present and seasonal changes would have been milder.

A partial list of the animals found at 301 Congress Ave.:

American mastodon, mammoth, prehistoric horses, giant ground sloth, moles, short tailed shrew,
meadow vole, bog lemming, muskrat, pine or prairie vole, gopher, gar, bullfrog, salamanders similar
to tiger salamanders, land tortoises, various snakes including ones similar to modem day vipers, wild
turkey, coyote, skunk, cottontail rabbit, deer, spiders, ants, bees.

31 July 12, 2003


\
-•
u Introduction to the Vertebrate Fossils in the Dino Pit
.Prepared by Tim Rowe
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory
Texas Memorial Museum
March 20, 2001

I. Texas Ice Age Fossils (between 10,000 and 200,000 years old)
• Mammut americanum - the American mastodon
• Geochelone sp. - a giant tortoise

II. Early Tertiary Fossils (35 million years old)


• Rooneyia viejaensis - a tiny primate

III. Cretaceous Terrestrial Fossils (65 million years old)


• Alamosaurus sanjuan ens is - giant sauropod dinosaur
• Quetzalcoatlus northropi - the giant pterosaur of Big Bend
• Tyrannosaurus rex - a rare Texas specimen

u IV. Cretaceous Marine Fossils (70 to 75 million years old)


• Mosasaurus maximus - the Onion Creek Mosasaur
• Polyptychodon sp. - the Shoal Creek Plesiosaur
• Osteopygis sp. - the Zilker Park Turtle

V. Permian Terrestrial Fossils (280 million years old)


• Seymouria baylorensis - an early tetrapod
• Edaphosaurus pogonias one of the most distant relatives of mammals

u
1
Ie Texas Ice Age Fossils (between 10,000 and 200,000 years old)

American mastodon
partial skull
TMM 1858-1
Pleistocene river terrace sand and gravels
Live Oak County, Texas

The American mastodon has an interesting name. The name Mammut might
suggest that it is a mammoth, but it is not. Instead it is a member of the mastodont
family, which is related to but different from the elephant family, which includes the
mammoths. The scientific name Mammut means "earth burrower". This name traces
back to the Middle Ages when European fanners found the gigantic bones of mastodonts
in their fields and mistakenly believed that they belonged to some kind of gigantic
burrowing animals. "'Mastodont" means 'breast-tooth", which refers to the cone-like
cusps on the grinding teeth.
Mastodonts are members of the Proboscidean lineage, which today includes only
the African and Asian elephants. Proboscideans were once much more diverse, for only
two species survive today, both threatened with extinction. Mammut americanum
roamed widely over North America for roughly 3 million years, before it finally became
extinct, between about 9,000 and 12,000 years ago. Both climatic change and human
hunting have been implicated in its extinction.
The Mammut specimen buried here in the Dino Pit was one of the last of its kind in
Texas. Declining populations of Mammut were concentrated in two major areas. These
were the Great Lakes and the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains. In Texas they probably
occupied lowland valleys and swampy areas. Stomach contents have been recovered
from a few specimens and these indicate that they ate the twigs and cones of conifers,
leaves, coarse grasses, swamp plants, and mosses. In several cases long reddish hair has
been found with some of the youngest specimens.
The specimen buried here at the Dino Pit exhibits the process of tooth replacement
common to mastodonts, mammoths and elephants. Over their lifetime, a proboscidean
uses six sets of grinding teeth in each side of both the upper and lower jaws. As the
initial set is worn, it is pushed forward by the eruption of the next larger, unworn tooth.

2
The original specimen was excavated by DT Bureau of Economic Geology

u paleontologists in 1939, working with support from the Works Progress Administration.
Its age is estimated between 10,000 and 200,000 years old. It was long displayed at the
Texas Memorial Museum and is now at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory.

Giant Tortoise
Geochelolle sp.
shell and partial skeleton
TMM 30967-2155
Freshwater pond deposit, Pleistocene
San Patricio County, Texas

Giant land tortoises like this specimen of Geochelone roamed the coastal plain of
Texas during the Ice Ages. Although this particular North American species is now
extinct, having died out by about 10,000 years ago, it has living relatives on several
islands of the world, and on the mainland of Africa and South America. Probably the
most famous members of the tortoise family are the giant tortoises of the Galapagos
Islands, which were studied by Charles Darwin as he developed his theory of evolution.
U More distant and much smaller relatives of the giant tortoises still live North America, in
the southwestern deserts, in parts of Florida, and there is a smaIl population in northern
Mexico.
Tortoises are members of the turtle family. Most other turtles are adapted to
wetter environments like rivers, ponds, and the oceans of the world. But tortoises are
adapted to arid environments. They are almost exclusively vegetarians, and they get all
the moisture they need from the plants that they eat. They rarely if ever drink water. In
some settings they hibernate during the winters, while in other settings they are active
most of the year. In contrast to tortoises, most other turtles are carnivorous, eating fish,
insects, grubs, wonns, and carrion. All tortoise species are threatened or endangered in
the wild today.
Weare not sure what led to the extinction of giant tortoises in North America.
The change in climate at the end of the Ice Ages has been suggested, but human activity
has also been implicated. In more recent years, many of the island populations of giant
tortoises have been extirpated by human overkill, mostly by sailors who collected the

3
",

tortoises for food. The introduction to these islands by humans of rats, pigs, and dogs has
also had tragic effects on the slow growing turtles. Adults are safe, but the eggs and
young are easy prey to the faster, smarter mammals.
A. H. Witte collected the specimen buried here at the Dino Pit. Witte supervised
the excavation, which was funded by the Works Progress Administration from 1939 to
1940. The original specimen was long displayed at the Texas Memorial Museum and is
now at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory.

4
II. Earlv Tertiarv Fossils (35 million years old)
u Early Primate
Rooneyia viejaensis
skull
TMM40688-7
Vieja Formation, Oligocene
Presidio County

Rooneyia viejaensis is an early member of our own primate lineage that dates
back approximately 35 million years. Like other early primates, Rooneyia was small. It
was about the size of the modern tarsier, which inhabits the forests of Indonesia and the
southern Philippines; and the galago, which inhabits the forests of Africa. Only a single
specimen of Rooneyia has been discovered, and only the skull was preserved. Without
the rest of the skeleton, it is difficult to be certain how it made its living, but like most
other small primates it was probably arboreal, spending its life in the trees.
Primates are very rare in the fossil record. The tiny specimen that is buried here
at the Dino Pit is among the most complete and best preserved primate skull ever
discovered in North America. It is probably one of the most valuable fossils in the world.
u Based on the size of its orbits (eye-sockets), Rooneyia was probably active during
the daylight hours. Rooneyia has broad, flattened cusps on its teeth, which may indicate a
diet that was rich in fruit. One of the unique features of this specimen is that some of the
bones surrounding the brain had weathered away to reveal what is referred to as a natural
"endocast". An endocast is a replica of the brain that it is formed by sediments that fill
the space that was occupied by the brain in the living animal. In animals with large
brains, the skull records much of the detail of the brain's surface, much like the shell ofa
walnut or a pecan nut. The infilling of sediment, now turned to rock, takes on the shape
of the brain ..
Dr. John A. Wilson, who is the founder of the Vertebrate Paleontology
Laboratory of the Texas Memorial Museum, discovered this specimen. Dr. Wilson has
now spent more than 60 years looking for fossils all across Texas. Although Rooneyia is
a tiny fossil, it was the find of a lifetime for Dr. Wilson.

u
5
III. Cretaceous Terrestrial Fossils (65 million years old)

Giant Sauropod Dinosaur


Alamosaurus sanjuanensis
Humerus - TMM 41398-2
Femur- TMM 41541-1
Big Bend National Park
Javelina Formation, Cretaceous
Brewster County, Texas

Alamosaurus was named for Alamo Creek, San Juan Basin, New Mexico, where
the first specimen was discovered. Alamosaurus roamed over much of westem North
America during the latest part of the Cretaceous. It became extinct at the very end of the
Mesozoic, during the mass extinction episode that wiped out many other species at the
same time. Alamosaurus was one of the very last of the dinosaurs in Texas.
Alamosaurus was a member of the sauropod dinosaur lineage. The sauropods
were not only the largest dinosaurs but also the largest land animals ever to evolve. Only
some oftoday's baleen whales are larger. The largest sauropods may have weighed
around 50 tons. This is about 10 times more than African elephants, who are the largest
land-living animals alive today.
The earliest members of the lineage were small and walked on their hind legs,
leaving their hands free for other purposes. But during the course of the Mesozoic, the
sauropods evolved to giant size, in part by returning to all fours in order to support their
gigantic weight. At the same time, they evolved almost unbelievably long necks, and
ridiculously small heads. Of all the dinosaurs, they had the smallest brains compared to
their body size.
Alamosaurus and the other huge sauropods were herbivores. They had small
blunt teeth, which they used for cropping and stripping vegetation. The discovery of
po Ii shed stones insi de the ribcage in several skeletons suggests that they had a large
muscular gizzard containing stones to mechanically break down the fibrous plants. The
stones accomplish the grinding instead of the teeth!
The two huge bones of Alamosaurus buried here at the Dino Pit were cast from
specimens collected from Big Bend National Park in 1971 and 1973 by Dr. Wann
Langston, Jr. and a crew from the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of the Texas

6
Memorial Museum. One bone is the humerus (upper ann bone), which lies between the
u shoulder and elbow joints. The other is the femur (thigh bone), which extends from the
hip to the knee joint. The"two bones came from different individuals of the same size.

. The Giant Pterosaur of Big Bend


Quetzalcoatlus northrop;
wing bones
(humerus, radius, ulna, carpals, metacarpals, phalanges)
TMM 41450-3
Big Bend National Park
Javelina Formation, Cretaceous
Brewster County, Texas

Quetzalcoatlus is the largest flying creature ever to evolve. Its wingspan was
somewhere around 40 feet, which is as wide as some of the smaller jet fighters. But it
was light as a kite, with hollow bones that were almost paper-thin. Quetzalcoatlus is a
member of the extinct pterosaur family. These flying creatures lived during most of the
Mesozoic and diversified into a tremendous array of different fonus. Often mistakenly
called "flying dinosaurs", the pterosaurs are not members of the dinosaur family. Instead
U they are a side branch from the main stem of the dinosaurian family tree and are only
"cousins~' to the dinosaurs.
Quetzalcoatlus and most other pterosaurs were probably predators and scavengers.
Several pterosaur specimens contain the skeletons of fish in their bellies, and most of
these were found in marine rocks. But many other pterosaurs, including Quetzalcoatlus,
were discovered in rocks formed by lakes and streams, which indicates that they flew
over dry land and probably hunted terrestrial (land-living) animals as well.
The wings of pterosaurs were different from the wings in modem birds and bats. In
birds, the feathers of the wing are supported by the first three fingers of the hand (the
thumb, index, and middle fingers). In bats, the thumb is free and a wing membrane of
skin is webbed between all the fingers, and along the body to the legs. But in pterosaurs,
the wing was made from a skin membrane that was supported by one long finger,
probably the one corresponding to our "ring-finger". Astonishingly, flight evolved
independently in each of these lineages.

u
7
Quetzalcoatlus was the largest and also the last of the pterosaurs. It soared over
Texas right up until the end of the Cretaceous, looking down on dinosaurs like
Alamosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. It was wiped out in the great extinction event that
"

marked the end of the Mesozoic and its bones were buried in the same beds as
Alamosaurus and Tyrannosaurus.
The specimen buried here at the Dino Pit was cast from a specimen discovered in
Big Bend National Park by a graduate student named Douglas Lawson, who was working
on his nlasters degree in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of
Texas at Austin, under the direction of Dr. Wann Langston, Jr.

