Ichthyosaurs and their Young – Viviparous Marine Reptiles

Ichthyosaurs and their Young – Mesozoic Marine Reptiles

Ichthyosaurs, otherwise known as “fish lizards” are group of marine reptiles, that have their origins in the Triassic Period.  These sea monsters evolved into a variety of forms and adapted to a number of different types of marine habitats and diets.  Although, widely regarded by scientists as being the most highly adapted reptiles in the Mesozoic seas, these creatures began to become rarer and rarer towards the end of the Cretaceous Period, and it is believed that they died out before the mass extinction event that led to the demise of the dinosaurs and other types of marine reptile.

Looking like a modern dolphin, Ichthyosaurs were powerful swimmers, some of the more streamlined specimens, smaller animals such as Ophthalomosaurus were perhaps capable of swimming at speeds of more than 40 kph.

A Scale Drawing of an Ichthyosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read an article about a recent Ichthyosaur fossil discovery: Getting Ahead with an Ichthyosaurus

Many different species of Ichthyosaur are now known.  As a group, they were perhaps the best adapted to a life in the water of all the marine reptiles.  Fossils of Jurassic Ichthyosaurs discovered in limestone quarries in Germany (Holzmaden) preserve these animals in exquisite detail.  Some Ichthyosaur fossils are so well preserved that the outline of their body shape can still be made out (this is how scientists discovered that Ichthyosaurs had a tail fluke).  Fossilised stomach contents that have been analysed indicate that different types of Ichthyosaurs ate different types of food, with many of them hunting ammonites and their cephalopod relatives the belemnites.  Fossils of tiny embryos (unborn Ichthyosaur young) can be seen inside the bodies of some of the preserved Ichthyosaur specimens.  This means that Ichthyosaurs did not lay eggs like most other reptiles, but instead gave birth to live young – what scientists refer to as viviparous behaviour.

The ancestors of the Ichthyosaurs probably ventured out onto land to lay eggs, just like turtles do today.  However, over many thousands of generations, these creatures became completely adapted to a marine existence and with their highly modified flippers these animals could no longer move around on land.  Most Ichthyosaurs would give birth to one or two single babies (often called pups), although one fossil of an Ichthyosaur shows eleven embryos preserved inside the body chamber.  It seems that babies were born tail first.

As Ichthyosaurs gave birth to fully developed young, there has been much speculation as to how Ichthyosaurs behaved.  It has been suggested for example, that, just like modern whales, pregnant Ichthyosaurs congregated together is special areas to give birth.  Perhaps, they chose an isolated, sheltered lagoon to give birth.  The calm waters would have helped the youngsters and being close to shore there may have been fewer marine predators and plenty of places for young animals to hide such as reefs and in amongst rocks.

A Beautifully Preserved Ichthyosaur Fossil from Germany (Viviparous Ichthyosaur)

Live Birth in Marine Reptiles

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum

A famous fossil from the Late Jurassic strata of Germany is shown above.  A female Ichthyosaur died in the process of giving birth.  The fossilised remains of young Ichthyosaurs can be seen in the body cavity, with another baby preserved as a fossil at the moment of birth.

In some species of Ichthyosaur, the young have teeth, whereas the adults have no teeth in their snouts.  This suggests that baby Ichthyosaurs may have had a different diet when compared to the adults.  Perhaps the young, agile Ichthyosaur babies specialised in catching fish in shallower waters, before migrating to deeper waters to join the adults feeding many on cephalopods and jelly fish.

Winter is Coming – Possible Delays with Parcel Deliveries

Snow, Snow and more Snow

When the UK’s annual snow fall levels are compared to other locations around the world, even ones that share the same latitude as ourselves, we actually get off quite lightly when it comes to the cold, white stuff.  However, as usual, with any heavy snow falls there will be problems including difficulties with delivering parcels via road and rail.

