Dinosaurs are a very diverse group of animals: there were many, many different kinds, with different sizes, shapes, diets, and habitats.
Books will tell you how big a dinosaur was, but it’s hard to actually picture. Here’s an activity that will help you get an idea of just how big (or small) different kinds of dinosaurs were.
What you need:
- Measuring tape
- String and scissors OR sidewalk chalk
- A helper
For each dinosaur, use the measuring tape to measure out a length of string the same length as the dinosaur, then cut it with the scissors. Ask your helper to hold one end of the string, while you hold the other end and walk until the string is stretched out tight. That’s the length of your dinosaur!
There’s another way to do it too. Use a piece of sidewalk chalk to make a mark on the pavement. Then use the measuring tape to measure out a distance from the mark the same length as the dinosaur, and make another mark with the sidewalk chalk. Look at your two marks; that’s the length of your dinosaur!
Here are the lengths of some different kinds of dinosaurs for you to measure.
Compsognathus, a small meat-eater, was 1.25 metres (4 feet one inch) long, about two-thirds the length of a bed.
Ankylosaurus and Triceratops, both large plant-eaters, were both 8 metres (26 feet) long, about the length of a London double-decker bus.
Tyrannosaurus rex, a large meat-eater, was 12.3 metres (40 feet) long, about the length of one-and-a-half London double-decker buses, or two-thirds the length of a bowling lane, or the length of three Volkswagen beetles.
Brontosaurus, a very large plant-eater, was 22 metres (72 feet) long, about the length of one-and-a-half tractor trailers, or the length of two fallen telephone poles, or a little over the length of a bowling lane.
If you want to measure more dinosaurs, there are lots of books and websites where you can look up how long they were.
Here’s a really cool video that shows a parade of lots and lots of dinosaurs, and just how big they were compared to people, and to each other.
The size comparisons in this article are from a website called “The Measure of Things”, at http://www.bluebulbprojects.com/MeasureOfThings.
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