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Discovery Magazine 11/1/1990

How Did Dinosaurs Live?

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

Many people used to believe that dinosaurs were stupid animals. Hollywood movies made them out to be vicious beasts that could only terrorize “cave men” and time travelers. That picture is beginning to change. Several scientists now think that dinosaurs lived in many different and interesting ways. John Horner, a famous dinosaur scientist, has guessed that there are 10,000 hadrosaur fossils in a layer of rock in Montana. This huge collection of fossils in one place makes him think that these dinosaurs once roamed in herds, like the caribou of North America.

Scientists have also found groups of fossil dinosaur nests. Maiasaura (“good mother lizard”) built mud nests six feet wide and three feet deep, and laid 20-25 eggs at a time. This dinosaur got its name because the mothers seem to have cared for their young in the nest, as birds do today. Hypsilophodon may have laid its eggs in groups also, but its young were probably ready to run with their parents soon after hatching.

We must remember that fossils cannot tell us everything about how the dinosaurs lived. Yes, the dinosaurs were wonderful creatures, but they are gone from the world. We cannot touch, see, smell, or hear them, anymore.

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