Howdy, fellow heroes! Look what I have here – a massive dinosaur skull! I wish I could brag that I found this, but I just borrowed it from the museum for this report – I hope they don't mind! Dinosaurs are pretty amazing creatures. Here’s what I’ve learned about them...
Dinosaurs first evolved around 350 million years ago – I can barely compute how long ago that is! They started out as four-legged amphibians before turning into the reptiles that eventually became dinosaurs. The earliest dinosaurs walked the Earth around 230 million years ago. They lived all over the world, including in Antarctica! But, continents back then weren’t the same as we know them now. They were all part of one big supercontinent called Pangea. During the dinosaurs’ time on Earth, the continents started to separate.
Dinosaurs lived in all kinds of habitats and ate lots of different things. Most of them ate plants, but some ate eggs, lizards, turtles, mammals or other dinosaurs. The ones that hunted other dinosaurs had long, strong legs to chase after prey, sharp teeth and claws, and strong jaws – they were the most powerful predators or hunters to ever walk the Earth. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is one famous example and also happens to be my favourite dinosaur – what a magnificent creature!
There were lots of other types of dinosaurs, too. Some walked on two legs, while others walked on four. A few of the most well-known dinosaurs include the Velociraptor, the Stegosaurus, the Triceratops, and the Spinosaurus. But the true giants of the Age of Dinosaurs were the sauropods, which included the Brachiosaurus and the Diplodocus. These huge dinosaurs used their incredibly long necks to eat plants like ferns and cycads, rather than animals. Sounds like a wise choice to me!
Sadly, a disaster about 65 million years ago killed off the dinosaurs and many other creatures. No one knows exactly what happened, but there are lots of theories out there, including a huge asteroid hitting Earth. Interestingly, not all dinosaurs became extinct. Birds are actually direct descendants of dinosaurs, and many scientists believe that birds simply are dinosaurs. So, if you’ve ever wanted to meet a dinosaur, you might just have one flying outside your window. How cool is that?!
Evolve - to develop very slowly.
Amphibians - a group of cold-blooded animals that includes frogs and toads.
Predator - a type of animal that attacks others.
Theory - an idea designed to explain something.
Asteroid - a big chunk of rock that orbits the sun.
Extinct - when there are no more living members of a particular species.
Descendant - a relative who lives after a particular person.
1. Dinosaur means 'frighteningly big lizard'.
2. Some of the biggest plant-eating dinosaurs ate as much as a tonne of food a day – that’s about the size of a bus!
3. Tyrannosaurus Rex could run as fast as 50 km an hour.
1. Were there dinosaurs in Antarctica?
2. Name three things that dinosaurs ate.
3. Can you name one type of dinosaur?
4. Which animals living today are descendants of dinosaurs?
5. How many kilometres per hour could the Tyrannosaurus Rex run?
Increase your knowledge by completing these activities.