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Zoom Dinosaurs
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Questions from December 1998

Q: When and where did the Procompsognathus live?
from Herbert S., Iceland; December 30, 1998

A: Procompsognathus lived in what is now Germany during the late Triassic period, about 222 to 219 million years ago. For more info on Procompsognathus, see the entry in the Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary.

Q: Why are dinosaurs so big?
from Robert F., Lindasy, CA, USA; December 30, 1998

A: Most dinosaurs weren't giants, but no one knows why some of them were so huge.

Q: Where did the T-Rex live -- in a cave? or did they just live outdoors?
from Nick G., Hawaii, USA; December 30, 1998

A: Outdoors.

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: what family does the Trachodon belong to?
from Harry D., South Orange, New Jersey, USA; December 298, 1998

A: Trachodon was probably a Hadrosaurid, but this is not certain, since Trachodon is only known from a single fossilized tooth.

Q: Do all dinosaurs have tails? Please tell me the general shape of the dinosaurs.
from Archana G, North York, Ontario, Canada; December 27, 1998

A: Yes, they all had tails. For pictures of all the major types of dinosaurs, click here.

Q: Hi, I want to be a paleontologist when I grow up and I want to know where most dinosaur fossils are found.
from ??; December 23, 1998

A: Fossils have been found all over the world and on every continent. Large concentrations have been found where it is easiest to recover the fossils, that is, where Mesozoic Era sediment is exposed, like badlands. In N. America, huge numbers of dinosaurs have been found in the western rockies, in Alberta, Montana, Colorado, and Colorado. Recently, many theropods have been found in Lioning, China. For more locations, click here.

Q: Why do dinosaurs eat plants?
from ??; December 23, 1998

A: Most dinosaurs were plant-eaters. They were plant-eaters for the same reasons that modern herbivores (plant-eaters) eat plants. Plants are what they are are capable of obtaining and digesting. For more information on dinosaur diets, click here.

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: There's an information sheet on tigers at /subjects/mammals/tiger/. Siberian tigers live in mountainous mixed deciduous and coniferous forests. They're about 8-15 feet long and weigh about 500-800 pounds.

Q: Were humans and dinosaurs ever alive at the same time?
from GS, Houston, TX, USA; December 21, 1998

A: No.

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 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: how much did a Sauropod eat?
from Philip L. A., Aurora, CO, USA; December 20, 1998

A: A tremendous amount. No one knows exactly how much they ate. The amount depends on the metabolic rate of the dinosaur (the large sauropods were probably cold-blooded, but this is not known definitely) and the caloric content of the plant material that was eaten.

Q: During what era did the tyranosaurus live
from Justin C.; December 18, 1998

A: T. rex lived during the Mesozoic Era (as did all the dinosaurs). It lived from about 68 to 65 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.

Q: what was the fastest dinosaur
from Sean H., Bloomington, IN, USA; December 18, 1998

A: The fastest dinosaurs probably weren't any faster than modern-day land animals. Dinosaur speeds are deduced from fossilized trackway finds, and from looking at the dinosaurs' morphology (shape and structure). The speediest dinosaurs were bird-like bipedal carnivores (theropods) with long, slim hind-limbs and light bodies (hollow bones and a streamlined body):
  • Dromiceiomimus,(means "emu mimic"), an ornithomimid, had long legs, small head, toothless beak, weighed about 220 pounds (100 kg), and was 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long).
  • Gallimimus and Ornithomimus (means "bird mimic") -were ostrich-like oviraptor with toothless beaks, long legs, and hollow bones. They could probably run as fast as an ostrich, , which can run up to 43 mph (70 kph).
  • Coelophysis (means "hollow form") - from the late Triassic period, had very sharp, serrated teeth and hunted in packs.
  • Velociraptor (means "speedy thief") - from the Cretaceous period, had very sharp teeth and retractable claws on its feet .

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: How long did dinosaurs live?
from ?; December 17, 1998

A: See the section on Dinosaur life-spans.

Q: When did the Parasaurolophus die? Also, where did they live?
from Amanda C., Kingman, Arizona, USA; December 17, 1998

A: For information on Parasaurolophus, click here.

Q: Dear Zoom Dinosaurs, I'm doing a report on the diplocaulus for a science report. I really need some information. Here are some of the things that I need: 1. Any info what so ever 2. What it eats 3. Habitat 4. How big it is 5. Some pictures (maybe) 6.Facts and where it lives 7. Adaptations Thank you! PLEASE WRITE BACK very soon thanks again I really appreciate it.
from Mallery C., Natick, MA, USA; December 17, 1998

A: For an entry on Diplocaulus in the Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary, click here.

Q: Can you show me a picture of an Oviraptor?
from Amanda D., Reston, VA, USA; December 16, 1998

A: OviraptorFor more information about Oviraptor, click here.

