How Many Types of Dinosaurs Were There?

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Dinosaur discoveries occur at a rapid pace, and it may be difficult to keep up with the exact number of dinosaurs there are at any given time, particularly because specimens used to determine this number may be incomplete or disputed; however, it can be said that there are about 800 confirmed and distinct species of dinosaur. New dinosaur discoveries are announced all the time at relatively high rates of as many as 30 per year, or about one every 10 days. Paleontologists have been known to get a bit overzealous with naming a specimen as a new and distinct species, and there have been hundreds of examples of dinosaurs that were once thought to be unique that have been proven otherwise.

When a paleontologist thinks that he or she has discovered a new species of dinosaur, there may be a sense of excitement, but there is an ethical obligation to first practice diligence in confirming that the found specimen is indeed unique and does not match with an existing named species. This process is complicated by the occasional dearth of physical evidence that paleontologists have to work with, particularly when discoveries turn up only a single bone or tooth.