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Ten Mistakes We Made When Talking About Dinosaurs

Our perceptions and knowledge about these animals have changed a lot since the discovery of the first fossils and continue to change in light of new findings.

Our perception and understanding of dinosaurs has changed significantly since the first fossils were found - and they continue to change as new discoveries emerge.

Here are ten common misconceptions about dinosaurs that have been corrected by advances in science:

Geologist Bill Simpson uses a duster to clean the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex million years old known as 'Sue' at The Field Museum in Chicago, USA

1. Feathers of Discord

Good thing the Tyrannosaurus rex He is not around to witness the shaking in his fame after finding out he had feathers when he was young.

Dinosaurs were once thought to have only scales, but for the past 20 years scientists have become convinced that many carnivores have hair or feathers.

"Many - if not all - dinosaurs had feathers," Professor Mike Benton of Bristol University's School of Earth Sciences told BBC Radio 4.

2. Warming up

In the past, researchers had bet that dinosaurs must have been cold-blooded animals such as lizards and snakes. Beyond some divergence in the 19th century, this view remained until the 1970s, when new research pointed out that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, energy-hungry animals, like mammals.

In 2014, scientists suggested they were mesothermic - somewhere between hot and cold blood.

3. Finger clamp

Investigations into the Crystal Palace dinosaurs - a series of life-size sculptures in a park in south London revealed to the public in 1854 - caused some confusion after the discovery of a small, pointed fossil.

It was thought to be a horn, and a replica was placed on the tip of an Iguanodon's nose.

Later, when more complete specimens were found, the conclusion changed: it was actually a thumb bone responsible for the movement of tweezers.

4. The controversy about the end of dinosaurs

There are numerous hypotheses about the end of dinosaurs. The most widely accepted theory - and circulating over the last few decades - is that a huge meteorite hit Earth and wiped out most of them. But that does not explain why the shock did not end other animals such as birds, crocodiles and mammals.

Hypothesis that cites a meteorite as the cause of the end of dinosaurs leaves gaps and does not explain what happened to other species.

Older hypotheses focused on climate change and mountain formation, while some 20th century researchers argued that dinosaurs lost their breath as a species and gave up the fight.

5. Not that old

You might imagine it was a long time before the larger dinosaurs reached adult size.

This, along with the hypothesis that they were cold-blooded and slow-growing reptiles, led scientists to estimate their average lifespan at over one hundred years. But today we know that these beasts grew very fast, and that few dinosaurs were over 40 or 50 years old.

6. Our fault

Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park - Dinosaur Park, released in 1993, filled the theaters and piqued the public's imagination with inaccurate descriptions of the dinosaurs.

For most scientists, the movie's velociraptors, for example, were too large, fast, and clever, distancing them from reality. But the animals hunted in groups, as the movie shows.

And since when did Hollywood let facts get in the way of a good story?

7. Waterproof theory?

A decade ago, experts said the largest dinosaurs existed only in aquatic environments.

The monstrous weight and giant tail of Diplodocus, for example, would not have favored land traffic, scientists said, suggesting they must have lived in swamps or lakes.

A decade later, this theory sank. Scientists today agree that giant herbivores lived on dry land.

8. Flight of Discord

They shared the planet with T.Rex and co., But the pterosaurs weren't dinosaurs as everyone thought.

These flying reptiles of the Triassic and Cretaceous periods - the first vertebrates to fly - were a different group of animals, as were the marine reptiles of the time, such as the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

9. Idling

In the late 19th century, most thought that T.Rex was an expert runner, feeding the worst nightmares. But this view was outdated around the middle of the 20th century, when the monster came to be regarded as slow and slow.

Today, biomechanical models indicate that a compromise must have been the most likely scenario.

While chicken-sized dinosaurs might even take the place of dogs in current races, the T.Rex had an estimated average speed of about 29 km / h.

10. Dead End

We have long considered dinosaurs to be creatures that did not have the evolutionary pattern necessary to survive amid changes in the environment.

Over the past 20 to 30 years, however, a new consensus has emerged, pointing out that they were fantastically diverse and resilient species, and that they may boast of having had thousands of descendants in the form of today's birds.

Three things we don't know about dinosaurs yet…

Not much is known about the dinosaur noises, although there is evidence to support a 1970s notion that the Parasurolophus used his chest as a resonating chamber, allowing communication over long distances.

We don't know the colors of dinosaurs, but recent research has identified the color of feathers in dinosaurs like Sinosauroptreyx, which had orange and white rings on the tail.

We don't know how smart the dinosaurs were, but their small brains in body mass suggest reduced intellectual ability.