Dinosaurs Alive ! | Sunday Observer

Dinosaurs Alive !

 

How many of you have seen the original Jurassic Park movie that came out exactly 25 years ago ? Well, none of you had been born then, but thanks to the magic of Internet, satellite television and DVD we can watch almost any movie anytime we want. So if you have not already seen it, ask or mum and dad to get a DVD for you or stream it online.

This is the movie that got people talking about dinosaurs, those giant creatures that vanished from the earth nearly 65 million years ago. Dinosaurs were a group of medium to large reptiles that lived between 235 million years ago and 66 million years ago. The English scientist Richard Owen created the word 'dinosaur' in 1842, meaning 'terrible lizard' because at the time he thought they were similar looking to large lizards. Today, we know they are not lizards, but a totally different kind of reptile.

The film Jurassic Park was based on the idea of recreating living dinosaurs from the DNA of a dinosaur extracted from the blood of a mosquito embedded in tree amber. The fifth film in the series Fallen Kingdom is now playing in cinemas, so head down to the nearest cinema to catch some dinosaurs, including ones never seen before, in action.

In fact, scientists are still learning about these majestic and sometimes ferocious creatures (Remember the T-Rex from Jurassic Park movies ?). How do they do this ? They study fossilized remains of dinosaurs found in a number of countries, though no dinosaur skeletons have been found in Sri Lanka yet. Neighbouring India had a few species, though.

As scientists discover more skeletons, our knowledge of dinosaurs has increased over the last 25 years. Now we know that around types of 900 dinosaurs lived on Earth, but this number increases each year as scientists dig up more “new” dinosaurs and get to name them. About 50 new dinosaurs are named every year. Most of the world’s new dinosaur skeletons are coming from China, Mongolia and South America.

There are several theories on why they disappeared, the most popular one being that a huge asteroid from space crashed on to the Earth, creating a massive ash cloud that prevented sunlight coming in. This affected the trees and all other living beings. Scientists say that mammals including humans would not have evolved so fast if the dinosaurs did not disappear, because the dinosaurs dominated the world all those millions of years ago. But did you know that most of today’s birds also evolved from dinosaurs ? Yes, the birds are a living link to the dinosaurs, some of whom actually had feathers, just like today’s birds. In fact, some experts go as far as saying that birds are actually modern dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs lived during three periods of time - the Triassic period (252-201 million years ago), the Jurassic period (201-145 million years ago) and the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago).

These three periods together make up the Mesozoic era. In short, they ruled the world for about 135 million years.

Will it really be possible to resurrect the dinosaurs ? It is theoretically not impossible, because scientists are already talking about bringing the extinct woolly mammoths back to life. But it may not be easy with today’s genetic technology.

But should we revive dinosaurs? As the Jurassic Park movies show, this might create many problems for the world, so it is better not to bring them back. And every time we look out of the windows we see them in action anyway. Yes, birds are the living dinosaurs in our midst and we should take good care of them.

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