When you’re talking about dinosaurs it’s very easy to fall into the trap of making false claims or assertions. That’s because new discoveries and scientific advances make what we know about these awesome creatures change all the time. For example, the Crystal Palace dinosaur sculpture park was unveiled to the public in 1854. Pride of place was an Iguanodon with a spike on its nose. That’s because Dr Mantell, who discovered the first skeleton in 1822, wasn’t sure where the small horn he found should go, so he popped it there. Later discoveries uncovered the fact that it actually belonged on the Iguanodon’s foot – it had a cone-shaped thumb spike it used for defence.
Try our short, fun quiz to test your knowledge of what is FACT and what is FICTION:
1. Were dinosaurs covered in
A) Scales like a reptile
B) Feathers like a bird
C) Fur like a mammal
2. What sort of noise did dinosaurs make?
B) Sing like a bird
C) A noise like a trumpet
3. You were safe from attack by a T Rex if you stood still in front of it, as it could only sense movement (thank you Jurassic Park)
C) False and he could also smell you
4. Why did dinosaurs become extinct?
A) A giant asteroid striking the Earth
B) Volcanic activity
C) Climate change leading to rising ocean levels
1. The answer is probably B – feathers like a bird.
Scientists have now discovered that many smaller dinosaurs were covered in feathers, like their ancestors, birds. This is particularly true of small and medium-sized, meat eating dinosaurs which might have needed them to keep warm. Larger species such as the T Rex would probably have lost their fluffy feathers by the time they reached adulthood. You can see the same thing in elephants today – they would overheat if they were covered in fur so they don’t have any, apart from eyelashes.
Image taken from News Discovery website
2. The answer is – scientists aren’t completely sure but C is closest to the truth. Because birds are a direct descendant of dinosaurs it’s possible that they tweeted and warbled but it’s difficult to imagine a creature the size of a T Rex making small noises like that (movies always have them letting rip with an almighty ROAR!) Scientists know that a family of dinosaurs known as hadrosaurs had modified nasal bones on top of their heads. These would have made a parping noise rather like a trumpet.
3. The answer is, of course, C. The T Rex had huge, front-facing eyes set in a narrow skull. This means that they would have had overlapping fields of vision which would have given them good depth perception and excellent eye sight. They also had a very good sense of smell so I’m afraid you’d have been a goner. Unless you could run really fast of course. T Rex, despite its large size could manage up to 29 k/per hour so you’d need to be in Usain Bolt’s league!
4. New developments and research suggest an asteroid the size of a city struck the earth. There’s a huge crater in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico which scientists have been looking into and there’s a BBC programme about it, revealing their findings.