Discovering Dinosaurs

Millions of years ago lived the greatest dinosaurs of all time. Meaning "terrible lizard" in Greek, dinosaurs most likely earned this title in their prehistoric heyday. Then again, just because the Tyrannosaurus Rex gets all the attention doesn't mean all dinosaurs were blood-thirsty meat-eaters. In fact, the majority of dinosaur species discovered so far are known to munch the plants from 260 million years ago. A mostly vegetarian population, combined with a rock-solid ecosystem and a low amount of infighting among reptilian species—and you're likely to live in harmony for at least about 150 million years. But that's not exactly how history played out for these creatures.

But the question fueling the decades of digging by paleontologists, archeologists and scientific researchers remains—what happened to the dinosaurs? Is it reasonable to assume a meteor caused a mass extinction or a pandemic illness spread? Despite humans never having made connections firsthand with these ancient creatures doesn't necessarily mean the quest for answers is over. Thanks to amateur and professional explorers alike, we continue to glean information on these beasts. Grab your shovel, brush and safari hat—a little curiosity can lead to some pretty big discoveries.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Hummingbirds are considered dinosaurs, although some flying "dinosaurs" aren't actually considered dinosaurs. 00:16

  2. During the time of the dinosaurs, there were many "winged lizards". 01:26

  3. Birds evolved from two-legged land animals. 02:04

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Stegosaurus was first discovered in Colorado in 1877. 00:16

  2. Stegosaurus literally translates to "roofed lizard" because it was believed that its plates laid flat like a roof. 00:23

  3. Some paleontologists believe the plates on Stegosaurus were used to regulate body temperature. 00:57

Written by Curiosity Staff July 7, 2014

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