Half-Term Fun – Ideas and Suggestions
With the school half-term holidays getting underway in the next week or so, it can be difficult finding things to do with the children, particularly if the weather is bad and there is not much you can do outside. Everything Dinosaur team members have come up with some suggestions for dinosaur themed activities during the half-term holidays.
Parents of Dinosaur fans are always welcome to contact the team members at Everything Dinosaur, we would be happy to e-mail over dinosaur quizzes, drawing materials and other items to help keep young palaeontologists amused over the holidays. We have even put together some ideas on how enthusiastic dinosaur fans of all ages can have a go at building their own Mesozoic landscape – we’ve tried it and it was a fun exercise, ideal for a couple of wet afternoons.
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We have a “contact us” site and you are always welcome to drop our team members a line. Next week on Primeval (ITV1, Saturday evening), a Mammoth makes an appearance, taking a stroll up the M25 motorway and causing considerable havoc. The Mammoth depicted is a Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), a species of Mammoth even larger than the famous Woolly Mammoth.
An adult, male Columbian Mammoth could perhaps have weighed as much as 10 tonnes and stood 4 metres high at the shoulder. This Mammoth inhabited North America and is believed to have existed until around 9,000 years ago, when like many of the large mega fauna at the time it finally went extinct. One interesting specimen from Nashville, Tennessee has been dated to around 7,800 years ago, indicating that a few Mammoths may have survived in remote isolated areas for a few generations longer.
The Mammoth had entered North America via Asia over the Bering Strait land bridge (formed when sea levels fell). Why Mammoths died out is still open to conjecture. However, by the time of last of these magnificent elephants the last Ice Age was coming to an end and the climate in the northern hemisphere was rapidly becoming warmer and wetter. The grasslands in the southern range of this animal were quickly replaced by forests, in too short a time to allow these specialist grazers to adapt. In the north of the Mammoth’s range the ice age melt-water turned their environment into a boggy marsh and tundra, quite unsuitable for large animals to live in.
With their slow breeding rates, the splintering up of the grasslands with the establishment of forested areas and the predation from man, the Mammoths were doomed. One interesting spin on the theory that the sophisticated hunting methods of “Clovis” Man did for the Mammoths in the Americas is that the dogs these people brought with them carried disease and this also contributed to the decline and eventual extinction of the Columbian Mammoth.
An Activity for the Half-term Holidays
An ideal activity for the half-term holidays is to re-create many of these extinct giant mammals using the Paint and Play Ice Age Mammals Box set. Each set comes with four famous Ice Age models a giant sloth, Glyptodon, a Sabre-Tooth cat and of course a Mammoth. Paints and instructions are included and young children can paint their own models to depict these huge mammals from the last Ice Age – a kind of “Pleistocene Paint and Play”.
The Ice Age Mammals Box Set
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
Palaeontologists have designed the models, the paints and brushes are included and it is up to you to bring these prehistoric mammals back to life. The models are based on the actual model sets produced for sale in museums, so if it is cold and frosty outside you can create your very own Ice Age characters on your kitchen table.
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