Everything Dinosaur Passes 1,200 Customer Reviews

1,200 Customer Reviews on the Everything Dinosaur Website

Another day of preparing, checking and packing customer orders, doing all we can to despatch them in time for Christmas.  However, we have just been notified that there have now been over 1,200 customer reviews posted up on the Everything Dinosaur website, in fact the total is now 1,212.  Many of our customers have posted up comments, feedback and reviews over the last two weeks or so.  The 1.200th comment was from Mandy and she was writing about the dinosaur themed lockable diary that she had purchased.

Mandy wrote:

“Love this.  Perfect for a dinosaur loving nephew.  Thank you.”

The Lockable Dinosaur Diary (subject of review number 1,200)

Lockable Secret Dinosaur Diary.

Lockable Secret Dinosaur Diary.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We really appreciate all the comments and reviews we receive, we have just marked this “milestone” on our Facebook page, by posting up a special banner.

A Big Thank you for all the Feedback and Comments

Feedback gets a big "Like" from Everything Dinosaur.

Feedback gets a big “Like” from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our thanks to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to give us feedback on our customer service, to provide product reviews and to post up messages on our website about Everything Dinosaur and our dinosaur toys and models.

The Penarth Ichthyosaur

Amateur Fossil Hunter Finds Welsh Ichthyosaur

The foreshore along the beaches in the Penarth area of the Vale of Glamorgan (South Wales), is one of the most popular fossil collecting locations in the whole of the British Isles.  The beaches are very accessible, there is plenty of parking nearby and the sites are loved by family holiday makers.  The strata in the area, is Lower Jurassic (blue lias) and it is highly fossiliferous.  A thirty minute walk along the foreshore can result in the finding of many specimens, mostly brachiopods, gryphaea, and the occasional worn ammonite fragment.  Vertebrate fossils, those of marine reptiles are rare, although the occasional Ichthyosaur vertebrae or paddle bone can be discovered.  Geological hammers are not necessary, the strong tides combined with the the crumbly nature of the cliffs ensures a regular scattering of fossils across the beach.  However, one very lucky amateur palaeontologist has uncovered the fossilised remains of a two metre long Ichthyosaurus, and what’s more, the specimen seems almost complete.

Jonathan Bow, made his discovery whilst walking along the beach back in September, a small inch long piece of rock took his eye after it had been exposed by a tide.   He stated that anyone could have made this find, it all took was careful observation.  Indeed, this is true, when Everything Dinosaur team members are out on fossil hunts it is often the children who are with us with their sharper eyesight, that spot the fossils.

The Fossilised Remains of the Ichthyosaur (after preparation)

Penarth's very own prehistoric monster.

Penarth’s very own prehistoric monster.

Picture Credit: Jonathan Bow

Mr Bow, a keen fossil collector explained that:

“Something this large and complete is a once in a lifetime find.”

The collections manager in the Geology Department at the National Museum Wales described this fossil as “potentially a very important find.” 

Ichthyosaurs were a diverse group of marine reptiles that evolved in the Early Triassic and thrived during the Jurassic Period.  As a group they survived into the Cretaceous but mysteriously, despite being superbly adapted to marine environments, they became extinct around eighty million years ago.

Ichthyosaurs – Marine Reptiles Known as “Fish Lizards”

Dolphin-like prehistoric animals.

Dolphin-like prehistoric animals.

2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the first scientific description of an animal that was later named as an Ichthyosaur.  In June 1814, Sir Everard Home published an account of a discovery made by the Anning family of Lyme Regis (Dorset).  This was the first scientific account ever published on an Ichthyosaur.  Fitting then, that this year, the most complete fossilised remains of a “Fish Lizard” found in South Wales have come to light.

Ichthyosaurus Fossils Come to Light

Ichthyosaur fossils from this part of South Wales are rare.

Ichthyosaur fossils from this part of South Wales are rare.

Picture Credit: Jonathan Bow

The picture shows a smaller Ichthyosaurus fossil specimen as Mr Bow found it (small picture, bottom left) and the larger picture shows the same specimen once it had been exposed and prepared.  Ribs, paddle bones and vertebrae can be clearly distinguished.

Our congratulations to Jonathan, but a word of warning to would be fossil hunters keen to visit this part of the Welsh coast.  The cliffs are dangerous and rock falls common, there are plenty of fossils to find on the beach, please avoid getting too close to the cliffs.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur, acknowledged that the cliffs were best avoided and that there were plenty of fossils to be found on the beach itself, particularly along the foreshore, before adding:

“We suspect that this is an example of the Ichthyosaur species called Ichthyosaurus communis, although we would need to take a closer look before a species identification could be formally made.  We anticipate further marine reptile fossil finds early next Year, but this time from the Jurassic coast of Dorset as the winter storms do their work.”

Information about “Sophie” the Stegosaurus thanks to Milan and Alisha

Young Dinosaur Fans Showcase their Dinosaur Knowledge and IT Skills

A few days ago we challenged the son of one of our customers to produce an article on the arrival of the new Stegosaurus exhibit at the Natural History Museum (London).  Although, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognisable of all the dinosaurs, with its strange plates on the back and its spiked tail, referred to as a “thagomiser”, very little research on this genus of Late Jurassic dinosaur has been carried out in recent years.  We suggested that young Milan should write a report on this Stegosaurus, his sister Alisha (aged 11), also joined in and produced a wonderful powerpoint slideshow containing lots of dinosaur facts and figures.

“Sophie” the Stegosaurus on Display

Milan used this picture to illustrate his dinosaur documentary.

Milan used this picture to illustrate his dinosaur documentary.

Picture Courtesy of the Natural History Museum and chosen by Milan

 Here is Milan’s documented notes on the subject of Stegosaurs:

Sophie The Stegosaurus – Documentary 2014 – 2015

Sophie the Stegosaurus was found in Wyoming, USA on its own.  The weight of the animal is around 1 ton.  Sophie the Stegosaurus would have eaten things like ferns and horsetails.  The  habitat where the animal may have lived could be rocky plain ground with lakes around it, this way they would have food and water when they most needed it.  They may not have traveled very far from their homes to eat too.  Sophie  may have lived and walked though the forests, or even  green canyon.  The plain surroundings where the  Stegosaurus may also have walked and lived in, would and could have been filled with  rocky mini towers or marshlands  (just like how it was shown on “Planet Dinosaur”).  Stegosaurs may have lived in large number groups like a herd.  This could be because groups made them feel safe.  Also, when they are eating some of them could keep an eye out for predators.  Stegosaurs lived as a herd and they grazed in small numbers too.  Sophie the Stegosaurus had 19 plates that grew on its back and scientists believe that Sophie did have built-in defence, which was all along the back, in the shape of the large plates.  The plates on the back may have been used as balance,  and also they may have another propose which is very clever.  When the animal feels like it is in danger or it needs to show that it’s the boss, the animal can change the colour of the plates by simply flushing its blood into the plates, which then changes colour to scare the predators off, this could be a small predator  or even one as big as an Allosaurus.

The Stegosaurus walked the earth around 150 million years ago – this was the Jurassic age.  Looking at the animal more closely you can see that it has two large sharp spikes on  either side of its tail.  These spikes where used to slam and hurt predators that got to close to them.  Time to time they also used these spikes to hurt each other.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Thank you Milan, for sending us your Stegosaurus information, we enjoyed reading all about Sophie the Stegosaurus.  We really appreciate the information that you sent us on this American dinosaur.”

Alisha Makes a Dinosaur Themed Powerpoint Presentation (The First Slide)

Dinosaur Facts Book by Alisha

Dinosaur Facts Book by Alisha

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

The powerpoint slide created by Alisha contains twelve, carefully crafted slides, Everything Dinosaur team members enjoyed viewing Alisha’s presentation.

Size Comparisons of Long-Necked Dinosaurs by Alisha

The size of huge Sauropods.

The size of huge Sauropods.

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

To conclude her excellent powerpoint presentation, Alisha compiled a short quiz (fortunately she did include the answers).

One of the Dinosaur Themed Questions

Dinosaur themed quiz questions.

Dinosaur themed quiz questions.

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

Proud dad, Neil explained:

“She created the whole presentation, by herself without any adult help or supervision and I was really impressed by what she had created – she taught me how to do a few things too!”

Clearly with Milan’s dinosaur knowledge and Alisha’s presentation skills, if the media team at the Natural History Museum ever need any help they will know who to turn to.

Concluding his article on “Sophie” the Stegosaurus, Milan provided Everything Dinosaur with a list of ten things that we ought to know about these armoured dinosaurs.

Good Facts about Stegosaurus – by Milan

1 . Stegosaurus is the most famous dinosaur from the group known as stegosaurids.  They are plant-eaters of the Jurassic age , some scientists think of the tail and if the Stegosaurus has the defence against predators.

2. There have 19 plates found along the back of Stegosaurus  and 4 spikes on its tail.

3. At 560 centimetres long and 290 centimetres tall, similar in size to a 4×4 vehicle, the skeleton has over 300 bones. It was found virtually complete in the USA 11 years ago, with only the left arm and base of the tail missing.

4. The plates and spiky tail are used to scare other dinosaurs away.

5. The Stegosaurus`s use plates to reflect colour to scare predators and control the tail to help the spiky tail to hit a target.

6. Stegosaurus has 300 bones to show museums like the Natural History Museum.  Visitors will see the Stegosaurus (Sophie) on display at the museum.

7. Some palaeontologists believe that the action of the tail and plates that Sophie had were used in defence, like a prehistoric hammer.

8. Stegosaurus has a beaky mouth, perfect to eat soft plants.

9. Sophie was not fully grown when she died.  There were many types of different sized Stegosaurus around America, “Sophie” was a Late Jurassic herbivore.  There were many armoured herbivores in the Early Cretaceous too.

10. Stegosaurus means “roofed lizard”,  it was a vegetarian (herbivore), other dinosaurs were carnivores.

Milan Included this Picture of the Stegosaurus in his Notes

The preserved skeleton of "Sophie" the Stegosaurus.

The preserved skeleton of “Sophie” the Stegosaurus.

Picture Credit: Milan (Courtesy of the Natural History Museum)

Our thanks to Milan, Alisha and dad Neil for letting us post up the information on dinosaurs that they compiled for us after we gave them one of our “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”.

In conclusion, Milan stated:

“Sophie is the best preserved Stegosaurus ever to be found, it lived and tried to survive in the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs.”

Article written by Milan, with powerpoint presentation by Alisha.

New from Papo for 2015

Two New Prehistoric Animal Models for Dinosaur Fans from Papo

The wait is over, Everything Dinosaur can now reveal the two new additions to the Papo range of prehistoric animal models for 2015.  Papo will be bringing out a model of a Cretaceous Pterosaur (Tupuxuara) and a replica of a young Apatosaurus and very splendid they both look.

The Pterosaur Replica Tupuxuara

Available in spring 2015.

Available in spring 2015.

Picture Credit: Papo

A member of the Thalassodromidae family of Pterosaurs, these flamboyant crested flying reptiles, with their oversized skulls and toothless beaks would have made a spectacular sight as they soared over the skies of Cretaceous Brazil.  No one is really sure what these creatures ate, some species of Tupuxuara had wingspans in excess of five metres.  It has been suggested that these Pterosaurs were fish-eaters (piscivores), whilst other scientists have proposed that these were the “Toucans of the Pterosauria”, suggesting that they guzzled fruit (frugivores).

The model measures around five centimetres high, is about seven centimetres in length and with its folded wings, this particular Tupuxuara is around seven centimetres wide.

The second model being launched by Papo is a much larger specimen, although not as big as it could have been.  The French figure and model manufacturer will be introducing a young Apatosaurus to its dinosaur model range (Les Dinosaures).

The Young Apatosaurus from Papo

Available in the early spring of 2015

Available in the early spring of 2015

Picture Credit: Papo

We hope this new replica works well with the existing Allosaurus and the Stegosaurus models.  It seems that Morrison Formation dinosaurs are being well represented in the Papo model series at the moment.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Papo prehistoric animal models: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

Team members at Everything Dinosaur will be meeting up with Papo in the New Year, we intend to take some more photographs and when we do, we shall post them up.  Both these replicas are going to be made in the early part of next year.  Everything Dinosaur expects to have stocks by early March, perhaps a little earlier.  We shall keep you posted…

Confused over Centrosaurines (Especially from Montana)

Einiosaurus and Achelousaurus

Everything Dinosaur received an urgent phone call this morning from a mum who had been finally told by her dinosaur mad little boy what Father Christmas should get him.  He requested an Einiosaurus. Sadly, despite the very many colourful models of horned dinosaurs made by the likes of Collecta and stocked by Everything Dinosaur, we did not have a replica of this Late Cretaceous Centrosaurine to hand.  However, thanks to our knowledge of the Ceratopsidae, we were able to recommend a suitable substitute, so step forward an Achelousaurus replica to save the day.

Stepping into the Breach the Centrosaurine Achelousaurus

Horned Dinosaur Model

Horned Dinosaur Model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossils of Achelousaurus and Einiosaurus have both been found in Montana, from the same geological formation in fact (Upper Two Medicine Formation).  We used some notes that we had on the original 1995 research along with a few references from the excellent “New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs” and we were able to produce a special data sheet for the young palaeontologist all about these two Centrosaurine dinosaurs.  The Collecta Achelousaurus dinosaur model makes a very appropriate substitute for an Einiosaurus.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta prehistoric animal models: Collecta Prehistoric Animal Models

Explaining All About Two Closely Related Dinosaurs

Helping one young dinosaur fan (and his mum)!

Helping one young dinosaur fan (and his mum)!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur (from Gregory S. Paul)

Another little problem solved.

Feedback from Everything Dinosaur Customers

Our Customer Service Gets Praised

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been very busy preparing, checking, packing and despatching orders for customers and we are all working really hard at the moment.  We still have all our commitments to our social media sites and this blog to keep up too.  In addition, we have been contacting those customers who sent us Christmas cards and drawings of prehistoric animals with a seasonal theme.  These items are helping to brighten up our extremely busy warehouse.

We are just about managing to keep up with all our correspondence, but the priority is, of course, to support our customers and to ensure that orders are sent out as quickly as we can.

So, what to blog about today?  As suggested by “Tyrannosaurus Sue”, why don’t we post up some of the comments we have received in the last 24 hours or so from customers who have emailed us?  After all, we are very proud of our customer service.

Everything Dinosaur – Praised by Customers

Everything Dinosaur Logo

Everything Dinosaur Logo

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These are all genuine comments emailed to Everything Dinosaur from customers:

“Thank you for being so prompt – there will be one very, very happy 4 year old on Christmas morning!!!”
“Thank you, it [the order] came at lunchtime.”
“Thanks Everything Dinosaur, for your reassuring advice re: delivery and immediate response confirming my order.”
“A huge thank you for your help yesterday! The dinosaurs arrived before 9am this morning! The fact sheets are great too. Will be sure to recommend you to all Leo’s dinosaur mad friends!”
“Thank you for your help. I’m sure these extra resources will come in very handy over the holidays.”
“Many thanks.”
“Thank you for your kind assistance.”
“Parcel just arrived – many thanks.”
“Thanks Everything Dinosaur, that’s really kind of you! Fantastic service!”
We shall continue to work as hard as we can.  Our customers know that we are a reliable supplier of dinosaur toys and models.   Looking on the bright side we can take a holiday on the 25th!

Everything Dinosaur and On Line Shopping

Preparation and Careful Planning – Key to Keeping Customers Happy

With all the adverse publicity that some on line retailers and courier companies have been receiving lately, we thought it appropriate to add our comments to the on-going debate.  One of the biggest concerns on line shoppers have at this time of year is whether or not their parcel is going to arrive in time.  After all, nobody wants to let their loved ones down.  We at Everything Dinosaur, have tried to follow the story as it develops.  The huge spike in on line sales generated by the “Black Friday” concept, which was then immediately followed by “Cyber Monday”, the growth in the amount of parcels that have to be handled by couriers and the postal network and so on.  To be perfectly honest, we have not followed this story as closely as we should have perhaps, our excuse for this is simple.  Our priority at this time of year, is to pack and despatch customer’s orders as quickly as we can.  We have been busy focusing on the needs of our customers, getting emails out to customers to assure them that we have received their order, preparing and checking orders and then despatching parcels.

For us, this is the same priority that we have every day.  The Christmas period is no exception.  We sell dinosaurs and prehistoric animals and a great deal of our business is all about ensuring that birthday gifts arrive when they are supposed to, that mums and dads (and grandparents for that matter), organising a dinosaur themed birthday party or some other prehistoric animal themed event are not put under any unnecessary stress as they prepare for it.  This is what we do and we have organised ourselves to ensure that customers come first and that we have enough resources in place, not just in the weeks before Christmas but throughout the year to ensure that we offer a very proficient service.

Many on line retailers have complained that “unprecedented demand” has led to delays.  Courier companies such as Yodel have had to stop collections as it struggles to reduce the backlog of orders.

In a statement sent to clients of Yodel, the company’s executive chairman, Dick Stead said that “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” had exceeded all analysts’ expectations and in many cases orders for UK retailers were double the previous record level set last year.  That may be all very well, and we sincerely hope that companies like Yodel can resolve their problems, but what we find perplexing, is that it is the retailers themselves who have caused the spike with all the hyperbole surrounding their so called “Black Friday” special offers.

Putting Together Plans to Help our Customers

For us, retail is simple, we offer great value all year round.  We try to price our goods and services as competitively as we can and we began planning for Christmas sales back in the summer.  It just seems common sense to anticipate high demand in the run up to Christmas and to put together a plan to ensure that the increased volume of orders can be handled.

As a team we took some simple, practical steps:

  • All non essential meetings with suppliers, contractors and other support teams were postponed from November onwards.  Things could be handled over the phone or via email, but face to face meetings taking us away from the “coal face” were suspended.
  • We initiated a plan for Saturday collections, so that orders did not pile up over the weekends which could have led to delays on Monday and Tuesday the following week.
  • We all work long hours anyway, but we increased the time available for managing customer emails, handling enquiries, responding to queries so that there was more time available each day to deal with the increased flow.
  • Packing of parcels became a seven-day operation with preparing and checking of parcels taking place each day.  In this way, we could ensure that no backlog was built up and that we could handle increased volumes.
  • Less important areas of the business were temporarily suspended so that more time and resources could be dedicated to managing orders.
  • We had been in touch with Royal Mail and our couriers to ensure that they were aware of our needs in plenty of time and that we had enough materials available such as mail bags, labels, posting ties, parcel trays and so forth to cope with the likely higher volumes.
  • Steps were taken to ensure personnel are available to handle the increased number of phone calls that were likely to occur over the run up to Christmas.

It is hard work, but over the years we have seen our business grow and in order to continue to flourish, we have to make sure that our customers get the support that they deserve.  We ask ourselves a very simple question “If we were the customer, how would we like to be treated?”

Of course, there are things that you can do if you are purchasing on line  to help ensure that your parcels arrive on time.

How to Help an On Line Retailer

  • When placing an order, do check that you have provided the correct delivery address and where appropriate the correct postcode.
  • Provide an email address so that you can be contacted, check that the email address is correct so that speedy communication between you and the retailer can be established.
  • Think about delivery, can the parcel be left with a neighbour or in a safe place if you are out?  Everything Dinosaur provides a message box during the check out process which enables customers to provide additional information.
  • If you have concerns about a delivery or if you simply want advice, telephone the company or send an email.  How efficiently the email or phone call is handled can often provide you with information about the supplier.
  • When purchasing clothing or other items that require size measurements, do check that you are ordering the right size in the first place, if items have to be re-sent this could lead to parcels arriving later than originally planned.
  • Look at and review the last recommended posting dates as published by Royal Mail and other parcel handling companies.  Everything Dinosaur publishes this information on this blog and elsewhere on its social media platforms – to view the Royal Mail information: Last Recommended Posting Dates for Christmas 2014
  • Choose the appropriate postal option, for example, opt for First Class over Second Class post as you get nearer towards Christmas.
  • Last but not least – try to order early for Christmas don’t be like some retailers, get organised early and this will make a big difference, much less worry for one thing.

Of course at Everything Dinosaur, we can only do some much, once a parcel has been despatched we are reliant upon the mail network and couriers to do their bit.  Parcels do get delayed from time to time.  Parcels do go astray, however, our customers can at least be assured that we have done everything we can to pack and despatch their order as quickly as possible.

Whilst writing this post, I was asked to stop for a few minutes so that I could check over some orders with a colleague, happy to do so.  The priority is to pack and despatch.  In addition, I was called to the telephone to help a caller place an order for a Woolly Mammoth soft toy for her daughter – all sorted.  The incoming emails have been checked every few minutes and a “bounce back” from a customer was responded to.  We emailed this morning to confirm safe receipt of a telephone order, but the email did not work.  However, one swift telephone call to the customer later, all is sorted, correct email address provided, delivery address checked and the parcel is already prepared for packing.

On Its Way – Woolly Mammoth Ordered and Ready for Despatch

A Woolly Mammoth on its way to an Everything Dinosaur customer.

A Woolly Mammoth on its way to an Everything Dinosaur customer.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our team will be in the office right up to Christmas day, it is our intention to keep up with the orders and to ensure that all our customers have a Happy Christmas… at least in terms of their dealings with Everything Dinosaur.

“Heads Up” for Papo Tyrannosaurus rex Models

Dinosaur Fan Suggests How to Display Papo Dinosaur Models

At Everything Dinosaur we are always eager to hear from fellow dinosaur fans and model collectors and one email received from a prehistoric animal model enthusiast really got us thinking.  Alex, is a fan of the Papo prehistoric animal model series and has his Papo dinosaurs out on display.  He suggested using the fossil skull replicas made by Safari Ltd to help set off his collection by placing a skull next to the Papo figure so that viewers can see a model of the skull and the “fleshed out” version of the animal adjacent to each other. What  a good idea!

Mixing and Matching Manufacturer’s Models

Adding a model skull to a dinosaur model collection.

Adding a model skull to a dinosaur model collection.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 There may be differences between the Papo T. rex dinosaur and the Safari Ltd T. rex skull as pictured above, but if you think about it, most museums have dinosaur fossils on display with images of the actual animals as envisaged by palaeontologists, surrounding the gallery, so that visitors can get an appreciation of how the animal may have looked.  The Safari Ltd dinosaur skull set consists of eleven different skulls.  Lots of schools and other educational establishments have contacted us and acquired these models, as they do make great teaching aids.  We even supply an identification chart with orders so that our customers can see at a glance which dinosaur skull is which.

Everything Dinosaur’s Identification Key to the Safari Ltd Dinosaur Skulls

Finely crafted models of dinosaur skulls.

Finely crafted models of dinosaur skulls.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 The Safari models are very well made and can be used in the way that Alex has suggested, that’s a super idea and thank you for sharing it.

To view the Papo range of prehistoric animals: Papo Dinosaurs etc.

To view the range of prehistoric animals including the skull set from Safari Ltd: Carnegie Collectibles and Wild Safari Dinos Models etc.

The Weird and Wonderful Cambrian

Ancient Balloon Shaped Animal Sheds Light on Cambrian Fauna

A bizarre creature that resembled a “spiky balloon”, part of an amazing marine biota that thrived some 520 million years ago, has been named in honour of  a Leicester scientist who died earlier this year.  The finely-grained, fossiliferous beds around Chengjiang (southern China), are believed to rival the famous Burgess Shale beds of British Columbia, for the rocks in this part of the world were once the muds and silts that collected at the bottom of an ancient Cambrian sea.  Preserved within the layers of rock, over half a billion years old, are the remains of strange creatures that thrived at around the time of the very first animals with a notochord, the ancestor of today’s vertebrates, were evolving.

