By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor
Dinosaurs ruled our earth for many, many millions of years. Dinosaurs are
thought to be one of the most successful creatures that ever lived, at least in terms of
longevity and adaption. Dinosaurs evolved into many different shapes and sizes
and had diverse modes of living.
The creatures that we normally think of as dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic
Era, from late in the Triassic period (about 225 million years ago) until the
end of the Cretaceous (about 65 million years ago) until they were wiped out by
a massive comet that hit the earth, along with deteriorating environmental
conditions. However, Dinosaurs are still around us today in many forms, and they
are the birds who miraculously survived the blast all those millions of years
are a specific subgroup of the archosaurs, a group that also includes
crocodiles, pterosaurs, and birds, although pterosaurs are close relations, they
are not true dinosaurs.
were vertebrate animals that dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 160
million years, first appearing approximately 230 million years ago. At the end
of the Cretaceous Period, 65 million years ago, dinosaurs experienced a
catastrophic extinction, which ended their dominance on land.
consider modern birds to be the direct descendants of theropod dinosaurs.
Interpretations of dinosaur behavior are generally based on the pose of body
fossils and their habitat, computer simulations of their biomechanics, and
comparisons with modern animals in similar ecological niches.
current understanding of dinosaur behavior relies on speculation, and will
likely remain controversial for the foreseeable future. However, there is
general agreement that some behaviors which are common in crocodiles and birds,
dinosaurs closest living relatives, were also common among dinosaurs.
Fact 1 - Definition: Numerous extinct
terrestrial reptiles of the Mesozoic era
Fact 2 - Dinosaurs existed between about
230 million and 65 million years ago
Fact 3 - The "age of dinosaurs" (the
Mesozoic Era) included three consecutive geologic time periods (the Triassic,
Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods).
Fact 4 - There is evidence that a
meteorite impact was at least the partial cause for the extinction of Dinosaurs
Fact 5 - After the dinosaurs died out,
nearly 65 million years passed before people appeared on Earth
Fact 6 - Over 700 different species of
dinosaurs have been identified and named
Fact 7 - Dinosaurs lived on all of the
Fact 8 - Most Dinosaurs ate plants but
others hunted other dinosaurs or scavenged dead animals
Fact 9 - Dinosaurs are believed to be
brightly colored as modern snakes or birds
Fact 10 - The most ferocious dinosaur
was the Tyrannosaurus rex
Fact 11 - The longest dinosaur was
Seismosaurus, which measured over 131 feet
Fact 12 - The tallest dinosaur was the
Sauroposeidon growing to 59 feet tall
Fact 13 - The largest flying dinosaur
was the Quetzalocoatlus which had a wingspan of up to 42 feet
Fact 14 - The heaviest dinosaur was
Fact 15 - The smallest dinosaur was the
Lesothosaurus, which was only the size of a chicken
Fact 16 - The word "dinosaur", meaning
terrible lizard, was given in 1842 by the English paleontologist Richard Owen.
Dino derives from the Greek word 'deinos' meaning "terrible, powerful, wondrous"
+ 'Saur' derives from the Greek word 'sauros' meaning "lizard"
Fact 17 - Many Paleontologists believe
that birds are the descendants of theropod dinosaurs
Fact 18 - Some dinosaurs were bipeds,
some were quadrupeds and others could walk just as easily on two or four legs
Fact 19 - Rev William Buckland, a
professor of geology, was the first person to describe a dinosaur in a