Review of New Year Palaeontology Predictions 2008 – How did we Do?

Just for a bit of fun the team members at Everything Dinosaur tried to predict likely events, new fossil discoveries and other news in 2008, we try to make palaeontology predictions.  We put our heads together, consulted with various experts, researchers and scientists around the world and compiled a list of ten predictions for 2008.

The article was published in early January of this year, now is a good time to review the list and to see how we did.

Palaeontology Predictions

To read the original article in full: New Year Predictions for 2008.

This is our list (in no particular order):

* More Australian Polar Dinosaur Discoveries to be Announced

* Walking with Dinosaurs Tour a big Success

* More Dinosaurs on TV

* Everything Dinosaur to increase Product Range

* Plenty of Plesiosaurs

* Chinese Authorities to announce New Dinosaur Species

* Museums to Charge for Entry

* More Specimens going into the hands of Private Collectors

* More fake fossils on Internet Auction Sites

* New Legal Disputes over Tyrannosaur Fossils

It certainly is a broad mix of ideas and predictions, most of which we could claim to have come true.  Take for example, our suggestion that 2008 would lead to the announcement of new dinosaur species by the Chinese authorities.

A Number of New Species Reported

A number of new species have been reported, but this is not surprising given the scale of the research being carried out in China.  The Chinese have only just begun to explore fully the strata of Liaoning and Szechuan province, in fact, we published an article yesterday (29th December), as Chinese scientists had claimed they had uncovered the world’s largest dinosaur fossil site:

To read the article: Shandong Dinosaur Site “World’s Largest”.

In a similar vein, we would expect more Aussie dinosaurs to be discovered with a number of papers published on the prehistoric beasts of Gondwanaland.  Down under is proving to be a “hot spot” for dinosaur discoveries as areas of Queensland and Victoria are more fully studied and explored.  An article about the discovery of a potential new species of Aussie Dinosaur was published in the Autumn of 2008.

To read the article: New Aussie Dinosaur Discovery.

With a couple of predictions we were less successful.  Our team members were a little off the mark with the charging policy to museums being introduced.  We are aware of the subventions and grants being given by the UK Government are under pressure and we suspect that to decrease public borrowing charges may be introduced soon.

However, most of the national and regional museums were able to offer free entrance for this year.  The “Walking with Dinosaurs” Tour certainly was a big success but the London dates did not occur this year, the itinerary for the UK was not announced until a few weeks ago.  The tour will be huge in the UK next year.  We already have our VIP passes organised.

Sadly, our predictions about more specimens going to private collectors and the increasing amount of fossil sales on Internet sites were true.  The global recession may curb some collector’s enthusiasm for fossils, and prices may indeed fall but chances are the cost of dinosaur fossils at auction will remain beyond the budgets of most scientific bodies.

Purchasing Fossils – Caution is Urged

As for purchasing fossils from Internet sites, we urge caution and advise interested parties to source any materials from legitimate organisations.

It is so pleasing to see new parts of the world being opened up for exploration by palaeontologists.  We did predict that more plesiosaur fossils would be uncovered and this would lead to the announcement of new genera.  It is always exciting to read about these amazing marine reptiles.  It was fantastic to read about the discovery of plesiosaurs in Iran.

To read the article: Fossil Plesiosaurs Found in Iran.

In 2008, we added a new plesiosaur model to our CollectA range.  The plesiosaur concerned was Hydrotherosaurus (name means “water beast lizard”).

An Illustration of the Hydrotherosaurus model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the CollectA Hydrotherosaurus and other marine reptile models and figures: Dinosaur and Marine Reptile Models and Figures.

The super, streamlined model of Hydrotherosaurus illustrates what a well adapted animal Hydrotherosaurus was, very much at home in a marine habitat.  The small head on a long neck was ideal for darting into shoals of fish to snatch a meal.

We did predict that our product range would increase in 2008, and indeed it has, we have plans to increase the number of items we stock and  plans are already advanced for introductions in 2009.  Team members have been working on several projects including new models so it looks like we are going to be very busy next year.