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Glossary

adaptation
physical structures, characteristics, or behaviors that allow an organism to survive and reproduce in its particular environment.
carnivore
an animal that feeds on the flesh of other animals.
carnosaur
a group of lizard-hipped, flesh-eating dinosaurs.
carrion
dead and decaying flesh.
cast
a natural or artificial fossil that is created by filling in an impression.
coprolite
fossilized fecal matter.
Cretaceous Period
the last and final period of the Mesozoic Era, 144 to 65 million years ago.
femur
the thigh, or upper leg bone.
fossil
the preserved remains or shape of an organism that once lived.
gastrolith
a stone swallowed to aid digestion.
herbivore
an animal that feeds on plants.
hypothesis
an assumption based on evidence.
Jurassic Period
the middle time period of the Mesozoic Era, 206 to 144 million years ago.
jury
a group of people sworn to determine the facts concerning an issue and render a verdict.
matrix
the rock surrounding fossils.
Mesozoic Era
the era of Earth's history dominated by the dinosaurs, 248 to 65 million years ago.
opportunist
someone that takes advantage of opportunities.
Ornithischia
a science word that means "bird-hip." It refers to the group of dinosaurs that includes the ankylosaurs, ornithopods, stegosaurs, and ceratopsians.
paleontologist
a person who studies fossils.
petrified
turned to stone through a process that replaces organic molecules with inorganic minerals.
predator
an animal that hunts and eats other animals (prey).
Saurischia
science word that means "lizard-hip." It refers to the group of dinosaurs that includes the theropods and the sauropodomorphs.
scavenger
an animal that feeds on the flesh of a dead animals.
theropod
group of lizard-hipped, carnivorous dinosaurs.
tibia
shin bone: the inner, thicker of the two bones of the lower leg.
Triassic Period
the first (earliest) period of the Mesozoic Era, 248 to 206 million years ago.
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