Category: Dinosaur Fans

Young Palaeontologists Design Dinosaur T-shirts

Competition Winners Receive Their Dinosaur T-Shirts

A very big thank you to the many clever, creative fans of all things Cretaceous who entered Everything Dinosaur’s design your own dinosaur themed T-shirt competition.  We had no idea how powerful social media could be and thanks to all our friends on Facebook, Twitter followers and such like we were inundated with entries.

Our idea was simple, if Everything Dinosaur team members having put down their geological hammers and magnifying glasses, were working on some ideas for a range of children’s tees with a prehistoric animal theme, why not, just for a bit of fun, give budding young palaeontologists a go too.  So we posted up on our Facebook page, Blog, Twitter etc. information about the competition and offered as a prize the winning design being made up into a T-shirt – a sort of “dinosaur designer label” that would be unique to our contest winner.

We had freakish flying reptiles, cute baby dinosaurs, marauding marine monsters, Triassic terrors – all sorts of amazing drawings and pictures sent into us from all over the world.  Fortunately, those clever primates from Shirt Monkey, the direct to garment T-shirt design specialists with whom Everything Dinosaur has been working with on this project, were able to help out and after much deliberation a winning design was chosen.

One of the Many Dinosaur Themed T-Shirt Designs Received

Great  volcano design - thanks Mariread

Great volcano design – thanks Mairead (age 10)

Picture Credit: Mairead (thanks Carol [mum])

The competition was won by 12 year-old Holly who lives in France.  The winning design showed a huge dinosaur foot crushing a tea cup with the caption “T (tea) Wrecks”.  Holly’s mum contacted Everything Dinosaur and asked whether two “unique” tees could be made up as Harri, Holly’s younger sister, wanted one as well.

Holly and Harri Show Off their Winning T-Shirts

"Tea wrecks T-shirts"

“Tea wrecks T-shirts”

Sue Judd from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This is the first time that we have involved our social media following in a new product range launch such as this.  We had competition entries from all over the world and in addition, we got some amazing feedback as we posted up some of our own T-shirt designs and ideas.  It’s been a real consultation process and we are grateful for all the advice and feedback received.”

Holly’s Winning T-Shirt Design Coming off the Production Line

The winning design comes off the production line.

The winning design comes off the production line.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Shirt Monkey

Holly wants to be a palaeontologist when she is older, with a new dinosaur species being named every 20-30 days or so there are going to be a lot of new dinosaurs for Holly to study.

The Completed T-Shirt “Tea Wrecks” Ready for Shipping

A giant T. rex foot about to wreck an enormous tea cup.

A giant T. rex foot about to wreck an enormous tea cup.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Shirt Monkey

The first three dinosaur themed T-shirts from Everything Dinosaur are going into production next week, and should be up on line at Dinosaur Themed Clothing very shortly.

A Trio of Dinosaur Themed Tees

The first of the dinosaur themed T-shirts from Everything Dinosaur.

The first of the dinosaur themed T-shirts from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Shirt Monkey

The 100% cotton T-shirts will be available in size ranges from 3-4 years up to age 9 to 11 and at each stage of the design process Everything Dinosaur consulted with its Facebook fans and social media followers to seek advice and approval for the work being done.  The use of social media has provided the company with yet more channels to build up two-way communication with its customers and fans.

To visit those clever T-shirt specialists at Shirt Monkey: Direct to Garment Specialists Shirt Monkey

Evolution and Extinction of the African Carcharodontosauridae

“Shark Toothed Lizard” – The Rise and Fall of Carcharodontosaurus

The Carcharodontosaurus genus currently consists of two species, the first of which Carcharodontosaurus saharicus  (originally called Megalosaurus saharicus), is known from fossil material found in North Africa.  The second species, named and described in 2007, was erected following fossil finds, including skull material from the Echkar Formation of Niger, this species is known as C. iguidensis.  Although both species are known from fragmentary material and a few isolated teeth, differences in the shape of the upper jaw and the structure of the brain case enabled scientists to confidently establish Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis as a second, distinct species.

