All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 10, 2009

Everything Dinosaur 2010 Dinosaur Calendar

By | October 31st, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur 2010 Dinosaur Calendar

Everything Dinosaur team members have created a special dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed calendar which is available from the company’s website.

Scientists don’t really know what colour dinosaurs were, as only very rarely does any form of pigmentation fossilise.  Illustrations of dinosaurs and various CGI reconstructions are based on scientific assumption.  One of the coolest things about dinosaurs is that when you colour in a picture of a Stegosaurus and make it bright blue, nobody can actually say that your interpretation is inaccurate.  Your guess is as good as any highly respected palaeontologist, we simply don’t know what colour stegosaurs were.

A Dinosaur Calendar

Now is the  chance to put your creative minds to the test with the 2010 Everything Dinosaur calendar.  Each month features an illustration of a different prehistoric animal and you have the chance to colour it in and show the world what colour you thought dinosaurs were.  The 2010 calendar, which is available now, features Chasmosaurus, Tarbosaurus, Nigersaurus, Triceratops and of course Tyrannosaurus rex, plus lots of other prehistoric animals.

The Everything Dinosaur 2010 Dinosaur Calendar

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the extensive selection of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed toys and gifts, take a look at Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

With a pair of bellowing pachyrhinosaurs on the front, the calendar is jam packed full of dinosaurs and dinosaur information.

Muttaburrasaurus for February

Muttaburrasaurus is featured in February.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur

We even have included a dinosaur friendly word search game, with the answers available as a download or from this web log.

30 10, 2009

Everything Dinosaur Christmas Newsletter

By | October 30th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Christmas Newsletter

Everything Dinosaur send out a customer newsletter (e-zine) to their subscribers.

Having invested in state of the art e-zine technology we finally got round to using it to create the first of our Christmas newsletters, this was sent out to our database of subscribers.  Trouble is, these days with so many new products to talk about it is a question of having to select the six or seven we wish to promote and publicise.  Still after a considered discussion amongst team members the Fossil Gift Set, some new dinosaur themed games, the Bedtime Buddies microwavable soft toys plus a few of the many new models we have introduced got a mention.

Contact Everything Dinosaur to subscribe to the company’s free newsletters: Contact Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur

We also updated readers on how we were helping them to overcome problems with the Royal Mail strike, industrial action that seems set to continue.

Everything Dinosaur Christmas Newsletter (Part 1)

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Customer Newsletter

We have plans to send out a second newsletter in about 3 weeks time, promoting other products from our range.  With nearly 700 hundred product lines the problem is working out which ones to promote, thankfully our product testers and their feedback proves invaluable.

To visit the award-winning Everything Dinosaur website: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

29 10, 2009

Cetiosauriscus Leg Bone Discovered in Gloucestershire Quarry

By | October 29th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|2 Comments

Very Rare Dinosaur Bone Discovered in Gloucestershire Quarry

Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, Gloucestershire has proved a happy hunting ground for one hard working palaeontologist who has been able to piece together a leg bone from a huge Jurassic sauropod.  The bone may represent a new species of long-necked dinosaur, but for the time being this specimen has been classified as a Cetiosauriscus.  Finding the fossilised bones of Middle Jurassic sauropods is a red-letter day for any palaeontologist, as there are few examples of European Middle Jurassic sauropods known from the fossil record.

Cetiosauriscus Leg Bone

Commenting on this find, Dr Neville Hollingsworth stated that the creature may have been up to 20 metres long and would have resembled a Diplodocus, a more famous long-necked dinosaur known from the Late Jurassic of North America.

An Illustration of Cetiosauriscus

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Cetiosauriscus was originally formerly named and described by the famous German palaeontologists Friedrich von Huene in 1927.  The holotype (the specimen upon which the original description of Cetiosauriscus is based), consists of several back bones.  Some fragmentary sauropod fossils found on the Isle of Wight may have belonged to diplodocoids, it has been speculated that some of these too, may be ascribed to Cetiosauriscus.

Sifting Through Tonnes of Clay

Dr Hollingsworth took six months to sift through the tonnes of muddy clay at the water park to retrieve all the pieces of fossil bone he could.  No other bones have been found, but the painstaking work of Dr Hollingsworth has enabled the 1.4-metre-long bone to be recovered, prepared and made ready for display.  The site in the quarry was being refurbished and the area where the fossil pieces were recovered is now flooded.

The fossils were found in Oxford clay a strata associated with marine deposits, so what is a 20 metre long, land-living dinosaur doing fossilised in a marine deposit?  The answer is simple, either the animal or its carcase was washed out to sea, perhaps in a flash flood.  At first the corpse would have been buoyant, kept afloat by the gases inside the huge body, but after a while the carcase would have ruptured, possibly as a result of the scavenging of sea creatures such as ichthyosaurs and the carcase broken up and scattered.

Explaining why only one bone has been able to be pieced together, Dr Hollingsworth said:

“The rest of the dinosaur is missing, presumed eaten”.

He went on to add:

“There was a point when I wondered if I would recover all the pieces in time.  Although it took me over a week to get everything out of the ground it was worth it for such an exciting find”.

The strata in which the fossil was found has been dated to around 168 million years ago (Bajocian faunal stage).  Although much of Europe was covered by a shallow sea, this large herbivore would have shared its world with formidable hunters such as Megalosaurus and possibly animals like Eustreptospondylus.  The single skeleton of Eustreptospondylus, one of the most complete theropods ever found in Europe seems to have shared the fate of this sauropod.  The fossilised skeleton of Eustreptospondylus was also found in marine clays.  It is likely that the animal died on land and the carcase washed out to sea where it eventually sank to the bottom and was covered in fine sediment.

Megalosaurus and other Jurassic theropod models: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Models and Figures.

28 10, 2009

The Difference between Fossil Finds and the Fossil Gift Set

By | October 28th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

The Difference Between our Fossil Finds and the Fossil Gift Set

We received an enquiry via email from a lady who wanted to know the difference between our “Fossil Finds” and the “Fossil Gift Set”.  That’s a good question, as with all the products that we put into our website, we take lots of pictures so that potential purchasers can have a really good look at the items, and as in this case we can always be emailed if further information is required.

Fossil Finds

The “Fossil Finds” are blocks of gypsum that contain a plastic model of a dinosaur skeleton.  There are six in the series – Diplodocus, T. rex, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus and Velociraptor.  We wanted to find a way of giving young children the experience of finding their very own dinosaur skeleton and digging it up.

The wooden pick and brush in the kit are just like the tools we use when we are excavating next to fossil bone.  Once the dinosaur pieces have been excavated the little skeleton model can be assembled.

The Dinosaur Fossil Finds from Everything Dinosaur

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the extensive range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed toys and gifts, take a look at Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

Fossil Gift Box

The “Fossil Gift Box” contains real, genuine fossils.  Namely two ammonite fossils, a fossil and the counter piece to this fossil (imagine an ammonite split in two and polished so the internal structure can be seen), plus a fossil of an orthocone, a strange, marine invertebrate that lived before the age of dinosaurs.  Finally, the Fossil Gift Box contains a very well preserved fossil shark tooth, dating from around 50 million years ago.

The Fossil Gift Box from Everything Dinosaur

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur stocks an amazing range of models of important zonal fossils as recognised in the fossil record.  There are replicas of ammonites, nautiloids, belemnites, a model of an Orthoceras and trilobite figures.

To view the range of zonal fossil replicas, take a look at: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Prehistoric Life Models.

Our company is staffed by real dinosaur and fossil experts, there are so many fakes and poor quality fossils on the market that before we decided to add this fossil gift set to our range, one of our experts met up with all the suppliers to check on the quality and to verify the authenticity of the fossils.

Hope this explanation helps when it comes to sorting out dinosaur fossil finds kits and fossil gift boxes.

27 10, 2009

T. rex “a Kitten” Compared to Dorset Sea Monster say Experts

By | October 27th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|1 Comment

Giant Pliosaur Remains Go On Display in Dorset (England)

The fossilised jaws of one of the largest predators known to science are going on in display in Dorset, the remains of the 2.4 metre long jaws of a gigantic marine predator, a pliosaur, are providing scientists with clues about just how dangerous swimming would have been in the mid Mesozoic.

According to palaeontologist and plesiosaur expert Richard Forrest, Tyrannosaurus rex was a “kitten” compared to this ferocious short-necked plesiosaur.  Although, it is difficult to estimate the size of the entire animal based on partial jaws and elements of the skull this creature, whose fossils were found in Upper Jurassic coastal strata on the aptly named Jurassic coast (Kimmeridigian faunal stage), scientists speculate that this huge carnivore could have exceeded over 50 feet in length.  The fossils were found by a local collector, who was lucky enough to discover them after elements of the fossil had eroded out of the unstable cliffs.  The collector kept returning to the same spot to see what tide and time was revealing of the monster.  The fossils found to date have been purchased by Dorset County Council, who hope to display this beast at the local county museum.

The Huge Lower Jaws of the pliosaur

Picture credit: Dorset County Council

The picture shows the huge lower jaw bones of the as yet not fully scientifically described pliosaur, the tip of the jaws is facing the camera.  The animal that possessed these powerful jaws would have been able to swallow an adult human in one bite.

Commenting on the fossilised bones, that went on display for the press, palaeontologist Richard stated:

“I had heard rumours that something big was turning up.  But seeing this thing in the flesh, so to speak, is just jaw dropping.  It is simply enormous.”

Related to the long-necked plesiosaurs, pliosaurs became the top marine predators from the Early Jurassic into the Cretaceous.  They were characterised by their short, powerful necks, massive skulls and huge jaws filled with large, pointed teeth.  An animal such as the Dorset find would have been the top predator in the ecosystem.  This may help explain why so many ichthyosaur bones have been found that indicate an attack or feeding from a huge predator.  Indeed, one fossilised skeleton of an ichthyosaur indicates that it may have been bitten in half.  A pliosaur with 2.4 metre long jaws such as this leviathan would have been capable of such a feat.  Pliosaurs and plesiosaurs evolved an unusual method of swimming, one that is not known in nature today.  These animals used their huge four flippers to power their way through the water.  Each flipper would have twisted as it beat up and down, creating a backward thrust that drove these large animals forward.  The motion is a little like flying underwater, it is thought that most of the propulsion came from the rear flippers but even the front flippers may have exceeded 3 metres in length and been immensely strong.

Dr David Martill, a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth described pliosaurs stating:

“These creatures were monsters!  They had massive, big muscles on their necks, and you would have imagined that they would bite into the animal and get a good grip, and then with these massive neck muscles they probably would have thrashed the animals around and torn chunks off.  It would have been a bit of a blood bath.”

Experts are suggesting that this latest discovery could turn out to represent one of the largest pliosaurs ever found.  Although a full study has yet to be carried out and scientists are confident that more fossils of this specimen will be found soon, early estimates put this animal at around 10-16 metres in length and weighing between 7 and 12 tonnes.  These estimates are not the exaggerated estimates so typical of a big pliosaur discovery.  The 25 metre length of Liopleurodon is open very much to question, but there is no doubting this was a big beast, capable of eating everything else in the Jurassic seas around 150 million years ago.

The scale drawing above compares a frogman with a Killer Whale (Orca) and the new pliosaur.  Although the drawing shows the pliosaur at the top end of the estimated size for this beast, even at 10 metres long it would have been much bigger and heavier than a Killer Whale.  This new discovery could rival other recent finds as being the largest carnivore known from the fossil record.  A pliosaur named “Predator X” found in Svalbard, is estimated to be around 16 metres long.  A slightly earlier find “The Monster of Aramberri” discovered in 2002 in Mexico is believed to be of a similar size to the Dorset find.

A Pliosaur Replica on Display at a Museum


A replica of a pliosaur on display at a museum. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The specimen has yet to be properly prepared in a laboratory, but early indications are that it has been remarkably well preserved and more of the specimen might be buried in the cliff and eroded out.

Plesiosaur expert Richard Forrest, commented that the skull was in very good condition, most skull material associated with pliosaurs has been compacted or even crushed flat, so little anatomical data can be assembled.  However, this specimen is in almost 3-D so the great power and strength of the jaws can be appreciated.

He said:

“Pliosaur skulls are very big, but not that robust, in general, and you tend to find them crushed flat – completely ‘pancaked’.  What is fantastic about this new skull, not only is it absolutely enormous, but it is pretty much in 3-D and not much distorted.”

He went on to add:

“It could have taken a human in one gulp; in fact, something like a T. rex would have been breakfast for a beast like this.”

It is certainly true, just as top sea predators today are much bigger than apex land predators, the same would have occur ed in the Mesozoic.  The advantage of having water to help support their weight would have given pliosaurs the opportunity to grow bigger and heavier than even the largest carnivorous dinosaurs.

Dorset County Council has purchased the fossil remains for £20,000, Heritage Lottery Funds were used to secure this unique specimen.

Discussing the purchase, David Tucker, the County’s museums advisor said:

“Our aim is to purchase fossils found along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and to get them into local museums – we want to put really exceptional fossils in museums.”

These huge predators certainly capture the public’s imagination, animals like Liopleurodon are very popular with dinosaur fans and our taste for super predators seems unlikely to be diminished, indeed our fascination for these huge marine reptiles seems to grow with every new exciting discovery.

To view a model of Liopleurodon, pliosaurs and other marine prehistoric animals, visit the models section of the Everything Dinosaur website: Dinosaur, Marine Reptile and Prehistoric Animal Models.

26 10, 2009

Ancient Hominids could Kick Butt

By | October 26th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Ancient Hominids Physically Much more Powerful than Modern Humans claims Anthropologist

Despite improvements in nutrition, medicine and even with modern training techniques and supplements today’s top athletes would be no match for some of our ancestors a leading anthropologist has claimed.

Modern humans would lose out in physical contests against ancient humans and against other species on the hominid family tree, that is the claim by the anthropologist Peter McAllister in his new book entitled “Manthropology: The Science of Inadequate Modern Man”.  Whilst we can understand some of the headline grabbing information provided in the various press releases to publicise the launch of this particular book, once an understanding of certain hominid species is gained, the hypothesis suggesting that modern humans are wimps in comparison to our ancestors is not very surprising.

For example, in Peter’s book he states that a Neanderthal woman could beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.

Ancient Hominids

Not wishing to put a damper on the Governor of California’s physical prowess, we are sure that Mr Schwarzenegger at his peak would have been very strong.  However, Neanderthals do have some anatomical advantages that might just give them the edge if an armwrestling contest was ever to be held.  For example, although Neanderthals were shorter than most modern humans (males about 1.70 metres tall, females about 1.52 metres), they were stockily-built and heavily muscled.  Evidence of the heavy musculature appears in the extremely large muscle attachment scars on the fossil bones and the bowing of some of the limb bones.  A male Neanderthal would have weighed around 80 kilogrammes and both sexes would have been immensely strong.  Studies of the fingers and wrist bones show that they had a much more powerful grip than a modern human.  Their strong muscles, squat stature and the different proportions in the arm bones, particularly the shorter lower arm would give a Neanderthal female a distinct advantage in a strength contest against a bodybuilder such as Mr Schwarzenegger.

Studies of “Boxgrove Man”

Studies of “Boxgrove Man”, believed to be 500,000 year-old fossil remains and other evidence of Homo heidelbergensis found in West Sussex give an indication of just how big and strong some of our ancestors were.  A tibia (shin-bone) discovered at Boxgrove in 1993 is massive in its proportions and strength.  It is believed to have belonged to a male, well over 1.80 metres tall and easily weighing 80 plus kilogrammes.  The site revealed the remains of complete animal carcases that had been butchered at that location.  There was the fossils of a complete horse, two rhinoceros, each one weighing an estimated 700 kilogrammes, yet these animals had been killed and then carried back to this site and then cut up for food.

Homo neanderthalensis Model

CollectA Neanderthal man model

Selecting a CollectA Neanderthal man figure for an Everything Dinosaur customer. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view models of ancient hominids including Neanderthals: CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

It is not only the Neanderthals and H. heidelbergensis that come out on top in physical contests against our own species, our ancestors too, were capable of some amazing physical feats.  Mr McAllister has also studied the preserved footprints of aborigines in Australia and his work suggest that they were capable of running at up to 23 mph, bare foot and over soft mud in their pursuit of prey.

The prints of six men chasing prey and Mr McAllister’s study of them leads him to believe these men if trained and provided with modern running shoes could beat Usain Bolt in a sprint.  Peter claims that these ancient ancestors of ours could theoretically reach sprinting speeds of up to 28 mph.

Usain Bolt reached 26mph at last year’s Beijing Olympics, but Mr McAllister claims that with modern training and spiked running shoes, an aboriginal man would be capable of 28mph.

The anthropologist blames modern lifestyles for our decline in speed and power.

He says in his book:

“At the start of the industrial revolution there are statistics about how much harder people worked then.  The human body is very plastic, and it responds to stress.  We have lost 40 per cent of the shafts of our long bones, because we have much less of a muscular load placed upon them them”.

This is very true, you only have to read accounts of working people’s lives 100 years ago to learn how long and how hard they had to work.  Some of the old farmers in Cheshire remember, how their fathers and grandfathers worked in the days before tractors and modern machinery.  Gathering the harvest was extremely hard work, with some of the corn crops cut with scythes.  I remember being told the tale by one very old gentleman, that in the days before WWII when the reaper binder was still not that common on small holdings, a man’s worth was measured in how much corn he could cut in a day.  Compared to the lives of our grandparents, we modern humans have it relatively easy with our office jobs and commuter lifestyles.  Still, studies of the skeletons of people dating from the Middle Ages indicate that we 21st Century folk are certainly a lot taller and healthier than that particular group of people from human history.  In fact, modern people are about us tall as our human ancestors from the New Stone Age, but we certainly did not have to work as hard to get our daily bread.  One thing is for sure we certainly lived longer, a Neolithic person could perhaps hope to reach 35-40 maybe, for us, scientists are predicting in twenty years time, reaching 90 years of age and beyond will be much more commonplace.

25 10, 2009

Review of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Edition 91)

By | October 25th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Review of Prehistoric Times Magazine Autumn Edition

The latest edition of Prehistoric Times, the magazine for dinosaur enthusiasts and model collectors arrived a few days ago.  As always, this magazine is jam-packed full of articles, news, stories, illustrations and information on the latest research.

The main dinosaur to be featured this month is the Brachiosaurus and other relatives of the Macronaria, these super-sized titans of the Mesozoic.  The front cover depicts a herd of brachiosaurs peacefully browsing whilst a flock of pterosaurs fly overhead. This illustration was done by the very talented artist Juanjo Castellano.  Inside the magazine there is an in-depth article on the brachiosaur family with lots of new information about the latest discoveries.

A Model of a Typical Brachiosaurid

W-Dragon Giraffatitan Compared to a Papo standing T. rex dinosaur model

W-Dragon Giraffatitan Compared to a Papo standing T. rex dinosaur model.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

We were particularly impressed by the scale drawing showing the relative sizes of brachiosaurs (prepared by Nima Sassoni) – very good.  On the subject of drawings there is part two of the excellent article written by Tracy Lee Ford on how to draw oviraptorids and a lovely and very informative article on prehistoric cave art from around the world.

The Front Cover of the Autumn Edition of Prehistoric Times

Picture credit: Mike Fredericks

There is even something for fans of prehistoric mammals with an article written by Phil Hore on the predatory characteristics of two giant prehistoric carnivores, the huge Andrewsarchus and the equally impressive Megistotherium (Hyaenodontid).

Prehistoric Times website: Prehistoric Times Magazine.

24 10, 2009

Debate over “Ida” Hots up (D. masillae)

By | October 24th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|1 Comment

Darwinius masillae – Missing Link Debate Hots Up

Earlier this year, a paper published on the discovery of an ancient primate fossil from the Messel shales, a World Heritage site in Germany, attracted a great deal of publicity.  It was heralded as an important discovery, the earliest example of a primate whose descendants were to become the higher apes and eventually the hominids.  The species was named Darwininus masillae.

To read an article on the discovery of D. masillae: The Relationship between Hominids and Lemurs – Darwinius.

Darwinius masillae

The 47-million-year-old fossil, regarded as “humanity’s long lost ancestor” and publicised as “the first link in human evolution”, was unveiled earlier this year.  The fossil was nicknamed “Ida” by Dr Jorn Hurum, the scientist who revealed the fossil to the world, Ida is the name of the doctor’s daughter.  However, other scientists have refuted the claim that this fossil represents an early ancestor of the line of apes that were to lead to humans.

There was even a documentary on the discovery narrated by Sir David Attenborough and shown at peak viewing time on the BBC.  Dr Hurum and his team identified “Ida” as having lived at around the time the primates were splitting into two distinct branches, the Haplorhines, which includes the apes and a second group which includes the lemurs, lorises and pottos (Strepsirrhines).

Lemur-like Characteristics

Darwinius excited palaeontologists as this fossil lacked lemur-like characteristics, no fused teeth in the middle of the lower jaw and no grooming claw, suggesting that this material represented the newly developing “human branch” of primates.  Dr Hurum reported this fossil as being the “first link in human evolution”, guaranteeing a great deal of media interest.

However, the significance of “Ida” is being called into doubt by a paper that will be published in the scientific magazine “Nature”.  A team of scientists, led by D. Erik Seiffert from Stony Brook University in New York, examined another primate fossil, a 37-million-year-old fossil very closely related to “Ida”.  Dr Seiffert and his team have stated that both mammals belong to a group called the Adapoids, extinct primates that are believed not to be related to Hominids.

Dr Seiffert stated:

“Phylogenetic analysis of over 300 characteristics across 117 living and extinct primates reveals that the Adapoids are not ancestors to higher primates but rather a separate lineage with no known descendants”.

He went on to add:

“This means that the features they share with higher primates, such as the loss of the upper and lower second premolar, must have evolved independently.”

Some Examples of Messel Shale Fossils

Part of the Messel gallery (Senckenberg Museum).

The atmospheric Messel gallery at the Senckenberg Museum (Frankfurt). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

This new paper is a little embarrassing considering the amount of publicity the unveiling of Darwinius generated.  It questions the main findings of the earlier discovery.  It seems that the importance of the Darwinius fossil will be debated for many years to come.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website for prehistoric animal figures: Prehistoric Animal Figures.

23 10, 2009

The Smallest Dinosaur Discovered to Date – Fruitadens

By | October 23rd, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Fruitadens haagarorum – Tiniest Dinosaur known to Science

Thirty years after its fossils were discovered in Colorado, a new genus of ornithischian dinosaur has been named and described, perhaps the smallest dinosaur discovered to date.  In a paper published in the scientific journal “Royal Society Journal Proceedings B (Biology)”, the research team claim that this little dinosaur weighed less than a kilogramme.  This puts the tiny Fruitadens haagarorum in pole position when it comes to identifying the smallest species of dinosaur discovered to date.  Other contenders include the feathered Microraptor gui from the Liaoning Province of north-east China.

Microraptor is estimated to have measured something like 40-60 centimetres.  The diminutive Micropachycephalosaurus, also from China was of a similar size, although the exact taxonomic classification of this Late Cretaceous ornithischian remains uncertain (incertae sedis).

Ornithischian Dinosaur

There were certainly many small theropods but for the moment it is Fruitadens haagarorum that is taking the plaudits for being the smallest dinosaur known from the fossil record,  with a body weight no more than two bags of sugar.

Classifying Dinosaurs

The shape of the hip bones help to classify the Dinosauria.

Classifying dinosaurs by the shape of their hip bones.

Pictures show an artist’s impression of Fruitadens haagarorum in comparison with an adult human.   The fossils had been housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, since they were discovered in Colorado in 1979.  The partial remains of at least four individuals including skull material are known and it is believed that this animal was a a member of the Heterodontosauridae, a primitive group of ornithopods.

The fossils were found in sandstones dating from the Late Jurassic (Tithonian faunal stage), approximately 150 million years ago.  The sandstones are part of the famous Morrison Formation of rocks from the Upper Jurassic which have yielded a large number of famous dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Allosaurus and Stegosaurus.

The study into this tiny, fleet footed dinosaur was led by Richard Butler from the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology in Munich, southern Germany.  Analysis of the teeth in the minute jaw indicate that this ornithischian may have been an omnivore.  Most ornithischians are totally herbivorous but this agile little dinosaur may have eaten a variety of food stuffs, plant material, insects and perhaps small mammals, amphibians and lizards.

Fruitadens haagarorum

Photographs show a tiny fragment of lower jaw with dentition (teeth) of the minute dinosaur Fruitadens.

Commenting on the prospect of an ornithischian dinosaur being an omnivore, Richard Butler stated:

“This is unusual for that group [Ornithischia] most of them were strict herbivores.  But if you’re small, it is hard to feed on just vegetation, as it is difficult to digest”.

Bigger animals with much larger guts were better able to survive on a plant-only diet.  Larger animals have bigger guts, and a big gut is what you need to help digest tough plant material.  The genus name refers to an area of Colorado called Fruita, where the fossils were first discovered.  The specific name is in honour of the Haaga family who have long been supporters of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Dr Butler went onto add:

“Fruitadens, comes from a series of rocks, the Morrison Formation, which palaeontologists have studied intensively for 130 years, and from which dozens of dinosaur species are already known.  Yet it is still possible to discover completely unique and remarkable species.  If dinosaur ecosystems were that diverse, who knows what astonishing beasts are waiting for us to discover”?

This little dinosaur probably scampered around the undergrowth, avoiding predators such as Ornitholestes, using its speed to keep itself out of trouble.  Ironically, some of the contemporaries of Fruitadens, the sauropods were so large that this little dinosaur could have run around these leviathans without them noticing.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a huge range of models of ornithischian dinosaurs to view this range: Everything Dinosaur – Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

22 10, 2009

The Impact of the Royal Mail Dispute on Everything Dinosaur

By | October 22nd, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

The Impact of the Industrial Action in the UK Mail Network

Today and tomorrow industrial action is being organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) as a result of the long running dispute with Royal Mail.  These two 24-hour strikes will interupt the flow of mail and the subsequent delivery.  In addition, further disruption will be expected as the backlog of letters and parcels is cleared.  Sadly, further industrial action is planned by the union and we are expecting this dispute to continue for the foreseeable future.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, working closely with local Post Office contacts have been able to despatch some parcels and other items into the UK delivery system today.  Other parcels have been despatched using courier services which are not directly affected by the strike action.  Staff will continue to pack items in readiness for a collection tomorrow, and every effort is being made to ensure that all parcels that can go out tomorrow are sent out, so at least they enter the UK mail system.

A number of other measures are being implemented to help the situation, including putting on extra staff on Saturday morning to ensure all items ordered late Friday and early Saturday are despatched forthwith.

Industrial Dispute at Royal Mail

Royal Mail

Everything Dinosaur team members have taken steps to help minimise disruption for customers, but due to industrial action UK and overseas deliveries of parcels will be subject to delays. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

In addition, to ease the burden on local Post Office resources, no letters or correspondence is being sent out by the company over the next 96 hours.  Where possible all correspondence is being carried out via email or telephone/fax.  In this small way we can help reduce the workload and the subsequent back log for local staff.

Everything Dinosaur, like many firms is actively exploring alternative mail delivery systems.  The strike action, if it is to continue may result in delays and other difficulties with Christmas post.  We are doing all we can to assist customers and provide advice.  It is a sensible precaution to not leave ordering until quite late as delays in delivery may occur and these may become worse as the mail build up towards Christmas increases.

Naturally, we will keep all our customers informed.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

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