What is a Dinosaur Reading Answers?
Dinosaur books can spark children’s imagination and showcase the power, diversity, and majesty of nature. But dinosaur books also teach important science lessons, such as how animals evolve.
The following reading answers will help kids learn about dinosaurs in a fun, educational way. From the definition of dinosaurs to learning about the different types of dinosaurs, this article will cover it all!
What is a Dinosaur?
Paleontologists spend a lot of time searching for fossils in rock that was laid down during the Mesozoic. When they find one that looks like a dinosaur, the next step is to figure out what kind of dinosaur it is.
This can be tricky. Almost any creature that lived during the Mesozoic could be called a dinosaur, but scientists have to make sure they are really talking about dinosaurs—and not, say, early crocodile relatives with upright limbs or pterosaurs (which are related to dinosaurs but can’t fly).
Scientists divide fossil reptiles into different groups based on shared characteristics, such as how their pelvis was built. A three-toed footprint suggests the maker was a sharp-clawed carnivore, while pairs of unequal-sized prints indicate herbivores. Modern birds—or avian dinosaurs—are classified as a separate group because their skeletons show a few characteristics that distinguish them from non-avian dinosaurs, such as a wishbone-shaped bone in the wrists that allows them to flap and soar.
What are Dinosaurs’ Feet Like?
Although dinosaurs are sometimes referred to as “terrible lizards,” they were not lizards at all. While both dinosaurs and lizards belong to the class Reptilia or reptiles, at the next level of classification, significant differences in their skeletal anatomy have led scientists to separate lizards from dinosaurs into two different superorders: Lepidosauria and Archosauria.
Dinosaurs were bipedal (walking on their front legs). Their feet were long and slender, with three toes, which enabled them to grip the ground. This is why we often find dinosaur footprints that look like those of birds in muddy or sandy areas. This footprint feature is one of the most distinguishing features of dinosaurs from those of other animals, such as mammals and birds.
What are Dinosaurs’ Legs Like?
The earliest dinosaurs were bipeds, with their legs moving directly underneath their bodies (as in birds and mammals) rather than sprawling out to the sides like lizards and crocodiles. This allowed them to move faster and for longer distances, as it meant that they did not have to lift their legs as high between steps – something that could tax the muscles of big animals.
Scientists think that dinosaurs were slightly pigeon-toed, with their toes pointing inwards. This means that their footprints would have looked very different from those of humans, dogs, and cats.
Trackways have revealed that most dinosaurs were quadrupeds – though some, such as the giant herbivorous sauropods and the carnivorous Velociraptor, crouched when they moved. This suggests that they might have used their tails for balance, as kangaroos do, and perhaps to help them move.
What are Dinosaurs’ Tails Like?
In terms of locomotion, dinosaurs’ tails weren’t just for show. A new study analyzing fossils has shown that certain dinosaurs used their tails to help them move, much like humans swing their arms when walking.
Until recently, it was thought that most dinosaurs dragged their tails on the ground, which seemed pointless since they had other body parts to get around. But this was wrong, as most dinosaur tails actually helped counterbalance the large mass of their neck and head.
Moreover, some dinosaurs used their tails to assist in reaching a tripod leg stance, which would have been necessary for foraging tall vegetation or mating. These findings are a big reason why dinosaurs and lizards were separated into two different superorders based on their skeleton anatomy.
What are Dinosaurs’ Teeth Like?
Dinosaurs are famous for their enormous size and ferocious bite, but did you know that they also have fascinating teeth?
The most well-known dinosaur is the Velociraptor, which had a narrow skull with dozens of sharp, blade-like teeth. Other members of the Dromaeosauridae had more closely spaced teeth that were stronger at the rear than at the front.
Brachiosaurus, another dinosaur with a big mouth, had spoon-shaped teeth that it used to strip leaves from trees and shrubs. This herbivore (plant-eater) replaced its 800 teeth throughout its life. Other dinosaurs like Diplodocus and Camarasaurus grew new teeth reasonably frequently, as they needed them to chew their rough, plant-based diets. Plant-eaters like Triceratops and hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs) had flat cheek teeth, called grinders, to help them chew their tough, fibrous plant food.
What are Dinosaurs’ Eyes Like?
The dinosaurs mainly hunted during the day, so they probably had round pupils like most mammals and birds. However, some predators, such as lizards and Asian vine snakes, have horizontal pupils, which give them the ability to look around in a panoramic way.
Theropod dinosaurs, like T-rex, had forward-facing eyes, giving them a good amount of binocular (stereoscopic) vision. This enabled them to assess the distance to prey and plan a precise attack.
Researchers have also found that a number of dinosaurs had unusual eye socket shapes, such as elliptical or keyhole-like sockets. They believe that these shapes would have cushioned the impact of their bite, allowing them to seize their prey forcefully without compromising the stability of their skulls. This could have been a helpful adaptation when tackling large prey such as sauropods.
What are Dinosaurs’ Mouths Like?
Although the word dinosaur comes from Greek for “terrible lizard,” dinosaurs weren’t really lizards. Both dinosaurs and lizards belong to the class Reptilia (reh-pt-il-i-ah), or reptiles, but differences in their skeletons have led scientists to divide them into two different superorders.
Theropods were a group of giant, meat-eating dinosaurs that included Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. Scientists have discovered fossils of adult Citipati sitting on their eggs, leading them to realize that oviraptorids were caring parents. One question that has long puzzled researchers is how wide these dinosaurs could stretch their mouths open to feed or yawn. Now, biomechanics at the University of Bristol in England have come up with a new way to measure this. They used fossil footprints. The prints told them how far a dinosaur’s front feet slid forward when it took a step.