Dinosaur Facts: Jurassic Park and Beyond

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dinosaur facts
Dinosaurs have fascinated people for millennia. Learning dinosaur facts for kids is a great way to get them to engage with the past.

With the popularity of films like Jurassic Park, it isn’t surprising the dinosaur facts are becoming some of the most popular search terms for kids. Children enjoy learning about dinosaurs and the land before time. With a wide variety of dinosaurs from Triceratops to Tyrannosaurus Rex, there have been plenty of dinosaurs that have made a mark on society. Culturally, dinosaurs have played a large role in understanding biological evolution. Children’s fascination with dinosaurs is understandable as they are living beings of a time gone and curiosity for things that have become extinct is ingrained into us all, as we explore what has come before us. Dinosaur facts are a great way of introducing children to these concepts and incredible beings.

Dinosaur Facts for Kids

Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures and learning dinosaur facts gives us some insight into the beings that walked the earth before humans existed. We are able to breathe life into dinosaur content because there is the incredible modern technology that can rebuild skeletons of old dinosaurs and transform fossils into their finished products. Dinosaur facts give us all an opportunity to understand life before homosapiens, so that we don’t have to be palaeontologists to understand some of the first living creatures to have existed. The word dinosaur is an interesting one. Taken from the Greek, it directly translates as ‘terrible lizard’ – something easy to understand if thinking about a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The name was given to these creatures by the English palaeontologist Richard Owen in 1842. Though, he didn’t mean for it to refer to a terrifying appearance, more their terrific size. Richard Owen’s job as a palaeontologist refers to him being a person who studies dinosaurs.

Incredibly, dinosaurs walked and ruled the earth for over 160 million years. This was over a few periods, starting with the Triassic period around 230 million years ago right through to the Jurassic period, and until the end of the Cretaceous period which was around 65 million years ago. This time period is considered an era. From 250 million years ago to around 65 million years ago is referred to by palaeontologists as the Mesozoic Era. It is also fondly referred to as the Age of Dinosaurs due to most dinosaurs developing, existing, and eventually becoming extinct during this time period. It is in this period, 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, that there is believed to have been a mass extinction.

dinosaur facts jurassic park
Dinosaurs lived in the Mesozoic Era over 65 million years ago.

It is argued by scientists and palaeontologists that the event that led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs was likely to have been a huge asteroid hitting the earth or huge volcanic activity that killed them all. These events could have blocked sunlight and/or significantly changed the earth’s ecology. Dinosaurs have fascinated humans for hundreds of years and the first dinosaur to be formally recognised as one was referred to as the Megalosaurus in 1824. Interestingly, the largest dinosaurs don’t appear to be carnivores or meat-eaters but seem to herbivores or plant-eaters. Examples of these types of dinosaurs are Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus – more dinosaur facts to enjoy. It is natural to assume that these dinosaurs would be vulnerable to carnivores like the Allosaurus or the Spinosaurus, but these herbivores had natural weapons at their disposal. Dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus had spikes on their tails while Triceratos’s heads had natural shields – perfect to defend against predators.

When people think of dinosaurs in flight, most images conjure that of Pterodactyls in the sky. However, these were not dinosaurs, rather flying reptiles that lived during the age of dinosaurs but, by definition, they do not fall into this category. Not only are reptiles in the air mistaken for dinosaurs, but water-based reptiles, like Plesiosaurs, are often mistaken for dinosaurs as well. Some dinosaur facts that seem hard to believe is that birds have descended from dinosaurs. They came originally from dinosaurs known as theropods. 

Dinosaurs are ever popular in today’s society and constantly featured in pop culture and the media. Possibly the most famous portrayal of dinosaurs is in Michael Crichton’s book Jurassic Park which was released in 1990. Now a popular film series, it was first adapted into a film in 1993 and the narrative features cloned dinosaurs brought to life with the help of DNA found in mosquitoes trapped in amber.  

Types of Dinosaurs: Dinosaur Facts

There are multiple different types of dinosaurs that have existed. Some of these dinosaurs have become ever popular in culture with people using them as fancy dress ideas as well as them featuring on science fiction television series and films. From theropods like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Spinosaurus to massive Sauropods such as the Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, they all have incredible dinosaur facts that make us interested in these incredible creatures that came before us.

Classifying dinosaurs came into vogue in the year of 1888, Harry Seeley was the gentleman who proposed it to come into existence. By splitting dinosaurs into two groups based on their hip structure, they would be able to understand. The first group of dinosaurs was called Saurischia or lizard-hipped and the second grouping was known as Ornithischia or bird-hipped. These two groups could then be further broken down into a variety of subcategories such as families, subfamilies, and so on.

The Saurischia or lizard-hipped dinosaurs are most famous for their theropods. The name theropod is derived from the meaning ‘beast foot’. Naturally, after that definition, this group of dinosaurs includes carnivorous or meat-eating dinosaurs. Shockingly, birds eventually evolved from theropods rather than from Ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaurs. Theropods were able to move on two legs and include dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptor. The bird-hipped dinosaurs can be split into two main categories of Thyreophora and Cerapods. Thureophora translates as ‘shield bearers’ and includes armoured dinosaurs such as the Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus. These are two examples of dinosaurs that lived between the early Jurassic Period to the Late Cretaceous Period. Cerapods include a variety of interesting groups such as Ceratopsian dinosaurs like the Triceratops as well as Ornithopods or bird footed dinosaurs like the Iguanodon. Wonderful dinosaur facts.

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