Dinosaurs are a lot of fun to learn about! There are so many different species, and new ones are still being discovered. What makes them really interesting is that no one for sure knows what they looked like or how they behaved, and we never will know unless someone invents a time machine. Everything we do know and believe about them is based on the research and the estimated guesses of paleontologists, scientists that dig up and examine fossils.
Birds and Dinosaurs
Even though we don’t know everything about them, we do know some things for sure. We do know that birds are the most closely related to them and that they evolved from theropods, two legged dinosaurs that mostly ate meat. These include the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptor. This means that, although they are related to dinosaurs, they aren’t as closely related to quadrupedal dinosaurs like the Triceratops or Stegosaurus.
You may hear some people say that birds actually are dinosaurs, not just related. They say this because birds not only evolved from dinosaurs, but share many characteristics with them. They haven’t evolved many features that would solidly classify them as completely different. Nesting, brooding, feathers, hollow bones, and wish bones are features and behaviors that characterize theropods, not just birds. This puts birds in the dinosaur category because theropods existed before them and were the first to exhibit these characteristics.
While birds did evolve from theropods, there are other types of dinosaurs that we can learn about. Dinosaurs that had four strong legs with long necks and tails were called sauropods. Sauropods include Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Diplodocus, and they are among the largest living land animals to have ever existed.
Creatures that had webbed wings that allowed them flight were called pterosaurs. Even though they are commonly thought of as dinosaurs, they actually weren’t. Pterosaurs include Pteranodon, Pterodactyl, and Quetzalcoatlus. These creatures were some of the largest animals to ever take flight.
Books About Dinosaurs
To find out even more about dinosaurs, join our summer reading program, Tails and Tales. The theme of it is animals, but any book you read this summer counts! To find books specifically about dinosaurs or to place a hold, you can check out some of the books below at either the Aurora Public Library or the Dillsboro Public Library.