No kid will reject an invitation to hear exciting facts about dinosaurs. Of course, not only kids want to know about dinosaurs, even adults. But why do we study dinosaurs? Those dinosaurs roamed the entire earth for over 65 million years and then suddenly disappeared are enough puzzles for anyone to be curious to know more about them. We want to know their origin and what killed them. We want to know their strength and their weaknesses. We want to know if we can still bring them back to life.
Paleontology is the study of fossils and remains of organisms that had lived a long time ago. With the expertise of paleontologists, they had discovered over 700 species of dinosaurs and have made us know many things about them. The more we know about the dinosaur, the more we wish to know more. So far, we know dinosaurs like T-Rex and spinosaurus were gigantic, fierce, and lived for a long time. Humans love stories of monsters, so those features of terrible dinosaurs are interesting to us. But certainly, that couldn’t be the main reason so many resources had been put into the study of dinosaurs. So, why are dinosaurs important, and what do we benefit from dinosaur study?
1. We Want to Know Why Dinosaurs Got Extinct
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The first thing that comes to mind in the study of dinosaurs is why they became extinct. Dinosaurs were powerful, and they dominated the earth for a long time, so why did they suddenly disappear? Perhaps if we know, we may have lessons to learn. Presently, humans are the dominant species on earth. While dinosaurs’ strength was their size, ours is our intelligence. But it doesn’t matter. If all dinosaurs could be wiped off the surface of the earth, we are equally at risk. What killed the dinosaur remains a danger today.
Do you want to know what killed the dinosaur? Well, an asteroid hit the earth with a great impact. The collision changed the earth’s climate. The dust from the impact shielded the earth from getting energy and light from the sun, and without the sunlight, there could be no photosynthesis. When photosynthesis stopped, plants died, and there was no food for animals. This lasted till many species of animals died, including all non-avian dinosaurs.
Now that you know what killed the dinosaur, do you think the knowledge is important? Of course, yes. Asteroids are flying stones in space. They are still flying around and still have chances of colliding with the earth again. But unlike the time of the dinosaurs, now we are prepared for an asteroid attack. Should any asteroid move near the earth, we have nuclear weapons to destroy it before it can collide with our habitat. But that is not all.
So, again, why do we study dinosaurs?
2. We Want to Know How New Organisms Evolve
You must have heard about evolution. Scientists believe that new species of organisms come from existing ones. To know better, we need to study the ancient species and see the relationship between them and the present species. In that way, we will be able to classify each organism according to its lineage. You may ask, what do we stand to gain in doing that?
So many things. Organisms evolve from simple to complex ones. If we know how things work in simple organisms, it will be easier to relate it to their complex family member. All mammals share the same ancestors; there are many similarities between the structure of human organs and those of mice. Hence most experiments on developing treatments for humans are first tested on mice before being used on humans. Studying the anatomy of dinosaurs will help the evolutionary scientist accurately trace their descendants, some of which include modern-day reptiles and birds.
3. We Want to Know How Life Was on Earth Millions of Years Ago
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We all love history, but the only way we can understand how life existed on earth millions of years ago is to study what was left behind. None of us was here millions of years ago, but scientists want to know the kind of life existing then. It is called biodiversity. The study of biodiversity enables us to know that life has existed for over 3.5 billion years ago. It might even be over 4 billion years. Biodiversity gives us an idea of different types of plants and animals that lived on earth at different times and the cause of the extinction of different species. With this knowledge, we can identify endangered species and put measures in place to protect them. We also know the best natural environment for different organisms and work towards environmental conservation. Dinosaur fossils had helped a lot to improve our knowledge of biodiversity.
4. More Reasons We Study Dinosaur
Why do we study dinosaurs? Apart from the reasons explained so far, there are still more reasons for studying dinosaurs. These include:
- It Helps the Study of Biogeography: Biogeography is the study of the geographical distribution of living things. By understanding biogeography, we will know our position in our world.
- Understand How the Climate is Changing: The nature of organisms that lived millions of years ago will let us know the kind of climate that existed then. Hence we can understand how the climate of the earth is changing.
- Satisfy Our Curiosity: There is nothing wrong with being curious. Dinosaurs are unique, and it will be good to understand their lifestyle.
- Understand the History of the Earth: The dinosaurs’ 65 million years of dominance are an important part of the earth’s history. Writing the history won’t be complete without a proper study of dinosaurs.
- Get Better Knowledge of the Species: The study of dinosaurs has provided much information about other species. Today, we know that birds are dinosaurs. If we didn’t study dinosaurs enough, we wouldn’t have discovered that.
- Some People Even Think They Can Bring Dinosaur Back: Whether, in fiction or real life, some people believe that with the DNA of dinosaurs, they can bring them back to life. It is not likely that that can ever happen in real life, but we can enjoy it in movies.
- Dinosaurs Are Fascinating: Both kids and adults find dinosaurs fascinating. We use them in arts, literature, movies, and the likes. Animatronic dinosaur manufacturers like Only Dinosaurs also create life-like dinosaurs for fun and excitement. Nothing wrong with knowing more about them.