Early Triassic and Jurassic Dinosaurs

The Triassic and Early Jurassic periods were the time periods in which dinosaurs first appeared. Learn more about the Triassic and Early Jurassic dinosaurs, such as the Lufengosaurus, Massospondylus, and Scutellosaurus.


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Anchisaurus was one of the first North American dinosaurs described. The first skeleton was found in 1818 and was originally mistake for human fossils. What did this early dinosaur look like and how did it live?


Barapasaurus is named for a word meaning "big leg" in a local dialect in central India. This large dinosaur was a herbivore with large flat teeth that are ideal for cutting or crushing vegetation. What did this dinosaur look like?


One of the most unusual predators is that of Coelophysis. It was only slightly larger than a turkey and had a long slender tail and a mouth full of knife-edged teeth. What was this dinosaur's behavior like?


Often called the terror of the Early Jurassic, the Dilophosaurus was a fast and agile dinosaur with extremely powerful neck and jaw muscles. It also had two crests on its head that may have been used for displaying the animal's social position.


Euskelosaurus was a sauropod of spectacular proportions. It measured about 33 feet in length. Little is known about this dinosaur because the head, hands and feet are unknown. What exactly is known about this giant dinosaur?


The Herrerasaurus was a large dinosaur that weighed about 400 pounds and was about 10 feet long. It survived on a diet of small animals which it most likely caught by ambush and surprise. What else is known about this dinosaur?


Heterodontosaurus is a small plant eating dinosaur that most likely walked on its hind legs. An unusual feature on this dinosaur is a pair of tusks that probably helped with eating. What else do we know about this tiny dinosaur?


Lesothosaurus was a dinosaur that measured about three and a half feet in length and was build for running. It had hollow bones and hollow spaces in the skull. What was this dinosaur's behavior like?


Lufengosaurus was a sauropod that measured about 20 feet in length and was a close relative of Plateosaurus. There are complete skeletons of this dinosaur, but it has not been fully described. What else is known about this dinosaur?


Massospondylus was a medium-size prosauropod that lived in what is now modern-day North America and Africa. Its proportions suggest that it probably was able to stand up on its hind legs. What else is known about this dinosaur?


Mussaurus was a sauropod of modest proportions. This animal is important in that it may help explain the relationship between prosauropods and sauropods. It is thought that the Mussaurus serves as a sort of missing link between the two.


Riojasaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur that could not rear up on its hind legs like some of its relatives. It was a large dinosaur that measured about 33 feet in length. What are some of the other dinosaurs the Riojasaurus is related to?


Scelidosaurus was discovered in the 19th century. At the time, it was one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found. It was a heavily built plant eating dinosaur that grew to around 13 feet in length.


Scutellosaurus was a very unusual dinosaur because it was a two-legged dinosaur that had armor. Most armored dinosaurs walked on all fours. Many scientists believe this dinosaur to be the ancestor of later larger armored dinosaurs.


Sellosaurus was a sauropod of modest proportions. It was around 10 feet high and lived during the late Triassic Period. The sellosaurus lived in what is now modern day Germany. What else do we know about this dinosaur?


Syntarus was a small predator that was very fast and agile. Its jaws contained many small, bladelike teeth that were used for slicing the flesh of its prey. The bones of this dinosaur date back to the Early Jurassic Period.


Yunnanosaurus was a long-necked, four-legged plant-eater that lived in the Early Jurassic Period. The animal was about 18-25 feet in length and lived in what is now China. What do we know about this dinosaur's behavior?