BBC Planet Dinosaur - 10 years of discoveries

More new dinosaurs have been unearthed in the past decade than over the previous two centuries. As Planet Dinosaur hits TV screens, Paul Chambers celebrates this golden age of discovery.

A giant Jurassic pliosaur dubbed 'Predator X' was discovered in 2008.

More new dinosaurs have been unearthed in the past decade than over the previous two centuries. Paul Chambers celebrates this golden age of discovery.

  • Microraptor, the first unequivocally feathered dinosaur, is discovered in China.
  • Jeholosaurus, also from China, is found to have teeth adapted for eating meat and plants – it is the first known omnivorous dinosaur.
  • Paralititan, unearthed in Egypt, is the first known dinosaur to have inhabited coastal mangrove swamps.
  • CT scans show that some species had crocodile-like brains; others were bird-like.
  • Studies of a fossil of the large predator Daspletosaurus reveal that its last meal was a small hadrosaur (a ‘duck-billed dinosaur’).
  • Several fossils of the carnivore Mapusaurus are found together – did it hunt in packs?
  • The pterosaur Hatzegopteryx is discovered. With a wingspan of 12m, it is the largest flying animal known to science.
  • In Mongolia the 8m-tall, bird-like Gigantoraptor is found to have walked on two long legs. It would have been able to outrun any of its predators.
  • Predator X is found; two years later the pliosaur is revealed as the largest predatory marine reptile.
  • It is estimated that Bruhathkayosaurus may have weighed 170 tonnes (later revised to 100 tonnes).
  • A new study produces a revised estimate of the weight of the African predatory giant Spinosaurus. At 20 tonnes it was some three times the weight of Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Epidexipteryx is found in China. Dating from the middle to late Jurassic, it is the oldest known feathered dinosaur.
  • The grooved teeth of Sinornithosaurus suggest that it may have had a venomous bite.
  • Injuries on the horned dinosaurs Triceratops and Centrosaurus show that they were more liable to hurt their partners during mating than to be attacked by predators.
  • A horned dinosaur found in Canada is named Mojoceratops – its cool name inspired by its large, intricate and all-round funky head-crest. The name was reportedly proposed by a palaeontologist ‘over a few beers’.
  • Balaur, a carnivore the size of a domestic dog, is found in the rocks of Hatzeg province, Romania – it is one of several ‘dwarf dinosaurs’. The fossil site was probably a remote oceanic island during the Cretaceous period, leading to the evolution of these miniature species.
  • The first Australian fish-eating dinosaur is discovered. It lived in the early Cretaceous period, and may have been similar to the huge European predator Baryonyx.
  • A Triceratops fossil is excavated from rock strata formed at exactly the time that the dinosaurs became extinct. This Triceratops might have been one of the last individual dinosaurs ever to have lived.
Click here for more information about the BBC's dinosaur season.
Click here to read our feature, A History of the World in 100 Objects.
Click here to read our feature, The 10 Greatest Wildlife Discoveries of all Time.
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