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40 Dinosaurs Discovered in North America
Life restoration of Tawa hallae. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

36. Tawa

The Tawa was named after the Pueblo sun god and lived in North America during the Late Triassic Period. Fossils were discovered in New Mexico in 2004, but it was formally classified in 2009. The discovery of Tawa supports the theory that the earliest dinosaurs originated in what’s now South America and migrated from there around the world.

The Tawa dinosaur was just over eight feet long and weighed about thirty-three pounds. In comparison with other early dinosaurs, Tawa was much more slender. Tawa thrived in a warm climate with heavy precipitation. Their small stature made them fast and adept at hunting. Tawa had air sacs surrounding their necks and brains, much like modern birds.

40 Dinosaurs Discovered in North America
Theiophytalia in sleep posture. Photo Credit: YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock

37. Theiophytalia

Roughly 112 million years ago, Theiophytalia lived in North America during the lower Cretaceous period. This dinosaur was discovered in the Morrison Formation of Colorado in 1878. Theiophytalia gets its name from the Greek words for “divine” and “garden.” The park where the only Theiophytalia fossil was found is known as Garden of the Gods.

Theiophytalia is an Iguanodontian dinosaur, one of the first species to be discovered. Because of the various dinosaur species in this clade, Iguanodontia is one of the most known classifications of dinosaurs. This dinosaur has a broad, long snout and a bulbous lower jaw. They walked on their stout back legs and had shorter, thinner arms. Theiophytalia dinosaurs were herbivores.

40 Dinosaurs Discovered in North America
3D illustration of Triceratops from the Cretaceous era. Photo Credit: Warpaint/Shutterstock

38. Triceratops

The most well-known dinosaur on this list has to be the Triceratops. This dinosaur lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous Period roughly 68 million years ago. The Triceratops gets its name from the Ancient Greek words for “three-horned face.” Triceratops is unique in that it is one of the last known dinosaur species that are not related to birds.

The first Triceratops fossil was uncovered in Denver, Colorado in 1887. Triceratops is known for the large frill and three horns on the top of its skull. Its stocky four-legged body closely resembles the modern rhinoceros. These large animals could be upwards of thirty feet long and ten feet tall. Triceratops was extremely heavy, weighing between 13,000 and 26,000 pounds. Because their heads were low to the ground, paleontologists believe that these herbivores feasted on low-growing plants.

40 Dinosaurs Discovered in North America
Zapsalis dinosaur. Photo Credit: Dinosaur Database [CC-BY-SA]

39. Zapsalis

Discovered in the Judith River Formation area of Montana in 1876, Zapsalis was a theropod dinosaur. This species lived in North America approximately 75 million years ago. Evidence of the Zapsalis was found only in teeth fossils.

The name Zapsalis comes from the Greek words for “thorough” and “pair of scissors.” The Zapsalis teeth found in Colorado are classified by vertical grooves, straight rear edges, and a round shape. Based on these teeth, Zapsalis had stout, boxy skulls and heavy legs. These dinosaurs were built for strength more than speed. Their sharp, powerful teeth also indicate that Zapsalis were carnivores.

40 Dinosaurs Discovered in North America
Life restoration of Zuul crurivastator. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

40. Zuul

Zuul, comically referred to as the “Destroyer of Shins,” was found in the Judith River Formation in Montana. Paleontologists uncovered Zuul’s complete skull and tail in 2017, making it the first of its kind to be discovered from these types of remains. The Zuul dinosaur lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period roughly 75 million years ago. If the name sounds familiar, you’re right! It’s based on the villain Zuul from the movie Ghostbusters because they look similar.

This giant dinosaur was about twenty feet long and weighed more than two tons. Zuul was a fierce fighter based on heavy armor all over its body, including its head and tail. This dinosaur also had horns all along the back of its head to protect its skull. Zuul’s skull was about twenty inches long, making this one big-headed dinosaur. Although its tough exterior makes it ideal for hunting prey, Zuul was a plant-eater.

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