Dinosaur Discoveries

Tyrell Museum of Paleontology Mosasaurus, whose fossil bones may have inspired legends of dragons. See more dinosaur images.
Tyrell Museum of Paleontology

Dinosaur bones have been firing people's imaginations for hundreds of years. People in the Middle Ages found huge bones that were probably fossils of dinosaurs and large aquatic reptiles, such as plesiosaurs and mosasaurs. These may have inspired the legends of dragons and giants. The oldest record of possible fossil dinosaur bones is in a Chinese book written between 265 and 317 A.D. It mentions "dragon bones" found at Wucheng, in Sichuan Province. This area has produced many dinosaur bones.

Since those first discoveries, scientists have been trying to complete the picture of dinosaurs and their lives. All we have left of these amazing creatures are their fossil bones. Paleontologists continue their search to find all they can; each new fossil bone reveals a little more about dinosaurs. And each new dinosaur discovered tells us not only about that dinosaur but also about its place in evolution.

The study of dinosaur fossils has come a long way from the first scientific description when scientists thought a Megalosaurus thigh bone belonged to a very large man. Now, scientists can tell what type of diet an animal ate, when it lived, even sometimes how it raised its young. Paleontologists are indebted to the work of the early dinosaur hunters. Their dedication laid the groundwork for today's research.