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An Introduction to The World of Dinosaurs

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Whenever I think of dinosaurs, I am transported back to childhood, experiencing the thrill and astonishment that dinosaurs introduced. This

An Introduction to The World of Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs have been among the most successful groups of animals that have ever lived on our planet Earth. The number and variants of dinosaurs discovered are genuinely astounding. Barely a week goes by without further discoveries.

Some dinosaur discoveries are from complete skeletal finds and are very exciting to see. Many finds consist of only a few remaining bones or perhaps a skull.

Dinosaurs first appeared on Earth about 230 million years ago, and they ruled the planet for the next 160 million years. These magnificent creatures evolved with a fantastic range of body shapes and modifications that included crests, horns, scales, or body armor.

Dinosaurs are perhaps the most fearsome creatures that have ever lived.

Dinosaurs are perhaps the most fearsome creatures that have ever lived.

What Was a Dinosaur?

Seven facts about Dinosaurs:

  • Dinosaurs were reptiles - most hatched from eggs.
  • Some dinosaurs walked on two legs and are called bipedal, while those who walked on four legs are called quadrupedal.
  • Dinosaurs that were plant-eating are called herbivores.
  • Meat-eating dinosaurs are called carnivores.
  • Those dinosaurs that ate both plants and meat are called omnivores.
  • Dinosaurs lived on land, they were unable to fly, and they did not live in water.
  • The first Dinosaur, found in 1824, was named Megalosaurus. The name means Great Lizard.

When Did Dinosaurs Live?

Dinosaurs existed for millions of years, and this incredible length of time is referred to as the Mesozoic Era.

Within the Mesozoic Era, there are three main periods in which Dinosaurs lived, and you will often hear them referred to as:

The Cretaceous Period. Covered a period between 65 million and 145 million years ago, and Earth had a relatively warm climate at this time. The Cretaceous Period takes its name from chalk, which is its most characteristic deposit. During the Cretaceous era, dinosaurs shared the planet with many other reptiles. In this timeline, the continents moved further away from each other, and oceans opened up. Earth became seasonal with cool winters and warm summers. The Cretaceous period ended with the biggest mass extinction that our planet has ever known, Dinosaurs died out, and the first snakes and modern mammals appeared.

The Jurassic Period: The Jurassic Period takes its name from the Jura Mountains. The Jurassic spanned a time between 145 million and 200 million years ago. At this time, shallow tropical seas submerged swathes of Europe. During the early Jurassic, dinosaurs became the dominant species. It was during the Late Jurassic Period that flowering plants started to evolve. The first birds also appeared during the Jurassic Period.

The Triassic Period: Covered a period between 227 million and 248 million years ago. At this time, most of the Earth's land was concentrated into a single massive continent that lay around the equator. Inland, huge deserts existed which, were hot and dry, while the coastal regions were warm and moist, allowing the growth of plants that fed many dinosaurs.

The Triassic Period was when the first small dinosaurs and mammals appeared. Coelophysis was one of the first dinosaurs to appear in the mid-Triassic period. During the Triassic Period, the first turtles, crocodiles, and frogs also appeared.

During the Dinosaur age, all the Earth's continents were joined in one landmass, enabling animals to migrate over the whole surface of the Earth.

Dinosaur Timelines

1.  Jurassic Period,  2.  Cretaceous Period - Typical Conifers 3.  Triassic Period - Typical Flora

1. Jurassic Period, 2. Cretaceous Period - Typical Conifers 3. Triassic Period - Typical Flora

How Big Did the Biggest Dinosaurs Become?

There is a lot of competition as to which Dinosaur was the tallest, the longest, and the heaviest. Many claims rely on only partial finds of bones, and so it is difficult to know with certainty which Dinosaur would be the winner. A good contender for the tallest and heaviest Dinosaur would be the Giraffahtan. In the early 1900s, an example recovered was 12 meters tall and 22.5 meters long. It would have weighed somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 kilograms.

And the Smallest Dinosaur?

Did you know that the smallest dinosaur that palaeontologists have identified is called a Compsognathus

This dinosaur was about the size of a chicken.

Scale of the Smallest Dinosaurs

Chart comparing the relative sizes of several of the smallest non-avian dinosaurs.

Chart comparing the relative sizes of several of the smallest non-avian dinosaurs.

Argentinasaurus The Longest And Heaviest Dinosaur

a plant eating dinosaur

Argentinasaurus holds the record for being the longest and the heaviest land animal that has ever lived.

