People have searched for the truth about dinosaurs for centuries. While previous generations may have considered them dragon remnants or fossils placed into the ground by God to test humanity's faith, the real picture has become clearer with each new dinosaur discovery. Research has also illuminated the similarities between dinosaurs and birds - dinosaurs had feathers, among other bird-like traits.
Several of the most important questions, like learning how dinosaurs behaved or what they looked and sounded like, have ambiguous answers at best. Dino researchers have dug up fossils and examined them for generations, but now some question the validity of a few widely believed conclusions. Along with the discovery of many new dinosaur species, our knowledge about dinosaurs has completely changed. Check out the most shocking facts about these giants.
The Biggest Animal In The World Was Actually The Ledumahadi Mafube - A 26,000-Pound Elephant Twice The Size Of An African Elephant
In September of 2018, a new dinosaur claimed the top spot as largest animal on Earth. Researchers in South Africa revealed a new, giant relative of the brontosaurus estimated to have been nearly twice the size of the massive African elephant, based on its restored fossil. Named “Ledumahadi mafube” - or “a giant thunderclap at dawn” in the local language of Sesotho - researchers now believe this dinosaur was one of the largest animals on Earth during the early days of the planet’s existence, about 200 millions years ago. These 26,000-pound creatures were most likely related to the giant dinosaurs inhabiting what is modern-day Argentina, when Pangaea made overland transport more accessible.
Reportedly, the Ledumahadi is closely related to sauropod dinosaurs - similar to the brontosaurus. But unlike the famous four-legged, plant-eating bronty, the Ledumahadi is believed to have been what researchers call a “transitional” dinosaur, or what CNN described as “an evolutionary experiment… during the early Jurassic period [in which] the forelimbs of this dinosaur are more ‘crouched,’ while being very thick to support its giant body.”
This presumably means the dinosaur may actually have evolved from two-legged ancestors, but scientists posit the way in which it evolved to four legs helped its digestive system handle a more vegetarian-based diet.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex Definitely Wasn’t Fast Enough To Chase A Jeep
One of the most famous scenes in Jurassic Park features a Tyrannosaurus rex chasing down a group of the film's protagonists as they speed away in a Jeep. However, despite the impressive size of its legs, the T. rex was probably not able to run much at all. Scientists previously estimated the T. rex could travel at speeds as high as 33 mph, but a 2017 study using complex computer models estimated the creature could only travel a maximum of 12 mph.
Most Dinosaurs Had Feathers
Books and educational materials traditionally depicted dinosaurs as giant lizards. However, this is beginning to change as their evolutionary connection to birds is becoming increasingly apparent. The idea of a dino with plumage is difficult to imagine, but the majority of paleontologists now agree most - if not all - dinosaurs had feathers.
The discovery didn't happen all at once, but in stages, as researchers discovered more feathered specimens, and the truth became impossible to ignore. Since feathers don't usually preserve well, it took years before scientists discovered enough fossils to support the hypothesis. At first, only flesh-eating dinosaurs purportedly had feathers, but the discovery of a well-preserved, feathered herbivore species in 2014 compelled paleontologists to consider perhaps all dinosaurs were downy.
The Brontosaurus Was Real After All
The Brontosaurus is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs, thanks to frequent mentions on the TV show The Flintstones. For a long time, however, many paleontologists didn't believe the species existed. The Brontosaurus came about when a paleontologist misidentified an Apatosaurus skeleton during the overly competitive fossil-hunting competition termed the "Bone Wars."
In 2015, a research team challenged this belief when they found "significant differences" between typical Apatosauruses and the original Brontosaurus specimen. The Brontosaurus appears poised to finally re-enter the history books.