Did any dinosaurs live in the colder, polar regions?

Yes. Paleontologists believe that while most flourished in tropical or temperate climates, some dinosaurs actually lived in the cold weather regions of the ancient world. Fossils of these polar dinosaurs have been uncovered on the North Slope of Alaska. Others have been found at Dinosaur Cove, at the southeastern tip of Australia, and paleontologists date them to between 110 and 105 million years ago. Although this part of Australia is presently at approximately 39 degrees south latitude, at the time of the polar dinosaurs it was much farther south, lying within the Antarctic Circle. For three months during the winter, the night would have lasted 24 hours, and temperatures were well below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius). The dinosaur fossils uncovered in this area show that the animals were well adapted to these harsh conditions, and that they apparently had keen night vision and may have been warm-blooded. They were generally small animals, ranging in size from about that of chickens to human-sized, with the largest carnivore being about nine feet (three meters) high.

Did dinosaurs sleep standing up?

No one really knows the sleeping habits of the dinosaurs. It is not easy to infer such activities based on just the fossil record, as sleeping leaves no definitive physical trace. After all, no one knew sharks slept until just a few decades ago, and sharks are common in todays oceans.

Still, scientists have inferred the sleeping habits of some of the dinosaurs. For example, most of the smaller animals probably slept like modern reptiles, just flopping down on the ground like a crocodile. Others, such as the huge Tyrannosaurus, probably had a much harder time sleeping lying down. Once it laid down, it would be difficult to get up using its small arms. Other larger dinosaurs would probably find their enormous weights would get in the way. Thus, the only way larger dinosaurs could sleep was by standing up. It is interesting to note that modern birds (close relatives to the dinosaurs, or maybe even dinosaurs themselves) sleep standing up.

Did dinosaurs see in color or black and white?

Because eyes are soft parts of an animal, they do not survive the fossilization process. Dinosaurs are no different; thus, we have no idea what a dinosaur eye looked like, much less if the animals could see in color or black and white. And its hard to guess: just look at the diversity of modern animals and the diversity of eyes, and how and what the various animals see.

Did dinosaurs have binocular vision similar to humans?

The majority of dinosaurs had monocular vision, with eyes set into the sides of their heads, and little overlap between the right and left fields of view. Thus, they had good peripheral vision, but the binocular vision was modest, similar to the modern alligator. (One of the animals with the best pair of eyes is the modern house cat; they have binocular vision that takes in 130 degrees in front of them, and have peripheral vision that stretches back farther than any other animal.)

But some scientists believe there were exceptions, and some dinosaurs may have had binocular vision similar to a humans depth perception. In particular, predators such as the Tyrannosaurus may have been able to see depth, suggesting that the animals were hunters, not scavengers as some paleontologists believe. In addition, over time some carnivores may have evolved facial traits that actually enhanced the animals ability to see in depth. And some dinosaurs may have developed sight similar to a hawk, a raptor that can see its prey from far away, but whose binocular vision does not kick in until it swoops down to nab its prey. More work is being done by scientists to determine how dinosaurs saw the world by using model dinosaur heads and laser beams to ascertain sight position.

Some hunting dinosaurs probably had binocular vision, just like todays predators. Not all did, though, like this Coelophysis Bauri, which was a predator but had eyes better situated for peripheral vision (Big Stock Photo).

How large was a dinosaurs brain?

No one really knows the true size of dinosaur brains because, as with all soft parts of dinosaurs, brains did not survive the fossilization process. Therefore, scientists can only infer the size of the animals brains by examining the brain case: the part of the skull housing the brain. They have found that different dinosaurs had different sized brains. For example, sauropod brains were small in comparison to their body weight, whereas some dinosaurs, such as the Velociraptor, had very large brains in comparison to their body weight.

Were dinosaurs intelligent?

Unfortunately, there are no dinosaurs around, so there is no way we can determine a dinosaurs intelligence quotient, or IQ. However, we can judge how relatively intelligent dinosaurs were by taking a ratio of brain weight (based on the skull volume) to body weight, then comparing these ratios for various dinosaurs. This ratio is called the encephalization quotient (EQ). Based on this idea, the smartest dinosaurs had the larger brain to body weight ratios than the less intelligent ones.

The following table lists some types of dinosaurs and their EQs. Note that the dromaeosaurids and troodontids were thought to be some of the smartest dinosaurs. The troodontids included the Troodon, a carnivore; the dromaeosaurid dinosaurs included the Velociraptor, a 6-foot (1.8-meter) carnivore with clawed feet, and sharp, pointed teeth that probably roamed in packs:

Dinosaur Intelligence Based on Encephalization Quotient


EQ (approximate)





















What are the encephalization quotients (EQs) for some typical modern-day mammals?

The encephalization quotient (EQs) for some typical mammals are based on the same formula as the dinosaurs: The ratio of the brain to body weight. Here are a few EQs of some well-known mammals:

Encephalization Quotients for Modern Mammals


Animal Type





Bottlenose dolphin



Bluenose dolphin






Rhesus monkey















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