Everything Dinosaur’s Top Ten Blog Articles of 2014

One of the things we like to do at this time of year is to review this blog site and pick out those blog articles and news stories that we have featured that have proved to be the most popular.  Of the three hundred and sixty articles written in 2014 (we try to write one article per day), picking out just ten has proved to be quite a challenge.  However, we have looked at page views, comments, Facebook likes, retweets and a whole range of other factors to help us compile a top ten.  The subjects covered this year have been as diverse as in previous years, with features ranging from three dimensional printers, the origins of life on Earth, crocodile attacks, World Heritage sites, shrinking Sauropods as well as fossil discoveries, new dinosaur models, and Everything Dinosaur updates.  Our top ten list reflects the breadth of the topics that we try to cover on this web log and although we would not want to claim any statistical validity for this particular piece of research, here is our top ten countdown.

 10). A Special Year for Ichthyosaur Research

There have been a number of new marine reptiles named and described this year, including some Early Triassic animals whose fossils have been found in China.  However, 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of the first academic paper that described an Ichthyosaur and in at number ten is a short article we wrote back in June commemorating this anniversary.

Two Hundred Years of Ichthyosaur Research

9). Neanderthals Get a Mention

Christmas is a time of year when families get together.  In 2014, research into the “human family” has continued at a pace.  Team members predicted that there would be more news stories this year about developments in hominin genetic research and it turns out that some diseases associated with our population are linked to our Neanderthal ancestry.  One of the first articles we published on the blog looked at a study that had concluded that some diseases associated with H. sapiens can be related to our inherited H. neanderthalensis genes.

Study suggests That Some Diseases in Humans are Linked to Neanderthal DNA

8). Pushing the Origins of the Pterosauria Back in Time

A fragmentary fossil of an ancient flying reptile that had been discovered in 2001 got fans of the Pterodactyloidea in a bit of a flap this year when a scientific paper was published describing a new type of Pterosaur.  The fossil came from north-western China and it pushed back the evolution of the Pterodactyloidea by at least another five million years.  Kryptodrakon progenitor, (the name means ancestor of the hidden dragons), is the most primitive, basal member of the Pterodactyloidea Pterosaur family known to science and Everything Dinosaur wrote about this exciting fossil find back in April.

Pushing the Evolution of the Pterodactyloidea Back in Time

 The Fragmentary Fossils of K. progenitor

New Pterosaur named after "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" Film.

New Pterosaur named after “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” Film.

Picture Credit: Brian Andres

7). Welcome to the “Metal Age” of Palaeontology

Readers of this blog site may well be familiar with the term genome.  A number of ancient creatures have had at least part of their genome mapped, Neanderthals, Woolly Mammoths and such like, but in at number seven is an article all about the work of Manchester University and their research into mapping elements such as Zinc, Copper and Nickel that can be preserved within the fossil record.  University of Manchester researchers used a synchrotron particle accelerator to bombard a fifty million year old fossil leaf to help them calculate the chemical composition of an ancient plant.  They then compared this data with the metallome of a modern species from a related plant.  This was heralded as the start of the “metal age of palaeontology”.

To read this article: Exploring the Metallome of Ancient Leaves provides an insight into Plant Biochemistry

6). Dinosaur Fossil Footprint Stolen

This is the first article in our top ten that concerns the Dinosauria.  Sadly, Everything Dinosaur has written about a number dinosaur fossil thefts in 2014.  Thieves stealing fossils, especially those of dinosaurs, is a trend we see continuing over the next few years and our story at number six concerns the theft of a dinosaur footprint from Bureau of Land Management managed land in Utah.  We first reported on the theft on February 22nd, a local man, the owner of a construction company, was accused of the theft, which he at first denied but in a court hearing (July) he pleaded guilty to stealing the fossil.  Moab resident Jared Ehlers (35), was sentenced on October 20th to six months house arrest and one year of probation.  In addition, he was ordered to pay over $15,000 dollars in restitution to help cover the expenses incurred by the Utah Department of Public Safety as they searched the Colorado River for the fossil.  Fearing prosecution, Mr Ehlers, who claimed that he had stolen the three-toed footprint as he wanted to make a coffee table out of it, threw the fossil into the river, unfortunately the fossil has never been recovered.

Moab Resident Pleaded Guilty to Trace Fossil Theft

Six months house arrest plus probation and substantial fine for fossil theft.

Six months house arrest plus probation and substantial fine for fossil theft.

Picture Credit: Grand County Jail

To read about the fossil theft and to see a picture of the dinosaur footprint that was stolen: Dinosaur Footprint Stolen from Bureau of Land Management Land

5). Everything Dinosaur School Website Launched

Into the top five and at number five is an article that featured the launch of Everything Dinosaur’s new website aimed at helping teachers and other educationalists when it comes to teaching about fossils and prehistoric animals.  The specially commissioned website – Everything Dinosaur for Schools contains lots of helpful articles, free downloads and teaching tips aimed at helping teaching professionals and museum staff.

Helping to Teach About Dinosaurs and Fossils in School etc.

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Teaching tips, articles, resources and free downloads.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The new site was launched at the end of August to coincide with the start of the autumn term and lots of schools have already benefited from the articles featured as well as the example lesson plans and downloadable teaching resources.

Everything Dinosaur’s New School Website is Launched

4). Jurassic World (Official Trailer)

Dinosaur fans young and old have been eagerly looking forward to the release of the fourth film in the “Jurassic Park” franchise, “Jurassic World”.  The film is due to be premiered in June of 2015, but back in November, a trailer for the movie was finally released and sure enough, Everything Dinosaur’s blog site was one of the first to feature it.  The film is bound to be a huge success when it finally comes out and the trailer certainly whetted the appetite and teased viewers about the new, mysterious, genetically engineered dinosaur that is the big villain of this latest instalment of “Jurassic Park”.  We can’t wait to learn more about “Diabolus rex”.

The “Jurassic World” Official Trailer

Video Credit: Universal Studios

The original blog article featuring the trailer was published on November 25th.  Had the trailer come out slightly earlier  in the year, it could well have made it to the number one spot on our list.

3). New Prehistoric Animal Models from Collecta (2015)

2015 sees the introduction of a lot of new dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.  Collectors can expect new models from Schleich, Papo and Safari Ltd.  All our posts about new replicas did well in our survey of the top blog articles of this year, but our only top ten entry concerns the new 2015 releases from Collecta.  We first revealed the list of models back in late October, over the following weeks we wrote several articles providing more information about these new additions to the highly successful Collecta “Prehistoric Life” model range.

A Chalicothere is to be Included in Collecta’s New Models for 2015

Wonderful prehistoric animal model.

Wonderful prehistoric animal model.

Picture Credit: Collecta/Everything Dinosaur

New range of Collecta models announced for 2015: Collecta Announce New Prehistoric Animal Models for 2015

2). New Armoured Dinosaur from Mexico

Runner up is an article we published on the 27th September.  Everything Dinosaur team members had blogged about the fact that dinosaurs in the Ankylosauridae don’t seem to attract that much attention when compared to other Ornithischians.  How wrong we were as the naming and describing of a new type of heavily armoured dinosaur sparked a great deal of interest amongst readers.  Fragmentary fossils including beautifully preserved cranial material found in 2011 in strata related to the Kirtland Formation were described this year and a new type of armoured dinosaur named.  Ziapelta sanjuanensis at over six metres in length, would have made a very formidable adversary for even the largest, hungriest Theropod dinosaur.

An Illustration of Ziapelta sanjuanensis (Ankylosaur)

New Armoured Dinosaur from New Mexico

New Armoured Dinosaur from New Mexico

Picture Credit: Sydney Mohr

This ankylosaurid that roamed New Mexico between 74 and 72 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage), is extremely important as the fossils indicate affinities with better known ankylosaurids whose fossils have been found in Canada (Alberta).  This spiky herbivore, described as a “living tank” certainly caused a stir when the scientific paper was published.

To read the article about Ziapelta sanjuanensisNew Armoured Dinosaur from New Mexico

Before we reveal our top blog article posting of the year, time for a few honourable mentions.  The research into the giant Titanosaur known as Dreadnoughtus schrani proved very popular, as did a number of articles published earlier in the year about Patagonian fossil finds.  The introduction of the new, high quality dinosaur replica range from Rebor got collectors very excited along with our video review of the new for 2014 prehistoric animal models, including a short video we made showing how to ease the articulated jaw on the Papo Dilophosaurus.

1). Carnegie T. rex (2014) Reviewed

Top of the tree, our number one article was published on the 18th of March.  It concerned a review of the new Tyrannosaurus rex model made by Safari Ltd.  This model, the only new Carnegie Collectible replica introduced by the company this year was reviewed by Everything Dinosaur team members and despite being introduced with a number of Wild Safari models, it was this T. rex figure that drew most of the attention.  We also made a short video review of this very well made model, it also proved popular.

Everything Dinosaur’s Written Review of the Carnegie Collectibles Tyrannosaurus rex at Number One

Fearsome dinosaur 1:40 scale figure.

Fearsome dinosaur 1:40 scale figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This model featured in one of our Outlook signatures created for our emails, it must have been seen thousands of times and we also made several reviews of this particular scale replica.  The red colouring around the head and its fearsome pose were commented upon by a number of blog readers and we received lots of correspondence about this model from professional collectors and from young dinosaur fans.

Everything Dinosaur reviews the T. rex model: A Review by Everything Dinosaur of the Carnegie Dinosaurs 2014 Tyrannosaurus rex Model

A very big thank you to everyone who commented, retweeted and “liked” our articles.  We look forward to writing more in 2015, a year that should, if everything goes to plan, feature our 3,000th published article on this site.

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