Can you imagine a time when 100-foot-long carnivores roamed the earth? How about when winged reptiles soared through the skies?
Dinosaurs are some of the most diverse and interesting animals to ever live.
What we know about dinosaurs is constantly changing. That does not change that they were some of the most interesting animals to ever exist. Some dinosaurs had claws over three feet long. Other species were over 60 feet tall and weighed about as much as 17 elephants!
Keep reading to find out more unique and interesting dinosaur facts. We share the strongest, largest, most dangerous, fastest and oldest species and much more…
75 Interesting Dinosaur Facts
Facts About Dinosaurs
- The longest dinosaur egg ever found was 2 feet long and belonged to the Macroelongatoolithus genus.
- Almost all carnivorous dinosaurs had hollow bones to make them lighter and more agile. As the only living descendant of the dinosaurs, birds also have hollow bones!
- The most dangerous dinosaur was the Tyrannosaurus rex. They were intelligent, had a bite force that rivals that of a Great White shark are thought to have been the ultimate carnivore.
- Most dinosaurs were herbivores and only ate plants. 65% of all dinosaurs were herbivores, but most of the iconic species like T-rex were carnivores.
- The largest dinosaur bone ever discovered was 5×5 feet and weighed over 1 ton. This huge bone was the backbone of an Argentinosaurus.
- The Sauroposeidon was the tallest dinosaur at 60 feet. It belonged to the sauropod clade of dinosaurs which were known for their extremely long necks! The Brachiosaurus is the most well-known of the sauropods.
- Dinosaurs constantly replaced their teeth every couple of months. When old teeth were broken or damaged, new ones would grow and push the broken teeth aside.
- The heaviest dinosaurs weighed over 77 tons which is about as much as 17 elephants. Within the sauropods there exists a subgroup known as Titanosauria which were the largest land animals ever!
- The largest flying reptile is the Quetzalcoatlus. This type of pterosaur is thought to have had a wingspan of over 40 feet and probably weighed as much as 500 pounds! They had the ability to jump 8 feet vertically to launch themselves into flight.
- The largest claws of any dinosaur were 3.2 feet long and belonged to the Therizinosaurus. These claws may seem daunting, but the Therizinosaurs were likely herbivores so ate only plants.
- Scientists believe that all dinosaurs laid eggs and did not give live birth.
- The smallest dinosaur egg was only around three centimeters long and was roughly the size of a quail egg. It was likely laid over 110 million years ago and is thought to belong to a theropod.
- The Stegosaurus has a brain no bigger than a walnut. Their brain was measured to be 3 centimeters and weighed in at just 75 grams which is about the weight of two pennies.
- The smallest dinosaur species was about the size of a hummingbird. It was originally thought to be an avian dinosaur, but it was actually a small reptile that looked like a bird.
- Archaeopteryx were thought to be the first flying dinosaur. They lived 150 million years ago in the Jurassic Period and had flight and tail feathers just like modern birds. This species is believed to be the link between dinosaurs and birds.
- Dinosaurs evolved from other reptiles. The early ancestors of crocodiles and dinosaurs were called archosaurs and emerged in the Permian era around 300 million years ago.
- Dinosaurs evolved around 250 million years ago during the Triassic period.
- Early species were relatively small at between 10 to 15 feet long when fully grown. They were primarily carnivores or omnivores that walked on two legs.
- Dinosaur fossils can be found on every continent of earth. They lived on one large supercontinent called Pangea.
- The price of a dinosaur fossil can range from a few dollars to a few million. A complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Stan was recently sold for $31.8 million!
- There is a national dinosaur monument in the United States on the border between Colorado and Utah. This monument is on over 210,000 acres and is one of the best places in the world to see dinosaur fossils!
- Not all dinosaurs that died became fossils. Fossils are almost only found in sedimentary rocks. Paleontologists use geologic maps to find sedimentary rock layers to search for them.
- Dinosaurs did not actually have two brains. This was a myth that started in the 1880s when scientists found a hollow space near the hip region and the idea of the dinosaur “butt brain” was founded. Scientists still do not know the exact purpose of this hollow space, but they think it was used to store energy rich glycogen.
- Dinosaurs are believed to have shed their skin, just like modern lizards. Fossilized dandruff fragments were recently analyzed and revealed that dinosaurs likely shed their skin in small pieces.
- Some dinosaurs swallowed large rocks to help them grind up their food. These large stomach stones are called gastroliths and can be found in some bird species today.
- They had two holes in their skull behind their eye sockets. These two holes allowed for jaw muscles to attach and gave them a much stronger bite.
- There were reptiles that roamed the earth before the dinosaurs during the Carboniferous period about 320 million years ago. Pelycosaurs and anapsids are both examples of large reptiles that existed before the dinosaurs.
- Scientists can tell what a dinosaur ate by looking at its teeth. Wide and flat teeth mean they ate plants and used their teeth to grind down their food. Carnivores had sharp teeth and muscular jaws that they used to tear up their prey.
- The first ever dinosaurs were omnivores and ate both plants and animals.
- Baby dinosaurs often had larger eyes than adults. The facial features of juveniles were very different from adults as younger species had much bigger eye sockets.
- The oldest dinosaur fossil is 243 million years old. The Nyasasaurus parringtoni is the oldest known relative to the dinosaurs.
- The Nigersaurus had over 500 teeth that were adapted for eating plants growing near the ground. These 30-foot-long plant-eating animals lived in the Sahara 110 million years ago.
- Stegosaurs had large plates on their back called scutes. These plates were often over 30 inches long and helped the Stegosaurus regulate their body temperature.
- Hadrosaurs are duck-billed, toothy dinosaurs that had around 1,400 teeth. They ate bark by chewing it into a pulp with their grinding teeth.
- 30 million years before the T. rex there was a large carnivore called the Giganotosaurus. The Giganotosaurus was thought to be the largest carnivorous dinosaur until the Spinosaurus stole its crown.
- A Tyrannosaurus rex could bite 500 pounds of meat in one bite. The large size of their skull means they would have a pretty impressive bite.
- The Ankylosaurus had a set of bony body armor that could easily be compared to a tank. Their name is from the Greek translation of “fused lizard” and they are best known for the massive club at the end of their tail used for combat.
- The Corythosaurus was able to create booming noises through the large crest on its head. This crest acted like an echo chamber to amplify sound and produce loud mating calls.
- Though the Jurassic Park movies show Velociraptors being nearly human sized, that is not accurate. They were about as tall as a turkey, but could easily reach over six feet in length.
- Triceratops had a parrot-like beak with large teeth at the end.
- Baby Mussaurs could fit in a shopping bag. Their name means “mouse lizard” and they lived in Argentina during the Jurassic period and strictly ate plants.
- The Velociraptor’s name means “speedy thief”. They were known to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour when sprinting and ran on two legs.
- The Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were once thought to be the same dinosaur.
- Dinosaurs lived in the Mesozoic era. This era includes three different periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.
- Some dinosaurs lived in herds or groups. Many plant eating species were living in groups as early as 193 million years ago.
Facts For Kids
- The longest Dinosaur name is the Micropachycephalosaurus. Their name means “Little thick-headed lizard”.
- Dinosaurs are reptiles that lived in what we call the “Age of Dinosaurs”. These prehistoric creatures dominated for over 140 million years because they had a wide range of adaptations that allowed them to survive.
- Chickens are actually dinosaurs.
- Birds are actually considered the only living dinosaur! Not only do their skeletons look very similar, but scientists believe Dinosaurs’ nested and brooded their eggs just like birds do.
- Dinosaurs only lived on land
- There are some ancient species of reptiles that are not dinosaurs! One of the best examples are crocodiles. Dinosaurs had legs directly under their bodies, while crocodiles have legs that are out to the side.
- The Ornithomimids was the fastest dinosaur and could reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. These speedy dinosaurs ran on two legs and looked very similar to modern day ostriches.
- Dinosaurs did not roar. Scientists believe they likely made low pitched swooshing or cooing sounds and not the classic roar from Jurassic Park!
- Barney is a very popular purple Dinosaur from TV, but did you know that he is actually a Tyrannosaurus rex?
- Dinosaurs died nearly 65 million years before humans showed up on Earth.
- The name “Dinosauria” means “terrible lizard”. The name was given by Richard Owen who was a paleontologist in 1842 because of their large size.
- Some dinosaurs ran on two legs and were often fast and agile. Well-known examples include the Tyrannosaurus rex and the Velociraptor.
- Nobody really knows what color dinosaurs were. Paleontologists think they were very brightly colored just like birds.
- The largest dinosaur brain belonged to the Tyrannosaurus rex and was similar in size to a human’s.
- Dinosaurs had feathers. It is thought that feathers first evolved to keep dinosaurs warm, not to help them fly.
- The spikey tail of a Stegosaurus is called a thagomizer. This fun name was first coined by the cartoonist Gary Larson.
