Ancient Giants: 37 Astonishing Facts About Dinosaurs

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1Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage purchased a rare dinosaur skull for $276,000 in an auction after winning a bidding contest against Leonardo DiCaprio. After being contacted by authorities, he discovered that the skull was stolen and he returned it to the Mongolian Government.

2. American cartoonist Gary Larson coined the term "Thagomizer" in one of his comics to describe the spikes on stegosaurus's tail, after the fate of a poor caveman named Thag. It is now a recognized scientific term in paleontology as a tribute to Larson.

3. The velociraptor screech from Jurassic Park was a recording of tortoises having sex.

4. The T-Rex at the end of Jurassic World is the same exact one from the end of the original Jurassic Park, and the scars on its side are from its fight with the Velociraptors in the first movie.

5. Daddy Longlegs have been around for at least 400 million years, barely changing, and pre-date the dinosaurs.

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6Wylie Brys

Wylie Brys

In 2015, a 4-year-old named Wylie Brys searching for fossils found 100 million-year-old dinosaur bones in Mansfield, Texas.

7. Dinosaur feathers aren't just visually apparent in fossils but have actually been found preserved in amber.

8. Scientists have genetically altered chickens to express DNA that their dinosaur ancestors once possessed. They wanted to stop the genes that make the fingers grow into a wing and the tail from receding back into the chicken while in utero, so that it'll look like a dinosaur when born. Eventually, the chickens grew teeth.

9. There were active volcanoes on the moon when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

10. There were 4 mass extinction events before the one that killed the dinosaurs. The most severe extinction event killed a staggering 97% of all species. All life on earth today is descended from the 3% that survived.

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11M100 galaxy

M100 galaxy

The galaxy M100 is so far away that if beings from there were to look at Earth right now, they would be watching the real-time extinction of the dinosaurs.

12. Even when taking dinosaurs into account, the modern day blue whale is the largest animal to ever live.

13. Baby and juvenile dinosaurs have been mistakenly labeled as whole new dinosaur species because their younger skeletons differ so much from their adult form.

14. Velociraptors were really only the size of an average dog and had feathers. The Jurassic Park movies took the name and applied it to another dinosaur from the raptor family.

15. The Diplodocus could whip its tail so fast it would break the sound barrier, producing a canon-like boom.

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16Tyrannosaurus rex

Tyrannosaurus rex

In 2016, a tyrannosaurus rex fossil was found carrying fertilized eggs which shed light on the evolution of egg-laying as well as on gender differences in the dinosaur.

17. Walt Disney thought the Tyrannosaurus Rex wasn't scary enough with two fingers. He demanded a third finger be added in all artistic depictions.

18. A 2006 study concluded that prehistoric predators had excellent vision, surpassing modern birds of prey. Compared to a bald eagle (whose vision is 4 times better than ours), Tyrannosaurus rex had eyes that were 13 times as precise as a human's eyesight, meaning it could see prey from 6 km away.

19. One of Tyrannosaurus Rex's "tiny" arms could curl 430lbs.

20. Scientists have discovered fossils of pygmy tyrannosaurus rex that would have roamed Arctic during the late Cretaceous period.



Deep in Africa, there are accounts of people seeing dinosaur-like creatures that resemble a Brachiosaurus or Apatosaurus. The locals call it Mokèlé-mbèmbé and there have been several documented expeditions to find it from as early as 1776 to as late as 2012.

22. Herbivore dinosaurs had to eat leaves instead of grass, because grass (a C4 plant) didn't evolve until 10 million years ago.

23. Earth's rotation is slowing at a rate of approximately 17 milliseconds a century, and the length of a day for the dinosaurs was closer to 22 hours.

24. Saturn’s rings are younger than the dinosaurs as they were likely formed just 100 million years ago.

25. The dinosaurs far pre-date Betelgeuse, one of the brightest and most famous stars in the night sky. In fact, the star was born around the same time as pre-humans walked the Earth.

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