All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 12, 2016

A Helpful Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales as a New Book is Reviewed

By |2024-05-07T12:54:15+01:00December 31st, 2016|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

A Review of “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

We are very lucky in this country, we have some magnificent British countryside to enjoy in conjunction with a rich and diverse geology.  Fossil collecting can be a great way to explore the natural world.

Surrounded by stunning scenery, allowing you a brief disconnect from a busy lifestyle, travelling back in time to explore ancient, prehistoric worlds and the myriad of plants and animals that inhabited them.  However, how to start and perhaps more importantly, where to look?  These are questions that are frequently emailed to us.  Fortunately, help is at hand, thanks to two dedicated and enthusiastic fossil hunters, who have set aside their geological hammers to compile a guide to fossil collecting in England and Wales.

For replicas of iconic animals from the fossil record such as trilobites and ammonites: Everything Dinosaur Learning – Prehistoric Animal Themed Gifts and Replica Fossils.

A Guide To Fossil Collecting

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

Fossil collecting book.

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”.

Picture credit: Siri Scientific Press

UKAFH – UK Amateur Fossil Hunters

Written by Steve Snowball and Craig Chapman, leading lights in the UKAFH (UK Amateur Fossil Hunters) organisation, this book provides a wonderful introduction to fossil hunting as a hobby as well as containing a wealth of information and advice for the seasoned fossil collector.  It’s a practical book, just the right size for slipping into a rucksack pocket and it gives details on more than fifty fossil hunting locations in England and Wales.

Drawing upon their extensive knowledge, the authors take the reader through three geological eras – the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and the Cenozoic and highlight where in England and Wales fossils, representing life from each of these eras, can be found.  At the beginning of each section, a handy geological timescale in conjunction with the locations featured, permits readers to see at a glance the context of each site within deep time.

Informative with Clear Explanations

The individual site entries are very informative, explaining clearly and concisely where to find fossils and what to look for.  “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” distinguishes itself from other fossil collecting books by using a simple site summary to highlight key points regarding safe fossil collecting from each carefully selected location.  Top marks to Steve and Craig, for thoughtfully adding details of the nearest postcode to many of the sites, a boon for those using satellite navigation to travel back in time.

Each Carefully Selected Fossil Hunting Location Comes Complete with a Handy Site Summary

Site summary in fossil guide book.

Each carefully selected location is furnished with a handy site summary.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Ideal Companion for Both Hobby Collectors and Experienced Professionals

The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the locations as well as numerous pictures showcasing the types of fossil that can be found at each site.  It is a family friendly publication, aimed at providing a stimulus for those new to the hobby to explore our country’s rich fossil heritage.  In addition, the authors have skilfully embellished each entry with insightful and informative details, of assistance to even the most experienced palaeontologist.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are familiar with many of the places featured in this fossil hunting guide, but we found that there was still plenty to learn from this lovingly compiled publication.

Knowledge gained from leading numerous UKAFH fossil hunting trips has been woven together to fill a gap in the publishing industry’s portfolio, here is a book written by passionate fossil collectors, for fellow enthusiasts and, for those just starting out.

Helpful and Useful Information to Assist Fossil Hunters

A well illustrated fossil hunting guide to England and Wales.

An essential companion for hobbyists and for more experienced fossil collectors.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Essential Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales

With a foreword from the highly-respected palaeontologist Dean Lomax, “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” is an essential guidebook to fossil hunting.  It explains how and where to look for fossils, what tools are required and how to prepare and preserve your specimens.  There is even a section dedicated to identifying and labelling fossil finds and we commend the authors for including copious amounts of information about safe and responsible collecting, as well as highlighting the Fossil Collecting Code.

Visit the website of Dean Lomax: Dr Dean Lomax.

Straight forward guides to stratigraphy, fantastic fossil pictures and jam-packed with helpful tips and advice, “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”, is an ideal reference for students, amateurs, professionals and for families looking for a rewarding day out.

Make room on your bookshelf for this publication, although we suspect it won’t stay on there for long, it will be out with you, providing a worthy companion to your own time travelling adventures.

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

ISBN: 978 992997991

Pages: 288

Publisher: Siri Scientific Press

Release date: February 1st 2017 (RRP = £18.00)

Advance copies can be purchased from Siri Scientific Press: Purchase “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” here!

Visit the website of Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur.

30 12, 2016

165-Million-Year-Old and Exceptionally Rare Dinosaur Footprints Damaged

By |2024-05-07T12:53:46+01:00December 30th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Police Investigation after Isle of Skye Dinosaur Prints Damaged

The police are hunting a man suspected of damaging two 165-million-year-old dinosaur footprints by attempting to make plaster casts of them.  The alleged vandalism occurred at An Corran beach, Staffin on the Isle of Skye.  This site is famous for its numerous dinosaur footprints and tracks that have been preserved in sandstone exposures along the shoreline.

Dinosaur Footprints Vandalised

The incident was confirmed in the official Lochaber & Skye Police Twitter feed which stated:

“Unfortunately, we can confirm we are investigating reported damage to the dinosaur footprints at Staffin yesterday. Were you in the area?  It would appear a male driving a campervan was possibly responsible for pouring plaster into two of the prints.”

One of the Three-toed Dinosaur Prints at An Corran Beach

Dinosaur footprint (Isle of Skye).

One of the three-toed dinosaur prints from the An Corran beach near Staffin (Isle of Skye).

Picture credit: John Allan with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows one of the three-toed tracks that are exposed at low tide along the beach at An Corran.  The ten pence coin provides scale.

Middle Jurassic Footprints

The Isle of Skye is famous for its extensive dinosaur tracks and footprints.  The majority of the prints located at Staffin represent the movement of large ornithischian dinosaurs (ornithopods).  These trace fossils and others like them on the island, are helping palaeontologists to learn more about the different types of dinosaur that roamed this part of Europe some 165 million years ago.

Last December, Everything Dinosaur reported on the discovery of a series of sauropod dinosaur prints in Duntulm Castle Bay, around ten miles from the An Corran site.  This discovery helped to reinforce the view that the sediments on the Isle of Skye preserve a unique record of the large biota that existed during the Bathonian and Callovian faunal stages of the Middle Jurassic of Europe.  To hear that the actions of a thoughtless and selfish individual may have damaged these rare fossils is very sad.

To read about the discovery of the Duntulm Castle prints: Isle of Skye Sauropods and their Watery World.

Attempting to make casts or interfere with the prints could cause irreparable damage to these extremely rare trace fossils.  The local council’s Education Chairperson Drew Millar commented:

“It’s absolutely shocking that someone would go to such lengths to destroy something that’s been around for such a long time.  This is one of the major tourist attractions on Skye, some of the oldest proof of dinosaurs in this part of the world.”

Dinosaur Fossil Site Vandalism

Sadly, such incidents are becoming increasingly common.  It is not just the actions of overzealous fossil hunters, some of the recent acts of vandalism have been motivated by a desire to make money by selling fossils illegally.  In 2012, Everything Dinosaur reported on the removal of fossil dinosaur footprints from a site in the Vale of Glamorgan (Wales).

Late Triassic Dinosaur Tracks in the Vale of Glamorgan

Vale of Glamorgan dinosaur tracks.

Dinosaur tracks from the Late Triassic.

To read an article about the Welsh dinosaur fossil theft: Dinosaur Footprints Stolen from the Vale of Glamorgan.

Commenting on the reported An Corran beach fossil damage, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is really sad news, let’s hope the damage is not too significant.  We suspect the perpetrator knew something about this particular fossil site, as the sandstone prints are usually only exposed at low tide and they are often covered by a layer of sand.  It is only after bad weather in winter that the sea washes away the sediment revealing the prints.”

Lochaber and Skye law enforcement officers have appealed for witnesses and have asked for anyone with any knowledge of the incident to come forward.


Everything Dinosaur team members contacted the museum at Staffin for clarification of this story.  The incident did involve a member of the public attempting to make a plaster cast from a footprint.  However, it was a theropod footprint that was involved and not ornithopod as stated in the media reports.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

29 12, 2016

Our Favourite and Most Popular Articles of 2016 (Part 2)

By |2024-01-02T06:56:41+00:00December 29th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Press Releases|0 Comments

Favourite Blog Articles July to December 2016

Here is the second part of our feature that highlights the favourite posts on this blog, as suggested by Everything Dinosaur team members.  Yesterday, we published our review of the first six months of 2016, here is the lowdown on our personal favourites from July through to December.

Everything Dinosaur and Favourite Blog Articles

To read about our favourite Everything Dinosaur blog articles January to June 2016: Favourite Everything Dinosaur Blog Articles (Part 1).


Summer was here, although the weather was not much to write home about, good job there were plenty of palaeontology themed news stories to keep us occupied.  In July 2016, we wrote about the announcement of a new, dinosaur themed novel by the “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton.  Cambrian suspension feeders, the brains of lungfish, a new two-fingered meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina (Gualicho shinyae) and the heart-warming story of the return of pterosaur fossils to Lebanon.

However, our personal favourite story that month came from South America, the footprint of a huge, meat-eating dinosaur, very probably an enormous abelisaurid had been discovered in Bolivia.

To read the story: The Footprint of a Giant Abelisaurid.

August Blog Articles


Everything Dinosaur staff may have been busy preparing their dinosaur workshops for the start of the school year, but that did not stop them writing a blog article every day in August.   The team wrote about Marsupial Lions, Chinese primate fossils, the oldest Archaeopteryx found to date, Late Carboniferous shark cannibals and, continuing the Elasmobranchii theme, that a horror film starring Megalodon would be released soon.

Our favourite article was published at the very end of the month, a story about the recently described “Monster of Minden”, fragmentary fossils that suggest that some 163 million years ago, a giant meat-eating dinosaur roamed the land which we now know as Northrhine-Westphalia (Germany).

Wiehenvenator albati – Giant Megalosaur of Germany

The skull and jaws of Wiehenvenator.

The skull and jaw fossils located in their anatomical position (Wiehenvenator).

