Welcome to the blog tour for
How to Survive in the Age of Dinosaurs,
part of National Geographic Kids’ DinoMAYnia – a month-long celebration of all things prehistoric!
All week blogs are hosting fun excerpts from this handy guide so you will know just what it takes to dodge deadly dinosaurs, ride out mega monsoons and escape other perils of the prehistoric!
How To Survive the Jurassic
Feeling proud for making it this far? Well, that was just the warm-up. In the Jurassic, Earth’s land begins to split apart. Enormous cracks appear in the ground. The planet strains and shakes. Finally, Pangaea splinters. The climate changes, too: What was once hot and dry becomes warm and wet. Lush plants sprout up, a feast for some of the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived. And predators evolve, too — large and ferocious enough to take the others down. This is a dino-eat-dino world.
- The Jurassic: 201-145 million years ago
- Known For: The dinosaur takeover
- Best Place for Home Base: Ginkgo forests
- Your Main Food Source: Jurassic plants
- Try to avoid: Meat-eating dinosaurs
Prehistoric Problem: Biting Bugs
The Jurassic was definitely a period of dino domination. But it was also an awesome time to be an insect. During the Jurassic, insects crawl and buzz around every inch of the earth and skies. And to them, you’re nothing but a tasty, walking meal.
Because they evolved to feed on animals that no longer exist, many Jurassic insects—such as the parasite Qiyia jurassica—have features that would be unfamiliar to modern humans. These fly larvae have an abdomen that has been transformed into a giant sucker — perfect for devouring the blood of Jurassic salamanders. The sucker is surrounded by six spines that help the larvae stick to their slippery victim.
Picture a dog infested with fleas: It scratches and rolls, trying to deal with the maddening itch. Now imagine a Brachiosaurus doing the same thing! Flea-like insects first evolved during this time, and they probably plagued the dinosaurs just as badly as they do your modern-day Labrador retriever. Ten times the size of modern fleas, they had a huge proboscis (a long, sucking mouthpart) that would have felt like a hypodermic needle as it plunged into the skin. Ouch!
Fortunately, not all Jurassic insects are bloodsuckers. Creatures called kalligrammatids flap from leaf to leaf, pollinating extinct seed plants called bennettitales as they sip on their nectar, just like modern butterflies. Also like butterflies, their wings are decorated with spots that look like eyes. But kalligrammatids aren’t butterflies— those won’t evolve for another 40 to 85 million years.
Considering you’re trying to get by in a time before insect repellent, these are some awful pests. But you have one hope: They might not see you as a victim. Modern bloodsuckers often have specialized mouthparts and attack only one kind of prey. So keep your fingers crossed— perhaps these nasty invertebrates will only attack critters they’re familiar with, leaving you bite free.
Did You Know?
Rex and Velociraptor, stars of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, actually lived during the Cretaceous. Oops!
How to Survive in the Age of Dinosaurs:
A Handy Guide to Dodging Deadly Predators, Riding Out Mega-Monsoons and Escaping Other Perils of the Prehistoric
(ages 8-12, Paperback, National Geographic Kids Books)
Boom, boom, BOOM … Look out! That’s a T. rex coming your way!? You’ve been transported back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. What do you do?!
Test your chops and discover if you have what it takes to survive at a time when Earth looked, well, a tad different in this ultimate survival guide to the prehistoric age.
Find out how to make it through exploding volcanoes and mega monsoons—while dodging giant Permian bugs! See how to fend off an angry pterosaur and learn what to do if you’re caught in a stampede of enormous titanosaurs. Discover what you could eat (spoiler alert: You better like the taste of insects!), and find out which hungry creatures just might try to eat you!
Packed with tips, tricks, and helpful maps, this is the ultimate handbook for dinosaur fans who want to know what life on Earth was really like when dinos ruled. Could you survive in the age of dinosaurs?
About the Author
Stephanie Warren Drimmer is an award winning science writer based in Los Angeles, California. She writes books and magazine features for kids about everything from the strangest places in space, to the chemistry of cookies, to the mysteries of the human brain. She has a degree in science journalism from New York University…but she thinks she likes writing for kids because she’s secretly still one herself.
About the Expert Contributor
Dr. Steve Brusatte vertebrate paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and professor at the University of Edinburgh who specializes in the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of dinosaurs and other fossil organisms. He has written over 110 scientific papers, published six books (including the adult pop science book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, the textbook Dinosaur Paleobiology, and the coffee table book Dinosaurs), and has described over 15 new species of fossil animals. He has done fieldwork in Brazil, Britain, China, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and the United States. His research is profiled often in the popular press and he is a “resident paleontologist” and scientific consultant for the BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs team.
- One (1) winner will receive a copy of How to Survive in the Age of Dinosaurs!
- US/Can only
- Ends 6/3 at 11:59 pm ET
- Enter via the form below
Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win
Blog Tour Schedule:
May 22nd— Mom Read It
May 23rd— Ms. Yingling Reads
May 24th – From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors
May 25th — Log Cabin Library
May 26th— Mrs. Book Dragon