All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
30 11, 2007

Note from Teacher after Everything Dinosaur Visits School

By |2023-02-24T15:55:02+00:00November 30th, 2007|Educational Activities|0 Comments

Teacher Sends Thank you Note after Dinosaur Workshop

With team members busy packing Christmas orders and getting them out as fast as possible, we have had to put some of our blog articles that we intended to write on the back burner for a while.  However, whilst we take a break from packing and despatching dinosaur themed gifts for Christmas, we have just got time to post up information contained in a letter received from a Year Two teacher after a dinosaur workshop was conducted by Everything Dinosaur with her class.

Lots of Examples of Excellent Handwriting from the Year 2 Class

Year 2 children study dinosaurs

A selection of letters received from the eager young palaeontologists at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe, Lancashire).

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Children Study Dinosaurs

The dinosaur workshop, which involved an entire morning of dinosaur themed activities and experiments all geared in support of the National Curriculum, was very well received by the children and the teaching staff.  In expressing her gratitude for the dinosaur themed school visit the teacher wrote:

“Dear Everything Dinosaur,

Just a quick note to say thank you for your visit to our school.  The visit was so worthwhile and the children have not stopped talking about it.  My class have kept referring to the things that Everything Dinosaur taught them whilst you were at our school and they have incorporated much of what was said into their own work related to dinosaurs.”

It is always a pleasure to receive feedback from one of our dinosaur themed visits to a school, it looks like the children got a great deal out of the morning they spent amongst the fossils and other amazing dinosaur themed objects that we brought into the school.

Dedicated Teaching Team

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal toys and games, all of which have been tested and approved by our dedicated teaching team.

To view the range of dinosaur models, toys and games available: Dinosaur Toys and Games.

29 11, 2007

New Late Cretaceous Bonebed Discovered In Spain

By |2022-11-06T06:25:20+00:00November 29th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page|4 Comments

Spanish Discoveries show Thriving Dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous

Spanish scientists have announced the discovery of a large dinosaur bonebed containing the remains of numerous dinosaurs, so far eight species of dinosaur have been identified amongst the 8,000 fossils unearthed.

The site, near the city of Cuenca in western Spain is being heralded as one of the largest dinosaur bonebeds found in Europe, although it will have to go a long way to beat the amazing plateosaur bonebeds discovered recently on the Swiss/German border.

To read article on Swiss bonebeds:  Europe’s Largest Mass Dinosaur Grave to Date Discovered.

However, the Spanish site, consists of sediments laid down in the Upper Cretaceous, approximately 80 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage) and the beautifully preserved finds provide a window onto a time period towards the end of the age of Dinosaurs.  Most fossil yielding sediments dating from this part of the Mesozoic are located in the Americas, accessing layers of strata from this time in Europe is a rare event.

Late Cretaceous Bonebed

The site was discovered in June during construction of a new high-speed rail link between Madrid and Valencia.  Construction work was halted to permit the scientists to remove many fossils from the path of the railway line.  Although the excavation is not complete the concentration of finds has impressed even the most hard-nosed of palaeontologists.  The remains of over 100 titanosaurs (long-necked dinosaurs), have been identified, some of them nearly intact.  Interestingly, scutes and plates have been found at the site, indicating that these titanosaurs probably had body armour like their South American cousin – Saltasaurus.

Find dinosaur models here: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

Some scientists studying Campanian and Maastrichtian strata from North America have identified a notable decline in the species and diversity of dinosaurs in Upper Cretaceous sediments.  This has led to claims that the dinosaurs were under environmental pressure and declining as a group before the extinction event 65 million years ago.  Evidence from this new site (the area is called Lo Hueco), supports studies of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from France indicating that at least in Europe, the dinosaurs show no signs of decline.

Other finds include the remains of a Struthiosaurus, a small, armoured nodosaur (like an ankylosaur but without the club tail) and possibly three different species of dromaeosaurid (fast-running, small, bipedal carnivores similar to Velociraptor).

Fossil evidence has also been found of an ornithopod called Rhabdodon.  Remains of this Iguanodon-like animal have been found before in France, Spain and Romania but palaeontologists are unsure as to whether this animal was an iguanodontid or a member of the Hypsilophodontidae.  Perhaps these new finds will help scientists classify this dinosaur.

The abundance of fossil animal and plant material recovered from the dig site, indicate a very rich and diverse ecosystem with no evident signs of environmental pressure.

28 11, 2007

The Dinosaur Collection – an Ideal Dinosaur Fans Christmas Gift

By |2023-02-24T15:56:26+00:00November 28th, 2007|Main Page, Press Releases|1 Comment

The Dinosaur Collection – Six models for Prehistoric Animal Fans

With the myriad of different models of prehistoric animals it can be difficult identifying which model belongs to which manufacturer’s series, especially with so many animals being retired and new ones coming along all the time.

Perhaps we should use the “Prefix and Accession number” system that scientists use to identify individual specimens housed in museums around the world.  For example, MIWG6621 is the unique classification code given to a single caudal vertebra (tail bone), of a small bipedal plant-eater – Hypsilophodon foxii, which is housed in the Museum of Isle of Wight Geology, Sandown on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

A Model of Four Hypsilophodon Dinosaurs (CollectA)

Hypsilophodon model. Gifts for prehistoric animal fans.

CollectA Hypsilophodon family group part of the successful CollectA Prehistoric Life model range which make ideal gifts for prehistoric animal fans.

The Hypsilophodon models make great gifts for prehistoric animal fans. The range can be viewed here: CollectA Prehistoric World Dinosaur Models.

Gifts for Prehistoric Animal Fans

This would certainly help streamline our searches for various specific models for avid fans and collectors when they ask us to conduct a “Dino Hunt” for them, finding prehistoric animal models for customers.

Access our website here: Everything Dinosaur Home Page.

Simply type in the dinosaur name into the search field box, press the magnifying glass icon next to the box to start the search and if no items appear, then you can always contact us and one of our dinosaur experts and researchers will try to find the product or animal that you have requested.  This certainly saves our customers a lot of time.

One model series we have taken a fancy to is the “Dinosaur Collection” series from CollectA.  This model series currently consists of six models, five dinosaurs (T. rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Velociraptor), plus a pterosaur.  The pterosaur in question is Pteranodon ingens, so this makes a popular choice for the avid dinosaur fan and for serious model collectors.

The Dinosaur Model Series from Everything Dinosaur

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Models and Fact Sheets

Each model comes with its own fact sheet written by our researchers, and this series is available from Everything Dinosaur, they are just some of the dinosaur and prehistoric animal replicas we have in stock.

To see the dinosaur collection set of models: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

27 11, 2007

Rare Australian Dinosaurs Threatened by Desalination Plant

By |2024-04-03T07:03:38+01:00November 27th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Australian Dinosaurs under Pressure from Development

One of the widely publicised impacts of global warming and climate change has been the very severe drought suffered by much of Australia in the last couple of years.  Many scientists claim that global climate change was one of the causal factors in the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and now climate change is indirectly threatening the excavation of rare dinosaur fossils.

Australian Dinosaurs

In East Gippsland, south-east Victoria, the demands for drinking water have grown rapidly as the population increases.  The area provides much of the Melbourne region with fresh water, now plans to build a AUS$ 3 billion desalination plant in East Gippsland could prevent the excavation of rare polar dinosaurs.  The dinosaur bones are located in sediments found on a rock shelf on a beach at Wonthaggi, an area famous for its rich coal deposits, another legacy from ancient times.  The fossil bearing rock has yet to be fully explored but palaeontologists claim that it is just one of six known locations where evidence of polar dinosaurs has been found.

The Australian Government’s Water Minister – Tim Holding has said that the fossils will not delay the much needed project.  The intention is to build one of the world’s largest desalination plants on the coast, when completed it will boost the drinking water supplies to the urban population.

“This in no way impacts on our ability to construct and operate a desalination plant,” Mr Holding said.

“Details of the fossils had been included in investigations carried out by the Department of Sustainability and Environment,” Mr Holding stated.

“The fossils exist in the first 10 metres of beachfront below the surface and it is proposed that the inlet and outlet pipes for the plant will be placed well below that.  The reason why is because these fossilised remains exist in the first 10 metres of the beachfront in that area and it’s proposed that our inflow and outflow pipes will be placed well below that.

So as the scientists themselves have acknowledged, if the inlet and outlet pipes are to be 10 metres or more below the surface the existence of these fossils will have no impact to the operation of the plant at all.”

Full Environmental Effects Not Known

The State Government is yet to decide whether to conduct a full environmental effects statement (known as an ESS), for the controversial project.  Lesley Kool, who is co-ordinating the fossil dig on behalf of Monash University (Victoria), has led the calls for an environmental effects statement and a full review of the proposed project, not just to consider the impact on the rare 115-million-year-old fossils but also to examine the potential environmental impact on many endangered native animals and plants that live in this coastal area.

Commenting on the palaeontological significance of the site, Mrs Kool stated that the Wonthaggi location was one of only a very few sites where polar dinosaur fossils had been found, indeed this area if properly explored could yield a lot of data on the ecosystems present at this time during the Cretaceous.  So far evidence of ornithopods (plant-eaters) has been discovered but scientists speculate that they may find evidence of theropods in these sediments also.  Meat-eaters are rare from polar deposits.  This area has also provided evidence of fresh-water plesiosaurs.  It was thought that these long-necked marine reptiles were found only in salt water environments but now evidence from south-eastern Australia supports data collected from the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada which shows plesiosaurs spending some time in brackish and freshwater.  Whether these animals were juveniles from fully marine species or a group of plesiosaurs adapted to life in lakes, rivers and estuarine environments is open to debate.

The construction of this huge desalination plant, although badly needed by a parched Australia, could destroy forever fossils that could provide further information on the fauna and flora of the Cretaceous polar environment.

As more of the geology of Australia is explored a number of new and exciting discoveries have been made.  This vast continent still holds many palaeontological surprises and a number of papers and reports have been published recently, many written by researchers at Monash University.

Recent report of carnivore tracks: Meat-eating Dinosaur Tracks Discovered in Australia.

26 11, 2007

Head back to the Silurian on the Niagara Escarpment

By |2023-02-24T15:58:19+00:00November 26th, 2007|Geology, Main Page|6 Comments

Niagara Falls Area Reveals Ancient Fossil Treasures

The Niagara Falls attracts millions of tourists every year to watch the water cascading over the huge falls on the Canadian/U.S. border, but the geology that created this spectacular wonder of nature has been providing scientists with a glimpse into the rich diversity of life in ancient seas 425 million years ago.

Ancient Fossil Treasures

The Niagara Escarpment is formed from layers of sedimentary rocks laid down in a marine environment, these sit on the ancient Pre-Cambrian rocks of the huge Canadian shield that covers much of North America and the Arctic.  In geological terms, this feature, an escarpment, although sometimes known as a cuesta, is a ridge composed of gently tilted rock strata with a long gradual slope on one side and a steep, or scarp slope on the other.

A team of palaeontologists from the Royal Ontario museum in Toronto have been exploring a 16 kilometre area of sedimentary strata in the Grey Bruce area heading up to the shores of Lake Huron.  In this area they have discovered a unique fossil community that provides a rich source of information about life in the late Silurian, about 425 million years ago.  At the time, this area was a shallow sea, much nearer the equator than it is today and fossils of many primitive fish, as well as invertebrates, corals and aquatic plants have been discovered.  The team of scientists have described this area as one of the most important and unique fossil finds in Canada.  The discovery of exceptionally well preserved aquatic plant fossils is particularly exciting as it was around this period in Earth’s history that the first plants began to colonise the land and so began the chain of events that led to the atmosphere that we have on Earth today.

Remnants of a Silurian Ecosystem

More than 700 different fossils found at Wren's Nest

Lots of brachiopod and coral fossils remnants of a Silurian ecosystem.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The beautifully preserved fossils will be studied in more detail at the museums laboratories, they demonstrate the amazing biodiversity of life in the warm shallow seas of the late Silurian.  What is surprising is that this rich fossil yielding strata was found in an area just two hours north of Toronto, one of the most densely populated areas of Canada.  As a scientist commented in a press conference, the site lay under their noses but nobody bothered to take a closer look until now.

CollectA have produced a range of replicas of iconic fossil animals including trilobites and molluscs. To view this CollectA range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Replicas.

In February 1990, the Niagara Escarpment was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is one of only 12 biosphere reserves in Canada, and is part of a network of more than 400 reserves in 95 countries.

25 11, 2007

Megalosaurus – A Dinosaur Waste Basket

By |2023-02-24T16:00:42+00:00November 25th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Megalosaurus – A Dinosaur Waste Basket

Megalosaurus represents a very important genus within the Dinosauria cladogram.  As a meat-eater it is part of the theropod group and as a family, the megalosaurs tend to be overshadowed by their more illustrious relatives the tyrannosaurs, Maniraptoriformes and allosaurs.  However, Megalosaurus will still hold a special place in the hearts of scientists as it was the first Dinosaur to be named and described.


This momentous event took place in 1824, nearly 20 years before the name dinosaur was invented.  An English clergyman and geologist the Reverend William Buckland was appointed to examine and review a piece of fossilised lower jaw plus a number of other strange fossil bones which had been found in quarries in Oxfordshire.  He had been aware of these bones for a number of years and collected several specimens himself.  In his review, William Buckland incorporated studies of upper and lower limb bones, parts of the pelvis, scapula and vertebrae.  It was the lower jaw that played the most important role in his studies.  Although the bones were assumed to come from the same genus, but from different individuals, it was the lower jaw that was most striking.

The teeth were different from any other living animals, known to science at the time and the jaw had a number of teeth embedded within it ready to emerge, replacing older teeth in the jaw.

Identifying the fossils as belonging to a reptile, William Buckland used living lizards anatomy to estimate the size of this new animal.  He calculated that the creature was over 13 metres in Length (in excess of 40 feet), and would have weighed more than an elephant.  In the light of this evidence the name Megalosaurus (means huge or great lizard) was adopted, although the name had been already ascribed to this animal by another British scientist – James Parkinson two years earlier.

Lithographic Plates

The Reverend Buckland’s article contained five beautifully detailed lithographic plates that depicted the fossils.  Special attention was paid to illustrating the jaw fragment, as Buckland understood the significance of this particular find.  Even today, skull bones, teeth and jaws are the prize finds for palaeontologists as they can tell them so much about the animal’s lifestyle and possible relationships to other dinosaur species.  On one plate Buckland provided views of the inside (lingual view – what the teeth look like facing the tongue) and the outside (labial view – what the teeth look like when viewed from the side that would have faced the lips).  These were drawn at 1/2 scale but in addition he provided a fold out section within his paper that illustrated the lingual view of the jaw at full size.  Perhaps he was aware of the need to demonstrate the size of the animal using this full size drawing with its socket-ed teeth, or maybe this additional illustration was added to give a “flourish” to his work.  Certainly, in the scientific circles of the gentry in the 1820s a bit of “embellishment” was quite common place.

Ironically, William Buckland in his published paper never actually stated that the jawbone came from a carnivore, an obvious deduction given the shape and size of the teeth, but in the final print of his work, this fact was not included.

The Fossil Dentary Assigned to Megalosaurus

The lower jaw of Megalosaurus.

The partial dentary for teeth associated with Megalosaurus bucklandii.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Little is known about Megalosaurus, with very few finds of this type of Jurassic carnivore being made to add to our knowledge.  In fact, for much of the 19th and early 20th Centuries many partial fossils and fragments from carnivores discovered in Europe were assigned to the genus Megalosaurus.  So many finds were labelled as belonging to megalosaurs that this genera became known as “a Dinosaur Waste Basket” with virtually every indeterminate piece of carnosaur fossil being placed within this group.  It is only in the last few years, as our knowledge of European theropods has improved that scientists have taken a fresh look at these “Megalosaurus bones” and have begun to sort them out into other genera.

Megalosaurus was one of the top predators around at the time, it reached lengths of around 9 metres and weighed approximately 1 tonne.  As a result, a number of Megalosaurus dinosaur models have been produced.

It remains a favourite amongst model collectors and dinosaur enthusiasts and in recognition of this it was one of the first dinosaurs commissioned by the Natural History museum when they created their own model collection.

Models of dinosaurs including Megalosaurus here: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

A Picture of the Model Megalosaurus from the Natural History Museum

Megalosaurus replica dinosaur model.

Source: Natural History Museum Picture Library

24 11, 2007

Claws! Giant Sea Scorpion of the Devonian

By |2023-02-18T13:15:15+00:00November 24th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|1 Comment

Fossil Claw Indicates Giant Arthropods of the Devonian

Spiders can be quite frightening, especially at this time of year when some particular types of spider, such as the Wolf Spider take up residence in your house to avoid the wintry weather.  Suddenly, seeing one of these animals scuttling along the living room floor can be enough to make anyone jump, but scientists in Germany have come across a fossil to really put the wind up anyone with a slight fear of arthropods.

Giant Sea Scorpion

Markus Poschmann of the Mainz museum, in Germany has found a 390-million-year-old fossil claw from what could be the biggest arthropod known to date.  The fossil was found in a quarry near the town of Prum in western Germany.  The fossil is part of a claw of a sea scorpion species named Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, this species had been described and named from other German finds last century but this new find reveals that this particular sea scorpion was a giant of the Devonian seas, reaching lengths in excess of 2.5 metres,

Based on the size of the claw, which is 46 cm long scientists have calculated that this animal would have grown to at least 2.5 metres in length, making it a contender for the largest ever arthropod.  Certainly, based on these measurements this new find puts J. rhenaniae up alongside the likes of Pterygotus, another huge sea scorpion (known as Eurypterids).

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae was probably a top predator during this part of the Devonian period, feeding on other arthropods, including smaller sea scorpions and fish.  Markus and co-author Simon Braddy, a palaeobiologist from Bristol University have just had their work published in Biology Letters, a scientific journal.

A Scale Drawing of Jaekelopterus (J. rhenaniae)

Jaekelopterus scale drawing

Jaekelopterus scale drawing. Life reconstruction of Jaekelopterus. Picture credit: Markus Poschmann.

Picture credit: Markus Poschmann

Lived in a Marine Environment

Based on other fossils of J. rhenaniae it can be seen that the limbs were relatively weak and would not have supported the weight of this huge animal without the assistance of water, so the scientists have speculated that this animal spent the vast majority of its life in a marine environment.  It would have been a ferocious ambush predator, tackling any animal smaller than itself that ventured within reach.  Once captured the powerful claws would have simply torn the victim to pieces, which could then have been passed up to the animal’s mouth on the underside of its heavily armoured head.

Despite this animal’s terrible appearance, it was no terror of the deep.  Instead it would have patrolled the shallow coastal areas, where there would have been a greater congregation of potential prey.  This theory is borne out by evidence from the matrix from which the fossil was taken.  The rocks reveal that the claw was buried by sediments laid down in a coastal swamp or probably a river delta.

With arthropods this size swimming around its no wonder that the vertebrates decided to give living on land a go.

To view models and replicas of Palaeozoic invertebrates: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

23 11, 2007

Meet Eotriceratops – a Possible Ancestor of Triceratops

By |2022-11-05T22:54:05+00:00November 23rd, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|4 Comments

New Horned Dinosaur Discovered in Alberta

A new type of horned dinosaur, a possible ancestor of the famous three-horned Triceratops has just gone on display at the Royal Tyrrell museum in Alberta.

Although Alberta, Canada is a real hotbed for new dinosaurs, especially ceratopsians with many new genera being discovered in the area such as Albertaceratops*, this new find is especially important has it comes from strata not normally associated with many well preserved dinosaur fossils.

To read article on the discovery of Albertaceratops please click on the link below:

*Albertaceratops: Meet an ancestor of Triceratops – Albertaceratops.

This specimen was found in a remote canyon in Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park in Central Alberta, in a rock horizon that represents sediments deposited around 68 million years ago (Cretaceous – Maastrichtian faunal stage).  Very few dinosaurs are known from this particular period, so the find is potentially very important in helping to trace the lineage of other dinosaurs that came later such as Triceratops.

According to David Eberth, a senior researcher at the Royal Tyrrell museum, it was lucky that the specimen was noticed as the joint expedition from the Tyrrell and Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature could easily have passed this very poorly preserved fossil by as it lay partially exposed in the canyon wall.  However, as dinosaurs were rarely found in rocks of this age, the team persisted and their work was rewarded when they were able to recover most of the huge skull of this horned dinosaur.

It took the scientists a month to complete the initial excavation and then a further 18 months of laboratory work before the skull was able to go on display.  The work was well worth it as Eotriceratops (E. xerinsularis to give this animal its full name); represents a new genus of horned dinosaur, more primitive than Triceratops, with three horns, one small nose horn and two brow horns, each exceeding 1 metre in length.

The skull is also very large, at approaching 3 metres in length.  This is longer than any Triceratops skull found in Canada.  The skull is the size of a Mini Cooper.

It is remarkable how well the skull material has been reconstructed, as when it was first extracted from the shale deposits where it was embedded it was in about 50 pieces.  Indeed, one of the palaeontologists quipped that when it was first excavated the skull resembled “Cretaceous roadkill”.

We still have a lot to learn about the evolution of the ceratopsians.  The greatest variety of horned dinosaurs seems to be found in North America, although they may well have evolved in Asia.  Triceratops is often classified as the largest member of the “long-frilled ceratopsians”; although it could hardly be described as typical of this group.  Perhaps this new discovery will help shed further light on the evolution of Triceratops.  The name Eotriceratops means “dawn Triceratops”.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide selection of horned dinosaur models: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

22 11, 2007

The New Dino Xcavator Game – Are you Brave enough to Dig out T. rex?

By |2024-04-02T21:19:16+01:00November 22nd, 2007|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Dino Xcavator Game – a novel twist on the classic family game “Operation”

We were going through some notes taken from our focus groups and family testers from the last twelve months or so, yesterday.  With so much going on at the moment it is an effort trying to keep the office tidy, but it proved well worth while as we were able to free up some office space.

One of the reports we came across was the feedback we received on one of our dinosaur themed games that was introduced last year; an electronic Dinosaur Excavation game – snappily titled “Dino Xcavator”.  The game is a new twist on the family game Operation, but instead of a patient to operate upon, removing tibia, fibias and of course funny bones (humerus), you have to excavate the skull, vertebrae, pedals and unguals (foot bones and bones related to claws); of a Tyrannosaurus rex!

Electronic Dino Xcavator from Everything Dinosaur

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Toys from Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

The game is suitable for children of 5-years and older.  Using the special excavation forceps you have to test your palaeontological skills as you excavate your very own Tyrannosaur.  Watch out, touch the sides of the pit whilst you are digging and the T. rex will ROAR…  This is a multi-player game and the winner is the one who can excavate the most bones.  It is certainly a great dinosaur excavation game.

Take turns to draw a card, trying your best to avoid getting the job or removing the devilishly difficult caudal section (the tail bones); then using the special excavation tool try to remove a bone.  A steady hand is required plus a little knowledge about dinosaurs of course.

Carefully Does It! – You Do Not Want to Wake up this Dinosaur!

Digging out Tyrannosaurus rex.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

21 11, 2007

Finding Rare Fossils at an Airport – Something to do whilst Waiting for your Flight

By |2024-03-14T09:26:59+00:00November 21st, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Launches Fossil Finding Tour

For passengers waiting at Liverpool John Lennon Airport a new attraction has just been launched to help them pass the time whilst waiting for their flight or for relatives to arrive.  The airport has the usual shops, cafes and bars to keep passengers and visitors entertained but launched this week, the airport now provides the chance for people to go on their own fossil hunt around the terminal.

Finding Fossils

Like many public buildings, Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s terminal buildings have been constructed from quarried sedimentary rocks, many of which contain fossils and if these fossils end up on an exposed face of a building they can be seen by passers by.  Much of the atrium and concourse is made from limestone, a sedimentary rock formed by calcium carbonate, which originally came from the shells and carapaces of marine organisms.  Fossils of marine organisms can be preserved and in recognition of the fossils in the walls and floors of the airport buildings, the airport has introduced the “JLA Fossil Mystery Tour” in conjunction with the Liverpool Geological Society.

Finding Fossils – Can You Spot the Fossils?

Portland Stone

Looking for fossils at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossils in the Limestone

The limestone is estimated to be approximately 250 million years old (Upper Permian/Lower Triassic) and was formed at the bottom of a shallow, tropical sea.  A guidebook can be purchased and visitors can then wander back through time to explore the world at a time before the Dinosaurs.  Indeed, sediments from this period in Earth’s history are particularly poignant as at the end of the Permian there was a huge extinction event and 95% of all life on the planet died out.

Everything Dinosaur has published other articles associated with the Permian extinction event: Can snails and oysters provide a clue to mass extinction?

Robin Tudor, General Manager – Corporate and Community Affairs at JLA, said: “We’re delighted to be launching JLA’s Fossil Mystery Tour guide. I’ve heard people say there’s a load of old fossils at JLA – I used to think they were talking about Airport Management but now I realise they were just well-informed!

“It’s fascinating to learn about the fossils which live in the limestone and to be able to now tell our passengers all about them.

Marks and Patterns in the Floor

“Some passengers aren’t aware that the marks and patterns around the terminal are in fact fossils. Before now we’ve received complaints about the marks and coffee stains on the terminal floor that passengers have mistaken these excellent fossil examples for!”

We can understand what Robin says when it comes to people thinking that the floor may be stained, when actually the “blemish” on the floor represents a marine animal from prehistoric times.  One of our team members was purchasing a new kitchen from a bathroom and kitchen supply store and they overheard a rather well to do lady complaining that the Italian marble tiles she had purchased had strange marks on them, that in her view spoilt the finish.

Fossils Preserved in Tiles

The young shop assistant was becoming quite flustered as the woman continued with her complaint, however, when our team member pointed out to her that the metamorphic marble was originally sedimentary limestone and that these marks were actually rare and ancient fossils which would make her floor a talking point and indeed a unique piece of architecture, she quickly changed her tune and insisted on having more tiles with fossils.

The launch of John Lennon Airport Fossil Mystery Tour guide coincides with the bicentenary celebrations of the Geological Society of London. This society, the oldest Geological society in the world was set up on November 13th 1807 and the launch of the John Lennon Airport Fossil Tour is just one of the special events planned to mark this event.

A Model of an Ammonite and an Ammonite Fossil

We spotted a Bullyland ammonite model being used to help illustrate a display of ammonite fossils. Ammonite replicas are often purchased by fossil hunters.

A Bullyland ammonite model is used to help illustrate a display of ammonite fossils. The building materials may contain mollusc shells.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For models and replicas of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic invertebrates and other prehistoric animal figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Replicas.

The Fossil Mystery Tour guide is now available from the Information Desk in the terminal building.

For visitors to the airport the guide will provide an educational and informative way to help pass the time, after all, standing on an ancient sea floor which is 250 million years old is something that we don’t get the chance to do everyday.

Although not famous for its palaeontological heritage the Cheshire and Liverpool area has a number of public buildings made from sedimentary rock, in which fossils can be found.  Indeed, fossils can turn up in some very strange and unexpected places, take the quiet village of Lymm in Cheshire for example:

Article about Dinosaurs at Lymm (Cheshire).

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