The word ceratosaurus is derived from Greek word. Ceratosaurus can be divided into two words, keras or keratos and sauros. Keratos or keras means horn and sauros means lizard. It was a carnivorous theropod dinosaur of the late Jurassic period, ie from Kimmeridgian to Tithonian. Theropod is a Greek word. They are the dinosaur of the sub order that has features like hollow bones and three – toed limbs. They had a short horn between the nostrils. They are classed as a group of saurischian dinosaurs. They are ancestrally carnivorous animals. It is of the kingdom Animalia. It falls under the phylum, Chordata. It is sub grouped in clade as dinosaurian. It falls under the sub order of Theropada and the order is Saurischia. They belong to the family of Ceratosauridae. In the year 1884, an American paleontologist named Othniel Charles Marsh first described it. A complete skeleton was discovered in Garden Park in Colorado. They existed from 161.2 milloin years ago to 145 million years ago. They lived in a terrestrial habitat. They reproduced by laying eggs. They used to have a body mass of approximately 670 kg. There are 16 different types of specimens found by the paleontologists. They walked on two very powerful legs. It had sharp razor like teeth for tearing flesh. Each arm had a hand with four fingers. Each finger tipped with a very sharp claw. This dinosaur had a horn near the tip of its nose and had two horny bumps near the eyes. This unique feature gives Ceratosaurus nasicornis its name. Saurus means lizard or by implication dinosaur. Cerato means horny tissue. Thus Ceratosaurus is simply a dinosaur with horny tissue or a horned lizard. Again, nasi means nose and cornis means horn. Therefore it is a dinosaur with horny tissue, or a horn on its nose. They had S – shaped necks. They had loose articulations between the bones of its upper jaw.
It could grow from 15 to 19 feet in length, which is approximately 4.6 to 6 meters long. It could weight about one ton.
Ceratosaurus were carnivore. They lived in the Jurassic period. They inhabited North America, Africa and Europe. The fossils have been found in location like Texas, Portugal and Utah.
Garden Park is a paleontological site in Fremont Country in Colorado. It is famous for its Jurassic dinosaurs and the role it had in the famous bone wars in the late 19th century. It is located 10 kms to the north of Canon City. That region used to provide vegetables to the miners at Cripple Creek in the 19th century. Garden Park is a triangular valley. It has cliffs on the south- east and south – west, while mountains in the north. It has dinosaur sites on top and along the cliffs. These dinosaur sites now form the Garden Park Paleontological Resource Area. That is looked after by the Bureau of Land Management. Green park was formed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks. This sedimentary rocks was disturbed by the uplift movement of Rocky mountain. That zone is divided into parts by Four Mile Creek, which is also called Oil Creek. Through the Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks that Creek has carved a canyon. Out of these Mesozoic strata, one is the Morrison Formation, that is exposed within the canyon. Since, the formation has large amount of swelling clays, large faulted blocks or slump – blocks of the formation are slowing moving nearer the creek. The formation in the Garden Park can be parted into lower unit and upper unit. Green and gray mudstones, with various lenticular, white to tan to gray sandstone mainly constituted the lower unit. Red mudstone, with lesser amounts of yellowish, frequently tabular sandstone are the primary composition of the upper unit. Both these two units most probably corresponded to the Tidwell, Brushy Basin and Saltwash members of the Morrison Formation on the Colorado Plateau.
Ceratosaurus was characterized by large jaws with razor like teeth, a large, razor like horn on the snout and a pair of hornlets over the eyes. The forelimbs were very powerful, but short. The bones of the sacrum were fused, which is known as synsacrum and the pelvic bones were fused together which is similar to the birds. A row of small osteoderms was present down the middle of the back. Ceratosaurus was bipedal with a large tail and head, both of which is disproportionate to a body of theropod. It had a prominent horn on its nose that came from protruding nasal bones and hornlike ridges in front of its eyes, like allosaurus, from protruding facial bones. It was distantly related to birds among theropods. But the fossil evidence shows bird – like features including a more avian – esque ankle joint than Allosaurus. Its skeletal structure was fused in a way that can be see in a lot of modern day birds. In 2007, John Foster estimated mass from femur length, which resulted in a figure of 606 Ib for one specimen and 996 Ib for the larger specimen. There is speculation among paleontologists about the nasal horn on the Ceratosaurus was operational or not. By some prominent paleontologists it was considered to be a powerful weapon. In 1985, Norman theorized that the horn may have been in male ceratosaurs to fight among each other for breeding rights. Another theory proposed that it was probably for display only and was not used for combative purpose.
