Dinosaurs

A:

The largest known carnivorous dinosaur is the Spinosaurus, which is so named thanks to the gigantic spikes that run down the dinosaur's back. These spikes form a "sail" that likely evolved to ward off enemies rather than predators. The Spinosaurus was likely too large to be preyed upon by other dinosaurs.

See Full Answer
Filed Under:
  • Did the Stegosaurus Have Two Brains?

    Q: Did the Stegosaurus Have Two Brains?

    A: Even though there was a popular theory that Stegosaurus may have had two brains, one in its head and one toward its tail or rear end, that idea has largely been discredited in paleontology. Some paleontologists may still hold on to this theory and try to find ways that it might be true, but on the whole, this is not an accepted idea.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why Was the Brontosaurus's Name Changed to the Apatosaurus?

    Q: Why Was the Brontosaurus's Name Changed to the Apatosaurus?

    A: The gigantic, herbivorous Brontosaurus, which features an iconically long neck and tail, may be one of history's most famous dinosaurs, but its existence as a unique species was debunked in 1903, when someone realized that the skeleton that had been labeled as a Brontosaurus was actually an Apatosaurus. In this sense, the Brontosaurus was not renamed but rather determined to have never existed as a separate species. The same man, a Yale paleontologist named Othniel Charles (O.C.) Marsh, named both the Apatosaurus and the Brontosaurus, with the Apatosaurus discovery predating the Brontosaurus naming by two years.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Did Deinonychus Hunt in Packs or Alone?

    Q: Did Deinonychus Hunt in Packs or Alone?

    A: While some scientists argue that Deinonychus was a pack-hunting dinosaur, not all paleontologists agree with this assertion, though there is some isolated fossil evidence showing multiple Deinonychus specimens fossilized with a much larger prey dinosaur species. This evidence may establish that there was at least one instance of Deinonychus attacking the same prey, which was arguably too large to be taken down by a single Deinonychus, but that evidence is not sufficient for all experts in the field to agree that this dinosaur was definitely a pack hunter. There is additional evidence to support this idea, including multiple fossil sites suggesting that Deinonychus regularly fed on this larger dinosaur, the Tenontosaurus.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Are There Animals Alive Today That Lived Beside Dinosaurs?

    Q: Are There Animals Alive Today That Lived Beside Dinosaurs?

    A: There are some animals on earth that can be traced back to the Mesozoic Era when dinosaurs walked the earth; these animals include monotremes such as the duckbill platypus, reptiles such as the crocodilians and sea creatures such as the sea urchin. For the most part, the animals that are alive today have made evolutionary changes from the forms they had when dinosaurs were alive. For example, though the event that caused dinosaurs to die out also killed many other reptile species, several surviving reptile species have direct ancestors from that era, including the crocodilians, which are smaller than their Mesozoic ancestors.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Are the Two Classes of Dinosaurs?

    Q: What Are the Two Classes of Dinosaurs?

    A: Beginning in 1887, dinosaurs have been divided into two main categories: saurischian, which means "lizard hipped," and ornithischian, which means "bird hipped." This classification is based on the dinosaurs' pelvic bone structure. Though the name "bird hipped" may seem to indicate that these prehistoric animals are related to birds, that is not necessarily the case.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Is the Difference Between a Cast Fossil and a Mold Fossil?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between a Cast Fossil and a Mold Fossil?

    A: The difference between a mold fossil and a cast fossil is that mold fossil is formed when an object is placed into soft mud and is removed by decomposition or physical sources; a cast fossil happens when a mold fossil fills up with sediment. A cast fossil is three dimensional, and a mold must be present for the cast fossil to exist.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Did Dinosaurs Eat?

    Q: What Did Dinosaurs Eat?

    A: There is evidence that dinosaurs did not have a single, uniform and universal diet but rather a wide variety of dietary habits, with evidence supporting the idea that carnivorous, herbivorous and omnivorous species all existed. Different feeding styles were also likely, with some carnivorous species hunting prey such as mammals and small reptiles, while other carnivores may have been opportunistic carrion scavengers. There was likely even a good range of dietary variety amongst the herbivorous dinosaurs, which may have made up the majority of all dinosaur species.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Is a Baby Dinosaur Called?

    Q: What Is a Baby Dinosaur Called?

    A: Dinosaurs are hatched from eggs, therefore new baby dinosaurs are called hatchlings, just like their reptile cousins the turtles and crocodiles. Young dinosaurs, beyond the hatchling stage, are referred to as juveniles.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Was the Spinosaur's Back Fin Used For?

    Q: What Was the Spinosaur's Back Fin Used For?

    A: There seems to be a general lack of consensus among paleontologists as to what purpose the Spinosaurus' sail served; not only is there a lack of certainty as to why the sail existed, there also seems to be some question about whether the dinosaur actually had a sail at all. All questions about the Spinosaurus' anatomy must be answered using fossil evidence, which is limited to fossilized skeletal remains that show a crest of bones protruding upward from the dinosaur's spine. While some scientists feel that these bones provided the structure for a sail-like flap of skin, other argue that this spinal structure actually supported a large hump rather than a distinct sail.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Were Dinosaurs Warm-Blooded or Cold-Blooded?

