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Factosaurus: 12 facts about dinosaurs

1. Dinoteeth

Tyrannosaurus rex had jagged 15cm-long teeth with serrated edges and couldn’t chew, so it swallowed its food in large chunks… unless its mother was watching.

© The trustees of NHM, London

2. The smallest...

The smallest dinosaur is alive today in the form of the tiny bee hummingbird. Research suggests there is a strong link between dinosaurs and birds.

'Birds are living dinosaurs'

Paul Barrett from the Natural History Museum on the link between dinosaurs and birds.

3. And the biggest…

The largest-ever dinosaur is open to debate. Some researchers claim it is the Dreadnoughtus schrani, whilst others suggest the Argentinosaurus huinculensis was even bigger (estimated to be up to 130 feet in length and weighing over 70 tonnes).

4. Fossil hunting

Palaeontology as a hobby took off in the 1830s and fossil collecting at weekends was as popular then as ornithology is today.

5. Eat your greens

Some dinosaurs ate a bus-sized pile of vegetation every day. You know what they say, “a large hedge a day keeps the doctor away”.

6. Increasing fame

Scientists are still discovering new species of dinosaur (including 'big, fluffy killer birds' as recently as July 2015). Jurrassic World's record box office opening weekend is evidence that dinosaurs still engage and enthral.

7. Not bright

Stegosaurus’ brain was the size of a walnut. It may as well have actually been a walnut.

© The trustees of NHM, London

8. End of an era

The famous diplodocus (which is not a real skeleton, but a cast) in the Hintze Hall of the Natural History Museum will be replaced by a blue whale skeleton in 2017.

© The trustees of NHM, London

9. Easy access

Britain was a land bridge between North America and Eurasia and a hotspot for dinosaur migration, until the 'Farageosaurus' attempted to close the borders and was forced to resign. For a couple of days.

10. Feathery friends

Research has found that many, if not all, medium to small dinosaurs had feathers.

'Many, if not most, dinosaurs had feathers'

Prof Mike Benton explains how we know all small to medium-sized dinosaurs had feathers.

11. How low can you go?

Diplodocus’ ears appear to be well-suited to picking up low-frequencies. As a result, it is thought that they made very low sounds, possibly so low that we would have felt rather than heard them.

12. Asteroid attack

It’s thought a meteorite was responsible for the extinction of most dinosaurs.

Evidence suggests a huge asteroid, probably about 10km wide, struck the earth at very high speed around 66 million years ago in an area called the Yucatan peninsula (now the Gulf of Mexico).

When the space rock struck, the energy released was thought to be ten billion times more explosive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Sources: Natural Histories, BBC Horizon, BBC News, Planet Dinosaur, The Telegraph and Discovery News.


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