The number of vertebrae is not known, as there are many gaps in the spine. Minimum 20 vertebrae formed the neck and back in front of the sacrum. In the middle portion of the neck, the centra of the vertebrae were as long as they were tall. While in the front and rear portions of the neck, the centra were shorter than their height. The upwards projecting neutral spines were comparatively large, and in the dorsal, i.e. back vertebrae, were as tall as the vertebral centra were long. The sacrum, consisted of six fused sacral vertebrae, was arched upwards, with its vertebral centra strongly reduced in height in its middle portion, as is the case in some other ceratosaurians. The tail composed around 50 caudal vertebrae and was about half of the total length of the animal. In the holotype, it was estimated at 9.33 ft or 2.84m.The tail was deep from top to bottom due to its high neural spines and elongated chevrons, bones located below the vertebral centra. It counterbalanced the body and contained the huge caudofemoralis muscle, which was responsible for forward thrust during locomotion, pulling the upper thigh backwards when contracted. The shoulder blade called scapula was fused with the coracoid, forming a single bone without any visible demarcation between the two original element. The holotype was found with an articulated left fore limb, including an incomplete hand. It had small, elongated and irregularly formed osteoderms or skin bones along the midline of its body. Some osteoderms have been found above the neural spines of cervical vertebrae as well as caudal vertebrae. They formed a continuous row that may have extended from the base of the skull to most of the tail. The osteoderms above the tail were found separated from the neural spines by 25 millimeters to 38 millimeters, may be due to skin and muscles present between them. While those of the neck were much closer to the neural spines. Leaving the body midline, the skin contained additional osteoderms, as indicated by a 58 millimeters by 70 millimeters large, roughly quadrangular plate found along with the holotype. The skull was of huge proportion to the rest of the body. It measured 55 cm in length, measured from the tip of the snout to the occipital condyle, which connects to the first cervical vertebra. A complete skull was estimated to have been of 60 cm or 24 inch in length and 16 cm or 6.3 inches in width. The skull was a bit elongated than that of the holotype. The back of the skull was more lightly built than in some other large theropods due to extensive skull openings, yet the jaws were deep to support the proportionally large teeth. The lacrimal bone formed not only the back margin of the antorbital fenestra, which was a large opening between eye and bony nostril but also part of its upper margin, unlike in members of the related Abelisauridae. The quadrate bone, which was connected to the lower jaw at its bottom end to form the jaw joint, was inclined so that the jaw joint was displaced backwards in relation to the occipital condyle. This also led to broadening of the base of the lateral temporal fenestra, a large opening behind the eyes. The most distinctive feature was a prominent horn situated on the skull midline behind the bony nostrils, which was formed from fused protuberances of the left and right nasal bones. Only this bony horn core would have supported a keratinous sheath. While the base of the horn core was smooth, its upper two – thirds were wrinkled and lined with groves that would contain blood vessels. In the holotype, the horn core is 13 cm or 5.1inch long and 2 cm or 0.79 inch wide at its base. It again narrows to only 1.2 cm or 0.47 inch further gap.it is 7cm or 2.8 inch in height. The horn used to be more elongated due to its keratinous sheath. Behind the nasal horn, the nasal bones formed an oval groove. Both these groove and the nasal horn act as features which helps to distinguish Ceratosaurus from related genera.
In 1884, Othniel Charles Marsh named Ceratosaurus. He observed that it had a physique which was similar to crocodiles. It had long thin crocodile – like tail and flexible body. It was assumed that it was a good swimmer. More evidence from recent research provided backing to the theories of Marsh. The research suggested that it preyed on aquatic animals like crocodiles and fish. It was capable of hunting larger animals like sauropods. It could have been a pack hunter. It had main rivalry with Allosaurus. They both are known to have eaten stegosaurus, sauropods, iguanadonts and dryosaurus. They fed on corpses also. It used to eat from anywhere it got food from. It is a rare fossil to find. One reliable source of fossil has been the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Utah.
The red dinosaur in Jurassic Park 3 is the Spinosaurus. It means spine lizard. It is a genus of the theropod dinosaur. It lived in present day North Africa, during the upper Albian to upper Turonian stages of the Cretaceous period. It existed about 112 to 93.5 million years ago. They are among the largest known carnivorous dinosaurs. They were in between 12.6 to 18 metres in length and 7 to 20.9 tones in weight. The skull of Spinosaurus was long and narrow, similar to that of a modern crocodilian. They are known to have eaten fish. They lived both on land and in water. The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 meters or 5.4 ft long. It were likely to have had skin connecting them, forming a sail –like structure. It was the largest and longest theropod dinosaur. The skull had a narrow snout filled with straight conical teeth that lacked serrations. There were six to seven teeth on each side of the very front of the upper jaw, in the premaxillae. Another twelve in both maxillae behind them. The second and third teeth on each side were noticeably larger than the rest of the teeth in the premaxilla, creating a space between them and the large teeth in the anterior maxilla. Large teeth in the lower jaw faced this space. The very tip of the snout holding those few large anterior teeth was expanded, and a small crest was present in front of the eyes. Very tall neural spines grew on the back vertebrae of them, formed the basis of what is usually called the sail of the animal. The lengths of the neural spines reached over 10 times the diameters of the vertebral bodies from which they were extended.
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