All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
30 09, 2014

The Dinosaur Toy Forum Diorama Contest (Video)

By |2023-03-16T16:13:18+00:00September 30th, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|2 Comments

The Dinosaur Toy Forum Diorama Contest Sponsored by Everything Dinosaur

Those clever people at the Dinosaur Toy Forum have compiled a video that displays all the entries for the 2014 diorama competition as sponsored by Everything Dinosaur and what a splendid selection of prehistoric themed scenes have been created.  It is certainly going to be a difficult job selecting the winners as there are some wonderful examples of creative use of models and modelling materials.  The winning entries will be selected by vote amongst forum members, a very democratic  and fair solution, to what would be a tricky task for a judging panel.

Everything Dinosaur

There is a Cambrian diorama, some splendid Triassic prehistoric animals, marine reptiles, pterosaurs and plenty of scenes depicting theropods, team members have enjoyed watching the video and identifying all the replicas contained therein.

The Competition Entries – Diorama Contest 2014

Video credit: The Dinosaur Toy Forum.

 A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur, which has sponsored the competition this year stated:

“We have all been extremely impressed by the standard of competition entries.  Everything Dinosaur would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who entered, we are very proud to be involved as sponsors and clearly there are a lot of very talented forum members.”

Everything Dinosaur is Sponsoring the Contest

Everything Dinosaur logo.

Everything Dinosaur is sponsoring the competition.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Toy Forum Contest

The prizes have all been put aside in a special area of the Everything Dinosaur warehouse, once winners have been announced we can get these prizes (prehistoric animal models of course), sent out and on their way.

Best of luck to everyone involved and we look forward to posting up more news shortly.

To view the massive selection of prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur Prehistoric Animal Models.

29 09, 2014

Drawing of Sauropelta (Shield Lizard)

By |2023-03-16T16:12:19+00:00September 29th, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Sauropelta Illustrated

As we prepare for the 2015 introduction of the Sauropelta dinosaur figure in the Wild Safari Dinos model series (Safari Ltd), our team members have been working on the fact sheet that will accompany sales of this dinosaur model.  This large, early representative of that branch of the Ankylosauridae known as the nodosaurids was certainly a spectacular animal.  It had four pairs of spines projecting upwards and outwards from the neck and its body armour consisted of rows of bony studs interspersed with small, pebble-like osteoderms.  Sauropelta (S. edwardsorum) certainly needed its armour, as it shared a habitat with some very formidable theropod dinosaurs.

Sauropelta edwardsorum Illustrated

As part of Everything Dinosaur’s preparations ,we have commissioned an illustration of this nodosaurid.  The drawing will help us to create a scale drawing, to give readers the chance to gauge just how big this dinosaur was.  It will also permit us to add “shield lizard” to our large collection of dinosaur drawing materials and downloads.

Everything Dinosaur’s Sauropelta Illustration

Primitive nodsaurid from the United States.

Primitive nodosaurid from the United States.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Sauropelta Replica (Safari Ltd)

Available from Everything Dinosaur in early 2015

Available from Everything Dinosaur in early 2015.

Picture credit: Safari Ltd


We think our illustration captures the anatomy of Sauropelta quite well, we shall add a human figure to the final drawing to provide scale.  One thing that has been pointed out to us, however, both the model and drawing with their small, down-turned snouts look unhappy.  Happiness is not an emotional state that is readily applied to the Dinosauria and we certainly should not anthropomorphosize, but perhaps the Sauropelta will look a little happier when these models start being snapped up by collectors and dinosaur fans alike.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of prehistoric animals from Safari Ltd: Safari Ltd – Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

28 09, 2014

EYFS Teachers Provide Positive Feedback

By |2023-03-16T16:10:42+00:00September 28th, 2014|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on EYFS Teachers Provide Positive Feedback

Feedback from Reception Class

A topic about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals can be a great way to help children in the autumn term of Reception move from learning through play to a more diverse range of activities aimed at developing learning skills and meeting individual learning needs.  Children in the Reception classes at Kensington Primary School had been learning all about dinosaurs and a visit from one of Everything Dinosaur’s experts to show them fossils proved to be the highlight of their week.

Positive Feedback

The focus on this very tactile session, was very much on helping to develop vocabulary and confidence in handling unusual objects.  The children were able to make comparisons and use describing words.  There was lots of activities incorporated into the fast paced session and the children (plus the teaching team), really enjoyed helping our dinosaur expert answer the question of the day – “how big were dinosaurs?”

Feedback from the Reception Class Teacher

Feedback from teachers.

Five stars awarded to Everything Dinosaur. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Five Stars for Everything Dinosaur

Whilst we appreciate our star rating system might need a little clarification we were happy to help out at the school and our “5 star” rating was greatly appreciated.

To learn more about Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning range of models and figures: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

As part of our support for the school, Everything Dinosaur pretended to have left some dinosaur eggs for the children to discover. Pictures of the eggs along with some describing words were then posted up on the classroom “Wow wall” to help reinforce the learning.

Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaur workshop for the reception class really helped the teaching team animate and bring to life the dinosaur themed term topic.

For models and replicas plus dinosaur toys and games: Dinosaur Toys, Models and Gifts.

28 09, 2014

Feedback from Foundation Class

By |2023-03-16T16:09:47+00:00September 28th, 2014|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Teaching|0 Comments

Five Stars for Everything Dinosaur (sort of)

At Everything Dinosaur we encourage teachers to provide our team members with feedback over our visits to schools to teach about dinosaurs.  We conduct dinosaur and fossil workshops from children within the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stages) right up to students at Key Stage 4.  We are keen to develop our work in schools and museums and we are very grateful for all the feedback that we receive.  Whilst it would be great if teachers could leave feedback and comments on our dedicated teaching website, we do have a section dedicated to this, we do appreciate that sometimes teaching professionals find themselves so busy that this is not always possible.

Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s dedicated prehistoric animal toys and gifts website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

To help overcome this we always carry feedback forms with us when we visit schools, colleges and other institutions.  Being able to provide instant feedback is a great benefit to the teachers, teaching assistants and learning support team members that we work with.

Following our visit to Kensington Primary School to work with Foundation Stage children, we got lots of very positive feedback from the teaching team.  This feedback has already been posted up on our dedicated teaching website, but we thought it would be helpful if we posted up one of the forms from a class teacher here.

Foundation Stage Teacher Praises Everything Dinosaur

5 Stars for Everything Dinosaur.

5 stars for Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Kensington Primary School


We note that our “star rating” system was perhaps a little confusing but the comments are greatly appreciated.

The Foundation Stage teacher commented:

“Excellent resources and modelling of different vocabulary, especially focusing on opposites eg. hard/soft.  Children remained engaged throughout and loved touching the objects.  They were the focus of a lot of discussion throughout the rest of the day.”

Our dinosaur expert talked through a couple of extension activities with the teaching team and we look forward to hearing how the term topic develops.

27 09, 2014

Evolution and Genetics (KS3 and KS4) – Trilobites

By |2023-03-16T16:07:50+00:00September 27th, 2014|Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Evolution and Genetics (KS3 and KS4) – Trilobites

A Case Study in Evolution – the Trilobites (Trilobita)

When Key Stage 3 students are being taught about genetics and evolution as part of the national curriculum for schools in England, it is important for teachers to set the work of Darwin, Wallace et al into context.  For example, natural selection within a species relies on variation existing within that species (a form of intra-specific competition).  Natural selection between two different species relies on variation between these species (an illustration of inter-specific competition).  This variation between species and from organisms within a single species means that some members of a particular species or some species as a whole will compete more successfully.

It is this competition that drives natural selection.

Environmental Changes

Changes in the environment may lead to some less well adapted individuals within a species to fail to reach maturity and breed.  Some entire species that are less well adapted to compete and reach maturity when compared to other species will fail to breed.  If they fail to breed, they cannot pass on their inherited characteristics to the next generation.  The inability to compete successfully may lead to population decline and ultimately extinction.

Why Did the Trilobites Become Extinct?

Trilobite fossils - the Selenopeltis slab.

Trilobites galore – the Selenopeltis slab, but why did these arthropods become extinct.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Extension Activity

Introduce the class to trilobites, collect pictures and images of different types of trilobite fossil and depictions of them as living marine organisms.  Explore their senses (calcite eyes) and adaptations to a marine environment.  Consider the reasons for their success as a group, develop theories on why these once diverse, successful creatures became extinct.  More capable learners might be able to apply extinction theories to climate change issues happening today.


Trilobites were an extremely abundant and speciose group of Palaeozoic arthropods that evolved into a least ten different Orders.  The first trilobites evolved in the Early Cambrian (540 million years ago approximately), the last of the trilobites became extinct at the end of the Permian geological period nearly 300 million years  later.  These sea-living arthropods had a distinct, threefold, longitudinal division of the body and hard, calcified exoskeletons.  To grow, the external exoskeleton had to be moulted.

A Model of a Trilobite (Redlichia rex)

CollectA Redlichia rex trilobite.

CollectA Redlichia rex trilobite model.

To view models of iconic prehistoric animals such as trilobites, belmenites, orthroceras and ammonites: Models of Iconic Prehistoric Animals.

The trilobites rapidly diversified and by the Early Ordovician period there were over sixty different families.  This number fell to around forty by the end of the Ordovician and despite spurts of adaptive radiation during the Silurian, Devonian and into the Carboniferous by the end of the Carboniferous period around 299 million years ago there were just four families left.  Two families of Trilobita survived until the late Permian before the Trilobita finally became extinct at the end of the Permian (mass extinction event).

What is the Family Classification?

In Linnaean Classification, there can be one or more closely related species in a genus.  These genera (plural) are then grouped together into closely related Families, then Orders, then Classes, Phyla, Kingdom and Domain.

For the Trilobita (H. spasskyi)

  • Domain = Eukaryotes
  • Kingdom = Animalia
  • Phylum = Arthropoda
  • Class = Trilobita
  • Order = Harpetida
  • Family = Harpetidae
  • Genus = Harpes
  • Species = Harpes spasskyi

Relate the study of trilobites to the importance of maintaining biological diversity and compare and contrast to current extinction issues seen today.

Visit the award-winning website of Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur.

27 09, 2014

New Armoured Dinosaur from New Mexico

By |2023-03-16T16:03:53+00:00September 27th, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|5 Comments

Ziapelta sanjuanensis From New Mexico but Closely Related to Canadian Ankylosaurs

For some strange reason, the ankylosaurs don’t seem to be held in quite the same awe as the horned dinosaurs by most members of the public.  We at Everything Dinosaur have our own theory about this.  The horned dinosaurs are much easier for the lay person to recognise.  There is the spectacular spiked frill of Styracosaurus, the peculiar nasal boss of Pachyrhinosaurus, a dinosaur genus which came to greater prominence with the “Walking with Dinosaurs in 3-D” movie.  Then there is of course, the most famous horned dinosaur of all – Triceratops (three horned face).

The Ankylosauridae

Members of the Ankylosauridae tend to have the same basic body plan.  They have broad rumps, bony clubs on the end of their tails and of course, all that body armour.  Model makers often find it difficult to distinguish different armoured dinosaurs.  For example, the Saichania replica made by Schleich, to the uninitiated, resembles Ankylosaurus.

The Saichania Model made by Schleich

Saichania means "beautiful"

Saichania means “beautiful”.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

When it comes to films and television documentaries, the ankylosaurs are rarely given star billing.  So today, in our own small way, we are going to champion the Late Cretaceous armoured dinosaurs by discussing the newest member of their family – Ziapelta, from the San Juan Basin of north-western New Mexico.  The fossils of Ziapelta consist of elements of the skull and incomplete neck rings of spiky bone and fragments of the famous, scaly Ankylosauria body armour (osteoderms).

Discovered in 2011

The material was discovered in 2011 by Robert Sullivan, subsequently excavated by Dr Sullivan and colleagues and then stored at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.  Once extracted from its silt and sandstone matrix, the scientists had enough fossil evidence to assign these fossils to a new genera.  A thorough exploration of the surrounding area produced no further post-cranial material.  It seems the head and neck of this armoured dinosaur were separated from the rest of the body prior to burial.  How this came about, one can only speculate.

Ziapelta sanjuanensis

The fossils were collected from the De-na-zin Member of the Kirtland Formation which as been dated to around 74 to 72 million years ago.  At perhaps as much as six metres long, the herbivorous Ziapelta would have been a very formidable adversary for even the largest tyrannosaurid.

An Illustration of Ziapelta (Z. sanjuanensis)

New Armoured Dinosaur from New Mexico

New armoured dinosaur from New Mexico.

Picture credit: Sydney Mohr

To the lay person, the spiky-looking Ziapelta might just look like any other Ankylosauridae, so let’s explain why the skull and neck material have allowed scientists to erect a new genus of armoured dinosaur.  Firstly, elements of the skull have been found, the skull morphology (shape) and composition can be very helpful when looking to identify an animal new to science, dinosaurs included.  Co-author of the scientific paper, which is published in the on line academic journal PLOS One, Victoria Arbour commented:

“The horns on the back of the skull are thick and curve downwards and the snout has a mixture of flat and bumpy scales – an unusual feature for an ankylosaurid.”

Closely Related to Canadian Ankylosaurids

Dr Arbour (University of Alberta) is a renowned expert on all things ankylosaur, she was invited to examine the fossils along with PhD student Mike Burns (University of Alberta).  The scientists concluded that unlike the armoured dinosaur Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis, which is also known from the San Juan Basin and is believed to be related to Asian genera of the Ankylosauridae, Saichania for example, Ziapelta was more closely related to the ankylosaurids of Canada.

The Formidable Spiky Cervical Rings of Ziapelta

Bony and spiky neck armour of Ziapelta.

Bony and spiky neck armour of Ziapelta.

Picture credit: PLOS One

Dr Arbour stated:

“Bob Sullivan, who discovered the specimen, showed us pictures and we were really excited by both its familiarity and its distinctiveness.  We were pretty sure right away we were dealing with a new species that was closely related to the ankylosaurs we find in Alberta.”

Unusual Features

Ziapelta has another unusual feature that distinguishes it from other ankylosaurids, a feature that we at Everything Dinosaur find quite endearing considering the size and fearsome nature of these reptiles.  The layout of the scales that make up the top of the skull are often very distinctive.  In the case of Ziapelta, it has a large triangular-shaped scale on the tip of its snout, in contrast to many other ankylosaurids which have a six-sided scale on their snouts

Views of the Skull Fossil of Ziapelta (Z. sanjuanensis)

Views of the skull fossil material of Ziapelta.

Views of the skull fossil material of Ziapelta.

Picture credit: PLOS One

The photograph above shows various views of the holotype skull material, A – dorsal view (view from the top), B = ventral view (viewed from underneath), C = anterior view (view from the front), D = occipital view (viewed from the rear) and finally E – left lateral view (view of the left side of the skull).  In photograph A, we have highlighted in red the outline of that large triangular scale on the snout (referred to as mnca – median nasal caputegulum to use the formal scientific term).

Dr Arbour put it very succinctly stating:

“There’s also a distinctive large triangular scale on the snout, where many other ankylosaurids have a hexagonal scale.”

Specialising in Studying Ankylosaurs

The University of Alberta scientist has specialised in studying ankylosaurs, especially those specimens which are known from the Late Cretaceous of North America.  Back in 2013, Everything Dinosaur reported on Dr Arbour’s research into the Ankylosauridae which was helping to redefine this family of dinosaurs.

To read more about this research: When is a Euoplocephalus a Euoplocephalus?

Ankylosaurid fossils make up a small, but significant proportion of the Dinosauria fossil assemblage of southern Alberta, but to date, no ankylosaurid material has been found in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (lower parts of this formation, the Strathmore and the Drumheller Members) of Alberta.  These rocks are roughly the same age as the strata in which the fossils of Ziapelta were found.  This New Mexico armoured dinosaur is helping palaeontologists to plug a gap in the record of ankylosaurid fossils known from North America.

Dr Arbour explained:

“The rocks in New Mexico fill in this gap in time, and that’s where Ziapelta occurs.  Could Ziapelta have also lived in Alberta, in the gap where we haven’t found any ankylosaur fossils yet?  It is possible, but in recent years there has also been increasing evidence that the dinosaurs from the southern part of North America – New Mexico, Texas and Utah, for example, are distinct from their northern neighbours in Alberta.”

There is a lot of evidence to support the idea of “dinosaur provinciality” in North America.  It seems that although the overall mix of dinosaurs was about the same in the regions, the actual genera that made up the dinosaur populations differed markedly.  How or why these distinct faunas came about remains something of a mystery.  The discovery of Ziapelta may help to add more pieces to the picture as palaeontologists strive to solve this puzzle.

26 09, 2014

Year 1 Exploring All Things Dinosaur

By |2023-03-16T16:00:14+00:00September 26th, 2014|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Year 1 Exploring All Things Dinosaur

Year 1 Children at Altrincham Preparatory School Explore Dinosaurs

Children in Year 1 at Altrincham Preparatory School learned all about dinosaurs and fossils yesterday morning when the school was visited by Everything Dinosaur.  The dinosaur expert showed the children all sorts of fossils and helped them conduct some experiments to see how dinosaurs like Diplodocus and Apatosaurus fed.  The children in 1B and 1E had been studying dinosaurs since the beginning of the autumn term and both classrooms had displays of the children’s hand-writing and dinosaur themed artwork on display.

Everything Dinosaur

Colourful “Plateosaurs” on Display in 1B

Children make a dinosaur themed display.

Dinosaurs made from plates, a wall display featuring Plateosaurus!

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Altrincham Preparatory School

Everything Dinosaur’s Work in Schools

To read more about the extensive range of prehistoric animal and dinosaur themed gifts available from Everything Dinosaur including replicas of iconic prehistoric animals that make fantastic teaching aids: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Educational Gifts.

Commenting on their work in schools, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“It was great to see the enthusiastic children and to help them explore dinosaurs and fossils.  The plastic sheet that we brought with us proved invaluable as there were some very hungry Diplodocus dinosaurs in the classroom.”

A Wonderful Day

The teacher of 1E, Mrs Eyley commented that the morning had been wonderful and that they had all benefited from such a hands on, practical experience.  With the help of Mrs Barry (teaching assistant), the children had been learning all about carnivores and herbivores so when the fossil teeth were shown, the class were able to work out which teeth were suitable for feeding on plants and which teeth were those of a meat-eater.

The spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur added:

“When the children go away from this class, they will be able to write about dinosaurs in a more confident manner, using the additional knowledge gained.  Dinosaurs may have lived a long time ago but they still have the ability to inspire and enthuse.”

26 09, 2014

Year 1 Explore Dinosaurs

By |2023-03-16T15:58:20+00:00September 26th, 2014|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Teaching|0 Comments

Exploring Dinosaurs and Learning How to Eat Like a Diplodocus

Another busy day yesterday for Everything Dinosaur with a visit to Altrincham Preparatory School to work with Year 1.  The children, under the enthusiastic tutelage of their teachers Mrs Bacon and Mrs Eyley had been studying dinosaurs and fossils and a visit from our dinosaur expert helped to reinforce learning.  One of the pupils in the class heralds from Canada, so it was apt to explore the rib bones of an Edmontosaurus (named after the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta).  One of the children in 1E was born in Argentina, so we promised to send out some information on Argentinosaurus, a huge titanosaur, as part of the extension resources.

Exploring Dinosaurs

The children had been busy writing about Diplodocus and our expert was able to see some of the excellent examples of hand-writing, vocabulary use and sentence construction that was on display.

Year 1 Pupils Write About Diplodocus

A "What I am" writing exercise with Diplodocus.

A “what I am?” writing exercise with Diplodocus.

Picture credit: Altrincham Preparatory School/Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur

As part of the experiments we conducted, we showed how sauropod dinosaurs like Diplodocus fed and then we looked at some fossilised plants and compared them to living ferns.

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s school visit: Children Prepare Questions About Dinosaurs.

There was also some wonderful artwork on display in the classrooms of 1B and 1E, the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge and one young dinosaur fan even brought in a model of a Baryonyx.

Piecing Together a Carnivorous Dinosaur

Meat-eating dinosaurs inspire artwork.

Meat-eating dinosaurs inspire artwork.

Picture credit: Altrincham Preparatory School/Everything Dinosaur

The children and the teaching team really enjoyed the morning and it was great to see so many dinosaur themed examples of work posted up around the classrooms.  We even met one little boy called Owen, so we sent over some information on the anatomist Sir Richard Owen who was responsible for naming the group of animals we know as the Dinosauria.

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s huge product range: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

25 09, 2014

New Research Suggests Multicellular Life Started Earlier

By |2023-03-16T15:56:05+00:00September 25th, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Educational Activities, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Evidence Suggests Multicellular Life 60 Million Years Earlier than Previously Thought

Researchers from the Virginia Tech College of Science in collaboration with counterparts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have published new data on one of the most fundamental and significant changes that occurred in the history of life on our planet.  At some time during the Proterozoic Eon, multicellular life forms evolved.  These organisms evolved from single-celled entities and in a paper published in the academic journal “Nature”, the researchers propose that multicellular life forms evolved some sixty million years earlier than previously thought.

Multicellular Life

The team suggest that they have found fossil evidence of complex multicellularity in strata dating from around 600 million years ago, although microscopic fossils are known in Precambrian strata from several locations around the world (Australia, South Africa as well as China), this new research is helping to clarify some long-standing interpretations of micro-fossils.

Professor of Geobiology at the Virginia Tech College of Science, Shuhai Xiao explained the significance of this new fossil discovery:

“This opens up a new door for us to shine some light on the timing and evolutionary steps that were taken by multicellular organisms that would eventually go on to dominate the Earth in a very visible way.  Fossils similar to the ones in this study have been interpreted previously as bacteria, single-cell eukaryotes, algae and transitional forms related to modern animals such as sponges, sea anemones, or bilaterally symmetrical animals.  This paper lets us put aside some of those interpretations.”

The Origins of Complex Life

It has long been known that simple, multicellular organisms evolved before more complex ones, such as red algae and sponges.  If a biological hierarchy existed (and most scientists believe that this is the case), then at some point in the past, single-celled organisms began to evolve into much larger, more complicated multicellular organisms.  The trouble is, with the paucity of the fossil record and the difficulties involved in interpreting Ediacaran fauna there is a lot of debate amongst biologists and palaeontologists as to when the solo living cells began to fuse into more cohesive, complex forms.

Evidence of Complex Multicellular Organisms from the Doushantuo Formation

Evidence of multicellular structures in 600 million year old rocks.

Evidence of multicellular structures in 600-million-year-old rocks.

Picture credit: Virginia Tech College of Science

The researchers examined microscopic samples of phosphorite rocks from the Doushantuo Formation in Guizhou Province (south, central China).  This formation represents extensive marine sediments that were deposited from around 635 million years ago to around 550 million years ago.  They preserve a unique record of microscopic life (Metazoan life – animals) that existed during the Ediacaran geological period, the period in Earth’s history defined as immediately before the Cambrian and that marks the end of the Precambrian or the Proterozoic Eon.

