Top Ten Aquatic Dinosaurs

Top Ten Aquatic Dinosaurs

KronosaurusGodzillaTylosaurus

  1. Predaor X
    Predator X
    Predator X is an informal name for a prehistoric marine predator, thought by scientists to be a new species in the pliosaur family. The skull of the predator was excavated in mid-2008 in Svalbard, near the Arctic, by a Norwegian team lead by Dr. Jørn Hurum. It is claimed by researchers to be the “most fearsome animal ever to swim in the oceans.” The remains were discovered in June 2006 during a two-week expedition led by Dr. Hurum of the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. The team found 20,000 fragments of the creature’s skeleton, which is being assembled at the museum. Due to distribution pattern of pliosaurs, scientists believe that the species were cosmopolitan, like some groups of modern-day whales.
    Links:
  2. Tylosaurus
    TylosaurusTylosaurus1Tylosaurus2
    Tylosaurus (Greek for “protuberance, knob lizard”) was a mosasaur, a large, predatory marine lizard closely related to modern monitor lizards and to snakes. Along with plesiosaurs, sharks, fish and other genera of mosasaurs, it was a dominant predator of the Western Interior Seaway during the Late Cretaceous. Tylosaurus proriger was among the largest of all the mosasaurs (along with Hainosaurus and Mosasaurus hoffmannii), reaching maximum lengths of 15 meters or more (49+ ft). A distinguishing characteristic of Tylosaurus is its elongated, cylindrical premaxilla (snout) from which it takes its name and which may have been used to ram and stun prey and also in intraspecific combat. Stomach contents associated with specimens of Tylosaurus proriger indicate that this ferocious mosasaur had a varied diet, including fish, sharks, smaller mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and flightless diving birds such as Hesperornis.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tylosaurus,
  3. Kronosaurus
    KronosaurusKronosaurus1Kronosaurus2
    Kronosaurus was a 33 ft., 11 ton carnivore that was among the most powerful predators of all time. It had a seven ft. skull with teeth the size of bananas. It roamed the seas of Australia 110 to 98 million years ago.
    Links:
  4. Shonisaurus Sikanniensis
    Shonisaurus SikanniensisShonisaurus Sikanniensis1
    Shonisaurus is the largest ichthyosaur and marine reptile that has yet been found. Fossils of Shonisaurus were first found in a large deposit in Nevada in 1920. Thirty years later, they were excavated, uncovering the remains of 37 very large ichthyosaurs. These were named Shonisaurus, which means “Lizard from the Shoshone Mountains,” after the formation where the fossils were found. Shonisaurus lived during the Norian stage of the late Triassic period. The better known S. popularis species was around 15 meters (49 ft) long, but a more recently discovered species, S. sikkanniensis, was longer still, at 21 meters (69 ft). Shonisaurus had a long pointed mouth that contained teeth only at the front end. It had a large whale-like body, a long dolphin-like snout and its flippers were much longer, and narrower than in other ichthyosaurs. All of these features suggest that Shonisaurus may be a relatively specialized offshoot of the main ichthyosaur evolutionary line.
    Links:
  5. Temnodontosaurus
    TemnodontosaurusTemnodontosaurus1
    Temnodontosaurus was an ichthyosaur from the Early Jurassic, some 198 and 185 million years ago and swam the oceans of Europe. It had the largest even known eyes in nature at more than ten inches in diameter and its length exceeded 12 meters (30 ft). Experts believe that it could dive to depths of 2,000 ft and its large eyes allowed it to see in the darkness. Despite being roughly half the size of the massive Shonisaurus Sikanniensis, the Temnodontosaurus was the bully of the period and sat at the top of the food chain.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temnodontosaurus,
  6. Godzilla
    Godzilla
    The reptile nicknamed Godzilla stretched 13 ft long and roamed the coasts of Argentina 135 million years ago.
    Links:
  7. Nothosaurus Giganteus
    Nothosaurus GiganteusNothosaurus Giganteus1
    Nothosaurus (meaning false reptile) is an extinct genus of sauropterygian reptile from the Triassic period, approximately 240-210 million years ago, with fossils being distributed from North Africa and Europe to China. It is the best known member of the nothosaur order and was 13 ft. long. A complete skeleton of the species Nothosaurus raabi can be seen in the Natural History Museum in Berlin.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothosaurus_giganteus,
  8. Thalassomedon
    ThalassomedonThalassomedon1Thalassomedon2
    Thalassomedon is a genus of plesiosaur, named by Welles in 1943. Greek for thalassa, “Sea lord,” the Thalassomedon could span a massive 40 ft. in length. This genus of plesiosaur occurred in North America about 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period. Its closest relative is the Elasmosaurus and together they make up the family Elasmosauridae. There are six specimens of varying state of preservation on display at various U.S. museums.
    Links: Top Ten Skeletons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalassomedon,
  9. Liopleurodon

    Liopleurodon, meaning ‘smooth-sided teeth,’ is a genus of large, carnivorous marine reptile belonging to the Pliosauroidea, a clade of short-necked plesiosaurs. The two species of Liopleurodon lived during the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic Period (c. 160 to 155 mya). It was the apex predator of the Middle to Late Jurassic seas that covered Europe. The largest species, L. ferox, is estimated to have grown up to 6.39 m (21.0 ft) in length.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liopleurodon,
  10. Sarcosuchus

    Sarcosuchus, meaning “flesh crocodile,” commonly called SuperCroc, is an extinct genus of crocodyliform and distant relative of the crocodile that lived 112 million years ago. It dates from the early Cretaceous Period of what is now Africa and South America and is one of the largest crocodile-like reptiles that ever lived. It was almost twice as long as the modern saltwater crocodile and weighed up to 8 tonnes. The first remains were discovered during several expeditions lead by the French paleontologist Albert-Félix de Lapparent, spanning from 1946 to 1959 in the Sahara Desert, they were fragments of the skull, vertebrae, teeth and scutes, subsequently in 1964 an almost complete skull was found in Niger by the French CEA but it wasn’t until 1997 and 2000 that most of its anatomy became known to science, when an expedition lead by the American paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered half a dozen new specimens, including one with about half the skeleton intact and most of the spine.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcosuchus,
  11. Links: Animals, Top Ten Dinosaurs, Top Ten Terrestrial Dinosaurs, 

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Top Ten Terrestrial Dinosaurs

Top Ten Terrestrial Dinosaurs

Spinosaurus1

  1. Spinosaurus
    SpinosaurusSpinosaurus1Spinosaurus2Spinosaurus3Spinosaurus4Spinosaurus5
           Spinosaurus (meaning “spine lizard”) is a genus of theropod dinosaur which lived in what is now North Africa, from the lower Albian to lower Cenomanian stages of the Cretaceous period, about 112 to 97 million years ago. This genus was first known from Egyptian remains discovered in 1912 and described by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1915. The original remains were destroyed in WWII, but additional material has come to light in recent years. It is unclear whether one or two species are represented in the fossils reported in the scientific literature. The best known species is S. aegyptiacus from Egypt, although a potential second species S. maroccanus has been recovered from Morocco. Spinosaurus may be the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs, even larger than Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus. Estimates published in 2005 and 2007 suggest that it was 12.6 to 18 m (41 to 59 ft) in length and 7 to 20.9 tonnes (7.7 to 23.0 short tons) in weight. The skull of Spinosaurus was long and narrow like that of a modern crocodilian. Spinosaurus is thought to have eaten fish; evidence suggests that it lived both on land and in water like a modern crocodilian. The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 m (5.4 ft) long and were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail-like structure, although some authors have suggested that the spines were covered in fat and formed a hump. Multiple functions have been put forward for this structure, including thermoregulation and display.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosaurus,
  2. Giganotosaurus
    GiganotosaurusGiganotosaurus1Giganotosaurus2
            Giganotosaurus is a genus of carcharodontosaurid dinosaur that lived around 97 million years ago during the early Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period. It is one of the largest known terrestrial carnivores, slightly larger than Tyrannosaurus, but smaller than Spinosaurus. Its fossils have been found in Argentina. The name means “giant southern lizard,” derived from the Ancient Greek gigas, meaning “giant,” and notos meaning “south wind” and -saurus meaning “lizard.”
    Links: Top Ten Skulls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giganotosaurus,
  3. Tyrannosaurus Rex
    Tyrannosaurus RexTyrannosaurus Rex1
            Tyrannosaurus, meaning “tyrant lizard,” is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning “king” in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, at the time an island continent termed Laramidia, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 67 to 65.5 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small, though unusually powerful for their size, and bore two clawed digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded Tyrannosaurus rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring up to 12.3 m (40 ft.) in length, up to 4 m (13 ft.) tall at the hips, and up to 6.8 metric tons (7.5 short tons) in weight. By far the largest carnivore in its environment, Tyrannosaurus rex may have been an apex predator, preying upon hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, although some experts have suggested it was primarily a scavenger. The debate over Tyrannosaurus as apex predator or scavenger is among the longest running in paleontology. More than 30 specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex have been identified, some of which are nearly complete skeletons. Soft tissue and proteins have been reported in at least one of these specimens. The abundance of fossil material has allowed significant research into many aspects of its biology, including life history and biomechanics. The feeding habits, physiology and potential speed of Tyrannosaurus rex are a few subjects of debate. Its taxonomy is also controversial, with some scientists considering Tarbosaurus bataar from Asia to represent a second species of Tyrannosaurus and others maintaining Tarbosaurus as a separate genus. Several other genera of North American tyrannosaurids have also been synonymized with Tyrannosaurus.
    Links: Top Ten Skulls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrannosaurus,
  4. Utahraptor

