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All About Astronomy
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The First Dinosaurs in Space
Maiasaura
Maiasaura

Maiasaura (meaning "good mother lizard") was a large, duck-billed dinosaur (a hadrosaur) that cared for its young. This plant-eater lived in herds during the late Cretaceous period, about 77 to 73 million years ago. Fossils of adults, juveniles, hatchlings, eggs, and nests have been found in Montana, USA. Maiasaura was named by paleontologists Jack Horner and Robert Makela in 1979.

The first dinosaur in space was Maiasaura peeblesorum (a duck-billed dinosaur). A piece of bone from a baby Maiasaura and a Maiasaura eggshell were taken into space by astronaut Loren Acton on an 8-day NASA mission (Spacelab 2) in 1985. The historic Maiasaura fossils now reside at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, USA. Maiasaura is the official state dinosaur of Montana (since 1985).

The second dinosaur in space was Coelophysis (a meat-eater). A Coelophysis skull was brought into space on the space shuttle Endeavor on January 22, 1998. It traveled to the space station Mir.



MAIASAURA ANATOMY
Maiasaura was a duck-billed dinosaur with a flat skull and small crests in front of the eyes. This plant-eater had a toothless beak, cheek pouches, and many self-sharpening cheek teeth; hard enamel was found on both the outer surface of the upper teeth and the inner surface of the lower teeth. The hands each had four fingers and the feet had hoof-like claws.

Maiasauras grew to be about 30 feet long (9 m), 6-8 feet tall (2-2.5 m), weighing roughly 3-4 tons. Newly hatched Maiasaura babies were about 1 foot (30 cm) long.

Maiasaura was the first dinosaur that was found alongside its young, eggs, and nests. This suggests that Maiasaura nurtured its young.



Astronomy Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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If the astronomy term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.




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