Dinosaurs – 100 Interesting Facts, Q & As for Easy Learning of Kids

Q What are dinosaurs?
A Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. They were
reptiles, a group of animals that today includes lizards and
snakes, turtles and tortoises, crocodiles and alligators.
Q How many different types of dinosaur are there?
A Scientists have grouped dinosaurs into several sorts:
Q When did dinosaurs live ?
A Dinosaurs lived only during the Mesozoic Era or so-
called Age of Reptiles. The Mesozoic Era lasted from 250
million to 65 million years ago. No-one has ever seen a
dinosaur. The earliest of human ancestors did not appear on
Earth until 4 million years ago.
Q Were dinosaurs the first reptiles?
A Many other types of reptile lived before the dinosaurs.
The very earliest reptile that scientists have recognised was
found in Scotland in 1989 in rocks 335 million years old.
Q Where did the dinosaurs come from?
A Fossil evidence shows that a group of reptiles living
in Argentina about 230 million years ago developed a new
way of walking. Instead of walking with sprawling steps like
crocodiles, they began to walk with their legs more directly
under their bodies, like the dinosaurs. One reptile called
Lagosuchus may have been the ancestor of all the dinosaurs.

Q Did all the dinosaurs live at the same time?
A The dinosaurs lived throughout the Mesozoic Era.
Different sorts lived at different times.
Q How do you tell the difference between dinosaurs and
other fossil reptiles?
A Two important things make a dinosaur. First, they all
lived on the land. Second, they all walked on upright legs.
All other reptiles, whether fossil or living, had different
ways of moving.
Q What was the very first dinosaur?
A What is believed to be the world’s oldest dinosaur was
found in
Argentina in 1991. Named Eoraptor, it lived 228 million
years ago. It was over one metre long, perhaps the size of a
large dog. Other early dinosaurs have been found in South
America and even older ones may still be discovered.
Q Where did dinosaurs live?
A Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent,
even in Antarctica. But since dinosaurs first appeared on
Earth, the positions of the continents have changed a great
Q Did any dinosaurs live all over the world?
A No single type of dinosaur lived everywhere. Some
groups of dinosaurs were more common than others.
Plateosaurus belonged to a small early group called the
prosauropods and close relatives have been found in the
USA, Germany, South America and South Africa.

Q Where did Tyrannosaurus live?
A Tyrannosaurus rex is the one dinosaur everyone
knows. But very few-e-kamples of skeletons and most are
quite incomplete. They were all found in the USA, mainly in
Q Are dinosaurs found in every country?
A No, but certainly in very many. Famous finds have
been made in what is now USA, South America, Canada,
Tanzania, Mongolia, China, Australia and —-India, as well
as many European countries.
Q Were dinosaurs in the Antarctic cold?
A The Earth’s climate was much warmer during the
dinosaurs’ reign. The continent we now call Antarctica was
much nearer to the Equator. The dinosaurs would not have
seen any ice-caps! Reptiles cannot survive very cold
Q How could the same dinosaurs live on different
continents – did they swim across the ocean?
A For many millions of years, they would not have
needed to. The continents have been drifting apart slowly
ever since they were formed. Today, Brachiosaurus can be
found in two continents – Africa and North America. When
Brachiosaurus was alive it was still all one continent.

Q Did dinosaurs have homes?
A The largest dinosaurs may have had favourite resting
places on the edges of forests or beneath cliffs. The smaller
dinosaurs could perhaps nestle in more sheltered spots safe
from their enemies.
Q Did dinosaurs always live in one place?
A Some herbivorous dinosaurs may have migrated in
search of fresh grazing.
Q Which dinosaurs were found first?
A Early in the nineteenth century, some strange fossils
were found in southern England. They were recognised as
being from creatures entirely new to science. No-one really
knew what these creatures looked like.
Q When were the first dinosaurs found?
A Gideon Mantell, a doctor from Sussex, found the
teeth of Iguanodon in 1822. In 1824, William Buckland
described some bones which he called Megalosaurus, but
found some years before. After these discoveries, many
people began to hunt for the fossil bones of these new giant
Q Why didn’t anyone ever find them before?
A We know that dinosaur bones were found but no-one
realised that they had once belonged to huge extinct reptiles.
One bone was thought to be from a giant man!

Q Why do dinosaurs have such funny names?
A Each dinosaur is given a special name using words – –
made up from two ancient languages, Latin and Greek. The
names usually mean something which describes the creature
in some way. Megalosaurus means `big lizard’.The same
dinosaur names are used by scientists of all nationalities.
Q What did they think dinosaurs looked like when they
first found their bones?
A Gideon Mantell drew the first reconstruction of a
dinosaur in 1835. He first thought that Iguanodon must have
been like a giant lizard 21 metres long. We now know that it
is about 10 metres long. In 1854, several life-size models of
dinosaurs were built in the gardens of Crystal Palace,
London. Iguanodon is still there today, looking rather like a
Q When was the first complete skeleton of a dinosaur
found? A The first was also one of the most spectacular
finds ever. In 1878, almost 40 skeletons of Iguanodon were
found in a coal mine in Belgium.
Q Who gave dinosaurs their name?
A Dinosaurs means terrible lizard’. The name was
invented by a famous scientist called Richard Owen in 1842.
Q What was the first dinosaur to be found in North
A Huge numbers of dinosaurs have been found in North
America. The first was an early sauropod called
Anchisaurus, found near Manchester, Connecticut, USA.

Some fragments were found in 1818 and were thought to be
human! By 1855 it was decided that they must be reptilian.
Q What did dinosaurs look like?
A When complete skeletons are found, scientists can be
fairly sure that they can put the bones together in the right
order. But could we guess what you look like just from your
Q How do scientists know how to put dinosaur bones
A Scientists use their knowledge of other animals to put
dinosaur skeletons together. But for a long time after
dinosaurs were first discovered, many mistakes were made.
Apatosaurus even got the wrong head for nearly 100 years
because it was originally found without one!
Q Were dinosaurs fat or thin?
A It is difficult to tell if a dinosaur was fat or thin as
fossils are usually just the remains of their hard parts –
normally bones and teeth. Modern plant-eaters such as
elephants, hippos and cattle have big stomachs – and plant-
eating dinosaurs were probably just as fat. Smaller, more
agile dinosaurs needed to be slimmer to move quickly.
Scientists and artists have to use comparisons like this to get
an idea of how each dinosaur might have looked.
Q What was the smallest dinosaur?
A Perhaps the smallest dinosaur was Cornpsognathus.
Fully grown it was only 70 cm long and most of this was a
long tail.

Q What was dinosaur skin like?
A A few fossils of dinosaur skin have been found. It was
tough, dry, waterproof and made of small rounded scales.
Sometimes there is armour plating. What was the biggest
Q If no-one has seen a dinosaur, how can scientists be
sure that they get dinosaurs to look right?
A We can never be sure what dinosaurs looked like.
Scientists still argue about the way many dinosaurs might
have appeared. Even well-known dinosaurs like Iguanodon
can be made to look quite different when drawn in different
Q What was the Biggest Dinosaur?
A The largest complete skeleton known is of
Brachiosaurus – 12 metres tall, 23 metres long and weighing
70 tonnes. The longest dinosaur known is Diplodocus,
whose skeleton was up to 27 metres long. But some new
finds from Colorado and New Mexico might be from even
bigger dinosaurs. ‘ Supersaurus’, ‘Ultrasaurus’ and the largest
‘Seismosaurus’ were truly gigantic. Seismosaurus would
have been similar to Diplodocus but may have been over 36
metres long and weighed up to 130 tonnes! This would have
been the biggest animal ever to have lived.
Q What colour were dinosaurs?
A Even fossils of skin cannot tell us what colour it was.
Modern reptiles, especially the lizards, have a wonderful
variety of colours and patterns and dinosaurs may have been

