All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//August
21 08, 2009

Review of the Safari Wild Dinos Tapejara Model

By | August 21st, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Review of the Safari Wild Dinos Tapejara Model

It is always a privilege to get our hands on a new Pterosaur model, especially one that is not yet another replica of Pteranodon longiceps.  Pteranodon is perhaps, one of the most famous of all the Pterosaurs (flying reptiles) and it was a spectacular animal but nonetheless, the new model of Tapejara from Safari is a welcome addition to the range of Pterosaur models that are available.

Tapejara was a bizarre crested Pterosaur, fossils of which are associated with the Santana Formation of Brazil.  This animal had an incredible head crest, which was up to 1 metre tall in some specimens.  Scientists believe the huge head crest was a feature of males and may have been used in elaborate courtship displays.  The crest would have produced considerable drag and made Tapejara vulnerable to crosswinds.  Large crested males would have been slow flyers and relatively unstable.

This may be an example of an aspect of natural selection.  Those males strong enough to cope with such a disadvantage may have been the ones that females were attracted to.  This is similar to the peacock’s tail, the larger and more unwieldy the tail, the greater the number of highly visible eye spots the more peahens seem to appreciate the owner!

Darwin wanted to conduct an experiment on peahens and peacocks to assess the effect of a clipped tail on the chances of a peacock attracting a mate.  As far as we can recall he never got the chance to carry out this experiment.

Tapejara fossils are associated with sediments that date from the Aptian and Albian faunal stages of the Cretaceous.  It is thought that this particular Pterosaur lived on the coast of the newly formed Atlantic ocean.  The downturned and toothless beak seems particularly suited to snatching slippery fish from the surface of the sea.

The new Tapejara model from Safari has a bright head crest, the modellers have attempted to follow the latest scientific thinking and have tried to depict a male of this species.  The body is sculpted in such a way so as to indicate the presence of a furry body, many scientists believe that these active creatures were warm-blooded and so would have had insulating fur.  The model is hand-painted and shows fine detail and Tapejara is depicted in a flying and gliding position.

New Model of Tapejara from Safari

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the model from Safari and dinosaur toys: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

With a wingspan of 23cm and a body length of 9cm, the model works well with 1:72 scale figures (Tapejara wingspan estimated to be 5 metres approximately).  The Safari model does recreate the bizarre crest and the purple colouration around the rostrum works well with the blueish hue around the eyes.  The nostrils are accurately depicted, as is the large opening in the skull between the eyes and the nostrils (preorbital fenestra), which covers over half the length of the skull when viewed from the side.

In in all, this model is a welcome addition to the Wild Dinos range from Safari, although with some confusion over the actual taxonomic relationship between the various members of the Tapejara genus, the exact species is difficult to determine.  It may be a representation of T. imperator, but whatever the actual species, it is great to see a new model of a flying reptile being introduced.

20 08, 2009

Yes we have some Pyjamas!

By | August 20th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Dinosaur Pyjamas arrive Safely

After a very long wait, our shipment of dinosaur pyjamas has finally arrived.  It seems that our pyjamas and the container in which they were in got lost and have had a very roundabout journey on their way to us.  Having arrived in England and been unloaded, the shipment was sent to the wrong despatching hub, it seems to have travelled backwards and forwards across the UK, with ourselves desperately trying to catch up with it.

The Dinosaur Pyjamas from Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Finally, we cornered our wayward pyjamas at a depot in Coventry (West Midlands), after a bit of a tussle we were able to extract our boxes from the others that had been gathered there and our brave team were able to get their hands on the pyjama sets that we had all been waiting for.

We started early this morning to check all the new stock and put them into our online shop.  Pyjamas now available, we have contacted those customers on our waiting list and will have to order more shortly.

Here’s hoping that the next batch of dinosaur themed pyjamas behave themselves.

Dinosaur pyjamas: Dinosaur Clothing

19 08, 2009

Suspending Pterosaurs

By | August 19th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Suspending Pterosaurs – Flying Reptiles take to the Sky

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, are often asked how to theme up a child’s bedroom or classroom with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.  In response to the requests that we receive we send out drawing materials, puzzles, quizzes and fact sheets to help achieve the desired affect.  However, the addition of two very good value flying reptile models, just recently out of our testing programme good help in the production of your child’s or classrooms very own “Jurassic Park”.

New arrivals having just from into our on line shop are two flying reptile models.  Nice and big, robust colourful models of Pterosaurs (flying reptiles).  These two characters have proved particularly popular with our young testers and their Mums and Dads, for as well as making great prehistoric animal models, an elasticated cord attached to their backs allows them to suspended from ceilings and such like to give a flying effect.

Flying Reptile Models from Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Suitable for children aged three years and upwards, these large Pterosaur models (wingspans over 35cm) are bright and colourful and have proved to be a big hit with young dinosaur fans. Whilst we may take the appearance of these particular models with a pinch of salt (a toothed Pteranodon indeed), we accept that for dinosaur fans wanting to create a flying Pterosaur effect in their bedroom, these models are just perfect.

They have been taped to ceilings or secured with a drawing pin, some testers added a loop of fishing line or wool to the elasticated hang tag so they could be suspended at different heights.  They do seem to have delighted the young palaeontologists who saw them used in this way.  We may not be able to comment specifically about the anatomical accuracy of our red crested and black crested Pterosaurs, but this did not prevent the testers liking them, far from it.

To view these flying reptiles: Dinosaur Gifts & Presents

These models have been put in our model section, but also in the “dinosaurs bedding and home” part of our website, as they are a cheap and simple way to help theme up a dinosaur fan’s bedroom.

The Red Crested and Black Crested Pterosaurs

Red and Black Crested Pterosaurs

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Available individually or as a set, these two flying reptiles are a fun and cheap way to help theme a classroom or bedroom, you can have your very own Jurassic Park bedroom.  As for the colourful crests, scientists are fairly confident that Pterosaurs had colour vision. They certainly had good eyesight and the crests on animals such as Tapejara, although of limited use as a stabiliser in flight may have been used to signal and communicate between individuals.

18 08, 2009

Meeting an Old Friend at the Dentist

By | August 18th, 2009|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|1 Comment

Getting acquainted with Guanlong whilst at the Dentist

An early morning start for one of the Everything Dinosaur team members today, with a visit to the dentist for their six monthly check up.  Whilst waiting nervously for the dental assistant to call them in, they looked around for some reading material to take their mind off the coming ordeal.

We have no qualms about using various tools from dentistry in our excavation work, dental picks are particularly handy when revolving elements of the matrix from around a fossil specimen.  However, when it is our own teeth and gums that are under examination, this is a very different matter.

Fortunately, amongst the clutter of celebrity magazines and other light reading materials, an old National Geographic magazine was discovered and it contained one of the first articles written on the amazing dinosaur finds in the Dzungaria area of northern China.  The article described the amazing predator trap that contained the remains of an adult and an immature Guanlong (a primitive crested Tyrannosaur) and two unknown Ceratosaurs.  The animals had been trapped over time in an ash pit, perhaps formed when a huge Sauropod roamed over soft ground recently covered in ash from a volcanic eruption.

National Geographic went onto to make a feature/documentary about this particular discovery by a joint team of American and Chinese scientists led by Xu (pronounced “shoe”) Xing.  The documentary was called “dino death trap”, reading the article helped to relieve the tension and anxiety as the patient awaited their turn.  It was nice to meet up with an old friend at the dentist.

17 08, 2009

Last of the Dinosaurs – Formerly Named and Described

By | August 17th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Last of the Dinosaurs – A duck-billed Dinosaur at the very end of the Cretaceous

Scientists have published a description and formal paper on one of the last types of dinosaur known to have existed, a large, duck-billed dinosaur that lived a few tens of thousands of years before the end of the Cretaceous.  In a new study, conducted by a team of Spanish scientists, and accepted for publication in the research journal Comptes Rendus Palevol, this new Hadrosaur is described and may represent a link between Late Cretaceous Asian duck-billed dinosaurs and those from Europe.

The new Hadrosaur named Arenysaurus ardevoli (the name means “sand dinosaur of Aren”), has been ascribed to a basal Lambeosaurine group, distantly related to the better known crested duck-billed dinosaurs such as Corythosaurus and Lambeosaurus.  From the fossils, including some excellent skull material, Arenysaurus may belong to the same family as Family as Amurosaurus, the remains of this particular Hadrosaur are associated with eastern Asia, so some sort of palaeogeographical link may exist between Asia and Europe, perhaps indicating a biogeographical connection between Europe and Asia during the very late Maastrichtian.

Co-author of this paper Jose Ignacio Canudo, a palaeontologist with the University of Zaragoza, stated that this particular dinosaur may have lived just a few thousand  years before the end of the Mesozoic, the end of the Age of Reptiles.

“Arenysaurus was certainly one of the dinosaurs that might have seen the fall of the K/T asteroid and suffered the consequences;” he commented.

