Cameron’s Camarasaurus (Dinosaur Workshops in School)

Whilst working with a class of school children during one of Everything Dinosaur’s frequent school visits to undertake dinosaur themed workshops we explored how scientists go about naming organisms.  Inevitably, how dinosaurs got their names became the focus of this part of the lesson topic.  The children were able to demonstrate what they had learned during the term by correctly identifying various prehistoric animals and stating what the name of the animal actually means.  For example, Triceratops means “three horned face” and anyone who has seen a picture of this Ceratopsian’s skull can see for themselves the three-horns that adorn it.  The two large, brow horns over the eyes and the smaller nose horn.

Triceratops means “Three Horned Face”

Three-horned face.

Three-horned face.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The children learned that it is often the job of the person who discovers the dinosaur’s fossil bones to come up with a name for that animal.  Cameron asked, if he had to name a dinosaur could he call it Cameronsaurus?  Our team member explained that there was already a dinosaur that had a very similar name – Camarasaurus (C. supremus).

Camarasaurus was a long-necked, herbivore, a member of the Sauropoda that lived in the western United States during the Late Jurassic (155-145 million years ago).  It was a large animal, perhaps measuring in excess of twenty metres when fully grown.

An Illustration of the Sauropod Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Safari Ltd

Everything Dinosaur then challenged the class to design their own dinosaur and to come up with a name that describes the prehistoric animal, one that could be used to name their very own dinosaur.

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