Video Review of Schleich “World of Dinosaurs” Brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model from Schleich Reviewed

A brief (under five minutes) video review of the new Schleich “World of Dinosaurs” Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.  This new introduction from Schleich is a not-to-scale model of the Late Jurassic Sauropod, it is one of twelve new prehistoric animal models introduced by the German manufacturer this year.

Everything Dinosaur’s Review of the Schleich Brachiosaurus

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We were told once to never apologise for the visuals, but a quick apology with regards to the lighting quality.  This video was made in a dark boardroom on a very dark and stormy afternoon.  We could not to much to improve the lighting, hopefully our review will shed some light on this new model anyway.

To view the range of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Models including Schleich “World of Dinosaurs”

With the introduction of this Brachiosaurus replica and its counterpart, the not-to-scale model of the Diplodocid Apatosaurus it seems that Schleich has abandoned for the time being its attempts to market scale models of large dinosaur genera.  However, there is much to commend the Schleich Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

Crocodile Farmer Faces Cruelty Charges

South African Crocodile Farm Charged with Cruelty against Crocs.

In high demand from the fashion industry for their skins; crocodile farming has become a substantial, international business over the last three decades or so.  At Everything Dinosaur, we frequently report on crocodile attacks and encounters between the public and nuisance crocodiles that pose a threat, but our own species exploiting these ancient creatures is rarely reported upon.  However, South Africa’s national society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) has brought criminal charges against a crocodile farm based in northern KwaZulu-Natal over the way in which crocodiles are being kept.

SPCA national council inspector Nazareth Appalsamy stated that charges of animal cruelty had been put upon Coen Labuschagne, who runs Metcroc Boerdery as he has allegedly contravened both the South African National Standard of Crocodiles in Captivity Act and the National Animal Protection Act.

Up to two hundred crocodiles, some of which exceed two metres in length are being kept in what has been described as “coffin-shaped” enclosures, less than two metres long, approximately 1.8 metres wide and in water only about thirty centimetres deep.  The animals are being kept in what are termed finishing pens.  To improve the saleable quality of the animal’s skin, the crocodiles are separated and put into individual pens so that other crocodiles don’t damage the hide.  The reptiles are being kept in pens that are so small, that some of the larger animals are unable to turn round or to lie out straight as their body length exceeds the length of the enclosure.

The Crocodile “Finishing” Pens

Crocodiles housed in “in humane” conditions

Picture Credit: SA Mercury/SPCA

Denied shade, heating and the company of other crocodiles animal welfare officers suspect that the animals are suffering considerable distress.  Many animals are unable to leave the water that they have been provided with, the pens are just to small to house crocodiles of this size.

Commenting on the conditions, Mr. Appalsamy stated:

“Some of the crocodiles themselves are more than two metres in length and so their tails are bent in the enclosure, or their heads have to be permanently at an angle.  They basically cannot lie or rest straight.  There is no shade cloth or shelter or any heating requirements, which would be necessary depending on the season.”

He went on to add that the SPCA’s action was supported by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife which also visited the farm to inspect the conditions in which the crocodiles were being kept.  It is unfortunate, that whilst the demand for crocodile belts, shoes and handbags still exists there is the temptation to maximise profits at the expense of the animal’s welfare.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“People get very upset when they hear stories about cruelty to animals that are being kept in captivity for their fur, or when young seals are clubbed to death for their hides, but animal welfare issues extend beyond the “cute and cuddly” and it is important to ensure that other commercial industries such as crocodile farming are properly regulated to.”

SPCA inspector Mr. Appalsamy said that a permit application from Labuschagne had been received about three months ago, but this was opposed, however, the organisation was alerted when another nearby crocodile farmer reported that the pens had been built.

A spokesperson for the SPCA who visited the site, said what they saw was “shocking and cruel.”

According to news sources Mr. Labuschagne was in Mozambique and denied any knowledge of the criminal charges laid against him, he also denied that the conditions in which some of the crocodiles were being housed were considered cruel.

He went onto deny the measurements of the pens as given by the SPCA stating:

“That’s a lie.  It is wrong what they are saying. I don’t know where they got those measurements from.”

The case has highlighted welfare conditions for crocodiles in southern Africa and the charges will probably result in court proceedings.

Schleich Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

“World of History” Schleich Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

The longest and heaviest of the twelve prehistoric animals in the Schleich “World of History” prehistoric animal model series is the new interpretation of the dinosaur Apatosaurus.  This replica of the famous long-necked dinosaur, formerly known as Brontosaurus, measures thirty-three centimetres in length and it is robust and great for creative, imaginative play.

Apatosaurus has been classified as a heavily built member of the Diplodocid family of lizard-hipped dinosaurs.  A number of species have been described and many of these creatures have been estimated to have exceeded twenty-five metres in length.  Based on a full-sized adult Apatosaurus, this new replica represents a model that is in approximately 1:75 scale.

The “World of History” Schleich Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

New Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model from Schleich

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These heavy-set herbivores had relatively small heads in proportion to their huge, bulky bodies.  The head on this new Schleich replica is carefully crafted, with the nostrils correctly positioned towards the top of the head, the position favoured by most palaeontologists these days.  The front feet have the correct number of toes, and the first digit has an enlarged claw, again, reflecting what can be seen in the fossil record.  The enlarged claw on the first digit, could have helped prevent this twenty tonne animal from slipping in soft mud, or it could have been used as a defensive weapon to fend off attacks from predatory dinosaurs.

In contrast, to earlier Apatosaurus dinosaur models made by Schleich, this model is very colourful.  Earlier replicas of this dinosaur, made by the German based figure and replica maker tended to be painted a dull battleship grey.  This new dinosaur model reflects a trend to depict prehistoric animals as more brightly coloured creatures.

This model of the dinosaur Apatosaurus, is well-crafted with a sandy brown colouration, topped by reddy-brown markings running from the back of the head along the neck, down the spine and continuing along to the very tip of the this dinosaur’s long, thick tail.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s model range: Schleich World of History Dinosaur Models

In common with the other prehistoric animal models in the “World of History” model range, the skin texture is very detailed.  The skin of the Apatosaurus dinosaur model resembles that seen on a modern-day elephant.  The model makers have given this particular replica a very rough skin texture.  The model is very well painted and robustly built and it will prove to be an attractive collector’s item as well as encouraging creative, imaginative play amongst young dinosaur fans.

This new Schleich Apatosaurus dinosaur model, is an interesting and thought provoking replica of this very famous Late Jurassic dinosaur.

A Review of the Schleich “World of History” Allosaurus Dinosaur Model

Schleich Allosaurus Model Reviewed

Allosaurus may be one of the better known large, meat-eating dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic and many models of this Theropod have been made; but dinosaur model collectors have another interpretation of Allosaurus to add to their collection with the introduction of an Allosaurus replica from Schleich.

This Allosaurus model is part of a new series of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models introduced by Schleich, the German figure and replica manufacturer.   This range of dinosaur models, marketed under the “World of History” brand consists of twelve replicas at the moment, eleven of which are dinosaurs whilst the other is a model of that huge, flying reptile Quetzalcoatlus.

The New Schleich Allosaurus Dinosaur Model

A “snappy” model of an Allosaurus from Schleich

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Allosaurus replica is loosely based on the previous 1:40 scale model of Allosaurus fragilis, part of Schleich’s “Saurus” range of scale prehistoric animal models.  The basic body shape is retained in this new model but there are some interesting differences.  For example, this Allosaurus model has an articulated lower jaw. The model can be posed with either the mouth open, the mouth closed or part way in between if preferred.   The articulating hinge is well disguised on the figure, but the size of the lower jaw does tend to give this Allosaurus a considerable over bite with all the teeth in the upper jaw clearly visible when the mouth is closed.  Such features can be seen in the fossil material assigned to Allosaurus specimens.

The model measures sixteen centimetres in length, with a head height of approximately ten centimetres.  This Allosaurus replica is painted a bronze colour with a lighter underside and there is a row of dark stripes running from the back of the neck down to the tail of the model.  The skin texture is quite authentic, there have been a number of fossil skin impressions of meat-eating dinosaurs discovered by palaeontologists, so the designers seem to have paid attention to the fossil record when creating the skin texture for their new model.

The feet are a little over-sized and the toes very splayed out, but this is to help keep the model stable and to allow it to stand on its own without any aids.  The claws on the grasping, three-fingered hands are well defined and overall the model gives an impression of a powerful, athletic predator.

To view the World of History Dinosaur Models: Schleich “World of History” Dinosaur Models

The new Allosaurus model from Schleich, part of the “World of History” prehistoric animal model collection is a welcome addition to the Schleich range of dinosaur replicas and we think this model will prove popular with dinosaur enthusiasts and model collectors.

New Schleich”World of History” Prehistoric Animal Models Arrive

New Schleich 2012 Models now in Stock

The first of the  prehistoric animal models designed by the new team at Schleich have just arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.  This model series, part of a revision and re-working of the Schleich model range are not to scale and fit between the Schleich “Saurus” range of generally higher priced models and the smaller “Dinosaurs” model series made by the German company.

Some of the New “World of History Prehistoric Animals (Schleich)

New Models now in Stock

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In total there are twelve new models, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Quetzalcoatlus – the only non-member of the Dinosauria featured so far, Saichania, Stegosaurus, Spinosaurus, Triceratops, T. rex and a Velociraptor.

To view the models: Schleich World of History Prehistoric Animal Models

No doubt, team members at Everything Dinosaur will be writing reviews and posting up videos on Youtube about these new additions to the company’s extensive model range.  The models range in size from sixteen centimetres in length for the likes of the Stegosaurus and the Saichania, to the Quetzalcoatlus with a wingspan of twenty-one centimetres up to the much bigger Sauropod models (Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus), which measure over thirty centimetres in length.

This is certainly an interesting new model series, we look forward to receiving feedback and comments about them from our customers.

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2012

Jurassic Coast Fossil Festival 4th to 6th May 2012

The Lyme Regis and Charmouth annual fossil festival is rapidly approaching.  This yearly gathering of fossil experts, musicians, sculptors, actors and scientists is taking place next weekend and a number of exciting, family themed events have been organised to help celebrate this World Heritage location.

Counting Down to the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

Fossil Festival from 4th to 6th May 2012

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, caught up with one of the participants Mike Jeffries of Mikes Minerals & Fossils in Drakes Way, Lyme Regis, to ask how his plans for the festival were coming along.

Mike stated:

“I am really looking forward to the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, this year it seems it is going to be bigger than ever with activities planned right across the May Bank Holiday weekend.”

To get a flavour of the sort of things Mike supplies: The Fossil Zone

Mike will be displaying a large selection of fossils, many of which have been sourced from the area’s world famous Jurassic strata as well as crystals and a selection of jewellery.  In addition, Mike hopes to be able to find time in his busy schedule to attend one or two of the presentations given by the many palaeontologists and other experts who will be shedding light on such topics as the lives of ammonites and the history of the life, people and planet Earth in sixty minutes – a presentation entitled “What on Earth Happened?”   This unique, interactive workshop is performed by author, historian and former Sunday Times journalist, Christopher Lloyd.

The exhibition organisers are once again anticipating that the Lyme Regis and Charmouth part of the Jurassic coast will receive many thousands of visitors next weekend, this annual event has become the biggest gathering of its kind held in the UK.

Mike, a stalwart of the festival added:

The Lyme show is now probably the best fossil show in the country.  Let’s hope, in these difficult times, it continues for years to come.”

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, hoping to visit will be able to see Mike and his chums hard at work at the fossil fair and can pop into Mike’s fossil shop in Drake Way, which will be open all afternoon on each day the event is on.

Amongst the family orientated activities that the hard-working organisers have arranged there is the opportunity to study specimens brought from the Natural History Museum (London) and to talk to their experts, experience flying in the Jurassic Period, learn about dinosaur footprints with the University of Plymouth and to go on fossil walks along the coastline with professional fossil hunters.  Look out for Andy Cowap and Pete Langham’s stand at the fossil fair, they will be selling a range of beautiful ammonite fossils – so if you have ever wanted to pick up a Jurassic bargain…

The winter storms will have exposed a lot of new fossil material on the Dorset coast, so this is the perfect opportunity to come down to the Lyme Regis area, learn about this World Heritage site and participate in a range of fun and educational activities.  When on the beach, we would recommend sensible walking attire, with sturdy boots or wellingtons and don’t forget the waterproofs, although Lyme Regis seems to have a micro-climate all of its own, it is best to be prepared for the odd shower or two.  Besides, if you are dressed up you will be making the British Antarctic Survey team feel at home as they will be in the Grand Marquee showing fossils found on the most southerly of the continents as well as letting visitors experience life in the Antarctic .  If you have ever wondered what people eat at the South Pole and how they survive, check out the survey team’s tents, expedition equipment and rations for life at the bottom of the world.

Our chums at Rockwatch will also be attending.  Rockwatch is the nationwide club for young geologists.  It is the junior club of the Geologists’ Association and is for all those interested in things geological – rocks, fossils, minerals and landscapes.  Sue and her team have lots of hands-on activities planned this year, be sure to say hello to the Rockwatch staff in the Grand Marquee.

For Brandon Lennon, a professional fossil collector and provider of highly informative fossil hunting walks in the area, the festival gives him an opportunity to help educate the public on how fossils are prepared.  On the first day of the festival (Friday), Brandon and his father Ian, will be assisting with the fossil walks, as Brandon himself comments:

“Having the start of the festival on a Friday, gives local schools the opportunity to participate.  The fossil collecting on the beach has been really good lately, with some great finds, so I am really looking forward to helping the school parties to explore the geology and to learn more about the fossils to be found at Lyme Regis.”

Brandon is certainly going to be busy over the weekend, he can be found down on the sea front in the grand marquee on both the Saturday and Sunday demonstrating how fossils are prepared for display.  Brandon, along with his chum Chris Andrew from the Philpot Museum, will be carrying out an ammonite polishing workshop, where for a small fee members of the public can have a go at preparing and polishing their very own Jurassic specimen.  The workshop will be open from 10am until 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday, so if you want to learn how the experts handle fossils and to have a go yourself, make sure you pop in to see Brandon and his colleagues.

To learn more about fossil walks that take place at Lyme Regis:  Fossil Walks with Brandon Lennon

There is certainly something for everyone at the forthcoming Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.  For further details and to see the full programme of events visit: Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2012

Collecta Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops Dinosaurs Reviewed

A Review of the Collecta Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops

Collecta introduced recently another two excellent horned dinosaur models into their not-to-scale dinosaur model range.  As these two Ceratopsians, Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops shared the same Late Cretaceous habitat team members at Everything Dinosaur decided to produce a video review featuring these dinosaur models together.

A Review of the Collecta Kosmoceratops and the Collecta Utahceratops

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In this brief review (five minutes), we explain  how these two models reflect the actual fossil evidence and speculate why both these horned dinosaurs had brow horns that did not face forward as seen in dinosaurs such as Torosaurus and Triceratops.  Both the Collecta Utahceratops and the slightly smaller Collecta Kosmoceratops had brow horns that faced out sideways, like the horns seem on some types of cows today.  They make exciting additions to the range of Collecta dinosaurs.

Disney-Pixar Announce Dinosaur Movie to be Released in 2014

The “Good Dinosaur” Movie (Disney-Pixar)

Disney-Pixar have announced that amongst the next three animated movies they will be making, dinosaurs are going to be featured prominently.  Disney-Pixar, the makers of the Toy Story films which feature a green, plastic dinosaur called “rex” have enjoyed huge success with their previous animated features.  For example, on its day of release in the USA, (18th June 2010), Toy Story 3 took $41 million USD at 4,028 locations, becoming the highest box office gross for an animated film on opening day.

Disney-Pixar Announces New Dinosaur Movie

Dinosaur Film Announced

The organisation intends to release a film in 2014 entitled “The Good Dinosaur”, a film which sees humans and dinosaurs co-existing on Earth.  Such a scenario is likely to attract some criticism from evolutionists but if the “Flintstones” in the 1960s are anything to go by, the concept is going to be a sure fire success and drive tremendous merchandising sales.

The Flintstones cartoon series was created in the 1960s but spawned a number of live-action feature films that were made in the mid 1990s.  It seems that dinosaurs are going to have a high media profile for a very long time to come it seems that everybody is going “Everything Dinosaur” at the moment.

From the first dinosaur animated feature “Gertie the Dinosaur”, prehistoric animals such as Tyrannosaurus rex have always proved very popular with movie goers. With the advent of CGI and improved visual effects stunning images of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals can now be created and it will be interesting to see how the animators at Disney-Pixar depict their characters – perhaps a feathered “rex”?

Fortieth Anniversary of the First Paper on Computerised Tomography

Remembering Sir Godfrey Hounsfield (1919 – 2004)

Today, the 24th April, marks the fortieth anniversary of the publication of a scientific paper by Godfrey Hounsfield (knighted in 1981), which described his new invention – the C.T. scanner.  C.T. scanners (computerised tomography), are used throughout the world and images and data they provide has revolutionised the diagnosis of internal health problems as well as finding applications in all sorts of other fields including palaeontology.

Sir Godfrey, an electrical engineer and scientist, was not regarded as a particularly intelligent or gifted pupil when he was at school, indeed, he was held back a year to enable him to progress with his studies.  However, with the outbreak of the second World War, he joined the RAF and soon his interest in electronics and mathematics was noticed.  He was assigned to work on RADAR projects and after the war he was recommended to pursue his education by attending a prestigious electrical engineering establishment based in London.  He joined EMI and worked on a number of projects, eventually becoming a senior researcher to the company.

In the early 1970s he combined a fascination with computers and X-rays to devise a method of being able to identify the what was inside boxes by focusing X-rays on the object from multiple angles and using a computer to generate an image from the data recording the level and degree of X-ray penetration.

The multi-layered use of X-ray imagery and the analysis of absorption values using a computer has changed the way that many medical conditions are diagnosed.  Godfrey was awarded the Nobel Prize (in conjunction with Allan MacLeod Cormack) for his work on the development of computer X-ray tomography.

It is not just human beings that can be scanned, all sorts of objects can now be examined in a non-destructive manner to see what lies inside.  In palaeontology, whole body scanners can provide an in-depth picture of what exactly lies inside a block of stone (matrix).  This technique can also be used to analyse internal structures of fossils to provide palaeontologists with new insights into the anatomy and physiology of prehistoric animals.

To read about the application of C.T. scans in palaeontology: Birth of a Dynasty – Earliest Ancestor of T. rex Described

Thanks to Sir Godfrey, palaeontology as well as a number of other scientific fields have an important tool to help further our knowledge.

NASA Scientists Demonstrate Evidence of Substantial Extraterrestrial Impacts During the Archean

History of Extraterrestrial Impacts Revealed in Ancient Sediments

Research by NASA and international scientists concludes giant asteroids, similar or larger than the one believed to have killed the dinosaurs, hit Earth billions of years ago with more frequency than previously thought.

To cause the dinosaur extinction, the killer asteroid that impacted Earth 65 million years ago would have been almost 6 miles (10 kilometres) in diameter.  By studying ancient rocks in Australia and using computer models, researchers estimate that approximately seventy asteroids the same size or larger impacted Earth 1.8 to 3.8 billion years ago.  During the same period, approximately four similarly-sized objects hit the moon.

The Archean Eon represents a period in the Earth’s history from approximately four billion to 2.5 billion years ago.  The Archean, in relation to other Eons assigned to the modern geological time-scale is the largest Eon in terms of the period of time covered.  It is also the most difficult to define, essentially the beginning of the Eon being set by geologists to mark the end of the so-called “Great Extraterrestrial Bombardment, otherwise known as the Late Heavy Bombardment” and the end to coincide with the change in the fundamental nature of the planet’s atmosphere with the increase in oxygen levels.

The Late Heavy Bombardment – More Intense than Previously Thought

Shooting Gallery – Earth

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

NASA scientists collaborating with a number of other international research bodies have concluded that the “Great Extraterrestrial Bombardment” may have been more intense than previously thought.

Commenting on the study, the paper having been published in the scientific journal “Nature”, Yvonne Pendleton, Director of NASA’s Lunar Science Institute based in California stated:

“This work demonstrates the power of combining sophisticated computer models with physical evidence from the past, further opening an important window to Earth’s history.”

Evidence for these impacts on Earth comes from thin rock layers that contain debris of nearly spherical, sand-sized droplets called spherules.  These millimeter-scale clues were formerly molten droplets ejected into space within the huge plumes created by mega-impacts on Earth.  The hardened droplets then fell back to Earth, creating thin but widespread sedimentary layers known as spherule beds.

William Bottke of the Southwest Research Institute, in the aptly named Boulder (Colorado), said:

“The beds speak of an intense period of bombardment of Earth.  Their source long has been a mystery.”

The team’s findings support the theory Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune formed in different orbits nearly 4.5 billion years ago, migrating to their current orbits about 4 billion years ago from the interplay of gravitational forces in the young solar system.  This event triggered a solar system-wide bombardment of comets and asteroids, the young planet Earth and its recently formed satellite we now call the moon were not spared and suffered from this barrage as space rocks were sent hurtling towards the inner solar system.   In the paper, the team created a model of the ancient main asteroid belt and tracked what would have happened when the orbits of the huge, gas-giant planets changed.  They discovered the innermost portion of the belt became destabilised and could have delivered numerous big impacts to Earth and the moon over long time periods.

The team has concluded that at least twelve mega-impacts produced spherule beds during the so-called Archean period 2.5 to 3.7 billion years ago, a formative time for life on Earth.  Ancient spherule beds are rare finds, rarer than rocks of any other age.  Most of the beds have been preserved amid mud deposited on the sea floor below the reach of waves.

The impact believed to have killed the dinosaurs was the only known collision over the past half-billion years that made a spherule layer as deep as those of the Archean period.  The relative abundance of the beds supports the hypothesis for many giant asteroid impacts during Earth’s early history.

The frequency of the impacts indicated in the computer models matches the number of spherule beds found in terrains with ages that are well understood.  The data also hint at the possibility that the last impacts of the Late Heavy Bombardment on Earth made South Africa’s Vredefort crater and Canada’s Sudbury crater, both of which formed about two billion years ago.

Bruce Simonson, a geologist from Oberlin College (Ohio) stated:

“The Archean beds contain enough extraterrestrial material to rule out alternative sources for the spherules, such as volcanoes.”

The impact study team also included scientists from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.; Charles University in Prague, (Czech Republic); Observatorie de la Cote d’Azur in Nice, France; and Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.

Sourced from a Press Release – NASA

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