    Although the velacirapto gets the majority of the attention, the Utahraptor was truly king of the raptors. The Utahraptor, meaning “Utah’s predator,” was a genus of theropod dinosaurs, which included the largest known members of the family Dromaeosauridae. Fossil specimens date to the upper Barremian stage of the early Cretaceous period (in rock strata dated to 126 ± 2.5 million years ago). It contains a single species, Utahraptor ostrommaysorum. The largest described U. ostrommaysorum specimens are estimated to have reached up to 7 m (23 ft) long and somewhat less than 500 kg (1,100 lb) in weight, comparable to a grizzly bear in size. Some undescribed specimens in the BYU collections may have reached up to 11 m (36 ft) long, though these await more detailed study.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utahraptor,
  5. Sauroposeidon

    Sauroposeidon, meaning “earthquake god lizard,” after the Greek god Poseidon, is a genus of sauropod dinosaur known from several incomplete specimens including a bone bed and fossilized trackways that have been found in the US states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Texas. The fossils were found in rocks dating from near the end of the Early Cretaceous (Aptian-early Albian), a time when sauropod diversity in North America had greatly diminished. It was the last known North American sauropod prior to an absence of the group on the continent of roughly 40 million years that ended with the appearance of Alamosaurus during the Maastrichtian. Paleoecological analysis indicates that Sauroposeidon lived on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, in a river delta. Extrapolations based on its more completely known relative Brachiosaurus indicate that the head of Sauroposeidon could reach 17 m (56 ft) in height with its neck extended, making it the tallest known dinosaur. With an estimated length of up to 34 m (112 ft) and a mass of 50–60 t (55–66 short tons), it also ranks among the longest and heaviest.
    Links: Top Ten Largest Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauroposeidon,
  6. Quetzalcoatlus
    File:Life restoration of a group of giant azhdarchids, Quetzalcoatlus northropi, foraging on a Cretaceous fern prairie.pngFile:Quetzscale1.png
           Quetzalcoatlus was a pterodactyloid pterosaur known from the Late Cretaceous of North America (Maastrichtian stage, about 68–66 million years ago), and one of the largest known flying animals of all time. It was a member of the Azhdarchidae, a family of advanced toothless pterosaurs with unusually long, stiffened necks. Its name comes from the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.
    Links: Top Ten Flying Animals, Top Ten Largest Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatlus,
  7. Ticinnosuchus
    TicinnosuchusTicinnosuchus1
           Ticinosuchus is an extinct genus of rauisuchian archosaur from the Middle Triassic of Switzerland. Ticinosuchus was about 3 m (10 ft) long, and its whole body, even the belly, was covered in thick, armoured scutes. The structure of the hips shows that its legs were placed under the body almost vertically. Coupled with the development of a calcaneus and a specialized ankle joint, this would have made Ticinosuchus a fast runner, unlike most earlier reptiles.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticinosuchus,
  8. Velociraptor
    Velociprot
            Velociraptor is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period. Two species are currently recognized, although others have been assigned in the past. The type species is V. mongoliensis; fossils of this species have been discovered in Mongolia. A second species, V. osmolskae, was named in 2008 for skull material from Inner Mongolia, China. Smaller than other dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and Achillobator, Velociraptor nevertheless shared many of the same anatomical features. It was a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to kill its prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout. Velociraptor is one of the dinosaur genera most familiar to the general public due to its prominent role in the Jurassic Park motion picture series. In the films it was shown with anatomical inaccuracies, including being much larger than it was in reality and without feathers. It is also well known to paleontologists, with over a dozen described fossil skeletons—the most of any dromaeosaurid. One particularly famous specimen preserves a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velociraptor,
  9. Triceratops
    TriceratopsTriceratops1Triceratops2
    Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsid dinosaur that lived during the late Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 68 to 65.5 million years ago (Mya) in what is now North America. It was one of the last non-avian dinosaur genera to appear before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Bearing a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body, and conjuring similarities with the modern rhinoceros, Triceratops is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs and the best known ceratopsid. It shared the landscape with and was preyed upon by the fearsome Tyrannosaurus. Specimens representing life stages from hatchling to adult have been found. The function of the frills and three distinctive facial horns has long inspired debate. Traditionally these have been viewed as defensive weapons against predators. More recent theories, noting the presence of blood vessels in the skull bones of ceratopsids, find it more probable that these features were primarily used in identification, courtship and dominance displays, much like the antlers and horns of modern reindeer, mountain goats, or rhinoceros beetles. The theory finds additional support if Torosaurus represents the mature form of Triceratops, as this would mean the frill also developed holes (fenestrae) as individuals reached maturity, rendering the structure more useful for display than defense.
    Links: Top Ten Horns/Antlers, Top Ten Skeletons, Top Ten Skulls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triceratops,
  10. Pachycephalosaurus

    Pachycephalosaurus, “thick headed lizard,” is a genus of pachycephalosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period (Maastrichtian stage) of what is now North America. It was an herbivorous or omnivorous creature which is only known from a single skull and a few extremely thick skull roofs. This dinosaur is monotypic, meaning the type species, P. wyomingensis, is the only known species. Pachycephalosaurus was one of the last non-avian dinosaurs before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Another dinosaur, Tylosteus of western North America, has been synonymized with Pachycephalosaurus. Like other pachycephalosaurids, Pachycephalosaurus was a bipedal omnivore with an extremely thick skull roof. It possessed long hindlimbs and small forelimbs. The thick skull domes of Pachycephalosaurus and related genera gave rise to the hypothesis that pachycephalosaurs used their skulls in intraspecific combat.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachycephalosaurus,
  11. Deinonychus
    File:DeinonychusGris.jpgFile:Deinonychus im NHM Wien.JPGFile:Deinonychus patte arrière gauche.jpg
    Deinonychus, “terrible claw,” is a genus of carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaurs. There is one described species, Deinonychus antirrhopus. These dinosaurs, which could grow up to 3.4 m (11 ft) long, lived during the early Cretaceous Period, about 115–108 million years ago (from the mid-Aptian to early Albian stages). Fossils have been recovered from the US states of Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma, in rocks of the Cloverly Formation and Antlers Formation, though teeth that may belong to Deinonychus have been found much farther east in Maryland. “Terrible claw” refers to the unusually large, sickle-shaped talon on the second toe of each hind foot. In life, archosaurs have a horny sheath over this bone, which extends the length. Ostrom looked at crocodile and bird claws and reconstructed the claw as over 120 mm (4.7 in) long. The species name antirrhopus means “counter balance,” which refers to Ostrom’s idea about the function of the tail. As in other dromaeosaurids, the tail vertebrae have a series of ossified tendons and super-elongated bone processes. These features seemed to make the tail into a stiff counterbalance, but a fossil of the very closely related Velociraptor mongoliensis has an articulated tail skeleton that is curved laterally in a long S–shape. This suggests that, in life, the tail could bend to the sides with a high degree of flexibility.
    Links: Top Ten Skullshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinonychus,
  12. Stegasauraus
    File:Stegosaurus Senckenberg.jpg
    Stegosaurus, meaning “roof lizard” or “covered lizard” in reference to its bony plates, is a genus of armored stegosaurid dinosaur. They lived during the Late Jurassic period (Kimmeridgian to early Tithonian), some 155 to 150 million years ago in what is now western North America. In 2006, a specimen of Stegosaurus was announced from Portugal, showing that they were present in Europe as well. Due to its distinctive tail spikes and plates, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. At least three species have been identified in the upper Morrison Formation and are known from the remains of about 80 individuals. A large, heavily built, herbivorous quadruped, Stegosaurus had a distinctive and unusual posture, with a heavily rounded back, short forelimbs, head held low to the ground and a stiffened tail held high in the air. The spikes were most likely used for defense, while the plates have also been proposed as a defensive mechanism, as well as having display and thermoregulatory functions. Stegosaurus had a relatively low brain-to-body mass ratio. It had a short neck and small head, meaning it most likely ate low-lying bushes and shrubs. It was the largest of all the stegosaurians (bigger than genera such as Kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus) and, although roughly bus-sized, it nonetheless shared many anatomical features (including the tail spines and plates) with the other stegosaurian genera.
    Links: Top Ten Skeletonshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stegasaurus,
  13. Ankylosaurus
    File:Ankylosaurus estimated size 01.png
           Ankylosaurus, meanings “fused lizard,” is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur, containing one species, A. magniventris. Fossils of Ankylosaurus are found in geologic formations dating to the very end of the Cretaceous Period (between about 66.5–65.5 Ma ago) in western North America. Although a complete skeleton has not been discovered and several other dinosaurs are represented by more extensive fossil material, Ankylosaurus is often considered the archetypal armored dinosaur. Other ankylosaurids shared its well-known features—the heavily-armored body and massive bony tail club—but Ankylosaurus was the largest known member of the family.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankylosaurus,
  14. Dilophosaurus
    File:Dilophosaurus skull.jpg
    Dilophosaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Sinemurian stage of the Early Jurassic Period, about 193 million years ago. The first specimens were described in 1954, but it was not until over a decade later that the genus received its current name. Dilophosaurus has appeared several times in popular culture, such as in the 1993 film Jurassic Park.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilophosaurus,
  15. Sinornithosaurus
    File:Sinornithosaurus.jpg
    Sinornithosaurus, meaning ‘Chinese bird-lizard,’ is a genus of feathered dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the early Cretaceous Period (early Aptian) of the Yixian Formation in what is now China. It was the fifth non–avian feathered dinosaur genus discovered by 1999. The original specimen was collected from the Sihetun locality of western Liaoning. It was found in the Jianshangou beds of the Yixian Formation, dated to 124.5 million years ago. Additional specimens have been found in the younger Dawangzhangzi bed, dating to around 122 million years ago. Xu Xing described Sinornithosaurus and performed a phylogenetic analysis which demonstrated that it is basal, or primitive, among the dromaeosaurs. He has also demonstrated that features of the skull and shoulder are very similar to Archaeopteryx and other Avialae. Together these two facts demonstrate that the earliest dromaeosaurs were more like birds than the later dromaeosaurs were. This goes against one argument made by critics of the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs, namely that the most birdlike dinosaurs are predated by the earliest birds. Sinornithosaurus was among the smallest dromaeosaurids, with a length of about 90 cm (3.0 ft).
    Links: Top Ten Fossilshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinornithosaurus,
  16. Parasaurolophus

