The topic of whether dinosaurs are real or not has been a subject of debate for many years. Dinosaurs were a diverse group of reptiles that first appeared during the Triassic period, between 245 and 233.23 million years ago. They existed for millions of years and were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years.
Dinosaurs were real creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago. They are scientifically provable to have existed through fossil records of bones discovered in rocks. These fossils provide evidence of the existence of these prehistoric creatures and their characteristics.
Despite their extinction, dinosaurs continue to fascinate and intrigue people of all ages, and their legacy lives on through the study of their remains. In this article we’ll discuss:
- What dinosaurs are classed as
- The real hard evidence we have that proves dinosaurs really did exist
- Some misconceptions/myths about dinosaurs
First of all, what are dinosaurs actually classed as…
What Are Dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs were a diverse group of reptiles that lived on Earth millions of years ago. They first appeared during the Mesozoic Era, which is also known as the Age of Reptiles.
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Dinosaurs are famous for their large size, but not all of them were giants. Some were as small as a chicken, while others were as large as a building.
There are two main groups of dinosaurs, and the classification is based on the shape of their pelvic bones:
- Saurischia dinosaurs – these types of dinosaurs had a lizard-like hip structure
- Ornithischia dinosaurs – these types of dinosaurs had a bird-like hip structure
Dinosaurs were also classified based on their diet. Some were herbivores, which means they only ate plants. Others were carnivores, which means they only ate meat. There were also omnivores, which means they ate both plants and meat.
FUN FACT: Dinosaurs were not the only animals that lived during the Mesozoic Era. Other reptiles, such as pterosaurs and marine reptiles, also lived during this time. Mammals, however, did not become dominant until after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Evidence that Dinosaurs Actually Existed
We know that dinosaurs really existed due to the plethora of evidence that shows us beyond shadow of a doubt that they were around. Let’s take a look at what we know so far…
Fossils Have Been Discovered that Prove Dinosaurs Existed
The most significant evidence of dinosaurs comes in the form of fossils. These are the rocky remains of dinosaurs that have been preserved over millions of years. Fossils provide us with a glimpse into the past and allow us to learn more about these magnificent creatures.
DID YOU KNOW: There are 9 different types of fossils! If you’d like to learn what they are and their differences, check out my article, “9 Different Types of Fossils“.
Some dinosaur fossils are so well-preserved that they include evidence of soft tissues like skin, muscle, and internal organs. These give vital clues about the dinosaur’s anatomy, physiology, and behavior.
For instance, the discovery of dinosaur eggs and nests has helped scientists learn more about how these creatures reproduced and cared for their young.
Additionally, fossils have helped scientists understand the evolution of dinosaurs and their relationship to modern-day animals. By studying the fossil record, scientists can trace the evolution of dinosaurs from small, bipedal creatures to the giant, four-legged beasts that roamed the earth during the late Cretaceous period.
Tracks and Traces Have Been Left Behind by Dinosaurs
Another way scientists have found evidence of dinosaurs is through their tracks and traces. These are the impressions left behind by dinosaurs as they walked, ran, or hunted.
These footprints can provide insight into the size, speed, and behavior of dinosaurs. For example, the discovery of a large number of footprints in a single area can indicate that dinosaurs lived in herds or traveled in groups.
Scientists have also found trace fossils such as:
- coprolites – these are fossilized feces
- gastroliths – these are stones that dinosaurs swallowed to aid digestion.
These trace fossils provide valuable information about the diet and digestive systems of dinosaurs.
NOTE: If you’re wondering how dinosaurs got their names, check out my article “How Dinosaurs Got Their Names“
Scientists Use DNA to Learn About Dinosaurs
While scientists have not been able to extract DNA from dinosaur fossils, they have found other ways to study the genetics of these ancient creatures.
By studying the DNA of modern-day birds, which are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs, scientists can make educated guesses about the genetic makeup of dinosaurs.
For instance, scientists have found that some dinosaurs likely had feathers, which they used for insulation, display, and possibly even flight. By studying the genetic makeup of modern-day birds, scientists can learn more about the evolution of feathers and how they were used by dinosaurs.
While DNA evidence is limited, it still provides valuable insights into the genetics and evolution of dinosaurs.
How Did Dinosaurs Become Extinct?
The extinction of dinosaurs is a topic that has fascinated scientists and the general public alike for decades. There are several theories about what caused the extinction of these magnificent creatures. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most popular theories…
Theory #1: An Impact Event Cased Dinosaur Extinction
One theory is that a massive asteroid impact caused the extinction of dinosaurs. This theory is supported by evidence of a large impact site in Mexico and a layer of sediment that contains high levels of iridium, which is rare on Earth but common in asteroids.
