Dinosaurs, what were they?

DinosaursDo you want to know more about dinosaurs? In this article dinosaurs are the central topic, and you can learn more about which species there were, how they lived and how they got to be extinct.

What are dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are extinct nowadays, they are prehistoric animals. And so when we are talking about dinosaurs then we are talking in the past tense. Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and they became extinct before there were people walking on the planet. Dinosaurs look a lot like animals that still exist today, namely the reptiles: snakes, lizards and crocodiles. They laid eggs with a hard shell, just like reptiles do. They had a dry scaly skin, snakes and lizards have the same. They did walk in a special way and different to the reptiles of the present day. Reptiles shuffle or crawl because their legs are on the side of their trunks. With the dinosaurs their legs were positioned directly underneath the trunk, so that they could stand up straight and walk in the same way that mammals walk. A good example about a strong dinosaur that was able to stand on his back legs was the Tyrannosaurus rex, known by many through images or films. Of around 600 different species of dinosaurs, their fossils have been found.

The skeleton of the dinosaur

The skeleton of a dinosaur can be divided into two groups: the Saurischia with the lizard hips and the Ornitischia with the bird hips. If you take a look of a picture of these two skeletons then you will quickly see the big differences in shape.

Long ago...

You can not imagine that we are talking about 225 million years ago. This is the time that the dinosaurs appeared on the face of the earth, around 64 million years ago they became extinct. People are carefully assuming that dinosaurs originated from a group of reptiles, the thecodonten. Most probably the dinosaur evolved from the Euparkeria. The Eurparkeria has a different skull and different legs of the hip and feet than the reptiles. From the bone structure, people have assumed that it walked on four legs and almost straight up because of the well developed straight rear legs. Fossils have been found in Africa and people think that the Euparkeria was about 60 cm high.

Could a dinosaur fly or swim?

The dinosaurs lived only on the land and could not swim and also not fly. There were also other animals during those times that were able to fly, namely the Pterosaurs. Animals that could swim were the Plesiosaurs and the Ichthyosaurs.

Who came up with the names of reptiles and dinosaurs?

The strange and sometimes difficult to pronounce names were given to the animals by the scientists who uncovered the first fossil of its kind. The name can have something to do with the place where the fossil was found, how the animal should have looked like or how it behaved. For instance: the Triceratops means 'three horned' and you can see this on the head of the animal, which knows to long horns and one short one. Sordes pilosus is a flying hairy reptile that looked wild, these was called the hairy devil. The Stegosaurus had as it were roof tiles on its back and was therefore called the covered lizard. The Tyrannosaurus with its ferocious look has its name because of that characteristic. The Oviraptor probably survived on stealing eggs from other nests, and his name means the egg thief.

What did the dinosaurs eat?

Dinosaurs can be divided into two groups when talking about food. There are carnivores, the meat eaters, that ate the flesh of other animals. And there are herbivores. These animals only ate plants. It is difficult to find out what exactly they ate, because there is no prove of it. Through studying the teeth of dinosaurs we have been able to find out some things. The Stegosaurus ate bushes, ferns and big plants. The Oviraptor stole the eggs of other dinosaurs and ate them. The Tyrannosaurus ate his own kind, especially the sick and wounded animals that were not quick enough to escape. The Baryonyx lived of catching fish, his big claws on his front paws made him a good fisher. The Parasuarolophus ate needles, cones and twigs from conifers. He was very big and could eat of the highest trees. By looking at the teeth of a dinosaurs, one could find out if it were a herbivore or a carnivore. The teeth showed the researchers even more though. When a tooth was broken or damaged, a new tooth would grow in its place.

Why did dinosaurs go extinct?

That is a question that is still left unanswered. People have gotten to know a lot about the dinosaurs, but why they became extinct has not been determined with great certitude just yet. There are different theories going round though:

  • Mammals arrived, the dinosaurs could not win the battle, the mammals remained and the dinosaurs perished
  • Mammals ate the eggs of the dinosaurs and therefore no new dinosaurs were born and they became extinct
  • There was not enough food food the dinosaurs and that is why they became extinct
  • Perhaps there was a meteorite that crashed into the earth and because of climate change following the meteorite the dinosaurs became extinct
  • Great activity of volcanos meant that the emissions of ash and toxins meant the dinosaurs could not continue to live
  • The climate changed heavily so that the dinosaurs could not live on the earth anymore
  • Or could it be a combination of some of the above?

Dinosaurs speak to the imagination

The gigantic animals with their sometimes ferocious appearance, but also digesting giants speak to ones imagination. They are the perfect star or a movie, think about Jurassic Park, the fantastic movie by Steven Spielberg. Who did not see it? It is an exciting science fiction adventure movie in which a billionaire buys a park in which he wants to show prehistoric animals to the public. With the help of scientists he knew how to clone the animals. Before the public could enter the park there was a safety check in which everything went wrong... a very thrilling movie with a lot of special effects, animals that were fully animated through the computer. A work of art!

Museum about dinosaurs

Are you interested in the dinosaurs or would you like it to have tour children get to know them, visit a museum. Take a look online to find where in your neighbourhood there is a museum which showcases the skeletons of real dinosaurs.


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1235x
Added: 29-12-2016 07:57
Last modified: 15-02-2017 22:50

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