Australian Dinosaurs

Monday, July 26, 2010

Australian Dinosaurs :


* Make a geological time line showing the major periods of the Earth's history. Try to make your time line to scale (1 cm = 5 million years?) Illustrate your time scale with drawings of appropriate fossils.

* Australia's fossil record includes invertebrate fossils (e.g. trilobites, ammonites, graptolites), and fossils of extinct marsupials from the last ice age (e.g. Diprotodon and Procoptodon). Visit Prehistoric Life and choose one fossil family to research.

Australian Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs have been found in a number of places in Australia, but compared to countries like China and USA, discoveries have been few and far between.

* Make a list of Australian dinosaurs. Start by obtaining copies of the recent Australia Post stamp series.

* Research dinosaur discoveries in parts of Australia other than Victoria-particularly Queensland. Start with Minmi, Muttaburrasaurus and Rhoetosaurus. The dinosaur trackway (footprints) at Lark Quarry near Winton in Queensland, and the discovery, excavation and export to Boston, USA of the Queensland Kronosaur are of particular interest. Ref. Long, J. A. 1991, Dinosaurs of Australia, Reed Books, Balgowlah, N.S.W.

* The dinosaurs that have been found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria were alive about 100 million years ago. Think of some ways of conceptualising 100 million. (10 Grand Final crowds; 1,000,000mm = 1 kilometre)

* On a map of Victoria, shade the areas where rocks of the right age for dinosaurs (Cretaceous Period) are found (Otway and Strezlecki Ranges). Mark the places where dinosaurs have been found-particularly Dinosaur Cove and Inverloch.

* Leallynasaura and other dinosaurs found in southern Victoria probably had big eyes for seeing in the semi-darkness of the polar winter. Explain why polar regions have long periods of darkness in winter.

Dinosaur Names

* Research the names of dinosaurs. Most are derived from Ancient Greek and Latin, and may incorporate the name of the place where they were first discovered (e.g. Muttaburrasaurus, found at Muttaburra in Queensland).

* Research a few 'dinosaur bloopers' from the past, e.g. Brontosaurus (renamed Apatosaurus) was exhibited with the skull of another dinosaur for several decades. The spike on Tsintaosaurus' nose was probably not there, and the spike which was once thought to have been on Iguanadon's nose is now thought to have been a 'thumb'.

* Make your own dinosaur dictionary using words which you come across while studying dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Fossils

* Replicate dinosaur footprints by placing a handprint in a tray of mud. Place a retaining collar of cardboard around the handprint and pour in a mixture of plaster of paris. When dry, remove the mould. This can then be used to make casts-coat the mould with petroleum jelly, surround it with the cardboard collar, and pour in plaster of paris as before. When dry, separate the cast from the mould.
N.B. Dental plaster sets in about 20 minutes and isn't expensive to buy.

* Fossils are normally found in sedimentary rock which has been exposed by erosion (wind or water, e.g. ocean cliffs), uplift (e.g. in an earthquake) or in a mine, quarry or road cutting. Write a story about finding and extracting a dinosaur fossil.

* Compare a diagram of the human skeleton with that of a dinosaur. What are the similarities and differences?

* How do we know that T-rex(type of dinosaurs) was a carnivore?

* Choose one of the dinosaurs which were herbivores (95% of all dinosaurs). What features show that it was a herbivore?


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