Category: Book Reviews

A Review of “Giants of the Lost World”

“Giants of the Lost World” Reviewed

The fauna and flora of South America has always fascinated scientists and academics.  Animals that are around today, such as the giant otter, the bizarre peccary, anacondas and the jaguar, which pound for pound has the strongest bite of any living big cat, are mere shadows of what was once an astonishing menagerie, the likes of which were found nowhere else on Earth.  The public’s imagination has been fuelled by tales of the monsters that once roamed this continent.  American palaeontologist and author Donald Ross Prothero builds on this legacy in his new book “Giants of the Lost World” which documents and describes the incredible prehistoric animals that once dominated South America, many of which truly deserve the mantle of “monsters”!

The Front Cover of “Giants of the Lost World”

"Giants of the Lost World" front cover.

“Giants of the Lost World” by Donald R. Prothero.

Picture Credit: Smithsonian Books

A Window into a Lost World

Professor Prothero gently guides the reader through the history of research and study of the many extinct prehistoric animals of South America, but first he sets the scene.  He discusses the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote the adventure story “The Lost World” in 1912.  In Conan Doyle’s tale, plucky Professor Challenger leads a party of explorers to the top of a remote and isolated plateau discovering that dinosaurs and flying reptiles had survived into the 20th Century.  This influential novel has been the basis of many films, radio programmes and television series.  Sir Arthur was very probably inspired by the accounts of his good friend Percy Harrison Fawcett, who led an expedition to the Huanchaca Plateau (Bolivia) and encountered many strange animals that live atop the rocky plateau which rises upwards of nine hundred metres above sea level.

In truth, the non-avian Dinosauria and their kin are long gone, but the fossil assemblage left behind documents a remarkable prehistoric fauna, that once helped shape the thinking of Charles Darwin.  The largest land animals known to science (Titanosaurs) and some of the huge carnivores that preyed upon them, are discussed and the author skilfully updates readers on the fascinating debate about which was the biggest land carnivore of all – look out for the section comparing mega-sized carcharodontosaurids with the equally impressive Spinosaurs.

South America was home to a whole host of unusual meat-eating dinosaurs from the stumpy-limbed Alvarezsauridae with their reduced digits, to the “raptors”, ferocious Deinonychosaurs and the truly odd, apex predators, the abelisaurids.  This book is crammed full of fascinating facts and information that will delight both dinosaur fans and the general reader.

One of South America’s Unusual Giant Theropods – Carnotaurus (C. sastrei)

The South American abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei).

A spectacular photograph of the bizarre South American abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei).

Picture Credit: Smithsonian Books

Beautiful Illustrations, Photographs and Full Colour Plates

“Giants of the Lost World” is jam-packed with photographs, colour plates and beautiful illustrations.  Look out in particular for the detailed images included in this most informative text by the very talented Nobumichi Tamura.  We congratulate the author, for his provision of helpful notes and explanations that accompany the images and the very straight-forward and matter-of-fact manner in which he tackles quite complex and challenging areas of current palaeontological research, such as unravelling the family tree of the Sloths and their relatives (Xenarthra).  After all, who can’t help but be intrigued with chapter titles such as “Killer Opossums”, “The Slow Folk” and “Pseudo-Elephants”!

To purchase this very well written and highly informative volume: Smithsonian Books

As a specialist in mammalian evolution, Professor Prothero is an ideal candidate to document and explain the evolutionary history of the marsupials and placentals that once thrived in South America.  Some of these strange creatures migrated northwards, when South America’s isolation ended around three million years ago.  You might be familiar with the Smilodon fossils of the La Brea tar pits of Los Angeles, but the largest of the Smilodon species was a resident of the southern portion of the Americas (S. populator), it would have dwarfed the Sabre-Toothed Cats of the United States and was one of the largest felids to have ever lived.

A Colour Plate from the Book Illustrating the Skull and Huge Canines of Smilodon

Smilodon skull fossil.

A view of the skull of a Smilodon.

Picture Credit: Smithsonian Books

The Land of Reptilian Monsters 

The dinosaurs did not hold the monopoly when it came to giant reptiles.  After the demise of the “terrible lizards”, new reptilian monsters evolved.  The immense fossilised shell of a super-sized turtle (Stupendemys), is proof that monstrous reptiles lived in South America as recently as five million years ago.  The bus-sized Titanoboa is discussed in detail and for fans of crocodiles, this book has plenty to sink your teeth into too.  You might be familiar with apex predators such as the fourteen-metre-long “super caiman” Purussaurus, known from Colombia, Brazil and Peru, but “Giants of the Lost World” contains one or two crocodilian surprises as well.  Check out the curious Mourasuchus, which matched Purussaurus in terms of size, but it may have fed in a similar way to a giant duck!

Everything Dinosaur’s Well-Thumbed Copy of “Giants of the Lost World”

Book cover "Giants of the Lost World"

Everything Dinosaur’s copy of “Giants of the Lost World”.

Picture Credit: Smithsonian Books

This highly informative and well-written book draws to a close with an epilogue that takes a sanguine tone, reflecting on the threats to the existing wildlife of South America, much of which is critically endangered.  Professor Prothero concludes that the extant animals and plants of this enigmatic continent may only be a shadow of a once mighty and monstrous assemblage, but there is still time to reverse the habitat destruction and climate change that threatens to erase the remnants of an amazing biological legacy.

This excellent book does much to raise awareness concerning the diverse and eclectic cast of prehistoric characters that once roamed South America.  Highly recommended.

The book can be purchased here: Smithsonian Books

Book Details:

Title: “Giants of the Lost World: Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Monsters of South America” by Donald R. Prothero.

Publisher: Smithsonian Books

Pages: 174 with 16 colour plates

ISBN: 9781588345738

Prehistoric Times Winter 2017 Reviewed

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

Preparing for Prehistoric Times (Winter 2017)

Prehistoric Times – Sneak Preview (Winter 2017)

Banish those January blues with a sneak preview of the next issue of the magazine for dinosaur fans and collectors of prehistoric animal merchandise – “Prehistoric Times”.  The next issue of this quarterly magazine is currently at the printers and once off the presses it will be rushed out to subscribers at tip-top speed.  Once again, it is a spectacular front cover as a Pterosaur aims to avoid getting caught up in a tornado whilst of group of alarmed Ceratopsians look on from below.

Due Out Very Soon Prehistoric Times Issue 120

Prehistoric Times Issue 117

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

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

Gregory S. Paul’s “Field Guide to Dinosaurs”

One of the highlights of issue 120 will be a feature on Gregory S. Paul’s “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”.  As this blog article is being written, the second edition of this book sits proudly on the desk.  It is being used as a reference to check some information on the Late Triassic Theropod Coelophysis bauri in preparation for a revised and updated fact sheet we are writing.  The forthcoming magazine will focus on this book and provide a comprehensive review of this excellent hardback which has been compiled by one of the most respected dinosaur experts and illustrators.  On the subject of illustrators, the magazine will continue its trend of commemorating some of the best palaeoartists from times gone by with an article about Zdeněk Burian, the Czech artist and book illustrator, regarded as one of the pioneers of scientific illustration.

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

Toxodon and Concavenator

The two featured prehistoric animals in issue 120 are the large herbivorous mammal Toxodon and the Early Cretaceous Theropod Concavenator.  We are looking forward to seeing all the reader supplied artwork along with all the regular items such as Tracy Lee Ford’s immensely informative “How to Draw Dinosaurs” and Phil Hore’s prehistoric creature profiles.   The winter 2017 edition will also include a review of the top news stories on fossils and dinosaur discoveries over the last twelve months – this really is a jam-packed magazine.

Not too long to wait now, until our copy of “Prehistoric Times” arrives at the office.

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

A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales Reviewed

A Review of “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

We are very lucky in this country, we have some magnificent British countryside to enjoy in conjunction with a rich and diverse geology.  Fossil collecting can be a great way to explore the natural world.  Surrounded by stunning scenery, allowing you a brief disconnect from a busy lifestyle, travelling back in time to explore ancient, prehistoric worlds and the myriad of plants and animals that inhabited them.  However, how to start and perhaps more importantly, where to look?  These are questions that are frequently emailed to us.  Fortunately, help is at hand, thanks to two dedicated and enthusiastic fossil hunters, who have set aside their geological hammers to compile a guide to fossil collecting in England and Wales.

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

Fossil collecting book.

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

UKAFH – UK Amateur Fossil Hunters

Written by Steve Snowball and Craig Chapman, leading lights in the UKAFH (UK Amateur Fossil Hunters) organisation, this book provides a wonderful introduction to fossil hunting as a hobby as well as containing a wealth of information and advice for the seasoned fossil collector.  It’s a practical book, just the right size for slipping into a rucksack pocket and it gives details on more than fifty fossil hunting locations in England and Wales.

Drawing upon their extensive knowledge, the authors take the reader through three geological eras – the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and the Cenozoic and highlight where in England and Wales fossils, representing life from each of these eras, can be found.  At the beginning of each section, a handy geological timescale in conjunction with the locations featured, permits readers to see at a glance the context of each site within deep time.  The individual site entries are very informative, explaining clearly and concisely where to find fossils and what to look for.  “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” distinguishes itself from other fossil collecting books by using a simple site summary to highlight key points regarding safe fossil collecting from each carefully selected location.  Top marks to Steve and Craig, for thoughtfully adding details of the nearest postcode to many of the sites, a boon for those using satellite navigation to travel back in time.

Each Carefully Selected Fossil Hunting Location Comes Complete with a Handy Site Summary

Site summary in fossil guide book.

Each carefully selected location is furnished with a handy site summary.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Ideal Companion for Both Hobby Collectors and Experienced Professionals

The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the locations as well as numerous pictures showcasing the types of fossil that can be found at each site.  It is a family friendly publication, aimed at providing a stimulus for those new to the hobby to explore our country’s rich fossil heritage.  In addition, the authors have skilfully embellished each entry with insightful and informative details, of assistance to even the most experienced palaeontologist.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are familiar with many of the places featured in this fossil hunting guide, but we found that there was still plenty to learn from this lovingly compiled publication.  Knowledge gained from leading numerous UKAFH fossil hunting trips has been woven together to fill a gap in the publishing industry’s portfolio, here is a book written by passionate fossil collectors, for fellow enthusiasts and, for those just starting out.

Helpful and Useful Information to Assist Fossil Hunters

A well illustrated fossil hunting guide to England and Wales.

An essential companion for hobbyists and for more experienced fossil collectors.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Essential Guide to Fossil Hunting in England and Wales

With a foreword from the highly-respected palaeontologist Dean Lomax, “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” is an essential guidebook to fossil hunting.  It explains how and where to look for fossils, what tools are required and how to prepare and preserve your specimens.  There is even a section dedicated to identifying and labelling fossil finds and we commend the authors for including copious amounts of information about safe and responsible collecting, as well as highlighting the Fossil Collecting Code.

Straight forward guides to stratigraphy, fantastic fossil pictures and jam-packed with helpful tips and advice, “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”, is an ideal reference for students, amateurs, professionals and for families looking for a rewarding day out.

Make room on your bookshelf for this publication, although we suspect it won’t stay on there for long, it will be out with you, providing a worthy companion to your own time travelling adventures.

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales”

ISBN: 978 992997991

Pages: 288

Publisher: Siri Scientific Press

Release date: February 1st 2017 (RRP = £18.00)

Advance copies can be purchased from Siri Scientific Press: Purchase “A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England and Wales” here!

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs: 2nd Edition Reviewed

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs: 2nd Edition Reviewed

In 2011, team members at Everything Dinosaur had the pleasure of reviewing “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs” by Gregory S. Paul.  A second edition of this book has just been published, it reflects the dramatic increase in our knowledge of the Dinosauria that has taken place over the last five years or so.  This updated and revised edition is essential reading for fans of dinosaurs, as well as academics and professional palaeontologists.

The Front Cover of “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”

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

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (second edition).

Picture Credit: Princeton University Press

A Comprehensive Overview of the Dinosauria

This large format book, is more than ten percent bigger than its predecessor, a testament to the increase in the number of new dinosaur genera and species that have been discovered.  The second edition includes details of some one hundred new dinosaur species plus updated illustrations and information on very well-known prehistoric animals such as Triceratops and Brontosaurus.

Using the tried and tested formula of the first book, Gregory S. Paul guides the reader through the history of dinosaur research, before defining dinosaurs and introducing some of the latest ideas about their biology, senses, vocalisation and pathologies.  The author considers aspects of dinosaur behaviour including an assessment of dinosaurs as social, herding animals.  Particular attention is given to the evolution and loss of avian flight, in fact, throughout this volume, the close relationship between the Aves (birds) and Dinosauria is emphasised and exquisitely illustrated with a plethora of feathered dinosaur drawings.

Group and Species Accounts

Each of the main groups of dinosaurs, the Theropods, Sauropodomorphs and the Ornithischians is taken in turn and skilfully segmented to reveal their anatomical relationships.  Many of the individual dinosaur descriptions have been extensively revised and expanded, none more so than the likes of Deinocheirus mirificus that adorns the front cover, just one of over two hundred new and updated illustrations.

Gregory S. Paul has done a great deal to help change people’s perceptions towards the Dinosauria, his latest book, “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”, has clearly been a labour of love for this leading dinosaur illustrator and researcher.  It is crammed full of fascinating information, beautiful drawings and the author’s trademark skeletal reconstructions.  This new for 2016 edition, remains a must-have for avid dinosaur fans as well as appealing to the general reader with an interest in how some of the most spectacular lifeforms to have ever existed on our planet evolved and flourished.

Filled with Beautiful Illustrations “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs

Wonderful dinosaur drawings Stenonychosaurus inequalis (nomen dubium).

Picture Credit: Gregory S. Paul (Princeton University Press)

Book Details:

Title: “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs” by Gregory S. Paul

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691167664

More details and book orders can be made here: “Princeton University Press”

Recently, Everything Dinosaur reviewed the excellent “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”, an up-to-date guide to the diverse and eclectic prehistoric mammals that evolved after the extinction of the Dinosauria.  This volume includes many reconstructions of prehistoric mammals never before depicted.

To read our review of this well-researched and superbly illustrated book: The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals

Two Books Definitely Worth Adding to Your Christmas Shopping List

Great prehistoric animal books.

Two superb prehistoric animal books.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals Reviewed

A Review of The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals

Had you been around in the middle of the 19th Century and taken the opportunity to visit any one of the burgeoning number of natural history museums, you would not have found fossils of dinosaurs dominating the main galleries.  Prior to the American “bone wars” that led to the naming and describing of a number of iconic dinosaurs from the western United States, it was the many and varied prehistoric mammals that held centre stage.  Visitors would have marvelled at the fossilised bones of giant sloths, the antlers of immense ancient elks, bizarre elephants with downward pointing tusks and long-extinct cats with sabre-teeth.

Today, we have a much better understanding of the animals that came to dominate the Earth after the demise of the dinosaurs, more knowledge than the Victorians would ever have imagined.  These prehistoric beasts, their evolutionary history, diversity and variety are documented in a new book by Princeton University Press – “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”.  Written by American palaeontologist Donald Ross Prothero (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and Professor Emeritus of Geology at Occidental College) and beautifully illustrated by renowned scientific illustrator Mary Persis Williams, this publication is a “must have” for academics and for fans of fossils as well as anyone with an interest in general science.

The Front Cover of “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”

Documenting prehistoric mammals.

“The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”.

Picture Credit: Princeton University Press

A Comprehensive Inventory of Prehistoric Mammals

Following a similar format to “The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs”, compiled by Gregory S. Paul (expect a review of the second edition of this excellent dinosaur book shortly on this blog site), the author provides a general overview on the evolutionary history of the Mammalia before moving on to describe in detail representatives of each of the major groups of fossil mammals.  Mary’s fantastic drawings are augmented with stunning pictures of key fossils and the easy-to-follow text is supported by numerous cladistic diagrams that help to demonstrate the taxonomic relationships between the different types of prehistoric mammal featured in this comprehensive overview.

The Messel Shale Beds of Germany

Highlights include an extensive cataloguing of insectivorous mammals, bats (Chiroptera) and early primates illustrated by a number of detailed images showcasing the exquisite mammal fossils excavated from the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Messel Shales.  Readers can learn how, over time, horses evolved from cat-sized forest creatures to the long-limbed animals of today, or indeed how the ancestry of dolphins and whales can be traced back to hoofed, terrestrials.

The Fossil Jaws of the Eocene Toothed Whale Basilosaurus

Basilosaurus whale skull.

The primitive whale Basilosaurus is featured in chapter 14 (pp 162-163).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 There is certainly a great deal to commend this book.  Each of the major groups of mammals is discussed in turn, no mean feat, given the great abundance and variety of Cenozoic mammals that are recorded in the fossil record.  After all, dinosaur discoveries may make headlines, but as any vertebrate palaeontologist will tell you, the fossil record of the Mammalia over the last sixty-six million years or so is much more complete and arguably, a lot more complicated.

It is the little flourishes that appeal the most, those little details that demonstrate that this was a book that has been crafted, with the author and illustrator united in the desire to tell the story of our closest relatives in the tree of life.  For example, there is an extensive “Further Reading” section at the end of the book and within the index a handy pronunciation guide has been provided.

Thoughtful and Provocative

The closing chapter, (chapter 18), sets out to answer some of the questions associated with mammalian evolution after the Cretaceous mass extinction event that saw the end of the non-avian dinosaurs and many other kinds of giant reptile.  The author tackles questions such as “how did mammals diversify after the dinosaurs vanished?”  “Why were some prehistoric mammals so big and why have most of the huge mammals disappeared?”  These are the sort of questions that may well have vexed those Victorian visitors to museums, such questions still fascinate and Donald R. Prothero skilfully constructs answers, illustrating the points made in support of his arguments with some of the latest research on prehistoric mammals.  As to the future, the closing remarks in this 240-page volume, make sober reading.  Many mammals are on the brink of extinction, iconic mammals of today, may not be around within the lifetime of the people reading this book.

Due out towards the end of November 2016, “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals” is highly recommended.

More details and book orders can be made here: “Princeton University Press”

Book Details:

Title: “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals” by by Donald R. Prothero, with illustrations by Mary Persis Williams

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691156828

Prehistoric Times (Issue 119) Reviewed

A Review of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Autumn 2016)

The bumper autumn edition of Prehistoric Times has hit the office mat and Everything Dinosaur team members have been eagerly thumbing through its colourful pages.  All hail talented palaeoartist Fabio Pastori whose depiction of the tyrannosaurid affectionately known as Stan (STAN-BHI3033) adorns the front cover.  This is the fifth time that Fabio has produced front cover artwork for Prehistoric Times, it is always a pleasure to see his work and sure enough, there is plenty of Fabio’s amazing prehistoric themed artwork to marvel at inside, look out for the “picture perfect Cryolophosaurus” article.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Issue 119)

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 119)

A very colourful and action packed front cover.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

Acrocanthosaurus and Eohippus Inside

 The two featured prehistoric animals in this issue are the monstrous Acrocanthosaurus and the diminutive “dawn horse” Eohippus, Phil Hore does a good job producing updates on these two ancient creatures and both his articles are embellished with plenty of reader submitted artwork.  Amongst our favourites in the Acrocanthosaurus dedicated copy is the line drawing by Rich Morris and the image created by Manuel Gil Jaramallo, which reminded us of the Battat Acrocanthosaurus replica.  Look out for the wonderful model of Eohippus made by the great and sadly no longer with us, Ray Harryhausen, for the 1969 fantasy adventure film “Valley of the Gwangi”.

Regular contributor Tracy Lee Ford dedicates his how to draw dinosaurs series to Torosaurus and unravelling the rather complicated relationship this large herbivore has with other Late Cretaceous members of the Chasmosaurinae clade.  Once again this is a very well written and informative piece.  Fabio Pastori’s artwork can be seen throughout much of this edition of Prehistoric Times.  For example, in an article on spectacular Upper Jurassic fossils “What is Quarry 5?”  Fabio’s illustrations are used to bring various Stegosaurs and Sauropods to life.

To visit the Prehistoric Times website and for information on how to subscribe to Prehistoric Times magazine: Prehistoric Times

Don’t forget to check out part two of the excellent article on dinosaur name pronunciation and the third part of the Golden Age of Burian and his wonderful illustrations of prehistoric landscapes (article by John R. Lavas), this article is worth the cover price alone.

Once again Prehistoric Times delivers, it is jam-packed full of fascinating articles and features, enough to satisfy the appetite of even the most enthusiastic dinosaur fan.

Countdown to the Frankfurt Book Fair

One Week Until the Frankfurt Book Fair

Just under a week to go now until the grand opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair (19th-23rd October).  The “Frankfurter Buchmesse” is the world’s largest trade fair for books and publications, based on the number of print houses and publishing companies that exhibit in the vast and sprawling trade halls.   More than a quarter of a million visitors are expected to attend and for teaching professionals and for those responsible for book procurement for schools, this event provides a wonderful opportunity to catch up on the latest trends within educational publishing.

The Frankfurt Book Fair Opens Next Week

Frankfurther Buchmesse logo (2016).

Frankfurt Book Fair logo (2016).

Picture Credit: The Frankfurt Book Fair Press

Over the course of the five-day event, the city of Frankfurt’s population could swell by us much as 20% as visitors from all over the world flock to, for what is for many, the centre of the book publishing world.  After all, this part of southern central Germany can trace its roots in the printing industry back some five centuries or more.  The first three days are allocated to trade visitors, on the weekend, members of the public are able to attend and meet the many thousands of exhibitors, from over 100 different countries, many of who are specialists in the field of educational publishing.

Literacy and English National Curriculum

When the Department of Education outlined the new curriculum for schools, it placed a great emphasis on reading skills and the development of language.  Everything Dinosaur team members work mainly with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 teaching teams and within the blueprints for the new curriculum’s roll out, the Dept. of Education stated that reading helps pupils to develop emotionally, culturally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.   Within our own workshops for schools, especially when working with Key Stage 1 classes, we try to build in extension exercises that involve the children exploring both non-fiction and fiction texts.

We may live in a society increasingly dominated by downloads, catch-ups and re-winds but it is through reading that children can acquire knowledge and build upon what they already know.  Young boys can become disillusioned about reading, however, when given the chance to read a book all about dinosaurs they relish the opportunity.

The Aim of Many Teachers to Develop a Lifelong Appreciation of Books

Browsing books.

Time for browsing at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Picture Credit: The Frankfurt Book Fair Press

The Frankfurt Book Fair is considered by many as being the most important event of its kind in terms of international deals and trading.  However, teachers and administrators responsible for the school library can also find much to inspire them and assist them with their work.  The school library is often a hub of learning within the school and provides a valuable focal point for developing a coordinated reading policy throughout the educational establishment.  Such a library represents the very first place where children encounter a multitude of books for the very first time.  It has been reported that the average UK household contains only around 150 books in total, so a well-stocked school library can appear like a magical “Aladdin’s Cave” to eager young readers.

The Reading Socio-economic Divide

In a survey carried out by the charity Booktrust and published in the early months of 2014, the socio-economic divide between readers and non-readers within the UK was highlighted.  Based on a survey of fifteen hundred adults, the researchers found that on average, the better-off the person the more likely they were to read regularly.  Key links were identified between a person’s propensity to read and their social background.  A high proportion of people from low income groups admitted that they never read.  Young people, especially men with a relatively poor education, were the least likely to read regularly.  The Dept. of Education concluded in its framework document for the future direction of the English national curriculum by stating that the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of our society.  People who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

All praise to the Frankfurt Book Fair and to the many teachers, home educationalists and education professionals who are inspired by what they see (and read) there.

The Next Edition of Prehistoric Times

Sneak Peek – Prehistoric Times (Issue 119)

Our thanks to Mike Fredericks (editor), who emailed over to Everything Dinosaur an image of the front cover of the next issue of Prehistoric Times, which is due out shortly.  It was a cheering sight amidst the dark clouds, torrential rain and thunder that we experienced yesterday evening.  It was definitely a night for staying indoors and perusing previous editions of this quarterly magazine for dinosaur fans and collectors of prehistoric animal models.

The Front Cover of the Next Prehistoric Times

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 119)

A very colourful and action packed front cover.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

The front cover artwork has been provided by the fabulously talented palaeoartist Fabio Pastori, what a spectacular pair of fighting tyrannosaurids!  If we recall correctly, the last time the artwork of Fabio graced the front cover was back in the winter of 2014 (issue 108), we look forward to seeing more of Fabio’s amazing illustrations in the autumn edition, which should be with us shortly.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s review of the winter 2014 issue of Prehistoric Times: A Review of Prehistoric Times (issue 108)

Zdeněk Burian

The autumn edition also contains a feature on the prehistoric landscapes of Zdeněk Burian, a Czech artist and book illustrator whose prehistoric animal illustrations played a pivotal role in the development of scientific drawings used by museums and book publishers.  This artist, whose work can be found in many natural history museums throughout the world, is regarded by many people as the doyen of palaeontological artwork.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur are also looking forward to the special features on Acrocanthosaurus and the “dawn horse” Eohippus, which will also be included in the forthcoming issue.

Prehistoric Times, is an excellent magazine for the serious dinosaur fan, to visit Prehistoric Times website, simply click the link below:

Visit Prehistoric Times: Prehistoric Times Magazine

Our thanks to Mike Fredericks for sending us a sneaky peek of the front cover.

Everything Dinosaur Reviews Prehistoric Times Issue 118

A Review of Prehistoric Times (Summer 2016)

It might seem quite odd to have the front cover of the latest edition of Prehistoric Times magazine depicting a confrontation between two Smilodon and a Woolly Mammoth, especially since it is the summer issue, but as Californian-based editor Mike Fredericks points out, on the west coast of the United States it is currently baking hot.  A snowy, Pleistocene scene might help readers in hotter parts of the world forget the heat, oh, if only we in the United Kingdom had such worries.  Two days with temperatures above thirty degrees Celsius has been our lot so far this summer.  Never mind we can always browse through the latest edition of Prehistoric Times, to take our minds off the incessant rain.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (issue 118)

Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 118)

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (Summer 2016)

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

The front cover artwork was created by Franco Tempesta and editor Mike conducts an in-depth interview with the talented Italian palaeoartist.  This very informative and well-written piece is complimented by a number of Franco’s fantastic illustrations, look out in particular for the beautiful Confuciusornis images.  Talking of flying prehistoric creatures, check out the fabulous article on the Pterosaurs of Brazil contributed by Sergio Luis Fica Biston.  This article too, features some brilliant artwork.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Entelodonts

Phil Hore conducts a tour of the “killer pigs”, the Entelodonts, enormous omnivores that roamed much of the northern latitudes until around 19 million years ago.  In addition, Phil discusses the exceptionally rare “dinosaur mummies” and accompanying his article is a photograph of a mummified Hadrosaur from the American Museum of Natural History plus illustrations from the likes of Chris Srnka, Betty Reid Martin and Julius Csotonyi.  Regular contributor Tracy Lee Ford continues the “mummified dinosaur” theme by demonstrating how to draw dinosaur skin, scales and mummies in a comprehensive overview.  Amongst the regular features such as the palaeonews, classifieds, collector’s corner and Mesozoic media, look out for the “speaking dinosaur” section, part 1 of a glossary and pronunciation guide by Carl Masthay and Robert Telleria – what a great idea for an article!

Check out the Amazing CollectA Daeodon Figure Drawing Commissioned by Everything Dinosaur that Features in Prehistoric Times (summer 2016)

One of the "ugly ones".

One of the “ugly ones” – Daeodon by Mike Fredericks.

Subscribe to Prehistoric Times Magazine

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

Information for Prehistoric Animal Model Collectors

Fans of Marx figures and Marx dinosaur play-sets get an update on the changing characteristic of these iconic models from their 1960’s origins up into the 1970’s.  Pat Schaefer takes readers through the finer points of Marx collectables and in between editing the magazine, Mike Fredericks takes time out to let readers know about new model kits and figures that are available, the majority of which are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur Everything Dinosaur.

Mike Howgate provides the second part of his review of the prehistoric plaster models made by Vernon Edwards in the 1920’s.  In this piece, his focus is on the models used to illustrate a series of cigarette cards.  If you want to see a Corythosaurus advertising tobacco then this is the article for you.

All in all, this magazine is a jam-packed edition, there is certainly enough in the summer issue of Prehistoric Times to take your mind off the weather, no matter how hot (or wet) it gets!

Staypressed theme by Themocracy