What Are The Different Types of Dinosaur? All Dinosaur Species!

Dinosaur means Terrible Lizard, a name that on the surface seems to fit these huge scary monsters that walked the earth millions and millions of years ago. However scratch that surface and it becomes obvious there needs to be more words to describe the many types of dinosaur that used to live on the Earth.

There is no universal recognized system of classifying types of dinosaur, however general rules are followed. The most accepted of these is classifying dinosaurs based on their pelvis bones resembling birds or lizards. (Ornithischia or Saurischia ) From there they are narrowed into families and species, often with controversy.

There were other huge animals that lived In the skies and in the Oceans of the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Triassic world. but one thing at a time here we take a look at the different types of land dinosaurs below.

brachiosaurus facts for kdis
classes of dinosaur

How Many Different Types of Dinosaur Are There?

This, just like a dinosaur is a huge question. Does type mean family or species. We will talk to how many different families or types of dinosaur there are in the next section. So for this answer we will talk about how many species of dinosaur we know about so far. the answer is a number, but unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that.

Over 1000 different species of dinosaur have been named since the first dinosaur was classified (Megalosaurus) These belong to 900+ genus of dinosaur. With an average of one new dinosaur being classified weekly this number increases by 5% a year and is accelerating as fossil hunting techniques become more effective.

Some of these classification may be inaccurate however, simply because new data is coming in all the time. it is estimated there may have been up to 160,000 different species of dinosaur on the planet throughout the age of the dinosaurs, and if this number is in any way accurate it means we have found less than 1% of them.

Also this 1000 different type of dinosaur are being added to almost weekly by scientists as they find and name more each year. ( about 50 new dinosaurs are named each year on average)

Spinosaurus small


To list all of these 1000 species and types of dinosaur is a huge tasks, however we have done it and put them on their own pages as they are really really big pages, you can check the full lists out on the links below.

Instead we will list further up the Dinosaur Family tree and explain the different types of dinosaurs, of which there are about 15-17 (which is much easy to manage for both you and us!) and give one or two examples of them. There are actually more than this but these are the main ones.

So lets get started! and look at the different type of dinosaurs.

types of dinosaurs

What are the different types of Dinosaur?

So We have told you there are over 1000 species of dinosaur, and that is a lot. So we need to narrow that down. After species ( actual dinosaurs) we can start to group them together into something called “genus” but there are 900 of those so we need to group them larger than that.

We have used a mix of Sub orders and families to make it easier. However if you are interested how scientists decide then you can check out this page which has the full lists.

Table: Types of Dinosaur For Kids.

Type of dinosaurs for kids with the main families of dinosaur and their names. Includes pictures o dinosaurs to help


In our table there are 15 different types of dinosaur ( there are actually many more as they can be split all the way down to the 1000 individual dinosaurs) but these are pretty big groups that you can recognize. (We hope!)

In the next section we will look at those 15 to give you an idea of when they lived, what famous dinosaurs are included and other dinosaurs type facts. it is just an introduction and we will be adding more on their own pages in time.

Bird Hip Dinosaurs: (Ornithischian)

These can be split into two main sections of dinosaurs those with armor and those with frills and crests and other spiky bits on them . You might already be able to guess what types of dinosaurs are going to fit into these classes, keep going to see if you are right.

Armoured Dinosaurs: Thyreophoran

Example: Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus

These dinosaurs are some of peoples favorites and are the dinosaurs that have plates, or bones, or spikes on their bodies.

classes of dinosaur
Dinosaur TypeWhen they livedType of Dinosaur examples
Stegosauria (Roof lizards)This type of dinosaurs lived 170 to 100 million years ago during the Jurassic and early CretaceousStegosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus, Kentrosaurus
(Fused lizards)
These dinosaurs lived 174 – 66 million years ago. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Ankylosaurus, Polacanthus,

Horned Feet Dinosaurs: Cerapoda

Example: Triceratops, Iguanodon, Pentaceratops

These are some of the most famous types of dinosaurs ( although from the name Horned feet) you might not be able to tell what type of dinosaur they are. If i said they had frills, and horns and hard heads though… then i think you can start to guess!

Triceratops facts for kids
Dinosaur TypeWhen they livedType of Dinosaur examples
(different teeth)
This type of dinosaurs lived 200 to 140 million years ago during the early Jurassic and early CretaceousEchinodon heterodontosaurus Lycorhinus
(bird feet)
These dinosaurs lived 166 to 66 million years ago. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Iguanodon
(Thick Headed Lizard)
This type of dinosaurs lived 92-66 million years ago. During the late Cretaceous.pachycephalosaurus
(Horned Face)
These dinosaurs lived 161-66 million years ago. From the Late Jurassic to the late Cretaceous.Triceratops

Lizard Hip Dinosaurs: (Saurischian)

These can also be split into two main sections of dinosaurs those with Lizard feet and those with beast feet! Though again the name “lizard feet” doesn’t give any clues for the dinosaur fans what type of dinosaur are in these groups. This group includes the biggest, baddest and toothiest of dinosaurs in it.

