Dinosaur Fossil: Dinosaur are perhaps one of the most amazing creatures that ruled over the planet for more than 160 million years. Ranging from the size of hummingbirds to the size of gigantic trucks and buildings, these ferocious “lizards” once battled for dominance but went extinct because of a still unknown cause.
Dinosaurs have already gone extinct but much information about them still remain-because of their fossils. Basically, fossils don’t easily degrade or decompose; hence they are a good source of evidence about the prehistoric life in the planet.
In some instances, these fossils tend to be preserved in the most bizarre ways and the most unusual locations.
Many paleontologists have been digging and discovering these dinosaur fossils from various geographical locations as earliest as 17th century till today. Excited to know them?
Table of Contents
- Dinosaur Fossil Discoveries
- 1. Femur of A Megalosaurus (1676) – England
- 2. Fossilized Dinosaur Feces (1811) – England
- 3. The “Missing Link” (1860) – Germany
- 4. Hadrosaurus (1868) – United States of America
- 5. Diplodocus (1878) – United States of America
- 6. Coelophysis (1881) – United States of America
- 7. An ongoing Combat Between A Velociraptor and A Protoceratops (1971) – Mongolia
- 8. Good Mother Lizard (1978) – United States of America
- 9. intact Plesiosaur Skeleton (1994) – North America
- 10. Another Plesiosaur Skeleton (2006) – Australia
- 11. The “Monster” (2006) – Norway
- 12. A Nest of 15 Baby Dinosaurs (2011) – Mongolia
- 13. A Mother Dinosaur Giving Birth (2011) – China
- 14. The Smallest Fossil (2011) – United Kingdom
- 15. Mosasaurus Fossil (2015) – Japan
Dinosaur Fossil Discoveries
Here are the 15 most stunning and most remarkable dinosaur fossil discoveries ever found listed in a chronological order starting from the earliest.
1. Femur of A Megalosaurus (1676) – England
- One hundred and fifty years later, scientist William Buckland finally classified this fossil under the genus name Megalosaurus.
- In honor of William Buckland, this creature was assigned under the scientific name Megalosaurus bucklandii.
- However, it took more than 20 years for a paleontologist named Richard Owen to exclusively identify the fossil as a dinosaur.
2. Fossilized Dinosaur Feces (1811) – England
- It was when then the 12 year old Mary Anning noticed some weird stones found inside the abdomen of the ichthyosaur fossils she was collecting that she found out these were actually fecal matter!.
- Beyond its bizarreness, these coprolites serve as tremendous fossils that help scientists to decipher what type of food extinct dinosaurs ate.
- Specifically, in Australia, these coprolites revealed that plesiosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous period were bottom feeders.
3. The “Missing Link” (1860) – Germany
- For scientists, this organism had characteristics of both birds and dinosaurs. Generally, this organism is considered by many as the oldest known bird, assumed to lived during the Late Jurassic period.
- The name “Archeopteryx” comes from the Greek words “archaios” and “pteryx” meaning “ancient” and “feather” respectively.
- This discovery of the Archeopteryx has led to more discoveries of other transitional organisms; however, still none have had the same remarkable impact as this organism.
4. Hadrosaurus (1868) – United States of America
- Historically speaking, this fossil excavated is considered as the first ever (nearly) complete dinosaur fossils in the United States and probably the most complete one to be discovered anywhere in the world.
- The first fossil of this dinosaur was discovered and scientifically document in 1868.
- During Leidy’s time, this dinosaur was thought to walk with tripodal (much like a kangaroo position); however, modern studies about this dinosaurs reveal that they walk in an upright position.
5. Diplodocus (1878) – United States of America
- Among all the fossils of Diplodocus unearthed, that of the the species D. hallorum, was longest with 33 meters long overall skeleton.
- In 1878, the first skeleton of Diplodocus was discovered the at Como Bluff, Wyoming by scientists Benjamin Mudge and Samuel Wendell Williston.
- The remains of this dinosaur are very common, except for their skull, which is are often not found with the overall body skeleton.
6. Coelophysis (1881) – United States of America
- Based on their fossilized stomachs containing small reptiles, fish, and other bones of Coelophysis, scientists concluded that this species was a carnivorous cannibal.
