Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo - Week 11 - Prehistoric Animals!
Updated: Jan 5
Its Week 11 of Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo, this week we are looking at prehistoric animals!
We know dinosaurs have always been popular but its time to talk about some amazing animals which lived millions of years ago that I personally think have been over shadowed by the dinosaurs!
Once again this is a topic which is tricky to cover at school workshops and animal parties as I do not have a time machine (sadly!). However its another great submission that I thought would make a great blog topic.
As usual on Wednesday I will be posting a video on my YouTube channel (subscribe here!). We will be meeting modern day relatives of some of the animals mentioned below and I cant wait for you all to meet them!
When we think of animals that lived millions of years ago we think of one main group of animals, the dinosaurs! Today they will not be our subject, you can find out more about the amazing world of dinosaurs by clicking Week 6 of Ranger Stu's Virtual Zoo!
Instead I'm going to tell you about three animals from the past that are just as giant, just as impressive and just as interesting!
These giant armoured mammals are related to todays armadillos, they lived in South America between 2 million years ago and 10,000 years ago.
This means that humans and glyptodons were around during the same time! Imagine seeing an armadillo the size of a small car whilst taking the dog for a walk!
Covered in thick strong armour and being very large meant that there wasn't many predators that could attack it, apart from one... humans!
Sadly it is believed that humans hunted glyptodons to extinction!
Titanoboas are the largest snake that ever lived!
Relatives of modern day boas such as the anaconda, they grew to nearly 13 metres long and weighed around 1,135kg!
They lived in the swamps of tropical rainforests between 66-56 million years ago (just after dinosaurs became extinct) and probably ate any large animal that came to the waters edge!
We are not sure why the titanoboa became extinct but what an impressive animal it must have been!
The Giant Millipede - Arthropleura
Arthropleura were absolutely gigantic millipedes that lived in Scotland way before the dinosaurs, around 345-295 million years ago!
They are the largest known land invertebrates of all time and grew to 2.5metres long! The reason it was able to grow so large was due to the large concentrations of oxygen in the earth atmosphere at the time!
Arthropleura died out due to climate change, the world became much drier and forests started to disappear!
Now we have learnt about some prehistoric animals its time for your weekly tasks!
EYFS - Draw a prehistoric picture!
Research a prehistoric animal, find out where it lived, what habitat it lived in and which animals lived alongside it.
Then draw a prehistoric landscape with your animals and any plants that would have lived a long time ago.
It could be prehistoric sea life with massive sea scorpions and large bony fish or it could be a mammoth escaping a sabre-toothed cat in the tundra!
Here is a picture my son drew of giant millipedes and giant dragonflies found in a swamp 300 million years ago!
KS1 and KS2- Fact File!
You could combine this task with the EYFS task above.
You need to research the prehistoric animals on the worksheet and create a fact file by filling in the details.
Once you have completed your task you could draw the animals into an ancient landscape or even make a poster all about one of the prehistoric animals in your file!
This worksheet has loads of my favourite prehistoric creatures including the awesome glyptodon mentioned above!
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Enjoy, take care and stay safe.
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