All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
3 04, 2016

Identification Key for Prehistoric Animal Skeleton Set

By | April 3rd, 2016|Early Years Foundation Reception, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Identification Key for Prehistoric Animal Skeleton Set

Identifying Prehistoric Animal Skeletons

At Everything Dinosaur, we take pride in going that extra mile to support learning.  Take for example, our set of twelve prehistoric animal skeletons.  These are models of the skeletons of prehistoric animals.  These little critters are ideal for use in the school sand pit to help young explorers experience the excitement of digging out their very own dinosaur fossils.  The sand play area makes an ideal resource for a topic on dinosaurs and life in the past.  Simply bury the prehistoric animal skeletons in the sand and invite the class to become palaeontologists and to have a go at “digging up dinosaurs”.

Prehistoric Animal Skeletons

Using plastic spades and old paint brushes the children can explore the sand area and excavate the plastic models.  This is an ideal activity suitable for FS1 (Nursery) through to Year 1 (Lower Key Stage 1).

Digging for Dinosaurs and Fossils Just Like a Palaeontologist

Year 1 and dinosaurs

Year 1 and dinosaurs. Digging for dinosaurs in the sand.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the set of twelve dinosaur and prehistoric animal skeletons, find them in this section of the Everything Dinosaur website: Replica Fossils, Dinosaur Themed Crafts and Toys.

Identifying the Models

But what happens if one of the children asks which dinosaur is this?  Not to worry Everything Dinosaur has this covered too.  We have produced a handy key to help identify the different prehistoric animals in the set, all twelve models can be identified and you don’t need to ask for the services of a senior academic at a Natural History Museum.

Everything Dinosaur has Produced a Helpful Identification Key

Dinosaur skeleton

A set of assorted prehistoric animal and dinosaur skeletons.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The key can help to identify the twelve different models in the set, we have even provided a useful pronunciation guide.  To request a chart simply email Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur.

Extension Ideas

Having dug out the models, the children can use the key to help sort them out, can they divide them into plant-eaters and meat-eaters?  For Year 1 children, they can be set the challenge of finding out about each particular prehistoric animal by undertaking some independent research using the internet or library books.  Which models represent dinosaurs?

For further information and assistance, visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

3 04, 2016

Euoplocephalus “Well Armoured Head”

By | April 3rd, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Euoplocephalus tutus – “Well Armoured Head”

The first fossils ascribed to this armoured dinosaur were discovered in 1897 by an expedition mapping the Red Deer River area in Alberta (Canada), led by the famous Canadian palaeontologist Lawrence Lambe. This locality now forms part of the famous Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation of southern Alberta. It was Lambe who named this dinosaur Stereocephalus tutus in 1902, on the basis of a partial skull and five pieces of dermal armour, however the genus name had already been given to a type of beetle from South America that had been named in 1884, so a new genus name was erected in 1910.

Euoplocephalus tutus

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of Euoplocephalus tutus

A scale drawing of Euoplocephalus tutus.

A scale drawing of Euoplocephalus tutus.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For models and replicas of armoured dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals: Safari Ltd. Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models.

Significant ankylosaurid specimens are relatively much rarer in the Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation when compared to other Ornithischian dinosaurs.  Given the robust nature of the bones of these large animals and the amount of tough, dermal armour, this suggests that in the absence of a fossilisation bias, that Ankylosaurs may have inhabited areas that limited the potential for any remains to become fossils, or that these armoured dinosaurs made up only a small proportion of the total dinosaur population at any one time.

Euoplocephalus tutus, is, we at Everything Dinosaur think, the only ankylosaurid known from this formation.   A study undertaken in 2003 provided a detailed analysis of Euoplocephalus cranial anatomy providing further evidence that this genus was indeed, distinct from Ankylosaurus.  Early research examining the post cranial skeleton of Euoplocephalus identified subtle differences in the shape and size of the bony tail club.  Euoplocephalus tail clubs could be grouped into three general categories:

  • Rounded tail clubs
  • Bluntly pointed at the end of the club
  • Elongate tail clubs

Ankylosaur Tail Clubs

The scientist responsible for this study (Coombs 1995) suggested that this individual variation might be accounted for by the fact that as these dinosaurs grew so their tail clubs altered shape.  Or it might be to do with allometric factors.  When an animal changes shape in response to size changes, it is said to scale allometrically.  In a discussion regarding tail club function in the same scientific paper, it was proposed that the tail club would have made a very effective defensive weapon against tyrannosaurids.  If the tail club was swung and made contact with an attacking theropod’s ankle joint then it was likely to have broken bones and caused an immense amount of damage.

Last year, Everything Dinosaur wrote a short article on the talented Victoria Arbour, a leading specialist in the study of Ankylosaurs and armoured dinosaurs in general.  Thanks to Victoria many young women are looking to palaeontology and other related sciences for a career.

To read more about Victoria’s contribution to our understanding of armoured dinosaurs: Helping to Inspire Young People to Study Earth Sciences

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