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Can Dinosaurs Be Cloned?

The simple answer is no. Well, not yet, anyway, and highly unlikely. Let’s start by talking about where Jurassic Park got it right.

Amber does exist. Amber is tree resin that has been fossilized and preserved due to high pressure and temperature, covered by many layers of sediment over thousands of years. Eventually, it can harden to make a gemstone that is actually quite expensive, and people do turn it into jewelry! It is possible for things to get trapped in the amber; scientists have indeed found mosquitoes and biting flies preserved in amber from the time of the dinosaurs, but unfortunately, the amber only preserves the outside, the “husk”, not the soft tissue. Any tasty snack they had before getting trapped doesn’t get preserved.

Lebanese amber specimen from the Early Cretaceous Period

There is fun news though! Scientists have found blood residue inside ancient bugs! They just weren’t found in amber, they were found in bones! Dr. Susie Maidment and a team of researchers from the Natural History Museum in the UK have discovered what they interpret to be red blood cells inside a dinosaur bone from the cretaceous period, and in 2020, scientists from the US and China found cartilage that possibly contains Dino DNA. Unfortunately though, just because you find dinosaur blood cells, doesn’t mean you have found dinosaur DNA. DNA is super vulnerable. It breaks down rapidly and has to be handled in very strict conditions.

Here’s where Jurassic Park went a bit wrong. In order to clone something, you need an intact, living cell, and a living host of the same species. Science dinosaurs are extinct, it would be pretty hard to use one as a host. In Jurassic Park, they took fragmented DNA, figured out where the holes were and filled the DNA sequence with frog DNA, then used a lab to grow the dinosaur. The big problem with this is, that if you don’t have the full sequence already, you don’t know where the holes are! Even if you did, it wouldn’t help filling it with frog DNA; you would need to use birds. Or crocodiles maybe, but definitely not frogs.

Compsognathus: SMNS, R. Haring. & M. Aurich

Scientists are giving it a go though. There are a few labs that are trying to reverse engineer extinct animals. Scientists see this as a possible way to bring back species that have gone extinct during the time that humans have inhabited our planet. For dinosaurs, you could in theory take a chicken and try to give it a long tail or teeth! Really though, would it be a dinosaur, if it was reverse engineered, and not grown from actual DNA?

Scientists have successfully cloned certain animals already, but that’s because they already had the DNA of the animal, and they are working on reverse engineering extinct species that we already know could survive living now with care and protection. Without finding perfectly preserved, complete dinosaur DNA, the chances of cloning a real dinosaur is basically impossible. Even if it was possible, we’ve seen how that movie ends! Like Dr. Malcolm says, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.”

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What Is Pangea?

Pangaea, sometimes spelled Pangea, was a supercontinent that made up the earth that existed millions of years ago. You can often hear people refer to Pangaea as the “home of the Dinosaurs”, but it was much more than that! According to science, it has existed for more than 100 million years!

The name Pangaea, Greek for “all” (pan) and “Earth” (Gaia) came from Scientist Alfred Wegener, who introduced theories about how continents drift. The Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old, and over this time, several different supercontinents have formed and broken up because of churning and circulation in the Earth’s mantle. The study of this movement is called “Plate Tectonics”. Scientists were studying plate tectonics way back in 1912, and since then, have learned a lot. This science of plate tectonics is just one reason we know how earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

Alfred Wegener

When Pangaea was formed, what we now know as Africa joined up with South America, with North America using Florida to get between them, kind of like when the kids join the parents in bed in the morning. The other continents kind of hung out on either side of them.

Pangaea

Scientists believe that Pangea started splitting apart about 200 million years ago to form the continents and oceans we know and love today. This is why we can find similar dinosaur fossils in different areas, even if they are continents apart! Stegosaurus fossils have been found in North America, Western Europe, South India, South Africa, and China! They sure did like to get around! Fossils of small, land-based reptiles have also been found on different continents, and since they wouldn’t have been able to swim long distances, it further gives us proof that the continents we have now were once all joined together.

