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Drinker nisti

OLogy Series
extinct animal
card
013

Drinker nisti

OLogy Series
extinct animal

This dinosaur was described based on a partial skeleton discovered in Wyoming at the Big Nose locality in the Breakfast Bench Fossil Bed. (Yes, these are real names!) Drinker nisti is an ornithopod, as are duck-bill dinosaurs. This plant-eater lived during the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous period.

The Drinker Was Not Alone
Drinker was found along with the fossils of many other small animals. Strangely enough, the skeleton of a large sauropod acted like a dam in the stream or river where the Drinker lay dead. Small dead animals that washed downstream got trapped against the huge carcass. The body of the dead sauropod concentrated the bodies of the small animals that became fossilized with it.

Fossil Feud
Edward Drinker Cope (right) and Othniel Charles Marsh, paleontologists from the 1800s, started out as friends. Then one day, Cope made a huge mistake while restoring a fossil reptile. He put the head on the wrong end of the body! Cope was humiliated when Marsh pointed out this goof in public. So much for the friendship! For the rest of their lives, these two scientists fought bitterly. They stole fossils from each other's sites, then raced to publish their findings. This competition helped fuel many scientific discoveries. Although Cope and Marsh died enemies, the two plant-eating dinosaurs named in their honor (Drinker and Othnielia) are probably closely related.

Why was this dinosaur named Drinker?

scientists think it used to drink huge amounts of water

scientists wanted to honor paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope

it was found near the town of Drinker, Wyoming

Are you right?

Correct!

This dinosaur was named after paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897). During his lifetime, Cope himself named over 1,000 new reptile species, both extinct and living.

The place where Drinker was found also contained a great variety of small animals of the time.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Gigantic lungfish, sauropods, tiny mammals, pterosaurs, turtles, frogs and crocodiles were found preserved near Drinker.

Scientific Name: Drinker nisti
Pronunciation: DRINK-ur NIS-tie
Named for: Edward Drinker Cope
Locality Found: Como Bluff, Wyoming
Age: Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, 145 to 140 million years ago
Size: less than 1.2 meters (4 feet) long
Characteristics: This is one of the smallest known dinosaurs. Drinker had wide hind feet and walked on two legs.

Image credits: Rick Spears.