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Questions about Other Animals
( to find something, do a "Find" under the File Menu.)
Q: My Dad and I have been searching for information and pictures of the Varanosaurus. Your help is appreciated. Thank-you.
from Mitch B, Mission, B.C. , Canada; March 29, 1999
A: For information on Varanosaurus, click here.
Q: I have been searching for information on the Ornithosuchus. The card given to me by my science teacher says they were believed to be carnivorous, but all info I find says they ate plants, etc. I also have to show their habitat but also can't find anything. I've searched everywhere! PLEASE HELP
from Frank D., Ashland, MA, USA; March 28, 1999
A: Ornithosuchus was a carnivore. For more information on Ornithosuchus, click here.
Q: My son is doing a report and I Think the teacher or my son wrote it down wrong. Do you have any info on Thalassomedon or a Archituethis. Thank you
from Joseph B., Morganton, North Carolina, USA; March 25, 1999
A: I've added Architeuthis (the giant squid) and Thalassomedon (a plesiosaur, a marine reptile from the Mesozoic Era) to the "Dino and Paleontology Dictionary."
Q: can you tell me all about saber tooth tigers
from issy c, allentown, pa, USA; March 19, 1999
A: For a page on the saber-toothed tiger, click here.
Q: Will be attending Russian Dinosaur Exhibit in Kansas City, MO. Need information on two very rare dinosaurs:
(1) Sharovipteryx (only one in world per brochure), and
(2) Estemmenosuchus (only two in world per brochure).
Thank you very much. Enjoyed very much browsing your web site.
from Betty H., Rolla, MO, USA; March 5, 1999
A: Thanks! For information on Sharovipteryx (a gliding pre-plesiosaur), click here. For Estemmenosuchus, click here.
Q: What was the Eupatagus antillariam?
from Kayle, Santa Fe, NM, USA; December 29, 1998
A: Eupatagus antillarum is a extinct type of sand dollar about 4-5 inches (12 cm) in diameter. It dates from the Eocene epoch, (about 58-37 million years ago). Many of these fossils have been found in Florida, USA. (Phylum Echinodermata, Class Echinoidea)
Q: How many eggs does the Archaeopteryx approx. have in their nests?
from Nichole L., Louisville, Kentucky, USA; December 11, 1998
A: No Archaeopteryx eggs or nests have been found. For more information on Archaeopteryx, click here.
Q: where can i find a artist's representation of a Carcharodon megalodon
from Kristopher T., Marietta, GA, USA; December 10, 1998
A: Carcharodon megalodon is a huge, extinct shark. All that has been found of it is huge, fossilized teeth. They are very much like the teeth of the great white shark, but bigger. Scientists' best guess is that it looked like a huge great white shark. For more information on megalodon, click here.
Q: what is a mesosaurus?
from J.P., Katich, Iowa, USA; December 13, 1998
A: Mesosaurus (meaning "middle lizard") was an odd, water dwelling reptile that lived from the late Carboniferous period to the early Permian (it was not a dinosaur). It was a lightly-built, four-legged animal with an elongated head and snout with nostrils near its eyes. It had a flattened tail that was probably used for swimming. It was about 1.5 feet (45 cm) long. This carnivore probably ate fish and shrimp, catching them with its mouth. It was an animal that had returned to the water about 300 million years ago after having adapted to the land; Mesosaurus was one of the first aquatic reptiles. Fossils have been found in South Africa and South America.
Q: Dear Sir/Madam,
(I came across your name in a book discussion in Nature...) Please can you help me out on a small question regarding flying animals in the past? The question is: Why were there, some 300,000,000 years ago and some 100,000,000 years ago more BIG flying animals on earth than in any other period"? Does this have to do with the oxygen-quantities in the air those days, or with the concentration of CO2 related to the earth's temperature, or with the anatomy (large thin wings, for instance) of these animals? Could you kindly include a reference in your answer, so that I may proceed on my own from here?
Thank you so much for your kind attention!
from Mike Staring, Helmond, Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands; December 3, 1998
A: There's an interesting article by R. McNeill Alexander on the size limitations of Dinosaurs in The Complete Dinosaur (Indiana University Press, 1997, edited by J.O.Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman). Although this article doen't discuss the atmospheric ratios, it does discuss gigantism and has a good list of references.
Q: What are marsupials?
from Marc F., Shellsburg, Iowa, USA; December 11, 1998
A: Marsupials are viviparous (gives borth to live young and not eggs), nonplacental mammal. They give birth to young that are very undeveloped; the tiny baby crawls into a pouch in the mother's belly. In the pouch, they latch onto a teat for nourishment. Some well-known marsupials are kangaroos, opossums, and koalas.
Q: Hi I am doing a report on the Plesiosaurus. I need to know what eats the Plesiosaurus.
I have looked everywhere and still can't find it. I would really appreciate it if you would answer
my question. Thanks a bunch! - Randi
from Randi T.; December 17, 1998
A: Large Ichthosaurs like Temnodontosaurus, a 30 foot (9 m) long, Eurhinosaurus, and Ichthyosaurus may have hunted Plesiosaurus (which was about 7.5 feet (2.3 m) long) in the early Jurassic seas.
Q: I would like some information on the flying reptile "Rhamphorhynchus".
from Lynn H., Pgh, PA, USA; December 20, 1998
A: For an information page on Rhamphorhynchus, click here. For more information on Pterosaurs in general, click here.
Q: I'd like to know what pterosaurs ate, especially since they had no teeth! One encyclopedia said they ate insects, but I think a dinosaur with a 40 ft. wingspan would have to eat a LOT of insects to stay alive!
from Sam S., Washington, D.C., USA; December 21, 1998
A: There were lots of different types of Pterosaurs, ranging from a a wingspan of a few inches to over 40 feet (Quetzalcoatlus). They had teeth. Different Pterosaurs probably had different diets (the actual diets of the different species is not known). The smaller ones have been insectivores (eating insects), but others may have eaten fish (which they caught at the surface of the oceans), mollusks, crabs, perhaps plankton (for some species), insects (which were generally larger during the Mesozoic Era), and scavenged dead animals on land. For more information on Pterosaurs, click here.
Q: where can i find information on the proganochelys?
from ??; December 20, 1998
A: There's an entry on Proganochelys (the oldest-known turtle) in the "Dino and Paleontology Dictionary".
Q: I am in sixth grade and am doing a science project on Siberian Tigers, and need to know about the evolution of the tiger such as what it evloved from. I would also like to know when the first "modern day" tiger appeared, and also when the first Siberian Tiger appeared. Also any other pertinant information or websites on the Siberian Tiger. Thank you for your time, it is greatly appreciated.
from Brandon H., Freeland, WA, USA; December 23, 1998
A: Click here for an information sheet on tigers. Siberian tigers live in mountainous mixed deciduous and coniferous forests. They're about 8-15 feet long and weigh about 500-800 pounds.
Q: I need to Know some information on the diplocaulus?
from Lisa M., Niantick, Connecticut, USA; December 10, 1998
A: It's in the Dinosaur and Paleo Dictionary.
Q: May you please tell me everything you know about the Diplocaulus?
from Marissa L., Auckland, New Zealand; November 8, 1998
A: There's an entry on Diplocaulus in the Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary.
Q: About how long did the woolly mammoth live?
from Colin H., Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA; November 16, 1998
A: It lived from the Pleistocene to the early Holocene epoch. For more details on the geologic periods, click here.
Q: Please can you send me some infomation on Santosaurus and drawing dinosaurs.
from Matthew T, Hindhead, Guildford, UK; November 14, 1998
A: I've never heard of Santosaurus. Santanadactylus is a ptersaur, a flying reptile closely related to the dinosaurs. It dates from the early Cretaceous period and was found in Brazil. It was named by Buisonje in 1980.
Q: Would you please give me all of the information you have on the Pteranodon, especially the behavior and it's enemies. Please get back to me as soon as possible, because we need it for our 4th grade report. Thank you very much.... Harrison Ludwig
from Harrison L., Monroeville, Pennsylvania; November 12, 1998
A: For an information sheet on Pteranodon, click here. Also, to determine some of its predators, look at the page on the Cretaceous period, go to the part on the late Cretaceous (when Pteranodon lived) and then to the section on North America (where Pteranodon lived) and see what meat-eaters lived nearby.