The remains of this dinosaur skull material, vertebrae and limb bones were excavated from hard sandstone sediments near the small village of Aren in Huesca, in the Pyrenees, Spain.  During the late Cretaceous this area was a coastal plain, with marshes and several islands and islets out to sea.  The humerus (arm bone between shoulder and elbow), has a forward pointing crest, a site for muscle attachment indicating that this particular Hadrosaur and very strong arms and shoulders.  The muscle attachments are similar to those seen in modern birds for powered flight, but the scientists are confident that this particular dinosaur, which may have grown up to six metres long, did not take to the air.  Instead the researchers have speculated that this animal was semi-aquatic, swimming in the tidal waters between islands in search of food.  A biomechanical study is currently being undertaken to assess the locomotive or swimming habits of this particular dinosaur.  The strong arms could have assisted this dinosaur as it waded through mud, feeding in the marshes that surrounded the coast.

The remains of this dinosaur have been dated using a process called magnetostratigraphy, this looks at changes in the polarity of geomagnetic fields preserved in sediments.  The sequence once measured against already dated rock samples, establish Arenysaurus as one of the last known dinosaurs.

An Artist’s Computer Generated Impression of Arenysaurus ardevoli

Picture Credit: Carmelo Lopez Gomez

An earlier study by French scientists indicated that during the Late Cretaceous the dinosaurs were still flourishing in southern Europe and shared their environment with giant, flightless birds and an increasing number of mammal genera.

16 08, 2009

Edmontosaurus – Out of Storage

By | August 16th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Edmontosaurus Ready to Return to Display in Northern Ireland

After an absence of more than three years, one of Ulster Museum’s most popular attractions is ready to go on display again.  A six metre, mounted skeleton of the duck-billed dinosaur Edmontosaurus is out of storage and ready to take its place in the newly reconditioned museum in the Botanic Gardens of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

More work is planned and the Hadrosaurine will have to wait until October 22nd before it can meet the public once again, as this is the scheduled date for the grand opening of the newly refurbished museum.  October 22nd will also be a red letter for the whole museum, as October 22nd 2009, marks the 80th anniversary of the museum’s opening.

Commenting on the return of his prize possession, Dr. Mike Simms, head of palaeontology for Ulster Museum stated that it was great to have the Edmontosaurus back.

The fossilised skeleton was discovered in the Ruth Mason Quarry in South Dakota, USA, and was purchased by the museum in 1984 for around £80,000 at today’s prices it sounds as if the museum got a bargain.  A mounted skeleton of such a specimen would fetch many hundreds of thousand of pounds, even in today’s depressed auction market.

Dr. Simms commented:

“This is the only complete dinosaur anywhere in Ireland.  The only places they have ones like this are national museums.”

The return of the Edmontosaurus was part of the major undertaking to transport several thousand artefacts back to the museum ahead of the reopening.  We hope to report on the grand opening in October, in the meantime, let’s hope that the Edmontosaurus is getting used to its new surroundings.

15 08, 2009

New Pachycephalosaurus Model from Bullyland

By | August 15th, 2009|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

New Pachycephalosaurus Model from Bullyland

It is always a pleasure to see a new model from the likes of Schleich, Safari and Bullyland.  We have to wait a couple of years for a model to be available having gone through all the sculpting and design processes before final making it to the production stage.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur were aware of the introduction of the new Pachycephalosaurus model from Bullyland of Germany for some time, but it is always an exciting moment when we finally get our hands on the new model.

Pachycephalosaurus Model from Bullyland of Germany

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The 1:30 scale Museum Line Pachycephalosaurus  model shows this particular dinosaur in fine detail.  Measuring just under 22cm long this particular dinosaur is painted a sandy colour, perhaps reflecting the arid, upland landscapes Pachycephalosaurus was believed to have inhabited.  The blueish mottled effect is a nice touch and the five-fingered hands are quite in proportion.

To view the Bullyland Pachycephalosaurus: Dinosaur Models for Girls and Boys

Part of the “Museum Line” range with models approved by palaeontologists at the Museum fur Naturkunde Stuttgart/Museum am Lowenter (scientists at the Natural History Museum based in Stuttgart – Germany), this model makes a super addition for any collector.

Only a few models of this enigmatic dinosaur have ever been made.   We still know very little about the “Bone Headed” dinosaurs, although a number of genera related to the Pachycephalosaurid family are known only a few skeletons have ever been found.  If it was not for the robust nature of their immense skulls, this particular bizarre group of late Cretaceous dinosaurs would be almost unknown in the fossil record.

