Surge in Crocodile Sightings near Cairns (Queensland)

Residents Fearful of Crocodile Attacks

Whilst plans are being discussed by Australian Government officials whether or not to re-introduce crocodile hunting, residents in the town of Cairns (Queensland), are becoming increasingly concerned about the encroachment of Saltwater crocodiles up creeks, rivers and other popular tourist and fishing spots.

The increase in crocodile sightings, so close to homes has led the Environment Minister for Queensland to take action, visiting Cairns to discuss plans as how best to control the growing crocodile population.  Minister Andrew Powell is keen to explore ways in which crocodile numbers can be controlled before attacks on people and livestock become any more frequent.  For the moment, Mr Powell has stated that there are no plans to start culling crocodiles, however, the Australian Government is reviewing its options.

To read an article about the surprise discovery of a Freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni) in a Queensland weir: Fishery Officials Catch Crocodile

State officials in Australia’s Northern Territory are currently considering a plan to re-introduce sport hunting of crocodiles.  To read more about the proposals: Australia considers crocodile trophy hunting

As the number of sightings increase, so officials are conducting surveys and crocodile counts in the rivers and lakes to try to estimate the population of Saltwater crocodiles in the Cairns area.

Dinosaur Stomach Contents – Small Theropod Ate Birds

Sinocalliopteryx - Stealthy Hunter or Fortunate Scavenger

Research by a joint Canadian/Chinese team of scientists has shed light on the dietary habits of a small Theropod dinosaur that roamed the forests of what was to become the Liaoning Province of China back in the Early Cretaceous.  Analysis of the stomach-acid etched bones found in the abdominal cavity of two specimens of the large Compsognathid predator Sinocallipteryx gigas shows that these ground-dwelling predators ate a variety of prey including primitive birds.

The fossilised remains of two Early Cretaceous birds has led some scientists to speculate that this cursorial, big-eyed hunter used stealth and guile to enable it to stalk and catch flying creatures.  Other palaeontologists don’t quite go so far, stating that the stomach contents show that these 2.5 metre long dinosaurs did indeed eat birds but how they caught them cannot be determined from the fossil evidence.

The two fossils of Sinocalliopteryx were both excavated from the  Jianshangou Beds of the lower Yixian Formation, Liaoning, China.   The fossils are approximately 135 million years old and date from a time when lush, tropical forest covered the area.  There were active volcanoes nearby and several large lakes.  The holotype fossil material of S. gigas preserves a partial Dromaeosaurid leg in the abdominal cavity.  This indicates that dinosaurs were also on the menu for these hunters.  The unfortunate victim may have been a Sinornithosaurus, a feathered dinosaur that may have reached lengths in excess of a metre.  It looks like one predatory dinosaur was eaten by a bigger predator.

The Holotype Specimen of S.gigas

Dinosaur with a taste for birds!

Picture Credit: forums future science

A second, newly-discovered specimen preserves the remains of at least two individuals of the primitive avian, Confuciusornis sanctus, in addition to acid-etched bones including a scapula (shoulder blade) from a possible Ornithischian dinosaur which has yet to be described.  The presence of two bird skeletons inside the stomach has led some scientists to propose that Sinocalliopteryx was an active hunter, able to catch birds, perhaps by leaping up and plucking them out of the air.

A dinosaur preying on birds is not a new concept.  The great Charles R. Knight, in an illustration of the small Theropod Ornitholestes (Late Jurassic of the Western United States) depicted a dinosaur attempting to catch birds.  However, since no avian fossil material has been found in the same strata as Ornitholestes fossil material, this predator/prey relationship could only be speculated, now thanks to these Chinese fossils there is certainly evidence to suggest that dinosaurs did eat birds.

To read more about the Charles Knight illustration of Ornitholestes: Ornitholestes – Bird Stealer

Although it cannot be stated whether such prey items were scavenged or actively hunted, the presence of the remains of two Confuciusornis  in a similar state of digestion suggests they were consumed in rapid succession.  This makes the idea of scavenging two carcases of the same species in quick succession less likely, although  a group of birds dying together is not unheard of.  Perhaps a methane gas escape from a nearby lake suffocated a lot of small animals and birds as they roosted.  The dead creatures would have fallen out of the trees and provided the ground dwelling Sinocalliopteryx with a feast.  Given the lack of clear arboreal adaptations in Sinocalliopteryx, indeed, given the adaptations this small dinosaur had for a cursorial life-style, some of the scientists who have written the research paper have suggested that this dinosaur may have hunted birds in a similar way to a modern domestic cat.  It does not seem well suited to climbing trees, but may have been one of the top ground-dwelling predators in the lush forests of Liaoning Province.

An Illustration of the Agile Hunter – Sinocalliopteryx gigas

A fast and speedy hunter

Picture Credit: Cheung Chungtat

Dinosaurs Outdoors

Schleich Saurus Tyrannosaurus rex  Outside

We are always pleased to hear from fellow dinosaur and prehistoric animal enthusiasts.  It is a pleasure reading all the letters and emails that we receive, we do genuinely read every single one and we love the pictures and drawings that are sent in.  The museum quality prehistoric animal models that we sell get used for a variety of purposes.  Of course they are used for creative play and the replicas are highly sought after by collectors.  The hand-painted replicas have been featured in a number of professional photographic shoots, we even have supplied the BBC with various models which they have used as “props” in a number of their programmes.

Alan, a dinosaur fan, model collector and very knowledgeable photographer sent us some images of various prehistoric animal replicas.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been most impressed and below is one of Alan’s photographs featuring the Schleich Saurus T. rex.

Tyrannosaurus rex on the Prowl

Using Dinosaur Models as photographic models

Picture Credit: Alan Whitehouse

Alan’s skilfull use of the camera shows in this particular composition.  The interesting light effect as if this Theropod hunter is about to start its hunt at dusk combined with the subtle blurring of the background whilst the 1:40 scale model is shown in sharp focus.  It is always a pleasure to see how the models and replicas we provide are used in such creative ways.  Our congratulations to Alan and keep up the good work.

Lyme Regis Prepares to Celebrate the Contribution of Mary Anning

Mary Anning Weekend Approaches

The contribution to Earth science by the remarkable Georgian fossil collector Mary Anning is being celebrated in a weekend of special events at the end of September.  The pioneering English fossil collector and amateur palaeontologist  Mary was born in the small, seaside town of Lyme Regis (Dorset) an area of Britain’s coast famous for its Jurassic sediments and fossils of marine animals (and Pterosaurs plus one Dinosaur genus) as well as a whole host of prehistoric fish.

Mary Anning – Formal Portrait

The most famous former resident of Lyme Regis

Her father was a carpenter by trade, although he supplemented the family’s income by also selling curios (fossils) that they had found on the beach and in the cliffs that surround Lyme Regis.  Mary became prominent as an expert in fossils and fossil finding, although she did not receive the full credit for her contribution to science during her lifetime.  She discovered the first Plesiosaur fossils in 1821 and the first Pterodactyl (flying reptile) fossils in England in 1828.  Many of her specimens can be seen in museums today, her finds helped to build up the collections of a number of wealthy individuals but often no record was kept of her contribution or role in the research and study of such specimens.

The Lyme Regis Museum, (Bridge Street, Lyme Regis), is planning a weekend of events (Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September), to celebrate the work of the town’s most famous former resident and the focus will be on walks and talks with the chance to see some of the remarkable fossil fish that have been found on the Jurassic coast.

On Saturday 29th September, from 10am, the Lyme Regis museum will be displaying some of the amazing prehistoric fish fossils that have been found in the area.  Have a wander around the ground floor gallery and take a look at the bizarre  creatures that shared the Jurassic seas with giant marine reptiles.  There’s even a chance to get involved with artist Darrell Wakelam setting out to make a giant prehistoric fish sculpture.

Amazing Jurassic Fish Fossils on Display

Meet your Next of Fin!

Picture Credit: Lyme Regis Museum

Our chums Paddy, Chris and Brandon will be demonstrating Ammonite polishing outside the museum from 11am (Saturday and Sunday).  Have a go and get the chance to take home your very own 190 million year old souvenir, for just a few pounds.

There will also be a series of talks given by leading scientists in the nearby Marine Theatre over the weekend.  If you have ever wanted to learn more about extinct species of ray-finned fish, now’s your chance.

For more information on the Mary Anning weekend: Upcoming Events at Lyme Regis Museum

Local experts will be on hand to take parties onto the beaches for a guided tour of the areas fossils and you might find one or two examples of Jurassic life yourself.

All in all, a fun weekend is planned, celebrating the diversity of vertebrate fauna that is to be found along this coast with its World Heritage status and commemorating the contribution to science made by a remarkable 19th Century amateur palaeontologist.

To catch up with Brandon Lennon on a fossil walk: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks

Identifying the Origin of Mollusca by the Mouthparts

Burgess Shale Fossils Provide Evidence of the Origins of the Mollusca

The next time you come across a slug or a snail in your garden, or perhaps if you sit down to a plate of mussels in a white wine sauce with cream nod you head in approval towards one of the most successful animal phylum known on planet Earth – Mollusca.  Now thanks to the use of a non-destructive research technique being applied by a Canadian researcher on fossil specimens from the famous Burgess Shale deposits, it seems that palaeontologists have finally begun to unravel the mystery as to how these animals first evolved.

The phylum known as Mollusca is one of the most diverse of all the animal phyla and thanks to most of its members having hard body parts and living in a marine environment, the Mollusca are perhaps the most abundant large invertebrates recorded as fossils.  There are shelled and unshelled forms of mollusc.  Although the six taxonomic classes that make up this phylum may seem very different, they all share the same basic body plan.  There are the gastropods (slugs and snails), bivalves such as oysters, cockles and mussels and of course, the cephalopods, perhaps the most advanced of all the members of the Mollusca.  The cephalopods consist of a number of extant forms, such as squid, cuttlefish and octopi, plus some very important forms that are extinct but have proved so invaluable to palaeontologists as they develop biostratigraphical profiles of rock strata – long-dead groups such as the Ammonites and the Belemnites.

Ammonites and Belemnites- Extinct Members of the Phylum Mollusca

Diverse Mollusca

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

However, debate has gone on between palaeontologists studying the beautifully preserved Burgess Shale specimens (British Columbia, Canada), as to which of the many animal fossils dating from over 500 million years ago, represent the ancestors of the molluscs.  Now thanks to the work of a University of Toronto PhD student, scientists are beginning to get a better understanding of how the molluscs evolved and which of the bizarre animal fossils from the Burgess Shale represent early forms of this important phylum.

Most molluscs possess a radula, rows of tiny, interlocking teeth that can rasp away drawing food into a primitive mouth which is then passed through a one-way digestive system.  Only the filter feeding bivalves don’t have this “rasping tongue”.  Using advanced electron microscopy to produce images that could then be modelled in three-dimensions, University of Toronto student Martin Smith was able to demonstrate that two bizarre types of Burgess Shale creature from the Middle Cambrian, Odontogriphus omalus and the heavily armoured Wiwaxia corrugata were forerunners of the Mollusca.

Odontogriphus omalus specimens are extremely rare in the Burgess Shale.  This organism seems to have been a flat-bodied animal with mid-line symmetry (bilateral symmetry), a single muscular foot for locomotion and a toothed feeding structure with a simple stomach and intestine.  Some fossils from the Burgess Shale strata indicate animals that grew to lengths in excess of ten centimetres.  Wiwaxia, on the other hand is a much more common member of the Burgess Shale assemblage.  This might suggest that Wiwaxia spp. were more abundant in the warm, shallow tropical sea represented by this British Columbian strata, or it might simply reflect that greater preservation potential of Wiwaxia over Odontogriphus.  Wiwaxia was certainly a striking animal.  It had a body plan that was symmetrical around its mid-line, roughly elliptical in shape, toothed mouth-parts that were broadly conical and a primitive mouth and digestive tract.  This thimble-sized organism probably pulled itself along using a muscular foot, the sides and the upper surface of this organism was covered by rows of overlapping protective plates called sclerites.  Shooting upwards from the dorsal area were two rows of parallel spikes.  These spikes probably acted as a deterrent against attack from nektonic predators.

A Reconstruction of Wiwaxia corrugata

Spiky, basal member of the Mollusca.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Previous studies had suggested that both Odontogriphus and Wiwaxia were basal forms of either the Mollusca or the Annelid worms, or perhaps they represented evolutionary dead-ends, types of creature that died out leaving no descendants.  This new research shows that the teeth of these animals sat on a grooved, primitive tongue and the shape, number and articulation of the individual teeth components and the way these structures grew puts these particular Burgess Shale members firmly into the mollusc camp.  The ancestral molluscan radula is shorter and more squat than in similarly sized extant molluscs today.  The mouthparts were made up of two or three rows of similarly, shaped teeth (shaped like miniature shoe horns); with a symmetrical central tooth and smaller denticles along the edges.  The teeth would have moved round the end of a muscular tongue-like structure in a conveyor-belt-like fashion, scooping food and seabed detritus into the mouths of these primitive creatures.  They were not the sophisticated lettuce-munching radula of the common garden snail, but this new study by the Canadian PhD student does indicate that organisms like Odontogriphus and Wiwaxia are basal to the Mollusca.

Martin Smith, a student at the University of Torontos’s Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the author of the scientific paper published in the academic journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biology” utilised highly sophisticated electron microscopy to reveal new details of the mouthparts and structures in the fossil specimens.  He examined over three hundred different Burgess Shale fossils and from the images produced by his study he was able to re-create three-dimensional models of feeding systems of these 5oo million year old invertebrates.  Not only could the structure of these mouthparts be made out, the young scientist could also assess how these structures grew.

Commenting on his work, the student stated:

“I put the fossils in the microscope, and the mouth parts just leaped out.  You could see details you’d never guess were there if you just had a normal microscope.”

Martin went onto add:

“The fossils are squashed completely flat, which makes them really hard to reconstruct in 3D.  ”I surrounded myself with micrographs of the mouth parts and lumps of plasticine, and spent weeks trying to come up with a model that made sense of the fossils.  When I set out, I just hoped to be a bit closer to knowing what these mysterious fossils were.  Now, with this picture of the earliest radula, we are one step closer to understanding where the molluscs came from and how they became so successful today.”

 An Illustration of the Short and Squat Radula-like Structure of Basal Molluscs

The start of something big – the Mollusca

Picture Credit: Marianne Collins

The teeth are arranged in rows and resemble miniature shoe horns.  The Canadian research suggests that organisms like Wiwaxia and Odontogriphus used this structures to comb detritus or algae into their mouths.   Over millions of  years the radula of the molluscs has evolved and become a highly efficient feeding organ. Whether it is the rasp-like radula of a land snail that can tear up plants or the powerful mouthparts of a nektonic, active predator such as a giant squid the radula has had over 500 million years of evolution to refine it.  Under a high powered electron microscope the formidable structure of the radula can be clearly made out.

The Fearsome Radula (High Magnifcation) of a Modern Mollusc

“Jaws”?

As can be seen in the above photograph, one of the reasons for the evolutionary success of the Molluscs might be their very specialised and highly refined, effective feeding structure – the radula.  Some of the teeth in the image appear to be the same shape as those of a Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias).

Favourite Dinosaur Books (Part 2)

Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles (Jane Werner Watson)

Continuing the discussion amongst team members at Everything Dinosaur about favourite dinosaur books, it would be remiss of us if we did not include the beautifully illustrated “Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles”.  This hardback dinosaur book was first published in 1966 (we think), our office copy dates from 1973 and is the sixth re-print of this wonderful children’s dinosaur book.  Sub-titled “Mighty Monsters of the Past”, this book was written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by the fantastically talented Rudolph F. Zallinger.

