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Triassic Dinosaurs: The First Dinosaurs Who Walked The Earth

several dinosaurs in the river with some trees beside the river

Source by: Newscientist

Everybody loves an awesome dinosaur costume. Especially when they’re our favorite dinos like the dominating T. rex or the speedy Velociraptor.

Did you know these famous reptiles started out much smaller and more primitive when they first began? Cue the Triassic dinosaurs.

But they’ve got something to be proud of despite being small. They’re the first dinosaurs who roamed the planet. Now that’s something no other animal can compete with.

brown dinosaurs surrounded by small animals

Source by: Nobu Tamura

And these dinosaurs of the Triassic period are just as diverse and wonderful as their successors. They’ve got carnivores and herbivores, theropods and sauropods too!

Incredible, right? We’re sharing the most fascinating dinosaur names and pictures from the Triassic period in this post because we want you to join the adventure.

Plus, we’ve organized them based on their diet so you can learn more easily. So come on and let’s meet the first-ever dinosaurs!

Carnivorous Triassic Dinosaurs

several dinosaurs are walking in the water at night

Source by: Livescience

Fast, agile, and hungry for meat — these are the carnivorous dinosaurs of the Triassic. Animals who fail to outrun them are surely going to be their dinner. Get to know these speedy flesh-eaters from the Late Triassic.

#1 Camposaurus

a gray brown-striped dinosaur with a long tail

Source by: Tomozosaurus

The Camposaurus is the most ancient neotheropod. This little guy’s group is a fighter because the neotheropods were the only Triassic dinosaurs who lived out of the Triassic-Jurassic extinction. Though the Camposaurus never made it to the Jurassic, it was survived by the Averostra.

Quick Dino Details

  • Habitat: USA
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Neotheropoda

#2 Chindesaurus

the comparison between chindesaurus and human being

Source by: Prehistoric-wildlife

The Chindesaurus was a Triassic dinosaur that hunted on its two feet and grew as large as a wolf. Did you know this dinosaur’s a she? It was given the nickname “Gertie” when its holotype specimen was first found.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Chinde lizard
  • Habitat: USA
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Type: Saurischia

#3 Coelophysis

a blue-gray feathered dinosaur illustration beside a solid-colored man

Source by: Petrified Forest from Petrified Forest, USA

This small dinosaur was fast, furious, and had a vision as good as an eagle’s eyes. The Coelophysis had a body with a light built that enabled it to run fast. It measured only up to 9.8 feet long and weighed as light as 15 kilos.

Quick Dino Details

  • Habitat: South Africa, USA,
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#4 Dracoraptor

a small gray two-legged dinosaur

Source by: David M. Martill, Steven U. Vidovic, Cindy Howells, John R. Nudds

Can you imagine that this 6.9-foot long young dinosaur is a relative of the T. rex? Who knew, right?

The fossil hunters who discovered its skeleton were surprised too. They didn’t expect to find a Triassic dinosaur in the sand one fine day at Welsh, England.

But what’s important about the Dracoraptor was its existence right at the borders of the Triassic and Jurassic where there was a supposed great extinction. This time in between is barely understood by scientists so findings like the Dracoraptor are a real gem.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: dragon thief
  • Habitat: England, United Kingdom
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: between the Triassic’s end and the Jurassic’s beginning
  • Dinosaur Clade: Neotheropoda

#5 Eodromaeus

a brown feathered eodromaeus

Source by: Pin

The Eodromaeus is believed to be the world’s primordial “true theropod”. Meaning, it’s the oldest hollow-boned three-toed dinosaur.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: dawn runner
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#6 Eoraptor

gray orange-snouted dinosaur with a blue-colored man behind

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Did you know that the Eoraptor is only representative of 6% of the whole population that existed during the Triassic? This means dinosaurs weren’t as plentiful and truly only thrived at the beginning of the Jurassic.

This small Triassic dinosaur was a swift little fellow. It could quickly grab its prey and tear it apart with its saw-like teeth.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: early or dawn plunderer
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Saurischia

#7 Herrerasaurus

a light gray brown-striped dinosaur with brown spots

Source by: Fred Wierum

This dinosaur didn’t fancy the Triassic salad of plants available. But it did like the herbivores who feasted on them. The Herrerasaurus was a fast-running dinosaur that attacked prey with its flexible jaws.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Herrera’s lizard
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Saurischia

#8 Lepidus

sketch of a slim long-bodied small dinosaur

Source by: Levi bernardo

Not much is known yet about this Triassic dinosaur. But the small piece of information scientists already have is already a great start.

