dinosaur fun facts for parents

Here's all you need to sound like a Dino Expert to your kids--including how to pronounce "Euoplocephalus!"

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Tyrannosaurus rex

Tuh-RAN-ah-SAW-rus-rex
Tyrant Reptile
Cretaceous Period, 75 to 65 million years ago
The T. rex had chunky teeth with low, serrations on the front and back edges. Tyrannosaurus rex is famous for being one of the most fearsome predators ever to terrorize the earth. Each tooth was the size of a banana. Experts still debate whether it chased its prey or was a meat-eating scavenger. Sadly, if it tripped while running it probably wouldn't survive, but there is a lot of evidence for healed bones in large meat-eating dinosaurs. A full-grown adult could weigh up to 10 tons.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Tyrannosaurus rex.
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Dromaeosaurus

DROH-mee-uh-SAW-rus
Running Lizard
Late Cretaceous Period, 76 to 72 million years ago
This small, fast-moving predator had a sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each foot and on its fingers. When attacking prey, it balanced on one foot, raised its other leg and flicked the claw, slashing its victim. A fast predator, it comes from the same family as the Velociraptor. Some scientists have hypothesized that the Dromaeosaurus was very intelligent (intelligence similar to that of a crow, a very smart bird).
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Dromaeosaurus.
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Compsognathus

KOMP-sah-NAH-thus
Pretty Jaw
Jurassic Period, 155 to 145 million years ago
This birdlike dinosaur walked on two long, thin legs and with three-toed feet. Its long tail acted as a counterbalance and for stability during fast turns. It had short arms with two clawed fingers on each hand. It varied in size from 28 inches to 4.6 feet long, weighed in about 6.5 pounds, and was about the size of a chicken. Its thighbone was only 4.3 inches long. Compsognathus had a small, pointed head with small, sharp teeth, hollow bones, and a long, flexible neck.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Compsognathus.
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Spinosaurus

SPINE-nah-SAW-rus
Spiny Lizard
Middle Cretaceous Period, 95 million years
Spinosaurus had a series of large neural spines up to 6 feet long coming out of its back, probably forming a sail-like fin that may have helped it regulate its temperature, attract mates, and/or intimidate rivals among the species. Spinosaurus was bipedal, about 40-50 feet long, and weighed about 11-13 tons. It is the largest known Spinosaurid (a type of meat-eating dinosaur). Its large head featured sharp, straight, non-serrated teeth in a powerful, crocodile-like lower jaw.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Spinosaurus.
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Diplodocus

di-PLAH-di-kus
Doubled-beamed
Jurassic Period, 160 to 150 million years ago
With its long snake-like neck, and measuring over 90 feet from snout to tail, Diplodocus was the longest dinosaur ever to roam the earth. It used its long neck to help reach food sources, much like giraffes. Grass did not appear on the earth until after the dinosaurs became extinct, so Diplodocus probably fed on tough plants like ferns, cycads, and conifers. Scientists have speculated that it may have used its enormously long tail to defend itself against predators.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Diplodocus.
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Brachiosaurus

BRAK-ee-ah-SAW-rus
Arm Reptile
Jurassic Period, 160 to 150 million years ago
Towering four stories high with a long neck and enormous front legs, Brachiosaurus was the tallest-known dinosaur. It used its sharp, peglike teeth for nibbling on plants. Brachiosaurus featured heavily padded feet to absorb the shock of impact on the ground from its enormous weight, which could top out at 25 tons (about 50,000 pounds).
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Brachiosaurus.
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Edmontosaurus

ed-MONT-ah-SAW-rus
Edmonton Reptile
Cretaceous Period, 75 to 65 million years ago
This four-legged herbivore featured a basic hardosaur head with a longer face. Hardosaurs are also called "duckbills" because of their duck-shaped heads. They had 300 teeth in each jaw arranged in several rows, as top rows wore out, the next row moved in to fill gap. Scientists believed they bellowed by inflating a balloon-like area of skin over their snouts. Edmontosaurus lived in huge herds made up of different species and weighed in at about 8 to 10 tons.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Edmontosaurus.
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Corythosaurus

kah-RITH-Ah-SAW-rus
Helmet Reptile
Cretaceous Period, 90 to 70 million years ago
This speedy five-ton dinosaur had a unique crest-shaped head shaped like half a dinner plate that helped it produce sounds. It had a crest shaped like the tubes of a French horn. Scientists have made models of the tubes inside the crest to find out what these dinosaurs sounded like.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Corythosaurus.
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Triceratops

tri-SER-ah-tops
Three-horned Face
Cretaceous Period, 75 to 65 million years ago
With a horns on its nose and face and a bony shield to protect its neck, Triceratops is one the most recognizable dinosaurs. It was member of the Ceratopsians family. It had two larger horns over each eye; the nasal horn was actually rather short and blunt, and much lower than the brow horns. The horn covered a toothless beak used for biting off mouthfuls of plant food.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Triceratops.
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Stygimoloch

STEH-jeh-MOLL-uk
Demon from the River Styx
Late Cretaceous Period, 68 to 65 million years ago
This bipedal plant-eater had bony spikes and knobs on its thick, domed, spiked skull. Stygimoloch probably engaged in head-butting both as a defense against predators and same-species rivals. They had five digits on its fore limbs but only three toes on each hind limb. Five partial skulls of the Stygimoloch have been discovered.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Stygimoloch.
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Stegosaurus

STEG-ah-SAW-rus
Roofed Reptile
Jurassic Period, 155 to 145 million years ago
With its spiky tail and double row of plates running down its back, Stegosaurus is one of the best-known dinosaurs and a favorite for kids. No rocket scientist, its brain was only the size of a walnut. Some scientists think Stegosaurus could change the color of its plates when necessary. Stegosaurus had a major "junction box" in its spinal cord for various nerves coming and going between a tail and hind limbs.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Stegosaurus.
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Euoplocephalus

YOO-oh-plo-KEF-ah-lus
Well-armored Head
Cretaceous Period, 80 to 70 million years ago
Measuring about 20 feet long and weighing up to three tons (6,000 pounds), Euoplocephalus--a member of the ankylosaurus family--was built like a tank. It featured small leaf-shaped teeth and horny beaks on its outer shell. Its tail clubs, made of bone that was fixed to the backbone at the end of the tail, was used for defense.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Euoplocephalus.
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Pterodactylus

TAIR-ah-DAK-teh-lus
Winged Finger
Jurassic Period, 150 million years ago
Pterodactylus lived in the last few million years of the Jurassic period. Pterodactylus probably snatched fish from the water and returned to land to feed. It had a throat pouch similar to that of a pelican, and may have been used to store food. Actually, Pterodactylus has more similarities with bats than with birds.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Pterodactylus.
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Quetzalcoatlus

KWETS-al-CO-at-lus
Named After an Aztec God
Cretaceous Period, 75 to 65 million years ago
Quetzalcoatlus is thought to be the largest pterosaur ever discovered. With a wingspan of about 40 feet, it was twice as big as its closest cousin. It had no teeth in its narrow, pointed beak sitting atop an extremely long, rigid neck. Quetzalcoatlus may have been a scavenger or a fish eater.
Click on the image to hear Dino Dan pronounce Quetzalcoatlus.
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