© iStockphotoTyrannosaurus rex was a lean mean hunter and warm blooded, news discoveries suggest
Our knowledge of dinosaurs is increasing all the time. Here are a list of the most recent discoveries.

Dinosaur Extinction

Dinosaurs survived for more than 700,000 years after the earth was hit by a massive meteorite originally believed to have caused their extinction, according to new research.

Tests on a fossilised bone of a plant eating dinosaur discovered in New Mexico found that it was only 64.8 million years old.

Scientists at the university of Alberta, Canada, said it is possible that in some areas the vegetation wasn't wiped out and a number of hadrosaur species survived.

T. rex only hunted large prey

Tyrannosaurus rex only targeted large prey, according to a study that dismisses claims that the animal was primarily a scavenger.

Scientists argue that T. rex really was a formidable hunter, roaming areas several times the size of Greater London in search of prey.

In this way, T. rex could be compared with polar bears and lions, both of which travel large distances to find their next meal said experts at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Most dinosaurs were vegetarian

Most dinosaurs were vegetarian rather than meat-eating beasts, research suggests.

A new study from the Chicago Field Museum of the diet of 90 species of theropod dinosaurs challenged the conventional view that nearly all theropods hunted prey, especially those closest to the ancestors of birds.

Rather it showed that among the most birdlike dinosaurs known as coelurosaurs plant eating was a common way of life.

Their diet may have also helped them survive and exploit new environments becoming the most successful group of dinosaurs throughout the Cretaceous Period, 145-65 million years ago

Pterosaurs 'flew like paper aeroplanes'

Pterosaurs flew like paper aeroplanes, gliding slowly on tropical breezes and landing softly to protect their delicate bones, new research suggests.

The flying reptiles, which lived at the same time of the dinosaurs, included some species the size of light aircraft. But for all their terrifying appearance, they may have been the most gentle of aviators.

Scientists at University of Bristol built fossil-based models of pterosaur wing sections and tested them in a wind tunnel.

They found that pterosaurs would have been too slow and flexible to brave turbulent stormy winds, as albatrosses do in the southern ocean today.

Prehistoric 'terror bird' pecked creatures to death

Scientists discovered a prehistoric bird that used its hooked beak to peck its prey to death.

The ninety-pound flightless birds, which lived in South America, wielded their giant, sharp beaks in quick jabs, repeatedly backing away and jabbing again, according to a new study.

The tactics of the "terror bird", officially called Andalgalornis, were dictated partly by its size and emu-like composition, which made hunting any other way extremely difficult and possibly fatal, scientists said.

"These guys were not sluggers; they couldn't go in and grapple with prey. They had to stand back and dance around and make hatchet-like jabs," said Lawrence Witmer of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dinosaur mating rituals were more elaborate than peacocks

Prehistoric flying dinosaurs had more elaborate mating displays than modern-day peacocks.

New research into pterosaurs and pelycosaurs - the fin-backed ancestors of modern mammals - have shown their elaborate headrests and sails were developed for the purpose of sexual selection.

Until now, many thought these appendages regulated body temperature or helped them steer while they were flying.

A team from the universities of Hull, Portsmouth and Western Australia found that prehistoric pterosaurs evolved elaborate headrests to help them attract the best mates while the pelycosaurs, a group of our own distant ancestors, developed fantastic sails along their backs to oust sexual competitors.

Dinosaurs had mohawks and freckles

Dinosaurs were not all ginger after all - some had a rusty brown mohawk and freckles, scientists have discovered.

Researchers claimed last month that they could conclusively reveal for the first time the true colour of feathered dinosaurs that walked the earth more than 100 million years ago. It was "russet and orange".

But now another study has come up with even more exciting news - others had "rufous" or ready brown plumage.

The scientists at Yale University revealed their discovery in the journal Science and created an illustration of how the dinosaur would have looked using microscopic clues from a fossil found in China.

Early dinosaurs had yellow and white stripes

Early feathered dinosaurs, the ancestors of birds, were covered in yellow and white stripes claim British scientists who reveal the true colours of the prehistoric creatures for the first time.

The dinosaur Sinosauropteryx, which lived 100 million years ago, had simple bristles - precursors of feathers - in alternate orange and white rings down its tail, they discovered.

Scientists also discovered feathers came before wings, so may not have originally been used for flight or insulation but for display.

Mike Benton, professor of palaeontology at the University of Bristol, said: "Our research provides extraordinary insights into the origin of feathers.

"In particular, it helps to resolve a long-standing debate about the original function of feathers - whether they were used for flight, insulation, or display."

Dinosaurs had venomous bite

Dinosaurs from a species related to the Velociraptor have been found to have had a poisonous bite.

Scientists have discovered a fossil of a feathered ''raptor'' with grooved fangs that almost certainly delivered venom.

They believe other members of the dromaeosaur family may have also killed or immobilised their prey with poison.

Sinornithosaurus was a close relative of the Velociraptor, one of the stars of the movie Jurassic Park.

Although birdlike and about the size of a turkey, it did not fly and was not an early bird. But scientists believe it may have preyed on ancient birds 128 million years ago, using its long fangs to penetrate their plumage.

Dinosaurs were 'hot-blooded' killers

Far from the "terrible lizard" that their Greek name implies, dinosaurs were closer to humans than cold-blooded reptiles, a new study suggests.

Creatures such as the Tyrannosaurus rex were warm blooded creatures with athletic high metabolisms that could survive in all kinds of cold and harsh conditions.

New evidence appears to confirm that the ancient creatures were endothermic, or warm-blooded, like their modern descendants - birds.

Far from being lumbering slow beasts that boosted their energy levels by basking in the sun, they were likely to have been agile and active.

But being warm-blooded would have come at a price, because it requires a lot of feeding.

If food became scarce at the time the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, this could have made it harder for them to survive.

The US scientists led by Dr Herman Pontzer at the University of Washington, St Louis, based their findings on the estimated amount of energy dinosaurs must have expended moving about.