Who was boss before the dinosaurs?
Who was boss before the dinosaurs? Large hippo-like mammal forerunner ("Placerias") that lived, and died off, during the Triassic. (National Park Service Image)
Who was boss before the dinosaurs?
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The Jurassic witnessed a world populated by dinosaurs. While giant plant-eaters munched their way through ferns and conifer forests, large carnivores chased them down for lunch.
 
At the height of the Age of Dinosaurs, they were found on every continent. They thrived in the warm environments of the time.
 
But, dinosaurs were not always so prominent. Fossil evidence shows that they arose about 230 million years ago during the Triassic period. But they remained scarce as other reptiles took center stage. Many mammal forerunners, such as the large plant-eater Placerias, prospered. Huge crocodile-like animals like Smilosuchus were the top predators of the Triassic.
 
Paleontologists who study the fossil record have discovered that something big happened 200 million years ago. It radically changed life on land and in the sea. And it paved the way for dinosaur diversification and prominence.
 
What happened was so important that it caused more than half of all life on Earth to go extinct. The large crocodile-like reptiles that had dominated the landscape were eliminated. So were many of the mammal forerunners.
 
Find out more about the events that opened the door for the Age of Dinosaurs. Join us on Thursday, October 8, 2015, for a "Smithsonian Science How" live webcast on How Fossils Explain the Rise of Dinosaurs. It is airing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT on the Q?rius website. Paleontologist Dr. Hans Sues from the National Museum of Natural History will appear live to discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/who-was-boss-dinosaurs/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
To study dinosaurs, why do scientists rely on fossils instead of photographs?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (133)
  • jackt-ver
    9/24/2015 - 01:14 p.m.

    Knowing dinosaurs were major predators, it would be very scary if anything else could eat them. My only question is, did any dinosaur survive extinction? If birds are descendants of dinosaurs, how are there birds if all dinosaurs were extinct? Some must af survived.

  • roberto-ver
    9/24/2015 - 01:25 p.m.

    The alligator is a fascinating creature. And they are really fierce creatures. I think they were top predator before the dinosaurs. They have really sharp teeth and can live in water and land. They could be fast on both land and water.

  • daltont-deg
    9/24/2015 - 02:04 p.m.

    becuase it help you visualize how big to scale and what they looked like.

  • tialden-1-bar
    9/24/2015 - 07:34 p.m.

    Scientists rely on fossils rather than photographs to study dinosaurs because photos in the present time can be fake or edited and photos didn't exist back when dinosaurs lived unlike fossils. As stated in the article these researchers used fossils to support their claim. I found this article very interesting because I got to learn about new creatures that I never knew existed before.

  • gabriellek-1-bar
    9/24/2015 - 08:42 p.m.

    Scientists rely on fossils instead of photographs because during the Age of the Dinosaurs no humans existed. Fossils have the exact structure of what they looked like. A picture must be drawn and the artists all have different ways of showing how they thought dinosaurs looked like. I found this article interesting because something big happened 200 million years ago which caused many mammal forerunners to go extinct. This surprised me because it must have been something really big to wipe all of theses creatures out of existence.

  • ephraim,joseph-cas
    9/24/2015 - 08:44 p.m.

    1.Scientist uses fossils instead of photos because fossils show when dinosaurs first arrived on earth and when something big happened.
    2.This article was interesting to me because I like dinosaurs,and I found out that dinosaurs were on every continent.

  • isabellaw-1-bar
    9/24/2015 - 10:25 p.m.

    Scientists relay on fossils instead of photographs because most photographs are fake and are just an opinion where as fossils are real bones that came from the animal.I found this article interesting because I did not know that after the Smiloschus went extinct, so did many other mammals. I found this suprising because I did not know crocodile- like animals dominated.

  • elijahb-6-bar
    9/24/2015 - 10:37 p.m.

    Scientists didn't rely on photographs because nobody was there to take them and fossils were part of the living creature. I find this article very interesting and cool that there was something bigger than dinosaurs in the past.

  • kaleal-2-bar
    9/24/2015 - 11:19 p.m.

    Scientists rely more on fossils instead of photographs because no one was around to take pictures of them. Therefore, the only thing accurate enough to study are fossils. I find this very interesting because I've always known that there were others that lived before and after the dinosaur era, but it never occurred to me that anything could've dominated its area as well as the dinosaurs did. Smilosuchus rock!

  • kayleeu-2-bar
    9/24/2015 - 11:27 p.m.

    To study dinosaurs scientists rely on fossils instead of photographs because fossils are a lot more reliable and easier to study than pictures.

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