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What are Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs belong to a group of animals that lived during the Mesozoic Era, about 230 to 65 million years ago. This was a well diversified group of animals, ranging from tall to short dinosaurs. Meat eating to plant eating. Besides these differences, dinosaurs shared certain characteristics of their skull and hip structures.

Dinosaur are divided into two major groups. Saurischian dinosaurs "lizard-hipped", and Ornithischian dinosaurs "bird-hipped". The Saurischian group had pelvic bones that resemble modern reptiles. The Ornithischian group, had pelvic bones that resemble those of birds.

Ornithischian Dinosaur HipSaurischian Dinosaur Hip

There are some misconceptions about what dinosaurs are. This section will help clarify some of these misconceptions.

First, dinosaurs lived only during the Mesozoic Era, about 230 to 65 million years ago
Dinosaurs could not fly, even though some of them would later develop feathers such as Archaeopteryx
Dinosaurs did not live in the water (they were not marine animals)
Dinosaurs had their legs directly underneath their bodies. They did not sprawl while walking like other prehistoric reptiles such as Dimetrodon
And remember not every animal with a name ending on "saurus" was a dinosaur either

Dimetrodon, NOT A DINOSAUR

Kronosaurus, NOT A DINOSAUR

Quetzalcoatlus, NOT A DINOSAUR