Imagine coming face-to-face with a terrifying tyrannosaurus rex during a trip to the zoo. That would have to be one huge enclosure! Prehistoric creatures would certainly pull in the crowds, but which creatures would you like to meet the most? Here are five suggestions.
Known as a sauropod dinosaur, the diplodocus is one of the most famous herbivores to have walked planet Earth. Surviving on a diet of leaves from trees and plants, the diplodocus would use its super long neck to reach high and low vegetation which it would then grind up with its rows of teeth that resembled a comb. Imagine how many trees a diplodocus in a zoo would need! This type of dinosaur was also huge, reaching up to 26 metres in length and weighing a whopping 15,000kg. In comparison, the average human weighs around 70kg. Wow.
A dinosaur zoo certainly wouldn’t be the same without a triceratops, easily identifiable by the three protruding horns on the top of its head. These horns were most likely used as a weapon against other dinosaurs, particularly the much-feared tyrannosaurus rex. The bony frill around the back of its large head was also thought to serve as a form of neck protection in the event of a fight. The frill might have been used to attract a mate too. Think of how a peacock uses his colourful feathers to look as attractive as possible. It’s kind of along the same lines.
This slow moving plant eater is another recognisable dinosaur thanks to the bony plates along its back and powerful spiked tail. Did you know that the bony plates weren’t actually attached to the skeleton of the Stegosaurus? They were simply embedded into the skin, meaning most fossilised plates are actually found separately from the rest of the body. There’s been much debate as to why the Stegosaurus had plates. Some scientists think they helped to warn off predators. Others believe it helps the same species recognise one another. The plates are also believed to have regulated the dinosaur’s body temperature.
You might want to practice saying the name of this one. Coelophysis was one of the very first dinosaurs to exist, making it incredibly old. They would walk and run around on their hind legs when hunting, and had hollow bones to ensure they were as fast on their feet as possible. While smaller than other dinosaurs from the same period, they were speedy and agile, allowing them to catch prey and escape danger quickly. They also had incredibly sharp teeth and claws which allowed them to get a tight grip of small insects and reptiles.
What would a dinosaur zoo be without the most famous dinosaur of all? With T-rex literally translating as the ‘king of the tyrant lizards’ this prehistoric beast was greatly feared and had the most powerful bite of any land animal to ever have lived. Its bone-crushing teeth could also grow to 30cm long, so you definitely wouldn’t want to be lunch. T-rex’s head alone was absolutely huge, with its thick skull measuring 1.5-metres long – that’s taller than many humans. It therefore had very strong neck muscles to hold the head up.
While there may not be a dinosaur zoo, there are things to do in Sheffield that’ll help you discover more about these fascinating creatures. Book your tickets to Dinosaur World Live and see your favourite Dinos live on stage. This is one of the best activities in Sheffield for children aged three and above. So don’t miss out.