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DINOSAURS - Glossary of Terms

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adaptation - a change in an organism, resulting from exposure to certain environmental conditions, allowing it to respond more effectively to them.

amber - a hard, translucent, yellow, orange, or brownish-yellow fossil resin, used for making jewelry and other ornamental objects. Formed from hardened tree resin, amber is a valuable fossil record of ancient flora and fauna - many species have been found trapped inside amber chunks dating over hundred of millions yrs old.

amino acid - an organic compound containing both an amino group (NH2) and a carboxylic acid group (COOH), especially any of the 20 compounds that link together by peptide bonds to form proteins.

amphibian - a cold-blooded, smooth-skinned vertebrate of the class Amphibia, such as a frog or salamander, that characteristically hatches as an aquatic larva with gills. The larva then transforms into an adult having air-breathing lungs. An amphibian is an animal capable of living both on land and in water.

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Bacillus - general term for any rod shaped bacterium. Also a genus of bacteria: Bacillus.

benthic - term used to describe those animals found living on the sea bottom, including those found crawling and burrowing there also.


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carbohydrate - Any of a group of organic compounds that includes sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums and serves as a major energy source in the diet of animals.

Cenozoic Era - the latest era of geologic time, which includes the Tertiary Period and the Quaternary Period and is characterized by the formation of modern continents, glaciation, and the diversification of mammals, birds, and plants. Termed the 'Age of Mammals'

chromosome - a threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of animal and plant cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information.

clone - a group of cells descended from the same single parent cell. Genetic engineering commonly uses cloning in its DNA manipulations.

concept development - the process of analysis and generating ideas round a product.


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dinosaur - any of various extinct, often gigantic, carnivorous or herbivorous reptiles that were chiefly terrestrial and existed during the Mesozoic era. The name dinosaur means - Greek 'deinos' = monstrous + Greek 'sauros' = lizard.

diurnal - means to be active during the daytime rather than at night: diurnal animals. Animals that are mainly active at night are termed - nocturnal

DNA - stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. This nucleic acid formation is the building blocks which form the genetic material of all cells, some organelles, and many viruses.

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ecology - the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment

evolution - the theory that groups of organisms change with the passage of time, mainly as a result of natural selection, so that descendants differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors.

extinct - The state in which all members of a groups of organisms, such as a species, population, family or class, have disappeared from a given habitat, geographic area, or the entire world.

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gastrointestinal - relating to the stomach and intestines.

gene - a hereditary unit that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism. Genes exist in a number of different forms and can undergo mutation.

genetic code - the sequence of nucleotides (building blocks) in the DNA molecule of a chromosome that specifies the amino acid sequence in the synthesis of proteins. It is the basis of heredity.

genetic engineering - scientific alteration and manipulation of the structure of genetic material (DNA) in a living organism. Involves a series of procedures which uses and selected pieces (genes) of organisms.

genetics - is the field of biology devoted to understanding how characteristics are transmitted from parent to offspring. Genetics was founded with the work of Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who experimented with garden peas.

genus - a class of objects (organisms) divided into sub-species according to certain common attributes.

glaciation - the process of covering with glaciers or masses of ice

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hereditary - Information or traits passed on from individuals of one generation to their offspring and future generations.

humanising - making like a human, for eg. making a pet have human like characteristics - feeling emotions

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introduced species - Species that humans transport to an area that was previously outside of that species' geographic range. Introductions may be intentional, such as with domestic animals like sheep and dogs, or unintentional, such as with rats and other pests that live on ships.

iris - The colored ring of tissue suspended behind the cornea and immediately in front of the lens regulates the amount of light entering the eye by adjusting the size of the pupil. There are many variations on eye colour, for example many animals show iris colouration that allows them to blend into environment.

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keystone species - A keystone species is a species on which the persistence of a large number of other species in the ecosystem depends. If a keystone species is removed from a system, the species it supported also will disappear, as will the other dependent species. Keystone species may be top carnivores that keep prey in check, large herbivores that shape the habitat in which other species live, important plants that support particular insect species that are prey for birds, bats that disperse the seeds of plants, and many other types of organisms.

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lateral - is relating to the sides of an organism of structures

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mammals - any of various warm-blooded vertebrate animals of the class Mammalia, including human beings, characterized by a covering of hair on the skin and, in the female, milk-producing mammary glands for nourishing the young. Most mammals give live birth to their young

melanin - dark brown pigment of many animals, giving colouration to skin hair, eyes etc.

metabolic processes - sequence of reactions each brought about by a different enzyme, leading to the formation of one or more functional products. Usually associated with digestion and energy distribution.

Mesozoic Era - the third era of geologic time 65 - 245 million years ago. Included the Triassic Period (208 - 245mya), the Jurassic Period (145 - 208 mya), and the Cretaceous Period (65 - 145 mya) and characterized by the development of flying reptiles, birds, and flowering plants and the appearance and extinction of dinosaurs. Termed the 'Age of Reptiles'

migratory - movement that is regularly or occasionally occurring from one region to another, e.g.: migratory birds, migratory pigment etc.

mutation - a sudden structural change within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type.

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natural selection - the process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characters in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated (also see evolution)

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optic nerve - the bundle of over one million nerves fibers that carry visual messages from the retina to the brain.

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Permian period - is the last period of the Paleozoic Era and occurred 245 to 286 million years ago. The Permian period is known as the "The Age of Amphibians" (also see the Mesozoic Era - which was the era that followed).
The Permian period ended with the largest mass extinction ever.

protein - proteins are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances, such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They are essential in the diet of animals for the growth and repair of tissue and can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and some vegetables.

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reptile - any of various cold-blooded, usually egg-laying vertebrates of the class Reptilia, such as a snake, lizard, crocodile, turtle, or dinosaur, having an external covering of scales or horny plates and breathing by means of lungs.

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species - A group of related organisms that are capable of breeding with each other to produce fertile offspring but are not capable of breeding with members of other species.

subspecies - A geographically isolated or physiologically distinct group within a species that is capable of interbreeding with other members of the species but that usually does not.

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vascular system - vessels that carry or circulate fluids, such as blood, lymph through the body of an animal

ventral - describes the lower abdominal region of an organism.

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Dinosaurs Index | Lesson Idea 1 - Art Primary | Lesson Idea 2 - Art | Lesson Idea 3 - English | Lesson Idea 4 - Science | Worksheet 1 | Worksheet 2 | Resource 1 | Resource 2 | Resource 3 | Activitysheet 1 | Associated Web Links