All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
3 09, 2014

Dinosaurs and Extinction

By | September 3rd, 2014|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Dinosaurs and Extinction

How and Why Did the Dinosaurs Go Extinct?

Teachers and learning support providers undertaking a term topic or science week with dinosaurs as the subject matter are going to have to explore the concept of extinction.  Most people are aware that the dinosaurs died out approximately sixty-five million years ago.  During our dinosaur workshops with primary school children we get asked a lot about the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Indeed, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children are keen to demonstrate their knowledge by telling us how they think the dinosaurs died out.  For children at Key Stage 3 and beyond, evolution and genetics now make up a component of the science curriculum.

Answering Questions about Dinosaur Extinction

The Everything Dinosaur team members try to answer all the questions they get asked during their school visits to talk about fossils and prehistoric animals.  Sometimes we can build into our lesson plan an investigation to deal with a specific enquiry.  In this way we can demonstrate to the children (and to their teachers for that matter), the concept of scientific working.  We also follow up any extension work and send out further information, fact sheets and activity ideas to help the teachers and their support staff.  Taking dinosaurs into a school gets the children enthused, motivated and excited and they enjoy exploring the ideas and theories behind the extinction of the dinosaurs as a result.

The Late Cretaceous Extinction (Demise of the Dinosauria)

Theories for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Theories for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

How and Why Did the Dinosaurs go Extinct?

With the new curriculum (September 2014), children are being encouraged to work scientifically and to develop an appropriate knowledge of scientific principles and methodology.  To assist teachers with the inevitable question that will be asked – “How and why did the dinosaurs die out?” our dedicated team of dinosaur experts have posted up an article on the Everything Dinosaur main blog that provides a teaching guide to answering this question and challenges the pupils to think like scientists and to explore theories.

To view the weblog article: Providing Information for Schools on the Extinction of the Dinosaurs

The blog article sets out the background to the mass extinction event that took place at the end of the Cretaceous, explains the scale of the extinction and discusses the types of animals that died out.  The two main theories which scientists have proposed are explored and the evidence for each is examined.

  1. Death from Outer Space (asteroid or comet impact)
  2. Global Climate Change

Other ideas and theories are briefly discussed and the article guides teachers and learning support providers through the main topic areas and suggests questions that the teaching team might want to explore with the class.  The aim of this article is provide a teaching resource on the Cretaceous extinction event, helping school children to explore scientific methods and work scientifically.  The students have the opportunity to weigh up the evidence and decide which theory best fits the evidence.

Your turn to be a Scientist.  What do you Think happened?

Triceratops One of the Last of the Non-Avian Dinosaurs

A Triceratops exhibit.

A Triceratops exhibit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaur experts at Everything Dinosaur have utilised some of the topic areas covered in a typical dinosaur themed workshop by providing the information that lets the students weigh up the evidence.  This article is just one of hundreds to be found on the company’s award winning blog site, providing free resources and teaching support materials to educationalists.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s blog: The Everything Dinosaur Blog

3 09, 2014

Fresh Rockfalls at Monmouth Beach (Lyme Regis)

By | September 3rd, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Warnings for Fossil Hunters at Lyme Regis

The cliffs that surround the picturesque town of Lyme Regis in Dorset on England’s famous “Jurassic Coast” are very treacherous.  Rockfalls and landslips are a relatively common occurrence and team members at Everything Dinosaur, have done much to help inform and to warn visitors to the area of the potential hazards.  Fossil collecting or simply exploring the beaches can be a lot of fun, but the recent cliff fortification and shore stability measures put in place by the local council will not solve the problem of the unstable geology of the area.   The cliffs are composed of relatively loose sediment, that when saturated after heavy rain or somewhat dried out after a prolonged spell without too much precipitation, are prone to rockfalls.  It is always advisable to stay well away from the base of the cliffs, fossil collecting on a falling tide helps, as this gives an increasing distance between the sea and the cliffs.

Dangerous Cliffs at Lyme Regis

Good idea to go fossil collecting on a falling tide and to keep away from the steep cliffs.

Good idea to go fossil collecting on a falling tide and to keep away from the steep cliffs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Recently, we were sent some photographs by Lyme Regis fossil expert, Brandon Lennon.  The photographs showed a rockfall that had taken place on Monmouth beach (to the west of Lyme Regis).  Brandon explained that he had observed a number of cliff falls this year and that he expected more to occur as the autumn weather sets in.   This particular rockfall had occurred on that area of the beach famous for its extensive ammonite and nautiloid fossils preserved within the blue lias limestones – an area known as the “Ammonite Pavement” or the “Ammonite Graveyard”.

Recent Rockfall at Monmouth Beach

Rockfall onto the Ammonite Pavement on Monmouth Beach.

Rockfall onto the Ammonite Pavement on Monmouth Beach.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A supervised, fossil collecting walk is one of the best ways to explore the beaches around Lyme Regis, for further information on such tours: Fossil Walks in the Lyme Regis Area

Perhaps if you are lucky enough to go on a field trip with Brandon to Monmouth beach, you might be able to hear the theories that have been proposed to help explain why so many large ammonite fossils are found together at this spot.

Everything Dinosaur was sent a beautiful piece of fossilised wood from nearby Portland.  The specimen still had the bark preserved on it and when polished in section, growth rings could still be made out. We think that the fossil represents an Araucaria spp. (monkey puzzle tree).  This fossilised wood dates from the Upper Jurassic.  Fossil wood can occasionally be found on the beaches of Lyme Regis and nearby Charmouth, but this is usually much older dating mainly from the Lower Jurassic.

A Polished Section of Fossilised Wood

A polished section of fossilised wood.

A polished section of fossilised wood.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Remember if fossil collecting, be careful out there.

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