Journey 80 million years back in time to an age when mighty dinosaurs dominated the land, and as equally astonishing assortment of ferocious creatures swarmed, hunted, and fought for survival beneath the vast, mysterious prehistoric seas. Stunning photo-realistic imagery re-creates the perilous underwater realm of two young, dolphin-sized marine reptiles called Dolichorhynchops, or 'Dollies', and follows their incredible journey through waters ruled by some of the most awesome predators ever to prowl the Earth’s oceans.
Sea Monsters is recommended for ages 6 and up.
For More Information
- National Geographic lesson plans
- Oceans of Kansas Paleontology
- Western Interior Sea
- Ancient High Plains History
- The Paleontology Portal
- Black Hills Institute Reptile Fossil Page
- Dragons of the Deep: Ocean Monsters Past and Present by Carl Wieland and Darrelll Wiskur
- Tylosaurus (Smithsonian Prehistoric Zone) by Gerry Bailey and Karen Carr
- Giant Predators of the Ancient Seas by Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston
- Giant Sea Reptiles of the Dinosaur Age by Caroline Arnold and Laurie Caple
- Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea by Michael Everhart
- Geology of the American Southwest: A Journey Through Two Billion Years of Plate-Tectonic History by W. Scott Baldridge
TN State Science Standards
- EMBEDDED INQUIRY
Conceptual Strand: Understandings about scientific inquiry and the ability to conduct inquiry are essential for living in the 21st century.
Guiding Question: What tools, skills, knowledge, and dispositions are needed to conduct scientific inquiry?
- STANDARD 2 – INTERDEPENDENCE Conceptual Strand 2: All life is interdependent and interacts with the environment.
- STANDARD 4 – HEREDITY Conceptual Strand 4: Plants and animals reproduce and transmit hereditary information between generations.
- STANDARD 5 – BIODIVERSITY AND CHANGE Conceptual Strand 5: A rich variety of complex organisms have developed in response to a continually changing environment.
- STANDARD 7 - THE EARTH Conceptual Strand 7: Major geologic events that occur over eons or brief moments in time continually shape and reshape the surface of the Earth, resulting in continuous global change.
Grade Level Expectations (GLE)
- GLE 0407.4.1 Recognize the relationship between reproduction and the continuation of a species.
- GLE 0407.5.1 Analyze physical and behavioral adaptations that enable organisms to survive in their environment.
- GLE 0407.5.2 Describe how environmental changes caused the extinction of various plant and animal species.
- GLE 0407.7.1 Investigate how the Earth’s geological features change as a result of erosion (weathering and transportation) and deposition.
- GLE 0507.2.1 Investigate different nutritional relationships among organisms in an ecosystem.
- GLE 0507.4.1 Describe how genetic information is passed from parents to offspring during reproduction.
- GLE 0507.4.2 Recognize that some characteristics are inherited while others result from interactions with the environment.
- GLE 0507.5.1 Investigate physical characteristics associated with different groups of animals.
- GLE 0507.5.2 Analyze fossils to demonstrate the connection between organisms and environments that existed in the past and those that currently exist.
- GLE 0507.7.1 Compare geologic events responsible for the earth’s major geological features.
- GLE 0607.2.1 Examine the roles of consumers, producers, and decomposers in a biological community.
- GLE 0707.4.4 Predict the probable appearance of offspring based on the genetic characteristics of the parents.
- GLE 0807.5.2 Use a simple classification key to identify a specific organism.
- GLE 0807.5.6 Investigate fossils in sedimentary rock layers to gather evidence of changing life forms.
High SchoolEarth Science
- CLE 3204.4.2 Investigate the evolution of the earth.
- CLE 3204.4.3 Interpret the fossil record for evidence of biological evolution.
- CLE 3204.4.4 Demonstrate the impact of environmental change on the origin and extinction of plant and animal species.
- CLE 3205.4.2 Investigate the evolution of earth.
- CLE 3205.4.3 Investigate the history of life.
- CLE 3205.4.4 Interpret the fossil record for evidence of biological evolution.
- CLE 3205.4.5 Demonstrate the impact of environmental change on the origin and extinction of plant and animal species.
- CLE 3210.5.3 Explain how genetic variation in a population and changing environmental conditions are associated with adaptation and the emergence of new species.
- Name at least one extinct marine reptile.
- Describe changes in the environment that might cause a species to become extinct.
- Name a predator/prey pair in the ancient ocean.
- Discuss the structure of the Earth and factors that shape landmasses both above and below the surface: plate tectonics, volcanoes, wind and water erosion, drought, human activity, etc.
- The continents have shifted position over millions of years. Have students research the arrangement of continents during a variety of geologic periods.
- Sea levels were higher during the Cretaceous. Explore what the climate was like during that period and compare it to current climate conditions.
- Have students research what a fossil is and how it differs from the actual material of the creature from which it formed. Learn how fossils are formed, excavated, documented, preserved, identified, and interpreted.
- Dinosaurs have interesting names. Students can research how species of plants and animals are named. For example, find the meaning of Tylosaurus, Felis domesticus, or Narcissus pseudonarcissus to name a few.
- Grade-specific activities are available from the National Geographic Sea Monsters web site
- The large marine reptiles of the Cretaceous are extinct. Have students discover what marine reptiles are living in the oceans today. What other animals have taken the place of the large marine reptiles?
- Modern Great White Sharks are similar to the prehistoric Cretoxyrhinon, and Giant Squid are still found in the deep ocean. Research the differences between ancient and modern creatures.
- Most of the creatures in Sea Monsters are predators. Research the ocean food chain of today. What are the predator/prey relationships? Find out where humans fit in. Are we predators, prey, or both?
- Have students explore what was living in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama during the Cretaceous Period. Did the ancient western interior sea reach this far? What fossils are commonly found in Tennessee?
- Students can investigate the geology of Kansas and the American Midwest. Discover how geologists and paleontologists date the different rock layers and the fossils they hold.
- air breathers
- Charles Sternberg
- marine reptiles
- Western Interior Sea