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Dinosaur Facts

The heaviest, the biggest, the smallest, the oldest... all the hottest dinosaur facts can be found here.

The First Dinosaur to be Named

The first dinosaur to be named was Megalosaurus. It was named in 1824 by Reverend William Buckland. Megalosaurus means ‘great lizard’ and it was about 9 metres long, and 3 metres tall.

The First Dinosaur to be Discovered in America

The first discovery of dinosaur remains in North America was made in 1854 by Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden during his exploration of the upper Missouri River. He discovered a small collection of teeth which were later described by Joseph Leidy in 1856 as belonging to Trachodon, Troodon, and Deinodon.

SeismosaurusThe Longest Dinosaur

The longest dinosaur was Seismosaurus, which measured over 40 metres, as long as five double-decker buses. It was related to diplodocus, which for a long time held the honour.

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The Heaviest Dinosaur

The heaviest dinosaur was Brachiosaurus at 80 tonnes. It was the equivalent to 17 African Elephants. Brachiosaurus was 16m tall and 26m long and is the largest dinosaur skeleton to be mounted in a museum.

The Smallest Dinosaur Egg - How To Tell a Dinosaur Egg from a Rock?

Dinosaur eggs come in all shapes and sizes. They tend to be ovoid or spherical in shape and up to 30cm in length - about the size of a rugby ball. The smallest dinosaur egg so far found is only 3cm long. Once the egg has been fossilised it will become hard like rock, but it will retain a structure of its own.

The Smallest Dinosaur

The smallest fully-grown fossil dinosaur is the little bird-hipped plant-eater like lesothosaurus, which was only the size of a chicken. Smaller fossilised examples have been found, but these are of baby dinosaurs.

The Most Brainy Dinosaur

One of the most intelligent dinosaurs was Troodon. It was a hunting dinosaur, about 2 metres long, and had a brain size similar to that of a mammal or bird of today, stereoscopic vision, and grasping hands

The Dumbest Dinosaur

Stegosaurus had a brain the size of a walnut - only 3 centimetres long and weighing 75 grams. However, comparing brain size to body size sauropodomorphs, like Plateosaurus, were probably one of the dumbest dinosaurs.

NEW Dinosaur Fact! The Tallest Dinosaur

The tallest dinosaurs were the Brachiosaurid group of sauropods. Their front legs were longer than the rear legs giving them a giraffe-like stance. This combined with their extremely long necks, which were held vertically, meant they could browse off the tallest trees. Brachiosaurus - the most well known of the group - was 13 metres tall. Sauroposeidon was massive and probably grew to 18.5 metres tall making it the tallest dinosaur.

The Fastest Running Dinosaur

The speediest dinosaurs were the ostrich mimic ornithomimids, such as Dromiceiomimus, which could probably run at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour.

The Oldest Dinosaur

The oldest dinosaurs known are 230 million years old, and have been found in Madagasgar. As yet they have not been formally named. Before this Eoraptor, meaning "dawn thief" had held the title at 228 million years.

The Longest Dinosaur Name

The dinosaur with the longest name was Micropachycephalosaurus meaning "tiny thick-headed lizard". Its fossils have been found in China, and it was named in 1978 by the Chinese palaeontologist Dong.

The Fiercest Dinosaur

Tyrannosaurus rex looked the most ferocious of all the dinosaurs, but in terms of overall cunning, determination and its array of vicious weapons it was Utahraptor that was probably the fiercest of all. Utahraptor measured about 7 metres, and was a very powerful, agile and intelligent predator.

Jurassic Dinosaur The Largest Pterosaur

Quetzalocoatlus with its wingspan of up to 13 metres was probably the largest pterosaur, and hence the largest flying creature of all time. Despite its size it weighed no more than 100 kilograms. Its only contender may be Arambourgiania, which is only known from one bone but scaled up the whole pterosaur could have been even larger. Pterosaurs were not dinosaur.

The Largest Plesiosaur

Elasmosaurus was the longest plesiosaur at up to 14 metres (46 ft) long. Half of its length was its neck, which had as many as 75 vertebrae in it (in comparison to 7-8 neck vertebrae in humans). Elasmosaurus had four long, paddle-like flippers, a tiny head, sharp teeth in strong jaws, and a pointed tail. Plesiosaurs were not dinosaurs but were marine reptiles.

What killed the dinosaurs?

It is believed that dinosaur extinction was part of a mass extinction brought about by two massive destructive events. The first of these was the collision with the Earth of a meteorite landing in what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, of Mexico. This was followed by an enormous volcanic eruption which split what is now India in half.

How many types of dinosaur were there?

At present over 700 different species of dinosaurs have been identified and named. However palaeontologists believe that there are many more new and different dinosaur species still to be discovered.

How many species of dinosaurs have been found in Britain?

So far 108 species of dinosaurs have been discovered in Britain. Britain was an important area during much of the Mesozoic Era acting as a 'land bridge' between North America and Eurasia. It became a hotspot for dinosaur evolution and migration. British dinosaurs include Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, Neovenator, Eotyrannus, and Cetiosaurus. The dinosaur Museum has the skeleton of a Megalosaurus and the skull of an Iguanodon on display.

NEW Dinosaur Fact! Which is Britain's Oldest Dinosaur?

The oldest known dinosaur so far discovered in Britain is Thecodontosaurus antiquus. It was discovered near Bristol in 1970 but only now has funding been achieved to excavate the dinosaur. Thecondontosaurus was 2.1 metres long, about the size of a kangaroo, and ate plants. It lived on the richly vegetated islands that were around that area in Triassic times about 200 million years ago.

Dinosaur Gifts for Christmas

There are some great dinosaur pictures for you to download and colour in!

Click here for colouring pages

Although not historically accurate, you might enjoy a short break by playing some of these free dinosaur games.Free Dinosaur Games

Check back soon for more dinosaur facts.


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