The Front Cover of this Favourite Dinosaur Book

Beautiful Dinosaur Book

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The book provides a brief preamble discussing life before the dinosaurs starting with the move onto land by certain species of fish, the lush forests of the Carboniferous before moving onto depict life in the Age of Reptiles (Triassic to Cretaceous).  The text is easy to read for a young child and inserts facts about the prehistoric animals covered within a narrative that explains what is going on in the superbly illustrated pictures by Rudolph F. Zallinger.  The artwork is simply amazing, and the award winning Zallinger depicts his subjects in  a series of lively dioramas with many of the prehistoric animals depicted as highly colourful creatures.  For example, a red and blue Allosaurus or a blue and purple Plateosaurus.

Ornitholestes and Archaeopteryx Illustrated by Zallinger

Beautiful and Detailed Drawings

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the above illustration, an Ornitholestes (Theropod dinosaur) is pursuing early birds such as Archaeopteryx.  This illustration draws heavily on the work of another great dinosaur illustrator Charles Knight.  Zallinger’s attention to detail and desire to show such terrific backgrounds is perhaps what makes the artwork in this book so outstanding.  Although a lot of the illustrations within this book are now outdated in terms of our knowledge about the Dinosauria, for instance Sauropods are depicted as aquatic, swamp-dwelling creatures the pictures are simply wonderful to behold.

Running through the book is a timeline starting with the emergence of mankind and then slowly travelling backwards in time to 293 million years ago (when the timeline suddenly runs out).  The last animal featured is the Eusthenopteron,

The Timeline at the Foot of Each Page

Travelling Backwards in Time

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the timeline, a Styracosaurus is seen preceding the emergence of Triceratops towards the end of the Cretaceous geological period.

The book may be outdated, but it still provokes many happy childhood memories for team members at Everything Dinosaur.

Dinosaur Footprints Stolen from the Vale of Glamorgan

Dinosaur Tracks Stolen from South Wales

On the northern side of the Bristol Channel close to the harbour area of the town of Barry lies a stretch of coastline that provides a fascinating glimpse into life in the Triassic.  The area known as Bendricks rocks consists of Carboniferous limestone overlaid by Triassic siltstones and sands that date from both the Lower and Upper Triassic.  A number of the Triassic sediments mark the location of the shoreline of a shallow lake, which dinosaurs used to skirt around on their travels.

Fossilised footprints are known from the Upper Triassic strata providing palaeontologists with important trace fossils showing Archosaurs and those other members of the Archosauria – tracks made by dinosaurs.  Unfortunately, reports from local fossil hunters suggest that some of the footprints have been cut out and removed, most likely by unscrupulous fossil dealers wanting to sell these fossils on the black market.  Sadly, there have been a number of instances of areas of important scientific value being attacked by such individuals eager to grab any fossil material they can so that they can sell them on.

Dinosaur Tracks on the Welsh Coast

Fossil site is Attacked by Fossil Thieves

Picture Credit: BBC

A number of three-toed prints can be seen on this part of the Welsh coast, indeed, there are several trackways; some of the best preserved prints have been removed and are on display at the University of Cardiff Museum.  The location which has SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status and is under the protection of the Countryside Council for Wales has been raided before, when a number of prints were removed by a local collector and offered for sale via online auction sites.  Fortunately, the police were able to recover a number of the fossil specimens.

It seems that thieves have struck again and there is evidence of stone cutting tools having been used to remove blocks which contained the dinosaur prints.  These tracks are some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks to be found anywhere in the whole of the British Isles.  However, rather than preserve them in situ for the enjoyment of all, it seems that thieves have once again targeted this location and removed fossils.

Rocks Containing Dinosaur Trace Fossils Removed

Thieves steal dinosaur fossils from SSSI.

Picture Credit: Karl-James Langford

Local expert on the fossilised prints Karl-James Langford commented:

“We were horrified that in an area where we had previously examined several footprints, they have since been taken.  As readers can see from the picture, cutting instruments have been used on the 200 million-year-old Triassic rock, in an area where footprints and the fossilised remains of wave ridges had existed a few weeks ago.”

There have been an increasing number of thefts of this kind reported over recent months.   The high prices paid for dinosaur fossils by private collectors and dealers has fuelled this illegal activity.  Last year team members at Everything Dinosaur reported on the dreadful destruction of Jurassic-aged sediments as specimen hunters smashed up strata on the Isle of Skye as they searched for marine reptile remains.

To read more about this incident: Jurassic site is Ransacked

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is a terrible incident, sadly, this is all too common these days.  The dinosaur trackways were beautifully preserved and there for the enjoyment of everybody.  We sincerely hope that the people responsible for this vandalism are brought to justice very swiftly.”

Readers are urged to monitor online auction sites and anyone contacted in regards to the purchase of dinosaur footprints should, if they are suspicious, contact South Wales police: South Wales Police Website

Update

The stolen fossilised dinosaur footprints were recovered at the end of the month (August 2012), when it was discovered that suspicious dinosaur footprints that resembled those stolen from the protected site were being offered for sale on Ebay and in a shop at Lyme Regis.  A tip off led the police to the prints, which are now likely to be kept in a museum, rather than put back in situ.  Sergeant Ian Guildford of South Wales Police said a man from the Cardiff area, whom he described as a local amateur geologist, had been cautioned for criminal damage and theft from a protected site.  Fossils can be legally collected and sold, but not if they come from a protected or restricted site.  The fossil dealers involved in this case claimed that they had received the fossils from legal sources.

Morelet’s Crocodile Eggs Successfully Hatched in the UK

Rare Crocodile Facing Extinction

The first of a batch of rare crocodile eggs have successfully hatched at a UK wildlife park.  This is the first instance of the eggs of a  Morelet’s crocodile being incubated and hatching in the country.  The happy event took place in the reptile house of the Cotswold Wildlife Park (Oxfordshire, England).  The young crocodiles are doing well and enjoying themselves in their special pool, to keep them away from their parents Morticia and Gomez who, might decide to eat them as cannibalism is known in many crocodile species.  Zoo staff are hopeful that other eggs will soon hatch and then after a few months the brood will most likely be split up with individual crocs going to other zoos to help in a a Morelet’s crocodile breeding programme.

A number of species of crocodile are listed under international treaties with regards to their conservation status.  Although these animals are remarkably hardy, many species have suffered due to loss of habitat and as a result of hunting for their valuable skins.  The Mexican crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), otherwise known as the Central American crocodile or Morelet’s crocodile, after the French naturalist who first recognised this animal as a distinct species, is one such crocodile that has been persecuted over the years.

Morelet’s Crocodile (adult)

Successful breeding programme at UK Wildlife Park

Picture Credit: CNS

A native to freshwater habitats of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, this particular crocodile, which can grow to lengths of 4 metres or more, is closely related to the Cuban and the American crocodiles.  It has a broad snout and a row of dark bands that run down its flanks, making its skin highly prized.  It is very similar in appearance to the now extremely rare Cuban crocodile.  Although, attacks by this creature are very infrequent, it is still regarded as highly dangerous and a potential man-eater.  A homeless man was attacked by a crocodile (believed to be a Morelet’s crocodile) near the holiday resort of Cancun in Mexico.  The man lost his right hand in the attack and is recovering in hospital.  Alejandro Lopez was walking near an area of mangroves on the shore of Nichupte lagoon when he was attacked.  Police state that there are warning signs indicating the presence of these reptiles and they urge locals and curious tourists to avoid this part of the coast.

Recently, there have been moves to reinstate crocodile hunting in part of the Morelet’s habitat as government officials believe that in certain parts of this crocodile’s territory populations have recovered enough to permit a sustainable hunting programme.

Special Customer Review

 T. rex Gets A Thumbs Up

At Everything Dinosaur, we make a habit of reading all the correspondence we receive from customers.  We get lots of letters, emails, feedback forms, drawings of dinosaurs and such like.  Each day, we divide up what we receive and then each member is tasked with sorting them out and replying in person to all those that require a response.

The Everything Dinosaur website, has a product review section associated with each item in our shop.  This allows customers who have purchased that item to leave a comment or a review.  On May 4th of this year we published our 600th customer review, on July 8th number 700 went up on line.  We get lots of comments and we are grateful for everyone of the helpful suggestions, new product ideas, testimonials about our service that we receive.

Last night, a customer called Daniel sent us a review on the Bullyland Museum Line Tyrannosaurus rex scale model.  We have many thousands of customers, but Daniel, perceives what we sell a little differently, if you read the review reproduced below you can perhaps begin to understand how this particular customer assesses our work and the dinosaur models that we sell.

Daniel’s Review (review number 740 on the Everything Dinosaur website)

Reviewer’s Name: Dan, Dan, the dino fan

Summary of Review: A very nice, active looking model

The Review:

“I bought this very nice (nice? it’s a T. Rex!  it’s not supposed to be nice.) dinosaur for two reasons, first because it was one of the larger models available, and secondly because it had the approval of a natural history museum.  I might have prefered the one endorsed by the natural history museum in London, which I have visited and had a very pleasant experience there, but it was just a bit small for my taste, I wanted something large, and in that respect this monster fit the bill very well.  I’d like to point out here that I’m totally blind, and so in my descriptions I must talk more of shapes and textures than colours.  This is a sterdy, chunky model, with superb tactile detail of scales and muscles and joints and so on.  I can identify easily such small features as eyes and nose on the head, and claws and joints in the arms and legs.  There are also different textures of scales on the legs, back, belly, neck and head of the animal, making it a joy just to feel.  According to my girlfriend Laura, who described it for me, the colours are excelent and it looks very lifelike.  She also says he looks cute, I’m not sure if this is a plus or a minus, nevertheless it’s really impressive both in look and feel.  I do have three little disappointments, first and foremost I was a little disappointed by the pose of the animal.  It is standing with straight legs, its body parallel to the ground, the head is raised up and cocked slightly to the right, the tail is mostly level with it’s back, curving slightly upwards at the final quarter, with the very tip pointing downwards, and the whole final quarter angled slightly left.  I would have preferred a more upright pose so that the creatures height could be better appreciated.  However, perhaps this is a more accurate and lifelike pose than the classic head up, tail down pose we’re so accustomed to.  I have to admit it does look more active, as though he is perhaps running or lunging at something, So I’m not really complaining.  Second, I thought the claws on the feet looked a bit thick and chunky compared to the rest of the feet, I’m not sure if this is yet another case of this being more accurate, or if the manufacturers were simply concerned to make them durable and not prone to breaking off during rough play.  Thirdly the mouth, although it is open, the tip of the tongue sort of blends into the bottom of the mouth, and the teeth seem very rounded off, short and stubby, perhaps this is another bit of licence to make the model more durable or maybe safe, but it does detract for me from the feel of what is otherwise a superbly detailed model.  All this being said, I’m not really dissatisfied, this is an excelent model and I know it would be a great toy also.  A word on the service from Everything dinosaur, one word, FANTASTIC!  Don’t get it anywhere else, no honestly don’t, these people are really dedicated, are true experts and deserve your custom.”

Thank you Dan for taking the time to give us your feedback about this dinosaur replica.  We pass on the comments and feedback that we receive to our manufacturer chums, helping them to produce items that reflect the views and opinions of customers.  We appreciate all the comments, suggestions and feedback that we receive.

The Dinosaur Model that Dan Reviewed

Dan Reviewed the Bullyland Museum Line T. rex

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

BBC Planet Dinosaur “Ultimate Killers”

High Definition, Three Dimensional Dinosaur Programme from the BBC

As part of the BBC’s continued research into optimising their programme quality using high definition and 3-D technology, the UK based broadcaster has put together a new dinosaur documentary.  The fifty minute programme uses footage taken from the six-part BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur” that was first shown in the autumn of 2011.

To view the documentary, click the link below:

Link to the “Ultimate Killers” documentary: Ultimate Killers

Technicians at the BBC are using this programme to test how viewers perceive some of the new programme technology on various platforms, to read more about the BBC’s research: Testing television with dinosaurs

So to watch a documentary featuring the likes of Spinosaurus, Abelisaurids and the Allosaurids as well as learning about the latest Tyrannosaur research click the link above to the Ultimate Killers documentary.

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