18 Incredible Facts About Dinosaurs

Whether you’re already interested in dinosaurs or looking to learn more about these fascinating creatures, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll reveal 18 incredible (and somewhat astonishing) facts about these ancient reptiles and their discovery that you probably didn’t know!

The First Dinosaur Nest Was Discovered in 1923

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Just over a hundred years ago, American explorer and adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews was said to have found the first dinosaur nest. The nest discovery in Mongolia provided new insights into dinosaur reproduction, and the largest dinosaur eggs were found to be as big as basketballs.

Dinosaur Diets Evolved Massively

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The first dinosaurs were supposedly carnivores, and then later herbivores and omnivores appeared. As shared by Tech Explorist, researchers discovered that “many groups of plant-eating dinosaurs were ancestrally omnivorous, and that the ancestors of our famous long-necked herbivores, such as Diplodocus, ate meat.”

Some Dinosaurs Were Feathered

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Yep, you read that right! Some dinosaurs, like theropods, were actually covered in feathers—said to be the ancestors of modern-day birds. The largest known feathered dinosaur was the Yutyrannus huali. The feathers were likely used for warmth and possibly flight, though this is uncertain.

Dinosaurs Had Tiny Brains

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Many dinosaurs had relatively small brains compared to their body size. The Stegosaurus, in particular, had a very small brain for its body size. Carnivorous dinosaurs, however, tended to have larger brains than herbivores. Lucky them!

Paleontologists Had Huge Rivalries

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The race to discover more about dinosaurs led to lots of competitiveness in the industry. Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, for example, had a very famous rivalry, according to PBS. Their competition advanced the field of paleontology in the U.S., and they both contributed significantly despite their feud.

Dinosaurs Had Very Unique Dental Features

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The Nigersaurus, for example, had over 500 teeth arranged in rows. Even more astonishingly, it replaced its teeth approximately every 14 days. This adaptation was ideal for its herbivorous diet and was an evolutionary advantage, ensuring the Nigersaurus always had functional teeth for grazing.

Dinosaurs Experienced Rapid Growth in the Egg

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Amazingly, dinosaurs built significant muscle and bone while still in their eggs. As shared by the Christian Science Monitor, “The evidence suggests dinosaurs wiggled inside their eggs and grew faster than any birds or mammals living today.” This rapid growth was evident in fossils like the Lufengosaurus.

Aquatic Giants Were Not Dinosaurs

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Contrary to popular belief, marine reptiles like Plesiosaurs were not dinosaurs. While they lived during the same era and alongside each other, true dinosaurs inhabited terrestrial environments. This distinction is crucial in paleontology to understand the diversity of prehistoric life and avoid any confusion.

Dinosaurs Had a Diverse Size Range

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When most people picture dinosaurs, they imagine great, enormous creatures. In actuality, the size of them varied greatly, with some being smaller than a chicken! Dinosaurs ranged from the tiny Microraptor to the enormous Argentinosaurus, which could reach lengths of over 120 feet (37 meters).

The First Known Dinosaur Was the Eoraptor

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The Eoraptor, an omnivore that roamed the Earth around 230 million years ago, is currently recognized as the oldest known dinosaur species. The dinosaur’s diet indicates the varied dietary habits that existed among the earliest dinosaurs, providing insights into their fascinating evolution.

There’s a Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds

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Did you know that birds are believed to have descended from dinosaurs? This may seem far-fetched, but modern birds share several features with these ancient creatures. As shared by the Natural History Museum, “Birds evolved from a group of meat-eating dinosaurs called theropods. That’s the same group that Tyrannosaurus rex belonged to, although birds evolved from small theropods, not huge ones like T. rex.”

Dinosaurs and Humans Never Coexisted

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The coexistence of humans and dinosaurs is a common misconception, but dinosaurs actually became extinct about 65 million years before humans ever appeared. However, “small mammals (including shrew-sized primates) were alive at the time of the dinosaurs,” according to the USGS.

Dinosaur Fossils Have Been Found Worldwide

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Interestingly, dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent. This distribution indicates their global dominance and reflects that the variety of climates they lived in was vast, from deserts to forests, which illustrates their adaptability and ecological diversity.

We Are Drinking Dinosaur Water

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The water cycle on Earth has preserved the same water molecules for billions of years, which means that the water we drink today is the same as that consumed by dinosaurs. It’s pretty odd to think about, but it is a fascinating connection between ancient and modern times.

Pterodactyls Were Not True Dinosaurs

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This is often debated, but Pterodactyls were actually flying reptiles, not dinosaurs—in fact, they were the first reptiles capable of flight. They lived during the same period and are often referred to as dinosaurs, but they are classified differently.

Dinosaurs Had Mysterious Mating Rituals

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To this day, the exact mating methods of dinosaurs are still unknown. Researchers can speculate based on birds and reptiles, but different species likely had varied mating strategies, and the mechanics of these methods are largely still undiscovered.

The Pachycephalosaurus Had an Extremely Thick Skull

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As shared by National Geographic, “Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis was the largest of the pachycephalosaurids—thick-headed dinosaurs—which featured extremely thick skullcaps.” This type of dinosaur was known for its 9-inch thick skull, possibly used for defense or dominance displays. This thick skull is one of the many unique adaptations of dinosaur species.

Dinosaur Extinction Is an Ongoing Mystery

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The exact cause of the dinosaur extinction remains a topic of debate among scientists. Theories range from asteroid impacts to volcanic activity and climate change. No matter what happened, this mass extinction event around 65 million years ago marked a pivotal moment in Earth’s history and the end of the Cretaceous period.

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