Where did all the dinosaurs go?
For over 150 million years there were giant reptiles running around the Earth and in a very short space of time they all disappeared. That’s pretty crazy! We have a fairly good idea of why it happened. A meteor collided with the Earth near what is now Mexico, and this threw up huge amounts of dust and ash into the sky blocking the Sun. Without the Sun plants died, which meant lots of animals, not just dinosaurs, also died.

There’s two things we love about this question. Firstly, let’s not think about why the dinosaurs died out but rather why some animals, our distant ancestors, managed to survive this cataclysm. The plants died, the big herbivores died and the big predators died too. But it was a great time for the insects, worms, slugs and snails who eat decaying plants and animals. These animals flourished and so did the animals that eat them, including our plucky little ancestors – the early mammals.

The other thing about this question is that although we have a fairly good idea of why it happened we aren’t entirely sure. And that’s great! Science isn’t about learning definite facts, it’s about being curious about the unknown. There’s a lot of evidence that a big meteor hit the Earth at the time of this mass extinction but there are plenty of scientists who think that volcanic eruptions, sea level change, climate change or a combination of things could have done it. If your child is really interested why not do some online research with them, gather the evidence together and let them come up with an explanation.

If you want to be really pedantic about answering this question you could point out that not all of the dinosaurs are gone. We see dinosaurs every day – swallows, seagulls, pigeons, chickens and magpies to name but a few! A handful of dinosaurs that survived the mass extinction period were the ancestors of what we now call birds. So next time your child asks where all the dinosaurs have gone, point at the first pigeon you see and say “There’s one!”.Letterbox Lab is a monthly science subscription box for kids aged 6+. We provide exciting science kits through your letterbox so families can have fun playing with science. Our product isn’t on sale yet but you can still have fun with science by checking out our blogs and following us on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. Sign up to our mailing list to be one of the first to know when we launch!

Add Comment