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Dinosaur Information

Dinosaur Quicklinks


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 ago.

Dinosaurs 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.

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.

Taxonomists 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.

And, the 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.

Facts about 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 continents

        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 Brachiosaurus

        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 scientific journal


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.



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