The 31 Dinosaur Facts You Want To Know: The Biggest, The Scariest, The Smelliest
By Hayley Virgil
Published May 14, 2016
Updated February 28, 2019
If you think Jurassic Park has told you everything you need to know about the prehistoric inhabitants of Earth, think again. These fascinating dinosaur facts will surprise you.
Long before the dawn of man, there walked giants who forever left their mark upon Earth. Dinosaurs lived on the planet for over 66 million years (over three times longer than humans so far) before their extinction, leaving us to scrape together what little information we can from their scattered remains.
And though we have just these remains — meaning that so much about these towering creatures “remains” a mystery — scientists have been able to uncover a staggering number of truly fascinating dinosaur facts:
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The extraordinary length of the dinosaurs' reign can be difficult to comprehend. In fact, the gap between when Stegosaurus lived and when T. rex lived is greater than the gap between the latter and the present. You're closer to T. rex on the Earth's timeline than Stegosaurus is.
On the other hand, the largest known herbivorous dinosaur, and the largest dinosaur overall, is the Argentinosaurus, which could grow to be 115 feet in length and weigh 100 tons (which is more than over a dozen elephants).
It’s speculated that the Sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs like the Argentinosaurus) had stomachs that acted as fermentation chambers. As gas-producing bacteria would be needed to help process their fibrous diets, this would cause these creatures, the largest of all dinosaurs, to fart constantly.
Although sauropods were enormous, most dinosaurs (like the ornithischian above) were actually quite small; tiny, frail bones are less likely to withstand the test of time, which is why paleontologists tend to discover the fossilized skeletons of giants.
One of the most stunning fossils ever discovered is aptly named “Fighting Dinosaurs.” It depicts a Protoceratops locked in battle with a Velociraptor; the epic struggle was more than likely cut short when a sand dune collapsed on the two dueling dinosaurs, freezing them in time.
While dinosaurs walked the Earth, pterosaurs inhabited the air and plesiosaurs inhabited the water. This means that the well-known flying Pterodactyl (above) and swimming Liopleurodon aren't technically considered dinosaurs.
Some of the pioneering work in Jurassic marine life -- including the discovery of the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur skeletons -- was done by English paleontologist Mary Anning. Sadly, her work was often overshadowed or outright stolen by the men working in her field.
Scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as the famed Brontosaurus; its misidentification was a result of the Bone Wars, in which two paleontologists competed in discovering the most dinosaurs. Its true name is the Apatosaurus. However, new research from 2015 is attempting to disprove this assertion.
Not all mammals fled from dinosaurs; Repenomamus — a badger-sized mammalian ancestor that existed over 125 million years ago — remains have been discovered with the remains of baby dinosaurs in their stomachs.