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Conservation Status

The dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. Their deaths likely resulted from a huge asteroid, a rock from outer space, that slammed into the Earth, probably near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The impact from the 4 to 9 mile-wide (6 to 15 kilometer) asteroid sent up a thick plume of dust and caused a chain reaction that resulted in a severe change in the planet's climate. For years afterward, the sun was unable to penetrate the dark curtain of dust. Temperatures around the world began to drop. Without sunlight, plants died, and with fewer plants to eat, many herbivores also perished. With fewer and fewer herbivores to eat, the carnivores may have begun to eat each other, until they also disappeared. Scientists believe that one group of dinosaurs survived the great extinction, however. These were the dromaeosaurids that eventually evolved into the birds. For this reason, some books refer to birds as modern-day dinosaurs.



Farlow, James O., and M. K. Brett-Surman, eds. The Complete Dinosaur. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997.

Haines, Tim. Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.

Holta, Thomas R., Michael Brett-Surman, and Robert Walters. Jurassic Park Institute (TM) Dinosaur Field Guide. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2001.

Lambert, David, and Steve Hutt. DK Guide to Dinosaurs. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.

Paul, Gregory S., ed. The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Weishampel, David B., Peter Dodson, and Halszka Osmólska, eds. The Dinosauria. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.


Adams, Judith. "Footsteps in Time." Faces: People, Places, and Cultures. April 2003, vol. 19: 30.

Hesman, Tina. "Dinosaurs, party of six, meat eating." Science News. April 1, 2000, vol. 157: 223.

Mandel, Peter. "Dino Might! 10 Recent Discoveries That Have Rocked the Dinosaur World." National Geographic Kids. March 2003: 14.

Davy, Emma. "Crash Test: What Wiped Out the Dinosaurs? Scientists Studying an Enormous Crater in Mexico Hope to Find the Answer." Current Science. September 27, 2002, vol. 88: 6.

Perkins, Sid. "Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along: Dinosaur Buoyancy May Explain Odd Tracks." Science News. October 25, 2003, vol. 164: 262.

Web sites:

"Dinosaur embryo." American Museum of Natural History. http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/expeditions/treasure_fossil/Treasures/Dinosaur_Embryo/embryo.html?dinos (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"Dinosaurs." BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/ (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"Dinosaurs." EnchantedLearning.com. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/ (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"Dinosaurs." KidSites.com. http://www.kidsites.com/sites-edu/dinosaurs.htm (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"Dinosaurs." Scholastic. http://teacher.scholastic.com/researchtools/articlearchives/dinos/general.htm (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"The Science of 'Jurassic Park': Frequently Asked Questions." San Diego Natural History Museum. http://www.sdnhm.org/research/paleontology/jp_qanda.html (accessed on December 22, 2004).

"What is a Dinosaur?" San Diego Natural History Museum. http://www.sdnhm.org/kids/dinosaur/dino.html (accessed on December 22, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesDinosaurs - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Dinosaurs And People