Q: How much did a pteranodon weigh?
from Kurt C., Tinton Falls, NJ, USA; November 10, 1998
A: About 35 pounds. For more information on Pteranodon, click here.
Q: I am looking for information on thalassomedon. If you have any, I would
from ??; November 7, 1998
A: Thalassomedon hanningtoni was a plesiosaur (not a dinosuar, but an extinct marine reptile from the Mesozoic Era that lived in the open oceans and breathed air). It had a long snout, long, sharp teeth (up to 5 cm long), a short, pointed tail and four flippers. Fossils have been found in USA. There's a drawing of a skull at this web site (by M. Everhart). For more information on plesiosaurs, click here.
Q: how tall is a pterodactyl to a human when it stands?
from kelly m., amissville, va, and Brandy, Culpepper, VA, USA; November 3, 1998
A: The Pterodactyls ranged in size from the tiny Pterodactylus to the huge Quetzalcoatlus. For comparative pictures of people and 2 different Pterodactyls, click here.
Q: Was there ever a dinosaur called Mosasaurus. When did he live, and what did he eat?
from Cameron V., Cape Town, South Africa; November 1, 1998
A: Mosasaurus was a marine reptile but not a dinosaur. For more details, click here.
Q: What did an Ichthyosaurs eat?
from James Mc C, Phil., PA, USA; October 22, 1998
A: Ichthyosaurs were carnivores; they ate fish, octopus, and other swimming animals. For an information sheet on Ichthyosaurs, click here.
Q: How did Dimetrodon defend itself aginst its predators?
from Kurt M., Eustache, Qc, Canada; October 20, 1998
A: With its many sharp teeth, powerful jaws and speed (it had a speed advantage over most of its contemporaries because its sail let it warm up faster in the morning, and be active earlier).
Q: What information can you tell me about Lystrosaurus?
from Ashley, National Park, NJ, USA; October 15, 1998
A: Lystrosaurus was a heavily-built, quadrupedal, early Triassic period reptile (but not a dinosaur) with a short, stubby tail. Instead of teeth it had two tusk-like fangs made of horn. It was a plant-eater about 3 feet (1 m) long that lived in herds near lakes and swamps. For a little more information see the Dinosaur Dictionary under "L."
Q: Do you have any pictures of the Carcharodon megalodon
from David D., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; October 14, 1998
A: For some information on Caracharodon and other extinct sharks, click here. Only teeth of Megalodon have been found, but since they are so similar to those of the great white shark (only much larger), it is thought that Megalodon looked like a huge version of the great white shark.
Q: I am trying to find reference on a Megalancosaurus. Apparently it was a small tree dweller that might have evolved into birds. I've been unlucky at best in finding reference and I need a photo for an illustration that I am doing. Thanks.
from Beth C., Dayton, Ohio, USA; October 13, 1998
A: I don't have a drawing of Megalancosaurus. It was a reptile (a prolacertiform archosauromorph) from the late Triassic period. It had opposable digits and a prehensile tail, which is why it is thought to have been arboreal (living in trees). It also had a pointed snout. The Megalancosaurus hypothesis (that Megalancosaurus was the ancestor of birds) is one of the theories about the origin of birds. The bird-dinosaur theory is much stronger and more widely accepted.
Q: What kind of information could you find for me on a Diplocaulus?
from Mindy S., Unity, Oregon, USA; October 12, 1998
A: Diplocaulus was not a dinosaur, but an early, extinct amphibian with a boomerang-shaped head. It dates from the Carboniferous to the early Permian period (about 270 million years ago). There's an entry on Diplocaulus in the Dinosaur Dictionary under "D."
Q: What is the taxonomic information on the ancient amphibian diplocaulus?
from Paul S., Houston, Texas, USA; October 14, 1998
A: Diplocaulus was a tetrapod, an amphibian, a labyrinthodont, a Lepospondyl, and a Nectridian. For some information on Diplocaulus, see the Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary (even though Diplocaulus was not a dinosaur).
Q: What did an Archaeopteryx eat, what was the climate it lived in,what groups did it belong to, and what were its needs?
from Blake H., Carthage, Missouri, USA; October 13, 1998
A: It was a bird (a carnivore and insectivore) that lived in a warm climate. For more sheet on Archaeopteryx, click here.
