In Lesson 5 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day, we learned all about "Primeval Reptiles, specifically, the "four saurs": nothosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, and plesiosaurs.
We also did a lot of work in our notebooking journal for this lesson.
After reading about the "four saurs" in our text, we referred to The Usborne Big Book of Big Dinosaurs to see some fun illustrations of these creatures.
Wow, they looked fierce!
Maggie wrote some of the facts she learned about these creatures in her journal.
All done! Great job, Mags!
We added these pieces back to her notebook with a Ziploc bag to keep them from spilling out.
And here is the fact wheel we assembled from the notebook!
It was time for an experiment! We sought to answer the question, "Why are the fossils of ichthyosaurs so rare?" Using our text as a guide, we gathered the materials for our experiment: a small clam shell, a Cheerio, two small glasses, and gloppy mud.
First, we placed the shell in one glass and the Cheerio in another. (The Cheerio was representative of an ichthyosaur because it has pockets of air in it, just like an ichthyosaur had.)
Next, we made some gloppy mud in a little, plastic bucket.
The mud was then poured into each glass on top of the shell and Cheerio.
We lifted the glasses to look at their bottoms and noticed the shell had not moved.
The Cheerio, however, had floated up through the mud! The air in it kept it from staying anchored to the bottom! This floating of an ichthyosaur body would have made it easy food for scavengers, meaning few would have fossilized. So, the answer to our question, "Why are the fossils of ichthyosaurs so rare?" ... THEY FLOATED!
There are a few amazing fossils that have been found, though, like the picture of this one, below. This fossilized ichthyosaur was giving birth at the time of its death! You can read more about this fossil at https://answersingenesis.org/fossils/buried-birth/.
We then recorded the results of our experiment in our notebook.
For fun, we picked up this Smithsonian Prehistoric Sea Monsters (triops) kit at Walmart to set up.
Later, we found a documentary on mosasaurs on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhY_SnX2gjE, called "Mega Beasts: T Rex of the Deep." In it, they design and create a working model of the powerful jaws of a mosasaur and it was interesting to see the strength they had!
When we visited my parents, we stopped at The Estuarium at Dauphin Island in Alabama. Here is a picture of Maggie under a model of a mosasaur! So neat!