Dinosaur Extinction Theories: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

It still remains a mystery as to why dinosaurs are no longer ruling the earth. Discover what some of the leading scientists think may have happened to these creatures - and then see if you agree.

Where Did All the Dinosaurs Go?

While science has given us a lot of answers, there are still many things in the world that remain a mystery. One of those mysteries is how dinosaurs became extinct, meaning there aren't any left on the earth.

Up until 65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Obviously, there are no dinosaurs walking around our neighborhoods today, so what happened to them? While scientists have come up with many hypotheses, or scientific guesses, as to what happened, we do not know for sure. The three most popular hypotheses have to do with an asteroid, a volcano, and an ice age. Let's look a little bit closer.

Was it an Asteroid?

Asteroids are large rocks that fly through outer space and through Earth's atmosphere. If the asteroid does not burn up, and it actually hits the Earth's surface, it is called a meteorite. Some scientists believe that a meteorite is what killed approximately 70% of the animals on the earth about 65 million years ago, including the dinosaurs.

They think that the meteorite must have been about 6 miles long. If the meteorite hit the land, it would have caused earthquakes and landslides that would have killed the dinosaurs. If the meteorite hit the water, it would have caused a tsunami (which is a really big wave that comes out of the ocean onto the land), and that would have led to mass destruction, as well.

One idea scientists have is that an asteroid hit the earth, causing earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis, which in turn killed the dinosaurs

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