Want to know what animal can walk, fly or swim, weighs more than 3 school buses put together and can be as tall as a 3-storey building? Dinosaurs! They used to roam Earth millions of years ago and were then considered the rulers of the land.
This article contains the most bizarre dinosaurs that ever lived on the planet! These giants ate either plants or animals or other dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are no longer alive; they all died out, or went extinct, a few million years ago. But some say dinosaurs still have living relatives today, like the Komodo dragon, crocodiles and birds.
The name comes from the Greek word meaning the “scythe lizard.’’ This dinosaur had giant hand claws from which it got its name. Only a few bones have been found so far and most are just the hind legs they walked on. Scientists think that the claws could be as long as l meter! Those would be the largest claws to ever exist on an animal!
The Therizinosaur’s diet is unknown because scientists can’t find any skulls. The shape of their teeth would be enough to tell whether they ate plants or animals. But scientists think that because most relatives of the Therizinosaur are herbivores, they also might have been herbivores.
Also called the “Qingdao Lizards” because they were discovered in the province of Shandong, China, the first skeletons were dug up by Chinese paleontologist C.C. Young in 1958. Tsintao actually means “with a nose spine,” referring to the characteristic unicorn-like horn or crest on its head. It is similar to the Hadrosaur because it had a duck bill-shaped snout and was almost 12 feet tall and 33 feet long.
Its mouth was lined with teeth which it uses to chew on plant food. It walked on all four legs but could stand up just like Timon the meerkat in the movie The Lion King.
The Gigantoraptor was unique because it looked like an ostrich, except a lot bigger. It is part of the bird-like group of dinosaurs called oviraptorosaurian theropod. Based on fossils that were discovered, the gigantoraptor was estimated to have weighed 2.2 tons; that’s more than 17 times what an ostriches’ weighs.
Only the lower jaws were discovered in China, and they saw that it did not have any teeth! Therefore, scientists thought that the upper jaw could have been shaped like a bird’s beak! Scientists think they were covered with feathers! They are also thought to have run fast and feed on plants.
Spinosaurus (spine lizards) were the largest meat eaters – even larger than the T-Rex! They had long jaws just like those of a crocodile and were known to live on both land and water just like crocodiles do! They also had spines which looked like sails on their backs, called neural spines, which scientists believe functioned to adjust their body temperature. The sails make the spinosaurs appear larger and more threatening. These dinosaurs were mostly found in North Africa, particularly in Morocco and Egypt.
Spinosaurus mainly dined on fishes, but due to its size, it could even take on other dinosaurs. Some scientists believe that spinosaurs liked to hang around tidal zones and mud flats where fishes are abundant.
The Guanlong, or “crown dragon,” used to roam Dzungaria, China around 160 million years ago. It is named for the crest found on top of its head. The crests were display organs and were believed to change color during mating season. The modern-day hornbills have almost the same crest! Guanlong also had three long fingers used for gripping and tearing – and they were possibly covered with feathers.
Guanlong were about 3 meters long, or 1.8 meters tall, and were bipedal just like their relative, the T-Rex. Guanlong is actually known as the first tyrannosaur.
Guanlong were meat eaters and most likely hunted smaller dinosaurs and mammals. They liked to hide in forests where they could easily ambush for food.
The Stegosaurus is one of the most popular dinosaurs today. Its name literally means “roof lizard” and it roamed the plains of North America. This dinosaur is popular because of the plates that lined its back. Most likely, the spikes were for defense and to ward off potential attackers. The tail was also covered with spikes, which may have been used to whip attackers. That would be painful!
Stegosaurs could reach 9 meters in length and 4 meters in height. Scientists guess that it walked on all four legs and mainly dined on soft leaves and vegetation, based on its short neck and small head.
The triceratops, which literally means “three-horned face” in Greek, used to roam North America and is one of the most popular dinosaurs today! Its face made it look like it came from three different animals put together. It had three horns (which looked like those of a rhinoceros), frills, and parrot beak-like mouth. They were around 9 meters long and 1.8 meters tall.
Scientists think that the horns and frills were for defense, but others believe they were for courtship and display. Triceratopses are herbivores, and because of their sturdy body, they may have been able to knock down trees when they couldn’t find food on the ground.
