Everything Dinosaur’s Favourite Articles in 2011

As the year draws to a close, team members at Everything Dinosaur have been compiling all the statistics on the huge number of web log articles that have been written over the last twelve months.  A total of three hundred and sixty-three articles have been added to the Everything Dinosaur blog this year, we have covered an amazing range of stories from new dinosaur discoveries, updates on dig sites, reviews of models and other prehistoric animal themed products, we have even added some of our own videos to this blog.

It has certainly been a busy year for palaeontology and Earth Sciences in general.  Just for fun we have been putting together a list of the most viewed articles that were written this year – a sort of top ten in terms of popularity.  This list covers new pterosaur discoveries, sea monsters, parasites, monster crocodiles and even a new type of spinosaurid.

Here is our top ten:

10).  Battling ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles enter in at number ten at the start of our countdown –  an article we published in early May concerning fossil evidence suggesting that some types of ichthyosaur may have fought duels with their long snouts: Ichthyosaur Snout shows signs of Prehistoric Battle.

9).  News reached us of a huge Saltwater crocodile being caught in the Philippines in September, one of the largest crocodiles ever seen, a huge animal: Monster Croc trapped by Philippine Villagers.

8). The discovery of a new, enormous spinosaurid from Brazil comes in at number eight in our countdown.  Based on a fragment of jawbone and some fossilised teeth, scientists in March announced the discovery of Oxalaia quilombensis, a member of the Spinosauridae family that may have been larger than T. rex: The Big Boys from Brazil – New Spinosaurid Announced.

7).  2011, marked the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the “London” specimen of Archaeopteryx and our little feathered friend featured in a number of news stories throughout the year.  Coming in at number seven in the top ten is the article written to mark the Natural History Museum’s Archaeopteryx fossil being declared the holotype by the ICZN: Natural History Museum Gets the Bird.

6).  Writing on some topics can really get under our skin and the brief piece we wrote on the evidence suggesting that dinosaurs were plagued by blood-sucking parasites is an example of this.  It seems that these “terrible lizards” were brought down to size by lice and other parasites, according to a study by an international team: Dinosaurs Plagued by Lice.

5). Turtles and their relatives get an entry into our top ten with an article written in the middle of July, following the publication of American research which explored how these reptiles survived the Cretaceous mas extinction event: How did the Chelonia Survive?

4).  Heading into the business end of our list, at number four is the article we wrote about a new pterosaur species that possessed teeth like a piranha – a very nasty critter indeed.  Way back in January we wrote about Gwawinapterus beardi a fearsome pterosaur with very large teeth: Flying Reptile with “Piranha-like” Jaws.

3).  Our review of the feature-length dino/documentary called “March of the Dinosaurs” comes in at number three.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur were contacted by some of the people behind this ninety minute long programme that explored how some dinosaurs migrated to the Arctic and back again.  We still get people emailing us with questions regarding some of the dinosaurs featured, even more than six months later.  Naturally, we are happy to help and we reply to all our correspondence, the article can be found here: March of the Dinosaurs.

2).  The announcement in November of the new additions to the CollectA range of prehistoric animals is just pipped to the number one spot and has to settle for the runners up position.   There are going to be a number of new models introduced by CollectA/Procon, we at Everything Dinosaur have been working hard to make sure our readers are updated with new pics, information and updates on these exciting introductions, the first of which are scheduled to be with us in about five weeks: CollectA Announces New Models for 2012.

1).  Holding on to the top spot, is perhaps one of the saddest stories that we featured on our blog this year.  Unfortunately, there is an increasing trend for sites of special scientific interest such as those that contain fossils to be vandalised, as unscrupulous people try to find valuable fossils that they can sell either to private dealers or on auction sites.  The value of fossils has shot up dramatically over recent years and this has led to many incidents of “fossil vandalism” as we at Everything Dinosaur term it.  A particularly sad story of one such attack was reported by us in November, it took place on the Isle of Skye: Important Jurassic Fossil Site Ransacked.

With all the new and exciting discoveries, the progress made with research projects and such like, it is sad to think that this particularly upsetting news story made it to number one in our chart.  However, if by writing these articles we can help in some way to deter any other vandals then we would have at least made a small contribution to saving our fossil heritage.

Everything Dinosaur’s Top Ten News Stories of 2011.

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