Saturday Science Quest!

My quest to explore science continues this week with some interesting facts about some of the most awesome creatures to walk the Earth: Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago and lived on the Earth for about 165 million years. In comparison, archaeologists estimate that modern humans have been on the Earth for about 200,000 years, and most likely we will blow ourselves up a lot sooner rather than later. This means that the dinosaurs' long period of dominance without any doubt makes them unqualified successes in the history of life on Earth. Not only that, they were cool!

Here are some interesting facts about those most awesome of creatures:

The Heaviest Dinosaur

The heaviest dinosaur was Brachiosaurus at 80 tonnes. It was the equivalent to 17 African Elephants. Brachiosaurus was 16m tall and 26m long and is the largest dinosaur skeleton to be mounted in a museum.

The Smallest Dinosaur

The smallest fully-grown fossil dinosaur is the little bird-hipped plant-eater like lesothosaurus, which was only the size of a chicken. Smaller fossilised examples have been found but these are of baby dinosaurs.

The Smallest Dinosaur Egg

The smallest dinosaur egg so far found is only 3cm long. It is not known what species it was from.

The Most Brainy Dinosaur

One of the most intelligent dinosaurs was Troodon. It was a hunting dinosaur, about 2 metres long, and had a brain size similar to that of a mammal or bird of today, stereoscopic vision, and grasping hands.

The Dumbest Dinosaur

Stegosaurus had a brain the size of a walnut - only 3 centimetres long and weighing 75 grams. However comparing brain size to body size sauropodomorphs, like Plateosaurus, were probably one of the dumbest dinosaurs.

The Tallest Dinosaur

The tallest dinosaurs were the Brachiosaurid group of sauropods. Their front legs were longer than the rear legs giving them a giraffe-like stance. This combined with their extremely long necks, which were held vertically, meant they could browse off the tallest trees. Brachiosaurus - the most well known of the group - was 13 metres tall. Sauroposeidon was massive and probably grew to 18.5 metres tall making it the tallest dinosaur.

The Fastest Running Dinosaur

The speediest dinosaurs were the ostrich mimic ornithomimids, such as Dromiceiomimus, which could probably run at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour.

The Oldest Dinosaur

The oldest dinosaurs known are 230 million years old, and have been found in Madagascar. As yet they have not been formally named. Before this Eoraptor, meaning "dawn thief" had held the title at 228 million years.

The Longest Dinosaur Name

The dinosaur with the longest name was Micropachycephalosaurus meaning "tiny thick-headed lizard". Its fossils have been found in China, and it was named in 1978 by the Chinese palaeontologist Dong.

Finally, it is estimated that 30% of people believe that man and dinosaur coexisted. Which, despite some well thought out arguments, is not true. Mores to the pity.

Source: The Telegraph


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