Q: Was Archaeopteryx a bird or a dinosaur?
from Devon K., Dunbar, PA, USA; October 11, 1998
A: Archaeopteryx was bird. From a cladistic viewpoint, since birds evolved from dinosaurs, birds are included in the clade dinosauria, just as people are techically apes.
Q: Why don't you have any information on the late, great, cetiosaurus? Do you have any facts that you could post for me?
from Jason T., Castleton, VT, USA; September 25, 1998
A: I do. Look under "C" in the in Dinosaur Dictionary.
Q: Why aren't the "flying reptiles" considered dinosaurs?
from Susan S., Rochester, MN, USA; September 19, 1998
A: By definition, all dinosaurs were diapsid reptiles with an upright stance. Pterosaurs probably had a semi-upright stance. There is a small minority of paleontologists who think that the pterosaurs' stance could have been upright and that pterosaurs should therefore be included in the clade of dinosaurs (being derived theropods). Either way, dinosaurs and pterosaurs are certainly closely related.
Q: I'm trying to find info on the Woolly Rhino. Do you know when it lived and what modern animal it is related to?
from Lauren B, Brunswick, GA, USA; August 28, 1998
A: I finally found it thanks to your persistence. Coelodonta, the woolly rhino, is from the Pleistocene epoch (which lasted from 1.8-0.1 million years ago) and survived the last ice age. It belongs to the family Rhinocerotids, which includes modern-day rhinos. This plant-eater had two horns on its snout, the lower one larger than the one between its eyes. It had long hair, small ears, short, thick legs, and a stocky body. Its fossils have been found in Europe and Asia. Its shape is known from prehistoric cave drawings! There's a good page on rhinos at the Animal Diversity web.
Q: Were there any turtle dinosaurs ?
from Alison S, Houston, TX, USA; August 28, 1998
A: No. Turtles are different from dinosaurs (they are anapsids, having no holes in the sides of their heads; dinosaurs and all other reptiles are diapsids, having two holes in the sides of their heads). Turtles evolved during the late Triassic period, roughly 220 million years ago, about the same time the dinosaurs evolved. Proganochelys is the oldest known turtle.
Q: What was the Diplocaulus? How long ago did it live? What were its habit's?
from Tollevin W., LA, CA, USA; July 7, 1998
A: Diplocaulus was not a dinosaur but an old, extinct amphibian. It had a boomerang-shaped head, four short legs, and a long tail. It was 3 feet (1 m) long and lived during the late Carboniferous to the early Permian period (about 270 million years ago). Its fossils have been found in North America. Like all amphibians, it had to live near the water since amphibian eggs have no shells and must be laid in the water (or in very damp areas) or they will dry out and die.
Q: I have recently read the book 'Meg' does anyone know if there are any drawing's from artists as to what a 'Carcharodon Megalodon' might have looked like?
from Kevin V, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; July 1, 1998
A: Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) was an ancient shark, living between 5-1.6 million years ago; it is extinct. It was up to 40 feet (12 m) long, but this is only an estimate from fossilized teeth that have been found. No other parts of this ancient shark have been found, so we can only guess what it looked like. It may have looked like a huge version of the great white shark. (Shark fossils are extremely rare because sharks have no bones, only cartilage, which does not fossilize well.)
Q: a plesiosaurus, where are the pictures?
from jacob m., hillsboro, tx, usa; June 21, 1998
A: For an information page with a picture of Plesiosaurus, click here.
Q: How did Elasmosaurus defend himself???
from Ryan K., Brookfield, CT, USA; June 10, 1998
A: Elasmosaurus had sharp teeth in strong jaws but nothing else as a defense from predators. For more information on Elasmosaurus, click here.
Q: if dinosaurs are reptiles and peterodactyls are flying repiles why aren't pterodactyls considered dinosaurs?
from Jerry B., West Seneca, NY, USA; May 14, 1998
A: For the same reason that although cats are mammals and dogs are mammals, dogs are not considered to be cats.
Q: What were the largest other types of animals that existed at the same time as the dinosaurs?
from Ross M., Sacramento, CA, USA; April 26, 1998
A: Other large animals from the Mesozoic Era include Plesiosaurs, marine reptiles that ranged in size from 8-46 feet long (2.5-14 m). They had four flippers, sharp teeth in strong jaws, and a pointed tail. The largest plesiosaur was Elasmosaurus. Also in the sea were Ichthysaurs and Nothosaurs. Primitive crocodilians were also in existence. In the air, Pterosaurs (including the enormous Quetzalcoatlus) flew. Mammals were still tiny. Click on the underlined animals for more information about them.
Q: My little girl is looking for information on Dimetrodons and needs to know the following: 1)What size, shape, weight or any characteristics that made it different from other dinosaurs? 2) What was its habitat like? How did it differ from other dinosaur habitats? 3) What did it eat? Where was the food found? How much and how often did it eat?
from Cadigrl, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; April 26, 1998
A: Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur (but a pelycosaur). For an information sheet on Dimetrodon, click here - I think it will answer most of your questions. The frequency with which extinct animals ate is virtually impossible to determine.
Q: Was Plesiosaurus able to lay eggs on land and feed her young on land?
from Jessica L. A., Harrisin, N.Y. STATE, USA; April 19, 1998
A: Plesiosaurus, like other Plesiosaurs, probably left the water and laid her eggs in the sand on a beach - like modern-day sea turtles. Beyond that, there was probably no nurturing of the hatchlings. For more information of Plesiosaurs, click here.
Q: Were there any mice during the Jurassic period?
from Wanda A., Philadelphia, PA, USA; April 15, 1998
A: No, modern-day mice hadn't evolved yet, but there were other primitive mammals during the Jurassic period. Some primitive mammals from the Jurassic included Megazostrodon, a 4-inch-long, mouse-like mammal that ate insects, Morganucodon, another mouse-like creature, and Triconodon, a house-cat-sized meat-eater. Mammals first appeared during the Triassic period, just before the Jurassic period.
Q: do you have any information on the Archaeopteryx
from Edward M., Mokena, IL, USA; April 14, 1998
A: The Archaeopteryx is the oldest known fossil bird, and dates from the late Jurassic period (about 150 million years ago). It is now extinct. Although it had feathers and could fly, it had similarities to dinosaurs, including its teeth, skull, and certain bone structures. For more information, click on "Dinosaurs and Birds" in the main section - "All About Dinosaurs."
Q: 1) Which dinosaurs lived underwater?
2) where can I get info on them?
from Daniella B., Panorama Ciry, CA, USA; April 4, 1998
A: No dinosaurs lived underwater. There were other primitive reptiles that lived underwater during the time of the dinosaurs, such as:
Nothosaurs. Click on any of these creatures for more information about them.
Q: Are alligators older than dinosaurs?
from Felipe, Hollywood, Florida, USA; August 8, 1997
A: Primitive Crocodyloformes (the extinct ancestors of alligators and crocodiles) first appeared during the Triassic period (about 248-208 million years ago). This is also the time when small, primitive dinosaur species began appearing. The oldest Crocodylians (the group that includes the living alligators, crocodiles, etc. and their close extinct relatives) are from the late Cretaceous (about 80 million years ago), which was the heyday of the dinosaurs.
Q:What kind of bugs lived in the dinosaur time ?
from Didi, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; Dec. 1, 1997
A: Primitive insects first evolved during the Silurian Period (438 to 408 million years ago), long before the dinosaurs appeared. Winged insects appeared later, during the Mississippian Period (360 to 325 million years ago), but they still predated the dinosaurs. A lot of insects lived during the Mesozoic Era (248 to 65 million years ago), the time of the dinosaurs. There were huge dragonflies (as large as birds), giant roaches, and lots of other bugs. The fossil record of insects is very incomplete because their fragile exoskeletons decompose quickly after death, and therefore don't fossilize easily.
Q: Is the Dimetrodon a dinosaur?
from Jared A. W., Fair Oaks, CA, USA; May 16, 1998
A: No, it was another type of extinct animal (a pelycosaur) from the time of the dinosaurs. For an information sheet on Dimetrodon, click here.
Q: How many feet tall is the Dimetrodon? I am in second grade and doing a report on him.
from Alex D., Boise, ID, USA; March 4, 1998
A: Dimetrodon (not a dinosaur) was about11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and 4 -5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) tall; most of the height was the sail. Click here for an information sheet on Dimetrodon.
Q: what kind of food did the Dimetrodon eat??
from Zac C,, Vineland, NJ, USA; October 6, 1998
A: Dimetrodon was a carnivore with a huge head and mouth, large, powerful jaws, and two types of teeth - sharp canines and shearing teeth. It probably ate other pelycosaurs (its close relatives), insects, etc. It could leave its cold, sluggish state much earlier after sunrise than the pelycosaurs with no sails (such as Archaeothyris, Casea, Ophiacodon, and Varanosaurus) and catch and eat them. For more information on Dimetrodon, click here.
Q: I would like information on the Dimetrodon please. A picture would be nice but not necessary. Thank you.
from S & P W., Palm Coast, FL, USA; September 1, 1997
A: Dimetrodon lived in the late Paleozoic Era, during the Permian period (about 280 millions of years ago), long before the dinosaurs appeared.
The dimetrodon reached 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and weighed about 550 pounds (250 kg). Its fossils have been found in North America. It had a large sail-like flap of skin along its back, dense with blood vessels and supported by long, bony spines. This flap might have been a thermoregulatory structure, used to absorb and release heat, and for making it look much larger than it was to predators. Dimetrodon was a carnivore with large, powerful jaws and long, sharp teeth.
The Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur, and is probably more closely related to us than to the dinosaurs. It is a pelycosaur, which had many mammal-like characteristics and is among the relatives of warm-blooded mammals.
Q:What did Dimetrodons eat?
from Aaron, San Diego, CA, USA; Nov. 16, 1997
A: Dimetrodons (who were not dinosaurs) were carnivores. They had a huge head and mouth, large, powerful jaws, and long, sharp teeth. The dimetrodon reached 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and weighed about 550 pounds (250 kg). They were the dominant carnivore during the Permian period, living mainly in swampy areas. They probably ate any edible animal that they could catch. Click here for more info on dimetrodon.
Q: I'm trying to do a research paper on a "day in the life of dimetrodon." I know the pseudo-reptile isn't a dinosaur, but do you have any information on it? Specifically where (not when. i mean what sort of environment) it lived, what it probably ate, and how it went extinct? Most web pages and books with information on it that I have been able to find are simply rehashing stuff that's already been said. Thanks for your time.
from John, Davis, CA, USA; March 18, 1998
A: For an information sheet on Dimetrodon, click here - I think it will answer your questions.
Q:We are looking for the name of a sail-backed reptile from the end of the Permian period.
from Sara, Lewiston, Maine, USA; Dec. 26, 1997
Q: When did humans first appear
from ?; March 26, 1998
A: The first humans (homo sapiens) evolved about 200,000 year ago, during the Pleistocene Epoch. For more information on the Earth's geologic timeline, click here.
Q:How much did the ichthyosaurs weigh?
from Katie F., Erie, PA, USA; Feb. 26, 1998
A: Ichthyosaurs were prehistoric reptiles that lived in the sea - they were not dinosaurs. They ranged in size from 7 to 30 feet long (4.5 to 9 m). Their weights varied widely also. Click here for an information sheet on Ichthyosaurs.
Q: Did mammals live during the dino's period?
from Jaimi C., Vassalboro, Maine, USA; March 19, 1998
A: Yes, mammals and dinosaurs both evolved during the Triassic period. Some scientists think that competition from mammals may have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Q: Could the megalodon still exist. If yes then where and how? Is the book 'Meg' acurate? Thanks
from Chris Price, Stafford, Staffordshire, England; March 19, 1998
A: It is unlikely that it's still around, but it is possible. Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) was an ancient shark, living between 5-1.6 million years ago; it is extinct. It was up to 40 feet (12 m) long, but this is only an estimate from fossil teeth that have been found. Shark fossils are rare because sharks have no bones, only cartilage, which does not fossilize well. I've never read the book "Meg."
Q: I've recently read a book called MEG, at the start is says that these "Megaladons" realy did exist, that they were 10 times the size of the biggest Great White known.... Is this true, please supply information
from Matthew R., Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom; August 16, 1997
A: Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) was an ancient shark, living between 5-1.6 million years ago. It was up to 40 feet (12 m) long, but this is only an estimate from fossil teeth. Shark fossils are rare because sharks have no bones, only cartilage - which does not fossilize well.
The Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are up to about 23 feet (7 m) long.