What is an Eukaryote?

The scientists were able to identify a number of three-dimensional multicellular fossils that show signs of cell-to-cell adhesion, cells potentially performing different functions and programmed cell death.  These qualities are all found in complex eukaryotes, the organisms that dominate visible life on Earth to day, the fungi, animals and plants.  Eukaryotes range in size from single-celled amoebas to giant sequoias and blue whales.  We (H. sapiens) belong to the Domain Eukarya.   Eukaryote cells are complex, they have a distinct nucleus surrounded by a membrane.  The nucleus contains most of the genetic material.  The nucleus itself is a specialised area of the cell, it is referred to as an organelle.  Eukaryote cells have a number of specialised areas within them (other organelles as well as a nucleus).

Professor Xiao and his colleagues admit that these are not the first multicellular fossils found, nor are they probably the oldest, but the exceptional preservation permits the researchers to draw certain conclusions.  For example, it had been previously thought that these multicellular characteristics had started to develop much later in Earth’s history, perhaps as recently as 545 million years ago, a time shortly before the great Cambrian explosion.

What was the Cambrian Explosion?

The Cambrian explosion refers to the period in Earth’s history around 545 to 542 million years ago when there was a sudden burst of evolution as recorded by extensive fossil discoveries.  A wide variety of organisms, especially those with hard, mineralised body parts first appear.

This new research may help to shed some light on when multicellularity arose, but the reasons for this significant change remain unclear.  The complex multicellularity shown in these Chinese fossils is not consistent with that seen in simpler forms such as bacteria.  The scientists note, that whilst some earlier theories can be disregarded these three-dimensional structures can be interpreted in many ways and more research is required to construct the complete life cycle of these ancient organisms.

In summary, these fossils may show some affinity towards the stem-groups that led to the first members of the Kingdoms we know as Animalia, Fungi and Plantae, but much more data is needed to establish a more thorough phylogenetic relationship.

24 09, 2014

Practical Dinosaur Themed Workshop for Reception

By |2023-03-16T15:52:13+00:00September 24th, 2014|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Practical Dinosaur Themed Workshop for Reception

Tactile Fossil and Dinosaur Workshop Extends Vocabulary

Everything Dinosaur staff are busy carrying out lots of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops as the autumn term gets into full swing.  Dinosaurs and exploring fossils makes an excellent autumn topic for reception aged children, as it encourages lots of creative work and it also leads nicely into some of the science themes outlined as key teaching outcomes in Key Stage 1.

Dinosaur and Fossil Workshops

When working with reception aged children, Everything Dinosaur team members try to help the children gain more confidence in speaking.  We endeavour to engage, inform and to help the children learn about materials and the world around them.  All our teaching plans are focused on achieving desired learning outcomes.  Our work with reception classes yesterday demonstrated this approach as we were asked by the teaching team in the short briefing prior to the teaching to help develop the children’s confidence in using adjectives.

To see a blog post that provides feedback on a school visit: Feedback after Everything Dinosaur school visit.

Could the question of the day be answered – were some dinosaurs huge?

English as an Additional Language

The teaching team very often have to help children who do not have English as a first language.  Children at this age soon pick up language skills and our team members do our best to assist.  The feedback received from yesterday’s visit certainly suggests that all our teaching objectives were met.

Typical Feedback from a Teacher (Reception Class)

Feedback after dinosaur workshop.

Genuine feedback from teachers, teaching assistants and members of the senior leadership team.

Everything Dinosaur is grateful for all the feedback we receive.  Such feedback is always treated in the strictest confidence and we encourage teachers and learning support providers to enquire about extension activities as well as providing us with comments, suggestions and feedback.

We look forward to hearing more from the school as the term topic progresses.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

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