Dino(saur) Days | Therizinosaurus | Learning Time with the Wise Owl – Wise Owl: Reading, Learning, Exploring
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Since the dawn of time, people have told wild and exciting stories and invented legends to explain the natural, but mysterious, occurrence of the Northern Lights, one of nature’s most spectacular displays, a dazzling neon light show that sparkles and spreads out across the night sky.
The Vikings, for example, thought the Northern Lights were caused by the gleaming weapons of immortal female warriors known as the Valkyrie, or that it was the Bifröst Bridge that led those who fell in battle to their final resting place in Valhalla.
In Chinese legends the northern lights were believed to be a celestial battle between good and evil dragons who breathed fire across the sky.
In Finland, where the northern lights are especially bright, the story involves a sly little arctic fox that ran so quickly across the snow its tail made sparks fly into the night sky, creating the northern lights.
The Inuit people of Alaska believed the lights were the souls of salmon, deer, whales and other animals. The Menominee Indians thought the lights were the torches of giants living in the North.
But in fact, the Northern Lights are actually caused by electrons, which are negatively charged particles that come from the solar winds – which is a wind that shoots out from the sun and can travel the entire length of the solar system.
The electrons are attracted to the north – and south – poles by the magnetic fields found there. They mix with gases in the atmosphere, which cause those gases to glow. A solar flare, which is a sudden eruption of brightness from the Sun’s surface, can also cause the Northern Lights to appear.
The light at the North pole, or Northern Lights, are also referred to as the aurora borealis and the light at the South pole, or southern lights, is called the aurora australis.
The name Aurora is from the Roman god of the dawn; Boreas is the Greek name for the north wind.
The Northern Lights are most visible to people living in the far north but they are sometimes visible as far south as Florida.
The Northern Lights are typically the colors of green, purple, red or blue.
While the Northern Lights can appear any time, it is most likely to be seen during the colder months in the far north – between March and April and September and October.
So now you know more about the Northern Lights. What was your favorite fact? Thanks for exploring with me. See ya next time when we travel … Around the world.
Did you know that Australia is the largest country in the Southern hemisphere, which is the half (hemisphere) of Earth that is south of the Equator, and Australia is the largest country without land borders. It is also the driest inhabited continent in the world.
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, the USA, China and Brazil.
Australia also known as Oceania is the smallest continent of the seven continents and although some consider Australia as the largest island in the world, Australia is commonly referred to as a country and a continent. Greenland, which is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is the biggest island in the world.
Australia is home to many animal species. In fact, Australia houses more than 10% of the world’s animals and plant varieties.
Among the most well-known Australian animals are kangaroos, wombats, koalas and the dingo. The road signs in Australia warn drivers about wild animals – mainly kangaroos – that might cross the roads.
Speaking of Kangaroos, they are marsupials, which means, they carry their babies in their pouches and baby kangaroos are called Joeys.
Wombats are also marsupials. While they have very sharp teeth, they are herbivores, which means they eat grasses, bark and roots.
A Koala, or as some people refer to them, Koala bear, is also a plant-loving animal and its closest living relative is the wombat. It’s diet is many eucalyptus leaves and it sleeps up to 20 hours a day!
And then there’s the dingo. While it has an ancient lineage of dog, it is not a dog breed. Nor is it a pet. It is fast, agile, and has lots of stamina. It has been such a successful predator in Australia that one of the largest fences every built – an astounding 3488.4 miles in length – was constructed to try to keep them under control.
The highest mountain of Australia is Mount Kosciuszko (KOZ-ee-OS-koh) standing at a whopping 7,310 ft. This mountain is in the Great Dividing Range.
The Great Dividing Range is the longest mountain range in Australia stretching over 32,175 miles.
Uluru, previously referred to also as Ayers Rock, is located in the center of the country and is the largest alone standing rock in the world.
And you cannot talk about Australia without mentioning the Great Barrier Reef which is the biggest coral reef system in the world. The reef consists of more than 3,000 reefs and 900 islands. The Barrier Reef is home to over 350 species of corals and over 1,500 species of fish.
So now you know more about Australia. What was your favorite fact? Thanks for exploring with me. See ya next time when we travel … Around The World.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex, also known as the T-Rex, was one of the greatest predators that ever lived. And while he was certainly very big, at a length of almost 40 feet, he was not the biggest dinosaur. The Giganotosaurus, Spinosaurus & Carcharodontosaurus were bigger.
But he was one of the biggest carnivores, or meat eating dinosaurs. The T-Rex’s had a mouthful of razor sharp teeth that could be up to 12 inches long, and they could move at speeds of about 20 mph. The lived about 30 years
The T-Rex lived somewhere between 65 to 70 million years ago – in the late cretaceous period. Tyrannosaurus Rex means ‘Tyrant Lizard’. And the word dinosaur means ‘frighteningly big lizard’.
Dinosaurs were put into classifications. Some of the basic rules to decide which of these ancient creatures were dinosaurs were:
- They lived on land.
- They had straight legs tucked underneath their bodies.
- They were reptiles.
Of the two main types of dinosaurs, the most important difference was the shape of their hip joints. Dinosaurs with no hip bones, more like birds, are called Ornithiscia (OR-NA-THIS-KEY-A). And dinosaurs with hip bones, more like lizards, are called Saurischia (SORE-ISKIA). T-Rex was in the Saurischia classification.
What’s impressive about the T. Rex is that it had a pretty large brain for a dinosaur, which helped with its vision and smell. Some even believe it may have had telescopic vision, which would have given the T-Rex the power to zoom in its vision almost three times, giving it an almost eagle-eyed vision.
Until recently, it was thought that T. Rex lived only in North America and Asia but scientists recently discovered a hip bone belonging to an ancestor of the T-Rex in Australia. The bone came from a dinosaur that lived earlier in the Cretaceous period, about 40 million years before the T-Rex.
During this time the supercontinent began to separate and drift, becoming more like the continents we have today. So if this dinosaur made it to Australia, then it could have easily gone to the other southern continents too. This lead scientists to believe that the Tyrannosaurs may have lived all over the world – and that more bones might be discovered in South America, India and Africa. When dinosaur bones were first found hundreds of years ago by the Chinese, they thought they were the bones of giant dragons!
To this day, this deadly dinosaur’s two tiny, clawed arms (less than 3 feet in length) remain a mystery. Many scientists think they may have been used to help these skilled hunters to grab their prey.
MORE FUN DINOSAUR FACTS!
Dino(saur) Days | Dreadnoughtus | Learning Time with the Wise Owl – Wise Owl: Reading, Learning, Exploring
MORE FUN DINOSAUR FACTS!
Dreadnoughtus was named after the Dreadnought battleship from the early nineteen hundreds although the word itself goes back to late 17th century.
The name sounds scary, especially since it means “fear nothing,” and at a weight of 65 tons – which is equivalent to 130,000 pounds – the Dreadnoughtus certainly did have nothing to fear. Not even from the T-Rex who weighed a mere 8 tons, nothing in comparison to the staggering weight of Dreadnoughtus, making Dreadnoughtus eight times bigger than T-Rex. In modern terms, this dinosaur was the length of a basketball court and weighed more than an airplane.
And yet, Dreadnoughtus appeared to be a gentle giant. It was sauropod, which is a class of dinosaur noted specifically for their long necks, long tails, small heads (relative to the rest of their body), and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are the largest animals to have ever lived on land, and include such well-known sauropods as the brachiosaurus and the brontosaurus.
But with such an enormous weight to maintain it is believed Dreadnoughtus spent the entire day eating, using his massive 37 foot long neck to help him take down huge quantities of tree leaves, limbs, ferns and shrubs in a very short period of time before stepping a few feet over to begin to eat the next set of tree leaves, ferns and shrubs.
A set of over 100 relatively intact fossils pieces believed to be 77 million years old, landing them squarely in the late cretaceous period, were discovered in Southern Patagonia, Argentina between 2005 and 2009. It appeared the animal’s weight may have been have been the reason for its demise as the remains were found in quicksand. But the most amazing fact scientists discovered about this mammoth dinosaur was that they don’t believe it had yet reached its full size when it died.
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Dino(saur) Days | Allosaurus | Learning Time with the Wise Owl – Wise Owl: Reading, Learning, Exploring
The Allosaurus was a large bipedal carnosaurian theropod, which means it was a predatory hunter that moved on two legs with a body shape characterized by hollow bones and 3-toed limbs.
While it was a top of the food chain predator during the late-Jurassic period, it was already long extinct – for about 83 million years – by the time the Tyrannosaurus Rex ruled the world.
The name “Allosaurus” means “different lizard” which refer to its unique concave, or curved, spine, that ran on both sides and contained shallow cavities, giving the Allosaurus an almost hourglass shape — while these features reduced the bones strength, it made a much lighter and quicker dinosaur. The hollow spaces in the neck and spine are also found in modern birds and believed to have contained air sacs for breathing.
Allosaurus is the most common dinosaur fossil found in Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry in Utah, a site that has the heaviest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones in the world, though the bulk of Allosaurus fossils come from the Morrison Formation, a huge rock named after Morrison, Colorado and which extends through the Western United States and is believed to be up to 155 million years old.
At an estimated 30 to 40 feet long and 12 to 16 feet high, and weighing around 3000 lbs at maturity, the Allosaurus was impressive, especially with its horns that protruded above each eye. But what made it a fierce dinosaur was its 60, D-shaped, sharp teeth that made its bite deadly.
Despite its massive build, this species fast: running up to 21 MPH. It was believed to have eaten large herbivore, or plant-eating, dinosaurs, and may have even tangled with the mighty stegosaurus whose back was covered with armor-like plates and had a tail that could whip its flesh ripping spikes.
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