Q: Were opossums in there present state when the dinosaurs were living? Back in the prehistoric time.
from ??, ??; March 13, 1998
A: Very primitive marsupials (the ancestors of today's opossums) evolved during the Cretaceous period, between 100 and 75 million years ago. This was towards the end of the Mesozoic Era (the dinosaur's reign); the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. Modern-day opossums evolved much later.
Q: Were opposums around with the dinosaurs?
from Tramaine I., Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA; September 3, 1997
A: No, opossums weren't, but other primitive marsupials were around with the dinosaurs.
Opossums (Didelphis marsupialis), are the only marsupials in North America. Marsupials are a very primitive type of mammal; they don't have a placenta.
Primitive mammals first appeared about the same time as the first dinosaurs, during the mid-Triassic Period (220 mya). The marsupials developed and were quite common during the Mesozoic Era, the "Age of Dinosaurs."
Q:We are looking for where to find something on the Ornithosuchus from the Triassic Period it kinda looks like a crocodile that walks on two feet. Need to do a school project on this. Thanks for any help you can give us.
from jlp, ???; Feb. 3, 1998
A: Ornithosuchus (meaning "bird crocodile") was a thecodont, the group from which the arcosaurs (including the dinosaurs) evolved. Ornithosuchus was a carnivore from the middle and late Triassic period with a long snout and sharp teeth. It was about 6 feet long and weighed about 100+ pounds. It had five-fingered hands and walked on two legs.
Q: I am doing a report on the plesiosaurus, but have not found how they protect themselves. Do you know?
from Scott M., Colchester, VT, USA; March 16, 1998
A: Plesiosaurus was a marine lizard about 16 feet long that lived during the Jurassic period; it was not a dinosaur. It had very little protection from predators. Its best protection was its teeth and its speed in the water. For more information on Plesiosaurs, the family that Plesiosaurus belonged to, click here.
Q: Who/what were the natural enemies of the Pteranodon ?
from Kelly C., Anaheim, CA, USA; May 29, 1998
A: Pteranodon lived during the late Cretaceous period in North America and Europe. Its large predatory contemporaries included Tyrannosaurus rex and Troodon. For more information on Pteranodon, click here.
Q: My little cousin is in grade 3 and has a science project on "Pterodactyl's" we are having trouble finding information, any help you could offer us would be much appricated.
from Katherine C., Canada; March 28, 1998
A: Click here for an information sheet on pterodactyls (also known as pterodactyloids). Your e-mail address didn't work.
Q: Is there really a flying dinosaur? This second grade class is not convinced that their is no flying dinosaurs!
from Second Grade Class, Blue Earth, MN, USA; March 12, 1998
A: There were no flying dinosaurs but there were a lot of flying reptiles during the time of the dinosaurs. These flying reptiles were called pterosaurs; examples include Pteranodon and Quetzalocoatlus. They went extinct along with the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. For more information on pterosaurs, click here.
Q: I am doing a report on dinosaurs and was hoping I could get the weight, length, and height of both the Plesiosaurus and the Nothosaurus. Thank you.
from Steve, Billings, MT, USA; March 8, 1998
A: Plesiosaurus and Nothosaurus are extinct marine reptiles, but not dinosaurs.
There were several species of Plesiosaurus, which was the earliest known Plesiosaur. Plesiosaurs were early Jurassic marine reptiles with flippers. Plesiosaurus was about 7.5 feet (2.3 m) long. Click here for more info on Plesiosaurus and other Plesiosaurs.
Nothosaurus was about 10 feet (3 m) long. Click here for more info on Nothosaurus and other Nothosaurs. I can't find any information on their weights and I'm not sure how you'd figure out a height measurement for these seal-like animals.
Q:What is the Plesiosaurs' weight?
from Bosung and Adam, Coralville, IA, USA; Feb. 20, 1998
A: Plesiosaurs (click here for more information) were marine reptiles (and not dinosaurs) that ranged in size from 8-43 feet long (2.5-13 m). Their weights varied proportionately.
