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Bizarre Dinos Facts

Bizarre Dinos

Bizarre Dinos (View larger version)

  • Dinosaur discoveries are becoming more common all over the world. In fact the average number of dinosaur discoveries has increased exponentially since 1990, to 15 genera a year now.

  • Dracorex Hogwartzia- a dinosaur with a dragon-like skull is named in honor of J.K. Rowling's fictional school for witchcraft and wizardry in her infamous novel series, Harry Potter.

  • Get out your pick ax and chisel…according to Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania and Steve Wang from Swarthmore College, as of 2006, only approximately 527 genera of dinosaurs are described on record since 1824, out of their estimated total of 1,850 genera, leaving around 70% yet to be discovered.

  • After being in rock for ten to hundreds of millions of years, dinosaur bones are not the easiest to unearth. Oftentimes bones are too old and brittle to be touched or moved. Paleontologists are increasingly using CT-scans in order to examine hard to access fossils, allowing them to easily and more quickly differentiate between rock and bone.

  • Think dinosaurs are bizarre…what about one with two heads? A skeleton of a Choristoderan, a common aquatic reptile during the Cretaceous Period dating back more than 65 million years ago, was unearthed in northwestern China with one body, two necks and two heads. The fossil is currently being held at China’s Shenzhen Museum.

  • CT-scans of a sauropod from Niger called Nigersaurus, reveal that the dinosaur had mouth like the flat attachment of a vacuum cleaner consisting of hundreds of teeth, with as many as nine replacement teeth stacked behind each tooth. This revolutionary design allowed the animal to eat by “mowing” through ground vegetation - coining its nickname “the lawn mower.”

  • Dinosaurs are usually named after a defining body feature, the area from which it was found or after a person involved in its discovery.

  • China is a hotbed for new and bizarre dinosaur fossils at the moment.

  • Not all meat eating dinosaurs are big ferocious predators like T-rex. Some of the rarest fossils are small carnivores like Troodon, who when found in 1856, was first thought to have been a lizard, not a dinosaur.

  • The smallest dinosaur ever found on the North American continent is called Albertonykus borealis- according to a recent publication in the journal Cretaceous Research. Paleontologist Phillip Currie describes the dinosaur as a slender bird-like creature that might have extracted and consumed termites in logs with small and strong forelimbs.