Dinosaurs are prehistoric, reptilian creatures that lived on the Earth 245 million years ago. They varied greatly in size and shape. Some weighed over 80 tones and were 120 feet long, while others were as small as a chicken and only weighed 8 pounds. Dinosaurs were meat-eaters as well as plant-eaters. They stayed on land, in the water and some even flew in the sky. However, these marvelous creatures suddenly vanished one day. In this article, we will look at some interesting facts about dinosaurs, which’ll surely excite your little one.
Where did dinosaurs come from?
Dinosaurs dominated the earth for over 170 million years. They were one of the most successful groups of animals to have roamed the planet. However, despite their evolutionary journey, the origin of dinosaurs is still unknown.
The earliest dinosaur is not one species but an entire ecosystem of different ones. Around 230 million years ago, reptiles known as rhynchosaurs and animals with mammalian origins known as cynodonts dominated the environment. However, along with these were a few early dinosaur species. These then went on to evolve into the dinosaurs that we know today.
Facts about how dinosaurs evolved
Reptiles started to develop from four-legged amphibians 350 million years ago. They were not dependent on water and could move on land. The early reptiles then split into a number of branches like snakes, lizards, ancestors of mammals and plesiosaurs. Dinosaurs mainly made up the plesiosaurs branch.
What are the different types of dinosaurs?
There are two types of dinosaurs -Saurischia and Ornithischia, divided based on the structure of their hips. Saurischia is lizard-hipped dinosaurs while Ornithischians are bird-hipped ones.
Scientists also observed a difference in their diet and way of living. Saurischians were mostly meat eaters while herbivores dinosaurs were ornithischians. Furthermore, unlike saurischians, ornithischians lived in herds.
There are two types of saurischians- theropods and sauropods.
Theropod dinosaurs were ones that walked on two legs. Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Spinosaurus are a few belonging to this category. They first appeared in the Triassic period and were present on Earth till the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
On the other hand, sauropods were a group of dinosaurs who walked on all fours. They grew to incredible sizes and were the largest animals to walk the Earth. Apatosaurus, Titanosaurus and Diplodocus are some dinosaurs that belong to this category. They had long necks, a small head as well as a powerful and long tail.
Did you Know?
- The birds we see today have evolved from the dinosaurs that lived centuries back.
- Argentinosaurus is the heaviest and longest dinosaur discovered. It is an astounding 37 meters in length.
- In 1824, Reverend William Buckland named the first dinosaur Megalosaurus
- A paleontologist is a scientist who studies dinosaurs.
- The term ‘dinosaur’ comes from the Greek words ‘dienos’, meaning terrible and ‘sauros’ meaning reptile.
- The dinosaurs were called ‘terrible’ because of their huge size.
- Dinosaurs built large nests for their eggs. Furthermore, young dinosaurs grow very fast and can reach full size in seven or eight years
- The biggest dinosaur egg was about 19 inches long, and the smallest was 0.7 inches.
- Most dinosaurs that were alive were actually smaller than a turkey. An average sized dinosaur was the size of a car.
- Some dinosaurs known as theropods also had feathers.
- People believe that large dinosaurs like the Apatosaurus lived for 300 years.
- Dinosaur skulls had big holes that made them lighter as well as kept them cool.
- Dinosaurs lived in all continents. Evidence and fossils of dinosaurs have been found all over the world.
- Plant-eating dinosaurs had natural weapons like spikes and horns which protected them as well as helped them gather food
- A dinosaur’s brain was usually the size of a lime.
- Dinosaurs lived on Earth for much longer than humans have.
- The biggest dinosaur was a herbivore and only ate plants.
- Plant-eating dinosaurs grew so big in order to reach food on taller trees.
- The largest meat-eating dinosaur is the Spinosaurus, which was around 50 feet long. This dinosaur spent most of its time in water.
- Most carnivorous dinosaurs were bipeds (walked on two feet). This helped them move faster leaving their hands free to catch their prey.
- Because dinosaurs are so different from any animal alive today, scientists are unable to exactly determine for how long they lived.
What killed the dinosaurs?
The exact nature of the event that wiped out all dinosaurs is not known. However, evidence suggests an asteroid impact to be the main culprit. Climate change-related disasters like floods or volcanic eruptions could’ve also killed the creatures. Though, it is something to note that without such large scale destruction and eradication of an entire species, other creatures like birds and mammals could’ve not grown in population.
Dinosaurs were on earth for tens of millions of years longer than humans have been. This allowed the evolution of other species into different types of creatures that could adapt to the environment better. These species included birds, lizards and mammals who survived the catastrophe and populated the Earth.
Above listed are various interesting and incredible facts about dinosaurs. Learning about them can open an interesting conversation about different movies like Jurassic Park, which shows several different species of dinosaurs. Such information can help children understand what they are watching in greater depth.
Furthermore, you can also pose interesting questions like what would’ve happened if dinosaurs were not killed by an asteroid? This kind of discussion open your child to scientific thinking as well as it can encourage them to read more on the topic.
Overall, it is important to know that our understanding of dinosaurs is constantly evolving. With new fossils getting unearthed, our knowledge about these magnificent creatures as well as their relationships with other types of dinosaurs gets clearer.
One thought on “Interesting Facts About Dinosaurs”
this was very helpful. thank you.