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Tyrannosaurus meaning "tyrant lizard", from Greek τυράννος (tyrannos, "tyrant") and σαύρος' (sauros, "lizard")), is a genus of theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning "king" in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the last two million years of the Cretaceous Period, 67 to 65.5 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.
Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small, though unusually powerful for their size, and bore two clawed digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring up to 12.8 m (42 ft) in length, up to 4 metres (13 ft) tall at the hips, and up to 6.8 metric tons (7.5 short tons) in weight. By far the largest carnivore in its environment, Tyrannosaurus rex may have been an apex predator, preying upon hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, although some experts have suggested it was primarily a scavenger. The debate over Tyrannosaurus as apex predator or scavenger is among the longest running debates in paleontology.
More than 30 specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex have been identified, some of which are nearly complete skeletons. Soft tissue and proteins have been reported in at least one of these specimens. The abundance of fossil material has allowed significant research into many aspects of its biology, including life history and biomechanics. The feeding habits, physiology and potential speed of Tyrannosaurus rex are a few subjects of debate. Its taxonomy is also controversial, with some scientists considering Tarbosaurus bataar from Asia to represent a second species of Tyrannosaurus and others maintaining Tarbosaurus as a separate genus. Several other genera of North American tyrannosaurids have also been synonymized with Tyrannosaurus.
Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur which lived during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 68 to 65 million years ago (Mya) in what is now North America. It was one of the last dinosaur genera to appear before the great Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.
Bearing a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body, and conjuring similarities with the modern rhinoceros, Triceratops is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs and the best known ceratopsid. It shared the landscape with and was preyed upon by the fearsome Tyrannosaurus, though it is less certain that the two did battle in the manner often depicted in traditional museum displays and popular images.
The exact placement of the Triceratops genus within the ceratopsid group has been debated by paleontologists. Two species, T. horridus and T. prorsus, are considered valid although many other species have been named. Recent research suggests that the contemporaneous Torosaurus, a ceratopsid long regarded as a separate genus, actually represents Triceratops in its mature form.
Triceratops has been documented by numerous remains collected since the genus was first described in 1889. Paleontologist John Scannella observed: "It is hard to walk out into the Hell Creek Formation and not stumble upon a triceratops weathering out of a hillside." Forty-seven complete or partial skulls were discovered in just that area during the decade 2000–2010. Specimens representing life stages from hatchling to adult have been found, though a complete skeleton representing a single individual has eluded fossil hunters.
The function of the frills and three distinctive facial horns has long inspired debate. Traditionally these have been viewed as defensive weapons against predators. More recent theories, noting the presence of blood vessels in the skull bones of ceratopsids, find it more probable that these features were primarily used in identification, courtship and dominance displays, much like the antlers and horns of modern reindeer, mountain goats, or rhinoceros beetles. The theory finds additional support if Torosaurus represents the mature form of Triceratops, as this would mean the frill also developed holes (fenestrae) as individuals reached maturity, rendering the structure more useful for display than defense.
Brachiosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic Morrison Formation of North America. It was first described by Elmer S. Riggs in 1903 from fossils found in the Grand River Canyon (now Colorado River) of western Colorado, in the United States. Riggs named the dinosaur Brachiosaurus altithorax, declaring it "the largest known dinosaur". Brachiosaurus had a proportionally long neck, small skull, and large overall size, all of which are typical for sauropods. However, the proportions of Brachiosaurus are unlike most sauropods. The forelimbs were longer than the hindlimbs, which result in a steeply inclined trunk, making the overall body shape reminiscent of a modern giraffe. Also, while the tail is a typical long dinosaur tail, it was relatively short for a sauropod.
Brachiosaurus is the namesake genus of the family Brachiosauridae, which includes a handful of other similar sauropods. Much of what is known by laypeople about Brachiosaurus is in fact based on Giraffatitan brancai, a species of brachiosaurid dinosaur from the Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania originally described by German paleontologist Werner Janensch as a species of Brachiosaurus. Recent research shows that the differences between the type species of Brachiosaurus and the Tendaguru material are significant enough that the African material should be placed in a separate genus. Several other potential species of Brachiosaurus have been described from Africa and Europe, but none of them are thought to belong to Brachiosaurus at this time.
Brachiosaurus is one of the rarer sauropods of the Morrison Formation. The type specimen of B. altithorax is still the most complete specimen, and only a relative handful of other specimens are thought to belong to the genus. It is regarded as a high browser, probably cropping or nipping vegetation as high as possibly 9 metres (30 ft) off of the ground. Unlike other sauropods, and its depiction in Jurassic Park, it was unsuited for rearing on its hindlimbs. It has been used an example of a dinosaur that was most likely ectothermic due to its large size and the corresponding need for forage, but more recent research finds it to have been endothermic.
Xiongguanlong is a genus of tyrannosauroid dinosaur that lived in the Early Cretaceous of what is now China. The type species is X. baimoensis, described online in 2009 by a group of researchers from China and the United States, and formally published in January 2010. The genus name refers to the city of Jiayuguan, a city in northwestern China. The specific name is derived from bai mo, "white ghost", after the "white ghost castle", a rock formation near the fossil site. The fossils include a skull, vertebrae, a right ilium and the right femur. The rocks it was found in are from the Aptian to Albian stages of the Cretaceous, between 125 and 100 million years ago.
Iguanodon is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous period in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. It lived 125/126 million years ago.
Discovered in 1822 and described three years later by English geologist Gideon Mantell, Iguanodon was the second dinosaur formally named, after Megalosaurus. Together with Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, it was one of the three genera originally used to define Dinosauria.
A large, bulky herbivore, Iguanodon is in the same family as the duck-billed hadrosaurs. The taxonomy of the genus continues to be a topic of study as new species are named or long-standing ones reassigned to other genera.
Scientific understanding of Iguanodon has evolved over time as new information has been obtained from the fossils. The numerous specimens of this genus, including nearly complete skeletons from two well-known bonebeds, have allowed researchers to make informed hypotheses regarding many aspects of the living animal, including feeding, movement, and social behaviour. As one of the first scientifically well-known dinosaurs, Iguanodon has occupied a small but notable place in the public's perception of dinosaurs, its artistic representation changing significantly in response to new interpretations of its remains.