Dinosaurs have always been a source of mystery and curiosity for the human race ever since they vanished from the surface of the planet.
Little wonder they have become the subject of multiple scientific research and studies!
There are lots of exciting things to learn about these ancient reptiles that roamed the Earth over 250 million years ago: their size, diets, manner of reproducing, and even their level of intelligence.
A compilation of one-hundred-plus-one interesting dinosaur facts is about to come your way.
Let’s journey into the past to learn more about dinosaurs!
101 Mind-Blowing Facts About Dinosaurs
1. A paleontologist classified some fossils he discovered as dinosaurs.
A paleontologist named Richard Owen (founder of London’s Natural History Museum) attributed the name dinosaur to some fossils he had seen uncovered on different continents in the year 1842.
It seemed he had established a link between them at the time and wanted to group them.
The word dinosaur is derived from the Greek language: Dino originates from the Greek word “Deinos,” which means horrific. “Sauraus” is a Greek word that means lizard.
2. Dinosaur fossils were discovered before we even knew what they were.
In the year 1815, a geology professor from Oxford University by name of William Buckland stumbled across a shell (skeleton) the like of which had never been recorded before.
After studying it, he decided it had the framework of a reptile that had long gone extinct.
He went on to name it the Megalosaurus, which in Greek means “giant lizard” because of its significant size.
In 1822, seven years after William’s discovery, a geology professor and his wife discovered an iguana-like skeleton in Sussex, England, and proceeded to name it “Iguanadon.”
3. Dinosaurs didn’t earn their name because they looked scary.
The paleontologist Richard Owen did not expect horrific to be translated as scary when attributing this name to them.
He chose the word because he felt they were extremely great; they were, after all, the largest lizards to walk the Earth.
Chances are, if he’d ever been opportune to cross paths with a live carnivorous dinosaur, his interpretation of the word horrific would have changed.1
4. Traces of dinosaurs can be found in some animals we see.
Although dinosaurs are now extinct, some extant animals share similarities with them.
This is due to mutations that occurred in their bone structures. They are their extended relatives and only descendants.
These animals are snakes, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, alligators, and birds.
5. Birds are a type of dinosaur.
It may be hard to believe that those little creatures that occasionally perch on your windowsill are dinosaurs, but they are!
They belong to the theropod group of dinosaurs, which once contained the T-Rex and are believed to have evolved from avian-like dinos such as the Archaeopteryx, the Velociraptor, and the Anchiornis.
These dinosaurs existed over 160 million years ago.
6. The longest dinosaur name in existence.
The longest dinosaur name is the Micropachycephalosaurus. It contains 23 characters and is a lot to pronounce.
Its name does not match its size because it was one of the smallest dinosaurs ( a little bit over a meter) and was discovered in China.
The Micropachycephalosaurus was a herbivore and lived around 83 to 72 million years ago.
7. The T-Rex is the most ferocious dinosaur ever.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex, also known as T-Rex, was the most dangerous creature to have ever walked Earth.
According to recent research, its bite force is estimated at 12800 PSI, which is easily more than double that of the crocodile.
It was a pure carnivore and was as tall as a one-story building. The T-Rex was the apex predator of its environment. It went extinct about 65 million years ago after the Big Bang.
8. The age of dinosaurs lasted a long time.
Dinos appeared in the Mesozoic Era. This era was divided into three periods: the Triassic period, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous period.
The Triassic Period dates as far back as 237 million years ago, which was when dinos initially started appearing.2
The first dinosaurs were the Archosaurs and the therapsids. This period lasted about 36 million years.
The Jurassic Period was about 201 million years ago and lasted about 56 million years. Theropods, sauropods(diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus), and the allosaurus featured in this period.3
The sauropods were herbivores, and seeing as one of the main characteristics of this period was flourishing plant life, they grew to huge dimensions. They became one of the largest dinosaurs to walk the Earth.
The Cretaceous Period dates back to 145 million years ago and lasted about 79 million years. It is specifically known for the appearance of the Triceratops and the Pterosaurs.4
9. Birds and dinosaurs are related.
Present birds and dinosaurs are distant relatives because they share a common ancestor. Their common ancestors are non-avian dinosaurs: they are called theropods.
Theropods include velociraptors, Tyrannosaurus rexes, and the ancestor of today’s birds.
10. The longest dinosaur ever.
The longest dinosaur to exist on Earth was the Argentinosaurus. Discovered in Argentina (hence the name), it was a herbivore.
It is believed to have been a genus of the large sauropod dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous period.
The Argentinosaurus is over a hundred feet long, and its body mass was estimated to be over 60 tonnes.
11. Dinosaurs mostly had tiny brains.
You would believe that with such huge physical proportions, they’d have brains to match. Right? Well, you’d be completely wrong.
Their brains were minuscule compared to the size of their bodies.
A perfect example is the stegosaurus which was more than 29 feet and possessed a brain the size of a tangerine.
12. Carnivorous dinosaurs were the smartest of them all.
Carnivorous dinosaurs, especially the theropods, were the most dangerous of them all. Their brains were significantly larger than those of the herbivorous stegosaurus.
The infamous T-Rex also possessed a brain significantly larger than those of the stegosaurus.
The intelligence of these dinosaurs should not come as a surprise: they’re the biggest predators in their environment and need to have a strategy to entrap prey and feed themselves.
13. An excellent partnership was ruined by competitive spirit.
The 19th century was coming to an end, and it was being accompanied by a complete lack of interest in paleontology in Northern America.
Two paleontologists and close friends sought to change this: Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope.
Being in the same line of study, they often had different views, and each wanted to prove the merit of his work.
An unhealthy competitive spirit was born, and they spent the rest of their lives trying to prove who was greater.
It is safe to say that neither of them won, but the discoveries they made propelled the US paleontology scene. Their mission was achieved.
14. Not all dinosaurs were reptilian.
Before the 1990s, dinos were usually depicted with large scales. It was believed that they were all related to the reptilian family. This was a misconception.
After the 1990s, theropods were discovered covered in feathers. Avian-like dinosaurs’ surely existed.
15. The largest dinosaurs ever.
The largest dinosaurs ever were the titanosaurs. It was a subspecies of sauropods and was herbivorous.
They appeared in the late Cretaceous period and grew to extreme proportions.
Determining which of them was the biggest was next to impossible because of wrongly preserved fossils. The best bet was the Argentinosaurus which was over 100 feet tall.
16. Dinosaurs are products of evolution.
Between 244 and 242 million years ago, some small sharp reptiles, known as dinosauromorphs, speedily increased in number and propagated across the planet.
Although they were weak and slightly above the bottom of the food chain, dinosauromorphs survived long enough to go through a transformation and would henceforth be known as dinosaurs.
17. Not all winged dinosaur-lookalike reptiles are dinosaurs!
Pterodactyls possess wings and scales and may look similar to dinosaurs, but they are not!
They are classified as Pterosaurs and are distant cousins of dinos. Their relationship with dinos is linked to the archosaurus.5
18. There are only two groups of dinosaurs.
Dinos mostly present reptilian features or avian features. When a dinosaur has reptilian characteristics, it is called a saurischian (Greek for “lizard-hipped”), and when it has avian characteristics, it is an ornithischian (Greek for bird-hipped).
Astonishingly, the lizard-hipped dinosaurs are ancestors of modern birds, and the bird-hipped dinosaurs went extinct a long time n ago!
19. The Iguanodon was wrongly assembled initially.
When the iguanodon was first reconstructed in 1838, its thumb was placed on its nose. Its spiky aspect made paleontologists assume it was a horn like a rhinoceros’s.
It wasn’t until 1878, when more Iguanodon skeletons were found, that they realized their error.
To date, no good reason has been given for this odd-like thumb digit. The common assumption is that it was used for self-defense.
20. Your tongue is enough to differentiate a dinosaur fossil from a stone.
No one wants to go around licking stones, but paleontologists may find themselves doing this constantly!
Fossils are more porous than stones and will stick a bit to your tongue, so when in doubt, lick.
21. The Nigersaurus had an interesting teething process.
It was a sauropod and consumed plants such as ferns, horsetails, and angiosperm.
The nigersaurus had a succession of teeth hidden inside its mouth. Whenever a set wore out (which occurred every fourteen days), a new set took its place.
22. Four-winged dinosaurs existed.
They were called Microraptors and were little in size. They measured between 2-3 feet and weighed about 3 pounds.
Hundreds of fossils were discovered at the end of the 20th century, and they all show that the Microraptors had wings on their front and hind legs.
23. A group of herbivores had crests that they used to make loud trombone-like sounds.
Corythorauses were dinosaurs shaped like ducks and are from the upper Cretaceous period.
Their crests were hollow for the most part and were directly connected to their breathing passages.
Whenever they expired, the noise produced was loud and echoed.
24. Most dinosaurs were herbivores.
Carnivorous dinos were apex predators and were at the top of the food chain, so their numbers were significantly lesser than those of the herbivores.
Herbivores constituted prey for carnivorous dinosaurs. Their numbers were way higher than those of their predators.
When they still existed on Earth, there must have been immense herds of these dinos and their varying sizes roaming constantly.
They were then hunted down by smaller groups of carnivorous dinosaurs.
25. Dinosaurs didn’t vanish at the same time.
When the asteroid crashed into Earth’s surface, dinosaurs didn’t exactly go poof immediately.
Instead, it triggered a chain of reactions that modified the face of the planet and started making it uninhabitable for dinosaurs.
Over the years (hundred to maybe even millennia), dinossaurs slowly began to die and disappear.
26. Any dinosaur with four legs was a herbivore.
This doesn’t mean that all herbivores were four-legged. That was a very frequent misconception.
They were in fact, some herbivores who could walk on two legs for some time!
27. The reason for the mass death of dinosaurs has not been uncovered and may never be.
The mass extinction of dinosaurs that happened in the Cretaceous period of history was one of the greatest that ever occurred on the planet.
However, humans did not exist at the time; what happened may never be known.
What we do know is that an asteroid crashed off the coast of Mexico and is largely responsible for the elimination of all non-avian dinosaurs.
Other assumptions have been made as to what happened to the dinosaurs. The most recurrent assumption is that climate change was at the root of whatever happened to them.
28. Dinosaurs were not aquatic animals.
The initial fossils of old reptiles with huge physical proportions were found in the water.
A study of them was able to show that they lived in the water. They were then classified as plesiosaurs.6
Although they share ancestry with dinosaurs, the relationship is so removed that they couldn’t be grouped in the same category with them.
