Dig Deeper at Home: The Plants of Hell Creek
Watch the Webinar
In the webinar video above, you’ll learn all about fossil pollen from the Hell Creek Formation from Paleontologist Vera Korasidis. Scientists study fossil pollen found at Hell Creek to learn about not only the types of plants that were there, but also what those plants can tell us about the rainfall, climate, and animal life of this area during the Late Cretaceous.
You’ll also learn from paleo-artists Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger how to draw two common Hell Creek plants, ferns and palm trees, based on evidence that we know from the fossils.
(This page is Part 2 of 5 in the activity, "Paleo Art – Edge of Extinction: Make Your Own Dinosaur Ecosystem Mural.")
- Practice your drawings of ferns and palm trees on separate pieces of paper.
- Add plants to your mural once you’re ready!
Tips from Dr. Korasidis: Ferns tend to be close to water; palms occur slightly back from water and can be found in dry soils. There were a LOT of plants around, so feel free to cover the landscape with plants.
Tips from Bob and Tess:
- Start with simple shapes.
- Don’t be afraid to change something or start over.
- When you add details, remember you want more detail in the foreground and less in the background.
- Keep drawing! You may want to draw the same thing over and over to build muscle memory before adding it to your mural.
Take It a Step Further
Once you’ve mastered the fern and palm from the webinar, you can try drawing other plants of the Hell Creek Formation:
Explore More about Ancient Plants
- Watch Using Fossil Plants and Pollen to Understand Earth's Climate History with Palynologist Vera Korasidis
- Watch Fossil Leaves and Ancient Atmospheres with Paleobotanist Rich Barclay
- Watch Paleobotany - Climate Change Past and Present with Paleobotanist Scott Wing