Home Food For Thought Environment The Top 5 Dinosaurs that Ruled Canada

The Top 5 Dinosaurs that Ruled Canada

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What creatures lived millions of years ago, had huge teeth and looked like an enormous lizard? Dinosaurs! Even though the mass extinction of dinosaurs happened long, long ago, these creatures are still of interest to many.

What Dinosaurs lived in Canada?

Many different species of the dinos dominated the Earth during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. And today we are going to tell you about some of these dinos which roamed the lands of present-day Canada.

1. Triceratops

Where it was found: Alberta

Triceratops was a three-horned dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, around 66 to 68 million years ago. An average adult Triceratops could grow to be around 9.8 ft tall and 25.5 ft in length. It usually weighed around 10886 kgs! Its head was one of its major identifying features. With three distinct horns and a head plate, it kind of looked like a warrior! Its horns were not just fancy ornaments but were used to charge predators, such as T – Rex. After all, it was a warrior!

FUN FACT – The skull of Triceratops was one – third of its entire body length!

Credit: © Scott Hartman/ All Rights Reserved

The Triceratops had flat teeth that are good for chopping up vegetation which led to the conclusion that they were herbivores. They also had a beak in the front like a parrot that it could have used to strip off leaves. Some scientists also believe that the Triceratops ate cycads, which was a common type of plant in the Cretaceous. Being a plant eater, the Triceratops required a long digestive tract as it took them a long time to digest the slowly processed food.

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In 1887, the first Triceratops fossil was discovered in Colorado, USA. Most of the Triceratops fossils have been found in Western Canada and the Western United States. Other places where the fossils have been found include Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It’s another of the great dinosaurs that lived in Canada.

A labour crew in Thornton, Colorado accidentally found Ariel Triceratops skeleton on July 31. There have been many other reports of fossil discovery dated back to the ice age in this region! So, if digging up a Triceratops fossil is in your bucket list, head over there!

2. Stegoceras

Where it was found: Alberta

Stegoceras was a small, bipedal dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, about 77.5 to 74 million years ago. They were about 6.6 to 8.2 ft long and weighed around 10 to 40 kgs.

Their extremely thick skulls were one of their characteristics feature. They had a roughly triangular skull, much of which was covered by tubercles (round “outgrowths”).  They had a sleek built and had a noticeable dome on its head made of almost – solid bone. This dome was presumably found in male Stegoceras and was likely used for the right to mate with females.

FUN FACT – The back legs of a Stegoceras were three times longer than its front ones.

Stegoceras belonged to the order “Ornithischia”. They had similar shaped pelvic bones as birds although they were not closely related to them. They used to live in herds and running must have been its first line of defense considering its small size.

Stegoceras is one of those dinosaurs whose fossils are rarely found. And if found, are mostly small fragments. But, if you want to try your luck, Alberta is your best shot!

3. Tyrannosaurus Rex

Where it was found: Saskatchewan

Rex means “king” in Latin. Go figure! They lived during the Cretaceous Period, 68 to 66 million years ago. It was a bipedal carnivore that had a massive skull which was balanced by a long, heavy tail. In contrast to its humongous size and large hind limbs, it had small forelimbs. But, do not be fooled by their size because they too were unusually powerful for their size! And no, they were not for tea – parties!!

An average Tyrannosaurus Rex could grow as tall as 40 ft and could grow up to 12 ft tall at the hips. Its average weight is known to be 12000 kg! Tyrannosaurus Rex is known to be one of the largest predators and it exerted the strongest bite force among all terrestrial animals. It has been suggested by some experts that the T-Rex was primarily a scavenger while others still believe it be an Apex Predator.

FUN FACT – Tyrannosaurus Rex was equipped with a set of 50 – 60 banana-sized teeth with which it could rip almost 100 kg of flesh off their victims in a single chomp!

The Field Museum of Natural History houses one of the largest and the most complete specimen of a T-Rex which is nicknamed ‘Sue’. Another specimen, nicknamed ‘Scotty’, which can be found at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum was estimated to be the largest known specimen at 8800 kg and weight!

With the discovery of ‘Scott’ in Saskatchewan, many other T – Rex fossils have been unearthed in different parts of Canada. Alberta and Saskatchewan are a must visit for people wishing to stumble upon a T – Rex fossil.

4. Albertosaurus

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Where it was found: Alberta

Albertosaurus means “Alberta lizard” in Greek. They lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago. It hard tiny, two – fingered hands and a massive head. It was also related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which must have been the reason that Albertosaurus may have been at the top of the food chain in its local ecosystem.

It was a carnivore that grew up to 30 ft and weighed around 1270 kg. it was bipedal and had a long tail to balance its heavy head and torso. It is believed that they might have been able to reach speeds up to 30 km/h when chasing prey while their tails would have helped to change direction under speed.

FUN FACT – Even though being related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex that had forward-facing eyes, the Albertosaurus had eyes that were located on the sides of its head!

The discovery of a large concentration of Albertosaurus in 1910 led to the theory that Albertosaurus may have had a pack behavior. Now, this is a rare occurrence in a predator dinosaur since it is usually herbivores who travel in herds.

The first Albertosaurus fossil was found in Alberta, Canada in 1884. Later findings that have been confirmed to belong to an Albertosaurus have also been from Alberta, so that’s the place you would want to be to get lucky and find an Albertosaurus fossil!

5. Plateosaurus

Where it was found: Nova Scotia

Plateosaurus probably means “broad lizard” but it is usually mistranslated to “flat lizard”. They lived during the late Triassic Period, around 214 to 204 million years ago. Plateosaurus is one of the dinosaurs best known to science considering over 100 skeletons of the species have been found, some of which are nearly complete.

It was a bipedal herbivore with a long, flexible neck and a small skull. Its arms were short but muscular and were probably used for defence and feeding. Plateosaurus showed rare developmental plasticity where an adult, instead of having fairly uniform size, were usually between 16 ft – 33 ft long and weighed between 600 – 4000 kg! They were known to live for at least 12 to 20 years.

FUN FACT – There is a “Plateosaurus Graveyard” in Germany. 55 Plateosaurus skeletal remains have been yielded from a rocky outcrop just outside the town of Trossingen till date.

The discovery of this particular species has given so much information about how this early reptiles lived and survived.



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