Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 338

Extinct Animals

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

My nephews, Bill and Bob love films about dinosaurs.  

 

Do you?

 

There are people chasing dinosaurs and dinosaurs chasing people.

 

They have bought DVDs of these films with their pocket money and keep them in their bedroom – but of course these films are all fantasy stories.

 

What is the truth about the life of dinosaurs?

 

l will give you a potted history…

 

Our planet, the Earth, formed about 4,600 million years ago. 

 

The first simple living cells may have appeared in the oceans about 1,000 million years later. 

 

Life became more complex over a vast amount of time until 500 million years ago the seas were teeming with ancient shellfish and other sea creatures.

 

Fishes did not appear for over another 100 million years and dinosaurs for another 300 million years. Evolution can take a long time!

 

The dinosaurs were the largest animals that have ever lived on land. 

 

The sizes of them are staggering even compared to our largest of houses and vehicles.

 

Brachiosaurus was 24m long and 17m high; high enough to reach up to munch on the leaves of trees.  Diplodicus was even longer at 27m long.

 

Tyrannosaurus Rex was the largest meat eating dinosaur, 16m long and 6m high.  We think of it as being very ferocious because of its dagger-like teeth, but its front legs were so small and weak, that it may not have been much of a fighter and preferred to scavenge the leftovers of other dinosaurs’ prey.

 

Most dinosaurs had small brains compared with their body size.  Scientists think that some dinosaurs like the diplodicus had such a small brain that it may have had another brain-type organ further down its spine to control its back legs.

 

Many dinosaurs could fly.  Quetzalcoatlus measured 11m across.

 

Not all dinosaurs were enormous though.  Compsognathus was only the size of a small dog.

 

Dinosaurs had scales or plates of bone or feathers covering their bodies and tails just like the reptiles and birds of today.  They laid eggs in nests and a lot of dinosaurs probably reared their young until they were old enough to look after themselves.

 

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for about 160 million years but died out about 66 million years ago. 

 

Most people now seem to think their demise started with the strike of a huge asteroid that hurtled into the Earth’s atmosphere at enormous speed and created a large crater and dust cloud.  lt may have also triggered lots of volcanic eruptions and, therefore, larva streams and dramatic climate change too.

 

Scientists now believe that the dinosaurs were doing well up to this point; but as the flightless dinosaurs died off after the asteroid strike, the way was made clear for birds, mammals and eventually humans to evolve.

 

But as the flightless dinosaurs died, modern day animals did not just appear to take their place.

 

The flightless dinosaurs died out after the first mammals had already appeared but the first mammals were not all exactly the same as the mammals we know today.

 

Some of the mammals that appeared in the next era of the Earth’s history are not around anymore. 

 

They either died out or evolved over thousands of years to become the animals we know today.

 

The mammals that lived after the dinosaur era were better adapted to cope with the new order of things. 

 

They were smaller and more diverse.  They would be able for live in many different habitats. They were the forerunners of the primates, carnivores, hoofed plant eaters, bats and rodents that live today and of course there were many birds and insects too. 

 

The ancestors of our modern bees were alive at this time.

 

The ancestors of animals that are common today like dogs and horses looked very different back then.

 

They have very slowly evolved to look like the modern animals we would recognize.

 

The eohippus was a prehistoric ancestor of today’s horse, but was no bigger than a modern pet cat. The group it came from called the perissodactyls have developed into horses, rhinos, hippos and tapirs.  Hippopotamus means river horse.

 

A few prehistoric animals are very similar to animals seen today though, namely: crabs, crocodiles, sea stars, echidnas and the duck-billed platypus.

 

ln the sea, sharks have been around for more that 400 million years.   

 

Megalodon, or ‘large toothed shark’ was one of the most active predators ever seen on Earth, and also being one of the largest at 18 metres (59 ft), it could even predate large whales.

 

The largest ever prehistoric land mammal was a kind of hornless rhino called Paracerathium.  lt lived 23-35 million years ago and was 5m tall and 11m long.  At 34 tonnes it was five times heavier than an elephant.  lts remains have been found between Eastern Europe and China.

 

Some animals became extinct thousands of years ago and some of them in living memory.

 

Humans have only been on Earth for about 1 million years which makes them an extremely modern addition.

 

One animal that humans would have known about were woolly mammoths.  They would have been hunted by humans.  They looked like giant, furry elephants. 

 

Several huge mammoths have been found perfectly preserved in the Arctic ice a million years after they died.  Mammoths had long hairy coats and tusks up to 5m long.  Tusks have been found in the south of England, so we know they lived here too.  They lived from about 5 million years ago to about 4,500 years ago.

 

Mammoths have been unearthed from melting ground in places like Russia.  They have been beautifully preserved by the ground they have been lying in for thousands of years.  Not only skeletons have been found, but sometimes whole animals complete with fur. 

 

About 120-130 species of animals and over 150 species of bird have become extinct since the 1600s and hundreds disappeared before then, big and small alike.

 

ln modern times, humans have hunted animals and birds into extinction or destroyed or polluted their habitats.

 

Before that, nature would take its course and evolution was in control.

 

Before 1840, there were thousands of millions of passenger pigeons in North America.  They were continuously slaughtered for food until one remained.  Her name was Martha and she died in a zoo in Ohio in 1914 at the age of 12.

 

This bird was eradicated from the face of the planet.

 

lf you think this was a crazy way to behave, you are not the only one.

 

Eleven percent of bird species are listed as endangered today.

 

This makes very sad reading.

 

When you see pictures of animals that don’t exist anymore, they look very strange, but this is because we are not used to seeing them.

 

These are some of the most famous ones.

 

The biggest bird that ever existed was the elephant bird.  lt weighed about 450kg and did not fly.  lt died out about 400 years ago.

 

The lrish Elk was the largest deer that ever lived.  lt lived to about 7,700 years ago.  lt was 21.m/7 feet tall at the shoulders and had antlers of 3.65m/12 feet from tip to tip.

 

Aurochs were very large cattle.  They originated in lndia about 2 million years ago and migrated across Asia and the Middle East to reach Europe about 250,000 years ago.  By the 1200s they were only to be found in Eastern parts of Europe.

 

Even after the hunting of them was forbidden, their numbers declined and the last one known about died in 1627.

 

Gone too are the famous dodo, a bird hunted into extinction, the Great Auk and the brightly marked quagga which was a subspecies of the plains zebra.

 

And lastly the sad tale of the Pinta lsland Tortoise called Lonesome George.

 

This species of tortoise had long been thought extinct in the wild.  The last know example was found in 1972 and transferred to the Charles Darwin Research Center.  They continued to look for a mate for George without success.

 

He died in 2012.

 

These types of tortoises can live for 200 years and the early demise of George was thought to be a heart attack.

 

The tortoise numbers had dropped so radically because the tortoises had been eaten by whalers and settlers.  They were slow and easy to catch, big and provided a lot of meat.

 

Because they could live for a long time without food or water, they could survive on a ship for a long time and be kept to provide fresh meat for the whalers.

 

To think about the demise of all of these animals is a very sobering thought, isn’t it?

 

l wonder if there is a big zoo – or forest in heaven somewhere where all these animals are now living?

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

heart

www.christina-sinclair.com

 

 

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bob:  What is the difference between a tiger and a lion?

 

Bill:  l don’t know.  Which is the difference?

 

Bob:  A tiger has got the mane part missing!

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

Quetzalcoatlus was as tall as a giraffe

 

These gigantic winged dinosaurs preferred hunting on foot

 

Compsognathus

 

Evolution

 

Megalodon

 

Paracerathium

 

Woolly mammothIrish elk

 

Megaceros Giganteos

A skeleton of an Irish Elk

 

Aurochs

 

Bramatherium

 

Quagga

 

Elephant bird

 

This is a skeleton of an extinct animal called the giant ground sloth

in the Natural History Museum in London

It is about twice as tall as a person

 

Giant ground sloth

 

 

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  desk   THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

 coffee

 

Auntie Alice left the children in her cottage last week for a short time while she went off to do a bit of work in her vegetable garden.

When she came back into the house she was horrified to walk into her living room and find the room a complete mess!

The children had ransacked her recycling box and made a marble run across chairs and tables and knitting boxes.

When Auntie Alice got over the initial shock of her living room being turned into what looked like a big machine out of a factory, the children showed her how what they had constructed around the room worked.

She had to concede that it was quite clever.

A marble rolled into a tube in one corner of the room travelled through a series of tubes and boxes until it plonked into a large metal tin down in the opposite corner.

When a lot of marbles where released one after another in quick succession they made quite a racket as they travelled on their journey around the room.

Bill said it was his idea and he felt sure he would be a very successful engineer when he left school.

The children filmed the marble run before they had to pull it apart and put the bits back in the recycling bin and go home.

No harm done!

 

 

 

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Quick Quiz

 

On which continents would you find these mountain ranges?

 

  1. The Andes
  2. The Himalayas
  3. The Alps
  4. The Mountains of the Moon
  5. The Pyrenees

 

 

 

wheel

 

 

lt’s the Weekend!

 

HOW TO MAKE A FAMlLY OF RABBlTS

This family is on its way to the shops to buy some carrots for lunch.

They have a shopping basket to take them home in.

The rabbits are quite fiddly to put together so you will need nimble fingers to do it; but otherwise they are quick and easy to make.  

Of course you can make as many rabbit children as you like.  Rabbits like to have lots of children!

