Category: Dinosaur Fans

Cracking the Secrets of Dinosaur Eggs

University Team Hope to use Synchrotron Light Source to Scan Dinosaur Eggs

Scientists from Mississippi State University hope to learn more about the contents of dinosaur eggs using the Diamond Light Synchrotron facility based near Didcot in Oxfordshire to “virtually dissect”  fossil material.  In an international collaboration with researchers from the National Museum of Wales, the intention is to produce three-dimensional, X-ray images of two batches of Late Cretaceous dinosaur eggs from Montana.  The first set of fossilised dinosaur eggs, each one about the size of a Galia melon, was found in 2002, the second clutch of eggs was found last year at the same location.

It is the first time, (as far as we at Everything Dinosaur are aware), that scientists will examine dinosaur eggs using a synchrotron in a bid to identify the dinosaur species from an embryo.  Leading the research, is Geosciences doctoral student at Mississippi State, John Paul Jones, he was lucky to have found the dinosaur eggs whilst exploring part of the Judith River Formation.  One of the batches of eggs has already been subjected to CT (computerised tomography) scanning, this has helped reveal evidence of dinosaur bones in some of the eggs, however, the images and data produced by the Diamond Light Source should help John Paul Jones identify the species and perhaps even the gender of the embryos.

Both the CT scans and the synchrotron method are non-destructive, the actual fossil material remains undamaged and intact.

The Geosciences student explained:

“If you cut it, then you have a damaged egg.  It’s just a rock that has been sliced in half.  With the synchrotron technology, we will get the actual image that can be used to make a model.  We should get a three-dimensional replica of the bones.”

If the images are able to provide greater clarity of the skull material along with the pelvic bones, it is hoped that the species of dinosaur that laid the eggs will be revealed.  The scientists are fairly confident that the eggs were produced by a Hadrosaur, trouble is, a number of Hadrosaur fossil remains are associated with the strata that make up this part of the Judith River Group.  Could the eggs be from a Brachylophosaurus or a Lambeosaurine duck-billed dinosaur?  Indeed, the eggs could provide evidence of other types of Hadrosaur living in this part of Montana at this time in the Late Cretaceous (between 80 and 75 million years ago), or perhaps the eggs could be from an entirely new to science species of dinosaur.

Some of the Dinosaur Fossil Eggs Having a CT Scan

Dinosaur eggs being CT scanned.

Dinosaur eggs being CT scanned.

Picture Credit: Megan Bean

Recently, Everything Dinosaur reported on a media day that took place in southern Alberta at the famous Devil’s Coulee fossil site.  A team from the Royal Tyrrell Museum took members of the public and the media on a tour of this highly fossiliferous location looking at the remains of dinosaur nests and eggs that had been found there.

To read more about this article: Updates on Alberta’s Scrambled Eggs

The Devil’s Coulee site is part of the Oldman Formation of Alberta. This strata is between 77 and 75 million years old.  These rocks are contemporaneous with parts of the Judith River Group, so it is possible that these locations may share closely related Hadrosaurine fauna.

At this stage, the scientists are reluctant to speculate on any species identification. From the lower resolution scans a potential skull crest has been identified on one embryo.  The synchrotron should be able to create a series of three-dimensional slices through the fossil material.  These slices can be used by a computer programme to build a 3-D model of the contents.  If the resolution is high enough, a species identification could be made.  If this is the case, then we at Everything Dinosaur think that this might be a first for palaeontology.

The doughnut shaped Diamond Light Source (Didcot, Oxfordshire) is in essence, a particle accelerator, with a circumference in excess of half a kilometre.  Electrons are generated and fired out into the synchrotron, these electrons are then accelerated to very near light speed.  They give off energy in the form of intense light.  This light can be channelled via “beamlines” and it is this very bright light source that enables scientists to X-ray solid objects such as rocks containing fossils to produce 3-D pictures of the contents.  As these extremely strong X-rays travel through an object, the different densities of the fossil material and the surrounding matrix absorb different parts of the X-ray light spectrum.  These different absorption rates are then used to plot data and produce the images.

One of the Images Generated by the Recent CT Scans

A labelled CT scan showing dinosaur embryo fossils.

A labelled CT scan showing dinosaur embryo fossils.

Picture Credit:  Megan Bean; submitted image highlighted by Hayley Gilmore

The picture above shows an image from a CT scan, the egg shell and fossilised bones have been labelled and highlighted.  In the other eggs, the resolution of the scanner was not high enough to create a definite internal image.  Researchers involved in this joint project between the American university and National Museum of Wales, hope to use an analysis of zircon crystals deposited amongst ash from ancient volcanic eruptions within the Judith River Formation to more accurately date the eggs.  A better idea of the age of the dinosaur eggs will help the team to assess which dinosaur species potentially produced these clutches.

Dinosaur Toy Forum Diorama Contest Still Time to Enter

Entries for Dinosaur Toy Forum Contest Have to be in by Sept. 27th 2014

Everything Dinosaur is proud to sponsor this year’s Dinosaur Toy Forum diorama competition.  Not long to go now before the closing date for this prestigious contest (Saturday, September 27th),  so model makers and landscape designers are going to have to get a move on if they want to claim the accolade of creating the best (as voted for by forum members), prehistoric diorama of the year.

Everything Dinosaur Sponsors The Dinosaur Toy Forum’s Annual Competition

Proud to sponsor the competition.

Proud to sponsor the competition.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The rules and regulations for the 2014 contest are as follows:

-Entry is free.

-All members of The Dinosaur Toy Forum, including staff, are invited to participate.  Non-members wishing to participate are invited to register to the forum, this is free.

-Dioramas have to feature prehistoric creatures: from Trilobites to Triceratops, it doesn’t matter, so long as it is prehistoric.

-The deadline for entries is Saturday 27th September 2014. (Entries received after 00.00 hours GMT September 27th will be invalid.)

-One diorama per member.  Once submitted it cannot be exchanged for an alternative entry.

-Entries must be accompanied by a creative title.

-Dioramas have to be new (never published on the web before) and you must have produced the diorama yourself.  Stealing somebody else’s diorama will result in disqualification.

-Photoshop is allowed, but the original photograph(s) must be your own.

-Winners will be selected by a poll open to all Dinosaur Toy Forum members (there will be no professional judges), that will take place shortly after the closing date.  There will be three winners in first, second and third place respectively (no joint positions), as selected by the poll.  In the event of a tie for any position, a tie-break poll will be created. There will also be three non-prize winning honourable mentions.

As well as the honour of the title, there are a range of prehistoric animal models up for grabs supplied by ourselves and we look forward to viewing all the entries.

How to Enter

-Entries will remain anonymous until the winners are announced.  For this reason we request that entrants do not watermark or sign their entries.

-Entries should be submitted as a .jpg file 1000px wide.

-Entries should be sent via email as an attachment to plesiosauria@gmail.com.  The email title should read as follows: “dinosaur diorama contest 2014 – [forum username]“, and the email body should include the diorama    title.

For further guidance Everything Dinosaur recommends that The Dinosaur Toy Forum should be viewed and consulted or emails can be sent to the email address provided immediately above.

To register to join The Dinosaur Toy Forum: The Dinosaur Toy Forum

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained:

“The model making community is very well informed about ancient life.  Model makers in our experience, are also very imaginative and we have had the pleasure of viewing dioramas that have been submitted as competition entries in previous years.  We are all really looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.”

The very best of luck to all of this year’s entrants, as fans of dinosaur toys and models ourselves we are really excited to be involved.

Woolly Mammoth Diorama

Create a realistic Ice Age Scene

Can you create a realistic Ice Age scene?

Remembering Samuel Husbands Beckles (1814-1890)

Samuel H. Beckles and Iguanodonts plus Becklespinax

Whilst going over some notes in a rare office tidy up, we came across a handful of old genealogy papers relating to research on Samuel Husbands Beckles.  Who, you might ask?  One thing that is for certain, names such as Gideon Mantell, Sir Richard Owen and Mary Anning may be quite well known, but few people outside the Earth sciences (and perhaps one or two in the disciplines we group together as the  Earth sciences), may not be familiar with the name.  Samuel Husbands Beckles was born in 1814 (April 12th we think), on the island of Barbados.  He came from a wealthy and well-to-do family and he found great success as a lawyer.  Samuel Beckles had always been keen on studying the natural world and science, although he lacked any real, formal scientific training.

Unlike people in the UK today, who might dream of early retirement in the Caribbean, Samuel decided at the grand old age of 31 to give up the vast majority of his legal work and retire in England.  As a rich, and well connected member of Georgian/Victorian high society, he did much to fund and popularise the study of the geology and fossils found in southern England (he lived at St Leonards-on-Sea, E. Sussex).  He dedicated much of the rest of his life to collecting fossils and learning about the geology of the Weald.  He is credited with the discovery of three, articulated, tall-spined dorsal vertebrae (back bones), no vertebrae fossils had ever been found that looked like these, indeed the exact location of the find remains uncertain.  We do know that these fossils were found at a site close to the small town of Battle, in East Sussex, it is probable that these fossils came from a cutting or quarry that represented strata that make ups the Hastings Subgroup of the Weald basin.  This would suggest that the fossils came from a dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous.

The Fossil Material and Original Drawing (Becklespinax)

The three articulated dorsal vertebrae that represent Becklespinax.

The three articulated dorsal vertebrae that represent Becklespinax.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

These fossils were identified as belonging to some sort of large, carnivorous dinosaur (Theropoda).  Following  a review of the known fossil material in 1988, the genus Becklespinax was erected (Gregory S. Paul), the species name being Becklespinax altispinax.  The genus name honours the work of Samuel Husbands Beckles (the name translates as Beckles’ tall spines).  The contribution he made to palaeontology and geology was recognised in his own lifetime, when against the custom of the day, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.  Although he had accumulated a vast amount of fossil material and been actively involved in cataloguing and analysing a substantial amount of vertebrate fossil material, his close friendship with the highly influential Richard Owen may have contributed to his appointment.

An Illustration of the Humped-Back Dinosaur (Becklespinax altispinax)

Becklespinax - an English dinosaur

Becklespinax – an English dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Samuel H. Beckles collected a large number of fossil specimens from the Weald of Sussex which at the time were described as belonging to the Iguanodon genus.  Iguanodon was rapidly becoming a bit of a “catch-all” when it came to large dinosaur bones with affinities to the material described by Gideon Mantell.  The Iguanodon genus was completely revised following a study in 2000 which reviewed the British “Iguanodon” material, including a lot of the fossils originally collected by Beckles and now the property of the Natural History Museum (London).

Although more closely associated with the study of dinosaur remains found in southern England, Samuel Beckles played a significant role in helping to interpret the geology and fossil material found on the Isle of Wight.  In 1854, he described a series of three-toed prints, the first to be described from the Isle of Wight (Compton Bay).  In February 1862, he published a formal review of the dinosaur footprints that he had found in the quarterly journal of the Geological Society.  The paper had the snappy title – “On some Natural Casts of Reptilian Footprints in the Wealden Beds of the Isle of Wight and of Swanage”.

So today, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Husbands Beckles we take time out to recognise his contribution to geology and palaeontology.

For further information on fossils of dinosaurs from the British Isles check out “Dinosaurs of the British Isles” by Dean R. Lomax and Nobumichi Tamura which is available from Siri Scientific Press: For Further Details Click Here

Updates on Alberta’s “Scrambled Eggs”

“Egg-citing” Times Ahead for Palaeontologists on Prehistoric Egg Hunt

With the summer excavation season drawing to a close and with wet and unsettled weather forecast, fieldworkers from the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Alberta, Canada) are in a race against time to identify and protect dinosaur eggs being eroded out of the hillsides at the Devil’s Coulee dig site.  Earlier this week, the Royal Tyrrell Museum in association with the Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum held an open day, inviting the media and members of the public to tour the highly fossiliferous site located close to the small town of Warner (southern Alberta).

Palaeoecologist Dr. Francois Therrien identified a possible Maiasaura nest site at Devil’s Coulee and this week, the Drumheller based scientist conducted a tour of the Devil’s Coulee giving the media a rare insight into the current research work being undertaken.

Dr. Francois Therrien with a Cast of a Baby Dinosaur

A cast of a baby duck-billed dinosaur fossil.

A cast of a baby duck-billed dinosaur fossil.

