All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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27 06, 2017

Smallwood Academy Study Dinosaurs

By | June 27th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Drawings and Super Spelling

A day of dinosaur workshops with the Key Stage 1 children and the Reception class at Smallwood CofE Primary Academy in Cheshire and what a busy day it was too.  Under the enthusiastic tutelage of the dedicated teaching team, the children in Ash, Elm and Willow classes have been learning all about prehistoric animals and famous fossil hunters such as Mary Anning.  Several of the children had brought in their own fossil finds to show their classmates.  The children’s splendid fossils are not quite as big as the “gigantic”, “giant”, “humongous” Jurassic ammonites that our dinosaur expert took into school.  However, we are sure that the fossils that the children brought in will help to enrich this exciting term topic.  After explaining how fossils formed, there was lots of fossil handling and plenty of opportunities for the pupils to try out some super describing words.

Ash Class (Year 1) Design Dinosaurs

Year 1 dinosaur designs.

Year 1 children design dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Smallwood CofE Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Extension Activities

One of the extension activities involved challenging the class to design their own prehistoric animals.  Could the pupils label the body parts including the skull?  Could they come up with a name to describe their very own dinosaur?  Having worked with the Key Stage 1 classes in the morning, during the lunch break, our dinosaur expert was handed a selection of the drawings from the budding young palaeontologists in Ash class (Year 1) – what a colourful collection of dinosaurs!

A Pink and Green Dinosaur from Florence

A colourful dinosaur design.

Florence (Ash class) designed a very colourful dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Smallwood CofE Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

New Dinosaur Discoveries

At Everything Dinosaur, we keep a register of newly described and named dinosaurs.  On average, a new dinosaur is named every three weeks and so far around 1,200 different genera have been erected – there are certainly lots of amazing dinosaurs to help inspire the children with their very own dinosaur designs.  We even emailed over to the teaching team a fact sheet and scale drawing of one dinosaur (Maiasaura), could the children work out from the drawing and fact sheet what Maiasaura ate?

Aimee Drew an “Apartesarrs”

A long-necked dinosaur drawaing.

A beautiful dinosaur drawing from Aimee.

Picture Credit: Smallwood CofE Primary Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Amazing Questions

Elm class (Year 2), had thought of some brilliant questions to ask and in the afternoon, we met up with the enthusiastic Reception class (Willow) and our dinosaur expert was introduced to Oliver – Willow’s resident dinosaur expert.

A very big thank you to the children for producing such a wonderful collection of dinosaur drawings and our thanks to the teaching team at Smallwood CofE Primary Academy for inviting Everything Dinosaur into the school.

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26 06, 2017

Rebor Crimson King Makes a Splash

By | June 26th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Main Page|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Features Rebor Carnotaurus

The latest Everything Dinosaur newsletter features the newly arrived, magnificent Rebor Carnotaurus (C. sastrei), 1:35 scale replica.  As soon as stock of this new Rebor replica arrived at our warehouse, we were able to send out a newsletter to our customers informing them that this new addition to the Rebor model range was available.

The Rebor Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model Grabs the Headlines

The Rebor "Crimson King" Carnotaurus model.

Introducing the Rebor “Crimson King” Carnotaurus replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor’s prehistoric animal model range goes from strength to strength and we know that this Theropod model has been eagerly anticipated.  Fortunately, for Everything Dinosaur customers, they were able to reserve a replica to ensure that collectors did not miss out.  With its articulated lower jaw, great design and beautifully detailed “lava field” model base, the Rebor “Crimson King” is bound to become a firm favourite amongst dinosaur model fans.

The Rebor Carnotaurus Replica “Crimson King”

Rebor Carnotaurus replica.

The Rebor “Crimson King” Carnotaurus replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Rebor replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur including the new Rebor “Crimson King” Carnotaurus figure: Rebor Replicas

Rebor Limited Edition Velociraptors and Natural History Museum Dinosaurs

In the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter, details are provided as to how readers can get their hands on a limited edition set of Rebor Velociraptor figures – the “Winston and Stan” model set in the bronze effect finish.  In addition, updates on the availability of the Natural History Museum dinosaur models are given.  With prices starting from around £4.99 plus post and packing (June 2017), these replicas represent excellent value for money.

The Everything Dinosaur Customer Newsletter

Natural History Museum dinosaurs and Rebor replicas.

Rebor limited edition Velociraptor models and Natural History Museum dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Fun Stegosaurus

Sales of Mojo Fun models in the “Prehistoric & Extinct” range remain strong.  This range was added to Everything Dinosaur’s portfolio a few weeks ago and since all the Mojo Fun models in this range are stocked, collectors have been able to acquire those figures that had been missing from their collections.  Furthermore, many existing Everything Dinosaur customers who had not purchased this range before have been snapping them up, including the beautiful Mojo Fun Stegosaurus model.

