Jurassic Earth was a golden time for dinosaurs, with formidable carnivores and powerful herbivores roaming the planet. In fact, these beasts survived for at least 230 million years before becoming extinct around 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period. Humans didn’t appear on Earth for another 65 million years after that, which is mind-blowing when you think about it. So what did dinosaurs do all day when the world looked very different?
Dinosaur Activity - By Day
Dinosaurs walked a lot. At the time, all the continents were joined together, forming a supercontinent known as Pangea. This meant they didn’t have to worry about crossing large, treacherous oceans and could roam slowly to areas that would help them survive. Dinosaur teeth discoveries suggest that some of the planet’s largest dinosaurs may have embarked on seasonal migrations when water holes dried up, meaning they walked hundreds and hundreds of kilometres to find new sources of food and drink. It’s thought long-necked herbivores left floodplains for rainier uplands. Many journeys were at least 300km in each direction, suggesting that by day, dinosaurs were plod, plod, plodding along.
Some of the bigger and more ferocious dinosaurs ate a lot and would spend much of their time looking for their next meal during daylight hours. According to research, a fully grown Tyrannosaurus Rex would need around the same daily calories as 80 people on a diet of 2,500 calories a day. That translates to about 140kg of meat! To be a successful hunter, the Tyrannosaurus Rex would startle its prey with a powerful bite before making the final kill.
Herbivore dinosaurs such as the Brachiosaurus, Dreadnoughtus and Titanosaur spent a lot of their time eating too. Sure, they were fast eaters, stripping trees and bushes with ease, but they still needed to chomp through thousands of kilograms worth of greens every single day.
Dinosaurs pooped - a lot. Their droppings have been analysed over the years and we now know a lot more about what they used to eat. We also know that dinosaurs peed a lot as recent studies show they left shallow pits in rock - a bit like when you pour water from a height into sand.
Dinosaur Activity - By Night
Most dinosaurs were awake during the day and slept at night. This included Tyrannosaurs, Triceratops, Stegosaurs and Brachiosaurs. Some dinosaurs such as Velociraptior, however, were nocturnal, meaning they hunted at night. It’s hard to know just how long dinosaurs slept for based on fossil findings. That said, if we look at the habits of other animals, it’s likely that they slept for around two to three hours at a time before waking up and watching over the herd. This would have offered maximum protection from predators.
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