So there are a lot of misconceptions about dinosaurs floating around. From humans doing battle with them to Brontosaurus not really existing, join us as we explore 8 lies about dinosaurs that you need to stop believing.
Humans Lived Alongside Dinosaurs
So I thought this wasn’t a common misconception but apparently it is, so stop believing this lie about dinosaurs immediately. Despite the common image of primitive cave men battling it out with dinosaurs there is no possible way humans ever encountered dinosaurs. With the exception of birds, dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago while fossils of our earliest human ancestors date back a mere 6 million years ago.
Brontosaurus Never Existed, sort of.
This one is fascinating. Everyone can remember that life crushing moment when they found out that Brontosaurus never existed. Fear not children, because old mate ‘Thunder Lizard’ is back!
The mix up began back in 1879 when famed Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh mistakenly categorised some Apatosaurus bones or so we thought.
For the better part of the 20th century poor Brontosaurus faced a second extinction as the majority of paleontologists favoured Apatosaurus as the correct species. However, several notable studies, one from Oxford University and New University of Lisbon in Portugal, have published compelling evidence that the ‘Thunder Lizard’ should roam the textbooks once again.
Lead study author Emanuel Tschopp says that the most notable difference between Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus are the higher and less wide neck bones. The scientists conclude that there are three species of Brontosaurus: Brontosaurus Excelsus, the first type discovered as well as B. parvus and B. yahnahpin.
Get the Mountain Dew, it’s celebratin’ time!
Mammals Only Appeared After Dinosaurs Went Extinct
Another widely held fallacy. Mammals and dinosaurs co-existed for some 150 million years. Admittedly though, mammals in the Mesozoic period were tiny, little furry creatures often too small to be disturbed by their giant dinosaur neighbours. They occupied tiny niches, feasting on insects and small reptiles. Then once the dinosaurs became extinct it opened up the playing field allowing mammals to diversify and evolve much larger.
Dinosaurs Are Evolutionary Failures
This is one of those lies about dinosaurs that is really persistent. Just because they no longer exist doesn’t mean they failed as a species. On the contrary they roamed the earth for an incredible 150 million years, that’s 750 times longer than the period modern humans have existed.
All Prehistoric Reptiles Were Dinosaurs
This might come as a surprise but there were no flying dinosaurs nor were there any that swam. Dinosaurs only represent about 10% of the 40 types of reptiles that existed during the Mesozoic period. There were plenty of aquatic reptiles, including plesiosaurs and Attenborosaurus named after famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
Non-avian, flying reptiles belong to a group called Pterosaurs which include the famous pterodactylus and Quetzalcoatlus the largest known flying animal of all time.
They Were Cold Blooded
For many years scientists believed dinosaurs to be cold blooded like reptiles, then some research suggested that they many have been warm blooded like mammals. However, recent studies suggest that dinosaurs may have been mesotherms, which means they couldn’t control their temperature as well as mammals but weren’t completely cold-blooded like reptiles – they were a hybrid of the two.
Stegosaurus Battled it Out with T-Rex
Despite the inner-child in us all wanting this to be true sadly it just isn’t. Not all dinosaurs existed at the same time. Throughout the Mesozoic era many species of dinosaur came and went. In fact, the period of time between Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus is greater than the time between Tyrannosaurus and your parents!
An Asteroid Was the Only Reason Dinosaurs Went Extinct
This one’s still up for debate. A deep sea drill off the coast of Florida a number of years ago gave strong evidence that an asteroid did hit earth at the end of the Cretaceous period. This would have had catastrophic consequences around the world. All dinosaurs in the vicinity of the impact zone most likely died immediately, as there is no evidence that non-avian dinosaurs survived past this time period. Massive dust clouds would have formed possibly cooling the earth for months or even years. Tsunamis would have caused havoc along major coastlines and acid rain may have poured down. However, many paleontologists believe that dinosaur numbers were already dwindling before the asteroid hit. Some scientists speculate that falling sea levels and volcanic eruptions took their toll on the dinosaur population and it was the asteroid that finally sealed their fate.