TyrannosaunLS rex
TMM41436-1
upper jaw and teeth
Big Bend National Park
Javelina Formation, Cretaceous
Brewster County, Texas

Tyrannosaurus was one of the greatest of the giant predatory dinosaurs. Although
several new discoveries may be a bit larger, Tyrannosaurus remains one of the two or
three largest ever. Tyrannosaurus and its carnivorous relatives are members of the
theropod branch of the dinosaur family tree. Their large, curved, serrated teeth are built
like steak knives and are designed for tearing flesh. They leave little doubt that these
huge dinosaurs ate meat, but there is still a debate over whether they were predators or
simply scavengers.
Tyrannosaurus was one of the last of the dinosaurs, living in the same community
with Alamosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus. Like these creatures, Tyrannosaurus became
extinct at the very end of the Cretaceous, in the great extinction event that killed off many
other species. The closest living relatives of Tyrannosaurus are modem birds.
Tyrannosaunls roamed across western North America and a few rare bits and
pieces of its skeleton have been found in Texas. It walked on its hindlimbs, and had tiny
forelimbs whose function has always been a mystery. They had larger brains than other
contemporary dinosaurs, with a good sense of vision and smell.
The partial upper jaw buried in the Dino Pit is just a small piece of a complete
skeleton, but it is nevertheless one of the most complete pieces of a Tyrannosaurus ever

8
....
t

found in Texas. It was discovered in Big Bend National Park in 1970 and excavated by
u paleontologists at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory of The Texas Memorial
Museunl.

u
9
IV. Cretaceous Marine Fossils (70 to 75 million years old)

The Onion Creek MQsasaur


Mosasaurus maximus
TMM 313-1
Navarro Fonnation, Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Mosasaurus maximus was a giant extinct marine reptile. It lived in shallow seas
that covered much of Texas about 75 million years ago, during the Cretaceous time
period. It is a member of the mosasaur lineage, which included many other marine
reptiles that achieved a worldwide distribution before becoming extinct about 70 million
years ago. Their fossilized bones are fairly common across the state, and they are
especially abundant in central Texas. But skeletons as complete as this one are very rare.
Some mosasaur species were small (under 6 feet long) but others evolved to huge size.
This specimen is one of the larger know mosasaurs, being nearly 30 feet long. Its head
alone is nearly 5 feet long and with its jaws open it had a gape of 3 feet.
Mosasaurs lived during the Mesozoic and are sometimes confused with dinosaurs.
But the lizards, snakes, and mosasaurs fonn their own distinctive branch of the reptilian
family tree, and they are only distantly related to dinosaurs. Today the closest living
relatives of the extinct mosasaurs are the members of a lizard lineage that includes the
Komodo Dragon and the Gila Monster.
Mosasaurs were marine animals that spent virtually their entire lives in the oceans
and seaways of the Cretaceous world. They may have come out onto land to lay eggs,
like modem sea turtles, although some paleontologists suspect that they gave birth in the
water to live young. Their immediate ancestors were terrestrial reptiles. For reasons that
are not fully.understood, the ancestors of the mosasaur lineage left the dry land and
adapted to life in the seas.
Mosasaurs quickly evolved to tremendous size in the environment of the
Cretaceous seas. With long snake-like tails and paddles for limbs, they were probably
excellent swimmers, and they reached all of the oceans and seas of the Cretaceous world.
Their long, pointed teeth leave little doubt that they were predatory and that they were
hunting other marine animals. Several known specimens preserve possible stomach

10
contents, which indicate that mosasaurs ate other vertebrates (sharks, bony fish, turtles,
u other marine reptiles, etc.). The shells of extinct mollusks known as ammonites have also
been found with bite marks that were probably made by mosasaurs .
.
'

The specimen buried here at the Dino Pit was cast from a beautiful skeleton found
in 1935 in Travis County, along the banks of Onion Creek. It was discovered by W.
Clyde Ikins and John Peter Smith, who were UT geology students at the time. They
alerted paleontologists at the Texas Memorial Museum, who excavated the skeleton. It
was first put on public display at the Texas Centennial in 1936. The complete skeleton is
currently mounted and on display at the TMM.

The Shoal Creek Plesiosaur


Polyptychodon sp.
TMM42644-2
Eagle Ford Fonnation, Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Polyptychodon is a member of the plesiosaur family, which constituted another


group of reptiles that were adapted to life in the shallow seaways that covered much of
U Texas about 75 million years ago. The plesiosaurs form their own distinctive branch of
the reptile family tree. Although commonly mistaken for dinosaurs, the plesiosaurs are
only distant relatives. They were also distinct from the mosasaurs, which fonned another
lineage of giant aquatic reptiles. The plesiosaurs became extinct near the end of the
Cretaceous time period.
The arms and legs of plesiosaurs were modified into flippers that they used to
'fly' through the water~ much like modem sea turtles do. Some plesiosaurs had long
necks and small heads, while others had short necks and very large heads, and many grew
to gigantic size. They had long, sharp teeth as are characteristic of animals that catch and
eat fish. Together with the mosasaurs, they were among the dominant predators of the
Mesozoic oceans. Although they were reptiles, they probably spent nearly all of their
lives in the water, at most coming onto land to lay their eggs.
Dr. Bob McDonald, an Austin dentist who was looking for shark teeth along
Shoal Creek, discovered the specimen buried here in the Dino Pit. He reported the fmd to

11
paleontologists at the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, who collected it and put it on
display in the Texas Memorial Museum in the early 1990's.

The Zilker Park Turtle


Osteopygis sp.
TMM 43190-1
Edwards Group (limestones), Cretaceous
Travis County, Texas

Turtles are an ancient lineage of reptiles that arose long before the dinosaurs
appeared and they have survived until the present day. Most turtles live on land or in
freshwater streams and lakes, but some have become adapted to life in the oceans.
Osteopygis is one such marine species. It lived in the shallow seas that covered much of
Texas during the Cretaceous, living together with animals like Mosasaurus and
Polyptychodon. OSleopygis may have grown to about 5 feet in length, but it was by no
means the largest of the Cretaceous turtles. There were others that reached more than
twice the size of Osteopygis, and skeletons of these giants have also been found in Texas.
The specimen that is buried here at the Dino Pit was discovered by a hiker in
Zilker Park. The specimen was collected by paleontologists from the Vertebrate
Paleontology Laboratory of the Texas Memorial Museum. Only part of the bottom half
of the shell was preserved in this specimen. It is unusual because it was found on the
same layer of rock that preserved several nearby dinosaur tracks. If the entire shell and
skeleton had been found, it would have represented a large animal, weighing several
hundred pounds. Like other marine turtles, it probably ate fish, squid, and other marine
animals.

12
v. Permian Terrestrial Fossils (280 million years old)
u Se.l·mouria baylorensis
TMM 43291-1
Clear Fork Formation, Pennian
Baylor County, Texas

Seymouria was a small animal that lived roughly 280 million years ago in Texas
and adjacent regions. It was a land-d\velling animal that lived in what were then arid
regions of north Texas. It is an important fossil for paleontologists because it is probably
a close relative of both the lineage that include today's mammals and the lineage that
includes living reptiles. This early, distant part of the family tree of land animals is not
well understood, so Seymouria has received a lot of attention by scientists who are trying
to reconstruct the tree of life.
With short limbs and a thick body, Seymouria was not very agile or very fast. To
move around on land, it probably relied on undulating its backbone from side to side,
using the limbs as props against the ground. It was probably cold-blooded and had a
rather small brain. Judging from its teeth, it may have been an omnivore, subsisting
U primarily off of insects, small vertebrates, and carrion.
The specimen buried here in the Dino Pit was collected in 1917 from near the
famous Craddock Bone Bed by paleontologists from the US National Museum of Natural
History, a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The original specimen (USNM 9140) has
been periodically placed on display in Washington DC.

Edaphosaurus pogonias
40005-1
Arroyo Formation, Permian
Baylor County, Texas

Edaphosaunls is a distant extinct relative of living mammals. Like Seymouria,


another Pennian fossil that can be found in the Dino Pit, it dates back roughly 280
million years. Edaphosaurus belongs to the great lineage known as Synapsida, which
includes all living species of mammals and their extinct relatives. Also included among

13
these early synapsids is the more famous fin-back Dimetrodon and many other fonns that ~
are best know from the redrock country of Texas.
Like its more famous relative Dimetrodon, Edaphosaurus had a fin that was
"

supported by bones of the vertebral column. Edaphosaurus differs from Dimetrodon in


having cross-bars on the spines that supported its fin. The function of the fin has always
perplexed scientists. Some have argued that it was for thermoregulation and that the
great surface area provided by the fin was used to more rapidly wann the animals to the
level where they could be active. Others have argued that the fin was analogous to
antlers and horns in some modem nlammals, and that it was used in species recognition
and courtship. Both explanations may be correct.
The redbeds of Baylor County and surrounding counties are the richest in the
world for fossils of early Pennian age. These rocks hold a unique record of early
synapsid history and have been visited by paleontologists from all over the world.
Edaphosaurus is among the rarest synapsids, and most of the specimens that have been
discovered consist of little more than fragments of its skeleton. Based on its teeth, it is
commonly thought that Edaphosaurlls was herbivorous, but we know little of its habits.
The EdaphosClurus specimen buried here in the Dino Pit was cast from an original
collected in 1944, by H. J. Sawin and E. Jones. The only part of the specimen that was
preserved is a part of the backbone that includes some of the spines that supported the fin,
but it is one of the most complete examples of Edaphosaurus on record.

14
12 DINOSAURS AND DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT: A RESOURCE PACKET FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS

u
Dryo-saurus= _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
(Its teeth were shaped somewhat like oak leaves)

Stego-saurus= _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
(Its back was "roofed" with a double row of bony plates)

The dinosaurs are classified into several groups which have also been named in this same way.
Some dinosaurs, for example, had hip bones shaped 'like those of lizards, while other dinosaurs had
bird-like hips. These groups, then, are called the Saurlschlans (lizard-hips) and the Ornithischians
(bird-hips). The chart below shows how the Quarry's dinosaurs are classified. Can you translate the
group names too?

-.. ~- ···~:~:~-~:.::--~~~·<:-~~~.~:~;c~~~.-:~,~~~~:-~~-- ~-.,- .- --


"':'"'; "SAURISCHIANS ORNITHISCHIANS

Saur~pods ~ ,':. :.. . Thero-pods = Ornitho-pods = Stego-saurs =


' .. " .
, .

(they had feet . (their feet had (they had feet (they had'
like lizards)?,,:· ',". ,,,~ ~
"beastly" claws) like birds) plated backs)
'" • - .- ;~ ~ ... -, •• '!'., ..
Apatosaurus .~ ,: Allosaurus Camptosaurus Stegosaurus
U Barosauruf1
~

Ceratosaurus Dryosaurus' >'. ,,"


Camarasaurus
Diplodocus

Combining words . Pronunciation From Greek word Meaning


aile? AL-oh alios other
apater ah-PAT-ah apate deceptive
baro- BARE-ah baros .. heavy
bronter BRON-tah bronte thunder
camara- KAM-ah-rah kamara chamber
campter KAMP-toe kamptos bent
cerater sair-AT-oh keratos homed
-demus DEE-mus demas body
dine? DIE-nuh deinos terrible
diple? DIP-Iuh diploos double
-docus DOE-kuss dokos beam
dryer DRY-uh dryos oak
-ischian ISS-kee-an ischion hip joint
omitho ORE-nith-oh ornithos bird
-pod pod pod foot
-saur, -saurus sawr, SAWR-us sauros lizard, reptile
steger STEH-gah stege roofed, plated
thero- THAIR-oh thero beast

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE \f' DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT


Preface: Dinosaurs and Arcbeology

Paleontologists and archeologists solve puzzles based on clues found in


the Earth. Conclusions drawn by-both groups of scientists can never be proven,
and are open for debate and future discovery. For example, despite all of the
dinosaur literature and movies we have been exposed to, no one can be sure of
what dinosaurs exactly looked like because there were no humans there to see
them!
Diflosaurs are of great interest'to children today, perhaps because they
were a group' of animals that became extinct-a potential all modem children are
aware of living in the shadow of "the bomb." Perhaps the interest is based on the
resemblance of dinosaurs to popular images of monsters, or perhaps it stems
from the fact that dinosaurs were obviously more powerful than man is
now .. :Whatever the reason, this interest give children the incentive to explore
and enjoy the puzzle left by giant fossils. Ask your campers what makes .
dinosaurs interesting to them.
In presenting information about dinosa~s, it is important to remind .
campers that this informationJs mostly speculation and hypothesis. NO
(U HUMAN BEING HAS EVER SEEN A DINOSAUR! Their skin could have been
gray, or ,pink, or even yellow with purple stripes! Discussions about dinosaurs
present good opportunities" to talk about scientific hypotheses in general.
Dinosaurs wePe animals. They faced, the same needs that animals face
today-for space, food, water, and shelter. In your discussions you may want to
hypothesize on how these needs may have been for the dinosaurs. Discuss how
the scientist have made the conclusions that they have concerning what some
dinosaurs ate, whether they traveled in groups, etc.
Texas is a great place to study dinosaurs! Sixteen different' species of
dinosaurs lived in Texas~ And in Central Texas, the abundant limestone holds a
wealth of dinosaur . tracks and fossils. Read the information from Dinosaur Days
in Texas for more background information about the dinosaurs that lived here
Exploring the puzzle of the dinosaur is similar to exploring the puzzle of
pet?ple that lived on this Earth before us. In many cases the only information
that archeologists have to go on·comes from the things they left behind, buried
in the. ground. Recorded history ,gives us information concerning events that
~·v were considered "importanf' at the time that they occurred, but ra,rely provides
(
~onnation about the day-ta-day experiences of people. ' Often, ,th~se details are
deduced from the artif@cts found around settlements. For information

__ ~ _____ .-.-b,;;.'~ __
.
..--..-------.........-~~.-£.. ~~.~. =-_....- - - - - - - - - - - - -

concerning prehistoric societies, or societies without a written history, artifacts


provide the only clues.
_In .exploring archeology with the campers, try to emphasize the contrasts_
in lifestyle for present day society and societies of the past. Discuss what
archeologists 500 years from now might conclude from the artifacts of our
society. Just·as midden piles provide a wealth of information about past peoples,
our trash dumps will certainly provide similar information in the future. What
would the campers want people in the future to know about us?


