Dinosaurs have taken the world by storm just as they had done millions of years ago. The only difference is that this present storm is the fascination that has arisen out of many dinosaur fossil discoveries during this past year, 2008-2009. The discoveries of these ancient reptiles like Matilda, Clancy, Banjo and Zac of bygone days have given paleontologists something to toast to and bring them into the limelight of historical importance.
It is no secret that dinosaurs existed. These reptiles, known more for their huge size and small brain, roamed the earth over 100 million years ago and have left behind their legacy in the form of the fossils we find today. Here is a guide to the recent dinosaur discoveries for the period 2008 – 2009. Countries like Australia and China have emerged as prime Dinosaur territory that shed light on the geographic distribution of different dinosaur species.
# 1. Tiny T-rex Fossil in China (September 2009)
The beast Raptorex kriegsteini is believed to be a fore-runner of the most dangerous of all dinosaurs the famous T-rex (Tryannosaurus rex) by its close similarities to the latter beast. It is also described as having been carnivorous and existed 130 million years ago or roughly ten million years before the T-rex. The fossil found was that of a juvenile dinosaur, with a total length of 3 meters and weighing 60 kg.
#2. Sauropod Zac: discovered in Queensland, Australia (August 2009)
This Sauropod nicknamed Zac was unearthed in a farm in Australia, in the state of Queensland. Zac dates back to being 97 million years old and is described as having been a herbivorous (plant eating) reptile. It was a huge dinosaur with a long neck and an equally long tail. Other features are its small head and blunt teeth. It dates back to the mid-Cretaceous Period.
#3. Banjo, Clancy & Matilda: discovered in Australia (July 2009)
Two Sauropods, both herbivorous are Clancy and Matilda which are large and identified mainly by the thigh, hip and tail bones. Banjo, a Titanosaur is much smaller than the other two and was ferociously carnivorous. This predator is identified by parts of the lower jaw, a few ribs, forearms, legs and hands. These three dinosaurs date back to approximately 112 to 98 million years ago and is believed to be part of the mid- Cretaceous Period.
#4. Limusaurus inextricabilis: A bird-like Theropod discovered in China (June 2009)
This Theropod which existed during the Jurassic Period is believed to be direct link between reptiles and birds in the evolutionary tree. It has quite a few features similar to birds especially in its reduced upper arms, lack of teeth and a well developed beak and especially the three fingered feet (hand). It dates back to being 159 -160 million years old.
# 5. Epidexipteryx hui: pigeon sized dinosaur discovered in Inner Mongolia, China (October 2008)
This pigeon sized dinosaur, which was bird-like with four tail feathers is believed to be arboreal, as in being able to live on trees. It existed a few million years before the Archaeopteryx, a bird dinosaur which is a forerunner to the evolution of birds.