Scientists currently estimate that the ancestors of human beings began wobbling around on two legs about 5 million years ago. This seems like a very long time ago indeed until you consider thatthe last of the dinosaurs died 60 million years earlier. This means that dinosaurs have been gone from the Earth 12 times longer than humanoid creatures have been in existence!
If this thoughtdoes not sufficiently boggle your mind, trying contemplating the fact that the Age of the Dinosaurs itself spanned nearly 150 million years. Which means, the human race is a mere fledgling speciescompared to the noble race of creatures we call dinosaurs. That's right, if current theories are correct, we're just babies on this Earth!
While the Age of Dinosaurs graced the Earth for an incrediblylong time, the name "dinosaurs" has only been around for about 160 years. In fact it was not until 1841 that Sir Richard Owen gave the name "dinosaur" (meaning "terrible lizard") to the strangereptile-like creatures whose fossilized remains were being unearthed by his fellow British scientists. The startling finds had begun with a creature soon named "Iguanodon" ("iguana tooth") in 1820, andwere soon followed by "Megalosaurus" and "Hylaeosaurus".
Considering that the first dinosaur finds were made by accident, it seems reasonable to assume that this was not the first time humanbeings had unearthed the remains of dinosaurs. And if people in other lands and times did make such discoveries, what do you suppose they thought they'd found? Could such bones have been the origins ofdragon legends?
But before we begin feeling smug about our own knowledge of dinosaurs, it's important to understand that modern scientists are still struggling to completely understand theseamazing creatures. And in fact, many of our earlier "facts" about dinosaurs have recently turned out to be false! For example, despite the name "terrible lizards", we now know that many dinosaurs had...
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