When my mom sat me down in front of my portable DVD player and popped in "Walking with Dinosaurs", she had no idea what the consequences of that action would be.
And the consequences were that, 13 years later, I'm still extremely obsessed with dinosaurs!
Dinosaurs (from the Greek words deinós and saûros, meaning terrible lizard) were a group of large reptiles that lived approximately 67 million years ago, in an era called the Mesozoic. The Mesozoic era lasted 186 million years, making it an extremely long and complex period of our Earth's history. In comparison, the era we currently live in, dubbed the Cenozoic, has only existed 66 million years. They evolved from archosaurs, (the same reptiles from which crocodiles evolved from) throughout Triassic period.
The Triassic period was home to some very unique life! It began right after the Permian-Triassic extinction, the most devastating extinction event we know of, which decimated a large amount of land species. This lead to new, diverse species appearing to take advantage of the resources left over. At the time, dinosaurs were mostly small reptiles, such as Coelophysis and Herrerasaurus. Larger dinosaurs did exist, but did not yet compete strongly with the other land-based reptiles.
Followed by another extinction event, known as the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, was the Jurassic period. The Jurassic period is the most well known period of the Mesozoic in pop culture, due mostly to the incredibly popular movie "Jurassic Park". However, a lot of more popular dinosaurs did not come from the Jurassic period at all! Dinosaurs diversified a massive amount, becoming incredibly abundant and the dominant species of their ecosystems. Many grew to massive sizes, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and lead to the immergence of massive sauropods like Mamenchisaurus.
The last period of the Mesozoic was the Cretaceous period. Dinosaurs and other reptiles remained as the dominant terrestrial species in this period, and the largest and most well-known dinosaurs come from this period. Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Velociraptor, and Spinosaurus all lived in the Cretaceous period. Unfortunately, the Cretacoeus period ultimately ended in the extinction event that killed most dinosaurs... but not all of them.
The Cretaceous period was proceeded by the rise of mammals, and until somewhat recently, we thought that every dinosaur simultaneously died off as the Cretaceous ended. However, smaller dinosaurs had gradually evolved and diversified into... birds! Birds, often referred to as avian dinosaurs, are still very prevalent to this day.
The first known discovery of a dinosaur came in 1677 in the form of the lower half of a femur from a large theropod, then dubbed "Scrotum humanum due to it's unfortunate resemblance to a human scrotum. The dinosaur was, luckily, later renamed Megalosaurus.
I couldn't describe exactly why I enjoy dinosaurs so much. I've always been interested in zoology, and I think the mystery surrounding dinosaurs has always fascinated me. They were incredibly unique and complex creatures, unlike most things we've seen before. They're also absolutely badass! My favourite dinosaur is Citipati osmolskae, a large oviraptorid dinosaur native to Asia. Like most oviraptorids, they were likely omnivorous, and would take great care of their nests. Many fossils of Citipati are of mothers who died protecting their eggs.
Below are some dinosaur fossils I find extremely cool!
Some dinosaur related media I enjoy!