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Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Ma
Ma Me Mi Mo Mu-My


MAASTRICHTIAN AGE

The Maastrichtian age was the last part of the Cretaceous period. It lasted from about 71 to 65 million years ago, at the very end of the Mesozoic Era. Many dinosuars existed during this age, but it ended with a major mass extinction (the K-T extinction).
MACHAIRODUS
Machairodus (meaning "knife tooth") was a common saber-toothed cat that lived from about 15 million years ago until about 2 million years ago. Species of this scimitar cat have been found in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. This lion-sized meat-eating mammal had slender limbs and a short tail; the upper jaw canine teeth were large. Machairodus was named by Kaup in 1833. Classification: Family Felidae, Subfamily Machairodontinae, Genus Machairodus, many species.
MACHAEROPROSOPUS
(pronounced ma-KEER-oh-pro-SOH-pus) Machaeroprosopus (meaning "knife face") was a phytosaur (not a dinosaur). This marine reptile had a thin, knife-like crest of its skull (hence its name). This crocodile-like animal had four short legs, a long tail, armored skin, sharp teeth in elongated jaws, and nostrils near the eyes. It lived during the late Triassic period. Fossils have been found in North America. Machaeroprosopus was named by Mehl in 1916; the type species is Machaeroprosopus validus (but the orginial speciemen has been lost).
MACROPLATA
Macroplata was a plesiosaur 15 feet (4.5 m) long with long, toothed jaws and a long neck. From England during the early Jurassic period. It was not a dinosaur, but another type of extinct reptile.

MACRAUCHENIA

Macrauchenia was an early hoofed mammal with a long neck; it may have had a long trunk. Macrauchenia was 10 feet ( 3 m) long; it had long legs, three-toed, rhino-like feet, and nostrils located between the eyes. This quadruped was an herbivore (a plant-eater). Macrauchenia lived during the Pleistocene. Fossils have been found in Argentina, South America. Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Litopterna (horse-like and camel-like mammals), Family Macraucheniidae.

MAGNETIC FIELD

The Earth's magnetic field is aligned with the north and south poles, and has reversed many times during geologic history. A fossil's magnetic orientation can give clues to its date.
MAGYAROSAURUS
Magyarosaurus was a dwarf titanosaurid sauropod, a long-necked, long-tailed, plant-eating dinosaur. It was 5 to 6 m long. Fossils have been found in Hungary and Romania. Magyarosaurus lived during the late Cretaceous period. Magyarosaurus was named by the paleontologist von Huene in 1932; the type species is M. dacus (Nopcsa, 1915 - originally called Titanosaurus).


MAIASAURA

(pronounced MY-yah-SAWR-ah) Maiasaura (meaning "good mother lizard") was a duck-billed dinosaur (a hadrosaur) that cared for its young. This plant-eater lived in herds during the late Cretaceous period, about 77 to 73 million years ago. Fossils of adults, juveniles, hatchlings, eggs, and nests have been found in Montana, USA. Maiasaura was named by paleontologists Jack Horner and R. Makela in 1979. The first dinosaur in space was Maiasaura peeblesaurum (the type species). A piece of bone from a baby Maiasaura and a Maiasaura eggshell were taken into space by astronaut Loren Acton on an 8-day NASA mission (Spacelab 2) in 1985. The historic Maiasaura fossils now reside at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, USA.
MAJUNGASAURUS
(pronounced mah-JOONG-ah-SAWR-us) Majungasaurus (meaning "Majunga [Madagascar] lizard") was a large, meat-eating dinosaur from the late Cretaceous period, about 83-73 million years ago. Only a few fossils (some teeth and tail vertebrae) of this theropod have been found on the island of Madagascar. The type species is M. crenatissimus. Majungasaurus was named by Lavocat in 1955. This is a dubious genus; it may be the same as Majungatholus.


