Children at Otago University Childcare Association’s Te Uru Centre have unearthed a new dinosaur.
The “Teuruasaurus” was discovered after Easter and has triggered the children’s interest in palaeontology.
Early childhood teacher Marchell Linzey said that before their find, some of the children had shown an interest in dinosaurs and fossils.
They started digging up a clay bank in the centre and collected “fossils and dinosaur bones” – clods and lumps of dirt – which they stored in a “museum” inside.
During the Easter break, Mr Linzey went into the centre and buried some cow and sheep bones deep in the bank.
“When they came back after Easter they started digging and discovered the dinosaur bones.
“They just lit up.
“They were really fired up.”
It took about a week to unearth all the bones, which they then examined, cleaned and assembled into a skeleton.
Liam Turnbull (4) said they used spoons, knives, forks and brushes to clean the bones.
Mr Linzey said the children were so excited about their discovery.
They drew pictures of what they thought the dinosaur might look like if it were alive.
Charlotte Montiel (4) said she dug up “two big dinosaur bones”.
The children and teachers are planning a trip to the university’s geology department to visit the palaeontologists.
Mr Linzey said finding the bones had become a big project for the children, and some had since expressed interest in becoming a palaeontologist when they grew up.