This was partly achieved because the Argentinasaurus dinosaur didn't waste time chewing its food, instead it gulped it down whole. Not needing to chew meant saving energy and this helped them to grow so enormous.

Dinosaur Skeletons: The Longest and Heaviest Dinosaurs

1. Aptosaurus Dinosaur  2. Argentinasaurus Dinosaur 3. Bactrosaurus Dinosaur

1. Aptosaurus Dinosaur 2. Argentinasaurus Dinosaur 3. Bactrosaurus Dinosaur

How do we Know That Dinosaurs Existed? The Evidence From Fossils and Casts

Evidence of Dinosaur existence comes from fossilized remains.

Fossilization requires a body part to have hard parts, such as bone or shell. The creation of a fossil is a lengthy process, and it requires the Dinosaur to have been buried or covered shortly after death to prevent decay. Hard parts of dinosaurs, such as teeth, can be preserved as fossils with minimal alteration. Bones, on the other hand, are usually altered by being replaced by dissolved mineral matter.

There are other forms of evidence also. These come from moulds or casts. An example of this can be footprints. A dinosaur can leave an imprint in the ground, filling with fresh mud, forming a cast.

Ammonite Fossil

Ammonite Fossil

What Color Were Dinosaurs?

Did you know that we don't know what color dinosaurs were? Some scientists believe that they may have been colorful in the way that some birds are today. However, some paleontologists think that they would have been similar in color to modern-day lizards (grey, green, and brown) as this would have provided a form of camouflage.

Did All Dinosaurs Eat Other Animals?

Dinosaurs consist of two main categories; the plant-eaters (herbivores) and the meat-eaters (carnivores). The herbivores were grazing animals, and the carnivores were predators

Top Ten Examples of Carniverous Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Poll

Herbivores: Plant-eating Dinosaurs

Herbivore Dinosaur Poll

What Colour Were Dinosaurs?

Did you know that we really don't know what colour dinosaurs were. Some scientist believe that they may have been colourful in the way that some birds are today. However, some paleontologists believe that they would have been similar in colour to those of modern day lizards (grey, green and brown) as this would have provided a form of camouflage.

How Did The Reign Of The Dinosaurs End?

Dinosaurs lived for some 160 million years until they became extinct. We might never really know what is was that finally ended the era of the dinosaur, but most scientists believe that it may have been as a result of a huge asteroid that hit the earth in the Gulf of Mexico.

Comments

Eric Caunca from Philippines on July 09, 2020:

I am a fan of dinosaurs. I have lots of dino collections. I hope they will back again, but not the giant meat-eater.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on October 27, 2017:

Thank you for your kind words. It is always great to hear that the article has been enjoyed.

MomsTreasureChest on October 27, 2017:

Great article with a lot of interesting information and terrific illustrations, thank you for sharing.

joann from utah on May 15, 2014:

My son and I love this lens! So much information, thank you for sharing.

Sonya Chappell from UK on April 23, 2014:

Really pleased to come back and see how much you have added to your lens. This is excellent. I will link to it from my website. Warm wishes Sonya

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on April 23, 2014:

@ValPage: Thank you.

ValPage on April 23, 2014:

Love your lens! So much information! Just amazing :D

teelover on March 09, 2014:

Great lens! Dinosaurs are my childhood's passion

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on February 16, 2014:

@Gypzeerose: Thank you

Rose Jones on February 14, 2014:

I love dinosaurs! This is such a cute lens!

eiramarie on January 15, 2014:

A very informative lens. Many Thanks!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on January 09, 2014:

@CampingmanNW: Thank you.

CampingmanNW on January 08, 2014:

A well done lens. Thanks for sharing. Dinosaurs are ALWAYS a fascinating subject.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on January 02, 2014:

@RoadMonkey: There are such a huge variation of dinosaurs to choose from. Thank you for your visit.

