Dinosaur diversity analysed by clade, age, place and year of description

1st December 2005

Taylor, M. P.
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, PO1 3QL, UK. <dino@miketaylor.org.uk>,

Dinosaur diversity is analysed in terms of the number of valid genera within each major clade, Mesozoic age, place, and year of description. Aves (Archaeopteryx + Neornithes) is excluded. Nomina nuda and nomina dubia are not counted. The results show 484 valid dinosaurian genera at the end of March 2003, of which 300 are saurischian (119 sauropodomorphs and 176 theropods, including 95 coelurosaurs) and 180 ornithischian, including 11 pachycephalosaurs, 29 ceratopsians, 67 ornithopods, 13 stegosaurs, and 41 ankylosaurs. Forty genera are first known from the Triassic, 134 from the Jurassic, and 310 from the Cretaceous, including 98 from the Campanian and 44 from the Maastrichtian. The Kimmeridgian was the most productive age, averaging 12.06 new genera per million years. This age saw an unparalleled boom in sauropod diversity, with 19 new sauropod genera known from its 3.4 million years, an average of one new sauropod every 179,000 years. Asia was the most productive continent, home to 166 genera, followed by North America (141), Europe (75), South America (52), Africa (38), Australasia (11), and Antarctica (1). Three countries account for more than half of all dinosaur diversity with 247 genera between them: the U.S.A (108), China (80), and Mongolia (59). The top six countries also include Argentina (46), England (34), and Canada (32), and together provide 359 genera, nearly three quarters of the total. The rate of naming new dinosaurs has increased hugely in recent years, with more genera named in the last 23 years than in all the preceding 158 years.

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