Category Archives: Dinosaurs and Birds


The woodlands of the Jurassic Period teemed with massive, four-legged plant-eaters called stegosaurs. Members of the stegosaur family often had defensive spikes on their tails and shoulders, and rows of bony plates ran along their backs. The purpose of the plates is a mystery, but they may have been used for display or temperature control.… Read More »


Kentrosaurus was a member of the stegosaur family, which lived in what is now central Africa. Its name means “sharp-point lizard”—its shoulders, back, and tail bore fearsome spikes that must have made it difficult for carnivores to attack. Out of Africa SKELETON Recent research has shown that the posture of Kentrosaurus’s skeleton in many museums… Read More »


Also known as the “armored dinosaurs” or “tank dinosaurs,” the members of this family were built like tanks. Their squat bodies were covered with defensive armor plates and spikes formed from bony growths that developed in the skin. Without this protection, these plant-eaters would have been at the mercy of much swifter and sometimes bigger… Read More »


One of the largest of the armored dinosaurs (ankylosaurs), Euoplocephalus was twice the size of a rhinoceros and covered in heavy armor. Despite its stocky build and weight, it had powerful legs and may have been quite nimble on its feet. A deadly tail club provided another form of defense for times when its legs… Read More »


At the start of the Triassic Period, all dinosaurs were small and stood low on the ground. Over time, a group of mainly plant-eating dinosaurs called the prosauropods grew taller and heavier than their competitors. They evolved long necks and tails and strong back legs that allowed them to stand up and reach high tree… Read More »

Sauropods and Relatives

These lumbering giants were the largest creatures ever to walk the Earth. Amazingly long necks let them reach far higher than other plant eaters could, making it possible to feed on treetops as giraffes do today. But they needed pillarlike limbs to support their immense weight, and, unlike most dinosaurs, they usually had to walk… Read More »

Inside a Dinosaur

What was a dinosaur’s anatomy (its insides) like? Was there a difference in the digestive systems of meat-eaters and plant-eaters? Remarkably, thanks to fossil evidence, we have an idea of what the insides of various dinosaurs would have looked like, as these models show. PLANT-EATER! Euoplocephalus lived on tough plants and needed a digestive system… Read More »


The sauropods were the largest dinosaurs ever to walk on Earth. Some were longer than a blue whale, and the heaviest weighed as much as 12 elephants. Isanosaurus was one of the smaller members of the sauropod family. Like other sauropods, whose fossilized tracks show groups walking together, it might have lived in family groups… Read More »


The diplodocoids were a group of giant plant-eating dinosaurs that walked on all fours. They had incredibly long necks, balanced by even longer whiplike tails, which they used to lash out at enemies. Their legs were longer at the back than the front, which may have helped them to stand up, using the tail as… Read More »


Barosaurus must have made an impressive sight as it browsed its way through the Jurassic forests. This dinosaur had all the usual sauropod features—a bulky body, tiny head, and relatively short legs. It was heavier than three elephants and longer than a tennis court. But what really gave it an advantage over other plant eaters… Read More »