creatures of myth the science behind them and dinosaurs
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Creatures of Myth, the science behind them, and… DINOSAURS. Creatures of myth. Let’s take a look at some the world’s most famous creatures of myth and the scientific explanation behind their origin. The mermaid. European sailors have long told tales of fabled marine creatures with

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creatures of myth
Creatures of myth

Let’s take a look at some the world’s

most famous creatures of myth and the

scientific explanation behind their


the mermaid
The mermaid

European sailors have

long told tales of fabled

marine creatures with

the head and upper

body of a woman and

the tail of a fish.

One story is that if you

spot a mermaid, you'll

have a shipwreck.

the scientific explanation
The Scientific explanation
  • Relatives of manatees, called dugongs, that live in some of the world's oceans may have supported the belief in mermaids. Dugongs are marine mammals, or warm-blooded animals that can produce milk. Like all mammals, dugongs breathe air to survive. These creatures have paddle like flippers and tails that allow them to gracefully move through the water.
  • They stick to shallow waters where they feed on sea grasses. Sailors may have caught a glimpse of dugongs when the animals surfaced to breathe. The sailors may have thought the dugong's head and dolphin-like tail were the body of a mermaid.
the unicorn
The Unicorn
  • Myths about a magical horse with one horn are sprinkled throughout history. In many regions of the world, including Europe and East Asia, people believed that the horns of unicorns had magical powers. It was thought that the horn could cure illnesses and prevent aging. In the 16th century, people also believed that the horn could be used to detect if an enemy had poisoned one's food.
the scientific explanation1
The Scientific explanation
  • Scientists don't know the origin of the myth of the unicorn. But tusks of a marine animal, called the narwhal, may have advanced the legends. Narwhals are Arctic whales that live in the icy channels of northern Canada and northwestern Greenland. Male narwhals grow a long, spiraled tooth that juts from its upper jaw. This tusk can grow up to 2.7 meters (9 feet) in length-more than half the length of its body.
  • Centuries ago, sailors often encountered these animals and brought their pearly white tusks to markets in Europe. Buyers purchased the tusks at high prices, with the belief that they were the horns of once-living unicorns
the kraken
The Kraken
  • Legend said these creatures lived at great depths, but sometimes travelled to the surface and have attacked ships.
  • The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works.
turns out this one is real
Turns out this one is real…
  • A team of researchers led by zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera encountered the squid in July near the Ogasawara islands, several hundred miles off the coast of Japan. Using a bioluminescent lure that mimics the glow of jellyfish, Kubodera’s team found the squid and followed it to a depth of nearly 3,000 feet before losing track of the mammoth mollusk
  • More than a thousand years ago in Europe, people believed that giant fire-breathing dragons guarded hidden stashes of gold. If some of that gold was stolen, the dragon would awaken and unleash fiery destruction on humans.
scientific explanation
Scientific explanation
  • People have long imagined dragons as being enormous, scaly beasts with huge teeth and claws. People believed so strongly in these lizard like creatures that biologists in Europe once wrote accounts of the behavior and habitat of dragons in much the same way as they described that of lizards and snakes.
  • What may have advanced the legend of dragons? The imagined creatures look like close relatives of big animals like the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dinosaurs died out long before people were alive, but the discovery of dinosaur fossils, the mineralized remains or impressions of an organism, may have supported the ancient belief. When people dug up these fossils, they may have mistaken them for dragon remains.
dinosaurs what do we know about them
DinosaursWhat do we know about them?
  • Dinosaurs lived on earth more than 215 million years ago
  • They lived in most parts of the world
  • They ruled the earth for nearly 150 million years
  • Dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years
  • Extinct – something that once alive but no longer exist anywhere on the earth
how do we know about dinosaurs
How Do We Know About Dinosaurs?
  • Paleontologist – scientist who studies fossils
  • Fossil – what is left of a plant or animal that lived long ago
  • Dinosaur – animal that lived millions of years ago

Dinosaurs were not lizards or reptiles but many did lay eggs. Some had skin like crocodiles while others skin was much smoother.

how do scientist get fossils
How do Scientist Get Fossils?
  • Paleontologist use special tools and chip fossils carefully from rocks
  • The fossils are then taken to a museum where they are cleaned, measured, and studied.
  • Most fossils are found in pieces
  • Scientist try to put the fossil pieces together.
  • Reconstruct – to rebuild or put together like puzzle pieces
what have scientist learned from dinosaur fossils
What Have Scientist Learned From Dinosaur Fossils?
  • There were different types of dinosaurs:
    • Some were small
      • Like a chicken
    • Some were tall
      • 3 story building
    • Some were plant-eaters
      • Flat teeth
    • Some were meat-eaters
      • Sharp teeth
more dinosaurs
More Dinosaurs
  • Some walked on 4 legs
    • Like animals today
  • Others walked on 2 legs
    • With 2 short arms
  • Many could fly like birds
  • Others swam like alligators
dinosaur names paleontologist give each dinosaur a name that best describes it
Dinosaur NamesPaleontologist give each dinosaur a name that best describes it.


  • Walked on 4 legs
  • Plant-eater (flat teeth)
  • Sharp plates on back
  • Spikes on tail
tyrannosaurus rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex means “lizard king”
  • One of the fiercest of all dinosaurs
  • Meat-eater
  • About 12ft-16ft. Tall
  • Walked on 2 legs
Some scientists believe dinosaur extinction happened because an asteroid hit the earth, causing most plants to die.

The herbivores, or plant eating dinosaurs starved without any food.

Another theory of extinction is that asteroids caused massive fires that killed most plant life and the dinosaurs.
other scientists believe something drastic happened to make earth s global temperatures very cold
Other scientists believe something drastic happened to make earth’s global temperatures very cold.
  • With temperatures so cold, dinosaurs either froze to death, or all plant life died. Herbivores then had nothing to eat.
why did dinosaurs become extinct
Why did dinosaurs become extinct?

Scientists will continue to study fossils and the earth to try and find the answer to this question.

No one really knows for sure why dinosaurs became extinct.