Did you know that some dinosaur eggs were huge—nearly the size of footballs! Click on the icons below to learn where dinosaurs live, what they eat, how they hunt and how they reproduce. You can even pet a dinosaur in Zoobooks Virtual Zoo!
If someone were to ask you which group of animals was the most successful in the world, you would be safe to answer ‘dinosaurs.’ The reason? Dinosaurs lived on earth for more than 160 million years—about 30 times longer than we humans have been around. Dinosaurs dominated the world so thoroughly that the entire period was called the Age of Dinosaurs.
Most dinosaurs ate plants, but some were meat-eaters. The meat-eaters were often equipped with sharp claws and teeth, and probably used either speed or stealth to capture their prey. Many dinosaurs had strange “body armor” to protect them from these meat-eaters. Some were covered with thick plates and spikes, while some had sharp horns and protective neck plates.
Scientists think that plant-eating dinosaurs ate from a variety of grasses, bushes, and trees. Probably some species confined themselves to a single food source (just as some animals do today), while others ate a variety of vegetation. Meanwhile, meat-eating dinosaurs ate the plant-eaters!
As far as we know, all dinosaurs laid eggs. Some were cared for by one or both parents, just as young animals are cared for today. Eggs were buried in the sand or laid in above-ground nests. Some eggs were huge—nearly the size of footballs! Footprints tell us that some dinosaurs formed herds and kept the young in the center of the group for protection.
Dinosaurs not only thrived a long time, but they thrived in almost every part of the world. The earth’s climate and plant life were very different then. According to experts, only a small number of dinosaurs that roamed the earth have been discovered.
No one knows why the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, but there are many theories. Some say an unknown killer disease destroyed them. Others claim that hoards of small mammals ate the dinosaur eggs. Still others say a huge meteor hit the earth, sending up massive dust clouds that killed most of the plants. Now only museums and books give us a glimpse of what may have happened many millions of years ago.