One such creature, which has a fossil described as being like “a crushed bird’s nest” has been named Nidelric pugio in honour of the late Professor Richard Aldridge, an internationally renowned palaeontologist and keen bird watcher.  He was a prominent member of the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology.  Fragmentary specimens of this creature had been found before, but this specimen preserves the majority of the animal and even though the fossil is distorted,  it has been identified as a type of chancellorid, a group of animals that have no direct descendants alive today.

Professor Aldridge was regarded as a world leader in the research into the Cambrian fossils found in the Chengjiang locality.  This prickly specimen measures around nine centimetres in total length and is just one of an incredible number of beautifully preserved creatures that hint at a rich and diverse marine ecosystem, a record of which  has been preserved as fossils.

The Bizarre Nidelric pugio – Like Nothing on Earth Today

An ancient pin cushion N. pugio

An ancient pin cushion N. pugio

Picture Credit: Leicester University

The name of the fossil is derived from the Latin “Nidus”, meaning bird’s nest  or a resemblance to such a structure and “adelric”, the Old English name “Aedelic”, which itself means “noble ruler”, the source for the surname Aldridge.

A Close Up of the Spikes that Surround this Animal

Ancient defences?

Ancient defences?

Picture Credit: Leicester University

One of the reasons stated for the “Cambrian explosion”, a rapid radiation and diversification of creatures during the latter stages of the Cambrian, is that food chains began to be established, whereby passive grazing and feeding as a result of serendipitous circumstances were replaced with predator/prey interactions.  The spikes that surrounded N. pugio, which measured just a few millimetres high, most likely had a defensive purpose.

The strata has permitted the preservation of these creatures in such perfect detail that even traces of their rudimentary nervous systems can be identified, as well as legs, guts, eyes and even that most advance element of the central nervous system – the brain.

To read more about this remarkable research: Ancient Arthropod Brain and Nervous System Studied

Professor Aldridge, passed away in February of this year.  He had a distinguished career in palaeontology and was regarded as an expert on Conodonts and early marine invertebrates.  He became a professor at Leicester University in 1996 and served as Head of the Department of Geology from 1998 to 2004.  He held he prestigious title of the F.W. Bennett Professorship at the University from 2002 until his retirement from the University three years ago.

Cambrian Creature Named in Honour of Professor Aldridge

Honoured for his contribution to palaeontology.

Honoured for his contribution to palaeontology.

Picture Credit: Leicester University

Was Mapusaurus bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex?

Question from a Young Dinosaur Fan – Was Mapusaurus bigger than T. rex?

One of the many emails received this week was from a young dinosaur fan who asked the question was Mapusaurus from South America bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex?

The first fossilised remains of the dinosaur we now know as Mapusaurus (Mapusaurus roseae) were discovered in 1997, however, not in Africa where many giant meat-eating dinosaurs roamed, but in central Argentina (South America).  This dinosaur lived some thirty million years before Tyrannosaurus rex evolved.  A number of these dinosaurs were found together, this suggests that they lived in a pack and they may have specialised in attacking the huge Titanosaurs that shared their environment with them.  The biggest Mapusaurus specimen is approaching T. rex size at around twelve metres in length and perhaps weighing as much as six tonnes.  This makes it only just smaller than the largest T. rex specimen known.

However, the teeth, jaws and skull of Mapusaurus was very different.  Mapusaurus had a long, narrow, lighter skull, that was not as powerful as the Tyrannosaurus rex skull.  It had more teeth in the jaw, but each tooth was thinner and more narrow than typical T. rex teeth.  The teeth were probably sharper but it did not have anywhere as near a powerful bite.  Mapusaurus was probably a faster runner and more agile than T. rex.

A Model of the South American Dinosaur Mapusaurus (M. roseae)

Rose's Earth Reptile - Mapusaurus

Rose’s Earth Reptile – Mapusaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above is the model of the carnivorous dinosaur Mapusaurus, one of Everything Dinosaur’s toys and dinosaur models.

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