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Smithsonian Science How Webcast

How Fossils Explain the Rise of Dinosaurs

In this video, paleontologist Dr. Hans Sues explains how dinosaurs rose to prominence after a mass extinction event 200 million years ago.


Meet Dr. Hans Sues, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History. While you may be familiar with the asteroid strike 66 million years ago that ended the dinosaur reign, have you ever wondered what started it? Find out more about the mass extinction event 200 million years ago that opened the door for dinosaurs to dominate life on land. Join Hans Sues in exploring what else lived in the Triassic landscape and how the dinosaurs rose to prominence. Examine the fossil evidence that dinosaurs might not have diversified so much were it not for the cataclysmic event that ended the Triassic. This show aired October 8, 2015.



National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Earth Science


Earth's Place in the Universe
  • MS-ESS1-4Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.


Earth's Systems
  • MS-ESS2-2Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Life Science


Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • MS-LS4-1Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards

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