Dinosaurs are just awesome. You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it. Knowledge about dinosaurs and the prehistoric world they lived in has been advancing at an incredible rate, with new discoveries seeming to pop up all the time. If you're itching to learn more about these amazing ancient animals, look no further: Safari Ltd has you covered with a blog dedicated to everything dinosaur, with all of our dino-centric resources conveniently located in once place.
Dinosaurs were once thought to be large, lumbering lizard-like reptiles, cold-blooded and scaly, with their tails dragging along the ground. We know now that this is not the case - dinosaurs were warm-blooded, active creatures that walked around with their tails elevated, and many were anything but slow and lumbering. And though many dinosaurs were scaly, others had feathers. In fact, probably the most important finding in recent paleo history is that birds are actually dinosaurs. Not just descended from dinosaurs - birds are for real, 100% dinos! We talk a bit more about the dino-bird connection in this Dinosaur Day blog, so check it out to learn even more:
But how do we know what dinosaurs actually looked like, when all we have left are their fossil remains? A good question! We may never know exactly what they looked like, but by examining their bones, skin impressions, and other fossilized dino evidence, scientists can create a clearer picture of how these creatures looked like in life. We can even tell what color some dinosaurs were! You can find more detail about how paleontologists make these connections in this blog post:
But what exactly separated dinosaurs from the other creatures roaming the Earth so many millions of years ago? There was no shortage of prehistoric reptiles living during the time of the dinosaurs, so what makes them so unique? Pterosaurs flew in the skies, Pliosaurs and Mosasaurs swam in the seas, but these reptiles aren't considered dinosaurs, for a variety of reasons. Even Dimetrodon, the popular sail-backed synapsid often seen in dinosaur children's books, wasn't an actual dino. But don't worry - you can learn for yourself what is and is not a dinosaur. Check out this blog to find out more:
Even with so many non-dinosaur creatures running around in the Mesozoic Era (the time when dinosaurs lived), there was still no shortage of dinosaurs - over 700 species of dino have been discovered, and there are likely thousands more waiting to be unearthed. These dinosaurs took on many shapes and sizes, from the gigantic long-necked Sauropods to the tank-like Thyreophorans. Horned and frilled Ceratopsians, peaceful duck-billed Hadrosaurs, meat-eating Theropods - there are so many different groups of dinosaurs, keeping track of them all can be confusing. Thankfully, we've got some detailed rundowns of these types, so why not start with Ceratopsians?
The horned Ceratopsians could grow quite large, but they were nowhere near the size of Sauropods. These huge, long-necked plant-eaters were some of the largest animals that ever walked the planet, and some could even grow well over 100 feet long! While Sauropods were well known for their size, their necks, their small heads and their tree trunk-like legs, they weren't all the same. Some had tail clubs, others had long spines on their neck. We delve deeper into the world of these gigantic dinos in our Sauropod blog:
Some of the most popular dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor, were Theropods - meat-eating, two legged dinosaurs with sharp teeth and claws. However, they weren't all scary and ferocious, and some were quite small, like the bird-like Archaeopteryx. Many Theropods were feathered, and one group would survive the extinction that wiped out the rest of the dinosaurs and evolve into birds! To learn even more about Theropods, check out our blog post:
Theropods preyed on other dinosaurs, but it wasn't always easy. Sauropods were largely protected by their size, and Ceratopsians had their frill shields and horns. Another group, however, went even further, developing armor-like scales, spikes and tail clubs for defends. The Thyreophorans, made up of Stegosaurs and Ankylosaurs, were the tanks of the dinosaur world. You can learn more about these dino-tanks in our Thyreophoran blog:
If Stegosaurs and Ankylosaurs were the tanks of the dino-world, then Hadrosaurs were the cows. These duck-billed dinosaurs moved in large herds, grazing on plants like modern day bison. Though some had large, elaborate head crests and others had flat heads, they all shared the same duck-like mouths. For more info about Hadrosaurs, check out this duck-billed dino blog:
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of these popular prehistoric creatures! You can find all of our dinosaur figures - as well as other fascinating ancient animals - in our Wild Safari Prehistoric World Collection!