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.”