Dinosaur basics for the clueless – My Messy Box

Dinosaur basics for the clueless

In the previous blog post, we shared with you how you can get your little one started on learning about dinosaurs

Don't know the difference between Therapods and Sauropods? Here are some brief facts to help you get up to speed so you can hold a proper dino-conversation with your little ones

1. Understand Time Periods

The geological time scale. Image by Jonathan R. Hendricks. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

The reign of dinosaurs stretches mainly across 3 time periods during the Mesozoic era: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, these 3 periods lasted close to 200 million years in total. Different dinosaurs lived in each time period, so a dinosaur that lived in the Jurassic (Stegosaurus) period will not come across one from the cretaceous (Tyrannosaurus), it is a common mistake many people make.

 

 

2. Classification

Dinosaurs are all about classifications, once you understand the basics of it, it is easy to identify various dinosaurs. There are 2 main types of Dinosauria: Saurischia (lizard-hipped) and Ornithischia (Bird-hipped).

Saurischia consists of

Theropods - They are all bi-pedal and mostly carnivorous, that's your famous Tyrannosaurus Rex, Carnotaurus etc.

and 

Sauropods - They are quadrupedal and are mostly herbivores with small heads, long necks and tails. Some examples are Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus etc.

 

Ornithischia consists of most of the other dinosaurs such as Triceratops, Stegosaurs, Ankylosaurs etc.

 

3. Sizes

Dinosaurs Size. Image by Zachi Evenor. This work is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes, knowing some of the smaller ones such as Compsognathus and the larger ones like Argentinosaurus can aid you in teaching your child about size comparisons.

 

 

4. Extinction

Dinosaurs are now extinct, and the reason for their extinction is speculated to be climate change caused by a large meteorite or volcanic activity. The exact cause is still being studied, but climate change seems to be the consistent result, so this can be a good lead into sharing environmental-friendly knowledge with your child.

In present day, the closest animal we have to a dinosaur is...........birds! They are evolved from small theropod, now that's a fun fact you can share with your child!

 

Further Reading: 

Britannica has a comprehensive section where you can learn all the basics about dinosaurs such as their behaviours and physiology, you can read up on it at this link