29. Most dinosaur bone fossils are no longer bones.
The fossilization process can be defined as the steps that are taken to preserve plant, or animal remains over time.
It often happens when something is buried in sediment or sand over a very long period (10,000 years at the least).
These remains leave an imprint that will later get surrounded by water, thus replacing the initial object with different minerals to constitute a rock-like imitation.
30. Dinosaur fossils are mainly found in three places.
The wastelands of China, Argentina, and North America hold large amounts of fossils, at least the ones paleontologists can get access to easily.
Truth be told, fossils cover the surface of the Earth because dinosaurs roamed everywhere without exception.
They’re just easier to find in barren areas because of little to non-existent vegetation.
31. A group of theropods had beaks instead of teeth.
They were called Gallimimuses and existed in the Cretaceous period. They roamed around in present-day Mongolia.
Although its name translates to “chicken imitation,” it looks more like an ostrich. Gallimimuses fed like their ostrich counterparts which must be why evolution gifted them with beaks.
32. Sauropods are so big that even the smallest of them is slightly heavier than a bull!
The smallest sauropod was called the europasaurus. On its own, it was a sizeable creature and had the characteristics of all sauropods. It just never grew to huge proportions of its cousins.
The europasaurus was as long as 6 meters which normally isn’t insignificant until it’s compared to the length of other sauropods which could go up to 61 meters.
33. Dinosaurs lived everywhere on our planet.
When dinosaurs first appeared on Earth over 230 million years ago, all the continents were still joined. The initial supercontinent bore the name Pangaea.
After 70 million years passed, however, Pangaea began to split, slowly separating dinosaurs from each other.
34. Almost a thousand dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
Over 900 non-avian dinosaurs roamed our planet. They were everywhere; if you’d been around 230 million years ago, you’d have had dinosaur neighbors.
This estimated number is based on concrete evidence (fossilized remains have been discovered).
However, there are so many other promising species that are yet to be certified due to a lack of concrete evidence.
35. The megalosaurus was so popular that it was featured in some novels.
In the 19th century, a famous writer named Charles Dickens mentioned the megalosaurus in his novel Bleak House.
In this novel, he tries to imagine how it would look like to see this dinosaur roaming the streets of London.
Dickens doesn’t portray the megalosaurus as a fearsome animal; he instead paints it as a gigantic lizard with elephantine features even though it’s a meat eater.
36. Furry pterosaurs existed.
Some pterosaurs had fur, which made them look like gigantic fruit bats.
They may have looked like bats but they still looked dangerous and scary. If you were to cross paths with one, run.
37. Not all carnivorous non-avian dinosaurs had thick bones.
Some of them had hollow bones (pneumatized bones) that enabled them to store air to improve their respiratory functions. In this, they bear a likeness to modern-day birds.
This particularity made them lighter and faster than other carnivorous dinosaurs. Dinosaurs with hollow bones are T-Rexes, velociraptors.
38. The dinosaur with the longest tail.
The diplodocus was the dinosaur with the longest tail. Its tail was measured at 14 meters (about 46 feet long). Its tail size was the longest feature it possessed.
The diplodocus stood at 15 feet in height, small compared to the other herbivores.
39. A fossil of a protoceratops and a velociraptor caught in a fight to the death was unearthed.
In the year 1974, a fossil of 74 million years was discovered. It depicted a fight to the death between a velociraptor and a protoceratops.
The pair were still fighting when a landslide occurred, burying them for millions of years.
The protoceratops were on the losing side as the velociraptor had its claws sunk deep into its neck.
The protoceratops was also giving its best: it had locked its jaws on the velociraptor’s arm and broken it.
40. Dinosaurs’ skin had an interesting way of renewing.
Dinosaurs shed their skin occasionally. It wasn’t a complete affair like modern-day snakes or lizards.
From the evidence gathered, the only dino species that shed part of their skin were the bird-like dinosaurs. They shed the parts that were between their feathers.
41. The average dinosaur weighed about 7,700 lbs (3,493 kg).
After comparisons of all known dinosaur weights and analysis, the weight of 3493 kg was estimated for the average dinosaur.
In size, the average dinosaur was about as big as an elephant or a rhino. Still quite big if you ask me.
42. Stegosaurus spikes on their backs were not for self-defense.
It has been assumed for a long time that the spikes (plates) on their backs were for defense.
Recent discoveries proved this theory wrong, and two possibilities have emerged: that the stegosaurus plates were either for decoration or to regularise their temperature.
These spikes were filled with blood vessels, meaning the stegosaurus blood system must have constantly been pumping blood toward it.
The ensuing result was a cool, flat surface which would have been very much needed in hot climates!
43. Oviraptors don’t have teeth.
The fossil of this dinosaur was first discovered in Mongolia, and it dates back over 75 million years ago. They have beaks instead of teeth.
This uniqueness makes them have a very particular diet. It’s almost certain that most of the consumed were eggs, which is how they earned the name egg thief.
44. The dinosaur with the longest claws.
The dinosaur with the longest claws was the therizinosaur. Its name means the reaping lizard, which is quite justified with claws that are 3.2 feet (1 meter).
To date, it’s still the animal with the longest claws to ever exist!
45. The brontosaurus was a unique species.
For over a hundred years, people debated whether or not the brontosaurus was in a category of its own. In 1879, the first brontosaurus skeleton was uncovered.
Its appearance and features were quite similar to those of the already classified apatosaurus; this made many doubt its uniqueness.
The doubt and uncertainty made those in charge of the research group brontosaurus skeletons as apatosaurus.
However, in the year 2015, with new knowledge and extra technologies, a thorough study of the relationship between the apatosaurus and the brontosaurus was undertaken.
The result was that the brontosaurus was indeed a unique and different species. In light of this, their name was reclaimed.
46. King Edward II was fond of dinosaurs.
He first came across the sketches of the first diplodocus skeleton when visiting a very prosperous Scottish businessman in 1902.
When King Edward II saw it, he requested a cast of it in plaster for the London Natural History Museum.
This cast would later become very popular and earn the nickname “dippy.” It was the most important piece to see in the London Natural History Museum for over a century!
47. Dinosaurs and crocodiles are relatives.
Yes, crocodiles are that old. They existed alongside dinosaurs and are considered to have begun existing from the Late Cretaceous Period, and around that time, many dinos still roamed the Earth.7
What’s amazing is how they survived the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.8
Why are crocodiles and dinosaurs relatives? The evolutionary theory stipulates that they come from the same ancestor, the Archosaurus, between 250 to 200 million years.
They are also related to pterosaurs, mosasaurs, and ichthyosaurs.
48. The knowledge that dinosaurs laid eggs came in 1923.
Up until 1923, experts weren’t quite sure how dinosaurs reproduced. Because they are reptiles, laying eggs was the dominant view, but there was no evidence for that.
Based on the lack of evidence, someone could have rightfully argued that dinosaurs laid eggs live.
Then 1923 came along, and with it was the first discovery of fossil dinosaur eggs, and everything we knew about dinosaur reproduction changed.9
49. Some dinosaurs swallowed stones.
This behavior has been observed in many animals like ostriches, frogs, sea lions, and the dinosaur’s relative, the crocodile. Fossil studies have also shown that dinos exhibited this behavior.
These stones (known as gastroliths) were most likely swallowed by herbivores to help digestion, as many did not have teeth. Plesiosaurs might have also eaten it to help with movement.
50. What was the dinosaur’s color? We don’t know.
Modern movies (both live-action and animated) tend to portray dinos with the nearest possible colors they could be.
This path is also taken by paleontologist artists that attempt to reproduce these creatures’ looks based on the fossils.
However, there is no consensus on the color, and because all we have are fossils, we may never know. Some scientists state that dinosaurs had dull colors, probably based on how crocodiles look.
Others theorize that dinos might have been colorful like birds. It’s possible that they were both, depending on the species.
51. Let’s talk about an early female paleontologist named Mary Anning.
In the 19th century, a paleontologist named Mary Anning faced hurdles based on her gender.10
The scientific field was male-dominated, and as such, Anning’s progress was limited, with her being unable to get her deserved recognition for her work.
Despite her frustrations, perseverance became a key aspect of Mary Anning’s life.
She became well known for her discoveries, which included the ichthyosaur skeleton and two Pterosaurs that were almost complete.
52. The kosmoceratops are defined by horns.
This dinosaur’s name stands for “ornate horned face,” which no doubt refers to the protruding horns found on its face.
It is known to have more horns than any other discovered dinosaur, hence our assertion that it was defined by it.
Being a herbivore, the kosmoceratops most likely used the horns as a form of self-defense.
It might have also been a tool for attracting mates, as some males had longer horns than others.
53. Some dinosaurs were like ostriches.
Ostriches are known to be fast largely due to the long limbs that help them skip from one place to another.
The ornithomimid dinosaur would have given ostriches a run for their money (pun not intended).
Their name translates as “bird mimics,” which fits this situation though they were around before ostriches.
The ornithomimid had a long neck, legs, and feathers just like birds. Its fossilized footprints were used to determine speed, and it seemed from the result that the ornithomimid was very fast, reaching up to 25 miles per hour. Speaking of fossilized footprints…
54. You can measure a dinosaur’s speed by its fossilized footprints.
Given that we weren’t there when these creatures roamed the earth, the only way to get an estimate of each dinosaur’s speed is to examine the fossilized footprints.
Paleontologists achieve this by measuring both the length of the footprints and the distance between these footprints.
Sadly, many tracks aren’t identified, and it is hard to know which species owns the footprint.
55. Deinonychuses had sharp claws.
The name itself translates as “terrible claws,” which already describes this creature’s major quality.
The claws were oversized, sharp like razors, and quite visible on every fossil.
Deinonychuses are predators, so it seems they use their claws to tear into their intended prey. It also comes in handy when fighting a fellow predator.
56. A dinosaur was named after an airline.
In 1996, a herbivore’s fossil was discovered in Australia, specifically in the state of Victoria. It was a big discovery as the fossil was large, up to 6ft.
This dinosaur lived in Australia around 125 to 112 million years ago.
For 3 years after its discovery, this dinosaur went without a name.
A couple named Patricia Vickers-Rich and Tom Rich changed that by naming it the qantassaurus after the Australian airline Qantas which played a major role in the transport of fossils across Australia.
57. In reproduction, the ichthyosaurus is like the dolphin.
Dinosaurs are known to lay eggs, but there might have been some exceptions.
An example is the ichthyosaurus which delivers more like a dolphin than a chicken.
These dinosaurs don’t lay eggs directly but would rather preserve the babies as embryos till the latter is ready to swim.11
To avoid losing their babies to drowning, they give birth to their babies’ tails first.
58. Dinosaurs didn’t lay the same type of eggs.
Just as dinosaurs were different, the eggs differed in significant ways. Based on discoveries, we can separate them into two main categories, hard-shelled and soft-shelled.
The majority of fossilized eggs are hard shells, similar to birds of today. However, some fossils came as soft shells resembling that of lizards.
59. The largest carnivore is the Spinosaurus.
There are many large carnivorous dinosaurs. The T-Rex is perhaps the most common, but it is not the biggest. The crown for that goes to the Spinosaurus.
According to fossils found, this creature could grow up to 18m with a weight of 23 tons. It is recognized by the huge spine at its back. Its name translates as “spine lizard.”
60. There’s a pterosaur with a wingspan like a small plane.
If you think you’ve seen a bird with the largest wingspan ever, you may have to revisit that after going back to prehistoric times.
Meet the Quetzalcoatlus northropi, a pterosaur with the biggest wingspan of all pterosaurs.
The wingspan measures up to 43 feet, which is bigger than that of a private plane.
Watching the Quetzalcoatlus fly must have been like looking at a flying jet.
61. The Brachiosaurus is like a giraffe.
The brachiosaurus and giraffe are both herbivores, but that’s not the only similarity they share.
Perhaps due to their need to get to tall trees, both the brachiosaurus and the giraffe have long necks.
In addition to the long neck, the brachiosaurus has front legs that are longer than its back legs, hence the name “arms lizard.”
62. Though the series is named Jurassic Park, not all species there are from the Jurassic period.
Many people got interested in dinosaurs thanks to the Jurassic Park series, and it does a good job of pushing prehistoric creatures into the mainstream.
However we hate to disappoint every fan, but some aspects of the movie weren’t accurate. Some species portrayed weren’t from the Jurassic period.
In the first movie, only the brachiosaurus and the dilophosaurus are a part of the Jurassic period.
All other species are from the Crustaceous period, which is a very different period. Of course, that doesn’t take away the coolness of the series and its impact.12
63. The velociraptors in Jurassic Park are not velociraptors.
Not to bash further the movie and novel, but this fits too in our dinosaur facts. For a seasoned fan, this may not come as a surprise.
Michael Crichton, the brain behind the novel, admitted that the velociraptor in Jurassic Park is based on an entirely different raptor.
The raptor is a deinonychus, similar to the velociraptor but larger. During the research phase of the novel, Crichton even met with the discoverer of the deinonychus to seek information.
Why did he name them the velociraptors? Apparently, for the dramatic effect.13
64. Reptiles are cold-blooded, but the dinosaur might have been an exception.
The dinosaur is classified as a reptile, but that doesn’t mean it ticks all the criteria for being a reptile.
One attribute it may not have had is being cold-blooded. Though still a subject of debate amongst experts, research keeps justifying the theory that dinosaurs weren’t cold-blooded, at least not totally.14
It seems that many species were warm-blooded, like birds and their descendants. Examples are the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Brachiosaurus.
There is no definite conclusion to this matter, and some experts have sought to classify the dinosaur as mesotherms, which places them in between.
65. The Hadrosaur is the first complete dinosaur skeleton to be mounted in a museum.
We all love to see giant dinosaur monuments in museums, but there was a time when such did not exist. This was before William Parker Foulke’s discovery in 1858.15
Dinosaurs weren’t as popular at that time, and few people had even heard of them. Foulke then unearthed the first complete dinosaur skeleton belonging to the hadrosaur.
In 1868, the skeleton found a home in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The skeleton was named “Hadrosaurus foukii.”
Foulke was a lot of other works to his name, including being an abolitionist. This contribution is one paleontologists will always remember.
66. Speaking of hadrosaurs, they are well-teethed.
Besides the posthumous honor of being the first skeleton to be mounted in a museum, the hadrosaur is also known to have the highest number of teeth, a trait worth acknowledging.
The estimated number falls between 960 and 1400 teeth. Though not as much as the hadrosaur, some other dinosaurs also boasted of a high number of teeth.
Examples are the Nigersaurus and the triceratops. These dinosaurs are herbivores, so even if they existed, they wouldn’t have been threats except to trees.
67. The deinocherus has unusual arms.
You know your hands are special when you’re named after them. The name “deinocherus” translates to “terrible arms.”
For 50 years, all we had of this dinosaur were its arms. This won’t be impressive with another species, but for the deinocherus, it is.
The arms were 8 feet long, and the claws got up to 8 inches.
Several times, paleontologists have tried to find the remaining parts to no avail.
The deinocherus remained a mystery for years until Yuong Nam Lee and a team of paleontologists found the remaining parts. Altogether, the deinocherus was a weird-looking species.
68. Velociraptors look like turkeys.
We’ve already established that Crichton’s version of velociraptors is another species.
The real velociraptors are not as scary as the TV depiction, not even remotely. In size, they’re compared to turkeys.
This doesn’t mean they look completely safe, though. Size notwithstanding, the velociraptor is still a raptor and would surely have a frightening edge.
However, if you come across this species’ fossil bearing the Jurassic’s version in mind, you’d be disappointed.
69. The T-Rex is nicknamed Tyrant’s head.
The Tyrannosaurus rex was made popular by Jurassic Park, even though it wasn’t a part of the Jurassic period.
If asked to mention a random species, the average passer-by will probably think of the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Its name translates as “tyrant king,” and that has quickly become its moniker. From its looks, we know the moniker fits.
70. The bite force of a Tyrannosaurus rex is stronger than every land creature.
If a T-rex roamed the earth today, it’d have to be guarded in a secured area as this animal’s bite isn’t one any human can hope to escape from.
It has the strongest bite force any land creature could have, and even after its extinction, no land animal has come close.
The living animal with the strongest bite force today is the saltwater crocodile, whose bite force measures up to 7000 PSI.
The Tyrannosaurus rex, by comparison, has a bite force of 12,800 PSI. The difference is clear!
71. The Tyrannosaurus rex has a short lifespan.
Still on the T-Rex facts. Despite its ferocious nature—or maybe because of it—this species most likely has a short life span, at least compared to other dinos.
Paleontologists have placed its life span somewhere around 30 years.
This estimated year is due to studies on the fossils found so far. An example is Sue (we’ll look into her next), with an estimate of around 28 years old. We also have Trix, that’s around 30 years.
72. The biggest T-rex fossil skeleton is named Sue.
Not exactly the name you’d think of for a complete T-Rex skeleton, but honor has to be given to the right person.
Sue Hendrickson discovered the Tyrannosaurus rex in 1990, and amazingly it was found almost complete.
The discovery didn’t come without problems, which led to a prolonged legal battle.16
The skeleton measures 42 feet long from head to toe which makes it a giant.
The discovery of Sue was a breakthrough for paleontology, and in 2000 it was put on display at the Field Museum.
73. The Velociraptor’s name means “swift thief.”
This species’ name is credited to paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, the president of the American Museum of National History as of 1924.
The name velociraptor means “swift thief,” though some might put it as “speedy thief.”
Osborn gave it this name after careful study. He concluded, based on fossil examination, that the velociraptor must have been swift, agile, and a predator.
74. The dinosaur’s poop is valuable.
You read that right. The fossilized poop of a dinosaur is termed coprolite, and it is highly valued by paleontologists.
Interestingly, some are dedicated to collecting them. A notable example is George Frandsen, who got into the Guinness World Record for collecting 1,277 coprolites.17
What makes the coprolite so special? Besides it being an ancient artifact, you can also study it and learn about a dinosaur’s diet and lifestyle. One creature’s waste is a man’s treasure.
75. The largest piece of carnivore coprolite is as weighty as a dog!
Another surprising fact, but when you do consider how big a carnivorous dinosaur is, it shouldn’t be shocking.
The largest carnivore coprolite is part of George Frandsen’s collection, and it is linked to the Tyrannosaurus.
It even has a name, Barnum, in honor of the man who first discovered a Tyrannosaurus.18
The coprolite weighs 20.47 pounds and measures 26.5 by 6.2 inches. It is just as big as a daschund and is bigger than many other dog breeds.
76. Do you know Yoshi the dinosaur? Turns out he’s not one.
For those who may not know, Yoshi is a Nintendo game character designed as a dinosaur.
He first began in Super Mario World in 1990 and soon became popular enough to have his own Yoshi game series.
Surprisingly, after years of being a dino, Nintendo separated Yoshi from his dino roots by stating, “Yoshi is not a dinosaur, but a Yoshi!”
77. A dinosaur fossil was named after the Hogwarts School of Magic.
Although the Harry Potter series had dragons, not dinosaurs, the name of a recently discovered fossil is dracorex hogwartsia.
It is named dracorex because the skull resembles that of a dragon and hogwartsia from the fictional school of Hogwarts. Together, the name means “dragon king of Hogwarts.”
The dracorex hogwartsia is a pachycephalosaur, but the spiky head is not like that of others.
This has led many scientists to conclude that the dracorex is probably a juvenile pachycephalosaur.
78. Speaking of the pachycephalosaur, there’s something about its skull.
Though not all pachycephalosaurs have the dragon-like skull of the dracorex hogwartsia, they have a thick skull.
The latter measures 9 inches and is the literal representation of thick-headed. It arguably has the strongest dinosaur head.
What is the purpose of the head? Experts have asked the question, and there are no easy answers.
Some have said that the heads are for combat, but given that their necks are soft, this isn’t plausible.
79. The biggest dinosaur’s egg belongs to the oviraptorosaurs.
This large egg was found in China in the 1990s, and it measures up to 1.6 feet. This is larger than that of the ostrich, which is currently the biggest among extant birds.
The ostrich’s eggs measure only 6 inches. Compared to the dinosaur’s egg, it is quite small!
Oviraptorosaurs are the species credited for laying these eggs. However, the first conclusion was that it belonged to the Tyrannosaurus Rex due to its large size.
Only after further studies were the oviraptorosaurs given their due.
80. The smallest dinosaur egg belongs to the theropod.
The theropod itself isn’t a very small creature, but its egg is like a golf ball. It measures around 1.75 by 0.78 inches and probably weighed around 0.35 ounces. It is also compared to the quail egg.
Unlike the biggest egg, where there was a case of mistaken identity, these small eggs were easily associated with the theropod.
