All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 03, 2010

Is there a Life-size Replica of Tyrannosaurus rex at Dinosaurs Unleashed? A Great Question!

By |2024-04-19T10:27:17+01:00March 31st, 2010|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Is there a Life-Size Replica of T. rex at Dinosaurs Unleashed?

Following our visit to the Dinosaurs Unleashed attraction in Oxford Street, London (England) the other day, we have been asked whether there was a life-size replica of Tyrannosaurus rex.

Yes, there is (see picture below), it is in the indoor arena area and very good looking it is too.

Tyrannosaurus rex Replica at Dinosaurs Unleashed Attraction

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Tyrannosaurus rex

A very ferocious replica of Tyrannosaurus rex awaits you inside the Dinosaurs Unleashed attraction.  The model reminded us a little of the Natural History Museum’s large scale model of T.rex, this too had been coloured brown and the head is similar to the life-size replica on display in Oxford Street.  It is certainly a most impressive Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur model.

To view a large scale model T. rex take a look at the amazing range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models in the CollectA range of scale models: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models and Figures.

Also on display are models of Placerias, Plateosaurus, Postosuchus, Diplodocus (young and adult), Iguanodon, Megalosaurus, Stegosaurus, Deinosuchus, Ornitholestes, Ankylosaurus, Triceratops and Velociraptor, there are more but we can’t remember them all.

30 03, 2010

Rogue Fossil Collectors on England’s Jurassic Coast Face Ban – Important News

By |2024-04-19T10:05:24+01:00March 30th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Court Injunctions help Protect Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

In December 2001, the Dorset and East Devon coastline (the Jurassic Coast), was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.  It is England’s first recognised natural World Heritage site, ranking alongside such historic locations as the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands.  Now two court injunctions issued against unscrupulous fossil collectors are helping to protect and preserve this unique set of fossil bearing geological formations.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been lucky enough to have visited the Lyme Regis and Charmouth area on many occasions, it is a truly beautiful part of the coastline of southern England.  Although collecting fossils from the beach is a fun and very satisfying pursuit, often providing children with their first experience of fossils, parts of the cliff have been made more dangerous due to the activities of some rogue commercial fossil hunters.

The Jurassic Cliffs between Charmouth and Lyme Regis

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Jurassic Coast

The National Trust and Charmouth council secured the first order banning a Somerset man from extracting fossils out of the cliffs as it was feared that these activities could endanger others if there were landslips.  In a similar move, a second injunction was also made by Taunton County Court banning “unknown persons” from digging in the Dorset coast area.

A Replica of a Belemnite

CollectA Belemnite model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Belemnite model.

For replicas of iconic prehistoric animals, fossils of which can be found on the Jurassic Coast: Replicas of Iconic Fossil Animals.

A spokesperson for the National Trust, the organisation responsible for the management of much of the UNESCO World Heritage coastline in conjunction with the local councils said that fossils could still be collected from the beach but these orders would prevent extraction of fossils from cliff faces and help prevent coastal erosion.

The spokesperson went onto add:

“The man has been involved in extracting large numbers of fossils by digging expressly against the wishes of the landowners and the guidance of the West Dorset fossil collecting code of conduct.  His actions have also placed the public, including walkers and families, at risk from falling rocks.”

Any person or persons, breaking the injunction, which came into force in time for the Spring tourist season, could be arrested.  We at Everything Dinosaur, welcome this move as we are very aware how unstable the cliffs are and indeed we have been shocked and appalled by some of the activities of commercial fossil hunters in the area in recent years.

Fortunately, for every rogue dealer than are many more highly professional fossil collectors who respect their environment and work within the confines of the Fossil Collecting Code of Conduct – a code we ourselves have done much to publicise and promote.

Helen Mann, the National Trust property manager in Dorset, went onto add:

“These injunctions are not about stopping people picking up the fossils on the beaches.  We know thousands of families enjoy collecting fossils as a memento of their visit to the Jurassic Coastline and this is a valuable educational activity for many families and schools.  This is about preventing inappropriate and unlawful fossil collection which damages the coastline.”

She went onto add:

“Wholesale digging into the cliffs, prospecting along fossil-rich layers, is dangerous and unacceptable.”

We at Everything Dinosaur wholeheartedly support this action by the authorities and we hope that the threat of arrest will deter those commercial collectors who migrate to the Dorset coast with the sole objective of taking out as many fossils as they can in as quick a time as possible with a view to selling them to private collectors and on auction websites.

If you would like to visit the Jurassic coast and take part in an organised fossil hunting walk with local experts, we are happy to recommend a number of Dorset based professional fossil collectors who conduct a number of daily guided walks along England’s historic Jurassic coastline.

For further information visit: Guided Fossil Walks at Lyme Regis.

30 03, 2010

Easter Holidays – Try a Visit to Dinosaurs Unleashed

By |2023-03-04T15:54:10+00:00March 30th, 2010|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Take the Family to Dinosaurs Unleashed in London (Easter Holiday Idea)

The clocks have gone forward, we are now basking in British Summer Time (BST) and with the longer daylight and the kids off school for the Easter holiday why not take a trip to London to take in the sights, do a bit of shopping and visit Dinosaurs Unleashed in Oxford Street.

Dinosaurs Unleashed

Dinosaurs Unleashed is the UK’s largest fully animatronic, life-sized dinosaur experience with over 24 full-size dinosaurs, located in the heart of London on Oxford Street.  One of our team members had the opportunity to visit this memorable attraction early one morning, before it was open to the public, a sort of sneak preview of this Mesozoic attraction.

Getting up Close to a Stegosaurus

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows a life-size, animatronic model of that Jurassic favourite Stegosaurus.  The Mesozoic garden has been laid out in such a way that if you walk around it in an anti-clockwise direction you are following the history of the evolution of plant life through the Mesozoic.  Starting with cycads, seed ferns and horsetails, the backdrop to the huge prehistoric animal models slowly changes, mimicking the evolution of plant life.  By the time visitors have reached the far end of the garden, close to the Deinosuchus (giant crocodile) lurking in the lagoon, they will see a plethora of plants, including flowering ones; these represent fauna at the very end of the Cretaceous.

Keen gardeners will be surprised to learn that many of the shrubs, bushes and flowers that they cultivate in their own back gardens have origins from the time of dinosaurs.  The ancient ancestor of that prize cutting brought back from the garden centre may once have been munched upon by a duck-billed dinosaur.

Diplodocus on Display

The biggest model on display is that of Diplodocus, at three times the length of a double-decker bus, it is a truly impressive beast.

Close up of the head of Diplodocus

Diplodocus Unleashed.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

It is when you get close to such a huge model that you can really appreciate the size and scale of some of these long extinct creatures.  The children that had begun to congregate around the Diplodocus exhibit were full of wonder and very excited at coming face to face with this long-necked giant.  At this point, our member of staff got rather way laid as he was bombarded with questions about Diplodocus and the other dinosaurs on show.

The Dinosaurs Unleashed staff also asked lots of interesting questions.  Questions such as how do we know what colour dinosaurs were?  What sounds did they make?  How did we know what the arrangement of the armoured plates on the back of Stegosaurus was like?   Our expert did his best to answer the many and varied questions, as for the query regarding the plates on a Stegosaurus, a clue to the answer he gave can be found in the exhibit itself, can anyone spot the hint at the layout of the Stegosaurus plates that is found within the Dinosaurs Unleashed Mesozoic garden?

Causing much amusement amongst the staff was the sight of some ducks, happily going about their business in the midst of the giant dinosaur models.  How ironic that these small birds should visit the Diplodocus and share the pond.  After all, last year, scientists in China reported finding the oldest fossil of a toothless bird to date.  At 120 million years old, this type of feathered friend would have come across many a long-necked dinosaur as it waddled its way around the early Cretaceous forests of China.

To read more about this recent discovery: An Ancient Duck – Oldest Bird with Toothless Jaw Found to Date.

There was plenty of good quality of information available on the prehistoric animals featured, although the name Leedsichthys, the huge plankton feeding, Jurassic giant fish was spelt wrong, a shame because the Jurassic aquarium with its realistic marine reptiles and ammonites was a joy to watch.  I am sure that the many young dinosaur fans that visit the attraction will learn a lot.

To models and replicas of the Dinosaurs Unleashed figures: Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

Dinosaurs Unleashed has been extended to the 3rd of May, but time is running out to catch the prehistoric animals in all their majesty.  If you want an exciting and fun filled activity for the Easter holidays then visit Dinosaurs Unleashed, it will appeal to both young and old alike.

For updates on dinosaur exhibitions, check out the Everything Dinosaur blog.

29 03, 2010

How did Coelophysis get its Name?

By |2023-01-03T21:19:56+00:00March 29th, 2010|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Coelophysis – “Hollow Form”

Recently, one of the Everything Dinosaur team members was asked by a young dinosaur fan about Coelophysis.  This young palaeontologist, perhaps starting out on a journey of discovery that would make her as famous as other notable females in this science such as Mary Anning or Angela Milner of the Natural History Museum, asked why Coelophysis had such a “funny name”.


Coelophysis (the name is pronounced see-loh-fie-sis), was a small, agile dinosaur whose fossils have been found in Middle to Late Triassic strata of the western United States.  This 2-3-metre-long dinosaur (Coelophysis bauri – holotype) had long back legs and front legs designed for snatching and grasping prey.  The slender head was narrow and the jaws filled with many needle-like teeth.  The head was balanced on a long flexible neck and the animal had a long tail.  The name Coelophysis means “hollow form”.

An Illustration of the Head of Coelophysis

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The first fossils of Coelophysis were discovered in the United States in the late 1880s.  This dinosaur was formerly named and described by the famous American palaeontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1889.  He described Coelophysis from the partial and fragmentary remains that had been discovered to date.  Unlike other dinosaurs, the leg bones of Coelophysis were nearly completely hollow, and it is from this feature that Cope named this dinosaur.

To view models of Coelophysis and other theropod dinosaurs: Wild Safari Prehistoric World.

A Triassic Theropod

It was not until 1947 that the first complete fossils of this Triassic theropod were found.  A Coelophysis “graveyard” was discovered in New Mexico at the now famous Ghost Ranch location.  It is from these superbly preserved specimens that scientists were able to build up a more complete picture of this early dinosaur.

The Ghost Ranch site is still providing scientists with lots of information about the fauna and flora of the Triassic, to read an article about the discovery of a new type of dinosaur, perhaps a predator of Coelophysis, click on the link below.

To read more about this discovery: New Theropod Fossil Provides Evidence of Dinosaur Diversification.

28 03, 2010

X-Woman – A New, Third European Hominid Competing with Us and Neanderthals

By |2024-04-19T10:29:18+01:00March 28th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|2 Comments

Finger Bone Provides Evidence of Third Species of Human

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany have published a paper in the scientific journal “Nature” suggesting that there was a third species of ancient hominid inhabiting Europe.  A preliminary analysis of genetic material extracted from a human finger bone has indicated that a there were three types of human around between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago – modern humans, Neanderthals and a third unknown species.

Studying Fossils from a Cave in Siberia

Anthropologists excavating a cave in southern Siberia in 2008, the cave site was known to have been inhabited by early Europeans, found the fossilised digit (perhaps a bone from the little finger).  A genetic analysis indicates that this is a previously unknown human relative.  The bone ascribed to a female, nick-named “X-Woman” by the scientists may represent a new species of ancient human.  Although the researchers state that their conclusions are based on preliminary examinations and that they have a lot more to learn about “X-Woman”, the fossil may represent a new species of hominid that migrated out of Africa.

The cave from which the bone from the fifth digit (little finger) was discovered is known as the Denisova Cave, it is in Siberia’s Altai mountains.  Other finds from the research team include bangles and bracelets, but when the mitochondrial DNA from the bone was extracted and compared to H. sapiens (our own species), and the robust H. neanderthalensis it was found to be different from both, indicating a new species of early hominid.

A Model of a Neanderthal Man

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

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the CollectA range of figures and models: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

Genetic Analysis of Hominid Finger Bone

The genetic analysis hints that X-Woman may represent a third wave of hominids that migrated out of Africa during the last two million years.  The migration taking place between the earlier Homo erectus two million years ago, that gave rise to modern humans, and ancestors of Neanderthals, who many researchers left Africa half a million years ago.

Commenting on these findings, Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute stated that a comparison of the DNA with genetic material from anatomically modern humans and Neanderthal shows “X-Woman” descended from a common ancestor about a million years ago.

Paabo stated:

“So whoever sort of carried this mitochondrial genome after that, [we think] about a million years ago, is some new creature that has not been on our radar screen so far.”

Fossil evidence of descendants of Neanderthal and modern human ancestors has also been found in the Siberian region near “X-Woman”, further supporting evidence that this new discovery may indicate a previously undiscovered hominid species.

Mitochondrial DNA

Scientists analysed the fossil’s mitochondrial DNA, primitive genetic material taken from subcellular particles called mitochondria, which provide energy for the cell.  Researchers are now conducting a fuller analysis of DNA extracted from the cell’s nucleus which codes for the entire organism.  Anthropologists are particularly interested in mitochondrial DNA as this is passed down from mother to child (maternal route), without combining with male DNA.  This enables scientists to track changes and establish links between different samples, much more clearly.

Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum (London), an expert on early human origins described this discovery as “a very exciting development”.

He went onto add:

“This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia.”

27 03, 2010

Famous Leedsichthys – Subjected to Palaeontology’s Shrinking Ray

By |2024-04-19T09:58:41+01:00March 27th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Leedsichthys – Getting Shrunk Down to Size

There seems to be a trend in palaeontology, perhaps it is the public’s obsession with the fastest, the fiercest, the biggest and such like, but over the years a number of extinct genera have been subjected to a shrinking effect once more is known about them.  Liopleurodon for example, portrayed by the BBC as the largest carnivore of all time, weighing a colossal 150 Tonnes, an exaggeration given the fossil evidence.  Now even a gentle filter feeder such as Leedsichthys (Leedsichthys problematicus) has been subjected to a shrinking ray.

For models of sea monsters including prehistoric fish replicas: Models of Sea Monsters.


Leedsichthys was a member of the Pachycormidae, a group of ray-finned fishes.  The first fossils of this Jurassic fish were discovered in the mid 1880’s near Peterborough (Cambridgeshire, England), although something like seventy fossils of this marine giant are known, they are all very incomplete and fragmentary.  The best evidence for claiming this fish to be the largest ever comes from reconstructions as scientists try to piece together what remains of the fish they do have.  As the skeleton of Leedsichthys was made of cartilage and not bone, it is very difficult to piece together what fragments scientists do have.  However, thanks in part to a chance discovery of a reasonable number of Leedsichthys fossils found in a cupboard in a Glasgow museum, lengths of up to 27 metres have been ascribed.

Is Leedsichthys the largest fish that ever lived?  To read more about this ancient creature, a marine giant from the Age of Reptiles: Leedsichthys – The Largest Fish Ever?

Formerly described by many scientists as “Blue Whale sized”, the problem occurs as scientists attempt to scale up Leedsichthys by comparing what elements of the skeleton are known with more complete but much smaller Pachycormidae specimens.  Based on simple comparisons some researchers have concluded that certain individuals, perhaps females; could reach sizes in excess of 35 metres, however, recent research has indicated that Leedsichthys was probably nearer to 35 feet long than 35 metres, with one or two exceptional individuals reaching lengths of 55 feet or more.  This would put this extinct animal in the size bracket of the extant Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus), largest living fish on the planet.

More Prehistoric Filter Feeding Fish

Recently, the discovery of more fossils of filter feeding fish has enabled scientists to “plug” an evolutionary gap in ancient eco-systems, as up until recently, there was very little fossil evidence to indicate the presence of large plankton feeding vertebrates between the time of Leedsichthys and the evolution of modern fishes and baleen whales to fill this ecological niche.

To read an article about this: Evidence of a “Leedsichthys Legacy” – Fossil Discovery fills 100 million year old Gap.

26 03, 2010

T. rex and its Distant Cousin Down-Under

By |2023-09-02T06:27:29+01:00March 26th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Evidence of Tyrannosaurid Dinosaurs in Australia

A team of scientists reporting in the academic journal “Science” have identified a fossilised hip bone dating to around 110 million years ago and claim this is evidence of Tyrannosauridae theropods in the Southern Hemisphere.  Up until now, fossils of tyrannosaurs have only been found in the Northern Hemisphere.

The single bone, a sort of “smoking gun” indicating the presence of tyrannosaurs in the Southern Hemisphere is part of the lower pelvis or hip girdle.  In lizard-hipped dinosaurs (saurischian dinosaurs), such as theropods, the hip bones are forked beneath the hip socket, a very typical arrangement seen in many types of reptile today, hence the name “lizard-hipped”.

Tyrannosauridae Theropods

A single, isolated bone such as this can be very difficult to ascribe to a dinosaur family.  However, this bone, a pubis, resembles the very distinctive pubis bone of the Tyrannosauroidea.

Tyrannosaurs have a pubis bone, the bone that sticks out forwards, towards the head of the animal from under hip socket (ilium bone), that is very distinctive.  At the base it has a broad, foot-like shape with a characteristic “heel”, at the top the end is flattened and somewhat spatulate in shape where it rests against the ilium and the ischium.

The Distinctive Pelvis of a Tyrannosaurus (T. rex)

Picture credit: Peter Larson

The illustration shows the hip bones of a Tyrannosaurus (Tyrannosaurus rex) outlined in black, with the “foot” shaped base of the forward pointing pubis clearly visible.  In the fossil bone, known as NMV P186069, the shape of the pubis with its broad “foot” indicates that this could have been the bone from a Australian tyrannosaur.

An Australian Tyrannosaur

The single fossil bone, ascribed to as yet unnamed and describe Tyrannosauroidea is a little over 30 cm long, although the shaft of the pubis is broken and a piece is missing from the bottom of the bone (near the “boot” on the left of the pictures supplied).  This fossil was found at the famous Dinosaur Cove site in Victoria State, Australia.  Husband and wife team Tom and Pat Vickers-Rich have been responsible for the discovery of several new species of vertebrates from this particular location, although dinosaur and especially theropod remains are rare.

The Australian team combined their expertise with palaeontologists from the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University and the Natural History Museum (London) and together they have produced data that could indicate the presence of the ancestors of Tyrannosaurus rex living in the southern hemisphere.

Dr Roger Benson, of Cambridge University stated:

“Although we only have one bone, it shows that 110 million years ago small tyrannosaurs like ours might have been found worldwide.  This find has major significance for our knowledge of how this group of dinosaurs evolved.”

Co-author of the scientific paper, Dr Paul Barrett (Natural History Museum), commented:

“The absence of tyrannosauroids from the southern continents was becoming more and more anomalous as representatives of other ‘northern’ dinosaur groups started to show up in the south.  This find shows that tyrannosauroids were able to reach these areas early in their evolutionary history and also hints at the possibility that others remain to be discovered in Africa, South America and India.”

If this is bone does belong to a 110 million-year-old tyrannosaur then it would have been a formidable predator of the regions polar forest, although it would probably have been very much lighter built than T. rex and only about 25% as big.

Did Tyrannosauroids Roam Australia?

T. rex specimen (cast)

Did distant relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex roam Australia? Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The intriguing question that arises is why did the Tyrannosauroidea only develop into giant forms in the northern latitudes?  Or perhaps the tyrannosaur fossil record is so incomplete, that there are many large tyrannosaur fossils awaiting discovery in as yet, not fully explored Cretaceous deposits of Africa, India and South America.

To replicas and scale models of various tyrannosauroid dinosaurs: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

25 03, 2010

Update on the Diet of Deinosuchus

By |2023-03-04T15:56:05+00:00March 25th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

A Comment on the Diet of Deinosuchus

Last week we published an article on some of the latest research into crocodilian coprolite that had been ascribed to the large Eusuchian crocodile, Deinosuchus hatcheri.  The study into the fossilised poo was complemented by research into bite marks found on large bones from the same rock strata.  From this work, the scientists who carried out this study concluded that this large, ancient reptile may have inhabited estuarine environments and predated mainly on sea turtles, although it was capable of tackling unwary dinosaurs.

Deinosuchus Diet

This study was undertaken by Professor David Schwimmer of Columbus State University and one of his students Samantha Harrell.  Their interpretation of the data led to the conclusion that this prehistoric crocodile may have fed mainly on turtles and that it lived in sandy, estuarine environments.  Coprolite analysis can provide a great deal of information relating to the diet and environment in which an animal lived.  For example, the particles of sand found within the fossilised crocodile dung provides evidence of the habitat and fragments of undigested bone and other matter can indicate elements of the diet.  The assumption is that the coprolite found is that from Deinosuchus.

It is quite likely that this is the case, the shape, size and consistency of the coprolite are all good indicators, as is the fact that no other genus of large crocodile is known from the specific rock formation from which the fossils were extracted.

However, the implications regarding diet are somewhat more difficult to interpret.

To read the article on Deinosuchus coprolite: Ancient Crocodile Poop Provides Evidence of Deinosuchus Diet.

Ancient sea turtles may have congregated in large numbers as they headed towards their traditional nesting beaches, just as modern extant species do today.  An opportunist predator such as Deinosuchus may have taken advantage of this and each year migrated to the same location in order to exploit this food source.  Adult female turtles struggling back to the sea after laying their eggs may have been very vulnerable to attack.

A Deinosuchus would have easily captured and overpowered such an animal that would already have been exhausted from their exertions as they lumbered up the beach and then back down again to the water.  Such behaviour is seen in Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), these animals congregate near river obstacles to ambush fish as they migrate upstream to breed.  The Nile Crocodile, (Crocodylus niloticus), perhaps the best known species and one of the most studied adopts similar behaviour congregating in stretches of the Mara river in Africa to await large herds of Wildebeest to cross.

A Replica of a Hatching Deinosuchus

Rebor Club Selection: Meta the hatchling Deinosuchus - the Swamp Variant

The limited-edition Rebor Club Selection: Meta the hatchling Deinosuchus polystone replica (swamp colour variant).

To view the Rebor range of models: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models.

It is possible to speculate that the coprolite studied does not reflect the true nature of the Deinosuchus diet, merely that the specimens studied are from individuals or sites at which these ancient beasts had gathered in order to exploit a seasonal food source.  Whilst sea turtles may have been on the menu, this ambush specialist would probably have eaten a varied diet, ranging from dinosaurs, turtles, birds, amphibians and fish, plus carrion.

24 03, 2010

Dinosaur Buried Alive – New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Utah Sandstone

By |2023-01-03T20:39:40+00:00March 24th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

New Dinosaur Species Discovered – The Origins of a Native Indian Legend Perhaps?

Researchers reporting in the on line scientific journal PLoS One have described the discovery of a new species of primitive, long-necked dinosaur that was buried in a collapsed sand dune approximately 185 million years ago.  The fossil was discovered eroding slowly out of sandstone strata, close to the archaeological remains of an ancient native Indian settlement.  Could these bones be the source of the Navajo Indian legend of a sand monster that buried its victims alive in the dunes?

The sandstone block has been partially removed from its burlap and plaster covering.  The bones making up the right hand can clearly be seen, the five digits with sharp claws on the end of the fingers.  The fossil is articulated and nearly complete with just the skull, some elements of the toes and a shinbone missing.  Unfortunately, skull material is often absent with fossils of this nature.  The relatively small skull, balanced on a long neck is very often not present when the rest of the fossilised skeleton is discovered.

Seitaad ruessi

The dinosaur has been named Seitaad ruessi.  This dinosaur has been named to honour the ancient American Indian sand monster which was known as “Seit’aad”, the species name is in memory of the poet and naturalist Everett Ruess who disappeared in the sandy desert of southern Utah in 1934.

This dinosaur is a member of the Sauropodomorpha, long-necked herbivores with lizard-like feet.  It would have been around 3-5 metres long and perhaps over 1 metre high at the hips.  It lived during the early Jurassic (Toarcian faunal stage), approximately 185 million years ago.  Southern Utah during the early Jurassic was a dry, arid desert environment but with isolated strips of lush and verdant vegetation close to water sources.


This dinosaur was probably a facultative biped, normally walking on all fours but capable of running or standing just on its hind legs as and when necessary.

The analysis of the fossilised bones was undertaken by palaeontologists Joseph Sertich, a Stony Brook University doctoral student and Mark Loewen of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

Commenting on the discovery, Sertich said in a statement:

“Although Seitaad was preserved in a sand dune, this ancient desert mush have included wetter areas with enough plants to support these smaller dinosaurs and other animals.”

Although, Sertich went onto add:

“Just like in deserts today, life would have been difficult in Utah’s ancient sand sea.'”

The fossil was discovered in 2004 and removed from the sandstone cliff the following year.  It is likely that more work will be carried out on the matrix that contains the fossil so that more of the skeleton can be revealed.

This particular discovery helps to confirm the success of the Sauropodomorpha in the Early Jurassic, this type of dinosaur was relatively common and would have made up some of the larger elements of the mega fauna on the super-continent of Pangaea.

The research team have stated that they believe that this particular dinosaur was unfortunate to have been buried suddenly in a collapsing sand dune, perhaps the sand was disturbed as a herd of these animals moved across the landscape.  This dinosaur was engulfed and the remains ended up stood on their head.


Perhaps the best known Sauropodomorpha is Plateosaurus (prosauropod), one of the best known dinosaurs of all.  Many thousands of plateosaur fossils have been found in Europe.  It was clearly one of the most common types of dinosaur in the Late Triassic.

An Illustration of Plateosaurus

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view models of Plateosaurus and other Sauropodomorpha members: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

23 03, 2010

“Land of Dinosaurs” – List of Models in this Series

By |2023-01-03T20:35:37+00:00March 23rd, 2010|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

“Land of Dinosaurs” – List of the Twelve Models in the Series

The “Land of Dinosaurs” model series that we at Everything Dinosaur have introduced consists of a set of twelve different dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.  Suitable for children from three years and upwards, this model series contains some very unusual and rare prehistoric animal models.

Land of Dinosaurs

We have been asked to provide a list of all the prehistoric creatures featured in this series, so listed below are the details.

“Land of Dinosaurs” – Description of Models

Table credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the huge range of dinosaur, pterosaur and prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

The table lists the twelve different large prehistoric animal models that make up this particular series, within each presentation case there is one large model and a model of a juvenile prehistoric animal.

The Hypsilophodon Model

A rare item – model of hypsilophodont.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Prehistoric Animal Models

The picture shows the bright and colourful Hypsilophodon model, this fast-running dinosaur is eating some ferns, next to it is a model of a juvenile Postosuchus.  These models are well made, sturdy and represent an array of unusual and very different prehistoric animals.

They are great for creative, imaginative play.

Go to Top