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Part of the Dinosaurs: Activities and Lesson Plans Curriculum Collection.
Dinosaurs are prehistoric reptiles that have lived on Earth from about 228 million years ago to the present. Modern birds are one kind of dinosaur because they share a common ancestor with non-avian dinosaurs. Non-avian dinosaurs (all dinosaurs besides birds), which are now extinct, varied greatly in shape and size. Some weighed as much as 80 tons and were more than 120 feet long. Others were the size of a chicken and weighed as little as 8 pounds. All non-avian dinosaurs lived on land. Some may have gone into the swamps and lakes for food, but they did not live entirely in water. Meat-eaters walked on two legs and hunted alone or in groups. Plant-eaters walked on either two or four legs and grazed on plants. The feature that distinguishes dinosaurs from other reptiles is a hole in the hip socket. This feature allowed dinosaurs to walk upright. Pterosaurs, or flying reptiles, and plesiosaurs, ocean-dwelling reptiles, did not have this feature and were not dinosaurs.
This activity will help students understand the difference between dinosaurs and other animals.