Fossils don’t easily degrade or decay; hence they provide a good source of evidence about the prehistoric life on the planet, one of which is that of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs have become extinct, but the discovery of their fossils is ongoing. As rare as they may be, not all dinosaurs are famous. Paleontologists have been excavating these remains over the years with the aim of understanding these creatures that once inhabited the earth. Many discoveries have been made over the years; here are some of the famous fossils.
- Megalosaurus (1676) The partial femur of a megalosaurus found in England in 1676 was assumed to belong to a “human giant.” It took almost 20 years for scientists to determine that it belonged to a dinosaur.
- Mosasaurus (1764) It was the first fossil to be identified by Georges Cuvier as belonging to an extinct species that inhabited the earth millions of years before.
- Hydrosaurus (1868) It was the first near-complete fossil found, and it belonged to a species of duck-billed dinosaurs. They lived in the forest near fresh waters of North America. They also walked upright.
- Diplodocus (1877) Discovered in western North America and it introduced the age of giant sauropods which attracted a lot of publicity over the years.
- Coelophysis (1947) This species of dinosaurs were carnivorous cannibals, and they traveled in large herds. Scientist found their bones in New Mexico.
- Maiasaura also was known as Good mother lizard (1975)Jack Horner discovered the nesting of these species that roamed the American West. They also traveled in large groups, and they took care of their young ones. They revealed growth rate, sexual maturity, physical maturity and metabolism in dinosaurs.
- Sinosauropteryx (1997) Excavated in China, they were the first fossils that showed signs of hair-like feathers. The feathers created a lot of debate as to whether dinosaurs evolved into birds.
- Umoonasaurus (2006) Discovered in Australia, they are popular due to their bright blue over their green skeleton. They were the size of a sea lion, and they adapted to the harsh environment in which they inhabited.
- Asilisaurus (2010) It was an archosaur (reptiles in which dinosaurs evolved). They were very similar to dinosaurs, and they inhabited the world before them.
- A nest of 15 baby dinosaurs (2011) Excavated in Mongolia, they belonged to the species Protoceratops andrewsi. They might have been buried alive by dunes. They showed evidence that infant dinosaurs stayed in their nests.
- A mother dinosaur was giving birth. (2011) It is a fossil of a female ichthyosaur delivering three offspring excavated in China. It brought a lot of confusion since scientist believed that dinosaurs reproduced by laying eggs.
- The smallest fossil (2011) It is the smallest dinosaur fossil ever discovered. It is about 40 centimeters and found in the United Kingdom. Its skull is yet to be seen.
Over the years scientists have discovered so many fossils of dinosaurs some yet to be documented. Each fossil comes with its unique feature. Scientists have used these features to describe the way of life of dinosaurs and their characteristics. There are debates as they find more fossils which disagree with previous studies.