The impact event theory proposes that a large asteroid hit Earth and caused a global catastrophe. The impact would have caused massive fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis, which would have killed off many species.
It would have also caused a massive dust cloud to form, which would have blocked out the sun and caused a global cooling effect. This cooling effect would have made it difficult for plants to grow, which would have had a cascading effect on the food chain.
NOTE: While the impact event theory is widely accepted, some scientists still debate the severity of the impact and its role in the extinction of dinosaurs.
Hence the other theories of the cause of dinosaur extinction…
Theory #2: Volcanic Eruptions Caused Dinosaur Extinction
Another theory is that volcanic eruptions caused the extinction of dinosaurs. This theory is supported by evidence of massive volcanic activity during the same time period as the extinction.
This theory proposes that massive volcanic activity caused a global catastrophe, where the eruptions would have released massive amounts of ash and gases into the atmosphere, and caused a global cooling effect.
This cooling effect would have made it difficult for plants to grow, which would have had a cascading effect on the food chain.
Although the theory is supported by evidence of massive volcanic activity during the same time period as the extinction, some scientists still debate the severity of the volcanic activity and its role in the extinction of dinosaurs.
Theory #3: A Perfect Storm of Several Events Caused Dinosaur Extinction
Some scientists believe that a combination of the above two events, along with other factors such as climate change and disease, ultimately led to the extinction of dinosaurs.
While there are several theories about n, the impact event and volcanic eruptions theories are the most widely accepted. However,
In conclusion, the extinction of dinosaurs is a complex topic that continues to be studied and debated by scientists. And although there are several theories about what caused the extinction, the 2 main theories I mentioned above are the most widely accepted.
Having said that, the exact cause of the extinction may never be fully understood. What we do know though is that they definitely existed! But there are still many misconceptions out there when it comes to dinosaurs. Let’s go through some of the most common…
Misconceptions About Dinosaurs: 3 Myths Busted
There are many misconceptions flying around about dinosaurs and some of them come from the movies we watch whereas others come from simply facts getting mixed up and twisted. Here are three common dinosaur myths; busted…
Myth #1: Dinosaurs and Humans Existed at the Same Time
One of the most common misconceptions about dinosaurs is that they coexisted with humans. But this is simply not true!
Dinosaurs went extinct around 66 million years ago, while humans only appeared on Earth around 2.5 million years ago.
The idea of humans and dinosaurs living together likely stems from popular culture and fiction, such as the Flintstones or Jurassic Park. While humans may have discovered dinosaur fossils, they did not live alongside them.
Myth #2: Dinosaurs Caused Their Own Extinction
Another misconception is that dinosaurs were the cause of their own extinction. While there are various theories as to what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, it is widely accepted that it was likely due to a combination of factors, such as a massive asteroid impact, volcanic activity, and climate change.
Humans did not play a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs, as they did not exist at the time (as we have just learned in Myth #1!)
Myth #3: Dinosaurs and Birds Are Completely Seperate Groups of Animals
This is another common misconception. However, birds are actually considered to be a type of dinosaur!
Birds evolved from a group of small, feathered theropod dinosaurs known as maniraptorans. This means that birds are the only surviving members of the dinosaur family tree.
We also now know, that many dinosaurs likely had feathers, which is supported by fossil evidence.
While popular culture often depicts dinosaurs as scaly and reptilian, they were likely much more bird-like in appearance.
This means that birds are not only related to dinosaurs, but they may also provide clues as to what some dinosaurs looked like.
After analyzing the evidence, it’s clear that dinosaurs were real.
Fossils provide us with the only proof that these magnificent creatures once roamed the Earth. Through fossil evidence, we can learn about the physical characteristics and behaviors of dinosaurs, and how they lived and interacted with their environment.
The discovery of dinosaur fossils has been a fascinating journey for scientists and paleontologists. It’s allowed us to uncover the mysteries of the past and understand the evolution of life on Earth.
The existence of dinosaurs has been confirmed by radiometric dating, which has provided us with numerical dates for the age of the Earth and the time period in which dinosaurs lived.
While we may never fully understand the complexities of these prehistoric creatures, we can continue to study and learn from the evidence they’ve left behind. New discoveries are being made all the time when it comes to the topic of dinosaurs, and it’s a super fascinating topic. Who knows what else we may uncover in the future?
Check out my other articles about dinosaurs: