Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dinosaurs

I'm going to try a new kind of post and see how it works out. Dinosaurs are pretty universally interesting, don't you think?
There are lots of good books on the subjetct. My favorite is National Geographic Dinosaurs, by Paul Barrett. Plenty of big, glossy pictures along with explanations by the world-renowned Nat Geo staff.
Now on to the dinos...

Hadrosaurus:
Location: North America
Length: 9 meters (30 feet)
Hadrosaurus ("thick reptile") was the first complete dinosaur skeleton to be discovered, in 1858 in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Hadrosaur's skeleton made scientists realize that plant-eating dinosaurs did not resemble large, sprawling lizards. Instead they stood upright, some said like kangaroos. It also had a horny beak for cropping plants and leaves. Behind the beak was a complex tooth system for chewing.

Triceratops:
Location: North America
Length: 9 meters (30 feet)
This huge animal, with its long, pointed brow horns and curving neck frill, was one of the last dinosaurs to walk the earth. Triceratops skulls are common, and many have been collected. Some specimens show healed wounds in their skull or frill, showing that they fought among themselves. They may have fought over females, territory, or leadership. The frill and horns were also used to protect Triceratops from other predators.

Velociraptor:
Location: Asia (Mongolia, China)
Length: 1.8 meters (6 feet)
Velociraptor was a small predator, with a large sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of its foot. The jaws were lined with serrated teeth for tearing flesh. It swallowed its food in gulps, instead of chewing. It looked so much like the early bird Archaeopteryx, that some paleontologists have suggested it may have had feathers, but there is no proof for this theory.
Its long, stiff tail acted as a balance when the animal walked or ran; but was still flexible especially where it was attached to the hips.

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