All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
9 09, 2018

The Fossils of the Crato Formation

By | September 9th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Museum Nacional Fossils – Perhaps Lost Forever

One week ago, there was a terrible fire at the National Museum (Museu Nacional), in Rio de Janeiro that left the building a gutted ruin.  Thankfully, no-one was injured by the blaze but thousands of artefacts, including numerous fossils from the famous Crato Formation of north-eastern Brazil, have probably been destroyed.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article about the fire at the Brazilian museum: The Devastating Fire at Brazil’s National Museum

The National Museum at the Height of the Fire

The Museu Nacional fire.

The fire at the Museu Nacional.

Picture Credit: ANSA/Associated Press photo /Leo Correa

The Crato Formation

The strata that makes up the Crato Formation was laid down in the Early Cretaceous and it represents fine, silty deposits laid down in a lacustrine (freshwater lake(s) environment).  It was close to the coast and it was formed as a channel dividing South America from Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, was beginning to form.  The sea gradually advanced and a large, shallow saltwater lagoon formed giving rise to the slightly younger strata known as the Romualdo Formation.  The rocks preserve a wide range of plant, invertebrate and vertebrate fossils.  So rich and diverse is the fossil record that the Crato Formation is regarded as a Lagerstätte.

Sadly, it is likely that many of the Lower Cretaceous fossils within the collection of the Museu Nacional have been destroyed and lost to science.  Many media outlets have focused on the loss of larger exhibits such as the remains of prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs.  Here at Everything Dinosaur, our earlier article, published a few days ago, looked at the impact of the conflagration on pterosaur research, but it is likely that a significant portion of the fossils representing some of the smaller animals that once roamed north-eastern Brazil will have been lost to.

A Beautifully Preserved Single Feather from the Crato Formation

A fossilised feather from the Crato Formation

Numerous isolated feathers have been preserved indicating the presence of Avialae – primitive birds and Theropod dinosaurs closely related to birds.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

Remembering the Little Guys

The exceptionally rare dinosaur and pterosaur fossils may have grabbed the headlines but the Crato Lagerstätte includes hundreds of examples of the “little guys” that shared the Early Cretaceous with the Archosaurs.  These fossils have provided palaeontologists with an insight into the ecosystem that existed around 1115 million years ago, the loss of these fossils represents a terrible blow for palaeontology in Brazil.

The Fossilised Remains of a Cretaceous Weevil

A beautifully preserved weevil fossil (Crato Formation).

Large numbers of fossil insect remains are associated with the Crato Formation, including the remains of weevils.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

The Fossilised Remains of a Small Lizard (Squamata)

Early Cretaceous lizard fossil (Crato Formation).

A fossil of a small lizard from the Crato Formation.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

The fine sediments laid down at a time when the Atlantic Ocean was being created captured a wealth of information about the plants, insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles that shared the world with the dinosaurs and the Pterosauria.  It is very sad to think that much of this highly important and strikingly beautiful fossil record may have been lost forever.

9 09, 2018

Getting to Grips with a K-W-L Strategy

By | September 9th, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Getting to Grips with a K-W-L Strategy

Everything Dinosaur Helps Out Primary School with K-W-L Strategy

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been approached by a primary school teacher to help her introduce a term topic all about dinosaurs for her Year 1 class.  The teacher wants to utilise a K-W-L strategy to establish the topic and to identify what the children already know about prehistoric animals and to use the results to direct learning over the coming weeks.

The Use of a K-W-L Strategy in the Classroom

A K-W-L chart spotted in a school.

Children prepare questions for Everything Dinosaur.  The use of K-W-L in a classroom.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Defining a K-W-L Strategy

A K-W-L strategy is essentially a tabular method of assessing the level of knowledge that children have at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of a period of work.  It can be implemented over a term topic such as “Dinosaur Planet” or “Jurassic Forest” or it can be used at the individual lesson level.

K-W-L – examines:

  1. What the children know = K
  2. What the children would like to learn about = W
  3. What the children have learned = L

A Three-part Strategy for Learning

This teaching tool gives pupils an opportunity to make connections between different topic areas, it appeals to visual learners and allows the teaching team to shape the subject to suit the needs and requirements of the class.  It allows the teacher to identify what prior subject knowledge the children possess, in the case of dinosaurs, it is surprising how much information the children know and are very enthusiastic to divulge.  The K-W-L strategy can help to guide lesson planning and to focus on appropriate teaching strategies to address the lack of knowledge uncovered during the mapping exercise.

Mind Maps Can Support a K-W-L Strategy

A KWL chart on dinosaurs.

What we know about dinosaurs (K-W-L chart).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Experts Answer Questions

In order to help support the teacher, Everything Dinosaur team members have promised to answer emails from the children in support of their enquiries about dinosaurs and life in the past.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The teacher can include the children emailing our dinosaur and fossil experts within their lesson planning.  The use of email to answer the children’s questions can help incorporate and develop the ICT element of the curriculum.”

Load More Posts