.-DINOSA.1J I~S
I
Dinosaurs are members of a group known as archosaurs, ('ruling reptiles'), which
include the crocodiles, the,extinct pterosaurs and those well-knownarchosaur
v descendants, the birds, as well as other less well-known extinct creatures, such as
thecodontians. The dinosaurs are distinct (rom other archosaurs-Cor one main
reason which is that they were able to walk and run extremely efficiently; their legs
ar.e tucked in beneath the body rather than being held out from the sides. Dinosaurs
lived during t,he Mesozoic Era, Cmiddle life') which comprises the Triassic,
Jurassic,and Cretaceous Periods which lasted from ,about 22S -64 million years ago.
Animals that lived before or alter the Mesozoic are not dinosaurs. For example,
giant woolly mammoths which lived within the last minion years or so are not
dinosaurs; nor are the large sail-hacked reptiles of the Permian Period such as
Dimetrodon. All Dinosaurs were land living creatures. The gigantic sea monsters
, of the Mesozoic (plesiosaurs) and the flying reptiles, (Pterosaurs) were not
dinosaurs. '

Dinosaurs are divided into two dasses: Sawischia <-reptile hipped') and
Omi thischia (tbird hipped') dinosaW'S. The two different hip structures are below.

~ __________
~----------~,--------~~~
~~~-------r~

~----------~'--------~~~

(V DINOSAUR CLASSES
The Saurlschian dinosaurs are further divided into three groups: 1) the theropods,
2) the sauropods, and 3) theprosauropods. .
.
The Theropods were caqrlvores. Like birds, and humans they walked on two legs.
The forelimbs of the theropods were entirely useless for locomotion. The theropods
come in all sizes from Comsognathus about the size of a chicken to Dein~eirus
whose hand and ann measwing 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) were discovered in the
Gobi Desert. These dinosaurs first appeared in the mid-Triassic and lasted until the
end of the Cretaceous. This group included Tyrannosawus rex, Allosaurus,
Omi tholestes, and Struthiomimus.
. .
The Sauropods were the largest of all the dinosarus. They first appeared in the early
Jurassic and persisted through the Cretaceous. Most of the sauropods were built
along the same lines: large banel-shaped bodies with stout columnar legs and long
necks, disproportionately small heads and very long tails. These are the dinDSaurs
that most people picture living in swamps. In tad they were not confined to
swamps and other aquatic environments. Sauro~s were the dominant herbivore
in the Jurassic and remained as a minor element of the fauna through the
Cretaceous. Examples include Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Brachiosaurus.

(,V The Prosauropods 'are the probable ancestors of the sauropods. Most of these
dinosaurs were plant eaters. They were bi-pedal and quadripedal. The pros~uropds
appeared in the-Late Triassic and disappeared-by the Jurassic. Plateosaurus 15 an
example of a prosauropod.

_~I,'I "'!!E.("?""!!-etf.'r'""~~~ .-
The Omithischian Dinosaurs were the mos"t ~ommon and diverse dinosaurs. They
\
~'ere a major food source for the theropods. Members of the Omithischia occurred
(rom the Jurassic to the Cretaceous. The Ornithischian are divided into the
ornithopods, the stegosaurs, the ankylos.aurs,. and the ceraptosa~rs..

The Ornithopods first appeared in the mid-Triassic and were the last Omithisdans
to disappear. All were capable of standing erect and they could also stand and walk
on (our legs. The dentition of ornithopods was somewhat varied. Varied dentition
(adlitated chewing of food, something reptiles normally do not do. The
orm thopods included Heterodontosaurus, Campto.saurus, Laosaurus,
Hypsilophodon, and Iguanodon.

The Stegosaurs were a small group including only a few species. They existed only
during the Jurassic and were probably never very abundant. The most striking
features of these dinosaurs was the double row of assymebically arranged back
plates. Assymetry is very unusual in a vertebrate and its possible significance will be
discussed later. Examples of stegosaurs include Stegosaurus and Kentrosaurus.

The Ankylosaurs were an abundant and diverse group during the Cretaceous. All
species were encased in bony armor to varying degrees. Examples include
Ankylosa urus, Palaeoscincus, Polancanthus, Syrmosaurus, and Pinacosaurus. .

The most sbiking feature of the Ceratopsians was an arrangement of horns on brow
and/ or snout and bony shield"projecting from the back of the skull. -Most of the
ceratopsians were seven to nine meters long and weighed three .to four tons. This
group seems to have originated in Asia in the last part of the Cretaceous with .
Psi ttacosa urus and Protocertaps. The first known dinosaur eggs were found in
association with Protoceratops. All other ceratopsian species were found in North
America where Triceratops was the most common. Tricer!tops along with
Tyrannosaurus rex and the duck bill, Anatosaurus, were among the last of the
dinosaurs.

" COLD BLOODED VS. WARM BLOODED


There is some debate whether dinosaW'S should be grouped with th~"reptiles.
Reptiles are ectothermic or "cold-blooded" which means that they rely on external
stimuli to regulate body temperature. In other words a reptile uses the heat of the
~1.l:f' or wann air or ~aJm ~ock surfaces to raise its body temperature and it moves
Into the shade or into a burrow to lower its body temperature. The opposite of
ectothennic. animals are. endothermic animals like mammals and birds. An
endotherrilic:iv. ~arm-bl00ded" animal relies on internal metabolic processes to
generate heal 'Ectotherms cannot warm themselves in freezing temperatures or
cool themselves in hot temperatures except by moving toward or away from heat
sour~. Endothenns can be active whenever they want without the warm-up
period required by ectotherms. Endotherms also have greater endurance.
Endotherms require higher energy levels to maintain body temperature and there-
for must eat more than ectotherms. A bird with a high metabolism must eat
constantly during the day to maintain its metabolism and thereby its body
temperature. A snake with a .slow metabolism may eat once a week or even less
often.
· [I Uact] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheetZ I[

ull Name: CHINDESAURUS (CHIN-dee-SAWR-us)


FACTS: Therapod/walked on 2 legs Meaning of name: uspirit lizard" (for place found)
Range: Texas Panhandle, Arizona Period: Upper Triassic (225-220 mya)
Hips: "Iizard" (Saurischian) Length: 10 feet Weight: 200 Ibs Diet: Meat

u
5 feet

DESCRIPTION! INFORMATION: Chindesaurus is of great interest bacause it is the


most primative dinosaur known from the Texas Docum Group which is a red rock
strata made up of a series of sand, silt, and mud formations deposited by lakes and
rivers in a big, low, collecting (depositional) basin that had no outlet to the sea. Only
a thigh bone and part of a hip bone were found, but by comparing them with more
complete fossils of Chindesaurus found in Arizona, we can say that they lived in Texas.
It is very similar to the Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus from South America, which are the
earliest dated theropods (meat eaters/lizard hipped) from the beginning of dinosaur
history.
ChindesauTUs was small by the standards of later dinosaurs, but it was actually a
large predator for early Triassic times.
Though liHle is known about its overall anatomy and life-style, we can say that
it ran on its back legs, had smaller front legs, and a long tail for balance. Its teeth are
clearly those of a meat-eater.

10
'II [fact] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 II

u Name: COELOPHYSIS (SEEL-o-FIE-sis)


FACTS: Therapod/waIked on 2 legs Meaning of name: Mhollow-form"
Range: Texas Panhandle, New Mexico Period: Late niassic (225 to 220 mya )
Hips: ulizard" (Saurischian) Length: 6-7 feet Weight: 65 lbs. Diet: Meat

u
, ,
5 feet

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATIONi'" ,This was a slender small theropod dinosaur that


walked on its back feet, had forelimbs 1/2 the length of its hindlimbs, with curved
claws on both, and had sharp, serrated bladelike teeth. Its head was small and narrow
and its neck long and Us" curved. Its eyes were large and it could probably see very
well. Long legs allowed for fast movement, and a long tail was used for counterbal-
ance. The meaning of Coelophysis is ntlollow-form" which refers to its slight build.
Coelophysis probably ate whatever it could catch. Young may have eaten mostly
insects. They probably lived in groups at least some of the time, but it is unknown
what size groups they formed. At Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, there were large num-
bers which may have been brought together by drought. They appear to have been
swept away by a flood and later buried. They range in size and age from young to full
grown.
Only a few scattered remains such as teeth and a few bones of Coelophysis have
been found in Texas. However scientists believe it, or a very close relative, lived in
;> _. Texas during Triassic times.
~'6=~~==--~~----------------------------~--~
11
[I Yaet1 TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet] II

·U Name: TECHNOSAURUS ( TEK-no-SAWR-us)


I

Statistics: walked on 2 legs Meaning o/name: IITechno" for Tx. Tech Un- sponsor of dig
Range: Texas Panhandle Period: Late Triassic (225-220 mya)
Hips: IIBird" (Ornithsichian) Length: 5 feet Weight: 60-70 Ibs Diet: plants

u
5 feet

OESCRIPTIONrINFORMATION: Very little evidence of plant eating dinosaurs has


been found at this time in the Oocum formation from the Triassic. The paleontologist
Sankar Chatterjee from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, found a group of fos-
sils together in the same location. There were leaf-like teeth from a plant eater that
Chatterjee recognized as being from an omithischian or bird hipped dinosaur. He
named the new dinosaur TechnosauTUs for Texas Tech University, the institution that
sponsored the dig..'}· 'J. ..: , . •. ..

However, identification of an upper jaw fragment which was found in the same
site is suggested to be from a prosauropod. Thus, fossils from 2 different kinds of ani-
mals may have ended up together. It is likely that both kinds of animals lived there at
the same time.
Comparison of the teeth to other dinosaurs that lived at the same time indicate
that they may have been like African Triassic dinosaurs such as LesothosauTUs. The
continents were joined together during the Triassic period in a single supercontinent
called PANGEA and northern Africa and North American were close to each other.
Therefore TechnosauTUs and Lesothosaurus may have been closely related.
u
12
II
yaet] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheetl
II

Name: ACROCANTHOSAURUS (ACK-roh-KAN-tho-SAWR-us) I

I
FACTS: Therapod/walked on 2 legs Meaning o/name: IIhigh spined lizard"
Rallge: N. Cen.Texas, Oklahoma Period: Lower Cretaceous- (119-105 mya)
Hips: IIlizard" (Saurischian) Length: 25- 30 feet Weight: 2 to 4 tons Diet: Meat

u 5 feet

DESCRIPTIONl INFORMATION: The scientific name of the Acrocanthosaurus


refers to the tall spines on its vertebrae. They were covered and may have looked like
a sail or a hump running along its back. The reason for the raised sail or hump is not
known, but may have helped with temperature regulation.
The 113 long-toe" footprints at Glen Rose that may have been made by
Acrocanthosaurus are given a separate name, "Ireneasuripus", because scientists can't
be sure who made the footprints. They can tell they were made by one of the large
meat eaters. The trackways from this time period also has tub sized footprints of a
sauropod, probably Pleurocoelus. They are found together at the Dinosaur Valley
State Park, but we don't know if they were both there at the same moment or nol
The theropod footprints here at the Bamberger Ranch are younger than those
near Glen Rose and may have been made by an AcrocanthosauTUs, a descendent, or a
close relative.
The serrated knife-like teeth of the Acrocanthosaurus leave no doubt of its meat
diet. It probably ate whatever it could catch or scavenge, and because it was quite
large it could probably take large prey.
u
13
II Uact1 TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 I
:

u Name: DEINONYCHUS (die-NON-i-kus)


FACTS: Therapod/walked on 2 legs Meaning of name: Iiterrible claw"
Range: N. Cen. Texas, Oklahoma, Montana Period: Lower Cretaceous- (119-105 mya)
Hips: lllizard" (Saurischian) Length: 10-11 feet Weight: 175 Ibs. Diet: meat

u
5 feet

DESCRIPTION! INFORMATION: Deinonychus probably lived in Texas but the evi-


dence is scant. They lived north of Texas and where there is evidence that they fed on
Tonontosaurus. Since Tonontosaurus was abundant in Texas, it can be assumed that
they traveled and lived further south in what is now Texas.
The name means Iiterrible claw" which refers to the sickle-like claw which was
carried in an upright position on the hind feet of this Therapod. This claw was used
to slash prey when attacking. Deinonychus had four toes on its feet. The first toe/claw
bent backward and didn't touch the ground. The second was the slashing claw which
could be moved separately. The third and fourth were on the ground and carried the
weight of the animal. The uhands" had sharp claws also and could have been used to
hold onto a prey animal while it used the slashing claws to made deep wounds.
Deinonychus belongs to a group of dinosaurs called Dromaeosaurids or Ilrun_
ning reptile". All the members of this group were built for speed. They are believed .
to have hunted in packs, and with their speed, their terrible claws, and cooperative
hunting tactics, they were able to bring down large prey.
u
14
[I yaet] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet11
II p.. .
'Name: rlmltlve ORNITHOPOD from Proctor Lake

FACTS: Ornithonod/walked on 2 or 4 feet Meaning of name: Il},ird foot"


Range: N. Cen.Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma Period: Early Cretaceous (Twin Mtn.)
Hips: "bird" <Ornithischianl Length: up to 6 ft. Weight: up to 85 lbs Diet: Plants

__________ ~ ________ ~ ________ ~ __________________JJ Sfeet

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION: At Proctor Lake in Comanche County, Rusty


Branch, a graduate student discovered many skeletons of different sizes of this small
Primitipe Ornithopod (referred to as Hypsilophodont in ULone Star Dinosaurs")
a
dinosaur in what must have been nesting ground where the flock hung oul Their
hands had five fingers, their hind legs four toes. When foraging for plants they proba-
bly moved around on 4 feet, but to move fast, they ran on 2 feel They may have
bounded from plant to plant (like a kangaroo). Their high-ridged teeth could slice up
vegetation. A horny beak covered the tip of the mouth.
The site where the bones are found is a quarter mile long outcrop of red sedi-
mentary rocks, which is unusual in the Twin Mountain Formation. The strata, doHed
with 60 concentrations of Primitive Ornithopod bones, tell us about the environment
in which these dinosaurs lived, which was an ancient river floodplain over 50 miles
from the sea shore. The climate was warm, semiarid, and there were seasons. More
young animals were found than old. Bones of some of the adults are still articulated
(still joined together). Most of the young animals are found as a jumble of bones from
many individuals that colleded in small depressions on the old land surface. The
animals of each concentration of young appear to be about the same size, but the size
U of the animals vary from one concentration to another. Few other types of dinosaur
bones were found there. There was something special about this area that brought
them together- perhaps it was a safe, protected nesting area.
15~~~==~==~~~~~~
II ljactl TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheetl I
1

u Name: PAWPAWSAURUS (paw-paw-SAWR-us)


FACTS: Armored /walked on 4 legs Meaning of name: lizard from "Paw Paw Formation"
Range: North Texas - Ft. Worth Period: Cretaceous- (97.5 to 100 mya)
Hips: IIbird" (Omithischian) Length: 15 feet Weight: 1.5 tons Diet: plants

u 5 feet '

DESCRIPTION! INFORMATION: There is a wonderful story about the discovery of


a baby Pawpawsaurus within the city limits of Ft. Worth. A 12 year old and his father,
Johnny and John Maurice, were looking for shark's teeth in the Paw Paw Formation
when they discovered bones that looked like fossilized remains of a fried chicken din-
ner. The bones were taken to Dr. Louis Jacobs of SMU who identified the bones as
being from a baby "nodosar" an armored bird hipped dinosaur. It was probably
newly hatched when it fell into the water where its remains were scavenged by crabs
and sharks for approximately a month before it was covered with sediment
(Calculations of Il one month" was based on the age of the oyster spat (larvae) that had
attached to the cleaned bones. )
A beautiful and mostly complete skull of an adult PawpawsauTUs was found by
19 year old Cameron Campbell, who worked at the Ft. Worth Zoo. There are even
bony eyelids preserved with it. The bones of both the IIscutling" and adult are on dis-
play at the Ft Worth Museum of Science and History. The armor is bony plates
embedded in the skin. It has side spines but lacks the tail club seen on ankylosaur
group of armored dinosaurs.
The Paw Paw Formation was deposited when the sea along the south eastern
u shore of the Great Western Seaway was shallow.

16
II [fact] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet] i
U Name: PLEUROCOELUS (PLOOR-o-SEEL-us)
FACTS: ro walked on 4 legs Meaning of name: uSide-cavity"
Range: N. Cen.Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma Period: Early Cretaceous (119-105 mya)
ips: 1I1izard" (Saurischian) Length: 50 ft. Weight: 30. tons Diet: Plants

u
, . ,
5 feet
.~

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION: Pleurocoelus means IIside-cavity" which refers to


the cavities in the sides of the vertebrae of its long neck. It had a very long neck,
walked on 4 legs, and left large footprints around central Texas. The front and back
footprints are different. The front limbs left tracks that were smaller and rounder than
the back ones, with a cleft at the rear. Footprints made by the back feet are longer
than wide with claw marks on the front edge that can be seen on the clear ones.
Classic examples can be found in the Paluxy River near Glen Rose and on the Blanco
River near Blanco. Pleurocoelus appear to have traveled in herds. The name given by
ICHNOLOGISTS (Scientists that study fossil footprints and trackways) to footprints
most likely made by this sauropod is IIBrontopodus". Tracks of Pleurocoelus at both
Glen Rose and Blanco are in the Glen Rose Formation. Skeletons have also been
found in the Glen Rose area.
The teeth of Pleurocoelus are peg-like, are relatively uncomplicated and were
probably used to gather plant material. Their digestion was most likely aided by IlgiZ_
zard stones" or gastroliths sometimes found in the gut regions of sauropod skeletons,
U and by micro-organisms that most likely lived in their digestive tracts.

17
/
II yaet1 TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 II

U Name: TENONTOSAURUS (te-NON-to-SAWR-us)


FACTS: mi h d walked on 2 or 4 legs Meaning of name: "sinew lizard"
Range: N. Cen.Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma Period: Early Cretaceous (Twin Mtn.)
Hips: ubird" (Omithischian) Length: 15-20 ft. Weight: 1 ton Diet: Plants

u 5 feet
r,

DESCRIPTIONl INFORMATION; Tenontosaurus which means 'ISinew lizard" was


chosen because this dinosaur has bony, ossified tendons running along the vertebrae
of the tail that hold it stiff. The stiff tail acted as a balance to the body, especially
when it ran on 2 legs. Though it could run on its hind legs, it probably walked and
browsed on all four. It has four toes on the hind foot and five on the &ont The front
limbs are strong but shorter than the hind limbs. Some of the footprints at the
Dinosaur Valley Park may have been made by them, but scientists are not sure.
The teeth are heavy, used for crushing and grinding tough vegetation.
Tenontosaurus belongs to the group of dinosaurs known as Uhypsilophontids" which
means Uhigh-ridged tooth".
Though several skeletons of Tenontosaurus have been found in Texas, one of the
most noteworthy discoveries was made by a 7 year old boy, Thad Williams, and his
father Ted, when they were walking along a creek and found a skull. They knew it
wasn't from a modem animal and so they contacted the Fort Worth Museum of
Science and History. The landowners gave permission to the museum and SMU to
excavate. The complete skeleton of that Tenontosaurus is now on display at the Ft
U Worth Museum.

18
II Uactl TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 II
R
U Name: ALAMOSAURUS (AL-a-mo-SAWR-us)
FACTS: ro 0 walked on 4 legs Meaning of name: named for place found in NM
Range: W. Texas, New Mex., Utah, Wyoming Period: Upper Cretaceous- (73-65 mya)
Hips: lllizard" (Saurischian) Length: 70 ft. Weight: 30 tons Diet: Plants

u
5 feet

DESCRIPTIONlINFORMATION= Alamosaurus bones were discovered near a Navajo


trading post in New Mexico early in the 1900's. In Spanish Ual amo " means Ucotton-
wood tree" and the trading post was named IIOjo Alamo" for the spring and coHon-
wood tree nearby. So this dinosaur is named for the trading post and not The Alamo
in San Antonio.
Alamosaurus probably looked somewhat like Pleuroceolus, in that it
walked on four sturdy legs, and had a long neck. However, it was 20 feet longer and
weighed less than Pleurocoelus. It may have had some armored plates in its skin.
Recently some skeletal remians of a sauropod were found in Big Bend that indi-
cate that they got even larger than previously thought In January of 2000 there was an
article in the San Antonio Express News about the Big Bend Discovery by the UT at
Dallas researchers. They found vertebrae from a dinosaur which was huge, about 100
feet long. The vertebrae may be from an exceptionally large Alamosaurus, which is the
last known Sauropod of the Cretaceous Period, or an entirely new species.
Alamosaurus is a member of the titanosaur family which are primarily found
south of the equator. It did not arrive at Big Bend until the Javelina formation was
u being deposited, which was after the Aguja formation was deposited.

19
! ffactJ TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 II

u Name: CHASMOSAURUS (KAS-mo-SAWR-us)


FACTS: Ceratopsian I walked on 4 legs Meaning o/name: II w ide-open lizard"
Range: W. Texas, Big Bend Period: Upper Cretaceous- (73-65 mya)
Hips: Jlbird" (Omithischian) Length: 15 feet Weight: 2 tons Diet: plants

u
5 feet

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION: All Ceratopsids have long heads, much of which is a


broad frill of bone that extends over the neck and shoulder region. It can be plain or decorat-
ed with bony projections, and if the frill is very long it may have openings in the bone. All
dinosaurs in this group have a toothless beak. The jaw has chewing teeth in the back.
Chasmosaurus is the most common dinosaur in the Aguja formation, which was
deposited in a time when rivers and streams built deltas through low marshy or swampy
lands. Water loving plants lived there in abundance which provided food for the dinosaurs.
Chasmosaurus held its head low and probably fed on low-growing vegetation. They are in
the same grQup as Triceratops. Chasmosaurus has openings in the frill bones, which is what
its name uwide-open" refers to. Living there at the same time were duck-billed hadrosaurs,
ankylosa urs, and theropods.
At one site the remains of ten to fifteen individuals were recovered representing juve-
niles, subadults and adults. This site suggests that they were together as a herd and that they
experienced some sort of catastrophic event, such as a flood, a drought, or a freeze. Because
the land was low-lying the bodies were covered and prese~ed.
Chasmosaurus of various ages have horns of different lengths, and frills with more or
less scollops and/or horns. They may have changed as the animals matured, and also they
may have been different in males and females.
u
20
II UactJ TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet] II

U Name: EUOPLOCEPHALUS (YOO-o-plo-SEF-a-Ius)


FACTS: Armored walked on 4 legs Meaning of name: Ilgood weapon head"
Range: W. Texas, Big Bend Period: Upper Cretaceous- (73-65 mya) [Aguja)
Hips: IIbird" (Omithischian) Length: 20 feet Weight: 2 tons Diet: plants

u
5 feet

IDESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION: The Euoplocephalus is an armored dinosaur of the


ankylosaurid family that lived in the river deltas, marshes and swamps that became
the Aguja formation of the Upper Cretaceous near the end of the period.
Evidence from a Cretaceous trackway of an armored dinosaur indicates that they
walked with their legs under their body. Their backs were at least partly stiffened by
bony tendons running down either side of the spine, and especially near the end of
the tail. A tail club was formed by enlarged bones embedded in the skin that are
fused to each other and to the tail vertebrae forming 2 lobes. When swung from side
to side by the powerful tail muscles, the tail club was an effective weapon, and could
undoubtedly have been used to break the leg of an attacking theropod.
Bony plates embedded in the skin, and even bony eyelids protected the head.
Bony plates studded with spikes run down the back for the length of the body.
Euoplocephalus and other armored dinosaurs were originally imagined to be
slow moving tortoise-like animals, because of their shape and weight. Scientists now
think of them as more active rhinoceros-like animals, that were capable of very fast
U movement. With large therapods on the prowl they needed speed and protection!
21
II Uact] TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet111
u Name: KRITOSAURUS ( KRIT-o-SAWR-us)
Statistics: Hadrosaur /walked on 2 or 4 legs Meaning o/name: "separated lizard"
Range: W. Texas, Big Bend Period: Upper Cretaceous- (73-65 mya) -Aguja Fm.
Hips: Lellgth: 20-25 feet Weight: 1-2 tons Diet: plant

u
5 feet

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION:' Kritosaurus' name comes from Greek word


"krino" which means Jlseparated" or "parted" which probably refers to the arrange-
ment of the cheek bones in the skull, which were lose to allow chewing.
Kritosaurus was a medium sized crestless dinosaur in the hadrosaur family.
Many other dinosaurs in this family had crests of various shapes which may have
given them the ability to make trombone like sounds. Kritosaurus has a large bump
on its snout in the area of the nostril opening. It also has a large duck-like beak which
was used to gather plant food. The rasp-like grinding surface of the teeth combined
with an up and down chewing motion crushed their food, which may have included
some woody twigs along with leafy material. The Aguja environment was one with
rivers running through marshes and swamps near the coast. Geological evidence indi-
cates that all hadrosaurs in North America lived in coastal plains. The paleontological
evidence shows that at least some hadrosaurs took care of their young in nesting
colonies. Maybe they all did.
The anatomy of Kritosaurus indicates that it was able to stand comfortably on its
hind legs. Like many other herbivorous "bird-hipped" dinosaurs, it may have grazed
u with its front feet on the ground.
22 -
II ljactJ TEXAS DINOSAURS [sheet1 i
u IName: TOROSAURUS (TOR-o-SAWR-us)
I
FACTS: Ceratopsian/walked on 4 legs Meaning of name: Ilpierced lizard"
Range: W. Texas, Montana, SD, Ulah, Wyoming Period: Upper Crelaceous-(73-65 mya) (Javelina fm.)
Hips: ubird" (Omithischian) Length: 25 feet Weight: 6-8 tons Diet: plants

u ,
5 feet

DESCRIPTIONI INFORMATION: Torosaurus bones were found in the Javelina for-


mation, which was the last formation deposited during the Cretaceous period. The
meaning of the name Ilpierced lizard" indicates that this Ceratopsian dinosaur had
holes in its bony crest. The crest and head of Torosaurus together was the size of a
small car. The edge of the crest was without horns or scallops. Three horns, two
above the eyes and one above the nose adorn the face along with a beaked mouth with
strong teeth for grinding course vegetation.
Like the rhinoceros or elephant today, few predators would have risked attack-
ing such a formidable dinosaur. Weighing 8 tons and moving at a good pace on its
stout legs, head armed with sharp horns with neck and upper back protected by the
enormous frill this dinosaur must have held its own, even against Tyrannosaurus rex.
Like other homed dinosaurs (Ceratopsians) Torosaurus probably moved around
in herds, which made them safer from predators, especially the young which could be
kept in the center of the herd.
Torosaurus were among the last dinosaurs of the Cretaceous, and some of them
, must have been around to wibtess whatever catastrophe ended the era of dinosaurs.
~b=~~~~~~==~~==~~~~-=~----~~~==~==~~~
23
.. . ~

·0
-..

NAME:
DATE:

Human andHerrerasaurus Comparisons


Human Herrerasatlrus Characteristics of the Skeleton
Has reptilian skull with sharp teeth for slicing meat.
Has mammalian skull with different types of teeth for
slicing and grinding different types of food.
Has vertebrae.
Has scapula (where front limbs attach to body).
Has pelvis (where rear limbs attach to body).
Has clavicle.
( ,-
Body held hOrizontally over pelvis by tail.
U
Has ribs.
Has sternum.
Has four limbs.
Has three major leg bones (femur, tibia, fibula).
Legs held directly under body when standing or
walking.
Legs sprawled out from the body like a lizard or
salamander.
Walks on two legs.
Walks on four legs.
Has a patella.

Walks on toes.
79
NAME:
DATE:

Hwnan Skeleton

13.

14.

15.

16.
( ,,-

U
17.

18.

i
9.
) 10.
\
11.

12.

u
77
~

C C'I c'
B

A
B
C
D
"
QO

E
F
G
H
I

Illustration by Carol Abraczinskas and Paul Sereno


N
t J
K
L
M __________________

NAME: N

HerrerasaunIS Skeleton DATE: o


.'---'"

c- (I ('

A Skull
B Vertebrae
QO
C Ribs
N
D Pelvis·
E Scapula
F Humerus
G Manus (Phalanges)

-- H' Metacarpals

Illustration by Carol Abraczinskas and Paul Sereno t


N
I

J
Radius
Ulna
K· Femur
L Fibula
M TIbia
N Pes (Phalanges)
Herrerasaurus Skeleton - Answer Key
o Metctarsals
r-- -,
I ' '.

( H1Jman Skeleton - Answer Key


u
1. skull

13. scapula (shoulder blade) 2. clavicle (collar bone)

3. sternum (breast bone)

14. ribs 4. humerus


15. vertebrae

16. radius S. pelvis (bJp bones)


16. radius
17. c~aIs (wrist)/
( metacarpals

u 18. phalanges (fingers)

8. patella (knee cap)

9. fibula

i 10. tibia
\
\
11. tarsals (ankle)/metatarsals

12. phalnges (toes)

u
81
Layers of Time
.. -.,:~. Background Information: SCientists carefully note the layer
L'IIII
~
of earth in which fossils are found. Geologist then
correlate the rock strata and determine relative age of
the fossil.

Problem: How do scientists determine the age of fossils?


Hypothesis: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

Materials: Large clear plastic cups, m1xing bowl, water, 4 or 5 d~erent


colors of Jello, clean plastic fossils, drawing paper, pencil,.
transparency showing a rock strata with fossils.
Procedures:
1. Follow the instructions for making the Jello but reduce the
water to 1/2 of that in the recipe.
2. Place a 'fossil' in bottom of the cup.
3. Carefully, Without splashing, cover the fossil With one color of
Jello.
4. Refrigerate until the Jello sets up.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 with each color of Jello.
6. Complete observations.
Observations:
1. Draw and label an illustration of your rock strata model.
2. Label the oldest and youngest rock layers.
3. Draw and label an illustration of the rock strata displ,ayed
on the overhead.
4. Label the oldest and youngest rock layers.
5. Compare the fossils pictured and identify characteristics to
those in your model. Try and identify the actual age of one of
your fossil models.
Conclusion: Refer to the problem.

Extra,: Get a spoon and eat your model! Be sure to clean the plastic fossils
and return them to the teacher.
Very short version of Dinos8ur Clossificlttj·on
REPTllES- are divided into 4 groups according to skull formation, based on
openings other than the eye socket. rSid- from Gr.: opening)
u t - ANAPSID extinct: primative reptiles

/todoy- tllrtles 811d tortoises


2- SVNAPSID extinct: mammal like reptiles / todoy=

.~
(rnommols)
·DIMETRODON

3- EURVAPSID d'w'elliflCJ reptilesl today none


extinct - sea

~
Ichthyosaurs &. Pleios8urs ._--......1.

4- DIAPSIDS extinct //odoy= snoJ.'es., /iZ6rd~ and


crocodiIss (olt?:!5 )

~ PTEROSAURS
*PTERRNODON
~#
~ . DIN 05 A!!.R5
\,
iand llvi llQ,erect gait~lived beMen 225 and 64 million IjI"S ago
, V
I THECOOO!'lTS .
'-....1.,.,•• 01...... A."S""~ .

t OR" IT" ISCH IANsl (SAURISCHIANS \


bird-hipped herbivores . reptile-hipped
carnivores &. herbivores

tCerate psi ans )


. (hOrned/beaked)

*PRRASAUROlOPHUS *PROTOCERATOPS
~+.. ,'Ii'
1'. \'t" :. -~J.. ~T.::l- J' {) OJ....
-!
J ... : "
"

.yJIICERRTOPS
I'J
(.:, . L./:' . ~,.,.'"
p' .' , •••• -" \.

tPacbgcc phal esa urS]


(thlCk-~)
'" ..~,.\!1eg~~~)?/ .
:.' .. ~..;:.!~rmor-p18ted)
·0 I LOPHOSRURUS

*STEGiSAURUS
V [AntlJlosaQ~
GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE
RA PERIOD EPOCH CHARACTERISTIC LIFE

U
O~.
N
Oc
~-
QUATERNARY
I "I~~ION T[AIt.
___________~________~
Recent
~Ielstocene

Pliocene
1 ~
#w~ W
Z ~ Miocent
W~ TERTIARY
U· , .. "".LION '[t."S 01l90C8ne
Eocene
Paleocene

