(meaning 'wondrous lizard') was a genus
of small ornithopod dinosaur
that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period
in North America
and was a member of the last dinosaurian fauna
before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event
around 65.5 million years ago. The preservation and completeness of many of its specimens indicate that it may have preferred to live near stream channels
This bipedal ornithopod is known from several partial skeletons and skulls that indicate it grew to between 2.5 and 4.0 meters (8.2 to 13.1 feet) in length on average. It had sturdy hind limbs, small wide hands, a head with an elongate pointed snout, and possibly small armor scutes along the midline of the back. This genus of dinosaur is regarded as a specialized hypsilophodont and a herbivore. Several species have been suggested for this genus, but only one, T. neglectus, is currently recognized; the others have been given their own genera, or are believed to be the same as T. neglectus.
The genus attracted media attention in 2000, when a specimen unearthed in 1993 in South Dakota was interpreted as including a fossilized heart. There was much discussion over whether the remains were actually of a heart. Many scientists now doubt the identification of the object and the implications of such an identification. (see more...)
Cultural depictions of dinosaurs
have been numerous since the word dinosaur
was coined in 1842. The dinosaurs featured in books, films, television programs, artwork, and other media have been used for both education and entertainment. The depictions range from the realistic, as in the television documentaries
of the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, or the fantastic, as in the monster movies
of the 1950s and 1960s.
The growth in interest in dinosaurs since the Dinosaur Renaissance has been accompanied by depictions made by artists working with ideas at the leading edge of dinosaur science, presenting lively dinosaurs and feathered dinosaurs as these concepts were first being considered. Cultural depictions of dinosaurs have been an important means of translating scientific discoveries to the public.
Cultural depictions have also created or reinforced misconceptions about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, such as inaccurately and anachronistically portraying a sort of "prehistoric world" where many kinds of extinct animals (from the Permian animal Dimetrodon to mammoths and cavemen) lived together, and dinosaurs living lives of constant combat.
Other misconceptions reinforced by cultural depictions came from a scientific consensus that has now been overturned, such as the alternate usage of dinosaur to describe something that is maladapted or obsolete, or dinosaurs as slow and unintelligent. (see more...)