Facebook and Facebook “Likes”

Getting “Likes” on Facebook

Since Everything Dinosaur joined Facebook in the last few days of September 2010, we have slowly and surely built up our Facebook fans and “likes”.  Today, we have 1,429 likes and we feel that every single one of them has been earned.  We try very hard to give our customers and fans the very best customer service that we can.  We are passionate about palaeontology and we really care about the products and services that we offer.  We have noticed recently that a couple of Facebook pages that we ourselves have been following have suddenly seen their number of “likes” shoot up, not by a few dozen over the course of several days, but by tens of thousands in one case.  We suspect that these “likes” are not entirely genuine, that they have been purchased from a “like farm” or some such other company.

Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook Header

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Whilst reviewing the spam comments picked up on our schools website, we noticed the following comment, clearly an advertisement from one such “like farm” or a company selling similar services.  We have not included the web address of the firm concerned but this is what the comment said:

“Here is the scenario, you tell people to visit your Facebook page and when they get there they see something like ten likes.  This is tantamount to walking in to an empty restaurant at lunch hour!  Kind of makes you nervous doesn’t it?  This does not have to be the case.  Now you can buy 100 percent safe and REAL likes and followers for facebook, instagram, twitter and youtube.  These are not fake bot-generated likes.  They are from real and active users.  This means you will not only boost your appearance but you will also benefit from engagement and potential sales not to mention that a more active social profile will also rank you better with Google.  It is a win-win situation.  Check out xxxxx for more details – I know you will be glad you did!”

Facebook “likes” Should be Earned not Purchased

At Everything Dinosaur, we believe that “likes” or any other endorsements have to be earned.  There are no short-cuts to building a genuine two-way relationship with customers and we think most customers can see through such dubious marketing activities.  It is highly unlikely that the Facebook page visited just a couple of days ago has suddenly generated thousands of Facebook “likes” with hundreds of people talking about them, rather than the few dozen or so earlier in the week.

We believe customer service is the key to getting "likes".

We believe customer service is the key to getting “likes”.

We have asked a couple of customers who we have been in touch with today to give us a “like” on our Facebook page if they liked our customer service.  One of these was the lady who telephoned us to say her parcel had not arrived, within a few minutes, we had checked on when the order had been despatched and emailed her with some useful information to help find the missing dinosaurs.  As the order had been sent to a company, we suggested that the intended recipient should check with the reception desk/mail room to see if the parcel had been put somewhere.  Sure enough, an enquiry at the mail room led to the safe recovery of the dinosaurs.

This customer emailed us to confirm that everything was fine and dandy.  The customer said:

“Just to let you know that the parcel was indeed at the office, the post room managed to lose it but it has now been found so no small dinosaurs are AWOL in central London :-)  Thank you very much for your assistance, I have been very impressed with the customer service.”

Feel free to visit Everything Dinosaur on Facebook: Our Facebook Page have a look round, add a comment or two if you wish and if you think we are worth it, please give our Facebook page a “like”.

The second person we asked to give a “like” to the Everything Dinosaur Facebook page today, was the lady who telephoned before placing an order to check when she might receive a dinosaur themed dressing up costume, should she place an order with us this morning.  She needed the costume for Tuesday and did not want to order the item, if there was no way that it could get to her.  The team member who took her call was able to reassure her, to ensure that her order was prioritised and to personally check that the order was despatched in the afternoon, as promised.  That person was then also able to swap the dressing up costume for a larger size when the customer telephoned again to say that she might have ordered the wrong size by mistake.

These sort of things are what we do, our customer service helps explain how, slowly and surely, the team here have managed to build up 1,429 genuine “likes” our on Facebook page.  We really do appreciate all the likes, comments, feedback and reviews that we receive and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for giving Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page a “like” – all 1,429 of you.

Oops, our mistake 1,430 likes.

No New Prehistoric Animals from Bullyland Next Year

No New Releases, No Retirements from Bullyland in 2015

Bullyland, the German based manufacturer of replicas and figures is not going to be adding to their range of prehistoric animal models in 2015, according to information received by Everything Dinosaur.  Bullyland currently produce a range of prehistoric animals including a colourful Lambeosaurus and a marvellous model of the dwarf Sauropod known as Europasaurus, both of which were introduced this year.

The Bullyland Lambeosaurus Dinosaur Model

Bullyland Lambeosaurus on the Everything Dinosaur fact sheet that accompanies this model.

Bullyland Lambeosaurus on the Everything Dinosaur fact sheet that accompanies this model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Europasaurus, when it came out was particularly popular, after all, this was one of the very first models made of this dwarf Sauropod, a dinosaur that lived on islands that once could be found off the coast of western Europe.

The Bullyland Europasaurus Dinosaur Model

The dwarf Sauropod - Europasaurus.

The dwarf Sauropod – Europasaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur also send out a special Europasaurus fact sheet with sales of this dinosaur model.  It may have been pint-sized in relation to its giant Macronarian cousins, but Europasaurus probably reached lengths in excess of six metres and the Bullyland Europasaurus model itself measures twenty-three centimetres in length.

To view the extensive range of Bullyland prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Bullyland Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

We have received quite a few reviews of Bullyland models over the years. Here are a couple of reviews on the Bullyland Europasaurus:

“Accuracy in detail, nice colour and a well sized replica are the characteristics of the Bullyland Europasaurus, perhaps the most well made replica of the company, worthy of a place alongside the best replicas of the other companies. Highly recommended.”

Another one:

“Nice model, good colour and size.”

We appreciate all the reviews and comments that we get from our customers, we have received over one thousand on the current Everything Dinosaur website.

Bullyland have also stated that there will be no retirements from their prehistoric animal model ranges next year.  According to our contact at Bullyland, the German model manufacturer has several new models in the planning stage and it will review its policy over model introductions/retirements over the course of next year.

Getting our Teeth into Malaysia’s Dinosaurs

Putting Malaysia on the Dinosaur Fossil Map

Back in February of this year, February 18th to be exact, Everything Dinosaur wrote an article about the discovery of Malaysia’s first dinosaur fossil, a small tooth believed to represent a member of the Spinosauridae.  Although, this fossil was just a little over two centimetres in length, it made a big impression on Asian palaeontologists.  Here was evidence that Malyasia, like Thailand and Laos, could be home to dinosaur fossil remains, most probably new species to boot.

Now, exactly nine months later, we are happy to report on the unearthing of more fossils from Malaysia, they hint at a potential treasure trove of new dinosaur discoveries that could be made, perhaps rivalling the recent dinosaur discoveries of Western Malaysia’s northern neighbour Thailand.

To read about the discovery of Malaysia’s first dinosaur fossil: Malaysia’s First Dinosaur – A Fossil Tooth is Found

Firstly, the team behind the discovery of and research into the Spinosauridae tooth have reported that they have found evidence of a second type of dinosaur in the same region.  It’s another fossilised tooth, but not from a meat-eating Theropod, this tooth is that of a herbivore and similar to the teeth of bird-hipped dinosaurs (Ornithischians), although the family is difficult to determine as the teeth looks to be heavily worn and from the photographs that have been released, it is not easy to determine any clear, distinguishing traits.  According to some press reports we have read, the tooth may have come from an armoured dinosaur, a member of the Thyreohora (shield-bearers), a sub-group of the Ornithischian dinosaurs that consists of the armoured dinosaurs.

Malaysia’s Second Dinosaur Tooth

A second fossil tooth has been discovered.

A second fossil tooth has been discovered.

Picture Credit: AFP

In the picture, of the lead researchers in the Malaysian dinosaur project, Dr. Masatoshi Sone from the University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur), holds up a coin to show the size of the fossil specimen.  This tooth is smaller than the Theropod’s discovered earlier, it is just 13 mm long and measures 10.5 mm wide.  The age of this fossil has yet to be determined but the research team, which also includes scientists from Japan’s Waseda University and Kumamoto University, hope to use pollen micro-fossils, recovered from the surrounding matrix to help date the specimen more accurately.  For the time being, the fossil tooth is being described as from the Early Cretaceous so it could be around 140 million years old.

This second fossilised tooth was found in the same locality as the first tooth fossil, the Taman Negara region of Pahang State (Western Malaysia), the exact location of the fossil find is being kept secret, to deter amateur fossil hunters from damaging the site.  The Taman Negara region is extensively forested and searching for fossils in a part of the world that is heavily vegetated is not easy, but the research team were keen to point out that construction projects often allowed access to bedrock and rock strata not normally within reach.  Dr. Masatoshi remarked that he often took his wife with him to explore the ground works of housing construction projects, as these building sites, with the vegetation cleared and excavations, were ideal places to look for evidence of ancient life in the freshly exposed rocks.

When asked about the possibility of further dinosaur finds, Dr. Masatoshi stated:

“It is plausible that large dinosaur fossil deposits still remain in Malaysia.”

How true!  No sooner has the University of Malaya held a press conference to show their new dinosaur discovery, then there comes a report from the Mineral and Geoscience Department of the Malaysian Geological Heritage Group that more evidence of dinosaurs has been found, this time in the Mount Gagau region of Terengganu State, some distance from the Pahang fossil finds.  These new fossils are believed to be unrelated to the finds made by the research team led by Dr. Masatoshi and they have yet to be accurately dated.  The discoveries consist of several footprints, bones and teeth and at least three different types of dinosaur are represented, although it is impossible to identify them down to the genus level at the moment.

Commenting on the dinosaur fossil finds, one of the directors of the Mineral and Geoscience Department of the Malaysian Geological Heritage Group, Datuk Yunus Abdul Razak stated:

“They are significant findings that will lead to even more dinosaur fossil enquiries, also, the fossils that we found were more intact.”

A tooth, measuring about 1.5cm in length and two footprints could be from an Iguanodontid, a member of a group of highly successful Ornithischian dinosaurs whose fossils have been found in Cretaceous aged deposits all over the world.  There have even been reports of Iguanodontid fossils recovered from Upper Jurassic strata, for example Camptosaurs and other North American Ornithopods.

The Rocks with the Tooth of an Iguanodontid are Shown to the Press

caption

Geoscience assistant Mohd Azrul Aziz shows the rocks that could contain Iguanodontid fossil material.

Picture Credit: Mineral and Geoscience Department of the Malaysian Geological Heritage Group

Fossils of Iguanodontids are known from South-East Asia, with a number of fossil specimens identified as belonging to members of the Iguanodontidae family, but once again, genus identification is difficult.  With luck, as more fossils are found, the scientists will be able to build up a picture of the Dinosauria of South-East Asia and assign some fossils to new genera.

At Everything Dinosaur, we look forward to hearing more about dinosaur discoveries from Malaysia.

Rocks and Dinosaurs at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

Year 2 and Year 3 Study Dinosaurs and Fossils

Pupils at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School enjoyed a visit from Everything Dinosaur today.  The visit of a dinosaur and fossil expert was scheduled to take place as Key Stage 1 pupils were starting a topic on dinosaurs and Key Stage 2 classes were beginning a science topic all about rocks, fossils and soils.

The children in Wharfe class (all the classes are named after rivers), had been considering whether a dinosaur would make a good pet.  They had looked at eggs and put up notes on their topic wall about animals that laid eggs.

Identifying Which Animals Lay Eggs

Which animals lay eggs?

Which animals lay eggs?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The visitor from Everything Dinosaur was able to provide quite a bit of evidence about dinosaurs and their suitability for a pet.  Identifying how much a Triceratops probably ate by looking at the jaws and teeth, convinced most of the children that some of the biggest dinosaurs known would not make good pets.  Under the tutelage of the class teacher Mrs Conroy, the children would be learning about living and non-living things, with a focus on life in the past.  One of the learning objectives for this part of the Autumn term was for the children to consider what living things require in order to survive and flourish.  There was a big emphasis on developing a scientific vocabulary, our dinosaur expert helped the class by assisting them when it came to identifying what some prehistoric animals ate and the terms used to describe these types of prehistoric creatures.

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching work in schools: Everything Dinosaur School Visits

Year 3 (Swale class), had been learning about different types of rocks and their properties.  Mrs Hunt, the teacher was excited to learn about the local geology and all about the rocks that form Swaledale.  The children loved handling the fossils and taking part in the experiments to demonstrate petrification processes such as permineralisation.  On a table in the classroom, the children had lots of rocks to explore and to learn about.  The eager pupils were keen to show the Everything Dinosaur expert their fossils and he was happy to tell them all about these specimens, the class particularly liked learning about “Devil’s toenails”.

Lots of Rocks for Year 3 to Examine

A very full "rock table".

A very full “rock table”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Having left each class with one of Everything Dinosaur’s “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”, we shall see how the children get on and we are all excited to hear the results.

To Clone or Not to Clone a Woolly Mammoth

Documentaries on Woolly Mammoth Autopsy and Cloning Possibilities

Two documentaries focusing on the study of a remarkably well preserved female Woolly Mammoth carcase are due to be shown in the UK and the United States towards the end of this month.  Channel 4 (UK) will show “Woolly Mammoth: The Autopsy” on Sunday, November 23rd at 8pm.  Stateside viewers will be able to see a similar documentary entitled “How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth”, it will air on the Smithsonian Channel on November 29th.

The 40,000-year-old star of the show, is “Buttercup” a mature female Woolly Mammoth.  The frozen carcase was discovered back in 2013, when a research team from the Research Institute of Applied Ecology, the Russian Geographical Society and the North Eastern Federal University was exploring the remote Lyakhovsky islands, part of the Novosibirsk archipelago, situated in the Eastern Siberia Sea in the search for Woolly Mammoth fossil remains.  The scientists found that entombed within the ice, much of the front part of this Mammoth’s body was intact.  This was one of the best preserved specimens ever discovered and the television programme makers examine what these remains can tell us about these long extinct creatures and then the programmes discuss the prospect of scientists producing a clone.

When the body cavity of the Mammoth was examined, in places where it had begun to slightly thaw, a thick, red liquid could be encouraged to flow out of the flesh.  At the time this was described as “blood”. Although it may have contained constituents of blood, the television documentaries will explain in more detail what this was.  However, one thing that the field team could be confident about, this one of the best preserved Woolly Mammoths ever found.  Having a strong stomach is needed for this sort or work.  A nose peg/face mask is recommended, once the body starts to warm up, decomposition and putrefaction are not far away.

Returning a Woolly Mammoth, a species that has not been seen on this Earth for thousands of years, back from the dead.  This might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the cloning of a Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), is a distinct possibility although probably not for at least another thirty or forty years – just a blink in geological time.

To read about the discovery of the Mammoth that is now called “Buttercup”: A Woolly Mammoth with Fresh Blood?

Should the Woolly Mammoth be Resurrected?

Will the Woolly Mammoth return?

Will the Woolly Mammoth return?

Picture Credit:  Everything Dinosaur

 It is likely that this elephant became mired in a bog and she probably succumbed to exhaustion, although an attack from predators is not ruled out as much of the rear portion of the skeleton has been lost and that which remains shows feeding damage.   Whether this was post-mortem, we at Everything Dinosaur are unable to say.

Whilst we at Everything Dinosaur are very much in favour of the study of these Siberian giants.  After all, actually examining the slowly thawing out flesh of such a creature provides science with so much more information than just the bones. We remain concerned about the moral and ethical issues involved in any cloning process.  True, scientists from Harvard University and from South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation are trying to just that, to bring a Woolly Mammoth back by cloning, although both teams are going about it in slightly different ways.

We feel that certain questions have to be asked, for example, what contribution to overall genetic research would such a project make?  Indeed, is it right to focus on trying to resurrect the Mammoth when more resources could be directed at trying to save critically endangered flora and fauna that are still around.

We imagine a scenario, whereby, many Indian elephant females are subjected to experimentation and if a clone could be created, then there is the problem of surviving the lengthy gestation if a successful implanting into the womb of a surrogate mother could be achieved.

If the baby could survive to term, then there is the birth itself, or most likely a Caesarean section, as no commercial company would want to lose their “genetic investment” at this late stage.  If the baby survives, boy or girl (gender will probably be determined for it), then it could end up being rejected by what would already be a traumatised mother.  If the calf lives, we suspect there may be a number of unforeseen medical issues (as has been the case in the cloning a number of extant animals), then what sort of life would this young Woolly Mammoth have.

Could we See a Baby Woolly Mammoth in a Zoo in 2050?

Baby Woolly Mammoth - the New Lyuba?

Baby Woolly Mammoth – the New Lyuba?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Possibly rejected by its own mother and never able to be part of a herd, this elephant, highly social by instinct, part of a species that had a childhood almost as long as a human’s childhood, would be totally isolated and alone.  It would have no references, no role models, no benchmark.  It would be a Woolly Mammoth or something resembling a Mammoth (depending on the proportion of Indian elephant DNA involved), but it would not know how to behave or act like a Mammoth.

We at Everything Dinosaur foresee a heart-breaking scene in a zoo, perhaps in the not too distant future, whereby, a shaggy, rough coated elephant is paraded in front of crowds of visitors to the great satisfaction and economic benefit to the institution that owns this genetic wonder.  For the animal itself, it would most probably be doomed to live an entirely unnatural existence with none of the social interactions that these elephants would crave.  Just as we have captured Orcas and displayed them at theme parks and we are now only being to understand the trauma we put these magnificent creatures through.

Being able to explore the flesh and blood of a long dead creature is of great importance to science.  We accept that one day in future the cloning of a Mammoth may indeed be possible.  But just because we can do something doesn’t make it right to do.  To clone a Mammoth would involve a tremendously dedicated team of scientists who would be pushing at the boundaries of our understanding of genetics, but just as with the study of the carcase itself, when it comes to the moral and ethical implications, a strong stomach will be required.

Let’s hope that the documentaries examine the ethical dimensions of cloning such as a creature as well as providing more information on how these ancient creatures lived and died.

A Fishy Dinosaur Tail from South-western Alberta

Fishermen Spot Duck-Billed Dinosaur Fossil in the Castle River

Palaeontologists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Alberta, Canada), have a new Hadrosaur specimen to study, thanks to a pair of keen-eyed fishermen who spotted the fossilised remains of an 80-million-year old dinosaur whilst on an angling trip to the Castle River in the extreme south-west of Alberta.

Back in August, a father and son fishing trip on the river was interrupted when the son, spotted the brownish/black outline of some bones exposed on the surface of a huge boulder that had been washed into the middle of the Castle River.  Last year, the south-west of Alberta experienced some of the worst flooding in living memory.  The devastation caused by the extensive flooding had a silver lining for vertebrate palaeontologists as a number of fossils were swept into river systems. This Hadrosaur specimen, which consists of a partial skull, articulated cervical vertebrae and bones from the upper portion of the chest, could represent an entirely new species.

The Fossilised Bones are Entombed Inside a Sandstone Boulder

The exposed skull (top right) and the articulated neck vertebrae.

The exposed skull (top right) and the articulated neck vertebrae.

Picture Credit: Royal Tyrrell Museum

Hadrosaurs, or more specifically dinosaurs that belong to the Superfamily known as the Hadrosauroidea, were bird-hipped, herbivores that had horny beaks and batteries of teeth to help them cope with tough vegetation.  Known from the Mid Cretaceous to the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs, these reptiles, also referred to as the duck-billed dinosaurs were amongst the most speciose of all the known types of dinosaur and they were particularly numerous and diverse during the Campanian and Maastrichtian faunal stages of Late Cretaceous North America.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, the Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Dr. Donald Henderson explained that the unusual location of this fossil find, just a few miles from the border with British Columbia, makes this specimen extremely important.

He stated:

“It is one of the reasons we were so keen to get it, every time we find something different in another part of the province, it’s something important.  This means we could be finding new dinosaurs in the extreme south-west of Alberta.”

A helicopter was called in to airlift the one tonne boulder onto a low-loader for transport up to Drumheller, where the museum is based.  The specimen will then be carefully prepared in the museum’s laboratory.  Field workers did search the rest of the river bed and along the banks in the immediate vicinity of the fossil in a bid to find other parts of the skeleton, but to no avail.  Last year’s floods may have delivered this partial specimen but the remainder would have most likely been washed away.

It is rare for such a specimen, to be preserved in this manner.  The sandstone rock in which the fossil is entombed is extremely hard, the resistance of this rock to erosion helped preserve the fossil, although extracting the fossilised bones from the surrounding matrix will be a very difficult and time consuming job due to the tough matrix.

Dr. Henderson added:

“It’s in really, really hard sandstone, otherwise it would have been smashed up a long time ago.  It’s [the fossil specimen] sort of coiled up inside, at the time of its death, the neck and head curled back and the body was swept away in a river of sand. “

A Close up of the Skull Showing the Rows of Teeth in the Jaws

Erosion has led to the skull and jaws being cross-sectioned to reveal internal details.

Erosion has led to the skull and jaws being cross-sectioned to reveal internal details.

Picture Credit: Royal Tyrrell Museum

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur said, that the actions of the fishermen should be praised.  It is important for members of the public to alert museums when they come across something unexpected and unusual.  The fossil is probably preserved in three-dimensions, the hard sandstone protecting the bones, normally such bones are crushed, flattened and smashed.  Palaeontologists might be able to learn a great deal about Late Cretaceous Ornithischian dinosaurs as a result of this fossil discovery.

More New Prehistoric Animal Models from Schleich (2015)

New Schleich Dinosaurs Added to World of History Range

Two more large dinosaurs will be added to the World of History model range in July 2015.  New versions of the fierce meat-eaters Giganotosaurus and Spinosaurus are being added to this Schleich model series.  The World of History model range next year is going to feature a lot of carnivores.

Orange Giganotosaurus from Schleich

With articulated jaw.

With articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

Measuring around twenty centimetres in length, this is a beautifully painted Giganotosaurus and it has been given a very interesting pose, with its left leg raised as if this dinosaur is just about to take a step.  As it moves forward, it is balancing on its tail.

In addition to the fearsome Giganotosaurus, Schleich will be introducing another version of Spinosaurus to their model series.  Just like the orange Giganotosaurus, the Spinosaurus has been vividly painted and it too, will feature an articulated lower jaw.  The Spinosaurus is painted very brightly, in a beautiful violet colour.  Both these models will be available from Everything Dinosaur in July 2015.

Violet Spinosaurus from Schleich

Beautiful Spinosaurus dinosaur model from Schleich.

Beautiful Spinosaurus dinosaur model from Schleich.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

Intriguingly, the Spinosaurus dinosaur model is posed in a quadrupedal stance.  This position, that of a carnivorous dinosaur walking on all fours, has recently found favour again after a scientific paper was published that, having reviewed the known Spinosaurus genus fossil material, suggested that this large dinosaur was semi-aquatic and was not capable of walking in a bipedal position.

To read an article on the Spinosaurus research: Spinosaurus – Four Legs Are Better Than Two

With these two new additions (due out in July 2015), the Schleich World of History model range will grow to a total of twenty models.  Eleven of these models will represent Theropod dinosaurs.

The popular small dinosaurs range is being retired and replaced with a brand new range of six dinosaurs.  These models will also be available around July of next year.  This new range is also Theropod heavy, with only Triceratops (an Ornithischian dinosaur) a non-Theropod.

Once again these models are very colourful and they range in size from a fraction under seven centimetres in length to around twelve centimetres long.

New for Summer 2015 Schleich Small Dinosaurs Range

A new range of colourful dinosaur models.

A new range of colourful dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

The first models in this new range will be Carnotaurus, Giganotosaurus, Therizinosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.  These dinosaurs have been wonderfully well painted and we love the vivid, vibrant colours.

The blue Carnotaurus has attracted some controversy.  It has been claimed on some websites and forums that Schleich have omitted the arms.  In the pictures of this model no forelimbs can be seen.  At Everything Dinosaur, we have high resolution images sent into us by Schleich and these too, in the case of the Carnotaurus replica, don’t seem to show any arms on this particular dinosaur model.

A Close up of the Carnotaurus (Forelimbs not Visible)

Arms not visible.

Arms not visible.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

To help resolve the situation, we chased up Schleich for an official comment.  We have been told that this model does indeed have arms, but they are very small.  Carnotaurus did have minute arms, why these Theropods had very much reduced forelimbs remains a mystery.

Here is the official statement from Schleich:

“Carnotaurus belongs to the family Abelisauridae and is the one with the most distorted extremities.  Additionally, its arms are directed backwards.  We had to apply the right arm to the body due to release properties.  It may be that you cannot see this arm in the product image.  But it is there.”

Schleich have made a number of Carnotaurus models in the past.  A Carnotaurus model featured in the now retired “Saurus” range of prehistoric animal models and a Carnotaurus was included in the company’s World of History model range back in 2013.  Both these replicas had the small arms, so typical of an abelisaurid.

Comparing Schleich Models of Carnotaurus

Schleich Carnotaurus models from different ranges.

Schleich Carnotaurus models from different ranges.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

We have yet to see a sample of the new, blue Carnotaurus that is included in the small dinosaurs model series.  Once we actually get to handle the model and photograph it ourselves, the “missing arms” mystery will be resolved.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s current World of History Model range: World of History Prehistoric Animals

Looks like Schleich and Everything Dinosaur have some interesting times ahead.

New from Collecta for 2015

Temnodontosaurus and Moropus Models

The last two Collecta models to go into production for 2015 are the remarkable Ichthyosaur replica depicting a Temnodontosaurus giving birth and the Chalicothere replica – Moropus).  These will be available in the late Spring of 2015, we suspect around May/June.

The Ichthyosaur replica (Temnodontosaurus platyodon), is we believe, a world first for a mainstream model manufacturer.  The replica depicts a female at the moment of giving birth.  Viviparity in the Ichthyosauria was just one of their adaptations to a fully marine existence.

New for 2015 The Collecta Temnodontosaurus Ichthyosaur Model

Detailed Ichthyosaur figure.

Detailed Ichthyosaur figure.

Picture Credit: Collecta

 This model measures around twenty centimetres long from the tip of the snout to the tail flukes.  The baby is being born tail first and it is not detachable from the mother. There have been some remarkable fossils found which show Ichthyosaurs preserved in the process of giving birth, we are not aware of any such specimens which feature T. platyodon, but it is fitting that Collecta should choose to produce their first Ichthyosaur based on Temnodontosaurus, as this was the first Ichthyosaur fossil to be described, when a specimen showing a nearly complete skull and articulated cervical vertebrae was discovered in Dorset back in 1810.

An Ichthyosaur Fossil Showing Viviparity (Live Birth)

Viviparity in Ichthyosaurs

Viviparity in Ichthyosaurs

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum

 In the picture above, a baby can be clearly seen emerging tail first from the mother.  Being born tail first prevented the youngster from drowning before it had time to free itself from its mother.  A number of Temnodontosaurus species have been described, at around twelve metres in length, T. platyodon was one of the largest of all the Ichthyosaurs known to science.  It would have been an predator (but not likely an apex predator) in the Early Jurassic seas of Europe. Everything Dinosaur team members thing that this marine reptile specialised in hunting Cephalopods.   Based on a length of twelve metres we estimate that this figure would be in 1:60 scale.

The mainly black pigmentation of the model is based on recently published research (Lund University, Sweden) that suggested that most Ichthyosaurs were dark coloured, although the conclusions made by the Swedish researchers have been challenged.

To read about the research into marine reptile skin colour: Marine Reptiles Dressed in “Little Black Numbers.

To view the article that challenges the colouration proposed for marine reptiles: Working out the Colour of Long Extinct Animals Just Got Harder.

Now let’s turn our attention to the Chalicothere model that Collecta will also be bringing out in the summer of 2015 (July 2015).  This is a model of the North American “knuckle-walker”, known as Moropus.

Collecta Deluxe Moropus Model Available in Summer 2015

Wonderful prehistoric animal model.

Wonderful prehistoric animal model.

Picture Credit: Collecta

Intriguingly, this replica has attracted a lot of attention, after all, there are not that many top quality prehistoric mammal replicas to be found and this model of a Miocene  herbivore is superb.  Everything Dinosaur intends to produce a fact sheet on this model, we intend to focus on Moropus elatus (named by Marsh).

There may also be confusion over to the scale of the Deluxe Moropus figure, some paperwork from Collecta states 1:12 scale, whilst other notes refer to the Moropus being a 1:20 scale model.  The Moropus figure measures a fraction under fourteen centimetres long from the snout to the tip of the tail and it stands a little over sixteen centimetres high (top of the head). Based on M. elatus with a shoulder height of around 2.4 metres we estimate that this figure is nearer to 1:20 scale than 1:12, although this calculation does depend on which species  and which fossil specimens are used as references.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing stock of Collect Deluxe: Collecta Scale Prehistoric Animals

Either way it is a super, new addition to the Collecta range and we look forward to adding both these replicas to our inventory.

Kind Words from an Everything Dinosaur Customer

Praising Everything Dinosaur

We all work very hard to help our customers at Everything Dinosaur.  Whether it is packing a last minute order that is needed urgently for a birthday gift, or helping to advise a school on a fossil themed lesson plan, or even providing prehistoric animal models for a scientist, these are all typical activities covered in the last two hours or so.  We have thousands and thousands of customers all over the world, we are grateful for all the support that our little team receives.  Many of our delighted customers take the trouble to telephone us or email to say how good our customer service is (they also really appreciate our products and our prices).

Thought we would post up today an email sent into us this morning by Paula, a mum who was very pleased with her parcel and was delighted with the way we looked after her.

Paula wrote:

“I received my order and I am absolutely delighted with it, thank you!  I thought I must write and congratulate you on your outstanding service.  The email below that you sent to me when I placed the order was so refreshing.  I knew that my order had been received and that there was a real person I could contact if I needed help.  Also the information sheets you sent were fantastic.  My son is going to love them.”

It is always a pleasure to hear from our customers, glad we were able to help.
Paula concluded her email by stating:

“Keep up the excellent work. You definitely have the right approach to doing business! I wish you all the very best.”

Even our boss “Tyrannosaurus Sue” was pleased.  When it comes to dinosaur models and toys, people know where to visit: Everything Dinosaur.

 

A “Brummie-saurus”

Birmingham School Children Learn All About Dinosaurs and Fossils

It was an early start today for an Everything Dinosaur team member as they set off to visit a school in Birmingham (West Midlands), to work with the Year 3 classes who had just started their topic on dinosaurs and fossils.  The focus for the day was to help each class get to grips with working scientifically and to support the intended learning outcomes of the teaching team.  One of the things we had been asked to do was to help explain what the world looked like during the time of the dinosaurs and how the location of land masses has changed.  Time for us to bring in some of our collection of Permian plant fossils, specifically fossils of various Glossopterids to assist us with this aspect of our work.  A map of the world stuck onto the wall of the dance studio where we were based for the day came in very handy.

This is the first time a dinosaurs and fossils topic had been introduced at the lower Key Stage 2 level at this school, however, our sharp-eyed photographer spotted a wonderful paper mache Sauropod that was lurking in a corridor.  Apparently, this dinosaur had been part of a art project a few years ago.  It was certainly a very striking sculpture.

Diplodocus Inspired Artwork on Display at School

A school's very own version of "Dippy".

A school’s very own version of “Dippy”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur 

We conducted various experiments (hopefully, our experiment with 3PW will demonstrate tomorrow how fossils can form), we were asked some amazing questions by the budding young scientists and we set each class one of our “palaeontologist challenges” as part of the extension activities.

Our dinosaur expert got some lovely feedback from the children.

“I loved learning all about dinosaurs” – AB

“It was fantastic!” – AM

One of the Year 3 teachers told us:

“The children’s reaction to the workshop was fantastic.  They were all engaged and amazed by the facts and the artefacts!”

The dance studio, where we set up for the day, was also the place where a number of volcano models that had been built by children at the school were being stored.  We felt very much at home.

Models of Volcanoes Built by School Children

Geology on display in the dance studio.

Geology on display in the dance studio.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To contact Everything Dinosaur to learn more about our outreach work in schools: Contact Everything Dinosaur for Further Information

As part of the agreed extension activities, we set up a little bit of work for the children which links into their ICT studies this term.  We can’t wait to see the results.  Perhaps these Birmingham based school children will design their very own dinosaur, could we have a “Brummie-saurus” on our hands?

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