Evolution of the Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs First Appear

How are dinosaurs named?

Dinosaur names come from a number of places, but in general, they are named after a characteristic body feature (for example, the Hypsilophodon, or high-crowned tooth); after the place in which the first bones were found (for example, the Muttaburrasaurus); or after the person(s) involved in the discovery (for example, the Leaellynasaura).

In most cases, the names include two Greek or Latin words, or even combinations of the words. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex is a combination of Greek and Latin translated as “king of the tyrant lizards.” Overall, the two names, known as the genus and species names, are used by biologists to describe all organisms on Earth, such as humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), or rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus).


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