#3. "Velociraptors" Could Hunt Your Ass Down in the Dark
While Jurassic Park took some undeniable liberties with velociraptors (like calling them "velociraptors," for one -- deinonychus was the actual dino upon which the movie's velociraptors were based), it got at least one thing right: Paleontologist John Ostrom agrees that deinonychus were indeed pack hunters. It's probably also true that you'd never even see their attacks coming until you found yourself in dire need of a spare liver, not because they used distraction tactics like in the movie, but because they could totally see in the dark. Yep, probably the only thing worse than having a vicious pack of snarling raptors coming to feast upon your sweetbreads is having a vicious pack of snarling raptors coming to feast upon your sweetbreads in the pitch black of night.
At least you don't have to watch.
Dinosaurs, lizards, and birds all have bony rings in their eyes that we mammals lack, and by comparing the dimensions of the ones in deinonychus' and other raptors' eyes with those of today's animals, researchers were able to determine that they were a bunch of prehistoric Sam Fishers.
Ryosuke Motani and Lars Schmitz
The fossilized black mesh suit may have tipped them off as well.
But raptors weren't the only ones stalking the Mesozoic by moonlight -- other predators had night vision, too, like the troodon, which evolved super-wide eyes in order to see in the dark of a polar winter. Oh, that reminds us! We almost forgot to mention that ...
#2. Dinosaurs Could Survive a Polar Winter
DC Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images
Even though many researchers agree that at least some dinosaurs were warm-blooded, most of us still imagine them living exclusively in swamps and deserts and tropical island theme parks. After all, everybody knows it was an ice age that killed them off for good.
20th Century Fox
They had to die so that Ray Romano's career could continue to live.
But think about that for a second. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 180 million years, which is nearly three times as long as we puny mammals have reigned since. So it's hard to believe that there was any environment on Earth that they couldn't eventually adapt to. And indeed, a little bit of nippy air wasn't about to stop the dinosaurs: Back in the day, Alaska was positively crawling with troodon, as well as larger predators like nanuqsaurus, T. rex's smaller parka-wearing cousin from the north, whose name means "polar bear lizard."
Via The Times of India
Fur is murderer.
Grazing herds of large plant-eaters are also thought to have settled up north year-round. During the Reign of the Ice Dinosaurs (dibs on the Syfy original movie title), the Alaskan landmass wasn't as cold as its modern-day counterpart, but these dinosaurs still would've endured three whole months of snow and ice. It seems that, just like mammals, dinosaurs were adaptable enough to live anywhere they damn well pleased. And if they decided that the whole world was getting a bit too chilly for their liking, well, that's nothing a gargantuan monster-fart can't fix.
#1. Dinosaurs Farts Could Change a Planet
The dinosaurs were literal badasses.
Some scientists now believe that the dinosaurs dominated the environment using only their weapons-grade farts. You see, big sauropods like apatosaurus spent their entire waking lives horking down tons of plants, and thoroughly chewing all that food would have taken more hours in a day than there actually were. If they didn't have stomach stones to grind all that matter up, it stands to reason that gut bacteria would have stepped in to fill that role -- and gut bacteria produce a lot of globe-warming methane.
There's a reason those pterodactyls are flying away.
A team of researchers led by David Wilkinson compared the stink-to-body-mass ratios of today's animals with the size of dinosaurs and estimated that sauropods alone pumped 520 million tons of methane into the Jurassic atmosphere per year. Just for reference, that's roughly the same amount as every single methane source on the planet today -- including artificial emissions from human activity -- all coming from just one group of reptilian buttholes.
Whoever drew that last bar in brown is our kind of scientist.
During the Jurassic period, volcanoes were blowing up all willy-nilly, and rising carbon levels made things hotter, wetter, and overall more plant-friendly. More abundant plants led to bigger, hungrier dinosaurs, whose gargantuan gastric systems spewed even more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, allowing even more plants to thrive. That's right: The dinosaurs terraformed a whole planet with farts.
Related Reading: Hey, did you know some crazy people have written dinosaur erotica? We've covered the shit out of that. We've also revealed some truly bizarre dinosaurs you won't believe existed. And if you're interested in some wild scenes preserved by fossils, we've got you covered.