Diplodocus: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about diplodocus, one of the largest of the dinosaurs.

  • The huge diplodocus lived from about 154 to 150 million years ago in what is now the western US. The bones are among the most common of dinosaur fossils.
  • The diplodocus was often over 175 feet in length, longer than 4 school buses, making it one of the largest of all dinosaurs. It could weigh up to 20 tons and had huge, thick legs.

  • The tail of the species could be up to 45 feet long. It was probably able to swing it backwards and forwards to ward off predators, and it may have also been used for stability.
  • The jaw muscles of the diplodocus were very weak. It had no teeth in the sides of its jaws, although it had teeth in the front of its mouth.
  • Because it was so large, the diplodocus had to eat a lot of food every day. Although it ate mostly moss and leaves, it could reach branches up to 30 feet off the ground.
  • The creature’s neck and tail were so large that they took up most of the body. The tail consisted of 80 vertebrae, while the long neck had 15 vertebrae.
  • It is thought that diplodocus traveled in herds, moving to another place when food ran out.
  • The name diplodocus has nothing to do with the creature’s size. Rather, it means ‘double beam’ referring to the bones on the underside of the tail.
  • The wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated diplodocus skeletons to several museums. These include natural history museums in London, Paris, Berlin and Mexico City.
  • Early skeletons of diplodocus caused a lot of excitement because of their size. The skeleton in Pittsburgh’s Natural History Museum was named Dippy and became quite famous.

Triceratops: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the triceratops.

  • The triceratops lived between 68 and 65 million years ago in what is now North America.
  • The largest triceratops was almost 30 feet long and almost 10 feet in height. They could weigh up to 5 tons, about the same weight as a truck.

  • Its name translates as ‘three horned face’ although it really only had two large horns. When the species was first discovered, the creature was thought to be a large bison.
  • A triceratops had between 400 and 800 teeth, although it only used some of them at one time.
  • They were able to knock down taller plants with their horns.

Triceratops

  • The triceratops probably also used its horns to defend itself against larger dinosaurs, and the male triceratops may have used the large horns as part of a mating ritual to attract females.
  • Because so many bones have been found together, scientists believe the triceratops lived in herds.
  • It is thought that, when threatened, triceratops charged at its enemy, like today’s rhinoceros.
  • Museums and collectors are willing to pay a lot for the bones or skull of the dinosaur because they are so distinctive. In 2008, a wealthy collector paid $1 million for a triceratops fossil.
  • The triceratops is well known for the large size of its skull. It could reach a length of 7 feet (including the frill that pointed backwards).
  • Many triceratops bones have been found in Hell Creek, Montana. Deposits in the area suggest a meteor may have hit about 65 million years ago, leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • Triceratops is probably the most popular movie dinosaur after tyrannosaurus rex. It is also the official state dinosaur of Wyoming.

10 Brachiosaurus Facts

Here are ten facts about brachiosaurus.

  • The brachiosaurus is a long-necked dinosaur, and for many years was thought to be the largest. It lived about 150 million years ago.
  • The first brachiosaurus fossils were found in 1900 but were not shown in a museum until 1994. The species became even more well known after featuring in the movie Jurassic Park.

  • The brachiosaurus could grow to about 85 feet in length and weigh up to about 50 tons. It lived in what is now the state of Colorado, US.
  • The neck of the brachiosaurus alone was about 30 feet long. It may have been used to eat food from the tops of trees, or to suck up food from the ground, like a vacuum cleaner hose.

Brachiosaurus

  • In order to raise its huge neck fully off the ground, the brachiosaurus must have had a large, muscular heart. At one point, scientists believed it lived under the water.
  • The dinosaur’s name comes from the Greek words for ‘arm’ and ‘lizard’. It is so named because its front limbs are longer than its back limbs.
  • The huge brachiosaurus had to eat several hundred pounds of food every day to maintain its weight. It was a herbivore and lived on a diet of leaves, ferns and primitive seed plants.
  • Because it was so large and also cold blooded, the brachiosaurus was able to live a long life. Scientists estimate that the creatures may have lived to be 100.
  • An asteroid was named after the brachiosaurus, in 1991. It is one of several asteroids named after dinosaur species.
  • Brachiosaurus is one of the sauropod dinosaurs, along with diplodocus and apatosaurus.

10 Spinosaurus Facts

Here are ten facts about spinosaurus.