- The Pterodactyl is the most well-known flying dinosaur. These flying reptiles actually belong to a group called the pterosaurs.
- Triceratops had the largest skull of any dinosaur at over six feet long! This large skull helped to protect them from attackers.
- The largest carnivorous dinosaur is the Spinosaurus. This dinosaur is estimated to be 52 to 59 feet long and weighed 7 to 9 tons.
- The Sauroposeidon was the tallest dinosaur in the world at 60 feet. They are known for their extremely long necks!
- Crocodiles and dinosaurs lived together for nearly 80 million years, but crocodiles are not dinosaurs.
- Dinosaurs lived all over the earth on every continent North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and even Antarctica!
- Paleontologists think there are at least 700 species of extinct dinosaurs. They are sure that the fossil record is not complete and we have many more species left to discover!
- The first American dinosaur fossil was discovered by Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden. The fossilized teeth were collected in 1855 in Montana.
- Scientists do not know what dinosaurs looked like, they can only guess. They use skeletons, fossils and preserved skin to guess what they looked like.
- Most dinosaur fossils have been found in North America, Argentina and China. Deserts are an ideal place for finding fossils because of their sedimentary rocks.
- Some Dinosaurs had tails over 45 feet long. The Diplodocus was a 92 foot sauropod from the Jurassic period that had a tail 45 feet long.
- Scientists believe that dinosaurs lived for 70 to 100 years. Earlier estimates guessed that sauropods could reach up to 300 years old, but this was later corrected.
- There are two different groups of dinosaurs. The saurischian or “lizard hipped” and the ornithischian or “bird hipped”. The long-necked Brachiosaurus is an example of the lizard hipped, while the Triceratops is a member of the bird hipped.
- The heaviest dinosaurs weighed as much as 17 elephants. Though there are some pretty massive dinosaurs, the biggest animal to ever exist is the Blue Whale. One female blue whale was measured at 110 feet long and they can reach weights up to 190 tonnes.
- Most carnivorous dinosaurs walked on two legs. Walking on two legs allowed these meat eaters to reach impressive speeds while chasing down prey.
- Indominus rex from Jurassic World was not actually a dinosaur.
- Resurrecting dinosaurs from the dead is not possible. The Jurassic Park movies made bringing back the dinosaurs seem easy, but unfortunately at this point in time it is not possible.
- Dinosaur bones can be radioactive, but are rarely radioactive enough to be dangerous.
- The smartest dinosaur only had a brain the size of an avocado pit. The Troodon had the largest brain relative to its body size and was one of the smartest animals of the Mesozoic era.
- Dinosaurs were thought to reproduce a lot like birds. Like all reptiles they had one body opening for excreting urine and waste. This opening is called a cloaca and is also used for reproduction.
- The first dinosaur fossil ever discovered was thought to be a dragon. 3,500 years ago in China the first dinosaur bones were discovered, but they were thought to be dragon teeth!
- Mary Anning was a paleontologist in the 1800s and was one of the greatest paleontologists of all time. She discovered the first Ichthyosaurus at age 12.
Facts About Their Extinction
- Dinosaurs went extinct around 65 million years ago.
- The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs does not exist anymore. When the giant asteroid struck Earth it was almost entirely destroyed. Nothing remains except the 112-mile-wide crater where the asteroid hit.
- Over 70% of Earth’s animal life died when the dinosaurs went extinct.
- The K-T event was the mass extinction event that killed off the last of the dinosaurs.
- It was not just an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were already in decline around 66 million years ago. What caused their eventual extinction was likely the asteroid impact, super volcanoes, acid rain and food shortages. Dinosaurs went extinct because they were so big. They were unable to use burrows, escape into the oceans or shield themselves from deadly atmospheric conditions.
- The last dinosaur on earth was Chenanisaurus barbaricus. This dinosaur was thought to be the last surviving dinosaur after the K-T extinction.
- The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs hit the Yucatan peninsula. The massive space rock hit just below the Gulf of Mexico.
- Crocodiles were able to survive mass extinction when dinosaurs could not. Crocodiles and alligators have changed very little over hundreds of millions of years. They can live on land and water, move at surprisingly fast speeds, use very little energy and can go long periods of time without eating.
- The rock that hit Earth was only 6 miles in diameter, but it impacted the Earth’s crust so powerfully that shockwaves would be felt across the entire world.
- Almost nothing was left alive near the asteroid impact zone. Animals near the asteroid impact zone were wiped out immediately.
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