    Parasaurolophus, meaning “near crested lizard,” is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived in what is now North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 76.5–73 million years ago. It was a herbivore that walked both as a biped and a quadruped. Three species are recognized: P. walkeri (the type species), P. tubicen, and the short-crested P. cyrtocristatus. Remains are known from Alberta (Canada), and New Mexico and Utah (USA). The genus was first described in 1922 by William Parks from a skull and partial skeleton in Alberta. Parasaurolophus was a hadrosaurid, part of a diverse family of Cretaceous dinosaurs known for their range of bizarre head adornments. This genus is known for its large, elaborate cranial crest, which at its largest forms a long curved tube projecting upwards and back from the skull. Charonosaurus from China, which may have been its closest relative, had a similar skull and potentially a similar crest. The crest has been much discussed by scientists; the consensus is that major functions included visual recognition of both species and sex, acoustic resonance, and thermoregulation. It is one of the rarer hadrosaurids, known from only a handful of good specimens.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasaurolophus,
  17. Archaeopteryx
    File:Archaeopteryx lithographica, replica of London specimen, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe, Germany - 20100925.jpg
    Archaeopteryx, sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel (“original bird” or “first bird”), is a genus of early bird that is transitional between feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. The name derives from the ancient archaīos, meaning “ancient,” and ptéryx, meaning “feather” or “wing.” Since the late 19th century, it has been generally accepted by paleontologists as being the oldest known bird. Archaeopteryx lived in the Late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany during a time when Europe was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm tropical sea, much closer to the equator than it is now. Similar in shape to a European Magpie, with the largest individuals possibly attaining the size of a raven, Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) in length. Despite its small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx has more in common with other small Mesozoic dinosaurs than it does with modern birds. In particular, it shares the following features with the deinonychosaurs: jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes (“killing claw”), feathers (which also suggest homeothermy), and various skeletal features. Most of these eleven fossils found include impressions of feathers. Because these feathers are of an advanced form (flight feathers), these fossils are evidence that the evolution of feathers began before the Late Jurassic. The type specimen of Archaeopteryx was discovered just two years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Archaeopteryx seemed to confirm Darwin’s theories and has since become a key piece of evidence for the origin of birds, the transitional fossils debate, and confirmation of evolution.
    Links: Top 100 Birdshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx,
  18. Minmi

