As a kid, everybody would have had a fascination for dinosaurs. In our childhood days, we would have enjoyed watching and playing with all kinds of dinosaur stuffs right from movies to toys to action figures. Of course, when we talk about dinosaurs, the first thing that comes to our mind is the movie ‘Jurassic Park’ masterminded by legendary director Steven Spielberg with stunning graphics and animation. It proved to be a trend-setter we see on any creature-feature movies today. Adults all over the world are intrigued by the mysterious facts about the gigantic creatures. Though they are extinct, the remains of bones and footprints of these creatures confirm that dinosaurs did really exist millions of years ago.
The word dinosaur means “terrible lizard” (although it’s a little confusing) and the origin of this word dates back to 1842. So we still have a family of dinosaurs in the form of lizards. Clearly, the dinosaurs were the biggest animals on the planet, but contrastingly some of them were as small as a turkey. These historic creatures went extinct almost 65 million years ago. However, the only species that survived was the bird-like dinosaurs. Scientists and researchers believe that the reason for the extinction could have been due to two major factors. Firstly, there could have been a massive collision by a meteorite in a place what is known as the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico today. This could have been followed by an enormous volcanic eruption that could have split the earth into two which ultimately would have lead to the death of these historic creatures.
Some interesting facts about the dinosaurs: Researchers have identified and named over 700 species of dinosaurs and feel plenty of dinosaurs are yet to be discovered. The longest dinosaur was Seismosaurus and it mensurated a towering height of 40 metres, that is literally equal to the height of five double-deck buses piled one over another. The smallest dinosaur was the bird-hipped herbivorous species called lesothosaurus which was just one metre long. The most intelligent of all dinosaurs was the Troodon. This bird-like dinosaur was about 2 metres (6.6 ft) long and had a brain size pretty similar to that of the mammals and birds of today. Considering its relatively small-sized body, this creature had the biggest brain of all the dinosaurs. Stegosaurus was the dumbest species of all dinosaurs and had a low brain-to-body mass ratio. Its brain size was only the size of a walnut, which is about three centimetres and should have weighed only 75 grams. It had a short neck and small head and preferred eating low-lying bushes and shrubs.
The fossil remains of dinosaurs found in Madagasgar suggest that the oldest dinosaur could have been 230 million years old. However, this honor was previously held by a dinosaur called Eoraptor (meaning “dawn thief”) which was estimated to be 228 million years old.
Recently on 7th December 2011, Denver W. Fowler a researcher from Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies unveiled two gigantic vertebrae and a femur bone that his team collected in New Mexico. It took them one full day just to carry the bones to the museum. The bones were of the sauropod dinosaur called Alamosaurus sanjuanensi. The long-necked plant eater is believed to have roamed in what is now the southwestern United States of Mexico about 69 million years ago. The bones of this species can be compared with that of the giant sauropods that includes the 70-ton Argentinosaurus, which is regarded as the biggest dinosaur of all time.
This is what Fowler said with a lot of pride after the historic discovery: “Over the past 20 years, Argentinean and Brazilian paleontologists have been unearthing bigger and bigger dinosaurs, putting the rest of the world in the shade. However, our new finds not only show that Alamosaurus is newly recognized as the biggest dinosaur from North America, but also that it was right up there with the biggest South American species: the US is back in the fight for the No.1 spot.”
I happened to see a program on Animal Planet entailing Dinosaurs with my newly-availed Dish Network Offers.