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Dinosaur & Paleontology Sites

 

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animated alligator Alligators and Crocodiles at Enchanted LearningGiving crocodilians their usual epic treatment - Poems, art with facts to color, report worksheets, graphic organizers, report wheels, and more. Editorial: if you don't already subscribe to Enchanted Learning, you really should.

 

American Cheetah American Cheetah was probably the reason why pronghorns run so fast! Find out more about this extinct cougar relative at Dinopedia, "The wiki about all prehistoric life", which had close to 1,200 pages of animals like this one, and almost 3,000 pictures like this one!

 

 

"Speed" by Velizar Simeonovski
American Cheetahs!
Includes a good technical article (with Ed Welsh) explaining this as an example of convergent evolution.
Our "cheetahmorph" here is actually related to North American mountain lions, not cheetahs.
Just because two animals or plants look uncannily alike, doesn't mean they're closely related.
There's also a good bibliography.

 

 

American Lion skeleton American lion This huge beast of prey was a close relative of the Cave Lion of Europe and Asia. How closely related the two of them were to African lions is still being debated. Click to read the Wikipedia article and the San Diego Zoo article. Click here and here for two awesome paintings. Their remains are found along with those of animals that lived on the plains and tundra, so they must have been plains animals.

 

 

Click on these two pictures to see them at their full-size!

Ocean Giants of all eras Giant Sauropods

 

 

Archosaurs is about dinosaurs, crocodiles, birds, and all their diapsid relatives, both living and extinct. Part of UC Berkeley's gigantic tree of life web site complex. This is for older kids. Diapsids = all birds and living reptiles except turtles. Turtles are the only living anapsids. We mammals are synapsids.

 

 

Stone carving of a bull aurochs from Grotta del Romito, southern Italy.
Aurochs are the ancestors of modern cattle. Big as an American bison,
aurochs had distinctive curved horns.
Auroch from Grotta del Romito

Aurochsfeatures.jpg

aurochs.jpg Aurochs-Uro1.1.png

 

 

Dinosaurs Black Hills Institute of Geological Research has a fantastic dinosaur museum in Hill City. Small in area but crammed with dino skeletons including (usually) several T-Rex. Known worldwide, the Institute sponsored the 100 Years of T-Rex seminar in the summer of 2005, with many big names in paleo attending. For even more dinos and critters check out the Geology Museum at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

 

 

Chauvet cave art Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave  This French cave was only discovered in 1994. It's famous for its paintings of dangerous animals such as cave bears, lions, hyenas, and mammoths, to name a few. Also famous for human footprints, animal bones, and a cave bear skull mounted on a rock. The web page is not as sophisticated as the younger Lascaux Cave's page but the value of this cave is the same. PS! The Chauvet Cave has just been selected (June 2014) as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

 

 

 

 

Deep Time InteractiveDeep Time is a well done HTML5 interactive infographic in the form of a pie chart/clock face. The aim is to give learners a visual grasp of just how very old the Earth is.
"The Earth is old; very, very old. It is difficult for us humans to fully comprehend just how old our planet actually is. This infographic offers a visual way to explore the various stages of the Earth's history using a 12 hour clock analogy."
Examine the progression and changes over time of Life, Eons, and Events. The Features section has recommended settings for various devices, more about the clock, and short explanations for the three sections. Also, hovering over the various links that flank the clock face shows small graphics for each link, located according to their time on the 12 hour clock.

 

 

 

  • Life is shown as a green line around the clock face. The older the life form, the longer the line.
  • Eons are the different colored sections of the pie chart/clock face.
  • Events are small symbols ranging around the clock face, positioned by time of the event.
  • This works for individual use, or in a computer lab/classroom, or on an overhead screen.
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    DinoDictionary "Dinosaurs from A-Z! DinoDictionary.com is your resource for hunting dinosaurs. With profiles of over 300 known dinosaurs, immerse yourself in a wealth of knowledge about the giants that roamed the earth so long ago!" We had this on our site at one time, but it somehow escaped! It's back here now - same great resource as before.

     

    Dino Directory The Natural History Museum located in London, UK, brings us this great new dinosaur site. "This is a guide to 331 of the most well-described dinosaurs, including 1301 images." They have an A - Z dino listing, a good explanation of dinos and other ancient reptiles, a timeline of which dinos lived when, a body shape guide, what dinos lived in your country, and a listing of where and when they lived, complete with world maps! An amazing amount of data and the pictures are good, too.

     

     

    Dinosaur Footprint Identification Chart Posted on @Imgur by @DinoDork54

    Dino footprint iD chart

     

     

    Dino Quiz from the Natural History Museum has 10 questions to find out what kids know about dinosaurs. Test yourself and see.

     

     

    Chick flapping wings

     

    Dinosaur Art Lots and lots of dinosaur pictures!

     

    Dinosaur coloring  Print out and color these dino coloring pages from Ivy's Coloring Pages.

     

    Dinosaur Defender  Flash game from the Natural History Museum. Use your mighty tail club to defend baby dinosaurs from raptors!

     

    Dinosaur Dig from the San Diego Natural History Museum. "Dig into dinosaur data. Find out about finding fossils. Ponder the link between meteors and mass extinction. Discover how, where, and what you need to know about finding fossils. Dig up dinosaur data, find out what is and isn't a dinosaur. Match dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles with their scientific names. " More activities and links, too.

     

    Dinosaur Extinction Tells what may have caused dinosaurs to go extinct, with animation and poetry.

     

     

    Dinosaur Fact "Welcome to Dinosaur Fact. This is the largest compilation of knowledge in relation to everything to do with dinosaurs." Let's see, they have 4,000,000,000 years' worth of well-explained Timelines (Eras and Eons). They have pages and pages about dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and marine reptiles of all three periods (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous). Dino groups, extinction theories, and Canadian dinos. They have dinosaur games, jokes, wallpapers, FAQ, dinosaur sounds (what they might've sounded like), and "Dino stuff for sale". [;tldr - It's well done, cool, worth exploring!]

     

     

    Dinosaur Fun "Learn all about dinosaurs in our Dinosaurs section! Play games, print and color dinosaur coloring pages, and learn lots of cool facts about these amazing creatures."

     

    Dinosaur Games from Kaboose. Several dinosaur-themed games and activities.

     

    Smithsonian Dinosaur Tracking logo"Where paleontology meets pop culture" Hundreds of pages of Dinosaur articles! Several stories on each page, with plenty of illustrations and dino art! Something for elementary through adult. Good discussions and explanations of what you're seeing. If something new about dinosaurs hits the press, it's in here. Part of the Smithsonian Institution's gargantuan site.

     

    Dinosaur World This new site features good pictures and information about the Tyrannosaur family, Feathered Dinosaurs, and Weird Dinosaurs. Click on the names on the left side of the page to learn about individual dinosaur species.

     

    Dinosauria Online has everything you ever wanted to know about dinos. Kids mostly just head for the huge art gallery!

     

    The Dinosaurs "Everything kids need to know about Dinosaurs!" News, games, interesting people, plus data on dinosaurs!


    Dr. Mary H. Schweitzer, Phd "It's a girl and she's pregnant," Dr. Schweitzer said to her lab assistant, Jennifer Wittmeyer. These two researchers used ingenious lab techniques to discover soft tissue in T-Rex fossils. At a presentation at the Black Hills Institute in 2005, we were in the audience watching spellbound as Dr. Schweitzer gently pulled and stretched 68,000,000 year old collagen tissue from medullary bone in an ovulating T-Rex's femur!

    From Wikipedia: "Schweitzer was the first researcher to identify and isolate soft tissues from a 68 million year old fossil bone. The soft tissues are collagen, a connective protein."

    From Smithsonian: "Before female birds start to lay eggs, they form a calcium-rich structure called medullary bone on the inside of their leg and other bones; they draw on it during the breeding season to make eggshells. Schweitzer had studied birds, so she knew about medullary bone, and that’s what she figured she was seeing in that T. rex specimen."

    An NSF article stated in part: "Schweitzer found that the dinosaur tissue was virtually identical to that of the modern birds in form, location and distribution. Removal of the bones' minerals revealed that medullary bone from the ostrich and emu was virtually identical in structure, orientation and even color, with that of the T. rex."

    This shows (1) there is still a lot to learn about fossilization and (2) yet more evidence (if you needed any more) that birds ARE dinosaurs. And that leg bone is still 68 million years old, soft tissue and all.


     

    Downloads Download a Dinosaur lets you download templates for making paper dinosaurs!

     

    Dueling Dinosaurs This is not your classic dinosaur site. It's an online advert, BUT..."this exciting find consists of two of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found in the Hell Creek Formation", seem to have died fighting each other! Videos show the excavation, fossil prep, artwork, and a great 3-D model you can move around! Includes links to articles on both dino species involved. Was Nanotyrannus just a young T-Rex? This one bit off more than it could chew, so to speak.

     

    EarthViewer "is a free iPad app that takes you through 4.5 billion years on Earth. EarthViewer allows you to select eons and eras to view. Within each eon and era you can view tectonic plates, continental drift, and other geological events. You can view major biological events in EarthViewer too. Climate data for the last one hundred years is available in the app. EarthViewer users can manipulate the virtual globe to see how each continent has moved and been altered over time." Credit = http://ipadapps4school.com/

     

    Elephant Odyssey Be a baby mammoth! "On this journey through time, you'll learn the ways of mammoths and their modern day descendants, the elephants. - So let's go back 200,000 years and test your skills." Mother Mammoth trains you in the basic skills, including keyboard commands. You get three lives. Good luck! From the San Diego Zoo's new Elephant Odyssey exhibit.

     


    Evolutionary Anachronisms - the concept that one member of a symbiotic partnership goes extinct, and the other member must adapt. This is being used to explain weird fruits and odd seeds that no modern animal can eat. The idea is the animals that once ate them, and scattered their seeds, are no more. Here are five sites that try to explain the idea:

  • The Trees That Miss The Mammoths
  • Mastodons in Manhattan: How the Honey Locust Tree Got Its Spikes
  • The ‘ghosts’ of extinct birds in modern ecosystems
  • Ghosts of Evolution (video) from It's Okay to be Smart
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about strange fruits from It's Okay to be Smart
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    Gone Fishing game from the Natural History Museum. "Use your enormous Baryonyx hand claw to hook fish out of the water. Be quick if you don't want to starve!"

     

    Laurasia Gondwana.jpg

     

     

    Hall of Mammals logo from UCMP Berkeley. "Those hairy, milk-producing, warm-blooded animals that you have seen all of your life are mammals." The site features comprehensive information on the four groups of mammals:

  • Placental mammals - such as horses, rabbits, whales, cats, people - a group also called Eutheria.
  • Marsupials, or Metatheria - includes all of the pouched animals, such as oppossums and kangaroos.
  • Monotremes - mammals that lay eggs - the platypus and the echidna
  • Multituberculates - Multituberculata - once widespread and successful, but extinct for a long time
  • You can read more about "multis" here. Read about the Paleocene mammals of 65 - 55 million years ago, too.

     

    History of life on Earth from the BBC. Their usual informative and creative treatment, this time in the form of an interactive timeline that keeps expanding, and again, and so on, and so on... The first timeline starts at 4.6 billion years ago and stops at 0.2 million years ago. To maintain a semblance of scale you can magnify the last 600 million years to make another time scale, and then another for last 250 million years. (This scheme was well thought out! The last timeline stops at the end of the last ice age. Scrolling down from the timelines, you find Geological time periods.This covers 19 eras from 3.8 billion years ago to the present time. Click on the thumbnail for any era and you'll be drawn into a wealth of cool facts, pix, and information! Go down the page and there are more thumbnails - colorful sections about the Big Five mass extinction events, Mass extinction theories, and Ancient Earth habitats. If you do it all at once, your eyes'll be glazed! Tons of information to supplement your textbook, to use for a report, or just to wonder at the awesomeness of deep time.

     

     

    Ichthyosaurs. This is a great big multiple-page site that is packed with information! From two to 16' (61cm to 4.9m) long, with 10" (2.54cm) eyes, diving to perhaps 2,000' (609m), these "fish lizards" sometimes got the bends as the hunted in deep dark water. Find out much more at this big site. Lastly, find out about their weird fins reinforced by a fiberglass-like mesh!

     

     

    Jason's Dinosaur Site is back, after all these years! Still colorful, loud*, and entertaining! A new generation of kids will love it just like always. (* if you use Internet Explorer)

     

     

     

    Kids Dinos from KidsKnowIt. One of the best dino sites Lots of data, activities, and games about dinosaurs.

     

     

     

    Koolasuchus and girl

    Koolasuchus was a giant Australian carnivorous amphibian from the Cretaceous, 120 million years ago. Everyone thought this type of amphibian died out at the end of the Permian, 220 million years ago. Yet there were still some in southern Victoria 100 million years later. In this video (3 mins) from the Melbourne Museum, the two discoverers describe their roles in finding and preparing the fossil. The illustration at left is by the Australian artist dewlap. (We think it's great!) Click on the picture to see the full-size version.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mammoth Site pit Mammoth Site Located in the small town of Hot Springs in the southern Black Hills of westernmost South Dakota, the Mammoth Site is an ancient sinkhole full of dozens of mammoth skeletons! Click on the menu bar along the top to take the Virtual Tour and check out their Education Department.

     

     

     

    Marching Dinosaurs - Animated Size Comparison 6:56 video shows awesome march of real dinosaurs of ever increasing size, set to music.

     

     

    Coelacanths-giant_ancient.jpg

    Mawsonia, a prehistoric coelacanth from the Cretaceous Period of Africa and South America, compared with 1.8 meter tall person. Credit = Artwork by @Hyrotrioskjan published on DeviantART. This graphic and text via Prehistoric Life in the Phanerozoic Eon's Facebook page. Juuuust a little larger than modern coelacanths.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Meet the Dinosaurs By kids in a first grade class at Pocantico Hills School in New York! One of our first "good sites!" Check out the lesson plans and links, too! The wonderful teacher who started this site, Mrs. Shaul, has long since retired. We're glad the site is still up, and we'll keep it here as long as it is.

     

    Museum of Geology, SDSM&T (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology). This great science and engineering school (one of the world's best) has their world-class collection of fossils and minerals online! Their unique Dino Cam lets your watch one of best mosasaur skeletons anywhere while it and a nearby plesiosaur check out the horns on a Columbian mammoth! (Not your normal scenario.) Read the brag about their thousands of specimens on exhibit!

     

    Ology from the American Museum of Natural History. We love this site! It covers "Ologies" such as Archaeology, Astronomy, Biodiversity, Earth, Einstein, Genetics, Marine Biology, Paleontology, and Water. The bottom half of the page has links to around 20 activities, experiments, and interviews. Then there's the Highlights section, Ask a Scientist, an Advanced section, and At the Museum. Click on the blue buttons in the At the Museum box. Only part of this great site is shown at a time. Be sure to use the Search box and enter a term like "horse" to find a ton of other information.

     

    OZ Fossils, The Age of Reptiles The dinosaurs of Australia brought to you by ABC - the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This "good site" covers the the dinos and sea beasts of Mesozoic Australia's three different regions. Also discussed are continental drift - Australian style, and the climate, plants, and animals. There are some decent games as well.

     

     

    "Twilight" 
  Sinornithosaurus - Fabio Pastori, artist Paleoart Gallery of Theropoda, an Italian paleontologist's blog. A small gallery of beautiful dinosaurs, many with their feathers. The rest of the site is highly technical and in Italian. Grazie, Andrea Cau. Going in Dinosaurs and Paleontology.

     

     

     

     

     

    Paleontology Portal A joint effort of several museums and professional paleo organizations, this GREAT portal lets you explore the world through geological eras; every kind of fossil imaginable through every era of time; shows you great places to visit that are paleontology hot spots; and has a nice collection of resources and links! Go there and be amazed. Great for school projects and research, too.

     

     

    Lystrosaurus from WikipediaPermian Monsters: Life before the Dinosaurs This lavishly illustrated pdf guide introduces the Permian (290 - 250 million years ago) . Learn about The Continent - Pangea. The Sea - Panthalassa, teeming with a huge variety of strange looking life. Turtle ancestors with no shells, ancestors of mammals and dinosaurs side by side, giant predator amphibians, and the Great Dying at the end.
    But wait, there's more!
    Interactive games - Six games: Word Finder (3 levels), a Quiz on the Permian, colouring, Hangman (don't break the fossil), a matching game (easy), and a jigsaw puzzle.
    Adventure Guide - pdf file, essentially one big quiz, it could be useful for assessment.

     

     

    Planet Dinosaur from the BBC has replaced the late Big Al Game. This worthy successor has more to do yet is easier. Fine graphics, good playability, good sounds and music. "Rediscover the lost world of the dinosaurs - from the monstrous Spinosaur to the majestic Paralititan in the all new game. Play your very own Dinosaur Planet. Will your world survive?"

     

     

    Peccaries rescue on of their own from Sabre-tooth catRescue Party from Prehistoric Life in the Phanerozoic Eon. "Rescue Party - A starved Smilodon gracilis is hesitant in protecting its prey in front of decisively approaching pack of Platygonus peccaries. Platygonus has been around Smilodon gracilis, but seems it has been rarely its prey. The reconstruction gives a possible explanation. Pleistocene of Florida. *Artwork and description by @Velizar Simeonovski."

     

     

     

     

     

    Sable Toothed Cat

     

     

    Sea Monster Facts "Sea Monsters" are the big sea creatures, from giant scorpions and sharks to sea reptiles and primitive whales, that lived in the oceans through time.

     

    Sea Monster Game AWESOME! (click on Open in the picture) Learn while you try to stay alive! Smart learners will want to go through Sea Monster Facts first.

     

     

    a_simple_guide_to_dinosaur_classification_by_agahnim-small.jpgA simple guide to dinosaur classification by Agahnim on deviantART. "This image is a collaboration between me and EWilloughby. She and I recently noticed that a lot of people seemed confused about the distinctions between various groups of dinosaurs, so we created this as a simple guide to it... at least 95% of dinosaurs, and all of the best-known dinosaurs, fit into one of these groups. A poster of this chart is for sale at Zazzle." This is a very informative and easy to read infographic. If you find yourself going to this link often, please do the right thing and order the poster.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Trex vs Stegosaur T. rex died out 65 million years ago. Stegosaurus last walked the Earth 150 million years ago, meaning they were separated by 85 million years. Time is very deep. (Graphic & information from IFLS)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    They used Science (COMIC) from ScienceDump "This is a comic drawn by ZenPencils. The quote is from Phil Plait taken from a talk he gave at a student science fair. Apparently, the night before the speech Phil didn’t know what he was going to say, until he saw a news story, full of the normal psuedo-science stuff they so often are. He then wrote this speech. One thing is for certain, the speech (and the comic) will help reinvigorate your love of science."

     

     

    Tiktaalik rosae.jpg

     

     

    Titanoboa inforgraphic

     

     

    Utah's Dinosaur Record from the Utah Geologic Survey. (check out the whole site or buy posters at this link) Utah has a LOT of dinosaurs to be proud of. This pdf graphic of Utah's dinosaur history shows the eras/ages that make up the Mesozoic Era, and aligns them with local formations. From the Upper ("late") Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous, all known Utah dinos and their artifacts are listed by their place in time. Great for education, since it gives a sense of scale as to how long the dinosaurs were around!* This is an excellent graphic!

    *You could also take elementary kids out on a football field and have them step it off.

     

    Virtual Dinosaur Dig from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. This is an interactive, virtual activity. Find a virtual fossil, virtually excavate same. Then learn about its anatomy, what it ate, and the environment it lived in. You can also see what it might have looked like when it was alive.

     

    Walking with Beasts from the BBC, but hosted on the Australian ABC site. Very good site covers the history of prehistoric mammals just as Walking with Dinosaurs covered dinos. Great educational information. Fact Files cover 32 different "beasts." Changing World has good data on each of the seven eras from 65 million years ago to the present day. Mammal's Family Tree has a simple interactive cladogram, hold the mouse pointer over a name and facts appear on the lower screen area. Also has two different games sections and some downloads. Unfortunately not being updated, but then a lot of sites aren't.

     

    Walking with Dinosaurs Kids love all the facts in this site. Good timeline right under the title logo on the index page. Meet the Dinosaurs has Fact Files for each dino that appeared in the TV series and the DVD's, plus more. Games section, too. Interactive online games, too. Not being updated any more, but so what?

     

     

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