Script for Dinosaur Show
Introduction: Science Dome
*Role of a scientist.*
“Do you want to be a young scientist today?”
*Showing the gear that a ‘fossil hunter’ has in the field.*
“What have you learnt in your classes about dinosaurs? Remember; the
science dome is here to make you think. The science dome is here to
make you ask questions. And come up with some amazing facts for you
to remember later.”
Talk 5 minutes, Introduction on fossils and dome
*Earth’s History Poster*
“The earth is about 4600000000 (4.6 billion years old), life on earth
began 3500000000 (3.5 billion) years ago. According to the time chart,
the first dinosaurs appeared in the (first dinosaurs, mammals, turtles,
crocodiles and frogs.) ‘Triassic’ period 245000000 (245 million) years
ago, lived through the ‘Jurassic’, where the first birds appeared, and dies
out in the ‘Cretaceous’ (First snakes and modern mammals), at 65 million
Dinosaurs: Amazing Facts
They lived over a period of 160000000 (160 million) years. Which is 40
longer than mankind.
Earth is constantly changing, dinosaurs occupied every habitat with flying
reptiles and dinosaurs dominated the land. Evolution, the ‘survival of the
fittest’ theory, means that the dinosaurs were too big and too stupid,
however evidence from fossils shows there were many fast and clever
ones too. The evidence is shown in fossils, from the Latin; ‘fosselis’,
which means ‘dug-up’.
Fossils are traces of past life, preserved in rock. In desert sandstorms,
banks of rivers and the sea, fossils are common.
Dinosaurs’ evidence is also shown by observation of animals today.
Tyrannosaurus, (Tyrant Lizard)( Upper Cretaceous, USA)
Tyrannosaurus is one of the largest meat-eating (Carnivore) animals ever
to have lived on land, reaching a length of 12.5 metres, and weighing 6.5
tons. A skull alone is more than 1.5 metres long, their massive jaws lines
with more than 50 massive teeth, some of which were longer than 30
centimetres. Scientists have debated whether tyrannosaurus hunted its
food, or whether it simply ate dead animals or scavenged. It probably did
both. It probably could have swallowed humans whole if it were alive
today, a fully grown man would probably only be as tall as its knees.
Upper Cretaceous, USA.
Allosaurus, early Jurassic:
The ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus.
Stegosaurus, (Roof Lizard)(Upper Jurassic, 154 million years ago USA)
Stegosaurus was the largest member of the dinosaur group ‘Stegosauria’,
reaching a length on 9 metres. Feeding on plants (Herbivore) (omnivore =
man) Feeding on plants, I would have drawn leaves and plants into its
mouth with its narrow, beak-like snout. It is known for 2 rows of large,
diamond-shaped bone plates along its back which may have helped
maintain its temperature by absorbing and releasing heat at different
times of day, or for display. At the end of its tail, stegosaurus had 4 long
spines. Stegosaurus had very short front legs, half the length of its hind
Triceratops, (3 horned face), (Upper Cretaceous USA)
Triceratops grew to 9 metres long, its horns were used for defense against
large meat-eaters such as tyrannosaurus, or used in contests over territory,
or for mates. It ate tough vegetation and its jaws and teeth were well
suited to chopping through stems and branches with a strong scissor-like
action. The curved bony frill jutting out over the neck may have been
used for display. Triceratops was heavily built, with strong legs; each
finger or toe had a small hoof on its end.
Diplodocus, (Double Beam; a special feature of his backbone.) (Upper
Weighing about 20 tons and reaching up to 26 metres long; Diplodocus
was a giant. It used its long neck to reach the tops of tall trees clamping
its jaws around the branch and drawing its head backwards, using its
comb-like teeth to ‘rake’ the leaves into its mouth. Its backbone had 2
sets of bones running forwards and backwards. Its tail was very long and
thin, it might have been used as a defensive weapon.
Iguanodon was the second dinosaur to be named in 1825 by Gideon
Mantell. Mantell was the first person to recognise the existence of extinct
giant reptiles. Iguanodon teeth puzzled Mantell for 3 years until he saw a
modern iguana lizard, and made the connection between its teeth, and
those of a plant-eating Iguanodon. Iguanodon was up to 10 metres long
and stood 5 metres high; the size of a double-decker bus. It had strong
hind limbs with three big toes, each with a hook-like nail. The hand had 4
long fingers and a pointed spike-like thumb, which was probably used as
a weapon. Iguanodon pulled plants into its mouth with its tongue, and
licked them off with its beak, iguanodon was a very widespread dinosaur
in Europe, as well as in America.
The first fossils of reptiles found were Plesiosaurs. Fossil skeletons of
Plesiosaurs came to light on the coasts of Yorkshire and Dorset over 200
years ago, well before the first dinosaurs were recognised. Several fine
skeletons were found, between 1800 and 1820 by Mary Anning, the first
professional fossil-collector; they caused a sensation with scientists in
London who saw them. She was able to sell them to various British
museums for huge sums of money. Plesiosaurs have long necks and small
skulls. Its arms and legs are long paddles that were used to propel it
through the water as it chased schools of fish.
Ichthyosaur was a common sea-dwelling reptile in the jurassic period.
Their name means ‘fish lizard’ and they had a fish-like fin in the middle
of their backs, and a large tail to propel them through the water.
(convergence theory.) Their limbs had evolved into steering paddles. Sea
reptiles also disappeared with the land and flying dinosaurs.
“Ichthyosaurs (Greek for 'fish lizard' - ιχθυς meaning 'fish' and σαυρος meaning
'lizard') were giant marine reptiles that resembled fish and dolphins. Ichthyosaurs
lived during a large part of the Mesozoic era, having appeared about 250 million years
ago (Mya), slightly earlier than the dinosaurs (230 Mya); and disappeared about 90
Mya, about 25 million years before the dinosaurs became extinct. During the middle
Triassic Period, ichthyosaurs evolved from as-yet unidentified land reptiles that
moved back into the water, in a development parallel to that of modern-day dolphins
and whales. They were particularly abundant in the Jurassic Period, until they were
replaced as the top aquatic predators by plesiosaurs in the Cretaceous Period. They
belong to the order known as Ichthyosauria or Ichthyopterygia ('fish flippers' - a
designation introduced by Sir Richard Owen in 1840, although the term is now used
more for the parent clade of the Ichthyosauria).”
The flying reptiles the ‘pterasaurs’ ruled the skies during much of the age
of the dinosaurs, and one of the most spectacular was the Pteranodon.
This monster was much larger than the earlier pterasaurs. Fossils of the
Pteranodon have been found in a number of parts of America, and some
are quite complete. This is surprising since the bones were hollow and
very delicate, even in the giant Pteranodon. The skeletons show that it
had a wing span of seven metres, much greater than any known bird,
living or extinct. Pteranodon must have been able to flap its wings as it
had all of the necessary joints and muscles. Although the wings of a
Pteranodon would have spanned the width of a house, its body probably
weighed only 17 kilograms, the weight of a 2-year-old child. In
Pterosaurs the front limbs became wings. The arm and the hand stayed as
with other reptiles. The main difference was the fingers; three of these
stuck out at the front, whilst the fourth finger was the extraordinary one;
each of its bones became extraordinarily long, to support the wing itself.
The wing was made of leathery skin, not feathers, and it’s thought to have
been only used for gliding, but it’s now been proved that it’s muscles
were strong enough to have been able to flap its wings. The creature was
very clumsy on land. Being active, flying creatures might have been
warm-blooded. Several scientists have suggested that pterasaurs may
have had fur to keep themselves warm, and in 1970 a Russian scientist
discovered the remains of a pterosaur named ‘sordes’, which had a furry
Pteranodon (from Greek πτερ- "wing" and αν-οδων "toothless"), from the Late
Cretaceous (Santonian-Campanian, 85-82 million years ago) of North America
(Kansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota) was one of the largest
pterosaur genera, with a wingspan of up to 9 m (30 feet).
Unlike earlier pterosaurs such as Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus, Pteranodon
had toothless beaks, like modern birds.
Pteranodon fossils have been generally found in the Cretaceous chalk beds of Kansas.
These chalk beds were deposited at the bottom of what was once an epicontinental
seaway on what is now the North American continent. The first Pteranodon skull was
found on May 2, 1876, in Smokey Hill River, Wallace County, Kansas, USA, by S.
W. Williston, a fossil collector working for Othniel Marsh. The Niobrara Formation is
possibly the most famous unit here, and other fossils found in this formation include
those of sea turtles, mosasaurs, and early birds.
Pteranodon were reptiles, but not dinosaurs. By definition, all dinosaurs were diapsid
reptiles with an upright stance, and consist of the group containing saurischians and
ornithischians. While the advanced pterodactyloid pterosaurs (like Pteranodon) had a
semi-upright stance, it evolved independently of the upright stance in dinosaurs, and
pterosaurs lacked the distinctive adaptations in the hip associated with the dinosaurian
posture. However, dinosaurs and pterosaurs may have been closely related, and most
paleontologists place them together in the group Ornithodira, or "bird necks".
Dinosaurs: Key Facts:
1. They inhabited a world very different from our own, but they had
much in common with today’s animals; Living in balanced
communities they faced on the same survival needs: to breed, to
feed, to hunt and to escape from their enemies.
2. Getting About: One of the keys to the dinosaurs’ success was their
way of walking upright on straight legs. This gave them an
advantage, and later allowed them to adapt to a wide range of
lifestyles. Plodding giants, huge hunters, roaming herds and swift-
footed scavengers evolved their own variation of walking upright.
3. Food and Drink: The base of the dinosaur food chain was plants,
and the species that ate them. This provided meat for the hunters
and scavengers that preyed on the herds. Some dinosaurs also
developed equipment such as grasping hands, claws and grinding
teeth to help them catch and process their food.
4. Dinosaurs attacked each other, defended themselves and competed
for leadership within their groups.
5. Recent discoveries of nesting colonies have shown that some
dinosaurs achieved a high level of social organisation.
6. Fossil remains tell us a good deal about dinosaur bones and teeth,
but much less about the make-up of the creatures; how did they see
and hear? What colour were they? Were they warm or cold
7. Some event wiped out the dinosaurs. Was it an asteroid collision?
Or climate changes brought about by massive volcanic eruptions.
8. In the Triassic period, Horse tail trees evolved, all continents were
joined in a single landmass called ‘Pangaea.’ In the Jurassic,
Monkey-puzzle trees evolved, and there were too super continents
called ‘Laurasia’ and ‘Gondwana’ and in the cretaceous, flowering
trees and shrubs evolved, and the super-continents moved apart and
broke up into the arrangement we know today.