C O U R S E L E C T U R E
How are Dinosaurs Different than Other Animals?
Notes taken on September 22, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
began as an organized study of knowledge in the 19th century
ways of studying dinosaurs
comes from the Latin fossilis which means "dug up" from fodere or "dig"
uses natural variation and disparity to understand the patterns of life at all levels
we still have thousands of species of dinosaurs living with us today, we just call them birds
dinosaurs in the classical sense
lived in the Mesozoic Era, the "Age of the Reptiles"
252 to 66 million years ago
questions about dinosaurs
these four animals are all extinct but only the sauropod is a dinosaur
the word dinosaur means "terrible lizard"
many people have the misconception that any extinct large reptile was a dinosaur, some people even think mammals such as wholly mammoths were dinosaurs
to a paleontologist, a dinosaur has very particular characteristics based on the skeleton, e.g.
hind limbs are different, unique ankles
no other animals share this structure of legs, except, of course, their descendents, the birds
in 1854 invented the term "dinosaur"
at that time, no complete dinosaur skeleton had been found
only a small number of fragments were known
jaw, hip from Megalosaurus
teeth, vertebrae of an Iguanodon
ribs, shoulder, part of skull, Hylaeosaurus
each of these three had been identified as a giant prehistoric reptile
Sir Richard Owen was the first to realize that all three shared an unusually combination of traits
they were more closely related to each other than to any living reptile
teeth that grew in sockets like crocodiles
erect limbs like mammals and birds
almost everything we know of dinosaurs comes back to fossilized bones
bones are made of minerals and so do not rot away as other bodily structures
in order to understand dinosaurs, you need to understand how dinosaur skeletons are put together
eagles, adaptations in evolution: