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

Articles, features and stories with an emphasis on geology.

4 05, 2024

Spotting Jurassic Fossils During a Trip to London

By |2024-05-04T13:02:05+01:00May 4th, 2024|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur spotted some Jurassic fossils whilst on a recent trip to London.  It might be surprising to learn that you can see fossils in our capital city, but you can if you know where to look.  You do not have to visit a museum to see fossilised remains of prehistoric animals.  Many of the buildings in London are made from Portland stone.  This limestone, famed for its quality is quarried in Dorset. Dorset is famous of having much of the “Jurassic Coast” within it.  Other famous buildings are also constructed from limestone. These rocks too, also contain lots of fossils of marine invertebrates.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, also known as the V&A is built from limestone.  The front facade and the low walls surrounding the building are full of Jurassic fossils.  They are easy to spot.

Jurassic fossils preserved in Portland stone.

The stones used to build the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Museum) in London contain fossils. The stone is probably similar to Portland stone from Dorset (southern England). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Jurassic Fossils in London

The Museum was founded in 1852. Like many Victorian buildings in Britain, it was constructed from Jurassic limestone.  It is located in South Kensington, a short distance from the London Natural History Museum.

To read an article from Everything Dinosaur about fossil hunting in London: Fossil Hunting in London A Guide to Finding Fossils in the Capital.

These stones contain the fossilised remains of thousands of marine gastropods, brachiopods and bivalves.  These stones preserve a record of a devastating event.  An immense natural disaster such as a tropical storm or tsunami smashed a shallow marine habitat.  The shallow seascape took the full force of this natural disaster. The jumbled remains of the invertebrates can be clearly seen in the building stones.

The stones may also contain fragmentary remains of Jurassic ammonites.

Ammonite fossils (Dactylioceras).

A selection of ammonite fossils fragments of ammonites and other marine invertebrates can be found in stones used for building materials.  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Visitors to London can find evidence of the destruction of an ancient marine ecosystem preserved in the buildings.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Dinosaur Models and Prehistoric Animal Toys.

29 04, 2024

Preparing the Beautiful Natural History Museum Evolution Garden

By |2024-04-29T22:21:21+01:00April 29th, 2024|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Whilst in London, team members took the opportunity to check on the progress of the London Natural History Museum’s evolution garden.  The five-acre site around the main entrance is being converted into a series of gardens for visitors.  A significant portion of the land is being developed into an evolution garden.  It will lead visitors through five hundred million years of Earth’s history.

Natural History Museum Evolution garden

Tree ferns have been planted to mimic typical flora of the early Mesozoic. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Evolution Garden at the London Natural History Museum

The garden will tell the story of life on Earth. Visitors walking through the site will be taken on a journey from the Cambrian to recent times. The journey will plot evolution during the Phanerozoic Eon (visible life).  From the Cambrian explosion through to the evolution of terrestrial life and the amazing dinosaurs.  The landscape will gradually fill with plants, trees, reptiles, birds and mammals including placentals such as Homo sapiens.

A new weatherproof cast of the Natural History Museum’s much-loved Diplodocus will feature.  It will take centre stage in a Jurassic garden filled with tree ferns and cycads.

A Diplodocus dinosaur model.

Natural History Museum Diplodocus dinosaur model (Dippy).

The picture (above) shows a Diplodocus model from the Natural History Museum model series. This range is due to be retired.

To view the range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Models and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

To Immerse Yourself in Nature

The plan is to provide a natural space for visitors as well as providing information on our planet’s history.  Raised ponds will be available to permit access for all to pond dipping activities.  There will be several paths and lots of seating.  Visitors can immerse themselves in nature.

Natural History Museum Evolution garden

The huge slate and limestone walls of the garden take visitors on a tour of deep geological time. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We took the opportunity to see how work was progressing on the evolution garden.  The construction workers had planted most of the tree ferns. There was still a lot of work to do such as laying out the paths and getting into place the tactile exhibits.”

Natural History Museum Evolution garden

Work continues on the Natural History Museum Evolution garden. The gardens should be open to the public in the summer (2024). Picture credit; Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Despite the poor weather, the site continues to be transformed.  The gardens are due to be opened in the summer (2024).  By helping to explain changes that have occurred on our planet in the past and how life responded, we can plan for the future.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Dinosaur Toys and Dinosaur Gifts.

3 04, 2024

Anthropocene Epoch Rejected as a Unit of Geological Time

By |2024-04-03T08:55:26+01:00April 3rd, 2024|Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) has voted to reject the Anthropocene Epoch as a unit of geological time.  Plans to introduce a new geological epoch based on the influence of humans on our planet have been shelved at a meeting of the IUGS.

Last month, a vote was held about the proposal to add the Anthropocene to the chronostratigraphic chart outlining the age of the Earth. This vote, undertaken by members of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) led to a rejection of the proposal. This committee’s decision has now been endorsed by the IUGS.

The influence of mankind on our planet - the Anthropocene Epoch.

The idea of naming a new geological epoch to mark the influence of mankind on the planet has been rejected. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG)

In 2001 the atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, proposed that the activity of mankind was impacting natural environmental conditions to the extent that we had effectively left the natural stable
conditions of the Holocene Epoch and moved into a new interval that he named the Anthropocene.  A committee was established in 2009 to examine this idea.  It was named the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG).  Their brief was to examine the evidence for human induced climate change as reflected in the geological record, and to determine whether a new geological epoch was justified.

The Anthropocene Epoch Rejected – The Full Statement

A statement was released by the IUGS:

“It is with the delegated authority of the IUGS President and Secretary General and on behalf of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) that the vote by the ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) to reject the proposal for an Anthropocene Epoch as a formal unit of the Geologic Time Scale is approved.”

Although the Anthropocene Epoch will not be appearing in textbooks anytime soon, these findings could be reviewed in a decade or so.  However, the IUGS did recognise the significance of this debate and highlighted the importance of recognising the impact of Homo sapiens on planet Earth.

The lengthy statement included the following:

“Despite its rejection as a formal unit of the Geologic Time Scale, Anthropocene will nevertheless continue to be used not only by Earth and environmental scientists, but also by social scientists, politicians and economists, as well as by the public at large. It will remain an invaluable descriptor of human impact on the Earth system.”

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

21 03, 2024

Rare Stigmaria Fossil Find from Anglesey

By |2024-03-22T12:00:23+00:00March 21st, 2024|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

In honour of the United Nations International Day of Forests (21st March 2024), we have posted up a fossil of a prehistoric plant. The photograph (below) shows a specimen of Stigmaria. The Stigmaria fossil was collected from Carboniferous rocks exposed on the island of Anglesey (Wales). Although relatively common fossils, the location from which this specimen was collected has only ever yielded a few examples. This was a fortuitous fossil discovery. Stigmaria fossils are rare at this location.

Stigmaria fossil specimen.
A specimen of Stigmaria from Anglesey (Wales). A fossil specimen of an underground root associated with a Carboniferous lycopsid. It was during the Carboniferous that the first extensive and specious diverse forests evolved. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Circular Scales on the Stigmaria Fossil

The circular scars on the root can be seen. These mark sites of attachment for the rooting structures that branched out helping to secure the lycopsid in the saturated soil and to obtain nutrients from the medium. Stigmaria does not represent a taxon as such. Plant fossils are normally found in isolation. Leaves, roots, bark and branches that actually represent the same genus have been given different scientific names.

Stimaria fossil.
Stigmaria fossil, the circular scales on the fossil can be seen. The scale bar equals 1 cm. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained that the first terrestrial plants evolved during the Silurian. It was during the Devonian that the first large land plants evolved. However, it was in the Carboniferous that extensive forests became a feature of our planet. Today, forests play a vital role in mitigating the impact of global warming. The Carboniferous forests too had a substantial impact on the planet’s atmosphere.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Prehistoric Themed Toys and Models.

2 02, 2024

Spotting an Ammonite Fossil at a Trade Fair

By |2024-02-06T22:05:42+00:00February 2nd, 2024|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur recently visited the Spielwarenmesse trade fair in Germany. Many of the buildings in this part of Bavaria are constructed from limestone. The limestone dates from the Jurassic and is highly fossiliferous. Whilst walking between the halls of the Spielwarenmesse on our way to another meeting, we spotted an ammonite fossil in the stone floor,

Ammonite fossil in the stone floor on the site of the annual Spielwarenmesse trade fair.
On the floor of the Spielwarenmesse building fossils can be spotted. For example, this limestone slab has the remains of an ammonite clearly visible within it. The red arrow highlights the position of the ammonite fossil. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Looking for an Ammonite Fossil

Numerous fossils can be spotted entombed in the polished stone floors of the vast Messezentrum Nuremberg which hosts the international toy fair. Belemnites, bivalves and oyster shells are common. Ammonites tend to be a little rarer, but there are still plenty to see.

Ammonite model next to a fossil specimen.
A model of an ammonite (foreground) with a polished ammonite in the background. The strongly ribbed shell and the obvious keel of the ammonite replica. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows a Bullyland ammonite replica in the foreground with a polished ammonite fossil behind it.

To view the Bullyland range of prehistoric animal models and figures: Bullyland Prehistoric Animal Replicas.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained that many municipal buildings in and around Nuremberg were built from limestone that contains lots of fossils. The sediments that went onto form the limestone were Upper Jurassic in age.

The spokesperson added:

“Nuremberg airport is famous for its fossils. It is always intriguing to see what we can spot in the floor tiles as we wait to board an aeroplane.

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

11 12, 2023

The Story of Earth’s Climate in 25 Discoveries

By |2023-12-12T10:13:13+00:00December 11th, 2023|Book Reviews, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Delegates at COP28 continue their discussions on how to limit and make preparations for future climate change. These discussions, their success or failure will have consequences for all of humanity. Decisions made today will have implications for all future generations too. The publication of a new book that documents the history of our planet’s climate and its connection to life on Earth provides context and delivers a fresh perspective.

“The Story of Earth’s Climate in 25 Discoveries” is written by Donald R. Prothero. He is an incredibly talented American palaeontologist and geologist with a gift for communication. As adjunct professor of geological sciences at California State Polytechnic University (Pomona, California), the author is well qualified to explain the intimate connection between climate and life on Earth. However, unlike many scientists, Donald R. Prothero’s engaging writing style permits the general reader to understand and grasp sometimes difficult concepts.

Climate change book
The story of our planet’s climate in twenty-five discoveries by Donald R. Prothero.

Picture credit: Columbia University Press

Climate Change from a Deep Time Perspective

Our planet has undergone radical climate change throughout its history. Climate has changed dramatically from a “Snowball Earth” that led to a mass extinction event to sweltering jungles that stretched across the globe. Over deep geological time, climate has shaped the evolution of life on our planet. Furthermore, living organisms have shaped the Earth’s climate. We are not the first inhabitants to dramatically influence our planet’s climate. This new book documents these changes. It highlights how our climate has never changed so radically as it is changing now.

“The Story of Earth’s Climate in 25 Discoveries”

“The Story of Earth’s Climate in 25 Discoveries” takes the reader on a journey through Earth’s history. In this highly entertaining book, the author addresses questions such as Why do we have phytoplankton to thank for the air we breathe? What kind of climate was necessary for the rise of the dinosaurs, or the mammals, their successors? When and how have climatic changes caused mass extinctions?

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have enjoyed reading other books written by Donald R. Prothero. For example, we reviewed “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”.

Our review can be found here: A Review of “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries.”

Today’s Climate Crisis

The author concludes this most informative publication with an examination of the Ice Ages and the Holocene Epoch. Our role in climate change is outlined and the perils we now face are explained.

Understanding why the climate has changed in the past, this timely book shows, is essential to grasping the gravity of how radically human activity is altering the climate today.

The Book Details

The Book: “The Story of Earth’s Climate in 25 Discoveries”

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Published February 2024 | Price: £32.00/$38.00 USD (hardback) | Pages: 472

ISBN: 9780231203586

Visit the website of Columbia University Press: Columbia University Press. Search on the website for the author or title to find the book.

6 11, 2023

The Fantastic Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2024

By |2023-11-11T11:29:52+00:00November 6th, 2023|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Photos, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (2024) is scheduled to take place over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of June. Everything Dinosaur has received an official media pack providing further details about this exciting event. A spokesperson for the UK-based mail order company also confirmed that the preceding Friday would be allocated for schools and students.

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2024.
Everything Dinosaur has received the media pack for the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2024. This exciting event is scheduled for the weekend of 8th and 9th of June 2024. The Friday (7th June), will be reserved as a schools/students day.

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (2024)

The festival is organised by the Lyme Regis Museum with the support and assistance of key partners. These partners include the Charmouth Heritage Centre and the London Natural History Museum. The allocated venues are the Lister Gardens, the Jubilee Pavilion, the Marine Theatre and the Lyme Regis Museum. Aimed at families especially young children, there will be no entry fees.

Everything Dinosaur was involved in the inaugural event and has participated subsequently. Unfortunately, other commitments prevent team members from attending in 2024.

Art and Science in Palaeontology
Prehistoric animal drawing fun at the Lyme Regis fossil festival. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

The photograph (above) was taken around 2016 during one of Everything Dinosaur’s visits to the festival. We provide lots of free drawing materials to mums and dads of budding young palaeontologists.

Visit the family-friendly Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

A Free Event Aimed at Families

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival is one this country’s leading palaeontological events. It brings together eminent scientists as well as top geological and palaeontological organisations. The two-day event celebrates the rich fossil heritage of the “Jurassic Coast”.

There are lots of free, family-orientated activities including shows, talks, fossil hunting walks, exhibitions and interactive displays. The organisers predict that there will be over 10,000 visitors to the Dorset town over the weekend of 8th/9th June 2024.

A model of a belemnite.
The new for 2020 CollectA Belemnite model. Visitors to the festival can expect to see lots of belemnites and ammonites. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows the CollectA prehistoric life belemnite model. CollectA have introduced a range of figures representing iconic animals from the fossil record.

To view the CollectA prehistoric life model range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur wish the organisers every success with their endeavours. Hopefully, the weather will behave, and it will be warm and dry over that weekend.

27 10, 2023

New £7 Million Grant to Explore Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes

By |2023-11-23T10:56:48+00:00October 27th, 2023|Geology, Main Page, Photos, Teaching|0 Comments

University of Bradford researchers in collaboration with other leading institutions have been awarded a substantial grant helping them to explore prehistoric landscapes.

The Submerged Landscapes Research Centre, at the University of Bradford is embarking on an ambitious project to map the Baltic and the North Sea thanks to a grant of €8 million (just under £7 million GBP). This is the largest single grant ever awarded to Bradford University.

Sea levels were much lower 20,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum. The grant will permit the scientists to explore ancient landscapes that are now submerged. The funding is from the European Research Council. This research will provide a deeper understanding of how our ancestors lived in these regions. Wind farm developments are making these locations more inaccessible for scientists.

University of Bradford exploring prehistoric landscapes
Global sea levels were 130 metres lower 20,000 years ago. Picture credit: University of Bradford.

European Union Research Funding

The EU has provided overall funding of more than €13.2 million for SUBNORDICA – a research collaboration between Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus University, the University of Bradford and the German research institute NIHK.

The scientists will be able to utilise the latest technologies to map and explore the seabed.

Exploring prehistoric landscapes.
Underwater excavation, example from the NIhK excavation at Strande, Germany. Picture credit: Christian Howe.

Generative AI and computer simulation will be employed to identify areas where long lost settlements may still survive and can be mapped.

Researchers at the University of Bradford’s Submerged Landscapes Research Centre will lead exploration in the southern North Sea along with partners in Holland (TNO), Belgium (VLIZ) and the University of York. The University of Bradford will also host the project’s computing infrastructure, providing modelling and AI support in the quest to explore prehistoric landscapes.

The grant comes from the European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007 to fund research excellence in projects based across Europe. The funding is part of the Horizon Europe programme and is part of an overall budget of more than €16 billion from 2021 to 2027.

A Scientific Collaboration to Explore Prehistoric Landscapes

The funding will permit closer collaboration and co-operation between the participating institutions.

Leading investigators celebrate the winning of a substantial grant.
Leading Investigators: Dr Katrine Juul Andresen, Professor Vincent Gaffney, Dr Svea Mahlstedt, Dr Peter Moe Astrup. Picture credit: Katrine Juul Andresen.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“The University of Bradford has been at the forefront of the mapping of ancient landscapes such as Doggerland and the Irish Sea. This funding will enable the team to use innovative technology and map a far greater area of European seascape.”

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

7 10, 2023

A Terrific Trilobite Tribute

By |2024-01-02T14:30:38+00:00October 7th, 2023|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Photos, Teaching|0 Comments

In 2015, Everything Dinosaur team members visited Wren’s Nest. This is a nature reserve and SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest). The exposed strata dates from the Silurian and it is full of fossils including the occasional trilobite. Whilst exploring this location, a photograph was taken of a trilobite tribute. A plaque honouring the “Dudley bug” (Calymene blumenbachii).

A trilobite plaque at the Wren's nest SSSI (Dudley).
A trilobite plaque at the Wren’s nest SSSI (Dudley, West Midlands). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Remembering the Trilobite

The Trilobita were remarkably abundant and diverse during the Palaeozoic. These ancient marine arthropods originated in the Cambrian. The last of their kind are believed to have become extinct at the end of the Permian.

The abundant fossils to be found at the Wren’s Nest nature reserve represent life on a Silurian reef approximately 420 million years ago. Team members have visited Wren’s Nest several times. This location was designated Britain’s first National Nature Reserve for geology (1956).

The motif is an inscription it reads:

“Scour the ground for geological litter my feet drenched in an ancient sea.”

CollectA trilobite model.
Everything Dinosaur team members have prepared some images of CollectA invertebrate models including the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular trilobite model (Redlichia rex). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows a CollectA trilobite model.

To view the range of CollectA not-to-scale replicas and figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve

Over 700 different types of fossil are known from Wren’s Nest. Over eighty are unique to this location and found nowhere else on the planet.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Wren’s Nest is a geological gem. We recommend a visit, especially in the early summer months prior to the school holidays. In the height of summer this location can get extremely busy and there is limited nearby parking”

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

13 06, 2023

A Heteromorph Ammonite Fossil on Display

By |2023-06-13T21:55:52+01:00June 13th, 2023|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Most ammonites had planispiral shells. However, throughout the course of the long evolutionary history of these remarkable and diverse cephalopods a huge variety of shell forms evolved. Everything Dinosaur team members spotted a stunning example of a heteromorph ammonite on display in the fossils gallery at the Manchester Museum.

Heteromorph ammonite.
A heteromorph ammonite fossil part of an exhibit showing the huge variety of ammonite fossil shells at the Manchester Museum. Most heteromorph ammonites evolved in the Cretaceous. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Heteromorph Ammonites

If asked to draw an ammonite shell, most people would sketch a tightly coiled shell, in a single plane with the diameter of each successive whorl getting bigger. This is a description of a typical ammonite planispiral shell. This would be an example of a homomorph shell. During the Late Jurassic, several new types of ammonite began to appear with varying degrees of uncoiled shells.

CollectA Pravitoceras model.
The colourful heteromorph ammonoid model – CollectA Pravitoceras. This model was introduced by CollectA in 2021.

The picture (above) shows the colourful CollectA Pravitoceras ammonite model. This figure was added to the CollectA model range in 2021. The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs series includes numerous extinct invertebrates. Trilobites, nautiloids, belemnites and ammonites are included in this substantial range.

To view the range of CollectA not-to-scale figures: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Models.

These types of ammonites (heteromorph ammonites), became increasingly abundant during the Cretaceous and by the Late Cretaceous they were widespread and extremely diverse with a myriad of different types occupying marine environments.

Important Zonal Fossils (Heteromorph Ammonite Types)

Heteromorph ammonites were extremely numerous by the end of the Cretaceous. Many genera have become important zonal fossils. Both homomorph and heteromorph ammonites are used extensively by geologists for zoning strata and for relative dating of rock formations.

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

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