Dinosaurs: 6 myths that people still have about millions of years old animals.

  • Fernando Duarte
  • BBC World Service

25 November 2021

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Scientists say Efforts to eradicate misconceptions about dinosaurs are made more difficult by the misrepresentation of these creatures through the media in popular culture.

Humans have known about dinosaurs for hundreds of years. Since these primitive creatures have been described in science textbooks in the 19th century.

but until now Paleontologists are still trying to clear up misconceptions about the animals that ruled our planet millions of years ago. and their mission becomes more difficult. Due to the fact that these animals are presented through various media in popular culture. This includes the acclaimed sequel Jurassic Park.

This is a misconception about dinosaurs that persists today.

Did all the dinosaurs die as a meteorite hit the earth?

Artistic representation of dinosaurs witnessing the impact of an asteroid

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Did a giant meteorite impact the Earth 66 million years ago actually caused the dinosaurs to go extinct?

Some 66 million years ago, dinosaurs faced a great disaster. when the giant meteorite The impact, which scientists estimate is 10 km in diameter, has crashed into the Earth, creating a massive crater that currently sinks beneath the Yuca Peninsula. in the southeast of Mexico and lead to mass extinction events

However, scientists say Only 75% of the world’s animals are extinct. And some dinosaurs were among the survivors.

Professor Paul Barrett, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, told the BBC: “Even many dinosaurs died when a meteorite hit the earth. But the important group of dinosaurs is very small. and dinosaurs with bird feathers still surviving And it is still there for us to see today.”

“Birds are a direct member of this group of dinosaurs.”

A woodpecker carving out a nest

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Bird dinosaurs (Avian dinosaurs) that evolved into the birds we are familiar with today. is a survivor of a meteorite that hit Earth 66 million years ago

“They are living dinosaurs,” said Professor Barrett, pointing out that when considered in terms of the number of live bird species It is found that today there are more species of dinosaurs on Earth than 66 million years ago.

Can you dodge the T-Rex by standing still?

Tyrannosaurus rex, also known as T. rex, was the protagonist in the first Jurassic Park movie released in 1993, and it was portrayed as a ferocious dinosaur. playing against human beings

However, the image of the T-rex is presented in the film. are animals with bad eyesight And will be able to detect prey when prey is moving.

Scene from the 1993 movie Jurassic Park shows a T-Rex looking at a man

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One study from 15 years ago indicated that T. rex probably has the best eyesight of all animals.

In nature, this is a characteristic that is found in amphibians. But Professor Barrett said this was not with the T. rex.

“Dinosaurs should have a clearer vision. One study from 15 years ago indicated that T. rex probably has the best eyesight of all animals.”

“Standing still in front of the T. rex is probably one of the stupidest things you can do.”

Can the T-Rex overtake the car?

Illustration of a T-Rex chasing prey

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Scientists say T rex can run But it may not be as fast as what is shown in the movie.

In Jurassic Park, there is a scene where the T. rex can run so fast that it overtakes a car.

In fact, there have been several studies in the past that have assessed that This formidable predator can run at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour. The latest models using state-of-the-art technology indicate they can trot at speeds of 20-29 kilometers per hour.

Dr. Mariana di Giacomo, an expert from the Peabody Museum of Natural History According to Yale University, “Maybe the T. rex can run faster in the short term. But probably not fast enough to overtake a car.”

Can we clone dinosaurs?

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Scientists say Cloning a dinosaur that was alive at a time very distant from humans was extremely complex. Because there are many variables that we don’t know yet.

T. rex went extinct from Earth tens of millions of years before the birth of humans. And we’re unlikely to get a chance to see this creature come to life again like in Jurassic Park, because scientists say we don’t currently have the technology to clone dinosaurs.

The main reason is that dinosaur DNA doesn’t last very long.

Professor Barrett said: “As far as we know, it (DNA) doesn’t last very long.”

“The oldest DNA we know of in the fossil record is about 2 million years old,” he explained.

Paleontologists at the Natural History Museum of London say that to obtain genetic information from primitive animals is from animals that have died since 50,000 years ago. This made him believe that we could clone dinosaurs.

Dr Di Giacomo agrees with this, pointing out that despite great scientific advances in dinosaur genetics But that doesn’t mean cloning them will be successful.

“Cloneing living creatures away from us in geologic terms is very complicated. because there are so many variables we don’t know.”

“Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies have shown us all the reasons why we shouldn’t[clone].”

Are dinosaurs really stupid?

Drawing of a Troodon skeleton

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Scientists believe Small carnivorous dinosaurs, such as Troodon, were very intelligent creatures.

Dr Di Giacomo explains that advances in technology have helped scientists understand how dinosaurs used to live and behave.

“Not all dinosaurs are smart. And not all dinosaurs are stupid.”

She said they were smart. in order to be able to survive in the world in which they live

Professor Barrett added: some dinosaurs “Pretty smart,” that’s a small carnivorous dinosaur.

“Some may be active at night to avoid competition with larger animals. if so They have to have bigger brains to process more information. They also need better auditory, visual and olfactory nerves.”

Are dinosaurs bad parents?

Illustration of a Maiasaura and its offspring

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Maiasaura is a herbivorous dinosaur known as “Good chameleon mother”

For more than a century, humans believed Dinosaurs are ferocious creatures that live alone. and no child-rearing behavior But in the 1970s and 1980s, it was discovered that They have complex social behaviors.

Maiasaura is a herbivorous dinosaur believed to have lived on Earth 77 million years ago. “Good chameleon” in Greek and Latin

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports last October. studied this and found evidence indicating that Dinosaurs that lived 193 million years ago formed a group to support their babies.

Professor Barrett said we now have a better understanding of dinosaurs. And know that at least some dinosaurs are good parents.

Dr. Di Giacomo gave examples of other baby dinosaurs such as Allosaurus and Citipati osmolskae, nicknamed “Big Ma.” Ma” (Big Mama) because it was found in the form of incubating eggs.

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