81. The Ankylosaurus magniventris is not easy prey to get.
While many herbivorous animals are easy prey for large carnivores like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Ankylosaurus doesn’t go down easily, at least not without a fight.
It was always hard for predators to get a hold of them, and this was due to the armor they had.
The Ankolysaurus magniventris comes with a spiked upper body and a bony club at the end of its tail that can inflict damage on a predator.
If the predator escapes the tail, it won’t be able to penetrate the armored back. The only weak area on the Ankolysaurus is the belly, but then the predator had the task of trying to upturn it.
82. The sum of $276,000 was once spent on a dinosaur skull.
If you think dinosaurs have no value, think again. Earlier on, we mentioned how their poop is a treasure for some.
Well, that’s not the only part with value. The dinosaur skull got someone to spend $276,000 acquiring.
This person is Nicolas Cage, and he outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull in 2007.
It was the biggest skull being auctioned, and he most likely wanted to add it to his fossil collection.
However, his dream got dashed when it was revealed that the skull got stolen from Mongolia, its hometown.19
83. The official state dinosaur of Colorado is the stegosaurus.
Sometime in the past, the first stegosaurus fossil was discovered outside of Denver, Colorado, and it is currently found in Denver Museum of Nature & Science.20
Due to the discovery, the stegosaurus has been termed the official state dinosaur of Colorado.
Colorado isn’t the only state with an official dinosaur, however. Other states have too. Arkansas has the Arkansas Lizard.
New Jersey has the Hadrosaurid ornithopod. Texas has the Sauropod.
84. The Sauroposeidon is the tallest known dinosaur.
Measuring up to 18m, the Sauroposeidon is considered the tallest known dinosaur.
This is a genus of sauropod dinosaurs that, in English, would be called “lizard earthquake god” as that is the translation of the name. As mentioned above, it is the state dinosaur of Texas.
The Sauropod’s fossil was discovered in rocks and is dated to about 110 million years and the end of the early crustaceous period.
85. The T-Rex roar in Jurassic Park was creatively fabricated.
Given that the Tyrannosaurus existed before any of us were born, it is impossible to know exactly what it sounded like.
However, we can deduce that the T-Rex would have sounded ferocious, given its fossil looks and carnivorous lifestyle. The filmmakers built up this.
Using the squeal of an elephant, the gurgle of an alligator, and the snarl of an angry tiger, the filmmakers were able to create a unique sound that they attributed to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
It was all recorded in speed to make it more menacing. Now you know where the scary roar came from!
86. The sauropod possibly has the longest lifespan.
Just as the Tyrannosaurus Rex was studied and known to have a short lifespan, sauropod dinosaurs most likely had long lifespans.
Some, like the apatosaurus and the diplodocus, presumably outlived all other species because of their long lifespan.
At first, experts were far-reaching and placed the sauropod’s lifespan at an impressive 300 years!
However, recent discoveries have placed the lifespan at 80 years thereabouts.
87. The dipholosaurus weren’t poisonous.
The question of whether or not dinosaurs are poisonous is still a point of debate.
Whatever side you fall under, there was a lot of exaggeration in the Jurassic Park movie when it portrayed the dipholosaurus as poison-spitting creatures.
It makes for a cool movie scene, but there’s no evidence to back that up. As far as we know, the dipholosaurus wasn’t poisonous.
It also didn’t have a huge frill and was bigger than the movie version.
88. As ferocious as the Tyrannosaurus is, many dinosaurs could match its strength.
The Tyrannosaurus is fierce in its rights—at least according to fossil evidence—but it didn’t go without opposition.
A species that seemed to have been at loggerheads with the T-Rex is the Triceratops, the dinosaur with three horns.
These horns might have been for mating purposes but primarily served as a defense.
A Triceratops fossil was discovered with a broken horn and bite marks. The bite marks were discovered to be that of a Tyrannosaurus.
89. The pterodactyl species was about the size of a pigeon.
Well, not all pterodactyls are that small. Individuals vary in size; some may have weighed up to 500 pounds!
They certainly had long wings, which measured around 35 feet, with a long neck and a large head.
The smaller ones are on the other side of the size range. With a wingspan of around 10 inches, little wonder it is compared to the pigeon.
These small pterodactyls can be seen going from tree to tree.
90. So far, more than 50 Tyrannosaurus skeletons have been discovered.
For some reason, the Tyrannosaurus has a lot of fossils to its name, especially around the western sides of North America, earning it a place as one of the mobile dinosaurs of our time.
More than 50 skeletons have been unearthed, which is more than we can say for some other species.
Some skeletons are in fragments, and others are nearly complete, but together they form a cohesive whole. This is why we have a lot of them in museums.
91. Some dinosaurs fight to the death.
There’s enough fossil evidence to show that dinosaurs are not always buddies.
It gets worse for species like the stegosaurus and the allosaurus that took their fight to a higher level. Like gladiators, they fought to the death.
At first, there wasn’t much to convince the skeptic that these two had intense battles.
That has since changed after many discoveries, including an allosaurus that most likely died due to a wound from a stegosaurus.
92. Imagine what species Godzilla would be were he real?
The answer to this was discovered by a paleontologist named Ken Carpenter in 1998, albeit in a casual experiment.21
Based on the anatomical structures of the radioactive dinosaur, Carpenter went to work. It wasn’t an easy task, but he concluded.
