Many of us have had a “dinosaur” stage in their youth (and some still), often after a Disney film came on the subject, or a visit to a natural history museum. A very select group of people even makes their bread researching dinosaurs, although there are very few palaeontologists in comparison with most other professions. Nevertheless, these giant reptiles, who lived many millions of years before us on earth, fascinate us. Just look at the success of (and sequals on) the movie Jurassic Park. Who can not get fascinated by the giant tyrannosaurus Rex, or the deadly raptors?
But just as we now have a huge range of animal species, which are quite remarkable, there were many strange dinosaurs in the dino era (or dinosaurs to be precise). These are much less known, but we give them a top spot in these top ten.
And for the sharpeners among us, indeed, not all species mentioned here are dinosaurs in the strict sense. But they all come from the dinosaur era, and so we think is enough to be able to appear in this list.
10. Hesperonychus, West’s Claw
The Hesperonychus is best described as a remarkable split between a chicken and a crocodile.However, do not mistake the nature of this animal, it is a real carnivore. The first fossils were found in Alberta, in the United States. These are typed by long sickle-shaped claws. With a length of about one meter and a weight of almost two kilos, this might not be the most terrifying chaser of the Chalk (one of the three major Dino times, and the most recent), but nevertheless it was not a kitten to without wearing gloves. It was the smallest carnivorous dinosaur known to us from North America.
9. Deinocheirus, Chalk Ostrich, or “The Abomination Hand”
The Deinocheirus was a so-called ostrich dinosaur who lived in the late Chalk as well as the Hesperonychus (about 70 million years ago). In 1965 a pair of arms and shoulders were found of this animal, and a whole dinosaur was reconstructed from these fossils. His name falls down on these two claw-shaped arms, it is Greek for “horrible hand”. Apart from this fossil, however, no other copies of this dinosaur have been found.
The Deinocheirus was about eleven meters long, and weighed slightly over 6 tons, one ton more than the African Elephant. His “horrible” hands and arms were 2.5m long, and had three-fingered hands with blunt claws. His legs were relatively short. He was probably an omnivore, which means he ate everything, meat, vegetables, bait, so on. To his bone structure, it can be deduced that he includes plants and fish. This makes paleontologists suspect that he used his claws to collect plants and dig into mud.
8. Giraffatitan, the giant giraffe
As the name suggests, this dinosaur seemed like a giraffe. Not that he was really related to the current giraffe, of course, he just seemed, according to the creative paleontologists who first discovered him.The Giraffatitan was a sauropoda, which means that he was walking on four legs and a planteter with long neck and tail and relatively small brains. This giant, according to paleontologists, was the biggest dinosaur for a long time, until the titans (called titanosaurs) were discovered.
The estimate of the length of this colossus is about 22 meters, and in mass it was probably between 15 tons and 80 tons (well science can not calculate everything, with just a few bones as a starting point!).However, its weight is at least four and up to 20 times larger than today’s heaviest land animal, the African Elephant.
The Giraffatitan lived in the second Dinosaur era, called Jura (Jurrasic in English, where the film Jurassic Park is named). He lived about 150 to 145 million years ago.
7. Epidexipterix, the ‘show spring’
The Epidexipterix is a very small theropodic (this means biocidal) carnivorous dinosaur who appeared in what is now China, and it is one of the first fossils in which paleontologists found indications that the animal was wearing feathers. Hence the name, it means ‘show feather’.
It is not surprising that this saurian seems quite like a bird, but he could not fly because the feathers were not suitable for that. However, he had very long tail feathers, presumably like those of the modern peacock, intended for the tone. The Epidexipterix was a Jurassic dinosaur, who lived about 168 to 152 million years ago. It is also one of the smallest dunes we know, just as big as a dove.
A whole mouthful, the name of this dino, but then you have some. Despite its terrifying appearance, this animal was a planteter who lived in the Chalk in the area where Mongolia is nowadays. His fossils were first found in 1948, and he was particularly surprised by his huge claws. His name simply means “turtle-shaped mowing-saurian”. We do not have to explain where the mowing must come from, I assume. The theory is that he used the claws to “mow” seaweed. Only when several turtle mowers were found in the nineties, paleontologists could reconstruct a complete animal.