MAJUNGATHOLUS

(pronounced mah-JOONG-ah-THOL-us) Majungatholus (meaning "Majunga (Madagascar) dome" ) was a large, meat-eating dinosaur up to 30 feet (9 m) long with a small horn above its eyes. The skull was nearly 2.5 feet (60 cm) long. It was a theropod but its classification is not certain; it's possibly an abelisaurid. It was at the top of its local food chain 70 to 65 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period. Its fossil was found on the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. It is known from an incomplete adult specimen (skull and tail vertebrae) and an incomplete juvenile (partial skull, partial spine). It was named by Piveteau in 1926. Further work on Majungatholus was done by Sues and Taquet in 1979. The type species is M. atopus. It used to be thought to a pachycephalosaurid.


MALAWISAURUS

(pronounced mah-LAA-we-SAWR-us) Malawisaurus (meaning "Malawi lizard") was a huge, plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous period (roughly 140 million to 100 million years ago). This moderately-sized titanosaurid sauropod was about 35 feet (10.5 m) long. It had a long neck, a long tail, bulky body, and a small head (it was closely related to Janenschia). It may have had some armored plates on its back. An incomplete fossils was found in the Zambesi Valley, Malawi, Africa (Malawisaurus is the oldest-known titanosaur from Africa). Malawisaurus was named by paleontologists Louis L. Jacobs, Winkler, Downs, and Elizaneth M. Gomani in 1993. The type species is M. dixeyi, (Haughton, 1928), and was originally called Gigantosaurus dixeyi.
MALEEV, E. A.
Evgenii Aleksandrovich Maleev (1915-1966) was a Russian paleontologist who named the dinosaur genera Talirurus (1952), Tarbosaurus (1955), and Therizinosaurus (1954); he also named the family Therizinosauridae. The dinosaurs Maleevosaurus (Pickering, 1984) and Maleevus (Tumanova, 1987) were named by to honor Maleev.

MALEEVOSAURUS

(pronounded mahl-YAY-ev-oh-SAWR-us) Maleevosaurus (meaning "Maleev's lizard" named to honor the Russian paleontologist E. A. Maleev) was a large meat-eating dinosaur, a tyrannosaurid that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Maleevosaurus was found in Mongolia and named by Pickering in 1984. The type species is M. novojilovi. Maleevosaurus may be the same as Tyrannosaurus bataar.

MALEEVUS

(pronounded mahl-YAY-ev--us) Maleevus (meaning "Maleev's one" named to honor the Russian paleontologist E. A. Maleev) was a large plant-eating dinosaur, an ankylosaurid ankylosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 99 to 90 million years ago. Maleevus (only a partial skull) was found in Mongolia and named by Tumanova in 1987. The type species is M. disparoserratus (originally called Syrmosaurus, and named by Maleev, in 1952).

MALM EPOCH

The Malm epoch was the late (or upper) part of the Jurassic period, about 159 to 144 million years ago.


MAMENCHISAURUS

(pronounced mah-MEHN-chee-SAWR-us) Mamenchisaurus (meaning "Mamenchi (China) lizard" ) was a long-necked, long-tailed, quadrupedal, plant-eating sauropod from the late Jurassic period, about 156 million to 145 million years ago. It was about 70 feet (21 m) long. Mamenchisaurus had the longest neck of any known dinosaur, about 46 feet (14 m). It had 19 vertebrae in its neck, more than any other known dinosaur. Mamenchisaurus was named by Chung Chien Young in 1954. Fossils have been found in China. Mamenchisaurus may be closely related to Diplodocus or Camarasaurus. The type species is M. constructus.


MAMMAL

Mammals are hairy warm-blooded animals that nourish their young with milk. Mammals evolved during the Triassic period. People are mammals.

MAMMOTH

Mammoths (genus name Mammuthus) are extinct herbivorous mammals that had long, dense hair and underfur, long tusks, a long proboscis (nose), large ears. They lived throughout the world. They lived from about 2 million years ago to 9,000 years ago, millions of years after the dinosaurs went extinct. They are closely related to modern-day Indian elephants. Some tusks were straight, some were curved; the longest were up to 13 feet (4 m) long. The tusks were used in mating rituals, for protection, and for digging in the snow for food. Much of our knowledge of mammoths is from cave drawings and from mummified mammoths found in Siberian ice.
MANDASUCHUS
(pronounced MAN-dah-SOOK-us) Mandasuchus (meaning "Manda crocodile" the Manda Formation, Tanzania, is where the fossil was found) was a rauisuchian (large-skulled archosaurs that may have been ancestors of dinosaurs) It was not a dinosaur. It lived during the middle Triassic period, roughly 220 million years ago. Fossils have been found in Tanzania, in east Africa. This fast-runner was a quadruped about 8 feet (2.5 m) long; the rear legs were slightly longer than the front legs. It may have been the fastest reptile of its time. This meat-eater had a long tail, strong back (with 24 vertebrae between the head and hips), large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth. Mandasuchus was named by Charig in 1976.
MANDIBLE
(pronounced MAN-dah-bul) The mandible is the lower jaw.
MANDIBLE
The Manicouagan impact structure is the remnants of an impact that occurred about 200 million years ago. It is a ring of shattered rock (70 km across) thats surrounds an area of rock that was melted by the tremendous impact (and then solidified). The Manicouagan impact structure is located in northern Quebec, Canada. This impact resulted from a 10 km diameter asteroid and may have been responsible for the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Triassic period.


MANIRAPTORS

Maniraptors are a group of bird-like animals, including Dromaeosaurs, Oviraptors, Troodontids, Therizinosaurs, and Aves (birds). Maniraptors are closer to birds than to Ornithomimus. Manirators have birds as a more recent ancestor than Ornithomimus.

MANTELL, GIDEON

Gideon A. Mantell (1790-1852) was a British fossil hunter, one of the first in the world. He named Hylaeosaurus (1833), Iguanodon (1825), and Pelorosaurus (1850). Mary Ann Mantell, his wife, is commonly thought to have found the first Iguanodon tooth in 1822; there is no substantiation to this story, however.
MANUS
Manus is the scientific term for the hand (or forefoot) of a vertebrate animal.

MARASUCHUS

(pronounced MAR-o-SOOK-us) Marasuchus (meaning "mara [a South American mammal] crocodile") was a dinosaur-like reptile that was an ancestor of the dinosaurs) that lived during the middle Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. It was about 40 cm long and may have weighed roughly 90 grams; it was light-weight, long-limbed, and had a long tail. Fossils have been found in Talampaya National Park, Argentina. Marasuchus was named by Sereno and Arcucci in 1994 (it was originally called Lagosuchus lilloensis, naemd by Romer in 1972). In 1994, the paleontologist Paul Sereno examined the type species for Lagosuchus, L. talampayensis, and concluded that it was probably a chimera (two or more fossils jumbled together), so Lagosuchus is considered a nomen dubium. A second species of Lagosuchus, L. lilloensis, was then renamed Marasuchus, a new genus.
Styracosaurus

MARGINOCEPHALIA

Marginocephalians (meaning "fringed heads") are a group of Ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaurs that have a distinctive skull structure (a slight shelf or bony frill on the back of the skull). These plant-eaters include the ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs like Triceratops, Styracosaurus, Pentaceratops, Protoceratops, etc.) and the Pachycephalosaurians (thick-skulled dinosaurs like (Stegoceras, Pachycephalosaurus, etc.).


