1. Dinosaurs could fly
There were Dinosaur species that could fly - right?
A lot of people think of the Pterosaur, like the iconic Pteranodon, as being a flying dinosaur. Why wouldn’t it be? That’s what the pictures show.
All dinosaurs were terrestrial creatures…with thousands of species living out their lives for millions and millions of years as land-dwellers.
2. Dinosaurs dragged their tails
Some people think dinosaurs were just basically big slothful two or four-legged lizards, either crawling around close to the ground like Iguanas, or walking upright on two legs with a huge tail dragging along the ground behind them. Wasn’t that the case?
Dinosaurs were generally fast, active animals that kept their tails off the ground at all times.
3. Humans and dinosaurs lived together
You’ve seen it the movies:
Prehistoric cavemen fending off huge meat-eating dinosaurs with spears and rocks.
Our earliest human ancestors evolved almost 60 million years after non-avian dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops went extinct.
4. Dinosaurs walked the earth, then mammals came
First, there were dinosaurs. Then came mammals.
Many people believe that mammals never co-existed with dinosaurs and evolved after the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.
But they sure did!
During the Mesozoic Era, while dinosaurs were the rulers of the earth, many species of small, rodent-like mammals were scurrying around underfoot, having established their own ecological niche over 200 million years ago.
5. A giant meteor killed the dinosaurs
What killed the dinosaurs?
If you think all dinosaurs were wiped out when a giant meteor hit the earth over 65 million years ago…
One huge family of dinosaurs survived the catastrophe at the end of the Cretaceous Period. The birds!
6. The Brontosaurus was a popular dinosaur
Whatever happened to the Brontosaurus?
Remember the cartoon character Fred Flintstone and how he used to drive a Brontosaurus at work every day? There sure must have been a lot of Brontosaurs living during the age of dinosaurs, right?
Not a single one!
The Brontosaurus never actually existed, and was in fact an incorrectly identified dinosaur created by putting the body of an Apatosaurus together with the head of a Camarasaurus.
7. Some dinosaurs lived in water
For a long time, people thought big sauropod dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus must have lived their entire adult lives in shallow water.
Without the buoyancy of water, how could these enormous 50-ton creatures ever have moved around? They had to live in shallow water, right?
Like all dinosaurs, they lived on land, perfectly capable of negotiating their environment with well-muscled bodies and strong, graviportal limbs.
8. Dinosaurs didn't have feathers
Quick: name all the types of animals that have feathers!
You probably said birds. Birds have feathers, which enable them to fly.
Many of you might think that birds are the only animals to have ever existed that have feathers.
Since the 1990s, Paleontologists have discovered species after species of extinct dinosaurs that were also covered in feathers. These were flightless theropods that may have used their feathery body coverings for insulation, protection from the elements and as displays for potential mates.
Some who did have feathers, feasted on birds. Learn more about one of these dinosaurs, called a Sinocalliopteryx.
9. Archeologists dig up dinosaurs
People who look for, dig up, and study dinosaurs are called archaeologists, right?
No, we aren’t!
The scientists who unlock the secrets of dinosaurs are called paleontologists. By studying fossilized bones and trackways, we can work out what dinosaurs looked like, how they behaved, how they adapted and what made them into the fascinating animals that have captured the imaginations of generations of people across the globe.
10. Dinosaurs are lizards
The word dinosaur comes from the Greek terms dienos (terrible) and sauros (lizard).
Not really. In fact, dinosaurs are not lizards.
Dinosaurs are their own category of animal, most closely related to birds and crocodiles. They come from a group of reptiles called Archosauromorphs. Lizards come from a distantly related reptile group called Lepidosauromorphs. The difference? Well, you’d have to look at the skulls of these animals and start counting fenestrae…or holes in the various skull bones.
11. We could clone dinosaur DNA in the future
One day, we’ll be able to bring back dinosaurs by cloning their DNA.
We’ve seen it in the movies. All we need is their preserved blood. Then we can extract their DNA and essentially resurrect numerous extinct dinosaur species. Right?
As fascinating as that prospect is, DNA is a very fragile molecule, which breaks down and is utterly unusable shortly after the death of an animal. We will never be able to clone a dinosaur.
12. T-Rex arms were small and weak
What about the arms of a Tyrannosaurus rex? They look pretty wimpy, right?
The arms of Tyrannosaurus rex were actually quite muscular and it is thought they could have bench-pressed around 400 pounds on each arm, which makes their arms three times more powerful than human arms!