All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//January
21 01, 2017

A Preview of Schleich 2017 Dinosaur Models

By | January 21st, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

A Video Preview of Schleich 2017 Dinosaur Models

This month, saw a couple of Everything Dinosaur team members visit a trade show.  We had lots of meetings to attend and whilst at the event, we took the opportunity to shoot a quick video featuring four of the new for 2017 Schleich dinosaur models.  We appreciate the lighting at such venues does not always help when it comes to creating videos, but we thought that we could at least provide a quick peek at some of the larger Schleich models coming into our warehouse in just a few days.

The dinosaur models featured in the video are the Schleich Brachiosaurus (interesting skin texture on the back and tail of this model), the Allosaurus with an articulated jaw (please excuse the grammatical error in the narration).  Plus, the Stegosaurus and the feathered Utahraptor, Schleich getting to grips with feathered Dromaeosaurs by bring out a shaggy coated Utahraptor to join the existing range of Schleich models that includes “scaly raptors”.  The video is quite short, it is under forty-five seconds long, but at least it provides a preview.

A Short Video Showing Four of the New for 2017 Schleich Dinosaur Models

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich prehistoric animal brochures will be available to acquire from Everything Dinosaur’s new website, which is due to be launched next month (February 2017), the new for 2017 Schleich models, including those featured in this video, will be in stock at our warehouse shortly.

To view the existing range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models sold by Everything Dinosaur: Prehistoric Animals including Schleich Figures Available from Everything Dinosaur

The New for 2017 Schleich Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model

One of the new introductions is the Schleich Brachiosaurus.  The designers have chosen to give this dinosaur model a very textured skin, it’s as if this super-sized dinosaur had super-sized scales on its neck, its back and on the tail, plus partially on the upper limbs.  It is certainly quite an interesting effect, one that will make this dinosaur model very popular with those young dinosaur fans who like to see large scales on models.

A Photograph of the New for 2017 Schleich Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model

Schleich Brachiosaurus (2017).

The new for 2017 Schleich Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As with all the Schleich models the paintwork is very good, and there is plenty of detail to be found within the range. Schleich dinosaurs are suitable for children from three years and upwards.

The New for 2017 Schleich Allosaurus

Schleich Allosaurus (2017).

The new for 2017 Schleich Allosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Also featured in the video, is the new Schleich Allosaurus figure.

 Look out for more updates on new for 2017 models from Everything Dinosaur.

20 01, 2017

Papo New for 2017 Pictures (Part 2)

By | January 20th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|2 Comments

New Papo Prehistoric Animals (Part 2)

Today, we feature the second part of our series of articles about new Papo prehistoric animal models being introduced this year.  Papo intends to add several new models to its “Dinosaures” range of figures in 2017, ironically not all of them are dinosaurs.  At the end of quarter two (June), Everything Dinosaur will be receiving stocks of the Ceratosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus the Pterosaur figure (Dimorphodon) and two prehistoric animal models, a Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) and a roaring Sabre-Toothed Cat (see, we told you it wasn’t just dinosaurs)!

To read our previous article about the first set of Papo figures to be released in 2017: Papo New for 2017 Pictures (Part 1)

Available in the Summer the Papo Ceratosaurus Dinosaur Figure

Papo Ceratosaurus.

The Papo Ceratosaurus dinosaur figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Ceratosaurus

We at Everything Dinosaur, are not sure what species of dinosaur this Ceratosaurus model represents but it certainly looks quite frightening.  This model will have an articulated lower jaw.  It is expected to be in stock at our warehouse sometime in the summer, perhaps June.

Papo Acrocanthosaurus

Joining the Ceratosaurus is this splendid model of yet another Theropod dinosaur, the mighty Acrocanthosaurus – and what a spectacular model this is!  It too, is due out in the summer and it will also have an articulated lower jaw, making it great for creative, imaginative play.

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Dimorphodon

The Papo Dimorphodon is posed in a terrestrial position, after all, these flying reptiles did not spend all their time in the air.  We expect this Pterosaur figure to be available at around the same time as the Papo Ceratosaurus and the Papo Acrocanthosaurus models.

New for 2017 a Dimorphodon Model from Papo

Papo Dimorphodon figure.

The Papo Dimorphodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is the third flying reptile model to be added to the range.  It joins the Pteranodon and the beautiful Tupuxuara model, however, the Papo Dimorphodon will have an articulated lower jaw.

An Impressive Cave Bear Model (U. spelaeus)

The Papo Cave Bear Model.

A powerful looking Cave Bear model from Papo.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It was the German anatomist J. Rosenmüller who named and described this species of bear in 1794.  The famous French scientist Georges Cuvier also published work on these Ice Age animals.

Papo Roaring Smilodon Figure

Along with the Cave Bear model, Papo will be adding a roaring Smilodon figure to its model range.  The colouration and markings chosen for this particular replica are highly unusual.  The artists involved in the painting seem to have been inspired by lions and tigers when it came to sorting out the “look” for this replica.  Still, it’s good to see prehistoric animals added to a range and not just dinosaur models.

The Papo Roaring Smilodon Figure

The Papo roaring Sabre-Tooth Cat.

The Papo roaring Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Shortly, we will be posting up details on the last of the planned 2017 prehistoric animal model releases from Papo.

To view the range of Papo models and replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

19 01, 2017

New “Chilling” Theory Explains Dinosaur Extinction

By | January 19th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Freezing Cold Killed the Dinosaurs

A prolonged “nuclear winter” caused by an extra-terrestrial impact event some sixty-six million years ago, resulted in the extinction of most of the large terrestrial animals on Earth including the Dinosauria.  So say a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).  In essence, a period of sustained global cooling “froze out” the dinosaurs.

A Very “Chilly-saurus” Dramatic Global Cooling Led to Dinosaur Demise

Dinosaur extinction caused by global cooling.

Dramatic global cooling may have led to the dinosaur extinction event.

Climate scientists have reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulphuric acid formed high up in the air after the well-known impact of a large body from space (Chicxulub crater event).  These particles blocked sunlight for several years and had a profound influence on life on Earth.  Plants died, and death spread through food chains.  Previous theories focused on the shorter-lived dust ejected by the impact (the ejector).  The new computer simulations show that the droplets resulted in long-lasting cooling, a likely contributor to the death of the terrestrial dinosaurs.  An additional kill mechanism might have been a vigorous mixing of the oceans, caused by the surface cooling, severely disturbing marine ecosystems.

Julia Brugger (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) and lead author of this new study, published this week in the Geophysical Research Letters stated:

“The big chill following the impact of the asteroid that formed the Chicxulub crater in Mexico is a turning point in Earth history.  We can now contribute new insights for understanding the much debated ultimate cause for the demise of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous.”

To investigate the phenomenon, the scientists for the first time used a specific kind of computer simulation normally applied in different contexts, a climate model coupling atmosphere, ocean and sea ice.  They built on research showing that sulphur-bearing gases that evaporated from the violent impact event on our planet’s surface were the main factor for blocking the sunlight and cooling down the planet.

Global Temperatures Plunged

The scientists calculate that in the tropics, annual mean temperature fell from a balmy twenty-seven to just five degrees Celsius.  To put this in a modern context, the average annual temperature at the heart of the Amazon rainforest is around twenty-seven degrees Celsius.  Imagine the impact on the flora and fauna if this tropical part of the world suddenly had to endure a prolonged period of cold with an average annual temperature of just five degrees, that’s colder than the average annual temperatures experienced by the inhabitants of Oslo in Norway.

A Computer Model Showing Global Temperatures Prior to the Extra-terrestrial Impact Event

Global temperatures at the end of the Cretaceous.

Global temperatures prior to the extra-terrestrial impact event that contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Julia Brugger added:

“It became cold, I mean, really cold.”

Global annual mean surface air temperature dropped by at least twenty-six degrees Celsius.  The dinosaurs were used to living in a lush climate.  After the impact event, the annual average temperature was below freezing point for about three years.  Evidently, the ice caps expanded.  Even in the tropics, annual mean temperatures went from twenty-seven degrees to a mere five degrees.

Co-author and leader of the climate research team at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Georg Feulner commented:

“The long-term cooling caused by the sulphate aerosols was much more important for the mass extinction than the dust that stays in the atmosphere for only a relatively short time.  It was also more important than local events like the extreme heat close to the impact, wildfires or tsunamis.”

A Computer Simulation Showing Global Temperatures After the Impact Event

Extraterrestrial impact event causes global cooling.

Dramatic global cooling after impact event.

Picture Credit: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

The image above shows the effect on our planet’s temperature just two months after the impact event.

The researchers calculate that it took the climate about thirty years to recover, more than enough time to see the demise of seventy percent of all terrestrial animals as well as many different kinds of plants and a number of different families of marine organisms.

As well as climate chaos, ocean circulation became disturbed.  Surface waters cooled down, thereby becoming denser and hence heavier.  While these cooler water masses sank into the depths, warmer water from deeper ocean layers rose to the surface, carrying nutrients that likely led to massive blooms of algae, the scientists postulate.  It is conceivable that these algal blooms produced toxic substances, further affecting life at the coasts.  Yet in any case, marine ecosystems were severely shaken up, and this likely contributed to the extinction of species in the oceans, like the ammonites and several types of marine reptile.

The dinosaurs, until then the masters of the Earth, made space for the rise of the mammals, and eventually humankind.  The study of Earth’s past also shows that efforts to study future threats by objects from outer space have more than just academic interest.

Twenty-six Months After the Impact Event – A Sustained Global Cooling

The demise of the dinosaurs due to global cooling.

26 months after the impact, the world has rapidly cooled.

Picture Credit: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Georg Feulner concluded by saying:

“It is fascinating to see how evolution is partly driven by an accident like an asteroid’s impact, mass extinctions show that life on Earth is vulnerable.  It also illustrates how important the climate is for all lifeforms on our planet.  Ironically today, the most immediate threat is not from natural cooling but from human-made global warming.”

Everything Dinosaur recognises the help of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: Brugger, J., Feulner, G., Petri, S. (2017): “Baby, it’s cold outside: Climate model simulations of the effects of the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous.”  This paper is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

18 01, 2017

Papo New for 2017 Pictures (Part 1)

By | January 18th, 2017|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

New Prehistoric Animal Models from Papo (Part 1)

Lots of Everything Dinosaur customers have been contacting us recently to enquire about release dates for the new Papo prehistoric animal models.  Papo have held their cards to their chest for a while, but we can reveal that the first three, of what will be a total of nine new model introductions, are scheduled to arrive in just a few weeks’ time.  We are expecting the re-painted Velociraptor, the blue painted Oviraptor figure and the carefully crafted Polacanthus models to arrive prior to the end of March.  They could be with us sometime next month.

The Papo Blue Velociraptor is One of the First New Models to be Released

Papo dinosaur model - blue Velociraptor.

Papo Velociraptor dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Blue Velociraptor and “Oviraptor Bleu”

2017 sees another re-painted “raptor” entering the Papo “les dinosaures” range.  A green re-painted Velociraptor was introduced last year, the additional of this new replica will give model collectors the opportunity to build up their own “raptor pack”, something reminiscent of what was seen in the film “Jurassic World”.

A Re-paint of the Oviraptor Model is Due in Quarter One of 2017

Papo Oviraptor dinosaur model (2017).

Papo blue Oviraptor dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The other re-paint coming in shortly is a very colourful variant of the existing Oviraptor model.  No feathers to be seen, but lots of vibrant colours including a stunning metallic blue flash along the body and a spectacular looking skull and neck.  “Oviraptor bleu” is one of our most eagerly anticipated new models for 2017.  A number of species of Oviraptor have been named and described, although scientists still debate the various classifications. As to what this bizarre dinosaur ate, that too is open to speculation and debate.  Oviraptor could have eaten fruit, nuts, shellfish or even crunched the bones of other dinosaurs.  This genus was erected by the famous the American palaeontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924.

Papo Polacanthus Dinosaur Model

The first of the new sculpts to be introduced this year, is a wonderful replica of the armoured dinosaur Polacanthus.  It is great to see Papo introduce a model of this enigmatic member of the Thyreophora (shield bearers), especially as their model has a distinctive sacral shield.  The position of the head and the open beak of this dinosaur model gives the impression that this dinosaur is smiling.  It certainly looks quite content with life.

The New for 2017 Polacanthus Dinosaur Model from Papo

Papo Polacanthus model.

Papo Polacanthus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the current range of Papo prehistoric animal models stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

 Everything Dinosaur will shortly be posting up official pictures of the other six new models for 2017 to be introduced by Papo.

17 01, 2017

Young Explorers at Ansdell Primary

By | January 17th, 2017|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Pupils at Ansdell Primary Study Dinosaurs

Children at Ansdell Primary in Lytham St Annes (Lancashire), learned about prehistoric animals with a dinosaur themed workshop from Everything Dinosaur.  The pupils in Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and a class of Year 3 were given the chance to get their hands on real fossils and to explore life in the past when a team member visited their school.  A special room had been set up by the dedicated and enthusiastic teaching staff, a space that was referred to as the “Explorers Area”, it was full of exciting and challenging dinosaur and fossil themed craft activities for the children to try.  Part of the wall had an enormous prehistoric landscape mural painted on it, including erupting volcanoes – what a stimulating learning environment for the eager, young palaeontologists!

The Prehistoric Wall Mural in the “Explorers Area”

A prehistoric landscape mural.

A colourful prehistoric landscape helps to inspire children.

Picture Credit: Ansdell Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Many of the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children helped to create the landscape painting, it is a very colourful wall mural and we think the huge volcano is brilliant.

Jurassic Arts and Crafts

The “Explorers Area” helps to reinforce learning with a focus on particular aspects of the term topic.  With the topic this term all about dinosaurs, a sand tray had been placed in the centre of the room and within the tray various plastic bones had been hidden.  Children were challenged to dig for the bones just like a palaeontologist and then they were asked to measure them and sort them in order of size.  This activity is a great way to get young children more confident with rulers and measuring cubes and helps them feel more comfortable when using numbers.  Art straws had been used to make a number of different dinosaur skeletons and some of the children had been sketching fossils using charcoal pencils.  Another group had been painting dinosaur themed pictures using stencils, this too, had led to the creation of a very colourful display.

Dinosaur Stencil Paintings on Display in the “Explorers Area”

Colourful dinosaur illustrations

The children created lots of colourful dinosaur stencil drawings.

Picture Credit: Ansdell Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Design Your Own Dinosaur

As part of a number of extension activities set by Everything Dinosaur, the children were challenged to design their very own dinosaur.  As well as creating a prehistoric animal, the Everything Dinosaur team member asked the children to label various body parts, to consider how their dinosaur might survive in the Jurassic and what colour it might be.  The children were asked to think of a suitable name for their creation and some beautiful and very imaginative drawings were shown to our fossil expert over the course of the day.

 For further information on Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur

16 01, 2017

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon Wins Award

By | January 16th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Best Prehistoric Animal Toy Figure – Iguanodon

Congratulations to Safari Ltd as their recently introduced Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon dinosaur model has been voted the best prehistoric animal toy figure to be released in 2016.  Readers of “Prehistoric Times” magazine were asked to list their favourite dinosaur and prehistoric animal models out of all those that had been launched in 2016.  The competition was tough, but the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon figure came top in the survey.

Voted Best Prehistoric Animal Toy Figure for 2016

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon model.

Some very striking colours on this new replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Safari Ltd figures have won this accolade before.   The model of the armoured dinosaur called Sauropelta, coincidentally, from the same replica range as the Iguanodon figure, triumphed in 2015.  This year it was a model of yet another plant-eating dinosaur that was voted number one by readers of “Prehistoric Times” magazine.

Iguanodon – A Very Popular Dinosaur

As most young dinosaur fans will gladly tell you, Iguanodon was only the second kind of dinosaur to be formally, scientifically described.  The genus was erected in 1825.  Together with the carnivorous dinosaur Megalosaurus and the armoured dinosaur Hylaeosaurus, it was one of three genera that together were grouped into the Dinosauria by Sir Richard Owen.

Well done to all the team at Safari Ltd.  A special acknowledgement of the efforts of the design team who worked very hard to develop an accurate interpretation of this Ornithischian dinosaur (bird-hipped member of the Dinosauria).

An appropriate gesture would be to give everyone at Safari Ltd a “big Iguanodon thumbs up”.  Congratulations!

To see the award-winning Iguanodon dinosaur model and the wide range of prehistoric animals that are included in the Wild Safari Prehistoric World model collection, simply click the link below:

Everything Dinosaur stocks: Purchase Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models and Replicas

15 01, 2017

Prehistoric Times Winter 2017 Reviewed

By | January 15th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Prehistoric Times Issue 120 Reviewed

Our dinosaur themed reading material for the New Year gets off to a cracking start with the arrival of the latest instalment of “Prehistoric Times”, the magazine for fans of prehistoric animals and dinosaur model collectors.  Issue 120’s front cover showcases the remarkable artwork of British palaeoartist John Sibbick and the dramatic image is a foretaste of the exciting contents as this latest edition of the quarterly magazine is packed full of fantastic artwork and articles.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (Winter 2017)

Prehistoric Times Issue 117

The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine (Winter 2017).

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

Long-spined, Short-tailed Wyoming Stegosaur

Renowned palaeontologist Kenneth Carpenter (museum director of the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Utah), has penned a highly informative feature on a new type of Stegosaur from the Morrison Formation (Alcovasaurus longispinus).  The copy includes a skeletal reconstruction of this long-spined, short tailed member of the Thyreophora by Gregory S. Paul, look out for an in-depth article on Gregory S. Paul’s second edition of the excellent “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”, a book that Everything Dinosaur team members have been fortunate to review.  “Prehistoric Times” editor, Mike Fredericks provides further insight and Greg has written an article giving readers an inside track on how the second edition came together.

Recommended Reading for Fans of Dinosaurs

"The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs" - 2nd edition.

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (second edition).

Picture Credit: Princeton University Press

To read more about “Prehistoric Times” and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times Magazine

To read Everything Dinosaur’s review of “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”: A Review of the Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs

Toxodon and Concavenator

Phil Hore provides the information on the two featured prehistoric animals that grace the winter issue (Toxodon and the Theropod Concavenator).  Look out for some splendid reader submitted illustrations, the mother and baby Toxodon sketch by Clinton Harris being our personal favourite, although Ryan McMurry’s aggressive looking Concavenator runs it close.  Check out the illustration of Concavenator on page 16, as well as the Ceratopsian sketches that accompany news about new CollectA models for 2017.  Eagle-eyed readers may well recognise these illustrations from Everything Dinosaur’s own fact sheets.  Tracy Lee Ford focuses very much on the Theropoda with an examination of the jaw mechanics of big meat-eating dinosaurs.  Tracy informs us that this article is his 98th contribution to “Prehistoric Times”, we look forward to celebrating Tracy’s centenary of prehistoric prose – look out for this in issue 122!

2016 Palaeontology in Perspective

American Steve Brusatte, based at the University of Edinburgh, has produced a beautifully composed piece that reviews the big dinosaur palaeontology news stories of 2016.  It’s a fantastic summary and it is great to see the likes of Dracoraptor included, a new Early Jurassic dinosaur discovered by brothers Nick and Rob Hanigan.  Look out for the explanation for the survival of birds put forward by a team of scientists led by Derek Larson (University of Toronto), seed eating may have helped the Aves survive the Cretaceous mass extinction event!

Palaeozoic Fish and Invertebrates – Zdeněk Burian

John Lavas continues the series of articles on Zdeněk Burian, the Czech artist and book illustrator, regarded as one of the pioneers of scientific illustration.  In this edition, the focus is on Palaeozoic fishes and invertebrates and a number of Burian’s wonderful illustrations adorn the pages of “Prehistoric Times”.

Zdeněk Burian’s Illustration of the Cambrian Painted in 1951

Cambrian life.

Life in the Cambrian by Zdeněk Burian.

Picture Credit: Zdeněk Burian.com

“Prehistoric Times” issue 120 also includes articles on the Marx model series, the role of music in prehistoric animal movies (the Sound of Mesozoic), more wonderful examples of John Sibbick’s artwork plus news on the latest models and kits.

For further information on this excellent magazine and to subscribe: Subscribe to Prehistoric Times Magazine

14 01, 2017

Trilobite Reproduction Puzzle Solved

By | January 14th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Trilobite Eggs Found in Ordovican Fossil

Trilobites are some of the most recognisable fossils to be found in Palaeozoic strata.  However, despite there being tens of thousands of exceptionally preserved specimens, little is known about how Trilobites bred.  Trilobite reproduction has remained a bit of a mystery.  A team of scientists from Western Illinois University in collaboration with colleagues from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee), writing in the academic journal “Geology” have published a paper on a remarkable fossil find.  They report finding the first evidence of Trilobite eggs preserved within a fossil specimen.

A Trilobite Fossil

A fossil of an Trilobite.

A beautiful Trilobite fossil.

The Trilobita

Trilobites are an extinct, geographically widespread and abundant group of Palaeozoic arthropods that evolved in the Cambrian and survived until the Permian mass extinction event some 252 million years ago.  Trilobites have a distinctive threefold longitudinal division of the body and a tough exoskeleton.  At least ten Orders of Trilobita have been assigned and although most Trilobites were small, the largest specimens grew to up to a metre in length.  All Trilobites lived in marine environments and they evolved to occupy a number of ecological niches from active, predatory nektonic animals to epifaunal forms.  In order to grow, these animals had to moult and shed their exoskeleton.  The cast exoskeleton readily fossilised and as a result, huge numbers of Trilobite fossil material is present.

An analysis of an exceptionally well-preserved specimen of the Late Ordovican Trilobite (Triarthrus eatoni) from the Lorraine Group found in the United States has revealed the presence of nine tiny eggs, clustered together in an area located underneath the head shield (the genal area of the cephalon).  Other specimens also show evidence of eggs within the fossilised form.

Digital Images from the Computerised Tomography Showing the Tiny Eggs

Trilobite eggs.

A digital reconstruction of T. eatoni shows evidence of Trilobite egg formation.

Picture Credit: Geological Society of America

The image above shows close up views of the cephalon and the upper portion of the trunk.  Picture K represents a dorsal view (view from the top), picture L (ventral view), viewed from underneath and picture M is a left ventral view.  The egg cluster, represented by the tiny white dots can be clearly seen.

Spherical and Elliptical Eggs

Like many fossil Trilobite specimens from the Lorraine Group, the complete exoskeleton has been replaced with pyrite.  The eggs are described as being spherical to elliptical in shape, although the fossilisation process could have distorted the material.  Each egg is approximately 200 μm in size, that’s around half the width of a human hair.  The eggs are only visible ventrally with no dorsal brood pouch or recognised sexual dimorphism.

Triathrus eatoni (Ordovician Whetstone Gulf Formation) Reveals Eggs

Fossil eggs in Trilobite fossil discovered.

Pyritised specimens of Triarthrus eatoni showing evidence of fossil eggs.

Picture Credit: Geological Society of America

The picture above show a pyritised specimen of T. eatoni, part of the collection of the Yale Peabody Museum showing nine eggs (picture A is ventral view).  Picture B shows a second specimen with four eggs preserved in the right genal area.  Picture C is a close up of the eggs in specimen B, whilst D is a closer view of the eggs preserved in specimen A.

Highly magnified (scanning electron microscopy), views of an egg cluster (E) with a closer view of a single egg (F).  Picture G shows the egg surface under high magnification.

A close up of a single limb from specimen A is shown in picture H, whilst images I and J show pyritised elements of the body fossil.

Reproduction Strategy Similar to Modern Horseshoe Crabs

The location of the eggs is consistent with where extant female horseshoe crabs release their unfertilised eggs from the ovarian network within their head.  Trilobites probably released their gametes (eggs and sperm) through a genital pore of as-yet unknown location (likely near the posterior boundary of the head).  If the T. eatoni reproductive biology is representative of other trilobites, they spawned with external fertilisation, possibly the ancestral mode of reproduction for early members of the Arthropoda.  As pyritisation preferentially preserves the external rather than internal features of fossils, it is suggested that there is likely a bias in the fossil record toward the preservation of Arthropods that brood eggs externally, animals with an exoskeleton that brood their eggs internally are unlikely to preserve any evidence of their mode of reproduction.

The scientific paper: “Pyritised in situ Trilobite Eggs from the Ordovician of New York (Lorraine Group): Implications for Trilobite Reproductive Biology” published in Geology.

13 01, 2017

Key Stage 1 Study Dinosaurs

By | January 13th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 1 and Year 2 Study Dinosaurs

A day of studying dinosaurs and fossils was in store for the children in Key Stage 1 at Rykneld Primary as they braved the snowy conditions to make it into school.  The trip was certainly worth it with one enthusiastic Year 2 pupil declaring that today had been his “best day ever”, as the children learned all about dinosaurs and fossils in a series of workshops with Everything Dinosaur.

The spacious, newly constructed sports hall provided a splendid venue for the four dinosaur themed workshops.  The three classes that make up the Year 1 cohort were combined together so that two lengthy workshops could be conducted in the morning.  Half of Mrs Chell’s class took part in the first workshop, the remainder joined in with the second workshop that commenced later in the morning.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of the ninety children that make up Year 2.  Once again, in order to provide longer workshops, one class was split with half of them joining the first workshop of the afternoon and the other half taking part in the fourth and final workshop.

Inspired by Seeing and Handling Ammonite Fossils Children Made Clay Ammonites

Key Stage 1 children make clay ammonite fossils.

Year 1 children make clay ammonite fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ammonite Fossils

Ammonite fossils were used to help the children learn about how fossils form and what they can tell us about life in the past.  After the inspiring fossil workshop, one Year 1 class spent part of the afternoon making their own clay ammonite fossils.  The Everything Dinosaur team member who conducted the dinosaur workshops was most impressed by the various spiral shapes and patterns the children had created.

Cephalopods in the Classroom Fossils in the Field

An Ammonite fossil.

A big fossil close to the Ammonite Pavement.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Some of the ammonites that Everything Dinosaur had brought were very large and heavy.  Lucky pupils got the chance to hold these big fossils to see for themselves just how heavy (and cold) fossils can be.  One of the challenges set was to help the children develop their vocabularies by thinking of words to describe some of the specimens.  We had some amazing adjectives – well done Year 1 and Year 2.

An Impressive “Wow” Wall in a Classroom

A volcano on display in a classroom.

A “Wow” Wall in a classroom with a wonderful volcano exhibit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Rykneld Primary

The well-appointed and roomy classrooms had lots of prehistoric animal themed displays.  Year 4 had been studying the Stone Age and outside their classroom was a magnificent Woolly Mammoth model, complete with curly tusks.  However, our favourite piece of prehistoric themed art was spotted in one of the Year 1 classrooms.  The picture above shows a splendid three-dimensional volcano model, complete with lava erupting from its top.  Just like Everything Dinosaur’s workshops, such wonderful art is bound to inspire and motivate the Key Stage 2 pupils.

To request information about Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil workshops in schools: Contact Everything Dinosaur

12 01, 2017

Year 5 and Year 6 Explore Deep Time

By | January 12th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Stone Age/Iron Age and Before with Upper Key Stage 2

Year 5 and Year 6 pupils at Thorne Greentop School are exploring deep time this term.  The dedicated teaching team have compiled an exciting and challenging scheme of work covering recent human history and introducing evolution, natural selection and profiling Charles Darwin.  A member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching staff was invited into the classroom to provide a tactile provocation to introduce some of the topic areas to the children.  The enthusiastic pupils had already created some fine artwork reflecting early cave paintings.  In addition, suspended from the classroom ceiling, there was a row of Stone Age spears that had been made by Upper Key Stage 2, their flint tips represented by carefully shaped tin foil.

During each workshop, examples of how animals adapt or fail to adapt to environmental changes were provided.  Evidence about life in the past was explored using fossils and the concepts of extinction and de-extinction were examined.

As well as learning about life in the past, the thought provoking scheme of work challenged the children to consider how might our own species evolve over time? What changes in us and our bodies will take place?  How will technology affect the evolution of mankind?

How Will Our Species Evolve?

The ascent of man.

How will our species evolve?

Picture Credit: Thorne Greentop School

Learning About Coelacanths

One of a number of extension activities set by the visitor involved the children researching the story of the Coelacanth.  Coelacanths were thought to have died out with the non-avian dinosaurs some sixty-six million years ago, until one was caught by a fisherman off the eastern coast of South Africa in 1938.

The Story of the Discovery of the Coelacanth Can Help to Support Lesson Plans Focusing on Adaptation and Natural Selection

The Coelacanth.

A “living fossil”

Coelacanth catches are rare, marine scientists have expressed concern about these remarkable fishes, once thought to be very closely related to the first land animals, numbers may be dwindling as commercial activity and pollution destroys their habitat.

To read about a recent Coelacanth catch: Coelacanth Caught off the Island of Zanzibar

Creating a Record of the Children’s Work

The innovative plan for the term is to build up the children’s knowledge using a wide range of teaching methods and learning styles culminating in the publication of a workbook that takes the reader through a chronological history of mankind and our planet.  We have been promised a copy and we are looking forward to receiving it.  Having discussed the types of animals that roamed the landscape some twenty thousand years or so before the school was built, our teaching team member set the children a creative writing challenge.  Could they imagine what it would have been like to take part in a Woolly Mammoth hunt?

Preparing for a Woolly Mammoth Hunt

Preparing for the hunt.

Getting ready for the Mammoth hunt.

Picture Credit: Greg Harlin

 We look forward to hearing more news from Thorne Greentop school as they explore our Earth’s amazing history.

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