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Make Your Own Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Easter Holiday Activity Idea – Making Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Here’s a simple and fun recipe aimed at young dinosaur fans, a recipe to make dinosaur chocolate nests.  This is a great activity for the Easter holidays.

Dinosaur Chocolate Nests – What you Need

Ingredients – (makes a batch of about 8 to 10 dinosaur  nests)

  • Plain or Milk cooking Chocolate 225 grammes (8oz)
  • Packet of Breakfast Cereal Cornflakes or Shredded Wheat variety
  • Packet of Sugar Coated Mini-chocolate Eggs
  • Pack of Small Cake Cases

How to Make the Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

1.  Take the cooking chocolate out of its wrapper and snap it into small pieces into a heat-proof bowl.  Then melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water (simmering).  Putting the bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds (full power), will help to melt the chocolate if you are in a hurry and need to get the chocolate to melt more quickly.

2.  Once melted remove from the heat (turn off the heat source) and give the chocolate a quick stir to ensure all the chocolate pieces have melted.

3.  Put in the chosen breakfast cereal, a little at first then gradually add more until the chocolate/cereal mix takes on the appearance of twigs or wood in a nest.

4.  Spoon enough of the chocolate/cereal mix into each of the cake cases, a table spoon is usually sufficient.  Make a little indentation in the centre of each chocolate dinosaur next, this hollow is where the eggs will be placed.

5.  Put two mini-chocolate eggs into the hollow formed at the centre of each nest.  The chocolate being sticky, will ensure that the eggs stay in place.  A pair of eggs per nest is all that is needed.  Palaeontologists know that dinosaurs laid their eggs in twos (dinosaurs unlike birds had two ovipositors) – egg laying apparatus of a dinosaur has been described as being like a “double barrelled shot-gun”.

6.  Then leave the nests to harden and set, they should be ready to eat in under 2 hours.

Great for a Dinosaur Party – Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Super dinosaur chocolate nests which are fun and easy to make.

Super dinosaur chocolate nests which are fun and easy to make.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s huge range of dinosaur themed party items: Dinosaur Party Supplies

Some Facts about dinosaur eggs (for all young, budding palaeontologists)

A).  Dinosaur eggs were not as large as many people think, the largest dinosaur eggs known to science are about the size of a soccer ball.  Some of the biggest dinosaur eggs have been ascribed to a genus of huge, long-necked dinosaur (Titanosaur), whose fossils have been found in France.  This dinosaur is called Hypselosaurus (the name means “high ridged lizard”.  Hypselosaurus was named and described back in 1869, from fossils found in Provence, however, scientists are unsure as to whether the genus name can be established based on such fragmentary fossil evidence.  The genus is now termed a nomen dubium, palaeontologists have doubts about its validity.

B).  Dinosaur eggs were lots of different shapes, some were very round some, oval shaped some even quite pointy at one end. The shape of the egg tells scientists a little about the dinosaur that laid them.  Something like forty different types of dinosaur egg have now been identified by scientists.

C).  The classification of fossil eggs is referred to as ootaxa, dinosaur eggs are classified in virtually the same way as other organisms are classified using the classical Linnaean method (after the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus 1707-1778), there are oofamilies, oogenera and oospecies.

D).  Some dinosaurs were very attentive parents, incubating the eggs and protecting the nest.  When the eggs hatched the parents brought food to the nest for the baby dinosaurs.

E).  The oldest dinosaur eggs that contain the fossils of baby dinosaurs inside them were found in China and a report published on them in 2013.  These eggs are around 190 million years old.

Dinosaur Fossilised Eggs (Hypselosaurus)

Fossilised Dinosaur Eggs but who laid them?

Fossilised Dinosaur Eggs but who laid them?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Articles on dinosaur egg discoveries published by Everything Dinosaur:

X).  Not the World’s Biggest Dinosaur Eggs!

Y).  Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Eggs Discovered in India

Z).  School Children Make Dinosaur Egg Discovery

The Weird and the Wonderful – Chinese Triassic Marine Reptiles

Parahupehsuchus longus – Armoured Marine Reptile with a “Corset”

As life on Earth recovered from the devastating End Permian mass extinction event which took place some 250 million years ago, it seems that a myriad of strange and bizarre vertebrates evolved to take advantage of vacant niches in ecosystems that had arisen due to the extinction of so many different types of organism.  One of the strangest marine creatures known to science has just been described in the on line scientific journal PLOS One.  It seems that as environments and ecosystems recovered in the Early Triassic, so marine Tetrapods evolving the capability to eat other marine Tetrapods came about in earnest and the first Tetrapod apex predators of the sea appeared.  This led to the evolution of body armour and other forms of protection in smaller marine Tetrapods that were now the potential prey.  Step forward the bizarre Parahupehsuchus longus, around a metre long, marine reptile that evolved a bony tube that completely surrounded its body wall, like a sort of armoured corset.  Just like a corset, breathing movements and body movements may have been restricted, but the primary role for this unusual pseudo carapace was probably protection against attacks from a much larger predatory marine reptile that shared P. longus’s watery world.

Back in 2011, scientists from the Wuhan Centre of China Geological Survey undertook a field excavation in Yuan’an County, Hubei Province, (east central China), to find Early Triassic marine reptile fossils.  The strata in this part of China represents exposures of marine sediments laid down in a shallow tropical sea around 248 million years ago (Jialingjiang Formation).  The area had been mapped and studied since the late 1950′s and a number of marine reptile genera unique to this part of the world had already been named and described.  However, when Chinese scientists first studied these fossil rich deposits, the strata was believed to be younger, dated to the Anisian faunal stage of the Middle Triassic.  The rocks at this location were thought to be roughly the same age as Triassic marine strata found in the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou (south-western China).  More recent studies have assigned the sediments exposed around Yuan’an County to be up to three million years older than most of the sedimentary rocks bearing marine reptile fossils in Yunnan and Guizhou.  The rocks which entombed Parahupehsuchus longus date to around 248 million years ago (Olenikian faunal stage of the Lower Triassic).  This is significant because the vertebrate fossils found in Yuan’an County are much closer to the End Permian extinction event than those from south-western China, the ecosystem represented is one that is at an earlier stage of recovery from the most devastating extinction event known.

Parahupehsuchus longus (Holotype Material WGSC 26005)

Scale bar = 10cm

Scale bar = 10cm

Picture Credit: PLOS One

In the diagram above the strange bony carapace-like structure surrounding the body of this new species of marine reptile can be clearly made out.  The labels in red have been added by Everything Dinosaur to help readers gain a better understanding as to the layout of the fossil as the skull and much of the tail is missing.

The research team identified more than ten marine reptile specimens, one partially complete fossil represents this new genus.  Most of the marine reptile specimens discovered represented animals of around a metre in length, but one fossil suggests a marine reptile of around 4 metres in length.  Although not formally described yet, the skull is robust and the teeth that of a meat-eater.  It has been suggested that this reptile was the apex predator.  Parahupehsuchus evolved its corset-like body to resist attacks from this much larger marine reptile.  Surprisingly, very few fish fossils have been found in the strata that contains the marine reptile fossils.  This might be a reflection of fossil preservation bias, but if there were few fish species present and this may not be that surprising as something like 57% of all marine families died out at the end of the Permian, it seems that marine reptiles evolved to attack and hunt other marine reptiles.  The corset of Parahupehsuchus may have evolved as a response to the predatory pressure.

Parahupehsuchus has been assigned to the Hupehsuchia Order of marine reptiles.  This Order currently consists of just three genera, all of which are found in the Lower Triassic sediments of Hubei Province.  The first named and described was Nanchangosaurus, then in 1972 a near complete specimen of a new type of marine reptile that had been discovered was named this was Hupehsuchus.  Palaeontologists consider that Parahupehsuchus was closely related to Hupehsuchus.

Parahupehsuchus pronounced “par-rah-hoop-pay-sook-cus” means beside Hupehsuchus which refers to the taxonomic relationship between these two genera.  The term Hupehsuchus is derived from Hupeh, an alternative spelling for Hubei Province and the Greek word for crocodile.

Hupehsuchus nanchangensis  Fossil Material (specimen number WGSC 26004)

Scale bar = 10cm

Scale bar = 10cm

 Picture Credit: PLOS One

The more complete specimen (diagram B) above, provides scientists with clues to how Parahupehsuchus might have looked.  It may have had a long narrow, toothless snout like its close relative Hupehsuchus.  It was probably capable of moving around on land as well as being adapted to a marine environment and although the tail is missing in the holotype specimen it is likely that the tail was quite powerful and Parahupehsuchus propelled itself through the water with sideways movements of its tail, in a similar to modern Crocodilians today.

If indeed Parahupehsuchus had a toothless jaw, then it may have eaten soft-bodied creatures such as squid.  This bizarre marine reptile remains unique amongst vertebrates for the strange configuration of its trunk.  Its body is completely surrounded by a bony tube, around fifty centimetres long and nearly seven centimetres deep.  The tube is made up of overlapping ribs and gastralia (belly ribs).  This tube and the presence of dermal armour on the dorsal surface of the skeleton (back) have been interpreted as defensive features to withstand the bites of larger marine reptiles.  This is evidence that by the Early Triassic, ecosystems had recovered enough from the End Permian extinction event to permit the establishment of complex marine Tetrapod food chains dominated by large apex vertebrate predators.

The Front Dorsal Region of Parahupehsuchus longus

White scale bar shown on actual fossil material = 1cm

White scale bar shown on actual fossil material = 1cm

Picture Credit: PLOS One

The unique corset-like body protection is made up of a combination of fused true ribs, belly ribs (gastralia) and neural spines.

Key

red = dermal armour, scales and ossicles (da)

dark brown = first segment of neural spine (ns1)

dark green = second segment of neural spine (ns2)

grey = ribs (ri)

orange = lateral gastralia (lg)

white = median gastralia (mg)

green = bones of the left forelimb

arf (pink) = anterior rib facet extending from the parapophysis, dia (light brown) = diapophysis of the neural arch, para (yellow) = parapophysis main facet.

Note that ribs and gastralia overlap in a complex manner and the double rib articulation prevents rib motion.  This would have made chest movements difficult for breathing and restricted the body movements to aid swimming and locomotion on land.

Although, the ribs are expanded in a similar way to that of a turtle’s shell, Parahupehsuchus is not closely related to the Chelonia (turtles, tortoises and terrapins).  This might be an example of convergent evolution.

Scientists hope to find more fossils of this strange marine reptile in rocks that make up the Jialingjiang Formation and with further research they intend to build up a more detailed picture of the food chain that is represented by this Lower Triassic fossil material.

Huge Extraterrestrial Impact that Shaped Our World

Impact Earth 3.26 Billion Years Ago

Scientists have discovered tell-tale signs in the geology of Earth which reveal a catastrophic ancient impact event that would have dwarfed the dinosaur killing asteroid of sixty-five million years ago.  Approximately, 3.26 billion years ago, the region we now know as South Africa was hit by a colossal rock from space, a rock that would have been at least three times the size of the space rock responsible for the Cretaceous impact event.  Such was the magnitude of the impact that the Earth’s crust shifted, giving rise to some of the tectonic features that are still found today.

The study, published in the academic journal “Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems” focuses on the geological formation called the Barberton greenstone belt in South Africa.  This formation can be found in the north-east of South Africa and it partially borders the sovereign state of Swaziland.  The rocks are mainly continental and consist of some of the oldest continental crust rocks known.  The research team examined the seismology of the region and they estimate that between 3.47 billion and 3.23 billion years ago the area was the site of a massive impact from outer space.

Huge Extraterrestrial Object Crashes into Earth Around 3.26 Billion Years Ago

Cataclysmic impact event.

Cataclysmic impact event.

Picture Credit: Don Davis commissioned by NASA

During that time in the formation of the Earth and the solar system, our planet had cooled sufficiently for oceans to form and primitive bacterial thrived, although at the time there was very little oxygen, the most significant gases in the atmosphere were nitrogen and carbon dioxide.  The impact event occurred after the “Late Heavy Bombardment – LHB” which was a period of several hundred million years ending around 3.7 billion years ago when the inner rocky planets and satellites of the solar system was bombarded by space debris, left over from the creation of the planets and other bodies that make up our solar system.  The space rock, perhaps an asteroid or even a comet from further out in the solar system crashed into Earth. The object measured between 37 and 58 kilometres across and smashed into the region of southern Africa at a speed of more than 20 kilometres a second (a speed of around 43,000 miles an hour).  The crater caused would have measured over five hundred kilometres in diameter (300 miles), although this has been eroded away.  The resulting impact sent seismic waves through the entire planet and it is likely that these seismic waves exceeded the amplitudes of typical earthquake waves. The duration of extreme shaking was also far longer, probably hundreds of seconds, than that from strong earthquakes.  Debris thrown up into the atmosphere would have sufficient momentum to leave the Earth’s orbit, firestorms would have ravaged the planet and tsunamis hundreds of metres high would have smashed into the nascent continents.  Indeed, water at the surface of the oceans would have been boiled away.  Such was the force generated that subduction might have occurred as a result, helping to shape the continents.

Geologist, Donald Lowe of Stanford University and a co-author of the scientific study explained:

“We can’t go to the impact sites.  In order to better understand how big it was and its effect we need studies like this. We knew it [the impact event] was big, but we didn’t know how big.”

The Earth and the primitive life upon it would have been devastated, wiping out whole genera of bacteria, but just like the extinction event that marks the end of the Cretaceous, other organisms would have evolved to replace those that had died out, just as the Mammalia rose to prominence with the extinction of the Dinosauria.  The shock of the impact could also have moved the tectonic systems around the Earth’s crust into a higher gear, making the planet more tectonically active.  The impact of this event, so long ago, is still being felt by the Earth today the researchers speculate.  Identified by the presence of spherule beds in the Barberton greenstone belt, this Archean impact event has shaped the way the Earth’s continents and oceans came about.

The Size and Scale of the Impact

Impact event in the Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa.

Impact event in the Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa.

Picture Credit: American Geophysical Union

The illustration above compares the extraterrestrial object responsible for the Chicxulub impact that may have helped wipe out the dinosaurs, with the Archaen impact event and the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.  The impact craters illustrated are compared with the island of Hawaii for scale.  The estimated crater formed by the collision around 3.26 billion years ago may have been as much as five hundred kilometres across.

Commenting on the research, geologist Frank Kyte of the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) stated:

“This is providing significant support for the idea that the impact may have been responsible for this major shift in tectonics.”

Call for more Work to be Done on Western Australia’s Dinosaur Trails

Research being Carried out on the Dampier Peninsula Dinosaur Tracks

Usually when team members at Everything Dinosaur are asked to write about Australian dinosaur research, the focus is on sites in Queensland or indeed Victoria, however, a series of extensive dinosaur tracks located in Western Australia, along the Dampier peninsula north of the small town of Broome, are rapidly coming to prominence.  In the Early Cretaceous, around 130 million years ago (Barremian faunal stage), Australia was much further south than it is today, it was not a separate continent but attached to the landmass that would become Antarctica.  Coal deposits and plant fossils indicate that the climate at this southerly latitude was much warmer than it is today, there was probably no permanent ice at the poles and the land that was to become Western Australia was a huge flood plain, crossed by large, slow moving rivers.  Dinosaurs flourished in this environment and evidence of the diversity of the dinosaurs has been preserved in a multitude of dinosaur tracks.  The trackways can be found all along the coast north of Broome, where the Lower Cretaceous Broome sandstone is exposed.  The lengths of the tracks are very significant, some of the trackways can be correlated over a tens of metres, they are regarded as “mega track sites”, otherwise known colloquially as “dinosaur freeways”.

Tridactyl Theropod Tracks from the Broome Area

Three-toed dinosaur tracks.

Three-toed dinosaur tracks.

Picture Credit: Government of Western Australia (Dept. of State Development)

In a survey undertaken in 2011 a number of dinosaur trackways were classified and assessed, something in the region of fifteen different types of dinosaur have been identified including Sauropods, Ornithopods, Theropods and armoured dinosaurs (Thyreophora).

Dr. Steve Salisbury (University of Queensland), one of the researchers who carried out the study in 2011 is keen to see further research work undertaken and is enthusiastic about making the dinosaur tracks and trails better known to the public.  However, it is important that any studies are undertaken with the utmost respect for the feelings of the local indigenous people as the tracks and footprints play an important role in local aboriginal art and culture.  Dr. Salisbury commented on the importance of these Cretaceous dinosaur footprints:

“There are some really important ones, scientifically and culturally, that we don’t really want to let everyone know where they are.  But there are plenty of tracks that it would be fantastic to share them with people… Broome should embrace what it’s got on its doorsteps because it’s really special.”

In addition, care should be taken when it comes to publicising the location of some of the tracks, thefts of dinosaur footprints have occurred and in 1996 prints made by an armoured dinosaur were stolen from the Crab Creek area on the north coast of Roebuck Bay.  The theft of dinosaur fossils, even trace fossils such as footprints is an all too often occurrence, to read an article about the theft of a dinosaur footprint from Jurassic aged strata near to the town of Moab in Utah: Dinosaur Footprint Stolen in Utah.

Some of the Sauropod prints (long-necked dinosaurs) are huge.  Individual prints have been measured at over 1.7 metres long.  Although ichnologists (the term used to describe a person who studies trace fossils), are not able to assign a genus to the footprints, it has been estimated that some of the Sauropod dinosaurs that made the tracks were in excess of thirty metres in length.

Giant Sauropod Trackways from Western Australia

Dinosaur tracks from the Broome area of Western Australia.

Dinosaur tracks from the Broome area of Western Australia.

Picture Credit: Government of Western Australia (Dept. of State Development)

The enormous, rounded prints of a Sauropod dinosaur can be clearly seen in this picture taken in the Red Cliffs area.

The scientists hope that their studies will help shed more light on the ecology of this part of the world in the Early Cretaceous.  The large number of different dinosaur species that the tracks potentially represent gives the palaeontologists the opportunity to learn a little more about the behaviour and interactions of the Dinosauria.  The team intend to digitally map the locations using technology similar to that used recently to recreate the famous Sauropod/Theropod tracks preserved in the Paluxy River of Texas.

To read more about the Paluxy River trace fossils: Digitally Mapping a Famous Set of Dinosaur Tracks

Dr. Salisbury explained what the dinosaur footprints and tracks showed:

“Some of them look like they’re on a mission; they’re definitely heading somewhere.  Other ones look like they’re lost, and they’re wandering around in circles… We’ve got a record of what they were doing and it’s a hundred and thirty million years old, so it’s pretty special.  If you could go back in time and look at the Broome area, you would have seen all these different types of dinosaurs wandering around; it would have been really special. It’s your own Cretaceous Park, on your doorstep.”

The tracks are sacred to the local indigenous people.  The Aborigine tribes in the area believe that the tracks help explain their creation story and the scientists are keen to record the fossils, take latex rubber copies of the prints but to leave all the tracks in situ.  The first recorded description of a print made by non-indigenous people dates back to the 1930′s but the entire region has not been fully studied to date.  The survey undertaken in 2011 highlighted the importance and the significance of the location, now scientists are hoping to learn more by walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs.

Australia Rejects Controversial Saltwater Crocodile Hunting Ban

Crocodile “Trophy Hunting” Plan Turned Down

A controversial plan to allow safari hunters in Australia’s Northern Territory state to kill crocodiles, has been rejected by the federal government in Canberra.  This is the latest set back for campaigners demanding a sustained and extensive cull of the many large, Saltwater crocodiles that inhabit water courses in the Northern Territory.

Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said “trophy hunting” would not be appropriate.  The proposal, which was backed by the authorities and governors in Northern Territory, would have permitted up to fifty crocodiles to be shot for sport.  Currently, around five hundred crocodiles are culled in the region every year.

Those campaigners that put the proposal forward in the first place, argue the plan would bring in much-needed income for some of the indigenous people in the region.   The ability to put on such hunts would attract a lot of interest from shooting enthusiasts and this would give the State a considerable boost to its tourist incomes, but Greg Hunt’s decision to reject the plan has angered some Territorians living in some parts of Australia’s remote outback.

Australia’s Top Predator – The Saltwater Crocodile

Call for a re-introduction of hunting.

Call for a re-introduction of hunting.

Picture Credit: The Press Association

Bess Price, Minister for Wildlife and Parks commented:

“Greg Hunt has made a decision which will do nothing to improve the lives of indigenous Territorians living in remote communities.”

Saltwater crocodiles, otherwise known as Estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) can grow to a length in excess of seven metres and large males can weigh more than a tonne.  They are responsible for a number of attacks on people, pets and livestock in Australia each year, their numbers having bounced back dramatically since a hunting ban was imposed in 1971.  A number of these attacks prove fatal, once these crocodiles are over five feet in length they are regarded as man-eaters.  In January, two crocodiles were shot by park rangers as they tried to recover the body of a twelve year old boy that had been attacked.  In August of last year, team members from Everything Dinosaur reported on the recovery of the body of a twenty-six year old man who had been killed by a crocodile whilst attempting to swim across the Mary River during a birthday party.

Man Charged over Dinosaur Footprint Theft In Utah

Man Charged with Stealing Fossilised Dinosaur Footprint

A grand jury has charged a resident of the town of Moab (Grand County, eastern Utah), with four federal offences related to the theft and subsequent loss of a fossilised dinosaur footprint from Bureau of Land Management administered land.  Thirty-five year old, Jared Frederick Ehlers has been indicted on one count each of removal of palaeontological resources, depredation of government property, destruction of evidence and theft of government property.  The motive for the removal of the three-toed dinosaur footprint from a sandstone ridge near to the Hell’s Revenge off-road jeep trail and the alleged subsequent dumping of the fossil in the Colorado river remains unclear, however, given the high prices the sale of such fossil material can fetch on the black market, it is suspected that the fossil was stolen for commercial gain.

Staff have been monitoring the progress of the investigation closely since Everything Dinosaur team members carried the story of the fossil theft on this blog back on February 22nd.

To read about the fossil theft: Dinosaur Footprint Stolen in Utah

Over the weekend of 8th/9th March, Utah State officials organised a dive team to search an area of the Colorado River as it was believed that the fossil specimen had been thrown into the water from the Dewey Bridge but despite an intense search the fossil was not retrieved.

Explaining how difficult it was to search the riverbed, Grand County Sheriff Steven White stated:

“You’re searching by Braille, everything is by hand.  You have zero visibility, you’re dealing with changing currents, you’re dealing with obstacles.  It was very hazardous diving conditions.”

The river search was instigated after a suspect came forward and informed State officials where the 190 million year old, Early Jurassic print had been allegedly dumped.  It remains unclear as to whether this person was Jared Ehlers.

Ehlers is facing prosecution under the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act, (American spelling), a law that was passed by the United States Government to help prevent the theft of fossils from public land and to prosecute any person or persons who vandalises fossils.  Violators face civil and criminal penalties including fines and possible incarceration.

Moab Man Charged with Four Federal Offences Related to Fossil Footprint Theft

Jared Ehlers facing four federal charges over alleged fossil theft

Jared Ehlers facing four federal charges over alleged fossil theft.

Picture Credit: Grand County Jail

The most serious count, that Elhers is facing, the destruction of evidence, carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years.  The other three counts carry a maximum prison sentence of between five and ten years.  No date has been set yet for Mr Ehler’s first court appearance, if he is convicted on all four counts, he could face a maximum possible sentence of forty-five years in prison.

A spokes person from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The federal authorities are to be congratulated for the swift and speedy way in which they have pursued this case.  However, the fossil specimen itself remains lost and as it is sandstone, it will quickly begin to erode and abrade if it remains in the river.  At this juncture, it is very hard to say whether or not the fossil will ever be recovered.  Even if the fossil is found, it may be virtually destroyed as a trace fossil.”

Safari Ltd Announces 2013 Prehistoric Animal Models

New Additions to Carnegie Collectibles Range and other Prehistoric Series from Safari Ltd

A sneak peek at the 2013 releases from Safari Ltd and it is great to see a number of exciting additions to the already extensive Safari Ltd replica range.  To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the relationship between the manufacturer and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, a 1:25 scale model of the recently discovered Theropod Concavenator is being introduced.

Carnegie Collectibles Concavenator Model

Concavenator Dinosaur Model

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The model will measure nearly 18cm long and stand 9cm tall, an exciting new model for the Carnegie scale model dinosaur collectibles range.

Fans of Pterosaurs and marine reptiles won’t be disappointed as amongst the new additions to the Wild Safari Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life series there is a colourful model of the Jurassic Pterosaur Dimorphodon and a model of an Elasmosaurus.

Taking to the Air in 2013 – Dimorphodon

Pterosaur for 2013

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The Dimorphodon will be approximately 13cm long (including tail) and have a wingspan in excess of 20cm.

Elasmosaurus Model from Safari Ltd

Cretaceous Plesiosaur

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The Elasmosaurus mode will measure approximately 25cm in length.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing Safari Ltd models: Safari Prehistoric Animal Models

Other new models in the Wild Safari Dinos (not to scale range) include the Hadrosaur, Gryposaurus from the Campanian faunal stage of North America, care has been taken to skilfully re-create the spiny ridge along this dinosaur’s back.

Wild Safari Gryposaurus

New Duck-billed Dinosaur for 2013

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

This new Hadrosaur measures a little under 22cm long.

Not to be outdone the trend to include more Ceratopsians continues with a replica of Diabloceratops due out next year.  This horned dinosaur from Utah “Devil Horned Face” is bound to be a hit with model collectors.

Wild Safari Diabloceratops Dinosaur Model

“Devil Horned Face”

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

One other interesting “new” Safari model is a reproduction of a Brachiosaurus in the Wild Safari range that resembles the older Brachiosaurid found in the Collectibles scale model range from this company (product code ref: 412001).  A more modern interpretation of a Brachiosaur was introduced into the Wild Dinos Safari range a couple of years back and now Safari have added a robust “swan-necked” Brachiosaurus to their not to scale range.

Brachiosaurid Replica Due out in 2013

A Traditional Brachiosaur interpretation?

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The Brachiosaur will measure approximately 30cm long and stand 35cm tall making it larger than the current Brachiosaurus model in the Wild Safari range.

Finally, in terms of new model introductions, there is exciting news for all fans of the “Terror Birds”, the long awaited Gastornis/Diatryma model is also going to be released next year – a sneaky peek below:

Terror Bird – Gastornis New for 2013

New for the Prehistoric Life Range – Gastornis

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The Gastornis model will measure 8.5cm by 7cm approximately.

So much for the vertebrate palaeontologists amongst you, but for once invertebrate palaeontologists have been remembered by Safari Ltd and the company is going to introduce a special tube set featuring fauna from the Cambrian geological period.  Based on fossil discoveries from the Burgess Shale this ten figure model set will feature iconic Palaeozoic creatures such as a Trilobite and Anomalocaris plus a model of England’s very own Charnia (hoorah for Leicestershire).

Cambrian Fauna (Tube Set) from Safari Ltd

Say hello to Cambrian Wildlife

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

Team members at Everything Dinosaur will continue to keep model fans and collectors up to date with new 2013 introductions watch this space or check out Everything Dinosaur on Facebook or Google Plus for the latest news.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook: Catch Up with Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

Check out Everything Dinosaur on Google Plus: Everything Dinosaur and Google+

A Reminder about Christmas Posting Dates

Friday 9th of December an Important Date for Overseas Customers

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, the UK based dinosaur company staffed by parents, teachers and real dinosaur experts are busy packing and dispatching all the Christmas orders.  The staff do all they can to ensure packages and gifts are sent out as quickly as they can, however, to avoid disappointment at Christmas it is worthwhile adhering to the international last recommended posting dates as provided by Royal Mail.

Tomorrow, for example, is the last recommended posting date for parcels from the UK to the United States, Eastern Europe and Canada being sent by Airmail service, to get there in time for Christmas day.  We urge all our customers to take note of these important last recommended posting dates.  Naturally, some parcels, if posted after these dates may still arrive in time but to avoid the worry of having a parcel delivered late it is better to adhere to the guidelines.

The Table of Last Recommended Posting Dates (Christmas 2011)

Post early to avoid disappointment

Table Credit: Everything Dinosaur (compiled from Royal Mail data)

Post as early as possible is the best advice our team members can give customers.  These dates apply to all parcels and goods sent overseas or by inland mail (UK), by abiding by them senders of such parcels can have a much better chance of getting their gift to the recipient in time for the big day.

Planet Dinosaur – Episode Four “Fight For Life”

A Review of Planet Dinosaur – Episode 4 “Fight for Life”

Having bemoaned the absence of any Triassic dinosaurs in this excellent television series, it was a pleasure to see the warm, shallow seas of the Jurassic featured in this episode of “Planet Dinosaur”.  The focus on this particular programme was the predator/prey relationship, a rich hunting ground for the production team given the amount of fossil evidence that can be interpreted to show such affinities.  The fossil record and the various pathologies of body fossils, coupled with an examination of the natural world today and predator/prey relationships provides plenty of material.  The marine predator featured was the huge Pliosaur “predator X”, with its rosette of 30 centimetre long teeth.  The prey was the Plesiosaur – Kimmerosaurus langhami, one of our favourite Plesiosaurs, anything named after the Kimmeridgian faunal stage is fine by us.  This part of the programmes showed these long-necked beasts, ploughing through soft mud in search of shell fish, worms and other food items.  The fossil evidence for this behaviour comes from a cliff face in Switzerland which has a number of long, weird grooves preserved in the rock, which was once sediment at the bottom of a shallow, tropical sea.  Scientists believe these grooves were dug out by Plesiosaurs as they swam along with their snouts in the sediment searching for food.  They could also have been created as these marine reptiles searched for stones to swallow to act as ballast and as gastroliths to help them grind up food.  We noted that Dr. Adam Smith (Plesiosaur expert) was named in the credits.

The terrestrial part of the programme took viewers to the Morrison Formation of the western United States.  It discussed the relationship between Allosaurus and two prey genera – Camptosaurus and Stegosaurus.  The programme postulated that Camptosaurs and Stegosaurs lived together for mutual benefit.  The Camptosaurs with their bipedal stance acting as look outs for the heavily armoured Stegosaurs.  Such relationships are seen in nature today, for example, in Africa our team members have observed Ostriches and Zebra feeding together.  The Zebras rely on the Ostrich with their heads held high and superb eyesight to spot danger.  Whether or not Camptosaurs and Stegosaurs actually sought out each other for mutual protection is a little speculative, but certainly feasible, if difficult to prove given the fossil record.  Allosaurus fragilis was the hunter, an interesting interpretation, especially the colouration and the crests above the eyes – they reminded us of sun-shades, these would have been useful especially if this predator was most active at dawn or dusk, with the sun low in the sky, just like many predators today. Surprisingly, Saurophaganax got a look in, S. maximus a very large Allosaurid which was first studied in the 1930s.  We thought that this Theropod had been re-classified as just a very big A. fragilis, but no, there it was in all its glory, bullying the Allosaurus out of its kill, its twelve metre-length making it about 15% bigger than the other Theropod.

Interestingly, Saurophaganax is not featured or even mentioned in the book that accompanies this BBC television series.

To read a brief article on Utah’s Theropods: Articulated Theropod Fossil found (Morrison Formation)

We have a Lupin in Flower

A Lupin Flowers for Everything Dinosaur

The spell of gorgeous weather at the end of September must have made the difference.  In the early spring we planted out some Lupin plants that we had raised from seeds.   The area behind the office is slowly and surely being turned into a more nature friendly area.  We have lots of Sedems and even a second Buddleia bush to help attract bees and butterflies.  The Lupins were planted out as we wanted to use the large leaves and stalks as backgrounds for some of our prehistoric animal model shots.  The foliage works quite well for this particular job.  However, we never thought that we would get a flower, especially after the less then glorious summer we had – weather wise.

Everything Dinosaur’s Lupin in Flower

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Naturally, we could not simply plant out the seeds, we divided our seeds into three groups, each group being put in a different area of the yard, one group experienced full sun virtually all day, the second group was placed in an area that had partial shade and the final group was planted in an area roughly between the other two.  The Lupin that flowered came from the middle group.  We had also sourced the seeds from two different sources, the seedlings had been labelled to help us identify which source the plant that emerged was from.  We contacted the supplier to let them know that one of their plants had flowered in its first year for us.  We will try and get some pictures done using the foliage as a backdrop, but in the meantime, we have a lovely flower that cheers us all up.

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