The word Dinosaur was created by Richard Owen, biologist and founder of the London Natural Science Museum, in 1841. 'Dinos' means Terrible and 'Saurus' means Lizard.
Dinosaurs were vertebrate animals, which means with a spine or vertebral column made up of vertebrae, and belong to the group of reptiles. Reptiles were the first animals to stop depending on an aquatic environment. Amphibians, for example, still need to return to the water to lay their eggs.
Unlike the current reptiles, the dinosaurs' legs were located under their hips, which helped them move with great agility. As a curiosity, point out that the feathers appeared with the dinosaurs and that the birds are their last descendants.
Dinosaur expansion began in the mid-Triassic period, about 200 million years ago. In the following period, the Jurassic period saw a great explosion of species diversity and its success lasted until the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, when a series of cataclysms led to its disappearance.
WHY THEY DISAPPEARED?
Although it is difficult to speak with certainty about what exactly happened, it is believed that the trigger could have been the fall of a large asteroid in the Yucatan peninsula, as evidenced by the high levels of Iridium (a very common metal in asteroids) that have been found in the strata of the time. However, the impact did not immediately end the life of the dinosaurs, in fact it is believed that what caused the asteroid was the beginning of an apocalyptic era that may have lasted about 10 million years. The great impact threw large amounts of dust into the atmosphere, which caused the formation of dense clouds that gradually covered the sky. As the sun did not pass, the plants could not photosynthesise, so the herbivores were left without food and, consequently, the carnivores. 70% of the species that populated the Earth disappeared.
WHAT IS NOT A DINOSAUR?
Dinosaurs coexisted with different reptiles that tend to be confused, but were not dinosaurs.
For example, it would be natural to think that the Dimetrodon was a dinosaur, but the truth is that it did not have the characteristic characteristic of dinosaurs that we have pointed out previously: the legs of the Dimetrodon are positioned on both sides of its body, not below it. In fact, this animal was not even related to dinosaurs.
The Pteriosaurs, which crossed the skies, were not dinosaurs either, although in this case they were close relatives.
The Mesozoic seas were teeming with species of mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and ichthyosaurs, all of them aquatic reptiles, but not dinosaurs.
On the left. image of a Mosasaur, under Mosasaur tooth (Toptrilos collection)
On the right image of a Plesiosaur, below Plesiosaurus vertebra (Toptrilos collection)
With this information we want to help you solve some of the most frequent confusions, but although these animals were not dinosaurs, they are not less amazing for that!
If you want to dive into the past and continue learning, do not hesitate to visit our Dinosaur collection. There you will find authentic specimens of dinosaur teeth and vertebrae. Each piece, 100% natural, without restorations, is properly documented and classified.