The dinosaurs represent a variety of well known and unusual species, which are displayed outdoors with explanatory signs. We didn’t want to spoil all the fun and surprises by listing them all, but here’s a few…
Brachiosaurus seems to be the sauropod of choice among young people today, just as Brontosaurus once was. This huge plant-eater is one of the largest known land animals. A living Brachiosaurus would probably have weighed over seventy tons and would have needed over four hundred pounds of food a day. It lived in herds in the forests. Scientists no longer believe that it lived in water. The remains of Brachiosaurus have been found in Africa, Europe, and North America.
This dinosaur had a small horn on its nose and two fairly long horns on its brow with an unusually long frill or shield that stretched over the neck and shoulders. The very large holes through the bone (hence the name) lightened the weight of the frill, which otherwise would have been so heavy Chasmosaurus could not have lifted its head. Like the other horned dinosaurs, Chasmosaurus walked on four legs and ate plants with its horny beak. It might have traveled in family groups, with the older members of the group protecting the younger ones, as they do in the display at Dinosaur World.
Dilophosaurus is best known for appearing in Jurassic Park with a large collar around its neck. That collar is based on a modern lizard, the frilled lizard, and not on any fossils of Dilophosaurus. Although the toothy coelurosaur with its strange headgear is impressive enough, it was felt that the collar would make the dinosaur look scarier. Dilophosaurus walked on two muscular legs and was a relatively fast runner, leaving bird-like footprints on land. Some of its fossilized footprints are only impressions of the claw-tips. This indicates that Dilophosaurus may have been walking in water at the time.
The most notable features of Spinosaurus, for which it is named, are the long spines on its back, which probably supported a fin somewhat like that of Dimetrodon. It is interesting that two animals otherwise so different (Dimetrodon was not even a dinosaur) would share such a distinctive feature, one for which we do not know the purpose. The fin might have regulated its body temperature or have been used in courtship displays. Spinosaurus was a large carnosaur which, typical of the group, walked on its hind legs. Its front legs were larger and probably more useful than those of some of the other members of the group, and its head is particularly large.
Most dinosaur names come from Greek and Latin, as does the beginning of Stygimoloch’s name, but the ending -moloch is from Hebrew. Some people (including those who named it) think that Stygimoloch is demonic-looking, although the name actually refers to the Hell Creek formations, where its fossils have been found. As it is represented at Dinosaur World, however, it seems rather dapper, almost as if it is waiting for someone to use it as the inspiration for a new hairstyle. This little pachycephalosaur is known only from part of the back of its skull, found in Montana. Paleontologists often have to be creative artists to determine the appearance of a dinosaur from such sketchy evidence.
It may sound strange to say a dinosaur is loveable, but there is something about Triceratops that especially appeals to children. Maybe it is the charming personality of Cera in Land Before Time (1988), or maybe it is the large but not threatening, somewhat appealing look of the dinosaur itself, but for many kids, the highlight of their visit to Dinosaur World is meeting the Three-horn family. A huge animal, with several ways of protecting itself, including a tough, leathery skin (that scientists have found fossilized impressions of), it had no real enemies. Some scientists speculate that it might have been particularly aggressive. It is believed to be one of the last of the dinosaurs to go extinct.