10 Astounding Facts about Dinosaurs

by Unbelievable Facts4 years ago

6 The Pachycephalosaurus’ skull is 10 inches thick or about 250 millimeters. Just to compare, the human skull is about 6.5 to 7.1 millimeters thick.

Pachycephalosaurus
Skull of Pachycephalosaurus at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Image Credit: Ballista via Wikipedia

Pachycephalosaurus is one species of dinosaur whose anatomy is not properly known. Only remains of its skull have been discovered and boy, did they surprise researchers! The thing is, Pachycephalosaurus have the thickest skull known to mankind.

They have a dome-shaped structure atop their skull that provides a thickness of 10 inches. This dense bony structure works as a cushion to protect the tiny brain of the Pachycephalosaurus. They also have bony spikes on their skull, just at the end of the dome-shaped structure.

Pachycephalosauria jmallon
Pachycephalosauria jmallon. Image Credit: Jordan Mallon via Wikipedia

The skull also possessed large, rounded sockets for eyes facing forwards. This suggests that the dinosaur had good vision and might also have been capable of binocular vision. (1, 2)

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7 Velociraptors were the size of a modern turkey.

Velociraptor mongoliensis
Velociraptor mongoliensis. Image Credit: Matt Martyniuk via Wikipedia

The Jurassic Park movies have given a very wrong impression of dinosaurs. They were not all big, giant creatures. Some of them were small, like the Velociraptors. Velociraptors are one of the most familiar dinosaur species to have been portrayed in the Jurassic Park movies.

In reality, they were not as big as shown in the movies. They were roughly the size of a modern-day turkey as opposed to the seven-feet-tall reptiles portrayed in the movies. (source)

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8 The largest dinosaur was Argentinosaurus with a height of 130 ft.

Argentinosaurus
Argentinosaurus huinculensis, a titanosaur from the Middle Cretaceous of Argentina. Image Credit: Nobu Tamura via Wikipedia

Many of us are unaware of the Argentinosaurus, a genus of the titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs. They were first discovered in Argentina, hence the name. The first fossils of the Argentinosaurus were discovered in 1987 by a rancher.

He mistook the large leg for a giant piece of wood! A vertebra belonging to the Argentinosaurus was also discovered, and it was the size of a man. Many other bones were uncovered which helped scientists to reconstruct the body of this large beast.

A comparison between Argentinosaurus and human height
A comparison between Argentinosaurus and human height. Image Credit: Slate Weasel via Wikipedia

An early reconstruction by Gregory S. Paul determined the height of an Argentinosaurus to be around 30–35 meters. They were as tall as a three-story building! (source)

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9 The closest relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex is a chicken.

The closest relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex is chicken
The closest relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex is chicken. Image Credit: tony241969 via Pixabay, Skitterphoto via Pexels

This is equally surprising and funny! It’s hard to believe chickens being genetically linked to dinosaurs. According to a research published in Science, chickens and ostriches are the closest living relatives of  Tyrannosaurus rex. Although it has been suspected for years that birds are in some way related to dinosaurs, this is the first study to have produced molecular evidence.

Scientists Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer are behind this study. They discovered some unfossilized material located within a Tyrannosaurus rex bone. The discovery was sheer luck. The scientists couldn’t find a helicopter large enough to transport the bone.

So they decided to break it in half. It was then that their eyes caught sight of the fossilized material. They were not able to get any DNA but were able to retrieve molecules of collagen. They compared this with 21 living organisms, including humans, and the most similar ones that popped up were chickens and ostriches. (source

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10 The brain of Stegosaurus was the size of a lime.

Stegosaurus had tiny brain
Stegosaurus had tiny brain. Image Credit: Pixabay

The size of one’s brain is not directly proportional to the size of one’s body. This can be seen in the case of Stegosaurus. Dinosaurs have been traditionally depicted as possessing low intelligence. Their brains were, in fact, smaller than similarly sized mammals.

In mammals, the majority of space in the skull is occupied by brain matter. But in the case of dinosaurs, it was the jaw structure, with powerful biting muscles, that occupied majority of the skull.

A system, known as the Encephalisation Quotient (EQ) was developed by Harry Jerison, a paleontologist, to understand the brain capacity of a dinosaur. Most dinosaurs have similar intelligence as reptiles.

But the herbivores, such as the armored ankylosaurs, giant sauropods, and stegosaurs have the lowest intelligence. It is often said the brain of a Stegosaurus was the size of a walnut! To be fair, it was not the size of a walnut but more like a lime. Even then, it’s quite smaller considering they grow up to nine meters in length. (source)

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