Southern FOSSIL

discoveries vol. 3

Dinosaurs of the
South

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JUDY CU

South

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Praise for G I A N T P R E D ATORS OF THE ANCIENT SEAS

—NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

“The narrative provides questions and answers along with focused information
. . . the photos are great. . . . I recommend Ice Age Giants of the South for middle
school students. . . . Its focus on fossils and the stories they tell should be very
interesting to these students.” —NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Pineapple Press, Inc. • Sarasota, Florida

Johnston

Praise for ICE AGE GIANTS OF THE SOUTH

and

“Both school and public libraries will make use of this accessible volume that will be of interest
to both students and budding paleontologists.” —SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Cutchins

“Who isn’t interested in monsters? . . . The excellent photos of fossils and illustrations of what these giants
might have looked like will . . . encourage students to find explanations in the text . . .
This would be a nice supplement to a unit on fossils or careers in science.”

Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

Southern FOSSIL
discoveries vol. 3

Dinosaurs
of the
South

Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

Pineapple Press, Inc. • Sarasota, Florida

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank the following professionals for their assistance
during the development of Dinosaurs of the South: Susan Henson, Collections
Manager, McWane Center, Birmingham, Alabama; James P. Lamb, Ph.D.,
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina; Wann Langston
Jr., Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, Texas; David Schwimmer, Ph.D.,
Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia.

Copyright © 2002 by Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3889
Sarasota, Florida 34230
www.pineapplepress.com
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Cutchins, Judy.
Dinosaurs of the South : southern fossil discoveries / Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston.
p. cm.
Includes index.
Summary: Discusses dinosaur fossils discovered in the southeastern United States and
what they tell us about prehistoric creatures of that region, including new dinosaur species
known only in the South.
ISBN 1-56164-266-5 (alk. paper)
1. Dinosaurs—South Atlantic States—Juvenile literature. [1. Dinosaurs. 2. Fossils. 3.
Paleontology—South Atlantic States.] I. Johnston, Ginny. II. Title.
QE861.8.S58 C88 2002
567.9'0975—dc21
2002066333
First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Design by Carol Tornatore Creative Design
Printed in China

Contents
1.

Age of Reptiles 4

2.

Southern Fossils

3.

Herds of Duckbills

4.

Tank-like Dinosaurs

5.

Huge Meat-Eaters

6.

Ostrich-like Theropods

7.

Crocodile-like Giants

8.

Flying Reptiles

9.

End of the Age of Reptiles
Glossary

10
20
28
32
38
42

48

57

Pronunciation Key 59
Index

61

Art and Photo Credits

62

54

o

ne

Age of

Reptiles

T

he Mesozoic Era, also known as the
Age of Reptiles, lasted for 180 million years.
During this time, hundreds of kinds of
dinosaurs lived and died out around the
world. Fossils, the clues to the past, are
buried in sedimentary rock that formed
during the Mesozoic. Today, most of these
rock layers with fossils are hidden deep
underground. In a few parts of North
America, some of the layers have been
exposed by erosion. The exposed rocks are
called outcrops.
In the southeastern United States, there
are only a few areas where outcrops from
the Mesozoic Era can be found. They are
from the Late Cretaceous, which was
the last part of the Mesozoic Era.
Paleontologists, scientists who study fossils,
search these outcrops in hopes of finding
some of the rare fossil clues about dinosaurs
and other prehistoric life in the South.

4

A paleontologist uses picks and
small chisels to expose more of
a Cretaceous fossil.

Dinosaur fossils in
the southeastern
United States are
from the Late
Cretaceous.

5

Warm World
The world of the Late Cretaceous was not
like the world today. Plants and animals
were different. The earth’s climate was
warmer, and there was no ice at the North
or South Pole. Sea level was much higher,
and water covered broad areas of land
around the world. The center of North
America was under a shallow sea, and
the southern coastline was much farther
inland. Seawater covered Florida and
Louisiana and much of Mississippi,
Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The
sea was clear and warm as it met the
southern shore. Not far from the coast,
volcanoes erupted during the last thirty
million years of the Cretaceous.

Paleont
olo

How Old?

gists ha
ve ident
a kind o
if ied
f oyster
that liv
ed in th
souther
e
n marin
e enviro
nment
during
only
the end
of the C
retaceo
Dinosau
us.
r fossils
found i
n the sa
rock as
me
this fos
sil oyste
r shell w
be the s
ould
ame ag
e. Fossils
t
scientis
hat help
ts deter
mine th
e ages o
other fo
f
ssils an
d outcr
ops are
index fo
called
ssils.

Seawater covered much
of North America
75 million years ago.

6

Tropical Times

r times, there
During dinosau
mperature
were no large te
m season to
differences fro
utheastern
season in the so
s
Some scientist
United States.
e were rainy
think that ther
ed by very dry
seasons follow
uld have been
times. T his wo
e in tropical
like the climat
.
countries today

Because of its warm climate, the southern coast was lush with plants. Preserved
leaves, wood, fruit, and seeds from the Late
Cretaceous have been found. Some of the
seeds and fruits of jungle plants living
today are similar to fossils recovered in
Mississippi. Using these clues, scientists
know tropical rainforests grew along parts
of the prehistoric southeastern coast.
Reptiles also thrived in the warm
environment. Herds of plant-eating duckbill
dinosaurs roamed the southern coastal
forests. Large and small meat-eating
dinosaurs, as well as crocodile-like animals,
hunted along the shores. Strange, armorcovered nodosaurs fed in the scrubby
underbrush. Flying reptiles, the pterosaurs,
glided over southern waters on enormous
wings. Insects and small animals were food
for the fast, ostrich-like dinosaurs known as
ornithomimids. The Late Cretaceous was an
amazing time in the Age of Reptiles.

This seed is from a tropical fruit tree
that grew in the South during the
Age of Dinosaurs.

7

8

Dinosaurs of the South
by
Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston

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