Types of Dinosaurs Discover Dinosaur Families & Groups, With Pictures & Facts

The various kinds of dinosaurs will be discussed on this page. Several different types of dinosaurs existed. Scientists divide dinosaurs into groups, much as they do all other types of creatures, in order to make it simpler to comprehend how dinosaurs lived and evolved.

We’ve included some famous dinosaur families, such as the fearsome Tyrannosauridae and the herbivorous Hadrosauridae, as well as some of the main “big” groups of dinosaurs, such as Theropods and Ornithischians

Types of Dinosaurs: Introduction

Depending on their physical features and how closely they are connected to each other, dinosaurs may be classified with other living things. This is known as ‘classification’ by biologists.

When you get to the lowest level, you’ll find animals like ‘reptiles’ who start out big and then diminish in size until you reach ‘genera,’ which are very closely related species, and ultimately the individual species themselves.

All life forms are categorized into groups. A kingdom is one of the most common kinds of group. The ‘animal kingdom,’ which encompasses all animals, has been mentioned to you before. The animal kingdom encompasses dinosaurs, mammals, amphibians, and humans.

Dinosaur Names

Rather of using the species name, most dinosaurs are best-known by their genus. Most people, for example, would refer to the Iguanodon genus rather than an particular species of Iguanodon.

The term Iguanodon bernissartensis, which refers to an individual species of Iguanodon, is only used by paleontologists (and other clever people). In reality, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a kind of Tyrannosaurus, is the only dinosaur species that most people are familiar with. The genus names for other well-known dinosaurs such as Spinosaurus, Allosaurus, and Velociraptor are also genera.

As we learn more about dinosaurs, the way different types of dinosaurs are classified is likely to change as a result of our discoveries. We’ll look at the many sorts of dinosaurs and how they’re currently categorized on this page.

The Two Main Types Of Dinosaur

Saurischia and ornithischia are the two most common types of dinosaurs.

The discovery that there were two distinct types of dinosaurs: those with lizard-like hips and those with bird-like hips, was made by English paleontologist Harry Seeley.

Saurischians is a Greek word meaning “lizard hip joint,” and he referred to the lizard-hipped dinosaurs as such.

He dubbed those with bird-like hips the ‘ornithischians,’ which is derived from the Greek word for “bird hip joint.

Saurischians Vs Ornithischians

Saurischians, like many herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs, were all carnivorous (meat-eating) dinosaurs.

Herbivorous ornithischians were widespread. There may have been a few omnivorous or carnivorous ornithischians as well.

The evidence shows that ornithischians lived in groups.

  • Ornithischians = almost entirely herbivores (may be a few omnivores / partial carnivores).
  • Saurischians = either carnivores or herbivores. Herds of animals were most likely herded.

The ornithischian, or bird-hipped, dinosaurs were not the forebears of birds, despite what their name suggests. Theropods, a family of saurischian (lizard-hipped) dinosaurs, gave rise to birds.

Saurischians Saurischians are one of the most well-known types of saurischian dinosaurs. Theropods and sauropods are the two major saurischian dinosaur groups.


Bipedal meat eaters were theropod dinosaurs.

Theropods were the big names of predatory dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Velociraptor. The term ‘theropod’ stems from the Greek word for ‘wild beast foot.

Theropods were present from the late Triassic through the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which marked the end of the dinosaurs’ reign.

Theropods Become Birds

The theropods, however, did not die out completely during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Birds had evolved from one of the original groups.

Birds are very much alive today, as can be seen from your window, and they are all descended from theropod dinosaurs.

Types of Theropod Dinosaurs


The term Coelurosaur means “hollow-tailed lizard.” Theropods that were more like birds than Carnosaurians make up the Coelurosauria, a large group of dinosaurs that includes theropods. Coelurosaurs, such as T Rex, included Tyrannosaurids.


A group of bird-like dinosaurs known as Maniraptora. They were the forerunners of current-day birds, and first arose in the Jurassic Period. The Dromaeosauridae (raptor) family belongs to this group of dinosaurs.

Dromaeosauridae (Raptors)

Raptors are a kind of dromaeosaurid. They lived in the mid-Jurassic period and were small to medium-sized feathered dinosaurs.

Example Dromaeosaurids

  • Velociraptor
  • Microraptor


Abelisauridae is a family of theropod dinosaurs that lived in Africa, South America and Asia during the Cretaceous period.

Example Abelisaurids

  • Carnotaurus
  • Abelisaurus


Tyrannosauridae is a family of bipedal meat-eaters named after the Tyrannosaurus (which means “tyrant lizard”). The huge skulls, strong jaws, and short arms of tyrannosaurids have made them famous.

Example Tyrannosaurids

  • Tyrannosaurus
  • Albertosaurus
  • Gorgosaurus
  • Tarbosaurus

The Tyrannosauridae family of dinosaurs included perhaps the most well-known, Tyrannosaurus Rex.


Another kind of big, bipedal, meat-eating dinosaur was the spinosaurids. The skulls of spinosaurids were long and narrow, similar to crocodiles. Spinosaurus and Baryonyx were two of the most specialized fish-eaters in this family.

The back of Spinosaurus was covered with a huge sail. The name Spinosaurus comes from the fact that this was supported by spine-like bones. Although not all Spinosauridae family members have a sail, it was named after Spinosaurus.

Example Spinosaurids

  • Spinosaurus
  • Baryonyx
  • Suchomimus
  • Irritator


The families Allosauridae and Carcharodontosauridae are part of the Carnosauria group of Theropods.


The late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods saw the evolution of Allosauridae, a predatory dinosaur family. Allosaurus, a top-of-the-food-chain hunter in the late Jurassic period, is its most famous member.

Example Allosaurids

  • Allosaurus
  • Saurophaganax


Some of the world’s largest land carnivores belonged to the Carcharodontosauridae family of dinosaurs. The term comes from the Greek word for “shark-toothed lizards.”

Example Carcharodontosaurids

  • Giganotosaurus
  • Carcharodontosaurus
  • Tyrannotitan


Sauropods were a sort of saurischian dinosaur. The group includes the world’s largest land creatures, with several sauropods reaching enormous sizes.

Sauropods were the huge dinosaurs that included Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Titanosaurus..

The body of a typical sauropod was barrel-shaped, with a long neck, a tiny head, and a long, muscular tail. It had four tree-trunk legs that supported it.


Sauropod dinosaurs belong to the Diplodocidae family. This family’s members had unusually long bodies, although they were not as tall as other sauropods.

Example Diplodocids

  • Diplodocus
  • Apatosaurus
  • Brontosaurus
  • Supersaurus


From the early Cretaceous through the end of the Mesozoic, titanososaurs were a group of sauropod dinosaurs. Argentinosaurus, a genus of extinct giant animal that was possibly the world’s largest ever land animal, is among the group’s members.

Example Titanosaurs

  • Saltasaurus
  • Argentinosaurus

Types Of Dinosaurs: Ornithischians

The Ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaurs were one of two distinct groups of dinosaurs (the other being the lizard-hipped Saurischians), as we have previously established.

The beaks and jaws of many Ornithischians were designed for slicing and chewing vegetation.

The following is a list of some of the most well-known Ornithischian dinosaurs.

Thyreophora (Armored Dinosaurs)

The ornithischian dinosaurs Thyreophora belonged to this group. The word Thrēophora means “shield carriers.” Armoured dinosaurs is another name for this group.

Thyreophorans had a thick skin and rows of plates running down their bodies, which made them very armored. Spikes and tail clubs further protected many of them.

Stegosauria and Ankylosauria were two well-known Thyreophorans groups.


Rows of bony plates ran down the backs of Stegosauria, an armored dinosaur group. While Stegosaurus is the most well-known Stegosaurian, several additional species have been found.

Example Stegosaurians


During the Mesozoic era, Ankylosauria was a group of armored dinosaurs. They were four-legged creatures with huge bodies and great strength. They were all heavily armored, and some of them grew tail clubs that might have been utilized as predator deterrents.

Among dinosaurs, Ankylosaurus is the most well recognized.

Example Ankylosaurians

  • Ankylosaurus
  • Minmi
  • Polacanthus
  • Edmontonia


The mid-Jurassic and late-Cretaceous Periods saw the emergence of ornithopods, a group of Ornithischian dinosaurs. They possessed three-toed feet, beaks, and a superior chewing ability (for a dinosaur).

Hadrosauridae (Duck-Billed Dinosaurs)

Due to the wide mouthparts of hadrosaurids, they are also known as “duck-billed” dinosaurs. The ornithopods of the Hadrosauridae family descended from the Iguanodontians. Many Hadrosaurids were able to walk on two and four legs, but only use their hind legs while grazing.

Example Hadrosaurids

Pachycephalosauria (Marginocephalia)

During the Late Cretaceous era, Pachycephalosauria was a kind of dinosaur. The term Pachycephalosauria means “thick headed lizards,” and these were bipedal and had thick skulls. This group had a lot of domed skulls with spikes, which were popular among its members.

Pachycephalosaurians may have battled each other by ramming their skulls together, much as stags do today in order to establish dominance..

Stegoceras, a little bipedal dinosaur with a domed skull, is an example of a pachycephalosaurian.

Example Pachycephalosaurids

  • Pachycephalosaurus
  • Stegoceras

Ceratopsia (Marginocephalia)

The name Ceratopsia means “horned face.” In the Cretaceous epoch, this group of dinosaurs was discovered in North America, Europe, and Asia. Ceratopsians, like other Ornithischians, were herbivorous. Beak-like mouthparts were present on them. They were 1 meter (3.3 foot) to 9 meter (30 foot) long and weighed 9 tons.

Triceratops, a huge, powerful four-legged beast with three different spike structures on its skull and a bony frill at the rear of its skull, was the most well-known Ceratopsian.

Example Ceratopsids

  • Centrosaurus
  • Psittacosaurus
  • Triceratops

Types Of Dinosaurs: Conclusion

It’s critical to remember that dinosaurs existed on Earth for tens of millions of years longer than humans did while learning about them.

As a result, the dinosaurs had plenty of opportunity to split off and develop into new sorts. Millions of years before the mass extinction event that wiped out the last non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period, dinosaur species were appearing and becoming extinct.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that not all dinosaurs lived together when you watch movies like Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs who lived at the same time may have been separated by millions of years.

Between the disappearance of baryonyxwalkeri and the emergence of tyrannosaurus rex, for example, 57 million (or more) years had passed.

Dinosaurs, like all other living creatures, are divided into groups. Yet, it is fossilized remnants that have been buried for an almost incomprehensible period of time that give us our entire knowledge of dinosaurs.

As a result, our knowledge of dinosaurs – and the interdependence between distinct types of dinosaurs – changes on a regular basis as we discover more fossils.

Now: Become A Dinosaur Expert!

We want you to have learned something new about dinosaurs as a result of your exploration.

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