Dinosaur - Fossils And Other Evidence Of The Dinosaurs Read more: Dinosaur - Fossils And Other Evidence Of The Dinosaurs - Dinosaurs, Dinosaur, Eggs,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Humans never co-existed with dinosaurs, yet a surprising amount is known about these remarkable reptiles. Evidence about the existence and nature of dinosaurs is entirely indirect; it has been gleaned from fossilized traces that these animals left in sediment deposits.

The first indications suggesting the existence of the huge, extinct creatures that we now know as dinosaurs were traces of their ancient footprints in sedimentary rocks. Dinosaurs left their footprints in soft mud as they moved along marine shores or riverbanks. That mud was subsequently covered over as a new layer of sediment accumulated, and it later solidified into rock. Under very rare circumstances, this process preserved traces of the footprints of dinosaurs. Interestingly, the footprints were initially attributed to giant birds because of their superficial resemblance to tracks made by the largest of the living birds, such as the ostrich and emu.

The first fossilized skeletal remains to be identified as those of giant, extinct reptiles were discovered by miners in western Europe. These first discoveries were initially presumed to be astonishingly gigantic, extinct lizards. Several naturalists recognized substantial anatomical differences between the fossil bones and those of living reptiles, however, and so the dinosaurs were "discovered." The first of these finds consisted of bones of a 35-50 ft (10-15 m) long carnivore named Megalosaurus; this was the first dinosaur to be named scientifically. A large herbivore named Iguanodon was found at about the same time in sedimentary rocks in mines in England, Belgium, and France.

Discoveries of fantastic, extinct mega-reptiles in Europe were soon followed by even more exciting finds of dinosaur fossils in North America and elsewhere. These events captured the fascination of both naturalists and the general public. Museums started to develop extraordinary displays of re-assembled dinosaur skeletons, and artists prepared equally extraordinary depictions of dinosaurs and their hypothesized appearances and habitats.

Read more: Dinosaur - Dinosaur Fossils And Other Evidence Of The Dinosaurs - Dinosaurs, Dinosaur, Eggs, Fossilized, Fossils, and Bones http://science.jrank.org/pages/2094/Dinosaur-Fossils-other-evidence-dinosaurs.html


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