List of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles of New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Although the evidence is rare, fossils reveal that there were dinosaurs in New Zealand. Possibly because it lacks the right conditions for fossilisation, only fragments of bone and a few vertebrae have been found there. Because these fossils are only a single bone or a piece of a bone, the dinosaurs' species cannot be identified, but by comparing the fossils with others it can be seen which family or order a given fossil belonged to. Marine fossils are more common than fossils of land animals in New Zealand because dead animals and plants are easily preserved in sand and mud. Therefore, some fossils of large marine reptiles are nearly complete, and so can be identified to species.

Species list[edit]

So far, there have been fossils found in New Zealand that have been identified as coming from:

Non-avian dinosaurs[edit]

Name Time Notes
Ankylosaur Maastrichtian Probably a nodosaur similar to Kunbarrasaurus.
Compsognathid Tithonian Known from phalanges. Associated with possible coprolites.
Ornithopod Maastrichtian Possibly an Elasmarian.
Joan Wiffen's theropod Maastrichtian Possibly a Megaraptoran.
Titanosaur Maastrichtian Known from a rib.
Unidentified dinosaur Early Maastrichtian Known from footprints. Possibly a thyreophoran.
Unidentified theropod Late Cretaceous Known from toe bone around the size of Allosaurus.
Unidentified ostrich dinosaur Mid Cretaceous Possibly an Ornithomimid.

Dinosaurs that lived in the Ross Dependency, a part of Antarctica within the Realm of New Zealand, include the tetanuran Cryolophosaurus. The Ross Dependency, unlike the Chatham Islands, is not actually part of New Zealand, and this is why it is excluded from the list above until sufficient evidence shows that it entered what was the sector of Gondwana that is now New Zealand.

Other Mesozoic reptiles[edit]

Fossils of other reptiles from the Mesozoic Era have also been found in New Zealand. These creatures include:

Name Period Notes
Carsosaurus Cenomanian
Ectenosaurus Cretaceous
Eidolosaurus Cretaceous
Hector's Ichthyosaur Triassic
Kaiwhekea Cretaceous
Komensaurus Cretaceous
Liodon Cretaceous The maximum length of this species is 30 feet (9.1 m).
Mauisaurus Cretaceous Largest plesiosaur in New Zealand.
Moanasaurus Cretaceous Largest mosasaur in New Zealand.
Nothosaur Triassic
Pontosaurus Cretaceous
Prognathodon Cretaceous
Pterosaur Late Cretaceous Possibly an Azhdarchid.
Sphenodon Mesozoic-Holocene Extant.
Taniwhasaurus Cretaceous
Tuarangisaurus Cretaceous

See also[edit]