The term Dinosaur is derived from the Greek word deinos, meaning terrible lizard was coined by the British paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842. Though the name has often been interpreted as a reference to dinosaurs fearsome characteristics, Owen merely intended it to evoke their size and majesty. The first dinosaur appeared roughly 245 million years ago and succeeded worldwide for nearly 185 million years, which was about 64 times longer than people around. They were also the dominant terrestrial vertebrate for more than 135 million years. Although most of us know that dinosaurs were massive, monstrous creatures and that they all went extinct 65 million years ago, here are some interesting dinosaur facts you probably didn’t know.
Birds Are Living Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are split mainly into two major groups- – Saurischia and Ornithischia. Saurischia involved all the giant carnivorous and herbivorous animals, and Ornithischia included all the beaked herbivorous ones. Interestingly, birds arrived from the Saurischia. Paleontologists believe that many dinosaurs were covered in feathers, laid eggs and had many things in common with common birds.
Archaeopteryx species lived in the Late Jurassic period are said to be the connecting links between non-avian feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. It took 10 of millions of years before birds started diversifying with the earliest ones having clawed wings and teeth. Indeed modern birds characterized by a beak with no teeth, high metabolic rate, and rate of growth appeared around 100 million years ago, which is way before the massive extinction of dinosaurs.
Tennis Ball – the Measure of a Dinosaur’s Brain
Ampelosaurus, the largest plant-eating dinosaur to ever walked on earth had brain not much bigger than a tennis ball. The scientists studied the skull of 70-million-year-old fossils of the giant dinosaur Ampelosaurus and found that the reptile was a sauropod, who appeared about 160 million years ago. Ampelosaurus was a sauropod known as a titanosaur, and many of them had armorlike scales covering their bodies. The researchers have developed a three-D reconstruction of Ampelosaurus’ brain by scanning the within of the skull via CT imaging, which showed that their brain wasn’t much larger than a tennis ball.
Fabien Knoll, a paleontologist at Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences, said that though this dinosaur may have been 49 feet long, its brain would not have been more than 3 inches. Researcher Lawrence Witmer, an anatomist, and Palaeontologist at Ohio University stated that there is not much expansion of brain size seen in this group of animals as they go through time, unlike a lot of mammalian and avian groups. Witmer said if we question as to how these largest land animals ever survived with such small brains, then modern animals like cows would be triple-Einstein’s as compared to most dinosaurs considering that they have ridiculously large brains.
Dinosaur Nicknamed After a Comic Book Character
Regaliceratops peterhewsi, also known as Hellboy lived amid the late Cretaceous time frame 68 million years back in what is known as Albert region, Canada. The nickname Hellboy was given because of its thickset horns over the eyes which took after the comic book character of a similar name and furthermore because researchers had a weird time getting it out of the evil hard rock. Paleontologists Caleb Brown and Donald Henderson of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta described Hellboy as one of the weirdest horned dinosaurs ever found.
In 2005, the fossil was found along the Oldman River in southwestern Alberta, with the tip of the face sticking out of the cliff. Surprisingly, the skull was in remarkable three-dimensional preservation rather than being crushed flat like many fossils. The skull of this dinosaur possessed a funny frill decorated with a series of pentagon-shaped plates, like spikes on a crown. The frills were more likely used for attracting mates than fighting off enemies. The remaining of the Hellboy skeleton was never found.
Dinosaurs Could Replace Missing Teeth
Tyrannosaurus Rex, often called T. Rex, comes from the large theropods and was one of the enormous meat-eating dinosaurs that ever lived due to their serrated teeth. According to a 2012 study within the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, all the teeth of the T. Rex didn’t have constant operate. The front teeth helped in gripping and pulling of the prey; its side teeth tore flesh, and its back teeth diced chunks of meat and forced food into the throat.
Researchers have also found that that the teeth of these theropod dinosaurs featured specially layered arrangements of dentine which not only helped strengthen the tooth but also enlarged the tooth’s ragged edges. This Gorgosaurus tooth structure enabled them to develop a “hypercarnivorous feeding style” with the ability to crush bones and prey on other large animals. These dinosaurs were additionally able to grow new teeth and replace them with the lost ones. Growing new teeth might take up to two years, however, which is why these dinosaurs required a robust tooth structure to stay up to their fat diet.
Tyrannosaurs Were Human-Sized for 80 Million Year
Though Tyrannosaurus Rex is known as some of the biggest fearsome carnivorous animals, researchers have found that for their first 80 million years, they were no larger than present human beings. Going by a review of tyrannosaur fossils in the Science journal recent fossil finds suggest that T. Rex’s genus had a mysterious outgrowth relatively in its late ancestry. They vary in size from small dogs up to the giant T. Rex. Though there are significant physical differences between the early tyrannosaurs species and T.rex, they still had something in common. They both were two-footed predators with incisor-like teeth. Since they were small in size, they just hunted the small preys, leaving out the big ones for giant Allosaurus. It’s still unknown why or how the Tyrannosaurs surged in size and became dominant apex predators.
