SCIENCE TRAIL SCIENCE TRAIL HI I AM FACTOSAURUS

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1 When is a dinosaur not a dinosaur? What are fossils and how do they form? Why did dinosaurs become extinct? Follow the trail to find out. Learn about the Gorgosaurus. Meet some of her relatives and see what else was roaming the Earth and the seas around 75 MILLION years ago! HI I AM FACTOSAURUS WATCH OUT FOR MY FASCINATING FUN. The free Science Trail is for children (and adults!) of all ages, though younger children might need a helping hand. Collect your quiz sheet from inside The Times Science Hub. Watch out for a few surprises and see how many fun facts you can remember - but please don t feed the dinosaurs! Pop into the DinoZone and come face to face with a FREE ENTRY SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES Triceratops skull. Get up close and personal with a 7.4m long skeleton of a Gorgosaurus. You can even become a fossil hunter in our dig site.

2 GORGOSAURUS Gorgosaurus was a member of the fiercest meat-eating dinosaurs the tyrannosaurs. Like other tyrannosaurs, Gorgosaurus was a predator, a massive beast with huge legs, short arms and immensely powerful jaws. It would have looked and behaved a lot like its closest cousin, the Tyrannosaurus rex. The Gorgosaurus was 8-9m long as an adult and weighed about two tonnes. It had tiny arms that ended in two-fingered hands. Gorgosaurus walked on three toes, just like a bird! It was fast and could probably run at mph, faster than its big cousin, the T. rex. It had a muscular skull and a large bone above its eyes which formed a distinctive crest. Its strong, powerful jaw contained thick teeth, which it used to bite through the bones of its prey. Gorgosaurus lived in North America about million years ago and might have hunted in small packs of about 5-8 individuals. This Gorgosaurus was probably female. Her skeleton is one of the most complete of any tyrannosaur known so far and shows that she had a hard life. She had broken bones, diseases and a brain tumour. She was clearly a natural born killer, but also a survivor. Gorgosaurus is a member of the tyrannosaurs It was 8-9m long and weighed two tonnes It walked on three toes and could reach speeds of about mph It lived in North America about 75 million years ago

3 TYRANNOSAURUS REX The tyrant lizard king was a scary dinosaur. It is one of the biggest land predators ever. Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) weighed the same as an African elephant but was much longer and had super senses for hearing, smell and sight, and teeth as long and sharp as carving knives. The largest T. rex skeleton found is 12.3m long longer than a London bus and is nicknamed Sue. Her head alone measures over 1m long and is filled with 60 razor-sharp teeth the size of bananas. The conical teeth were most likely used to pierce and grip flesh, which it then ripped away with the help of its strong neck muscles. Just like a shark today T. rex was able to grow and replace its teeth throughout its life. Everything about this ferocious predator, from its thick, heavy skull to its long jaw, was designed to crush and break bones as it ate. Scientists believe that it could eat the equivalent of a large pig in one bite. The tail was a counterbalance for the T. rex s huge head which helped it to make fast turns while running. T. rex lived in forested river valleys in North America during the late Cretaceous period. First discovered over 100 years ago Largest T. rex skeleton was 12.3m long and could reach a top running speed of 20 mph as fast as an Olympic sprinter T. rex may have been covered in feathers Its eyes were the size of tennis balls Crushed and broken bones have been found in its fossilised poo

4 EXTINCTION WHAT HAPPENED? The last of the non-avian dinosaurs died out around 66 million years ago. Scientists have two scientific ideas that may explain this extinction: an impact from an asteroid or comet, or massive volcanic eruptions. The dust and rock thrown up into the atmosphere by either theory would have affected the climate, significantly reducing the temperatures around the globe. With limited sunlight plants could not grow. With no food the animals starved and died. Asteroid or Volcanoes? Some scientists think that an asteroid struck the Earth and turned into a shower of rock and other particles. It threw millions of tonnes of shattered melted rock into the air from its crater. The dust and debris in the atmosphere caused the amount of sunlight reaching the ground to be greatly reduced. This is known as an impact winter. Others think that volcanic eruptions occurring around the same time spewed lava over millions of square kilometers. These eruptions also created sunlight-blocking dust, soot and greenhouse gases. It was the identification of an element called iridium, found in magma in the Earth s core and in asteroids, which supported both ideas. Other scientists think that the cause may have been a more gradual shift in climate and changing sea levels. Regardless of what caused the extinction, it marked the end of Tyrannosaurus rex s reign of terror, and opened the door for mammals to rapidly evolve. Extinction happened about 66 million years ago There are two main ideas an asteroid hitting the earth or a massive volcanic eruption Dust and soot blocked out the sunlight, plants could not grow, so animals starved and died Sea levels may have changed

5 PTEROSAURS THE FLYING REPTILES Pterosaurs were reptiles, close cousins of the dinosaurs. They were also the first animals after insects to fly, not just leaping or gliding, but flapping their wings to generate lift and travel through the air. Some were as large as an F-16 fighter jet, and others as small as a paper airplane. Pterosaurs had long, slender jaws, elaborate head crests, and most of them had needle-like teeth. The wing of the pterosaur was unique - a large membrane made of skin and other tissue, suspended from a really long fourth finger. The largest pterosaurs relied mainly on the wind and gliding to stay in the air. They were very light and had hollow bones filled with air sacs that allowed them to fly. Early pterosaurs struggled to walk with their wings closely attached to their legs. Pterosaurs were reptiles, close cousins of the dinosaurs Their bones were hollow, and filled with air sacs to make them light Scientists believe they were fluffy like bats Their eggs were soft-shelled The closest living relatives of pterosaurs and dinosaurs are two very different animals: crocodiles and birds. The Pteranodon is the most famous pterosaur. Its longer neck and shorter tail ensured it was more suited to flight than its ancestors. Around the same time that Tyrannosaurus rex and other large dinosaurs became extinct, pterosaurs also died out leaving no descendants and only a small number of fossils compared to their dinosaur cousins.

