Dinosaurs: An Introduction
Dinosaurs roamed Earth during the Mesozoic Era, which encompassed three periods: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. Remarkably diverse, they dominated land ecosystems for over 160 million years.
Varied Dinosaur Diets
Not all dinosaurs were carnivorous. Herbivores, like the long-necked Brachiosaurus, coexisted with predators like T. rex. Some, like Oviraptor, may have been omnivores, challenging previous notions of dinosaur feeding habits.
Recent studies suggest dinosaurs communicated with sounds. Hadrosaurs, known as 'duck-billed' dinosaurs, had complex air passages in their crests potentially used for resonating calls over long distances.
Dinosaur Growth Rates
Dinosaurs grew at varying rates. While some took decades to reach full size, others, like Psittacosaurus, could grow from chicken-size to a full-grown adult in less than a decade.
Feathers and Dinosaurs
Feathers weren't exclusive to birds. Many dinosaurs, like the Velociraptor, possessed feathers. This suggests that feathers initially evolved for insulation, display, or protection before enabling flight.
Continental Drift Impact
Plate tectonics played a crucial role in dinosaur evolution. The breakup of supercontinents led to diverse dinosaur forms, as species adapted to various isolated environments across the globe.
Dinosaur Extinction Mystery
The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs. A likely cause was a massive asteroid impact, drastically changing Earth's climate and ecosystems.