The word “dinosaur” comes from Greek language and means “terrible lizard”.
Dinosaurs were reptiles that lived on Earth from about 230 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. Humans have only been around for the last 2 million years.
All dinosaurs laid eggs. The largest dinosaur eggs were as large as basketballs. It is possible some dinosaurs may have lived for up to 200 years.
Most dinosaurs were plant eaters. Some swallowed large rocks that stayed in their stomachs and helped them grind up food.
No Jurassic Park
DNA does not survive for more than 2 million years so dinosaurs could never be cloned.
Some dinosaurs, such as the Apatosaurus, may have been able to break the sound barrier when flicking their tails, creating a sonic boom.
Most dinosaurs had hollow bones, much like birds. The closest modern day relative to the Tyrannosaurus rex is the chicken.
Most dinosaurs were probably no larger than sheep; larger bones have simply survived better over millions of years. Titanosaurs were huge herbivores, weighing more than 12 elephants, but smaller than a blue whale. Sauropods were more than twice the height of a giraffe.
Tyrannosaurus rex ate up to 22 tons of meat a year – it couldn’t chew and so swallowed its food in large chunks.
End of an era?
Many scientists believe that dinosaurs became extinct because of a massive asteroid impact or huge volcanic activity. Others think that not all dinosaurs became extinct but that some evolved into birds.