Retro vs Modern #23: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus

Spinosaurid teeth were first found in the 1820s in England, but were misidentified as belonging to crocodilians. It wasn’t until nearly a century later that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was discovered and recognized as a dinosaur – and it would be another century after that before we really started to learn anything about it. 1910s The first … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #23: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus”

Retro vs Modern #22: Tyrannosaurus rex

Probably the most famous and popular dinosaur of all time, Tyrannosaurus rex is also the only species commonly known by both its full scientific name and its abbreviation T. rex. 1900s-1960s Fragments of what we now know are Tyrannosaurus fossils were first found in the Western United States in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #22: Tyrannosaurus rex”

Retro vs Modern #21: Deinonychus antirrhopus

Deinonychus antirrhopus was one of the most significant dinosaur discoveries of the 20th century, kicking off the Dinosaur Renaissance and the recognition of the evolutionary link between maniraptoran theropods and modern birds. 1960s The first remains of this species were discovered in North America in the 1930s, but at the time the fossils weren’t officially … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #21: Deinonychus antirrhopus”

Retro vs Modern #20: Deinocheirus mirificus

Discovered in Mongolia in the mid-1960s, and named in 1970, Deinocheirus mirificus was a famous paleontological mystery for over 40 years. 1970-2000s For a long time all that was known of this dinosaur was a few fragments and an enormous pair of arms – some of the largest of any known theropod at 2.4m long … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #20: Deinocheirus mirificus”

Retro vs Modern #19: Quetzalcoatlus northropi

Named after an Aztec deity and often called “the largest animal to ever fly”, Quetzalcoatlus northropi is probably the most famous large pterosaur after Pteranodon – but despite its popularity for a long time we actually knew very little about it. 1970s Discovered in Texas in the United States during the early 1970s, the first … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #19: Quetzalcoatlus northropi”

Retro vs Modern #18: Pterodactylus antiquus

Pterodactylus antiquus was the first pterosaur ever discovered, and in popular culture the name “pterodactyl” has become commonly associated with the group as a whole. 1800s The first known Pterodactlyus specimen came from southeast Germany, and was described (although not yet named) in the 1780s. The modern concept of extinction hadn’t yet been established, so … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #18: Pterodactylus antiquus”

Retro vs Modern #17: Ammonites

Ammonites (or ammonoids) are highly distinctive and instantly recognizable fossils that have been found all around the world for thousands of years, and have been associated with a wide range of folkloric and mythologic interpretations – including snakestones, buffalo stones, shaligrams, and the horns of Ammon, with the latter eventually inspiring the scientific name for … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #17: Ammonites”

Retro vs Modern #16: Uintatherium anceps

Discovered in the Western United States during the early 1870s, Uintatherium anceps was part of one of the earlier major conflicts in the the Bone Wars. Nearly 30 different scientific names were applied to various fossil specimens of this mammal in under two decades, and the taxonomic tangle wasn’t properly sorted out until nearly a … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #16: Uintatherium anceps”

Retro vs Modern #15: Dimetrodon limbatus

With its prominent sailback Dimetrodon is one of the most iconic prehistoric animals – and one that still frequently gets mistaken for a dinosaur, despite being closer related to modern mammals. 1870s-1980s The first known Dimetrodon fossil was an upper jaw fragment found in Canada in the 1840s, but at the time this specimen was … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #15: Dimetrodon limbatus”

Retro vs Modern #14: Therizinosaurus cheloniformis

Therizinosaurs were some of of the most unique theropod dinosaurs. It’s only in the last few decades that we’ve started to understand much about them, and they’re still somewhat enigmatic even today. 1950s The first known therizinosaur fossil discovery was Therizinosaurus cheloniformis, found in Southern Mongolia during the late 1940s and described and named in … Continue reading “Retro vs Modern #14: Therizinosaurus cheloniformis”