The dinosaur's eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better.

ERIC JOHNSTON (1896-1963)





The first dinosaur to be named was Scrotum humanum.

Jurassic Park

It’s very, very, unlikely for us to be able to create living dinosaurs but bringing back extinct creatures may not be impossible. In the 1990 Michael Crichton novel and 1993 Spielberg movie, Jurassic Park, cloned dinosaurs are produced using DNA rescued from the traces of dinosaurs’ blood extracted from mosquitoes trapped in amber.
There are two major flaws in this scenario. The first is that DNA degrades over time – the oldest usable DNA is only 500,000 years old. The second is that the specific amber mentioned was from the Dominican Republic and is only 30-45 million years old, i.e. 30 million years after the dinosaurs were wiped out.

Recent experiments have demonstrated that a modern chicken embryo has the dinosaur blueprint deep within it. In 2005, biologists at the University of Wisconsin were able to turn on the gene that controlled the development of teeth, producing a chicken embryo that grew curved dinosaur fangs on its beak. In 2007, McGill University did the same to grow an embryo with a tail; their next project is to turn the bird’s wing back into a three-clawed arm. Paleontologist Jack Horner (author of How to Build a Dinosaur) now predicts the imminent arrival of the world’s first chickenosaurus (basically a chicken with fangs, tail and arms).

Several of the most famous dinosaurs from JurassicPark (e.g. T rex and the Velociraptors) were actually from the Upper Cretaceous period (100 – 65 mya) not the Jurassic (200 – 145 mya). 

Resurrecting Brontosaurus

Some of the largest animals to ever walk on Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods—and the most famous of which is probably Brontosaurus, the ‘thunder lizard’. Loved by children and dinosaur enthusiasts, the name never died but for more than 100 years, scientists thought it never existed.

The first Brontosaurus was named in 1879 by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. In 1903, however, paleontologist Elmer Riggs found that Brontosaurus was apparently the same as the genus Apatosaurus, which Marsh had first described in 1877. The rules of scientific nomenclature state that the oldest name has priority, dooming Brontosaurus to extinction.
A recent study suggests the original Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils appear different enough to belong to separate groups after all.
It is only with many recent findings of dinosaurs similar to Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus that it became possible to reexamine how different they actually were and reinstate Brontosaurus.


Big bones . . . the only thing that's got bigger bones than her is a dinosaur.

43% of American adults think that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Tiny Dinosaurs

Not all dinosaurs were giant beasts - Fruitadens haagororum was only 4 inches (10 cm) tall and weighed less than two pounds, that’s about the size of the smallest chihuahua. It is the tiniest dinosaur yet discovered. It ate plants, worms (and possibly the odd frog) and lived in the late Jurassic period, 150 million years ago, dodging between the legs of the Allosauruses and Brachiosauruses that towered above it.

As a result of its omnivorous diet it has odd teeth – molars at the back, sharp fangs on the bottom front, and smaller peg teeth on the top (Fruitadens means ‘Fruita tooth’ – after the area in Colorado where the fossil was found – the same place where Mike the Headless Chicken came from). It was probably a scavenger, the dinosaur equivalent of a rat.

The name of its family – Ornithischia (bird-hipped) – reveals its closest living relative as the birds not the reptiles, and Fruitadens had a plume of featherlike structures running down its back  (paleontologists now think feathers probably evolved for protection and insulation rather than flight).


Britain's most useful role is somewhere between bee and dinosaur.

Dinosaurs lived on earth for 150 million years. 

Dinosaurs are classified into two types, ‘lizard-hipped’ and ‘bird-hipped’. Birds evolved from lizard-hipped dinosaurs.

The dinosaur Attenborosaurus conybeari is named after David Attenborough