Unparalleled Dinosaur Fossil Discoveries of All Time

Dinosaurs are some of the most famous creatures in the world. They fascinate both children and adults alike and have been the subject of many movies and books. But what many people don’t know is that dinosaurs were around for a very long time, and they evolved into many different forms.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur fossil skeleton is on display.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

There are many different types of dinosaurs, from the large and lumbering Brachiosaurus to the speedy Velociraptor. Dinosaur fossils are some of the most prized artifacts in the world. Here, we will look at some of the best dinosaur fossil discoveries of all time.

Femur of a Huge Megalosaurus

In 1676, an English professor at Oxford University found a piece of bone from a large creature. Scientists could not decide whether that fossil was from a reptile or another similar species during that time, and they were still in disbelief at how big it was.

Magalosaurus display from the Oxford University Museum.
Source: Ballista at the English-language Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

The femur of a Megalosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaur fossils in the world. An amateur fossil hunter discovered this giant leg bone in 1815, and many experts have studied it. The femur is so large that it weighs almost half a ton! It is believed that the Megalosaurus was a giant, predatory dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic period.

A Huge Early Discovery

The Hadrosaurus is a genus of duck-billed dinosaurs that inhabited the forests and freshwater areas of North America during the Late Cretaceous. It was named for Joseph Leidy, an American paleontologist. In 1868, the first fossil of this dinosaur was discovered and studied.

Face of a Hadrosaur Duckbill dinosaur skeleton.
Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Hadrosaurus is one of the most well-known dinosaurs due to its large size and numerous fossils. It was first discovered in 1858 by Joseph Leidy and was one of the first dinosaurs to be named. The type specimen is displayed at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

One of the Oldest Dinosaurs

The majority of Coelophysis fossils were found in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and the majority of these specimens dated between 205 and 210 million years old. It is one of the oldest known dinosaurs and among the most primitive.

A constructed Coelophysis fossil on display.
Source: James St. John/CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

The first Coelophysis fossils were discovered in 1884 by American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. However, these fossils were fragmentary and difficult to interpret. It wasn’t until 1947 that a complete specimen was discovered, which helped scientists learn more about this dinosaur. It has a slender build and fast running ability, suggesting that it was probably an agile hunter.

Finding the “Good Mother Lizard”

The Maiasaura is a genus of titanosaur sauropods that lived during the Late Cretaceous. It’s also known as the “Good Mother Lizard” because it was one of the first specimens to show how these magnificent animals lived-in detail. There have been some fantastic dinosaur fossil discoveries in history, with much yielding new information about these prehistoric creatures.

A constructed Maiasaura fossil on display.
Source: Meridas (Vladimír Socha)/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

This discovery was so significant because it allowed researchers to study the family dynamics of these ancient animals in detail for the first time. Analysis of the fossils showed that the mother had died while giving birth, so her young were still attached to her. This discovery has shed light on the care and nurturing behavior of dinosaurs, which is a topic that has long been debated among scientists.