Lesser-Known Facts about Dinosaur Derived From Its Fossils

Are you interested in acquiring much information about Dinosaur? There is nothing to shy about because it was such an amazing creature which not only enhance the curiosity of the kids but also let the people of every age know about the Early Earth.

This blog entails quite interesting facts about dinosaurs from which you can derive some facts about ancient mother-planet as well. So read on to know them.

Basic facts about dinosaur

  • These were belonged to the reptile species and dominated on Earth for long 245 million of years.
  • This gigantic creature derives its common name “Dinosaur” from coining of the term “Dinosauria” in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen, an English naturalist. It comprises of “deinos” (Greek) representing “fearfully great” with “sauros” depicting the “lizard”.
  • Its fossils can be found on each of the 7 continents.
  • Non-avian dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago.
  • Averagely, about 700 known extinct dinosaur species are there.
  • Recent birds are regarded as a dinosaur type as they possess a common ancestor to those non-avian dinosaurs.

Palaeontology

These are detectives who extensively hunt for the evidences or traces of the presence of the extinct animals on Earth. Dinosaurs’ clues are typically found in its fossils. Fossils refer to any ancient remaining of the creatures and organisms such as shell, bone or teeth. Even tracks of their activities like trackways and footprints can reveal a lot about their respective characteristics. 

Each pieces of information about non-avian dinosaurs has been derived from the fossils including skin impressions, eggs, tracks, footprints, teeth and bones. It been several centuries that palaeontologists are continued to discover the interesting fossilised footprints and bones. Even as per ancient legendary tales these are considered to be belonged to huge monsters or giants which is absolutely wrong. 

Barnum Brown whose career started in 1897 at the American Museum of Natural History is considered to be the greatest dinosaur hunter during late nineteenth and twentieth century. He discovered many fossils of dinosaurs but the most amazing of them is the very early specimen of “Tyrannosaurus rex” which exhibits in the dinosaur hall of this museum. 

Along with sharp skills of observation and lots of patients, palaeontologists leverage advanced technologies to solve the whimsical mysteries regarding this huge creature and its fossils. Imaging technology like CT scan is a great companion of the palaeontologists for receiving 3D structure of the fossils without removing its matrix. 

Research is incorporated with the application of the principles of engineering and physics and biomechanics for restructuring the non-avian dinosaurs’ biological movement by the palaeontologists. It helps in gleaning the information from the fossil bones about musculature and movement of this dinosaur genre. This assists them to predict the ways non-avian dinosaurs used to move.

The Era of Dinosaurs

The very first dinosaur was there on Earth around 245 million years ago. The time period is usually referred to as the Late Triassic Period (250-210 million years ago). Evolution of dinosaurs is done in diverge way into several animals groups with a gamut of physical features and modern birds is one of them.

Most people think that every type of dinosaurs lived at the time of similar geological period which is absolutely wrong.  Stegosaurus survived about 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic Period. Tyrannosaurus rex was there around 72 years ago in Late Cretaceous Period and Stegosaurus was there about 66 million years ago.

It was before the arrival of Tyrannosaurus on Earth. During Mesozoic Era (time period of about 180 million years including the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Triassic periods) both non-avian and avian species of dinosaur evolved. The avian is in the first bird form is the forerunner amongst all.

Several theories are there to prove the contributory aspects of the huge extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs during Cretaceous Period. It is believed that might be any massive comet or asteroid have collided with the Earth resulting in a dramatic changes in its climate.

As per the speculation of the scientists this catastrophic consequence has had a great impact to support life system on Earth. At the same time, large-scale activity of igneous mountain and drastic change in the sea level are also possessed significance in their extinction.

Fossilisation and Dinosaur fossils

Fossil evidence gets preserved in the ancient rock and palaeontologists use it to explore the life-style of the extinct animals along with their characteristics.

  • Mostly, fossilised bone is originally a mineral-loaded rock with no animal or its bone traces.
  • Discovery of the nests and eggs of the dinosaurs are proves of their unique natures.
  • Fossilised dung, teeth and jaw are helpful in detecting the foods consumed by the non-avian dinosaurs.
  • The skull of Protoceratops in varied ages assists the palaeontologists to conclude the way dinosaurs grew.  
  • Fossilised dung, leaves, teeth marks, footprints, eggs, teeth and bones are evidence or clue to look for the way dinosaurs used to spend their day.
  • Fossilised footprints series also known as trackways explore intriguing facts about the locomotion and behaviour of the dinosaurs.
  • Recently, it is discovered that birds-like feathers have been found which reveal the fact about non-avian dinosaurs.

To hunt for the dinosaur fossils in the UK, palaeontologists start their task with surveying of the sedimentary rocks from Mesozoic era. Both keen eye and much experience are required to look for the suitable spot in ground. Fieldwork is a part of their job role.

They work tirelessly in the laboratory for examining fossils specimens which have been discovered already till date. Much time is needed to extract the original information like biological relationships, their respective characteristics and much more.

Feathers, footprints and teeth

Avian dinosaurs or modern-day birds posses skeleton specification much identical to that of the non-avian dinosaurs. Evolution of feathers occur much before flight and it has numerous functions including insulation for keeping the body warm and attracting its mates. The individual footprint of the dinosaur helps in determining its height.

It is usually done by multiplying the printed foot length with 4 to obtain an approx leg length. Footprint is reliable for acquiring information about the type of dinosaur. If it is 3-toed and gives sharp-claw print then, it maker was a theropod- generally a carnivore.

If the toe numbers are 3 and round in shape then it is of the herbivore ornithopod dinosaur.  But if there are unequal-sized prints then it might be of long-necked and tailed herbivore sauropods (four-legged dinosaur).

Certain theropod dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus possessed pointed teeth with slight curve backwards along with serrated. The points help them for piercing the meat and its serrations assist in slicing by preying and tearing the fibres of muscles. They never grinded or chopped the food instead swallowed the whole chunks.

Herbivore dinosaurs possessed teeth of varied shapes that helped them for their specific diets.  Triceratops had hundred teeth to develop a solid wall full off sharp ridges. These helped them for chopping off the vegetation. Other herbivore like Anatotitan had flat wide teeth for grinding the tough vegetations. 

Diplodocus (long-necked one) possessed pencil-like long teeth for raking off the leaves from the branches. Usually, they swallowed the whole leaves and also had the capacity to ingest small stones known as the gastroliths. It grinds the food into the stomach in the same way as modern birds like chickens and parakeets do these days.  Hope, you have gained much vital information about the dinosaur fossils. Many people are interested to own one such amazing natural fossil. If you are among one of them then you have to look for the museums where dinosaur fossils are for sale available. Certain museums hold auctions too for dinosaur fossils at the same time. 

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