Cretaceous Calamity Animals


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Acrocanthosaurus                                                           Acrocanthosaurus tokensis

Acrocanthosaurus was one of the largest carnivores known, and was easily the largest in it's area. It even rivaled Tyrannosaurus in size. It was related to the mighty Jurassic predator Allosaurus, and other large predators like Carcharodontosaurus! It had a small sail  or hump running down it's back, but unlike the tall, thin sail of Spinosaurus, Acrocanthrosaurus' sail was more of a stiff ridge running the length of it's back. The sail's function is currently unknown.


Anatotitan copei

This giant North American hadrosaurine ornithopod from the end of the Cretaceous period was nearly 40ft long, making it one of the biggest and last hadrosaurs. It had the widest beak of any hadrosaur and had an impressive amount of teeth to help chew Cretaceous vegetation. This species has had a very confusing taxonomic past and even now, it is debated whether or not it's really a species of Edmontosaurus.


 Argentinosaurus huinculensis

A massive titanosaur sauropod probably around 115ft long, this was one of the biggest terrestrial animals ever to live on earth. However, even this titan wasn't immune to attack: fossil evidence shows that certain carnosaurs probably hunted in packs specially for taking on such giant herbivores. Argentinosaurus lived at the start of the Late Cretaceous in, as its name implies, Argentina.

Carcharodontosaurus                                            Carcharodontosaurus saharicus

Carcharodontosaurus was one of the largest terrestrial carnivores to ever live. Although not as large as Spinosaurus or Giganotosaurus, it was as large as or perhaps bigger than Tyrannosaurus. It lived along side Deltadromeus and Spinosaurus, while competing with them for food. Its name means "shark lizard", after the serrated teeth in its jaws that helped it attack its prey.           

Daspletosaurus                                                                 Daspletosaurus torosus                                  

Daspletosaurus was at the top it's food chain, and fed on everything from ceratopsians to hadrosaurs. At up to 30 ft. long and 2.5 tons, it didn't have any competition, except from certain fellow tyrannosaurs which it coexisited with in some areas. As with other tyrannosaurs of its size, Daspletosaurus may have lived in groups.

Deltadromeus                                                             Deltadromeus agilis                                                  

Although it may have been able to grow to the size of Tyrannosaurus (its remains are rather incomplete), Deltadromeus was a light, agile ceratosaur. Its speed was probably useful in catching prey and escaping its even larger neighbors, such as Carcharodontosaurus and Spinosaurus.

Giganotosaurus                                                           Giganotosaurus carolinii

Giganotosaurus, was one of the largest terrestrial carnivores to ever live. It was even larger than Tyrannosaurus, but still smaller than Spinosaurus. It lived during the Late Cretaceous in what is now Patagonia. It was a close cousin of the also large African carnivore, Carcharodontosaurus. Being so large, it obviously hunted large prey, like massive sauropods.


Iguanodon bernissartensis

Iguanodon was one of the most successful dinosaurs of the Early Cretaceous. Fossils of it and its close relatives have been found on almost every continent on earth. The key to its success was probably due to its ability to chew, enabling it to process food better than contemporary herbivores. Another one of its evolutionary advantages was its "Swiss army hand" - its spike-shaped thumb was probably used for defense against predators, while the next three fingers were hoof-like and used for walking on, and its fifth finger was flexible and may have been used for grasping food. Like its later relatives the hadrosaurs, Iguanodon could shift from a quadruped to a biped according to its needs.

Irritator                                                                                              Irritator challengeri

A Brazilian spinosaur, Irritator probably fed mostly on fish like its relatives. It is also known to have fed on pterosaurs. So far, this theropod is known from just a skull, but it's been estimated to grow to 26ft long. When first discovered, clay was stuck on to the end of its snout to make it "look more impressive", irritating paleontologists and earning it its genus name.

Koolasuchus                                                                                   Koolasuchus cleelandi

Koolasuchus was a large Cretaceous amphibian that lived on the continent of Australia. It was a carnivore whose diet included turtles, clams and crayfish.Koolasuchus was a member of the temnospondyli order of amphibians and specifically of the chigutosaur group. It lived in the rift valley where southern Australia was starting to split from Antarctica, and perhaps elsewhere. It is notable both because it was one of the largest temnospondyls, and because it survived long after its cousins further north had become extinct.

Pachycephalosaurus                                           Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis

The largest pachycephalosaur, and one of the last, Pachycephalosaurus was nearly 20ft long and weighed as much as a brown bear. The function of its thick dome has been debated for years. It is generally believed to have been used in territorial contests and perhaps defense.

Stygimoloch                                                                  Stygimoloch spinifer

This 10ft long pachycephalosaur lived alongside its larger relative Pachycephalosaurus near the end of the Mesozoic. Some paleontologists think the two may be the same species. Stygimoloch didn't just have a dome -- it also had long spikes sticking out of the back of its head. Even though these were probably just for display, this pachycephalosaur's name means "Styx devil".

Suchomimus                                                                  Suchomimus teneresnsis

Suchomimus, like it's cousin Spinosaurus, was a giant. It could've reached the length of T.rex! It ate fish, and had long, narrow jaws for doing so. It lived from around 110-120 million years ago, in the Middle Cretaceous, so it didn't have to worry about it's cousin's contemporaries. However, there was a threat even to Suchomimus, the giant crocodile Sarcosuchus. Like Spinosaurus, Suchomimus had a sail, but Suchomimus' wasn't as large and prounonced.

      Tarbosaurus                                                      Tarbosaurus bataar

This large Asian tyrannosaur did what its close relative Tyrannosaurus did in North America: Be the top predator. Some consider Tarbosaurus an Asian species of Tyrannosaurus, but other studies show Tarbosaurus was closer to Alioramus, another Asian tyrannosaur.

Therizinosaurus                                                                                   Therizinosaurus cheloniformis

Therizinosaurus' claws were the longest of any dinosaur. They were 3ft long, and were once thought to have been the ribs of a giant turtle! However, Therizinosaurus was far from a deadly hunter. It, along with other therizinosaurs, were unusual among theropods in being herbivores, using their claws to grab branches and fend off attackers. Therizinosaurus is the largest known maniraptoran, and may have been the largest feathered animal ever.

Torosaurus                                                                 Torosaurus latus

Though not as big as its relative and contemporary Triceratops, Torosaurus had a much larger head. Its head was nearly 13ft long! Unlike Triceratops, its frill had two big holes in its framework to keep its gigantic skull light.