This is a wonderful reference site, maintained entirely by one hard-working bloke in his spare time. Take a bow, Michael Keesey! It has information on every genus that has ever been referred to the Ornithodira (i.e. every dinosaur and every pterosaur), lots of cladograms and discussion of the classification issues, and raw information such as what elements are known, when and by whom the genera were first described, etc.
Maybe best of all, lots of wonderful art-work - some by the site's author, but most of it contributed by lots of different artists. At the current writing, there are a total of 809 images by 61 different artists; quality is variable, but the best of these images are nothing short of stunning - for example, this Herrerasaurus, these Allosaurus and these Brachiosaurus. There are even a few animations.
It's hard to overstate how good this site is. One testimony can be found in the fact that I've configured my web browser so that it's my home page.
A second reference site; this one is a bit ``over-designed'' for my liking - gratuitous bitmaps all over the place - but that's a matter of taste. There's certainly no shortage of content. Its ``omnipedia'' section includes a few very helpful resources not in the Dinosauricon, such as a dictionary of technical terms (www.dinosauria.com/dml/diction.htm), a pronunciation and etymology guide for dinosaur genus names (www.dinosauria.com/dml/names/dinosi.htm) and maps of the ancient earth (www.dinosauria.com/dml/maps.htm). Impressive coverage!
The third of the triumverate of first-rate reference sites. Personally, I find it difficult to find my way around this one, but all the information is there - more than either of the other two provide. Since the Dinosauricon has fallen out of date, this is the first place I go for information. If you can cope with the navigation, there's a lot of good stuff here, including an online magazine, Paleozoica (containing several articles written by Steve ``Dino Land'' Brusatte), an elementary but very useful database of literature references and an archive of Mickey Mortimer's ``Details on ...'' segments (33 non-avian dinosaurs, eight mezozoic birds and counting!)
Although, strictly speaking, this web page does not concern dinosaurs, it is an excellent study of those other ornithodirans, the pterosaurs. it includes a list of all described pterosaur genera (except, perhaps, very newly described genera), skeletal reconstructions for most genera (marvel at Quetzalcoatlus's truly ludicrous proportions), essays about behavior, physiology, and evolution, and a study of pterosaur ancestry (with a very interesting look at the Prolacertiformes). A thoroughly excellent site.
[Update. That site has gone away for the moment. There is reason to hope that it may be back, perhaps at a different URL. In the mean time, pterosaur lovers can try
Another excellent reference site. The goal here is actually to cover all life - not just animals and plants but bacteria, viruses, you name it. You certainly can't fault it for ambition!
The dinosaur portion of the tree does not have anywhere near such good coverage as the Dinosauricon, but the parts of the dinosaurian tree that are covered at all - basically the Ankylosauria, Tyrannosauroidea and some Neornithes if you count them - are covered in real, serious detail.
Skeletal drawings of dinosaurs by Gregory S. Paul - what more need be said? Thirty genera are represented, and each drawing is available both as small and large GIFs and a PDF, which is suitable for printing. Immensely useful. Login as a ``guest'' to get access.
The Open Directory Project (dmoz.org) maintains a list of links to sites featuring dinosaur art by (currently) 83 different artists. There's no point in my replicating that effort, so here's a link to their constantly-updated list:
Matthew Carrano's wonderful site offers a database of English translations of non-English paleontological literature. The database can be browsed by author's surname, title or journal, and the full text of the papers downloaded. Registration is requested (rather than required - how polite!) and there is a facility for requesting translations of papers that are not yet on the site.
The utility of the site is somewhat marred by the fact that most of the papers are available only in Microsoft's awful proprietary ``Word'' format, but that doesn't seem to bother most people.
This site simply provides lots of maps of the world, showing the configuration of the continents through time as currently understood. There are also animations, teaching materials, descriptions of the methods used to arrive at the maps, and references. Very comprehensive coverage of the subject.
A single incredibly useful page containing in the most terse and complete way a set of diagnostic features for all the major dinosaurian groups, and data matrices for lower-level taxa scored against those characters. Eminently suitable for mangling into a more computer-friendly format (which I might do, and post the results on my site. Watch this space.)
The home-page of arguably the most prestigious professional organsation for vertebrate paleontology. Also hosts information about The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (JVP), described as ``the leading journal of professional vertebrate paleontology and the flagship publication of the Society''
This site doesn't have much on it, but it does contain a valiant attempt at building two databases: one of palaeontologists, and one of fossil collections. From my noodlings with the palaeontologist database, its coverage is very patchy - for example, it includes Thomas Holtz, but not Chris Brochu or Greg Paul - but that will improve with time, and there are facilities for people to add their own records.
An on-line palaeontological journal - the only one, so far as I know.
An on-line magazine with very few articles, but they're very good ones - for example, the interview with Matt Wedel, principal author of the paper describing Sauroposeidon.
Jerry Harris maintains an excellent page of links to the home pages of various journals. It's a great place to start when you're trying to find a copy of a paper.
A wonderful new site containing an impressively wide range of freely available recent technical papers, either to read on-line (in HTML) or to download and print (in PDF). Still in the experimental phase, and the searching is painfully slow, but it's staggeringly useful.
This is a very beautiful web site, created by the Linda Hall Library, Kansas City, to accompany the ``Paper Dinosaurs'' exhibition that ran from October 1996 to April 1997. Although the exhibition itself is long gone, the web site lives on. Not only that, but it includes supplementary exhibits which weren't in the physical version.
The site consists of 49 main exhibits, plus another 35 supplementary ones. Each represent a significant publication in dinosaur history, from Buckland's original Megalosaurus notice, through Hawkins' Crystal Palace sculptures, Cope's ``Laelaps'' reconstruction, Oliver Hay's ludicrous sprawling Diplodocus and the work of Charles Knight and Rudolf Zallinger, finishing with Ostrom's 1969 Deinonychus paper, featuring Bakker's illustration, that was so instrumental in ushering in the modern era. The exhibits contain a few paragraphs of discussion and/or quotes from the various publications together with reproductions of the key illustrations.
It's absolutely fascinating to see how the perception of dinosaurs has changed in 177 years.
This site is a sort of exhibition, created by Daniel Benson and devoted to about 120 Mesozoic animals - mostly but not exclusively dinosaurs. Each of the species described has its own page with a picture, some descriptive text, and (most importantly) links to other websites containing pertinent information to the particular species of that page. Species are organized first by age, and then by continent of origin, giving an idea of the ecosystems these animals inhabited.
This is the home page for the Dinosaur mailing list of which this document is the FAQ. It contains instructions for joining and leaving the list, guidance on what's acceptable behaviour, and a pointer to the list's archives (which I may as well go right ahead and tell you are at www.cmnh.org/dinoarch.) What it doesn't contain (yet) is a pointer back to this FAQ, but that's bound to change in time ... Right?
Ok, if we're being picky, this is not technically a dinosaur-related web site, but it is a very, very, very funny cartoon, and it's totally free, and it deserves to have a lot more visitors than it does. Oh, and the Drugs Drugs Drugs cartoon does have a dinosaur in it.
Steve Brusatte's site put me off initially, because it's (excuse my candour) ugly. I shouldn't have been so shallow. Once you make your way into the meat of it, there's a lot of great stuff here, including interviews, paleo-event of the millennium and Steve's own articles. The punchline is that Steve's only fifteen; but you wouldn't know it if his site didn't tell you. A bright future awaits!
Lots of people out there have built their own personal dinosaur-related web-sites. Some are excellent, others of varying quality. I can't comment on all of them, but here is a partial list:
Jordan Mallon's Paleo Portfolio: www.geocities.com/paleoportfolio
Dinogeorge's Dinosaur Home Page: hometown.aol.com/Dinogeorge/index.html
Dino Russ's Lair: www.dinoruss.org
If for some reason you're reading a printed-on-dead-trees version of this FAQ, you'll want to go and check out the up-to-date version.
However, I don't want this page to degenerate into just a list of links. I want to editorialise intelligently on each featured site, which means keeping the sites down to a reasonable number. So please by all means let me know if you find yourself thinking, ``Incredible! He missed my all-time favourite dinosaur site!''; but think about leaving it if you just think, ``Oh, what about this other one that I've heard of?''
It will help enormously if you can include a brief review in your email: something of the order of 50-100 words describing the site and saying why it's special: what's here that's not to be found anywhere else?