Dinosaur Facts



  • Dinosaurs were reptiles that dominated life on land from about 220 million to 65 million years ago, when all of them mysteriously became extinct.
  • Although modern reptiles walk with bent legs splayed out, dinosaurs had straight legs under their bodies – this meant they could run fast or grow heavy.
  • Some dinosaurs ran on their back two legs, as birds do. Others had four sturdy legs like an elephant’s.
  • Dinosaurs are split into two groups according to their hipbones – saurischians had reptile-like hips and ornithischians had bird-like hips.
  • Saurischians were either swift, two-legged predators called theropods, or hefty four-legged herbivores called sauropods.
  • Theropods had acute eyesight, fearsome claws and sharp teeth. They included Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the biggest hunting animals to ever live on land – over 15 m long, 5 m tall and weighing more than 7 tonnes.
  • Sauropods had massive bodies, long tails, and long, snake-like necks.
  • The sauropod Brachiosaurus was over 23 m long, weighed 80 tonnes and towered 12 m into the air. It was one of the biggest creatures ever to live on land.
  • Most dinosaurs are known from fossilized bones, but fossilized eggs, footprints and droppings have also been found. In 1913, mummified hadrosaur skin was found.
  • Some scientists think the dinosaurs died out after a huge meteor struck Earth off Mexico, creating a cloud that blocked the sun’s light and heat.