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Top Sixteen Dinosaur Questions below
Dino and Paleontology Dictionary first!
|What does the word dinosaur mean?
What does saurus mean?,
What does deinos mean?
What color were the dinosaurs?
How (and when) did the dinosaurs go extinct?
|How many dinosaurs were there?|
|What was the biggest dinosaur?||What was the smallest dinosaur?||Which dinosaur was the largest meat-eater?||Were there more plant-eaters or meat-eaters?|
|How many teeth did T. rex have (and how big were they)?||What is the oldest dinosaur ever found?||What was the first dinosaur ever found?||
Did birds evolve from the dinosaurs?
Were there any flying dinosaurs?
Were there any swimming dinosaurs?
|How do you know what the enemies of a dinosaur were?||What kind of habitats did the dinosaurs live in?|
We enjoy hearing from visitors. Thank you for writing! You can send your questions and we'll try to answer them as soon as possible, but we can't answer them all. (We get many more questions than we can possibly answer. We try to answer as many as we can. Please don't send your question many times - they will all be deleted if you do so.)
Don't forget to scroll down to find the answer to your question - they're in reverse order by the date they were asked.
Q: was there a flying dinosaur called Teradactile? What flying Dinosaurs were there.
from Chet c, Fruitland, id, usa; November 15, 2001
A: Pterodactylus was a flying reptile that lived during the time of the dinosuars but it was not a dinosaur. There were many flying reptiles during that time, called Pterosaurs.
A: Only two Ouranosaurus skeletons have been found and they're both listed on our Ouranosaurus page.
A: Thre are hundreds of known genera of plant-eating dinosaurs. For their names, go through the pages that list of dinosaur genera, and look for the ones listed in green.
A: The Triassic period was named in 1834 by the German geologist Friedrich August Von Alberti (1795-1878) (it was originally named the "Trias"). It got its name because this period of geologic time is represented by a three-part division of rock types in Germany. These three distinctive rock layers are (from the bottom or earliest) the Bunter (which is brown sandstone and red beds), the Muschelkalk, and the Keuper. These are local rock types that are not found globally. For more information on the Triassic, click here.
A: For a page on Cretaceous period plants, click here.
A: Utahraptor fossils have only been found in Utah, USA, but this dinosaur may well have lived elsewhere.
A: They're called paleontologists.
A: Click here.
A: No one knows about the mating behavior of any of the dinosaurs.
A: Click here for a page on Pterodactylus.
A: During the Jurassic period, the continents were jammed into a supercontinent (called Pangaea), but it was beginning to break apart.
A: We do, look in the dictionary.
A: For a page on plate tectonics (continental drift) and fossils , click here.
A: Rex means king. For more dinosaur word roots, click here.
A: All the dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era.
A: It means thunder. For more dinosaur word roots, click here.
A: Probably not from dinosaur coprolite; since it would be over 65 million ywars ago, any blood or DNA (from the dinosaur's digested food) would have degraded long ago.
Coprolite is fossilized dung, and, like all fossils, it would contain no ancient, intact disease organisms.
Dimetrodon was top predator (it had no predators).
For an entry on Dromiceiomimus, click here.
A: Yes. You could classify coprolite by the animal it came from, the diet of the animal which it came from (herbivore, carnivore, or omniore), its size, the way it fossilized, the minerals that it now contains, where it came from, when it came from, etc.
A: Many herbivores (plant-eating animals) spend most of their day eating (think how cows spend most of their day grazing).
A: Maiasaura's best defense from predators was probably congregating in herds and running away (much like a modern-day zebra). Maiasaura had hoof-like feet and a toothless beak, which probably couldn't do much damage to a large predator. For a page on Maiasaura, click here.
A: Becasue no dinosaur fossils are found in rock that is younger than that (except, perhaps, one paleocene hadrosaur).
A: A deposit is a natural accumulation of something (like a fossil or mineral deposit). If you think about what a coprolite is (fossilized poop), you'll realize why it varies in size as the size of the dinosaur varies.
A: Click here and scroll down to the section on classification.
A: Tyrannosaurus rex was named in 1905 by Henry Fairfield Osborn - the name means "tyrant lizard king." For a page on T. rex, click here.
For information on these dinosaurs and dinosaur families, look them up in our dinosaur dictionary.
A: Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur - it was a pelycosaur (a so-called "mammal-like reptile," which were not actually reptiles, but were ancestors of the mammals). I've never heard of bonebeds (groups of fossils) of Dimetrodon being found, so its herding/pack behavior would not be known. For a page on Dimetrodon, click here.
A: Stygimoloch probably had no predators (it was a large predator itself, and they usually do not have predators).
A: None that are known to science (but in the Speilberg Jurassic park movie, it was Dilophosaurus).
A: The only way to determine the last meal of a dinosaur is to find fossilized stomach contents (which is rarely found). An example of a known last meal is partially digested, fossilized skeleton of a Bavarisaurus (a tiny lizard) which was found inside a Compsognathus (a small, meat-eating dinosaur).Compsognathus.
For a page of Triassic period dinosaurs, click here. For a page of Jurassic period dinosaurs, click here. For a page of Cretaceous period dinosaurs, click here.
A: Read it again - it's there.
A: I can't imagine that a healthy adult Utahraptor had any predators.
To find where Stegosaurus fossils have been found, click here. To find other dinosaurs that lived at the same time (during the late Jurassic Period, about 156-140 million), click here and look in the many locations where Stogsaurus fossils have been found.
A: Paleontologists want coprolite to study it and learn about ancient animals. Fossil collectors enjoy collecting fossils. As FOR other people, your guess is as good as mine (although I have considered buying coprolite tiles to redo my bathroom in an ironic manner).
A: Becasue every animal produces a lot of potential coprolite every day (although only a fraction of feces fossilizes and becomes coprolite).
They were probably like a giant, streamlined version of the great white shark. For a page on megalodon, click here.
Although I've never heard of any fossilized Dimetrodon eggs being found, Dimetrodon probably hatched from eggs. For a page on Dimetrodon, click here.
It doesn't because it is fossilized. For more information, read the page on coprolite.
The dinosaurs were not alive during the Permian period; the earliest dinosaurs did not evolve until the Triassic period (roughly 230 million years ago).
A: For some information on Phobosuchus (not a dinosaur), click here.
A: After getting hundreds of letters like this in the last few days from coprolite fans, I've become completely exasperated. Please read at least some of this page before writing again.
T. rex wasn't anywhere near the biggest dinosaur (although it was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs). Many sauropods (like Argentinosaurus, Seismosaurus, Supersaurus, Titanosaurus, etc.) were much larger than T. rex.
If you examine a coprolite from a dinosaur, it represents the remains of one digested meal of that dinosaur, but not necessarily its last meal. For more information on coprolites and what you can learn from them, click here.
A: No one knows.
A: There were many different type of saber-toothed cats (like Smilodon and Dinictis) and these various genera lived from about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.
A: Click here.
A: Dinosaurs were quite different from mammals. Some major differences include their
Coprolite (fossilized dung) is just a type of fossil and is found like most fossils are found (with great difficulty). Paleontologists look in likely areas - places with exposed sedimentary rock, like badlands, weathered cliffs, road cuts, etc. As to "who gets it," the person who owns a fossil is usually the owner of the land on which the fossil was found. I've just added a page on coprolites - click here.
A: The amount of time it takes a coprolite to fossilize depends on the conditions it was in (like what minerals it was surrounded by, the temperature, pressure, etc.), the content of the coprolite (was it mostly bone, mostly plant material, etc.) and the type of fossilization process (petrification, replacement, etc.), but the time is indeed lengthy (probably in the tens or hundreds of thousands of years).
