Dinosaur: Book Review :: What Is A Dinosaur?

The term “dinosaur” means “terrible lizard,” but the truth is that not all dinosaurs were gigantic, ferocious, bloodthirsty creatures. While many were large, some were actually quite small; while many were meat-eaters, some survived solely on vegetation. Here are some other facts about dinosaurs that may challenge the image you have in your mind.


Never judge a dinosaur's intelligence by his size. Dinosaurs like the Troodon had the largest-sized brain in relation to their body weight, while some giant herbivores, despite their enormous size, had brains no bigger than the size of a plum.

Feet & Legs

The big carnivores and the raptors had sharp talons on their feet for slashing and ripping at flesh, while the giant herbivores had feet similar to an elephant’s. And, despite their enormous size, they were able to walk along as quietly as elephants do today.

All dinosaurs' legs extended directly beneath their bodies, instead of sprawling out to either side like modern-day reptiles’ legs. This design allows some dinos to become truly massive, with pillar-like legs supporting their weight. It also gave other dinosaurs great speed and agility.

Most dinosaurs could walk and run on their two back legs, using their tail for balance.


Dinosaurs, like reptiles today, laid eggs, and it seems like they were pretty good parents, too. Nests have been found with eggshells crushed into bits, as if the baby dinosaurs had stayed there for some time, being fed and looked after.

Weight & Height

  • The largest herbivore was the Argentinosaurus. It weighed between 80 and 100 tons, which is the same as 13 elephants.
  • The largest carnivore was the Spinosaurus. It weighed about four tons, which is the same as 16 polar bears.
  • The tallest herbivore was the Sauroposeidon. It measured 56 feet, which is as tall as three giraffes.
  • The smallest carnivore was the Microraptor. It measured just 21 inches, which is as tall as one brown rat.

  • Teeth

  • Iguanodon: Curved teeth for grinding down plant matter.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Strong and sharp teeth for shattering bones.
  • Diplodocus: Pencil-shaped teeth for stripping foliage.
  • Stegosaurus: Leaf-shaped teeth for chewing plants.
  • Deinonychus: Serrated teeth for tearing flesh.

  • Related stories:

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Utahraptor – One Mean Looking Dino!
  • In The Footsteps Of Dinos
  • What Did Dinos Really Look Like?


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