Thanks to the film makers in Hollywood there are a lot of popular myths associated with dinosaurs. The most common misconception is that they used to be hunted by cavemen. But in actuality dinosaurs were extinct for more than 65 million years before the first humans even crawled out of their caves. So regardless of what ‘Fred Flintstone’ might tell you, cavemen did not have dinosaurs as pets and the Tyrannosaurus Rex did not reach down into the jungle and pluck out human snacks like grapes off a vine. Quite simply, man and dinosaurs have never met or lived on planet Earth at the same time.
Another common misconception about dinosaurs is that they could fly or live under water. No matter what you might have learned from ‘Dr. Grant’ in Jurassic Park, true dinosaurs stood upright and lived on land. The Pterodactyl was a close relative of the dinosaur, but is actually classified as a flying reptile and not technically a dinosaur. The Ichthyosaurus and other water dwelling animals that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs were actually water mammals and are more closely related to modern day dolphins. So technically, dinosaurs lived, fed, and bred on land and were not air or water dwelling creatures.
After watching popular movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Land That Time Forgot, most people believe dinosaurs were giant monsters that terrorized the land and stalked all other creatures. But scientists have shown that dinosaurs came in many shapes and sizes and some were quite small and docile. While some species were indeed the size of skyscrapers, many of the smallest dinosaur fossils found have been the size of modern day chickens.
Even the theories of how the dinosaurs became extinct can be misconceptions. While a few dinosaurs like Barney and Godzilla have survived, the majority of the dinosaurs died during something called the K-T Event. The K-T Event took place 65 million years ago when a meteor smashed into Earth and caused catastrophic damage destroying most animal and plant life within days. However most scientists believe that many of the dinosaurs were already dying out from other natural causes years before the K-T Event took place. Some scientists also believe that some of the animals from the era did survive and eventually evolved into animals that are still with us today; most commonly, birds. More and more scientists are beginning to subscribe to the idea that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs and in fact proof that dinosaurs are not technically extinct. So the next time a bird poops on your windshield remember its not just bird poop, its dinosaur poop.