What is a dinosaur?

What is a dinosaur?

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 10th November 2014 by Media Relations

Dinosaurs are classified as reptiles, but they have many features that are not found in any living reptile today!


Unlike most reptiles, which have legs that sprawl out to the side, dinosaur legs were held underneath the body, like mammals. This gave them a leg over the competition and helped them spread out over the earth 200 million years ago. Dinosaurs also had a constant body temperature like mammals do, while other reptiles have to bask in the sun to warm up.



Dinosaurs are classified into two major groups based on the shape of their hips. The ornithischian, or ‘bird-hipped’ dinosaurs were herbivores, like the Styracosaurus and Muttaburrasaurus. The saurischian, or ‘lizard-hipped’ dinosaurs included the long-necked herbivores (sauropods) like Brachiosaurus and the two-legged carnivores (theropods) like Tyrannosaurus and Baryonyx. Despite being the ‘lizard-hipped’ dinosaurs, it was the theropods that were the ancestors of the birds that still live with us today!



Many birds like the Regent Honey Eaters and the Carnaby's Black Cockatoo are threatened with extinction. Come to Dinosaurs in the Wild and find out what you can do to help them!