Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for a long, long time—almost 200 million years! A lot changed during that time, including the land and the dinosaurs who lived there. Dig into the activities below to learn more about dinosaurs and why their fossils are so rare in Oregon.
WHAT MAKES A DINOSAUR A DINOSAUR?
Dinosaurs are a type of reptile that lived long ago—but not every extinct reptile is a dinosaur. So, what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur?
Learn more about dinosaurs on this poster.
ARE BIRDS RELATED TO DINOSAURS?
Have you heard that birds are descended from dinosaurs? It’s true! A chicken has more in common with a T-Rex than a pterosaur, including legs directly under their bodies and three-toed feet.
WHY ARE DINOSAUR FOSSILS SO RARE IN OREGON?
When dinosaurs first evolved, Oregon was mostly under water, so there was not much land for dinosaurs to live on.
Dinosaurs probably lived in Oregon later in time, but eruptions from Oregon’s volcanoes buried their fossils under layers of lava—making them hard to find.
Turning to Stone
A fossil is the evidence of a living thing that has been preserved over time. It takes a very long time for a fossil to form—sometimes many millions of years! Try this activity to explore how most fossils form.
Fossil Fun and Dino Dough
Make your own fossils and dinosaur bones using clay or salt dough and this step-by-step guide.
Dinosaur Toe Bone
MNCH paleontologist Greg Retallack describes the Mitchell Ornithopod, a dinosaur whose remains he uncovered in Oregon in this 3-minute video.
Fossils are often found in many pieces and have to be put back together like a puzzle. Use this easy-to-follow guide and puzzle templates (print double-sided) to color and create your own.
All Shapes and Sizes
How do you measure up to a dinosaur? Use this guide to find out.
Jurassic Scavenger Hunt
Many of the plants and animals around today were already alive in the Jurassic Period. Use this scavenger hunt to see if you can find them today.
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