A: For a page on the extinction of the last of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, click here. As for the many Ice Ages that the Earth has experienced, no one knows exactly what caused them. They may be caused by solar activity (how hot the sun is), the position of the continents on the Earth, ocean currents, and/or other factors.
A: No fossils (or rocks, for that matter) are sanitary. When you pick up a rock or fossil (even from underground), it is probably covered with bacteria and other life forms.
A: Not always. You can perhaps tell what animal is came from if you find coprolite in a bone bed (a fossil site in which many skeletons of the same dinosaurs are found) or it is of such a size, composition, and content that it could only have been from one genus (like the recently found T. rex coprolite). Otherwise, it would be very hard (practically impossible) to tell which genus it came from.
A: Like most of the dozens of coprolite questions I've gotten today, I just answered this a few days ago - scroll down and read!
A: Birds are the only known flying dinosaurs. The ancient flying reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs and were closely-related to the dinosaurs are called pterosaurs.
There is fossil evidence that some dinosaurs, like Maiasaura, did care for their young. For most dinosaurs, there is no fossil evidence of parental care (this doesn't mean that they didn't tend their young, it just means that we have no evidence one way or the other ofr mose genera).
A: Click here.
A: THe two major divisions are the ornithischians and the saurischians.
A: Gallimimus hay have been an omnivore (meat and plant eater) that ate small animals (like insects and lizards), eggs, and some plant material, by sieving them from mud with comb-like plates in its mouth. For a page on Gallimimus, click here.
A: For the Alvarez theory of dinosaur extinction, click here.
A: For a page on dinosaurs reproduction, click here.
The color of all fossils (including coprolites) changes over time.
For a page on Troodon, click here.
For a page on dinosaur reproduction, click here.
A: A crest is a bony adornment on the skull of some dinosaurs, like Lambeosaurus.
A: A lot of dinosaurs walked on four legs. To pick one at random - Apatosaurus.
A: That's what the word dinosaur means.
A: Tyrannosaurus rex.
A: About 1,00 dinosaur genera have been named (and many more species). No one knows how many dinosaur species there were or what their population numbers were. As to T. rex, the amount of food it ate would have depended on its metabolism, and almost nothing is known about that.
A: The colors in any ofssil (including coprolite) just help you identify which minerals is it composed of.
A: If your're referring to coprolites (fossilized dung), it is very difficult to determine which dinosaur it came from (unless you found in the midst of a bonebed of a certain species of dinosaurs - and even then you couldn't be 100 percent certain). Iron, copper and lead are elements; quartz is a mineral. All fossils (including coprolites) are composed mostly of rock-like minerals, like quartz.
A: Any type of fossil might be found at a dig (if you're lucky).
A: The Cenozoic. For more information, click here.
A: Your teacher is right. During the time of the dinosaurs, there were flying reptiles (like Pteranodon and Pterodactylus) and swimming reptiles (like Elasmosaurus and Plesiosaurus), but these animals were not reptiles (even though some older books refer to them incorrectly as dinosaurs).
A: Diplodocus is one dinosaur that fits that description (as do other diplodocids, like Apatosaurus, Supersaurus, Seismosaurus, etc.).
A: For a page of US dinosaurs (state by state), click here.
A: For a page on Australian dinosaurs, click here.
A: Coprolite (fossilized or prehistoric dung) has been known since at least 1850 (in Cambridgeshire, England). There may be earlier-known coprolites, but I can't find any references right now.
A: For information on Syntarsus, click here. For information on the Earth when Syntarsus lived, click on the link to the Jurassic period on that page. It's prey is not known. To make a good guess as to which dinosaurs it may have eaten, look on the page on early Jurassic period dinosaurs, and see which ones lived near where Syntarsus lived, were about the right size to be caught by a pack of Syntarsus, and were not predators themselves.
The pterosaurs (like Pteranodon, Pterodactylus, Quetzalcoatlus, etc) were flying reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era.