Q: I read in your answers that all dinosaurs lived on land. I thought the plesiosaur had flippers and lived in the water. Is there such a thing as a plesiosaur or any other flippered dinosaur.
from Julie L., New Bavaria, OH, USA; September 28, 1997
A: Plesiosaurs were sea reptiles (with flippers) that lived in the seas during the Late Triassic and Jurassic Periods. They were carnivores that grew to be about 10-14 feet long (3-4 m). Elasmosaurus was another flippered reptile, even bigger than the Plesiosaur, growing up to 40 feet (12 m) long. They were not dinosaurs! No dinosaurs lived in the seas - all dinosaurs lived on land!
Q:Hi. I'm a Seventh Grader and I'm doing a report on the quetzacoatlus. How did it go extinct?
A: Quetzalcoatlus (a flying reptile, not a dinosaurs) lived during the late Cretaceous period and died out about 65 million years ago, during the K-T mass extinction. Click here for an information page on Quetzalcoatlus.
Q:1) What were Quetzalcoatlus' enemies?
2) How did it protect itself?
3) Where did it live?
from Matthew, Long Grove, Illinois, USA; Dec. 7, 1997
A: Quetzalcoatlus (not a dinosaur) was a huge flying reptile (a pterosaur). It had a 40 foot (12 m) wingspread and was 8 feet (2.5 m) long! It lived during the late Cretaceous period. Its enemies were probably any large, agile carnivore that was capable of catching the giant flyer. It's hard to imagine a healthy, mature Quetzalcoatlus being caught, but the sick, old, and very young could be easy prey. Its best protection must have been flying, since it did not have armor, horns, or huge teeth; they only had small teeth and sharp claws on short fingers that protruded from their wings. Quetzalcoatlus fossils have been found in Texas, USA.
Q: What is a Rhampherincus and how do you spell it correctly?
from Ted C., ?; March 10, 1998
A: Rhamphorhynchus was a small, flying reptile with a long tail and a long, toothed beak. It was not a dinosaur, but a pterosaur. Rhamphorhynchus lived during the late Jurassic in Europe
Q:Where there ever such things as Sabrecats?
from Andrew C., Sudbury, Ontario, CA; Feb. 15, 1998
A: Sabre-toothed cats are extinct carnivorous mammals. The were large, ferocious cats with huge fangs.
Smilodon, the sabre-toothed "tiger" from the late Pleistocene Epoch lived in packs, was up to 10 feet=3 m long, and had fangs up to 6 inches=15 cm long. It went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
Hoplophoneus is an earlier and smaller saber-toothed cat, from the Oligocene (20 million years earlier than Smilodon).
Q:Are sharks dinosaurs or fish?
from Alicia B., Batavia, NY, USA; Jan. 17, 1998
Q: Question #1-What is the name of a dinosaur that lived in the water? Question #2-What is the name of a dinosaur with a big fin on its back? Question #3- Which dinosaur walked on two feet?
from Alyssa F., Whitehorse, Yukon, CA; November 29, 1997
A: #1. No dinosaurs lived in the seas - they all lived on land!. Many aquatic animals (such as the Plesiosaur) lived in the seas, but these sea reptiles were NOT dinosaurs.
#2. Spinosaurus and Ouranosaurus were sail-backed dinos. You might be thinking of the Dimetrodon, which was not a dinosaur.
#3. A lot of dinosaurs walked on two feet, including the very early dinosaurs and many later models. Some well-known examples are: Tyrannosaurus, Unenlagia, Pachycephalosaurus, and many, many more.
Q: I should like to find out: What was the largest dinosaur in the sea, and the information on it. Thanx !
from Sheridan L., manassas, va, USA; September 17, 1997
A: No dinosaurs lived in the seas - they all lived on land!
Q: I've read recently that some scientists believe that many ocean creatures, that have been believed to be extinct for millions of years, may be alive and well at the bottom of the ocean, what are your views on this thought?.......
from Matt R., Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom; September 7, 1997
A: I think that there are lots of life forms that we've yet to discover, including some that were previously thought extinct. About fifty years ago, a living coelacanth was caught. This primitive, relatively large, lobe-finned fish was thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago and to exist only as a fossil. Finding it was quite a shock to the scientific community. If a large fish like this could remain undetected for so long, others species could also be undetected, especially those living in the extreme depths of the ocean.
Most of the ocean's depths are unexplored and many fascinating discoveries in cryptozoology will be made as robotic devices plumb the remote depths.
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