They suspect that this large herbivore was about nine meters long and would have weighed about five tons. However, where most theropods (two-legged) dinosaurs were carnivores, this was a plantet (seaweed to be precise) and in order to achieve that, the animal had a thick pen, like a cow. In addition, he had a beak, also suitable for biting trees of trees. Oh, and his front legs, which ended in three claws of such a meter long, which were also useful for keeping enemies at a distance.
5. Troodon formosus, tooth that injures
The name of this animal, Troodon formosus, means ‘injured tooth’. It was not a very big animal, and rather fragile looking, 2.5 meters long and a weight of only 50 kilos! What is special about the Troodon is that he was probably very smart. At least, thinking paleontologists because he had a very big brain for his body size. This could be a huge advantage in hunting. In addition, the Troodon had big eyes and long legs to run fast. Sharp teeth finally made the Troodon a suspiciously freaked chaser of the prairies in the Chalk.
4. Scansoriopteryx, the climbing wing
The Scansoriopteryx (sometimes called Epidendrosaurus) is still a long-legged saurian, which resembles a bird, as we saw earlier. He is therefore the Epidexipteryx family, and probably the first dinosaur (we know) who adapt to survive in trees. This was an important step toward the evolution towards real birds.
What is remarkable about the Epidendrosaurus is that he had a very long third finger, twice as long as the other fingers. Paleontologists suspect that it was used to dig bugs, like an anteater doing his tongue. He had the size of a swallow, but with a wide round beak full of teeth (something that swallows definitely do not have!).
3. Longisguama, the long-standing
Technically, the Longisquama is not a dinosaur, but an ordinary lizard-like (who happened to be extinct in the dino era). He lived in the late Trias era (one of the three periods of dinosaurs, the oldest one). His name means “long scales” and there were long suspicions that he was related to the precursors of the birds because of his feather-like construction; he had a kind of mohawk running on feathers over his back. However, he did not flee and if he already seemed to look like it, it should have been a kind of hovering. However, today, it is thought that the longisquama has nothing to do with the origin of birds.It’s just a strange looking lizard. From the Dino world.
2. Tanystropheus, the long neck
Also in the Trias (about 230 million years ago), the Tanystropheus lived a very remarkable reptile with a huge long neck. The animal itself was about 6 meters, but its neck was only over three meters. Imagine our necks would be so long, the neck would then rise to our hips! And in addition, in that full six meter, a tail is included. He was probably a fisherman, with the theory that the animal would be on a stone next to the water, and with his long neck would create the fish out of the sea.
1. Amphicoelias fragillimus, the longest of all
If we have long necklines, here’s the king of the long neck, the Amphicoelias fragillimus, whose fossil is found by the famous paleontologist Edward Cope. The Amphicoelias (which translated from Greek means “hollow of both sides”) was a plant-eating sauropod (four-legged) dinosaur who had a lot of hiding from the more famous giant Diplodocus. However, the Amphiceoli fragillimus would be much greater than the Diplodocus. The estimate goes to a length of about 58 meters (the longest animal ever on earth) and weighs about 120 tons (roughly the same as the Blue Vinvis, which is 24 times as heavy as the African Elephant).
The remarkable thing is that the fossil of the soil has disappeared, after a first survey in 1870. We only have drawings and field notes. Whether it was a fake, or that it’s a real fossil, we will unfortunately only know when the fossil is recovered or another one is degenerated.
Finally, these ten strange dinosaurs. What we ultimately want to lose is a tone of respect for palaeontologists. They are true magicians who can reconstruct a whole animal and her history with the smallest bone (with some margin of uncertainty). Take the following picture, which shows (white) which bones have been found and (in black) which dinosaur was reconstructed from it. Paleontology is one of the hardest but also most interesting scientific disciplines that I think deserve more respect and attention.