Dinosaurs, massive creatures from a world lost millions of years ago, are surely one of the world’s most fascinating organisms. According to studies, learning about these behemoths has had a positive impact on developing children, helping them gain enhanced cognitive skills and brain development among others.
Curious young minds who were able to learn about these life forms had at one point, surely asked and wondered whether these organisms still roam the earth. Aside from the world’s cats and dogs who have seemingly become family for many households, have dinosaurs stayed alive all this time? Is there some crevice or hole somewhere on Earth that leads to some lost paradise where the tyrannosaurus rex still roams?
Experts have many interesting answers to these questions and some of them are more bizarre than others. Scientists and professionals studying these inquiries have found that there are multiple answers to these questions.
One way to look at the answers is that there are creatures today that walked the Earth alongside the dinosaurs. These organisms simply outlasted other species and have survived every major catastrophe that shook the very foundations and bedrocks of the planet.
Another interesting way to view the answer to these questions is to look at current animals and trace their origins from dinosaurs. This way, you can see that there are certain animals that still exist on this planet that have dinosaurs as their great great great great great grandparents.
These are the two most interesting ways to answer the question “are dinosaurs still alive today?”
Living Creatures That Coexisted with Dinosaurs
For over 180 million years, dinosaurs were the dominating force on Earth, leaving very little opportunity for organisms like people and other mammals to evolve. For hundreds of millions of years, the dinos had a good run – until an asteroid plunged into the planet and wiped most of the life existing on Earth at the time.
Thankfully, there are some organisms that made it out of the ruin after the cataclysms that happened during the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Here are some of the organisms who walked with the mystic dinosaurs and lasted or survived long enough to tell the tale.
Crocodiles and Snakes
No other organism on Earth resembles a dinosaur more than crocodiles. As dinosaurs stomped around all over the planet 99 million years ago, crocodilian creatures were right there with them. The crocodiles, along with many other members of the species, shared the hunting grounds with the biggest and baddest predators of all time. In fact, crocodilians are estimated to have been around for over 240 million years.
Particularly, the Cretaceous period had an overabundance of gigantic crocodilian species like the Sarcosuchus, Dryosaurus, Deinosuchus, Shieldcroc, and many more
However, crocs are far from the only reptiles to survive calamities that pushed dinos into extinction – snakes did too. According to archaeological studies on snake fossils, evidence has emerged proving that these reptilian terrors have been slithering about for over 140 to 167 million years ago. Research has also shown that snakes didn’t just live with the dinosaurs, they also preyed on their young.
Bees and Cockroaches
These two insect species have been buzzing about even back when dinosaurs were calling the shots on the planet. While bees have been believed to have come into existence around the same time the first flowering plants started to bloom, cockroaches have been creeping around even before the first dinosaurs were born.
Unfortunately, there are very few fossil records on bees so there’s no telling how these stingers made it past the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Cockroaches, on the other hand, were once among the most dominant species to crawl about the earth. During the Carboniferous period somewhere around 360 million years ago or 112 million years before dinosaurs became the dominant species, cockroaches have been around bigger than they are today, about twice as big as their current smaller form.
Sharks and Green Sea Turtles
Sharks and Green Sea Turtles are among the aquatic creatures who were able to live among the dinosaurs millions of years ago. These toothy titans from jaws have been swimming in the oceans for around 450 million years. Even before the dinosaurs out-chomped these predators in their heyday, sharks have been a force in the ocean to be reckoned with.
Green Sea Turtles, however, came to exist during the peak of dino dominance. The first marine turtles were speculated to have appeared during the Jurassic period, but records show that it wasn’t until the Cretaceous period that the sea turtles started evolving around 100 million years ago.
The prehistoric counterparts of the turtles you know today trudged around with the dinosaurs until they all met their demise about 65 million years ago. Those turtles were categorized as Archelon, a special group of prehistoric turtles that have been found to be closely related to the leatherback sea turtles that are still around today.
Horseshoe Crabs and Lobsters
Horseshoe Crabs are often referred to as “living fossils,” and it only stands to reason.
Horseshoe Crabs are special arthropods that evolve much slower than most other animals. It has been widely accepted that their current appearance hasn’t changed in the past million years.
The constitution of the horseshoe crab is so sturdy that, like sharks, it has survived at least four of the five biggest extinction events ever recorded on Earth. The horseshoe crab survived even the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, a calamity infamous for pushing most dinosaur species into non-existence.
Lobsters also predate dinosaurs as they have been scurrying about for 500 million years. Years ago, however, they had six long claws and four different eyes. As far as current science knows, lobsters are the oldest filter-feeders to ever live.
Dinos of Today
Upon the analysis of archeological and genetic records, it is suggested that many dinosaurs were actually able to work their way into the modern world. But unlike typical sci-fi tropes and storylines, it isn’t through some obscure hole deep in the Earth. Dinosaurs, or at least their grandchildren and descendants, live among us – just not in the form you would come to expect.
National Geographic and many professionals all over the globe had extensively documented the relation between today’s birds and the reptilian colossuses of old. The Smithsonian Magazine has even gone as far as claiming that birds like chickens and ostriches are the closest living relatives of the tyrannosaurus rex.
The Harvard Gazette also published an article titled “Molecular analysis confirms T. Rex’s evolutionary link to birds,” further reinforcing the claim that dinosaurs and today’s feathered friends are related.