Q:

When were the dinosaurs born?

A:

The earliest conclusive evidence of the evolution of dinosaurs dates their origins to 230 million years ago. They are believed to have evolved from other reptilian species and developed certain defining characteristics, such as specialized hip and leg bones.

Earlier fossils have been discovered which may predate previously uncovered archaeological evidence. A previously unknown genus of archosaur could push the time period back another 10 million years, while footprints discovered in Europe may place the date back to 250 million years. So little evidence remains from so long ago that it makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact date, year or millennium for a given animal type to have evolved.

What is known, as of 2014, is that the animals referred to as dinosaurs first appeared in the late Triassic period and remained in existence as a group for more than 190 million years. This has been determined based on the depth at which fossils have been found and through the use of radio-carbon dating which allows archaeologists to determine how old an item is based on the constant decay rate of carbon isotopes contained in all matter on Earth. This method is also used in geology when determining the age of rock formations or sedimentary layers.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    When did dinosaurs first appear?

    A:

    The first true dinosaurs first appeared about 230 million years ago. The first dinosaur fossils are distinguished from those of their reptile ancestors by their more upright stance, with legs directly beneath the body instead of splayed to the side, as with other reptiles. The earliest dinosaur fossils were found in South America, although a December 2012 fossil discovery in southern Africa casts some doubt on a South American origin.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long ago did dinosaurs live?

    A:

    Dinosaurs existed during the Mesozoic Era, first appearing around 230 million years ago and dying out about 65 million years ago. However, scientists largely agree that birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs. If so, then the dinosaurs did not die off completely, only the non-avian variety did.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Is it possible to clone dinosaurs?

    A:

    It is very unlikely that a dinosaur can be cloned. The essential element, a complete dinosaur genome, is extremely unlikely to exist after 65 million years. Genetic material is made out of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and it breaks down over time.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are dinosaurs extinct?

    A:

    There are a few well-researched theories about why dinosaurs are extinct; one of the most prominent theories hypothesizes that a massive asteroid impact killed off the dinosaurs. Another states that heavy volcanic eruptions across the Earth may have been responsible.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore