Top Ten Dinosaur Facts

The Top Ten
1 Technically, birds are dinosaurs

The earliest discovery to this connection is the Archaeopteryx, which was discovered in England back in the 1850s, although the connection itself was not considered until about a century later. In addition, birds are remarkably similar to dinosaurs in terms of anatomy and evolutionary line. Theropod dinosaurs are known to possess wishbones, which currently are only found in birds.

When I first read this in an encyclopedia in about 2nd grade, I didn't believe it until a year later when I found it somewhere else too.

2 Pterosaurs, Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs and Ichthyosaurs are not dinosaurs

It's a common misconception, but people unfortunately believe in it. All five of them are similar to an extent (They're all reptiles after all), but they're different enough to not be the same animal. They all evolved in different environments with different unique attributes to themselves.

3 Dinosaurs were more akin to being warm blooded

Considering they're reptiles, this is rather surprising. Many dinosaurs were fast, active animals, particularly those in the Theropod line, although herbivores are not excluded at all. Dinosaurs had a fast metabolism rate and this is even more evident in sauropods who had to devote about 20 hours in exclusively eating plants in order to sustain their bodies.

4 Many dinosaurs had feathers or plumages

A more modern discovery, but also one that is increasingly becoming mainstream. Most mainraptorian dinosaurs are known to possess feathers. Even Tyrannosaurus is speculated to have some feather coating at some areas.

Interestingly, Jurassic World acknowledges this discovery, and there's an explanation why the dinosaurs in the film are depicted as scaly. It's a series of genomes that scientists decided to select, and they felt that the traditional scaly appearances of dinosaurs would suit more in the eyes of the general audience in comparison to their more realistic feathery counterparts.

5 Dinosaurs were classified in two orders, Saurischians and Ornithischians

Saurischians have hips resembling those of a lizard whereas Ornithischians's hips look more like birds's.

Furthermore, all Ornithischians were primarily herbivorous dinosaurs, although Sauropods were Saurischians. Conversely, all carnivorous dinosaurs were Saurischians.

6 The earliest sightings of dinosaur remains date back to about 2,000 years ago

They were discovered in China. And interestingly, they were labelled "Dragon Bones". Then again, dinosaurs and dragons do look similar in a lot of ways. In addition, Megalosaurus remains were uncovered in 1676 at England, but were identified as the bones of a human giant. It's only until 1822 when the discovered remains of an Iguanodon would be taken seriously as a brand new animal. Another set of Megalosaurus bones were later discovered and studied in 1824 by William Buckland, thus becoming the first known dinosaur to be named, with Iguanodon soon following a year later.

7 The term "Dinosaur" was coined in 1842

By this point, there were three named dinosaurs: Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus, all discovered in England. The term "Dinosaur" was coined by biological scientist Richard Owen. The word "Dinosaur" means "Terrible Lizard" in Ancient Greek (Deinos = Terrible, Sauros = Lizard/Reptile). The reason for this name was because the three species which Owen recognized were large for a reptile and speculated that dinosaurs naturally must have been very large animals (Which turned out to be a mix of right and wrong).

8 Dinosaurs didn't have a long lifespan

Despite their impressive and interesting origin, features and their relevance in prehistory, dinosaurs were surprisingly short-living animals by natural age. While crocodiles can live up to 70-100 years, elephants for 60-70 years and some sharks are estimated to be around 70 years, most dinosaurs don't live beyond the ages of 10-30. Hadrosaurs were fully grown in a very quick time span and pass away at around 10 years. The oldest Tyrannosaurus remains by natural age is estimated to be around 28. Even the gigantic sauropods were susceptible, only reaching up to about 50 years of age.

9 Dinosaurs cannot roar

This one is a real shocker, considering how grand, fearsome and majestic dinosaurs are meant to be. But considering that they are descended from a line that also includes birds and crocodiles, it starts to make some sense. Birds have syrinx, a different vocal box compared to larynxes that most animals tend to possess. Crocodiles and (surprisingly) humans also have syrinxes. So its safe to assume that dinosaurs must have developed syrinxes as well.

Though this does bring up a bizarre perception: A quacking Tyrannosaurus. Its hard to actually imagine the T. rex utilize sound effects similar to that of a duck.

10 Dinosaurs ruled the Earth longer than any animal, past or present

Although the first dinosaurs appeared in the Late Triassic about 230 million years ago, they were still in competition against other reptiles that had been dominant animals since the Paleozoic Era. However, dinosaurs quickly evolved and by the Early Jurassic, they quickly took over as the apex animals of Planet Earth. They ruled the planet for about a 145 million years up until the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction event which caused the extinction of about 70% of all like, including all non-avian dinosaurs.

The Contenders
11 Dinosaurs were not stupid
12 Dinosaur were not "terrible lizards"
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