All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//August
14 08, 2007

Huge extinct Elephant Tusks Discovered in Greece

By | August 14th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|3 Comments

Huge Elephant Tusks from Greece – Can they provide a glimpse of Ancient Climates?

Two enormous prehistoric elephant tusks have been unearthed by a joint Dutch and Greek research team from a dig site in northern Greece.  One of the tusks, believed to belong to a type of Mastodon (primitive elephant) is 5 metres long.  As a comparison, the tusks of a large Imperial Mammoth (Mammuthus imperator) were up to 4.4 metres long, although they were much more curved compared to tusks uncovered in Greece.

The mastodon remains, which include limb bones, teeth and jaw bones have been excavated from a sand quarry near the village of Milia about 250 miles north of Athens.  The larger of the tusks probably belonged to a male and that stood over 3.5 metres at the shoulder and could have weighed in excess of 5 tonnes.  A number of other prehistoric mammal remains have been excavated and these latest finds have been dated to the end of the Pliocene epoch, making them approximately 2.5 mya.

Some of the Findings from the Greek/Dutch Team

(the tusks can be seen in the foreground)

Picture courtesy of Hindu.com

The excellent state of preservation has permitted the research team to speculate that they may be able to study the annual growth rings laid down in the tusk enamel.  This would provide a valuable insight into the seasonality of the climate in Greece around this time.

Mastodons roamed extensively across Europe, Asia and North America but began to decline at the end of the Pliocene epoch with the last of the Mastodons surviving in North America into the end of the Pleistocene (10,000 years ago).  Such well preserved tusks are an important find, given their excellent condition the growth rings from the tusks plus micro fossils such as plant remains and pollen may provide a detailed picture of the climate at the time when these huge elephants roamed the Mediterranean.

There have been many prehistoric elephant remains found in Greece and on the Greek islands.  It is thought that the legend of the one-eyed monster called the Cyclops came from the misinterpretation of extinct elephant remains by the ancient Greeks.  The large nasal space in the centre of an elephant’s skull (the part where the fleshy trunk would be attached) may have given rise to the myth of the one-eyed monster.

Certainly, many elephant skulls have been found in this region, with many scientists speculating that it was the discovery of a relatively dwarf species of extinct elephant on Crete that marks the starting point of the Cyclops legend.

When you view an elephant skull from the front (anterior view) you can see how this misinterpretation may have come about.

Elephant Skull or a Cyclops?

Picture courtesy of african-hunter

13 08, 2007

The UK’s most Popular Prehistoric Animals

By | August 13th, 2007|Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Tyrannosaurus rex is UK’s Most Popular Dinosaur

We tend to get asked to do some odd things from time to time.  Yesterday some of the team were helping out at a maize maze, today we are working on a press release at the request of our PR agency.  This release is a little different as it is aimed at a radio station which periodically broadcasts unusual and bizarre lists.  We have been advised to contact the station and submit the results of our prehistoric animal popularity survey.  We gather lots of information from children about their favourite dinosaurs and such like so we gave it a go.

Underneath is the text of the release, with the top five animals from our survey.  We put in the pronunciation as we were mindful that this was an item aimed at broadcast media.

Our Release

Tyrannosaurus rex is UK’s Most Popular Dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex (pronounced tie-ran-oh-sore-us rex) is the nations favourite dinosaur, although Velociraptor (pronounced vel-oss-see-rap-tor) is rapidly catching T. rex up according to a survey published by Cheshire based Everything Dinosaur, the specialist educational toy company.

Using information gathered from dinosaur drawing workshops with schoolchildren, as well as product sales and viewings from the company’s website www.everythingdinosaur.com, a top ten list of popular prehistoric animals has been compiled.  Not surprisingly, the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex tops the chart but the much smaller; Velociraptor is gaining in popularity, with strong showings from other family favourites such as Stegosaurus (ste-go-sore-us) and Triceratops (try-sera-tops).

“Velociraptor was quite small by dinosaur standards, it was no bigger than your average Christmas turkey. The only difference being that with its sharp teeth and vicious sickle-like claws, if it was around today we would be the ones on the Christmas dinner menu”; commented Mike, one of the team members at Everything Dinosaur.

Mike’s passion for palaeontology, the study of ancient life, first took hold, when as a nine-year old, he learnt about these animals and saw fossils put on show in the school science display cabinet. Encouraged by his teachers, Mike began his own fossil collection and retained an interest in the subject throughout his school years. Now Mike and his team are able to help spur on the next generation of young scientists.