Mojo Fun Models and Pegasus Kits

Pegasus dinosaur kits and Mojo Fun models.

Mojo Fun and Pegasus dinosaur kits.

Picture Credit Everything Dinosaur

The newsletter also gave us the opportunity to update subscribers with regards to the current availability of the much-loved Pegasus kits.  The Spinosaurus and the Triceratops kits are currently in stock.

How to Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletters

Customers can subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter when placing an order. Visitors to our company website: Everything Dinosaur can also subscribe by scrolling down the home page and completing the form on the bottom right portion of the screen.

It is Easy to Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter

Subscribe to the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Scroll down the Everything Dinosaur home page to find the subscription area.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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25 06, 2017

The Sensitive Face of Neovenator

By | June 25th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

The Neurovascular System of Neovenator – A “Touchy” Subject

When it comes to European Theropods, most are only known from a handful of fragmentary bones.  An exception to this is the allosauroid Neovenator (N. salerii) from the Barremian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous.  Some seventy percent of the skeleton of an individual animal has been excavated from the Wessex Formation exposures on the Isle of Wight and crucially, this fossil material, the holotype, includes portions from the front of the skull.  Although it has been some twenty years, since this dinosaur was formally named and described, the fossils, especially the cranial material, can still yield intriguing information about the capabilities and potential behaviour of carnivorous dinosaurs.

A Model of Neovenator (N. salerii)

A model of Neovenator.

“New Hunter” from the Isle of Wight

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of researchers from Southampton University in collaboration with European colleagues, provide a detailed study using computed tomography of two bones from the front part of the skull that make up the upper jaw (premaxilla and maxilla).  The research reveals the presence of a substantial network of neurovascular canals which are linked to the external surfaces of the jaw bones.  This suggests that Neovenator had a “sensitive face”, it might have been able to sense its environment, or perhaps the anterior portion of some Theropod skulls played a tactile role in behaviour, dinosaurs rubbing noses for example, perhaps as a way of reinforcing bonds in a pack.    The snouts of meat-eating dinosaurs could have had a functional role, similar to the same role that our fingertips perform for us primates.  It is an intriguing thought.

The Skull of Neovenator Showing the Location of the Premaxilla and Maxilla Fossil Bones

The skull of Neovenator showing the upper jaw bones.

The head of Neovenator reconstructed showing the holotype premaxilla and the maxilla.

Picture Credit: Darren Naish

The Trigeminal Nerve

The research team took care to rule out the idea that these observed internal structures may have resulted from imaging errors arising from the scanning process.  In addition, Theropod skulls like many extant Tetrapods, have lots of air spaces in the bones (skeletal pneumaticity), the researchers interpreted these canals and channels as being independent and separate from the pneumatic system.  The branching structures that the team identified were concluded to be part of the neurovascular system, components the team identified were interpreted as constituents of the trigeminal nerve, sometimes referred to as the fifth cranial nerve.  This multi-branching nerve is responsible for tactile information, external temperature assessment, it has a role in motor control such as our chewing motion and provides pain receptors within the face.  It seems that Neovenator had a sensitive snout.

The Articulated Premaxilla and Maxilla of Neovenator – Scan Reveals a Network of Neurovascular Structures

Neovenator skull scan reveals neurovascular structures.

Articulated premaxilla and maxilla of Neovenator holotype MIWG 6348 in left lateral view showing neurovascular structures.

Picture Credit: Barker et al University of Southampton

A Specialised Tactile Organ

When the size of these canals and structures were assessed they were calculated to occupy 7.3% of the volume of the premaxilla and 6.7% of the total volume of the maxilla.  If this large Theropod had a very sensitive face, then this leads onto the question regarding the role or function of such a sensitive area of skin.  Some research has already been undertaken when it comes to the sensory abilities of large Theropods.  For example, the cranial morphology of Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) has been studied, in particular the enlarged foramina (openings) associated with the surface of the premaxilla.  Spinosaurus is believed to have been an aquatic dinosaur, these enlarged and numerous foramina may have played a role in helping this dinosaur make sense of its aquatic environment.  Crocodylians for instance, have very sensitive jaws, lined with tiny foramina that provide sensory information (integumentary sense organs), their exact role is uncertain but they probably play a role in prey detection and orientation.

The Long Jaws of Spinosaurus Could Have Provided Sensory Information

Spinosaurus

From paddler to swimming the “evolving” image of Spinosaurus.

Picture Credit: BBC

In addition, earlier this year, Everything Dinosaur published a short article summarising research undertaken on a newly described species of Tyrannosaur (Daspletosaurus), which may have had a sensitive snout: New Species of Daspletosaurus Announced – The Sensitive Side of Theropods

Exploring the Sensory Capabilities of the Dinosauria

Commenting upon the significance of this new study, one of the co-authors of the scientific paper, Dr Darren Naish, (National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton) stated:

“This is a pretty exciting study; the results were unexpectedly good and reveal a level of anatomical detail we hoped for but didn’t realise we’d actually get.  Quite what this facial sensitivity means for the behaviour and biology of these animals is the big question – roles in feeding, foraging, nesting and social behaviour are all possible.”

Scan of the Anterior Portion of the Skull of Neovenator

Neovantor face scan.

The complex neurovascular system observed in the premaxilla including the nervous system associated with tooth sockets.  Foramina marked in blue.

Picture Credit: Barker et al University of Southampton

The discovery of large, complicated internal canals within the bones of the anterior portion of Theropod dinosaur skulls suggests that these were sensory organs providing an enhanced tactile function in conjunction with information about the dinosaur’s immediate environment.  This well-written paper poses a number of intriguing questions as to the function(s) of these structures.  One of the ideas suggested is that a sensitive snout helped with the mechanical process of stripping flesh from a carcass, perhaps guiding the feeding to ensure that teeth did not impact with bone.  Or maybe these structures played a role in thermoregulation, helping to keep the animal cool.  It also shows that a surprising amount of new data can be obtained by revisiting very well documented fossil material.  The researchers conclude that extensive neurovascular facial structures may not have been limited to the spinosaurids and as such regarded as an adaptation to aquatic foraging.  What roles they did play is open to speculation, enhanced facial sensitivity could be linked to a very wide range of behaviours such as precise feeding, social bonding, identifying individuals, nest selection, intraspecific combat and social interaction.

More work is required in this fascinating area of Dinosauria anatomy and our understanding of the facial neurovascular systems of extinct Archosaurs would be aided with a better understanding of the facial neurovascular structures of living Archosaurs such as the crocodylians and birds.

The scientific paper: “Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii” by Chris Tijani Barker, Darren Naish, Elis Newham, Orestis L. Katsamenis & Gareth Dyke published as an open access paper in the journal Scientific Reports.

Paper is available here: Open Access Paper is here

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24 06, 2017

Preparing for Uintatherium

By | June 24th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Getting Ready for the Arrival of the CollectA Uintatherium

Not long to wait now before the arrival of the last of the 2017 CollectA model releases.  Stock is expected in the middle of next month or thereabouts (July 2017).  In the meantime, we have been busy checking over all the new fact sheets and scale model drawings that have been commissioned to mark the arrival of models such as the Basilosaurus and the CollectA Deluxe Uintatherium.

The CollectA Deluxe Uintatherium Replica

CollectA Deluxe Uintatherium model.

The CollectA Uintatherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Largest of the “Terrible Horns”

Uintatherium was one of the largest members of the Order Dinocerata (the name means “terrible horns”), just one look at that formidable skull on the CollectA model and you can see why Dinocerata is such an appropriate name for this Order of bizarre mammals.  Uintatheres were placental mammals, but where they fit onto the Mammalia family tree is open to debate.  Some vertebrate palaeontologists support the theory that these animals were distantly related to the odd-toed, hoofed mammals, the Perissodactyla, a large group of placentals that includes extant animals such as rhinos, tapirs and horses.  Other scientists have proposed that the Dinocerata have an affinity with the Meridiungulata (mammals with hooves that flourished in South America).  Yet another theory put forward is that the uintatheres with their small cheek teeth and distinctive tooth crown patterns may be distantly related to today’s lagomorphs (rabbits)!

The Giant Uintatherium

The first of the uintatheres probably originated in Asia and they evolved in the Late Palaeocene/Early Eocene.  Within a few million years, representatives of this group were amongst the largest terrestrial animals on the planet, with elephant-sized specimens like Eobasileus “dawn emperor” and the “Uintah beast” Uintatherium.

A Scale Drawing of the Giant Uintatherium (Uintatherium anceps)

A scale drawing of a Uintaherium.

Uintatherium scale drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Uintatherium has the distinction of having one of the smallest brains, in proportion to its body size of any known mammal living or extinct.  That one-metre-long skull with its paired horns (ossicles), which were most prominent in males, protected a very tiny brain, approximately 40% the size of the brain of a modern horse.

Estimating the body weight of a long extinct creature is a challenge, but thanks to the plentiful fossil remains, particularly those from North America, femoral measurements suggest a body mass of around 2 to 2.2 tonnes.

To view the current range of CollectA “Prehistoric Life” and the CollectA Deluxe models visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur

We look forward to the arrival of the last set of new for 2017 models from CollectA, along with the Basilosaurus and the CollectA Uintatherium we are also expecting the super-sized CollectA Dimorphodon model and the set of mini prehistoric animals.  Next month is going to be a very busy month for Everything Dinosaur.

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23 06, 2017

Key Stage 1 Learn About Dinosaur Geography

By | June 23rd, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaurs Help Children Learn About the Continents

The national curriculum in England for children in Key Stage 1 states that pupils should know the location of the seven continents and they should be able to name them along with the five oceans. A requirement of this area of the curriculum (geography), is that children should develop locational knowledge. Everything Dinosaur has developed a dinosaur based geography exercise that helps with the teaching of this topic. It uses children’s pre-knowledge about prehistoric animals and their enthusiasm for dinosaurs to help them learn and recognise the location of the different continents.

Everything Dinosaur – Using Dinosaurs to Help Children Learn about the Location of the Continents

Dinosaur geography exercise.

Key Stage 1 – dinosaurs and geography exercise.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Demonstrating Learning and Linking Subject Areas

Palaeontologists have found dinosaur fossils on all seven continents.  Dinosaurs even roamed Antarctica, although, in the past, due to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and other factors, the landmass we now know as Antarctica was much warmer than it is today.  Using a child’s fascination for prehistoric animals, Everything Dinosaur has developed a dinosaur geography based lesson.  Can the children identify where in the world different dinosaurs lived?

Palaeontologists Have Found Dinosaur Fossils in Antarctica

Fossil hunting in Antarctica.

Isolated and very difficult to reach – fossil hunting in Antarctica.

Picture Credit: The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

A Dinosaur Geography Exercise

Our comprehensive lesson plan provides the teaching team with simple instructions and the only resources required are a map of the world as it is today, some round-ended scissors to cut out the various dinosaurs from the worksheets and some sticky tape to secure the dinosaur in the correct place on the map.  The Everything Dinosaur geography exercise asks children to place a total of twenty-five different dinosaurs onto the various continents where the dinosaur’s fossils have been found.  Two of the dinosaurs have to be placed on the continent of Antarctica, the armoured herbivorous dinosaur Antarctopelta and the fearsome, meat-eating dinosaur Cryolophosaurus.

To read an article about Cryolophosaurus, a dinosaur that lived in Antarctica: Twenty Years of Studying the Antarctic Dinosaur Cryolophosaurus

Twenty-five Dinosaurs – Can the Children Find the Continent Where Their Fossils Have Been Discovered?

Dinosaur geography exercise.

A selection of prehistoric animals in the dinosaur geography exercise.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Learning About Where Famous Dinosaurs Lived

The national curriculum demands that pupils should develop a knowledge about planet Earth.  Within a dinosaur topic, learning about where well-known dinosaurs lived enables the teaching team to link this subject to the aims and objectives of the geography section.  Dinosaurs can help children learn the names and location of the seven continents and the five oceans.  Introducing famous fossil hunters such as Mary Anning and Sir Richard Owen can help children locate places in the UK where fossils have been found.

Everything Dinosaur’s geography exercise challenges Key Stage 1 pupils to place on a map of the world where famous dinosaurs like Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex lived.

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur workshops in schools: Dinosaur Workshops in School

To read ratings and feedback from teachers about Everything Dinosaur’s school workshops: Feedback and Ratings from Teachers

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22 06, 2017

Baru – New Information on Australia’s Ancient “Super Croc”

By | June 22nd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

New Specimens of Extinct Crocodylian Baru Described

Australia might be home to some very unusual flora and fauna, but ever since the break-up of the ancient super-continent of Gondwana and the resulting separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Late Cretaceous, this substantial landmass has been isolated.  This isolation has enabled the development of unique ecosystems, many of which included super-sized animals much larger than those found in Australia today.

A paper published in the on-line open access journal PeerJ provides new information on one such ancient Australian resident, a genus of broad-snouted crocodile that probably specialised in ambushing large vertebrates, a formidable predator of prehistoric Australia.  The scientific paper describes new specimens of an extinct crocodylian genus Baru.  One species, Baru wickeni was previously only known from fossil material collected from the famous Riversleigh World Heritage area in Queensland.  However, the paper describes new B. wickeni fossil discoveries from a site approximately twenty-five miles south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.  Thus, the known range for Baru wickeni has been extended.

A Reconstruction of the Large Prehistoric Crocodile Baru wickeni

The ancient Australian crocodile Baru wickeni

A life reconstruction of the broad-snouted ancient crocodylian Baru wickeni.

Picture Credit: Paul Willis

In addition, the paper documents the species of another member of the Baru genus – Baru darrowi.  B. darrowi was previously only known from the Bullock Creek site in the Northern Territory, but fossils of this reptile have also been found in the Riversleigh World Heritage area.  Thus, the range of this species has been extended too.

Baru- Formidable Ancient Aussie Croc

Crocodiles assigned to the Baru genus were formidable, large predators equivalent in length to a fully-grown, extant Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).  The skull was much more robust, the snout was broader and the head was deeper.  Furthermore, the teeth were proportionately bigger and the jaws were powered by particularly massive muscles.  Today’s “Salties” are extremely dangerous and they do attack large vertebrates including people when the opportunity arises, but mostly these crocodiles, the largest living reptiles, subsist on prey much smaller than themselves such as fish and turtles.

The skull and jaw adaptations of Baru indicate that this crocodylian was specialised towards subsisting on large vertebrate prey (animals of similar size to itself), ambushing its victims close to water sources.  In outward appearance Baru would have resembled a modern crocodile, but the deeper head and alligator-like overbite would have been more pronounced.

The Significance of the Scientific Paper

Author, Adam Yates, (Senior Curator of Earth Sciences at the Museum of Central Australia, part of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory), has established that these two species (B. wickeni and B. darrowi) had much wider geographic ranges that in all likelihood encompassed the northern third to half of the continent.  These two species, however, did not compete with each other, as they were separated in geological time.  Baru wickeni lived earlier, its fossils date from the Late Oligocene Epoch (about 25 million years ago).  In contrast, Baru darrowi lived more recently, its remains are associated with Middle Miocene Epoch deposits (approximately 13 million years old).

A Skull of Baru wickeni from the Riversleigh World Heritage Site (Queensland)

B. wickeni skull.

A skull of the prehistoric crocodile Baru wickeni.

Picture Credit: Adam Yates

The picture (above) shows a new skull (dorsal view) of B. wickeni excavated from Riversleigh World Heritage area deposits.  This skull represents the most complete skull of any Baru species described to date, full details can be found in the scientific paper: PeerJ Paper

Helping to Map the Timespan of Australia’s Cenozoic Terrestrial Vertebrate Fossil Sites

The Cenozoic vertebrate fossil assemblages of Australia have proved troublesome to date accurately due to the vast distances evolved between sites and their temporal isolation.  As these species of crocodiles have broad geographical ranges but relatively constrained chronological timespans, these fossils may be helpful when it comes to determining the age of some vertebrate fossil sites in Australia where there is no radiometrically dateable material and no associated mammal fossils that would normally assist with relative dating.

Another interesting implication from this paper is the presence of Baru wickeni from south of Alice Springs in what was then (and still is now) part of the Lake Eyre drainage system.  Previously Baru was known only from coastally draining marginal areas of northern Australia, while rocks of the same age in the Lake Eyre Basin of South Australia produced a distinctly different type of extinct crocodile called Australosuchus.  It was therefore suggested that Australosuchus was a denizen of the internally draining rivers of central Australia while Baru lurked in the northern fringes in rivers that drained to the north coast.  The presence of Baru wickeni south of Alice Springs, in what is part of the Lake Eyre Basin, disproves this hypothesis.  Instead the pattern may be the result of palaeolatitude, and consequently climate, with Australosuchus potentially being more tolerant of cooler conditions and subsequently occupying the cool south and Baru in the warmer northern part of the continent.

The scientific paper: “The biochronology and palaeobiogeography of Baru (Crocodylia: Mekosuchinae) based on new specimens from the Northern Territory and Queensland, Australia” by Adam Yates, published in PeerJ.

Our thanks to Adam Yates and the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory for the compilation of this article.

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21 06, 2017

Tyrannosaur Skull from British Columbia

By | June 21st, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Hiker Finds Part of a Tyrannosaur Skull Near Tumbler Ridge

Fossil hunter Rick Lambert was hiking in the Tumbler Ridge area of British Columbia when he spotted an unusual object partially exposed in a large rock.  It turns out the eagle-eyed chiropractor from Vancouver Island had found the maxilla bone from a Tyrannosaur skull.    The maxilla is part of the upper jaw, this fossil and the teeth/teeth sockets that it contains, can help palaeontologists to identify the type of dinosaur down to genus level.  This is the first dinosaur skull fossil material to have been found in this area and although the one-hundred-kilogram rock containing the fossil is not part of the local strata, it was probably moved to the site as part of a landscaping project, it’s discovery could help scientists to better understand the geographic distribution of a genus of Tyrannosaur from the Late Cretaceous.

The Tumbler Ridge Tyrannosaur Skull Fossil (Maxilla)

Tumbler Ridge Tyrannosaur upper jaw fossil.

A view of the Tumbler Ridge Tyrannosaur jaw fossil.

Picture Credit: The Canadian Pres/HO/Richard McCrea

A Significant Tyrannosaur Fossil Find

Large Theropod footprints have been found in the Tumbler Ridge area in the past, indeed, this location has provided the palaeontologists based at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, which was established back in 2003 to study the fossils, with hundreds of dinosaur teeth, fragmentary bones as well as the remarkable trace fossils, but this upper jaw bone could be a real game changer for the region.

The director of the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, Richard McCrea commented:

“We are in a frontier in British Columbia because there’s been no research in this area.  This is quite a jump for us.”

Having studied and worked in geology, Rick Lambert knew he had found something significant, but he had no idea how important his fossil find could prove to be.  Rick was used to finding fossils in the area, but he wasn’t expecting to find a bone from the skull of a Theropod dinosaur, a skull that would have measured more than a metre in length.

Rick explained:

“I never expected to find something like that.  It’s not anything I actually kept my eye out for.  I thought at least they would have four or five of those in a drawer somewhere.”

An Illustration of a Typical Tyrannosaur Skull Showing the Location of the Maxilla Bone

Outline of skull showing location of maxilla.

A diagram of a typical Tyrannosaur showing the location of the maxilla.

Picture Credit: The Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre

McCrea said finding this specific piece of bone is significant because it can be used to determine the type of Tyrannosaur it originated from.  Elements from the skull can be very helpful when it comes to identifying dinosaurs, however, the sandstone rock in which the fossil was found rules out a Tyrannosaurus rex.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained:

“The Cretaceous-aged exposures in this area, mostly date from the Upper Cretaceous but they are nowhere near young enough to permit the preservation of a T. rex or any close relative of that iconic dinosaur.  The sandstone block containing the fossil material is very similar in composition to nearby deposits that are around 74-75 million years old, many millions of  years younger than the Cenomanian/Turonian strata from this locality.  The sandstone dates from the Campanian, so the maxilla very probably comes from a member of the Tyrannosauridae family that lived during that time – something like an Albertosaurus or perhaps a large Gorgosaurus.”

From a Large Tyrannosaur

Roughly shaped like a reversed capital “C”, the fossil measures between 30 to 40 centimetres in length and is around 25 centimetres wide.  It is a sizeable bone, indicating that this belonged to a very large Tyrannosaur, something in excess of eight metres in length.  Local palaeontologists calculate that the entire skull of this Theropod, if it could be found, would measure over a metre.

The curator and collections manager at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, Dr Lisa Buckley commented:

“The exposed maxilla and teeth are eroded, but their shape is perfectly preserved, including fine details of the delicate serrations that form the cutting edge of the teeth. The specimen has twelve teeth evident, with the potential to expose more.  The tooth count and tooth shape make it likely that this is part of the skull of a tyrannosaurid like Albertosaurus, and is probably around 75 million years old.  We aim to establish the point of origin of this rock.”

A View of One of the Teeth Associated with the Jaw Fossil

Tumbler Ridge Tyrannosaur fossil tooth.

A close up of a Tyrannosaur tooth found in association with the maxilla bone at Tumbler Ridge (British Columbia).  The tooth serrations can be clearly seen.

Picture Credit: The Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre

The forested terrain, steep gullies and lack of roads in this part of British Columbia makes prospecting for fossils quite challenging, however, field team members and volunteers can study the sandstone formation from which the block came from in the hope of finding more elements from the skull.

An Illustration of a Typical Tyrannosaurid (Albertosaurus)

Albertosaurus illustrated.

An illustration of Albertosaurus sarcophagus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read an article about Theropod dinosaur prints found in the Tumbler Ridge area: Dinosaur Footprint Discovered in British Columbia

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20 06, 2017

Year 2 Learn About Dinosaurs and Fossils

By | June 20th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Hedgehog, Squirrel and Deer Study Dinosaurs

Children in Hedgehog, Deer and Squirrel classes (Year 2), at Newport Infant School have been busy learning all about fossils, dinosaurs and life in the past.  A member of the Everything Dinosaur teaching team was invited into the school to conduct fossil themed workshops and to help the children explore what studying prehistoric life can tell us about animals and plants that are alive today.  How can we help animals and plants that currently share our planet with us avoid extinction?

A Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model on Display in the Classroom

Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

Stegosaurus model on display.

Picture Credit: Deer Class (Newport Infant School)

Herbivores, Carnivores and Omnivores

As part of a rich, varied and challenging curriculum, the pupils have been reading “Dinosaurs and all that rubbish”, by Michael Foreman.  The teaching team, ably assisted by their teaching assistants had skilfully interwoven ideas about habitats and the diets of different animals into a wider theme looking at conservation and environmental issues.  Recently, the school had been home to some chickens, which the children now know are closely related to dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex.  Just like birds, dinosaurs laid eggs and a model of a dinosaur’s egg had been brought into school.

A Colourful Dinosaur Egg in Deer Class

Cracking fun! Dinosaur egg models.

The big crack suggests that the dinosaur egg is about to hatch!

Picture Credit: Deer Class (Newport Infant School)

Half-Term Class Projects

The Year 2 children were set some special challenges over half-term.  Could they make a three-dimensional model of a prehistoric animal?  The dinosaur and prehistoric animal replicas made a fantastic display in the classroom, what an amazing collection of dinosaurs!

Children Created Their Very Own Dinosaurs

Children in Year 2 made dinosaur models.

Year 2 children made dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Deer Class (Newport Infant School)

Many of the children’s models had been made from recycled household items.  By recycling paper, collecting rubbish, saving water and ensuring that lights are switched off, the children are helping to protect our planet and prevent the Earth from having the problems it had in the story book written by Michael Foreman.

Extension Activities

During the course of the day, the eager, young palaeontologists learned some amazing dinosaur facts and our fossil expert set them some “pinkie palaeontologist challenges” to help support the teaching team’s lesson planning.  There was even time for some questions with one of the classes at the end of the afternoon.

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19 06, 2017

Volcanic Eruptions Heralded Dawn of the Dinosaurs

By | June 19th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

End-Triassic Mass Extinction Triggered by Volcanic Activity

The demise of the dinosaurs some sixty-six million years ago has been well documented.  This mass extinction event and its impact on the Dinosauria has been seared into the public’s consciousness with all the intensity of an asteroid impact, however, the domination of terrestrial ecosystems by dinosaurs may have been assisted by a period of intense, global volcanic activity some two hundred million years ago.

Much of the Diverse Terrestrial Fauna of the Late Triassic Died Out

The diverse fauna of Triassic Argentina.

Diverse fauna of north-western Argentina in the Triassic.

Picture Credit: Victor Leshyk

A team of researchers based at British universities have found that huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a major role in triggering the end-Triassic mass extinction event.  The early dinosaurs survived and with a lot of the competition removed, the scene was set for the domination of life on land by this Order of reptiles.

Scientists from the University of Exeter in collaboration with colleagues from Southampton University and the Department of Earth Science at the University of Oxford have published a paper that looks at the world-wide impact of immense gas emissions as a result of volcanism and their link to the end-Triassic extinction event.

Life on Earth at the End of the Triassic

Some fifty million years or so, after the “Great Dying” – the end-Permian extinction event that saw the demise of some 95% of all life on our planet, the end-Triassic extinction event led to wholesale changes in global ecosystems.  Numerous food webs on land and in the sea collapsed and many different types of animals and plants were affected.

The Landscape of the Triassic

Triassic landscape.

Ecosystems that had recovered from the end-Permian extinction event were to be devastated once again at the end of the Triassic.

Major Casualties of the end-Triassic Extinction Event

  • Marine molluscs (especially gastropods and cephalopods)
  • Brachiopods
  • Bivalves
  • Marine sponges
  • Conodonts
  • Marine vertebrates – fish and many types of marine reptiles (a number of Ichthyosaur genera along with the extinction of the Placodonts and the Nothosauroidea)
  • Several families of Archosaurs along with mammal-like reptiles and numerous types of amphibians
  • Large numbers of plants especially within the Lycopodiopsida (club mosses) and the Sphenopsida (horse tails)

Writing in the academic journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America”, the researchers conclude that huge volumes of volcanic gas had a dramatic effect on life on Earth and slowed the recovery of ecosystems afterwards.

A Large and Abrupt Release of Carbon Dioxide

Following the discovery of volcanic rocks of approximately the same age as the extinction event, huge amounts of volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere had previously been suggested as an important contributor to this mass extinction event.  Previous studies had also shown that this intense volcanism might have occurred in phases, over tens of thousands of years, but the global extent and potential impact of these volcanic episodes had remained unknown.  Extensive areas of flood basalt, a consequence of the volcanic activity, built up across much of the super-continent of Pangaea, these basalts are now found on four continents, a consequence of plate tectonics and the break-up of Pangaea.  These deposits are known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP).

By studying the level of mercury found within sedimentary rocks formed during the extinction phase, the scientists were able to reveal clear links in the timing of the CAMP formation and the end-Triassic extinction.  The intense volcanic activity released mercury into the environment, which spread across the planet, before being locked away in sediments.  Any rocks formed during extensive volcanism would therefore have a higher than normal mercury content.

The research team studied sedimentary deposits from six locations (Austria, Argentina, Canada, Greenland, Morocco and the UK).  The levels of mercury were analysed and five of the six records showed a sizeable increase in the mercury content at the beginning of the end-Triassic extinction horizon.  Other peaks were observed between the start of the extinction event and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, which occurred around 200,000 years later.

The Researchers Studied Sedimentary Deposits from Morocco

Late Triassic sediments (Morocco).

Late Triassic sediments (Morocco) were part of the mercury study.

Picture Credit: Jessica Whiteside

The higher levels of mercury coincided with previously established increases in atmospheric CO2 levels.  The volcanism would have produced vast amounts of carbon dioxide that would have affected the gaseous content of the atmosphere and led to periods of global warming.

One of the authors of the scientific paper, geologist Professor Stephen Hesselbo (Camborne School of Mines at Exeter University) commented:

“This volcanic activity is strongly believed to have led to one of the largest extinction events in the Earth’s history which, in turn, paved the way for the era of the dinosaurs.  By studying the sediment deposits in Europe, South America, North America and Africa, we have been able to show a large increase in levels of mercury, which shows a clear link between this volcanic activity – specifically from very large lava flows – and the mass extinction in the era.  It’s a fascinating discovery that paves the way to enhance our understanding of this and other significant climate change events.”

In a press release, lead author Lawrence Percival, a geochemistry graduate student at Oxford University stated:

“These results strongly support repeated episodes of volcanic activity at the end of the Triassic, with the onset of volcanism during the end-Triassic extinction.  This research greatly strengthens the link between the Triassic mass extinction and volcanic emissions of CO2.  This, further evidence of episodic emissions of volcanic CO2 as the likely driver of the extinction, enhances our understanding of this event, and potentially of other climate change episodes in Earth’s history.”

To read a related article on the rise of the Dinosauria: Extreme Equatorial Climates Slowed the Rise of the Dinosaurs

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18 06, 2017

Everything Dinosaur Continues to Top Feedback Charts

By | June 18th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Highly Rated on FEEFO

Customers of Everything Dinosaur, the UK-based dinosaur company staffed by real dinosaur experts continue to rate the company’s products and customer service extremely highly.  The latest set of independent reviews published by FEEFO gives Everything Dinosaur a 4.9 rating out of 5 for customer service.

Everything Dinosaur Customer Service Rating by FEEFO (4.9 out of 5)

Everything Dinosaur rated very highly by FEEFO.

FEEFO customer service rating 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/FEEFO

To read all the FEEFO published reviews about Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur on FEEFO

Everything Dinosaur has a customer service rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars and a product rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, that’s a 98% customer service rating and a 96% product rating respectively, very high marks indeed.

Everything Dinosaur Continues to Perform Exceptionally Well

Everything Dinosaur FEEFO rating.

Everything Dinosaur FEEFO ratings (mid June 2017).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/FEEFO

What is FEEFO?

FEEFO is an organisation that collects independent, verified reviews from customers.  These represent genuine feedback about Everything Dinosaur’s customer service and the products that it supplies on the company’s website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website.  Founded in 2010, FEEFO now provides rating information on over 2,500 organisations and on-line shoppers can rely on FEEFO for their transparency and honest feedback concerning a company.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

 “We are grateful for all the feedback we get from our customers.  The FEEFO ratings provide visitors to our website with independent, impartial feedback about Everything Dinosaur’s products and the way in which we look after our customers.  Such feedback, reviews and comments can give site visitors confidence that when they make a purchase at Everything Dinosaur, no matter where they are in the world, they can be confident that they are dealing with a highly respected organisation and brand.”

The FEEFO feedback module was added to Everything Dinosaur, when the new, revised and updated website was launched back in February (2017).  In the eighteen weeks or so since the new website went live, the company has received over 132 customer reviews and 243 product reviews, of which only 4 reviews give products three-stars, the rest, (over 98%), are either five-star or four-star product ratings.

In addition, Everything Dinosaur has now logged 1,629 product reviews on its own website product pages.

Shopping for Dinosaur Models and Prehistoric Animal Toys

So, when shopping for dinosaur models and prehistoric animal toys, Everything Dinosaur would be a very good place to start!  Several hundred independent product and customer reviews suggest that Everything Dinosaur is very reliable, good to do business with and offers excellent products.

Everything Dinosaur would like to express its gratitude to all our customers who have taken the time to leave feedback about our business.

Thank you.

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