6 FOSSILS WHAT ARE THEY? There are many different kinds of fossils, and the scientists that study them are called palaeontologists. Fossils give us an insight into how animals and plants have evolved or changed over time. How are they made? A fossil is made when a plant or animal gets buried very quickly in wet dirt and sand. As layers build up on top of them they are protected from things that would normally break down their bodies or eat them, like other animals and some bacteria. Being trapped in all those layers of mud preserves the plant or animal. This happens most easily during a natural catastrophe like a flood, mud slide, or earthquake. The hard parts of the animals, such as bones, teeth and shells, are slowly replaced with minerals from the mud. This then turns them into a hard material, very similar to rock. Some bacteria can actually play an important role in preserving some sorts of fossils, especially outlines of soft tissues like feathers. Other soft parts of plants or animals, such as the scales of a fish or the leaves of a plant, sometimes leave a little bit of color in the rock before they eventually break down into nothing. Fossils can also be in the shape of something that has been left behind by an animal, like a footprint or a burrow - a hole that an animal dug in the ground to live in - or even its poo! These are all called trace fossils. The majority of fossils are found within sedimentary rocks. Most animals did not fossilise, they simply decayed and were lost from the fossil record. Palaeontologists think only a small percentage of the dinosaurs that ever lived will be found as fossils. The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means, dug up Trace fossils such as tracks and footprints give clues about animals size and shape The largest fossilised poo ever found was 43cm long and almost 18cm wide. It contained a lot of bones, and palaeontologists think it came from a Tyrannosaurus rex

7 PLIOSAUR THE AQUATIC REPTILES Pliosaurs were top predators, ruling the oceans and the seas for around 110 million years, during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The biggest pliosaurs were giants that reached over 12m long. Their huge size, teeth shapes and preserved remains of their last meals suggest they hunted fish, squid-like creatures and other marine reptiles. Pliosaur fossils are discovered all around the world, but the UK is a real hotspot for them. The model shows the skull of a giant pliosaur fossil that lived about 170 million years ago. It was discovered in 1994 in cement works near Westbury, Wiltshire, by local geologist Simon Carpenter. Its scientific name is Pliosaurus carpenteri. The fossil was dug up by a big team who spent many years removing the rock that covered it using scalpels and air pens. It is now in the collections of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. The skull is a huge 1.8 metres long. Is it taller than you? The whole animal was about 10 metres in length (definitely taller than you!). If you look closely at its jaws you might spot they don t close properly. This is because the bones had a disease that made the back of its jaw wonky. It has been nicknamed the pliosaur with a toothache. Pliosaurs are part of a bigger group of marine reptiles called plesiosaurs which came in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of different head and neck sizes One study estimated that some pliosaurs could swim up to 6 mph They hunted fish, cephalopod molluscs and other marine reptiles Pliosaur skeletons have even been found with dinosaur remains in their stomachs, suggesting they might have been scavengers, eating carcasses that had floated out to sea With thanks to Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

8 BRITAIN S NEWEST DINOSAUR Meet Alan Britain s newest dinosaur! Its long neck, long tail, barrel-body and small head make it a sauropod that lived 175 million years ago in the Jurassic period. The fossilised bones from this dinosaur were found below cliffs at Whitby in Yorkshire. The fossil remains of dinosaurs from this period of time are VERY rare, making Alan an important, albeit incomplete, dinosaur. The only evidence scientists previously had of Jurassic dinosaurs in Yorkshire were fossil tracks. There was not enough of the skeleton preserved to give it a new species name, but it is one of the very oldest sauropods from the UK. The bones were discovered over 15 years ago, but the team of palaeontologists who studied this fossil had to look at the bones of dinosaurs from all over the world, to make sure it was different. The UK was part of a much bigger land mass in the Jurassic period and it was much warmer, with huge rivers crisscrossing vast flood planes on which many dinosaurs would have lived. We know there were many dinosaurs from the thousands of tracks that we find fossilised in Yorkshire rocks, but until now their bones were almost unknown. Alan is one of the very oldest sauropods from the UK He is a sauropod because he has a long neck, long tail, barrel-body and small head He was discovered over 15 years ago below cliffs at Whitby in Yorkshire More than 20 different types of dinosaurs used to live in Britain If you were looking at Earth from space 175 million years ago you would have started to see the break-up of a vast landmass (called Pangaea) that comprised all of the Earth s continents. The Earth was a Greenhouse planet for the whole age of the dinosaurs ( million years ago), so the north and south poles of the planet would not have had any permanent ice at this time! Supported upported by

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