Wiehenvenator article: The Monster of Minden.

For models of prehistoric animals and extinct creatures: Everything Dinosaur Prehistoric Animal Figures.


Stories and features about Long-tailed pterosaurs, how dogs assisted our ancestors, huge dinosaurs of the Gobi Desert and microbial structures that might have existed some 3.7 billion years ago helped take our minds off the shortening days and the falling leaves.  However, our favourite article was published on September 15th.  It described the research undertaken to reveal the camouflage and countershading of the Early Cretaceous dinosaur Psittacosaurus, just a few weeks later, team members were able to view the Psittacosaurus fossil, upon which this research was based, for themselves.

A Model of Psittacosaurus Showing the Countershading as Suggested in the New Study

Psittacosaurus model in the Bristol Botanic Garden.

Psittacosaurus photographed in the Bristol Botanic Garden.

Picture credit: Jakob Vinther (model made by Bob Nicholls)

Psittacosaurus Colours and Camouflage: Calculating the Colours of Psittacosaurus.

British Ichthyosaurs and Tetrapods


Two new species of British ichthyosaur swimming into view, the extremes found in tetrapod limbs, giant titanosaurs, dinosaur brains from Bexhill-on-Sea and the fossils of an Australian prehistoric swordfish all featured in October.  The article we have singled out concerns the meticulous research undertaken to identify the vocalisation organ in the fossilised remains of a Late Cretaceous bird.  This study, literally provided a “sound bite” of life in the Late Cretaceous of Antarctica, around 66 million years ago.

Vegavis iaai – Honking with Dinosaurs?

The vocalisation of dinosaurs and birds.

Vegavis takes off whilst a male theropod dinosaur vocalises close by.

Picture credit: Nicole Fuller/Sayo Art for University of Texas at Austin.

Everything Dinosaur and Blog Posts from Late 2016

Birds that honked in the Late Cretaceous: Ancient Voice Box Provides an Insight into Late Cretaceous Dawn Chorus.


Highlights last month included writing about the decoding of the Ginkgo genome, the hunt for Troodon, proteins found in fossil dinosaur claws and the myriad of new models coming into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse next year.  We focus on an article that was based on research published in “Current Biology”.

The fossils of a lagerpetid (dinosaur precursor) and an early dinosaur had been discovered in the same rocks.  This was the first time that this had been recorded and these fossils challenged existing ideas about when the Dinosauria became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates.

The Skull of the Sauropodomorph Dinosaur Buriolestes

Buriolestes skull at the dig site.

The skull of the sauropodomorph Buriolestes.

Picture credit: Cabreira et al

The article: Just When Did the Dinosaurs Dominate the Land?

Fossilised Bacteria and a Dinosaur Tail


Fossilised bacteria shedding light on life before oxygen, the variation in body size within Australopithecus afarensis, gorgonopsids with benign tumours, Didelphodon with a bite more powerful than a Hyena, all worthy contenders for December, but we could not let the opportunity pass to comment once again on one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries made, not just this year, but perhaps this century.

December saw the publishing of a scientific paper on the discovery of part of a dinosaur tail preserved in burmite (amber from Myanamar).

The Tale of a Tail

A tiny dinosaur tail preserved in amber.

The exquisitely preserved dinosaur tail in amber.

Picture credit: R. McKellar/Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Dinosaur tail preserved in amber: The Tale of a Dinosaur Tail.

This story, perhaps more than any other article we have published on the Everything Dinosaur blog, demonstrates that there are still some amazing fossil discoveries to be made.  Who knows what news stories will feature on this blog site in 2017?  We could make some predictions, that might make a theme for a feature published in the early New Year, or we could just wait and see…

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s user-friendly website: Everything Dinosaur.

28 12, 2016

Favourite and Popular Articles of 2016 (Part 1)

By |2024-01-02T06:57:21+00:00December 28th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Press Releases|1 Comment

Favourite Articles January to June 2016

At Everything Dinosaur, we try and post up an article on this blog site every day.  This is quite a challenge considering all our other projects and activities.  However, as a result of our work on this particular weblog we have managed to build up a huge amount of information, features and articles chronicling (for the most part), advances in the Earth sciences and new fossil discoveries.

Several readers have emailed us and asked us to highlight some of our own favourite news stories that we have written about over the last twelve months or so.  With over 350 articles to choose from, that’s quite a tough challenge, but one we readily accept, so here are our favourites from the first six months of 2016.

Everything Dinosaur Favourite Blog Articles (Part 1)


January 2016 saw us writing about Canada’s first Dimetrodon, dinosaur trace fossils that suggested courtship displays and the discovery of a giant crocodile’s fossils in Tunisia.  However, our favourite story relates the tale of a beachcomber finding proof that enormous elephants once roamed the Isle of Wight.

Fossil hunting is an activity that is not just for the professionals if you look in the right places and get lucky, you too can make an important discovery that contributes to scientific understanding.

 Finder of the Prehistoric Elephant Fossil Paul Hollingshead Poses with his Proud Children

Isle of Wight prehistoric elephant fossil discovery.

Paul and his family show off their fossil find behind an Iguanodon exhibit.

To read the article: Prehistoric Elephants Roamed the Isle of Wight.


There was no shortage of news stories in the shortest month of the year.  During February, we blogged about Terror Birds of the High Arctic, Doedicurus DNA and the discovery of a new abelisaurid from South America, that might turn out to be one of the smallest of these meat-eating dinosaurs described.

However, our favourite piece was posted up on February 10th, when we wrote about the discovery of two new types of suspension feeding Cretaceous fish.  Plus, we also got the opportunity to publish a painting by the brilliant and so talented palaeoartist Bob Nicholls.

An Illustration of One of the Giant Cretaceous Plankton Feeders – Rhinconichthys

An illustration of Rhinconichthys.

Large filter-feeding fish of the Cretaceous.

Picture credit: Bob Nicholls

March and the Blog

To read the article: Cretaceous Big Mouths!


Polar dinosaurs, the demise of the ichthyosaurs caused by climate change and a study linking the extinction of the hominin H. floresiensis to our (H. sapiens) arrival on the island of Flores, all proved very popular articles with our blog readership.  In the end, we have singled out our story about the resolution of where in the tree of life the bizarre Tully Monster sits.  After six decades of debate, an international team of researchers, including scientists from Yale University, published a paper that classified Tullimonstrum gregarium as a soft-bodied vertebrate, one that is related to extant jawless fish such as Hagfish and the Lamprey.  The Tully Monster had finally found a home.

One of the Strangest Creatures That Ever Lived is Finally Classified

The bizarre Tullimonstrum gregarium.

The “Tully Monster” is classified as a soft-bodied vertebrate.

Picture credit: Sean McMahon (Yale University)

Tully Monster Riddle solved: Tully Monster Puzzle Solved.

Everything Dinosaur Showered with Press Releases


Talk about “April showers”, we were showered with press releases from museums and universities in April, leading us to blog about all sorts of weird and wonderful things – ancient arachnids, a Silurian “kite runner”, prehistoric dolphins, seed-eating Late Cretaceous survival strategies and the fifty-million-year dinosaur decline.

Our favourite article, as agreed by Everything Dinosaur team members, was written on April 17th, a story about a dedicated graduate student working alongside some of the most famous palaeontologists in the world, who identified a new species of dinosaur – Apatoraptor pennatus.

A New Species of Late Cretaceous Dinosaur from Canada (A. pennatus)

Apatoraptor pennatus

The presence of ulnar papillae on the ulna (bone of the forelimb) indicates the presence of long feathers on the arm.

Picture credit: The equally talented palaeoartist Sydney Mohr

Apatoraptor news story: Canadian Dinosaurs were Show Offs.

Dinosaurs and More Dinosaurs


Giant Patagonian titanosaurs, baby titanosaurs, Atopodentatus unzipped, a new species of prehistoric dog, exquisite horseshoe crab fossils from Nova Scotia, bizarre Brazilian crocodiles and calculating the bite force of a Stegosaurus, these were just some of the stories that occupied our writing team.

A favourite, was one that was published on “Star Wars day” – May 4th, tiny three-toed tracks preserved in rock indicate that some of the theropod dinosaurs may have been very small indeed.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are aware of a growing body of evidence to suggest that some members of the Theropoda were no bigger than a mouse, we have nick-named this group “leaf litter dinosaurs”.  One of these tiny theropods ran across a stretch of mud some 125 million years ago and its prints were preserved, providing yet another tantalising clue to miniature dinosaurs, the genus Minisauripus was erected, a name for a dinosaur distantly related to Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex, but no bigger than a sparrow.

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

Minisauripus Runs Across the Mud Flat Chased by a Bigger Theropod Dinosaur

The tiny dinosaur Minisauripus.

Minisauripus, potentially the smallest dinosaur known to science.

Picture credit: Zhang Zongda/China Daily

To read about Minisauripus: The Smallest Dinosaur of All?

Everything Dinosaur and Writing in June 2016


Was the primordial snake Tetrapodophis an accomplished swimmer?  What’s the significance of ancient rock paintings found in a remote cave 7,000 feet up in the Alps?  What did the giant meat-eating dinosaur, whose fossilised tracks were found in India, look like?  How do you build a museum to house the bones of the biggest dinosaurs who ever lived?  These and a whole range of other questions were tackled in June 2016, but the article we have chosen to highlight involves the discovery of a new species of British marine reptile made by the English palaeontologist Dean Lomax.

Visit the website of Dr Dean Lomax: Palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax.

The new species is an ichthyosaur (Wahlisaurus massarae), the fossil specimen “nosedived” into sediment prior to permineralisation and this unusual taphonomy prevented a new species of marine reptile from surfacing until the middle of June 2016.

Wahlisaurus massarae – A New Species of British Marine Reptile

New species of Early Jurassic Ichthyosaur announced.

New species of Early Jurassic ichthyosaur announced.

Picture credit: James McKay

To read the article: A New Species of British Marine Reptile Surfaces.

 Part two of this article, a list of our favourite articles published in the last six months will be posted up shortly.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

27 12, 2016

Scientists Build Three Dimensional Future Human Using New Technology

By |2024-05-06T15:36:56+01:00December 27th, 2016|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Researchers Create “Trillennium Man”

Interactive three-dimensional models of human joints, showing how common medical complaints have arisen and how we are likely to evolve in the future, have been created at Oxford University.  The research was led by Dr Paul Monk (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences) and it has led to the creation of a computer model of a human skeleton, one that represents a possible individual living around the year 6017 AD.  This individual has been nick-named “Trillennium Man”.

“Trillennium Man”

The Research Team Plotted the Evolution of Key Tetrapod Joints

Studying how the human body will evolve.

“Trillennium Man” plotting the evolution of key joints in the human body.

Picture credit: Oxford University

Dr Monk was interested in exploring why patients at his clinic presented with very similar orthopaedic problems.

He explained:

“We see certain things very commonly in hospital clinics, pain in the shoulder with reaching overhead, pain in the front of the knee, arthritis of the hip, and in younger people we see some joints that have a tendency to pop out.  We wondered how on earth we have ended up with this bizarre arrangement of bones and joints that allows people to have these problems.  And it struck us that the way to answer that is to look backwards through evolution.”

Computerised Tomography Used to Assess Three Hundred Specimens

A total of 224 bone specimens were scanned (CT scans), in order to assess how the human body and joints such as the shoulder, hip and knee have evolved and changed over time.  Specimens from the Smithsonian Institute (Washington) and the London Natural History Museum were used in this study.

Tetrapods involved in the research included members of the hominin tribe such as Homo ergaster and Homo erectus as well as a range of other fossils, including some that represent some of the very first terrestrial vertebrates to have lived.  The scans were than mapped using a computer programme to produce three-dimensional images to show how the bones and joints had changed.  This research has provided new insights into the morphological trends with common orthopaedic complaints such as shoulder pain and anterior knee discomfort.

The Bones of Australopithecus afarensis were Incorporated into the Study

Australopithecus afarensis.

Fossil bones used in the study.

For replicas and models of ancient hominins: Wild Safari Prehistoric World Figures.

Considering Future Potential Human Joint Problems

By extrapolating the mathematical models, the research team could attempt to plot how our bodies and their key joints will evolve in the future.

Dr Monk added:

“Throughout our lineage we have been adapting the shape of our joints, which leads to a range of new challenges for orthopaedic surgeons.  Recently there has been an increase in common problems such as anterior knee pain, and shoulder pain when reaching overhead, which led us to look at how joints originally came to look and function the way they do.  These models will enable us to identify the root causes of many modern joint conditions, as well as enabling us to anticipate future problems that are likely to begin to appear based on lifestyle and genetic changes.”

Quadrupeds and Bipeds

Both quadrupeds and bipeds were included in the study, the research even involved examining how dinosaurs with their digitigrade and semi-digitigrade stance evolved and changed over time.

Commenting on the significance of this research, Dr Monk concluded:

“Current trends reveal that the modern shapes of joint replacements won’t work in the future, meaning that we will need to re-think our approach for many common surgeries.  We also wanted to see what we’re all going to look like in the future, and to answer questions such as ‘are we evolving to be taller and faster or weaker’, and ‘might we be evolving to need hip replacements earlier in the future?”

Human Hip Bones Evolving

As our distant ancestors adopted a bipedal method of locomotion so the femur (thigh bone) changed.  The neck became gradually thicker to help support body weight.  The thicker the neck of the bone in the femur the greater the likelihood of arthritis in the hip joint.  Orthopaedics have suggested that this thickened neck of the femur might be a reason why our species is prone to hip problems.

Over Millions of Years the “Neck” of the Femur has Become Thicker

Human femur evolution.

Neck of the hominin thigh bone has become broader to support our weight.

Picture credit: Oxford University

In the picture above, the proximal end of a human femur (H. sapiens), has been modelled using the CT scans (right) and this is compared to the model produced from scans of an early hominin (left).  The red arrows indicate the region of the neck of the thigh bone that has become thicker.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of the University of Oxford press room in the compilation of this article.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

26 12, 2016

Christmas Holidays and the Despatch of Orders

By |2023-05-13T11:44:57+01:00December 26th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Despatching Parcels for Customers

With Christmas day falling on a Sunday in 2016, Everything Dinosaur has made arrangements to help with the despatch of orders placed by customers over the Christmas holiday period.  Our dedicated team members will be working throughout the festive holiday period, but the vast majority of the UK and international mail distribution networks will be closed down.

Orders placed over the period from Saturday, December 24th up to the early morning of Wednesday, December 28th, will not be sent out until late morning on the 28th.

Preparing Orders and Despatching Parcels

In order to ensure a rapid despatch of orders received, customer orders will be prepared, checked and packed over this period, so that they are all ready for sending out as quickly as possible.  Normal service, will of course, resume on the 29th and 30th of December.

Orders Placed After 24th December Being Prepared for a Rapid Despatch

Everything Dinosaur parcels.

Checking parcel dimensions to ensure a prompt despatch.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

At the moment, customers who place an order will be sent the following message as part of the order acknowledgement email:

“your parcel will be despatched on the next full working day after the Christmas holidays (December 28th).”

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

Mail Networks and Everything Dinosaur

Both UK and international networks will take a little time to settle back into the normal working routine.  Some parcels may not have moved too far in the network before the next holiday period (New Year), however, Everything Dinosaur’s dedicated staff are working hard to ensure that customer’s parcels are sent out quickly to avoid any unnecessary delays.

25 12, 2016

Happy Christmas from Everything Dinosaur

By |2023-05-13T11:39:23+01:00December 25th, 2016|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Happy Christmas from Everything Dinosaur

The big day has finally arrived and on behalf of everyone at Everything Dinosaur, we would just like to wish everybody a happy Christmas.  Seasons greetings to one and all.  Team members will be taking a short break for the festive period, but we will be looking at our emails and sorting out orders for customers.  Orders received will be sent out on the next full working day after the Christmas break, that’s Tuesday 28th December, when our annual stock take will be in full swing.

Everything Dinosaur

Happy Christmas From Everything Dinosaur

Wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

Happy Christmas from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For dinosaur toys and gifts: Prehistoric Animal Toys and Gifts.

Back to Business

We will be back with business as usual once the Christmas, Boxing and Bank holidays are over.  A special thank you to all those very kind people who sent us prehistoric animal themed Christmas cards, gifts and drawings, they certainly have brightened up the offices and the warehouse.

For those of you tucking into turkey, goose or chicken for Christmas, remember, you are eating a dinosaur!

Happy Christmas!

Everything Dinosaur has an award-winning website. To visit the website of Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur.

24 12, 2016

Limusaurus – Dinosaur Species Lost Teeth as it Grew Up

By |2023-05-13T11:22:17+01:00December 24th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Limusaurus – Shed Teeth as it Grew

An international team of scientists, including researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and George Washington University (United States), have made a remarkable discovery regarding the early Late Jurassic Chinese theropod dinosaur Limusaurus (L. inextricabilis).  As this dinosaur grew it gradually shed its teeth and a beak formed.  This is the only example of this known from the Class Reptilia.  No other reptile extinct or otherwise, lost its teeth and formed a beak after birth.  This research could shed new light on how birds are related to dinosaurs as well as specifically addressing the process of the evolution of beaks in the Aves (birds).

Limusaurus inextricabilis

The researchers propose that young dinosaurs were carnivorous, eating insects and small vertebrates, whilst the adults were most likely herbivores.

Scientific Paper Explores the Ontogeny of the Ceratosaurian Theropod Limusaurus

Limusaurus illustrated.

Young Limusaurus dinosaurs were carnivores as they grew up they probably switched to a herbivorous diet.

Picture credit: Yu Chen

Limusaurus “Mud Lizard”

Limusaurus was named and scientifically described in 2009, from a series of fossils found in ancient “death traps”, muddy mires which the small, bipedal dinosaurs became trapped in and unable to free themselves, (the binomial name means “mud lizard that could not extract itself”, a reference to how this group of ceratosaurian dinosaurs met their fate.  A number of specimens are known ranging from youngsters, estimated to be around twelve months of age, to juveniles, sub-adults and more mature individuals estimated to have been approximately ten years old when they died.

Josef Stiegler, a graduate student at George Washington University and co-author of the scientific paper published in the journal “Current Biology” stated:

“For most dinosaur species, we have few specimens and a very incomplete understanding of their developmental biology.  The large sample size of Limusaurus allowed us to use several lines of evidence including the morphology, micro-structure and stable isotopic composition of the fossil bones to understand developmental and dietary changes in this animal.”

Nineteen Specimens – Placed into Six Ontogenetic Stages

In total, the team had nineteen fossilised skeletons to study.  Anatomical comparisons and CT scans of the jaws and skull helped the scientists identify six distinct ontogenetic stages (stages of growth).

Co-author of the study, James Clark, (Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology at the George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences), explained that by looking at how this dinosaur changed as it grew up, they could see that over time, individuals lost their sharp meat-eating teeth.  By the time these dinosaurs had reached adolescence they were toothless and they did not grow another set as mature adults.

The Remarkable Ontogeny of Limusaurus

Limusaurus shed teeth as this dinosaur grew.

Limusaurus inextricablis – as these dinosaurs grew they lost their teeth and they developed a beak.

Picture credit: George Washington University

Indentifying Ontogenetically Variable Features in Limusaurus inextricabilis

Seventy-eight ontogenetically variable features were identified in the specimens.  Palaeontologists are aware that many ornithischian dinosaurs such as ceratopsids (horned dinosaurs) and the duck-billed dinosaurs, change dramatically as they grow into adults, such dramatic changes in an animal’s appearance have not been extensively documented in the Theropoda.  Despite the changes as Limusaurus grew up, the assessment of where this theropod is nested in the ceratosaurian family tree remains relatively unchanged.

The Differences Between Individual Dinosaurs at Different Growth Stages

Limusaurus ontogenetic variation.

A juvenile Limusaurus (top) compared to an adult (bottom).

Picture credit: Journal of Current Biology


(1) straight (juvenile) or ventrally deflected (sub-adult) anterior end of the dentary (downward pointing lower jaw).

(2) relatively deep (juvenile) or elongate (sub-adult) skull.

(3) gastroliths absent (juvenile) or present (sub-adult).

(4) short (juvenile) or elongate (sub-adult).

Commenting on the significance of their research, Dr James Clark, (George Washington University) explained:

“This discovery is important for two reasons.  First, it’s very rare to find a growth series from baby to adult dinosaurs.  Second, this unusually dramatic change in anatomy suggests there was a big shift in Limusaurus’ diet from adolescence to adulthood.”

A Carnivore and then Herbivore

The Limusaurus specimens that represented stage 1 (very youngest animals), had a total of forty-two teeth.  Stage 2 had thirty-four, whilst in the most mature stages from stage 4 onwards, the specimens were toothless (edentulous).  Gastroliths were found in association with larger individuals, and significantly, the size and number of the stones seemed to increase as the dinosaur matured.  The presence of stomach stones indicates a herbivorous diet, a switch from meat-eating to plant-eating as the dinosaur grew up was also suggested by carbon and oxygen isotope analysis from bone samples.

Carbon Isotope Composition of L. inextricabilis Compared to other Dinosaurs from the Upper Shishugou Formation

The diet of Limusaurus.

Bone carbon and oxygen isotopes show a change in diet for Limusaurus as it grew older.

Picture credit: Current Biology

The diagram above shows the carbon/oxygen isotope analysis from the Limusaurus fossil material.  Blue polygons show the ranges for herbivorous behaviour, whilst the red polygons show likely carnivorous feeding behaviour.  The various Limusaurus ontogenetic ranges are plotted.  Growth stages one to three indicate likely meat-eating habit in young and juvenile Limusaurus specimens, with a switch to a plant-eating diet (later stages).  The data is plotted alongside meat-eating, plant-eating contemporaries of Limusaurus from the Upper Upper Shishugou Formation (Oxfordian faunal stage of the early Late Jurassic).  The dashed lines represent the data related to sub-adult Limusaurus.

Close to the Bird Lineage

Limusaurus belongs to that part of the Theropoda that is believed to be closely allied to the evolutionary ancestors of the birds.  Dr Clark et al in the formal description of this dinosaur in 2009, described the species’ hand development (manus) and noted that the reduced first digit might have been transitional towards the digit configuration of modern birds (digits II, III and IV).  This new data could help scientists to understand how birds lost their teeth and the beak evolved.

To read an article on the naming and describing of Limusaurus: Chinese Ceratosaur and Dinosaur/Avian Links.

Everything Dinosaur Comments

Commenting on why these dinosaurs adapted to a different diet as they grew older, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur said:

“The adoption of a new feeding strategy as the animal matured might reflect a degree of opportunism by this species.  Faced with an abundance of plant food within easy reach, it might have been advantageous for this dinosaur to feed on vegetation rather than expanding energy in the pursuit of prey.  Perhaps, as the animal grew, plant food became an increasing proportion of its diet, this dinosaur transitioning from a carnivore/omnivore phase through to a stage where plant matter made up by the far the greatest proportion of its calorific intake.”

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

The research was performed by Shuo Wang of the Capital Normal University and Mr. Stiegler under the guidance of Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, and Dr Clark.  A National Science Foundation grant funded the research.

The scientific paper: “Extreme Ontogenetic Changes in a Ceratosaurian Theropod” published in the journal “Current Biology”.

Visit the website of Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur.

23 12, 2016

Extinct Human Cousin Helped the Inuit Survive According to New Paper

By |2024-05-06T15:37:22+01:00December 23rd, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Analysis of the Genome of an Inuit Population Hints at Denisovan Influence

A team of international scientists including researchers from the New York Genome Centre and the University of California Berkeley, have analysed the genome of a population of Inuit from Greenland and identified components that may originate from the Denisovans or a related archaic human species.

The “caveman” genes have helped these people adapt and survive in cold climates.  In the first genomic analysis of Inuit people from Greenland, the scientists scrutinised two genes, namely TBX15 and WARS2 that seem to be a close match to an archaic human genetic variant, potentially Denisovan or some other closely related Denisovan-like species that has yet to be found in the fossil or anthropological records.

TBX15 is known to help the human body cope with cold temperatures and influences the distribution of body fat, whilst WARS2 encodes the mitochondrial tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase and may have a role in managing blood vessels associated with the heart.

Who are the Inuits?

The Inuit are collection of culturally similar peoples that inhabit the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland.  Although widespread throughout the Arctic Circle, most anthropologists believe that the ancestors of the Inuit people originated from Siberia.  The Inuit have made their home in one of the harshest environments on Earth and their traditional lifestyle is based around hunting.  As a result, their diet is rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and despite the lack of agriculture and plant cultivation, the people derive vitamins and other trace elements essential to health from fish/meat based foods supplemented by seasonal berries, herbs and edible seaweeds.

Dr Fernando Racimo (New York Genome Centre) and a co-author of the scientific paper published in the “Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution” commented:

“The Inuit DNA sequence in this region matches very well with the Denisovan genome, and it is highly differentiated from other present-day human sequences, though we can’t discard the possibility that the variant was introduced from another archaic group whose genomes we haven’t sampled yet.”

Who were the Denisovans?

The Denisovans are a third species of hominin, closely related to Neanderthals but distinct enough to be regarded as a separate human species.  In 2008, scientists excavating 40,000-year-old cave deposits in southern Siberia, unearthed a single tooth and a tiny finger bone.  The tooth can from an adult human, the finger bone from a child.

Genetic analysis of nuclear DNA extracted from the digit gave the researchers quite a surprise.  When this DNA was compared to that genome of modern humans and Neanderthals, it was different.  Here was evidence of a new species of hominin that lived until quite recently.  This new species was named “Denisovan” after the cave in which the bone and the tooth were found.  The Denisovans, evidently had brown hair, eyes and dark skin, at least, this is indicated by the genetic information retrieved from the single finger bone.

To read an article about the discovery of the Denisovans: X-woman! A Third Species of European/Siberian Early Human Discovered.

A View of the Entrance to the Cave (southern Siberia) Where Denisovan Fossil Evidence was Found

Denisovan cave.

A view of the entrance to the cave, inside which, fossil evidence of Denisovans was found.

Picture credit: Max Planck Institute

Studying the Denisovan Genome

Intriguingly, geneticists have also found an overlap between the Denisovan genome and that of some modern groups of Asians and Pacific Islanders.  A number of theories regarding this have been put forward, for example, it has been suggested that Denisovans living in eastern Eurasia interbred with modern humans that were migrating into the region.

When these modern human pioneers reached outlying islands of the Asian continent such as Papua New Guinea, they brought the mixed H. sapiens/Denisovan DNA within that population, leading to the “echo” of Denisovan DNA found today.  Other researchers have argued that the enigmatic Denisovans were much more widespread, ranging far across Asia, although the lack of fossil evidence and calculated genetic diversity contained within a population, indicates that Denisovan numbers were never very high.

Further information regarding the spread of modern human species and the influence of archaic human lineages on the genomes of modern people: Out of Africa Earlier Than Thought!

The research team analysed the genomes of around two hundred Inuit from Greenland in order “to identify genes responsible for biological adaptations to life in the Arctic.”  They conclude that the Inuit variant of the TBX15/WARS2 region first came into modern humans from an ancient human line.

For models and replicas of ancient hominins: Safari Ltd Prehistoric Animal and Human Models.

A Lateral View of the Ancient Human Molar Ascribed to the Denisovan Species

Denisovan fossil molar.

Ancient human tooth, ascribed to Denisovan.

Picture credit: Max Planck Institute

Denisovan Genes in Tibetans

Passing on genetic material due to interbreeding between hominin species, that favoured modern humans and helped them adapt to harsh environments is not a new phenomenon.  The modern-day inhabitants of the Tibetan plateau are able to cope with living at high altitude as they have a gene variant that enables them to regulate their production and use of haemoglobin more effectively. Genetic analysis suggests that this characteristic came from the Denisovans.

Professor Rasmus Nielson, the lead author of the scientific paper stated:

“We have very clear evidence that this version of the gene came from Denisovans.  This shows very clearly and directly that humans evolved and adapted to new environments by getting their genes from another species.”

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

22 12, 2016

Everything Dinosaur to the Rescue

By |2023-05-13T11:00:10+01:00December 22nd, 2016|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Last Minute Shopping – Last Minute Christmas Lists

Just three more sleeps until the big day!  Everything Dinosaur team members know how stressful this time of year can be for mums, dads, grandparents and guardians of young dinosaur fans.  Take for example, an email received along with an order that arrived in our inbox just after 5am this morning. Mum had only just got her little boy’s Christmas list last night and he had asked Santa Claus to give him a Tyrannosaurus rex face mask as a present.

Everything Dinosaur

Young Dinosaur Fan Wants T. rex Face mask for Christmas

A Tyrannosaurus rex face mask.

A T. rex face mask.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For dinosaur and prehistoric animal gifts, toys and games: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

Helping Out a Mum

Not to worry mum, we have been up even earlier than usual this morning, just in case something like this might happen.  The parcel will be checked, packed and despatched in double-quick time.  In fact, rather than wait for a collection from the warehouse, this very important package, along with all the other orders that have come in overnight will be taken to our local post office this morning by a team member.  These parcels will all go out with the first collection from the post office this morning.

We know it is getting very close to the big day and that Royal Mail have stated that the last guaranteed posting date for Christmas delivery for first class letters and parcels was yesterday (Wednesday 21st), but our dedicated staff are doing all they can to get parcels to customers in time for the big day.

Our prompt packing and despatch should give these customer orders every chance of making it in time.

Nothing is guaranteed, especially with the current industrial action in the UK mail network, but at least Everything Dinosaur can be relied upon to get orders packed and sent out as quickly as possible, with the minimum of delay.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

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