All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
28 02, 2015

EYFS at Purston Infant School Learn All About Dinosaurs

By | February 28th, 2015|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Foundation Unit Studies Dinosaurs

It was an exciting Friday for the children at the Foundation Unit at Purston Infant School (West Yorkshire) as yesterday, they had a visit from Everything Dinosaur to help them learn all about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.  The two classes of Lower Foundation Stage along with the two classes of Upper Foundation Stage have been learning about dinosaurs and there was lots of colourful artwork on display around the classrooms.

One of the Colourful Dinosaur Inspired Displays at the School

Colourful prehistoric animals.

Colourful prehistoric animals.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Foundation Unit Studies Dinosaurs

The children have two beautiful, giant dinosaur eggs to look after.  Both the eggs were made from paper mache.  In discussion, with the teaching team we suggested that an extension activity could involve the children thinking about what sort of animals lay eggs/do not lay eggs.

Perhaps a classroom display could be created with the children being encouraged to list the types of animals they know that lay eggs.  Can the children sort and group the animals that they have thought of?  For example, those with scales, those with feathers, those that can fly etc.  What might a dinosaur nest be made off?  Can the children sort out different types of material and work out which materials would be good/would not be good to line a nest for a dinosaur egg?

A Giant Dinosaur Egg in a Classroom

A big, blue dinosaur egg.

A big, blue dinosaur egg. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Dinosaur Workshop

Under the enthusiastic tutelage of the teachers and their support staff the children were certainly enjoying this term topic and there was lots of evidence on display of the children enjoying a broad based, varied activity topic.  The Lower Foundation Stage children had a wonderful sensory bin filled with sand and small stones as well as dinosaur skeletons for them to explore.  In addition, dinosaur models had been made using all sorts of household odds and ends, helping the children to learn about the properties of different materials.

The older children in the two Upper Foundation Stage classes (Monkeys 1 and Monkeys 2) had been busy painting their favourite dinosaurs and there was lots of expressive artwork posted up around the classroom as well as plenty of evidence of vocabulary development.

Fossil Themed Counting Activities

During the dinosaur workshops with the children, our dinosaur expert encouraged the children’s confidence with counting by introducing simple dinosaur fossil themed counting activities all developed with the aim of helping the budding young palaeontologists to improve their confidence in counting and their understanding of numbers.

Enabling Children to Explore and Play Using a Wide Range of Media

Using different media, important in learning and development.

Using different media, important in learning and development. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our dinosaur expert, promised to email over some more extension resources to help support the scheme of work prepared by the dedicated teaching team, one of whom stated “the children were very responsive and enjoyed looking at all the resources”.

To view the range of prehistoric animal toys and games stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

27 02, 2015

EYFS Children at Purston Infants School Learn About Dinosaurs

By | February 27th, 2015|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on EYFS Children at Purston Infants School Learn About Dinosaurs

EYFS Learn About Dinosaurs

Children in the Foundation Unit at Purston Infants School (West Yorkshire), have been learning all about dinosaurs this term.  The enthusiastic teaching team have been busy arranging lots of imaginative activities for the children in Lower Foundation Stage, including a super sensory bin full of pebbles and sand plus little plastic dinosaur skeletons for the children to explore.

Children Learn About Dinosaurs

Children learn about dinosaurs.

Colourful prehistoric animals.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

EYFS Learn About Dinosaurs

The fossil expert who visited the school to conduct dinosaur workshops with the children in the Foundation Unit, knows the skeleton models very well.  These little plastic skeletons are great for creative, imaginative play and these skeletons featured in a picture project involving Everything Dinosaur who were challenged to create a “dinosaur bone bed”.

An Imaginary Dinosaur Bone Bed

Dinosaur sensory play area.

A dinosaur sensory play area for the children. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Sets

The plastic dinosaur sets that Everything Dinosaur supplies features twelve different prehistoric animals, children really enjoyed searching for their very own dinosaur skeletons.

To see the range of teaching resources supplied by Everything Dinosaur, including replicas of iconic fossil animals: Educational, Dinosaur Themed Toys and Games.

Both the Lower Foundation Stage and the Upper Foundation Stage classrooms had lots of dinosaur displays.  Some children had even made models of prehistoric animals and there were some lovely dinosaur paintings posted up on the walls.

Colourful Dinosaur Inspired Pictures

Dinosaur Wall Display

A decorative dinosaur wall display spotted at the school helping EYFS to learn about dinosaurs. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Budding Palaeontologists

The eager, budding young palaeontologists were keen to demonstrate their knowledge telling our expert all about carnivores and herbivores (well done to Paddy for a fantastic explanation).  The younger children learned that fossils tend to feel cold and that some fossils are small and light, whilst other fossils particularly those of dinosaurs tend to be very big or even “massive” as one child exclaimed as our dinosaur expert encouraged the children to think of “wow words” to describe dinosaurs.

Praising the Everything Dinosaur team member who conducted the workshops, one of the teacher’s stated: “An enjoyable experience, the children were very responsive and enjoyed looking at the resources.”

27 02, 2015

Sir Richard Owen Gets Blue Plaque

By | February 27th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Famous Figures, Main Page|0 Comments

Sir Richard Owen Honoured with Blue Plaque

Sir Richard Owen, the 19th century anatomist and palaeontologist who first used the term dinosaur, has been honoured by the Society of Biology by having a blue heritage plaque installed at his former school, Lancaster Royal Grammar.  The plaque was unveiled yesterday at a small ceremony.  Blue plaques serve to act as a historical marker, indicating that a notable person was associated with a place or that an important, historical event occurred at that location.  This blue plaque commemorates that fact that Sir Richard (knighted in 1884), attended the school from 1809-1819.

The Blue Plaque Erected at Lancaster Royal Grammar School

Sir Richard Owen honoured.

Sir Richard Owen honoured.

Picture credit: LRGS

Sir Richard Owen

Undoubtedly, Sir Richard Owen was a very talented scientist and an extremely clever man.  Although he did not impress all his tutors whilst at Lancaster Grammar School.  One school master described him as “impudent” and doubted whether the son of a merchant would ever amount to very much.  Although Sir Richard gained a great deal of acclaim during his lifetime and certainty did make a huge contribution to science, by all accounts he had a very egregious character.

There are a number of accounts of him plagiarising the work of his contemporaries and he was very critical of the work of some of his peers.  For example, the then, plain Richard Owen disputed much of the evidence put forward to support the theory of natural selection as suggested by Charles Darwin in the “Origin of Species”, which was first published in 1859.  Richard Owen seemed to resent the success of others and he has earned a reputation (perhaps deserved), for being quick to condemn the work of others whilst desiring to talk up his own contribution.

To read another article about Sir Richard Owen: Remembering Sir Richard Owen.

A Glittering Career

In a glittering career, which saw him rise to the top of the Victorian scientific community, Sir Richard Owen was awarded many accolades.  He supervised the first “life-sized” prehistoric animal replicas as part of the Great Exhibition in 1851, he acquired one of the very first Archaeopteryx fossil specimens and studied it in great detail.  He described a vast array of extinct and extant animals and wrote a prestigious amount of academic literature.  Perhaps his most notable achievement was campaigning for and helping to set up the museum now known as the Natural History Museum.  Owen’s “cathedral to nature” opened in 1881.

Sir Richard Owen may be credited with coining the term “dinosaur”, but he was not the first person to note that the strange fossils of ancient animals being found in southern England and elsewhere represented a distinct group of animals.  The German palaeontologist, Hermann von Meyer stated that these ancient reptiles now known as dinosaurs should be considered a separate Order as early as 1832, around ten years before Sir Richard Owen coined the term “Dinosauria”.

The Society of Biology

In total ten blue plaques are been erected by the Society of Biology to commemorate the contributions to science made by “heroes of biology”.  Other recipients include: Patrick Steptoe, Jean Purdy and Robert Edwards who jointly developed IVF, leading to the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown who was born in 1978, (plaque located at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, Oldham) and Sir Anthony Carlisle, an anatomist who helped develop the concept of producing medical statistics.

There is even a plaque being erected to “Dolly the Sheep”, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell rather than an embryonic one.  This plaque can be seen at the Roslin Institute (part of the University of Edinburgh), where Dolly lived all her life (1996-2003).  We are not sure quite how Sir Richard Owen would feel about having a plaque erected to honour him at the same time as a sheep gets one, but we suspect that he would be desperately keen to learn more about the science of genetics, which was virtually unknown when he was alive.

26 02, 2015

Everything Dinosaur Stocks the Rebor “Jolly” Hatching Triceratops

By | February 26th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The Limited Edition Rebor “Jolly” Hatching Triceratops

Everything Dinosaur stocks the limited-edition Rebor hatching Triceratops dinosaur model.

Rebor is introducing an exclusive and limited-edition range of prehistoric animal replicas under the name “Club Selection”.  The first of these models is a beautiful figure of a hatching Triceratops.  The baby Triceratops has been nick-named “Jolly” as she went into production around Christmas 2014.  Only 1,000 of these exquisite replicas have been produced and Everything Dinosaur was lucky enough to be amongst the first in the world to receive stocks of this highly collectible item.

The Rebor “Jolly” Hatching Triceratops Dinosaur Model

Rebor Hatching Triceratops

Only 1,000 have been made.

Picture credit: Rebor/Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Rebor replicas available: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Replicas.

Rebor Hatching Triceratops

The Christmas link is obvious as soon as you open the packaging.  “Jolly” has been supplied with a Santa Claus hat!

A Very Well Packaged  Dinosaur Replica

The "Christmas Hat" can be seen in the corner.

The “Christmas Hat” can be seen in the corner.

Picture credit: Rebor

When mounted on its base the model stands a little under seventeen centimetres high and it is a superb model of a hatching Triceratops and we look forward to hearing more about the exclusive Rebor Club Selection.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is a top quality replica of a hatching Triceratops.  The scientist accredited with the discovery of the first Triceratops skull was called John Bell Hatcher, what a great way to commemorate this with a “hatching” baby Triceratops figure, although perhaps Rebor missed a trick here, they might have called their baby Trike “Bella”!”

Limited-edition Figure

Each hand-crafted replica is given a unique number on its base plate, this is the customer’s guarantee of quality, confirmation that they own one of just 1,000 replicas to be produced.

Check the Base Plate Under the Model for Your Unique Number 

Check the number on the base of "Jolly" the Hatching Triceratops.

Check the number on the base of “Jolly” the Hatching Triceratops.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

These replicas are going to highly prized in years to come and we advise all serious dinosaur collectors to get one whilst stocks last.

For further information on “Jolly” and the rest of the Rebor range: Rebor Model Range.

25 02, 2015

Peruvian Paradise for Prehistoric Crocodiles

By | February 25th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

A Miocene Crocodile Community – from Prehistoric Peru

It’s not just Paddington Bear that heralds from Peru, a team of international scientists writing in the academic journal the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” have published a paper that describes a rich and diverse wetland ecosystem that thrived thirteen million years ago, jam packed with co-existing crocodylians.  North-eastern Peru was covered in an extensive tropical wetland during the Middle Miocene Epoch (Serravallion faunal stage), at least seven different species of ancient crocodile lived in this habitat, three of which are entirely new to science.   The crocodile fossils have been excavated from two highly fossiliferous bone beds that document life in South America prior to the formation of the Amazon basin and its rainforest.

Prehistoric Peru

As much of north-eastern Peru is now covered in tropical, lowland forest, exposed outcrops of sedimentary rocks are rare, however, a team of researchers from the University of Montpellier, Toulouse University, the American Museum of Natural History, the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre (Holland) and the Department for Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in Lima have spent more than a decade piecing together information about this ancient ecosystem, one in which a number of specialised crocodylians co-habited.

 A Mid Miocene Hyperdiverse Crocodylian Community

Hyperdiverse Crocodylian community of Mid Miocene Peru.

Hyperdiverse crocodylian community of Mid Miocene Peru.

Picture credit: Javier Herbozo

A Proto-Amazonian Swampland

The picture above illustrates the proto-Amazonian swampland of north-eastern Peru from around thirteen million years ago and three of the Crocodylians that lived in this habitat.  Kuttanacaiman iquitosensis (left), Caiman wannlangstoni (right) and feeding on clams on the lake floor is the short-snouted Gnatusuchus pebasensis.

At Least Seven Different Species

The research team conclude that with the fossilised remains of at least seven different species present, this ecosystem represents the greatest concentration of crocodile species co-existing in one place at any time in Earth’s history, as recorded in the fossil record.  In comparison, the Amazon rainforest today, is home to just six species of Caiman, but only three species are known to co-exist in the same habitats.

The scientists suggest that the huge range of different Molluscs, creatures such as land and pond snails as well as several types of clams enabled these different types of freshwater crocodile to specialise in feeding on a particular group.  Although vertebrate fossils are rare in the exposed Peruvian Miocene strata, a vast assemblage of Mollusc fossils have been preserved.

Commenting on how this research has helped to fill in the gaps in our knowledge regarding the origins of the Amazon’s rich biodiversity, John Flynn, Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History and a co-author on the scientific paper stated:

“The modern Amazon River basin contains the world’s richest biota, but the origins of this extraordinary diversity are really poorly understood.”

Compared to Extant Crocodiles

It seems that whilst today’s South American crocodylians are generalists eating a range of prey items, in the Middle Miocene a group of durophagous “shell-crunching” crocodiles evolved, to exploit the huge range of different types of Mollusc.  Clams and snails now only make up a small portion of most Caiman’s diets.

John Flynn went onto add:

“Because it’s a vast rainforest today, our exposure to rocks and therefore, also to the fossils those rocks may preserve, is extremely limited.  So anytime you get a special window like these fossilised “mega-wetland” deposits, with so many new and peculiar species, it can provide novel insights into ancient ecosystems.  What we  have found isn’t necessarily what you would expect.”

Other types of crocodiles known to have lived in this habitat include the bizarre Mourasuchus, a large reptile, that probably fed by filtering zooplankton and other small animals out of the water.  The dangerous Purussaurus also inhabited the waterways.  Attaining lengths in excess of eight metres, this was an apex predator that probably preyed on a range of animals including other types of crocodile.

Three Species Entirely New to Science

With three of the species new to science, it demonstrates the diversity of the Order Crocodylia.  One of the most peculiar of all the new crocodile discoveries is Gnatusuchus pebasensis.  This was a short-snouted Caiman with rounded teeth and it is thought that it used its snout to dig in the mud at the bottom of lakes and swampy areas to extract clams and other shelled creatures.  The shells would have been smashed to pieces in the strong jaws with their specialised teeth, designed for crushing.

A Model of the New Prehistoric Caiman Species G. pebasensis

New species of ancient Peruvian crocodile.

New species of ancient Peruvian crocodile.

Picture credit: Aldo Benites-Palomino

The model in the photograph above was made by Kevin Montalbán-Rivera.

An Island Continent

South America remained an island continent until around three million years ago.  Isolated from the rest of the world, a unique fauna and flora evolved, including so it would seem a diverse group of crocodylians.  The Amazon basin itself did not form with its extensive network of rivers until the Late Miocene, around 10.5 million years ago.

Today, the mighty Amazon drains eastwards into the Atlantic ocean, however, in the Middle Miocene, the lakes, wetlands and swamps drained to the north, through what is now Columbia and Venezuela.  As the Amazon system slowly evolved, so it seems that the large numbers of molluscs and other shelled creatures began to decline, this led to the extinction of many of the different types of crocodile that relied on these creatures for food.

As well as the specialised clam feeders, the research team also discovered the first unambiguous fossil evidence of an ancestor of extant Caimans. This Caiman, named Pebas palaeosuchus (ancient crocodile of the Pebas Formation), had a longer snout better adapted for catching a variety of prey.  It is this evolutionary design that triumphed over the broad but short-snouted crocodylians, giving rise to modern Caimans.

Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, lead author of the paper and a graduate student of the University of Montpellier (France), explained:

“We uncovered this special moment in time when the ancient mega-wetland ecosystem reached its peak in size and complexity, just before its demise and the start of the modern Amazon River system.  At this moment, most known Caiman groups co-existed, ancient lineages bearing unusual blunt snouts and globular teeth along with those more generalised feeders representing the beginning of what was to come.”

Fossil Evidence Indicates a Rich Hyperdiversity of Crocodylians

A hyperdiversity of Crocodylians.

A hyperdiversity of crocodylians.

Picture credit: Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi

Different Types of Crocodile Inhabiting the Ecosystem

Since 2002, the research team have built up a detailed picture of the various different types of crocodiles that inhabited the ecosystem, as preserved in bone beds associated with the Middle Miocene-aged Pebas Formation.  The skull and jaws, depicted above show the specialist adaptations of the different species.


  1. Gnatusuchus pebasensis – probably fed on molluscs
  2. Kuttanacaiman iquitosensis – probably fed on molluscs
  3. Caiman wannlangstoni – probably fed on molluscs
  4. Purussaurus neivensis – large, apex predator feeding on other vertebrates
  5. Mourasuchus atopus – filter feeder
  6. Pebas palaeosuchus – a generalist, more typical of extant Caiman
  7. Pebas gavialoid – probably fed on fish

Reconstructions by Javier Herbozo.

All these different types of crocodylians, but alas, it seems, the scientists have not identified a species that could have fed on Paddington Bear’s ancestors, or even marmalade sandwiches for that matter.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of the American Museum of Natural History in the compilation of this article.

24 02, 2015

Win, Win, Win with Everything Dinosaur – Win a Set of CollectA Models

By | February 24th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|3 Comments

Win a Set of New for 2015 CollectA Models with Everything Dinosaur


We have got another super, prehistoric animal and dinosaur giveaway.  CollectA, those clever model and figure manufacturers will be bringing out some amazing new prehistoric animal figures in 2015 and we are giving one lucky dinosaur model fan the chance to get their hands on a set of these new models before anyone else.

Win a Super Set of New for 2015 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models
Win a set of CollectA models with Everything Dinosaur!

Win a set of CollectA models with Everything Dinosaur!

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur 

CollectA Models

Our prize giveaway includes the mighty 1:40 scale Pliosaurus, the pair of horned dinosaurs Nasutoceratops and Medusaceratops, the fearsome Xiongguanlong, Daxiatitan, the Temnodontosaurus and the magnificent prehistoric mammal models Daeodon and Moropus (both 1:20 scale).  Eight superb collector’s items, the first to come off the production run and to win this prize all you have to do is to come up with a collective noun for a collection of CollectA!

To enter Everything Dinosaur’s competition, all you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page, then comment on the picture (either here or on Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page)  including a suggestion for the collective noun for a set of CollectA prehistoric animal replicas.

Everything Dinosaur on FACEBOOK: “LIKE” Our Facebook Page and Enter Competition.

For example, if the collective noun for a group of lions is a “pride” and we have a “pack” of dogs, a “swarm” of bees, a “gaggle” of geese, then what term can you come up with for a collection of CollectA prehistoric animals?

We will draw the lucky winner at random and the name caption competition closes on Tuesday, March 24th.  Good luck!

Just visit Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page, give our page a “like” and then leave a comment on the picture showing the set of eight prehistoric animal models. What collective noun can you come up with?

“Like” Everything Dinosaur’s Page on Facebook

Like our Page (please).

Like our Page (please).

Super CollectA Models to Win Thanks to Everything Dinosaur
Win a fantastic set of 8 prehistoric animal models.

Win a fantastic set of 8 prehistoric animal models.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur


To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of CollectA prehistoric animals: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

To see the full range of CollectA scale prehistoric animal replicas: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life.

Terms and Conditions of the Everything Dinosaur Collective Noun Competition

Automated entries are not permitted and will be excluded from the draw.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Only one entry per person.

The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered.

The Everything Dinosaur collective noun caption competition runs until March 24th 2015.

Winner will be notified by private message on Facebook.

Prize includes postage and packing.

For full terms and conditions contact: Contact Everything Dinosaur.

23 02, 2015

Withinfields Primary School Studies Dinosaurs

By | February 23rd, 2015|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Withinfields Primary School Studies Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Workshops at Withinfields Primary School

Schoolchildren study dinosaurs and are helped by team members from Everything Dinosaur.

Another busy day for the teaching team at Everything Dinosaur.  Our dinosaur and fossil experts were asked to visit Withinfields Primary in sunny, but cold West Yorkshire.  The Nursery classes and Foundation Stage Two children had just started a topic all about dinosaurs and life in the past, so we came along to help enthuse and motivate the children.  When working with a school at the start of a topic, we like to deliver what we call a “provocation session”, inspiring the teachers and children and giving them all the chance to handle fossils and to learn about dinosaurs and other amazing creatures from the past.

Schoolchildren Study Dinosaurs

We do our best to answer all the questions from the children and the teaching team.  One question today was really special, we were asked how big were the plates on the back of a Stegosaurus?  What a super question!

How Big were the Plates on the Back of a Stegosaurus?

Stegosaurus artwork in school.

How many hands?  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur

Fortunately, we have lots of information about Stegosaurus (and other armoured dinosaurs for that matter).  We answered the question and then gave the children one of our “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”.  We asked them to work out how big the plates were and what size Stegosaurus might have grown to by using some extension resources we sent over to the school via email after we had got back to the office.

We hear the children loved looking at the fossils and learning all about Stegosaurus.  A team member from Everything Dinosaur thanked the teacher and the teaching assistants for their wonderful feedback.

Everything Dinosaur stocks an extensive range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal, educational toys and games.  To view the selection available from Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

23 02, 2015

Papo Young Apatosaurus Model Reviewed

By | February 23rd, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|2 Comments

A Review of the Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

New for 2015 and one of two new replicas in Papo’s prehistoric animal replica range (the other being the Tupuxuara pterosaur), is a model of a young Apatosaurus, part of a trend by the French manufacturer to depict juvenile versions of dinosaurs, after the introduction of the young Triceratops last year and what an amazing detailed Apatosaurus model it is.

Papo Young Apatosaurus

Named back in 1877, Apatosaurus has had quite a makeover in the last few decades and it is pleasing to see that the design team at Papo have obviously reviewed the known fossil material and attempted to produce a modern interpretation of the dinosaur formerly known as Brontosaurus.  Here we have a heavy set animal, with hind limbs longer than the front legs, a deep chest, thick neck and a long, whip-like tail.  To learn more about this dinosaur’s name change, check out Everything Dinosaur’s article about how Apatosaurus got its name: Why Brontosaurus is no more.

Papo has earned a deserved reputation for the quality of the skin texture on its prehistoric animal models.  Once again, Papo have produced a beautifully sculpted dinosaur with lots of anatomical evidence inferred in the sculpt and some amazing skin details with wrinkles and folds clearly evident, even underneath the model as well, an area often overlooked in poorer quality dinosaur replicas.

The Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

The Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Papo


For many years the head of Apatosaurus was unknown and many museum exhibits depicted this dinosaur with a square, box-like skull reminiscent of another type of long-necked dinosaur whose fossils were also from Upper Jurassic aged deposits of the Western United States (Camarasaurus).  It was not until the late 1970’s that the skull of this dinosaur was formally described.  Apatosaurus had a skull very similar to that of Diplodocus.  It was rectangular in shape, with a blunt, square snout. The weak, peg-like teeth were only present in the front portion of the jaws.

Typical Diplodocid Model

CollectA rearing Diplodocus (grey).

The new CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur model in the elephantine colour scheme.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Papo Replica

This Papo replica does a fine job at recreating the head as it is reflected in the fossil record.  When compared to the rest of this dinosaur’s body the head is extremely small.  The tiny nostrils are positioned on the top of the skull, again reflecting what most palaeontologists believe, they are present on the model, but such is the fine detail on this replica that they are best viewed using a magnifying glass.

Amazing Detail on the Papo Young Apatosaurus

Amazing detail on model.

Amazing detail on model.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Describing the Model

The neck of Apatosaurus was relatively short compared to the tail but much broader and thicker.  The bones in the neck, the cervical vertebrae, are much wider than they are long.  The neural spines along the top of the these bones were divided in two, what is termed bifurcation.  These formed fork-like processes technically referred to as paired metapophyses and they can be picked out in this Apatosaurus replica, which is very much to Papo’s credit.

In addition, viewed from the side, prominent bumps along the neck can also be seen, these mark the presence of immense cervical ribs that stuck out sideways in the neck bones of Apatosaurus.  By counting the bumps you can estimate the number of cervical vertebrae depicted in the model.  By our calculations the count comes up a couple short (should be fifteen, we think) and although the bumps are very conspicuous in the replica, obviously, whether or not these bumps would have been visible in the living animal is purely speculative.  Our guess is that with the neck being very strong and covered in sheaths of muscle, these lumps and bumps would not have been seen.

However, as they feature in the Papo replica, it does at least indicate that the French company has done some research into the characteristics of Apatosaurus neck bones.

Sauropod Fingers and Toes

The hands and feet of sauropods are unique amongst the vertebrates and again Papo is to be applauded for the details shown in their Apatosaurus model.  On the front feet, the hands, there are signs of five digits, although only one, the thumb has a claw.  The claw is particularly large and prominent, diplodocids like Apatosaurus did indeed have big, pronounced thumb claws.  The hands may have had a more column-like appearance and it might have been difficult to spot individual fingers, but we commend Papo for their efforts.

The feet are also well modelled, the stout and strong back legs end in hind feet that look very different from the “hands” of the Apatosaurus replica.  The back feet are larger than the hands and there are three claws to each foot, again there is much to be appreciated with this sculpt.

To view the Papo Young Apatosaurus and Everything Dinosaur’s range of Papo models: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models.

The Length of the Tail

The tail is very long and very thin at the end.  The tail of Apatosaurus was indeed very long, it had some eighty plus tail bones.  The tail in the model is held off the ground (correct posture) and curved round on itself resembling a whip.  This is very typical of modern interpretations of the tails of diplodocids.  It may not have used the tail as a defensive weapon, however, by swishing the base of its tail, the tip would travel so fast that a supersonic cracking sound could have been produced.  This sound could have been used to communicate with other herd members or to deter predators.

Recently, it has been suggested that many of these types of long-necked dinosaurs possessed defensive spikes that ran down the back and along the tail, however, Papo have opted not to depict any spines or spikes on their Apatosaurus.

The Natural History Museums Depiction of a Spiky Diplodocid (Diplodocus)

Natural History Museum Diplodocus.

Natural History Museum Diplodocus.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Model Measurements

Officially the model measures 37 centimetres but when that curved tail is taken into account this figure is something like 41 centimetres long.  We at Everything Dinosaur have been asked to comment on the age of this young Apatosaurus model.  There has been some work on growth and the potential ages of dinosaurs represented by Apatosaurus fossil material, (ontogenic studies) although the research is far from conclusive.  We like to think that the young Apatosaurus model is of a sub-adult, consider this replica as a teenage Apatosaurus.

All in all this is an excellent young Apatosaurus dinosaur model and it is a welcome addition to the Papo prehistoric animals range.

22 02, 2015

Answering Questions from Young Dinosaur Fans

By | February 22nd, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|2 Comments

Answering Questions about Dinosaurs

At Everything Dinosaur we get lots of questions sent into us about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, we enjoy answering questions about dinosaurs.  We try to answer as many as we can, especially those sent in by budding, young palaeontologists.  Here are some of the questions that we have received recently.

Answering Questions about Dinosaurs

1). Who was more powerful Allosaurus or Suchomimus?

We get a lot of questions about comparing different types of dinosaur.  There are a number of Allosaurus species known, one of the largest Allosaurus fragilis, comes from the Western United States (Morrison Formation).  This theropod dinosaur was one of the biggest predators around during the Late Jurassic.  Suchomimus lived much later than most of the allosaurid dinosaurs.  Its fossils have been found in Cretaceous-aged deposits in Niger (Africa). Both dinosaurs were more than eleven metres in length and differing body mass estimates for Suchomimus make it rather difficult to answer this question.  One thing that is known, the shape of the skulls were very different.

These dinosaurs probably preyed on different animals.  Allosaurus was a predator of other dinosaurs, whilst Suchomimus might well have attacked other dinosaurs but it may have been primarily a fish-eater.  Tests carried out on the skull of a sub-adult Allosaurus indicated that this large dinosaur had a surprisingly weak bite.  The research suggested that this Allosaurus could generate a bite force of just 200 kilogrammes on the tips of its teeth.  This is the equivalent of a the bite of a modern leopard and a much weaker bite than found in crocodiles and alligators.

Work undertaken in 2013 compared the resistance to bending and distortion of spinosaur skulls to those of modern crocodiles.  When the skull size differences were taken into account, the skull of Baryonyx, a dinosaur believed to be closely related to Suchomimus, turned out to be remarkably strong.  The scientists concluded that based on these results, spinosaurs may not have been specialised fish-eaters, but their diets may have changed as the animals grew and became stronger.

A Model of the African Spinosaurid Called Suchomimus

Suchomimus Dinosaur Model.

Suchomimus dinosaur model.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

2).  Was Ichthyovenator a Strong Dinosaur?

Ichthyovenator was formally named and described in 2012. It was the first spinosaurid dinosaur to be described from Asia. It is only known from fragmentary remains and although teeth have been ascribed to this genus, no skull material has yet to be discovered.  Most illustrations of Ichthyovenator are based on reconstructions of better known spinosaurids.  It is believed to have been closely related to Suchomimus.

Size estimates vary for this dinosaur, but it could have reached lengths of around nine metres and weighed as much as 1.5 tonnes.  Although the fossilised remains of just one animal have been found and these fossils represent less than 15% of the entire skeleton, measurements of the hip bones indicate that this animal did have strong, powerful back legs.  The size of the arms is unknown.

3). How Long was Mapusaurus?

Named in 2006, this dinosaur’s fossils come from Argentina.  The remains of several individuals have been found, from juveniles to mature adults.  The largest specimens have been estimated to have been around 12 to 12.2 metres in total length.

The Fearsome Carnivore – Mapusaurus

Mapusaurus dinosaur model.

Rose’s Earth Reptile – Mapusaurus. A model of Mapusaurus.

4).  How Big and How Long was Tarbosaurus?

Tarbosaurus (T. bataar) is sometimes referred to as the Asian T. rex.  It was a Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid whose fossils have been found in Mongolia and China.  It is also referred to as Tyrannosaurus bataar as a number of palaeontologists have proposed in the past that the fossil material represents an Asian species of Tyrannosaurus.  A number of fossil specimens which are more than fifty percent complete are known.

Due to the number of Tarbosaurus skull fossils that have been found, scientists have been able to study how the heads of these dinosaurs changed as the animals grew.  Size estimates do vary, but most scientists place this dinosaur at around 9.5 to 12 metres long with a body weight of about 4 to 5 tonnes.  It was an apex predator in its environment.

For Theodore and Martin

To view the range of dinosaur models available from Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

21 02, 2015

Evolution Favours Getting Big

By | February 21st, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Stanford University Study Tests “Cope’s Law” – Does Evolution Favour Getting Larger?

