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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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Radar topography of the Chicxulub Crater (Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech).
Chicxulub Crater is an ancient impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula, with its center located near the town of Chicxulub, Yucatán, Mexico. The crater is over 180 kilometers (110 mi) in diameter, making the feature one of the largest confirmed impact structures in the world; the asteroid or comet whose impact formed the crater was at least 10 km (6 mi) in diameter. The crater was named for the nearby town, as well as for the literal Maya translation of the name: "tail of the devil."

The crater was discovered by Glen Penfield, a geophysicist who had been working in the Yucatán while looking for oil during the late 1970s. The presence of tektites, shocked quartz and gravity anomalies, as well as the age of the rocks and isotope analysis, show that this impact structure dates from the late Cretaceous Period, roughly 65 million years ago. The impact associated with the crater is implicated in causing the extinction of the dinosaurs as suggested by the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, although some critics disagree that the impact was the sole reason and also debate whether there was a single impact or whether the Chicxulub impactor was one of several that may have struck the Earth at around the same time. Recent evidence suggests that the impactor was a piece of a much larger asteroid which broke up in a collision more than 160 million years ago.(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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Tyrannosaurus rex

Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh.

Photo credit: User:ScottRobertAnselmo

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