    Minmi, named after Minmi Crossing, Australia (where it was found), is a genus of small ankylosaurian dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous Period, about 119 to 113 million years ago. The type species, M. paravertebra, was described by Ralph Molnar in 1980. Two good specimens of Minmi have been described, including a mostly complete skeleton, and additional fragments may pertain to this genus.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minmi_(dinosaur),
  19. Oryctodromeus Cubicularis

    Oryctodromeus, meaning “digging runner,” was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur. Fossils are known from the middle Cretaceous Blackleaf Formation of southwestern Montana and the Wayan Formation of southeastern Idaho, both of the Cenomanian stage, roughly 95 million years ago. A member of the small, presumably fast-running herbivorous family Hypsilophodontidae, Oryctodromeus is the first dinosaur published that shows evidence of burrowing behavior.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oryctodromeus_cubicularis,
  20. Links: Animals, Reptiles, Top Ten Aquatic Dinosaurs, Top Ten Extinct Animals (Non-Dinosaur)

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Reptiles

Reptiles

Lizards

 

Top Ten Lizards

Top Ten Lizards

lizardslizards1lizrads2

       Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with more than 5600 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group, traditionally recognized as the suborder Lacertilia, is defined as all extant members of the Lepidosauria (reptiles with overlapping scales), which are neither sphenodonts (i.e., tuatara) nor snakes – they form an evolutionary grade. While the snakes are recognized as falling phylogenetically within the Toxicofera clade from which they evolved, the sphenodonts are the sister group to the squamates, the larger monophyletic group, which includes both the lizards and the snakes. Lizards typically have feet and external ears, while snakes lack both of these characteristics. However, because they are defined negatively as excluding snakes, lizards have no unique distinguishing characteristic as a group. Lizards and snakes share a movable quadrate bone, distinguishing them from the sphenodonts, which have more primitive and solid diapsid skulls. Many lizards can detach their tails to escape from predators, an act called autotomy, but this ability is not shared by all lizards. Vision, including color vision, is particularly well developed in most lizards, and most communicate with body language or bright colors on their bodies, as well as with pheromones. The adult length of species within the suborder ranges from a few centimeters for chameleons such as Brookesia micra and geckos such as Sphaerodactylus ariasae to nearly 3 m (9.8 ft) in the case of the largest living varanid lizard, the komodo dragon. Some extinct varanids reached great size. The extinct aquatic mosasaurs reached 17 m (56 ft), and the giant monitor Megalania is estimated to have reached perhaps 7 m (23 ft).

