“What’s the oldest dinosaur?” “How did dinosaurs come alive?” We tackle two listener questions in one epic story of dinosaur domination. Scientist Jessica Whiteside takes us back in time to the dawn of the dinosaurs, 230 million years ago. The story involves fascinating fossils, intense lava eruptions, climate craziness, and ultimately, an explosion of dinosaurs. We’re going to find out what happened, and how scientists discovered it all.
THE OLDEST DINOSAURS
Both of these dinosaurs appeared in the late Triassic Period, about 230 million years ago.
THE DINOSAUR ANCESTOR
It's not a dinosaur. But Teleocrater, pictured above, plays a big part in the story of how dinosaurs evolved.
In 2017, paleontologists published a paper that identified this funky lizard-like creature as a "missing link" between dinosaurs and the common ancestor they share with crocodiles.
And if you're a Patron of Tumble, find out more about Teleocrater on our bonus interview episode!
WHAT MAKES A DINOSAUR A DINOSAUR?
All this talk of early dinosaurs might make you wonder, "Hey, how do scientists define dinosaurs?" Here's a good video explainer.
And here's a good web explainer: What Makes a Dinosaur a Dinosaur? from Khan Academy
THE EXTINCTION THAT LED TO THE RISE OF THE DINOS
The End-Permian Extinction was the largest in Earth's history. Here's a great video about how scientists study it through fossils.
And if you want to know how dinos grew after the extinction, here's a fun video from PBS Digital Studios.