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Dinosaur and Paleontology 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

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the dinosaur or paleontology term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

Cr to Cy
Ca Ce to Cf Ch Ci to Cl Co Cr to Cy

CRASPEDODON
(pronounced kras-PEE-doh-don) Craspedodon (meaning "edge or border tooth") was an ornithischian dinosaur (perhaps an iguanodontid) that dates from the late Cretaceous period, about 87.5-83 million years ago. This large, bipedal plant-eater had teeth with serrated borders (hence its name). It weighed perhaps 3100 kg. Craspedodon is known from two fossilized teeth found in Belgium. Craspedodon was named by paleontologist Dollo in 1883. The type species is C. lonzeensis.


CRATER

Impact craters are the remains of collisions between an asteroid or meteorite and the Earth.

CRATEROSAURUS

(pronounced KRAY-ter-oh-SAWR-us) Craterosaurus (meaning "crater or cup lizard") was a stegosaurid dinosaur. This plated, quadrupedal plant-eater was about 13 ft (4 m) long and weighed roughly 560 kg. It lived during the early Cretaceous period, 138-135 million years ago. A single, incomplete vertebra was found in England. Unlike other stegosaurid vertebrae, it has pitting on its top surface (this bone was originally thought to be the braincase, hence its name). The type species is C. pottonensis. Craterosaurus was named by paleontologist Seeley in 1874.

CREODONT

Creodonts were an order of meat-eating mammals that were very common roughly 60 to 30 million years ago; they were the dominant carnivorous mammals during the Tertiary period. They lived in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America, going extinct 7 million years ago, during the late Miocene. Creodonts were quadrupeds with clawed feet, a small brain, large jaws and many sharp teeth. Some creodonts included the mongoose-like Prototomus, the bear-like Sarkastodon (Family Oxyaenidae), the wolf-like Hyaenodon (Family Hyaenodontidae), Pterodon, Andrewsarchus (Family Mesonychidae) and Megistotherium. Creodonts were first described by paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1877.

CREST

A crest is a growth on an animal's head. Many dinosaurs, like Corythosaurus and Lambeosaurus, had bony crests on their heads.
CRETACEOUS PERIOD

Flowering plants flourished and dinosaurs were at their height during the Cretaceous period, 146-65 million years ago. There was a mass extinction (the K-T mass extinction) at the end of the Cretaceous, marking the end of the dinosaurs and many other species of animals and plants. Creta is the Latin word for chalk. The Cretaceous period is named for chalky rock from southeastern England that was the first Cretaceous period sediment studied.

CRETODUS

Cretodus is an extinct genus of Mackerel sharks that lived during the late Cretaceous period. This shark is known only from fossilized teeth and vertebrae that have been found in Africa, Europe, and North America. The length of the teeth (from the tip of the crown to the tip of the root) is about 2 inches (5 cm). Cretodus was named by Sokolov in 1965. Classification: Order Lamniformes, Family Cretoxyrhinidae.


CROCODILIAN

Crocodilians are the order of archosaurs that includes alligators, crocodiles, gavials, etc. They evolved during the late Triassic period, and are a type of reptile.

CRO-MAGNON

Cro-Magnon man was an early group of Homo sapiens (the species to which we belong) that lived about 40,000 years ago in what is now Europe. Skeletal remains of the Cro-Magnon were first found in caverns in Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France (in 1868).

CROSSOPTERYGII

Crossopterygii (lobe-finned fish) are bony fish whose fins are supported on fleshy lobes. Lobe-finned fish appeared during the Silurian period (roughly 420 million years ago). The Coelacanth and the extinct Rhipidistians are examples of lobe-finned fish.

CRUSTACEAN

Crustaceans are a class of animals (class Crustacea) that have a hard exoskeleton, jointed legs, and a segmented body that is bilaterally symmetrical. They have two pairs of sensory antennae, one pair of mandibles (for chewing food), and two pairs of maxillae (to help the mandibles in positioning the food). Crustaceans are invertebrates (they lack a backbone) and arthropods (which also includes the insects). Some crustaceans include trilobites, lobsters, shrimp, barnacles, and crabs.
CRYOLOPHOSAURUS
(pronounced cry-ah-LOF-oh-SAWR-us) Cryolophosaurus (meaning "frozen crested lizard") was a bipedal meat-eating dinosaur about 20 feet (6 m) long. It had a horn-like, upward pointing crest above its eyes. It lived in what is now Antarctica during the early Jurassic period, roughly 196-190 million years ago. It is the only theropod known from the Antarctic, and the first Antarctic dinosaur ever described. It is known from a partial skull, jaws, femur (thigh bone), pelvis (hip), vertebrae, fibula (calf bone), tibiotarsus (ankle bone), and metatarsals (foot bones). Cryolophosaurus was named by William Hammer & William Hickerson in 1994. The type species is C. ellioti. It is also known (informally) as Elvisaurus, due to its crest's likeness to Elvis Presley's hairdo.

CRYPTOCLIDUS

Cryptoclidus was a plesiosaur, an aquatic reptile that was 13 feet (4 m) long. It had curved, interlocking teeth and large, flexible, paddle-like flippers. Small fish and shrimp were probably the mainstay of its diet. Cryptocleidus lived during the late Jurassic period. Fossils have been found in England. It was not a dinosaur, but another type of extinct reptile.
CRYPTOZOIC
The Cryptozoic (also called the Proterozoic) was an eon in geological time that lasted from 2.5 billion years ago to 540 million years ago. During the Proterozoic/Cryptozoic Eon, the first multicellular life evolved, including colonial algae, solf-bodied invertebrates, and sponges.


CRYPTOZOOLOGY

Cryptozoology is the study of evidence concerning creatures whose existence is uncertain, like the Loch Ness monster or the Abominable Snowman.


CRYSTALS

Crystals are solids whose atoms form a very regular pattern.


CTENOSPONDYLUS

Ctenospondylus was a sail-backed pelycosaur (a mammal-like reptile) that was about 10 ft (3 m) long. This carnivore (meat-eater) walked on four legs, had a long tail, short back spines, and a deep but narrow skull with massive jaws that contained many sharp teeth. This advanced sphenacodontid lived from the Late Pennsylvanian through the Early Permian (before the dinosaurs evolved). Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata (chordates), Subphylum Vertebrata (vertebrates), Superclass Tetrapoda (tetrapods - having four legs), Class Reptilia (reptiles), Subclass Synapsida (synapsids), Order Pelycosauria (pelycosaurs), Family Sphenacodontidae (sail-finned pelycosaurs -Dimetrodon, Sphenacodon, Ctenospondylus, and Secodontosaurus), Genus Ctenospondylus, and many species.
CURRIE, PHILIP J.
Philip J. Currie is a Canadian paleontologist from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta. He has worked extensively in Canada and Asia, recently excavating feathered dinosaurs from China. He named: Caenagnathasia (1993, with Godfrey & Nessov), Callovosaurus (1980), Monolophosaurus (with Zhao, 1994), Ricardoestesia (with others, 1990), and Sinraptor (with Zhao, 1993).
CUVIER, GEORGES
Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) was a French vertebrate zoologist who revolutionized biology by developing a natural system of classifying animals based on comparative anatomy. Cuvier studied fossils and founded the science of paleontology. Although he believed that catastrophic events caused regional extinction, he also believed in fixed species (as opposed to evolving species). Cuvier named many taxonomic groups of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, including the phylum Mollusca (1798), class Cephalopoda (1797), class Gastropoda (1797), and the genera: Pterodactylus (1809), Campylodon (1832, with Valenciennes), Cynodon vulpinus (1829), Palaeotherium (1825), Anchitherium (1825), Notidanus (1816), Spinax (1817), Hydrocyon (1819), Chaetopterus (1827), Orcynus (1817), Mydaus meliceps (1821), Xyrichtys (1799), Megalaima flavifrons (1816), Esacus (1829), Myliobatis(1817), Uropeltis (1829), Ziphius cavirostris= Cuvier's Beaked Whale (1823), Stenella frontalis = Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (1838), Grampus griseus = Risso's Dolphin (1828), Adapis parisiensis (1822), Paleosuchus palpebrosus = Cuvier's dwarf caiman (1807), Euselenops luniceps (1817), Jorunna tomentosa (1804), etc.

