Dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago (at the end of the Cretaceous Period), after living on Earth for about 165 million years. If all of Earth time from the very beginning of the dinosaurs to today were compressed into 365 days (1 calendar year), the dinosaurs appeared January 1 and became extinct the third week of September. (Using this same time scale, the Earth would have formed approximately 18.5 years earlier.) By comparison, people (Homo sapiens) have been on earth only since December 31 (New Year's eve). The dinosaurs' long period of dominance certainly makes them unqualified successes in the history of life on Earth.
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Last modified 05-17-01 (krw)