Before and After

Pangaea, the famous home of the dinosaurs, probably won’t be the last of the continents to be a supercontinent. The Earth is always changing and drifting, and over millions of years, it is possible that the continents that we have now will form another supercontinent. If humans are still around when that happens, it sure will make travel a bit easier, right? With the science of plate tectonics, it is really interesting to learn about how our earth shifts and changes!

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Dinosaur Museums

Dinosaur museums are the best place to learn about dinosaurs. Here in Canada, we are really lucky to have many museums that centre around Dinosaurs! If you travel to Drumheller, Alberta, where many dinosaur fossils have been found, you’ll get to experience a variety of dinosaur specimens. Canada has an amazing dinosaur history for you to explore, and new dinosaur fossils are being found all the time!

George: Lambeosaurus at UBC

You don’t have to travel to Alberta, Canada to see dinosaurs though! Almost all of the provinces in Canada have museums with dinosaur exhibits. Not only that, there are many universities that study dinosaurs too, like the University of British Columbia. Victoria, British Columbia also has a place called “Dino Lab“, where they restore dinosaur fossils and get them ready for exhibits all around the world! Read more about Dino Lab in this blog here!

Dino Lab, Victoria

Usually places where a large amount of dinosaur fossils have been found have the largest museums for dinos and dinosaur artefacts. The Jurassic Morrison Formation in the Western part of the United States has provided lots of dinosaur fossils, including stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils! The Field Museum in Chicago has the largest, best preserved, and most complete of all the T-Rex fossils found. She is so well known, they simply call her “Sue”.

Sue: Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Field Museum in Chicago

Dinosaur museums are educational and fun for the whole family. There is so much to learn about dinosaurs, and we are really lucky to have so much access to what paleontologists have found over the last hundred years. If you want to take a trip to see dinosaur fossils, I’m sure you won’t have to travel very far!

Royal Tyrrell Museum Drumheller, Alberta

What dinosaur museums have you visited? Tag us on Instagram in your dinosaur adventures! We would love to see them! And sign up for our email newsletter to get more fun dinosaur stuff delivered to your inbox, including a discount to The Dinoverse shop!

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Pachycephalosaurus

Pachycephalosaurus is an interesting Dinosaur! This herbivore was first discovered between 1859 and 1860 by Palaeontologist Ferdinand Vandiveer Haydeen in Montana, and since then, fossils of the Pachycephalosaurus have been found in South Dakota, Wyoming and Alberta. They definitely liked what is now North America!

Pachycephalosaurus lived during the Late Cretaceous period, along with the T-Rex, Triceratops, and Ankylosaurus. Scientists believe that they weighed up to 900 pounds. That’s about the size of a cow, or a grizzly bear, so Pachys weren’t the biggest dinosaur of their time!

Most pictures and art you see today of Pachycephalosaurus makes them look rather adorable, wearing what looks like cute little hats! Those little hats are what helped American Palaeontologist Charles W. Gilmore give them their name, which means “Thick Headed Lizard” in Greek. That thick skull was also the reason that scientists once thought Pachycephalosaurus skull caps were actually the knee caps of other dinosaurs! Scientists believe that Pachycephalosaurus might have used their skulls to butt heads with other males, kind of like modern-day bighorn sheep do with their horns. This is still up for debate though; some scientists believe that Pachycephalasaurus use their skulls, which are 30 times thicker than a human skull, to attract a mate.

Regardless of how Pachycephalosaurus used their little hat heads, I think they are pretty great! They are definitely depicted in art as one of the cuter and less dangerous dinosaurs to roam the earth, and that kind of makes me love them even more! Just like the saying, “Watch out for the quiet ones”, with their five-fingered claws, long powerful legs, and three-toed clawed feet, I think that these guys would have still been a force to be reckoned with!

What do you think Pachycephalosaurus used their skull caps for? Send us an email or tag us on Instagram! We would love to hear your thoughts! And don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter! You will hear about fun dino stuff, and even get a dinosaur treat on your birthday from Vester the Velociraptor!

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Dinosaur Poop

Did you know that Dinosaur poop is as important to science as dinosaur bones? When one of our Jr Paleontologists suggested I write about dinosaur poop, or scientifically called “coprolite”, I thought, “Ew.” I had images of Elly from Jurassic Park up to her elbows in Triceratops poop! It definitely seemed like a topic a kid would be interested in! However, after doing a bit of research, I found it quite fascinating! Coprolites are the fossils of ancient poop that have been fossilized over millions of years because it’s been buried in sediment like ash, mud or sand. While the poop of dinosaurs may not seem like a topic you want to focus on, in terms of science, it turns out, it’s incredibly important!

Contains Plant Remains

Coprolites can tell us about what food dinosaurs ate and what life was like back then. Entomologist Emmanuel Arriaga-Varela found at least 10 water beetles and about another 20 fragments of heads and wings in one square inch of dinosaur dung from a sample of coprolite in Poland. That’s a big deal! This helps science researchers to understand the different types of organisms that were living back then, and gives us evidence of what dinosaurs ate. It also helps us understand dinosaur behavior.

Contains Bones & Teeth

That image of Elly I mentioned? Well, sauropods produced over a ton of dung every day, but scientists find more fossils of carnivore poop because it contains bones and teeth. Bones and teeth are rich in calcium, and helped the dinosaur poop to become fossils easier. The largest coprolite scientists have found is 17 inches long and almost 7 inches wide. That’s a big poop! Because it contains a lot of bones, scientists think that the poop probably belonged to a T-Rex or other large carnivore.

Barnum, T Rex

Paleontologists have also found dinosaur poop in the bones of herbivore dinosaurs. They believe this is because some herbivores didn’t have the teeth they needed to properly break down what they ate. Stones would be swallowed by the herbivores to help the digestion process. Sometimes, they would mistake coprolites for stones and swallow those!

You would think dinosaur poop would be easy to find, but coprolite is very rare. Paleontologists get really excited when they find dinosaur poop because feces decay so rapidly, it didn’t often get the chance to properly become a fossil. These “trace fossils” are just as important as “body fossils” to the science of dinosaurs. It helps us to learn how dinosaurs lived, where they lived and what they ate.

Dinosaur poop, or coprolite, might seem like a strange thing to study, but clearly it’s just as important as the dinosaur bones themselves. I would have never in a million years thought that dinosaur dung was of use, but these fossils from the meals of the past are very special finds for science. When dinosaur poop is found, it gives us so much information about our favourite extinct animals. I’m glad I have Jr Paleontologists to keep me informed! If you have a favourite dinosaur topic you would like to read about, connect with us on Instagram! And sign up for our email newsletter for more fun stuff about dinosaurs! You will even get a discount for The Dinoverse shop!

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Facts About Mosasaurus

You know that intense scene in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where the guy is clinging to the ladder under the helicopter? They fly away, barely escaping a T-Rex, just to be then eaten by the mighty Mosasaurus? You heave a sigh of relief, just get it snatched from you mid-breath. Well, although it’s a really cool scene, and even more cool that the Mosasaurus is finally getting some attention in pop culture, they don’t have all the facts quite right.

Mosasurus was not as big as Jurassic World would like us to think. They were actually not much bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex! The largest discovered specimen had a length of up to 17 metres. The largest blue whales today are around 30 metres long, so the Mosasaurus wasn’t even the largest sea creature the earth has known.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a terrifying creature! Mosasaurus had double-hinged jaws that would allow it to swallow its prey whole. It also had a second row of teeth on the top of its mouth, used to keep a strong hold of its meal. This apex predator from the Late Cretaceous period had a skull that was designed for crushing and they would make easy meals of other sea dwellers, such as fish, sharks and even other Mosasaurs.

Technically Mosasaurus isn’t a dinosaur; they were prehistoric marine reptiles similar to modern-day lizards and snakes rather than dinosaurs, but for dinosaur lovers like me, that’s just semantics! The name Mosasaur was given to this mighty aquatic beast because it was first found in Holland, by the Meuse River, “Mosa”, and “Sauros” is Greek for “Lizard”. Mosasaurus was one of the very first dinosaurs ever discovered, way back in the 1700’s, however back then they didn’t know what dinosaurs were, and thought it was a whale. It wasn’t until the 1820’s when Georges Cuvier examined it, that scientists realised that extinct species had lived on the earth before us.

It’s super cool to see different dinosaurs represented in movies and pop culture, even if they aren’t exactly accurate. To be fair, what we actually know about each dino often changes with each new discovery, so who knows? Maybe one day we will find larger fossils of Mosasaurus! Regardless, this massive sea monster is one of my favourite dinosaurs, even if it’s just a little bit scary!

What’s your favourite Dinosaur? Send us an email or tag us with your pictures on Instagram! We would love to hear about them! And don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter! You will hear about fun dino stuff, and even get a dinosaur treat on your birthday from Vester the Velociraptor!

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Are Dinosaurs Reptiles Or Birds?

The easy answer is dinosaurs are both reptiles and birds! Was that helpful? Probably not. Dinosaurs lived back millions of years ago in the Mesozoic Era; also called the “Age of Reptiles”. Lots of them had scaly skin, like reptiles, and they hatched from eggs, like both reptiles and birds. Even the word “Dinosaur” means “Terrible Lizard”, and lizards are a type of reptile!

Fossil of “Baby Yingliang”

There were two main types of Dinosaur. The Ornithischian or “bird hipped” dinosaurs like the Triceratops, and the Saurischian, or “lizard hipped” dinosaurs, like Apatosaurus. Ornithischia dinosaurs are herbivores, while Saurischian dinosaurs can be both herbivores and carnivores, like Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The main reason people ask this question is because we really want dinosaurs to still be living today. Dinosaurs have fascinated people for years! Wouldn’t you like to have your own dinosaur as a pet? Well, you can; sort of. There are still a group of living dinosaurs, and that’s where the bird part comes in!

Over millions of years, birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus Rex! There are over 100 traits modern birds share with these ancient animals. Things like hollow bones, three forward-facing toes and a fused collarbone, often called a wishbone. How would you like a Tyrannosaurus for your Thanksgiving dinner? And of course, feathers. Since the discovery that dinosaurs are related to birds, I have seen some amazing art of Tyrannosaurus Rex drawn to look like a chicken!

Not all theropods could fly; I mean, can you imagine a flying Tyrannosaurus? Some theropods didn’t have the right skeletal structure, or their feathers weren’t quite developed enough. Scientists believe that for some Theropods, the feathers were likely used for mating displays, like the way peacocks do now. Penguins are also considered dinosaurs. Fossil penguin skin has been found in the Antarctic. So we really do have avian dinosaurs still around!

If you are more of a lizard person, you can still have a modern day dinosaur as a pet. Crocodiles and turtles are also closely related to our dinosaur friends! You might not be able to have a crocodile as a pet though. Another lizard type dinosaur that might make a better animal for your home, would be a snake. Snakes are loosely related to dinosaurs.

Photograph: JA Chirinos/Reuters

I guess the answer to the question, “Are dinosaurs reptiles or birds?” really is both! It just depends on how many millions of years you want to wait. Animals like crocodiles and turtles possibly lived millions of years ago, whereas our modern birds evolved over millions of years and are related to dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex. Regardless, it’s nice to know that even without a Jurassic World type park out there, we can still see modern day dinosaurs roaming the land today!

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Dinosaur Jokes

Kids love dinosaur jokes. I love a good dinosaur joke too, and dinosaur puns are my favorite thing ever! Honestly, all puns are my favorite; I think it’s a mom thing. With the help of our junior palaeontologists, I have compiled a list of the best jokes and puns about dinosaurs. I hope you like them as much as we do!

Q: What do you get if you cross a dinosaur with a pig?
A: Jurassic Pork!

Q: Why do museums exhibit old dinosaur bones?
A: Because they can’t afford new ones!

Q: Who makes the best prehistoric reptile clothes?
A: A dino-sewer.

Q: What do you call a dinosaur that never gives up?
A: Try-try-try-ceratops!