 

 

CHILD BODY (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 15 stitches

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

(4 stripes)

 

Change to white

Knit 6 rows of stocking stitch

 

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 20cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

CHILD ARMS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 2 dk yarn cast on 6 stitches

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

(2 stripes)

 

Change to white

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

 

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

CHILD LEGS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 8 stitches

Knit 10 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

CHILD EARS BACK (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 3 stitches

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows

 

Cast off

 

CHILD EARS FRONT (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and pink dk yarn cast on 2 stitches

Knit 6 rows of garter stitch

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next row

 

Cast off

 

CHILD TROUSERS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 1 dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Cast off

 

CHILD SKIRT (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 1 dk yarn cast on 19 stitches

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Knit 6 rows of stocking stitch

 

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Cast off

 

CHILD STRAPS (MAKE TWO)

Crochet 10 chains into a length of yarn colour 1

 

 

ADULT BODY (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 21 stitches

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

(6 stripes)

 

Change to white

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

 

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 20cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

ADULT ARMS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 2 dk yarn cast on 8 stitches

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 1

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Change to stripe colour 2

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

(3 stripes)

 

Change to white

Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

ADULT LEGS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 10 stitches

Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 10cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away

 

ADULT EARS BACK (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 4 stitches

Knit 8 rows of garter stitch

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 3 rows

 

Cast off

 

ADULT EARS FRONT (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and pink dk yarn cast on 3 stitches

Knit 8 rows of garter stitch

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows

 

Cast off

 

ADULT TROUSERS (KNIT TWO)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 1 dk yarn cast on 14 stitches

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch

 

Knit 6 rows of stocking stitch

 

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Cast off

 

ADULT SKIRT (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and colour 1 dk yarn cast on 27 stitches

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

 

Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

 

Cast off

 

ADULT STRAPS (MAKE TWO)

Crochet 18 chains into a length of yarn colour 1

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Sew up the side seams of the body and head right sides together using over-sew stitching
  2. Turn the body and head the right way out
  3. Sew along the inner leg seams using over-sew stitching right sides together and turn the legs the right way out
  4. Tightly bind the ankles twice around with white yarn
  5. Stuff the legs
  6. Sew across the top of the legs and the bottom of the body from behind (lay the legs across the stomach as you work) to attach the legs
  7. Stuff the head and body and pull the top of the head shut – secure the yarn
  8. Sew a strand of colour 2 yarn into the back of the neck and wrap it around the neck a couple of times, pull tight and secure the yarn into the centre back of the neck once more
  9. Sew the front of the ears to the back and the base of the ears to the top of the head – you might want to pinch the base of the ears by sewing some white yarn across first
  10. Embroider a face onto the front of the head using one strand of black yarn (you can pull double knitting yarn apart to get thinner strands) and sew on a pink triangle to make a nose
  11. Sew along the under arm seams using over-sew stitching right sides together and turn the arms the right way out
  12. Tightly bind the wrists twice around with white yarn
  13. Stuff the arms with the ends of the yarn left over from the knitting
  14. Sew the arms securely to the sides of the body so that they point forward

 

TIP

As with all toy making, when you stuff the body, put the stuffing into it in tiny amounts so that you can get the body shape to be exactly as you want it to be.

 

TO MAKE UP SKIRT

  1. Sew the back seam of the skirt using over-sew stitching and right sides together
  2. Turn the right way out
  3. Sew on a pompom tail
  4. Attach the ends of the straps to the front of the skirt and the back of the skirt crossing the straps across the back as you do so

 

TO MAKE UP TROUSERS

  1. Sew the front and back seams and then the inner leg seams together using over-sew stitching and right sides together
  2. Turn the right way out
  3. Sew on a pompom tail
  4. Attach the ends of the straps to the front of the trousers and the back of the trousers crossing the straps across the back as you do so

 

 

CARROTS (MAKE EIGHT)

Using 4mm knitting needles and orange dk yarn cast on 5 stitches

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

 

Decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 4 rows

Knit 1 stitch

Cast off

 

TO MAKE UP

Sew up the sides of the carrot using the yarn left at the bottom tip

Turn the carrot out the right way

Stuff the carrot with three ends of yarn and keep one at the top for sewing up the top

Sew three loops of green yarn into the top of the opposite seam

Thread the orange end around the top of the carrot

Pull the top tight and then push the last end of orange yarn into the carrot

 

BASKET (KNIT ONE)

Using 4mm knitting needles and yellow dk yarn cast on 130 stitches

Cast off

 

Sew the end of the knitting into a solid disc about 2cm/1 inch across and then start making the sides of the basket by curling the knitting around

Sew the spiral together working from the outside

Level off the top and sew the handle in place…

 

Crochet 12 chains into 2 strands of yellow yarn and leave a length of yarn at each end to attach it to the sides of the basket

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

 

 

Quick Quiz Answers

 

  1. The Andes – South America
  2. The Himalayas – Asia
  3. The Alps – Europe
  4. The Mountains of the Moon – Africa
  5. The Pyrenees – Europe

 

The Andes

 

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