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Part of the Dinosaurs: Activities and Lesson Plans Curriculum Collection.
What distinguishes dinosaurs from other reptiles? Reptiles, such as crocodiles and lizards, have legs that sprawl out to the side. Their thigh bones are almost parallel to the ground. They walk and run with a side-to-side motion. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, stand with their legs positioned directly under their bodies. A hole in the hip socket permits this upright stance. This posture allows dinosaurs to run faster and with greater endurance than other reptiles that are the same size. During the Age of Dinosaurs there were other reptiles living on the land and in the seas. While these animals lived alongside dinosaurs, they did not have a hole in their hip socket and thus were not dinosaurs. Modern birds are one kind of dinosaur because they share a common ancestor with nonavian dinosaurs. They have features such as the three-toed foot and s-shaped neck, and therefore are classified as dinosaurs.