Lizard Feet Dinosaurs: (Sauropoda)

Example: Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Argentinosaurus

If you have heard the word Sauropod before you will know what coming in the table below. These were the biggest ever dinosaur types, with huge bodies and long necks and tails. however they also include some of the first dinosaurs as well.

brachiosaurus 1 small
Dinosaur TypeWhen they livedType of Dinosaur examples
(Broad Lizards)
This type of dinosaurs lived 225 -190 million years ago. During the late Triassic and early JurassicPlateosaurus
(Double beam)
These dinosaurs lived 174-93 million years ago.. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Brontosaurus
(large nose)
This type of dinosaur lived 174-66 million years ago.. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Brachiosaurus

Beast Feet Dinosaurs: (Therapoda))

Example: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Carnotaurus

If you have heard the word Sauropod, then you should have heard the word Therapod. These dinosaur types are where we find most carnivorous dinosaurs. Although not all dinosaurs in the theropod group were carnivores most were. Here is where T-Rex, Velociraptor, Allosaurus and even the long clawed Therizinosaurus were grouped.

small t rex
Dinosaur TypeWhen they livedType of Dinosaur examples
(Herrera Lizards)
These dinosaurs lived 233 to 210 million years ago. During the late Triassic periodHerrerasaurus
(Horned lizards)
This type of dinosaurs lived 199-66 million years ago.. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Carnotaurus
(Different lizard
This type of dinosaur lived 175-86 million years ago.. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Allosaurus
(big lizard)
This type of dinosaurs lived 170-93 million years ago.. From the Jurassic to the late Cretaceous. Spinosaurus
(Hollow tail)
These dinosaurs lived 165 million years ago to now! This group includes BirdsTyrannosaurus Rex
(hand thief)
This type of dinosaurs lived 165 million years ago to now! This group includes Birds Therizinosaurus

The types of dinosaur we have included in the table above are not the only types, but they do include most of the well known and popular dinosaurs.

When scientists classify dinosaurs it can change and is a very long process. If you want to know more then you can check out how they do it here.

When Was The First Dinosaur?

The first dinosaurs came after an extinction event about 252 million years ago. Although we are not sure what caused the extinction, it could be an ice age, an impact, volcanoes. it gave the chance to dinosaurs to become the main species on earth.

The first dinosaur from this time ( we know of ) was Nyasasaurus which we mention below. It is the first known dinosaur and is aged at 243 million years ago.

Types of dinosaur for kids

What was The First Dinosaur?

The first dinosaur was thought to be the Eoraptor which was the oldest known dinosaur for a lot years. This was a small 1 metre long dinosaur that lived in the early Triassic period about 230 million years ago.

However, recently (in dinosaur terms) a new older dinosaur has been found called Nyasasaurus which is not easy to say (we help below) which is believed to be over 10 million years older, making Nyasasaurus the oldest dinosaur we know of so far.

Nie – Ah – sah -Saw – Rus

Dinosaur Extinction for kids

Why Are There No More Dinosaurs?

66 million years ago scientists think a large asteroid ( space rock) hit the Earth near wha tis now Mexico. this caused the Earths climate to change and meant dinosaurs would not have had a lot of food to eat.

Smaller animals like birds, small reptiles and mammals would be able to move quicker and eat less and survive this harsh time. Large animals like dinosaurs would not. We will have a large article on this on the site, but in the meantime check out this page from our sister site.

Little Mosasaurus Cartoon Illustration

Pterosaurs and Plesiosaurs

There is a simple rule to follow ( its not fool proof though) If it flies or swims then it isn’t a dinosaur. Well Pterosaurs and plesiosaurs and other flying and marine reptiles could swim and fly, and are not dinosaurs so we haven’t included them in our types of dinosaur article here.

however if you want to know what types of prehistoric flying and swimming reptiles there were you can check out the articles below.

We also have an article on swimming and flying dinosaurs which explains what a dinosaur is and what it isn’t.

dinosaur facts for kids

Museums like the Natural History museum in South Kensington London, or the natural history Museums in new York and Chicago house some of the best collections, but local museums, while smaller, will often have information about locally discovered dinosaurs.

There are even parks like the dinosaur National Park and national monument that are a great day out. they will cover dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic and cretaceous periods. Some of them will also offer resources to take back to the classroom, and all have a gift shop to pick up some dinosaur swag!

Teaching Resources

We also have a selection of resources you can access and explore for (mostly and currently) free on the site on the following two pages, and our facts pages come with a downloadable fact sheet as well. Soon we will be creating lesson plan sets for download and use as well.


We have learned that there are over 1000 types of dinosaur and that the number grows each year by about 50, so if you read this in two years it might be 1100 types of dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs are split up into family which scientists call classification, which means dinosaurs with a similar look or body part can be put together when their fossils are found. This is important as it makes it much easier to study their fossils and to look at what they could or could not do and also helps when looking at those new dinosaur fossils they find as well.

if you want to learn more then a trip to a Natural history Museum will help, and is an awesome day out, or you can check out the links on this site as well! 


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *