Everything you need to know about dinosaurs

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everything you need to know about dinosaurs

Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs by James Silvani

This in-depth yet accessible dinosaur drawing guide combines humor, creativity, and the latest dino research to show artists young and old how to breathe life into drawings of their prehistoric favorites. 

Prehistoric Pencil Power!
Even though they lived some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles continue to rule today. From movies to comics and cartoons, these ancient, giant beasts are everywhere you turn. Of course, who wants to just read about or watch these dinos when you can learn how to use pencils, pens, markers, and more to draw your very own? 

Cartoonist James Silvani combines easy-to-follow art exercises with the latest, greatest dino-facts to help you create fun and cool dinosaur doodles all by yourself. With lessons on old favorites like T-rex and stegosaurus, as well as lesser-known (but still awesome) creatures like the massive argentinosaurus, Draw-a-Saurus has everything the dinosaur fan could ever ask for (outside of their very own pet dino!).
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Published 04.12.2018

How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Looked Like?

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James Silvani

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It's common knowledge that dinosaurs were really big, some of them had feathers, and they all went extinct 65 million years ago after a giant meteor hit the Earth. But what don't you know? Here is a quick and easy overview of the most important highlights of what was happening in the Mesozoic Era. The first dinosaurs evolved during the middle to late Triassic period—about million years ago—in the part of the supercontinent of Pangea that now corresponds with South America. Before then, the dominant land reptiles were archosaurs ruling lizards , therapsids mammal-like reptiles , and pelycosaurs typified by Dimetrodon. For 20 million or so years after dinosaurs evolved, the most fearsome reptiles on Earth were prehistoric crocodiles. It was only at the beginning of the Jurassic period, million years ago, that dinosaurs truly began their rise to dominance.

When it comes to dinosaurs and other prehistoric monsters, even the experts can get things wrong — as dino-fanatic Brian Switek explains in his tour guide to the paleontological frontier. That name for the quintessential long-tailed, long-necked sauropod went out of fashion when scientists figured out that the Jurassic giant had already been dubbed Apatosaurus. Nevertheless, the brontosaur serves as a totem for Switek, a prolific science writer whose work has appeared in Wired, Smithsonian, Slate, Scientific American and now most frequently on National Geographic's Phenomena blog network as Laelaps. His earlier book, "Written in Stone," laid out the broad sweep of stories told by the fossil record — and in "My Beloved Brontosaurus," he focuses in on the what, where and when of the dinosaurs' heyday in the Mesozoic Era. As you page through the book, you'll learn that not all dinosaurs have gone extinct. Birds are dinosaurs.

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How did these dinosaurs—bristling with spikes and plates—go about making more dinosaurs without skewering each other? Stegosaurus has become an icon of the mystery surrounding dinosaur sex. Dinosaurs must have mated, but just how they did so has puzzled paleontologists for more than years. These ideas eventually fell out of favor—perhaps due to embarrassment as much as anything else—but the question remained. How can we study the sex lives of animals that have been dead for millions upon millions of years? Soft-tissue preservation is very rare, and no one has yet discovered an exquisitely preserved dinosaur with its reproductive organs intact. Dinosaurs shared a common ancestor with alligators and crocodiles more than million years ago, and modern birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs akin to Velociraptor.

Picture this. As you stop to close your eyes and take a deep breath in the searing heat and wipe another steady stream of sweat from your face, you notice a rock that seems a bit different. You clamber over the terrain separating you from this object of intrigue, keeping your gaze locked on the exact spot you noticed when you first opened your eyes from that deep breath. This rock seems to be more than just a rock. With your field gear, you begin to excavate carefully around the rock, slowly revealing what can be clearly identified as a fossilized jaw of some prehistoric creature.

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