DI­NOSAURS 101

Animal Scene - - ANIMAL APPEAL -

Though pos­si­bly tens of thou­sands of di­nosaur species once walked the Earth, only 700 have been de­scribed as dis­tinct species – rang­ing from the long-necked, 130foot Ar­genti­nosaurus to the dou­ble-winged, 13-inch An­chior­nis.

For this story, I talked with my brother, a life­long di­nosaur en­thu­si­ast who teaches bi­ol­ogy at the Ate­neo de Manila Univer­sity in Que­zon City.

“Di­nosaurs are roughly di­vided into two ma­jor groups – Sau­rischi­ans and Or­nithis­chi­ans. Sau­rischi­ans are then di­vided into an­other two ma­jor groups – Sau­ropods and Ther­a­pods. Famous Sau­ropods in­clude the gi­ant long-necked Di­plodocus and Apatosaurus,” he ex­plained. “Well-known Ther­a­pods in­clude Tyran­nosaurus rex and Ve­loci­rap­tor, whose de­scen­dants even­tu­ally evolved into the feath­ered birds we have to­day.”

Or­nithis­chi­ans on the other hand, in­clude horned di­nosaurs like Tricer­atops and ar­mored an­i­mals like the Sun­cor No­dosaur.

“Clad in ar­mor made from thick plates of bone, her­biv­o­rous No­dosaurs roamed the plains of the Amer­i­cas graz­ing on low-ly­ing plants (grass hadn’t evolved yet) while en­joy­ing a de­gree of pro­tec­tion from the preda­tors they shared their homes with.”

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