Everything we know about dinosaurs comes from the fossil record. But what is a fossil?
Fossils are the remains of creatures or plants which existed long ago. The most likely materials to survive as fossils are the hard parts such as shells or bones but you can find fossils of plants too. Fossils come in a variety of sizes, from minute traces to large skeletons. Scientists use fossils to create historic creatures like dinosaurs.
What color were dinosaurs? No one knows. The only record comes from fossils, and there is no way to tell the color of a dinosaur skin from a fossil.
What's the biggest, complete dinosaur we've found? In 1990, Fossil hunter, Sue Hendrickson, found a very large, and almost complete, T-rex in the badlands of South Dakota. On May 17, 2000 The Field Museum in Chicago unveiled Sue, the largest, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil yet discovered. Sue stands 13 feet high at the hips and 42 feet long from head to tail.
- Fossils - Make your own fossils.
- Make a pair of dino feet.
- Use the treasure balls recipe to make dino eggs using small plastic dinosaurs as the 'babies'.
Rocks can by made into dinosaurs.
- Fossil Guessing Game
- Real dino fans can play the creature guessing game using different types of dinosaurs.
- Go to your local museum and look at their fossil collections. Find out where they come from.
- Go to the local library and see of there are any maps and books about your area's geology.
- If there is a University near where you live, find out if they a geology department. Are there displays open to the public?
- Go and look for fossils. Fossils can be found just about anywhere sedimentary rocks (shale, limestone, sandstone) can be found including old quarries, a beach, edge of a stream, ploughed fields, and road cuttings. Some fossils can be found in clay.
Create your own dinosaur dig.
If your kids think science is what happens in university research labs, then here's a story for them. Find out how two boys discovered evidence of dinosaurs west of the Rocky Mountains in North America. Here's a short version of the dinosaur discovery, and a longer, more scientific description (PDF file) of what happened including pictures and the research that continues to this day. The Tumbler Ridge Museum has lots of info and science on what's currently happening with this exciting new dinosaur find.
BBC has brought to life the amazing lost world of the Cretaceous, Triassic and Jurassic periods of Earth's history, when the dinosaurs reigned supreme. The series provides insights into how these mammoth creatures appeared, how they survived for millions of years and probes the mysteries of their sudden disappearance leaving only a fossil record to show they had ever existed!
What do you get when you cross the Crocodile Hunter with the Jurassic Park trilogy? You get Chased by Dinosaurs, an awesomely entertaining BBC follow-up to the phenomenally successful Walking with Dinosaurs programs. Hosted by zoologist-adventurer Nigel Marven, this compilation of playfully exciting 30-minute programs is a time traveler's dream come true, presenting a feast of impressive prehistoric scenery as if it were readily accessible to any present-day camera crew. It's digital fakery at its finest, and Marven's infectious enthusiasm combines up-to-date research with wide-eyed intensity as he introduces us to a wide-ranging menagerie of long-extinct species.
We love the whole series, but this episode is my favorite!