An Illustration of a Typical Carcharodontosaurid Dinosaur

Fearsome "Shark Lizard"

Fearsome “Shark Lizard”

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Carcharodontosaurus means “shark-toothed lizard”,  a reference to the fact that the teeth of this huge carnivore, reminded scientists of the teeth of sharks belonging to the Carcharodon genus of sharks, such as the teeth of the Great White Shark (C. carcharias).  It is ironic that this terrestrial predator should be named after a marine carnivore, as changing sea levels very probably influenced the evolution of these dinosaurs and may have ultimately led to their extinction, at least from Africa.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta dinosaur models including a 1:40 scale Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus: Collecta Scale Dinosaur Models

Pronounced - Car-car-oh-dont-toe-sore-us, the oldest dinosaur currently assigned to the Carcharodontosauridae family is Veterupristisaurus (Vet-ter-roo-pris-tee-sore-us).  This dinosaur was named and described in 2011, although the fossil material was discovered over seventy-five years ago.   The fossils come from the famous Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania, it lived during the Late Jurassic and the trivial name V. milneri honours the now retired Angela Milner who worked at the Natural History Museum (London).

Carcharodontosaurus lived during the Cretaceous (Late Albian to mid Cenomanian faunal stages).  During this time, the great, southern super-continent called Gondwanaland continued to break up and as sea levels rose, so populations of dinosaurs became separated by the inflow of sea water.

Rising Sea Levels Influence Dinosaur Evolution

Rising sea levels but off dinosaur populations.

Rising sea levels cut off dinosaur populations.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Communities became isolated and this may have provided a boost to the evolution of new species.  The map shows the approximate location of fossil material associated with C. saharicus and C. iguidensis.  Populations of carcharodontosaurids may have become cut-off from each other and this gave rise to new species of Carcharodontosaurus.  This may help to explain the abundance of super-sized predators that lived in this part of the world during the Cretaceous.  Both species of Carcharodontosaurus shared a common ancestor, but their separation led to the evolution of two, distinct species.  This natural process is called allopatric speciation.

Sadly for the mega fauna that inhabited the coastal swamps and verdant flood plains of North Africa, rising sea levels in the later stages of the Cenomanian led to the destruction of much of this habitat.  The loss of habitat probably led to the demise of the ecosystem and the vulnerable apex predators such as the carcharodontosaurids and the spinosaurids became extinct.

To read an article on the discovery of C. iguidensisNew Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaur from Africa

A Video Review of the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Collecta Saurophaganax – A Video Review

Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy writing scripts for video reviews on the latest batch of Collecta prehistoric animal models to be received into our warehouse.  The first of these model reviews features Saurophaganax, arguably one of the biggest meat-eating dinosaurs known to science.  In this short (six minutes, thirteen seconds) video, we look at the Collecta Saurophaganax in more detail, explain why there is still confusion over this genus and reflect on how a 145 million year old dinosaur is still capable of harming people today.

Everything Dinosaur’s Review of the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta prehistoric animals: Collecta Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

Collecta have made a number of allosaurid models, they certainly have expanded their model range in recent years and this Collecta Saurophaganax dinosaur model is a super addition to the company’s not-to-scale model series.

Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Stegosaurus Corpse from Collecta in the Spotlight

The model making company called Collecta have recently added a replica of a dead Stegosaurus to their prehistoric animals model range.  This is the second dinosaur corpse introduced by Collecta, the Stegosaurus following the Triceratops carcase that was added in 2012.

The Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse Dinosaur Model

Attacked by an Allosaurus?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Stegosaurus is one of the easiest to recognise dinosaurs with its rows of plates running along its back and the spikes on its tail.  The Stegosauria is actually represented by a large number of different genera, these  herbivorous dinosaurs probably first appeared in Asia, and then migrated to North America, Africa and into Europe.  The type of Stegosaur that most people are familiar with has the plate layout and spikes seen in this Collecta replica, representing a Stegosaurus from the Late Jurassic of the western United States.

Most model collectors and young dinosaur fans have several Stegosaurus models in their collections, however, the introduction of a Stegosaur corpse will help model makers to create an authentic scene reflecting life in the Late Jurassic.  This Stegosaurus has been attacked and killed by a large meat-eating dinosaur, potentially something like an Allosaurus or possibly another member of the allosaurid family called a Saurophaganax.  Coincidently, both an Allosaurus and a Saurophaganax model are made by Collecta and available from Everything Dinosaur.

Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse and the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Food for a dinosaur?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Stegosaurus corpse measures 18 centimetres in length and although it is not part of a scale model series,  it is designed to fit approximately to the scale of a number of Late Jurassic dinosaur models made by Collecta in the same figure range.  The model is very well sculpted with lots of detail, we particularly appreciate the fine wrinkles and folds depicted as part of the skin texture.

If we focus on the topside of the model, for the moment, we can see that the body cavity has been opened exposing the ribs and parts of the intestinal tract.   A nice touch from the artists at Collecta are the rivulets of partially congealed blood that can be seen on the lower portion of the belly.

Lots of Detail on the Stegosaurus Figure

Some gory details on this Collecta Stegosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are deep wounds visible in the upper arm/shoulder area and also at the back of the thigh.  These wounds are probably post-mortem, that is they occurred as the carcase was fed upon and they were not the result of any injuries from combat.  The thigh bone along with the humerus and the scapula, the shoulder blades, supported large muscles and it is these fleshy areas along with organs such as the liver that were likely to have been consumed first by any predator.

To view the Collecta range of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Collecta Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

If we consider the underside of the model, we can see evidence of a bite on one of those famous back plates and there is a small bite mark on the tail.  The most obvious flesh wound is a large wound  at the top of the neck.  The design team at Collecta probably wanted to indicate that this was the fatal injury that brought this large herbivore down.  Clearly from what we can see in this replica, the model makers have taken great care to depict the Stegosaurus corpse and to reflect the pathology seen in the model, to what may very probably have happened in a fight to the death between a Stegosaur and a large, meat-eating Theropod dinosaur.

A corpse such as this would have provided a large carnivore, an Allosaurus for example, with enough food to keep the animal going for several weeks.  Without a better understanding of dinosaur metabolism, how long a single Stegosaur corpse could have sustained a big meat-eater is open to speculation.  However, the carcase would have attracted a lot of scavengers and if this skeleton had been preserved as part of the fossil record, palaeontologists would probably have found gouge marks on the bones and evidence of feeding by smaller dinosaurs, perhaps even broken teeth in association with the Stegosaur remains.

The model is beautifully painted. The Stegosaur has a bluey/green body with a lighter underside and the plates and tail spikes are painted a combination of orange and brown.  It is a skilfully crafted dinosaur replica.

Papo Baby Triceratops – A Written Review

Papo Baby Triceratops Gets Reviewed

The last of the 2014 model introductions into the Papo range has arrived at Everything Dinosaur, it is the baby Triceratops replica and this is our review of this Papo dinosaur model.

Although Triceratops fossil material accounts for nearly forty percent of all the dinosaur fossils excavated from the famous Hell Creek Formation of the United States, fossils of baby dinosaurs are exceptionally rare.  Although there have been a few examples, including fragmentary elements of skull material from juvenile Triceratops often found in association with the bones of adult animals.  This association of bones from younger animals found with the fossilised remains of larger, older animals suggests that this horned dinosaur may have lived in small herds or even family groups.

Young, juvenile Triceratops would have relied upon the protection of adult animals.  A herd structure made up of dinosaurs of different ages would have made an effective defensive strategy against attacks from marauding Tyrannosaurs.

The Baby Triceratops Dinosaur Model from Papo

New for 2014 from Papo

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Papo Dinosaur models at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

The new baby Triceratops model manufactured by Papo measures around ten centimetres in length and the head with its small, brow horns and neck crest stands around five and a half centimetres high.  It is not possible to determine the age.  However, in 1997 the thirty centimetre long, nearly complete skull of a juvenile Triceratops was collected from the Montana portion of the Hell Creek Formation.  Its brow horns, horns that would grow to be more than a metre long in adults, were only a couple of inches in size and it was estimated that this specimen was around a year old or thereabouts.

The Papo baby Triceratops is obviously well fed as the model makers at Papo have given their replica a big stomach and there are lots of skin detail to admire both on the top and on the underside of this figure.  Along the back, the model has been given rows of larger scales, which are painted an off-white colour to help them stand out against the metallic grey colouration of the flanks, limbs and down the tail.  It has even been described as looking quite cute.

A Cute Baby Triceratops Dinosaur Model

Cute for a Triceratops?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The head shows lots of detail and reflects the fossil material found in Montana back in 1997.  The face has a greenish tint to it and the skull crest has been painted a sandy colour, with larger scales highlighted in black.  Interestingly, the neck shield has definite scalloped edges to it, these wavy edges were replaced in fully mature animals by the development of triangular scales along the edge of the adult frill.  The neck shield of this Papo model reflects quite accurately what is now known about the frills of juvenile Triceratops.

One small point to make about the feet, although the hind feet on this replica have the correct number of toes (four), the front feet are missing a digit.  Triceratops had five digits on its front feet, the Papo  baby Triceratops shows only four digits on its front feet.

This replica with its typical baby dinosaur features, the disproportionately large skull, the big eyes, small horns and short tail, works very well when it is placed alongside the adult Triceratops figure which was introduced by Papo into their prehistoric animal model range sometime ago.

Two Triceratops Models Available from Everything Dinosaur

The baby Triceratops figure next to the adult Papo Triceratops

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

All in all this is an excellent young Triceratops dinosaur model.  For example, if you look very closely at the open jaws ,details of the animal’s palate can be made out in the roof of the mouth along with a small, pink tongue filling the lower jaw.  This replica is a welcome addition to the Papo model range.

Flags out for Collecta

New Collecta Models – Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Mammals

Fact sheets have been prepared, scale drawings commissioned and checked and its full speed ahead at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse as team members eagerly await the arrival of the latest batch of 2014 Collecta models. Staff have had prototypes of the new models for some time and indeed, Everything Dinosaur was one of the first organisations to get stocks of the Quetzalcoatlus with prey, the Ichthyovenator and the delightful Xenoceratops, soon we will be able to add a lot more including a replica of a palm tree.

New Collecta Models for 2014

New Collecta prehistoric animal models

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The full list of models due into stock goes something like this: Deluxe 1:20 scale Arsinoitherium, Deluxe 1:40 scale Therizinosaurus, more stock of the extremely popular Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus, the Coconut Palm Tree replica, Bistahieversor, Saurophaganax, Gastonia, the juvenile T. rex, and the mighty Mosasaurus.  Almost too many for us to remember.

New Collecta Models due to Arrive Shortly

Is there room in our warehouse for all of these?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta models: Collecta Prehistoric Animals

For fans of prehistoric scenery, Everything Dinosaur will be adding the Collecta Coconut Palm model to its stock.  This model of a stand of palm trees is ideal for helping to create prehistoric scenes.  Palm trees are a relatively ancient group of flowering plants (angiosperms), with palm tree fossils associated with Upper Cretaceous and Early Palaeogene strata.

New for 2014 The Collecta Palm Tree Replica

Tropical Plants from Collecta

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

So its full steam ahead for Collecta.

Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Model – A Video Review

A Video Review of the Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Corpse

The second, deceased dinosaur model to be included in the Collecta prehistoric animal replicas range is a model of a Stegosaurus corpse.  In this brief video (five minutes, thirty-two seconds), Everything Dinosaur looks at this dinosaur model in more detail and comments on the quality of this replica as well as explaining the pattern of the wounds such as the bite marks on the body.

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review (Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse)

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Most prehistoric animal model collectors have a number of Stegosaurs in their collection, thanks to Collecta, they can now obtain an authentic replica of a dead Stegosaurus, which is ideal for dioramas and for creating prehistoric scenes.  Bring on the Theropods.

To see the range of Collecta prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Collecta Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Collecta Quetzalcoatlus with Prey Model

Quetzalcoatlus with Prey Model Reviewed

Over the last twenty years or so, our knowledge about flying reptiles (the Pterosaurs), has greatly increased, thanks to amazing, new fossil discoveries from countries such as Brazil and China and also as a consequence of sophisticated and innovative research carried out on a number of specimens housed in museum collections and this is a review of the recently introduced Collecta Quetzalcoatlus with prey prehistoric animal model.

Most flying reptile models depict these reptiles with their wings stretched out as if in flight, but this new replica bucks this trend by showing a Quetzalcoatlus on the ground, in a quadrupedal  pose.  Quetzalcoatlus fossils have been found in Texas and it was one of the very last of the Pterosaurs, living at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

The Collecta Quetzalcoatlus with Prey Model

A modern interpretation of a flying reptile.

A modern interpretation of a flying reptile.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossils of this Pterosaur have been found in sediments that were laid down inland.  Palaeontologists have long debated how such a huge animal, with a wingspan in excess of ten metres, and standing taller than a giraffe, might have lived.  Perhaps, Pterosaurs like Quetzalcoatlus filled the ecological niche of scavengers, like vultures do today.  An alternative view is that these large animals were active hunters, stalking the open plains and snatching up prey, just like Marabou storks do today in sub-Saharan Africa.

Did Large Azhdarchid Pterosaurs Stalk Prey on the Ground?

Some Pterosaurs were as tall as a giraffe.

Some Pterosaurs were as tall as a giraffe.

Picture Credit: M. Witton

The model depicts Quetzalcoatlus having just grabbed a baby Titanosaur, the Titanosaur species is an Alamosaurus, a long-necked dinosaur whose fossils have been found in the southern United States in rocks that date to approximately the same time as the strata in which Quetzalcoatlus fossils were found.  The Quetzalcoatlus with Titanosaur model, portrays this large Pterosaur as an active hunter, although it is very likely that in common with most other carnivores, these reptiles would have fed on the carcases of dead dinosaurs too.  The Titanosaur has been glued into the long beak,  however, we are aware of a number of model collectors who have carefully filed down the pegs that help secure the baby dinosaur in place, thus removing the Titanosaur from out of the Quetzalcoatlus’s mouth.  The baby dinosaur can be removed but we would urge caution for anyone attempting to do this.

The Quetzalcoatlus with Prey (Close up)

Feeding on young Titanosaurs.

Feeding on young Titanosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The model has been carefully painted, the body is brown in colour with a pale yellow underside.  The enormous beak has been painted mostly black, but it does reveal lots of detail, some flashes of colour for example, and the sculptors have been keen to depict the nostrils, these can be located roughly half-way along the beak’s length.  The folded wings are painted a battleship grey.

The body of this flying reptile has been textured to give the impression that it was covered in a shaggy, rough-looking coat.  A number of Pterosaur fossils have now been excavated that reveal that these reptiles had bodies that were covered in hair-like structures.

The model measures around 12 centimetres tall, based on an adult azhdarchid Pterosaur like Quetzalcoatlus standing close to 6 metres high, we estimate that this replica is in approximately  1:48 scale.  The head looks massive in comparison to the body-size and the tiny feet, however, these proportions are correct.  Pterosaurs like Quetzalcoatlus had the longest skulls of any terrestrial Tetrapod.  This model is part of the huge Collecta prehistoric animal model series, this is a not-to-scale range of figures.

Collecta also make a number of scale model prehistoric animals, these are often referred to as “Deluxe”.  There is even a Pterosaur represented in this model series (Pteranodon).

To view the Collecta range of scale models: Collecta Deluxe Models

Reflecting a Modern Interpretation of the Pterosauria

A long, shaggy, insulating coat.

A long, shaggy, insulating coat.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is a beautifully crafted, hand-painted replica of a Quetzalcoatlus with prey.  It is an exciting addition to the Collecta range of prehistoric animals and we at Everything Dinosaur send out a Quetzalcoatlus fact sheet with each model that we sell.

To view the Collecta range of not to scale prehistoric animals: Collecta Prehistoric Animals

What Kind of Prehistoric Animal was Urvogel?

Explaining about Archaeopteryx

Earlier this week, Everything Dinosaur was emailed by a young dinosaur fan who asked about a prehistoric animal named Urvogel.  She had come across it whilst learning about the famous fossil site of Solnhofen in southern Germany.  The word “Urvogel” is German and it means “first bird”, it refers to Archaeopteryx (A. lithographica), the fossils of which are synonymous with the finely grained limestone beds of the Solnhofen quarries.

The Ancient “Dino-Bird” Archaeopteryx

the first bird - "Urvogel".

the first bird – “Urvogel”.

Picture Credit: Carl Buell

Palaeontologists now know that this creature, fossils of which show a transitional form between Theropod dinosaurs and birds, was probably not the first bird to evolve.  However, when a spectacular fossil discovery was announced in 1861, Archaeopteryx became the first feathered fossil of its kind to be formerly studied and its fossils caused a sensation, as only two years before Charles Darwin had published “The Origin of Species” that outlined the case for evolution and natural selection.

The Solnhofen limestone deposits are finely grained and they outcrop in an east to west belt north of Munich and south of Nuremberg.  Hundreds of fossils of invertebrates have been found and the vertebrate fauna preserved includes over fifty types of fossil fish, around thirty reptiles (Pterosaurs, marine reptiles, dinosaurs and crocodiles).  The Solnhofen deposits are regarded as a Lagerstätte.  This is a German phrase from the words Lager (which means storage) and Stätte (which means place).  It refers to a deposit of sedimentary strata that contains a lot of fossil material that is exceptionally well preserved.

During the Late Jurassic, shallow tropical lagoons and small islands stretched all the way from Portugal in the south through France and into southern Germany.  Coral reefs formed in the tropical seas and these reefs split the coastline up forming a series of isolated lagoons.  These lagoons were cut off from the sea and also from terrestrial run off.  The salinity levels rose in the lagoons and the water may have become oxygen deficient.  This made the mud on the bottom of these lagoons almost devoid of life so any animal or plant remains that drifted into the lagoon was not consumed by scavengers.  The almost stagnant waters had little current so the remains of corpses were not broken up.  Organisms buried by the soft, carbonate muds and formed as fossils in the finely grained sediment therefore have exceptional details preserved and many of these body fossils are almost complete.

Wild Safari Dinosaurs Ammonite Model Reviewed

A Review of the Wild Safari Dinosaurs Ammonite Model

The design team at Safari Ltd have produced a number of prehistoric animal replicas over the years, broadening the scope of their Wild Safari Dinosaurs range to include other extinct creatures and not just dinosaurs.  In 2014, a model of an Ammonite was introduced to the delight of teachers, fossil hunters and model collectors alike.

The Ammonite Model (Wild Safari Dinosaurs)

Large eyes, deeply ribbed shell perhaps a model of a Pavlovia spp?

Large eyes, deeply ribbed shell perhaps a model of a Pavlovia spp?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ammonites are an extinct group of Cephalopods, that belong to the extremely diverse Mollusc phylum.  Ammonite fossils, because of their abundance and variety, are very important to geologists and palaeontologists.  Along with two other types of Mollusc, the Bivalves and the Gastropods, (for example snails), Ammonite fossils help scientists to date geological strata relative to other rock formations.

Closely related to living Cephalopods such as squid, the nautilus and cuttlefish, Ammonites lived in chambered shells.  In most species the shells were coiled round and the animal lived in the last section of the outer whorl of the coil, in what is referred to as the body chamber.  The shells made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate, are extremely numerous in the fossil record, although the soft parts, the Ammonite’s actual  body tissues are virtually unknown.

It is believed that Ammonites had eight, grasping arms and  two much larger tentacles.  These two tentacles had many suckers on the end which helped these animals grab prey.  It is likely that because of the variety and diversity of Ammonite species, that these creatures occupied a number of niches in marine food webs.  For example, large actively swimming species could have hunted fish, crustaceans or jellyfish, others may have been scavengers, many smaller species probably fed on plankton.

The Ammonite Model from Safari Ltd

A great Ammonite model for use in schools, museums and for model collectors.

A great Ammonite model for use in schools, museums and for model collectors.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Safari Ltd replica is beautifully painted, the coiled shell being a metallic bronze colour, the body chamber battleship grey with the animal itself painted in subtle oranges and pinks.  Note the large eye, like modern Cephalopods such as squid and cuttlefish , Ammonites very probably had excellent eyesight.  They were probably visual hunters, their large eyes giving them excellent peripheral vision to help them avoid predators.

When viewed from the front, a good view of the muscular arms can be obtained.  The two specialised tentacles are painted a lighter colour and can be seen projecting downwards.  The ends, of these two tentacles have been provided with a number of round suckers by the design team at Safari Ltd, these represent the soft, fleshy pad called the dactylus, the apparatus with which the Ammonite could grasp and secure prey.

A View from the Front (Anterior View) of the Ammonite Model

Eight arms and two grasping tentacles.

Eight arms and two grasping tentacles.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Projecting out from underneath is the hypernome, a narrow, muscular tube that squirted water, providing the Ammonite with a form of jet propulsion.

The shell has very prominent ribs which are raised in the last whorl of the shell to form two rows of parallel spines.  Such ornamentation would have helped protect the Ammonite from attack, perhaps deterring a marine reptile such as a Mosasaur from taking a bite.  Whilst these spines would have assisted with the animal’s defence, they do not help much with streamlining.  It may be difficult to identify the precise species that the sculptors at Safari Ltd have based their model on, but due to the shape of the shell, those large ribs and projecting points, the model probably represents quite a slow swimming species.

The Wild Safari Dinosaurs Ammonite Model

A super model of an Ammonite.

A super model of an Ammonite.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This Ammonite measures a fraction under eleven centimetres in length and the shell has a diameter of six and a half centimetres.  It is not possible to put a scale on this figure, most Ammonite species were small, with shells only a few centimetres across, although the fossil record has preserved the remains of some giant forms with shells in excess of two metres in diameter.

To view the range of Safari Ltd models: Safari Ltd Prehistoric Animal Models

It is great to see a replica of an Ammonite added to the Wild Safari Dinos model range.  It is ideal for use in schools as an inexpensive teaching aid when exploring fossils and in addition it can be added to the display cases of Ammonite fossil material to give viewers an appreciation of what the animal actually may have looked like.

This is an exciting addition to the Wild Safari Dinosaurs model range made by Safari Ltd and it means that Everything Dinosaur now has an Ammonite replica to supply to model collectors and fans of prehistoric animals.  We even supply a fact sheet all about Ammonites and this will be sent out with model sales.

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