    Q: Were Dinosaurs Warm-Blooded or Cold-Blooded?

    A: Because dinosaurs are classified as reptiles, one might assume that they are cold blooded, but some scientists suggest that dinosaurs may have been somewhere between cold and warm blooded. Though most animals fall into either category, there have been some intermediary species known to science, with dinosaurs potentially being one of this number.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Could You Outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    Q: Could You Outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    A: A T-Rex could have run faster than an average human at top speed, but there is a chance that a human could outrun a T-Rex. We can never fully know how fast the Tyrannosaurus Rex ran, but scientists at the University of Manchester in England have come up with animated computer models based on fossils and estimated muscle mass that have helped them compute the probable top speeds of many dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is nowhere near the fastest, topping out at around 18 mph. The fastest dinosaur they computed was the Compsognathus, which ran about 40 mph.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Could a Dinosaur Be Cloned From DNA Preserved in Amber?

    Q: Could a Dinosaur Be Cloned From DNA Preserved in Amber?

    A: It is theoretically possible, though highly unlikely, that a dinosaur clone could be created. The idea that it's possible to clone a dinosaur using DNA preserved in amber was popularized by the movie Jurassic Park. This fictionalized version of the process made it seem like a relatively easy process, but in truth it's rather complex and improbable.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • When Did Dinosaurs Become Extinct?

    Q: When Did Dinosaurs Become Extinct?

    A: Dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. This extinction event occurred between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods and wiped out about 50 percent of all other organisms then living on the planet.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Was the Longest Dinosaur?

    Q: What Was the Longest Dinosaur?

    A: Though there have been a few instances of scientists purporting to have found larger specimens, the longest known dinosaur that is widely accepted by paleontologists seems to be the Diplodocus, a type of sauropod dinosaur with a long neck and long tail that is said to have measured as much as 175 feet in length. There seems to be some controversy and debate around the question of which dinosaur is truly the longest, with scientists introducing competitors such as the Seismosaurus, which was once thought to be a distinct species but was eventually found to be a very large Diplodocus specimen. The Seismosaurus' discovery was announced in 1991, but its existence as a unique species was debunked just over a decade later, a fact that was announced at an academic event in 2004.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Did Triceratops Eat?

    Q: What Did Triceratops Eat?

    A: Triceratops were herbivorous and probably ate low-growing plants because of their short necks and low heads. They may have eaten bushes, small trees and grasses. They may have been able to eat taller plants by knocking them down with their horns and beaks.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Were the Smallest Dinosaurs?

    Q: What Were the Smallest Dinosaurs?

    A: The smallest known dinosaur species include the Minmi, Pakicetus, Europasaurus, Phosphatherium, Microraptor, Raptorex, Microceratops, Lariosaurus and Nemicolopterus. These are all examples of the smallest dinos in a particular group, such as the smallest Raptor (Microraptor), which weighed around 2 pounds and was small enough to eat insects, and the smallest Tyrannosaur (Raptorex), which likely topped out at about 150 pounds.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Was the Largest Carniverous Dinosaur?

    Q: What Was the Largest Carniverous Dinosaur?

    A: The largest known carnivorous dinosaur is the Spinosaurus, which is so named thanks to the gigantic spikes that run down the dinosaur's back. These spikes form a "sail" that likely evolved to ward off enemies rather than predators. The Spinosaurus was likely too large to be preyed upon by other dinosaurs.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Was the Lifespan of a Stegosaurus?

    Q: What Was the Lifespan of a Stegosaurus?

    A: Scientists approximate dinosaur lifespan by attempting to determine the metabolism of the animal, looking at its size and bone growth, and comparing with similar animals that are still around today. Based on these factors, a stegosaurus may have lived 75 to 100 years.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Do You Do If You Find a Dinosaur Bone?

    Q: What Do You Do If You Find a Dinosaur Bone?

    A: Individuals who believe that they have found a fossilized dinosaur bone in an outdoor area should avoid touching it and instead take a photo and make note of its exact location using a map before making contact with a natural history museum such as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. However, this procedure is not legally binding, particularly if the fossil is discovered on private land, though moral obligation may tell a different story. In the United States, individuals who find a fossil on their land are not required to report or hand it over to any authority.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Is the Wingspan of a Pterodactyl?

    Q: What Is the Wingspan of a Pterodactyl?

    A: The wingspan of the largest species of pteranodon (the term employed by working paleontologists as opposed to the culturally popular term "pterodactyl") was up to 30 feet. This wingspan is much larger than that of any modern flying bird.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What Does the Word "dinosaur" Mean?

    Q: What Does the Word "dinosaur" Mean?

    A: The word "dinosaur" is derived from Greek words; it loosely translates as "terrible lizard" from the root words "deinos," meaning "terrible" or "fearfully great," and "sauros," meaning "lizard" or "reptile." Sir Richard Owen, the man who created this taxon, intended the word "terrible" to imply something awe-inspiring and magnificent rather than something scary and terrifying.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under: