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Portal:Dinosaurs

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The Dinosaur Portal

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Introduction

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Dinosaurs are animals that dominated terrestrial environments for more than 160 million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. They were extremely varied, abundant and have been found preserved on all seven modern continents. At the end of the Cretaceous period, approximately 66 million years ago, a catastrophic extinction event ended the dinosaurs' dominance on land. However, since birds are theropods the clade dinosauria still survives in great diversity and abundance. The term "dinosaur" is sometimes used mistakenly to describe other prehistoric animals, such as the synapsid Dimetrodon, or reptiles like pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs. Since the first dinosaur fossils were recognized in the nineteenth century, mounted dinosaur skeletons have become major attractions at museums around the world and have amassed a large fan base among children and adults alike. They have been featured in best-selling books and films such as Jurassic Park, and new discoveries are regularly covered by the media.
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Cast of a Compsognathus fossil from Bavaria

Compsognathus is a monotypic genus of small, bipedal, carnivorous theropod dinosaur. The species Compsognathus longipes was the size of a turkey and lived around 150 million years ago, the early Tithonian stage of the late Jurassic Period, in what is now Europe. Paleontologists have found two well-preserved fossils, one in Germany in the 1850s and the second in France more than a century later. Many presentations still describe Compsognathus as a "chicken-sized" dinosaur because of the small size of the German specimen, which is now believed to be a juvenile form of the larger French specimen. Compsognathus is one of the few dinosaurs for which the diet is known with certainty: the remains of small, agile lizards are preserved in the bellies of both specimens. Although not recognized as such at the time of its discovery, Compsognathus is the first theropod dinosaur known from a reasonably complete fossil skeleton. Until the 1990s, it was the smallest known non-avialan dinosaur and the closest supposed relative of the early bird Archaeopteryx. Thus, its genus is one of the few dinosaur genera to be well known outside of paleontological circles. (see more...)

Topics

Dinosaur-related topics - Dinosaur - Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event - Dinosaur-bird connection - Dinosaur classification - Evolution of dinosaurs - Feathered dinosaurs - List of dinosaurs - Paleontology - Physiology of dinosaurs
Locations - List of dinosaur-bearing rock formations - List of fossil sites - Dinosaur Cove - Dinosaur National Monument - Dinosaur Park Formation - Hell Creek Formation - Morrison Formation - Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite - Two Medicine Formation
Paleontologists - Mary Anning - Robert T. Bakker - Barnum Brown - William Buckland - Edward Drinker Cope - Jack Horner - Gideon Mantell - Othniel Charles Marsh - John Ostrom - Dong Zhiming - Philip J. Currie
History - List of years in paleontology - Bone Wars - Dinosaur Renaissance
Popular culture - List of dinosaur parks - Cultural depictions of dinosaurs - Jurassic Park - Jurassic Park (film) - Raptor Red
Featured dinosaur articles - Achelousaurus - Acrocanthosaurus - Albertosaurus - Allosaurus - Amargasaurus - Ankylosaurus - Apatosaurus - Archaeopteryx - Baryonyx - Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards - Bone Wars - Carnotaurus - Chicxulub crater - Compsognathus - Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event - Daspletosaurus - Deinocheirus - Deinonychus - Dinosaur - Diplodocus - Edmontosaurus - Edward Drinker Cope - Giganotosaurus - Gorgosaurus - Herrerasaurus - Heterodontosaurus - Iguanodon - Lambeosaurus - List of dinosaurs - Majungasaurus - Massospondylus - Nemegtomaia - Nigersaurus - Opisthocoelicaudia - Paranthodon - Parasaurolophus - Plateosaurus - Psittacosaurus - Stegoceras - Stegosaurus - Styracosaurus - Tarbosaurus - Thescelosaurus - Triceratops - Tyrannosaurus - Velociraptor
Good dinosaur articles Abelisauridae - Alioramus - Ampelosaurus - Amphicoelias - "Archaeoraptor" - Balaur bondoc - Cairanoolithus - Ceratopsia - Coelurus - Corythosaurus - Cetiosauriscus - Cryolophosaurus - Cultural depictions of dinosaurs - Dinheirosaurus - Eolambia - Gryposaurus - Heterodontosauridae - Kentrosaurus - Kritosaurus - Hypacrosaurus - Hypsibema missouriensis - Limusaurus - Macroolithus - Megalosaurus - Othnielosaurus - Pachycephalosaurus - Patagosaurus - Prosaurolophus - Rajasaurus - Saurolophus - Sauropelta - Scelidosaurus - Sinoceratops - Sinosauropteryx - Species of Allosaurus - Spinosaurus - Struthiosaurinae - Tyrannosauridae - Tyrannosauroidea - Vulcanodon

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