For Kids: Facts About Dinosaurs!

Learn about when dinosaurs lived, what they ate, how big they were, what they looked like, what happened to them and more!

Dinosaurs are fun to study! Scientists have discovered many things about these wonderful animals!


When did dinosaurs live?

Dinosaurs lived on the earth a very long time ago. They are all dead now. The last ones died about 65 million years ago. They were the biggest land animals to ever live upon the earth. When dinosaurs lived, there were no people yet.

Were there many kinds of dinosaurs?

There were hundreds of different kinds of dinosaurs. We know what dinosaurs looked like from their skeletons. Scientists have studied the bones and have learned many things.

Did all the kinds of dinosaurs live at the same time?

We know that all the different kinds of dinosaurs didn't live at the same time. One kind would die out, and another kind would develop.

The "Dinosaur Age" is divided into three time periods. They are the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The first dinosaurs lived near the end of the Triassic period.

One of the first dinosaurs was the Herrerasaurus. It lived about 230 million years ago. One of the last kinds was the Tyrannosaurus.

Did dinosaurs lay eggs?

Dinosaur babies were hatched from eggs. Some dinosaurs lived in families. The parents took care of and raised the children. There were very large dinosaurs and very small ones.

What did dinosaurs eat?

Some dinosaurs were vegetarians, eating only plants. Animals that eat only plants are called "herbivores." They were peaceful animals. One plant-eating species was the Barosaurus. It had a very long neck, so it could reach high into the tree tops and eat the tender young leaves. Even trees fifty feet tall were not safe from these huge animals. Most of the largest vegetarian dinosaurs died about 140 million years ago, at the end of the Jurassic period.

Soon after, smaller plant eating dinosaurs roamed the earth. One kind was the Iguanodon. It ate low-growing ferns and bushes. The vegetarian dinosaurs had cutting, puncturing and grinding teeth for eating plants.

Some of the larger dinosaurs had weak teeth, so they swallowed their plants without chewing them. They also had wide mouths for gathering leaves, and big cheeks to hold large mouthfuls of food. They had little claws on their toes, to rip down tough leaves.

Other dinosaurs were meat-eaters, or "carnivores." Some traveled in packs and hunted smaller dinosaurs. They had sharp, jagged teeth to tear and bite. They had sharp claws, with one large talon on each foot. The talon was as long as five inches, and was used for slicing into the flesh of the animal to be eaten.

One of the meat-eating dinosaurs was the Deinonychus. It was only about ten feet tall, but was a ruthless hunter.

Some of the meat-eaters probably hunted alone. Tyrannosaurus rex was the biggest carnivore ever to walk the earth. It was as tall as a two-story building, and had teeth up to seven inches long. Other carnivores ate their own kind, making them "cannibals."

Why aren't there dinosaurs now?

We do not know why the dinosaurs died. Some scientists believe they died when the earth's climate became very cold. Others believe they were killed by poisonous plants, or that other animals ate all the dinosaur eggs. Many scientists think perhaps a huge asteroid crashed into the earth and killed most living things. If that did happen, we know that some animals lived and continued to have babies. So, we still have many kinds of animals on the earth today, but our dinosaurs are gone forever.


The Wonderful Dinosaur!

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