  • Spinosaurus lived in parts of what is now northern Africa, between 112 and 97 million years ago. It may well have been the largest of the carnivorous dinosaurs.

  • The first spinosaurus fossil was found in Egypt shortly before World War 1 and kept in a German museum. However, the remains were destroyed during a bombing raid during World War 2.
  • One of its most distinctive features of spinosaurus was the fin, or sail on its back. This may have been used to catch the sun’s rays and warm the creature’s blood.
  • The sail was supported by neural spines, which were often almost 6 feet long. These were thin bony rods which projected from the individual vertebrae.

Spinosaurus

  • The spinosaurus had an unusually long and narrow skull, adding to its distinctive appearance. It had short, but very sharp teeth.
  • Some scientists think the species may have walked on all fours at one time.
  • The spinosaurus was up to 60 feet long and could weigh up to 23 tonnes. It was probably capable of running at 15 mph, which was very fast for its size.
  • The spinosaurus featured prominently in the movie Jurassic Park 3. The species has also appeared on the stamps of several African countries, including the Gambia and Tanzania.
  • Some scientists believe that spinosaurus may have been a scavenger, using its alligator like mouth to feed on rotting flesh, where as others think it would have been a formidable predator.
  • Its long snout may have been used to catch fish.

10 Archaeopteryx Facts

Here are ten facts about archaeopteryx.

  • The archaeopteryx was much smaller than most people realize. It was only about the size of a large pigeon, measuring 20 inches in length and weighing a few pounds.

  • They lived in what is now Southern Germany, about 150 million years ago. Europe at that time was a lot closer to the equator and had a tropical climate.
  • The archaeopteryx is sometimes regarded as the first true bird, with feathers and a beak. However, it also had claws on each wing and sharp teeth, making it more like a dinosaur.
  • The feathers of the archaeopteryx were structurally unsuitable for flight, meaning that the creature probably glided for short distances, rather than actually flew. It probably lived in trees.
  • The first fossils of the bird were discovered in 1861, 2 years after Charles Darwin published his controversial theory of evolution. The discovery meant that Darwin’s theory gained more support.

Archaeopteryx

  • Since then, many fossils have been discovered in the same limestone beds in Germany. Well preserved flying reptiles and prehistoric fish have been found in these same limestone beds.
  • The archaeopteryx was probably extremely intelligent, with a large brain in comparison to its body size. Research also suggests that the species also had better than average hearing and muscle coordination.
  • Although archaeopteryx was warm blooded, it was probably fairly slow moving and sluggish. New born birds probably took around 3 years to grow to full size.
  • The archaeopteryx ate smaller creatures, such as bugs, mites, frogs and lizards. It may even have been able to catch smaller creatures in its wings.An 1897 play by the French writer, Alfred Jarry, featured an archaeopteryx as a main character. An asteroid belt was also named after the species, in 1991.

Stegosaurus: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the stegosaurus, a species of dinosaur.

  • The stegosaurus is the best known of the plated dinosaurs. It lived between 159 million and 144 million years ago in what is now North America.

  • The first stegosaurus bones were found in 1877. The creature was given the name stegosaurus, which means ‘roof lizard’ or ‘covered lizard’ – a reference to its bony plates.
  • This species of dinosaur could grow up to 30 feet in length and could weigh up to 2 tons. It also had 17 bony plates embedded in its back, the tallest of which was over 2 feet tall.
  • The large plates were probably a defensive feature. However, they may also have served to control the creature’s temperature and perhaps used as part of a courtship ritual.
  • Despite its huge size, the stegosaurus had a small brain, no larger than a dog’s. At one time it was thought the creature had a second brain located somewhere towards its rear.
  • The species fed on plant material, including moss, twigs, fruits and conifers. They also ate small rocks to help mash the vegetable matter and make it easier to digest.
Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus (Source)
  • The stegosaurus was probably able to stand on two legs. This would have allowed it to reach high tree branches up to 20 feet off the ground.
  • Because it moved slowly, the tail of the stegosaurus was probably also used for defense. It may have swung its spiked tail around to deter predators.
  • In 1982, the governor of Colorado signed a bill making the stegosaurus the official state dinosaur. Thousands of students wrote to offer their support.
  • The stegosaurus has featured in dozens of movies over the years. It can be seen in King Kong, Jurassic Park 2, and Planet Dinosaur, as well as in many comic strips.