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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

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

W

WAKINOSAURUS
(pronounced wah-KEER-ee-ah) Wakinosaurus (meaning "Wakino [Japan] lizard") was a meat-eating dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period, about 144-125 million years ago. Fossils of this theropod were found in northern Kyushu Island, Japan. The type species is W. satoi. Wakinosaurus was named by Okazaki in 1992 . Wakinosaurus is a doubtful genus since only a partial tooth (serrated) has been found.
WALGETTOSUCHUS
(pronounced WALL-get-tuh-SOOK-us) Walgettosuchus (meaning "Walgett [a town in New South Wales, Australia] crocodile") was a meat-eating dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period, about 119-113 million years ago. This large, bipedal theropod was a tetanuran. Fossils have been found in Australia. The type species is W. woodwardi. Walgettosuchus was named by von Huene in 1932. Walgettosuchus is a doubtful genus and may be the same as Rapator.
WALKERIA
(pronounced wah-KEER-ee-ah) Walkeria was a meat-eating dinosaur from the late Triassic period, about 231-225 million years ago. This small, primitive, bipedal theropod did not have a brow ridge (unlike most theropods). Fossils have been found in India. The type species is W. maleriensis. Walkeria was named by Chatterjee in 1987 (honoring the British paleontologist Alick D. Walker).
WANNANOSAURUS
(pronounced wah-NAN-oh-SAWR-us) Wannanosaurus (named after the Chinese province where its very incomplete skeleton was found) was a tiny homalocephalid dinosaur about 2 feet (60 cm) long. It was a very primitive Pachycephalosaur (related to Pachycephalosaurus and Stegoceras, other dinosaurs with thick skulls that probably engaged in head-butting activities). The homalocephalids had thick, but flat-topped skulls. It was an herbivore that walked on two strong legs, had short arms, a stiff tail, and a thick-set body. (Its resembled Pachycephalosaurus, but it was much smaller and its head was much flatter.) It lived during the late Cretaceous period (83-73 million years ago).

WARM BLOODED

Warm blooded (or endothermic) animals generate their own body heat to maintain their body temperature. Birds and mammals are endothermic.
WEALDEN FORMATION
The Wealden Formation is an area in southeastern England (including the Isle of Wight) that had yielded many fossils, iincluding dinosaurs. Paleontologist Gideon Mantell found Iguanodon there in 1825. The Wealden sedimentary rock dates from the Early Cretaceous period, when the area had fresh and brackish water (slightly salty) sediments.


WEGENER, ALFRED L.

Alfred Lothar Wegener (1880-1930), the German geologist and meteorologist, proposed the theory of continental drift in his 1915 book, On the Origin of Continents and Oceans. This theory states that parts of the Earth's crust slowly drift atop a liquid core. The fossil record overwhelmingly supports and gives credence to the theory of continental drift (and that of plate tectonics). He proposed the existence of the supercontinent Pangaea, and named it (Pangaea means "all the land" in Greek). Wegener froze to death while heading an expedition crossing the Greenland ice cap in 1930.
WETMORE, ALEXANDER
Alexander Wetmore (1886-1978) was an ornithologist who was an expert on the birds and bird fossils of Central and South America. He named many species of fossil birds, including Plegadornis, 1962 (now Angelinornis). He was put in charge of the National Museum (the Smithsonian), the National Gallery of Art, and the National Zoo in 1925. He collected a lot of birds (which were stuffed for the Smithsonian's collection) and fossils. In addition to his field work and administrative duties, he was famous for being extremely formal. While in the rainforests collecting specimens, he would always wear a tie, and he insisted that the tents, chairs and tables were always arranged perfectly in a particular linear fashion. The Cretaceous Period fossil bird Alexornis (meaning "Alex's bird") was named by Pierce Brodkorb in 1976 in honor of Wetmore.
WIFFEN, JOAN
Joan Wiffen is a self-trained amateur paleontologist who pioneered dinosaur hunting in New Zealand. Her discoveries, beginning in 1974, greatly changed scientists' views of New Zealands' paleontological history. Wiffen discovered fragmentary fossils of late Cretaceous period dinosaurs, including an ankylosaur (probably a nodosaur), a carnosaur, and a sauropod. These are the first dinosaurs found on New Zealand; it had been previously thought that no dinosaurs had lived on this long-isolated island. Wiffen's discoveries are from Mangahouanga, North Island, New Zealand. Joan Wiffen and her husband M. A. (Pont) Wiffen have also found mosasaurs (Mosasaurus flemingi, Prognathodon overtoni, Rikisaurus tehoensis, etc.), a plesiosaur (a plesiosaurid), a pterosaur, a protostegid (large marine turtle), and many other fossils on New Zealand.