Picture Credit: Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum

The mudstones in this area were formed around seventy-five million years ago (Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous) and they have yielded a number of fossil finds including dinosaur bones and turtle shells.  However, the site is most famous for the numerous dinosaur eggs discovered and the fossilised remains of dinosaur embryos that have been found.  Two different genera of giant, herbivorous dinosaurs used this area as a nesting site.  Maiasaura, whose fossils have been found in Montana in the main and a second duck-billed dinosaur known as Hypacrosaurus.  Dr. Therrien and his colleagues also believe that at least five different Cretaceous carnivores also nested at this location, just a dozen or so miles north of the Canadian/United States border.

The Media and Members of the Public are Taken on a Tour of the Fossil Site

An audience for an excavation.

An audience for an excavation.

Picture Credit: Picture Credit: Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum

Dr. Therrien commented:

“This is a really rich spot, the area is literally covered with dinosaur egg shells.  Earlier this summer I was walking around the Devil’s Coulee and I saw egg shells breaking through the surface.”

The significance of the Devil’s Coulee site became apparent in 1987 when a local teenager exploring the site came across some strange objects eroding out of the soft mudstones.  These turned out to be fragments of dinosaur eggs, since then, four fossilised embryos of the Hadrosaur known as Hypacrosaurus have been discovered, including “Charlie”, a beautifully preserved baby dinosaur, one the most important baby dinosaur fossils known to science.  The Devil’s Coulee site was the first and so far only, extensive dinosaur nesting site to have been discovered in Canada, although the last nest to be excavated, that of a little carnivorous dinosaur called Troodon took place six years ago.

One of the problems with Devil’s Coulee is that there is a rapid rate of erosion.  The harsh Canadian winters and hot summers have taken a terrible toll on the delicate fossils eroding out of the hillside.  If sites such as this are not explored frequently then who knows what untold ancient treasures would be lost to the elements.  The best way to recover both fossilised eggs and any potential dinosaur embryos that may have been preserved is to identify fossil material at an early stage of erosion and then to carefully excavate and remove the surrounding rock.  In this way, the large blocks containing the fossil material can be transported to a preparation lab and painstakingly excavated to reveal their fossilised secrets.

The eggs that Dr. Therrien spotted are most likely those of a Maiasaura.  The eggs are approximately the size of a galia melon.

A Model of a Maiasaura Dinosaur with her Nest

Model of "Good Mother Lizard"

Model of “Good Mother Lizard” – Maiasaura

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

The picture above shows a Maiasaura dinosaur model with a nest.

The doctor explained:

“When the egg comes to the surface, it falls apart so in order to preserve it we have to collect a big block of rock and take it back to the lab.  We know the eggs will be inside the block.”

The Royal Tyrrell Museum field team are also examining a second, nearby location that might be the remains of a Hypacrosaurus nest.  Unfortunately, this delicate process, literally a case of “avoiding treading on egg shells”, may have to be suspended as bad weather is forecast in the area.  Once September draws to an end, the nights are getting increasingly longer and the temperature begins to drop.  The permineralised remains of the eggs of dinosaurs are then subjected to frequent freeze/thaw actions with the onset of winter.  This can lead to the fragmentation and break-up of any exposed fossil material.  Field workers help to minimise this damage by covering potential dig sites with jackets of burlap and plaster.  These afford some protection for the fragile fossils held in the rocks underneath.

One of the Most Important Vertebrate Fossils Found in Canada

"Charlie" the baby Hypacrosaurus dinosaur.

“Charlie” the baby Hypacrosaurus dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum

We at Everything Dinosaur wish all those involved in the excavation and study the very best of luck and we thank the Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum for sending us some photographs of the media event.

Win! Win! Win! with Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Competition Time Again!

To celebrate the launch of Everything Dinosaur’s exclusive range of childrens’ dinosaur themed T-shirts, we have come up with a little, fun competition.  A sort of T-errific , T-yrannosaurus, T-easer T-shirt competition.  One of the designs on our new T-shirts features a baby T. rex.  He (or she for that matter), looks quite cute but we don’t have a name for this little dinosaur.

The Range of Exclusive Everything Dinosaur T-shirts

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

So our competition is this, name our baby dinosaur and we will send one lucky winner a dinosaur T-shirt from our new range* for their young dinosaur fan.

Think of a name for me to win a T-shirt!

Think of a name for me to win a T-shirt!

To enter the competition, a chance to win a dinosaur themed T-shirt for your own little monster, all you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page, then comment on the picture of the baby dinosaur design on our red T-shirt (shown above).  It certainly is a very cute looking dinosaur with a geological hammer in its claws, a very friendly looking “Apprentice Palaeontologist”, our little dino just needs a name.

Don’t forget, to enter, just visit Everything Dinosaur on FACEBOOK  and “like” our page and leave a suggested name for our baby dinosaur by adding a comment to the baby dinosaur’s picture.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a "like".

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a “like”.

Everything Dinosaur on FACEBOOK: “LIKE” Our Facebook Page and Enter Competition

We will draw the lucky winner at random and the name caption competition closes on Friday 19th September 2014.  Good luck!

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed clothing click on the picture below:

Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Pjs, T-shirts, Sweatshirts etc.

Exclusive to Everything Dinosaur

Exclusive to Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

*The range of T-shirt sizes available to the prize winner

Competition Winner can choose from these sizes.

Competition winner can choose from these sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* please note the red “Appentice Palaeontologist T-shirt is only available in sizes up to 9 yrs-11 yrs, chest size 82 cm.

Terms and Conditions of Name Our Baby Dinosaur Competition

Automated entries are not permitted and will be excluded from the draw.

Only one entry per person.

The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered.

The Everything Dinosaur name a baby dinosaur caption competition runs until Friday 19th September 2014.

Winner will be notified by private message on Facebook or email.

Prize includes postage and packing.

For full terms and conditions contact: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Plans to Provide a Trail to Utah’s Dinosaur Tracks

Bureau of Land Management Plans to Provide a Trail to Dinosaur Trackway Site

Residents of the town of Moab in Utah are hoping that in the very near future, visitors are going to get much better access to a number of the preserved dinosaur footprints and tracks that have been found in the area.  This part of Grand County (Eastern Utah), is famous for its extensive trace fossils of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures, earlier this year, Everything Dinosaur reported on the theft of a three-toed dinosaur footprint.  Such thefts are an all too common occurrence these days and news that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning a properly organised dinosaur footprint trail is most welcome.

To read about the dinosaur footprint theft: Man Charged over Fossil Footprint Theft

Last month, Utah resident Jared Ehlers, who had originally denied any involvement in the theft, admitted stealing and disposing of a dinosaur footprint fossil.  By pleading guilty at a pre-trial hearing, Mr Ehlers was able to have the charges of theft, destruction of evidence and depredation of government property dropped.  Under the terms of a plea deal, he was fined $15,000 USD (£9,000 GBP) and ordered to serve a year’s probation, including six months of home confinement.

The tracks that the BLM intend to create a trail for were discovered by a hiker in 2009.  Scientists from the University of Colorado in conjunction with the BLM had began excavations last year, over the last few weeks a team of volunteers have been clearing away the last of the surface material in preparation for the first public tours.  Up until now the actual location was kept under wraps, this has helped the palaeontologists and ichnologists (specialists who study trace fossils), to map the fossil site and to prevent any potential thefts.

One of the Three-toed Dinosaur Footprints at the Site

A Three-toed dinosaur footprint (Moab).

A Three-toed dinosaur footprint (Moab).

Picture Credit: John Hollenhorst, Deseret News

Over two hundred individual tracks have been uncovered to date and in at least one area an extensive trackway left by a single dinosaur has been discovered.  This trackway consists of seventeen consecutive prints.  Scientists estimate that at least ten different genera may be represented by the trace fossil material.

For Bureau of Land Management palaeontologist, Rebecca Hunt-Foster, the opportunity to help create a tourist trail leading to a greater understanding of the importance of this area for fossils, may help deter thefts in the future.  It is all part of helping to educate and inform local residents and visitors to the area.

Commenting on the significance of the location, the palaeontologist stated:

“It helps kind of to fill in the gaps about these animals that we don’t know much about.  We know they were here, but we just don’t find their bones.”

Such is the excellent state of preservation that even the tail drag from a prehistoric crocodile has been identified.

A Picture Showing the Preserved Tail Drag Fossil

Preserved in the stone a tail drag mark left by a Cretaceous crocodile.

Preserved in the stone a tail drag mark left by a Cretaceous crocodile.

Picture Credit: John Hollenhorst, Deseret News

It is hoped that once the site has been cleared, BLM staff will finish formally mapping and plotting the extensive trackway using three-dimensional photography (photogrammetry).  The fossils were found in strata that make up part of the Ruby Ranch Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation.  The fossils are believed to be around 125 million years of age (Late Barremian faunal stage to Early Aptian faunal stage of the Cretaceous).  As such, these trace fossils are slightly younger than the majority of the dinosaur footprints and other trace fossils preserved in the exposed Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight.

As the BLM’s regional palaeontologist, Rebecca admits that providing greater access to these sites whilst maintaining their security is a delicate balancing act.  For example, a number of the prints were made by a three-toed Theropod, these tracks are very similar to the one stolen and subsequently lost earlier this year.

Once the volunteers have finished clearing the site and the mapping is completed, then the scientific value of these trace fossils will have some measure of protection.  For having mapped and plotted the tracks very accurately the prints can be replicated, should the fossils be eroded away, damaged or even stolen the data recorded will still permit palaeontologists to study them.

Rebecca explained the importance of the systematic recording of the footprints and other trace fossils by stating:

“We will be able to replicate any of the tracks, should they ever be damaged or destroyed.  And, also people will be able to study them without doing damage to the actual surface.”

The Bureau of Land Management is currently fund raising to build a trail to the dinosaur tracks.  The agency hopes to have the site open to the public in about six weeks time.

Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” Dismantled and Reimagined

Pixar’s Animated Dinosaur Adventure – “Dismantled and Reimagined” According to John Lithgow

Dinosaurs and cinema block busters seem made for each other.  No time travelling film/exploration of a lost world is complete without at least one or two of the Dinosauria showing up somewhere along the way.  For example, in the latest reincarnation of the BBC’s favourite Time Lord,  due to hit our television screens this weekend, “The Doctor” is going to encounter dinosaurs in one of the forthcoming episodes.  So whilst we were waiting for further news of Jurassic Park IV (Jurassic World) and learning all about “Dinosaur 13″ via a wonderful documentary directed by Todd Douglas Miller, press releases about Pixar’s animated dinosaur film came to our attention.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur first mentioned that Pixar was going to make an animated feature entitled “The Good Dinosaur” back in the spring of 2012, since then there have been a number of delays and setbacks. The premier being postponed by eighteen months or so and rescheduled for November 2015.

Big Changes for “The Good Dinosaur” (Pixar)

The film is "evolving"

The film is “evolving”

The delay of eighteen months before release came about following the departure of the film’s director.  It now turns out that this production has been undergoing a number of significant changes as alluded to by one of the voice over actors – John Lithgow.

The original storyline for the film imagined what would life on Earth be like if that huge extraterrestrial object that stuck our planet and assisted the demise of the dinosaurs had missed.  In essence, in Pixar’s view of the world, the dinosaurs survived and lived alongside early humans.  John Lithgow had been contracted to play “Poppa” one of the dinosaur characters featured in the film.  In a recent interview, the actor was asked to provide an update on production and he stated that after the director’s departure the entire film was “dismantled” and “completely reimagined.”

There have been lots of rumours surrounding “The Good Dinosaur”.  A number of media reports had cited serious issues behind the decision to change directors and expressed concerns over the quality of the story.  It seems that John Lithgow’s comments may have given some of these reports credence.  From Pixar’s point of view, they want to add to their stable of excellent, award-winning animations, so it is essential that the very best possible film is delivered.

It must be a bit like putting together dinosaur bones for an exhibit, these things take time, the process cannot be rushed and the final result is paramount.  At the time of the change in director, Pixar’s President Ed Catmull told the Los Angeles Times:

“Nobody, ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film.  Our conclusion was that we were going to give the film some more time.”

More time certainly, but reading between the actor’s lines it suggests that Pixar may have begun the project all over again.  John Lithgow had recorded his entire role for the voice of “Poppa” one of the daddy dinosaurs in the movie.  However, with the changes that are being implemented, John is going to have to re-record his role all over again.  The actor went onto explain that the film was coming out and it was going to be better than he ever imagined.   All sounds good to us.

As far as team members at Everything Dinosaur know, the release date is still scheduled for November 2015, no further delays have been announced.  We look forward to seeing the film when it does hit our screens and of course we can’t wait to meet John Lithgow’s character.

“Great Eggspectations” Team Members Await News from the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Scientists Hope to Find More Dinosaur Eggs and Dinosaur Babies in Alberta

Palaeontologists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Drumheller, Alberta), one of our favourite parts of the world, have a busy few hours ahead of them.  Starting about now field staff from the museum led by the curator of dinosaur palaeoecologyy Dr. François Therrien, will begin excavating an area which could potentially contain a nest of dinosaur eggs and fossilised embryos.  If an intact or near complete nest of dinosaur eggs is found, it will be the first of its kind ever to be discovered in Canada.

The Royal Tyrrell team will be exploring two locations within the Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur Egg Site, which is in the small town of Warner, about three hours drive or so from the Museum.  Seventy-five million years ago or thereabouts, this part of southern Alberta was a duck-billed dinosaur nesting ground with at least two genera of Hadrosaurs known to have nested in the area.  The media has been invited in so that they can witness and report upon the progress of the excavation.

A Hypacrosaurus egg was discovered eroding out of a hill earlier this summer and a second site identified which contained a substantial amount of fossilised eggshells which were once part of a Maisaura’s nest.  Hypacrosaurus was a member of the Lambeosaurine clade of duck-billed dinosaurs.  It had a dome-shaped crest on its head.  Fossils of this large, herbivorous dinosaur have been found in Alberta and over the border in Montana (United States).

A Picture of Two Duck-Billed Dinosaurs (Hypacrosaurus)

Hoping to find a nest of dinosaur eggs.

Hoping to find a nest of dinosaur eggs.

Picture Credit: Ohio State University

Maiasaura was a Saurolophini clade member of the duck-billed dinosaur.  The name means “Good Mother Lizard” and this dinosaur is most famous for being sent into space (another blog article) and for providing scientists with extensive evidence of dinosaur nesting sites.  A nesting colony, nick-named “Egg Mountain” because of the wealth of fossil material, was discovered in Montana.  Dr. Therrien and the rest of the field team will be hoping to find intact eggshells and the preserved remains of dinosaur embryos or possibly dinosaur babies.

An Illustration of a Maiasaura and Her Nest

"Good Mother Lizard"

“Good Mother Lizard”

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Devil’s Coulee site was discovered in 1987 when a local teenager found dinosaur eggshell fragments.  Since then it has been one of the best known locations in the world for dinosaur nests and embryo fossils, however, no new evidence of a dinosaur nest has been found for over six years.  The Royal Tyrrell team are hoping to rectify this and add to the research on the four Hypacrosaurus nests that have been found at this location.

Good luck to everyone involved.  Hope you have smashing time (not literally of course).

Oh yes, that reference to Maiasaura in space, for an explanation: Dinosaurs in Space

Exclusive Dinosaur Themed T-shirts

Everything Dinosaur’s Exclusive Dinosaur Themed T-shirts

The first of Everything Dinosaur’s exclusive dinosaur themed T-shirts are now in stock and team members are running around the office roaring with excitement.  Three brand new designs have been added to our T-shirt range, just part of a number of new additions to the clothing section of our website.

Colourful, Dinosaur Themed T-shirts from Everything Dinosaur

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

The T-shirts are all great quality and hard wearing (185 gsm) and with help from our customers, we have set about creating the exclusive designs that have been produced as direct to garment prints.  The pink and the sky blue dinosaur themed T-shirts are available in sizes from 3-14 years (chest size 66cm to 90cm), or in imperial measurements if you prefer, chest sizes 26 inches to 35¼ inches.

The red “Apprentice Palaeontologist” T-shirt is available in age ranges 3-11 years (chest size 66cm to 84cm), or once again in imperial measurements 26 inches to 33¼ inches.

Three Bright and Colourful Exclusive Dinosaur Themed T-shirts

Exclusive to Everything Dinosaur

Exclusive to Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see Everything Dinosaur’s range of  dinosaur themed tees for children: Dinosaur Themed T-shirts for Children

Our team members are especially proud of the pink (sorbet) T-shirt, which has been designed with budding Mary Annings in mind.  The caption reads: “Palaeontologists think that T. rex girls were bigger and fiercer than T. rex boys – SO WATCH OUT!”

The females of many species of bird, the Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) for example, are much larger than the males.  This trend is seen in a number of Theropod dinosaurs too, including Tyrannosaurus rex.  This is an example of Cretaceous girl power and since we at Everything Dinosaur are keen to encourage girls as well as boys to take up a career in the sciences, we thought it a good idea to create a sassy, dinosaur themed t-shirt with a girl power motif.

A special mention to those hard working guys at Shirt Monkey who helped us with the designs and produce the T-shirts for us.  Is this an example of monkeys and dinosaurs working together?   Whatever next!

To visit Shirt Monkeys: Visit Shirt Monkey

We hope you like our range of dinosaur themed T-shirts, a special thank you for all the customers and Facebook fans who provided us with feedback and advice (we have made these T-shirts available in larger sizes as promised).

All we have to do now is get the photography sorted and of course start work on some new designs…

Like Mother Like Son – Mammoth Tusks Found 22 Years Apart

Son Finds Mammoth Tusk at Same Location as Mother

Sometimes there can be strange coincidences surrounding fossil finds.  On this blog we have reported the discovery of an Iguanodont dinosaur bone in Sunderland, the discovery of more dinosaur fossils in a Frenchman’s garden and how a stone ornament turned out to be the remains of a prehistoric fish.  However, this week, a story about the finding of a Woolly Mammoth tusk in Alaska caught our attention.  The discovery of the four-metre long tusk is no great surprise, after all, for hundreds of thousands of years, these ancient elephants roamed North America, but in this instance the finder’s mum had found another tusk at the same location twenty-two years earlier.

Andrew Poses with His Lucky Find

History repeats itself, son finds Mammoth tusk in same location as mum.

History repeats itself, son finds Mammoth tusk in same location as mum.

Picture Credit: Andrew Harrelson

Andrew Harrelson was having no luck fishing for Salmon on the Fish River, close to his home in the village of White Mountain about fifty miles east of the settlement called Nome.  He decided to wander along the bank to see what the river had washed out of the bank and whether there were any fossils to be found.  At a bend in the river, near to the spot where his mother had found a thirty-six kilogramme mammoth tusk back in 1992, he spotted a large Mammoth tusk eroding out of the sediment.  Andrew was only three when his mother found the tusk, he barely recalls the incident, but he did pose for a picture with the fossil, although at the time he had no idea what the strange object was.

Andrew recalled:

“This big, old log-looking thing.  I had no clue what it was until they told me.”

The square and blocky teeth (cheek teeth) of Mammoths have also been found at this location, in a bid to explain why this particular area holds a number of Mammoth remains, Mr Harrelson’s father Daniel stated:

“I think at one point, thousands of years ago, it must have been a mud hole or something that animals got stuck in and then died in it.  Everything froze in there and then slowly, over time, thaws out a little bit year by year.”

When first spotted, only the base of the tusk was exposed, Andrew returned to the spot a little while later and with the help of a relative they were able to prise the four-metre long tusk out of the riverbank.

Having weighed their fossil find on the bathroom scales the Alaskan family are now the proud owners of seventy-three kilogrammes of Mammoth ivory.  Dale Guthrie, a retired palaeontologist from the University of Alaska Fairbanks explained that the Mammoth remains could be anything from 400,000 to just 12,000 years old.  He stated that the last glacial period in Alaska occurred around 18,000 years ago with the Mammoths becoming extinct around 12,000 years ago.  Radiometric dating was the only technique that could provide a method of determining the fossil’s true age.

The 1992 Picture of Mum with Her Fossil Find

3 year old Andrew poses in front of the 1992 find.

3 year old Andrew poses in front of the 1992 find.

Picture Credit: Andrew Harrelson

Andrew hopes to sell his lucky find, a question of history repeating itself just twenty-two years after his mum found a Mammoth tusk.  He wants to raise funds so that he can use the money raised as a down payment on a family home.  Although it is illegal to trade elephant ivory, Mammoth ivory can be sold under certain circumstances, we at Everything Dinosaur believe.  Most of Alaska is public land and it is against the law to remove Mammoth fossils from federal or state property without a Bureau of Land Management permit, however, the area surrounding the Fish River is privately held and so long as permission is granted  fossils can be collected.  As with all these cases, we would urge those involved to check with the authorities with regards to the legal implications for such a sale.

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