Prehistoric Times – The Dinosaur Enthusiasts Magazine

Prehistoric Times – For Collectors of Dinosaur Models and So Much More..

Prehistoric Times, published by Mike Fredericks is the magazine for dinosaur enthusiasts and collectors of related prehistoric animal merchandise.  Each near 60 page, full colour issue is jam packed with reviews of the latest prehistoric animal model kits, figures, books and so much more.  The magazine features interviews with artists and scientists, artwork from world renowned palaeoartists (Mike Fredericks is a really good artist as well, he helped us with our 2008 calendar which is due out shortly); plus information on the latest scientific discoveries.

Click on the text link below to visit Prehistoric Times home page:

PT issue 83

  Prehistoric Times Magazine

Mike is based in California and is the editor and publisher of Prehistoric Times.  As a boy he loved collecting dinosaur models and he had his love of dinosaurs reawakened when he purchased a small dinosaur model collection on a visit to a local antique shop.  In 1993, Mike founded Prehistoric Times magazine with his friend and fellow collector Riff Smith.  Unfortunately, Riff passed away suddenly on May 21st this year.  He suffered a fatal heart attack.  Although, the Everything Dinosaur team never had the chance to work with Riff his enthusiasm and sense of humour was well known amongst the dinosaur enthusiast fraternity.

We first came across Mike nearly ten years ago, through a mutual acquaintance Dana Cain, who along with Mike published a book on Dinosaur Collectibles.  Our copy of this book sits on a shelf in our office, it is surrounded by lots of other books on dinosaurs and prehistoric animals that team members have collected over the years.

Mike is also a freelance writer, he has a number of major credits to his name, most of them to do with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.  Prehistoric Times goes from strength to strength, issues are purchased by subscribers from all over the world.  We subscribe and we have never had a problem receiving our copies.  Everything Dinosaur staff have even contributed the odd article and picture from time to time.

If you want to keep up with the fascinating subject of dinosaur memorabilia and also read a digest of the latest palaeontological discoveries then this is the magazine for you.

Rare 70 million-year-old Snake Fossil Found in Western India

Possibly the Oldest Snake Fossil Found to Date

A team of researchers from the Geological Survey of India working in western India have discovered a beautifully preserved fossilised snake.  This specimen is perhaps the earliest fossil evidence of this specialised group of animals within the order Squamata.

The fossil was recovered from the Lameta Formation of the Kheda district in Gujarat.  The sediments represent upper Cretaceous deposits traversing the Campanian and Maastrichtian stages. The snake has been dated to 70 mya.

Gujarat is the most western state of India, it borders Pakistan and many expeditions have been hampered because of the tensions between these two countries.  The geology of this district has yet to be fully explored, so there may be other amazing discoveries about life in the late Cretaceous to be made.

The snake was found in association with a sauropod nest and some hatchlings,  in itself an important find.  Scientists are debating whether the snake was in the process of raiding the nest when it and the nest were buried.  Certainly, many species of snake today prey on eggs and the young of other animals, could the rise of the snakes raiding nests have been another factor leading to the demise of the dinosaurs as their dynasty came to an end 65 mya.  Whether the snake had a forked tongue and a Jacobsons organ in the roof of its mouth to help it detect particles and make sense of its environment is not known at this stage.  The jaws show the adaptations for swallowing large prey, but a sauropod egg would still have been a bit of a mouthful even for the most persistent of serpents.

2008 Dinosaur Calendar for Young Palaeontologists

The Everything Dinosaur Calendar for Young Dinosaur Fans

As Christmas is getting nearer and thoughts turn to the end of the year, it is time to introduce the Everything Dinosaur Calendar for 2008.  The calendar is now available, inplenty of time for Christmas orders.

Everything Dinosaur Calendar 2008

This Dinosaur calendar features illustrations and dinosaur facts produced by the team of dinosaur enthusiasts at Everything Dinosaur in association with American illustrator Mike Fredericks.

No one really knows what colour dinosaurs were as colour does not fossilise in bones.  Palaeontologists have to work out what colours they think these prehistoric animals were.  Now it is your turn!  Using the scientific drawings of famous dinosaurs such as Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex young dinosaur fans can colour them in and bring them back to life!

One dinosaur for each month of the year featuring animals such as Saltasaurus, Protoceratops, Brachiosaurus, Spinosaurus and Triceratops each illustration comes with scientific details to provide youngsters with more information on their favourite dinos.

The calendar makes an excellent Christmas present for budding palaeontologists, it will be available exclusively from Click here to visit Everything Dinosaur  in plenty of time for Christmas.

Talking of time we are in the Holocene stage (means entirely recent), this segment of geological time began approximately 11,500 years ago and amongst other things it marks the ascent of man.

New Dinosaur species links Ceratopsia in Asia and N. America

New Dinosaur Fossil highlights links between Asian and N. American Dinosaur Faunas

A dinosaur skeleton found nearly a quarter of a Century again has been identified as a new species, linking the evolutionary line of dinosaurs such as Triceratops in North America with ancestral horned dinosaurs in Asia.  This new dinosaur named Cerasinops (C. hodgskissi – after the land owner who gave permission for the researchers to excavate), is a primitive member of the Neo-ceratopsia and provides evidence of a link between Asian and North American horned dinosaurs.

Cerasinops weighed about 15 kilogrammes, was primarily bipedal standing just 3 feet tall.  It had no distinguishing horns or epoccipitals typical of more advanced Ceratopsidae, but it closely resembles other Neo-ceratopsia recovered from similarly aged rocks in Asia.  This indicates that Ceratopsians may have evolved either in North America and quickly spread to Asia or vice versa.  An alternative theory is that they evolved in the Northern Hemisphere, prior to the substantial break up of Laurasia and spread quickly over land bridges as sea levels changed.  This may make the Ceratopsidae a much older group of dinosaurs than previously accepted.

This fossil found 24 years ago near Choteau in Teton County, Montana is going to be put on display for public viewing, at the Montana State University Museum of the Rockies, once preparation has been completed.  The specimen has taken so long to prepare as the matrix surrounding it was extremely hard and difficult to remove and the researchers required the assistance of Brenda Chinnery (University of Texas), a specialist in Neo-ceratopsia to confirm that it was indeed a new species.

An Illustration of Cerasinops hodgskissi

A family group of horned dinosaurs.

A family group of horned dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Themed Raincoats from Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Themed Raincoats from Everything Dinosaur

Chase those rainy day blues away with these fabulous dinosaur themed raincoats, just part of Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur themed clothing for children.  Get equipped to go exploring the big wide world in this wonderful dinosaur raincoat.   The raincoat has handy snap closures making it easy for a small child to fasten and the super, soft terry lining will keep them warm and snug.

A Dinosaur Raincoat – For Budding Palaeontologists Everywhere

Outdoor clothing for dinosaur fans.

Outdoor clothing for dinosaur fans.

Picture Credit: EverythingDinosaur

Just what young dinosaur hunters need to go searching for prehistoric animals, a wonderful, hard-wearing dinosaur themed raincoat.

To view more items in the Everything Dinosaur clothing range: Dinosaur Themed Clothing for Children

Dinosaur Pyjamas and Dinosaur Raincoats available from Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Pyjama sets and Dinosaur Raincoats for little Monsters!

Historically, the girls have always been given the casting vote when it comes to deciding about any dinosaur themed clothing that we stock at Everything Dinosaur.  The boys tend to defer to them when it comes to sorting out suitable ranges and stock lines.  They have been known to venture into clothing exhibitions and fashion shows but the sight of them wandering up and down the aisles in their big, heavy outdoor boots is enough to put even the most ardent exhibition manager off.

To read an article on one of the team member’s visit to a clothing show click here:  Dinosaurs at the Fashion Show

However, the girls have come up trumps again and we have just introduced a range of Dinosaur pyjamas plus a new raincoat for budding palaeontologists.

The pyjamas are made from 100% cotton and have proved to be a big hit with dinosaur fans, the samples we had in the Summer and the reaction to them have convinced us to add these items to our range.  They are pyjama sets, consisting of a trouser with a colourful dinosaur pattern and a top which has a dinosaur applique motif on the chest.  The caption on the top says “PJ Rex” we won’t get to fussy over the scientific accuracy of the theropod featured on the motif, or in the way that the manufacturers have misappropriated a species name by giving it a capital letter, but we will heartily recommend them.

To see the Dinosaur Pyjamas: Dinosaur Clothing

The Dinosaur Pyjamas from Everything Dinosaur

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

Pyjamas are available in age ranges 3 to 7 years with chest sizes from 21 inches.

The Dinosaur raincoats are a real find, we have had lots of enquiries and I know that Sue and Margaret have been busy looking at a number of options and testing out ideas.  These hard-wearing, durable raincoats are made from 100% waterproof polyurethane with a terry cotton lining (78% cotton, 22% polyester).  They have a hood to keep the rain off and the coat has a colourful dinosaur pattern on it with lots and lots of dinosaurs (and the odd flying reptile).  There are even two front pockets for young palaeontologists to keep their fossils in.  We had a lot of fun deciding which prehistoric animals were represented in the artwork, there is a real mixture with Stegosaurs, Spinosaurs, lots of other meat-eaters but our favourite is the blue coloured Ornithomimid with orange spots – wonderful!

The Colourful Dinosaur Raincoats from Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Raincoats

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

The raincoats will be available in age ranges 3 to 6 years with chest sizes from 31 and 3/4 inches.  Lets hope it rains!

Dinosaur Pyjamas

Dinosaur Pyjamas from Everything Dinosaur

Just what young dinosaur fans and budding palaeontologists need , a range of top quality dinosaur clothing featuring lots of dinosaurs and other favourite prehistoric animals.  Whatever the weather, Everything Dinosaur has it covered with this range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed clothing.

Dinosaur Pyjamas for Young Dinosaur Fans

Dinosaur themed pyjamas

Dinosaur themed pyjamas

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These are certainly going to make young dinosaur fans roar with delight and Mums will love the quality too.

Sunburn did not wipe out the Dinosaurs

No Evidence to suggest that Gamma Rays led to Mass Extinction

Research from astrobiologists at the University of Kansas has concluded that bursts of intense gamma radiation or other cosmic rays are unlikely to have led to the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous.

Although, many palaeontologists accept that the Earth was hit by a giant extra terrestrial object 65 mya, a theory first put forward by physicist Luis Alvarez and his son (a geologist) in 1980 and corroborated to a considerable extent with the discovery ten years later of the Chicxulub impact crater.  Debate still rages amongst the scientific community over the evidence of an asteroid impact actually leading to the mass extinction.  A number of other extinction theories have been postulated, many of them linked to other dangers in outer space.  Intense solar flare activity from the sun could have affected the Earth’s climate and bombarded the planet with harmful rays.  The explosion of a super-nova could have led to a dramatic increase in gamma radiation, these if they did happen, would have had devastating consequences for life on Earth.

To read more about the asteroid impact theory, click link below:

End of the Dinosaurs set in motion in Jurassic

If the Earth had been subjected to intense cosmic rays, this would have had a number of serious consequences for life, food chains would have collapsed and animals would have suffered from birth deformities, sterility, mutations and cancers caused by the radiation. Evidence of heavy doses of radiation in pre-history is difficult to identify but cancers and other abnormalities caused by the increased radiation could be detected in the fossil record.  Dr Adrian Melott assisted by his colleague Bruce Rothschild carried out a study of 708 fossilised dinosaur bones from late Maastrichtian stage sediments (70-65 mya) to see if they could find evidence of increased bone cancers amongst the last dinosaurs.

When they compared the incidence of bone cancer with living, close relatives of dinosaurs (birds and reptiles), the team found no evidence for elevated cancer rates in dinosaurs.

However, Dr Melott is going to keep looking, his work is on-going.  The results for Hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus and Anatotitan, which lived during the final 5 million years of the dinosaurs’ reign, are intriguing. Hadrosaurs had the only case of bone cancer and the only cases of benign abnormalities called haemangiomas.

Haemangiomas are an abnormal build up of blood vessels on the skin or internal organs – sometimes called “strawberry marks”, they are found frequently in Caucasian races and are more prevalent amongst females.  Evidence from Hadrosaur bones show signs of haemangiomas, could this be evidence of cosmic rays or are the results of this initial stud not statistically valid.  Perhaps the migratory lifestyle of these animals made them more susceptible to such conditions, or could it simple be that there are so much more Hadrosaur fossils to study that it was practically guaranteed to find bone cancer and other abnormalities in this group as they represent such a large proportion of the Late Cretaceous fossil record.

Tell No One – Movie Review

As we start to get ready for Christmas – I know we are only in September, but we have to start thinking of increasing stocks, not only of models, soft toys, dinosaurs to make and build, dinosaurs to paint, and dinosaur games (we think the new dino-opoly game is going to be very popular this year), we also have to start stocking up on packaging – boxes, padded envelopes and postal tubes for posters and gift wrap.  We also start to take bookings from schools and nurseries to attend their Christmas fairs (which we do locally).

We therefore take every opportunity possible to take time out and do something different.  This weekend we got the chance to go a local film theatre in Stoke, and see a film we have been trying to get to all summer – “Tell No One”.

The film is based on Harlen Cobens multi-million selling novel, and is in French with subtitles – but do not let this put you off!  The plot concerns a doctor (Francois Cluzet) as the wronged man, who while at work one day receives an e-mail from his wife who was murdered eight years ago!

There is plenty of tension and action as the film unfolds, the chase scene on foot across the city is excellent, and you piece together what is happening from small scraps of information throughtout the film, but the reveal in the end brings it all together.

It stars Francois Cluzet, Marie Josee Croze, Andre Dussollier and Kristen Scott Thomas.  The intimacy of a small 200 seater cinema is certainly different from the usual multi nationals, and definitely something we would do again.

 

Dinosaur Nursery Unearthed in China

Young Psittacosaurus Fossils Demonstrate Herding Behaviour

A joint research team from the Royal Tyrrell museum of Alberta, Canada and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found the fossils of six juvenile Psittacosaurs in what may be a dinosaur crèche.

The extremely well preserved, and almost complete skeletons show six individuals ranging in age from approximately 18-months to 3-years old.  These unfortunate youngsters were buried in a volcanic mudflow as it engulfed a hillside 123 million years ago – (Aptian stage, Lower Cretaceous).

These fossils are yet another remarkable find from the Liaoning province of China, famous for the discovery of a number of feathered Theropod dinosaurs such as Microraptor, Protarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx, they may provide evidence of social behaviour in dinosaurs.

The different age ranges of the animals show that these creatures were not from the same brood, they are not siblings and as they were buried relatively quickly this indicates that they were together living as a group.  If the animals had perished in a drought it is likely that different age groups would congregate together around the remaining water sources and any remains preserved would provide relatively unreliable evidence of any social behaviour.  However, these animals were buried in a volcanic mudflow, a sudden event and this does provide strong evidence that these young dinosaurs lived together.  Whether they were part of a much larger herd with older individuals and adults who were able to avoid the mudflow is unknown.  Perhaps young Psittacosaurs lived in groups apart from the adults, only joining the adults when they reached sexual maturity.

Do these six Psittacosaur Fossils show a Dinosaur Nursery?

Picture credit: Timesonline.co.uk

The letters in the picture indicate the position of the six individuals within the group.

Herding behaviour has been established for a number of dinosaur genera including other Marginocephalia such as Centrosaurus and Protoceratops.  However, Psittacosaurus lived earlier than these other Marginocephalians and their lack of horns and skull adornments led palaeontologists to question whether animals such as Psittacosaurus lived in social groups.

Could this new discovery shed some light on the evolution of herding behaviour and social hierarchy amongst dinosaurs?  Scientists had thought that dinosaurs with horns and elaborate frills evolved to help them stand out as individuals within a herd structure, helping them obtain social status, find mates and warn off rivals.  Now this find reveals that social groups of dinosaurs had formed long before the evolution of horns, frills and other facial adornments.

Dr Paul Barrett, of the Natural History Museum in London, one of the researchers, said that the fossilised juveniles appeared to have formed a crèche but it was impossible to be sure if they were part of a larger herd or if they grouped together for protection.

“This is the first time we’ve found a group of these dinosaurs together. For at least the first few years of life it looks like they stuck together. It answers the chicken-or-egg question of whether the social behaviour or the horns and frills came first,” he said.  Dr Barrett is one of the consultants on the Natural History museum range of  model dinosaurs.  This scale model series is currently being reviewed and we are working on a few changes, more will be revealed next year.

To view Natural History museum models (no Psittacosaurus but a relative – Triceratops in the collection): Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

Psittacosaurus (means parrot lizard after the animal’s parrot like beak), was a small herbivorous dinosaur of the early to mid Cretaceous.  At least 12 different species are known with remains having been found in China, Mongolia, Russia and possibly Thailand.  It is one of the best known dinosaur genera with over 420 individual fossils having been found from hatchlings right up to fully grown adults.  Not a large dinosaur by any means, some species could grow up to 2 metres long, perhaps these animals lived in groups for mutual protection against predators, just as small antelope do today.  Psittacosaurus is a favourite amongst palaeontologists because of the wealth of material that has been recovered.  Psittacosaur fossils are so numerous that they have been used as an index fossil to help date the early Cretaceous strata of South East Asia.

Psittacosaurus is classified as a Marginocephalian, perhaps a descendant of the great horned Ceratopsians of the later Cretaceous.  Quite how Psittacosaurus is related to these elephant sized later dinosaurs is a mystery.  Large Ceratopsians from the Campanian and Maastrichtian stages of the late Cretaceous retain a fifth digit on the front feet.  This fifth finger is supposed to be a primitive feature, perhaps retained to help bare the weight of these heavy animals.  However, all Psittacosaurs only have four fingers on their hands, having lost the fifth digit already.  Psittacosaurs were relatively swift runners, capable of adopting a bipedal stance so perhaps the fifth digit re-evolved in later Ceratopsians as a result of their more quadrupedal lifestyle.  This theory is controversial as once an element such as a digit is lost from an order of animals it is not likely to re-evolve in later descendants.

So despite having a vast collection of Psittacosaurs to study, we do not know how they fit into the dinosaur family tree.  What we may be able to surmise from this remarkable find from Liaoning, is that they lived in “family” groups and demonstrated social behaviour.

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