Would it surprise you that one of the most frequently asked questions by children at Niagara Falls is whether there were ever dinosaurs here? This article addresses that question - taking a peak at the prehistoric possibility of whether or not dinosaurs were ever in the region.
Niagara Falls as we know it today wasn't around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In fact, the falls are relatively young by geological standards, having formed about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago towards the end of the last Ice Age.
Dinosaurs, on the other hand, were on the earth much longer ago. The Age of Dinosaurs, or the Mesozoic Era, was a period spanning approximately 186 million to 66 million years ago. This period ended with a massive extinction event that wiped out most of the dinosaurs. So, the timescale for the presence of dinosaurs and the formation of Niagara Falls do not overlap.
However, it is possible to find fossils around Niagara Falls, particularly in the layers of rock that comprise the cliffs and gorge walls around the falls. This is because, while the falls themselves are young, the rocks in the area are ancient. The rock layers include layers of sedimentary rocks, like limestone and shale, which often contain fossils.
Most fossils found around Niagara Falls are of ancient marine life, dating back to a time when the region was submerged beneath a warm, shallow sea around 400-350 million years ago. These include trilobites, brachiopods, crinoids, and others. No dinosaur fossils have been discovered in this region as this area was underwater during the Mesozoic Era when dinosaurs lived, but it remains possible that dinosaurs and their predecessors could have possibly inhabited this area at one point. Sadly, they would not have seen the famous falls.
To be clear, the presence of these fossils doesn’t mean that these ancient marine organisms were contemporaries of Niagara Falls, but rather that the sedimentary rocks around the falls, in which these fossils are embedded, have preserved a much older chapter of earth’s history. In fact, erosion from the falls has helped to reveal these fossils.
Although there are not real dinosaurs in Niagara Falls, there is an AMAZING Dino-inspired attraction for tourists to enjoy! Known as Canada's largest mini golf attraction, Dinosaur Adventure Mini Golf features two 18- hole courses called the "Raptor" and T-Rex". Together these two total up to a 36 hole course and is spread out over 70,000 square feet! (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS)