All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
11 05, 2009

Vehicle Graphics – Final Version

By | May 11th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Vehicle Graphics – Final Version

Following the Everything Dinosaur weekly team meeting we have all reached agreement on the graphics layout for the new van.  Vehicle livery is very important to companies, it is an opportunity to have your own mobile advertisement which could potentially be seen by thousands of people.  With an unusual business such as ours, teachers, dinosaur experts and parents working together is quite an unusual combination, a more visually stunning vehicle livery was required.

We think our finalised designs tick all the right boxes.  There are one or two small points to go over prior to the van going in to be fitted with the new livery but we think we are just about there.

Side View of Finalised Vehicle Livery

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We have one or two more things to do but the vehicle should be able to have its livery put on this week, in readiness for some teaching appointments and outreach work we have planned for the end of May.

10 05, 2009

Marine Reptile Fossil Discovered by Australian Tourist

By | May 10th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

An Odd Way to find a Fossilised Ichthyosaur – Stumble over It

For an elderly Australian tourist on a trip to the northwest of Queensland, nipping into the bushes to relive himself, a sort of unscheduled toilet stop has surprising consequences as he stumbled over the exposed remains of a 100 million year old marine reptile.

This part of Australia is well known for marine reptile fossils, with animals such as the Pliosaur Kronosaurus, plus Plesiosaurs and Ichthyosaurs having been excavated from the mid Cretaceous aged sediments.

Explaining that this part of Australia was once a shallow, tropical sea, curator of the local natural history museum at nearby Richmond, Paul Stumkat commented:

“They [the elderly couple] went to a site near town where the Richmond Shire council has had a couple of quarries for road base.  It is a good place to look for fossils as the overburden has been removed”.

The retired couple were a few miles past the quarry when the elderly gentleman required his unscheduled pit stop and as he went out for a pee, he stumbled over the remains of an Ichthyosaur.

Ichthyosaurs, otherwise known as “fish lizards” were the first reptiles to fully adapt to a life in a marine environment and most forms never ventured onto land, not even to lay eggs, as they were able to give birth to live young (viviparous).  Superficially similar to dolphins, these marine reptiles evolved in the early Triassic and survived for much of the Mesozoic, finally becoming extinct prior to the end of the Cretaceous.  They were superbly well adapted to life in a marine environment and evolved into many different genera, some such as Shonisaurus reached lengths in excess of 15 metres or more.

The fossil discovered by the elderly gentleman in such an unusual way represents a single individual and it is estimated to be approximately 4 metres in length.  The species has yet to be confirmed, but according to local experts it is likely to be excavated over the next few months and put on display at the Richmond museum.

An Illustration of a Typical Ichthyosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

When asked what he thought about the unusual way in which the Ichthyosaur fossil was discovered, Mr Stumkat stated:

I just wish I could stop for a pee and stumble over something like that.  They ate fish and squid and are not the sort of thing you trip over every day”.

It may be one of the more unusual methods for finding fossils but thanks to a weak bladder another fossilised marine reptile has been discovered.

To view the model of an Ichthyosaur and other marine reptiles: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls

9 05, 2009

Dracorex Dinosaur as Depicted on Primeval – Here comes the “Dragon”

By | May 9th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

The Dracorex “Dragon” on ITV Television series Primeval

The highly successful television series “Primeval” is currently being transmitted in the UK on ITV1 at peak viewing time on Saturday evenings.  This television adventure series about a unusual group of scientists and their mission to track down anomalies in the fabric of time and rescue prehistoric animals that wander through into the present, is one of the most popular programmes on the networks.  It attracts something like 6 million viewers each Saturday night.  Created by the team behind the “Walking with Dinosaurs” franchise, state of the art special effects are used to recreate a vast array of prehistoric animals from Permian predators, to Pterosaurs and of course, everyone’s favourites – Dinosaurs!  However, television appearances can be deceptive, take for example the depiction of Dracorex.

In this evening’s episode (screened on May 9th in the United Kingdom), the plot revolves around the team’s attempt to rescue a knight and a “dragon” that have gone through a time anomaly in the Middle Ages and ended up in the middle of 21st Century London.  Presumably, the “dragon” had gone through a hole in space and time from the Mesozoic to the Medieval age and then a brave knight was despatched to slay the beast, unfortunately for both combatants they seem to have fallen through a second anomaly and found themselves in the present day.

This is the cue for numerous chase scenes and high jinks as our heroic team of adventurers try to capture the beast and persuade the knight to return to his own world, hopefully without the slaying of a few innocent bystanders.  Of course, we accept that this is all hokem, a bit of harmless fun, good wholesome family entertainment on a Saturday night.  After all, we must have something to watch now that Doctor Who is no longer on the box.

However, the “dragon” in this episode is based on a real dinosaur, an animal that was only named and described a few years ago.  That dinosaur is Dracorex hogwartsia, the name literally means “Dragon King of Hogwarts”.  It is a type of Pachycephalosaur, otherwise known as a “bone head”, a remarkable group of dinosaurs with heavily reinforced brain cases, which in larger genera could be up to 20 cm thick.   Most of what scientists know about Pachycephalosaurids is based on a number of well-preserved skulls that have been found.  There have been very few fossilised skeletons of this bizarre group of dinosaurs discovered to date.  Becoming quite prominent in the Maastrichtian faunal stage (the very end of the Cretaceous), this group of dinosaurs, related to the horned dinosaurs was one of the last to evolve.  They began as small-sized animals, perhaps no bigger than a domestic cat, some with a slight thickening of the skull.  By the very end of the Cretaceous they had become quite large and the skull ornamentation developed to spectacular proportions.

Dracorex certainly resembled a dragon, so it makes a good stand-in for the beast of mythology.  However, fire breathing was not in this dinosaur’s repertoire (as far as we can tell from the fossil record), and, like all the other Pachycephalosaurs it was herbivorous.  It had a long snout for a Pachycephalosaur and rows of bumps and spikes across its nose and around the rear edges of its skull.  It lacks the characteristic dome-shaped skull and scientists believe that Dracorex lost this ancient trait of the Pachycephalosaur family, evolving secondary skull characteristics, more associated with earlier types of primitive Pachycephalosaur.

A Reconstruction of a Dracorex

Picture Credit: Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The name Dracorex hogwartsia “Dragon King of Hogwarts”, honours J. K. Rowling the author of the famous Harry Potter books.  This animal’s superficial resemblance to a dragon, coupled with the reaction of school children when the skull was first put on display inspired the scientists to name this new Ornithopod after the fictional school in the Harry Potter novels.

When creating a realistic model for this particular dinosaur, the designers were faced with two major problems.  Firstly, in the absence of most of the body fossils of this particular animal, no one was really sure what this dinosaur looked like.  Secondly, the size and stature of this dinosaur was unknown.  To overcome the first problem, the design team resorted to the tried and trusted method used by palaeontologists the world over to depict Pachycephalosaurs. They based the reconstruction and prototype moulds on another similar dinosaur called Stegoceras – the best known of all the Pachycephalosaurids.

Estimating size and working out the stature of this dinosaur, proved to be just as tricky.  Using the skull it has been estimated that this bipedal animal was probably no more than 3 – 4 metres in length.  Hardly making it dragon sized.  As to the stature and stance of this dinosaur, this is very much open to conjecture.  Bob Bakker, the palaeontologist who formerly named and described Dracorex in 2006 provided various estimates to the weight of Dracorex.  Perhaps it weighed as little as 50 kilogrammes and was a fast running, light and agile creature – a good strategy since it shared its environment with Tyrannosaurus rex.  An alternative view is that it was a heavy set animal with a large gut, a prerequisite when it comes to digesting plant material and this dinosaur could have weighed as much as a horse.

An Illustration of Dracorex

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

When it came to the model Dracorex, part of the Procon/Collecta range it was decided to depict this animal as a heavy set beast with a large tummy.  This was not the designer’s way of demonstrating their support for one particular scientific hypothesis over another.  There were more practical considerations.  A heavy model with a fat gut would have a low and central point of balance, making the cast, plastic models much more stable on their two feet.  In this case practical considerations related to the model making process were given precedence over the limited fossil evidence – a squat Dracorex was the result.

To view the model that resulted, the only model of a Dracorex in a mainstream, pocket money priced range as far as we know, visit the Everything Dinosaur website and judge for yourselves whether the Dracorex model bears any resemblance to the animal portrayed in tonight’s episode of Primeval.

To view the Collecta Dracorex Dinosaur Model: Dinosaur Models for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Toys

When we first viewed this particular model we described it as “dumpy” and this nick-name stuck and a number of our team members at Everything Dinosaur, now refer to D. hogwartsia as “dumpy”.  Having never seen one in the flesh, and with only limited fossil evidence to go on, it is not a bad effort all things considered.  After all, if we are prepared to watch a television programme about late Cretaceous Pachycephalosaurs and Medieval knights roaming around London who are we to criticise when it comes to using a little creative flair and imagination to make a model dinosaur.

Dracorex is one of approximately 30 prehistoric animals in the Procon/Collecta series.  We were involved with the very first sculpts, I remember advising on the Brachiosaurus all those years ago.  The range has grown rapidly and many more models are to be added including other prehistoric animals, not just dinosaurs.

To visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur Website

8 05, 2009

The New Van Dilemma (To Decal or not to Decal)

By | May 8th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|1 Comment

Vehicle Graphics on the New Van

A few weeks ago we purchased a van for use in the company, our first, proper delivery van as it were.  Since we purchased it, we have been busy preparing it for use, ply lining the inside to protect the paintwork, installing reversing sensors (none of us proved very good at reversing so we thought this was a sensible thing to do), and such like.

We then had a competition to see what designs for the signage and vehicle livery we could come up with.  The winning ideas have now been incorporated into a vehicle design and we have just received the first scamps (mock ups) to give us an idea of what the van is going to look like.

To view the first article on the van dilemma: To Decal or not to Decal – New Van Dilemma

Our nice, new shiny white fan will be undertaking quite a make over, it will certainly be noticed that is for sure.

Illustration of Intended Dinosaur Design for Van

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The design team have certainly been very creative, but if we are going to go into schools we think it is important to have the right look to our van.  We await to see what the final livery will look like.

Comments would be most welcome.

7 05, 2009

Everything Dinosaur Website Expands

By | May 7th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur – New and Improved Website

The Everything Dinosaur range of products and services continues to expand and we have something over 500 different products in our range, at the moment with more to be added in the next few days and over the next few weeks.

To accommodate the extended range, and in order to find even more customer service the website has been upgraded and developed further.  Much more customer friendly information can now be provided, along with more pictures of the products so that visitors to the site can really see what is on offer.

As always there is plenty of information about the company as well as the free quiz, downloads and all sorts of prehistoric animal related materials.

To visit the Everything Dinosaur website:  Everything Dinosaur

6 05, 2009

Published Study Rejects Asteroid Impact Theory

By | May 6th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Geo-scientist has Evidence Refuting Asteroid Impact Theory Published in London Based Scientific Journal

The arguments surrounding the causes of the Cretaceous mass extinction event that led to the demise of the marine reptiles, dinosaurs, pterosaurs and a whole range of other vertebrates (not to mention the invertebrate casualties) continue to rumble on.  No sooner have we written an article on James E. Fassett’s work on the date of the dinosaur die off, another paper on the mass extinction event is published.

Evidence from studies of rock formations in New Mexico and Colorado by U.S. Geologist James Fassett and his team indicate that some types of dinosaur may have survived the Cretaceous mass extinction event and survived for a few hundred thousand years into the Cenozoic era.

To read more about the evidence supporting dinosaurs in the Tertiary: Did Dinosaurs survive into the Palaeogene?

Now the eminent scientist Gerta Keller of Princeton University has had her work published on the causes of the extinction event, in the leading scientific publication ,”The Journal of the Geological Society” in London.

As an eminent geo-scientist, Professor Keller accepts that there is evidence to indicate an extraterrestrial impact event around 65 million years ago, but she believes that the meteorite/asteroid strike did not wipe out the dinosaurs.

Her team’s research indicates that a mass extinction event may not have occurred immediately after the impact but the extinctions happened much later. Studies of the fossil bearing rocks on the K-T boundary in areas such as Mexico, the United States and India, the international team of scientists, which included members of universities in Spain, Mexico and Switzerland concluded that mass extinctions could not be directly related to the impact of an asteroid or meteorite.

Massive volcanic activity such as that in the area of the Deccan Traps are claimed to have had the greatest effect on the fauna and flora of our planet.

Commenting on the research, Professor Keller noted:

“Careful documentation of results that are reproducible and verifiable will uncover what really happened, this study takes an important step in that direction”.

The reasons for the mass extinction event that happened approximately 65 million years ago continue to be hotly debated, a number of articles relating to Professor Keller’s work have been published on this blog site already, for further information regarding the Cretaceous mass extinction:

Article on Keller’s Theory: Volcanoes linked to Dinosaur Extinction

Further information on Keller’s Theory Mass Extinction may not be linked to Asteroid Strike

To read more about the Deccan Traps: Blame the Deccan Traps

5 05, 2009

The Incredible Human Journey – new BBC Documentary Series

By | May 5th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

New BBC Series set to Begin on Sunday May 10th

A new BBC television series starts next Sunday, tracing the evolution and origins of our own human species Homo sapiens.  The programme will chart the evolution of mankind and the progress of our species out of Africa and their migration and eventual colonisation of the world.  Presented by Dr. Alice Roberts, an Anthropologist at Bristol University, this documentary series shows how our species, so few in number after a period of climatic change, managed to cling on and eventually to become the dominant large species on planet Earth.

The faces of some of our human ancestors are dramatically reconstructed using techniques akin to forensic science to literally “flesh out” fossil skull bones of our ancestors and bring them back to life as highly realistic three-dimensional sculptures.

For example, the face of the first anatomically modern human to live in Europe has been re-created for the series.  Although from the fossil fragments found to date, it is impossible to ascertain whether this was a man or woman, the fossils have been dated to around 35,000 years ago and this ancient human would have shared the world with another human species – Neanderthals.

The person responsible for the re-creation is forensic artist Richard Neave, who used copies of fossil human bones found in a cave in the Carpathian mountains to build up the facial features of this early European.  Human fossils are very rare and only partial skull material and part of the jawbone were available to work with but using these items and other supporting material, slowly and surely Richard was able to bring back this ancient person.

From the reconstruction, it appears that the facial features indicate a close affinity to African ancestors.  This human clay model was built up using the same processes as found in the Everything Dinosaur Neanderthal Skull kit, a forensic science kit that enables young scientists (from aged 8 to 80) to build their own forensic model, but this time of a Neanderthal from 50,000 years ago.

Richard Neave, the forensic artist who reconstructed the facial features in the TV clay model, based his assessment on a careful measurement of the bone fragments and his long experience of how the soft tissues of the face are built around the bones of the skull.

The Neanderthal Skull Kit from Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view this product: Dinosaur Crafts for Kids

This forensic peg sculpture kit comes complete with skull kit, moulded pegs, modelling clay, rollers, sculpting tools and display stand.  Detailed assembly guide, instructional DVD plus Neanderthal Man fact sheet.  Sales of this product support the Natural History Museum – London.  The kit is based on the fossils of a real Neanderthal, a man who lived in France approximately 50,000 years ago.

Forensic artists like Richard Neave, are able to create realistic peg sculpture models of ancient hominids based on their knowledge of human anatomy and the clues they find when fossil skull bones are closely examined.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to say whether the ancient European re-created for the BBC had a dark or pale skin.  It is likely that he or she was quite dark skinned, with later generations slowly losing their dark skin pigment as they adapted to colder climates with less strong sunlight.

Mr Neave’s clay sculpture sits on the desk of the programme presenter Dr. Alice Roberts, she commented:

“It’s really quite bizarre.  I’m a scientist and objective, but I look at that face and think ‘Gosh, I’m actually looking at the face of somebody from 40,000 years ago’, and there’s something weirdly moving about that”.

A team of potholers discovered the lower jawbone of the first modern European in 2002 in Pestera cu Oase, the “cave with bones”, located in the south-western Carpathian mountains.  The remaining fragments of skull were unearthed the following year as other parts of the cave were explored.  The cave also contains a lot of bones of the Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus), a large omnivorous bear that would have been a formidable animal for our ancestors to confront.

To view models of prehistoric animals: Dinosaur Toys for Girls and Boys- Dinosaurs and Dinosaur Models

Scientists have dated the human fossilised bones from the cave using radiocarbon analysis to between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago when Europe was occupied by both Neanderthal man, who had lived in the region for tens of thousands of years, and anatomically-modern humans – Homo sapiens – who had recently arrived on a migratory route from Africa via the Middle East.

Although the skull shares many modern features of human anatomy, it also displays more archaic traits, such as very large molar teeth, which led some scientists to speculate the skull may belong to a hybrid between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals – an idea discounted by other experts.

The large molars may be an adaptation to the harsher diet of our ancestors, rather than direct evidence of a close affinity with Neanderthals.  What is known from chemical analysis of fossil modern human and Neanderthal bones is that these two species had different diets.  Neanderthals ate more meat than our direct ancestors.  Homo sapiens seems to have been more of a generalist; eating a wider variety of food items, and subsequently less dependent on large animals such as Mammoths and Woolly Rhinos for food.

Perhaps our more varied diet and less dependence on the mega fauna is one of the reasons why this programme aired on BBC 2, Sundays and repeated the following Tuesday is presented by a Homo sapiens and not a Neanderthal.

The Neanderthal Peg Sculpture Forensic Kit

Make your very own Neanderthal

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Neanderthal Peg Sculpture Forensic Kit: Dinosaur Crafts for Kids

4 05, 2009

The Ceratopsidae Skull Debate – Which one had the biggest Skull?

By | May 4th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

The Large Skulls of the Marginocephalia – Torosaurus for Example?

The record for the dinosaur with the largest skull keeps changing “hands” as it were between members of the dinosaur family Ceratopsidae (the horned dinosaurs).  New fossil finds of skull material of animals such as Pentaceratops and Triceratops means that the record books have to be updated periodically.

Certainly, there have been some amazing horned-dinosaur skull discoveries, such as the recently discovered Eotriceratops (early, three-horned face), but the late Cretaceous Torosaurus remains a strong contender.

To read an article about Eotriceratops: Meet Eotriceratops

Estimates of the skull size of Torosaurus have permitted palaeontologists to speculate that perhaps it was Torosaurus (Torosaurus latus) that could claim to have the largest skull of any land animal ever to have roamed the Earth.  The skull of a large Torosaurus has been estimated to be in excess of 2.4 metres long.  Although a recent study by a team of American palaeontologists led to the questioning of the Triceratops and Torosaurus genera.  The American team claimed that those fossils assigned to the genus Torosaurus were actually the fossil remains of very old, very mature specimens of Triceratops.  The validity of these well known dinosaur genera was questioned.  However, since Triceratops was erected as a dinosaur name before Torosaurus, it is Triceratops that would take precedence if there was a change to the taxonomic classification of these two horned dinosaurs.  Under the rules outlined for the scientific naming and description of organisms, the Torosaurus genus would become a junior synonym to the older Triceratops genus.

An Illustration of the Horned Dinosaur Torosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There is substantial debate about which of these members of the Ceratopsidae had the largest skulls.  With the revision of the horned dinosaur clade in 2010 the Ceratopsian “waters” have been muddied still further with the establishment of a number of new species and genera.  The problem has been compounded by the discovery of a number of new horned dinosaurs, principally from North America.  Could dinosaurs such as Utahceratops, Medusaceratops and Kosmoceratops be contenders for the title of the dinosaur with the biggest skull?

In proportion to the rest of its Alsatian dog-sized body, the skull of the recently discovered Asian horned dinosaur – Koreaceratops (K. hwaseongensis), the name means “Korean horned face from Hwaseong city”, could be a contender.

The newest challenger to the title of the “horned dinosaur with the biggest head” might be the impressive Titanoceratops (T. ouranos).  Originally confused with Pentaceratops fossil material, this dinosaur, which was formally named and described in 2011 was up to nine metres long so it might be challenging the likes of Triceratops for the title of the horned dinosaur with the biggest skull.

3 05, 2009

Ancient Duck-billed Dinosaur Femur Reveals Dinosaur Proteins

By | May 3rd, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Scientist Claim to have Isolated Preserved Dinosaur Blood and Proteins

The fossilised femur of a duck-billed dinosaur dating from the late Cretaceous has been the subject of a controversial study by a team of American scientists who claim that they have isolated soft tissue including blood vessels and dinosaur blood.

