All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
2 05, 2013

Schleich Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

By | May 2nd, 2013|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Review of the World of History (Schleich Prehistoric Animals) Carnotaurus

Dinosaur models are a bit like buses, you wait ages for a model to come along and then two arrive in quick succession.  First Papo of France introduced their Carnotaurus replica and now Schleich of Germany have added a Carnotaurus to their not-to-scale prehistoric animal model series.  The two models are very different, the Schleich figure suggests a much more robust and heavy animal with a strong set of jaws.

Named and described back in 1985 after an almost complete skeleton was excavated from Upper Cretaceous sediments located in Argentina, Carnotaurus is a very bizarre looking Theropod dinosaur.  The name Carnotaurus means “meat-eating bull”, a reference to the two horns that stick out sideways from just above the eyes.  The skull itself is very short and this dinosaur had a very blunt muzzle, with a shallow lower jaw.  Studies of skull material have suggested that this dinosaur had an acute sense of smell, Schleich have chosen to give their Carnotaurus replica prominent nostrils and a considerable overbite.  This member of the Abelisaurids had a strong neck and some large muscle attachments associated with the jaws, which seem to be at odds with the relatively weak lower jaw and the disproportionately small teeth.

The Carnotaurus Model (Schleich of Germany)

Fierce Abelisaurid from South America.

Fierce Abelisaurid from South America.

The model measures twenty-one centimetres in length, with the head held ten centimetres off the ground.  Based on an estimated size of around seven and a half metres, this model of Carnotaurus is in approximately 1:35 scale.

The arms of Carnotaurus are extremely small, much smaller in proportion to the rest of its body than the arms on a similar sized Tyrannosaurid.  These stumpy arms were relatively immobile, they could not reach the jaws and they would have been useless at grasping had helping to subdue prey.   This dinosaur had four fingers on each hand, one of which, the first digit, seems to have pointed backwards, although in this Schleich model only three fingers are represented.

To view Schleich prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models

Thanks to some excellent skin impressions from the right flank of the specimen excavated along with the other holotype material, palaeontologists have a very good idea about how Carnotaurus looked.  Its body was covered with small, pebble-like scales with lines of larger scales (scutes), forming rows running along the flanks.  The design team at Schleich have been careful to recreate their dinosaur with these features on the skin.

This replica is reminiscent of the Carnotaurus depicted in the Disney film “Dinosaur” that was released in 2000 AD.  Even the mauve colouration is very similar to that seen in Disney CGI movie although in the film these Theropods were referred to as “Carnotaurs”.

Schleich Carnotaurus Model 

The Schleich Carnotaurus - 1:35 scale approximately.

The Schleich Carnotaurus - 1:35 scale approximately.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The model has oversized feet, an aid to stability, as it is often difficult to get bipedal dinosaur models to stand unassisted, but this does not detract from the stance or the pose.   This Carnotaurus is nicely crafted, although clearly aimed at younger dinosaur fans, with its slightly rubbery almost springy feel, it makes an interesting contrast to other Carnotaurus replicas introduced recently.

1 05, 2013

School Children Measure a Triceratops

By | May 1st, 2013|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Measuring a Triceratops Footprint at Great Wood School

Children at Great Wood Primary have been busy studying dinosaurs as part of their summer term’s teaching activities.  The teaching team have developed a wide range of activities for their young charges and a team member from Everything Dinosaur visited Year 2 to help reinforce some of this learning and to provide some expertise to assist the budding young palaeontologists with their explorations.

The children had lots of questions, for example, one question asked was what is your favourite dinosaur?  A tricky question but perhaps Protoceratops would be a strong contender.  Known as the “sheep of the Cretaceous”,  a reference to the size of this dinosaur and to the amount of fossils of this dinosaur found in Mongolia, Protoceratops belonged to the same family group of dinosaurs as Triceratops.   An idea to help the school children learn about how to express data might be for them to produce a tally count recording the favourite prehistoric animals of the class.  This data could then be compiled into a bar chart.  The picture below shows a typical bar chart which has been generated following a tally count exercise by Year 2 children.

A Bar Chart Recording Favourite Dinosaurs

A tally count and then a bar chart to plot the data.

A tally count and then a bar chart to plot the data.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaurs as a term topic, does lend itself to all sorts of extension activities.  Dinosaurs seem to have enthused both the pupils and the teachers at Great Wood Primary.

Miss Bolton and her class have been studying dinosaur footprints.  Scientists can learn a lot from the footprints and tracks preserved as trace fossils.  The class have created a colourful poster display of a Triceratops footprint.  Their poster shows the various ways in which the class could measure the size of the footprint of this four-legged, herbivorous dinosaur.

Pupils Measure a Triceratops Footprint

Triceratops Footprint Gets Measured

Triceratops Footprint Gets Measured.

The children compared the size of their feet to the scaled up version of the footprint made by a Triceratops.   Footprints can provide ichnologists (scientists who specialise in studying trackways) with a lot of information.  For example, the shape of the print provides an indication about the sort of animal that left that track.  Long-necked dinosaurs (Sauropods) produced rounded or oval shaped prints, whilst meat-eating dinosaurs made three-toed prints (tridactyl) prints in most cases.  The direction of travel of the animal can be worked out.  In the picture above, showing the children’s poster, Everything Dinosaur has put an arrow in the top right-hand corner indicating the direction this Triceratops was moving in.  Just like our own footprints, the marks left by the toes show the direction of travel.

With Triceratops, this isolated print can tell us something more.  Triceratops had five toes on its front legs, but only four toes on its back legs.  By counting the toes, scientists can work out whether this print was made by a front foot, or a back foot.  There is a lot of information that can be obtained from studying fossilised footprints.  Dinosaur tracks have been found all over the world, although they are much rarer than fossilised bones.  Footprints are only preserved when conditions for potential preservation are absolutely right.  The ground must be soft enough to hold an impression of the print, but not too soft as the prints will soon collapse and fill in.  The footprints must be covered quickly by something that protects them such as sediment or sand. In these exceptional circumstances tracks made by a dinosaur or even a whole herd of dinosaurs might be preserved.

A Trackway of a Dinosaur from the Yemen

A dinosaur walked this way.

A dinosaur walked this way.

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