43 Interesting Dinosaur Facts

Dinosaurs are a diverse group of reptiles of the clade Dinosauria. They first appeared during the Triassic period, between 243 and 233.23 million years ago. Explore and Learn about Dinosaurs, The largest and Smallest Dinosaurs, First Findings of Dinosaur fossils and much more

Dinosaur Facts

  • The word dinosaur comes from the Greek language and means ‘terrible lizard’. The word was coined by English palaeontologist Richard Owen in 1842 and was meant to refer to Dinosaurs impressive size rather than their scary appearance.
  • The first discovery of dinosaur remains in North America was made in 1854 by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden during his exploration of the upper Missouri River.
  • Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for over 160 million years, from the Triassic period around 230 million years ago through the Jurassic period and until the end of the Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago.
  • The oldest known dinosaur is Saltopus. It was a small carnivore that lived 245 million years ago.
  • Quetzalcoatlus with its wingspan of up to 13 metres was probably the largest pterosaur, and hence the largest flying creature of all time. Despite its size, it weighed no more than 100 kilograms. Its only contender may be Arambourgiania, which is only known from one bone but scaled up the whole pterosaur could have been even larger. Pterosaurs were not dinosaur.
  • The name “Velociraptor” means speedy thief.
  • The time period from 250 million years ago until around 65 million years ago is known as the Mesozoic Era. It is often referred to as the Age of The Dinosaurs because most dinosaurs developed and became extinct during this time.
  • It is believed that dinosaurs lived on Earth until around 65 million years ago when a mass extinction occurred.
  • The dinosaur with the longest name was Micropachycephalosaurus meaning “tiny thick-headed lizard”. Its fossils have been found in China, and it was named in 1978 by the Chinese palaeontologist Dong.
  • Most dinosaurs had very small brains and were about as clever as modern reptiles.
  • The speediest dinosaurs were the ostrich mimic ornithomimids, such as Dromiceiomimus, which could probably run at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour.
  • A T-rex bite was more than twice as powerful as a lion’s bite.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex looked the most ferocious of all the dinosaurs, but in terms of overall cunning, determination and its array of vicious weapons it was Utahraptor that was probably the fiercest of all. Utahraptor measured about 7 metres, and was a very powerful, agile and intelligent predator.
  • Stegosaurus had a brain the size of a walnut – only 3 centimetres long and weighing 75 grams.
  • Modern birds are a kind of dinosaur because they share a common ancestor with non-avian dinosaurs.
Interesting Dinosaur Facts

Interesting Dinosaur Facts

  • Some dinosaurs’ tails were over 45 feet long. Most dinosaurs had long tails that helped them to keep their balance when running.
  • The smallest fully-grown fossil dinosaur is the little bird-hipped plant-eater like lesothosaurus, which was only the size of a chicken. Smaller fossilised examples have been found, but these are of baby dinosaurs.
  • Elasmosaurus was the longest plesiosaur at up to 14 metres (46 ft) long.
  • At present over 700 different species of dinosaurs have been identified and named.
  • Scientists believe that the event leading to the extinction may have been a massive asteroid impact or huge volcanic activity. Events such as these could have blocked out sunlight and significantly changed the Earth’s ecology.
  • The dinosaur with the thickest skull was the Pachycephalosaurus. Its skull grew up to 8 inches (20 cm) thick.
  • The first dinosaur to be formally named was the Megalosaurus, back in 1824.
  • Dinosaurs were the biggest animals ever to have walked on earth.
  • The very biggest dinosaurs ate only plants. Those that ate meat were usually much smaller.
  • A person who studies dinosaurs is known as a palaeontologist.
  • Rather than being carnivores (meat-eaters), the largest dinosaurs such as the Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus were actually herbivores (plant eaters).
  • Snakes and lizards shed their skin when they grow. Researchers believe that dinosaurs may have done the same.
  • The blue whale is bigger than any dinosaur at 108 feet (33 m).
  • Mary Anning (1799-1847) was one of the most famous of all fossil hunters. However, she was never taken as seriously as she should have been because she was a woman from a poor background whereas most scientists were men from wealthy families.
  • To help fight meat-eaters such as the Allosaurus or Spinosaurus, many plant-eaters had natural weapons at their disposal. Examples of this include the spikes on the tail of the Stegosaurus and the three horns attached to the front of the Triceratops’s heat shield.
  • Pterodactyls are not dinosaurs, they were flying reptiles that lived during the age of dinosaurs but by definition, they do not fall into the same category. The same goes for water-based reptiles such as Plesiosaurs.
  • The longest dinosaur was Argentinosaurus, which measured over 40 metres, as long as four fire engines. It was part of the titanosaur group of dinosaurs. Its remains have been found in Argentina, South America.
    Interesting Dinosaur Facts

     Interesting Dinosaur Facts

  • The first dinosaur to be named was Megalosaurus. It was named in 1824 by Reverend William Buckland.
  • No one knows exactly how long a dinosaur’s lifespan was. Some scientists speculate some dinosaurs lived for as long as 200 years.
  • All dinosaurs laid eggs. About 40 kinds of dinosaur eggs have been discovered.
  • Dinosaurs are a group of reptiles that have lived on Earth for about 245 million years.
  • Birds descended from a type of dinosaurs known as theropods.
  • Despite being long extinct, dinosaurs are frequently featured in the media. One of the more memorable examples of this is Michael Crichton’s 1990 book, Jurassic Park. Adapted to movie in 1993, the story features cloned dinosaurs brought to life with the help of DNA found in mosquitoes trapped in amber.
  • Dinosaurs lived all across the world. Evidence of dinosaurs have been found on all seven of the world’s continents through the discovery of dinosaur bones and fossils.
  • Palaeontologists use fossil evidence preserved in ancient rock to discover how long-extinct animals lived and behaved.
  • In most cases, a fossilized bone is actually a rock made out of minerals, with no trace of the original bone material.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex had huge back legs, but its tiny front legs were not much longer than human arms.
  • The discovery of dinosaur eggs and nests provided evidence for the behaviour of some dinosaurs.
Interesting Dinosaur Facts

Interesting Dinosaur Facts

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