All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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14 04, 2018

Colourful Mini Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

By | April 14th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

Mini Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

Everything Dinosaur has updated the box of mini dinosaur and prehistoric animal models to include a replica of the flying reptile Pteranodon.  This popular set of prehistoric animal figures is sold either as a box of 96 models, or the little dinosaur and prehistoric animal models can be purchased individually.  The pterosaur Pteranodon joins the likes of Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus and a horned dinosaur in the prehistoric animal box, a collection of prehistoric animals from the Age of Dinosaurs.

Colourful Mini Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

Prehistoric animal and dinosaur figures.

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Great for Party Gift Bags

With at least ten different models per box, these little prehistoric animal figures are ideal for party gift bags and for use in dinosaur themed party games.  They make really useful cake decorations, for all those busy grown-ups baking dinosaur themed birthday and celebration cakes for their budding young palaeontologists.  Plastic and robust, the mini dinosaur and prehistoric animal models make very colourful cake toppers.

A Box of Assorted Prehistoric Animals and Dinosaurs

Box of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal models – ideal for parties or for use in schools to help young children gain more confidence with numbers and to aid the development of motor skills.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Helping Children with their Counting and Sorting

Our mini dinosaur and prehistoric animal models have proved very effective teaching aids in school.  The mini dinosaur models are used to help children get to grips with numbers and these bright and colourful figures help inspire and motivate many young children as they make super counters and props for use in counting exercises.  The variety of the figures in a box of 96 provides plenty of opportunities for sorting these little models into different groups.  For example, we have used them to help sort out all the red coloured models into one group, all the yellow coloured models into another.  In addition, we have seen children differentiate and sort the models according to how many legs the animal walks on (two legs or four).

As an extension for more capable learners linked to the Key Stage 1 curriculum is to challenge pupils to sort the figures into meat-eaters and plant-eaters, linking the counting game to an element of the national curriculum that explores simple food chains and food webs.

Tactile Models – Great for Kinaesthetic Learning

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Mini dinosaur and prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur.

A Wide Variety of Prehistoric Animals

Lots of different types of dinosaur models are included, plant-eaters, meat-eaters, Jurassic dinosaurs, Cretaceous dinosaurs, pterosaurs and such like.  Great for counting and sorting games. a box of 96 mini dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures.  Each model measures around 4 to 5 centimetres in length, just the right size for young children in Reception or Year 1 to handle.

To view the mini dinosaur and prehistoric animal models and to see the extensive range of inexpensive dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed gifts and educational materials supplied by Everything Dinosaur, simply click this link: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Gifts and Teaching Resources

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13 04, 2018

Fossils to Explore with Year 2

By | April 13th, 2018|Educational Activities, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Teaching|0 Comments

Ready to Explore Fossils with Year 2

Whilst on one of our many visits to schools to deliver a workshop to Key Stage 2, we discussed with the teaching team how to add more tactile elements to the school’s scheme of work.  We suggested a number of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed exercises including dedicating a table to create a work station so that fossils could be examined by the children.  With some magnifying glasses borrowed from the science cupboard and some scraps of paper on stand-by so that the budding palaeontologists could take notes, it only needed a handful of fossils to complete the fossil study area.

A Fossil Work Station in the Classroom

Learning about fossils.

Ready to study fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The fossils consisted of fragments of large ammonites, a complete Promiceras (P. planicosta), some Promicroceras ammonites, along with Arnioceras and Asteroceras pieces, all of which come from Dorset (Jurassic Coast).  To this mix of cephalopods, we added crinoids, fossilised seed cones, examples of fossil coral and some pieces representing various trilobites including a large and rather beautiful Calymene trilobite that dates from the Silurian.

Being able to handle fossils provides kinaesthetic learners with lots of stimulation, could the children find similar fossils in the text books that they found in library?  Could the work out what sort of creature/plant the fossil might represent.  Can they describe the fossil?  Can they produce an accurate drawing of the object?  We even suggested a measuring exercise to help the children gain confidence using rulers.

Happy fossil hunting!

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12 04, 2018

Why So Many Large Predators in Cretaceous Africa?

By | April 12th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Calcium Isotope Study Sheds Light on Lost World Dominated by Giant Predators

In the autumn of 2011, the BBC aired a new CGI-based dinosaur television series called “Planet Dinosaur”.  The first episode of this documentary series was entitled “Lost World” and focused on the remarkable fossil discoveries from Africa which shed light on ecosystems that seemed to be dominated by hypercarnivores (animals that have a diet that consists of more than 70 percent meat).  Viewers were introduced to giant meat-eating dinosaurs such as Carcharodontosaurus (C. saharicus) and the abelisaurid Rugops (R. primus) as well as super-sized, ancient crocodiles such as Sarcosuchus (S. imperator).  One of the questions posed in the television episode, was how could all these large predators co-exist?  Thanks to some fascinating research involving the study of vertebrate teeth from two famous African fossil deposits, scientists have been able to come with an answer.

Spinosaurus – Featured in Episode 1 “Lost World”

The front cover of the book "Planet Dinosaur"

The documentary series highlighted the latest research on the Theropod Spinosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/BBC

A study of calcium isotopes in fossil teeth suggests that some large, carnivorous Theropods (carcharodontosaurids and abelisaurids) preferred to hunt terrestrial prey such as herbivorous dinosaurs, whilst others such as spinosaurids were mainly fish-eaters (piscivores).  The giant crocodile Sarcosuchus had a diet somewhere in between, consuming both terrestrial and aquatic prey.

Studying Fossil Remains from Niger and Morocco

Writing in the journal “The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology)”, the researchers studied calcium in fossil remains from the famous Kem Kem deposits of Morocco and the Gadoufaoua deposits of Niger.  The research was conducted by the Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon : Terre, planètes et environnement (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University), in partnership with the Centre for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (CNRS/French National Museum of Natural History/Sorbonne University).

The team set out to try and understand why there were comparatively few herbivores recorded compared to the number of large carnivores represented in the fossil material.  The French scientists examined the vertebrate fossils from the Gadoufaoua region of central Niger (part of the Elrhaz Formation, which dates from the Late Aptian to Early Albian stages of the Early Cretaceous).  These fossils represent a flood plain ecosystem that existed some 115-112 million years ago.  Vertebrate fossils from the geologically younger Kem Kem Beds of south-eastern Morocco were also studied.

The Kem Kem deposits, sometimes referred to as the Continental Red Beds, because of the abundance of red sandstone sediments, are difficult to interpret due to the amount of mixing of fossil material and re-deposition.  Dinosaur fossils from this locality are approximately 100 million years old (Cenomanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous).  The two sites are characterised by the overabundance of predators compared to herbivorous dinosaurs and to determine why, the researchers measured the proportions of different calcium isotopes in the fossilised remains (fish scales and tooth enamel).

Examples of Vertebrate Teeth from the Gadoufaoua Deposits (Niger)

Calcium isotope study reveals diets of mid Cretaceous African vertebrates.

Teeth from vertebrates represented by mid Cretaceous fossil material (Kem Kem and Gadoufaoua deposits).  Scale bar = 2 cm.

Picture Credit: Auguste Hassler / LGL-TPE / CNRS-ENS de Lyon-Université Lyon

The picture above shows examples of various vertebrate teeth associated with the Gadoufaoua deposit.  From left to right Sarcosuchus imperator (giant crocodile), a tooth from an indeterminate spinosaurid, a tooth from a non-spinosaurid Theropod (abelisaurid or carcharodontosaurid), a pterosaur tooth, a tooth from a hadrosaurid dinosaur (herbivore), the rounded and flattened tooth associated with a pycnodont (fish) and the tooth of a small crocodylomorph.

Tell-Tale Calcium

Among vertebrates, calcium is almost exclusively derived from food.  By comparing the isotopic composition of potential prey (fish and herbivores), with that of the teeth of carnivores, it is possible to map the probable diet of those meat-eaters.  The researchers found that the data from the two locations showed similar results.  Some large, meat-eating dinosaurs such as the carcharodontosaurids and the abelisaurids preferred to hunt terrestrial prey, whilst spinosaurids displayed a very distinctive isotopic signature indicating a marked preference for aquatic prey (fish).  Sarcosuchus, on the other hand, may have been more of a generalist.  Calcium isotope data showed that these large crocodiles fed on terrestrial as well as aquatic animals.

The Skull  and Jaws of Sarcosuchus

Skull of Sarcosuchus.

The huge skull of Sarcosuchus – a giant crocodile that preyed on terrestrial as well as aquatic prey.

Picture Credit: Patrina Malone

Resource Niche Partitioning

This study suggests that predators avoided direct competition by sharing food resources.  The distinctive taxonomic clustering in calcium isotope values recorded by the French researchers strongly supports the idea of niche partitioning, that is, different types of carnivore used the resources in the environment differently which enabled them all to co-exist.  The calcium isotope measurements allow palaeontologists to examine feeding evidence across a food chain within an ecosystem.  This research, if applied elsewhere, such as within other fossil Lagerstätte, may permit clarification of food chain roles and niche partitioning within numerous ancient palaeoenvironments.

The scientific paper: “Calcium Isotopes offer Clues on Resource Partitioning among Cretaceous Predatory Dinosaurs” by A. Hassler, J. E. Martin, R. Amiot, T. Tacail, F. Arnaud Godet, R. Allain, V. Balter published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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11 04, 2018

Merci Pour Le Triceratops!

By | April 11th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Thanks for the Triceratops Photographs

At Everything Dinosaur, we really enjoy viewing the model collections of dinosaur fans.  It is great to see what collectors and figure enthusiasts have made of their purchases and we get lots of pictures sent into us highlighting dinosaur displays, prehistoric animal dioramas and completed model kits.  Recently, we received some photographs from a talented model maker who had just finished a Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops model kit and what a fantastic replica he has created.

The Completed Pegasus Triceratops Model

Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops model kit.

A completed 1:24 scale Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: M.F.

A Beautiful Horned Dinosaur Model

The Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops is one of trio of dinosaur model kits currently available from this manufacturer.  The kit consists of a solid PVC Triceratops dinosaur in several constituent parts, a detailed display base and a name plate.  Model fans and collectors have a wonderful 1:24 scale Triceratops figure to assemble and paint.  As the glue and paints are not included in the kits, the model maker has complete freedom to decide what colour scheme they would like.  The very talented collector who sent in these pictures to Everything Dinosaur, has chosen to emphasise the subtle scales on the flank and to highlight the epocipitals on that awesome-looking head shield.

Thank You for Sending in the Triceratops Photographs

A completed 1:24 scale Pegasus Triceratops model.

Finished Triceratops dinosaur model kit.

Picture Credit: M. F.

Painting the Toes of Triceratops

The finished model shows lots and lots of detail.  The skull and the open mouth have been painted with considerable skill and care.  Note how even the individual digits and toes have been painted, there is certainly a lot to admire in this completed replica.  The weathered look to those huge brow horns and the delicate brushwork that has enabled them to fit seamlessly into their bony sockets is particularly impressive.  This is a wonderful example of the dinosaur model maker’s art.

The Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops Box Art

The Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops dinosaur model.

Pegasus Hobbies Triceratops 1:24 scale dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The box art for this kit (shown above), depicts this horned dinosaur in a forest environment, but this model maker has chosen to paint the display base a sandy colour.  Perhaps the Triceratops lived in an arid environment, or maybe the display base depicts the shore of a lake or a river bank.  Could the Triceratops be at the seaside?  Ironically, numerous Triceratops fossil specimens have been found in association with ancient coastal habitats.

A Close-up View of the Skull (Triceratops Model Kit)

Finished Triceratops model kit.

A completed 1:24 scale Pegasus Triceratops model.

Picture Credit: M. F.

The Pegasus Hobbies kits have built up a strong reputation for their quality and craftsmanship, these kits really do give model makers the opportunity to develop their own unique interpretation of a famous animal from the fossil record.

To view the range of Pegasus Hobbies kits available from Everything Dinosaur: Pegasus Hobbies Dinosaur Model Kits

Our thanks once again to the talented person who sent in the photographs, or as we might say in their language “Merci beaucoup pour les photographies fantastiques du Triceratops.”

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10 04, 2018

Single Bone Points Finger at Early Homo sapiens Migration

By | April 10th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Homo sapiens Spread Further Than Previously Thought – More Evidence

A single finger bone, measuring just 3.3 centimetres in length, indicates that modern humans were living in Saudi Arabia around 88,000 years ago.  The ancient digit, is the oldest human (H. sapiens), fossil to have been found to date outside of the cradle of humanity (Africa).  Its discovery suggests that early, modern humans travelled further than initially thought during the first reported human migration into Eurasia.  This fossil discovery adds to the evidence from Israel, China and Australia that Homo sapiens was widely dispersed outside of Africa as early as 180,000 years ago.

Views of the Ancient Human Finger Bone

Ancient human finger bone from Saudi Arabia.

Various views of the fossil intermediate phalanx from Saudi Arabia.

Picture Credit: Ian Cartwright

Excavating an Ancient Freshwater Lake Bed

Writing in the academic journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution”, the international team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and Oxford University, report on the excavations of an ancient freshwater lake bed preserved in the Nefud Desert.  Prior to this and other recent discoveries, most palaeoanthropologists believed that early migrations out of Africa into Eurasia by H. sapiens had largely been unsuccessful, with early humans only reaching the relatively nearby Mediterranean forests of the Levant.

Fieldwork at the Al Wusta Site (Saudi Arabia)

Excavating the ancient lake bed in the Nefud Desert.

The Al Wusta excavation site, in the Nefud Desert (Saudi Arabia).

Picture Credit: Michael Petraglia/Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Single Human Bone

The single human bone was subjected to CT scans to build up a three-dimensional image of the fossil.  It resembled a modern human finger bone, Neanderthal finger bones being shorter and squatter.  The fossil is described as an “intermediate phalanx”, it is the second furthest finger bone from the wrist.  In addition to the human fossil, the field team found evidence of the lush palaeoenvironment of the area including bones from a hippopotamus and the fossil shells of freshwater snails.  The scientists uncovered a large number of stone tools too.

88,000 Years Old

A dating technique called uranium series dating was used to estimate the age of the fossil.  A laser was employed to bore microscopic holes into the fossil bone and record the ratio between minute traces of radioactive elements.  Having compared the fossil to the digits of ancient hominins and primates, the scientists reported that this was conclusively a finger bone and it belonged to a member of our own species – Homo sapiens.

Lead author of the paper, Dr Huw Groucutt (Oxford University and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History), stated:

“This discovery for the first time conclusively shows that early members of our species colonised an expansive region of southwest Asia and were not just restricted to the Levant.  The ability of these early people to widely colonise this region casts doubt on long held views that early dispersals out of Africa were localised and unsuccessful.”

Other dates obtained from associated fossil material and analysis of the ancient lake sediments corroborate the team’s findings.  The dates are focused on or around 90,000 years ago.  During this time the Al Wusta location looked very different than it does today.  The area was lush and green and the large lake was surrounded by a grassland ecosystem.

Co-author of the scientific paper, Professor Michael Petraglia (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History), added:

“The Arabian Peninsula has long been considered to be far from the main stage of human evolution.  This discovery firmly puts Arabia on the map as a key region for understanding our origins and expansion to the rest of the world.   As fieldwork carries on, we continue to make remarkable discoveries in Saudi Arabia.”

The Ancient Lake Bed (White) Surrounded by the Sand of the Nefud Desert

The prehistoric lake bed in the Nefud Desert.

Once this region was verdant with many lakes thanks to the monsoon rains.

Picture Credit: Michael Petraglia/Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

The scientific paper: “Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 Years Ago” by Huw S. Groucutt, Rainer Grün, Michael D. Petraglia et al, published in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution”.

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9 04, 2018

Late Triassic Giant Ichthyosaurs

By | April 9th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists Identify Giant Triassic Ichthyosaur Jaw Bone and Help Solve 19th Century Fossil Mystery

Scientists have identified a jaw bone of a giant marine reptile, that could represent one of the largest animals that ever lived.  The newly described fossil bones, representing a portion of an enormous lower jaw, may also have shed light on a mystery that dates back to the middle of the 19th Century.  The fossilised jaw, which consists of several, broken, individual pieces, is thought to be an incomplete surangular (bone from the rear of the lower jaw), from a shastasaurid Ichthyosaur, a clade of enigmatic, giant marine reptiles that were geographically widespread during the Late Triassic.  The fossil material was found on the beach at the small village of Lilstock in (west Somerset), the specimen is approximately 205 million years old.

A Lateral View of the Fossil Material – A Giant Ichthyosaur from Somerset!

Incomplete surangular from a giant Triassic Ichthyosaur.

The incomplete surangular jaw bone from Lilstock (Somerset).

Picture Credit: Manchester University

Found on a Somerset Beach

Fossil collector and co-author of the study, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, Paul de la Salle, found a portion of the specimen in May 2016.  He later returned to the beach and found more pieces, that together form a partial surangular more than a metre in length (see photograph above).

An Approximate Representation of the Location of Surangular on the Skull of Shonisaurus

The surangular bone of Shonisaurus is highlighted.

A close-up of the skull of Shonisaurus, the surangular bone is outlined in red.

Picture Credit: Scott Hartman with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on his fossil find Paul stated:

“Initially, the bone just looked like a piece of rock but, after recognising a groove and bone structure, I thought it might be part of a jaw from an Ichthyosaur and immediately contacted Ichthyosaur experts Dean Lomax (Manchester University) and Professor Judy Massare (SUNY College at Brockport, New York, USA), who expressed interest in studying the specimen.  I also contacted Dr Ramues Gallois, a geologist who visited the site and determined the age of the specimen stratigraphically.”

Comparisons with Shonisaurus sikanniensis

Dean Lomax and Judy Massare made the surangular identification and visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, southern Alberta (Canada), to view skull material from the largest Ichthyosaur yet described, the monstrous shastasaurid Shonisaurus sikanniensis.  S. sikanniensis fossils come from Upper Triassic rocks found in British Columbia and the Royal Tyrrell material indicates a marine reptile around 21 metres in length.  The researchers found similarities between the new Somerset specimen and Shonisaurus sikanniensis, which suggests that the Lilstock fossils represent a giant shastasaurid too.

A Life Restoration and Skeletal Drawing of the Giant Ichthyosaur Shonisaurus

Shonisaurus life and skeletal reconstruction.

Shonisaurus life restoration and skeletal reconstruction (N. Tamura and S. Hartman).

Picture Credit: Nobumichi Tamura and Scott Hartman

As Big as a Blue Whale?

Commenting on the approximate size of the Somerset specimen, Dean Lomax said:

“As the specimen is represented only by a large piece of jaw, it is difficult to provide a size estimate, but by using a simple scaling factor and comparing the same bone in S. sikanniensis, the Lilstock specimen is about 25% larger.  Other comparisons suggest that the Lilstock Ichthyosaur was at least 20 to 25 metres.  Of course, such estimates are not entirely realistic because of the differences between species.  Nonetheless, simple scaling is commonly used to estimate size, especially when comparative material is scarce.”

When compared to giant marine vertebrates today, the upper end of the size estimate for the Lilstock specimen would indicate a creature longer than the largest toothed whale, the Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), indeed, at around 25 metres long, it would rival in size the largest cetaceans of all, adult Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus).

A Pair of Giant Shastasaurid Ichthyosaurs Cruise the Late Triassic Ocean with a Pod of Smaller Ichthyosaurs for Company

Shonisaurus illustrated.

A pair of Shonisaurus – giant marine reptiles of the Late Triassic.

Picture Credit: Nobumichi Tamura

Solving a Mystery That Dates Back to 1850

In 1850, a large bone was described from the Upper Triassic sediments of Aust Cliff in Gloucestershire (UK).  Four other fragmentary bone elements were subsequently found and described.  Sadly, two of these fossils are missing and presumed destroyed.  These bone shafts have been assigned to limb bones of herbivorous dinosaurs.  Two of the fossils were thought to resemble the limbs of Stegosaurs, but if that was the case, it would push back the evolutionary origins of Stegosaurs into the Norian faunal stage of the Late Triassic.  Other scientists have speculated that the fossil material might not be dinosaurian at all, but fossils of a related Archosaur from the pseudosuchian lineage.  However, with the discovery of the Lilstock specimen, another possibility has come to light.  These fossils could represent jaw fragments of giant, previously unrecognised Ichthyosaurs, after all, the Aust Cliff location has already yielded a number of marine reptile fossils including Ichthyosaurs.

Dean Lomax added:

“One of the Aust bones might also be an Ichthyosaur surangular.  If it is, by comparison with the Lilstock specimen, it might represent a much larger animal.  To verify these findings, we need a complete giant Triassic Ichthyosaur from the UK – a lot easier said than done!”

The scientific paper: “A Giant Late Triassic Ichthyosaur from the UK and a Reinterpretation of the Aust Cliff “Dinosaurian” Bones by Lomax, D. R., De la Salle, P., Massare, J. A. and Gallois, R. (2018) published in PLOS One.

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8 04, 2018

Taking Photographs of the Rebor Ceratosaurus (Savage)

By | April 8th, 2018|Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Rebor Ceratosaurus 1:35 Scale Replica Poses for the Camera

A figure collector contacted Everything Dinosaur and asked us to select a Rebor Ceratosaurus dinosaur model for him.  However, before placing his order, he requested that we send some photographs of the model.  We are always happy to oblige fellow collectors and dinosaur model enthusiasts, so we quickly despatched some images via email so that the buyer could peruse his potential purchase.

The Rebor 1:35 Scale Model of Ceratosaurus (C. dentisulcatus)

Rebor Ceratosaurus dinosaur model (Savage).

The Rebor 1:35 scale Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Ceratosaurus Figure (Savage)

Measuring around 27 centimetres in length and standing an impressive 10. 5 centimetres high when posed on its detailed base, the Rebor Ceratosaurus is a most attractive figure.  It comes with its own polystone base, with a puddle effect and small tree stump.  The base itself, measures around 14 centimetres long.  The dinosaur is depicted in a very dynamic pose, almost as if it is sprinting.  Although, a sizeable predator, the robust Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus shared its environment with some even larger Theropods, such as Saurophaganax and Allosaurus.  The detail on the model is fantastic, from the characteristic nose horn and the prominent bony growths over the eyes, down to the scales running along the back to the end of that powerful tail.   The Rebor 1:35 scale Ceratosaurus has proved to be extremely popular with avid collectors of prehistoric animal models and figures.

A Close-up View of the Head and Jaws of the Rebor Ceratosaurus Dinosaur Model

Rebor Ceratosaurus dinosaur model (Savage).

A close-up view of the head and the jaws of the Rebor Ceratosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the close-up view of the head and jaws, the beautiful detail of the hornlets over the eyes can be seen along with that prominent nasal horn.  The Rebor sculpt shows the large jaws and blade-like teeth associated with the Ceratosaurus genus.

Several Species of Ceratosaurus Have Been Described

Although associated mostly with Upper Jurassic deposits, fragmentary fossils from Argentina that are associated with the Aptian faunal stage, indicate that these predators survived into the Early Cretaceous.  Several species of  Ceratosaurus have been described from Morrison Formation fossils, although fossil finds suggest that this dinosaur was geographically widespread.  Ceratosaurus material has been found in Portugal (Lourinhã Formation) and there is some evidence to suggest that these types of dinosaur lived in Africa (fossils from the Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania).

It really is a most remarkable figure.  Having viewed the photographs that we had emailed, the dinosaur model collector asked us to reserve this particular model for him.  It was subsequently purchased and we suspect that in a few days it will be taking pride of place in his model collection.

To view the Rebor Ceratosaurus (Savage) and the rest of the figures in the Rebor series: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures

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7 04, 2018

Searching for Ancient Settlements at the Bottom of the North Sea

By | April 7th, 2018|Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

International Collaboration to Pinpoint Stone Age Settlements in Doggerland

A two-year marine expedition to pinpoint the location of a prehistoric settlement in the southern North Sea will be officially launched next Tuesday (10th April).  Teams from the University of Bradford, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and Ghent University will be working together to map and survey an area of the North Sea known as Brown Bank.  This area may have been the site of a substantial Stone Age settlement, prior to the land becoming inundated as sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age.

The marine experts hope to undertake an extensive geophysical assessment of the area, before extracting sediment cores that can be examined to establish the palaeo-environment and any evidence of human activity.

The Brown Bank Area of the Southern North Sea

The Brown Bank area of the southern North Sea.

The “Lost Frontiers” project map showing the location of the Brown Bank area in the southern North Sea.

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

The picture above shows the location of the Brown Bank area, approximately sixty miles east of Great Yarmouth.  The circles indicate areas in which archaeological evidence has been discovered in the southern North Sea.

Complimenting the “Lost Frontiers” Project

This two-year research project compliments the Bradford University-led “Lost Frontiers” project, in which archaeologists are mapping the ancient, prehistoric landscape of the North Sea known as Doggerland.  The European Research Council (ERC) is funding the research.  This area, now submerged, once connected the United Kingdom to Europe.  As sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age between 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, so the land was gradually lost and all evidence of human settlement and activity was swallowed up by the rising waters.  Scientists working on the Lost Frontiers project have identified river valleys, hills, marshland and what were once great grassy plains stretching across thousands of square kilometres, but despite this, evidence of human activity has remained elusive.

Evidence of Human Activity/Settlement from the Brown Bank Area

Brown Bank Stone Age artefacts.

Brown Bank artefacts – A selection of prehistoric artefacts from Brown Bank collected by Dr Dick Mol including (a ) polished stone axe mace head; b) perforated deer antler socketed adze axe head; c) human mandible, without scale from (Peeters 2011).

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

A Home to Thousands of People

Chance finds by trawlers as they use drag fishing methods in the area have provided tantalising evidence of a hitherto hidden Stone Age world.  Archaeologists have long suspected that this part of the North Sea may have been home to thousands of people, the aim of this new project is to prove that the Brown Bank area, an eighteen-mile-long (thirty kilometres), sand ridge, some sixty miles (one hundred kilometres), east of the Norfolk coast and around fifty miles (eighty kilometres), from Holland, was the location of a prehistoric settlement.

Commenting on the significance of this new research, Professor Vincent Gaffney (Bradford University), stated:

“If it is possible to undertake fieldwork that can locate prehistoric settlement on the Brown Bank this would be a major event.  Until now the majority of Doggerland has been terra incognita in archaeological terms.  If we can begin to locate settlement across the, currently, empty map of the Doggerland, we would open a new chapter in archaeological exploration.”

Professor Vincent Gaffney (University of Bradford)

Professor Vincent Gaffney.

Professor Vincent Gaffney (Bradford University).

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

Ancient River Systems

The team hope to build on previous research carried out by Ghent University in which ancient river systems were plotted running across the southern North Sea area.  Using this data, the researchers have pinpointed one particular area in the Brown Bank where there might have once been a large lake.  If this area was home to a substantial human population, it is likely they would have built a settlement on the lake shore.

A member of the research team, Dr David Garcia Moreno (Ghent University), explained:

“Confirmation of the location of a prehistoric lake near the Brown Bank and the characterisation of the fluvial system associated with it would be a breakthrough.  Such a discovery would have vast implications in our understanding of the palaeogeographic evolution of north-western Europe since the last Ice Age.”

A Map Showing the Approximate Maximum Land Area That Once Joined the UK  and Ireland to the rest of Europe

The extent of the palaeolandscape prior to sea level changes.

Approximate maximum extent of marine palaeolandscapes off the Irish and British coasts.

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

Help from the Belgian Navy

The project’s first phase will involve teams from the UK and Belgium surveying the target area with the assistance of the Belgian research vessel RV Belgica.   This fifty-metre-long vessel will be home to the researchers whilst they build up a detailed map of the physical features of the seafloor.  This survey will help them identify promising areas for further examination in part two of the project.

In the second phase, the team will extract sediment cores from these targets and analyse them to determine the environment of the landscape underlying the Brown Bank and to understand its potential for human settlement prior to its flooding.

Dr Tine Missiaen (VLIZ), stated:

“Submerged landscapes and human settlement in the North Sea did not stop at borders.  International collaboration is indispensable to unravel this unique episode in Europe’s prehistory.  Only the integrated use of novel state-of-the-art techniques will allow us to map and reconstruct these drowned landscapes and settlements with unprecedented detail.”

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6 04, 2018

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Schleich Carnotaurus (2017)

By | April 6th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Schleich Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model

Those talented and clever people at JurassicCollectables have produced another dinosaur model video review.  This time it is the Schleich “Conquering the Earth” Carnotaurus figure from 2017 that is given the star treatment.  This figure was introduced by Schleich last year, but interest in Carnotaurus has certainly been piqued after its appearance in the recent “Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom” movie trailer.  Whilst the tyrannosaurids rose to prominence in the northern hemisphere during the Late Cretaceous, in the south, as the super-continent Gondwana continued to break apart, it was the bizarre abelisaurids, such as Carnotaurus, that took on the role of apex predators.

In this short video (duration a little under eight minutes), a Schleich Carnotaurus dinosaur model is unwrapped and put on the display turntable.  The narrator discusses the model and highlights some of the features, including how it reminds him of another Carnotaurus figures that came out as merchandise from earlier “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” dinosaur movies.

The Schleich Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model Video Review

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

The video review gives model collectors the opportunity to see this very unique dinosaur model up close.  The model has a very distinctive skull, a point emphasised in the video.  The narrator comments on the simple but effective colour scheme and praises the wet, glossy look of the eye that helps to animate this figure.  The rows of neck plates and other osteoderms are mentioned, although, the spokesperson for JurassicCollectables does not comment on the distinct overbite depicted on this short-skulled dinosaur.

JurassicCollectables on Their YouTube Channel

JurassicCollectables have a brilliant YouTube channel which is full of prehistoric animal model reviews and other very informative and interesting videos.  This YouTube channel has tens of thousands of subscribers, more than 64,000, that’s an amazing achievement, our congratulations to everyone at JurassicCollectables for such a fantastic collection of videos.

You can visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube, Everything Dinosaur recommends that prehistoric animal model fans subscribe to the JurassicCollectables channel on YouTube.

To purchase the Schleich “Conquering the Earth” Carnotaurus dinosaur model and to see the full range of Schleich prehistoric animal figures that Everything Dinosaur offers: Schleich Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

The Schleich “Conquering the Earth” Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model

Schleich Conquering the Earth Carnotaurus model.

The Schleich “Conquering the Earth” Carnotaurus figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Tactile Dinosaur Model (Schleich Carnotaurus)

Schleich are building a reputation for the tactile quality of their dinosaur models.  The narrator in the video alludes to the “feel” of the model, the different sized scales and their texture lends a kinaesthetic quality to this dinosaur, a point picked up by numerous teaching assistants and learning support advisers in schools who are using Schleich dinosaur models to assist with sensory play and kinaesthetic themed learning.

For an article that discusses the tactile qualities of a Schleich figure: The Tactile Qualities of the Schleich Brachiosaurus

Our thanks to, JurassicCollectables for their most informative and instructive video review of the Schleich Carnotaurus, we look forward to this talented team producing more videos of the Schleich “Conquering the Earth” dinosaur model range in the future.

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5 04, 2018

180 Million-year-old Pregnant Ichthyosaur

By | April 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Yorkshire and Pregnant Ichthyosaurs

Yorkshire might be famous for its beautiful countryside, its puddings and of course, its cricket team, but this part of England also has some remarkable geology.  Through the Vale of Pickering to the North Sea, there are magnificent exposures of Mesozoic-age rocks.  Parts of the Yorkshire coast are a haven for fossil hunters and much of the coastal area of “God’s own country”, as many Yorkshire residents call their county, provides the geological standard for comparing less well exposed areas inland and also for the geology of the North Sea basin.  Yorkshire Museum has recently opened permanent galleries that tell the amazing story of Yorkshire’s prehistoric past and a star exhibit is a fossil block that contains the remains of several Ichthyosaur embryos.

An Illustration of the Pregnant Ichthyosaur

Pregnant Ichthyosaur.

A pregnant pause in deep time. Fossilised Ichthyosaur embryos have been found in Yorkshire.

Picture Credit: Nobumichi Tamura (Manchester University)

Ichthyosaurs – Superbly Adapted Marine Reptiles

Ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles that superficially resembled dolphins.  They evolved during the Triassic and numerous different genera have been named.  Fossils of Ichthyosaurs have been found in many parts of the world, the first marine reptile to be scientifically described was an Ichthyosaur.  The fossilised remains were discovered at Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast and this animal was later identified as a specimen of a giant “fish lizard” known as Temnodontosaurus platyodon.  Superbly adapted to a marine existence, Ichthyosaurs had streamlined bodies, steered with their front flippers and propelled themselves through the water with their powerful tails.  These reptiles gave birth to live young (viviparous), rather than returning to land to lay eggs.

A Trio of Ichthyosaurs

Ichthyosaurs

Dolphin-like prehistoric animals, the Ichthyosaurs were a highly successful group of marine reptiles.

An Important Ichthyosaur Specimen

The Yorkshire Museum Ichthyosaur specimen, complete with the remains of between six and eight tiny embryos between its ribs, was collected from the Whitby area of North Yorkshire back in 2010.  We at Everything Dinosaur, suspect that the fossil was found in sediments that make up the Whitby Mudstone Formation.  The fossil was in the possession of a local collector, Martin Rigby, he thought the block could contain the remains of unborn Ichthyosaurs and this was confirmed when the specimen was examined by palaeontologists from the University of Manchester.   The specimen consists of a polished block which exposes several large ribs of the mother and numerous strings of tiny vertebrae and small bones that constitute the remains of the unborn “fish lizards”.  The fossil has been acquired by the Yorkshire Museum and forms an integral part of the Museum’s new permanent exhibition “Yorkshire’s Jurassic World”.

Rare British Fossil Revealing Embryos

Only five Ichthyosaur specimens from the British Isles have ever been discovered with embryos preserved and never before has a British Ichthyosaur fossil been found with so many.  All five known specimens were collected from Jurassic-aged rocks in the south-west of England, they are aged between 200 to 190 million years old.  However, the Yorkshire specimen, heralds from younger Jurassic sediments dating from the Toarcian faunal stage of the Early Jurassic.   It is around 180 million years old.

Commenting on the significance of the discovery Manchester University palaeontologist Mike Boyd, who along with colleague Dean Lomax, studied the specimen, stated:

“We also considered the possibility that the tiny remains could be stomach contents, although it seemed highly unlikely that an Ichthyosaur would swallow six to eight aborted embryos or new-born Ichthyosaurs at one time.  This does not seem to have been the case, because the embryos display no erosion from stomach acids.  Moreover, the embryos are not associated with any stomach contents commonly seem in Early Jurassic Ichthyosaurs, such as the remains of squid-like Belemnites”.

Eight different species of Ichthyosaur have been documented with embryos.  By far, the most commonly found Ichthyosaur genus with embryos is Stenopterygius.  Over a hundred specimens of Stenopterygius from the Holzmaden area of southern Germany have been found with embryos, ranging from one to eleven in number.

Co-author of the scientific paper and visiting scientist at the University of Manchester, Dean Lomax added:

“The German sites are approximately the same age as the new specimen from Whitby and it is possible that the new specimen is also Stenopterygius, but no identifiable features are preserved in the adult or embryos.  Nonetheless, this is an important find.”

A Cast of a Stenopterygius Specimen with an Embryo Expelled (Possibly Post Mortem)

Stenopterygius fossil.

Stenopterygius Ichthyosaur fossil originally from Germany.  Expelled embryo is indicated by the white arrow.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has been selected by the Yorkshire Museum to help supply prehistoric animal themed craft materials in support of the Museum’s outreach activities.  In addition, the UK-based company has supplied dinosaur and marine reptile themed merchandise to the Yorkshire Museum’s retail outlet.

Commenting on the permanent exhibition and the significance of the Manchester University research, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“It is fantastic to see a museum celebrating the fossil heritage of Yorkshire and the research undertaken by the dedicated scientists at Manchester University has helped to give the opening of the permanent galleries even greater significance.”

The scientific paper: “The Youngest Occurrence of Ichthyosaur Embryos in the UK: A New Specimen from the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) of Yorkshire” by Boyd, M. J. and Lomax, D. R. (2018) published in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society.

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