Padian, Kevin Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Barrett, Paul M. Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:March 2020
Show previous versions
- Dinosauria, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Dinosaurs, published April 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Discoveries and knowledge
- Hip structure
- Earliest dinosaurs
- Social organization
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The term (meaning terrible lizards) assigned to a group of certain large, ancient bipedal and quadrupedal reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era. The term Dinosauria [from the Greek deinos (fearful or terrible) and sauros (reptile or lizard)] was coined by the British comparative anatomist and paleontologist Sir Richard Owen in 1842 to represent three partly known, impressively large fossil reptiles from the English countryside: the great carnivore Megalosaurus, the plant-eating Iguanodon, and the armored Hylaeosaurus. Since that time, hundreds of other known fossil genera belonging to the Dinosauria group, commonly called the dinosaurs (Fig. 1), have been discovered. Paleontologists categorize the dinosaurs into two major lineages, based on their pelvic structure: the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") and the Ornithischia ("bird-hipped"). These creatures roamed the Earth throughout the Mesozoic Era, initially appearing in the Triassic Period. The dinosaurs lasted for approximately 165 million years, before going extinct in the Cretaceous Period. It should be noted that modern birds are descendants of theropod dinosaurs; thus, in an evolutionary sense, not all dinosaurs are extinct and investigators often refer to the extinct dinosaurs as nonavian dinosaurs. See also: Aves; Fossil; Mesozoic; Ornithischia; Paleontology; Reptilia; Saurischia
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information