Preparing a Chart About Dinosaurs for a Customer

Amongst all the enquiries, letters and emails we receive we had a request from a school to help with their term topic on dinosaurs.  We try our best to help everyone who contacts Everything Dinosaur and on this occasion some advice over the evolution and diversification of the Dinosauria was required.

The children’s enthusiasm for fossils and all things prehistoric had been fuelled by a trip to a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), where fossils could be seen, we were asked to help devise a “dinosaur family tree” showing how the main types of dinosaur evolved and how the major groups were related to each other.

There may be something like 1,200 different dinosaur genera known today, but essentially all dinosaurs were monophyletic, that is they evolved from a common ancestor.  Early on in the evolution of the Dinosauria, this Sub-Order of reptiles split into two major lines Saurischia and Ornithischia.  Saurischian dinosaurs are known as the “Lizard-Hipped” dinosaurs, Ornithischian dinosaurs are the “Bird-Hipped” dinosaurs.  We used this classification as the basis for our simplified classification chart.  It was then just a question of putting all the various groups, representing the different families of dinosaurs into the respective places on the chart.  We did not want to involve geological periods, working out which type of dinosaurs lived in The Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, that would have made things  a little complicated and we wanted to keep the chart clear and concise.

A suggestion made by a team member is for Everything Dinosaur to create a range of similar charts and diagrams for use in schools and other educational establishments, we shall see what we can do.

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