Scientists are constantly making new discoveries about the way dinosaurs lived. As technology advances and more fossils are uncovered, we’re able to learn more about these fascinating prehistoric creatures. Even if you don’t keep up with the latest studies, you and your family can explore the world of dinosaurs with children’s dinosaur shows such as Dinosaur World Live. England is home to this epic creation, which has toured internationally and is being performed at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 11 August to 3 September.
In the meantime, here is a rundown of the top six dinosaur discoveries that have changed the way we think about these fearsome creatures.
The earliest discovered and scientifically described dinosaur was this incredible beast, found at a quarry in Oxfordshire in 1815. William Buckland of the Oxford University Museum and anatomist Georges Cuvier described the fossils in an article published in 1824, saying they belonged to a gigantic reptile, the like of which had not been seen before.
It’s fair to say this discovery completely changed our understanding of dinosaur evolution. Soft shelled eggs (such as those laid by lizards, snakes and some turtles) don’t offer the same level of protection for the young as hard-shelled eggs, suggesting they may have been buried and left by the parents. It was only later that hard-shelled eggs seem to have evolved, enabling later dinosaurs to more actively parent their babies.
The discovery of this little dinosaur fossil confirmed what many scientists had believed for some decades: that dinosaurs and birds were linked, and that some dinos sported feathers. In 1996 the Sinosauropteryx fossil was found in China - with preserved feather impressions. In 2010 these impressions were found to have pigment cells just like those in birds’ feathers, ending the debate once and for all.
While undoubtedly the most famous dinosaur with tiny arms, T-Rex was by no means the only one. A 2022 study described a new species called Meraxes Gigas, which had a similar body to T-Rex, including the stubby arms. This has led scientists to rethink why some dinos developed in this way.
Scientists have always assumed that, like today’s reptiles, dinosaurs were cold blooded. However, a study conducted in 2022 found that while some dinosaurs - like Triceratops and Stegosaurus - had biology consistent with cold blooded animals, others such as Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus had active metabolisms and were likely to have been warm blooded like birds. This has raised new questions about how fast dinosaurs grew and how much they needed to eat.
Over the past decade, new information on certain dinosaurs has come to light, showing that scientists who have named some dinos as separate species were in fact mistaken. For example, the gigantic ‘Anatotitan’ was found to be simply a fully grown Edmontosaurus, while the carnivore Nanotyrannus was in fact a juvenile T-Rex.
If you love dinosaur facts and are keen to experience a dinosaur adventure live, don’t miss Dinosaur World Live. Book your tickets today - before they become extinct!