  1. Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus Phantasticus)
    Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko1Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko2Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko3Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko4Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko5
           Uroplatus phantasticus, the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko, is a species of gecko endemic to the island of Madagascar. First described in 1888 by George Albert Boulenger, U. phantasticus is the smallest in body of the Uroplatus geckos, though there is an ongoing debate as to whether one of its cousins, U. ebenaui, is smaller because of its shorter tail. It may also be known as the eyelash leaf tailed gecko or the fantastic leaf tailed gecko.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascar Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uroplatus_phantasticus,
  2. Armadillo Girdled Lizard (Cordylus Cataphractus)
    Armadillo Girdled LizardArmadillo Girdled Lizard1Armadillo Girdled Lizard2
           The Armadillo Lizard (Cordylus cataphractus) is a lizard endemic to desert areas of southern Africa. It is also known as the Typical Girdled Lizard, Armadillo Girdled Lizard, Golden Armadillo Lizard and Armadillo Spiny-tailed Lizard. They have unusual square-shaped scales and a crest of spines along the neck and tail. If attacked they curl round and bite their tail to protect their soft belly, just like an armadillo. They also hide in crevices and puff themselves up so they can not be dislodged. Armadillo lizards are live-bearers and sometimes live in colonies of up to 40 individuals.
    Links: Top 100 Symbols, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo_Lizard,
  3. Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
    Komodo DragonKomodo Dragon1Komodo Dragon2
           The Komodo dragon also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar. A member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae), it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 m (10 ft.) in rare cases and weighing up to around 70 kilograms (150 lb.). Their unusual size has been attributed to island gigantism, since there are no other carnivorous animals to fill the niche on the islands where they live. However, recent research suggests that the large size of Komodo dragons may be better understood as representative of a relict population of very large varanid lizards that once lived across Indonesia and Australia, most of which, along with other megafauna, died out after the Pleistocene. Fossils very similar to V. komodoensis have been found in Australia dating to greater than 3.8 million years ago, and its body size remained stable on Flores, one of the handful of Indonesian islands where it is currently found, over the last 900,000 years, “a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island’s megafauna, and the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka.” As a result of their size, these lizards dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds and mammals. Their group behavior in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Mating begins between May and August, and the eggs are laid in September. About 20 eggs are deposited in abandoned megapode nests or in a self-dug nesting hole. The eggs are incubated for seven to eight months, hatching in April, when insects are most plentiful. Young Komodo dragons are vulnerable and therefore dwell in trees, safe from predators and cannibalistic adults. They take about eight to nine years to mature, and are estimated to live for up to 30 years. Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon,
  4. Veiled Chameleon
    Veiled ChameleonVeiled Chameleon1Veiled Chameleon2
           The veiled chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus, is a large species of chameleon found in the mountain regions of Yemen, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It is also sometimes referred to as the Yemen Chameleon. The male veiled chameleon is primarily green in color and tends to be marked with stripes and spots of yellow, brown, and blue. Depending on the animal’s emotional state, this green will range from a bright lime green to a red olive drab. When veiled chameleons are stressed they often display strong coloration including bright yellow and sometimes even black. Surroundings only partly contribute to a chameleon’s “decision” to change color. Adult male Veiled chameleons are relatively large for reptiles. It is possible for them to reach an overall length of 24 inches (60 cm). Like most chameleons, veiled chameleons are specialized tree dwellers. They have a flattened body meant to mimic a leaf and feet specially designed for grasping limbs and branches. They have a prehensile tail that acts as a fifth appendage and aids in climbing. Their eyes work independently of one another allowing the chameleon to look in front of and behind itself at the same time. They have a long sticky tongue that they use to capture their insect prey. Veiled chameleons are ambush predators and are capable of lying still for very long periods of time waiting for an unsuspecting locust to wander by.
    Links: Top Ten Yemen Attractions, Top Ten United Arab Emirate Attractions, Top Ten Saudi Arabian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veiled_chameleon,
  5. Frilled Lizard (Chlamydosaurus Kingii)
    Frilled LizardFrilled Lizard1Frilled Lizard2
           The frill-necked lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii), also known as the frilled lizard or frilled dragon, is found mainly in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Its name comes from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard’s body. It is largely arboreal, spending the majority of the time in the trees. The lizard’s diet consists mainly of insects and small vertebrates. The frill-necked lizard is a relatively large lizard, reaching up to 91.4 cm in length.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frilled_lizard,
  6. Jesus Lizard (Basilisk)
    Jesus LizardJesus Lizard1Jesus Lizard2
           The basilisk also known as the Jesus Lizard sometimes runs as a biped. Basilisks have the unique ability to “walk” on water and, because of this, they have been dubbed as “The Jesus Christ Lizard.” On water, the basilisk can run at a velocity of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) per second for approximately 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) before sinking on all fours and swimming. Flaps between their toes help support the basilisk, creating a larger surface and a pocket of air.
    Links: Top Ten Biblical Figures, Top Ten Statues of Jesus, Top Ten Biblical Passages, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basiliscus_%28genus%29,
  7. Web Footed Gecko
    Web Footed GeckosWeb Footed Geckos1Web Footed Geckos2Web Footed Geckos3Web Footed Geckos4Web Footed Geckos5
           Web-footed geckos, in the genus palmatogecko are two species of Gecko that live in the Namib Desert. They have webbed feet in order to move more easily across desert sand. They don’t possess eyelids so they must lick their eyeballs clean in order to keep them moist. The Web-footed gecko uses various clicks, squeaks, croaks and other sounds to frighten attackers. The second defense is to break off its tail like all other geckos and flee to safety. Sometimes, when the Web-footed gecko sheds its skin it will eat the dead skin. During breeding season the female lays about two eggs that are the size of a bean. The eggs take eight weeks to hatch.
    Links: Top Ten Deserts, Top Ten Namibian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmatogecko,
  8. Leaf-Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus)
    Leaf-Tailed GeckoLeaf-Tailed Gecko1Leaf-Tailed Gecko2Leaf-Tailed Gecko3
           Uroplatus is a genus of geckos commonly referred to as Flat or Leaf-tailed Geckos. All the comprising species are endemic to Madagascar or nearby islands, such as Nosy Be, where they are found in primary and secondary forests.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascan Attractions, Top Ten African National Parks, Top Ten Skulls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uroplatus,
  9. Iguana
    IguanaIguana1Iguana2Iguana3Iguana4Iguana5
           Iguana is an herbivorous genus of lizard native to tropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean. The genus was first described in 1768 by Austrian naturalist Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti in his book Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis circa Venena. Two species are included in the genus Iguana: the Green Iguana, which is widespread throughout its range and a popular pet, and the Lesser Antillean Iguana, which is endemic to the Lesser Antilles and endangered due to habitat destruction. The word “iguana” is derived from a Spanish form of the original Taino name for the species “Iwana.” In addition to the two species in the genus Iguana, there are also several other related genera in the same family for which the common name of the species includes the word “iguana.”
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguana,
  10. Red Spotted Newt and Alpine Newt

