Fabrosaurus (meaning “Fabre’s lizard” in honor of Jean Fabre, a French geologist and a colleague of Ginsburg on the expedition that collected the fossil in Basutoland, Southern Africa; Greek sauros “lizard”)) was a genus of herbivorous dinosaur which lived during the Early Jurassic (Hettangian to Sinemurian stages 199 – 189 mya).
Fabrosaurus was named by paleontologist Leonard Ginsburg in 1964 based on partial jawbone with three teeth. The type species, F. australis, was named for the location of the fossils in Lesotho, Southern Africa (australis being Latin for “southern”).
Subsequent discoveries included two crushed skulls and disarticulated post-cranial bones (including vertebrae, ribs, and limb bones), allowing for a more complete reconstruction. However, as additional ornithischian fossils were discovered, the features of F. australis were thought to be shared by other species, and by the 1990s and 2000s most authors working with the group found Fabrosaurus to be a nomen dubium (doubtful name), finding the holotype material described by Ginsburg to be insufficient to distinguish a new taxon. Some claim the fossils represent simple variation of Lesothosaurus, which is regarded as valid.
Ceratopsians are also known as ceratopians, and it means ‘horned eye’. They are very interesting dinosaurs and a lot different than the sauropods and theropods. To identify a ceratopian is not difficult because they had horns, bony frills and curved bony beaks. Ceratopians lived mainly in the Cretaceous period.
One of the most popular type of ceratopian was the Triceratops. The reason why they are called ‘horned eye’ is because they had remarkable horns above their eyes. Triceratops was the largest of this group of family and its brow horns were nearly up to a meter long.
Most of the ceratopians had an enormous neck frill. The frill was made of solid bone, and covered with their skin. This frill protected the ceratopians neck from being bitten or clawed by the predators. In some dinosaurs like the big Torosaurus, the bony frill grew halfway down the creature’s back. One particular dinosaur, the Psittacosaurus (parrot-lizard), did not have an obvious neck frill, but it did have another feature of the ceratopian group, which was a parrot-like beak. Experts believe this dinosaur should belong to the ceratopians, despite not having a transparent neck frill.
All ceratopians ate were herbivores and ate plants and their parrot-like beaks helped them to chop off tough plant stems. The horned eye dinosaurs included many different types of dinosaur. The group lived mainly towards the end of the Cretaceous period. Like the ornithopods, the ceratopians evolved during their time on Earth. Some of the first ceratopians, like the Protoceratops, did not have have horns, instead they had a thick, bony areas over their snouts and eyes. But eventually in time, the ceratopians developed horns. Pentaceratops was the later dinosaur to appear than Protoceratops. Pentaceratops had the most horns of all the horned dinosaurs, and its name means ‘five horned face’.
Like the rhinoceroses of today, the ceratopians walked on all four legs. The Styracosaurus had strong, muscular legs to support its massive heavy head. Its feet ended in toes which were spread out to help carry the weight of its enormous body. Another dinosaur as mentioned earlier, the Psittacosaurus, usually walked on two legs most of the time, but it may have walked on four legs in certain occasions. The ceratopians lived in North America, Europe and Asia, which are believed to be the only places where their skeleton fossils have been found so far.
Another fact about ceratopians is that some of them had holes in their frills.The neck frills were large and heavy, and to make them lighter, some of them had large holes in them to reduce the weight. Also the skin covering the bony frill stretched over the holes to make them invisible.
The Discovery of the Protoceratops
Facts on the Protoceratops
1. Protoceratops means ‘first horned face’
2. Its average size was about 1.8 meters long and 1 meters high
3. The average weight of the dinosaur was 400kg (900 pounds)
4. Protoceratops belonged to the group of Ceratopsians (Ceratopians)
5. It was a herbivore and ate tough leaves and plants
6. It lived around 110 – 66 million years ago in Mongolia in the Cretaceous period
The expedition in 1922 led by Roy Chapman Andrews in the Gobi Desert, in Mongolia was an extraordinary one. Even the Protoceratops’ nests which were unearthed with eggs in them were a remarkable discovery by Andrews. The discovery proved for the first time that dinosaurs laid eggs. As many as 30 eggs were found in one nest. It is unlikely that one female Protoceratops laid so many eggs at once. Experts believe that two or more females may have shared the same nest.
The skeleton fossils of Protoceratops found in Mongolia range from tiny ones still inside the eggs to small babies and fully grown adults. Some of the adults were slightly different in size because they had different shaped frills and other features may also vary. Experts think that this may be because the males were bigger with larger heads, frills and crests than the females.
Protoceratops had to guard its nests against predators such as the Oviraptor, which means ‘egg-stealer’. Dinosaur eggs would have made an ideal meal for it. A fossilized Oviraptor skeleton, with its skull smashed in, was found above a nest of Protoceratops’ eggs. Perhaps an angry mother Protoceratops had killed it when it attempted to steal the nest.
Was there any real proof that dinosaurs really did exist? To begin with, the fossils are the only source, clue and remains of the prehistoric animals and plants that lived millions of years ago.
Fossils were the only discovery made available to prove and gather evidence that these ancient animals really did exist. Fossils are mainly embedded in rocks which are several million years old. Generally, the hardest parts of the animals are left in the rocks such as the teeth and bones, and the flesh has eventually decayed. However, if nothing remains of an animal, there may be a hollow which the animal left behind. This hollow could be the precise shape in the rock of its body. Or it can even leave a footprint in the mud or soft sand when it was walking.
A dinosaur became a fossil after it died. The body may have fallen, or been washed into a river. The perished body may have laid on the bottom of the river floor and slowly the flesh rotted away. After that the skeleton of the dinosaur was gradually buried under the mud, and the minerals from the water seeped into the bones and preserved them. Over millions of years, the mud transformed into layers of rock and the skeleton of the dinosaur became a fossil. The sea level then dropped after millions of years later. The wind and rain then wears away the rock and that reveals the fossils which is substantial evidence that dinosaurs once lived on Earth.
The experts on fossils are called paleontologists, they are known as the scientists who do all the research and the hectic detective work. Paleontologists have discovered fossils in many parts of the world. Their work can be very excruciating due to the fossils being scattered in pieces once they are found. It is very rare that paleontologists will find a whole skeleton preserved in the rock, but it is possible. They first identify the fossil bones, remove them from the ground, assemble the bones like a jigsaw, and then they determine and calculate how old the fossils are. The result of their work can be seen in natural history museums where the dinosaur skeletons are mounted and put on display for the public to view.
Besides fossil bones and teeth, which is not exactly the only clue that these animals of the past left behind, the footprints and the imprint of scaly skin, made in soft mud millions of years ago have also been found. Some of the most astounding fossils found are the droppings (or fossil feces) of the dinosaurs, and they are called coprolites. What scientists do is they grind up the dinosaur droppings, turn them into fine dust and then they find out what the dinosaurs ate to survive.
Euoplocephalus is a dinosaur which lived approximately 70 million years ago during the late Cretaceous Period. It was first discovered by paleontologist Lawrence Morris Lambe near Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada in 1897. It was named Stereocephalus in 1902, but that name was already taken by an insect species, so it was renamed Euoplocephalus in 1910. It’s name means “well armored head.”
The first fossil of Euoplocephalus was found in 1897 in Alberta. In 1902, it was named Stereocephalus, but that name had already been given to an insect, so it was changed in 1910. Later, many more ankylosaurid remains were found from the Campanian of North America and often made separate genera. In 1971, Walter Coombs concluded that they all belonged to Euoplocephalus which then would be one of the best-known dinosaurs. Recently however, experts have come to the opposite conclusion, limiting the authentic finds of Euoplocephalus to about a dozen specimens. These include a number of almost complete skeletons, so much is nevertheless known about the build of the animal.
Euoplocephalus was about five to six meters long and weighed over two tons. Its body was low-slung and very flat and wide, standing on four sturdy legs. Its head had a short drooping snout with a horny beak to bite off plants that were digested in the large gut. Like other ankylosaurids, Euoplocephalus was largely covered by bony armor plates, among them rows of large high-ridged oval scutes. The neck was protected by two bone rings. It could also actively defend itself against predators like Gorgosaurus using a heavy club-like tail end.
Edmontosaurus is a genus of hadrosaurid (duck-billed) dinosaur. It contains two known species: Edmontosaurus regalis and Edmontosaurus annectens. Fossils of E. regalis have been found in rocks of western North America that date from the late Campanian stage of the Cretaceous Period 73 million years ago, while those of E. annectens were found in the same geographic region but in rocks dated to the end of the Maastrichtian stage of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago. Edmontosaurus was one of the last non-avian dinosaurs, and lived alongside dinosaurs like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus shortly before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Edmontosaurus included some of the largest hadrosaurid species, measuring up to 12 metres (39 ft) long and weighing around 4.0 metric tons (4.4 short tons). Evidence does exist in the form of two fossilized specimens housed at the Museum of the Rockies for an even greater maximum size of 15 m (49 ft) and weighing 9.07 metric tons (10.00 short tons) for Edmontosaurus annectens.
The first fossils named Edmontosaurus were discovered in southern Alberta (named after Edmonton, the capital city), in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (formerly called the lower Edmonton Formation). The type species, E. regalis, was named by Lawrence Lambe in 1917, although several other species that are now classified in Edmontosaurus were named earlier. The best known of these is E. annectens, named by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1892; originally as a species of Claosaurus, known for many years as a species of Trachodon, and later as Anatosaurus annectens. Anatosaurus and Anatotitan are now generally regarded as synonyms of Edmontosaurus.
Edmontosaurus was widely distributed across western North America. The distribution of Edmontosaurus fossils suggests that it preferred coasts and coastal plains. It was a herbivore that could move on both two legs and four. Because it is known from several bone beds, Edmontosaurus is thought to have lived in groups, and may have been migratory as well. The wealth of fossils has allowed researchers to study its paleobiology in detail, including its brain, how it may have fed, and its injuries and pathologies, such as evidence for tyrannosaur attacks on a few edmontosaur specimens.