I’m pretty sure my fascination with dinosaurs began with The Land Before Time. For a time when I was a kid, I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I don’t think the love of dinosaurs ever dies out.
With ten short chapters, this is easily a read in one sitting book. While I already knew a lot of its fun facts, this was still an interesting read. I’ve chosen one fun fact per chapter to share.
Stegosaurus was already extinct 80 million years before Tyrannosaurus even walked on the Earth!
The remains of dinosaurs have been found on every continent, including Antarctica, which was at one point in time a rainforest.
Sir Richard Owen, founder of London’s Natural History Museum, “coined the word ‘Dinosauria’ in 1842, taken from the Greek words deinos, meaning ‘terrible’ or ‘fearfully great’, and saurus, meaning ‘lizard’.”
Next time you watch Jurassic Park, know that the Velociraptor is based on a Deinonychus. The Velociraptor was actually about the size of a turkey and had a long tail and feathers.
Studies based on the skull of Tyrannosaurus found that it had a bone-shattering bite of more than 60,000 newtons, around 6.5 tonnes of force, making it the most powerful bite known for any terrestrial animal, living or extinct. It is about four times more powerful than the bite of a saltwater crocodile, which has the strongest bite force of any living animal.
It appears that considerable time has been spent by palaeontologists trying to figure out how dinosaurs had sex. The quest for answers, “two dinosaurs preserved in the act of mating”, continues.
Palaeontologists attempt to figure out the family life of dinosaurs by looking at such things as preserved dinosaur tracks, bonebeds and nests.
Through studying the fossil record, it becomes clear that extinction is a natural process, and scientists estimate that 99.9 per cent of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.
Today, palaeontologists classify birds as theropod dinosaurs within the group known as Maniraptora (maniraptorans). More specifically, the birds belong to a subgroup called Paraves, the same wider group that includes dinosaurs like Deinonychus and Velociraptor, which are among the birds’ very closest relatives.
On average a new species of dinosaur is discovered every other week. Every other week! Up to this point, in almost 200 years of study, palaeontologists have identified around 1,500 different species of dinosaur.
What struck me most about this book was how much we still don’t know about dinosaurs and the potential for future discoveries that will change what we think we know about them.
Once Upon a Blurb
Travel back to the prehistoric world and discover the most fascinating parts of the lives of Earth’s most awe-inspiring creatures – the dinosaurs.
Dr Dean Lomax brings these prehistoric creatures to life in ten bite-sized essays, written for people short on time but not curiosity. Making big ideas simple, Dean takes readers on a journey to uncover what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur, what dinosaurs ate, how they evolved, what caused them to go extinct, and more!
Perfect for anyone fascinated by the dinosaur exhibits at museums, palaeontology and fans of Jurassic Park.