RoadMonkey on January 01, 2014:

Dinosaurs are fascinating. Great lens.

educationalfun on November 29, 2013:

Using dinosaurs to school kids on how to learn to read and write is an incredible idea that is bound to catch the attention of kids. Stories about dinosaurs always manage to capture the interest of kids anywhere. Kids are intrigued with the idea of the huge ancient animals from back in time. http//educationalfun.info

Regards

Daniele Wren

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 20, 2013:

@tonyleather: Very much appreciated - thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 20, 2013:

@chrisilouwho: Thank you. It's always pleasing to hear when someone shares a lense.

tonyleather on November 20, 2013:

This is a wonderfully informative lens, even for us old-timers! thanks!

chrisilouwho on November 20, 2013:

love this! e-mailed the link to my sister who has a son who is all about the dinosaurs right now, he's going to love it too. thanks for sharing!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on November 18, 2013:

@esmonaco: Thank you.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on November 18, 2013:

Wow!!!! A lot of work here, Great Job. My grandson loves dinosaurs, next time he's at our house I will show this to him. I'm sure that he will like it as much as I did.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on September 21, 2013:

@GrammieOlivia: Thank you.

GrammieOlivia on September 21, 2013:

Wow! This is some fantastic lens, lots of work went into this one and it shows. It also helped me to learn a lot about Dinosaurs.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on September 08, 2013:

@ismeedee: Thank you - very much appreciated.

ismeedee on September 08, 2013:

I'm amazed and impressed with the work you've put into making this so complete and concise! Great work and so useful for kids as a guide!!!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on August 09, 2013:

@ghoststorylover: Thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on August 09, 2013:

@RebeccaRubia: Thank you for your visit.

RebeccaRubia on August 08, 2013:

This lens is great! Thank you!

ghoststorylover on August 07, 2013:

I loved it!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on August 04, 2013:

@Elaine Chen: That would be wonderful - thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on August 04, 2013:

@dasdipyaman: That's great - thank you

Elaine Chen on August 03, 2013:

this is the longest lens I found in Squidoo :-)

My son likes dinosaurs due to the Toy Story movie. I would show him this lens and introduce him the real one

dasdipyaman on July 30, 2013:

It has so much in it !! I just liked the lens so much I will again come back

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on July 26, 2013:

@Inndise: Thank you so much.

Raymond Eagar on July 26, 2013:

Vey good reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park

Inndise on July 21, 2013:

This lens has the best information on Dinosaurs and an amazing reference especially for children who are so fascinated by them. Great lens

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on July 04, 2013:

@Jemjoseph: Thank you. The Compsognathus would be a sight for sore eyes...

Jemjoseph on July 03, 2013:

Wow, there's a lot of interesting info here on dinosaurs, the miniature dinosaur Compsognathus would be interesting to see, especially if it had feathers.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on July 01, 2013:

@Greathaul2013: Ahh! the joys of childhood, a time when everything is a potentially great find.

Greathaul2013 on July 01, 2013:

Love the lens. My neighbor and I used to dig for dinosaur bones when we were kids. Every time we would hit some cement or rocks, we would get excited and think we had found some old dinosaur bones, haha.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 30, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you Tipi.

anonymous on June 29, 2013:

Oh my goodness, you certainly have continued to develop it....its gigantic....as big as a dinosaur...and more excellent than ever! :)

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 28, 2013:

@mina009: I think dinosaurs fascinate boys and girl of all ages. Thank you for your visit very much appreciated.

mina009 on June 26, 2013:

Great lens about dinosaurs! Most of the boys at a very young age love dinosaurs.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 26, 2013:

@Yvette Munro: Thank you - very much appreciated.

Yvette Munro on June 26, 2013:

What an informative and wonderful looking lens. I've always been fascinated by the stories of dinosaurs.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 16, 2013:

@irminia: Thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 16, 2013:

@TanoCalvenoa: Thank you.

irminia on June 16, 2013:

I knew there were many kinds of dinos - but your lens broadened my perspective, thanks.

TanoCalvenoa on June 10, 2013:

Good number of dinosaurs, lots of info, fantastic lens!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 06, 2013:

@happy-birthday: Its always great when someone shares their thoughts on this lense - thank you so much.

Birthday Wishes from Here on June 05, 2013:

Beautiful lens!!! I love it! Thanks a lot for sharing!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on June 02, 2013:

@Socialpro54 LM: Thank you.

Socialpro54 LM on June 02, 2013:

Excellent lens!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 30, 2013:

@ringthepost: Thank you. Very much appreciated.

ringthepost on May 30, 2013:

My Kids love dinosuars! They both got a kick out of this lense, thanks for the info!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 28, 2013:

@Fridayonmymind LM: Thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 28, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Tipi - Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Fridayonmymind LM on May 27, 2013:

So much information for that perennial topic. Kids would love this.

anonymous on May 27, 2013:

I always enjoy coming by here, this is one of my favorite lenses on Squidoo

If you would like a dinosaur skeleton photo, let me know. Ok....:)

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 22, 2013:

@takkhisa: Thank you - very much appreciated.