The 80 million-year-old Brachylophosaurus (Brachylophosaurus canadenis), a flat crested duck-billed dinosaur (Hadrosaurine, Hadrosaur) has yielded the oldest known proteins preserved in soft tissue.  This research was led by the same team from the Harvard Medical School that published a paper in 2007 announcing the recovery of proteins from the fossilised limb of a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaur.

The Hadrosaur femur (thigh bone) had been encased in sandstone and protected to some extent from complete tissue degradation.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur stated that the specimen was probably part of a superbly preserved, almost complete Brachylophosaurus skeleton nick-named “Leonardo”, that had been found recently. This fossil preserved parts of the skin, neck muscle and even elements of the gastric tract which revealed the remains of this dinosaur’s last meal.

An initial microscopic scan revealed structures resembling blood vessels, cells and collagen (type of protein).  These initial findings were confirmed by applying antibodies to the tissue that are known to react with proteins.  The tests suggested the presence of collagen and other proteins, including haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells.

The hints of haemoglobin remain speculative and are not covered in the new, peer-reviewed study, which appears in today’s issue of the scientific journal “Science”.   As a result and until the peer review is carried out the presence of haemoglobin remains unproven.  Some scientists have commented that the haemoglobin alledged to have been found is the result of contamination.

Computational biologist Pavel Pevzner of the University of California stated:

“If it’s not a contaminant, it is much bigger than the confirmed discoveries of blood vessels and other connective tissues”. 

A confirmed dinosaur-hemoglobin discovery would open the door to the recovery of many dinosaur proteins, including DNA, this could be the first step on a very long journey that could lead to a real-life “Jurassic Park”.

Harvard scientists are comfortable with their analytical work and remain convinced that they have found evidence of haemoglobin.

Team members studied the tissue samples with a mass spectrometer.  It revealed the chemical makeup by telling scientists the masses of different elements in the samples tested.

The Harvard team uncovered eight collagen proteins, colleagues compared them with samples from living animals as well as Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex fossils.

The results placed the Ornithopod Hadrosaur Brachylophosaurus on the same family tree segment as the Theropod Tyrannosaur, as expected the findings indicate that these animals were more closely related to birds than to reptiles.

This new study may add credence to the work of the team on the Tyrannosaur fossils in 2007.  A number of scientists discredited this work claiming the findings were mistaken and the soft tissue data had been introduced into the study as a result of mishandling of the fossil specimen.

A Magnified Image of the Fossilised Dinosaur Blood Cells

Picture Credit:  Mary H. Schweitzer via Science

The image shows a highly magnified portion of the fossilised soft tissue taken from the Hadrosaur femur.  The red blood cells can be clearly made out, surrounded by white connective tissue (scale bar = 50 microns).

To read a related article on Dinosaur genetic research: Real life “Jurassic Park” not too Far Away

2 05, 2009

Coincidence Amongst Fossil Detectives

By | May 2nd, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures|0 Comments

Cuckfield and the Iguanodon Coincidence

Dr. Hermione Cockburn the presenter of the BBC television series “The Fossil Detectives” which aired on BBC television channels back in 2008,  heralds from the village of Cuckfield in West Sussex.  What of it, you might say?  Well, Dr. Cockburn, who has a PhD in geomorphology from the University of Edinburgh and is well-known for her television roles on educational programmes such as “Coast” and “What the Ancients Did for Us”, can lay claim to having a link to one of the most important places related to early palaeontology.  The fossilised remains of a giant, prehistoric animal, later identified as an Iguanodon were discovered in a quarry close to the village of Cuckfield, the place were Hermione spent part of her childhood.  It was from these fossils that Gideon Mantell was able to describe the second member of the Dinosauria Order.  There is a monument to Gideon Mantell located not far from the village centre.

Dr. Hermione Cockburn – Science Broadcaster and Television Presenter

Television presenter with West Sussex links.

Television presenter with West Sussex links.

Picture Credit: BBC

 The large village of Cuckfield is synonymous with early fossil discoveries from the Wealden Formation of Lower Cretaceous aged strata.  A number of Iguanodon fossil discoveries have been made in nearby quarries.

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