The Old Ones - Tortoises and crocodilians - Ancient Biology of Florida
endangered primates
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The Old Ones

Many of the species in the film have been around a long time. Tortoises and crocodilians are some of the oldest families of animals living on the planet today; they were old even when the dinosaurs roamed Florida.


With your class explore and research the ancient biology of Florida (or another state) and find out what animals lived there between 100 and 60 million years ago.

-What was the terrain like in this period (the cretaceous period)?
-How is it different today?
-Were there mammals in this period? Are any that lived then still living there now?
-What attributes might have helped the oldest species living today (such as tortoises) survive when other species died out?

After research and discussion have students create a picture or model of Cretaceous era Florida. In it include one of the contemporary animals that lived then.

Have students imagine themselves living in that period. Have them write an account of a day in the life of a cretaceous era crocodile or tortoise. The account should show knowledge of the animal's real wild behavior and of some elements of cretaceous conditions.

Objective: an introduction to Florida's evolutionary history

Red Tail's and Their Cousins

Red tailed Hawks are splendidly adapted birds of prey that can be found throughout most of North America. Have students research Red tail behavior in text sources and/or on the web. Their final information should include but do not need to be limited to:
- Range and habitat
- Size (male and female)
- Variety of prey species
- Territory and/or range size
- Activity times (nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular)
- Migratory habits
- Nesting season
- Clutch size
- Incubation period
- Fledging age
- Parental involvement in chick rearing
- Social habits
- -Conservation status

Having completed their Red-tailed Hawk research, students should pick another bird of prey and complete a similar survey. When both studies are finished have the students compare the two species. The information can be presented in chart format, in a narrative version, or in a combination of the two.

Objective: deeper knowledge of Red tailed Hawks, knowledge of a related species, development of research skills

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