Dinosaurs lived on Earth about 230 million years ago. They lived on the planet during a period called the Mesozoic Era. They also lived during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods as well. Take a look below for 30 more bizarre and interesting facts about dinosaurs.
1. Dinosaurs had large holes in their skulls that made them lighter. Some of the largest dinosaur skulls were as big as a car.
2. Meat eating dinosaurs, known as theropods, meaning “beast-footed,” had sharp and hooked claws on their toes. Plant eating dinosaurs had blunt hooves or toenails.
3. Researchers estimate that there were over 1,000 different species of non-avian dinosaurs and over 500 distinct genera. Most researchers agree that there are still undiscovered dinosaurs and as many as 1,850 undiscovered genera.
4. Dinosaurs lived on all continents, including Antarctica.
5. The first ever stegosaurus skeleton was found in Morrison, Colorado. It’s because of this that the state got its nickname, the “Stegosaurus State.”
6. The biggest plant eating dinosaurs had as much as a ton of food a day. That’s like eating a bus sized pile of vegetation per day.
7. Many dinosaurs were human sized or smaller, however, we mostly know about the larger ones because the larger bones were easier to be fossilized.
8. Some dinosaurs had tails that were over 45 feet long. The long tails were needed to keep them balanced while running.
9. The earliest named dinosaur is the Eoraptor, also called the “dawn stealer.” It got its name from the fact that it lived at the dawn of the dinosaur age. It was a meat eater and it was the size of an average modern dog.
10. The first Eoraptor skeleton was found in Argentina in 1991. However, a dinosaur that’s recently been discovered in Madagascar was found to be 230 million years old.
11. Dinosaurs were divided into two groups, both of which were based on the structure of their hip bones. The first were the saurischian, or lizard hipped, which had bones that pointed forward. The second were the ornithischian, or bird hipped, which had bones that pointed hackward.
12. The Word dinosaur came from a Greek word meaning “terrible lizard.” It was first coined by the British paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842.
13. The dinosaur with the longest name was found in China. It’s name was Micropachycephalosaurus, and its name meant “small thick-headed lizard.”
14. The first dinosaurs that appeared during the Triassic Period, which was 230 million years ago, were small and lightweight.
15. Bigger dinosaurs, such as the brachiosaurus and the triceratops, appeared during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
16. While humans have been on the planet for 2 million years, dinosaurs were on the planet for well over 165 million years.
17. Researchers believe that the massive meteorite that hit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico 65.5 million years ago is what caused the massive extinction of dinosaurs as well as the pterosaurs and plesiosaurs.
18. No one really know how long an average dinosaur lived for, however, researchers speculate that they could have lived as long as 200 years.
19. The mass extinction of the dinosaurs and other animals is called the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, or the K-T event.
20. Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews found the very first dinosaur nest in 1923 in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Before he found this nest, researchers weren’t sure on how dinosaurs had offspring.
21. Some of the largest dinosaurs eggs were as big as basketballs. The bigger the egg, the thicker the shell was.
22. The very first dinosaurs were carnivores, or meat eaters. It’s well after that herbivores, plant eaters, and omnivores, meat and plant eaters, appeared.
23. The vast majority of dinosaurs were herbivores.
24. The triceratops had the biggest skull of any other dinosaur. It was up to 6 and a half feet, or 2 meters, long and had a massive bony shield on its.
25. The stegosaurus had the smallest brain for its body size of any other known dinosaur. Its body was the size of an average modern van, but its brain was the size of a walnut.
26. The Peigan people of Alberta, Canada, believed that dinosaur skeletons belonged to the fathers of buffaloes. While Englishmen 300 years ago believed that dinosaur bones came from giant humans or giant elephants.
27. The first description of a possible dinosaur bone was 3,500 in China. At the time, people weren’t aware that dinosaurs even existed, so they thought that the dinosaur teeth and bones they found belonged to dragons. Dragons were and still are big parts of Chinese culture.
28. The blue whale, measuring at 108 feet or 33 meters in length, is bigger than any known dinosaur.
29. Most meat eating dinosaurs walked on two feet. This allowed them to run faster and left their hands to grab their prey.
30. Plant eating dinosaurs walked on all fours in order to better carry their massive bodies. However, some plant eaters could balance on two feet for a very short time.