Q: What was the K/T mass extinction?
from Kevin W., Dunkirk; December 16, 1998

A: The K-T Extinction was a mass extinction; an event in which an enormous number of species died out. This mass extinction was probably caused by an asteroid impact and occurred between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods. For more information, click here.

Q: Which carnivore was the most ferocious
from Jake M., Concord, New Hampshire, USA; December 15, 1998

A: Probably T. rex.

Q: How many dinosaurs were there in the Mesozoic Era
from ??; December 14, 1998

A: All the non-avian dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era. No one knows exactly how large the dinosaur population was. Scientists known of about roughly 600-700 valid genera of dinosaurs from the fossil record.

Q: Where was the Stegosaurus's fossils found
from Kerry F., Myerstown, PA, USA; December 14, 1998

A: Stegosaurus fossils have been found in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, USA. For more information on Stegosaurus, click here.

Q: I'm doing a report on Apatosaurus' and I need to know if they are endotherms or ectotherms and why scientists believe this. Thank you, your page has helped a lot!
from Erica D., Tulsa, OK, USA; December 13, 1998

A: The enormous sauropods were probably ectothermic (relying on the environment to regulate their body temperature). Really huge animals can maintain an almost constant body temperature due to their mass and their small surface to volume ratio (they don't lose a lot of heat compared to a small animal). (Of course, this means that they also have trouble getting rid of excess heat.) Also, their ancestors (primitive reptiles) were ectotherms, so ectothermy would be their assumed state (and endothermy would have to be demonstrated, not the other way around). For more information on dinosaurs' heat regulation, click here.

Q: 1. is a giganotosaurus endothermic or exothermic? 2. What were thier mating habits?
from Jon, Tulsa, OK, USA; December 13, 1998

A: 1. This is unknown. For some information on dinosaurs' heat regulation, click here.
2. No one knows anything about the dinosaurs' mating habits.

Q: Are stratum the same thickness everywhere in nature?
from Giovanni S., Hollywood, CA, USA; December 13, 1998

A: No.

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: What is Parasaurolophus means and how it was named?
from Brianna T., Sterling, VA, USA; December 13, 1998

A: Parasaurolophus means "beside Saurolophus," and Saurolophus means "ridged lizard". It was named by paleontologist Wm. A. Parks in 1922. For more information on Parasaurolophus, click here.

Q: what state was the first three skeletons of dinosaurs found
from bekka1; December 11, 1998

A: The first dinosaurs were not found in the United States. For information on the first dinosaur discoveries, click here.

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: Can you tell me order and family of the Maiasaura? Thank-you so much!
from ?, Harrisburg, PA, USA; December 10, 1998

A: Maiasaura belongs to the order Ornithischia and the family Hadrosauridae (duck-billed dinosaurs). For more info on Maiasaura, click here.

Q: What size is a T-rex's heart and eyes?
from DDutcher, Harrisburg, PA, USA; December 10, 1998

A: No fossilized impressions of T. rex's internal organs have been found. Only bones, teeth, and some skin impressions have been found. For more info on T. rex, click here.

Q: where can i find a artist's representation of a Carcharodon megalodon
from Kristopher T., Marietta, GA, USA; December 10, 1998

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 and not serrated (the teeth of the great white are serrated). Scientists' best guess is that it looked like a huge great white shark. For more information on megalodon, click here.

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: 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: What is Maiasaura's scientific name?
from ??; December 9, 1998

A: The scientific name for the genus Maiasaura is Maiasaura. (The scientific name for each dinosaur genus is also its common name.)

Q: How, why and when did Hypsilophodon become extinct?
from Amy P., Killingworth, CT, USA; December 8, 1998

A: Hypsilophodon went extinct about 115 million years ago in a background extinction. For more information on Hypsilophodon, click here.

Q: Could you tell me about Astrodon's leg bone?
from Alyson P., Baltimore, Maryland, USA; December 8, 1998

A: Astrodon is only known from its teeth, no leg bones have been found. These fossilized teeth show that it was a sauropod, a quadrupedal, plant-eating dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period. Sauropods had elephant-like legs and each foot had 5 toes set in a fleshy pad. For more information on Astrodon, see the Dinosaur Dictionary.

Q: Are Dinosaurs warm or cold blooded and why?
from Sam C., Terre Haute, IN, USA; December 8, 1998

A: See the page on this in the section on dinosaur Anatomy.

Q: How come they can't find out what caused the extinction?
from Jason F., Syosset, NY, USA; December 8, 1998

A: They pretty much have; see the Top Ten Questions.

Q: What is the difference between an Ankylosaurus and an Euoplocephalus?
from Miss E., Barrigada, GU, USA; December 7, 1998

A: They were pretty similar and very closely related armored dinosaurs. Ankylosaurus was bigger and lived later than Euoplocephalus. Ankylosaurus was the biggest and last of the ankylosaurinae.

