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How did dinosaurs really look?

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We actually received more than one question about dinosaurs, showing that many of you are very curious about this topic. Not surprising, because dinosaurs are super cool and it's fascinating to learn about the great and terrible creatures that once ruled our planet! One of the questions asked by a TPL Kids visitor is about how dinosaurs looked when they were alive. 

Paleontology is the study of animals and plants that lived millions of years ago. The remains of these ancient organisms are called fossils. Scientists called paleontologists dig up fossils which are preserved in rocks all over the world, and experts use special tools to find out how old the fossils are and how they connect. Trying to figure out the shape and size of each dinosaur, scientists put the bones they find together as best as they can. But it's like putting together puzzle pieces when you don't have the box with the picture!

Using fossil evidence, scientists can also try to identify what a dinosaur ate and how it could be related to animals that are around today. Well-preserved fossils give us more clues, but it's not very often that we find a full dinosaur skeleton. Some scientists think that most dinosaurs were gray or green, for enhancing camouflage. Others have theories that dinosaurs were very colourful, or had scales or feathers. We can't know for sure if real dinosaurs looked exactly like they do in the Jurassic Park movies. First we'll have to invent a time machine!

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