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We all know about dinosaurs, but do we really know about them? Have you ever wondered where dinosaurs lived? Do you think some dinosaurs lived in snowy environments? At Mesozo we are all real dinosaur enthusiasts, and now we will try to share our passion and knowledge with you! Dinosaurs still fascinate us so much, we never get tired of learning more and more about these awesome prehistoric creatures.
In this article, you’ll find out:
First of all, let's remember that the history of dinosaurs occurs mainly during the Mesozoic era, between 252 and 66 million years ago. If you want to learn more about the subject, we invite you to read our article on the Mesozoic era.
In the Mesozoic era, our planet was different in many ways. At the beginning of this era, all the continents were gathered into one supercontinent, Pangea. While all the continents were gathered in one place, the environments were less varied than today, which probably explains the relative uniformity of the oldest dinosaur faunas found.
At the beginning of the Jurassic period, about 200 million years ago, plate technology caused the gradual destruction of Pangea. Oceans opened up between the continental blocks.
This phenomenon gradually moved the continents apart and isolated the dinosaurian fauna, which began to evolve differently from the mainland to the continents to be better adapted to their respective habitats.
Scientists generally agree that the differences in climate between each continent and between the poles and the equator might have been less than they are today in the Mesozoic era.
They are generally considered warmer than today's climates.
But does that mean that all dinosaurs lived in warm, tropical climates, as many people might imagine? Well, no, not precisely, and we're going to see that in more detail right now.
For a long time, the scientific community thought that all dinosaurs were cold-blooded animals who needed to live in warm environments. It turns out that the reality was quite different, as more recent studies have shown that many dinosaurs were warm-blooded. From this, we can imagine that dinosaurs may have lived in much colder environments than previously imagined.
Several facts support this theory. Indeed many dinosaur fossils have been found in Australia, except Australia 100 million years ago was not in the same position as today's Australia! The continent was much closer to the South Pole and Antarctica, so we can conclude that it was much colder today!
Therefore, it is quite possible that dinosaurs lived there in a climate that could resemble today's European environments, with relatively cold and potentially snowy winters.
Some theories suggest that the feathers of dinosaurs would allow them to better protect themselves from the cold.
When we imagine dinosaurs, we often imagine animals living in the jungle, hidden in extensive rainforests, camouflaged, ready to pounce on their prey. But when is it? Is it a reality? Well, yes, or at least it's a part of reality. Just like today's mammals, dinosaurs lived in all kinds of environments, their respective evolutions had allowed them to adapt to their habitat, so it is surprising to learn that many of them lived in huge forest expanses, endless jungles.
Unfortunately, hot and humid climates are not conducive to the excellent conservation of fossils, not to mention that excavation is much more complicated there, which is why we have found far fewer fossils in this kind of environment.
Fortunately, there are some exceptions; in southern Brazil, there is a region of great plains full of fossils, a real paradise for all paleontologists; at the Triassic, this area was forested, a fertile jungle, filled with giant, with mosses and non-flowering plants. We can therefore conclude that the animals found in these plains were indeed living in a rainforest environment.
This is how Gnathovorax cabreirai, the Triassic king, was discovered, one of the oldest fossils found to date.
It was a carnivorous bipedal carnivorous dinosaur measuring 12m long, probably just as formidable as the T-Rex; it was undoubtedly the undisputed master of its habitat.
Just as today, the land of the Mesozoic era possessed numerous and vast plains.
Gigantic plains covered with prehistoric plants. It is on these plains that many dinosaurs lived. Vast herds of large herbivores crossed the plains, feeding on everything they found in their path. However, the journey was not a restful one for them; it was on these plains that plant-eaters could meet some of the most dangerous predators of their time, such as the famous tyrannosaurus rex or some raptors.
There has always been some desert on earth. Life has almost always found a way to adapt and develop in this harsh habitat. The age of dinosaurs and dinosaurs are no exception to the rule.
Contrary to what one might think, the largest desert today, the Sahara Desert was not a desert in the dinosaurs' time; it was a lush forest. Thus, it is not this desert that we are going to be interested in but rather the Gobi desert in Asia. The Gobi Desert was probably already a desert in the dinosaurs' time, and it is also one of the most prolific places in terms of the discovery of fossils.
In the Gobi Desert, paleontologists have discovered one of the most famous dinosaurs of all, the infamous velociraptor! That's also here that they made one of the most incredible discoveries; they found complete fossils of two dinosaurs in full combat at the moment of their death, a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops trapped by a sandstorm and buried during a fierce fight.
Dinosaurs have colonized the entire surface of the planet and have lived there for millions of years. During the beginning of the Mesozoic era, dinosaurs were scattered all over the continent of Pangaea. After the separation of the continents, dinosaurs continued to live on all continents and in all habitats; of course, it was not the same dinosaurs. Just as today's mammals, the dinosaurs had evolved to be adapted to their environment. So the majority of dinosaurs had never encountered the majority of dinosaur species living on earth simultaneously as they only met dinosaurs residing in their habitat.
As seen before, dinosaurs lived on the earth's entire surface. Although the world didn't look like it does now, we can say that dinosaurs lived in almost every country that exists today, and paleontologists found fossils on all today's continents.
This is a very delicate question. Indeed it is likely that humans have discovered dinosaur fossils many times in the past, probably for thousands of years, but they probably had no idea what they were. Some ancient Chinese writings describe giant dragon bones; many experts today believe that they were dinosaur bones.
In modern history, the most often regarded person as the discoverer of dinosaurs is reverend Robert Plot; he has discovered a bone, probably from Megalosaurus.
Dinosaurs lived on every continent; then, it seems logical that we have discovered fossils in almost all countries. However, these are very unevenly distributed. Indeed some places are known to be incredibly prolific in terms of dinosaur fossils.
North America and especially the United States are probably the place where most fossils have been discovered; China is not left out, and paleontologists have found many fossils in China, especially in the Gobi desert. But we can also mention Argentina or Europe, where fascinating specimens have been discovered so far.
Before answering this question, we must understand that the USA as we know it today did not exist during the dinosaurs' age. It was first a part of Pangaea, then a non-homogeneous territory with several different environments. But dinosaurs likely lived in all part of the emergent lands that now make up the United States.
Shortly after independence, Dr. Caspar Wistar discovered a dinosaur bone in Gloucester County, New Jersey. It was the first dinosaur fossil found in the US.
As you can imagine, since the first fossil was found in the United States, many others have been discovered.
Mainly in what is now the western United States, As the paleontological discoveries can testify. Indeed, at present, dinosaur fossils have been discovered in 35 of the 50 American states. The majority of the fossils are in the southwestern and mountainous western states. We can mention Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, California, all Western Mountain states except Nevada.
To conclude, we will say that as for humans and other mammals of today, dinosaurs had colonized the earth; they lived in all possible environments, they were masters of the place. We still have a lot to learn about these prehistoric animals, and many fossils are waiting for paleontologists and random people to discover them. The future undoubtedly holds many exciting surprises.