Q: What is a Diplodocus?
from Tara G., West Hamlin, W.V., USA; December 7, 1998

A: A large, plant-eating dinosaur. For more information, click here.

Q: Could you please tell me some info about these two dinos: Procompsognthus and Titanosaurus. thanks
from Maverick, Missouri, USA; December 7, 1998

A: There are entries for these two in the Dinosaur Dictionary, just look under "P" and "T."

Q: What how big are the eggs and how many do each dinosaur lay? please reply quickly or add it to your site I am doing a project.
from Desiree K., Carlinville, Illinois, USA; December 7, 1998

A: Although a lot of dinosaur eggs have been found, it is almost impossible to know which dinosaur they came from. Sometimes, the eggs are found together with adults or hatchlings or, more rarely, embryos, and then the eggs can be connected to a dinosaur. For a chart of dinosaur egg information, check out the section on Dinosaur Eggs and Reproduction.

Q: Were did some dinosaurs live
from Jason K., Clarksville, Arkansas, USA; December 7, 1998

A: For lists of where dinosaur (and some other fossils) were found, click here.

Q: Describe the habitat for the velociraptor. What is his defence mechanisms?
from Kelly S., Winston-Salem, NC, USA; December 6, 1998

A: For information on Velociraptor, click here. For info on its habitat, click on the time period in which it lived (within the information sheet on Velociraptor).

Q: I am doing some research on a dinosaur called Dicraeosaurus.I have found info about him on this site before but I forget where?It is not in the Dino Dicionary.So where is it?
from Kevin M., West Milford, NJ, USA; December 6, 1998

A: I've added Dicraeosaurus to the Dinosaur Dictionary.

Q: Hi! I am doing a paleontology report for science. I need to know what animal living today comes from the Brachiosaurus? Also what was the name of the new dinosaur that was found in Africa? Thanks!
from Mike B., Sparta, NJ, USA; December 6, 1998

A: Brachiosaurus, like the other sauropods, was an evolutionary dead end. The birds evolved from the theropods.

The new African dinosaur is Suchomimus; for more information on it, click here.

Q: how tall was the Velociraptor?
from Matthew C., Canberra, act., Australia; December 5, 1998

A: Velociraptor was about 3 feet tall (1 m). For more information on Velociraptor, click here.

Q: WHAT family OF DINOSAURS is Aublysodon from
from Sean O., Cuyahhoga Falls, Ohio, USA; December 5, 1998

A: Aublysodon was a theropod, and may have been a tyrannosaurid (very little is known about it since all that has been found is teeth and skull fragments).

Q: I am doing a report, and I need a bit more information about the Brachiosaurus. What benefits has it provided for its environment? Why did the Brachiosaurus become extinct? What animal today comes from the Brchiosaurus? Thank You!
from Stephan W., Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; December 5, 1998

A: Brachiosaurus (and every other organism) affected its environment in many ways, helping some organisms and hurting others (mostly plants and competing herbivores who could have eaten those plants). Good or bad effects to the environment are relative; any change benefits some organisms and hurts others. Brachiosaurus changed its environment a lot since it was so large. It consumed (leaves and water) and produced (dung and its carcass when it died) a huge amount. Brachiosaurus benefited plants and animals that could use its dung, plants that benefited from clearcuts which Brachiosaurus must have made in forests.

A long-term evolutionary effect of Brachiosaurus' existence may have been to select for taller trees.

Brachiosaurus went extinct during the late Jurassic period, about 145 million years ago in the most common type of extinction, a background extinction. Brachiosaurus (and the other sauropods) were a biological dead end. For more information on Brachiosaurus, click here.

from Suzanne C., Los Gatos, CA, USA; December 4, 1998

A: Your nephew might be reffering to Carcharodontosaurus (I hope!). It was a huge meat-eater, even bigger than T. rex. There's an information sheet about Carcharodontosaurus here.

Q: What Era did the Iguanadon live in
from David F., NY, NY, USA; December 4, 1998

A: Iguanodon, like all dinosaurs, lived during the Mesozoic Era. In particular, it lived during the early Cretaceous period, about 135 to 110 million years ago. For more information about Iguanodon, click here.

Q: Tyrannosaurus was alway's my favorite dinosaur since I was a young kid. The question that I wanted to ask is the way families work in Ornithischian and Saurischian families , but when I went to them I knew that the chart are diferent for example Spinosaurus does not belong to Carnosauria family, Spinosaurus belongs to it's own family, Spinosauria.
from Steven C., Barachois, Quebec, Canada; December 3, 1998

A: Classification is an incredibly interesting and useful part of paleontology. The classification of dinosaurs is being reorganized all the time as new discoveries are made. A few years ago, cladistics (a new, evolutionary method of classifying organisms) revolutionized the way paleotologists grouped dinosaur families. In addition to this turmoil is the differing viewpoints among paleontologists about the classification about many of the little-known or unusual genera. These different schools of thought about the exact lineage of the dinosaurs leads to a lot of confusion and some disagreement.

