Believe it or not, dinosaurs enjoyed and could thrive in different types of weather - a bit like humans. While some could endure chilly conditions, others preferred basking in the sun. So, let’s take a closer look at hot weather dinosaurs vs cold weather dinosaurs. And if you want to know more about prehistoric creatures in general while enjoying a fun day out with the family, look for ‘dinosaur events near me’ such as Dinosaur World Live.
Hot Weather Dinosaurs
A recent study led by UCL and the University of Vigo found that sauropod dinosaur species such as the Brontosaurus and the Diplodocus preferred warmer climates. An intensive study of dinosaur fossils and climate changes throughout the Mesozoic era revealed that sauropods were more restricted to warmer, drier habitats than other dinosaurs. These habitats were likely to have been large, open landscapes, similar to the savannahs we know today.
Research also suggests that sauropods had different thermal requirements from other dinosaurs and were, perhaps, physiologically incapable of surviving in colder environments. It’s thought they relied on their external environment to heat their bodies - a bit like today’s cold-blooded reptiles who are unable to produce heat themselves and are often found basking in the sun. As sauropods were extremely big, heavy dinosaurs, their physiology may have been unique. A significant amount of body heat could have been lost via their long necks and tails, which is why they probably sought out sun and were only found at lower altitudes.
Cold Weather Dinosaurs
Fossil discoveries over the years have shown that, unlike sauropods, many dinosaurs survived cold temperatures near both poles. Some of the oldest ‘polar dinosaurs’ have been uncovered among the rocks of Southern Australia’s aptly-named Dinosaur Cove. And while Australia is often thought of as a hot country, it’s important to note that continents are always shifting. Back when dinosaurs walked the earth, this land mass would have been within the Antarctic Circle and covered in ice and snow for at least part of the year.
A variety of dinosaurs survived these harsh conditions including small, feathery predators (with feathered bodies acting like a furry winter coat), parrot-like oviraptors and Leaellynasaura. This small herbivore walked on two legs and had one of the longest tails for its size of any dinosaur. Evidence suggests that some dinosaurs may have ‘dug in’ and hunkered down to survive the coldest months. Burrow-like structures containing small, herbivorous dinosaurs have been found over the years, suggesting survival practices and instincts.
The most common dinosaurs found at sites that endured extremely cold temperatures include theropods, ornithopods and ankylosaurs. Being a theropod, it’s thought even the formidable T-Rex might have left footprints in the snow when walking through the cold Arctic regions millions of years ago.
If you fancy a dinosaur adventure, live theatre could be the right choice for you. Book tickets to see Dinosaur World Live and enjoy a walking with dinosaurs theatre experience like no other. This show is suitable for children aged three and above and can be enjoyed as a family.