National Geographic : 1993 Jan
Geoguide O '- -^ . AGE OF Dinosaurs No human being has ever seen a live dinosaur. Yet we know much about these long-extinct animals descended from even more ancient reptiles. How do we know? We have learned about them from fossilized bones, teeth, footprints, and eggshells. Comparing such fossil clues with today's animals gives scientists a good idea of the dinosaurs' size-from 100-ton giants to delicate 20-pound crea tures-and of how they ate, moved, protected themselves, and cared for their young. Children can be encouraged fPTERANODON INGENS (LEFT), A FLYING REPTILE WHOSE WINGSPAN WOULD DWARF THAT OF TODAY'S LARGEST BIRDS, GAZED DOWN ON DINOSAURS DURING THE LATE MESOZOIC ERA. SOME 70 MILLION YEARS LATER, SCOUTS TAKE AN OVERNIGHT SAFARI AT PHILADELPHIA'S ACADEMY OF NATURALSCIENCES (BELOW). AFTER AN EVENING OF MUSEUM ACTIVITIES, THEY CAMP BENEATH THE SKELETALCAST OF FEROCIOUS TYRANNOSAURUS REX. to ask the same kind of ques tions paleontologists ask. First, bury clean bones from a cooked chicken or turkey in a box of sand or soil-without revealing the animal's identity. Break a larger bone to add a challenge. Then ask the child to use tooth picks, a small paintbrush, and imagination to do the following: *Unearth and clean the bones. Blow through a straw to remove debris from the bones. *Assemble the skeleton on a flat surface. Do you have all the bones? What kind of animal was it? How can you tell? * Try to draw a picture of the whole animal. Can you tell its shape? Did it walk? Fly? Is there any way to tell whether it had fur or feathers? Or what its color was? * Look at the supplement map. Have dinosaurs been discovered near you? If you were to look for fossils, in which province or state would you begin? Why? USE THIS GEOGUIDE PAGE ALONG WITH THE ARTICLE AND MAP SUPPLEMENT ON DINOSAURS IN THIS ISSUE TO HELP CAPTURE THE INTEREST OF YOUNG READERS AND STIMULATE DISCUSSION WITH THEM. GEOGUIDE IS PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR.