Clues from the past

The animals we see around us today are very similar to the ancient dinosaurs. That link was showcased at a “Dino Clues” presentation by the Blank Park Zoo Monday at Kendall Young Library.

Presenter Samantha Dunn said the program, aimed at children and families, tries to relate several fossils and pictures she had on hand to modern animals. She said the library theme this year is “Dig into Reading,” and wanted the program to tie into it.

“So, I’ll ask them, even though this animal isn’t here anymore, what can you tell about the animal from looking at the fossils? Kind of give them an idea of what paleontologists do,” Dunn said.

Dunn showed a variety of live animals, including a ball python, a marine toad, a gopher tortoise and an american alligator.

Before showing each live animal brought for the presentation, Dunn showed children images of dinosaurs that have long been extinct and asked children what they thought the dinosaurs looked like. An ancient water snake, with scales, a soft belly, and razor sharp teeth was easily identified by the children in attendance.

Dunn said she and other Blank Park Zoo presenters have gone across the state for programs like this all summer. Another is called “Beneath our Feet,” which showcases various digging animals.

In total, the Zoo has booked 175 libraries across Iowa this summer. Even though the programs are winding down for Dunn with school nearing, the excitement from the many children who attended was palpable as she brought out the animals for the crowd to see.