Safari of the United States, introduced a model of Pachycephalosaurus into their Carnegie Collectibles range in January 1990.  It was officially retired last year, which is a shame as this model depicted the dinosaur charging with its head lowered.  The enormous dome on the top of the skull was made of solid bone, up to 25cm thick.  Why these Ornithischian dinosaurs developed such thick and heavily ornamented skulls remains a mystery.

The Charging Pachycephalosaurus – Safari Model

A Charging Pachycephalosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see the Carnegie Collectibles Pachycephalosaurus: Dinosaur Toys – Models of Dinosaurs

14 08, 2009

Marking the Anniversary of the Death of the Reverend William Buckland

By | August 14th, 2009|Famous Figures|0 Comments

The Reverend William Buckland Died this Day in 1856

The Reverend William Buckland, English clergyman, academic, naturalist and passionate geologist died this day in 1856.  It was Buckland who was given the task of scientifically describing the first species of dinosaur to be recognised as an extinct reptile.  The dinosaur was Megalosaurus and the description took place in 1824.  The full species name for Megalosaurus is Meglosaurus bucklandii (after Buckland).  The Reverend Buckland was given the task of examining a fossilised piece of lower jaw, although the name had already been given to the animal by another scientist – James Parkinson two years earlier.  Although regarded as eccentric (mainly because he kept wild animals such as bears at his home), William Buckland went on to become Dean of Westminster Abbey.

The Reverend William Buckland

The first person to scientifically describe a dinosaur.

The first person to scientifically describe a dinosaur.

He dedicated himself to working on scientific studies of the make up and landscape of the British Isles and his work became standard texts for other academics in Late Georgian and Early Victorian England.  His most influential work, attempted to link the increasing amount of fossil evidence to accepted religious beliefs.  Three editions of “Observations on the Organic Remains contained in caves, fissures, and diluvial gravel attesting the Action of a Universal Deluge” were produced during his lifetime.

He was appointed Dean of Westminster Abbey in 1845, one of our favourite “Buckland snippets”, pieces of trivia concerning this scientist, is that, he had engraved onto his umbrella the words “Stolen from Dean Buckland”.

13 08, 2009

Review of Prehistoric Times (Issue 90 Summer)

By | August 13th, 2009|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Review of Prehistoric Times – Issue 90

Halfway through August and we have not got round to reviewing the latest edition of Prehistoric Times (issue 90).  Our excuse is simple, we have been too busy reading it to write a review.  I have tried to get on with this task but every time I set aside some time to put an article on the blog, I discover that someone else has whipped it away again.

Not surprising really, once again the 90th edition is packed full of news about the latest goings on in palaeontology and model collecting, special features on Cryolophosaurus and Leedsichthys (note to editor we noticed a spelling mistake on the headline title), we really enjoyed the article on the Natural History Museum of Vienna, a place we have had the opportunity to visit whilst working in Austria.  Great to read the article on an ageing Cryolophosaurus and the update on the Darwininus masillae, plus the views and opinions on humans relationship with their Neanderthal cousins.  There is even a picture of our famous “dino van” on page 5.  A photo of one of our company vehicles published in this prestigious magazine – we are approaching celebrity status!

Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (Summer 2009)

Prehistoric Times Magazine

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

To read more about this magazine and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times

12 08, 2009

Time for the Perseids – Annual Meteor Shower

By | August 12th, 2009|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

The Perseids Annual Meteor Shower

One of the most spectacular displays of shooting stars should be reaching its peak tonight.  Astronomers are getting ready to observe the annual Perseid meteor shower which fills the night sky with streaks of white light as small rock fragments burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This annual event takes place throughout July and August but the rate of meteors or shooting stars is likely to peak either Tuesday night or this evening.  Since much of northern England was covered with cloud, last night but the forecast for Wednesday is for a more broken sky, tonight is probably the best chance to observe this phenomenon for most people in northern England.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through a stream of debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.  The name Perseid refers to the star constellation of Perseus, as when viewed it seems that the meteors originate from this part of the night sky, although star system of Perseus is not responsible in any for this free light show in the sky.

At the peak of the shower, observers can expect to see around 80-100 streaks of meteor light per hour.  Astronomers record how many shooting stars occur over a fixed period of time, this is expressed as a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR).  The National Trust has published a list of the best places to view the meteor shower, places such as Stonehenge and Wicken Fen.  Any one can view this annual event, but light pollution from cities and towns is a problem, so a trip to the countryside with its generally darker skies may be required.

Here’s hoping the sky tonight is at least partially clear and that we can see something.

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