Evolution, at least in marine organisms, tends to favour the emergence of bigger animals according to new research published by Stanford University of California.  A trend for “bigness” – a term coined by a Year 3 pupil we overheard the other day during a dinosaur workshop we were conducting at a school, seems to have been present in the oceans of the world, at least since the Cambrian, a time when the first hard-bodied creatures evolved.  This suggests that the path followed by natural selection can be predicted, it indicates that evolution may follow certain rules, at least for one important biological trait – body mass.

Evolution Favours Getting Bigger

It was the American naturalist and palaeontologist Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) who proposed a natural law, now referred to as “Cope’s Law” that the ancient ancestors of extant animals were usually much smaller than their modern counterparts.  Building on the research from some of Cope’s rivals, such as the work on the evolution of equines (horses) by Othniel Marsh (1831-1899), Cope postulated that evolution had a tendency to produce larger animals.

The first horses such as Propalaeotherium, known from the famous Messel shales near Frankfurt (Germany), were only sixty centimetres high at the shoulder.  Dinosaurs too, seem to follow this rule, with the very first members of the Dinosauria being just a fraction the size of later types of dinosaur such as the enormous sauropods Diplodocus, Barosaurus and Apatosaurus from the Late Jurassic.

Getting Bigger Over Time – the Dinosauria

Dinosaurs tended to get bigger over time.

Dinosaurs tended to get bigger over time. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Not a Consistent Pattern

This pattern is not consistent across the Kingdom Animalia.  For example, Aves (birds) do not show this trend, very probably as there is a need to reduce weight in order to become more efficient fliers.  Insects too, do not follow this trend, although in the case of the Insecta there are body mass limits probably related to atmospheric oxygen concentrations and the constraints of having an exoskeleton.

However, in one of the most comprehensive research programmes ever undertaken, scientists from the Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences conducted a review of over 17,000 extinct and extant marine genera.  The study incorporates data from over sixty percent of all the animal types that have ever existed.  The amount of work that had to be done was simply colossal.  Members of the Department enlisted the help of University colleagues, undergraduates and even high school interns to search through the scientific record for measurement data on marine life forms from the Cambrian geological period to today.

Newly Published Study

The study published this week in the journal “Science” concludes that over the last 542 million years the mean size of marine animals has increased by 150 fold.  The Stanford research team also discovered that the increase in body size that has occurred since animals first appeared in the fossil record is not due to all animal lineages steadily growing bigger, but rather to the diversification of groups of organisms that were already larger than other groups early in the history of animal evolution.

An Evolutionary Trend for “Bigness” Indicated by Statistical Analysis

Estimating the size of marine predators.

A “rough guide” to size. Does Cope’s Law apply? Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Analysis of the Fossil Record

The picture above depicts several apex prehistoric marine predators and compares their size. Analysis of the fossil record indicates that the explosion of different life forms in the Palaeozoic eventually skewed decisively towards larger, bulkier animals.  Measured by volume, today’s smallest marine animals (microscopic crustaceans) are less than ten times smaller than their Cambrian counterparts.

However, at the other end of the scale, perhaps the largest animal known from the Cambrian is Anomalocaris canadensis, which at nearly a metre in length (possibly), was huge compared to the other Cambrian fauna it preyed upon, but Anomalocaris at perhaps two to three kilogrammes in weight (estimate), was many thousands of times lighter than today’s largest sea creature the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus).  Body weights of Blue Whales have been calculated at over 190,000 kilogrammes.

A Drawing of the Cambrian Marine Predator Anomalocaris


Anomalocaris drawing. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Does Evolution Favour Bigger Sea Creatures

The research team also set about trying to work out whether the favouring of bigger sea creatures over time was really driven by evolutionary advantage, or was this trend just a case of serendipity?   Neutral drift is the term used to describe changes in an organism that seem to infer no evolutionary advantage or disadvantage.   A computer model was created and size data from the oldest animals included in the study was incorporated into it.  From this data set a series of simulations were run to see how life in marine environments might have evolved.

Each species used in this part of the research, could either die out, stay unchanged or get bigger or reduce in size.  In the various scenarios that were tested, the version that best matched the fossil evidence was one where there was a genuine size advantage inferred.

One of the lead authors of the research, post-doctoral researcher Dr Noel Heim commented:

“The degrees of increase in both mean and maximum body size just aren’t well explained by neutral drift.  It appears that you actually need some active evolutionary process that promotes larger sizes.”

As for what those benefits of being big might be, the research team cannot be certain, but larger species may have been able to take greater advantage of resources by being able to swim faster, burrow deeper or to eat larger and more varied types of prey.  Dr Heim also suggested that the increase in oxygen may also have played a significant role in the evolution of larger animals.

For models and replicas of extinct marine creatures and other prehistoric animals: Safari Ltd. Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models.

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