When dinosaurs first evolved in the Triassic, they were small, bipedal carnivores living in the shadow of larger, more successful creatures. However, from those humble beginnings dinosaurs went on to become the dominant land vertebrates of the Jurassic and Cretaceous. It wasn't until a freak mass extinction event 65.5 million years ago that their almost 180 million year reign was brought to an abrupt end.

This guide offers a short introduction to dinosaurs. We look at how our understanding of dinosaurs has changed over the centuries, discover some of the most famous dinosaur fossil sites around the world and the dinosaurs that live there, and explore how dinosaurs evolved and diversified throughout the Mesozoic era.

Meglosaurus, The Bone Wars and paintings of Charles R. Knight.

Egg Mountain and the discovery of feathered dinosaurs.

Some extrodinarily well preserved "mummified" dinosaurs.

The Triassic Period and the evolution of the first dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs diversify and dominate the land. We look at the famous Morrison Formation and its dinosaurs.

The longest and last period of the Mesozoic Era.  We look at the dinosaurs of the Wessex Formation, The Kem Kem Beds, Mongolia and The Hell Creek Formation.

A meteorite impact brings the reign of the dinosaurs to an abrupt end.

discover more with our other guides