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Dino Inquiry

Welcome to Geologic Explorations: Dino Inquiry. This activity allows you to explore a variety of dinosaur fossil bones from the Dinosaur National Monument quarry using Quicktime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas and digital still imagery.


Paleontology is the science of discovering and studying the fossil record to decipher the history of life. Paleontologists study fossils to learn about the functional characteristics of extinct animals. Functional characteristics of dinosaurs can be inferred in one or both of two ways:

1. By the mechanical relationships of the parts preserved, as in the consideration of postures, locomotion, and food habitats of many dinosaurs, or
2. By a close analogy of the parts preserved with living animals.

Sometimes observable features in dinosaur fossils do not lend themselves well to mechanical analysis or to inference from analogies. In this case, inferences about their functional characteristics are especially difficult to make.

The Activity

Explore the the QuickTime Virtual Reality panoramas and digital images of the dinosaur fossil bones at the Dinosaur National Monument quarry. Examine the characteristics of the dinosaur fossils. Predict a bone's function based on your structural observations of the preserved bones. What similarities do you notice? What differences do you notice?

You must have a QuickTime 3.0 (or higher) plug-in in your Web browser's Plug-In folder to view the Dino Inquiry QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) movies. The latest version of QuickTime (plug-in included) can be downloaded at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/.

Once you have made your inferences regarding the functional characteristics of the bones, compare your inferences to the bone key of the east cliff face and the center section of the cliff face. The illustrations in these keys illustrate dinosaur fossil resources at Dinosaur National Monument.


Panoramas | Images 1 | Images 2 | Images 3 | East Cliff Face Key | Center Cliff Face Key

Credits and Copyright

Pennsylvania Geology | Which Way is North? | Geologic Explorations | Dino Inquiry | Wonderful World of Rocks and Minerals

LEO EnviroSci Inquiry is brought to you by the Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University.
Copyright ©2000-2011 Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University. All rights reserved.