Ok, kids, have you ever heard of a dinosaur with only a single finger? Well, the Linhenykus is the only animal like that. Its little finger is tipped with a strong claw which makes it even look weirder! It is named after the city of Linhe (Inner Mongolia, China) where the fossils were first found.
Linhenykus were known to stand up on hind legs, were only 2 feet tall and most likely weighed only a few pounds!
These small dinosaurs were known carnivores and used their heavy-duty claws to dig up termite mounds and dine on the juicy bugs.
09. Pegomastax africana
Ever heard of a dinosaur the size of a parrot? The Pegomastax is not only weird in terms of size, but it is also bizarre because it had vampire-like fangs, the beak of a parrot and was covered with bristles like a porcupine!
Although it had fangs, scientists believe the Pegomastax was herbivorous because of its parrot-like beak used for eating seeds and nuts and its fangs for munching on fruits. The fangs may have also been used for protection.
Pegomastax fossils were found in Lesotho, Africa with some of their relatives even found in China!
Scientists used to call it the “Dracula Dinosaur” because of its fangs!
The Thrinaxodon looks strangely like a cat! Some say they may even have had fur, a wet nose and whiskers! Plus, they may have been 12-20 inches in length.
Their fossils were found in South Africa and Antarctica, which would suggest that both land masses were once connected.
In an even more bizarre twist, the Thrinaxodon is thought to be one of the links between mammals and reptiles!
Its name literally means “three-pronged fork”’ which refers to its cheek teeth, used to eat food – primarily other small creatures such as insects.
This dinosaur had the longest neck in the dinosaur world! In fact, its neck made up half of its entire body length. It was 70 feet long, the length of two and a half school buses combined! It weighed more than 40 tons.
Although it had a very long neck, scientists believe that it did not hold its head high, but rather lower. They think the Mamenchisaurus didn’t have a strong enough heart to pump blood so high up.
Because of their huge bodies, they may not have been able to go inside forests, so in order to reach plant food, they used their long necks instead.
Mamenchisaurus fossils were discovered in Sichuan, China.
These marine dinosaurs ruled the oceans of Africa, Australia, China, Europe, North America and South America more than 65 million years ago! They had a short neck, a massive head, a large jaw and flippers just like dolphins! Their name literally means “more lizard’’ because they are thought to be the relatives of modem day lizards.
Pliosaurs were more than 5 meters long and would hunt fishes, smaller dinosaurs and other reptiles for food.
Because they were marine reptiles, most of the fossils found were only skulls, so scientists speculated their body appearance based only on the skulls. How cool is that?
13. Microraptor Gui
Microraptor literally means “small one who seizes” and is one of the few dinosaurs capable of flying! Their fossils were discovered in Liaoning, China and they had almost a l meter wing span. They stood at l meter and weighed about 2.2 pounds. Some scientists believe they were capable of gliding just like squirrels and used their wings, limbed wings and tail feathers for guided flight! Yes, they had wings on their legs, making them 4-winged dinosaurs.
Microraptors are known to have dined on smaller animals such as birds, insects and even fishes. Because of the wings on their feet, walking would have been awkward.
The Carnotaurus, which literally means “carnivorous bull,” had two horns on its skull, making it look like a real bull. The fossils were found in Argentina, and they were believed to have roamed South America. They were almost 3 meters in height and 9 meters in length.
Scientists believe that Carnotaurus had flexible jaws, just like the snake, that allowed it to swallow food larger that its head. Scientists also think these dinosaurs were fast runners and were able to snap up smaller animals with a quick bite. They may have given cheetahs a good race!
The Incisivosaurus is named after its teeth, which look much like those of a rat or beaver! They are really small dinosaurs that were once found in China, particularly in Liaoning Province. They are thought to have had feathers and were 3 feet long and 5 – 10 pounds! They say that the feathers were used only to jump and not to fly.
Incisivosaurs were known herbivores but were also omnivores based on the teeth seen in their skulls. They would have resembled a chicken in size with long legs and short hands. Incisivosaurs are thought to have had beautifully colored feathers and used them to attract mates.