What do you know about dinosaurs?


Calling all amateur paleontologists! How much do you know about these prehistoric creatures? Do you know when dinosaurs existed, or which group was the largest? Test your dinosaur knowledge here. 

Question 1 of 19

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Dinosaur diorama
Carl Malamud/Wikimedia Commons
The consensus among paleontologists is that dinosaurs first roamed the planet about how many years ago?

Dinosaurs roamed Earth as early as 230 million years ago. They stuck around for 160 million years before they died off. The oldest dino fossils are 1,000 times older than the oldest Homo sapien remains ever found.

Question 2 of 19

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Dinosaur teeth
Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons
True or false? Dinosaurs could regrow their teeth throughout their lives.

Whether the teeth were worn down or fell out, evidence suggests that dinosaurs could regrow their teeth. Modern species of sharks and crocodiles can do the same.

Question 3 of 19

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Geological Era Clock
Wouldloper/Wikimedia Commons
In which geological era did dinosaurs exist?

Dinosaurs existed in the Mesozoic Era, the "age of reptiles," which can be divided into three periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Earth is currently in the Cenozoic Era, the age of "new life," which began 66 million years ago.

Question 4 of 19

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Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons
True or false? Dinosaurs were the oldest prehistoric reptiles.

The grandparents of dinosaurs were archosaurs, which lived about 250 million years ago. Dinosaurs and non-dinosaur reptiles like pterosaurs descended from these archosaurs.

Question 5 of 19

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Birds flying
Birds evolved from maniraptoran dinosaurs, a group that includes which "Jurassic Park" star?

The majority of archaeologists agree that birds descended from these small carnivores, based on their skeletal structure. Velociraptors and other members of the group also laid and looked after eggs as modern birds do. 

Question 6 of 19

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© Tomas Castelazo/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0
True or false? Crocodiles descended from dinosaurs.

Crocodiles are actually descendants of archosaurs — so while they share a common ancestor with dinosaurs, they evolved separately from dinosaurs. Birds, on the other hand, did evolve from dinosaurs

Question 7 of 19

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Matt Martyniuk/Wikimedia Commons
Which of these dinosaurs technically never existed?

In the heat of the fossil competition in the late 1800s, two paleontologists constructed long-necked dinos that ended up being so similar that the “Brontosaurus” was deemed simply a more complete version of the Apatosaurus, which had been discovered first. Now, “brontosaurus” is not officially recognized as the name for this long-necked behemoth. 

Question 8 of 19

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Wikimedia Commons
True or false? Dinosaurs lived on a single land mass called Pangaea for most of their existence.

While the first dinosaurs in the Triassic period lived on Pangaea for 50 million years, geological disturbances like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes led Pangaea to split into two masses — with the Atlantic Ocean between. From the Jurassic period to the Cretaceous period, Earth’s tectonic plates continued to shape land masses into a more recognizable map.

Question 9 of 19

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Jurassic period diorama
Carl Malamud/Wikimedia Commons
How many mass extinctions did dinosaurs live through?

Only one. At the end of the Triassic period, many land animals died while dinosaurs lived on. The second mass extinction on Earth was not as favorable for the dinosaurs. 

Question 10 of 19

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Triceratops illustration
Charles R. Knight/Wikimedia Commons
True or false? Carbon dioxide was more plentiful in the atmosphere during the dinosaurs’ time on Earth.

In fact, the Mesozoic Era had a whopping five times today’s CO2 levels. This meant a very warm climate, which became ripe with plant life as rainfall increased in the Jurassic period.

Question 11 of 19

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Dinosaurs of various sizes
Wikimedia Commons
Which group of dinosaurs was the largest to ever roam Earth?

That’s right — Apatosaurus, Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus were bigger than T-Rex by a long shot! 

Question 12 of 19

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Wikimedia Commons
Identify the dinosaur in this illustration:

Triceratops are among the most widely recognizable groups of dinosaurs. Their frills were likely used to attract mates.

Question 13 of 19

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Steveoc 86/Wikimedia Commons
Which of the following statements about tyrannosaurs is NOT true?

While T. Rex’s arms were not useful for hunting, evidence suggests that they had considerable strength and most likely aided the dinosaur in standing up from a prone position. They also may have served to hold prey while the dinosaur ate it.

Question 14 of 19

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Hariadhi/Wikimedia Commons
True or false? Even non-avian dinosaurs had feathers.

Several fossils of theropods have been discovered with well-preserved feathers. Ground-walking dinosaurs likely used them to attract mates. And at least one species of tyrannosaur has been found with feathers.

Question 15 of 19

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Dinosaur extinction
Zina Deretsky/National Science Foundation
What is the most credible theory of the dinosaurs’ mass extinction?

The climate change theory held the most weight until scientists discovered an element most commonly found in space at several digging sites. The discovery of a 110-mile wide crater solidified the theory that an impact could have caused a sufficient domino effect to wipe out the dinosaurs.

Question 16 of 19

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Charles R. Knight/Wikimedia Commons
Stegosaurus dinosaurs ate:

Stegosaurid dinosaurs were solely herbivorous. While this creature’s spikes were daunting, they most likely were used for defense more than they were used to harm other dinosaurs. Stegosaurus was the largest of all stegosaurians, about the size of a bus.

Question 17 of 19

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Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons
Velociraptors were:

Velociraptors’ claws show that the creatures could kill dinosaurs, and other evidence has shown that they likely scavenged.

Question 18 of 19

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Jurassic Park film poster
Wikimedia Commons
True or false? The "Jurassic Park" series is so named because all the dinosaurs lived during the Jurassic Period.

The starring dinosaurs mostly were from the Cretaceous period, not the Jurassic! But "Cretaceous Park" doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. This is just one of the many inaccuracies found in the movies and books. 

Question 19 of 19

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Land Before Time characters
Which characters in "The Land Before Time" would have actually lived during the same geological period?

Ducky, Petrie and Cera would have lived during the late Cretaceous period, while Spike and Littlefoot would have lived during the late Jurassic period. Cera’s line, “Three-horns never play with long-necks!” has more truth to it than she intended.

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