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3 Living Descendants and Relatives of Dinosaurs

July 30, 2018

70 million years ago, Tyrannosaurus rex was the scariest dinosaur around. Today, it’s extinct just like any other dinosaur, but still there are some animals roaming the Earth that are connected to those ancient species.

From soaring birds to swimming crocs, we’ve found three living species that call dinosaurs their (great-great-great-great-great-great-great) grans and grandads.


Who are you calling chicken? Birds descended from a group of two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods, the members of which include the powerful predator Tyrannosaurus rex and the smaller Velociraptors.

Hang on, the T-rex was one of the largest and most fearsome creatures to have ever exist, so all its relatives must be huge and terrifying too, right? Not quite! Fossil studies have found that the mighty T-rex actually shares quite a considerable amount of DNA with modern-day chickens and, by extension, all birds. Now you’ll never look at a humble pigeon the same way!


Chomp on this fun fact: many animals that you see today share some impressive connections with dinosaurs, including crocodiles – and you can really see the similarities in their rubbery skin, their fierce teeth, and their claws!

Chickens may be the rightful descendants of dinosaurs, but we also know that crocodilians like crocodiles and alligators share common ancestors with dinosaurs too. In fact, crocs as we know them today are actually pretty similar to their ancient ancestors of the Cretaceous period (about 145-166 million years ago) – and to think that these creatures outlived the dinosaurs!

Sea Turtles

Recent studies have shown that turtles belong in the group Archelosauria, along with relatives like birds, crocodiles, and – you guessed it – dinosaurs.

Turtles evolved alongside dinosaurs, with sea turtles emerging as a distinct type about 110 million years ago. All living species of sea turtle have origins that can be traced back to ancient times; about 80 million years ago, a genus of extinct sea turtles called Archelon swam the oceans. Each one of these guys was over four metres long and measured at five metres wide from flipper to flipper – we’re shell-shocked!

Let’s Hear Your Roar

… Because a huge T-rex is descending on Blue Reef Hastings this summer holiday, and you can come and meet him! That’s not all: you’ll also have the chance to say hello to Alan the lazy Velociraptor, Bob the new-born Triceratops, and Rita the baby T Rex.

Find more information on our official Dinosaur Meet & Greet page and book your tickets today.

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