All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 01, 2012

Deposits Magazine (Issue 29) Reviewed

By | January 31st, 2012|Geology, Magazine Reviews, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Deposits Magazine (Winter Edition) in Review

Finally, managed to persuade my colleagues in the office to let me have the latest copy of Deposits magazine for a review.  It arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s offices about ten days ago, but since then the team members have been avidly reading it and up until now I have not been able to get my hands on it.

Deposits Magazine

As always the latest edition, is jam packed full of interesting articles covering geology, palaeontology and of course mineralogy.  Must not forget the mineralogists, sometimes we overlook their contribution, pleasing to see the front cover is adorned with some artwork created from slices of colourful polished agate from around the world.

Front Cover of Deposits Magazine

Colourful agates adorn the front cover.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

One of the good things about this magazine is that it does not limit itself to UK locations, in this issue readers are transported to far flung places such as Morocco, Kenya as well as Poland and our own Dorset coast.  Amongst the usual updates on fossil finds, book reviews, (great to see a review of the excellent publication “English Wealden Fossils”, edited by David Batten), directories of societies and so on, there is a fascinating article on one of our favourite prehistoric animals, the enigmatic Leedsichthys.  The article, written by Dr Jeff Liston documents some of the difficulties in excavating the delicate fossils associated with this huge pachycormid.  As always, the article is well illustrated with lots of photographs and some stunning artwork created by our chum Bob Nicholls of

We looked on enviously at the pictures of recent finds from readers as well as the feature on the Zigong Dinosaur Museum, located at Dashanpu, at the heart of China’s Sichuan Province.  We regard this part of China as the “unofficial dinosaur capital of the world”, due to the amazing amount of dinosaur fossil material discovered in this area over recent years.

As guest editor, Dick Mol of he Natural History Museum (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) states:

“Deposits is an extremely attractive publication, – large sized magazine with an eye-catching layout.”

Check out issue 29, it is well worth reading.

For dinosaur and prehistoric models and figures: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

30 01, 2012

New Super Soft Dinosaurs from Everything Dinosaur

By | January 30th, 2012|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Soft and Cuddly Dinosaurs Stomp onto our Shelves

Today, team members at Everything Dinosaur said hello to their new range of dinosaur soft toys, a set of three plush, prehistoric animals – Diplodocus, Triceratops and a funky Tyrannosaurus rex.  Made from super soft (but very practical materials – sponge washable), these new additions to the already extensive dinosaur soft toy range marketed by Everything Dinosaur certainly add a splash of colour to our warehouse shelves.

Bright and Colourful Dinosaur Soft Toys

Super-soft, prehistoric plush!

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Soft Toys

Available in three sizes, babies at around 22 cm in length, to big sisters and big brothers up to 29 cm long and the Mums and Dads over 40 cm in length, this new range gives young dinosaur fans the chance to create their very own dinosaur families.

To view dinosaur soft toys: Everything Dinosaur Soft Toys.

The design team wanted to develop dinosaurs that were very soft to the touch but were also very striking and colourful.  With a pink Triceratops, a deep blue Diplodocus and a fearsome black T. rex they certainly have achieved their brief.  Since scientists remain uncertain as to the colour of most dinosaur genera, we at Everything Dinosaur cannot prove the design team wrong.  After all, colour vision was important to the Dinosauria, and why not a blue Diplodocus or indeed a bright pink Triceratops in our soft toy dinosaurs range.

29 01, 2012

Helping Teachers with Dinosaur Resources

By | January 29th, 2012|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

How to Recycle Dinosaur Excavation Kits

At Everything Dinosaur, we get lots of enquiries about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals every day.  We try our best to answer every one, passing on information and advice and helping out with general queries.  Many teachers contact us, asking for help with lesson plans, ideas on how to go about teaching a dinosaur topic, a dinosaur workshop and so forth.  Here again, our qualified teachers in the company are happy to help. We spend a lot of our time advising and helping teachers.

One familiar theme that crops up time and time again is how to get the best out of any dinosaur themed teaching resources.  Many schools purchase prehistoric animal excavation kits for use in the classroom.  These kits consist of  a gypsum block that contains the model of a dinosaur or some such other extinct creature.  Children can use these kits to excavate their own dinosaur model.

Recycle Dinosaur Excavation Kits

Of course, once the prehistoric animal has been dug out once, that’s it, but not with Everything Dinosaur.  We have produced a short video (four minutes and twenty seconds) that shows teachers, home educators and parents how they can recycle their dinosaur excavation kit or fossil find so that they can be used again and again.

All you need are a few household items and you can recycle your dinosaur excavation kit.  We have used these kits in our own teaching work and my own set has lasted ten years and they are still going strong.

Everything Dinosaur’s Video of How to Recycle a Dinosaur Excavation Kit

Everything Dinosaur helps with dinosaur resources for schools.

 Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view fossil finds, dinosaur excavation kits and other dinosaur themed toys and gifts: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

Helping Teachers

Teachers, parents and home educators can effectively re-use Everything Dinosaur’s fossil finds and prehistoric animal excavation kits.  By doing this they can keep teaching costs down, recycling resources for use with different classes.

 Fossil Finds, Prehistoric Animal Kits can be Recycled

Save Money by recycling excavation kits.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For large kits, instead of casting the plastic model in a yogurt pot we tend to use a butter tub, or small, plastic ice cream container.  It is just simply a case of scaling up to accommodate the larger animal model.  We store our kits in plastic bags, with each kit in its own bag.  Freezer bags are ideal as they often have a white space on them which you can use to write a label.  Keep the excavation tools with the recycled kit for use again when digging out another time.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur, even tear off the label from the original packaging and put this in the plastic bag.  This provides an extra reference as to which prehistoric animal each kit contains.

By recycling excavation kits such as these teachers, parents and home educators can save money.

To see the extensive range of prehistoric animal excavation kits and other learning resources available from Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur Excavation Kits and Learning Resources.

28 01, 2012

Sequencing the Estuarine Crocodile Genome

By | January 28th, 2012|Animal News Stories|0 Comments

International Team Unravels the Genome of the World’s Largest Reptile

Crocodile farm owners, palaeontologists, cladistics specialists and geneticists hope to reap the benefits of the research into Saltwater crocodile genes after a team of international scientists completed the genome sequence of this, the largest extant species of reptile.

Estuarine Crocodile Genome

The Saltwater, or Estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is found throughout S.E. Asia, with a geographical distribution from Sri Lanka to northern Australia, this species is the mainstay of the crocodile farming industry in Asia and it is hoped that a better understanding of the genome sequence will help improve commercial crocodile breeding techniques.  In Australia alone, the crocodile industry is estimated to be worth some $8.8 million AUD in exports.

Professor Chris Moran (Sydney University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science), one of the researchers working on this genome project stated:

“We had previously completed a genome map for the Saltwater crocodile but this is a huge leap forward.  Genome sequencing is the next step.  The difference between genome mapping and genome sequencing is the difference between having a map of Australia on a single page and a detailed street directory.”

Advances in DNA sequencing technology, so-called next generation or “nextgen” sequencing, have provided between one thousand and a ten thousand-fold reduction in cost, along with comparable increases in the speed with which whole genome sequences can be generated.  The scientists estimate that a complete genome for a complex vertebrate such as a crocodile can be mapped out for a few thousand dollars, at the start of this century, to undertake such a project would have cost millions of dollars.

One of the immediate benefits to commercial crocodile farm owners is that this sequenced genome will help them to identify individual animals for breeding programmes.  Crocodiles do not become mature and able to breed until they are seven years old, which means that, currently, breeders have to wait that long before they can choose suitable breeding stock.  The genome sequencing methodology permits selection for breeding programmes at a much earlier age.  DNA samples can be taken as soon as the animals hatched and once analysed the information in the genes can be used to determine which animals will be suitable for breeding.

Professor Moran explained how the process works:

“This is possible because the genome sequence identifies genetic ‘markers’ which provide information on the likely health and breeding quality of an animal.”

Professor Moran worked on the genome sequence with his University of Sydney colleague Dr Jaime Gongora, along with PhD students Amanda Chong and Pauline Dalzell together with research affiliates Dr Sally Isberg and Dr Lee Miles.

The research team have been working on the genetics and genomics of farmed Saltwater crocodiles since 2001 with funding from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Other outcomes of the genome sequencing work include a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships among crocodilians, especially between the alligator family and crocodile family.  It also will have implications for palaeontologists as they strive to obtain a greater  understanding of crocodilians’ relationships to other reptiles, including their closest living relatives, the birds.  The research papers were published in the scientific journal “Genome Biology”.

In unrelated research, a number of scientists have been studying the anti-bacterial properties of crocodilian blood.  An improved understanding of crocodile genomes may indirectly help speed up the development of new, anti-bacterial agents.

For models and replicas of crocodiles and alligators (whilst stocks last): Mojo Fun Prehistoric Life and Extinct Models.

27 01, 2012

Prehistoric People Built Social Networks just like Us

By | January 27th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|0 Comments

Study of Hazda People of Tanzania Provides Insight into our Earliest Social Networks

A team of Anglo/American scientists have concluded that early humans (H. sapiens) built similar social networks to their modern descendants.  A study of a tribe from Tanzania, that live off the land and act as a model for early human settlements reveals that despite our technology, the way we interact with each other has not changed much for the best part of 200,000 years.

Scientists have speculated that one of the reasons for our own species success when compared to the Neanderthals or indeed H.erectus may have been our ability to develop larger social networks and therefore be able to share information and exchange ideas.  A greater amount of social interaction would have helped ideas to catch on more quickly, thus contributing to our species survival in difficult times.

We carry out an experiment with school children where we split the class into two groups to represent two tribes, set them a problem involving the need to store water and then once one tribe has worked out what to do, we extend the session by getting the students to debate whether or not they would share the information with their neighbouring tribe.  Using an ostrich egg, a stick, ants and a handful of straw we can gain a fascinating insight into human psychology.

Earliest Human Social Networks

The Anglo/American study explores similar themes, permitting an insight to how H. sapiens could survive and eventually flourish despite the difficult climate conditions of the Pleistocene Epoch.  Avoiding extinction, the fate of the dinosaurs is the name of the game.

Writing in the scientific journal “Nature” the research team concludes that prehistoric humans built social networks that resemble those seen in modern societies.  The British and American scientists focused on a single tribe, known as the Hadza who make their living by foraging in the Lake Eyasi region in the Great Rift Valley (Tanzania).

Ironically, this part of Africa is often referred to as the “cradle of humanity” as it is believed, and the fossil record backs this up, that our species evolved in this part of Africa before migrating out of Africa (at least two migrations) and spreading worldwide.

In the study, several interesting patterns of human behaviour emerge.  Humans co-operate readily but also can be selfish.

Emerging Patterns

The patterns that emerged, in which both co-operation and selfishness seemed to be contagious, offer a rare perspective on the question of how the social psychology of early humans has shaped modern social life.  Several hundred Hadza tribes people were involved in the study.  They were given a series of tasks to complete, such as a survey of who their preferred camp-mates were, to whom would they offer food, such as precious sweet honey, the only sweet food item in their diet and highly prized as a result.

The research team also investigated how willing individuals were prepared to work for the good of community – how many would donate honey to a communal pool of the sweet, sticky substance.

Coren Apicella, a post PhD student at Harvard, who analysed the data from the study commented:

“The Hadza represent possibly one of the most extreme departures from life in industrialised societies, and they remain relatively isolated from modern cultural influences,” the authors write.  Yet all the examined properties of social networks seen in modernised societies also appear in the Hadza.”

In a society where the need to build social networks can make the difference between life and death certain common patterns were discovered, patterns that are reflected in modern human interactions.  Popular people befriend other popular people – a pattern of human behaviour reflected in on-line social networks such as Facebook.

People with similar backgrounds and interests are more likely to form a close social tie.  These networks can permit as well as constrain everything from coughs and colds, other diseases to important ideas.  Could this be why the wheel or early metal working caught on so quickly?

For a recent article highlighting a potential incident of human aggression preserved in the fossil record: Earliest Evidence of Human Aggression.

Friendship is something that is not preserved in the fossil record.  However, studying nomadic, hunter-gatherer peoples can provide an insight into how social ties and bonds helped our own species survive and then flourish.  Family ties are strong but social co-operation with non related people is a gamble.  The study identified a certain profile of tribe member who was prepared to take the benefits of social co-operation whilst remaining more selfish and self-interested.

The research team postulate that co-operation may be an evolved behaviour, otherwise unco-operative people would have out-competed co-operative groups long ago.  By working together, what we refer to as the “Sesame Street complex”, people can gain mutual benefit and society is strengthened as a whole.  The advantage gained, according to this study can be multiplied, catch and evolve on.

The authors of the paper suggest:

“Although natural selection is said to favour defection in unstructured populations where all individuals have an equal chance of interacting with one another, co-operation can evolve if population structure permits clustering.  This feature allows co-operators to increase in the population because they benefit from the public goods provided by fellow co-operators with whom they interact.”

The effect is for the co-operative and unco-operative to shun each other.  Among the Hadza, the researchers found that variation between groups was much greater than variation within groups.  In other words, co-operative people cluster together and boost their chances of success, while the unco-operative take their chances on their own, with the ultimate effect of making the human race more co-operative.

Technology may have moved on, but the basic human ability to build networks and develop social ties remains fundamental to our own species survival.  Certainly, with seven billion of us now on planet Earth, it is a good thing that most of us have a social nature “wired” into us.

For models and replicas of prehistoric animals and ancient hominids visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

26 01, 2012

Hypselosaurus – Big Eggs but Nomen dubium

By | January 26th, 2012|Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

A Dinosaur from Provence (France) 

One of the first long-necked dinosaurs to be studied in Europe is a genus known as Hypselosaurus (pronounced hip-selo-sore-us).  Large fossil bones had been unearthed in the French region of Provence in the 18th century, but it was not until the mid 1840s that these bones were scientifically studied.  Dinosaur eggs have been discovered too.  At first, the scientists and academics who studied the bones thought they belonged to an enormous, extinct crocodile, but the bones were ascribed to a dinosaur and Hypselosaurus was formally named in 1869.

A number of large, fossilised eggs were found at the same location as the fossil bones.  The eggs, some of which almost thirty centimetres long are the biggest dinosaur eggs ever found in Europe.  It was believed that the eggs must have been laid by the huge animal Hypselosaurus, although the eggs and body fossils may not belong to the same genus.

Fossilised Eggs Ascribed to Hypselosaurus

Fossilised dinosaur eggs but who laid them?

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Eggs

The eggs are almost round in shape, sort of football sized (soccer ball).  Studies have revealed that some of the eggs had thicker shells than others.  Since the eggs are associated with Upper Cretaceous strata (Maastrichtian faunal stage), some scientists have suggested that the thin-shelled eggs found may provide a clue to the mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous.  They have speculated that the thin egg shells may indicate that the animals that laid them were under stress and that dinosaur breeding and reproduction was being affected at this time.

Other palaeontologists have commented that the thinly-walled eggs seem to have hatched and perhaps the difference in thickness of shell material is related to ontogenic characteristics.  Perhaps the thinner-walled eggs were laid by younger females.


Recently, the genus known as Hypselosaurus has been re-evaluated.  It has been declared “Nomen dubium”, that is a name given to an organism whose validity is in doubt.  In the case of Hypselosaurus this is due to the fragmentary nature of the body fossils ascribed to this genus.

One interesting fact about the animal that laid these huge eggs (whatever that might be),  based on volume and mass calculations, the animal that hatched from the eggs, and we assume a titanosaur, would have weighed at birth about as much as newborn baby human (7lbs-8lbs approximately).  However,  Hypselosaurus is estimated to have reached lengths in excess of ten metres and perhaps weighed as much as six tonnes – considerably bigger than any member of H. sapiens.

For models and replicas of titanosaurs: Titanosaurs and Dinosaur Models (Safari Ltd).

25 01, 2012

Archaeopteryx – Back in the Black

By | January 25th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|1 Comment

The World’s Oldest Blackbird Takes Flight

A new Archaeopteryx study suggests that this early bird could achieve powered flight and provides an indication of this Jurassic creature’s colouration.  Using an extremely powerful scanning electron microscope tell-tale melanosomes have been identified in a fossilised feather from the lithographic limestone deposits at Solnhofen.  This new research published in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” not only provides information on the colouration of Archaeopteryx wings – black, but also adds weight to the theory that this primitive bird was an accomplished flier.

New Archaeopteryx Study

The international team of researchers from Brown University (Rhode Island, USA), Yale University, the University of Akron (Ohio, USA) and the Carl Zeiss laboratory (Germany) using advanced microscopy were able to identify the pigment structures found on the fossilised tip of a single feather.  The feather was shed and ended up gently resting on the bottom of a shallow lagoon in what was to become southern Germany by a primitive bird approximately 150 million years ago.

The fine sediments being deposited in the still and anaerobic marine environment enabled the feather to be fossilised.  The unique conditions at Solnhofen, allowed the exquisite preservation of this feather and this fossil specimen is just one of ten ascribed to the prehistoric creature known as Archaeopteryx lithographica.

Black Feathers

The researchers identified the colour of the crow-sized creature’s fossilised wing feather, determining it was black at the tip.  The colour and the structures that supplied the pigment suggest that Archaeopteryx’s feathers were rigid and durable – just like a modern birds and this finding has important implications for the way scientists perceive Archaeopteryx.  It adds weight to the hypothesis that this transitional creature between dinosaurs and birds was actually quite a strong flier.

Archaeopteryx is perhaps one of the most famous of all the creatures known from the fossil record.  Identified and named just over 150 years ago, Archaeopteryx was about fifty centimetres long (most of the length being made up of its feathered covered tail).  It had large eyes, teeth in its jaws and the forelimbs had three greatly extended fingers, each ending in a small, curved claw.  The presence of feathers, so clearly seen in a number of specimens such as the “Berlin specimen” and the “London specimen”, helped scientists to interpret this creature as being a transitional fossil from the Dinosauria to birds – sometimes inaccurately called a “missing link”.

A Cast of a Famous Archaeopteryx Fossil

Archaeopteryx fossil cast

Archaeopteryx fossil cast. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on the research work, lead author Ryan Carney, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University stated:

“If Archaeopteryx was flapping or gliding, the presence of melanosomes [pigment-producing parts of a cell] would have given the feathers additional structural support.  This would have been advantageous during this early evolutionary stage of dinosaur flight.”

An Accomplished Aeronaut

Until recently, this single feather was regarded as the holotype for Archaeopteryx.  A holotype is the specimen from which the original description of the organism is based.  This is the fossil that is used to provide a scientific description of the organism, with which all other ascribed fossil material is compared to.  Last year the ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) ruled that the so-called “London” specimen the fossil of Archaeopteryx purchased by Sir Richard Owen for what was to become the London Natural History Museum should be regarded as the holotype.

To read more about this development for Archaeopteryx: Natural History Museum Getting the Bird.

The Fossilised Feather Used in the Study (compared to that of a Modern Bird)

Modern Feather (left), Archaeopteryx Feather (right).

Picture credit: Brown University

If Archaeopteryx was one of the first birds, then what did it look like?  This is a question that has intrigued scientists ever since the first fossils of this Jurassic “missing-link” were found back in the late 1850s.  The single feather was analysed and found to be a covert feather, so named because these feathers cover the primary and secondary wing feathers birds use in flight.  After two unsuccessful attempts to image the melanosomes, the group tried a more powerful type of scanning electron microscope at the Carl Zeiss laboratory, where the group located patches of hundreds of the indicative tube-shaped, pigment structures still encased and preserved in the fossilised feather.

The Electron Microscopy Revealing the Dense Pigment Structures

Pointing to the melanosomes in the fossil.

Image credit: Brown University

Graduate student, Ryan Carney added:

“The third time was the charm, and we finally found the keys to unlocking the feather’s original color, hidden in the rock for the past 150 million years.”

Melanosomes can provide scientists with an indication of the colouration of long extinct animals.  Professor Mike Benton (University of Bristol) and his colleagues have pioneered this melanosome finding technique.  Such structures had been found in fossils before, but they were interpreted as being bacteria, Professor Mike Benton and his team in conjunction with a number of other research institutes were able to identify pigment structures within the fossilised feathers of a dinosaur, providing the first evidence of the colours of a member of the Dinosauria.

To read more about this research: Melanosomes provide evidence of the Colour of Dinosaurs.

The team measured the length and width of the sausage-shaped melanosomes, roughly 1 micron long and 250 nanometers wide.  To determine the melanosomes’ color, Akron researchers Matthew Shawkey and Liliana D’Alba statistically compared Archaeopteryx’s melanosomes with those found in 87 species of living birds, representing four classes: black, grey, brown, and a type found in penguins.  Based on their findings the researchers were able to predict with 95% certainty that this part of the feathers on Archaeopteryx were black.

The scientific instruments and high powered microscopes at the Carl Zeiss laboratory gave the scientists an opportunity to examine the fossilised barbules preserved in the ancient feather.  The barbules are tiny, rib-like appendages that overlap and interlock like a zip to give a feather rigidity and strength.  The barbules and the alignment of melanosomes within them, are identical to those found in modern birds.  If the feather structure of Archaeopteryx is very similar to modern neornithes (modern birds), this implies that Archaeopteryx may have been a capable flier.

A Model of Archaeopteryx with Black Feathers

Wild Safari Dinos Archaeopteryx. New Archaeopteryx study suggests black feathers.

At Everything Dinosaur, the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Archaeopteryx figure.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The model shown above is the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Archaeopteryx model.

To see this range: Safari Ltd. Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

The black pigmentation and its significance is less obvious.  The black colour of the Archaeopteryx wing feather may have served to regulate body temperature, act as camouflage as this bird flew about in the understorey of the surrounding woodland or perhaps it was used  for display.

Carney concluded:

“We can’t say it’s proof that Archaeopteryx was a flier.  But what we can say is that in modern bird feathers, these melanosomes provide additional strength and resistance to abrasion from flight, which is why wing feathers and their tips are the most likely areas to be pigmented.  With Archaeopteryx, as with birds today, the melanosomes we found would have provided similar structural advantages, regardless of whether the pigmentation initially evolved for another purpose.”

What is intriguing from Everything Dinosaur’s perspective is that the single feather used in the study has no other fossil material related to it.  The feather is attributed to Archaeopteryx as other fossils which include bones have been found in the same strata at the same location – but there is no definitive proof that the feather actually came from A. lithographica.

If there was one bird-like creature fluttering over the Solnhofen lagoon then there could have been others.

24 01, 2012

Survivors: Natures Indestructible Creatures

By | January 24th, 2012|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, TV Reviews|0 Comments

Exciting Science Programme Tonight on BBC 4 (UK)

Tonight on terrestrial television, at 9pm (BBC 4) there is the first episode of a new science series that explores extinction events.  The first programme in this three-part series deals with the period in Earth’s history known as the Permian mass extinction, a time when over a million years or so, life on Earth suffered a series of cataclysms that resulted in an estimated 95% of life becoming extinct.  The Permian mass extinction took place approximately 250 million years ago, one of five major mass extinction events recorded in the known fossil record.

Permian Mass Extinction

Palaeontologist Richard Fortey (long association with the Natural History Museum – London)  investigates why some of Earth’s species have survived for millions of years, and explores the characteristics that gave them the ability to endure events that led to the extinction of other creatures.  As Richard’s love of trilobites is well-known, we can expect to hear about these amazing invertebrates as well as horseshoe crabs – arthropods that have survived nearly unchanged for millions of years.

A Model of One of Nature’s Great Survivors – A Horseshoe Crab

CollectA Horseshoe Crab model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Horseshoe Crab.

CollectA have produced a number of models and replicas of ancient arthropods including horseshoe crabs, trilobites and ammonites.

To view this range: CollectA Preshistoric Life (Age of Dinosaurs Popular Range).

“Survivors: Natures Indestructible Creatures”

The second programme in the series is to be shown next week (31st January).  It deals with the events and consequences of perhaps the most famous mass extinction event of all – the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous.  This programme is to be called “Fugitive from the Fire”.

23 01, 2012

An Armoured Dinosaur from Australia

By | January 23rd, 2012|Dinosaur Fans|1 Comment

Minmi – An Aussie Armoured Dinosaur of the Early Cretaceous

Australia in the Cretaceous geological period  looked very different from the vast island continent we know today.  The land we know as Australia has not been an isolated island at all for much of its geological history.  Scientists believe that it only became an island, separating from what was to become Antarctica around ninety-five million years ago.  Dinosaurs continued to thrive as this huge landmass slowly drifted northwards under the influence of plate tectonics, much of Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territories was underwater, covered by a shallow tropical sea.  This sea is called by scientists the Eromanga Sea. Today, we take a look at Minmi paravertebra, an Aussie armoured dinosaur.

The Eromanga sea seems to have been home to many different types of marine reptile.  Fossils of various ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and fearsome pliosaurs have been preserved in the rocks formed from sediments laid down under these marine conditions.  Dinosaur fossils are also, occasionally found in this marine strata.

Aussie Armoured Dinosaur

As far as the fossil record shows, no type of dinosaur adapted to an entirely marine existence.  With seas populated by giant marine predators, it seems this faunal niche was already occupied by other reptiles.  However, dinosaur fossils do turn up in the sediments laid down at the bottom of the Eromanga sea – one such dinosaur is the ankylosaurid known as Minmi.

A Drawing of Minmi paravertebra – Aussie Armoured Dinosaur

Minmi paravertebra illustrated.

An Aussie armoured dinossaur. A drawing of Minmi paravertebra.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Minmi paravertebra

Minmi (scientific name Minmi paravertebra) is relatively small for an ankylosaur, measuring about 2.5 metres in length.  Its fossils, consisting of a beautifully preserved and almost complete , single, individual specimen were discovered in Australia.  The fossils were found at a location known as Minmi crossing, hence this armoured dinosaur’s name.  Like all members of the ankylosaurids, this bird-hipped dinosaur was a vegetarian.  Its body and tail were covered by small dermal plates (scutes), these would have provided this dinosaur with some protection from the fierce meat-eating dinosaurs that roamed in what was to become Australia in the Early Cretaceous.

Palaeontologists believe that the carcase of this dinosaur was washed out to see by flood waters.  Bloated by body gases after death, the carcase stayed afloat for several days before eventually rupturing and sinking to the seabed.  Once deposited on the sea floor, rapid burial by other sediment deposits permitted the fossil preservation.

The fossils of Minmi and other Australian dinosaurs can be seen in a number of regional museums in Queensland.  The state has a fine heritage of Cretaceous dinosaur material.

The CollectA range of not-to-scale dinosaur models and figures includes several Australian dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Range.

22 01, 2012

Tumbling Dinosaurs – New Dinosaur Soft Toys

By | January 22nd, 2012|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Soft and Cuddly Tumbling Dinosaur Soft Toys

Hand-crafted and very importantly sponge washable dinosaur soft toys.  Say hello to Triceratops in his bright orange livery, part of a trend this year that sees the introduction of some particularly colourful Triceratops soft toys.  Joining our “Trike” as we like to call him, is a happy Stegosaurus and a bright red T. rex.

Dinosaur Soft Toys

These new soft toys are super soft, very cute and have proved very popular on test with our young, budding palaeontologists.

Dinosaur Soft Toys – Dinosaur Tumblers

Cute and cuddly cinosaurs.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the soft toy dinosaurs and other examples of prehistoric plush available from Everything Dinosaur’s user-friendly and award-winning website: Soft Toy Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals.

Aimed at children from 3 years and upwards these super soft toy dinosaurs with their cute faces inspired team members at Everything Dinosaur to create a Valentines day card (see picture above).  Bright and colourful they make an excellent addition to a  young dinosaur fan’s soft toy collection especially when the young dinosaur fan may be also an enthusiastic collector of Cuddlekins dinosaur soft toys.

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