           The eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is a common salamander of eastern North America. Eastern newts dwell in small lakes, ponds, and streams or near-by wet forests. They can coexist in an aquatic environment with small, non-carnivorous fish, however, their skin secretes a poisonous substance when the newt is threatened or injured. They have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and may grow to 5 inches in length. The strikingly colored (orange) juvenile stage, which is land-dwelling, is often known as the red eft. Some sources blend the general name of the species and the red-spotted newt sub-species name into eastern red-spotted newt (although there is no “western” one). The Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris, formerly Triturus alpestris and Mesotriton alpestris) is a newt of the Salamander order Caudata (or Urodela) in the class of Amphibians.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-spotted_newthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpine_Newt,
  11. Spotted Salamander and Tiger Salamander
    Linked
           The Spotted Salamander or Yellow-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is a mole salamander common in the eastern US and Canada. The Spotted Salamander is the state amphibian of South Carolina. This salamander ranges from Nova Scotia, to Lake Superior, to southern Georgia and Texas. It has recently been found that its embryos have symbiotic algae living inside them. The Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) is a species of Mole Salamander. The proper common name is the Eastern Tiger Salamander, to differentiate from other closely related species.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_Salamander,
  12. Panther Chameleon (Furcifer Pardalis)
    Panther ChameleonPanther Chameleon1Panther Chameleon2
           The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is a species of chameleon. It lives in the eastern and northern parts of Madagascar in a tropical forest biome. Additionally, it has been introduced to Réunion and Mauritius.
    Links: Top Ten Best Dressed Animals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furcifer_pardalis,
  13. Thorny Devil and Horned Lizard
    Horned LizardHorned Lizard1Horned Lizard2
           The thorny devil (Moloch horridus) is an Australian lizard that is also known as the thorny dragon, the mountain devil, the thorny lizard, or the moloch. This is the sole species of genus Moloch. The thorny devil grows up to 20 cm (8.0 inches) in length, and it can live up to 20 years. Most of these lizards are coloured in camouflaging shades of desert browns and tans. These colours change from pale colours during warm weather and to darker colours during cold weather. These animals are covered entirely with conical spines that are mostly uncalcified. The thorny devil also features a spiny “false head” on the back of its neck, and the lizard presents this to potential predators by dipping its real head. The females are larger than the males. The thorny devil’s body is ridged in structure, and this enables the animal to collect water from any part of its body. That water is then conveyed to its mouth. Horned lizards (Phrynosoma) are a type of lizards that are a genus of the Phrynosomatidae family of lizards. The horned lizard is popularly called a “horned toad,” “horny toad,” or “horned frog,” but it is neither a toad nor a frog. The popular names come from the lizard’s rounded body and blunt snout, which make it resemble a toad or frog. (Phrynosoma literally means “toad-bodied.”) The spines on its back and sides are made from modified scales, whereas the horns on the heads are true horns (i.e. they have a bony core). There are 14 species of horned lizards in North America, 8 of which are native to the US. The largest-bodied and most widely distributed of the US species is the Texas horned lizard (P. cornutum).
    Links: Top Ten Frogs/Toadshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorny_devil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_lizard,
  14. Psychedelic Gecko
    Psychedelic Gecko
    Description:
    Links:
  15. Parson’s Chameleon
    Chameleon (Parson’s Chameleon)
    The Parson’s chameleon (Calumma parsonii) is a very large species of chameleon that is endemic to isolated pockets of humid primary forest in eastern and northern Madagascar. It is listed on CITES Appendix II, meaning that trade in this species is regulated. As with the majority of chameleon species from Madagascar, it is illegal to import Parson’s chameleons from their native country.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parson%27s_chameleon,
  16. Bonus: Twin Lizards
    Twin Lizards
    Description:
    Links:
  17. Links: Top Ten Reptiles (Living), Top Ten Dinosaurs, Top Ten Snakeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizard,

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