Dinosaurs used to be living animals, with muscles, organs, scales, and feathers. But nowadays, almost all that’s left of them are the hardest parts of their bodies: their bones. Here’s a fun activity where you can scratch away a dinosaur to reveal the bones underneath.
- Printouts of these PDF files (outline templates)
- Clear packing tape
- Acrylic paint (three different colours if you have them)
- Liquid dish soap
- Print out these PDF files. First, take the page that just shows outlines of the three dinosaurs. Cut out the inside of each dinosaur’s outline; now you have three dinosaur stencils.
- Next, take the pages that show three dinosaur skeletons. Cover each skeleton with clear packing tape. Make sure you don’t overlap any of the pieces of tape.
- Use a paintbrush to mix two parts acrylic paint with one part liquid dish soap. If you’re using three different colours of paint (one for each dinosaur), mix them separately with the dish soap. Use any colours you want, since nobody knows what colours these dinosaurs really were.
- Hold each stencil in place over the corresponding dinosaur skeleton and paint over it with your paint/soap mixture. Let your dinosaurs dry.
Now you have three colourful dinosaurs, looking the way they might have when they were alive: Velociraptor, Dacentrurus, and Cetiosaurus.
Velociraptor lived in the desert, where it ate meat, including other small dinosaurs. Scientists now know that Velociraptor was covered with feathers. It even had wings, although it couldn’t fly.
Dacentrurus was an armoured dinosaur, covered in plates and spikes. Cetiosaurus was a long-necked dinosaur. They both lived in the forest, near rivers, where they ate plants. Dacentrurus probably ate plants that grew closer to the ground, while Cetiosaurus used its long neck to eat leaves from the tops of trees.
Now comes the fun part. Use a coin or your fingernails to scratch away the dinosaur’s body, revealing the bones hidden underneath!
These skeletal diagrams were created by Jaime A. Headden and released under a CC-BY license.
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