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Natural History Brought To Life

Refresh and try again. System control number ocn The National Dinosaur Museum. Very educational and entertaining. Whybrow, Ian. Suburban Setting.

But according to researchers at the University of Texas, things could have been very different. They reported findings that had the asteroid struck Earth just a few minutes earlier, it would have hit the deep ocean rather than the shallow sea of the Yucatan Peninsula in present-day Mexico. Had that been the case, then the damage would have been more localised.

Some of the dinosaurs far from the impact site might have survived, and the world would be a different place today. In our own history, only the feathered theropod dinosaurs a group of bipedal dinosaurs we know as birds made it through the calamity, but how would things have turned out if their larger relatives had joined them? Would dinosaurs still be alive today and could mammals such as humans have evolved?

What would our world look like if we shared it with the descendants of animals like T. Over the years many have tried to imagine what kind of creatures dinosaurs might have evolved into had they survived. Dr Tom Holtz, an expert on theropod dinosaurs at the University of Maryland in the US, says that both tyrannosaurs and abelisaurs, the two types of big meat-eater present in the Late Cretaceous, are notable for their tiny forelimbs. The beginning of the Cenozoic Era which spans the period from 66 million years ago until the present day might essentially have been an ecological extension of the Late Cretaceous.

Various creatures such as titanosaur sauropods huge, long-necked dinosaurs like Argentinosaurus , hadrosaurs duck-billed dinosaurs like Edmontosaurus , ceratopsians horned, beaked dinosaurs like Triceratops , and predators such as the tyrannosaurs would still have remained common. But as we head further from the Cretaceous towards the present day, there would likely have been significant changes, says Dr Andy Farke at the Raymond M.

Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California. Already in the Cretaceous there were numerous fluffy, feathered theropods scampering in the trees. Assuming that flowering plants continued to spread and thrive as they did in our history, then could primate-like dinosaurs have specialised to take advantage of the fruit they produced? Prof Matthew Bonnan, a palaeobiologist at Stockton University in New Jersey, argues that primates evolved large, forward-facing eyes with colour vision to forage for fruit.

Other ecological spaces little explored by dinosaurs were aquatic environments. But if their giant marine reptile relatives — the mosasaurs and plesiosaurs — had survived, then dinosaurs might have found it hard to get a foothold. There could also have been other consequences of dinosaurs and their reptilian relatives, such as the flying pterosaurs, not petering out at the end of the Cretaceous.

Although birds co-existed with dinosaurs for a long time in the Cretaceous, their diversity was low compared to today. But perhaps smaller mammals such as rodents, bats and primates would have been just as successful.

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If that had been the case, then some of those primates could have climbed down from the trees onto the grasslands and savannahs that eventually replaced the thick forests of the Cretaceous, and evolved into hominids, as our ancestors did. We probably would have done okay. Dinosaurs might not have been so lucky though, as humans seem to have a special skill for killing off large animals.

Perhaps the biggest dinosaurs would have gone the way of the mammoth and the dodo. Big dinosaurs would perhaps only persist in protected reserves, such as national parks and wildlife refuges — modern-day equivalents of Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs that might do particularly well in the modern era are those that could learn to live and thrive alongside people. In our world today, the vast majority of animal biomass is made up of the species that we farm or have domesticated, or those that live around our cities and developments — and so it would also have been in a reality where humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

There might have been dinosaur equivalents of seagulls, pigeons, rats, raccoons and foxes — all very well adapted to take advantage of the resources available in urban environments. You can just imagine little beaked herbivorous dinosaurs nibbling at the roses and hydrangeas in your garden. Obviously, we might have domesticated dinosaurs to exploit for meat and eggs or agricultural labour, and we would very likely have taken them into our homes as pets — the feathery or scaly equivalents of dogs and cats.

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Perhaps, though, the idea that humans could have evolved in a world filled with dinosaurs is simply too far-fetched. Without the dinosaurs disappearing, mammals would not have had the same opportunity. Longmont Public Library. Average Rating.

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Inside-Outside Dinosaurs

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