Takkhis on May 22, 2013:

Excellent lens! Kids would like to see this page over again and again :)

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 12, 2013:

@moneyrat: Thank you.

moneyrat on May 12, 2013:

Wow this is a great lens about Dinos. Lots of information. Great lens not just for kids but for adults too.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 06, 2013:

@LiteraryMind: Thank you - always appreciated.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on May 06, 2013:

What a fun lens for kids. Great job.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 03, 2013:

@rstaveley lm: I suspect that they are more interesting at a distance.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 03, 2013:

@Cynthia Haltom: Thanks for the visit. Dinosaurs are such amazing creatures from the past.

Richard Staveley from Burley in Wharfedale, Yorkshire, England on May 03, 2013:

I am fascinated by dinosaurs, and so is my grandson (he's 5!). I wouldn't want to meet one, though!

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 03, 2013:

I have always been fascinated by these large creatures

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on May 02, 2013:

@bornot2b1: Thanks for your visit - greatly appreciated.

bornot2b1 on May 01, 2013:

This lens is incredible, very informative.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on April 30, 2013:

@KamalaEmbroidery: Your very welcome - thanks for visiting.

KamalaEmbroidery on April 29, 2013:

I love dinosaurs. Thanks for all the information.

mistaben on April 24, 2013:

Great lens for kids! Thanks for posting this, it was very informative.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on April 23, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you.

anonymous on April 23, 2013:

I'm Gladisaurthis ! Great Lens - Best Wishes ;)

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on April 22, 2013:

@Thamisgith: Thank you. Our fascination with dinosaurs begins almost as soon as we can talk.

Thamisgith on April 21, 2013:

Cracking lens! there's something about dinosaurs that kids just find fascinating. I can remember, years ago, watching "Walking With Dinosaurs" with my 18 month old son sitting on my knee. Even at that age, he absolutely loved it.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on April 21, 2013:

@TreasuresBrenda: I think that once you share that interest in dinosaurs, the fascination in them remains with you for ever.

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on April 21, 2013:

My sons loved dinosaurs. Guess I should ask if they still do.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 30, 2013:

@LeenaBK LM: Thank you.

LeenaBK LM on March 29, 2013:

Wow. That's so much info on dinosaurs. My 4 yr old son is fascinated with dinosaurs. I'll be showing this lens to him.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 22, 2013:

@NibsyNell: Thank you for your comments - always appreciated.

NibsyNell on March 22, 2013:

I've been fascinated by dinosaurs ever since I was little. I feel all excited like I'm 6 again reading this lol!

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 22, 2013:

@Vikk Simmons: It must be amazing to take part in a dino dig.

'Vikk Simmons from Houston on March 22, 2013:

I'm such a huge fan of dinosaurs. We have dino digs in Texas and I had a lot of fun taking my grandson there one weekend.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 19, 2013:

@dawnsantiquesan: Thank you. I never get weary of dinosaurs - so many varieties

dawnsantiquesan on March 18, 2013:

Wow so much info. You can tell you put a lot of time and work into this lens. I had no idea there were so many different types of dinosaurs. I found this lens because you visited mine I am so glad you did. Thanks so much.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 11, 2013:

@shahedashaikh: Thank you for your comments.

shahedashaikh on March 11, 2013:

Wow so many dinosaurs,thanks for the extensive list.Thanks for visiting and blessing my lens,and blessing my lens a must for all gardeners gardeners folding chair with tools

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 10, 2013:

@Wednesday-Elf: Thank you so much - your comments are very much appreciated.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 10, 2013:

What an interesting and educational page about Dinosaurs. Absolutely fascinating and very well done.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 04, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you.

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on March 04, 2013:

@alenmic: All kids, including the grown-up ones - love dinosaurs.

anonymous on March 04, 2013:

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alenmic on March 03, 2013:

Thanks for great lens...my son will like them very much ....

Ben Reed (author) from Redcar on February 27, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you.

anonymous on February 27, 2013:

I really liked this article on pets and animalsâ¦..its great information..contents are understandable and worth to be noticedâ¦.good info on dino's thanks for postingâ¦.nice lensâ¦

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