MARSH, OTHNIEL

Othniel C. Marsh (1831-1899) was a US paleontologist from Yale University who named the dinosaur suborder Theropoda (1881), Sauropoda (1878). He named named roughly 500 new species of fossil animals (they were found by Marsh and his many fossil hunters). Marsh named the following dinosaur genera: Allosaurus (1877), Ammosaurus (1890), Anchisaurus (1885), Apatosaurus (1877), Atlantosaurus (1877), Barosaurus (1890), Camptosaurus (1885), Ceratops (1888), Ceratosaurus (1884), Claosaurus (1890), Coelurus (1879), Creosaurus (1878), Diplodocus (1878), Diracodon (1881), Dryosaurus (1894), Dryptosaurus (1877), Labrosaurus (1896), Laosaurus (1878), Nanosaurus (1877), Nodosaurus (1889), Ornithomimus (1890), Pleurocoelus (1891), Priconodon (1888), Stegosaurus (1877), Torosaurus (1891), Triceratops (1889), Tripriodon (1889). He named the suborders Ceratopsia (1890), Ceratosauria (1884), Ornithopoda (1881), Stegosauria (1877), and Theropoda. He named the families Allosauridae (1878), Anchisauridae (1885), Camptosauridae (1885), Ceratopsidae (1890), Ceratosauridae, Coeluridae, Diplodocidae (1884), Dryptosauridae, Nodosauridae (1890), Ornithomimidae (1890), Plateosauridae (1895), and Stegosauridae (1880). He also named many individual species of dinosaurs. The dinosaur Othnielia was named in 1977 by P. Galton as a tribute to Marsh, as was Marshosaurus bicentesmus (Madsen, 1976).
MARSHOSAURUS
(pronounced MARSH-oh-SAWR-us) Marshosaurus (meaning "Othniel Marsh'c lizard") was a 16 ft (5 m) long meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic period, about 151-142 million years ago. Fossils of this theropod have been found in Utah and Colorado (USA). The type species is M. bicentisimus. Majungasaurus was named by Madsen in 1976 .
MASIAKASAURUS
(pronounced mah-SHEE-ah-kah-SAWR-us) Masiakasaurus (meaning "vicious lizard") was a meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period. This theropod was about 6 feet 2 m) long. Fossils have been found in Madagascar, an island off southeastern Africa. Masiakasaurus was named by Sampson, Carrano, and Forster in 2001. The type species is M. knopfleri (is was named for Mark Knopfler, a member of the rock band called Dire Straits, whose music was playing at the time of discovery).
MASON, RUTH
Ruth Mason ( -1990) found a huge dinosaur fossils bone bed (a collection of thousands of fossils) on her family's Harding County, South Dakota, USA, ranch when she was 7 years old. Since then, tens of thousands of dinosaur fossils have been found at the "Ruth Mason Quarry," near Faith, SD. The dinosaurs include huge numbers of Edmontosaurus annectens ( duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaurs), T. rex teeth, and others.
MASSETOGNATHUS
Massetognathus was a genus of mammal-like reptiles from the middle Triassic period. This quadruped was about 19 inches (48 cm) long; it had dog-like teeth, a long snout, clawed feet, a long tail, and it may have had hair. Fossils of thie herbivore (plant-eater) have been found in Argentina, South America. Classification: Subclass Synapsida, Order Therapsida, Suborder Cynodontia, Family Tritylodontidae, Genus Massetognathus.

MASS EXTINCTION

Mass extinction is the process in which huge numbers of species die out suddenly. The dinosaurs (and many other species) went extinct during the K-T extinction, probably because of an asteroid that hit the Earth.


MASSOSPONDYLUS

(pronounced mass-oh-SPON-duh-lus) Massospondylus (meaning "elongated vertebra" ) was an herbivorous dinosaur from the early Jurassic period, about 205-194 million years ago. This Plateosaurid sauropodomorph (an early saurischian or lizard-hipped dinosaur) was about 13 feet (4 m) long and 3 feet (1 m) tall. Massospondylus was named by paleontologist Richard Owen in 1854. Massospondylus fossils have been found in Africa (in Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and North America (in Arizona).

MASTODON

(pronounced MAST-oh-don) Mastodons (meaning "breast tooth") were large, elephant-like, herbivorous mammals that had long tusks, grinding molars, and a long, prehensile proboscis (nose). They evolved during the Oligocene epoch and are closely related to mammoths and elephants. Most mastodons lived until about 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age was ending.
MAXILLA
The Maxilla (the plural is maxillae) is the upper jaw.
McINTOSH, JACK
Dr. Jack McIntosh is currently the foremost expert on sauropods. McIntosh corrected the naming of many sauropods originally named by O.C. Marsh and E.D. Cope. McIntosh has also done much to popularize the use of the name Apatosaurus (rather than Brontosaurus). His most important contribution to paleontology was identifying the correct skull for Apatosaurus in 1975 (fifty years earlier, Marsh had put a Camarasaurus skull on the Apatosaurus' body).

Ma
Ma Me Mi Mo Mu-My

ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the dinosaur or paleontology term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

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