just as colourful. Bright patches of colour might have been
important for the dinosaurs to recognise each other and to
display warning signs. The large plant-eating dinosaurs were
probably camouflaged. But would we have guessed at the
zebra’s stripes with only bones to study?
Q What did dinosaurs eat?
A Some dinosaurs ate only plants. Others ate only meat.
Plant-eating animals are called herbivores and meat-eating
animals are called carnivores.
Q Which dinosaurs ate only plants?
A Most dinosaurs ate plants. The huge sauropods, the
largest of all the dinosaurs, are the best known. They had
long bodies, tails and – necks, and small heads with special
teeth for grazing. With their long necks they could reach up
into trees.
Q How can you tell what a dinosaur ate?
A Fossils of the teeth and jaws are the most important
clues. Narrow, curved, sharp teeth belong to the carnivores
like Tyrannosaurus. Herbivorous dinosaurs have flatter,
grinding teeth like Camarasaurus, or sharp nipping teeth like
Iguanodon. Ceratopsians had beaks to help tear off leaves.
Q How did dinosaurs protect themselves from attack?
A Many dinosaurs were protected by armour. This
included hard plates, horns and spikes.

Q How did dinosaurs kill?
A Carnivorous dinosaurs had sharp claws as well as
sharp teeth: both would have made good weapons. Some
large carnivores, like Tyrannosaurus, may have used their
heavy skulls as battering rams.
Q Did dinosaurs eat each other?
A Some carnivores were fast and would have chased
other dinosaurs, perhaps even their own kind. They may
have hunted in packs like hyaenas. Small Coelophysis
skeletons were found in an adult Coelophysis. Large
carnivores, like Tyrannosaurus, were too heavy to chase prey
and perhaps fed off dead or slower moving dinosaurs.
Q How much did dinosaurs eat?
A Plant-eating dinosaurs ate most of the time to
get enough nourishment. Diplodocus ate about a tonne of
leaves a day! The meat-eating dinosaurs’ diet was much
richer so they did not need to eat huge quantities regularly.
Q What else was there for dinosaurs to eat?
A Small reptiles, birds, fish and insects were all food for
the dinosaurs.
Q Could dinosaurs run?
A The arrangement of the bones in the ankles and feet
of dinosaurs show that all except the sauropods and
stegosaurs could run, and footprints prove that they did!
Q How fast could dinosaurs run?
A A trackway made by Tyrannosaurus shows that it
could have outrun a charging rhinoceros, perhaps reaching

45 km per hour. The fastest of all was a small two-footed
dinosaur which left footprints showing that it could run at
nearly 70 km per hour: but we don’t know which dinosaur it
was! The great sauropod dinosaurs like Apatosaurus walked
at a speed of only 5-8 km per hour.
Q Did dinosaurs leave any other marks besides
A In only very rare cases, marks have been found where
dinosaur tails dragged along the ground. Generally though,
despite the enormous size of some tails, they were held up
above the ground, and not just when running.
Q Could dinosaurs hop, skip or jump?
A Once, some footprints were believed to have been
made by a hopping dinosaur but are now thought to have
been made by a turtle swimmin in shallow water. Footprints
have been found showing a dinosaur with a missing toe, and
another with a limp! Scientists believe that at least the active
theropods could jump, but there is no evidence from
footprints! Ninety-nine out of a hundred trackways show
walking dinosaurs.
Q Where are fossil footprints found?
A Throughout the world there are about a thousand
places where dinosaur tracks have been found. One of the
most famous is at the Davenport Ranch in Texas, in rocks
100 million years old. There, and in nearby places,
thousands of footprints have been found.

Q Are there any footprints of young dinosaurs?
A One of the Texas trackways contains the footprints
left by 23 sauropod dinosaurs which seem to have been
travelling as a herd. Many of them are quite small, probably
youngsters. The larger members of the herd travelled in front
and at the sides of the herd, the smaller ones were protected
in the centre.
Q How can footprints be fossilised?
A Dinosaurs crossing muddy lake or sea shores left
behind their footprints, just as animals do today. If the mud
dries in the hot sun, the next tide or flood washes more mud
into the imprints which are then preserved.
Q Which dinosaurs could run the fastest?
A The dinosaurs which could run the fastest had two
long hind legs, and were small and slim. Hypsilophodon
from England and Lesothosaurus from southern Africa were
both herbivores that could run fast.
Q Could dinosaurs swim?
A Like any land-living animals today – elephants,
hippopotamuses and buffaloes – dinosaurs enjoyed a good
paddle and swim.
Q Were any dinosaurs amphibious?
A This was an old idea. It was once thought that the
heaviest dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus were
too large to support their own weight on land, and therefore
had to live in water. Scientists have now calculated that their

