These dinosaur reading worksheets explore all the different forms of dinosaurs that we have studied. We will look at the ancestry of dinosaurs as well what they ate and how intelligent that they were. The dinosaur worksheets will explore the common questions that all students have like how did we learn of the existence of dinosaurs, if we never saw them before? Could they swim or fly? We also explore pop culture and look that the realism of the movie Jurassic Park. These worksheets look at prehistoric life and the way dinosaurs made their way. We look at classes of dinosaurs and how they made their way around.
These guys have been extinct for 66 million years. Or have they? Recent fossil discoveries from Mesozoic-aged rocks worldwide have proven that a group of small carnivores known as maniraptoran theropods evolved into birds.
Which behaviors do maniraptoran theropods have in common with birds? Why didn't the avian become extinct?
The earliest Archosaurs were reptiles a lot like modern lizards. Many different types of reptiles evolved from these first Archosaurs, including some herbivores. Later Archosaurs came in many varieties.
Examples of the types of questions that you will find on this worksheet: What do scientists believe about the Lagosuchus? Where was the first Eoraptor fossil found?
Modern day naturalists evaluate the intelligence of both extinct and living animals by a formula called the Encephalization Quotient, or EQ.
Not including humans, what is the smartest mammal alive today? How big were their brains?
In 1841, an anatomist named Richard Owen saw a large piece of bone from the spine of a prehistoric animal that had been named Iguanodon a few decades earlier. Owen realized that the Iguanodon fossil was similar to those of two other large, prehistoric animals that scientists had described, Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus.
What astonishing discovery did Paleontologists make as they began to sort and classify dinosaurs?
Proving that a dinosaur could swim was believed to be impossible, since they leaves no tracks when swimming.
All theropods share certain characteristics. Theropods have hollow, thin walled bones. They have three main fingers on the hand, and the fourth and fifth digits are smaller than the others.
What are the characteristics of a theropod? We will explore deeper questions as well on this worksheet.
Unlike the human-sized terrors in Jurassic Park, velociraptors were actually tiny (the size of a small dog) and covered with feathers. In Jurassic Park III, the velociraptors can be trained, and can communicate intelligently with one another, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that was actually the case.
The makers of Jurassic Park took care to ensure the movie was realistic. Why are there inaccuracies in the movie?
Dinosaur diversity reached its peak in the Cretaceous period. Thousands of genera of carnivores thrived, including raptors and tyrannosaurs.
Students will explore questions such as: What happened to diversity during the cretaceous period? All of the material needed can be found on the previous (above) reading worksheet.
A paleontologist determines the location of fossils and uses tools like chisels, drills, picks, shovels, and brushes to remove fossils from layers of sedimentary rock.
The first dinosaur toys were made of metal by the Sell Rite Gifts (SRG) company in the 1940s. They were sold in the gifts shops at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for almost a decade. In the 1950s, the Marx toy company began producing plastic dinosaur toy sets, opening the way for many other toy companies to produce their own versions.
A Little On Dinosaur History
The name dinosaur comes from the Greek words deinos and sauros, which means terrible and lizard, respectively. If you have ever watched any Jurassic Park movie, you probably agree that terrible lizards is an apt way to describe these scary giants.
Dinosaurs appeared on earth approximately 250 million years ago and went extinct about 66 million years ago. Contrary to popular belief, not all dinosaurs lived or vanished during the same geological period.
Over one hundred and sixty million years ago dinosaurs ruled planet Earth. It is thought, based on the fossil record, that dinosaurs inhabited the Earth for over one hundred and eighty million years. The word Dinosaur, itself, translates into "terrible lizard" in the Greek Language. Dinosaurs are thought to have roamed the Earth until about sixty-five million years ago when a mass planet extinction event is thought to have occurred. The most commonly accepted theory is that a massive asteroid plunged to Earth kicking up enough dust and rubbish to block the Sun light from reaching the Earth's surface. This complete lack of sunlight resulted in a huge change of the planet's ecosystem.<br>
Scientists believe that present-day birds, lizards, snakes, and crocodiles are descendants of dinosaurs. Keep reading to know more about these spectacular animals.
Where Did They Live?
Dinosaurs lived all across the earth. Paleontologists have found fossils of dinosaurs on all seven continents, indicating that they inhabited the entire world.
Paleontologists analyze fossils, which are the remains of an organism, such as teeth or bone, or their impressions like footmarks or resting marks, to discover information about animals or plants from the past.
They found that when the age of dinosaurs began, Pangea was the only continent that existed. However, this supercontinent gradually broke apart, and newly formed land masses spread across the globe.
With that, dinos also dispersed to different parts of the planet.
Types of Dinosaurs
Scientists have found evidence that suggests more than 700 types of dinosaurs have walked on our planet so far. Thanks to evolution, they varied greatly in size and behavior, as some dinosaurs were as small as a chicken, while others were ten times heavier than an elephant.
Their eating habits also varied greatly.
Some dinosaurs feasted on plants, while others hunted and fed upon other animals. Sharks might be one of the most fearsome creatures living today, but there was a type of dinosaur called the Spinosaurus that preyed on sharks.
However, the eating habit of a dinosaur had nothing to do with its size. You wouldn't think of Compsognathus, a dino roughly the size of a turkey, as much of a hunter. But it used to swallow its prey whole.
On the other hand, some of the largest dinosaurs to ever exist, such as Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus, were herbivores.
It must have been difficult for plant-eater dinosaurs to save themselves from ferocious predators such as T-Rex and Velociraptor. That's probably why nature had given some plant-eaters dinos physical features that helped them fend off the hunters.
For example, Stegosaurus had spikes on its tail that could be used to deter the hunters.
How Did They Become Extinct?
Dinosaurs became extinct due to adverse environmental changes brought about by some catastrophic event. It's believed dinosaurs couldn't adapt to the new, hostile conditions, which led to the downfall of the species.
Scientists have different theories about the catastrophic event that resulted in the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. According to the most popular theory, a massive asteroid, comet, or meteor hit the earth, producing a sea of dust that blocked sunlight for a very long time.
An absence of light and heat meant plants couldn't grow, which means that herbivore dinosaurs died due to a lack of food. A decrease in the number of plant-eating dinosaurs then meant a food shortage for carnivore dinosaurs.
Eventually, they perished for the same reason as their herbivore counterparts.
While there's evidence to prove that a celestial object actually collided with earth during that period, some scientists aren't convinced by this explanation. They speculate that the disappearance of dinosaurs was caused by volcanic eruptions that completely changed the climate of the planet, thus making it inhabitable for them.
Dinosaurs lived some 250-66 million years ago. They roamed on every continent and differed in size and eating habits. Scientists believe that a change in the earth's climate led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.