The 31 Dinosaur Facts You Want To Know: The Biggest, The Scariest, The Smelliest

Long before the dawn of man, there walked giants who forever left their mark upon Earth. Dinosaurs lived on the planet for over 66 million years (over three times longer than humans so far) before their extinction, leaving us to scrape together what little information we can from their scattered remains.

And though we have just these remains — meaning that so much about these towering creatures “remains” a mystery — scientists have been able to uncover a staggering number of truly fascinating dinosaur facts:

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Dinosaur Facts T Rex

Wikimedia CommonsThe extraordinary length of the dinosaurs' reign can be difficult to comprehend. In fact, the gap between when Stegosaurus lived and when T. rex lived is greater than the gap between the latter and the present. You're closer to T. rex on the Earth's timeline than Stegosaurus is.

Rooster

Wikimedia CommonsThe chicken is the closest known modern relative to the T. rex.

Canotaurus

Wikimedia CommonsThough the T. rex catches a lot of flak for its seemingly wimpy arms, in terms of proportion the Canotaurus (above) had the smallest arms out of any known dinosaur species.

Spinosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsThe largest known carnivorous dinosaur is the Spinosaurus, which could grow to be over 50 feet long and weighed in at over 20 tonnes -- three times the weight of a T. rex.

Argentinosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsOn the other hand, the largest known herbivorous dinosaur, and the largest dinosaur overall, is the Argentinosaurus, which could grow to be 115 feet in length and weigh 100 tons (which is more than over a dozen elephants).

Sauropod

Wikimedia CommonsIt’s speculated that the Sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs like the Argentinosaurus) had stomachs that acted as fermentation chambers. As gas-producing bacteria would be needed to help process their fibrous diets, this would cause these creatures, the largest of all dinosaurs, to fart constantly.

Tiny

Wikimedia CommonsAlthough sauropods were enormous, most dinosaurs (like the ornithischian above) were actually quite small; tiny, frail bones are less likely to withstand the test of time, which is why paleontologists tend to discover the fossilized skeletons of giants.

Anchiornis

Wikimedia CommonsAmong the tinier dinosaurs was Anchiornis, which was no bigger than a pigeon.

Raptor

Wikimedia CommonsVelociraptors, for example, were roughly the size of turkeys.

Utahraptor

Wikimedia CommonsThe "Velociraptors" featured in "Jurassic Park" weren’t actually Velociraptors at all; they were based on a close -- much larger -- relative, dubbed the Utahraptor.

Hollow

Wikimedia CommonsMuch like birds, many of even the toughest carnivorous dinosaurs (like the velociraptor, above) had hollow bones.

Fight

Wikimedia CommonsOne of the most stunning fossils ever discovered is aptly named “Fighting Dinosaurs.” It depicts a Protoceratops locked in battle with a Velociraptor; the epic struggle was more than likely cut short when a sand dune collapsed on the two dueling dinosaurs, freezing them in time.

Megalosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsThe first dinosaur bones ever discovered belonged to Megalosaurus and weren't found until the 1820s.

Richard Owen

Wikimedia CommonsThe term “dinosaur” wasn't coined until 1842, by English paleontologist Sir Richard Owen; "dinosaur" translates to “terrible reptile.”

Coprolite

Wikimedia CommonsAlong with dental fossils, much of our knowledge of dinosaurs' feeding habits comes from coprolites, fossilized feces.

Winged Skeletons

Wikimedia CommonsWhile dinosaurs walked the Earth, pterosaurs inhabited the air and plesiosaurs inhabited the water. This means that the well-known flying Pterodactyl (above) and swimming Liopleurodon aren't technically considered dinosaurs.

Mary Anning

Wikimedia CommonsSome of the pioneering work in Jurassic marine life -- including the discovery of the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur skeletons -- was done by English paleontologist Mary Anning. Sadly, her work was often overshadowed or outright stolen by the men working in her field.

Bones

Wikimedia CommonsScientists estimate, based on bone evidence, that some dinosaurs could have lived to be between 75 and 300 years old.

Hips

Wikimedia CommonsDinosaurs are divided into two groups, the lizard-hipped saurischian (A) and the bird-hipped ornithischian (B). Ironically enough, birds evolved from lizard-hipped dinosaurs.

Mesozoic

Wikimedia CommonsDinosaurs lived within the Mesozoic Era, which included the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, beginning 252 million years ago and ending 66 million years ago.

Plates

Wikimedia CommonsVeins in Stegosaurus' spinal plates suggested that they would not have been used as protective armor; more than likely, they were used to help the dinosaur cool off its massive body.

Stegosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsThe Stegosaurus, despite being nearly 30 feet in length and weighing up to 6,000 pounds, had a brain roughly the size of a walnut.

Charles Marsh

Wikimedia CommonsOne paleontologist, Othniel Charles Marsh, theorized that dinosaurs — particularly Sauropods — had a second braincase located near their posterior. Scientists now know this fact to be false.

Ankylosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsThe Ankylosaurus’ club tail was fortified enough to smash through a T. Rex’s ankles.

Apatosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsScientifically speaking, there is no such thing as the famed Brontosaurus; its misidentification was a result of the Bone Wars, in which two paleontologists competed in discovering the most dinosaurs. Its true name is the Apatosaurus. However, new research from 2015 is attempting to disprove this assertion.

Repenomamus

Wikimedia CommonsNot all mammals fled from dinosaurs; Repenomamus — a badger-sized mammalian ancestor that existed over 125 million years ago — remains have been discovered with the remains of baby dinosaurs in their stomachs.

Cryolophosaurus

Wikimedia CommonsMany dinosaurs, like the massive predator know as Cryolophosaurus (above), were so equipped for the cold that they were able to live in Antarctica.

Running

Wikimedia CommonsDinosaurs’ long tails existed in order to help them keep their balance while running.

Eggs

Wikimedia CommonsMany dinosaur eggs could grow to be as large as basketballs.

Hadrosaur

Wikimedia CommonsThe Hadrosaur could have over 1,000 teeth at once and was able to grow new ones indefinitely.

Dinosaur Facts Asteroid

Wikimedia CommonsThe asteroid that is believed to have wiped the dinosaurs out most likely struck Mexico’s Yuctan Peninsula.

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Next, check out the six most bizarre dinosaurs to ever walk the Earth, and ten terrifying prehistoric creatures that weren’t dinosaurs.

Hayley Virgil
Hayley Virgil is a writer, literature enthusiast, and adventurer. When she isn't out exploring for a story to capture, she can often be found hunched over her computer monitor in a dimly lit room.
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