large leg bones were strong enough to support them out of
the water.
Q If the Loch Ness monster really does exist, wouldn’t it
be a swimming dinosaur?
A If Nessie ever was found and proved to be a reptile,
she would almost certainly turn out to be a plesiosaur,
ichthyosaur or pliosaur. These were all marine reptiles and
were not dinosaurs, which only lived on land.
Q Did any dinosaurs live permanently in the water?
A Probably not but ideas change. The long necks of
dinosaurs like Mamenchisaurus were once thought to be
useful for breathing in deep water. Unfortunately, water
pressure at those depths – 10 metres or more – would not
have allowed the lungs to work.
Q Did the swimming reptiles live at the same time as the
A Throughout the reign of the dinosaurs, the
ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs were very common in the seas
and oceans of the world. There were many types, including
the pliosaurs and elasmosaurs. The largest of all was an
Australian pliosaur called Kronosaurus which grew as large
as 13 metres.
Q Could dinosaurs float?
A Despite the enormous size of some, there is no reason
to suppose that any dinosaur would sink. One set of
brontosaur footprints shows only impressions from the front

feet! It seems that the dinosaur was floating in a lake and
simply kicked itself along with its front feet.
Q Could dinosaurs have fed under water?
A Perhaps, for water plants would be good food.
Dinosaurs with weak teeth like the ankylosaurs may have
grazed rather like hippos or like ducks in shallow water. The
long hollow crest of Parasaurolophus was once thought to be
a sort of snorkel used while feeding below the water.
Q Did any dinosaurs have flippers to help them swim?
A There may be one dinosaur that did. One species of
Cornpsognathus found in Germany seems to have had
flipper-like front legs. No-one is sure, but perhaps they
allowed it to swim extra quickly to catch prey or escape
from its own hunters.
Q Could dinosaurs fly?
A Some small dinosaurs have skeletons almost identical
to Archaeopteryx-the oldest known bird. The dinosaur
ancestors of the birds must have developed the ability to fly
or glide short distances.
Q How well could Archaeopteryx fly?
A Probably not very well. Compared to modern birds its
muscles were weak and it was much heavier. But it could
have flapped its 7 wings quite well and its bony, feathered
tail would have made a good rudder to help it manoeuvre on
long glides through the air.

Q How did dinosaurs get feathers?
Reptile scales like those on snakes and lizards may have
become ‘feathery’ to help keep the smaller dinosaurs warm.
Only later did they also prove useful for flying.
Q How did the dinosaurs learn to fly?
A Perhaps like many living animals (including frogs,
squirrels and monkeys), small, feathered dinosaurs began to
jump, glide and parachute from tree to tree, chasing prey or
escaping from danger.
Q How could giants like dinosaurs have flown? A
Tyrannosaurus would never have got airborne! Some
carnivorous dinosaurs though, like Compsognathus and
Ornitholestes, were very small, lightly built with hollow
bones and could run quickly. Perhaps they chased small
lizards and insects and began to take to the air.
Q Are there any other fossil birds?
A Fossils of birds are very rare: their light hollow bones
do not fossilise well. Examples that have been found include
birds similar to large terns, ostriches, eagles and the Dodo.
Q Isn’t a Pteranodon a flying dinosaur?
A No. Although they lived on Earth at the same time as
the dinosaurs, Pteranodons belong to a group of flying
reptiles, called pterosaurs.
Q How did pterosaurs learn to fly before the dinosaurs?
A The skeletons of the earliest known flying reptiles are
similar to ancient carnivorous reptiles alive before the

dinosaurs. Their skeletons were light and perhaps they too,
like the later feathered dinosaurs, climbed trees and learnt to
Q Did dinosaurs have babies
A A11 living creatures reproduce and dinosaurs were no
exception. It is believed that, like almost all living reptiles,
dinosaurs laid eggs.
Q Have any fossil dinosaur eggs ever been found?
A Yes. The first ones found were discovered in the Gobi
desert of Mongolia in 1921. They were neatly arranged in
nests and were discovered with skeletons of the small horned
dinosaur, Protoceratops.
Q Did all dinosaurs lay eggs?
A Fossil eggs have been found with sauropods,
ceratopsians and a variety of other dinosaurs. However, they
are very rare and the majority of dinosaurs have left no fossil
eggs. But most scientists assume that all dinosaurs did lay
Q What do dinosaur eggs look like?
A Unlike most modern reptiles, dinosaurs seem to have
laid eggs with hard shells. Eggs that have been found whole
are usually oval-shaped, blunt at one end with a wrinkled
surface. In the case of Protoceratops, they were about 20 cm
long and laid in nests up to 30 or more at a time. Other eggs
are usually between 120 and 170 mm long (as big as an
ostrich egg).

Q Were dinosaurs good parents?
A Even the fiercest alligator living today is a very caring
parent, feeding and protecting its tiny young. The remains of
Maiasaura dinochicks were found in Montana. Though their
teeth show wear from eating, they were still in their nests.
They must have been fed by their parents until they grew old
enough to leave home.
Q How did young dinosaurs tell their mothers from their
A Scientists can only guess whether a fossilised
dinosaur is male or female. In a few examples where many
skeletons have been found together, some are bigger than
others – perhaps the males. We can be sure that baby
dinosaurs knew the difference.
Q Are there any fossils of baby dinosaurs?
A The smallest dinosaur skeleton is only 20 cm long –
about the size of a blackbird. It has been called Mussaurus
(mouse-lizard) but it is in fact a very young dinochick of a
yet-unknown dinosaur. Other dinosaur babies found include
Protoceratops, Maiasaura, Psittacosaurus and Coelophysis.
Q Did the gigantic sauropods lay gigantic eggs?
A The largest eggs found weighed 7 kg in weight – not
much compared to 20 tonne sauropods!
Q Where dinosaurs stupid
A The original discoverers of Apatosaurus and
Diplodocus were surprised at the small size of the heads
compared to the bodies of the dinosaurs. They thought that

with such tiny brains, the dinosaurs must have had little
intelligence Today, we are not so sure.
Q Which was the cleverest dinosaur?
A Size for size, Stenonychosaurus must have been the
brightest dinosaur. Its brain is similar in proportion to birds
and even some mammals, and much bigger than crocodiles.
Q Does a large brain mean that a dinosaur was clever?
A Brains control behaviour and the senses, as well as
cleverness. The small carnivorous dinosaurs had large brains
compared to the size of their bodies. As a result they had
excellent vision, could move quickly and were good at
learning how to hunt and catch their prey.
Q How big were dinosaur brains?
A For reptiles, most dinosaurs seem to have had quite
large brains. The smaller, faster carnivores had the largest
brains, though the largest of all was perhaps Tyrannosaurus.
The stegosaurs had perhaps the smallest brains – about the
size of a walnut!
Q How do you measure the brain of a dinosaur?
A Sometimes, when mud and sand surrounded a
dinosaur skull after death, it filled the brain cavity too. The
result – a fossil brain! Different areas of the brain can be seen
as well as the bony passages for nerves and blood vessels.

Q Which dinosaurs were the least intelligent?
A The sauropods score lowest in the brain stakes. But
however small their brains were, they were obviously good
enough for them to survive as a group for 150 million years.
Q Do living reptiles have large brains?
A On average, crocodile and alligator brains are
approximately the same size as similar sized dinosaurs. The
brains of living mammals are ten times the size of similar
sized living reptiles.
Q Did the enormous sauropods have enormous brains?
A Not necessarily so. Brains do not automatically get
bigger in proportion to bodies. It depends what dinosaurs
did. The more active the dinosaur, the larger the brain
needed to be to produce quicker reactions.
Q How did their bodies work?
A The flesh and organs of all creatures rot away after
death. To understand how the bodies of dinosaurs worked,
scientists have to build up their ideas on very little evidence
Q What did dinosaur blood look like?
A Like modern animals, dinosaurs needed blood to
carry oxygen, heat and food around their bodies. Their blood
was probably much the same as our own. To pump this
blood, the dinosaurs needed hearts. Those of the biggest
dinosaurs must have been enormous to pump blood to heads
as high as 25 metres above the ground.

Q Which dinosaurs were the least intelligent?
A The sauropods score lowest in the brain stakes. But
however small their brains were, they were obviously good
enough for them to survive as a group for 150 million years.
Q Do living reptiles have large brains?
A On average, crocodile and alligator brains are
approximately the same size as similar sized dinosaurs. The
brains of living mammals are ten times the size of similar
sized living reptiles.
Q Did the enormous sauropods have enormous brains?
A Not necessarily so. Brains do not automatically get
bigger in proportion to bodies. It depends what dinosaurs
did. The more active the dinosaur, the larger the brain
needed to be to produce quicker reactions.
Q How did their bodies work?
A The flesh and organs of all creatures rot away after
death. To understand how the bodies of dinosaurs worked,
scientists have to build up their ideas on very little evidence
Q What did dinosaur blood look like?
A Like modern animals, dinosaurs needed blood to
carry oxygen, heat and food around their bodies. Their blood
was probably much the same as our own. To pump this
blood, the dinosaurs needed hearts. Those of the biggest
dinosaurs must have been enormous to pump blood to heads
as high as 25 metres above the ground.

Q How did dinosaurs smell?
A Dinosaurs had holes in their skulls I-1- for the nostrils
to allow for breathing. They probably used them for smelling
too. Some dinosaurs like Camarasaurus had very large
nostrils on top of the head. Scientists once thought that these
helped the dinosaurs to breathe underwater.
Q What colour were dinosaurs’ eyes?
A We will never know the answer, but the eyes of living
reptiles are usually bright and yellow. They are not
surrounded by white like our own. Scientists can tell
from dinosaur skulls that most had large eyes and so could
probably see very well.
Q How do you find a dinosaur?
A Fossils are found in rocks formed from mud and sand
left by water or wind. They are called sedimentary rocks.
Identifying the right rocks of the right age is a good start to
finding dinosaurs.
Q How do dinosaurs turn into fossils?
A Dead dinosaur washed into river.
Skeleton buried in mud and sand.
Mud and sand turn into rock, bones into fossils.
Millions of years later erosion reveals the fossils.
Q How do they know if the rocks are old enough to
contain dinosaur fossils?
A All sorts of plants and animals lived with the
dinosaurs and their fossils are much more common: ferns,

snails, freshwater fish, shellfish and even insects.
Recognising the right type of rocks with the right type of
fossils shows that dinosaurs might be around.
Q How do scientists know where to look for a dinosaur?
A The most common fossils are found in rocks formed
under water, especially the seas or oceans. Dinosaurs only
lived on the land and so are not so common. They are found
in rocks that formed near rivers, lakes, seashores and also
Q Where do you start to dig?
A Fossils are usually found where the rocks can be seen

  • quarries, cliffs, or mountains. Fossil hunters then hunt for
    odd bones sticking out of the rock, made visible by wind and
    rain. Baryonyx was discovered by a man who found only a
    single claw in a busy quarry. Most of the skeleton was found
    later by expert excavation.
    Q How do you dig up a dinosaur?
    A Excavating a dinosaur is not an easy job! After
    discovery, several tons of rock might need to be moved by
    diggers, bulldozers and pneumatic drills. Hammers and
    chisels might be used for more careful work before a bone
    can be removed.
    Q What do you do with a dinosaur once it has been dug
    A Bones may be cracked and only partly visible in their
    enclosing rock. They are taken to laboratories where the rock
    is carefully removed with special tools and cracks are

constantly repaired. It may be years before all the bones are
prepared. Only if the bones are in very good condition might
they be joined to make a skeleton.
Q Are there any dinosaurs left to find?
A Though it is very rare to find a completely new
dinosaur, Baryonyx is a dinosaur unlike any other, and it was
found in 1982. In Canada, millions of dinosaur bones can be
seen scattered in Dinosaur Provincial Park: three or four
complete skeletons are found each year.
Q How do you become expert?
A The study of fossils is called palaeontology (‘old-life
study’). Many years of learning are needed to become a
palaeontologist, but there are lots of ways to become
interested in dinosaurs.
Q What do you have to study at school to become a
dinosaur expert?
A All fossils are the remains of once living creatures so
biology is important. Mathematics and English will always
be useful and later, physics and chemistry.
Q Can you learn about dinosaurs at university?
A At university you can learn about different aspects of
geology – rocks, minerals and fossils, and the processes that
have made and shaped the Earth. You could also study
zoology and learn about living animals before specialising in
dinosaur studies.

Q How can I find dinosaur fossils?
A It helps if you live in an area where dinosaur fossils
are known to occur abut you would still have to be very lu
ky. The commonest dinosaur finds are pro ably teeth. Start
by making a collection of other fossils to get experience.
Leaflets and books may be found in libraries, shops and
Q What do I need to look for fossils?
A A hammer and chisel are useful to split open rocks.
Protective clothing is needed too – gloves for hammering,
goggles to guard your eyes and a hard hat to protect your
head, especially near cliffs.
Q What do I do if I find a fossil?
A Remove the fossil carefully and wrap it in kitchen roll
or toilet tissue. Make a note of where and when you found it.
At home, clean away loose dirt with a dry brush. If this does
not work, try brushing with a little water. When the fossil is
dry write a number on it for use in a catalogue of your finds.
Store your fossil safely by making a tissue ‘nest’ for it in a
box or drawer.
Q What tips are there for collecting fossils?
A Never collect without the permission of the
landowner. Never collect from cliffs or quarry walls. It is
much safer to work on fallen blocks or waste tips. Do not be
greedy – leave some fossils for others to find.
Replace your poorer fossils when you find better examples.

Q Can I get any help?
A Visit your local museum and ask if there is a
geologist on the staff. If you have collected fossils, someone
may help you to identify them. You may also be able to find
out if there is a local geological society. Society members
will include many enthusiastic collectors. Find out from
them about the latest information on dinosaurs.
Q What happened to dinosaurs?
A There are no dinosaurs alive today. One of the great
mysteries in the history of life on Earth is why such a
successful group of animals should become extinct.
Q When did the dinosaurs become extinct?
A Rocks about 70 million years old, from all over the
world, contain dinosaur fossils. Amazingly, only 5 or 6
million years later, not a single dinosaur had survived.
Q What was the last type of dinosaur to live?
A It is not always easy to tell whether rocks in one place
on Earth are a little bit younger or older than rocks in other
places. So, we are not sure if some dinosaurs outlived others
thousands of miles away. Certainly the last dinosaur groups
included Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. A bone-head
dinosaur (pachycephalosaur) called Stygimoloch from
Montana, USA may have been the very last to survive -but
only a few pieces of broken skull have been found.

Q What could have caused the dinosaurs to die out?
A Possible explanations for dinosaur extinction:
Boredom -after 150
million years.
Only male or female
dinosaurs left.
Too much
Constipation from the
new flowering plants.
Eggs eaten by the
Disease from a new
Competition from the
Climate getting colder.
Brains got smaller.
Q What else became extinct with the dinosaurs?
A All the large marine reptiles – the mosasaurs and
plesiosaurs, as well as the flying reptiles, disappeared. Also
some types… of shellfish, including the ammonites and
belemnites, and huge numbers of microscopic marine plants
Q What survived the great extinction?
A The majority of plants and animals survived. These
included the other reptiles such as snakes, lizards, crocodiles and
turtles. Birds and the early mammals survived too, together with
shellfish, corals, starfish, insects and land plants.
Q What do scientists think is the real reason dinosaurs died
A Most scientists now agree that two things caused the death
of the dinosaurs and many other creatures. First, the climate had
been gradually cooling down. Second, around 64 million years
ago, something catastrophic happened. Some people believe a
huge meteriorite struck the Earth.

Q How could a meteorite do so much damage?
A A large meteorite hitting the Earth would throw up a
gigantic cloud of dust. This would cut out sunlight for months,
perhaps years, causing plants and animals to die. Some, like the
dinosaurs, never recovered.
Q Is it possible that dinosaurs are alive somewhere on Earth?
A Sadly, though there are occasional stories and legends, no
one seriously believes that even a small dinosaur could have
remained undetected. But dinosaur descendents are still all around
us: the birds.

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