Ten Questions: Dinosaurs

No other type of animal on Earth has inspired so many questions as the dinosaurs maybe have. They are one of the first fascinations for many children. They have inspired movies about them. And they are a great mystery to everyone. Their bones have inspired wild tales that have become legend. But what do we really know about these long dead creatures?

I guess we should get to the questions!

01. What are dinosaurs?
Dinosaur means terrible lizard. Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals that were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years.

02. When did the dinosaurs live?
Dinosaurs lived throughout the Mesozoic Era, which began 245 million years ago and lasted for 180 million years. It is sometimes called the Age of the Reptiles. The era is divided into three periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous.

03. Are there dinosaurs alive today?
No, there are no dinosaurs alive today. They died out at the end of the Mesozoic Era. But they have many descendants that are here now, like birds and some reptiles.

04. Did people and dinosaurs live at the same time?
No. Humans didn't appear until at least 65 million years after the dinosaurs died out. But there were some small mammals that lived at the same time as dinosaurs, including small primates.

05. What did dinosaurs eat?
Dinosaurs' diets were as varied as that of animals that exist today. Some dinosaurs ate lizards, turtles, eggs, or early mammals. Some hunted other dinosaurs or scavenged dead animals. Most, however, ate plants. Very similar to today's animals.

06. Why did many of the dinosaurs grow so large?
The dinosaurs' world was much different from the world today and climate and food supplies must have been favorable for reaching great size. Perhaps a large body size protected them from most predators, helped to regulate internal body temperature, or let them reach new sources of food.

07. What was the biggest dinosaur?
The largest dinosaur we know of was Brachiosaurus. It reached 23m in length and 12m in height, or about the length of two large school buses and the height of a four-story building.

08. What was the smallest dinosaur?
The smallest dinosaurs we know of was Compsognathus. They were just slightly larger than a chicken. They were 1m (3 ft) long and they probably weighed about 2.5kg (about 6.5 lb).

09. Were dinosaurs cold-blooded?
There are conflicting opinions on this subject. Some paleontologists believe that many dinosaurs were warm-blooded, like birds and mammals. Other paleontologists think that this is highly unlikely, and that all dinosaurs were cold-blooded. There is just not enough evidence that we know of today to determine this one way or another.

10. Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?
There are many reasons why the dinosaurs died out. Some dinosaurs simply evolved into some of the animals of today. Others died out because they were hunted to extinction. Even others died because of changing environment. The unusually massive extinction at the end of the Cretaceous exterminated the last of the dinosaurs, the flying reptiles, and the large swimming reptiles, as well as many other marine animals. There is now widespread evidence that a meteorite impact was at least the partial cause for this extinction, but we are not sure about any of this.


How did you like this interesting bit of trivia? Obviously we can't answer all questions in just one article, but if we get enough feedback and a lot of comments we might just revisit this subject with another ten questions.

Comments

  1. I'm always fascinated by creatures from millions of years ago and love to search for fossils. I haven't found a dinosaur bone yet, but I'll keep looking. :-)

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  2. Dinosaurs are so fascinating, I have been reading about them since I was a kid. I even have a small piece of dinosaur bone here in my office.

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  3. I still look for bones hoping to find something.I have worked on a dig a few times.

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  4. Dinosaurs is a cool topic to explore. It is always neat to learn more about them.

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  5. I always had a fascination for the Brachiosaurus. They seemed like such a gentle giant, although there's obviously no way for me to know that. lol

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