Welcome to the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas on September 20th, come along on a blog tour that spans the continents as we showcase not only the most awesome dinosaurs, but also highlight the geography, environment, and climate that supported these ferocious, fascinating, and fabulous creatures. This is a blog tour to really sink your teeth into!
Fewer dinosaur fossils have been found in Africa than in some other parts of the world. One reason is that some of the areas—like the harsh Sahara desert environment— can be difficult to explore safely. But paleontologists are beginning to spend much more time searching this important continent. The fossils that have been found here come in all sizes, from dog-size fossils from the mid-Triassic—when the very first dinosaur lived!—all the way to huge titanosaurs from the last days of the Cretaceous.
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Dinosaur Nesting Ground
In 1976 in South Africa’s Golden Gate Highlands National Park, eggs were found with baby Massospondylus fossils inside. In 2006, paleontologists found 10 more groups of eggs. One group had at least 34 eggs! Massospondylus mothers raised babies here about 200 million years ago. That makes it the oldest known site where dinosaurs nested in groups. Back then, this area was near a lake. When it flooded, the eggs were covered with sediment and became fossils.
SPOTLIGHT ON KEM KEM GROUP, MOROCCO AND SAHARA, EGYPT
FOSSIL FINDS: SPINOSAURUS, MANSOURASAURUS
The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world. It covers almost all of North Africa and is about 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from east to west. But during the time of dinosaurs, the Tethys Sea covered much of North Africa. There was more rain than there is today. There were lots of plants. Rising sea levels caused floods during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. Then, about seven to 11 million years ago, sea levels began to drop. The Tethys Sea became smaller and smaller as the continents moved. The climate changed. It began to rain less. About seven million years ago, this area became the dry desert we know today.
MEANING: “Spine lizard”
PERIOD: Late Cretaceous
There is only one dinosaur known to have swum in water: Spinosaurus. Its long crocodile-like snout, long paddle-like tail, and small back legs meant that it could hunt better in water than on land. It used its sharp teeth to snap up large fish. But it is most famous for the six-foot (2-m)-tall “sail” on its back. Scientists believe that at more than 50 feet (15 m) in length, Spinosaurus was the largest meat-eater that ever lived.
The only known Spinosaurus skeleton in the world was destroyed during World War II. Only drawings and pictures were left—until a new Spinosaurus skeleton was found in Morocco in 2013. In 2020, scientists announced that they had found a fossil of a nearly complete Spinosaurus tail.
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About the Book
With more than 75 prehistoric creatures featured, the National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas takes readers on a tour of every dinosaur-inhabited continent, from Pangea to the modern day, revealing which creatures lived there, what their habitats were like and where dinosaur bones are being found today. Special sections introducing the dinosaur family tree, a prehistoric era timeline, the geography of the prehistoric globe, what happened to the dinosaurs, and a dinosaur dictionary (with phonetic pronunciations) are also included . Readers will find inspiration from profiles of diverse paleontologists from around the world.
The oversized hardcover format showcases stunning, full color dinosaur illustrations on every page and the custom-made, kid-friendly maps were created by National Geographic’s legendary cartography and exploration experts. Vetted and curated by Dr. Steve Brusatte — a paleontologist on faculty at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburg, a PhD recipient from Columbia University, and the science consultant for the Jurassic World franchise — this atlas contains the most detailed and accurate information not only about dino “fan favorites” but also about the most recent dinosaur discoveries from less explored dig sites around the world.
For more fun information about dinosaurs, visit https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/prehistoric.
About the Creators
About the Expert Reviewer, Professor Steve Brusatte:
STEVE BRUSATTE, a paleontologist on the faculty of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, served as the expert reviewer for this atlas. He grew up in the midwestern United States and has a B.S. in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago, M.Sc. in Paleobiology from the University of Bristol, and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University in New York. He has written more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers during his 15 years of research in the field, named and described over a dozen new species of dinosaurs and mammals, and led groundbreaking studies on how dinosaurs rose to dominance and eventually went extinct, and were then replaced by mammals. Among his particular research interests are the evolutionary transition between dinosaurs and birds and the rise of placental mammals. He is also a noted specialist on the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. His 2018 book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, was a New York Times best seller, and he is the science consultant for the Jurassic World film franchise.
About the illustrator, Franco Tempesta:
Born in Milan, Italy, FRANCO TEMPESTA has loved drawing animals, dinosaurs and dragons since he was a child. Franco specializes in naturalistic illustration, and in the last twenty years has focused his attention on the realization of realistic images of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. In April 2014 the Museum of Paleontology of Naples hosted a permanent exhibition dedicated to his illustrations of dinosaurs and in 2016 the Science Museum of Camerino hosted an exhibition of his paleo art.
- Five (5) winners will receive a copy of National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas (ARV $25)
- US/Canada only
- Ends 10/16 at 11:59pm ET
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!
Blog Tour Schedule: