All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 03, 2015

Meet a Girl Palaeontologist Rag Doll

By |2023-03-25T10:45:55+00:00March 31st, 2015|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Meet a Girl Palaeontologist Rag Doll

Girl Palaeonlogist Rag Doll –  Encouraging Girls into Science

Everything Dinosaur is delighted to support science professionals and their assistants/colleagues who are keen to celebrate the role of women in archaeology, palaeontology and geology.  We at Everything Dinosaur have been lucky enough to met and work with some amazing female scientists and it is great to see a child’s doll on the market that encourages girls to explore the wonderful world of rocks and fossils.  Meet a girl palaeontologist rag doll, a modern-day Mary Anning.

A Palaeontologist Soft Toy is Available from Everything Dinosaur

Girl palaeontologist rag doll.

A prehistoric themed soft toy, a girl palaeontologist rag doll.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Girl Palaeontologist Rag Doll

The girl palaeontologist rag doll stands 30 cm high and she is obviously equipped for some series fossil hunting with her sturdy jacket, with plenty of pockets and fossil collectors cap.  This rag doll comes with a theropod dinosaur fossil to find and we are sure that this young lady is going to have some amazing fossil collecting adventures.

To view the girl palaeontologist rag doll and other educational, prehistoric animal themed soft toys: Soft Toy Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals.

Everything Dinosaur team members first came across this item several months ago, we have met some of the people behind her production and it is great to see a role model such as this for girls.

When we were puzzling over the name for this new doll, it was pointed out to us, very aptly by an eleven year old girl, that the name “Lottie” can be found in the word:


Perhaps, we call this rag doll “Lottie”, however, the word “Ali” or “Isla” would also be fitting as these names too, can be constructed from the term “palaeontologist”.

The fossil hunter rag doll is recommended by Everything Dinosaur for its creative, imaginative play value and for the way it helps to challenge outmoded stereotypes when it comes to careers.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Website.

31 03, 2015

Team Members Try Their Best for Easter Delivery

By |2023-03-25T10:44:54+00:00March 31st, 2015|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Prepares for the Bank Holiday (Easter)

With a Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching for those of us in the UK, it is worth remembering that most courier services and Royal Mail will not be working on Good Friday or Easter Monday.  What will be for most of the population, a four day weekend, will result in disruption to mail services and deliveries.  However, those hard working team members at Everything Dinosaur are doing all they can to try to ensure that UK customers at least, have every chance of receiving their parcels before the Easter break.

Team Members Working Hard to Despatch Parcels

Everything Dinosaur provides "egg-cellent" service.

Everything Dinosaur provides “egg-cellent” service.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view a selection of prehistoric animal themed toys and games available from Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

A spokesperson for the Cheshire based dinosaur company stated:

“Our packing team are working as hard as they can at the moment to get orders picked, packed and despatched as quickly as possible.  We appreciate that many customers have made purchases for the Bank Holiday and we are doing all we can to get parcels on their way as quickly as possible.”

Despatching Parcels to Customers

No parcels will be despatched on Good Friday as Royal Mail and most couriers are not going to be working, so customers are urged to place any orders for Easter as quickly as possible to give their parcel the chance of arriving in time.

Everything Dinosaur aims to pick, pack and send out parcels on the same day as an order is placed.  Every customer receives a personalised email from a team member advising them of the status of the parcel and where it is in the despatching process.  Some parcels are turned round from the time the customer places the order to despatch within forty-five minutes, a schedule that few other mail order companies can match.

There will be no parcels sent out on Bank Holiday Monday.  Once again most couriers and Royal Mail are not operating a collection service on this day.  However, Everything Dinosaur has put in place a contingency plan, whereby they can despatch parcels on Saturday morning should the need arise.

Everything Dinosaur

The spokesperson went onto add:

“We do appreciate that a number of customers want orders to arrive in time for the weekend.  We have put extra resources in place to help manage the Bank Holiday work pressures, but we do urge all customers to place any orders as early as possible to give the delivery companies time to deliver.”

 With a commitment to customer service such as this, it is no wonder that Everything Dinosaur has become the “go to company” for dinosaur toys and dinosaur models.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

30 03, 2015

Lottie the Fossil Hunter is Great for Imaginative, Creative Play

By |2024-05-05T09:44:36+01:00March 30th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Supports Women In Science

With our school visits to deliver dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, Everything Dinosaur team members are heavily involved in helping to promote geology/palaeontology and careers in science to young people and it is wonderful to introduce a girl palaeontologist rag doll.  We are very aware of the need to promote science to both girls and boys and as we visit a large number of schools we recognise that our team members can make an important contribution.

It’s not just our school visits, we supply lots of helpful teaching resources to teachers and home educationalists and provide advice on all sorts of Earth science related subjects from “Anning to Zuniceratops” as our boss, known as “Tyrannosaurus Sue” likes to say.  This week alone, we have provided free lesson plan advice to a Year 6 teacher as they prepare to teach evolution as a term topic, supported a Key Stage 2 teaching team with their fossils and rocks scheme of work and answered questions from school leavers about the potential roles and vocations within the umbrella of palaeontology.

Fact sheets on Smilodon fatalis and Allosaurus fragilis have been emailed to India and we have supplied ammonite models to help a geologist explain about life in Jurassic marine environments – all this and it is still only Monday.

Dinosaurs and Fossils are Not Just for the Boys!

Encouraging women into the Earth Sciences!

Encouraging women into the Earth Sciences!

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

We have been so lucky to have met and worked with some amazing women scientists. That’s why Everything Dinosaur is delighted to introduce a “Girl Palaeontologist Rag Doll” into our extensive product range.

Girl Palaeontologist Rag Doll

Say Hello to a Girl Palaeontologist

Girl palaeontologist rag doll.

A prehistoric themed soft toy, a girl palaeontologist rag doll.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

We first met this young palaeontologist quite a few months ago when she was very much at the prototype stage.  We applaud the efforts of those women behind the campaign to get more girls to study the sciences.  Celebrating the role of women in archaeology, geology and palaeontology who have done amazing work in the past, continue to do so today and will no doubt be at the cutting edge of the Earth Sciences in the future.  Our boss Sue, (volcanism is her thing), only wishes that this soft toy had been around when she was growing up.

To view Rag Doll fossil hunter and other educational soft toys: Prehistoric Animal Soft Toys.

Sue commented:

“There have been some wonderful women who have been pioneers in the development of palaeontology and geology and we are all keen to help encourage girls into science careers.  Sadly, in some quarters those Georgian/early Victorian  attitudes that dogged Mary Anning can still be found, but we are doing all we can to stress that dinosaurs and fossils are not just for boys.”

As if to affirm Sue’s comments, we received a letter from Shantel in Year 2 after a dinosaur workshop with her class.  Shantel was delighted that we came to her school as she was “very excited because we love dinosaurs”.

Shantel’s Thank You Letter (Year 2)

Encouraging girls to learn about fossils and life in the past.

Encouraging girls to learn about fossils and life in the past.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Great writing Shantel and thank you for your kind words, we know that this fossil hunter rag doll will be very impressed.

29 03, 2015

Harvard Scientists Mix Woolly Mammoth with Asian Elephant

By |2023-03-25T10:41:41+00:00March 29th, 2015|Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Harvard Scientists Mix Woolly Mammoth with Asian Elephant

Woolly Mammoth DNA Spliced into Asian Elephant Skin Cells – Cloning a Woolly Mammoth

A team of geneticists led by Professor George Church at Harvard Medical School have succeeded in merging fourteen genes from the Woolly Mammoth genome into skin cells from an Asian elephant that were being grown in a petri dish.  This is the first time that viable, hybrid cells have been produced.  Preliminary checks indicate that the cells are functioning normally, but this research has yet to be formally published and no peer review of the evidence has taken place.

Cloning a Woolly Mammoth

The team at Harvard, working in the largest research laboratory on the campus, have been involved in the mapping of the Woolly Mammoth genome and Mammoth experimentation for several years.  Using genetic material recovered from long dead, but very well-preserved Woolly Mammoth carcases from the frozen wastes of Siberia, the team are hoping that one day they will be able to clone a viable Woolly Mammoth and perhaps re-populate the tundra and the steppes with these elephants.

George Church is the Robert Winthrop professor of Genetics at Harvard.  He explained that although getting functioning cells was an important step, this was just part of a very long process and a Mammoth clone was still a long way off.

Outlining the research the professor explained:

We won’t be seeing Woolly Mammoths prancing around any time soon, because there is more work to do.  But we plan to do so.”

Mammoth DNA

Inserting Woolly Mammoth genes such as those responsible for helping this type of elephant adapt to a cold environment can be regarded as an important break through, if the cells produced are functioning as they would have done without the spliced Mammoth material.  The next stage is to find a way of turning the hybrid material into specialised cells capable of producing the correct Mammoth traits and characteristics.  Asian elephants, the closest living relative to the extinct Mammoth, could be used as surrogate mothers, however, a number of animal rights groups have protested against the idea of using elephants in cloning experiments so any cells produced that would lead to an embryo may have to be adapted so that they can grow in an artificial womb.

Once an embryo had been created then there would be other difficulties, getting the baby to term, as well as the implications for science and the wider community confronting the ethical and moral issues surrounding the “de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth”.

One Step Closer to Cloning the Woolly Mammoth?

The science behind de-extinction.

The science of de-extinction by Beth Shapiro.  Are we one step closer to cloning a Woolly Mammoth?

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Activity Idea aimed at KS3 – Genetics and Evolution

Have the class research independently into the work being undertaken to clone the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), then debate the moral and ethical issues raised by genetic experimentation to bring back a long extinct animal.

  • What are the implications for attempts to safeguard, extant endangered species?
  • What are the moral arguments for and against cloning in this case?
  • What implications could there be for research into the human genome and possible human cloning in future?
Carnegie Woolly Mammoth model.

A model of a Woolly Mammoth.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide range of prehistoric animal replicas including models of Woolly Mammoths: Models of Prehistoric Mammals.

29 03, 2015

“Sibirosaurus” Strides In an Amazing Dinosaur Discovery

By |2024-05-05T09:45:11+01:00March 29th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Potential New Titanosaur Genus from Siberia – “Sibirosaurus”

Scientists at Tomsk State University (Russia) are busy compiling a technical paper and completing further studies that could affirm fossilised remains found in 2008 are those of a giant titanosaurid dinosaur, very probably a new genus as well.  Although titanosaurids are known from most continents, even Antarctica, this, as far as we at Everything Dinosaur are aware, is the first case of a potential titanosauriform being scientifically described from Russia.

The animal lived in the Late Cretaceous, around 100 million years ago (later part of the Albian faunal stage) and its remains which include cervical vertebrae, a partial scapula (shoulder blade) and elements from the sacrum have been painstakingly extracted from sandstone, which much to the chagrin of the research team is from a band of rock that is as hard as concrete.

New Titanosaur Genus

The dinosaur’s bones were discovered in strata, that forms part of an eroded cliff on the banks of the Kiya River, close to the small village of Shestakovo in the Kemerovo region of southern Siberia, around ninety miles south-east of the city of Tomsk.

The Excavation Site – Kiya River Location

Palaeontologists need a head for heights.

Palaeontologists need a head for heights.

Picture credit: Tomsk State University

Challenging Access to the Fossils

The fossil bearing strata is located half way up a ten-metre-high bank and it is only really accessible during the late spring and summer months.  This part of Russia is subject to extremely cold temperatures and a lot of snowfall in the late autumn through to the spring.  From the months of October through to March the average daytime temperature rarely rises above freezing.  However, August temperatures can exceed thirty degrees Celsius.  It is the changing temperatures (freeze/thaw) that lead to erosion of the banks exposing dinosaur fossils.

A Scientist Explores the Fossil Bearing Sediment

A scientist carefully works away at the rock face.

A scientist carefully works away at the rock face.

Picture credit: Tomsk State University

Discovered in 2008

The fossils were originally discovered back in 2008, they had been preserved inside sandstone concretions and although in some cases the fossils were compressed and they represent just a fraction of the skeleton, their location and size indicate that these fossils consist of the remains of a long-necked dinosaur that would be new to science.

The rocks around the village of Shestakovo have already yielded a number of dinosaur fossil specimens.  Last year, Everything Dinosaur team members reported upon the naming of a new species of Psittacosaurus from fossils found in this locality by scientists working for the Kemerovo regional museum.

To read more about the new species of Psittacosaurus: Russian Scientists Name New Psittacosaurus Species.

Commenting on the research, Dr. Stepan Ivantsov (scientific researcher in the Laboratory of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Continental Ecosystems), stated:

“When we discovered this finding, it was only clear that the remains belonged to a very large, herbivorous dinosaur from the sauropod group.  It was the first scientifically described dinosaur from this group in Russia.  Now after work on the excavation of all the remnants and the restoration [of the bones] is almost completed, we can confidently say that we have found a new species and maybe even a new genus.”

A Dinosaur Amongst the Woolly Mammoths

This part of Russia is famous in palaeontological circles for the preserved remains of another large, prehistoric herbivore but one that is geologically hundreds of times younger than any Late Cretaceous dinosaur.  Many fossils of Woolly Mammoths are found in this region, including shed teeth and intact tusks.

A Close up of Some of the Titanosaur Fossil Material

Some of the fragmentary fossils.

Some of the fragmentary fossils.

Picture credit: Tomsk State University

Preparing the Fossil Material

The fossils in the picture look like elements from the cervical vertebrae (neck bones).  In the background on the right, the posterior end of a large Woolly Mammoth tusk can be seen.  The scientists will continue their studies and a scientific paper on this new dinosaur should be published in the near future, as for where the fossils might end up, the researchers have expressed a wish that they should remain within the palaeontological collection of the University, but stress that they could be put on display for members of the public, as well as students to see.

As fossil material is being constantly eroded out rocks at this site, the scientists hope to find more fossils of titanosaurs.  In 1995, bones believed to come from the foot of a titanosaur were also discovered in the same area.  At this stage, the researchers cannot say for certain whether these foot bones are from the same animal whose fossils were found in 2008, they can’t even be sure whether or not the foot bones and the 2008 material come from the same genus.  Still, it is very likely that more dinosaur fossils are awaiting discovery.  The dinosaur has been nick-named Sibirosaurus (lizard from Siberia), but a more formal nomenclature is expected.

A Close Up View of One of the Fossil Specimens

A close up of one of the fossilised bones.

A close-up of one of the fossilised bones.

Picture credit: Tomsk State University

Letting Erosion to Take Its Course

The picture above shows a close up of one of the fossil remains. Although, it is difficult to make out for certain, this fossil might represent a fragment from the sacrum (fused sacral vertebrae).  The sandstone rock is extremely hard and this limits the amount of fossil material that can be removed.  Use of explosives to bring down large portions of the bank have been ruled out as the force from such an explosion would very likely damage any adjacent fossil material.  For the scientists, it is simply a question of allowing natural erosion to do its work, aided and abetted by careful manual excavation whilst hanging onto a rope ladder which dangles several metres down the near vertical bank.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide-range of titanosaur replicas and models. To view the models section of Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is very likely that more dinosaur fossil remains will come from the Shestakovo locality, however, they are likely to remain highly fragmentary making species level identification very difficult.  However, this fossil material adds to our understanding about the globally distributed titanosaurs, some of which were the largest terrestrial animals known to science.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the role of the Siberian Times in the compilation of this article.

28 03, 2015

The Beautiful Dinosaur Timeline Poster

By |2024-05-04T19:26:04+01:00March 28th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Dinosaur Timeline Poster

Many dinosaur fans may be familiar with the phrase the Age of Dinosaurs.  This term represents the time when the Dinosauria were the dominant terrestrial life forms on our planet.  This informal measurement of deep time actually covers three geological periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.

The first dinosaurs and the Pterosauria (flying reptiles), evolved in the Middle Triassic, although this is only an approximation as the evolutionary history of the Dinosauria and Pterosauria remains controversial due to the paucity of the fossil record.  Both these types of vertebrate reptiles rapidly diversified and for the next one hundred and sixty million years these types of creatures dominated the land and the air respectively.

For the pterosaurs, the evolution of the birds (descended from theropod dinosaurs), led to them being challenged for aerial dominance and as a group, the flying reptiles began to decline in terms of the number of genera and species towards the end of the Cretaceous.  Both the pterosaurs and the Dinosauria went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.

Dinosaur Timeline Poster

This super, beautifully illustrated A2-sized poster shows how the world changed over the time of the “Age of Dinosaurs”.  Three scenes are presented, one for each of the geological periods and dates for the length of these immensely long geological periods are provided.

A Fantastic Dinosaur Timeline Poster

Dinosaur timeline poster.

The excellent dinosaur timeline poster.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three Prehistoric Scenes

Each prehistoric scene depicts the flora and fauna associated with that particular time period.  It provides an excellent, visual guide to the changes to life on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs.  There are a total of thirty prehistoric animals illustrated and the poster provides a stunning depiction of prehistoric life.  The dinosaur timeline poster has a key to help viewers to identify the animals and the dioramas really help young minds to understand the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and the types of animals and plants that flourished.

To see the range of educational prehistoric animal posters available from Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Posters, Toys and Games.

This colourful dinosaur timeline poster measures 42 cm by 59.4 cm and it is a really well thought out dinosaur and prehistoric animal poster.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We have searched for quite a while to find a colourful, accurate and educational dinosaur timeline poster and we are delighted with this item.  Retailing for under £2.50 GBP [2015] plus post and packaging, this poster represents fantastic value.  We highly recommend it for use in schools, for use by home educationalists and for the bedroom walls of young dinosaur fans.”

A Close-up of the Jurassic Scene from the Dinosaur Timeline Poster

Beautifully illustrated and educational

Beautifully illustrated and educational.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

27 03, 2015

The Prehistoric Animals of Jurassic World – Triceratops

By |2023-03-25T10:31:59+00:00March 27th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Movie Reviews and Movie News|1 Comment

The Triceratops Dinosaur and Jurassic Park (Jurassic World)

In this occasional series, team members at Everything Dinosaur are writing about some of the dinosaurs that appear in the “Jurassic Park” movie franchise.  Today, we feature Triceratops, an ever present in our annual survey of the top-ten prehistoric animals and one of the first dinosaurs to be seen in the original Jurassic Park film, which came out in 1993.  Triceratops is indeed, one of the most easily recognised and popular of all the Dinosauria .  Those three horns (Triceratops means “three horned face”), and the large body make Triceratops very easy to spot.


Two species are recognised, the largest being T. horridus, although it is possible that the genus may well be revised again and further species added.  In a recent scientific paper the evolutionary development of this genus was traced using fossils extracted from the famous Hell Creek Formation.  We at Everything Dinosaur also believe that Triceratops fossil material has also been excavated from Maastrichtian faunal stage deposits in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Canada).

To read more about the Hell Creek Formation (Montana) studies: How Triceratops Got Its Horns and Beak.

Triceratops –  A Very Popular Dinosaur

A regular in Everything Dinosaur's annual survey of popular dinosaurs.

A regular in Everything Dinosaur’s annual survey of popular dinosaurs.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Triceratops is one of the first dinosaurs to be clearly seen in the original Jurassic Park movie, whilst touring the park in their custom built Jeeps, Dr. Grant’s party spot a downed Triceratops and interrupt the planned itinerary to investigate why this huge herbivore has collapsed.

A Sickly Triceratops is Examined Why is She Down?

Sick Triceratops

A replica of a sick Triceratops a dinosaur model influenced by a scene from the 1993 movie “Jurassic Park”.

The Triceratops Sickness Mystery

Amongst the many curiosities to be found in “Jurassic Park”, there is the bizarre case of the collapsed Triceratops.  It is one of the very first dinosaurs that viewers get to see up close (wonderful puppetry from Stan Winston Studios), but in the film, the reason for the ill Triceratops is never really explained

Dr Ellie Sattler (played by Laura Dern), spots the animal’s dilated pupil when a torch is shone at the eye and in conjunction with the numerous microvesicles (blisters) seen on the tongue,  hits upon the notion that the cause of the sick dinosaur is something “pharmacological”.  Attending the incapacitated animal is Dr Gerry Harding, the Park’s chief veterinarian, (played by Gerald R. Molen, who incidentally was also a producer for the film).  Dr Harding explains that these animals fall sick every six weeks or so, but in the film the mysterious illness is never identified.

Dr Sattler suspects that these herbivores may have ingested some poisonous plant material.  She looks at the nearby vegetation and spots some fruiting West Indian Lilac (Tetrazygia bicolor).  These berries are poisonous, so cue Dr Sattler to explore a huge pile of “dino dung” up to her armpit to see if the Triceratops had eaten any of these berries.  No berries are found and the viewer is left wondering what was the cause of the Triceratops’s regular bout of sickness, in the film this is not explained.

The Triceratops Illness Mystery (Jurassic Park 1993)

In the book the sick dinosaur was a Stegosaurus.

In the book the sick dinosaur was a Stegosaurus.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

 A Sick Stegosaurus

In Michael Crichton’s book, upon which the film is based, the sick dinosaur is not a Triceratops at all but a twenty-foot-long Stegosaurus.  In the novel, it is suggested that this Late Jurassic herbivore was inadvertently swallowing berries along with stones to help grind up plant material in its gizzard (gastroliths), we are no experts on the digestive tracts of ornithischian dinosaurs but when it comes to teeth, the Triceratops, which just happened to have evolved some eighty-eight million years after Stegosaurus stenops lived, wins hands down over Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurs may well have swallowed stones to help them grind up their food, after all there were no flowering plants or succulent fruits of the angiosperms to dine on 155 million years ago.  Triceratops however, being a Late Cretaceous ceratopsian possessed a jaw crammed full of square and blocky teeth, a veritable dental battery.  What’s more, based on studies of the jaws and muscles surrounding those huge skulls, this dinosaur could probably chew its food.

The nine tonne Triceratops may not have needed to swallow stones to help its digestion.  Earlier parrot-beaked dinosaurs (Ceratopsia) such as Psittacosaurus did use gastroliths, but as far as we at Everything Dinosaur know, polished stones have not been found in association with Triceratops fossils.

Why Show a Sick Triceratops?

So why show a sick Triceratops in the film at all?  After all, the book features a Stegosaurus, an equally popular member of the Dinosauria.  Michael Crichton is much more forthcoming than Steven Spielberg when it comes to dinosaur poisoning.  In the book, the reader is told that the stones the Stegosaurus swallows are very near to the West Indian Lilac plants.  As the dinosaur attempts to top up its “stomach stones” every six weeks or so, it accidentally picks up berries as well as small stones and ends up poisoning itself once again.

There are no such explanations provided in the movie, although the answer to the Triceratops poisoning mystery is briefly alluded to when Dr Sattler examines some small stones under a West Indian Lilac bush and holds them in her hand for a moment, but that’s all the viewers get.

Why the Triceratops Detour?

So why the detour from the scheduled itinerary to examine the poorly Triceratops?  Conspiracy theorists have had a field day over this and here are some of the explanations that have been put forward:

  1. The film makers had to find a ploy that would enable the tour party to be delayed so that they could build up tension about the approaching storm that was to wreck havoc on the island.
  2. A scene in which the poisoning case is reasoned out by Dr Sattler was cut from the final movie.
  3. It gave an opportunity for the cast members to physically interact with one of the amazing dinosaur puppets.
  4. It allowed the audience to a learn a little more about the personalities of the characters such as the tenacity of Ellie Sattler, which was important for what was to follow in the rest of the film.
  5. It permitted Dr Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum), more time to flirt with Dr Sattler, helping to build up tensions between three of the main characters.

Whatever the reason, the Triceratops scene does pose a conundrum, after all, why replace the Stegosaurus in the book with a Triceratops in the film?  Perhaps, a Triceratops puppet was easier to make or looked more realistic.

Triceratops in “Jurassic World”

Expect to see Triceratops in the forthcoming “Jurassic World”, which premiers on the 12th June.  At the theme park, there is an attraction called “Triceratops Territory”, although we could not find this on the Isla Nublar map.  However, baby Triceratops can be stroked and even ridden at the “Gentle Giants Petting Zoo”, we also learn that these horned dinosaurs love getting scratched behind their huge neck frills.

Expect Triceratops to Appear in “Jurassic World”

You will see panicked Triceratops's in "Jurassic World".

You will see panicked Triceratops’s in “Jurassic World”.

Picture credit: Universal Studios

Triceratops remains a favourite dinosaur.  In our surveys, it is liked equally by girls and boys.  One of the best selling Triceratops models is the Papo Triceratops, this was joined last year by a replica of a baby Triceratops  in the Papo dinosaur model range so young dinosaur fans can play out their own dinosaur petting zoo adventures.

To view the full range of Papo prehistoric animal models: Papo Prehistoric Animals.

26 03, 2015

Woolly Mammoth Genes Inserted into Asian Elephant Skin Cells

By |2023-03-25T10:27:46+00:00March 26th, 2015|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Potentially One Step Closer to Woolly Mammoth Resurrection (Woolly Mammoth De-extinction)

Researchers at Harvard Medical School led by genetics professor George Church have combined laboratory grown elephant cells with genetic material retrieved from the frozen remains of Siberian Woolly Mammoths.  The genetic material, a total of fourteen genes, was spliced into the skin cells of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), the closest living relative to the extinct Woolly Mammoth.  The results are promising with the altered skin cells functioning properly in their petri dish environment, but the scientists stress that cloning a viable Woolly Mammoth is still a very long way off.

Woolly Mammoth

Investigating the Possibility of a Return for the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)

Will the Woolly Mammoth return?

Will the Woolly Mammoth return?

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

 Scientists from Harvard Medical School are working on a number of genetic projects, including research into the Woolly Mammoth genome.  They are however, competing against a number of other institutes including South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in a bid to extract viable DNA from a long dead animal with a view of investigating the possibility of cloning.

Ancient Genetic Material

The ancient genetic material was inserted into the cells using a complicated cut and splicing technique, an analogy would be to think of a film editor cutting and stitching snippets of film together so as to make a coherent movie.  The system used was CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat).  Although this work has yet to be peer reviewed and no paper has been published describing the research in detail, preliminary findings suggest that the mutated cells are functioning normally.

If this is the case, then this is the first time that Woolly Mammoth genetic material has functioned since the very last of these Ice Age creatures became extinct the best part of 4,000 years ago.

Having a established a thorough understanding of the Mammoth genome, the team focused on identifying and then adding to the elephant skin cells those genes which are responsible for the Mammoth’s adaptations to a cold climate, genes such as those for small ears, long body hair and thick layers of subcutaneous fat.

Mammoth De-extinction

Professor Church pointed out that they were a long way off from “Mammoth de-extinction”, despite some remarkable finds in recent years, including one amazingly well-preserved female Woolly Mammoth carcase, nick-named Buttercup, that was the subject of a number of cloning documentaries that aired recently.

To read more about the Woolly Mammoth called “Buttercup”: To Clone or Not to Clone a Woolly Mammoth.

The genetics laboratory is the largest research facility at Harvard University and the researchers have been responsible for a number of important genome studies in recent years.  Much of the team’s work involves studying the human genome as well as working on how to manipulate the genes of mosquitoes to help fight the spread of malaria and other diseases such as dengue fever.

Professor Church commenting on their success with the combining of elephant cells and Woolly Mammoth genes stated:

“We won’t be seeing Woolly Mammoths prancing around any time soon, because there is more work to do.  But we plan to do so.”

Splicing the DNA into the skin cells of Asian elephants is only the first step in, what will be a very long process.  The next hurdle is to find a way of turning the hybrid cells into specialised tissues, to see if they produce the correct traits and characteristics.  For example, will the genes for small ears, actually produce ears that are small and able to lose less heat.

With animal rights groups preventing the use of elephants as surrogate mothers, hybrid cells will have to be adapt to being grown in an artificial womb.  If a viable embryo is created, then it is a case of being able to bring that embryo to term and to produce a viable offspring.

Using Mammoth DNA

If all this goes to plan and cold-adapted, hybrid elephants are produced then more and more Mammoth DNA can be introduced into subsequent generations to drive out the Asian elephant traits.  The Harvard team hope to genetically engineer an elephant that can survive in inhospitable, sparsely populated habitats, where such creatures would face fewer threats from humans.

A long term aim would be to develop herds of Woolly Mammoths, once more roaming the steppes of the northern hemisphere.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a range of prehistoric mammal models including Woolly Mammoth replicas: Models of Prehistoric Mammals.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur wait to read more about this research and to see the peer reviewed comments, although we have made a wager that by 2045, a viable Woolly Mammoth will be produced somewhere in the world.  Just thirty years to go then.

25 03, 2015

Year 2 Send Thank You Letters to Everything Dinosaur

By |2023-03-25T07:56:13+00:00March 25th, 2015|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Schoolchildren Say Thanks after Dinosaur Workshop

Earlier this month, a team member from Everything Dinosaur visited Southglade Primary School to deliver a dinosaur workshop in support of Year two’s study topic all about dinosaurs.  As part of our follow up support for the teaching team, we discussed extension ideas and emailed over further resources to assist the enthusiastic teachers with their scheme of work.

Dinosaur Workshop

One of the things discussed was to encourage the children with their writing by asking them to write a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur.  Sure enough, a couple of days ago we received a big envelope  from Mrs Hyland containing a super set of letters.  We have enjoyed reading them all and we have posted them up onto a notice board in our warehouse.

What a Lot of Thank You Letters we Received!

Year 2 pupils send in thank you letters to Everything Dinosaur.

Year 2 pupils send in thank you letters to Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Thank You Letters

The children had taken great care in how they laid out their letters.  There was lots of proper addressing on display, some super, clear writing as well as effective use of punctuation.  Many of the children had incorporated some amazing vocabulary as well, words like “appreciate” and “sincerely” occasionally trip us up, so to see them used in a letter from a seven year old and spelled correctly too was fantastic!

Lots of Fantastic Letters to Read

Thank you note from Alina.

Thank you note from Alina.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Alina

Dinosaur Mike who visited the school to conduct the dinosaur and fossil themed workshop exclaimed:

“We had so many letters from the children that we had to find a big space in our warehouse to lay them all out so we could take a photograph.  My colleagues and I really enjoyed reading them and I was delighted to see just how many facts that Year 2 had remembered.”

Keira, Aiden, Ella, Amr, Joy and Theo liked looking at the fossil teeth best, whilst Jude, Alex, Grace and Ewan enjoyed learning all about Triceratops.  For Tyler and Lexi-Mai they were delighted to hear all about Tylosaurus and Lexivosaurus, prehistoric animals that have names that are like their own.

Dinosaur Themed Thank You Letter

A thank you letter from Year 2.

A thank you letter from Year 2.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Aimee

Jayden, the other little boy called Theo, Milly, Kai and Demi-Lea all wanted to know whether Everything Dinosaur will be coming back to their school to teach about dinosaurs and fossils.

Young Aimee wrote:

“Thank you for travelling to our school from a long way away today.  I was excited because we all love dinosaurs.  The fossils that we touched all felt cold and hard and I liked moving around making gigantic steps just like a dinosaur.”

Ezekiel, Gracie-Jai, Amira and  Shantel asked how our dinosaur expert came to know so much about dinosaurs?  That’s easy, he had a really enthusiastic teacher at school just like the children in Year 2.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

24 03, 2015

Giant Triassic Amphibian of the Algarve

By |2023-03-25T07:53:21+00:00March 24th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Metoposaurus algarvensis – Triassic Predator the Size of a Door

Portugal may have earned a deserved reputation for being the Jurassic dinosaur fossil capital of Europe, but more ancient sediments provide equally fascinating insights into life on our planet just as the Dinosauria were beginning to diversify and dominate terrestrial ecosystems.  Step forward (or more appropriately waddle forward), Metoposaurus algarvensis a new species added to the Metoposaurus genus described from a bone bed found in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

A team of international scientists which include Dr Steve Brusatte (University of Edinburgh) and J. Sébastien Steyer (Centre de Recherches en Paléobiodiversité et Paléoenvironnements, Paris), Dr Richard Butler (Birmingham University) and Professor Octávio Mateus (Museu da Lourinhã, Portugal) have been studying the fossilised remains of several individuals that apparently died together when their lake dried up.

A Pair of Super-sized Amphibians Await Their Fate as the Lake Dries Up

Two metre long amphibious predator.

Two-metre-long amphibious predator.

Picture credit: Joana Bruno

Metoposaurid Fossils

Metoposaurid fossils are known from Europe, Africa, North America and India, although this is the first time fossils relating to this genus have been discovered in the Iberian peninsula.  Some of the fossil specimens indicate that these amphibians reached lengths in excess of two metres and the shape of the skull along with other anatomical differences between the Portuguese fossils and other material known from Poland and Germany has permitted a new species to be erected.

The bonebed that contains the remains of numerous individuals, ten skulls have been excavated so far, was discovered more than thirty years ago, but not properly mapped and explored until 2009 when the dig site was relocated.  Although, these predators superficially resemble a modern salamander, scientists debate whether the Order Temnospondyli which the metoposaurids are part of, are actually closely related to extant amphibians.

The Scientists at Work Excavating the Bone Bed

Scientists carefully extract blocks containing fossil material.

Scientists carefully extract blocks containing fossil material.

Picture credit: Steve Brusatte/Richard Butler/ Octávio Mateus/J. Sébastien Steyer

Metoposaurus algarvensis

Although the mouth was large and lined with many sharp teeth, the thick-set body was supported by relatively weak limbs.  It is very likely that M. algarvensis spent a great deal of time in water, the fossils of these large amphibians are associated with strata laid down in lake or river environments (lacustrine and fluvial environments).

These animals were probably ambush predators catching fish with rapid movements of their large mouths from side to side.  They may also have ambushed unsuspecting small creatures, even some small early dinosaurs as these animals came down to the waters edge to drink.  They would have been very capable swimmers but the small legs would have made movement on land rather clumsy and awkward.

Three European species of Metoposaurus have now been described (M. diagnosticus from Germany,  M. krasiejowensis from Poland and M. algarvensis from Portugal).  Some of the German fossil specimens indicate amphibians approaching 3 metres in length, however, the majority of the temnospondyls became extinct by the end of the Triassic.  The Portuguese bone bed evidence further supports the theory that these large animals were confined to very wet habitats with lots of freshwater and therefore the sort of areas that these creatures could live in was much more restricted when compared to the rapidly evolving reptiles such as the crocodiles and the Dinosauria.

The Temnospondyls

As an Order, the temnospondyls probably evolved sometime in the Early Carboniferous and their fossils represent some of the most widely distributed terrestrial fossils recorded in Permian/Triassic strata.  Their global range seems to have been limited to low latitudes during the Middle to Late Triassic, a distribution similar to but not identical to the phytosaurs (crocodile-like reptiles that most probably become extinct at the end of the Triassic).

Phytosaurs are archosauriforms and provide plenty of evidence that the long-snouted, fish grabbing, swimming predator form has evolved in lots of different types of animal over the course of the history of our planet.  Their more primitive ankle configuration (when compared to extant crocodiles), did not prevent the phytosaurs from evolving into a myriad of different forms.

One Survivor into the Cretaceous

However, apart from some controversial fossils, which most scientists claim are Late Triassic and not Early Jurassic the phytosaurs along with most of the temnospondyls were extinct by around 200 million years ago.  However, viewers of the seminal television series “Walking with Dinosaurs” will remember that in programme five “Spirits of the Silent Forest”, which focused on life in the southern polar regions around 106 million years ago, a Koolasuchus makes an appearance.    Two fossil jaws found in Victoria, Australia suggest that at least one type of temnospondyl survived into the Cretaceous.

CollectA have introduced a range of Triassic and Jurassic prehistoric animal figures.  To view this range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

Go to Top