Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? With 25 Projects

Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? With 25 Projects


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Have you seen a dodo bird recently? Do you have mastodons playing in your back yard? Not likely—these species are both extinct, which means the entire population has died out. More than 99 percent of all species, or about 5 billion, have gone extinct since life first formed on Earth 4.5 billion years ago. Some of those species went extinct at the same time in an event know as a mass extinction.

What type of event could cause such a massive die off? This is a question that scientists have asked for decades as they explore the causes of extinction. In Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? readers ages 9 to 12 learn about the scientific investigative work necessary to answer these questions and find the culprit behind mass extinctions. Follow the scientists as they look at all potential reasons for extinction, including asteroid impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, excessive gases in the atmosphere, climate change, and more.

Where do scientists find clues to help them answer their questions? In rocks—scientists travel the globe to excavate the evidence. They look for fossils that might tell them what lived before an extinction and what lived after. They also examine the chemical elements in rocks at the boundaries between geologic eras, as well as the structure of rocks. As they follow the evidence, the pieces of the puzzle come together to form a clearer picture of events that happened millions of years ago, whether it’s an asteroid strike or a massive volcanic eruption.

Extinction is not just a thing of the past. It is happening right now, at a higher rate than is typical. Because of this, there is debate about whether or not the presence of humans on Earth is having the same effect as an asteroid strike or a massive volcanic eruption. Are we currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction? And if so, what are the causes? Can we stop it?

Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? includes hands-on activities and critical thinking exercises to encourage readers to consider humans’ role in the current extinction, what we can learn from past extinction events, and how they can be part of efforts to prevent extinction. Hands-on activities, a fun narrative style, interesting facts, species spotlights, and links to primary sources combine to bring the subject of extinction to life in a fun and engaging way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619305618
Publisher: Nomad Press
Publication date: 09/15/2017
Series: Nomad Press Build It Yourself Series
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Laura Perdew is an author, writing consultant, and former middle school teacher. She has written more than 15 books for the education market on a wide range of subjects, including the animal rights movement, the history of the toilet, eating local, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. She is a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators. Laura lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Tom Casteel is an illustrator and cartoonist with a master's degree from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Tom has illustrated several books for Nomad Press, including The Brain: Journey Through the Universe Inside Your Head; Cities: Discover How They Work; and Human Migration: Investigate the Global Journey of Humankind. Tom lives in South Bend, Indiana.

Table of Contents

Geologic Time Scale

Introduction What Is Extinction?

Kitchen Paleontologist

Canine Skeletal System

Chapter 1 The Causes of Extinction

Geologic Timeline

Thank You, Phytoplankton!

Chapter 2 The Paleozoic Era

Make Your Own Fossil

Making Mountains

The Effect of Acidification on Shells

Chapter 3 The Mesozoic Era

Impact Crater

Create a Strata Story

Paleontology Is Hard Work!

Chapter 4 The Cenozoic Era

What If…

Megafauna Food Web

Human Ancestors

Chapter 5 Survival

Going on a Bear Hunt


Chapter 6 The Sixth Mass Extinction?

Three Out of Four

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Create a Simple Air Pollution Detector


Chapter 7 Taking Action

Simulate an Asteroid Start a “No Puffing” Campaign

Recycled Paper

Create a Green City

Interconnected Waterways

What’s Your Opinion

Glossary Metric Conversions Resources Essential Questions Index

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