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A FEW million years ago, before the Rocky A Mountains came up and the now bare western plains was a land of lakes, rivers, and lush vegetation, the territory was inhabited by a race of strange and mighty reptiles Whom science has given the name of dinosaurs, meaning terrible lizards.

In America in 1818, the first dinosaur remains were found in the valley of the Connecticut, but at that time they were not recognized as such. The first dinosaur to he recognized as being a new order of reptile, was the carnivorous Megalosaur found near Oxford, England, in 1824. There are today no living animals that are closely related to them, and there hasn't been for some time, for the dinosaurs came to an end in the Cretaceous period. The crocodiles and the ostriches are the nearest existing relatives of these great reptiles. Though different in outward appearance, birds and reptiles are structurally closely allied. The two groups are not far apart, except for the matter of clothes, wherein birds differ from all other animals in having feathers. The dinosaurs were by no means confined to North America, although Western United States seems to have been their headquarters. They ranged all over the world, for their remains have been found in every continent. In their time they ranged from the Trias to the Upper Cretaceous, their golden age, marking the culminating point of reptilian life, being in the Jurassic, when their huge forms stalked by the seashores and browsed in the great swamps. They had their day, a day that lasted many thousand years, and then passed away, giving way to a superior race of mammals which was just springing into being when the dinosaurs were having their heyday. It seems that in the distant past, brains were not an important factor in the struggle for supremacy. Although these reptiles were giants, dominating the earth through brute force, they were dwarfs in intellect. The human brain in a person weighing from 120 to 150 pounds, weighs about two pounds; but in a dinosaur perhaps twenty-five feet long and standing fifteen feet high in his bare feet, you would find a brain no larger than a tiny fist and weighing less than a pound. They certainly couldn't have had much intellect, just about enough to have eaten when they were hungry. The spinal cord, with its supply of nerve substance, doubtless looked after the mechanical functions of life; and while even the spinal cord is in many cases small, in some places, particularly in the sacral region, it is considerably enlarged. This is true of Stegosaurus, where the enlargement is twenty times the size of the puny brain. The newspapers got hold of this fact and distorted it by saying that a dinosaur had been found with a brain in its pelvis.

THE smallest of the dinosaurs that we know of were no larger than chickens; the largest were distinguished as being the largest quadrupeds that have walked the face of the earth, the giants of all time, before whose frame the bones of a mammoth seem slight. Brontosaurus, the Thunder Lizard, beneath whose mighty feet the earth shook, and his kindred were from 40 to 70 feet long and 15 feet high. The group to which Brontosaurus belongs, is distinguished by a large, rather short body, but a very long neck and tail, and for the overall size of the animal, a tiny head. In fact in the case of Diplodocus, the head was so small and so poorly provided with teeth, that it must have been quite a difficult task or a long term pleasure, according to its digestive apparatus, for the animal to have eaten its daily meal. An elephant weighing 8 tons eats a hundred pounds of hay and twenty-five pounds of grain each day. This food being in a concentrated form, he would require at least twice this amount of green fodder. A live Diplodocus or a Brontosaurus weighed approximately twenty-five tons, and would need over seven hundred pounds of leaves, twigs, or plants each day, more if he felt real hungry.

From studying the limb bones, it is thought that these animals were largely aquatic in their habits, and fed on species of water plants. There was the advantage in having a long neck to browse in the vegetation on the bottom of the lakes, while the animal was submerged, or in rearing up to search the surrounding shores for a possible enemy. With the tail as a counterpoise, the entire body could he thrust out of the water and the head raised perhaps thirty feet in the air.

Triceratops, with the three-horned face, had a most peculiar skull that projected back over the neck like a fireman's helmet. He had a horn over each eye and a third horn on the nose. In front of each eye was a thick bone which, although it furnished protection, must have interfered with straight ahead vision. When Triceratops faced an adversary he must have been practically invulnerable, inasmuch as he was the largest animal of his time, excepting Tyrannosaurus; it is probable that his battles were with those of his own kind, over some fair female on whom two suitors had cast longing eyes. It would have been quite a sight to have seen two such enormous brutes in mortal combat charging upon each other with twenty tons of infuriated flesh. A pair of Triceratops horns in the National Museum bears witness to such combats. One is broken off and was broken during life because the stump is healed and rounded over.

UNLIKE man, reptiles and fish do not have a maximum standard of size which is reached at an early age and seldom exceeded, but they continue to grow till the end so that the size of a turtle, crocodile, or dinosaur tells of its age.

Trachodons, though not quite as large, being only twelve feet high, were more abundant and widely distributed. They were in North America during the Cretaceous period what the deer are today. Twenty-nine Inguanodons, a European relative, were found in one spot in mining for coal in Bernissart, Belgium. Like other reptiles, the Trachodon was continually renewing his teeth. As fast as one tooth fell out it was replaced by another, a point where he has an advantage over humans. On the other hand, as he had a reserve of about four hundred teeth in his lower jaw alone, there would be a possibility oi having a flock of toothaches.

There are many lesser dinosaurs including species with sharp claws and double-edged teeth.