Many classification schemes (but not all) use Carnosaria to include massive theropods like Tyrannosaurus. One excellent reference, the book The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs by Fastovsky and Weishampel (1996, Cambridge Univ. Press) has in depth discussions of dinosaur classification. For large theropods, it uses Thomas Holtz's 1993 revised cladogram in which the group Carnosaur is disbanded and put in the group tetanurae.

Q: How long was a Velociraptor? How tall was a Velociraptor?
from Drew B., Dubuque, IA, USA; December 3, 1998

A: For information on Velociraptor, click here.

Q: I need info. on brontosaurus, I can't find any info. can you help me?
from Katie E., Lakewood, Colorado, USA; December 3, 1998

A: The new and improved name of Brontosaurus is Apatosaurus. For information on Apatosaurus, click here.

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 is the total number of bones found in the Velociraptor?
from Betty C., Chicago, Ill, USA; December 3, 1998

A: I don't know the exact bone count, but many almost complete fossilized Velociraptor skeletons (including adults and juveniles) have been found.

Q: I'm doing a dinosaur project for science and I need to know the behavior of Baryonyx?
from Lee M., Greeley, Colorado, USA; December 2, 1998

A: For information on Baryonyx, click here.

Q: What is the Corythosaurus's social Behavior?
from Tim I., Greeley, Colorado, USA; December 2, 1998

A: For information on Corythosaurus, click here.

Q: I know that the Jurassic period was the 2nd period in the dinosaur period. Right after the Triassic and before the Cretatious. But when did it start and when did it end? Like, how many million years ago did it start and end?
from Linley A, San Antonio, TX, USA; December 2, 1998

A: For the dates and more information about these periods, see this page.

Q: Please Give me a lot of info on the titanosaurus.
from Evan F., Charleston, SC, USA; December 2, 1998

A: There's any entry on Titanosaurus in the Dinosaur Dictionary.

Q: Do you have some pictures of the fosils of the Trachodon?
from Karen, Lexington, Mass., USA; December 2, 1998

A: No. Trachodon is only known from some fossilized teeth and fragmentary jaw. It's existence as a separate genus is doubtful, and its classification is unsure. It was probably a hadrosaur (but may have been a ceratopsian).

Q: Will you please give me any and all information that you have on the Stygimoloch? It will be greatly appreciated! Grasias .
from Joseph C., Sparta, NJ, USA; December 2, 1998

A: There's an entry on Stygimoloch in the Dino Dictionary.

Q: What stuff did the Brachiousaurus eat? And is it true that the Brachiousaurus is the heaviest dinosaur ever found?
from Chris C., Portland, Maine, USA; December 2, 1998

A: Brachiosaurus ate leaves, probably mostly from tree-tops. Heavier dinosaurs have been found, like Argentinosaurus. For more information on Brachiosaurus, click here.

Q: How long were dinosaurs around?
from Brent R., Allenwood, NJ; December 2, 1998

A: They evolved about 228 million years ago (during the Triassic period, toward the beginning of the Mesozoic Era) and went extinct 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period (also the end of the MEsozoic Era).

Q: I want to know information about the Stegosaurus dinosaurus
from Suchitra, Bangalore, Karnataka, India; December 1, 1998

A: For an information sheet on Stegosaurus, click here.

Q: Why did the people who made Jurassic Park mistake Velociraptor for its cosin Utahraptor?
from Damian R., Carmal, Indiana, USA; December 1, 1998

A: I guess Velociraptor wasn't scary enough for them, so they just made it a lot bigger than it actually was.

Q: What is the biggest dinosaur? What is the smallest dinosaur?
from Calli E., Rachel G., Paige L., and Stephanie, Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA; December 1, 1998

A: See the Top Ten Questions.

Q: How long was Triceratops?
from Phyllicia S., Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA; December 1, 1998

A: About 25 feet (8 m) long. For more information on Triceratops, click here.

Q: How did the dinosaurs die?
from Aaron C., Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA; December 1, 1998

A: See the Top Ten Questions.

Q: What dinosaur was discovered first?
from Garrett H., Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA; December 1, 1998

A: See the Top Ten Questions.

Q: could somthing like the Lost world really happen?
from Tyler W., Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA; December 1, 1998

A: Probably not, because DNA would probably decay over that long a time (at least 65 million years), even when preserved in amber.

Q: When did the Jurassic period start and how long did it last? What were some of the characteristics of the plant life at that time?
from Stephanie, San Antonio, TX, USA; December 1, 1998

A: Click here for information about the Jurassic period.

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