Dig Deeper at Home: The Smaller Animals of Hell Creek
Watch the Webinar
In the webinar video above, you’ll learn from Paleontologist Matthew Carrano about how scientists figure out what animals lived at Hell Creek, using very small fossils like teeth, scales and bone fragments. Paleontologists have used this evidence to identify dozens of different species of animals, many of which have relatives living today. This connection helps us imagine how these animals of the past might have looked.
In the second half of the webinar, you’ll learn from Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger how to draw two common Hell Creek animals: a turtle and a crocodilian.
(This page is Part 3 of 5 in the activity, "Paleo Art – Edge of Extinction: Make Your Own Dinosaur Ecosystem Mural.")
- Practice your drawings of the turtle and crocodilian on separate pieces of paper.
- Add the animals to your mural once you’re ready!
Tips from Dr. Carrano:
- You can be creative about what your animals are doing, because there are still so many things we don’t know. What colors do you think they were? What everyday things do you think they may have been doing?
- Consider how the animals are arranged in the environment. If you want a realistic setting, use scenes from today’s world today that can give you ideas for where to place your animals. Be selective about what animals show up and how they interact with others.
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
Explore More About Ancient Animals
- Consult David DeMar’s Fossil ID Guide: An Illustrated Guide to latest Cretaceous Vertebrate Microfossils of the Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana
- Watch What Tiny Fossils Explain about Big Dinosaur Ecosystems with Paleontologist Matthew Carrano
- Watch How Paleontologists Identify Dinosaur Teeth with Paleontologist Matthew Carrano