Dinosaurs remain amongst the most mysterious species of animal ever, and by default, one of the most fascinating. It is this same fascination that has resulted in a detailed research into how dinosaurs came into being, how they lived, and how, consequently, they were wiped out of being. Along with detailed research have come several movies – the Jurassic Park series perhaps the biggest example – which have attempted at recreating and rethinking dinosaurs.
That being said, while you might consider the Jurassic Park movies to be your ultimate guide about dinosaurs, there are several facts about dinosaurs it overlooked or straight out misrepresented, such as the following ten:
10. The word “Dinosaur” is derived from the ancient Greek word which means “terrible lizard”.
It is the combination of deinos (meaning “fearfully great”) and sauros (“lizard”). The name was given to the reptiles in 1842 by Richard Owen; while he knew they were not lizards, he thought there is a possibility that they may have derived from them. However, recently, the term deinos has come to mean “bad” or “terrible”, translating it into something Owen had never intended.(source)
9. If we were to condense Earth’s history into 24 hours, the extinction of dinosaurs would be at 11:41 pm.
The first sign of life would appear at 4 am, land plants would make an appearance at 10:24 pm, and human history would clock in at 11:58:43 pm.(source)
8. The asteroid impact that led to dinosaurs’ extinction was powerful enough to send rocks from the Earth to Mars and even Europa. Consequently, if life were ever found on those planets, there is a possibility that they may have originated on our own planet.
The asteroid was about six miles across and created a crater about 110 miles wide, releasing energy equivalent to 100 trillion tons of TNT, 1 billion times the energy released by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. So strong an impact, in fact, that the debris is might easily have reached all the way to Jupiter’s moon Europa, located about 485 million miles from the sun.(source)
7. Dinosaurs were the first to use a “toilet”, about 240 million years ago.
Unearthed in Argentina, the first “communal” toilet revealed thousands of fossilised dinosaur dung clustered together, indicating that dinosaurs “shared collective dumping grounds”. The dung also provides valuable insight into the reptiles’ diet, disease, and the vegetation of the time.(source)
6. There is a limestone cliff in Bolivia with over 5,000 dinosaur footprints, many of them dating back to 68 million years.
Called Cal Orcko, this limestone cliff, located on the grounds of a cement company, was discovered in 1985 to have the largest and most diverse collection of dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous Era, and is fast becoming a major tourist site.(source)