CYCAD

Cycads (Cycadophyta) are primitive seed plants that dominated the Jurassic period (cycads comprised 20% of the world flora). Cycads are palm-like trees that live in warm climates. Separate male and female plants exist (they are dioecious). These gymnosperms have long, divided leaves and produce large cones. Cycads evolved during the Pennsylvanian, had their heyday during the Mesozoic, and only about 185 species (in 11 genera) still exist today. Leptocycas (shown above) and Ptilophyllum were Mesozoic Era cycads. Later cycads had a more rounded, barrel-like base.

CYCADEOID

Cycadeoids (Bennettitales) were plants with woody stems (some erect, some spherical) and very tough leaves. Cycadeoids do not always have separate male and female plants. Cycadeoids are now extinct. Some Mesozoic Cycadeoids included: Cycadeoidea, Vardekloeftia, Williamsonia (shown above), Williamsoniella, Westersheimia, and Leguminanthus.

CYCADOPHYTES

Cycadophytes included the Cycads and Cycadeoids (Bennettitales), plants with woody stems (some erect, some spherical) and very tough leaves. These two groups differ mainly in the way they reproduce: Cycads have separate male and female plants; Cycadeoids do not always. Cycadeoids are now extinct but there are still a few cycads. Some Mesozoic Era Cycads included: Leptocycas, Cycas, Zamia, Dioon, Bowenia, Stangeria, and Microcyas. Some Mesozoic Cycadeoids included: Cycadeoidea, Vardekloeftia, Williamsonia, Williamsoniella, Westersheimia, and Leguminanthus.

CYMBOSPONDYLUS

Cymbospondylus was an ichthyosaur 33 feet (10 m) long with one fin on the back and no fins on the tail. It had four paddle-shaped flippers and sharp teeth in long jaws. It lived during the mid-Triassic period in North and South America. It was not a dinosaur, but another type of extinct reptile.
CYNODONTS
(pronounced SI-noh-donts) Cynodonts (meaning "dog tooth," since their teeth looked like those of dogs) were synapsids that appeared during the late Permian period. These herbivores and carnivore had multi-cusped post-canine teeth (they had many points). They survived the Permian mass extinction and lived through the Triassic period. Cynodonts led to the true mammals. Some herbivorous cynodonts included Boreogomphodon, Lystrosaurus, Kannemeyeria, Estemmenosuchus, and Ischigualastia). Some carnivorous cynodonts included Cynognathus, Probainognathus, and Thrinaxodon.
Cyognathus

CYNOGNATHUS

(pronounced sy-nog-NAY-thus) Cynognathus (meaning "dog jaw") was a cynodont (a mammal-like reptile, not a dinosaur) the size of a wolf that lived during the early to middle Triassic period, roughly 230-245 million years ago. This early therapsid was a fast-moving carnivore (meat-eater) that had four legs and a short tail. It was about 5 feet (1.5 m) long and lived on open plains. It was probably warm-blooded and gave birth to live young. This reptile had dog-like teeth and hunted herbivores like Kannemeyeria (another early therapsid) in packs. Fossils have been found in South Africa and Argentina.

Cr to Cy
Ca Ce to Cf Ch Ci to Cl Co Cr to Cy

ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur and Paleontology 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

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the dinosaur or paleontology term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

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