~~~
CRETACEOUS
70 MILL!ON YURS

~.~
en ~
JURASSIC
45 "I~LIO" TUItS
~
., ,
tIA ~ ~

W2 I---TR-'A-S-Sr-c--+-------. ~
:E. ~
, ", .:.: ~ltQ

so MI~LION YURS - ~ T :;;.;

PERMIAN
55. MILLION TEARS

~ PENNSYLVANIAN
~ 30 M'LLION YEARS
&&J
~
z~---------+--------~
o
~ MISSISSIPPIAN
ct 5' M'LLION yiARS

-.
(.)
(.)
Oo!
oN.:ic DEVONIAN
W -! 5& MILLION YEARS
...JC
~~~------------.--------~
a.
SILURIAN
20 M'LL,ON YEARS

ORDOVICIAN
75 MILL'ON 'fEARS

CAMBRIAN
100 M'LL.ON TEA'"

PRECAMBRIAN ERAS
PROTEROZOIC ERA
ARCHEOZOIC ERA
APPROXIMATE AGE OF THE EARTH MORE THAN 3 81LLION 300 MILLION YEARS
-~- .. - -- --- - - -- - -. - _. -- ___ -.a

OINOSAUR
TYPES THEROPOD SAUROPOD ORNITHO~vO STEGOSAUR CERATOPSIAN ANXYLOSAUR

v POSTURE 1"10&" OUaO·~'OAl.


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DIE T CA.~ ..... NOItCIuI IC ....O«IUS IC~ 14(~


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"A", ~IO
OTHER WI nt fIO~WI.\. WUO( IOOY.
OESCRrPTlVE JAW. oarArl.Y \.0lI0 "'CIr
IIiIO raIl. •
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·"· ... Ol\.LO·
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·aucJt-M.l.ro· • roe",
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• 'DUCIO '0111- IUIIoD
REMARKS '.1"" IC&O ,.""" 14(AO "",,·,"er

C'lI&fO~." "'&C..c)~." JIIIJII.~S-C 11 TIlIQ)SAUII\ISoC

EXAMPLES
"'-"OUAJllU'." o-I'\.oooeus•• COlt, f'Ioo01AI.IIUt -II .-.oTc.ct II. ro, ...
I"LtO'ClIIoCU'·C
""'MWItO~_1I
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#IIO#mJ$M.IIII4- ./ "'M:I#fHHIII- , S'FH$IUIIV6." '.ICC.Art1'.- , AMlrl(J$.lUtlU$.,

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at ~ •-.-
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IC~ • • 'fI. .. .-.. j


~
-.- I
-
-.- --.-
FLYING REPTILES - PTEROSAURS-
u GROUP AGE TEETH TAIL HEAD SIZE EXAMPLE
S.M.".
RHAt.f'HORHYNCH .,...... ."'L
DCVILO"I
,,0lIl U,
run 111'•••
..
lI\IIDDCe
..,....,
""er .......
.u~ .-a.~ 4..:::·...
II C" O' I 'Clf
. . . . . . ,1ICMIf

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"Ia_
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..
....... III'"
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PTERODACTYLOIDS Me -~ "-'L fill . . . . .
to ...n •
'"
roo""'.... .. \MMI
dI'&caIUS
...., '"If

MESOZOIC SWIMMING REPTILES


GROUP AGE

..... .. -.
DESCRIPTION SIZE
.......
...... .....
HABITAT EXAMPLE

'. ~-,
'" "_", u.,...,.
ICHTHYOSAUR ..,...... IC. . \.0. . . __" '
_ ........ca·
u ..,....~

....... ......
M._ ~
\.I'~'''',
'1.6".... '-I "De,....·...
MOSASAUR CllCf&CIlWI
00UIIL.I-...-rD . . .
..~ '"ft "De,.... \~-~

....
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,..
..- A' . .n -.. ~

~~
"Gel . . . . . --.&.
. . . . . L.- u ...
PLESIOSAUR
........
...... . . , ..ca "e........

..
_fICIl...
~.

CHELONIA
crU.",,, ....... .,
nt. . . . " ..
_.......n.n.a. ..... .nc-.......
Itn .......
-~--
.... fUll. fI. . .,....,

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~-,

u PHYTOSAUA ........ .. ..,..-


~-4."
~...-.

II'MIa:II ... I'Ift


u .. ~
....... ~ - .
-~
Compiriion of Macnoic ftyinl and ••imminl reptilel. Reproduced with perm_OIl of Dr. J.JI. Dison.Jr.. and w-
010 11 Department. SI,lor UzU",nil,. Waco. Tes...
BASIC
DINOSAUR
CLASSIFICATION

CERATOPSIANS
Horned

ANKYLOSAURS
Armored
I
1

~!

STEGOSAURS
Plated
SAUROPODS
Gigantic Plant-Eaters

THEROPODS
Meat-Eaters

"'S-A-U-R-IS-"C-H-I-A-N-S-~~ •
Lizard-Hipped-----I-------Bird-Htpped
ORNITHISCHIANS

Dinosa urs Dinosaurs


THECODONTS
Common Dinosaur Ancestor

15
DINOSAURS AND DINOSAUR NA'TlONAL MONUMENT: A RESOURCE PACKET FOR 'l'kACHERS AND STUDENTS 41
Yes, there were many kinds of prehistoric animals, and not all of them were dinosaurs, nor did they all live at the
same time. This chart shows some of the better-known animals, and explains what they were and when they lived.

5
.0 The "Ice Age" did not kill
fb the dinosaurs, because
~c& they had become extinct

~B
long before then, However,
many other large ani-
E;-:- mals-mostJy mammals
~ such as these-lived
UJ
it at that time.

The time since the extinction of the dinosaurs is often called the "Age of Mammals."
Actually the first animals to take over the land after the dinosaurs were large flight-
less birds like Diatryma, but soon the mammals outgrew and outnumbered them.
Eohippus and Uintatherium (named for the Uinta Mountains near Dinosaur
National Monument) were typical early Cenozoic mammals.

A wave of extinctions marked the end of the Mesozoic Era. Not only the dinosaurs but also all the pterosaurs, sea reptiles, and many invertebrate
groups-perhaps half of all life on earth-died out forever at the same time.

r - - ONLYTHE ANIMALS INSIDETHIS LINE WERE DINOSAURS


I Thesewere
Ammonoids were
I some of the
among the many
I last dinosaurs.
invertebrates that
died out at the end
I of the Mesozoic Era.
I -~-=--~~~\07 Pterosaurs,
I
u I
the flying reptiles,
were not dinosaurs
but close relatives.

Several groups of
reptiles (not closely
I These were some of I The Jurassic related to dinosaurs or
the first dinosaurs. in the Triassic Period but they remained I Archaeopteryx even to each other)
I ~~ small and insignificant until the dinosaur's may have be~n developed streamlined
I '\ "~ long reign ended. I a bird, or a dlOo- bodies and paddle-like
I --..: I saur, or both. It legs, and swam the
I had feathers and Mesozoic seas.
I I a dinosaur-like
L _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .J skeleton.

Like the Mesozoic Era, the Paleozoic Era closed with dramatic, worldwide extinctions. Then, too, about half of all known life, including the
trilobites, sea scorpions, pelycosaurs, and many other groups, perished abruptly.

Hard-shelled sea scorpions and trilobites


were some of the first animals commonly
preserved in rocks. Earlier soft-bodied
creatures such as worms and jellyfish
are known but their fossils are rare.

u ~ Primitive fishes
appeared in the
In the last third of the Paleozoic era, amphibians like
Eryops established a foothold on land. Early reptiles

~ middle of the era. such as the "sail-backed" pelycosaurs


(not dinosaurs) soon followed.

DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


Therizinosaurus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
TI,erizinosalirus
Uherizinosaurus ('scythe lizard', from the Greek therizo meaning 'to reap' or Fossil ran : Late Cretaceous
'to cut off and sauros meaning 'lizard') was a very large therizinosaur
(previously known as segnosaur). It could grow up to 10-12 nleters (33-40
feet) long and reach 3-6 tons in weight[)]. TherizinosClurlis lived in the late
Cretaceous Period around 70-75 million years ago. and was one of the later
and largest representatives of its unique group. Its fossils were first
discovered in Mongolia and when it was discovered it was originally thought
to be a turtle (hence the name chelon(formis - turtle-formed) but it is now
accepted as a maniraptoran theropod dinosaur.

!Contents i
i !
! • 1 Discovery and Species I
t
• 2 Characteristics !I
I • 3 In popular culture I
I • 4 Footnotes Ii

l •
._. . _ ........._.5____________
References ---...iI

Kingdom: Animalia
Discovery and Species Phylun1: Chordata
l jle first fossils now attributed to Therizinosaurus were discovered in the Class: Sauropsida
late 1940s by a joint Soviet-Mongolian fossil expedition. The expedition Superorder: Dinosauria
unearthed several giant claws that lneasured up to a meter in length. Order: SZlurischi a
However. it was not known \vhat creature these belonged to until the early
Suborder: Theropoda
1950s, when further fossil expeditions unearthed 1110re bones: several n10re
sets of cIa\vs and parts of a forelilllb and hinc11in1b. Sl1bs~ql1ent finds in (unrClnked) I'v1C1nirZlptonl
northern China allowed paleontologists to assen1ble the general skeletal Family: TherizinosCluridae
structure of the animal, which was determined to be a dinosaur and not a Genus: TherizilloslI lIrliS
turtle. In 1954, the animal was named Therizinosaurlls ('scythe lizard'),
Species: T. clzelolliJorl1lis
referring to the enormous claws. At present, there is one accepted species -
T. cheloniformis.
1,erizinosaurlls clzelon'tnl"H7I'~1
Maleev 1954
The recent discovery of several related dinosaurs - Alxasaurus in 1993 and
Beipiaosaurus in 1996 - helped clarify the positio-; of the therizinosaurs as a whole. Various theories had been
proposed to explain the ancestry of these dinosaurs, with some scientists even suggesting they were descendents
of the sauropodomorphs - but these new, well-preserved fmds, giving details about the bird-like pelvis, feet and
skulls, helped confirm that the therizinosaurs were all maniraptoran, theropod dinosaurs.

Characteristics
Therizinosaurus had a small head with a beaked mouth, atop a long neck. It was bipedal and had a large, heavy ~
l ? body, as evidenced by the wide pelvis, 2.5 meter (8 foot) long arms and legs that ended in four toes (three
brWhich supported the animal's weight), which were tipped by short, curved claws. The Inost distinctive feature
of the animal was the presence of three gigantic claws on its front limbs. Each of the three digi ts of its hand
bore these claws, which reached nearly a lneter (approximately 2-3 feet) in length. The largest claw was on the
first digit[]].
The feeding habits of Therizinosaurus are still debated, but it was most probably an herbivore, using its big
claws to push leaves into its mouth. Other hypotheses suggest that it was a termite eater, using its claws to open
large termite nests - but it seems highly unlikely that an anima] the size of Therizinosaurus could survive on a . n
diet based on insects and features of the skull (including a beaked mouth and flattened teeth) suggest a
herbivorous diet(l] . It is thought that Therizinosaurus lived a similar lifestyle to modern gorillas or prehistoric
ground sloths~ using its long arms and sharp claws to grab food and foliage from trees.

There are other possible functions that could have been served by the claws of Therizinosaurus. such as defense
against predators (e.g. the contelllporary Tarhosallrus) and in intraspecific fighting. such as fighting for territory
or for mating. The claws may even have served all these functions.

It is highly likely that Therizinosaurus was feathered, given that its close relative BeipiaosGlIrus certainly was.

In popular culture
Therizinosaurus appeared in the BBC Walking With Dinosaurs special "Chased By Dinosaurs".

Therizinosaurus appears in the PlayStation video ganle Dino Crisis. In the game, Therizinosaurus is portrayed
as an active predator rather than a herbivore.

Footnotes
1. 1\ abc Svarney, Thomas E. and Svarney~ Patricia Barnes. "The Handy Dinosaur Answer Book". 1st ed. Canton, MI:
Visible Ink Press, 2003.

References
Parker~ Steve. Dinosaurus. 1st ed. Buffalo. NY: Quintet Publishing. Ltd .. 2003.

Retrieved from ''http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Therizinos8urlls''

Categories: Cretaceous dinosaurs I Asian dinosaurs I Therizinosaurs

• This page was last modified 16:18,8 January 2007.


• All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation
License. fSee Copyrights for details.)
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation,
Inc., a US-registered 50 1(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.

n
u Therizinosaurus cheioniformis (Maleev in 1954)

u
Name Means: "Scythe Lizard" Length: 26 feet (8 m)
Pronounced: Ther-ih-Zin-o-Sore-us Weight: 1,000 pounds (450 kilos)
When it lived: Late Cretaceous - 77-71 MYA
Where found: Mongolia, China 1948
Therizinosaurus has been an intriguing puzzle for scientists ever since several huge claws were first discovered
1948. Although there was not enough fossil material to determine its appearance, the claws were so unique that tt
had to be from a new species. Maleev named it Therizinosaurus cheloniformis in 1954.
Around ten years later another large claw was found, but this time along with other fossils, including a tooth, par
the front and rear limbs and even a four-toed foot. They gave paleontologists enough material to get a fairly good . .-o!:
of the animal's body. No skull had yet been found to provide material for head reconstruction. ' .~~
A series of finds in Mongolia in the late 1980?s showed that huge arms that had been previously attributed to
Deinocheirus, actually belonged to the same group as the huge claws and strange bones attributed to
Therizinosaurus. Parts of the pelvis and other bones were also found, which gave paleontologists an even better I
at what was shaping up to be the strangest dinosaur ever to walk the earth.
Therizinosaurus had a small head, a long neck, short tail and a large body. It was so bulky that it could not havE
been a very fast runner. Its most distinctive feature was gigantic claws on its front limbs. They were nearly three·
long. The feeding habits of Therizinosaurus are still debated, but it was most probably an herbivore, using its big
manual claws to push leaves into its mouth.
While the claws were very long, they were not sharply curved. In cross section, they were quite thin. Some
scientists think they were used to tear open termite mounds. Therizinosaurs had a fairly long neck, small head, an
teeth that could have been used to eat plants. The family previously known as segnosaurs is now named after thi~
peculiar dinosaur.

u
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~j EQ • Encephalizatlon Quotient d(
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http://members.enchantedlearning.comlegifsIEQ .GIF 2/5/2007


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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BEnA VIOR
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NQJrfS~,llli~~1 Reproduction, Nests
~~~~~==~&=E~~~ ~~~~~

DINOSAUR TEETH
alELS alELS

. - . Camarasaurus : Looking at an animal's teeth can give you a lot of .: :e: r·. Spinosaurus
.. _--------------------
Tooth ., &: ' h ' l' d
~Patula-Shaped : lnlonnatlon on ow It lve.
I D'lnosaur teeth can te 11 : ~ \ \. Tooth
: ~? \ \. f-- Pointed
Il_
,I tooth : you a lot about the animal, including the type of : g "'.\ retooth,
:~ )i !food that it ate, how it obtained that food, and how : 3
I ;::::- \ ... or no'
\

\ ......, serrations'
: Rool ~.. \
J}~ Root :much further digestion was required (did it chew its : broken'orr \ .•.) .
.___ __
I

~
~.t ?~c:.)!n.?:r:o.?l.;c.?,!, _~ food, crush it, or just wolf it down?).
1
: 2cm

U Teeth are harder than bone and therefore fossilize more readily than bones. Many
fossilized dinosaur teeth have been found. Some species of dinosaurs (like Cardiodon,
Deinodon, and Trachodon) are lmown only from fossilized teeth.

