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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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Artist's depiction of Allosaurus.
Allosaurus (meaning 'strange lizard') is a genus of large theropod dinosaur that lived 155 to 145 million years ago, in the late Jurassic period. The first remains that can definitely be ascribed to this genus were described in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. As one of the first well-known theropod dinosaurs, it has long attracted attention outside of paleontological circles, and has been a lead dinosaur in several films and documentaries.

Allosaurus was a large bipedal predator with a large skull, equipped with dozens of large, sharp teeth. It averaged 8.5 meters (30 ft) in length, though fragmentary remains suggest it could have reached over 12 meters (39 ft). Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, its three-fingered forelimbs were small, and the body was balanced by a long, heavy tail. It is classified as an allosaurid, a type of carnosaurian theropod dinosaur. The genus has a complicated taxonomy, and includes an uncertain number of valid species, the best known of which is A. fragilis. The bulk of Allosaurus remains have come from North America's Morrison Formation, with material also from Portugal and possibly Tanzania. It was known for over half of the 20th century as Antrodemus, but study of the copious remains from the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry brought the name Allosaurus back to prominence, and established it as one of the best-known dinosaurs.

As the prominent large predator in the Morrison Formation, Allosaurus was at the top of the food chain, probably preying on contemporaneous large herbivorous dinosaurs. Potential prey included ornithopods, stegosaurids, and sauropods. While it is often thought of as preying on sauropod dinosaurs in groups, there is little evidence for cooperative social behavior in this genus, and individuals may have been aggressive toward each other instead. It may have attacked large prey by ambush, using its upper jaws like a hatchet. (see more...)

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Edmontonia.

Life restoration of an Edmontonia.

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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