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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

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.

Su-Sz
Sa Sc Se Sh Si Sk-Sq St Su-Sz

Suchomimus
SUCHOMIMUS

(pronounced SOOK-oh-MIME-us) Suchomimus (meaning "crocodile mimic") was a fish-eating spinosaurid theropod dinosaur found in Niger, Africa in 1997 in the Sahara desert by paleontologist P. Sereno. It was about 36 feet (11 m) long, had powerful hindlegs, small arms, sharp, pointed teeth, and a crocodile-like pointed jaw. It lived about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.
T. rex skull
SUE

Sue is the nickname of a huge, almost complete T. rex fossil that was found by Susan (Sue) Hendrickson near Faith, South Dakota, USA, in August 1990. After much controversy about its ownership (and other legal matters), Sue (the T. rex) was auctioned at Sotheby's in 1997 for 7.6 million dollars to the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, USA, where Sue is now on view.
SUES, HANS-DIETER
Hans-Dieter Sues is a paleontologist at the University of Toronto and Senior Curator, Department of Palaeobiology, at the Royal Ontario Museum. Sues studies late Paleozoic and Mesozoic non-mammalian vertebrates. He named the dinosaurs: Majungatholus (with P. Taquet, 1979), Ornatotholus (with P. Galton,1983), Saurornitholestes (1978), Stygimoloch (with P. Galton, 1983), and Zephyrosaurus (1980).
Laurasia

SUESS, EDUARD

Eduard Suess was an Austrian geologist who first realized that there had once been a land bridge between South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica. He named this large land mass Gondwanaland (named after a district in India where the fossil plant Glossopteris was found). This was the southern supercontinent formed after Pangaea broke up during the Jurassic period. He based his deductions upon the fossil fern Glossopteris, which is found throughout India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.
SUNDANCE SEA
The Sundance Sea was a wide, warm, shallow sea that existed during the middle to late Jurassic period, covering much of what is now Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska (USA). This very salty inland sea formed as the supercontinent of Pangaea was breaking up, and the Tethys Sea spilled over onto the land. The mid-Jurassic period was a time when the climate was mild and warm and there was no polar ice, making sea levels relatively high worldwide.
Pangaea
SUPERCONTINENT

A supercontinent is a large continent that is formed by two or more continents. Pangaea was a supercontinent consisting of all of Earth's land masses. It existed during the Permian period through the Jurassic period. It began breaking up during the Jurassic, forming the continents Gondwanaland and Laurasia.
Supersaurus

SUPERSAURUS

(pronounced SOUP-er-SAWR-us) Supersaurus is one of the longest dinosaur yet found, about 140 feet long. This sauropod was a Jurassic long-necked, long-tailed plant-eater with a small head.

SUUWASSEA

Suuwassea emilieae (Suuwassea is a combination of Crow Indian words meaning "ancient thunder" and emilieae honors the late Philadelphia socialite Emilie deHellebrath who funded the expedition) was a small diplodocid sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. This plant-eater was about 14-15 m long. It had an extra hole in its skull, a long neck, a small head, a whip-like tail, and (four) legs like those of an elephant. Suuwassea was found in 1998 by William Donawick in the Morrison Formation (specifically in southern Montana near the Wyoming border). Suuwassea emilieae was named by Jerry Harris and Peter Dodson in 2004.

SYMBIOSIS

Symbiosis is a situation in which two dissimilar organisms live together. There are many types of symbiosis, including mutualism (in which both organisms benefit), commensalism (in which one organism benefits and the other is not affected), or parasitism (in which one organism benefits at the other organism's expense). Symbiosis used to be defined as a situation in which two dissimilar organisms live together to the benefit of both - this is now called mutualism. The word symbiosis means "living together"" in Greek.


SYMPATRIC SPECIATION

Sympatric speciation is the formation of a new species within a geographical area - it is probably caused by strong selection pressures. Compare with parapatric speciation and allopatry.


SYMPATRY

Sympatry means occupying the same geographical location. Compare with parapatry and allopatry.

