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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An asteroid impacting on Earth.
The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, also known as either the K–Pg extinction event, Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, or K–T extinction event, was the large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time, approximately 66 million years ago (mya). The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event is associated with a geological signature, usually a thin band dated to that time and found in various parts of the world, known as the K–Pg boundary. K is the traditional abbreviation for the Cretaceous Period, Pg is the abbreviation for the Paleogene Epoch, and T is the abbreviation for the Tertiary Period. The event marks the end of the Mesozoic Era, and the beginning of the Cenozoic Era.

Non-avian dinosaur fossils are only found below the K–Pg boundary and became extinct immediately before or during the event. A very small number of dinosaur fossils have been found above the K-Pg boundary, but they have been explained as reworked, that is, fossils that have been eroded from their original locations then preserved in later sedimentary layers. Mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and many species of plants and invertebrates also became extinct. Mammalian and bird clades passed through the boundary with few extinctions, and radiation from those Maastrichtian clades occurred well past the boundary. Rates of extinction and radiation varied across different clades of organisms.

Many scientists theorize that the K-Pg extinctions were caused by one or more catastrophic geological events such as massive asteroid impacts or increased volcanic activity. Several impact craters and massive volcanic activity in the Deccan traps have been dated to the approximate time of the extinction event. These geological events may have reduced sunlight and hindered photosynthesis, leading to a massive disruption in Earth's ecology. Other researchers believe the extinction was more gradual, resulting from slower changes in sea level or climate. (see more...)

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Two Nanshiungosaurus.

Artist's rendition of two resting Nanshiungosaurus.

Photo credit: User:LadyofHats

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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 - Como Bluff - Coon Creek Formation - Dinosaur Cove - Dinosaur National Monument - Dinosaur Park Formation - Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum - Glen Rose Formation - Hell Creek Formation - Lance 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
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
Alternative Theories - Creationist perspectives on dinosaurs - Living dinosaurs
Featured dinosaur articles - Acrocanthosaurus - Albertosaurus - Allosaurus - Archaeopteryx - Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards - Bone Wars - Chicxulub crater - Compsognathus - Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event - Daspletosaurus - Deinonychus - Dinosaur - Diplodocus - Edmontosaurus - Edward Drinker Cope - Gorgosaurus - Herrerasaurus - Iguanodon - Lambeosaurus - List of dinosaurs - Majungasaurus - Massospondylus - Parasaurolophus - Plateosaurus - Psittacosaurus - Stegosaurus - Styracosaurus - Tarbosaurus - Thescelosaurus - Triceratops - Tyrannosaurus - Velociraptor
Good dinosaur articles - Abelisauridae - Alioramus - Amphicoelias - Ankylosaurus - "Archaeoraptor" - Balaur - Carnotaurus - Ceratopsia - Coelurus - Cultural depictions of dinosaurs - Dromaeosauridae - Gryposaurus - Heterodontosauridae - Hypacrosaurus - Hypsibema missouriensis - Kritosaurus - Othnielosaurus - Pachycephalosaurus - Prosaurolophus - Rajasaurus - Saurolophus - Sauropelta - Scelidosaurus - Sinosauropteryx - Species of Allosaurus - Spinosaurus - Tyrannosauridae - Tyrannosauroidea - Vulcanodon

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Current Dinosaur FACs - Dromaeosauroides - Nigersaurus

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