The Greatest Dinosaurs of All Time
Those giant lizards of the past were awesome. It's a real shame we can’t sit here today and point at a live specimen and say, ‘that boy is soo cool. I love that species because of how it walks’. This would likely be a very different list if that were the case.
We have to judge what is the most extraordinary dinosaur purely on how they look based on the fossil record, as we have no idea how they would have acted in reality. Although scientists have attempted to understand what these creatures would have been like from these bones, their judgments vary from person to person. All boring information aside, let's get stuck into these cool dinos!
The Triceratops was a horned lizard with pebbly skin and a mouth like a parroted beak that lived from 83 million to 66 million years ago. Their skull was soo big that it made up one-third of its overall skeleton mass, perfect for self-defense and fighting carnivores. It is large in comparison to the birds of today, and like all dinosaurs, they are distant ancestors. This friendly dinosaur was a herbivore and certainly lived in forests with other triceratopses.
The Pterodactyl was a flying dinosaur that lived about 150 million years ago and had a wingspan of just over one meter. They were small creatures but have had a lasting impact on the imagination of dinosaur lovers. Their habitat was often close to coastlines and other water sources where they would feast on fish. Using their small frame to jet through the air to reach their prey, they would then use their robust jaws to catch.
Via: New Scientist
Although now not classified as a dinosaur, it has long been held in the public imagination that our iconic giant swimming reptile was indeed such. So I won't leave them off this list! Ichthyosaurs lived from 250 million to 90 million years ago and grew twenty meters long. They are essentially the dino equivalent of dolphins, except with sharper teeth and bulging unsettling eyes.
This iconic long-necked sea dinosaur lived from 203 million to 66 million years ago, ranging from 1.5 to 15 meters. They dominated the entire ocean and fed on all types of sea critters, eating them whole and then barfing up the inedible debris. Their flat tail ranged in length, as did their neck, depending on the subspecies. Imagine swimming through the ocean and seeing one of these! I am glad we don’t have to worry too much about giant lizards of the sea eating us today.
The Brontosaurus was a terrestrial dinosaur that lived about 163 million to 100 million years ago. They could grow to over twenty meters long and weigh over 30 tons, making them one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth. Their image is iconic, much like the t-rex or triceratops, when we think of dinosaurs in pop culture today.
Often confused with the Brontosaurus, this dinosaur is unique in many ways. For one, the legs, tail, and head were much longer than the former dino in question. This specimen lived between 154 million and 152 million years ago, growing as long as fifty meters in length from nose to tail, and weighing over 30 tons. They had spikes along the spine of their back, which is another thing separating them from their ‘b’ friend. They were massive but gentle herbivores that used their long necks to eat from the tops of trees. Much like modern-day giraffes!
These were terrestrial herbivores best known for their spinal plates and sets of spikes on the end of their tail. Living 155 million to 145 million years ago, they grew to around nine meters long and weighed five to seven tonnes. They were heavily armored to protect themselves from large predators like Allosaurus, with a deadly tail to those that tried to get close.
This little meat-eater was a feathered dinosaur about the size of a turkey at two meters in height and lived 75 million to 71 million years ago. It was a bipedal (two-legged) carnivore with enlarged curved claws on its feet. It could easily cut its prey as it held it down with its clawed feather-covered arms and hands. Recent studies on this species have identified the feathers which cover most of its body. Although it's not sure what they were for, some suggest this light-weighted creature could fly. In contrast, some might have used them for warmth for their cold-blooded bodies or their eggs.
This dino is known for its distinctive back-facing cranial crest with an ability to walk by bipedally and quadrupedally (four legs). A herbivore lived 76 million to 73 million years ago, growing to close to ten meters in length, with their head crest alone two meters! Although they were well-built with a sizeable cranial protrusion, you might think this was for battle at first. However, studies suggest it was used to create loud sounds between other Parasaurolophus to let them know where each other were located.
This fantastic beast was one of the last armored dinos that did not have wings living between 68 to 66 million years ago. It grew to 8 meters in length and weighed 5 - 8 tons, making it not the biggest on this list but far from the smallest. It had a tail club that would have been painful to any predator that tried to attach it, and if they got through that, they would have layers of spikes and rigid plates to follow. Despite its outer appearance, this was a peaceful herbivore that fed on low-lying grasslands, with a large belly to fit a massive diet. Wouldn’t you want to have one for yourself?
AAAND finally, the Rex of dinosaurs themself: Tyrannosaurus (T-Rex if you like). Perhaps the most iconic prehistoric creature to walk the earth and by far the highest-rated post-child on the dino band. The T-Rex lived 150 million to 66 million years ago as one of the last featherless dinosaurs and large bipedal carnivores. They stood just over twelve meters tall and weighed 8 to 12 tons, with a massive head counterbalanced by a weighty tail and hind legs. But what about their little arms? There have several theories of usage, including holding down prey, holding a mate during mating, or fighting in close quarters.
We are dino obsessed at Thorum, and did you know we have rings made of actual dinosaur bone? Check out our T-Rex rings:
- The Meteorsaur | Meteorite and Dinosaur Bone Ring | Thorum: Our unique dinosaur fossil combines a four-billion-year-old meteor with T-Rex fossils.
- The Fossil | Dinosaur Bone Ring | Thorum: A simple red band of T-Rex fossil encased in grey tungsten carbide.
- The T-Rex | Dinosaur Bone Ring | Thorum: A variation of ‘The Fossil’ with a red band of T-Rex fossil, but encased in a black sandblasted tungsten carbide.
We really went back in time with this one! But glad you made it through the millions of years with us and did not get eaten by a T-Rex along the way. Now we are safely back in our own time, we can admire the beauties of these fantastic beasts from the safety of our homes as they sit as fossils in the cabinets of our museums. They might have been long dead, but they still live in our imaginations.