The Lepidus is one of the few dinosaurs to have fossil remains from North America’s Late Triassic rocks. This gives scientists the rare opportunity to look into this mysterious point in time.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: fascinating fragment
  • Habitat: USA
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#9 Liliensternus

a green roaring liliensternus in a dark background

Source by: Deviantart

The Liliensternus was one of the Late Triassic’s heavy-weight champions. This dinosaur weighed approximately 441 lbs and grew as large as 17 feet! It preyed on equally large Triassic dinosaurs like the Plateosaurus.

Quick Dino Details

  • Habitat: France
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Neotheropoda

#10 Lucianovenator

a brown feathered dinosaur illustration

Source by: FunkMonk (Michael B. H.)

This carnivorous dinosaur from the Triassic is one of the few of its kind from South America. There are only a few known neotheropods from that part of the world.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Luciano’s hunter
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian-Rhaetian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Neotheropoda

#11 Procompsognathus

a black long-snouted small dinosaur

Source by: FunkMonk (Michael B. H.)

The Procompsognathus was a bipedal fast-running dinosaur. The giveaway that identified it as a speedy creature was its long tibia.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: before elegant jaw
  • Habitat: Germany
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#12 Saltopus

a green feathered saltopus

Source by: Wikipedia

Did you know this little Triassic dinosaur’s famous? It’s one of the scientifically important discoveries from Scotland’s sandstone deposits in Lossiemouth West. It grew as large as a house cat and weighed just around two pounds.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: hopping foot
  • Habitat: Scotland
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian-Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Dinosauriform

#13 Staurikosaurus

a brown long-snouted dinosaur with a blue-colored woman at the back

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Wondering how a primitive dinosaur eats? The Staurikosaurus moved bite-sized pieces of its prey towards its throat using its sharp curved teeth. This active predator lived earlier than most dinosaurs from the Triassic period.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Southern Cross lizard
  • Habitat: Brazil
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian-Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#14 Tawa

a small gray dinosaur with a blue-colored woman at the back

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Every dinosaur discovered is important. And that includes this Triassic dinosaur from South America. Its discovery gave scientists solid proof that first dinosaurs rose from the supercontinent Gondwana during the early part of the Late Triassic period.

Quick Dino Details

  • Habitat: USA
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

Herbivorous Triassic Dinosaurs

Triassic Mural

Source by: Carl Malamud

The Triassic period was rich in cycadophytes, ferns, and horsetails among many. The lush vegetation provided food for hungry dinosaurs of the Triassic period. Check them out below.

#15 Guaibasaurus

a brown and white dinosaur with a blue-colored woman at the back

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Did you know dinosaurs and birds share a favorite habit while resting? The Guiabasaurus’ fossil was found with its neck curved to the left of its body.

It’s a posture that birds and maniraptoran dinosaurs are known to do when resting. Paleontologists believe the Guibasaurus used this position to preserve its body heat.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Guaiba lizard
  • Habitat: Brazil
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Theropoda

#16 Isanosaurus

two brown gray dinosaur statues enclosed by a fence with trees behind them

Source by: Kazimierz Mendlik

Isanosaurus was one of the first herbivorous dinosaurs with a long neck to have been known. Its discovery helped scientists further understand where sauropods came from and how they grew.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: North-eastern Thailand lizard
  • Habitat: Thailand
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#17 Lessemsaurus

a gigantic skeleton of a dinosaur on display

Source by: Katharina Surhoff

The Lessemsaurus belonged to a group of large herbivorous Triassic dinosaurs. They grew as large as 12 tons and reached lengths up to 30 feet.

Quick Dino Details

  • Habitat: Argentina, South Africa
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#18 Lycorhinus

cast of a dinosaur’s jaws with a long tooth at the left

Source by: Paul C. Sereno

Can you guess how big this Triassic dinosaur was based on its long canine teeth and jaws? Many would’ve thought of the Lycorhinus as a large herbivore but it’s only a 1.2 meter-long dinosaur.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Wolf snout
  • Habitat: South Africa
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Euornithopoda

#19 Mussaurus

cast of a dinosaur’s jaws with a long tooth at the left

Source by: Sauropodomorph

Did you know the Mussaurus started out as tiny six-inch-long hatchlings? They were these cute wide-eyed dinosaurs of the Triassic period. Just like this baby sauropod puppet, don’t you think?

orange and blue-striped baby dinosaur puppet on the grass

Source by: Only Dinosaurs

They later grew up to be fine sauropods that spanned over 20 feet in length.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Mouse lizard
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#20 Pisanosaurus

a brown dinosaur with a black and white-striped tail

Source by: Nobu Tamura

The Pisanosaurus heartily ate Triassic vegetation such as ferns and horsetails. What would heartily eat this small dinosaur though, was the predatory Herrerasaurus who also lived within the area.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Pisano’s lizard
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Carnian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Dracohors

#21 Plateosaurus

a gray-green dinosaur with black stripes

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Powerful hands, a horned beak, and a strongly built body. The Plateosaurus wasn’t made for predation but for vegetation. This Triassic dinosaur was an herbivore who had a tooth crown that was like the modern iguana’s.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Broad lizard
  • Habitat: France, Germany
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

Omnivorous Triassic Dinosaurs

a gray dinosaur with ferns in front of it in a night background

Source by: I, Steveoc

Triassic dinosaurs that could feed on either meat or plants? We’re not missing out on them in this list! Learn more about them in the next section.

#22 Coloradisaurus

an illustration of a dinosaur’s skull

Source by: CC BY-SA 4.0

The Coloradisaurus was a big Triassic dinosaur. It weighed around 150 lbs and measured 10 feet long.

 

It’s also a massospondylid. This means the Coloradisaurus is closely related to the omnivorous Lufengosaurus and Glacialisaurus that both lived during the Jurassic period.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Los Colorados lizard
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#23 Melanorosaurus

a yellow and blue-striped long-necked dinosaur

Source by: Mario Lanzas

What first comes to mind when somebody mentions the word “sauropod”? Long necks and small rounded or oval faces are often the first ideas.

But the Melanosaurus begs to differ with its gently pointed snout and triangular skull. This Triassic dinosaur is one of the Mesozoic Era’s basal sauropods.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Black Mountain lizard
  • Habitat: South Africa
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#24 Riojasaurus

a brown spotted dinosaur beside a blue-colored figure of a woman

Source by: Nobu Tamura

Not all sauropods walked on four legs. A study in 2016 by Scott Harman found that the Riojasaurus was one that walked on its two legs. This Triassic dinosaur’s level back and stationary shoulder girdle helped establish it as a biped.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Rioja lizard
  • Habitat: Argentina
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Norian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

#25 Thecodontosaurus

a green dinosaur with a blue head

Source by: Mario Lanzas

Did you know the Thecodontosaurus was one of the first dinosaurs to be found? It’s also one of the oldest dinosaurs that lived.

Quick Dino Details

  • Name’s Definition: Socket-tooth lizard
  • Habitat: England
  • Late Triassic Faunal Stage: Rhaetian
  • Dinosaur Clade: Sauropoda

FAQs about the Triassic Period

a forest of green ferns and brown trees

Source by: Dan Meyers

The Triassic dinosaurs were pretty interesting, weren’t they? Now we’re going to answer your most frequently asked questions about the Triassic period.

These questions are great because it gives a clearer picture of what the whole Triassic was like. Scroll down to see the answers.

#1 What Major Events Happened During the Triassic Period?

an illustration of a forest landscape with mountains and a body of water

Source by: Александр Лещёнок

There are two major events worth mentioning. And they are:

  • The Permian-Triassic Extinction
    • This is also known as the “Great Dying”. It’s the time when a lot of plants, insects, amphibians, and early reptiles and mammals died.
  • The Triassic-Jurassic Extinction
    • This was a mass extinction that marked the end of the Triassic period. Only a handful of animals survived: the pterosaurs, the early dinosaurs, and crocodylomorphs.

#2 How Long Did the Triassic Period Last?

two yellow animals with brown stripes sitting on a rock beside a green plant

Source by: w:ru:Участник:ДиБгд

The Triassic period lasted 50.6 million years. It began 251.9 million years ago. Additionally, it’s the Mesozoic Era’s first period and also the shortest. The Triassic period has three epochs:

  • Early Triassic
  • Middle Triassic
  • Late Triassic

#3 What Was the Climate Like in tic Period?

four gray dinosaurs in a tropical forest

Source by: ABelov2014

The climate was mostly hot during the Triassic. Dryness was also experienced during that time. The Triassic dinosaurs also experienced very chilly winters on top of hot summers and monsoons.

Triassic Dinosaurs: The First Dinosaur Survivors

green dinosaur statue with a small green animal in its mouth

Source by: Eva K. (Model by Kayomi tsukimoto)

How did you like learning about the dinosaurs of the Triassic period? It’s interesting getting to know how something came to be.

But at the same time, it’s also quite shocking to learn how the Triassic period ended. Thankfully some species survived and gave rise to the famous dinosaurs we know today.

Now, how will you teach others about Triassic dinosaurs? Perhaps a lifelike dinosaur costume will help you tell the story.

However you decide to play show and tell, we know it’s going to be awesome. Let’s keep learning together!

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