Named from two Greek words meaning "terrible lizard," dinosaurs first appeared about 220 million years ago, and then disappeared rather suddenly 63 million years ago. Dinosaurs capture our imagination in many different ways. Their tremendous size, their fearsome looks, and the mystery of their extinction are but a few of the dinosaur wonders worth pondering.
"To be truthful, the unfortunate fact about the popularity of dinosaurs is that the science that it is based on occasionally is obscured by the fantasy that surrounds it." From the Museum of Palenotology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dino Buzz dispels some common myths and explores dinosaur debates such as What Killed the Dinosaurs? and Hot Blooded or Cold Blooded? They also include a handful of excellent links to resources both onsite and offsite.
"The term 'Dinosauria' was invented by Sir Richard Owen in 1842 to describe these 'fearfully great reptiles,' specifically Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus, the only three dinosaurs known at the time." Start with "things to keep in mind about dinosaurs" to learn a few facts that may surprise you. For example, most dinosaur experts consider birds to be dinosaurs, and popular culture confuses the subject further by calling "everything big and dead" a dinosaur.
"Dinosaur Train embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains, while encouraging basic scientific thinking skills as the audience learns about life science, natural history and paleontology." Join Buddy and his adopted dinosaur family as you learn interesting things about paleontology and life science. In addition to the website, there are three free iPhone apps ( in the parents' section) for on-the-road learning and fun.
With interactive games for K-8 students, and dinosaur lesson plans with whiteboard activities for teachers, this Scholastic unit has something for everyone. Games include Build a Dinosaur (mix and match the parts from a variety of species), Dinosaur Times (use clues to place dinosaurs on the timelime), and Real or Make-Believe (is this fact true or false?) A few of the links led to missing pages, but there is still plenty of useful content here.
"At the Smithsonian, some of the most important dinosaurs known to science stand in our exhibit halls, from the ferocious Allosaurus to eighty-foot Diploducs." Best clicks include Top Ten Misconceptions about Dinosaurs, What is a Dinosaur?, and Why Did They Go Extinct? The Virtual Museum Tour (listed under Interactives) is also pretty cool. The other two interactives (Virtual Dino Dig and The Tree of Life) worked in Internet Explorer and Firefox, but not Chrome.