Today, we have just been examining the amount of rock salt that we have in the warehouse, so that we can grit the yard around the warehouse as needs be.  Discussing the onset of bad weather with colleagues and the local courier company it seems that there will be some disruption to courier and other delivery services, including Royal Mail.

Naturally, we at Everything Dinosaur will do all we can to turn around orders quickly, to pack them and despatch them to ensure any delays due to adverse weather conditions are minimised.

A Cool Blog – Pterosauria

Recommended Web Log – Pterosauria for all things Related to the “Bird Necks”

Every once in a while team members at Everything Dinosaur get pointed towards a new online resource such as a website, forum or blog.  Having spent a little time reviewing some papers on the ancestry of the Pterosaurs (flying reptiles), one of our colleagues was pointed in the direction of a really cool web log – dedicated to anything and everything related to Ornithodira, a clade within a larger division of the Order Reptilia – the Archosaurs.

The Early Triassic was a critical time in the evolution of back-boned animals.  In the aftermath of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, a mass extinction that led to the demise of something like 70% of all vertebrate genera living on land, the foundations for many of our modern ecosystems were laid down.  The period of time immediately after the mass extinction event sees the origins of a number of today’s successful vertebrates – mammals, turtles and the Archosaurs.  Extant members of the Archosauria include the birds and crocodiles.  The Ornithodirans, although members of the Archosauria are characterised by their upright stance, ankle bones, and “S-shaped” necks.  The Ornithodirans (the name means “bird necks”) are further divided into two related but distinctly different groups:

* Dinosauromorpha – the sub-clade that defines the Dinosaurs

* Pterosauromorpha – Pterosaurs (flying reptiles)

Although the exact definition of the Ornithodira has been debated, and the phylogenic relationships between genera and families is in some cases a “grey area” in palaeontology to say the least.  For example, Pterosaurs did not seem to possess an upright stance or indeed “S-shaped” necks, but their ancestors did; so they are classified in this way.

Charting a course through all this is the web log Pterosauria – a blog that provides updates on research, studies and data on this important part of vertebrate evolution.  As the blog owner and writer Taylor Reints states:

“We are a blog that tries to question main Dinosaur and Pterosaur – Ornithodiran – answers or answer Ornithodiran questions.”

Either way, if you want to learn more about the ancestry of the Dinosauria and the Pterosauria then this blog is for you.  What’s more the blog contains a lot of brilliant illustrations, bringing these ancient reptiles back to life.

An Illustration of the Ornithodiran Marasuchus (Marasuchus lilloensis)

Picture Credit: Pterosauriablog (author Taylor Reints)

The illustration shows a reconstruction of Marasuchus, a bipedal, fast-running reptile, believed to be basal to the evolution of the Dinosauria.

Bias in the Fossil Record – Preservation Potential

A Bias in the Fossil Record

The geological record of life on Earth, that is the fossil record, is not a fair sample of the life that existed in the past.  This is because fossilisation favours certain organisms in certain environments over others.  Fossilisation is more likely to occur if organisms have hard parts to preserve such as shells, teeth, bones and such like.  The habitat and the habits of any organism can also have a dramatic effect on the chances of becoming fossilised.

Take for instance the following example:

Two species of bivalves (molluscs) are broadly similar and their shells are composed of the same material, one lives by being attached to rocks (mussel), the other lives by burrowing into soft sediment (cockle).  When the mussel dies, it is likely to be displaced from its rocky home and the shell would be most likely broken up against the rocks by wave and tidal action.  The cockle, in contrast when dead would remain buried in the sediment and if not attacked by scavengers it would soon become buried deeper and deeper.  The cockle by nature of its habit and the environment where it lived has a higher preservation potential than the mussel.

The fossil record shows a bias towards invertebrates with hard shells, that lived in shallow-water, continental-shelf areas and inland lake basins.  Despite the huge size of the oceans compared to the land and the continental shelves and despite the lack of scavengers at the bottom of the deepest parts of the oceans compared to the sunlit areas, very few ocean-floor rocks or fossils are preserved.  Rocks on the ocean floor are prone to subduction back into the mantle as a result of plate tectonics.  In general, the fossil record tends to under represent the ancient life of ocean floors, upland areas on land, forested areas away from water and any organism without hard body parts.

Everything Dinosaur team members have put together a teaching guide on preservation potential.  This looks at four specific preservation factors – species abundance, geographical spread, marine versus non-marine and hard body parts versus soft body parts.  This is part of our work on how fossils are formed, explaining the difference between body and trace fossils.

Spot the Mistake – All is Revealed

Spot the Mistake – Here is the Answer

In the previous blog entry we put up a picture of a dinosaur model from the Natural History Museum dinosaur model collection.  This series features a number of famous dinosaurs, creatures like T. rex and Triceratops as well as a couple of the lesser known prehistoric animals such as Megalosaurus and Corythosaurus.

To view this model range and dinosaur toys: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

This model series was developed under the guidance of the Museum’s researcher Dr. Paul Barrett, a highly respected palaeontologist.  They are described as “a premier range of ten dinosaurs endorsed by the Natural History Museum (London), developed to a constant 1/40 scale so that the size of the different dinosaurs relevant to each other can be seen.”

However, we have discovered that our latest batch of Iguanodon models have a significant spelling mistake on their packaging.

Spot the Mistake?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The mistake was noticed by our diligent team members as soon as a new box of these particular models was opened.  The model depicts an Iguanodon, an Ornithopod and the second dinosaur to be formally named and described.  Unfortunately, the packaging for the new model has the dinosaur’s name spelt incorrectly.  It states “Iguanadon”, but the correct spelling is Iguanodon – oops!

The Correct Iguanodon Packaging

Whoops!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We all make mistakes, we at Everything Dinosaur are far from perfect, we make mistakes too, especially with all the long hours that we work, but I would wager that the Natural History Museum in London would be expressing disappointment at the spelling error on the packaging.  After all, it is a product range endorsed by their own scientists.

Have they noticed?

What would Gideon Mantell think?

Spot the Mistake – Oops!

Spot the Mistake

Mistakes happen, that’s why our dinosaur pop-up pencils have erasers on the end of them.  Can you see the mistake in this picture of a dinosaur model, part of the Natural History Museum Dinosaur Collection model range?

Spot the Mistake?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It is a lovely model of a dinosaur, part of a series that were designed a few years ago, all approved by the palaeontologists at the Natural History Museum – London, but I wonder if they have noticed anything wrong – we certainly have not been informed about anything being amiss.

Can you spot it?

Next web log entry will reveal all.

New Ways to Display your Dinosaurs – Museums for the 21st Century

Landmark Dinosaur Experience due to Open in 2011

The dusty multi-drawed cabinets, dark, dimly lit rooms with a single mounted skeleton almost obscured by metal supports and struts all shown off against a drab, wooden panelled backdrop, straight out of the 19th Century.  This may be the rather old-fashioned view of a dinosaur museum gallery, one, team members at Everything Dinosaur recall with familiarity, but museums are changing and the emphasis these days is on innovation when it comes to displaying dinosaurs.

Leading the way is the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, as they reveal their plans for their new state-of-the-art dinosaur hall – a large, permanent exhibition area which will double the museum’s capacity to display its dinosaur fossil collection.

Naturally, there is only so much that creative museum directors and the collection curators can do given the difficulties of exhibiting large dinosaur specimens in what are, in many cases unsuitable display galleries.  Take London’s Natural History Museum building for example, a magnificent monument to science in the reign of Queen Victoria.  It is indeed, a very beautiful building and at the time it opened in 1881 it was heralded as a triumph of architecture.  However, the building is difficult to maintain, expensive to heat and the dinosaur gallery is quite dark and poorly illuminated.  Only a limited number of the extensive collection of fossils can be displayed at any one time and visitors are often unable to walk completely around a particular mounted exhibit, thus limiting the view of the specimen on display.

Is this Just About Everyone’s View of a Museum T. rex?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Lack of space often restricts the view of a mounted specimen, thus limiting the viewers experience and preventing them from seeing parts of the skeleton, for example, in this case the top of the T. rex skull.

The newly opened Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum has addressed some of these problems for the London based attraction.  This two-phase project (the first phase was opened last year), has provided extra work areas for the museum’s scientific staff as well as enabling the provision of more hands-on visitor exhibits.  The second phase of the Darwin Centre project will be to add a multi-media studio to permit even more educational themed events to take place.

The Natural History Museum, like many natural history museums around the world has recognised that the tastes and requirements of the public is changing and if museums are to attract visitors in the future, they must change to.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, having had the opportunity to visit a number of the major natural history museums have seen these changes taking place at first hand.  Gone are the rows and rows of Victorian glass-fronted display cases, they have been replaced by interactive displays that use the latest digital technology to bring ancient worlds and ancient creatures back to life.

One of the most eagerly awaited museum refurbishments is taking place at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (California, USA).  There is going to be a brand new museum section especially dedicated to dinosaurs and some of the fundamental scientific questions surrounding these prehistoric reptiles.  Scheduled to open in July 2011, the new dinosaur hall will provide twice the display space as the museum had previously and it will feature more than twenty full-size, articulated specimens, many of which have never been put on display to the public before.

This permanent exhibition will feature the world’s first Tyrannosaurus rex family consisting of a baby, a juvenile and fully grown adult T. rex.  Members of the public will be able to see for the first time, how the anatomy and body shape of this iconic dinosaur changed as it grew.  This exhibit reflects the increased scientific interest in recent years regarding dinosaur ontogeny – how dinosaurs changed as they grew up.  This particular part of the new dinosaur hall, reflects the underlying theme of all the displays – helping to make scientific investigation open to all and providing vibrant, dynamic displays that will help to investigate some of the many mysteries surrounding these extinct animals.

A Rendering as to How the new T. rex Exhibition will Look

Ontogeny in Tyrannosaurids

Picture Credit: Evidence Design Rendering.  Courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The computer generated rendering provides an impresion of how the T. rex growth series will look. Visitors will be able to tour around this mount, viewing the specimens from a variety of viewpoints, the lack of glass frontage will permit these Late Cretaceous specimens to be examined in close detail, the gallery running above will permit observers to have a “birds-eye view” of a Tyrannosaurus rex family.  The thinking behind the design of this new dinosaur hall, is to showcase dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals as dynamic, active creatures.  The unprecedented access to the specimens afforded by the innovative layout will allow palaeontology and other related sciences to be presented as vibrant, on-going investigations into ancient life.

The largest single specimen on display in the hall will be a twenty metre long Mamenchisaurus (Chinese Sauropod), other standout exhibits include an imposing full size Triceratops and a set of Cretaceous marine reptiles, excavated in California, inhabitants of the warm, tropical sea that once covered this part of the United States.

Two-thirds of the full-sized specimens have never been displayed before; the specimens that have been displayed have all been re-articulated in new and more life-like poses.  Long gone are the days of the actual bones being on display supported by tonnes and tonnes of metal scaffolding – often referred to by museum staff as “parking lots for fossil bones” or as we at Everything Dinosaur call it “public fossil storage”.

Commenting on the new dinosaur halls, Dr. Jane Pisano, President and Director of the Museum stated:

“The new dinosaur hall is a spectacular realisation of the goal of our transformation, which is to bring the research and collections of the Natural History Museum vividly to life for a public that is hungry for wonder.”

For Dr. Pisano and the rest of the staff the new dinosaur hall is just part of a major six-year campaign to upgrade and revamp the Museum’s facilities and exhibition space.  The cost of the work has been estimated at around £90 million GBP.

The new dinosaur hall will be organised around a series of fundamental questions surrounding the Dinosauria and other types of extinct animal – questions such as what is a dinosaur?  What was their world like?  How did they live, grow and behave?  Of course, no major dinosaur exhibition would be complete without an exploration of their fate and the mass extinction event that marked the end of the Mesozoic.

Inspired by the museum’s own in-house Dinosaur Institute (led by world famous palaeontologist Dr. Luis Chiappe), the specimen-rich permanent exhibition will provide the public with the opportunity to learn how scientists piece together evidence to answer fundamental questions about the origin, diversification and eventual death of these magnificent creatures.

One of the many aims of the new dinosaur hall is to create a sense of continuum for the thrill of discovery and scientific inquiry.  After all, a new dinosaur species is named and described approximately every three weeks.

Commenting on the new exhibition space, Dr. Chiappe said:

“The new Dinosaur Hall has the potential of inspiring new generations of scientists, since this exhibition highlights discovery-based fieldwork, the experience of going outdoors and finding treasures, and then understanding how they fit within the current scientific record.”

Dr. Chiappe went on to add:

“Most dinosaur exhibitions are organised around specific types of dinosaurs or by periods of time.  Our approach is quite different.  Using new discoveries and research findings, we’re able to bring visitors into the world of dinosaurs by exploring the great questions of how they lived, behaved, and died, and whether they still exist.”

When the new exhibition opens in the Summer of 2011, visitors will also be able to learn more about the museum’s work on marine reptiles, ancient extinct leviathans such as Plesiosaurs and Mosasaurs.  The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has an extensive collection of marine reptile fossils, many excavated by the museum’s own research team and field workers.

Recently, Dr. Luis Chiappe co-authored a scientific paper revealing that our current understanding of the anatomy of one such group of marine reptiles – the fearsome Mosasaurs, may be incorrect.  Some of these giant animals, relatives of modern lizards, may have had tail flukes just like sharks.

To read the article on the reconstruction of Mosasaurs: Mosasaurs – Monsters with a Shark’s Tail

We wish the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County every success with their preparations for the dinosaur hall’s opening.  Hopefully, we will get some pics sent into us when the exhibition project is complete.

Post Dinosauria – The Mammals Got Big

Why did the Mammals get Big after the Cretaceous Mass Extinction?

With the dinosaurs dead and gone, it was the mammals that took over the mega fauna roles in the Palaeogene and with the exception of the Phorusrhacids in South America, the mammals went onto to dominate food chains and ecosystems across the planet.  However, the types of mammals that became the biggest plant-eaters and carnivores varied as the Cenozoic progressed.

The question remains, as to how the mammals, so long in the shadow of the Dinosauria, were able to diversify and dominate, leading to the evolution of animals many thousands the times heavier than their Cretaceous ancestors just twenty million years later.

The Class Mammalia, has ancient roots.  Many unique groups of small mammals evolved during the Mesozoic, but today there are only three main Orders, the monotremes (egg laying mammals), the marsupials (possums and wombats etc.) and the most successful Order to date – the placentals (bats, hoofed animals, tigers, dogs, whales and of course, ourselves).

In a new study, published in the scientific journal “Science”, an international team of researchers have concluded that the mammals were able to exploit food resources and adapted to colder climatic conditions and this combination of factors led to them increasing in size.  Some of the largest mammals, for example, rivalled the dinosaurs in terms of bulk.  Indricotheres, ancient ancestors of modern rhinos, were perhaps the largest.  Weighing over 15 tonnes and standing nearly 5 metres high at the shoulder, these giant herbivores are known from Oligocene strata from the famous Hsanda Gol formation and other fossilferous strata of the Asian sub-continent.

A Scale Diagram of an Indricothere (Paraceratherium)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The research project funded by a US Foundation National Science grant brought together scientists from universities all over the world to track the mammalian fossil record and analyse how they diversified and grew bigger.

Researcher Jessica Theodor of the University of Calgary (Canada) commented:

“When dinosaurs went extinct, maximum mammal size was between one and ten kilogrammes, in that size range.  But it did not take long for mammals to start growing after the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, leaving loads of vegetation for others to eat.”

She went on to add:

“Twenty-five million years later, we have mammals that are a thousand times bigger.”

The two year study, conducted by researchers from around the world, examined the mammalian fossil record in a bid to understand how the mammals became big.  With the dinosaurs around, the quick-metabolising mammals had to try to compete with larger reptilian rivals for food resources, the mammals were not able to compete.  With the mass extinction event, mammals took their opportunity and rapidly came to dominate.

The research team concluded that trends in mammalian growth were seen on all the continents, what was happening in Asia was also being mirrored in the Americas and Europe.

Researcher John Gittlemen of the University of Georgia stated:

“It includes information on the size of all mammals, living and fossil, from around the world.  The database is powerful and unique.”

Having compiled such an extensive database, examining large body bones and tooth fossils, both of which provide solid evidence of overall animal size, the researchers were able to draw conclusions regarding the science of growing big.

Jessica Theodor concluded:

“There is strong selection pressure for herbivores to get really big.  Being big protects you from predation because very large herbivores do not get preyed on very much.”

In addition, falling global temperatures over the later stages of the Palaeocene and the Eocene would have led to the evolution of bigger body sizes, as large animals are able to maintain a constant internal temperature more efficiently than smaller creatures.

Jessica added:

“Large mammals do not have to work so hard to stay warm, so cold climates tend to favour the evolution of large mammals.  More food would have been available to bigger mammals because their stomachs were larger and produced compounds that could break down tougher parts of trees and plants.”

Larger animals could accommodate a larger gut, permitting these creatures to specialise in different kinds of herbivory eating parts of plants that are not that nutritious.  Such animals could rely on gut bacteria to break down plant cellulose.

Interestingly, the scientists discovered that just because you are “top dog” one day or epoch, there is no guarantee that you are going to stay on top.

Reflecting on this finding, Theodor said:

“It was not the case that say, elephants get big and then elephants are always the biggest mammal [land living] on the planet.  There are times when it is giant rhinos, there are times when in South America it is all kinds of weird things including – believe it or not camels.”

Commenting on the study, a spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur stated:

“Camels are ruminants and being big permits them to have large guts to handle fibrous vegetation.  Today we think of camels as animals living in dry, arid environments, however, many extinct species were at home in forest habitats and grassland environments.”

The change in dominance implies that there is something fundamental about being a large mammal.  The research team have concluded that the “top dog” niche exists apart from who is filling it.  It is an open space into which some type of mammal will move.

This research suggests that in the future other types of mammal may grow large to take over from the Proboscidea (animals with trunks such as elephants) as the largest land living mammals.  Giant pigs, racoons, or horses perhaps?

How to Make your very own “Dinosaurs in a Net Set”

Inexpensive and Creative Christmas Gift Idea – Dinosaur Models in a Net

These days with Christmas rapidly approaching there never seems to be enough time available to personalise a present or to make something a little bit special for your young dinosaur fan.  To assist our customers, here is some information on how you can create an inexpensive and novel dinosaur themed gift, one that would make an ideal stocking filler for Christmas – a “Dinosaurs in a Net Set”,

Presentation sets and gift sets of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals are always popular with young dinosaur fans.  We at Everything Dinosaur sell a variety of such items, for example the “Dinosaurs in a Tin” gift set, twelve carefully selected plastic prehistoric animal models packed into their own dinosaur themed tin storage box.

Everything Dinosaur – Dinosaurs in a Tin Gift Set

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the dinosaurs in a tin gift set and other dinosaur themed gifts and presents: Dinosaur Presents and Gifts

However, for those of you who want to be a little more creative, here is an idea for your very own and unique dinosaur themed gift set – make your own “Dinosaurs in a Net Set”.