To set up the company, research was undertaken to identify educational games, models, toys, posters and gifts related to palaeontology and geology, getting back to what the procurement team referred to as “kitchen table activities”, with Mums and Dads involved helping to build models, construct kits and galvanise youngsters enthusiasm.

UK’s Most Popular Prehistoric Animals

1).  Tyrannosaurus rex (always likely to be number one).

2).  Velociraptor

3).  Triceratops (proved to be very popular with the girls)!

4).  Stegosaurus

5)  Allosaurus

To conclude our release to the radio station we wrote a short letter to accompany the release and included a Tyrannosaurus rex soft toy.

Click here to see what we sent the radio station (soft toy prehistoric animals)

12 08, 2007

Amazing Dinosaur Maize Maze

By | August 12th, 2007|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Cheshire’s Dinosaur Maize Maze

Another Sunday and some of the team are at work.  With the school summer holidays in full swing and the UK weather slowly but surely improving a couple of the team members had volunteered to help out at a local Dinosaur maize maze run by Reaseheath college.

Reaseheath college has had a maize maze for several years, this years theme is dinosaurs (an ever popular choice with children), and the college staff have set up two mazes cutting the passageways and alleys in a field of maize plants.  The maize has now grown to over 8 feet high in places so this crop makes an ideal crop to put a dinosaur shaped maze in.

The first maze takes about 1 hour to complete and has been designed with young children in mind – the children go off on a dinosaur egg hunt.  The second, much larger maze takes children on a prehistoric animal quiz trail.  This one takes about 2 hours to complete and it is very easy to become confused and lost once you are in the labyrinth.

One of our team members took some real dinosaur bones as well as cast T. rex teeth and such like and showed visitors the fossils and fielded many questions from the young dinosaur enthusiasts.  This proved very popular and certainly provided the youngsters with an insight into what it is like to dig up dinosaurs.  They got many squeals of delight when they let the children run their fingers down the serrated edge of a Tyrannosaur tooth or to hold in their hands a bone from an Iguanodon.

All in all it added something extra to the Dinosaur Maize Maze and it helped provide more of an educational experience.   The maize maze is open until September 3rd from 11am until 6pm each day.  Last entry is 4.30pm.  Entry for adults is £3.50, children £3 and family tickets just £12.  Children under 3 go free.  It is good fun and an exciting way to spend an afternoon.

A couple of tips from us:

1).  Do take a drink into the maze as it can be very hot once you are amongst the tall and densely packed maize plants.

2).  Sensible shoes required, the ground is not too muddy but there are one or two little puddles in the trackways as the soil has become poached from all the traffic.  Trainers are fine, but if it rained heavily; wellies may be better.

The maize maze is run by the students and they are very friendly and helpful, look out for further updates on the Everything Dinosaur blog.

For more information telephone 07943 252141 or visit the college’s “What’s on” page on the Reaseheath website.

12 08, 2007

Europe’s Largest Mass Dinosaur Grave to Date Discovered

By | August 12th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Mass Dinosaur Grave Discovered in Switzerland

Palaeontologists from the University of Bonn have been busy making preliminary surveys of what may turn out to be Europe’s biggest mass deposit of dinosaur bones.  About 300 dinosaur bones have been recovered so far but there may be thousands more buried under the Swiss village of Frick in the canton of Aargau.

An amateur palaeontologist exploring a small building site found the remains of a Plateosaurus and then shortly afterwards discovered a second one just a few metres away.  Early indications are that this could be a mass grave of many hundreds of these large herbivores, with the bone bearing deposit stretching for at least 1.5 kilometres.

Plateosaurus was a large herbivorous dinosaur from the Late Triassic (222 mya to 210 mya).  Adults could grow to over 8 metres long and weigh up to 4 Tonnes.  Other mass graves of Plateosaurs have already been discovered most notably at Trossingen in southern Germany.  Plateosaurus means “flat lizard”, it is the best known of the prosauropod group of dinosaurs with fossils having been found in over 50 separate European locations.

Dinosaur fossils are relatively plentiful in this part of the Swiss/German border, although the picturesque village of Frick has a population of less than 5,000 it has its own village dinosaur museum.  It looks like they are going to have to extend it somewhat if they want to display all the fossils from the Plateosaurus bone bed, as scientists have speculated that they could be as much as one compete skeleton every 100 square metres.

Part of the Plateosauri Bone bed at Frick

Picture courtesy of Alamlar.ir newspics

As yet scientists say it is to early to state how all the fossils ended up together, they are remarkably well preserved and are likely to yield more information.  The jumble of disarticulated and disassociated bones could represent members of a large herd of Plateosaurs that got stuck in marshland in a river delta and drowned in a sudden catastrophe.  Perhaps this mass grave could have accumulated over many hundreds of years with seasonal floods in the river delta washing animal carcasses into an area where they accumulated, settled and were buried.

Plateosaurus is a very important dinosaur, it was named and described 170 years ago and the vast number of fossils of this animal has given scientists a tremendous insight into the anatomy and physiology of this large herbivore.  Plateosaurs were extremely successful and a number of species have been identified, the large number of fossils from adults, sub-adults and juveniles has helped provide more information on the growth habits of dinosaurs.

To view a range of European manufactured prehistoric animal models: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

11 08, 2007

Dromaeosaur feeds on Pterosaurs

By | August 11th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Canadian Pterosaurs Eaten by Velociraptorine Dromaeosaurids

We have been reviewing the paper written Phil Currie (Royal Tyrrell museum – Canada) and Aase Roland Jacobsen (Aarhus University – Denmark) published in 1995 about the evidence of predation on Pterosaurs.

The paper, entitled “An Azhdarchid Pterosaur eaten by a Velociraptorine Theropod”; was first published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (32: 922-925), it reviews the evidence of small Theropod dinosaurs of the Late Campanian (74 mya) feeding on a tibia from a Pterosaur.

The tibia (TMP 92.83.2) is the most complete tibia known from the Dinosaur Provincial Park area of Alberta.  The bone measures 58.5 cm in length, but the exact genus cannot be identified from this one fossil alone.  However, it most probably came from a Pterosaur from the Azhdarchidae family as most other Pterosaur remains from this area seem to belong to the long-necked Azhdarchids, the large, soaring forms of Pterosaur – such as Quetzalcoatlus.  The lack of co-ossification (ossification the term for bone growth); with the other lower limb bone related to the tibia, the fibula, may indicate that this is a tibia from a immature animal that when fully grown would have had a huge wingspan perhaps exceeding 10 metres in length.

The distal end of this bone (the end of the bone which attached to the tarsals or ankle bones) has unusual scratch marks on it.  At first Currie and Jacobsen were unsure as to the cause of these strange scratches, but closer examination showed that they were small tooth marks.  This was confirmed when a single fractured tooth was discovered embedded in the bone.  The tooth has been identified as belong to a Velociraptorine Dromaeosaurid called Saurornitholestes (sore-or-nith-oh-less-tees).  Saurornitholestes was one of the commonest small Theropods in the area during the mid to Late Campanian.  It was a lightly, built animal perhaps weighing less than 15 kgs but with its long slender tail it could have been up to 2 metres long.

Saurnitholestes means “lizard bird thief”, it is known from some partial skeletons, isolated bones and a number of teeth.  This was certainly a fleet footed meat-eater but whether it was able to overcome a sub-adult Azhdarchid Pterosaur is open to speculation.  Currie and Jacobsen concluded that the Saurnitholestes was scavenging on the carcase of the large flying reptile, but the lack of other bones and evidence prevents a more definite conclusion being drawn.  If these light-weight carnivores hunted in packs then they may have been able to mob a large, grounded Pterosaur and over power it.  Had the Azhdarchid been caught on the ground it would have been particularly vulnerable to attack, particularly against a relatively intelligent little dinosaur with perhaps the ability to learn from experience of stalking similar animals.

The Azhdarchids with their huge wings, long necks and relatively large heads were perhaps particularly clumsy on the ground.  As with other Pterosaurs Currie comments on the metatarsal-phalangeal joints (foot bones), their arrangement would not make these Azhdarchids well adapted to cursorial activity.

It is interesting to note that the tibia stood up remarkably well to the ravages of this little carnivore.  Pterosaur bones tend to be thin and highly pneumatised (lots of air cavities).  The feeding scratches and the fractured tooth may pay more testament to the robust nature of Pterosaur skeletons rather than to the voracious feeding of a small Theropod.

Unfortunately, the lack of a complete skeleton prevents scientists from making further conclusions, but it is interesting to speculate how tooth marks in bones give us an insight into the interrelationships between extinct species.

We have reviewed a number of articles written about the Pterosaurs in the Dinosaur Provincial Park formation of Alberta, to read another article on the Pterosaur finds from this part of Canada click below:

Did birds wipe out the Pterosaurs?

10 08, 2007

Everything Dinosaur – Press Release Try Dinosaur this Christmas?

By | August 10th, 2007|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Why not try Dinosaur this Christmas?

The Christmas market is vital to retailers such as ourselves.  Fortunately, our good record on customer service has stood us in good stead but this year we have employed a PR agent to help promote Everything Dinosaur at Christmas.  We have devised a strategy working in conjunction with our PR contact (Amy) and she has written a press release for us.

Here it is:

If you are looking for a Christmas gift which is big on fun and makes prehistoric times bang up to date, then a website all about dinosaurs Everything Dinosaur website is the perfect place to explore for dinosaur toys and games..

From the adorable cuddly Woolly Mammoth Mum and Baby to the clever Dinosaur Excavation game to the fascinating and educational posters there is truly something for everyone, of all ages.  And if you need to give Santa a hand to fill stockings, then take a look at Dino erasers, Dinosaur pens or the fantastic value Woodencraft Velociraptor.  It’s enough to make you want to flatten bushes by swishing your tail with excitement!

Maybe there is a dinosaur for everyone?  An inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex will add “roooar” to a children’s party or bedroom, whilst little sister will love the pink Diplodocus t-shirt.  Creative family members or friends will really enjoy the Mould & Paint Dino or the Dinosaur Paper Mache kit.  For the person who loves an unusual gift, why not surprise them with a Mammoth Skull kit or the replica tooth from a Sabre Tooth cat!

The Dinosaur Toy Carrier/Tidy is ideal for little hands and makes keeping things in one place easy whilst gift cards and wrapping paper are the perfect finishing touch all year round.

However, the team behind Everything Dinosaur are more than online retailers – they are dinosaur enthusiasts who promote education and knowledge on this huge subject.  The company specialises in the supply of dinosaur and prehistoric animal related toy and hobby products.  Working in association with museums and educational bodies the company has proved there is a market for accurate, exciting, imaginative and educational products for people of all ages.  Frequently parents who know they are purchasing something that will assist with their child’s understanding of science, making learning fun, favour the site.

End of Press Release …. however, we have been busy supporting the PR campaign with some additional releases of our own.  Working closely with the PR agent this has helped stretch our budget a little further  Writing a press release can be a bit of a challenge but here are some tips on how to go about it.

1).  Explain in the first paragraph what the release is all about.

2).  Use a headline and double space the article (this helps editors).

3).  Research your target publications (Hollin Press Guide found in most libraries is a good place to start).

4). Consider the audience you are writing for – write for the reader.

5).  Type “Ends” at the bottom.

6).  Include a image low res for e-mail but contact details of member of staff who can provide high res 300 dpi print copy if required.

7).  Put a release date on it.

8).  Include a “for further information contact”  details.

9).  Don’t mither the editor, we find that a follow up phone call is not always needed.  Editors and Feature Editors are busy people.  If you have sent in a press release they will know what to do with it.

10). Set up a system to monitor coverage received.

Last but not least don’t forget the embarrassing staff picture (seems like a prerequisite for us)!

Christmas Picture part of Press Release Work

Dinosaur Toys and Games from Everything Dinosaur

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

9 08, 2007

Dinosaur Boy Stroking a Dimetrodon (very brave little boy)

By | August 9th, 2007|Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Brave Little Boy (Dinosaur Boy) Gets Up Close to Dimetrodon

Always a pleasure to receive pics of young palaeontologists who are passionate (and very knowledgeable) when it comes to prehistoric animals.  Everything Dinosaur was sent in this picture of “Dinosaur Boy”, petting a Dimetrodon.

Getting Up Close to the Business End of a Pelycosaur

Young prehistoric animal fan sends in a pic of his favourite Dimetrodon.

9 08, 2007

The Life and Times of Dinosaur Boy!

By | August 9th, 2007|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

The Diary of a Young Dinosaur Fan

In our quieter moments (not that we get many these days), some of our team members like to explore the blog universe to see what dinosaur and prehistoric animal related posts we can find.  None of us would profess to be totally comfortable with the Internet and all that it offers but we are able to navigate our way around and we do find some interesting sites and posts.

On one such visit to the blog sphere, Margaret found a web blog written on behalf of Bridger a young dinosaur fan from the USA.  Bridger’s dad tells us that Bridger fell in love with dinosaurs when he was only 1 year old.  He first called them “saurs” and he had a collection of 4 or 5 plastic dinosaurs that he carried with him everywhere.  We’d always ask him “What are you thinking about?” and he’d respond, “Dinosaurs”.
Bridger’s father goes onto recount that by age 3; Bridger was perfectly pronouncing words like Styracosaurus and Archaeopteryx.  He fell in love with the Land Before Time movies and watched, listened, and read anything dinosaur related.  The other day he told his dad; “You know, a lot of kids like things, but then they stop liking that and start liking something else.  I will never stop liking dinosaurs.  I can’t get them out of my mind.”

Young Bridger with a Dimetrodon

Picture courtesy of Bridger’s dad

At age 4, he started writing letters to people to tell them about dinosaurs.  He’d call all of his family and friends and tell them all about them.  His passion for dinosaurs was so touching that Bridger’s dad decided to start the blog. He has written almost every night for over a year now.  He calls it his “letter to the world”.

You can visit Bridger’s dinosaur blog here:

Bridger’s Dinosaur Blog

At Everything Dinosaur, we are always amazed at how much young people know about dinosaurs, they seem to be able to absorb all the facts and information like a sponge.  When we visit schools to do talks and other activities we often get challenged and corrected by young dinosaur enthusiasts.  Woe betides us should we actually get something wrong!

It is fascinating to hear the many explanations we get as to why Triceratops had horns and how dinosaurs looked after their young and the highly imaginative theories put forward regarding their extinction.  We often marvel at the reasons given for their demise, hopefully the Everything Dinosaur blog will act as a resource for lots of dinosaur information for these young palaeontologists.

We know many teachers that have sought the advice and help from their charges when it comes to devising activities and we even had one or two confess to us that they have let a child teach the rest of the class as they know far more than the teacher does.  Good for them!

Dinosaurs and prehistoric animals remain a source of fascination for children, as far as our business; Everything Dinosaur is concerned, long may this continue.  Involving dinosaurs in the lesson plans helps children to develop an interest in the world around them and to help them to gain an introduction to some of the basic concepts of science like examining evidence and putting together theories.

With a new species of dinosaur being discovered every 6-8 weeks, perhaps it is going to be clever little boys like Bridger who will become the palaeontologists and geologists of the future, following in the footsteps of Darwin, Owen, Marsh and Mantell.

8 08, 2007

Welcome to the Holocene – How to define a Epoch

By | August 8th, 2007|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

How to Define an Epoch – Death of a Dolphin

Recently the team members of Everything Dinosaur were asked to comment about an article that had featured in a popular women’s magazine.  The article was part of a feature which highlighted bizarre facts about the animal kingdom.  The particular part that attracted one of our customer’s attention was the snippet on Sabre Tooth Tigers.  The author had stated that the Sabre Tooth Tiger was the last tiger species to go extinct.

This customer had queried this, e-mailing us asking whether we could confirm that the Sabre Tooth Tiger was indeed the last tiger to go extinct.  The first thing we had to do was to point out that the name “Sabre Tooth Tiger” was misleading.   This phrase is commonplace, but Sabre Tooths are not closely related to tigers.  We are not sure how this misnomer arose, or who was responsible for first coining the phrase “Sabre Tooth Tiger” but this term is now synonymous with the Smilodon genus.

Sabre Tooth Cats belong to a sub-family of the cat family (Felidae) called Machairodonts.  The Machairodonts seem to have first evolved around 12-15 mya and although their ancestry is uncertain, they seem to have quickly spread all over the northern hemisphere, before moving into the New World an estimated 5 mya.

Once we had explained this, we then went on to point out that animals like Smilodon fatalis went extinct about 10,000 years ago (the last Sabre Tooths survived in the Americas until the end of the last Ice Age).

However, many more big cats have gone extinct far more recently.  We know of at least three sub-species of tigers that may have died out in the last 60 years.  The Caspian tiger (P. tigris virgata) which once roamed Afghanistan, Iran and parts of Russia has not been seen since the 1950s.  The Javan tiger (P. tigris sondaica) was last sighted in 1972 and the Bali tiger (P. tigris balica) has not been seen on the island since 1947.

Today, we read that the Yangtze River dolphin or Baiji (Latin name Lipotes vexillifer) may have died out as well.  This mammal, that could reach lengths of over 2.5 metres was last seen in 2002 and a survey conducted in the animals habitat failed to record a single dolphin.  It would be no surprise if this cetacean had become extinct.  The Yangtze river is one of the world’s busiest waterways, it has been extensively over fished and is heavily polluted as China’s economy continues to grow.  Officially, the Worldwide Fund for Nature only recognises that a species is extinct if it is not seen for 50 years.  The Yangtze River dolphin remains on the Critically Endangered classification but if any are surviving, they are so few in number not to make the species viable.

The Yangtze River Dolphin

Picture courtesy of Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

The magazine article on Sabre Tooths also provided information on how time is divided up into geological periods  it mentioned that scientists classify the time since the last Ice Age as the Holocene (recent time).  When we submitted our notes clarifying the points raised about the cats, we were asked to state what the Holocene stands for.  We commented about this mentioning the obvious – this being an interglacial period, the ascent of man moving to a sedentary lifestyle with domesticated animals, the rise of civilisations and so on.  We also commented that the Holocene was being marked by the dominance of just one species – us. In just 10,000 years the population of Homo sapiens has exploded and our impact on this planet is being felt everywhere and by every other creature.  The Holocene epoch could be defined by extinctions caused by the activities of mankind.

We lament the passing of the Yangtze River dolphin, sadly much, much more is yet to come.

7 08, 2007

New York’s Prehistoric Animal Exhibition – the Central Park Mystery

By | August 7th, 2007|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Ill-fated Attempt to Create Crystal Palace Monsters in New York

Continuing the theme of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, some more information about their sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and his ill-fated Central Park project.

Cystal Palace Dinosaurs get Grade 1 Listed Status Article

The 33 life-size prehistoric animal sculptures made by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins under the direction of Sir Richard Owen, proved to be a big hit with the public when they went on display from 1854 onwards.  Despite Benjamin’s promises and Sir Richard Owen’s assurances, the display showing three eras in the history of life on Earth, wasn’t actually completed in time for the grand opening by Queen Victoria on June 10th 1854.

However, the exhibit remained very popular and along with the other attractions at the Crystal Palace site; attracted large numbers of visitors.  Hawkins had plans to add more models to the display but his ideas for expansion were soon shelved when the costs of this project were totalled.  The cost of making the models, preparing and managing the exhibit was estimated to be over £13,000, an absolute fortune in Victorian times.  Indeed, the palaeontological exhibit was the single highest expense of the whole Crystal Palace project.

It was decided that no more models were to be built.  For Hawkins this was a bitter blow, although his reputation as England’s leading natural history artist and sculptor was secure he had relished the prospect of building even bigger and better models as more dinosaur discoveries were made.

Knowledge of his work had spread far and wide.  He was invited to create exhibitions at a number of American museums and toured the US giving lectures.  In the late 1860s he was invited to New York by the city’s civic authorities with a view to modelling recent American prehistoric animal discoveries.  Hawkins promptly set up a studio on the upper west side of Manhattan (what is now coincidentally, the site of the American museum of Natural History).  He began to produce new versions of his beloved Iguanodon (believed to be his favourite model of all) and models of recently discovered dinosaurs from the USA.  The intention was to open a Crystal Palace type permanent display in Central Park.  Various life-size statues of ancient animals would be displayed in landscaped gardens, the plans were impressive and had the project been completed it would have made a spectacular exhibit right in the centre of New York.  The American press dubbed the project “the Palaeozoic Museum”, however no sculptures were ever finished.

In 1871 due to rivalries amongst leading dignitaries and city politics, all modelling and landscaping was promptly stopped.  The partly finished sculptures were ordered to be destroyed and they were promptly smashed and buried in the park.  Perhaps, those who took part in the breaking up and burial of these leviathans were ashamed of what they had done as they made sure that no-one would find their handy work easily. To this day no trace of the remains of the models have been found in Central Park.  They remain buried and hidden from view, just like the fossils which inspired these wonderful works of art in the first place.

Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins never really got over the sense of disappointment at not being able to re-produce his Crystal Palace works in America.  He continued to work in the USA for a number of years before finally retiring to Britain in 1878.  He died in 1889, but his London dinosaurs live on and are still marvelled at by young and old today.

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