Q: What do you call a dinosaur car accident?
A: Tyrannosaurus wreck!

Q: What should you do if you find a blue Dilophosaurus?
A: Try to cheer him up!

Q: Why did the Tyrannosaurus Rex cross the road?
A: Because the chickens hadn’t evolved yet.

Q: Scientists discovered a new dinosaur that is very intelligent.
A: It’s called a thesaurus.

Q: Do you know how long dinosaurs lived?
A: The same as short ones.

Q: What would happen if a 100-ton Brachiosaurus stepped on you?
A: You’d be deeply impressed.

Q: What is a dinosaur’s least favorite reindeer?
A: Comet!

Q: What dinosaur could jump higher than a house?
A: All of them. Houses can’t jump.

Q: Can a crappy dinosaur joke get a laugh?
A: You bet Jurassican.

Q: What do you call a dinosaur ghost?
A: A Scaredactyl.

Q: What do you get when a dinosaur sneezes?
A: Out of the way as fast as you can.

Q: What’s a dinosaur’s favorite quote?
A: “Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures!”

Q: Why did the Archaeopteryx catch the worm?
A: Because it was an early bird!

Q: How do you know if there is a dinosaur in your fridge?
A: The door won’t shut!

Q: What do you call a dinosaur who is a noisy sleeper?
A: A Tyranno-snorus!

Q: What do you call a smelly dinosaur fart?
A: An ex-stink-tion!

Q: What do you call a T-Rex who hates losing?
A: A saur loser.

Q: What sport is a brontosaurus good at?
A: Squash

Q: Do you think anything could tricera-top these dinosaur puns?
A: I dino what to tell you, but probably not.

Q: What do you call a short spiky dinosaur that’s fallen down the stairs?
A: Ankle-is-sore-us.

Q: What do you get if you cross a T- rex with explosives?
A: Dino-mite.

Q: What do you call a dinosaur that asks a lot of deep questions?
A: A Philosiraptor.

Q: What is found in the middle of dinosaurs?
A: The letter S.

Q: What’s the best thing to do if you see a T-Rex?
A: Hope he doesn’t see you.

Q: Which dinosaur had to wear glasses?
A: Tyrannosaurus specs.

I hope you had a great laugh as you read our list of dinosaur jokes and puns! If we have missed any of your favorite jokes about dinosaurs, please share them with us on instagram!

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Fun Facts About Dinosaurs

Ever since the first Dinosaur fossils were discovered years ago, people have been fascinated by them. Both kids and adults alike are interested to learn all they can about these amazing creatures that lived millions of years ago. Thanks to palaeontologists, facts about dinosaurs are available to everyone! Here are some of our favourite fun facts about dinosaurs; this is just a little taste of all the information out there!

Sir Richard Owen, a Biologist from England, coined the name “Dinosaur”. It comes from the Greek words “deinos” meaning “big and terrible” and “sauros” meaning ”lizard” , even though dinosaurs are not actually lizards. The first recorded description of a dinosaur bone discovery was back 3500 years ago, in China. The people who discovered it didn’t know about dinosaurs though, so they thought the dinosaur teeth they found belonged to a dragon! In 1923, the first dinosaur eggs were found in the Gobi Desert by Roy Chapman Andrews, and in 2015, scientists discovered a new dinosaur species in Alberta, Canada. They named it “Hellboy” because of two facts: it has stubby horns above it’s eyes that looked like the comic book character and they also had a really hard time excavating it from the rock. After millions of years stuck in rock, of course it would be hard to get out! What a fun name! One of the most famous fossil hunters was Mary Anning. She found her first dinosaur fossil, an ichthyosaur skeleton, when she was only 12 years old! Even kids can be palaeontologists! She discovered many dinosaur related artefacts in her life, but unfortunately, back then because she was a woman, nobody took her seriously. Sometimes it wasn’t fun being a woman in the 1800’s. Now, there are many lady palaeontologists, like Blaire Van Valkenburgh and Louise Leakey, who get recognized for their hard work, and when they have discovered things millions of years old.

Some dinosaurs are really weird and fun looking. One dinosaur called the Pegomastax looks like a cross between a parrot and a porcupine. It has a beak with teeth that sharpened themselves against each other. Another weird dinosaur is the Suzhousaurus. This giant rat looking dinosaur had a furry body, and could be an ancestor of the giant ground sloth. These are the types of fun dinosaur facts I love!

Although dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago, you can still have a dinosaur like pet! Many animals today are part of the dinosaur family! Lizards, turtles, snakes and crocodiles all come from the dinosaur family. Deinosuchus was a massive prehistoric crocodile that weighed about eight times as much as the crocodiles you see today, and had the strongest bite of all the dinosaurs. It was even stronger than the Tyrannosaurus rex! If you or your kids want an ancestor of a Theropod dinosaur, you can get yourself a bird! Fun Fact: You can then tell your friends that you have a type of Utahraptor as a pet!

Although dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago, you can still have a dinosaur like pet! Many animals today are part of the dinosaur family! Lizards, turtles, snakes and crocodiles all come from the dinosaur family. Deinosuchus was a massive prehistoric crocodile that weighed about eight times as much as the crocodiles you see today, and had the strongest bite of all the dinosaurs. It was even stronger than the Tyrannosaurus rex! If you or your kids want an ancestor of a Theropod dinosaur, you can get yourself a bird! Fun Fact: You can then tell your friends that you have a type of Utahraptor as a pet!

Unfortunately, if you or your kids have a bird, you can’t tell your friends you have a Pterodactyl. The facts are true; Pterodactyls were not actually dinosaurs. These guys were flying reptiles that lived millions of years ago too. The difference is their hip-bones. Dinosaurs belong to two groups; Ornithischia and Saurischia. Saurischia dinosaurs were carnivores, with powerful jaws and tail, and short arms. The Saurischian dinosaurs were the carnivores, the meat-eating species, like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Allosaurus, and Argentinosaurus. The Ornithischian dinosaurs were more gentle, plant eaters. Dinosaurs like Triceratops, Iguanodon, and Stegosaurus have hip bones that point backward. There are over 700 different types of dinosaurs discovered so far, and I am sure we will find more!

There are so many fun facts about dinosaurs out there now because of the hard work that scientists do. Fun facts like, did you know that “Velociraptor” means “speedy thief”? If you or your kids have ever seen Jurassic World, you will understand how fitting that is! Also, the dinosaur with the longest teeth was the Tyrannosaurus Rex (8 inches!), and still to this day palaeontologists have never found a dinosaur bigger than a blue whale. In millions of years, the blue whale is still the biggest mammal ever! I love to learn about dinosaurs, and I hope you enjoyed learning these fun facts about dinosaurs too!

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What does RAWR mean in Dinosaur?

What does ‘rawr’ mean in dinosaur? ‘Rawr’ is just a cute way of saying ‘roar’ and isn’t actually a word in the English language. And as far as we know, there was no universal Dinosaur language! If rawr had a definition it would probably be something like ‘a cute and non-intimidating roar’ and an example might be a kitten trying to roar like a lion. In movies like Jurassic Park dinosaurs have been portrayed as roaring mightily, so some people use ‘rawr’ if they want their dinosaur to look adorable instead. If you are into adorable dinosaurs, I suggest you check out the Dinoverse shop!

Whether they were intimidating or not, dinosaurs almost certainly did use sound to communicate like other animals do. We have no way of knowing what those sounds actually were, since nobody has ever seen a living dinosaur! There have been many examples of fossilized skulls that suggest they had hearing, possibly even very good hearing that could pick up both low and high frequencies. They likely would have been listening for predators or prey, potential mates, as well as their young.

Dinosaurs clearly had mouths as well as other holes in their skulls that could have been used to make noise by pushing air through them. For example the Parasaurolophus has a large hollow crest and extended nasal passages. Paleontologists have theorized that they used this to make a sound similar to a foghorn. Modern reptiles also make sounds by clacking their jaws, swishing their tails, and rubbing their scales together. Dinosaurs may well have also used these methods to communicate.

What do you think dinosaurs sounded like?