Most Dinosaurs Were Vegetarian
According to a new study, most dinosaurs were vegetarians and that the two super carnivores tyrannosaurus Rex and velociraptor were just an exception. A new study of the diet of 90 theropod species showed that most bird-like dinosaurs were plant-eaters. This study challenged the conventional view that almost all theropods hunted prey, especially those closest to their descendants, birds. Dr. Lindsay Zanno of Chicago field museum said that most theropods are tailored to a predatory mode. However, somewhere on the road to birds, carnivorous dinosaurs went soft.
Many theropod dinosaurs had ambiguous features such as peg-like teeth at the front of the mouth, or no teeth at all. “The scientists have found almost two dozen anatomical features which are a direct link of plant-eating, including a toothless beak. One thesis is that theropods developed an associate degree all-devouring diet to assist them in exploiting new habitats because the continents broke up. Those that developed additional of a style for plants lost their teeth and evolved beaks and longer necks.
Dinosaurs Shed Their Skin in a Fashion Similar to Birds
Researchers from University college cork have discovered the 125-million-year-old dinosaur flakes conserved among the plumage of these ancient creatures, revealing the first evidence of how dinosaurs shed their skin. It shows that these dinosaurs shed their skin in tiny pieces, unlike modern lizards who shed their skin all at once. The scientists traveled to China in 2012 to check fossils of feathered dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period. For the first time, these specimens were subject to microscopy and qualitative analysis. The researchers were seeing powerful cells referred to as corneocytes, that were crammed with twisting spirals of albuminoid fibers – virtually similar to those found in fashionable birds, and conjointly in human dandruff.
The scientists suspect that dandruff evolved in response to the presence of feathers. The new study conjointly adds to the body of proof that these ancient feathered creatures were utterly different in one critical aspect – flying. While the modern birds have fatty dandruff cells, which helps them shed heat when they are flying the older creatures shows no evidence of fats in their cells at all. The study suggests that they had lower body temperatures than modern birds, nearly sort of a transformation metabolism between a cold full-blooded reptilian and a warm-blooded bird.” The study has printed within the journal, Nature Communications.
The Fighting Dinosaurs Fossil
In 1971, a Polish-Mongolian team discovered the specimen of the two fighting dinosaurs, Velociraptor and Protoceratops locked in mortal combat. They found the fossils embedded in the white sandstone cliffs of the southern Gobi desert. The specimen is considered as a national treasure of Mongolia. The fossils revealed that both the beasts died from wounds inflicted on one another. The discovery is the evidence that predatory dinosaurs hunted their plant-eating relatives.
Scientists believe that the Velociraptor sunk its sharp razor-like claw into the throat region of the much larger Protoceratops. In turn, the Protoceratops appears to have broken the predatory dinosaurs right arm. It is also believed that a dune collapsed on these foes and killed them while they were still fighting for their lives, capturing them in this fighting position.
Dinosaurs Build Nests & Lay Eggs
With the discovery of some exciting dinosaur egg fossils, scientists now know that all the Dinosaur laid eggs and built nests similar to the modern reptiles and birds. Though Dinosaurs laid many eggs to optimize the survival of their species, not all the eggs got the chance to hatch. For example, out a clutch of 20 to 30 newly hatched Stegosaurus babies, the vast majority would be gobbled up by the Lurking Predators leaving only a few of them actually to grow into adulthood. For a long time, paleontologists assumed that all dinosaurs dropped their eggs and left the hatchlings to struggle on their own. But the assumption was changed when Jack Horner discovered the immense nestling grounds of a duck-billed Maiasaura dinosaur.
Immature leg muscles and the wearing of teeth of the newly hatched Maiasaura implied that the adult Maiasaura brought food from back to the nest and cared for their hatchlings until they were old enough to survive themselves. Similar patterns have been identified for Psittacosaurus, an early ceratopsian, as well as another hadrosaur, Hypacrosaurus, and various other ornithischian dinosaurs with the Sauropods and many other plants and meat-eating dinosaurs being an exception.
Villagers Consumed Dinosaur Bones as Medicines
In Central China, villagers spent decades digging up dinosaur bones and used them as traditional medicines. The calcium-rich bones were generally boiled with other ingredients and fed to kids to treat dizziness and leg cramps or ground up and turned into a paste for fractures and injuries. They believed that the bones were from the flying dragons in the sky and that they had healing powers. Earlier, the fossils were also being sold in Henan province as ‘’ dragon bones’’ at about 25 cents a pound. The practice had been going on for almost two decades. Dong, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences aforesaid that once the villagers found that the bones truly belonged to the dinosaurs, they donated 440 pounds to him and his team for research.