Background Info

This family of dinosaurs (a species called Oryctodromeus cubicularis) lived about 95 million years ago in what is today the U.S. state of Montana. Paleontologists discovered the Oryctodromeus fossil family in 2006.

Oryctodromeus was a burrowing dinosaur. The Montana burrow reached about half-a-meter (1.6 feet) underground, twisting and turning more than 2.1 meters (6.9 feet) along the way.

Vocabulary

Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

arid

Adjective

dry.

bipedalism

Noun

form of movement where an animal consistently uses two legs for standing or walking.

burrow

Noun

small hole or tunnel used for shelter.

desert

Noun

area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

Encyclopedic Entry: desert

dinosaur

Noun

very large, extinct reptile chiefly from the Mesozoic Era, 251 million to 65 million years ago.

environment

Noun

conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

family

Noun

group of organisms that come from the same ancestors and share similar characteristics. Family is also a classification in chemistry and math.

Encyclopedic Entry: family

food

Noun

material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.

Encyclopedic Entry: food

forelimb

Noun

front limb of an animal, such as an arm, leg, wing, or flipper.

fossil

Noun

remnant, impression, or trace of an ancient organism.

Encyclopedic Entry: fossil

habitat

Noun

environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

Encyclopedic Entry: habitat

microclimate

Noun

small area where the climate differs within a larger climate region, such as "heat islands" in a city.

Oryctodromeus

Noun

species of small, burrowing dinosaur.

paleontologist

Noun

person who studies fossils and life from early geologic periods.

polar

Adjective

having to do with the North and/or South Pole.

predator

Noun

animal that hunts other animals for food.

terrestrial

Adjective

having to do with the Earth or dry land.

Credits

Media Credits

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Illustrator

Mark Hallett

Producer

Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society

Sources

David J. Varricchio, Anthony J. Martin and Yoshihiro Katsura, "First Trace and Body Fossil Evidence of a Burrowing, Denning Dinosaur," Proceedings: Biological Sciences, Vol. 274, No. 1616 (Jun. 7, 2007), pp. 1361-1368. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25223940

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