GEOL 104 Dinosaurs: A Natural History

Fall Semester 2006
Introduction: What is Science?; What are Dinosaurs?

Review course policies, syllabus.


Dinosaur science is NOT Archaeology!

Paleontology, the study of ancient life and their remains (fossils).
Fossils (from Latin fossilium "that which is dug up") are the physical remains of past life and its activities preserved in the rock record.

Vertebrate Paleontology, the study of ancient backboned animals, including dinosaurs

Dinosaur fossils have been found in Mesozoic Era rocks from every continent, including Antarctica.

Types of dinosaur fossils:

The word "Dinosauria" (and hence "dinosaur") was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen:

Owen recognized 3 different dinosaurs:

Saw that they were different from other fossil (and modern) reptiles because of:

Dinosauria is now recognized as a single major group of organisms, all descendants of a common ancestor.

Modern Definition of Dinosauria:

All descendants of the concestor (most recent common ancestor) of Megalosaurus and Iguanodon

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Last modified: 14 July 2006