The number of teeth that dinosaurs had varied widely. Some, like Gallimimus and
Omithomimus, had no teeth. T. rex had 50 to 60 thick, conical teeth. The dinosaurs with
the most teeth were the hadrosaurs (the duck-billed dinosaurs), which had up to 960 cheek
teeth.

Dinosaurs had replaceable teeth; when a tooth was lost or broken, another one grew in to
take its place.

SA URISCHIANS:

-Sauropods: ~ The plant-eating sauropods (like Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus,

u
1/26/0011:11 AM
10f4
-n
Dinosaur Teeth - Enchanted Learning Software http://www.EnchantedLearning.comisubjectsldinosaursianatomyffeeth.shtm)

~ - u - Pi~t~~~~~-~~~Diplodocus,
Supersaurus, etc.) had peg-like or ~- - ~'~ Dipi~d~~~~":u u

:, ~Tooth:, spoon-shaped teeth for stripping foliage but not for :, ''~\ Tooth
Pencil-shaped
: \ Le~-::t~ed : chewing. The tough plant material was digested in :e tooth

: 5 \-.(V' :their huge guts, possibly in fermentation chambers, : ~ \


~ := ~f- A®©a iand frequently with the aid of gastroliths (gizzard ~ 1/1 ~ Rool N

: ' 03>ZMmScllo)ol.o:om : stones, which were stones that the animal swallowed) : \., 'DZ,)om;;(ho;"",',
. ------------------_. that helped to grind up the leaves and twigs. ' -----------------.... '

__ ~I~~~~p-~_<!~,; ___ Theropods (like T. rex, Giganotosaurus,


® ELS (" ______________ _
: \" Allosaurus : Carcharodontosaurus, Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, etc.) were: Troodon 3:
I

:
I
I ..,\,
Tooth
:meat-eaters that had sharp, pointed teeth for tearing flesh :
I Tooth
' {

I:" !

: ~ ~ s~:r~d and/or crushing bones. A recent discovery of a


1,1"", : : 'I '~ } :

:~ '\ tooth ~ Tyrannosaurus rex coprolite (fossilized feces) containing : \ ~ ~f.: :


\ ", H--".
Root, : crushed bone indicates that T. rex did indeed crush its
broken off
'T - I
: \ " , J~::e~d:
'

:. ___ . __ . :~~7~J:~~~':~~:(~:(~(~: food with its strong teeth and powerful jaws. :__ 1___~rl! __ 1______'

ORNITmSCHIANS:
The herbivorous (plant-eating) Ornithischians and some prosauropods had varied teeth,
but mostly had horny beaks and many blunt, leaf-like cheek teeth for nipping and
sometimes chewing tough vegetation.

-Stegosaurids: ~Stegosaurids (like Stegosaurus and Kentrosaurus)


had leaf-shaped teeth.

,
--------------

-Hadrosaurs (the duck-billed dinosaurs which included Maiasaura,


Parasaurolophus, Edmontosaurus, Lambeosaurus, etc.) had about 960 self-sharpening
cheek teeth. They had more teeth than any other dinosaurs.

-Iguanodontids: (like Iguanodon, Ouranosaurus, and


Probactrosaurus) had teeth similar to those of modem-day iguanas.
The rounded, notched crown of the teeth were curved.

u
20f4 1/26/0011:11 AM
Dinosaur Teeth - Enchanted Learning Software http://www.EnchantedLeaming.comlsubjectsidinosaursianatomylTeeth.shtml
, ..

.Heterodontosaurus~- was a small Omithischian dinosaur that had three different


U kinds of teeth (hence its name) and a beak. The sharp, cutting front, upper teeth were used
for biting against the horny beak, the cheek teeth were for grinding food, and it also had
two pairs of long, canine-like teeth that fit into sockets.

I
I

's:
·Ceratopsians ® like Triceratops, Styracosaurus,
, :g IN

Monoclonius, and others, had toothless beaks that were used to gather:
their food and many flat cheek teeth which were used to chew tough,
fibrous plant material.

•Most dinosaurs, like the Ankylosaurs (which included


Ankylosaurus, Sauropelta, Euoplocephalus, etc.), could not chew their food
and might have had large fermentation chambers in which the tough plant
fibers were digested. Ankylosaurs had teeth that were shaped like a hand
with the fingers together.

,l
u .Ornithomimids'~ (like Omithomimus, Ansermimus, Gallimimus, and
Struthiomimus) had no teeth, only beaks, with which they ate plants, insects, and small
animals .

............:-......... -.- .r..·-...·---.··--~-'-'---·· r·~~.=.-'--.:.-r···"--·······--·······-....;f"-'-:..:.c=~=~~-~~--'-"T;;;-=-==-,~..c..:..:_ _


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HERDS AND PACKS OF DINOSAURS


Some dinosaur species apparently lived in groups, as revealed by fossil evidence, which
includes:

• many fossils found together in bonebeds (large deposits of bones of the same species
in an area)
• fossilized trackways of many dinosaurs travelling together
• large groups of fossilized nests grouped together.

Some dinosaurs grouped together for protection (like Hypsilophodon), and some for more
u effective hunting, like Velociraptor. The existence of herds can also suggest the necessity
of seasonal migratory movements to feed such a large group of animals.

HERDS - SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Many plant-eating dinosaurs travelled in herds, feeding and perhaps nestirig and migrating
together. The advantage of congregating in herds was primarily in protection against
predators (meat-~ating animals).

Many sauropods may have travelled in herds, as evidence from multiple


trackways (fossilized footprints) suggests. The trackways also indicate that the
young sauropods travelled toward the center of the herd for protection.

~ A bonebed of about 100 Styracosaurus fossils was found in Arizona, indicating


~that they also travelled in herds. Protoceratops bonebeds have also been found.
Other ceratopsians, like Triceratops, may have also travelled in herds.

~ Maiasaura fossils have been found in a huge group of about 10,000 animals.
This strongly indicates herding behavior. These Maiasauras were buried in
U volcanic ash along with a field of nests and eggs. Other duck-billed dinosaurs (hadrosaurs
like Parasaurolophus) may have also congregated in herds to feed, nest, and perhaps

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migrate.

U
*"ff A bonebed of about 20 Hypsilophodon fossils were unearthed together on the
Isle of Wight (an island off the coast of southern England).
c',

Other dinosaurs that may have have travelled in herds were Omithomimus .~ and
Dryosaurus.

PACKS - BETTER HUNTING

Many meat-eaters hunted in packs, combining their strength in order to kill even larger
prey.

~The deadly and intelligent Velociraptor may have hunted in packs, attacking
~ even very large animals. Other Dromeosaurids (the most intelligent dinosaurs),
Iike Deinonychus may have also hunted in deadly packs, attacking even huge sauropods
and ankylosaurids.

u ~
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DINOSAUR OFFENSIVE WEAPONS AND MANEUVERS


Many dinosaurs were anned with built-in weapons that were used for killing and eating
prey, for dealing with interspecies rivalry, or as protection from fellow carnivores (meat
eaters). These included:

• Big, sharp, pointed teeth - Largest, sharp teeth of most carnivores are for tearing flesh
from prey .
... - .....--.- ..... --~

-~

i/··~:~::··~··---=-~~~~~:\.
• ~~ . .~\ Clawed feet - Many dinosaurs claws on feet and/or hands.
\...) Dromaeosaurids and Megaraptor had a huge retractible sickle-like claws on each foot.
• Grasping hands with clawed fingers - good for catching and slashing prey.
• Large size - Some dinosaurs, like Giganotosaurus and T. rex were so large that they
were at the top of the food chain, and could eat any animal that they could catch.
• Speed and agility- In order to eat, a predator must catch its prey. The only surviving
J'. . .
'dinosaurs, the birds, evolved from the speedy, bird-like theropods .

• Modem-day birds have excellent good color vision; it is likely that the bird-like
dinosaurs (advanced theropods like the coelurosaurs) also had color vision. This
would have helped them find and catch their prey (just as hawks use their acute vision
to spot prey).

-----------------.,-,,--------------- .-.-.-.-- .. --

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Dinosaur Defense - Enchanted Learning Software http://www.EnchantedLeaming.comlsubjectsldinosaursianatomy/Dcfcnse.shtml

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DINOSAUR DEFENSIVE WEAPONS AND MANEUVERS


Dinosaurs were armed with built-in defensive weapons and behaviors that were used for
dealing with interspecies rivalry or as protection from carnivores (meat eaters). These
. included:

• Horns, Claws, and Spikes - Many dinosaurs had deadly, knife-like protuberances
that were excellent protection from being eaten (for example, Triceratops
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and Some sauropods had large thumb claws;
these were especially prominent in the young and in juveniles.
• Large size - Some adult diplodocids (like Apatosaurus, Diplodocus,
Supersaurus, etc.) and other dinosaurs were so large that only the hugest carnivores or
packs of carnivores were a danger.
• Armored plating (bony plates fused into leathery skin) - Ankylosaurids .~
(like Euoplocephalus, Ankylosaurus, and Sauropel ta) were plated all over the tops
and sides of their bodies. Even their eyelids had armor plating. Only their underbellies
were unprotected. To kill an Ankylosaurid, a predator would have had to flip over a
terribly heavy animal over - not an easy job.
• Thick, leathery skin - This would provide only a little bit of protection from
predators with sharp, strong teeth like T. rex, Giganotosaurus, and Utahraptor.

• Head butting - ~
Pachycephalosaurs (like Pachycephalosaurus, Stegoceras,
Wannanosaurus, etc.) and other thick-skulled dinosaurs may used head butting to
repel predators.

It had long been thought that Pachycephalosaur's thick domes may have been used for
u ramming rivals during tp.ating and dominance combat, for attracting mates, and as a
last-ditch self-defense against predators. Paleontologist Mark Goodwin of the

lof3 1/26/00 12:02 PM


Din06aur Defense - Enchanted Learning Software http://www.EnchantedLeaming.com!subjectsldinosaurslanatomy/Defense.shtm) "

University of California at Berkeley has analyzed many pachycephalosaur skulls


(including those ofPachycephalosaurus), finding no evidence of healed scars. Also,
under close analysis, the thick skull bone is not rigid and solid, but porous and fragile
when put under extreme pressure. "It's time to kill the myth ... It certainly wouldn't be
in their own best interests to ram heads in a fight," said Goodwin "They would have
killed each other, and a couple of bowling balls would hardly make good targets."
• Speed - "'Leaving a fight can be easier and safer than fighting.

• Bludgeon-like tail clubs - . . .Ankylosaurids (like Euoplocephalus and


Ankylosaurus) had bony tail-clubs that could easily have been used for defense,
which would have been useful for these lumbering, plated grazers. Also, some
theropods, like Shunosaurus,Orneisaurus and maybe Mamenchisaurus had tail clubs
for protection.
• Whip-like tail - Some people believe that sauropods~ may have used
their massive tails as a whip to lash at their attackers. This theory seems unlikely
given the amount of physiological damage to tail tissue that would be caused by the
sudden acceleration near the end of the tail (and the deceleration upon impact). Also,
the large sauropods probably grazed on tree leaves, giving them no room to whip their
tail around without hitting tree trunks and getting severe tail damage.

DINOSAUR DEFENSE ACTIVITY

u · Dinosaur defense printout

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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND HEBAVIOR

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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BERA VIOR

DINOSAUR REPRODUCTION
Very little is known about dinosaur courtship, rivalry, pairing and mating.

EGGS
Most dinosaurs hatched from ~ ,,'. The eggs were round or elongated with hard shells.
These eggs were similar to those of reptiles, birds and primitive mammals; they contained
a membrane, the amnion, that kept the embryo moist. Some dinosaurs may have have
cared for their eggs, others may have simply laid them and then abandoned them.

Fossilized dinosaur eggs were first found in France in 1869. Many fossilized dinosaur
~ eggs have been found, at over 200 sites in the USA, France, Spain, Mongolia, China,
Argentina, and India. Very rarely, the eggs have preserved parts of embryos in them,
which can help to match an egg with a species of dinosaur. Without an embryo, it it
difficult to match an egg to a dinosaur species. The embryo in an egg also sheds light on
dinosaur development.

According to Dr. Kenneth Carpenter of the Denver Museum, most dinosaur eggshell still
have the original shell, not a fossilized replica. "The slightest change in the calcite making
up the shell destroys the very fine detail that can be seen with the scanning electron
microscope. Amino acids have also been recovered that are very similar to those found in
modem bird eggshell."

Recent Finds: About 10 large dinosaur eggs (plus 3 egg impressions) were found 1999 in
southwestern France (near Albas, in the foothills of the Pyrenee Mountains). No bone
fossils were found. The eggs had been buried in two layers in the sand. No one knows
what type of dinosaur the eggs were.

Much larger egg sites have been found nearby, in northeastern Spain near Tremp, where
hundreds of thousands of eggs (of both sauropods and theropods) have been found. Other
huge dinosaur eggs sites have been found in Argentina and China.

lof4 1126/00 10:54 AM


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DINOSAUR EGG INFORMATION .. - -. -.- -----.-

Fe=:~-~tion •
Where Were
Di nosaur Fossils the
Egg Shape, Size Egg Placement
Lengt h of Adult Were Eggs in
I Found a Nest?
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diameter, and about·
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placed about 25-30
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Sauropods I locations and 10 inches (25 cm) dinosaur laid
u over 100 feet (30 ! wide them while
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U NESTS
Fossils of dinosaurs' burrows and nests can reveal a lot about their behavior. Nests vary
from simple pits dug into the earth or sand to more complicated nests constructed with
mud rims. They may appear in large groups or all alone. The nests and the clutches of
eggs reveal information about the dinosaur's nurturing behavior.

• Eggs with embryonic Therizinosaurs (bipedal meat-eaters, a theropod from the late
Cretaceous) were found in 1991 in central China.

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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BEHAVIOR

DINOSAUR TAILS
Most dinosaurs had large tails that probably had multiple uses, including acting as a:

• Counterbalance - :E~ most dinosaur tails counterbalanced a long


neck or a large, heavy head. Until a few years ago, people thought that dinosaurs
dragged their tails on the ground, serving to do little but making locomotion difficult.
This seemed pointless and ignored the fact that the large mass at the front of the
dinosaur's body (neck and head) had to be counterbalanced or else the animal would
u tip over!

• Tripod leg - ~ The tails of some dinosaurs could be useful in attaining a


tripod stance, which was probably used to forage very tall vegetation and for mating.

• Help in turning quickly - ~


Some dinosaurs needed to run speedily and to be
able to turn quickly, either to catch prey or avoid predators. In order to tum quickly
while running, the tail's movement can shift the runner's direction, allowing swift
turns.

• Bludgeon for protection - ~


Ankylosaurids (like Euoplocephalus and
Ankylosaurus) had bony nodules at the end of their tails that could easily have been
used for defense, which would have been useful for these lumbering, plated grazers.
Also, some theropods, like Shunosaurus, Omeisaurus and maybe Mamenchisaurus
had tail clubs for protection.
• Whip for protection - ' " ' ' ' -==>In 1961, the British zoologist R. McNeill
Alexander proposed the idea that some sauropods may have used their massive tails
as a whip to lash at their attackers. This theory seems unlikely given the amount of
physiological damage to tail tissue that would be caused by the sudden acceleration
u near the end of the tail (and the deceleration upon impact). Also, the large sauropods

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probably grazed on tree leaves, giving them no room to whip their tail around without
hitting tree trunks and getting severe tail damage. In addition, the amount of time to
get a nerve message from the head to the base of the tail (a distance of up to 50 feet,
15 m) would delay the attack considerably. Nerve impulses in humans travel at
around 3 - 4 meters/second. If dinosaurs could match this rate of transmission, the
time for a nerve impulse to travel from the head to the base of the tail would be about
4 - 5 seconds. Add to this the time to start the whip-like motion and the swift
meat-eater would probably already have taken a big bite of Diplodocus.
• Prehensile appendage - Some people theorize that some dinosaur tails may have
been prehensile, able to manipulate objects. The tails may have been used to build
nests, move vegetation, etc., much as an elephant's trunk works .

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INOSAUR TOYS
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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BERA VIOR

BRAINS AND INTELLIGENCE


The EQ or Encephalization Quotient is a simple way of measuring an animal's
intelligence. EQ is a ratio of the mass of an animal's brain to the mass of its body.
Assuming that smarter animals have larger brains to body ratios than less intelligent ones,
this helps determine the relative intelligence of extinct animals. In general, warm-blooded
animals (like mammals) have a higher EQ than cold-blooded ones (like reptiles and fish).

Dumbest Dinosaurs:
The primitive dinosaurs belonging to the group sauropodomorpha (which included
Massospondylus, Riojasaurus, and others) were among the least intelligent of the
U dinosaurs, with an EQ of about 0.05.

Smartest Dinosaurs:
The Troodontids (like Troodon) were probably the smartest dinosaurs, followed by the
dromaeosaurid dinosaurs (the "raptors," which included Dromeosaurus, Velociraptor,
Deinonychus, and others) had the highest EQ among the dinosaurs, about 5.8.

EQ • Encephalization Quotient
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 5.8

10f3 1/26/0011:07 AM
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The Encephalization Quotient was developed by the psychologist H. J. Jensen in the


1970's.

A SECOND BRAIN?
It used to be thought that the large sauropods (like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaulus) and
the omithischian Stegosaurus had a second brain. Paleontologists now realize that what
they thought was a second brain was an enlargement in the spinal cord in the hip area,
perhaps containing fat and nerve tissue. This nerve center may have controlled the
animal's hind legs and tail and was larger than the animal's tiny brain .
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DINOSAU'R ANATOMY AND DEHAVIOR

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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BEHAVIOR
~W~lru~~1 Reproduction, Nests
~~= &E

SEXUAL DIMORPHISM
It is very difficult to determine which fossils were male and which were female. Some
paleontologists have theorized that the males of some species may have had larger crests,
frills, or other showy structures that were used in courtship displays, mating rituals, and/or
intraspecies rivalry (contests among members of the same species, like territorial disputes
and mating competition), very much like many modem-day animals. The development of
these structures occurs with sexual maturity, so example of juvenile fossils would have
little or none of these structures.

• ~Hadrosaurs Originally, fossils very similar to Parasaurolophus but with smaller


U crests were thought to belong to a separate species of Parasaurolophus. A similar
situation existed for Lambeosaurus and many other crested dinosaurs (the
lambeosaurine duck-bills) and dome-headed dinosaurs (Pachycephalosaurs). In 1975,
the Canadian paleontologist Peter Dodson showed that many of the supposedly
separate species of frilled/crested dinosaurs were the females and juveniles of the
species. The anatomist James A. Hopson also interpreted the crest and dome sizes as
differing in males and females within a species.

Ceratopsians - Many paleontologists believe that the ceratopsians


(like Triceratops and Protoceratops) used their horns and frills in territorial disputes,
in mating competitions and for attracting females.

• ~ Pachycephalosaurs, the dome-headed hadrosaurid dinosaurs, also exhibit


sexual dimorphism. The anatomist James A. Hopson realized that crest and dome size
differs in the male and female of the species.

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DINOSAUR SKIN
COLOR
~ ) No one mows what colors or patterns the dinosaurs were. The largest of
. . ~ dinosaurs (like the giant sauropods) were probably neutral-colored or grey, like
the largest animals today (eg. elephants).

Most likely, dinosaurs that were hunted for their meat were camouflaged in order to hide
somewhat from the predators, colored in a particular fashion to attract mates, or brightly
colored to let predators mow that they taste awful. Different colors are also important in
temperature regulation; they absorb (or reflect) sunlight as the animal controls its body
~ temperature.

TEXTURE
( AIJlfDinosaurs had bumpy skin, as much fossil evidence indicates. A bumpy T. rex
...-,r"
skin imprint was found by a 12 year old.

~ The ankylosaurids had bony plates fused into their leathery skin, which was
~ excellent protection from predators.

INSULATION AND THE BEGINNING OF FLIGHT


/~Some bird-like dinosaurs had proto-feathers. Newly found dinosaurs include:
!'

• Sinosauropteryx prima - (121-135 million years ago). Sinosauropteryx had a coat of


downy feather-like fibers that are perhaps the forerunner of feathers. This
ground-dwelling dinosaur had short arms, hollow bones, a three-fingered hand, and
was about the size of a turkey.
• Protarchaeopteryx robusta - Long, symmetrical feathers on arms and tail, but it
probably could not fly - the size ofa turkey (from China, 121-135 mya) .
• Caudipteryx zoui - a small, very fast runner covered with primitive (symmetrical and
therefore flightless) feathers on the arms and tail, with especially long ones on the tail.
u About the size ofa turkey. (from China, 121-135 mya)

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DINOSAUR LIFE SPAN


How old did the dinosaurs get to be? That question is very hard to answer.

6if: ~ecently scientists have found t~at most dinosaur bones have ~owth r~ngs (called
":\:0/ hnes of arrested growth, abbrevIated LAG) that may answer thIS questIon. These
lines are only visible using a microscope. The bones have to be sliced into thin
section and viewed with a polarized lens in the microscope. It's a bit like looking at the
growth ring of trees to determine the age of a tree. Each year of growth leaves a trace in
the bone (or tree trunk).

U Scientists have determined that:

• Troodon- Weight: 50 kg; 3-5 years to reach adult size (Varricchio, 1993).
• the ceratosaur Syntarsus rhodesiensis - Weight: 25+ kg; 7-8 years to reach adult size
(Chinsamy, 1994).
• the prosauropod Massospondylus carinatus~- Weight: 250+ kg; 15 years to
reach adult size (Chinsamy, 1994).
• the sauropod Bothriospondylus madagascariensis - weight 17500 kg; 43 years to adult
size (Ricqles, 1983)
• the ceratopsian Psittacosaurus mongoliensis - weight 80 kg; was 10 to 11 years old
(Erickson and Tumanova, unpublished data)

Another way to estimate life span is based on body size, the known life spans of
modem-day animals, and the fact that large animals generally live longer lives than
smaller ones. It has been estimated that the huge sauropods, like Apatosaurus,
Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, and Supersaurus lived to be about 100 years old. Smaller
dinosaurs probably lived shorter life spans.

Growth Rates:
v Growth rates based on maximum growth rates of modem-day reptiles, even though there
are probably major metabolic differences. Protoceratops: Adult 177 kg, hatchling 0.43 kg

lof2 1/26/00 II :08 AM


( Qinosaur Life Spans - ZoomDinosaurs.com http://www.EnchantedLearning.cOmisubjectsidinosaursianatomy/Age.shtml

(hatchling weight calculated to be about 90% of the weight of 0.5 liter egg). Age to
adulthood calculated to be roughly 26-38 years.

U Hypselosaurus : Adult 5300 kg, hatchling 2.4 kg. Age to adulthood calculated to be about
82-188 years.

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DINOSAUR ANATOMY AND BEHAVIOR

HOT-BLOODED OR COLD-BLOODED?

• Hot-blooded animals (homeotherms) generate heat internally and maintain a


relatively constant body temperature (higher than the average temperature of the
environment). Examples include the mammals (including people) and birds. A related
term is endothermy, meaning that an organism generates their own heat to maintain
body temperatures.
• Cold-blooded animals (poikilotherms) have a body temperature that changes with
external conditions. Examples include reptiles, who need to sun themselves in the
morning to warm up, and then protect themselves in the midday heat. A related term
u is ectothermy, meaning that an organism uses external heat sources (and heat sinks)
to regulate its body temperature.

The debate about whether dinosaurs were hot- or cold-blooded is quite controversial. It
used to be assumed that dinosaurs were cold-blooded like their reptile ancestors. Some
paleontologists have recently argued that at least some dinosaurs were fast, active,
competed against hot-blooded mammals, lived in cool areas, were related to birds, and
therefore were endothermic (generating their own body heat, or hot-blooded).

Dinosaurs evolved from cold-blooded animals (the reptiles) and evolved into
warm-blooded animals (the birds). All dinosaurs, however, were not the same, and
perhaps their physiologies differed also. The huge dinosaurs and the tiny dinosaurs might
have used different heat-regulation strategies, just as they used different strategies for
other aspect of living. A good argument for this is found among modem mammals.
Although warm-blooded, there are some mammals (monotremes, the egg-laying mammals
like the duck-billed platypus) whose metabolisms are close to being cold-blooded.

Some dinosaurs seem to have had heat regulating structures on their bodies. For example,
Spinosaurus and Ouranosaurus had large sails on their backs, and Stegosaurus had
numerous plates. These devices were probably used for the collection and dispersion of
u heat. This suggests that they needed these structures to regulate their body heat and that
they were cold-blooded.

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