According to his findings, Godzilla is most likely a ceratosaur, a group of theropods.
He reached this conclusion based on the finger count, osteoderms, and skull.
93. Dinosaurs lived for so long there were gaps between some species.
We tend to assume that dinosaurs lived around the same period, but that’s not always the case. Take the Tyrannosaurus rex and the stegosaurus as examples.
The stegosaurus lived during the Jurassic period, around 150 million years, while the T-Rex existed during the Cretaceous period, around 64 million years.
The difference between the two species goes to show how long dinosaurs existed before they got extinct.
94. A dinosaur was once someone’s pet.
Don’t worry; there is no dinosaur living in someone’s backyard—unless we’re counting birds—and we’re not talking about someone real.
Remember The Flintstones? Well, as cavemen, they had a dinosaur pet named Dino (we know, it’s not the most original name) who was a snorkasaurus.
There are no real snorkasaurus species, to be clear, so Dino is fictional down to his biological combination. That said, he’s inspired by a sauropod, a smaller version.
95. Sauropods eat a lot.
Sauropods are tall herbivores, animals akin to giraffes. That’s enough reason for it to have a large appetite, and it certainly does. These animals most likely ate more than 907kg of plants in a day!
They get their meal from trees and other forested habitats. Their diet is a major contributor to their size.22
96. Dinosaurs are herd animals.
Dinosaurs may be fighters, but they are also lovers or at least have communal ties.
They moved around in herds and traveled in groups. If you’ve ever imagined dinosaurs to be solitary, that may not be true.
Both herbivores and carnivores traveled in groups, though for different reasons.
Herbivores move together to protect themselves from predators. Carnivores move in groups to have a better chance of attacking.
97. Special dinosaur bones were found in Australia.
Recall what was said about dinosaurs being valuable. Some fossils are not just valuable; they are also special.
One of such was found in Australia in 1984. What made these bones special was that they were almost complete, and they had opal.
Even better, the discovered fossil was later linked to a new species known as the Weewarrasaurus pobeni.
98. In Myanmar, amber was found on a dinosaur’s tail.
For the first time, a dinosaur’s tail was found with amber on it. The exact species wasn’t known, but given the peculiarity of the tail itself, the species hasn’t been a major issue.
We know that it comes from a feathered dinosaur, making the discovery even more impressive as the feathers were preserved in the amber.23
99. No discovered dinosaur has surpassed the blue whale in size.
Let’s face it; dinosaurs are generally big. If they were around today, we’d need a wide expanse of land to contain them.
However, none of the discovered dinosaurs are bigger than the blue whale, making the latter the largest animal ever on earth.
Blue whales weigh up to 190 tons with a height of 110 feet. While the largest dinosaur is taller at 120 feet, it weighs 69 tons, which is considerably lesser than the blue whale.
100. There’s a dinosaur that looks like a rat.
There are many weird dinosaurs, but one that tops the list is the Suzhousaurus, also known as the Suzhou lizard.
From the fossil, this dino resembles a rat with a long neck and tail. It was discovered in 1999 and 2004 during fieldwork.
Because of its furry body, it most likely is an ancestor of the giant ground sloth.
101. Some dinosaurs grow like human babies.
Humans are the only living creatures with babies transitioning from crawling on all fours to walking on two feet.
However, we wouldn’t be the only ones if dinosaurs were around today.
An example is the mouse lizard, known formally as the Mussaurus. As a baby, it moves on all fours. However, as an adult, it grows a long tail that enables it to walk on twos.
Hopefully, you enjoyed these mind-blowing facts about dinosaurs. Interestingly, there’s much to learn about these species as more dinosaurs are discovered.
What would the world be like if dinosaurs still existed today?
We would never know, and reproducing them may not be possible too. However, with the fossils we’ve discovered and still discovering, there is a lot we can learn about prehistoric reptiles.
References & Notes
- Carnivorous dinosaurs. Natural History Museum.
- Triassic Period. Britannica.
- Jurassic Period Information and Facts. National Geographic.
- Cretaceous Period. National Geographic.
- Archosaurus – fossil reptile genus. Britannica.
- Plesiosaur – fossil marine reptile. Britannica.
- 10 animals with pre-historic roots. BBC Earth.
- How did crocodiles survive the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? ABC Education.
- Dinosaur Eggs. American Museum of Natural History.
- Mary Anning: the unsung hero of fossil discovery. Natural History Museum.
- Fossilized ‘Sea Monster’ Found Pregnant With Eight Babies. Smithsonian Magazine.
- The Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods. ThoughtCo.
- Yale’s legacy in ‘Jurassic World.’ YaleNews.
- Were dinosaurs warm- or cold-blooded? Cosmos.
- Foulke Discovers First Dinosaur in America. Foulke Family Association.
- Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex Discovered. HISTORY.
- Fossilised poop collector enters Guinness World Records 2017 book. Guinness World Records.
- Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex. Smithsonian Magazine.
- Nicolas Cage Outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a Dinosaur Skull That May Have Been Stolen. Vanity Fair.
- Discover dinosaurs in Colorado: fossils and footprints. UCHealth Today.
- What Kind of Dinosaur is Godzilla? Smithsonian Magazine.
- Sauropods grew big by munching ‘superfoods’ with sturdy beaks. Science.
- ‘Beautiful’ dinosaur tail found preserved in amber. BBC News.