A: Like all fossils, the mineral composition depends on the type of rock and soil in which the fossil is located (and was formed). Read the section on how fossils are formed.
A: Different coprolites came from different time periods.
A: There are many ways, including looking at its size, how old it is, its content (plant materials, animal remains, etc.), and other characteristics.
A: All fossils are hard (including coprolite) because they are made of rock-like minerals.
A: Paleontologists try to find fossils while on a dig.
A: Click here for a page on fossil formation.
A: The dinosaurs lived in a variety of habitats all over the world - dinosaurs fossils have been found on all the continents of the world.
A: For a page on Saurolophus, click here.
A: Click here.
A: For a page on plate tectonics, click here. The dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, during a time when the Earth was tectonically and volcanically active. For a section on the extinction of the dinosaurs.
A: An ichnologist is a type of paleontologist who studies ichnofossils (trace fossils like footprints, nests, burrows, dung, gastroliths, coprolites, stomach contents, etc.).
A: For a page on T. rex, click here.
A: No one knows. For information on Stegosaurus, click here.
About 1,000 dinosaur genera have ben named.
A: The roadrunner is a is a type of cuckoo. It is also a bird and related to the dinosaurs.
A: Yes. For example, some recently-found T. rex coprolite contained bits of crushed Triceratops frill.
A: For information on Protoceratops, click here.
A: For a page of dinosaurs found in Antarctica, click here.
A: I haven't heard of any dinosaurs found in Iowa, except a small bone scrap (probably dinosaurian) from Guthrie County. For a page of dinosaurs found in the US states, click here.
A: Why would a teacher (from Tallahassee) want her students to see the answer first? A rock will appear as a random conglomerate of minerals. A coprolite will contain bits of fossilzed plant and/or animals remains (like partly-digested plant fibers or bone bits). For example, some recently-found T. rex coprolite contained bits of crushed Triceratops frill.
A: No one knows.
A: The saber-tooth cats (like Smilodon) went extinct roughly 10,000 years ago, when pressures from a major climate change (including the loss of many of their prey, like mastodons); human hunting may have made their situation even worse.
A: During the Triassic period, the temperatures were warmer than they are now, the continents were jammed together into a supercontinent called Pangaea, much of the land was dry and desert-like, and the sea-levels were higher than they are now.
For a page on Thecodontosaurus, click here.
A: No, coprolite is any fossilzed dung.
A: Oddly enough, yes. I once saw a high-end stone floor tile store that sold beautiful coprolie tiles (to be used for tiling your floor, shower, or counter top).
A: There was major mass extinction 65 million years ago (at the end of the Mesozoic Era). The K-T extinction was probably caused by a large body (like an asteroid) hitting the Earth.
A: Paleontologists look at the ratio of the brain weight of the animal to the brain weight of a "typical" animal of the same body weight. For more information, click here.
A: Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas has Acrocanthosaurus and Pleurocoelus footprints.
A: No one knows. For more information on D, click here.
A: T. rex had long, sharp teeth and claws that would be excellent for both offense and defense. For more information on T. rex, click here.
A: For the earliest dinosaur finds, click here.
A: Replacment is when an organism's hard parts dissolve (after it dies) and they are replaced by minerals (like calcite, silica, pyrite, or iron).
A: No. Most dinosaur species went extinct in background extinctions that occurred throughout the Mesozoic Era. The last remaining dinosaurs (excluding the birds) died out during the K-T extinction, 65 million years ago.
A: That is a tricky question. First of all, Pterodactyls (and the other pterosaurs) were NOT dinosaurs, but were closely-related reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. Since most (but not all) paleontologists think that birds evolved from dinosaurs, birds are technically "flying dinosaurs," but most people generally take the term dinosaur to refer to the long-extinct, non-bird dinosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic era. So-excluding the birds, there are no flying dinosaurs.
A: Bronto (from the Greek word bronte) means thunder. For more dinosaur word roots, click here.
A: Any animal that walks on two legs is called a biped.
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