SYMPHYROPHUS

(pronounced sim-FEHR-oh-fus) Symphyrophus (meaning fused roof) is a doubtful genus of dinosaur; it is probably Camptosaurus, a plant-eater from the late Jurassic period (about 156 million to 145 million years ago) that looked a lot like Iguanodon. It was a heavy ornithischian dinosaur that was about 16-23 feet (5-7 m) long. It had a long snout, hundreds of teeth and a horny beak, and longer legs than arms. It could walk on two or four legs.


SYMPLESIOMORPHY

Symplesiomorphy (meaning "shared old form") is the persistence of ancestral (primitive) traits in different clades.


SYNAPOMORPHY

Synapomorphy (meaning "shared form") is a derived (new) character shared by groups. A synapomorphy can be used to infer common ancestry.

SYNAPSID

(pronounced sin-AP-sid) Synapsids are a group of animals distinguished by having a skull with an extra low opening behind the eyes; this opening gave these animals stronger jaw muscles and jaws (the jaw muscles were anchored to the skull opening). Synapsids include the mammals, and extinct animals such as Dimetrodon. The pelycosaurs were early synapsids; later synapsids were the therapsids, cynodonts and dicynodonts (from the late Permian period), leading to the mammals. With time, the synapsid gait became more upright and tail length decreased. The oldest-known synapsid is Archarothyris, a pelycosaur 300 million years old.


SYNGONOSAURUS

Syngonosaurus is an invalid name for the dinosaur Anoplosaurus, an iguanodontid from the early Cretaceous period, about 98 million years ago. This small plant-eater had thumb spikes and lived in what is now England.


SYNOPLOTHERIUM

Synoplotherium was a superficially wolf-like mammal that lived during the Eocene epoch, roughly 50 million years ago. This wolf-sized animal may have hunted in packs, attacking animals like Hyracotherium (a small horse), Helaletes (a tapir), and perhaps young or ailing Uintatherium. This late mesonychid had many sharp canine teeth, huge round-cusped molars, strong jaws, and a large skull; it was a carnivore that could rip flesh and crush bones. It had a long tail and long legs. The toes had small , claw-like hooves (and not claws). Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Superorder Ungulata (ungulates, hoofed mammals), Order Acreodi, Family Mesonychidae (mammals that may have led to the whales), Genus Synoplotherium.


SYNSACRUM

(pronounced sin-SAK-rum) The synsacrum is the fused part of a bird's vertebral column (backbone) between the thoracic vertebrae and the caudal vertebrae (the pelvic region near the base of the tail). The synsacrum is composed of fused vertebrae, including some thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and caudal vertebrae. The number of vertebrae in the synsacrum varies from species to species. The ilium is attached to the synsacrum.


SYNTARSUS

(pronounced sin-TAR-sus) Syntarsus (meaning "fused or flat ankle") was a very early saurischian dinosaur from the early Jurassic period (208 million-194 million years ago). It was a small, bipedal primitive dinosaur, about 10 feet (3 m) long weighing about 60-70 pounds. It was a carnivore. It had four-fingered hands and four-toed feet with fused ankle bones (like those of early ornithopods although it was a saurischian dinosaur). It was a crested theropod related to Coelophysis. Fossils have found in Africa and USA. Syntarsus was named in 1969 by M. A. Raath.


SYRMOSAURUS

Syrmosaurus is an invalid name for the dinosaur Pinacosaurus.


SZECHUANOSAURUS

(pronounced SECH-ou-WAN-nuh-SAWR-us) Szechuanosaurus (meaning "Szechuan province lizard") was a meat-eating dinosaur from the late Jurassic period, about 156-145 million years ago. This Allosaurid theropod was about 20 feet (6 m) long, had short arms with clawed, three-fingered hands, long, powerful legs, a short neck, and a big head with pointed, curved teeth. It ma have weighed 220-330 pounds (100-150 kg). Fossils were found in Sichuan Province, China. Szechuanosaurus was named by paleontologist Young in 1942. The type species is S. campi. Szechuanosaurus is a doubtful genus; very little is known about it.

Su-Sz
Sa Sc Se Sh Si Sk-Sq St Su-Sz

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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