Dinosaurs have been the subject of paintings, movies, cartoons, books, museums, and much more. For years, dinosaurs have captivated human imagination and inspired creativity. They have been depicted as ferocious, scaled creatures ready to gorge themselves on whatever they could find and as larger-than-life gentle giants contentedly chewing on leaves of trees as tall as them. However, dinosaurs are much more diverse than previously thought, and we are more interested than ever. Dinosaurs hold humanity’s attention. Take a look at the following paragraphs to find out why dinosaurs continue to fascinate us.
10. Mysterious Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are still a mystery. They first appeared during the Triassic period, about 243 through 233.3 million years ago. Dinosaurs were the dominant species on earth until a mass extinction happened. Science is still actively investigating their lives through fossils and comparative biology. Dinosaurs were an incredibly diverse species and are the ancestors of birds. There is still a lot to learn about them, and they continue to be a mystery to this day.
9. Dinosaur Sizes
Dinosaur sizes continue to astound and baffle us. Dinosaurs had a huge range of sizes. The smallest were about the size of a small hummingbird and weighed as little as three grams. The largest could weigh up to 90 tons. Figuring out the size of a dinosaur is an estimate at best. Paleontologists use a laser scan of a skeleton that adds a virtual skin over the fossil to estimate the size of a dinosaur.
8. Dinosaurs had Feathers
Many dinosaurs had some form of feathers on their bodies. By the 1990s, dinosaur research had a lot of evidence that dinosaurs were more closely related to birds than reptiles. Dinosaur fossils have been found with feather impressions on them. Currently, there are 30 species of non-avian dinosaurs that are confirmed to have feathers. Paleontologists used fossilized evidence of feathers or indicators such as quill knobs to prove they had feathers.
7. Dinosaurs had Different Traits
Some dinosaurs had weird traits. Some dinosaurs had horns or feathers protruding from their faces, and other dinosaurs had large horns or flaps above their backs. Some had beaks, and still, others had crescents on top of their heads. However, all of these features had various reasons for being there. Some were used to attract mates or to make sounds to signal to their herds.
6. Dinosaurs Existed For a Long Time
Dinosaurs roamed the earth unchallenged between 165 and 177 million years ago. They did not have predators, other than their own species. In comparison, primates have existed for only 56 million years, and our own species appeared about 200,000 years ago. Dinosaurs were successful and adaptable. In a way, dinosaurs are still around today because they evolved into birds.
5. Dinosaurs Lived Everywhere
Dinosaurs lived all over the earth. Fossils have been found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Antarctica. At the beginning of the Triassic Period, about 230 million years ago, the continents were smushed together into one big supercontinent called Pangea. Antarctica was much warmer then, so the continent was home to many dinosaurs. Dinosaurs lived on land, in the sea, and in the air, only not all dinosaurs lived at the same time and in the same place. More fossils have been found in North America than anywhere else on the earth.
4. Swimming Dinosaur
The biggest carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered was the Spinosaurus. The Spinosaurus was around 50 feet long and weighed 16,000 pounds. The dinosaur could swim well and pursued prey underwater. The Spinosaurus lived more than 90 million years ago in lakes, ponds, and rivers that ran from modern-day Morroco to Egypt.
3. Some Flying Dinosaurs Were Huge
The Quetzalcoatlus, a flying reptile, had a wingspan of 52 feet. It lived during the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It is part of the toothless pterosaurs family. It had a long neck and a crest on its head. The flying reptile most likely had a short burst of speed and then soared in the air. It is one of the biggest flying creatures that ever lived.
2. Dinosaur Intelligence
Dinosaur intelligence has been debated over the years. Paleontologists generally agree that dinosaurs were intelligent for reptiles but not as smart as their avian descendants. Intelligence can be measured by studying how big a creature's brain is to its body. This method is called the Encephalization Quotient (EQ). Human beings have a 5. Bottlenose dolphins have a 3.6. The Triceratops had a .11 and the Brachiosaurus was below a .1. Modern-day dinosaur films may give dinosaur's intelligence too much credit.
1. Dinosaur Parents
Until the 1920s, scientists weren't sure if dinosaurs laid eggs or gave birth to live young. Now, we know dinosaurs laid eggs and could lay dozens at one time. However, many of these eggs could have been eaten by predators. Some dinosaurs laid their eggs and left them to fend for themselves. The Maiasaura cared for its young and brought food back to its nest. The Ichthyosaur, a marine reptile, gave birth to live young. Dinosaur parenting varied across species.