The term 'dinosaur' originates from the Greek words deino and sauros, meaning 'terrible' and 'lizard'. Sir Richard Owen invented the name 'dinosaur' in 1842, to describe an extinct group of terrestrial reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic. At that time, he had only three or four dinosaur skeletons to consider, but many hundreds more have been found since 1842.

Dinosaurs show a range of adaptations to a wide range of environments and conditions, and as a result they became the most successful land animals of all time.

There are many misconceptions about what the dinosaurs were. Dinosaurs were reptiles (horny or scaly skinned tetrapods that lay eggs) which lived on land during the Mesozoic Era (250 - 65 million years ago). Dinosaurs arose in the Middle or Late Triassic, some 235-230 million years ago. The large marine reptiles and the flying reptiles of the Mesozoic were not dinosaurs.

To learn more about other animals that lived around at the same time as the dinosaurs, please follow this link:-

To Alistair McGowan's Home Page


Byron's Dinosaurs Home Page