- The name of this dinosaur came from the Greek words “koilos” and “physis” which mean “hollow” and “condition” respectively.
- Although this fossil does not necessarily make a hit among paleontologists, its discovery revealed that most dinosaurs that travel and live in large groups are usually drowned by flash floods.
7. An ongoing Combat Between A Velociraptor and A Protoceratops (1971) – Mongolia
- In the fossil, the Protoceratops was hit at its carotid artery by the Velociraptor’s claw. The Protoceratops fought back and locked its jaws on the arms of the Velociraptor’.
- Scientists believe that while these dinosaurs were fighting for their lives, a large land mass (presumed to be a sand dune) suddenly collapsed on them.
- This fossilized combat between the two dinosaurs were unearthed in Gobi desert, Mongolia in 1971.
8. Good Mother Lizard (1978) – United States of America
- The fossils were accurately reveal the growth rate, metabolism, sexual maturity, and physical maturity.
- The fossils of the Maiasaura also serve as important evidence that dinosaurs once had an interactive family life. The fossils also show that they don’t usually abandon their young when hatched.
- Fossils of this dinosaur were first excavated from a bone bed in western Montana in the early 1990s.
9. intact Plesiosaur Skeleton (1994) – North America
- The fossil was still intact and the whole body was completely preserved, making it one of the oldest and one of the most complete fossil ever discovered.
- This fossil was discovered in a 200 feet deep surface mine in Alberta.
- This fossil now represents the amazing marine life in North American prehistory.
10. Another Plesiosaur Skeleton (2006) – Australia
- This organism derived its name from “Umoona“, an Aboriginal name for the specific region in South Australia where almost all Umoonasaurus fossils were discovered.
- Umoonasaurus fossils are spectacular due to their bright blue to green overall skeleton.
- The discovery of this dinosaur paved the way for scientists to conclude that adults of this species tend to return to the shallow inland waters in order to raise their young. Scientists also concluded that they may have developed certain mechanisms to cope with the harsh environmental condition.
11. The “Monster” (2006) – Norway
- This 150 year old fossil was the largest and most complete pliosaur fossil ever discovered.
- The unearthed fossil includes a skull measuring 2. 1 meters, and huge teeth that are the size of cucumbers.
- Pliorsaurs were typically short-necked and had sets of powerful flippers that help them propel themselves in water.
12. A Nest of 15 Baby Dinosaurs (2011) – Mongolia
- Fastovsky said that this nest might have been overrun by sand dunes during a storm, hence burying them all alive.
- This discovery of the nest provides the first evidence that young dinosaurs of this species stay in nests for a long period.
- Chemical analyses revealed that all the 15 dinosaurs were relatively of the same size and at the same period of physical and sexual maturity; hence suggesting that they are infants that came from the same mother.
13. A Mother Dinosaur Giving Birth (2011) – China
- The fossil includes the mother dinosaur who is giving birth to (1)an offspring that is halfway out of the birth canal, (2) one already found outside, and the (3) one waiting to be born.
- Despite this, ichtyosaurs were only discovered in 2012.
- Reptiles are known to be egg-laying creatures but the discovery of this ichthyosaur proves that somehow confuses the views of scientists about the evolution of live-bearing.
14. The Smallest Fossil (2011) – United Kingdom
- Recently discovered in 2011 in United Kingdom, this fossil rivals the Anchiornis genus, which was previously known as the smallest dinosaur.
- At present, the skull of this fossil is yet to be found; hence, its type of diet is still unknown.
- Although most non-avian taxa of this clade have gone extinct during the late Mesozoic, other Maniraptoran species, including birds and other closely related species still exist up until today.
15. Mosasaurus Fossil (2015) – Japan
- Previous fossils of the Mosasaurus have already been discovered along the East Coast of North America, the Pacific Coast of North America, Europe and North Africa. However, this fossil found in Japan is the first to fill the gap between the Middle East and the Eastern Pacific.
- The fossil was well preserved, and such was able to reveal that this creature had a binocular vision.
- Interestingly, the skeleton of the Mesosaurus was the first ever fossil to be identified as extinct.
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