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Smithsonian Science How Webcast

What Tiny Fossils Explain about Big Dinosaur Ecosystems

In this video, paleontologist Dr. Matthew Carrano shares what tiny fossils can reveal that complete, large dinosaur skeletons may not.


Meet Dr. Matthew Carrano, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Why does he sort through drawers upon drawers of tiny fossils? Watch how Matthew pieces together the evidence of ecosystems that dinosaurs lived in. Learn what tiny fossils can reveal that complete, large dinosaur skeletons may not. Get a glimpse into technologies such as cathode ray luminescence that have made detailed analysis of tiny fossils possible. Understand how paleontologists are collaborating to map worldwide dinosaur distributions. This show aired March 10, 2016.



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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