Simply, purchase a number of individual dinosaur models, there are lots and lots to choose from.  At Everything Dinosaur we sell a number of ranges, supplying models singly, or in batches of five, ten or even twenty.  Then next time you are out shopping pop into your local greengrocers (grocery store) and ask for a small plastic net.  Greengrocers break bulk items into handy, smaller packs for their customers.  They use small, plastic nets (usually coloured green), to pack items like onions, shallots, peppers and fruit such as satsumas.

If you are a regular shopper, most greengrocers would be happy to let you have some nets for free, or perhaps they may charge you a token amount.  However, this is very much cheaper than having to pay for the cardboard wrapping and packaging with a shop bought dinosaur model gift set.

Once home, give the net a quick wash, if you want to, let it dry and then when you are ready to assemble your unique gift set – simply pop your chosen models into the bag.

Put your Dinosaur Models into the Plastic Net

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows some of the many different types of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur.

To view the dinosaurs and other models: Dinosaur Gifts & Presents

You will find the plastic net expands and you can get more than a dozen hand-sized prehistoric animal models into it.  Tie it up with a bit of spare ribbon, we found that red ribbon looked the best when used with a green plastic net.  Don’t forget the gift tag, this is easy to add, just by simply looping the ties through the plastic netting towards the neck of the bag.

Viola!  your very own, handmade and unique dinosaur model gift set.  Your very own “Dinosaurs in a Net Set”, a personalised gift for your young dinosaur fan.  All put together in a matter of minutes at a fraction of the cost of a shop bought gift set such as a plastic dinosaur play set.

To view a video demonstrating how to make your very own dinosaur model gift set:

Video: How to make your “Dinosaurs in a Net Set”

This idea was sent into us at Everything Dinosaur, by a customer and we know that it has proved to be a big hit with those mums, dads and grandparents who have put together their very own dinosaur gift set for the young palaeontologist in their family.

How to Revive a Triceratops

Resuscitating a Triceratops (or an Apatosaurus or Stegosaurus for that Matter)

With the onset of the first severe frosts of winter, time to get out your wheat grain filled dinosaur Bedtime Buddies.  These cute and adorable dinosaur themed soft toys are filled with special wheat grains and scented with lavender and are designed to be heated in the microwave to provide children with a scented, warm bedtime buddy to curl up to in bed.  There are three different dinosaurs in the current range, a purple Stegosaurus, a deep blue Triceratops and a green Apatosaurus.  The Apatosaurus is sometimes marketed as a Brontosaurus but as all young dinosaur fans know, the name Brontosaurus is no longer valid and this dinosaur formerly known as Brontosaurus (Thunder Lizard) has been renamed.

The Dinosaur Bedtime Buddy Range

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These beat a hot water bottle any day, a cute toy dinosaur which is fully microwavable to make a super soft, cuddly and warm bedtime buddy.

Everything Dinosaur Bedtime Buddies and Dinosaur themed bedroom accessories: Dinosaur Bedding & Bedroom Accessories

As the soft toy gets microwaved then it gradually loses its lavender fragrance.  However, there is no need to panic, since every product that is in the Everything Dinosaur shop has been tested by ourselves and our own pet test families and researchers we know exactly what to do to revive your bedtime buddy and bring back its soothing lavender scent.

When the bedtime buddy is cold, carefully put a few drops of a good quality lavender oil onto it and this will bring back the relaxing scent.  In our tests, we found that four drops of lavender on the Triceratops worked best, we placed three evenly spaced along the back and one on the belly.  A similar arrangement worked for the purple Stegosaurus, but for the Apatosaurus we used five drops.  We put a drop on the head of the Apatosaurus, one into neck, with a further two more into the body.  Once again, the final drop was placed on the tummy.

We found it was better to put top up drops of lavender oil onto the soft toy when it was cold as microwaving the bedtime buddy really brought out the aroma and it was more difficult to judge when enough drops had been added.

By reviving the bedtime buddies in this way we found that the lovely smell of lavender was always on hand, these high quality soft toys should provide you with thousands of hours soothing warmth and comfort – just the ticket for these cold nights.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of soft toy dinosaurs: Dinosaur Soft Toys.

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