10 Awesome Dinosaur Names
MANY LARGE words that are used every day are made up of small, pieces of words called roots or combining forms. The roots come from other languages like Greek and Latin and, when combined, form common English words. For instance, using the four roots:
tele-, from Greek meaning far
micro-, from Greek meaning small
scope, from Greek meaning to look, watch or see
phone, from Greek meaning sound
several common words can be made such as:
telephone, allows far-away sound to be heard
telescope, allows far away objects to be seen
microphone, allows small sounds to be heard
microscope, allows small objects to be seen
The names of dinosaurs are formed the same way. Although they often seem to be merely long strings of random letters designed by scientists specifically to be difficult to pronounce, the names of the animals are combinations of word roots that always describe something about the animal. For example, combining the following three roots:
tri-, from Latin meaning three
cerat-, from Greek meaning horn
-ops, from Greek meaning face gives the name for
Triceratops, a dinosaur with a three-horned face.
Another difficult sounding dinosaur name is Pachycephalosaurus. Broken down into its combining forms it means:
pachy-, from Greek meaning thick
cephalo-, from Greek meaning head
-saurus, from the Greek meaning lizard
This is not a comment on the animal's intelligence. It is a description of an animal with a projection on the upper part of the skull making the head look thicker than normal.
Dinosaur names can also describe where the animal was first discovered:
Albertosaurus was discovered in the province of Alberta, Canada
Bactrosaurus was discovered in Bactria, Mongolia
Other dinosaur names honor the person who was instrumental in the discovery:
Lambeosaurus was named for Lawrence Lambe, a paleontologist with the Geological Survey of Canada.
Diplodocus carnegii was named for Andrew Carnegie who financed the expedition for its discovery.
Sinraptor – “Chinese thief”
Sinraptor is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic. The name Sinraptor comes from the Latin prefix “Sino”, meaning Chinese, and “Raptor” meaning thief. The specific name dongi honours Dong Zhiming. Despite its name, Sinraptor is not related to dromaeosaurids (often nicknamed “raptors”) like Velociraptor.
Sauroposeidon (meaning “earthquake god lizard”, after the Greek god Poseidon) is a genus of sauropod dinosaur known from several incomplete specimens including a bone bed and fossilized track ways that have been found in the American states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Texas. The fossils were found in rocks dating from near the end of the Early Cretaceous (Aptian–early Albian), a time when sauropod diversity in North America had greatly diminished. It was the last known North American sauropod prior to an absence of the group on the continent of roughly 40 million years that ended with the appearance of Alamosaurus during the Maastrichtian.
Teratophoneus is a genus of carnivorous tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur which lived during the late Cretaceous period (late Campanian age, about 77 to 76 million years ago) in what is now Utah, United States. It is known from an incomplete skull and postcranial skeleton recovered from the Kaiparowits Formation. The Teratophoneus or “monstrous murderer” (Greek: teras, “monster” and phoneus, “murderer”) was specifically named T. curriei in honor of Philip J. Currie.
Colepiocephale is a genus of pachycephalosaurid dinosaur from Late Cretaceous (middle Campanian stage) deposits of Alberta, Canada. It was collected from the Foremost Formation (middle Campanian, 80-77.5 ma). The type species, C. lambei, was originally described by Sternberg (in 1945 as Stegoceras lambei), and later renamed by Sullivan in 2003. C. lambeiis a domed pachycephalosaur characterized principally by the lack of a lateral and posteriosquamosal shelf, a steeply down-turned parietal, and the presence of two incipient nodes tucked under the posterior margin of the parietosquamosal border.