Web Site

Books About Dinosaurs | Bringing Back Dinosaurs
Cretaceous Airport | How Dinosaurs Are Named
How To Hunt Dinosaurs | Movies with Dinosaurs
Skeletal Anatomy of a Tyrannosaurid
The Dinosaur Society | Two Hands From Charles Darwin
We Would Like to Thank...

 View printable page version.

How Dinosaurs Are Named

Dinosaurs are named by the scientists who study them, and the convention among scientists is to use Greek or Latin words in their naming. This makes pronunciation difficult for most people, but Greek and Latin are recognized by scientists around the world. (The Arts & Letters Dinosaur Database pronounces these words for you, both when you open a topic headed by a Greek or Latin term and when you click on highlighted pronunciations.) Using these languages makes the names of dinosaurs international and universal. There are three common methods of naming dinosaurs.

The names of many dinosaurs describe some prominent feature of the animal. Triceratops means “three-horned face”; Stegosaurus means “plated or roofed lizard”; Pachycephalosaurus means “thick-headed lizard”; Tyrannosaurus means “tyrant lizard”; and Velociraptor means “swift robber” (referring to its speed and grasping hands).

For Place of Discovery
Some dinosaurs are named for the geographic region where their fossils were found. For example, Albertosaurus was named for Alberta, Canada; Tuojiangosaurus was named for a place in China; Yaverlandia was named for Yaverland Battery on the Isle of Wight; and Malawisaurus. was named for the country of Malawi.

In Honor Of
Some dinosaurs are given names that honor their discoverers or something that the researcher wishes to honor. For example, Stokesosaurus was named for Lee Stokes, an American paleontologist; Fabrosaurus was named in honor of Jean Henri Fabre, a French entomologist; and Gilmoreosaurus was named for Charles W. Gilmore, an American paleontologist.

 Jurassic Art
  Database Home
  Order Software

  © 2005 Arts & Letters Corporation
Translate to:   Chasque aquí para traducir inglés a español. Cliquetez ici pour traduire l'anglais en Français. Klicken Sie hier, um Englisch in Deutschen zu übersetzen. Scattisi qui per tradurre l'inglese in italiano. Estale aqui para traduzir o inglês no português.