How Do We Know How Dinosaurs Lived When All We Have Are Fossils?

It is amazing how much can be deciphered from a fossil.

For instance, scientists can often tell what dinosaurs ate by studying their fossil remains. If a fossil of a dinosaur shows that it had sharp teeth and claws, scientists can figure that it was a meat-eating dinosaur.

Meat-eating dinosaurs were bipedal, which allowed them to run swiftly after prey. If a fossil seems to show that the living creature walked on two legs, that might also indicate that it ate other animals.

Plant-eaters had teeth suitable for grinding vegetation. Many were quadrupeds, meaning they walked on four legs. Fossils with these characteristics are of plant-eating dinosaurs.

The depth of fossilized footprints can be used to calculate the weight of dinosaurs. Some of the most impressive fossils are those of dinosaur tracks. Footprints also confirm that many dinosaurs traveled in groups, with younger dinosaurs in the middle of the herd where they would be protected.

These were herbivorous dinosaurs, their social structure resembling herd animals (such as water buffalo) of today.

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