You can ask every child out there what a dinosaur is and they’ll give you the same answers. Big, scary-looking killing machines! They’re basically celebrities before the word “celebrities” was made up. As time goes by, these children will soon realize that more than being their favorite action figures, toys, and thrill-seekers, dinosaurs are just big bizarre animals constantly evolving for hundreds of millions of years. It was never a byproduct of our imaginations––they existed on Earth and some of their attributes are passed on to some animals today.
So, what really are dinosaurs? If you want a clear-cut answer, then you’ll have to invent the time machine and go back in time. Even before scientists and paleontologists realized their passions, people were already wondering what bore these ancient bones and humungous footprints. It isn’t enough to rely on the Jurassic movie series to get a good look at these huge lizards. For that, you have until the end of this article!
Description and Appearance
If there’s anything alluring with these reptiles, it’s their appearances. I’m sure they’re lovely creatures but I wouldn’t want to co-exist with any of them. However, if there was ever a profession that loved to cure their curiosities––it’s the scientist. Scientists first began studying dinosaurs during the early 1800s when they managed to find bones of what seemed to be a large land reptile. They dubbed this discovery as Megalosaurus or “big lizard.” In 1842, Sir Richard Owen, Britain’s leading paleontologist, coined the term “dinosaur.” At that time, Sir Owen had already examined three different creatures namely the Megalosaurus, Iguanadon (“iguana tooth”), and Hylaesaurus (“woodland lizard”). After examining, Sir Owen concluded that all three lived on land, had a larger body compared to today’s living reptiles, walked with their legs directly beneath their bodies, and had three more vertebrae compared to other reptiles. With these, Sir Owen determined that this evidence has formed a special group of reptiles––to which he called the “Dinosauria.” A combination of Greek words “deinos” (terrible) and “sauros” (lizard or reptile). Fitting, to say the least.
245 million years ago, these prehistoric reptiles roamed the earth. Non-avian dinosaurs (or any dinosaur besides birds) were born with vast differences in size and shape. Some are as light as 8 pounds and some are over 100 feet long, but all of them lived on land. Some loved going to the swamps and lakes for food, however, but never engaged themselves in swimming or, at most, living in the water. Dinosaurs walking with two legs were either meat-eaters or plant-eaters. Most four-legged dinosaurs, on the other hand, were plant-eaters. An interesting thing to note also is a defining feature of dinosaurs from reptiles––the hole in the hip socket. This allowed land dinosaurs to walk upright while the likes of the pterosaurs (flying reptiles) and plesiosaurs (ocean reptiles) did not boast this feature.
Sorry to disappoint my fellow T-rex and Velociraptor fans but not all dinosaurs are carnivorous. In fact, the majority of dinosaurs actually love eating plants! Most of these herbivorous beasts have broad, flat, and boring teeth perfect for snipping and chowing down on vegetation. The herbivores’ diet varies too, but it mostly includes the likes of leaves, seeds, and maybe even twigs from treetops. Do you know how long those Brachiosaurus necks are? Treetops are light work! If you don’t know how long their necks are, then Gage Beasley’s Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy will do the trick! Not only can this plushie reach 150 cm, but it’s also as soft as you think it is! Who knew dinosaurs could be the perfect bed partners? Going back, surprisingly, there are dinosaurs who eat stones, too. The Apatosaurus settled the stones in their gizzards to help grind what they’ve consumed. Now that’s a hard diet if you know what I mean.
Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
The carnivores, on the other hand, have long and sharp teeth! These are specially adapted to tear through meat and bones. You might have been fooled by how entertainment has portrayed our fierce meat-eaters. Paleontologists have said that Velociraptors attacked, killed, and proceeded to eat dinosaurs. Don’t be fooled. Velociraptors are small but terrible prehistoric creatures. In the modern-day, they’re nothing but great huggers! Case in point: Gage Beasley’s Velociraptor Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy. Don’t worry, it just looks like sharp teeth but they’re very friendly.
Velociraptor Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
The infamous Tyrannosaurus rex was more of a scavenger––feeding on animals that have been left by other dinosaurs or were killed by natural causes. See? The Big Rex isn’t too scary, I guess? If it still scares you (which I doubt), Gage Beasley has a soft option of the T-rex for you––a plushie that can fight nightmares and the monsters in the dark for you! The Large T-Rex Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy is here to save the day!
Large T-Rex Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Did any of these land dinosaurs eat both meat and plant? All evidence says there’s a chance. Some fossils have shown different combinations of teeth, whether it be for tearing meat or grinding plants. Either way, this only suggests that some dinosaurs are omnivorous just like us humans!
In the end, dinosaurs remain loyal to the food pyramid. It may have taken hundreds of hours for a single Triceratops to eat a bellyful of plants––but this same Triceratops could provide the T-rex with enough food for a very long time. In any case, a bigger percentage of dinosaurs were plant-eaters and a smaller percentage were meat-eaters and omnivorous. The Triceratops is a timid creature, demolishing only plants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’re like cows, but with horns and a fan on its head. If you want to take an even closer look––so close as if you’re hugging it––then Gage Beasley’s Lifelike Triceratops Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy is your toy-to-go! I mean, just look at how cute it is! I wish they came in dog sizes and lived in the real world.
Lifelike Triceratops Dinosaur Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Nearly an impossible topic to talk about when it comes to these reptiles. The thing is, sexual intercourse is the only way these dinosaurs could have reproduced. Just like all modern-day reptiles, take in mind, males deposit sperm inside females––later fertilizing and laying eggs and possibly developing dinosaur embryos. Science is yet to deduce in full the magic of dinosaur reproduction, but they have made massive strides in the topic despite the historical taboo incorporated with animal sexual behavior––especially those of millions of years ago. Thankfully, our beloved scientists and paleontologists still worked hard to discover clues about sexual maturity and attraction all from just fossils.
The closest we can get to first-hand evidence is through the dinosaurs’ closes relatives: the birds and crocodiles. In them lies a hint about the external reproductive anatomy of dinosaurs. With the help of modern-day technology, theories about how these reptiles did the deed are slowly unearthing.
Facts About Land Dinosaurs
- Most dinosaurs had puny brains. In fact, they were just as clever as our modern-day reptiles. Their brains were comparable to the size of a lemon. Consider yourself a genius.
- Our scary reptile friends are normally depicted as massive monsters. However, many dinosaurs were just as big as a turkey. On average, dinosaurs were the same size as a small sedan.
- Talking about massive monsters, the heaviest and longest dinosaur to ever be discovered was the Argentinosaurus––reaching over 37 meters in height!
- Dinosaurs ruled the earth. They were on every piece of land across the world. Evidence of dinosaurs was found on all seven of the world’s continents through bones and fossils.
- The reason for their extinction still remains a mystery. Though meteorite strikes had disastrous, even life-changing, consequences, the extinction of the dinosaurs may very well be attributed to climate change, diseases, and maybe geological events too. What do you believe in?
- Their skulls were lighter because they had “windows” or large holes. Some skulls reached the lengths of a whole car!
- The dinosaur with the longest name is Micropachycephalosaurus (“small thick-headed lizard”). Class recitation might’ve been hard on this guy, huh?
- Plant-eating dinosaurs lived together to protect themselves and each other. You can find similarities with today’s herding animals.
- Some dinosaur tails would grow up to 45 feet long. Dinosaurs normally boasted long tails that helped them with their balance while they run.
- Like the triceratops, plant-eating dinosaurs had eyes looking out to each side. This was so they could watch out for danger while they were eating from trees or the ground.
What more is there to say than these reptiles are as interesting as ever. In today’s world, co-existing with dinosaurs may not be the wisest of choices––especially since the Velociraptor exists. Knowing that other species of animals roamed the same Earth we live in hundreds of millions of years ago is fascinating. Those who have studied, and are still studying, these creatures should be given more praise than they anticipate. From bones, eggshells, and even footprints, scientists and paleontologists have given us a view of how these dinosaurs used to live. So much so that we can even imagine how life was back then.
Some dinosaurs were small, some were just the same size as humans, and some had long, tree-long necks. To say the least, these reptiles were as diverse as ever. As you can see, there are whole dinosaur skeletons in museums, but little is still known about their external features. Did they have feathers? Do they shed skin like snakes? There are plenty of questions to be asked but one thing’s for sure: these land dinosaurs will forever be prehistoric celebrities.
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