A Teacher's Guide To The Exhibit for Grades K-8 -- San Diego Natural History Museum -- Environmental Science Education Center

Logo for The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park: The Lost World


Exhibit Highlights

Dinosaur Unit Outline and Standards Correlations

Dinosaur Background

Dinosaurs in the Exhibit

Dinosaurs and Southern California


Pre-visit Activities

Museum Visit Worksheet A

Museum Visit Worksheet B

Post-visit Activities



Dinosaurs and Southern California

In North America many dinosaur fossils have been found in Utah, Montana, western Colorado, Wyoming, U.S.A. and Alberta, Canada. These fossil-rich areas are along the plains and shores of what was once a great inland sea.

On the other hand, few dinosaur remains have been found in California. During the Triassic and Jurassic time much of California was under water. Remember that dinosaurs were land-dwelling animals, so the rare dinosaur fossils found here probably originated to the east and were washed out to the ocean where they were deposited on the sea floor. Retreating seas and coastal uplifting created the land that was to become California. Buried fossils were then exposed by weathering and erosion. See Mystery of the Ankylosaur, especially for young children.

One of these rare fossils is on exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. It is the flattened hind end of a ankylosaur, a dinosaur related to Ankylosaurus. This 75 million year old fossil was found at a construction site in Carlsbad, California by paleontologists from the San Diego Natural History Museum. The presence of shark teeth and shells from various sea organisms indicate that the fossil was once at the bottom of a shallow sea.

For more information about dinosaurs in and the geology of Southern California, please see Fossils of our Region, part of our online Field Guide to the Californias.

Hypothetical reconstruction of the nodosaur by Brad Riney.
Hypothetical reconstruction of the nodosaur by Brad Riney, Museum Field Paleontologist and Preparator.

The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park: The Lost World was produced by Dinosaur Exhibitions, LLC, under the direction of "Dino" Don Lessem, and in partnership with Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment. The exhibition was designed by Museum Design Associates. Jurassic Park and Lost World are trademarks of Universal City Studios and Amblin Entertainment.

Teacher's Guide | Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park | Exhibits