Dinosaur Train: About the Series
DINOSAUR TRAIN embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains while encouraging basic scientific thinking skills as the audience learns about life science, natural history and paleontology. Each of the 40 half-hour episodes features Buddy, an adorable preschool age Tyrannosaurus Rex, and includes two 11-minute animated stories along with brief live action segments hosted by renowned paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson. Young viewers can join Buddy and his adoptive Pteranodon family on a whimsical voyage through prehistoric jungles, swamps, volcanoes and oceans as they unearth basic concepts in life science, natural history and paleontology. The learning and fun are continued on the website, where users can play games with their favorite characters, print activity pages and watch clips from the show.
DINOSAUR TRAIN begins when Buddy is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon and brought to their nest to hatch at the same time as his new siblings, Tiny, Shiny and Don. Buddy and his new family have an insatiable desire to learn all about the different types of dinosaurs, so they board the wondrous DINOSAUR TRAIN, which allows them to travel and explore the world inhabited by these amazing creatures.
Departing from Pteranodon Station, the DINOSAUR TRAIN is a colorful locomotive, customized to accommodate all kinds of dinosaurs. Windows are perfect for the long-necked herbivores, and there’s plenty of head room in the Observation Car for the Giganotosaurus, giving all the species onboard a chance to check out the prehistoric world as they ride on the train. The DINOSAUR TRAIN has the ability to visit the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous worlds, while the Train's Conductor, a knowledgeable Troodon, provides passengers with cool facts about dinosaurs along the way.
Harnessing children's enthusiasm for and curiosity about dinosaurs, DINOSAUR TRAIN sparks 3-6 year old children's interest in life science and natural history. As they explore a variety of interesting animals past and present, preschool and kindergarten children develop the inquiry skills and core knowledge needed to help them think, talk and act like paleontologists. DINOSAUR TRAIN encourages children to compare the characteristics of ancient animals with those that are alive today.
To fulfill this mission, Dinosaur Train will:
- Spark children’s interest in science, especially life science, natural science and paleontology.
- Develop children's inquiry skills to help children think like scientists, by engaging in the following behaviors: asking questions, making observations, making predictions, making connections, forming hypotheses / developing possible explanations, investigating and exploring the natural world, drawing conclusions, and sharing findings with others.
- Provide core science knowledge to enable children to explore the worlds of life science, natural science and paleontology.
- Inspire children to visit local science and natural history museums, go on "fossil hunts," and conduct their own explorations and investigations about the natural world.
About Dr. Scott Sampson
Scott Sampson is a Canadian dinosaur paleontologist who received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Toronto. Sampson is the paleontology consultant on DINOSAUR TRAIN and is featured in the live action segments on the show. His doctoral work examined the evolution of horned dinosaurs from western North America. Following graduation in 1993, Sampson spent a year working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, followed by five years as assistant professor of anatomy at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island. From 1999-2007, he held a dual position with the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, serving for the last several years of that period as chief curator and associate professor, respectively. His research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in a number of countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. His current research efforts are focused on a large scale project in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah, which has yielded abundant remains of a previously unknown dinosaur fauna. Sampson has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and has lectured extensively to audiences of all ages on dinosaurs.
In 2007, Sampson moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Although retaining a formal research affiliation with the University of Utah, he is now pursuing a range of new projects focused on education. Sampson was the primary scientific consultant and on-air host of a four-part Discovery Channel series called "Dinosaur Planet." He recently completed a book, "Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life" (University of California Press, 2009), which will be the first comprehensive review of dinosaur paleontology for a general audience in more than two decades (http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10208.php). In the summer of 2009, he travelled to Australia as one of four international scientists chosen to participate in National Science Week, an annual festival aimed at promoting science. Sampson is now at work on another general audience book, this one arguing for radical reform of science education as a key factor in resolving the current sustainability crisis.