When I was little, there was nothing I loved more than dinosaurs. I had a big encyclopedia filled just with information on these giants. On one of my birthdays, I was gifted a box set with dinosaur plastic figurines. Also, it goes without saying that Jurassic Park was my favorite movie. You’d think that once adulthood rolls in, this interest began to fade, but, surprise: it didn’t. And why would it? Dinosaurs are like dragons, mighty and ancient, except they were actually real. So, for all the big T-Rex enthusiasts out there, here are 15 Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs You Need To Know, to indulge in.
1. Rulers Of Earth
Dinosaurs were the ruling species on Earth for over 165 million years. Humanity, on the other hand, has only been around for roughly two million. If we have so much history to study, imagine how tough life would have been in dinosaur schools.
2. Fastest Dinosaurs
They could reach some truly impressive speed. A dinosaur called the Ornithonimus being the Usain Bolt of its species. According to scientific research, it could run with a speed of 70 km/h.
Despite all the progressive steps that have been made in science since we first started to dig up dinosaur fossils, the lifespan of dinosaurs is still unclear. However, it’s estimated that some of them were able to live up to two hundred years.
The majority of dinosaurs were actually not that much taller than your average human. You can find plenty of skeletons in museums that belonged to colossally big dinosaurs, but only because it’s apparently easier for large bones to fossilize and, thus, be preserved and reconstructed into a replica.
5. Stegosaurus State
Colorado is also nicknamed Stegosaurus State. No, no, it has nothing to do with a strange shape on the map or anything. The first Stegosaurus remains were found in Colorado, which is definitely an honor that needs to be boasted to the world.
6. The Name
The first time the word “dinosaur” was used, was in 1842, by a British paleontologist named Richard Owen. A Greek term, it roughly translates to “terrible lizard.” The cool fact is that, apparently, it wasn’t used derogatorily, since Owen intended it be a nod to their size and majesty.
7. Long Tails
There were some dinosaurs who had incredibly long tails, although most members of the family tended to have tails lengthier than those of our animals today. Scientists think that they were biologically engineered this way, so they could keep their balance while running. Okay, fair enough, but where is that theory that explains the T-Rex’s really, really small arms?
8. They Laid Eggs
Dinosaurs were the old ancestors of lizards, so it only makes sense that they laid eggs. So far, we know of about forty types of eggs.
9. Oldest Dinosaur
Meet the Eoraptor, a dinosaur with a name that translates to “dawn stealer” (a much better name than “terrible lizard,” just saying). It was called this way, so it could be representative of the fact that this breed is really old, having roamed the Earth during the earliest days of the Dinosaur Age. An Eoraptor was apparently no bigger than a German shepherd.
10. Bird Ancestors
You may have heard about this before, as you should since it’s a fact as fascinating as it is hilarious. Did you know that the closest relative of a T-Rex is the chicken? Birds, in general, share many traits with the mighty dinosaurs, which has led scientists to believe that some of them managed to survive their mass extinction, then continued to live on through the winged species as a mutated, smaller scale version. Honestly, I just want to know which dinosaur is responsible for geese, because it must have been quite the awful creature.
11. Jurassic Park
Speaking of Jurassic Park, earlier mentioned in the introductory paragraph, one of the reasons why the movie was so insanely successful was because it was as accurate as a dinosaur movie could get. Steven Spielberg wanted scientific precision, so he hired actual paleontologists that were consulted on the creatures’ behavior and movements. Thanks to that, we also got to experience the eerie realism of the suits and animatronics that were used to bring the T-Rex, raptors, and others to our screens.
12. Dinosaur Nests
Close your eyes and try to imagine a raptor frantically running back and forth, picking up twigs and pieces of wood in its mouth, which are taken to decorate its home, sweet home: a nest. Also like birds, dinosaurs kept their eggs safe in nests. The first one was discovered by an explorer named Roy Andrews Chapman in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Before this discovery, how dinosaurs reproduced was a great scientific mystery.
That dinosaurs no longer inhabit Earth we already know, but there are actually multiple theories trying to explain how it was possible for a whole species to go completely extinct in such a short time. The most common one refers to a six-mile diameter meteorite that crashed on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The impact was so powerful that it triggered a chain reaction of cataclysms, including volcano eruptions.
14. Blood Temperature
Despite being similar to the biology of our modern lizards, scientists argue that not all dinosaurs were cold-blooded. Some had warm blood while some had neither. One belief developed into a theory that concluded small carnivores may have been warm-blooded due to their constant activity, while large herbivores had colder blood run through their systems, because of their sedentary nature.
15. Hollow Bones
Ah, we’re not done with the dinosaur-bird comparisons just yet. Despite how massive looking a carnivore’s bones may seem, they’re actually empty on the inside. This was a great asset to their nature as hunters since it meant that the bones were lighter. This means that the dinosaurs could accelerate to great speeds when running.
Trying to squeeze 65 million years of history into 15 Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs You Need To Know is as impossible as it is mildly offensive. Humanity may be the most developed and complex species in history, with achievements that are miles ahead of anything any animal could accomplish, but we have a long way to go before we can even dream about reaching the performance of ruling Earth for as long as the dinosaurs have. And when we eventually do, hopefully, it won’t end as tragically for us.