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Not All of Them Are Extinct: 4 Myths About Dinosaurs

brown dinosaur illustration

Don’t even try to say you’re not interested in dinosaurs.

We will never believe it.

You’ve definitely seen movies and cartoons. Amazing giants from the past are overgrown with myths and legends and this is quite normal, given how difficult it is to reconstruct the events that took place 250-200 million years ago.

However, some myths have been refuted by science and it is worth learning.

Myth 1: They are extinct.

You don’t have to go to the movies or turn on YouTube to see dinosaurs. Just look out the window.

Dinosaurs fly directly over our heads, sit on windowsills, and dirty cars.

Birds are one of the groups of dinosaurs. They have successfully evolved and taken their place on the planet.

How did they do it?

The Museum of Natural History of Great Britain names three main reasons:

The first. They were small, no larger than a duck. Smaller species reproduce faster, and therefore adapt to new situations.

In addition, small dinosaurs do not need as much food as large ones.

The second. Birds ate everything — seeds, fish, ants and more.

The third. They could fly. Flying requires less energy than running or walking when you have to travel long distances.

So it was easier for them to escape the bad conditions and find new sources of food.

An example of the ancestral form of the bird dinosaur is Archeopteryx, which lived in the Jurassic period in a tropical climate and was approximately equal in size to the modern crow.

The discovery of Archeopteryx was a brilliant confirmation of the evolutionary doctrine, evidence of the presence of peculiar transitional forms between reptiles and birds.

Myth 2: Dinosaurs were stupid

Well, who hasn’t heard of a small dinosaur brain compared to its large bodyweight.

Of course, it is impossible to accurately determine the IQ of a dinosaur. However, some factors indicate that these reptiles were not such stupid creatures.

There is a rule of phylogenetic parentheses. Dinosaurs are creatures between crocodiles and birds. They are somewhere in the middle. Crocodiles lay eggs, birds lay eggs, logically, as dinosaurs lay eggs. Similarly, with intelligence — crocodiles — are quite intelligent creatures. They even use tools, for example, put the branches on their head, as for the nest, during the breeding season of some birds, then they literally fly into their mouths.

The same with birds — take, for example, the same crows — these are very intelligent creatures. According to this rule, dinosaurs are difficult to call stupid animals.

Confirmation of the intellect of dinosaurs is quite complex reproductive strategies of certain species.

brown triceratops surrounded by plants

The National Museum of Natural History says that in 2019 in the Gobi Desert, scientists got a real dinosaur incubator — 15 nests, and in them — 50 eggs. The finding indicates that dinosaurs formed colonies, had complex reproductive behavior and group nesting. And the “stupid” creatures are not capable of this.

This myth went through the small size of the brain. That it is incorrect to compare the brain of a reptile and the brain of a mammal. The brain of a reptile has a different structure, neurons connect there differently, so we can’t talk about the ‘stupidity’ of dinosaurs based on size alone.

dinosaur skelleton

Myth 3: Dinosaurs were cold-blooded

Some scientists believe that this applies to all species, some — to the most, but they can say for sure: dinosaurs were warm-blooded. One of the classic examples of a warm-blooded dinosaur is a tyrannosaurus.

There is an isotope analysis that helps to determine this. There is a certain number of isotopes (a set of atoms that have the same charge of the nucleus — UE), which accumulate in the body only if the body has a constant temperature. And according to the ratio of these isotopes, scientists can say exactly whether this body temperature has changed or not.

In the tyrannosaurus it was stable — about 37 °C. Some dinosaurs had higher temperatures, some had lower temperatures.

It can’t be called the warm-bloodedness that modern birds have, but in their mass, dinosaurs were not cold-blooded creatures.

dinosaur skeleton display in a room

Myth 4: The little paws of a tyrannosaurus were completely atrophied

Well, who hasn’t laughed at the tyrannosaurus’ paws, which look barely noticeable against the background of the animal’s massive body.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, jokes even began that tyrannosaurs became extinct because they could not wash their feet.

But, according to the scientist, in the process of evolution, a group of predators stood out, in which the forelimbs lost their function, but were not atrophied.

Most of these predators in the city of the forelimbs found a place to attach powerful muscles. And, probably, these muscles were needed to hold something — either the victim or… partner. Or to get up from a rest position.