There are awesome creatures that have been unearthed by paleontologists and amateur fossil hunters. These marvelous animals were called Dinosaurs in 1841 by Sir Richard Owen, famed anatomist and founder of the British Museum of Natural History. These magnificent creatures that God designed by His creative power was for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11) and is a legacy to us.
Although we are unable to study a live dinosaur (scientific name means terrible lizard), most scientists have concluded that the dinosaurs were a special category of reptile. But what sets dinosaurs apart from reptiles we see today is primarily their hip structure. Dinosaurs had hips that placed their legs beneath them, like a cow or an emu. These hips designate erect stance. Reptiles living today have legs that come off the sides of their bodies and then down, such as a alligator or a lizard. No living animal today as far as is known has a “lizard hip” or “bird hip“. Only extinct dinosaurs had these types of hip structure.
Another distinguishing design of a dinosaur is the structure of their skulls. All dinosaurs had skulls with peculiar openings in the sides. There are a few animals alive today (such as the tuatara in New Zealand) which have the peculiar openings in their skulls, but do not have the lizard hip or bird hip and thus are not considered dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs were a unique breed of animals that came in all shapes and sizes. Some were quite large and belong to the group of dinosaurs called sauropods. One type of sauropod was the Diplodocus carnegii. It was about 90 feet long, had a long, flexible neck and a long whip-like tail. Its long head, small for a dinosaur so large, held a relatively small brain. It weighed about 15 tons. Some dinosaurs had horns and frills. One such dinosaur was the Styracosaurus. It belong to the group of dinosaurs called ceratopsians. It was the most spectacular of the ceratopsians because it had a six foot skull with three pairs of spikes extending out from the back of the frill and a nose horn that was straight and over two feet tall. The most fearsome of the dinosaurs was the Tyrannosaurus rex. It was an impressive dinosaur that had large saber-like teeth but short front arms with two claws on each arm. It weighed about 7 tons and was about 50 feet long and about 18 feet tall. The great weight of this creature ‘s head and body was counter-balanced by its powerful tail. Tyrannosaurus was as large as a big semi-truck with a trailer!
Many museums around the world have dinosaur fossil collections but Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh has one of the most historical and scientifically significant collections of dinosaur fossils in the world. Its exhibit in newly renovated Dinosaur Hall called Dinosaurs in Their Time is a must see.
For more information on dinosaurs go to http://www.wikipedia.com.