Dinosaur Families | Project Discovery Revisited


Paleontologist Jack Horner, whose work has primarily been done in Montana, describes the lifestyle of the long-extinct dinosaurs. In 1978, Dr. Horner was looking for baby dinosaurs, which, until that time, had not been found in North America.

Some people in a rock shop had some small bones, but they didn’t know what they were. The led Dr. Horner to the location where the bones were found, and he discovered an entire nest of baby dinosaurs. Dr. Horner studies the legs of the babies and found they could not walk; therefore, the babies had to be cared for by their mother. This was a new discovery for scientists because they knew so little about the family life of dinosaurs. The first baby dinosaurs were found in Mongolia, where the baby dinosaur bones were thought to be those of baby dragons.

Paleontologists dig up fossils and try to determine the lifestyles of organisms. Sometimes there are problems digging up the fossils because the rocks in which they are embedded are harder than the bones. If paleontologists don’t find the whole skeleton, that is also a problem. Paleontologists and their staff make casts of the bones and then put the casts together. They see where the muscles fit, and then put a skin covering over the casts though no one knows what colors dinosaurs were. The result is a very lifelike creature that is probably very similar to a real dinosaur.

Dinosaurs are related to birds -- they share such characteristics as hollow bones and three-toed feet. Dinosaurs lived all over the world. No one knows why they became extinct. Learning all we can about dinosaurs is important because studying the plant Earth and its history is important. Dr. Horner was the technical adviser for the fictional movie Jurassic Park. His job was to ensure that the dinosaurs were as real as possible. He answered questions and made sure that the actors correctly pronounced the names of dinosaurs.

Produced at the SC State Museum. 


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