WILLIAMSONIA

Williamsonia is a fossil plant that thrived from the Triassic period through the Cretaceous period. Williamsonia was a bennettitalean (a cycadeoidphyte, primitive gymnosperm that resembled cycads but was not a cycad). Williamsonia had a long, thin, branching, woody trunk covered with spirals of broken-off leaf scars. It was up to 6.5 ft (2 m) tall.
WILLISTON, SAMUEL W.
Samuel Wendell Williston (1851-1918) was a vertebrate paleontologist (specializing in ancient reptiles), dipterologist (a scientist who studies flies), author, medical doctor, and professor. He served as assistant to Othniel Marsh at the Yale Peabody Museum from 1876 to 1890. Williston searched for dinosaur fossils for Marsh in Colorado and Wyoming.

Willo

Willo is the nickname of a Thescelosaurus fossil whose fossilized, four-chambered heart was found, perhaps indicating this dinosaur was warm-blooded. This dinosaur was dubbed Willo after the wife of the of the ower of the ranch where it was found. Willo was found in 1993 near Buffalo, South Dakota. Thescelosaurus (meaning "Marvelous lizard") was a bipedal, plant-eating dinosaur whose Willo dates from the late Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. It had a small head, a bulky body, a long, pointed tail and short arms. Willo was a hypsilophodontid and an ornithischian dinosaur about 13 feet (4 m) long, weighing 665 pounds (300 kg). Thescelosaurus was named by paleontologist Gilmore in 1913. The type species is T. neglectus.
WINKLEY, WILLIAM
William Winkley (1900-1976) discovered the first Pachycephalosaurus fossil in 1938 while herding cattle on the family ranch outside of Ekalaka, Montana, USA. Winkley also found a Tröodon skull on his ranch.
WOOLUNGOSAURUS
(pronounced wool-UNG-oh-SAWR-us) Woolungosaurus was a flippered marine reptile from the early Cretaceous period. It was 26-33 feet (8-10 m) long with a very long neck and 4 paddle-shaped flippers. It lived in what is now Queensland, Australia. It was not a dinosaur.

WOOLLY MAMMOTH

Woolly Mammoths (scientific name Mammuthus primigenius) are extinct herbivorous mammals that had long, dense, dark black hair and underfur, long, curved tusks, a fatty hump, a long proboscis (nose), and large ears. They lived in the tundras of Asia, Europe, and North America. They lived from the Pleistocene to the early Holocene epoch (about 10,000 years ago), millions of years after the dinosaurs went extinct. They are closely related to modern-day Indian elephants. They were about 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long, 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall at the shoulder and weighed about 3 tons (2.75 tonnes). The tusks were used for protection, in interspecies dominance, and for digging in the snow of the ice ages for grass and other food. Much of our knowledge of mammoths is from cave drawings found in France and Spain and from mummified mammoths found in Siberian ice! (Classification: Family Elephantidae)


WOOLLY RHINO

Coelodonta, the woolly rhino, is from the Pleistocene epoch (which lasted from 1.8-0.1 million years ago) and survived the last ice age. It belongs to the family Rhinocerotids, which includes modern-day rhinos. This plant-eater was about 11 feet (3.5 m) long. It had two horns on its snout, the lower one larger than the one between its eyes (about 3 feet (1 m) long). It had long hair, small ears, short, thick legs, and a stocky body. Its fossils have been found in Europe (Britain) and Asia (eastern Siberia). Its shape is known from prehistoric cave drawings! Family Rhinocerotidae.


WUERHOSAURUS

(pronounced woo-AYR-hoh-SAWR-us) Wuerhosaurus was a late stegosaurid )a plated plant-eater) dinosaur that was found in Wuerho, Mongolia, China. It was about 27 feet (8.1 m) long and was similar to Stegosaurus, but had smaller plates and front legs, wider hips, and a shorter body. It was a plant-eater that lived during the early Cretaceous period, about 135-120 million years ago. Wuerhosaurus was named in 1973 by the Chinese dinosaurologist Dong Zhiming.

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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