All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
11 10, 2010

Video Review of Safari Ltd Wild Dinos Rhamphorhynchus Model

By | October 11th, 2010|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

Rhamphorhynchus – A Classic, Jurassic Pterosaur

Rhamphorhynchus is one of our favourite Jurassic Pterosaurs.  We have had the pleasure of getting up close to a number of UK fossil specimens, but the very best preserved fossils of this flying reptile are to be found in the Upper Jurassic deposits of Germany.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur, wanted to write a review of this new model, a welcome introduction into the Safari Ltd Wild Dinos model range, so we ended up creating a video review.

A Review of the Safari Ltd Wild Dinos Rhamphorhynchus

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view our Safari Carnegie Model range, including the Wild Safari Dinos Rhamphorhynchus model: Dinosaurs for Girls and Boys – Dinosaur Models

10 10, 2010

The Origins of Human Empathy

By | October 10th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Neanderthals Looked after the Sick and Elderly

Most people’s impression of the Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) are that these members of the human family, were thuggish brutes more ape-like than human but this is not true.  The fossilised remains of more than 275 individual Neanderthals have been found in Europe and western Asia and there is evidence of compassion and empathy in the Neanderthal and early human fossil record.

A team of researchers from the University of York (England), have examined the fossilised remains of early species of humans in an attempt to trace the origins of those very human qualities of humanity, compassion and empathy, traits that we ascribe to our own species but find it difficult to accept as potentially present in our more “ape-like” ancestors.  The archaeological record reveals that Neanderthals were excellent and highly skilled tool makers and very proficient hunters.  As a species, the Neanderthals existed for more than 300,000 years and although evidence for more, so called “characteristic” human behaviours such as language, art and religion is less clear there is some data to suggest a sophisticated and complex Neanderthal culture.  Certainly, there have been graves found with grave goods, hinting at death ceremonies and ritual burials, perhaps even some thought concerning an afterlife.  However, we look at it, the Neanderthals were extremely successful and very well adapted to their environment.

Indeed, if a Neanderthal was dressed in modern clothes, given a shave and a modern haircut, they could travel on a London bus and nobody would be any the wiser that there was another species of human present.  Anatomically, there were differences, the long, low skull with the low and sloping forehead for example.  The prominent brow ridge and the large nose may have made a Neanderthal look slightly different from your average commuter but to most of us travelling on the bus, he or she would not have merited a second look.

In May of this year, we at Everything Dinosaur published an article on the ten year study into the ancestry of the human genome, research carried out by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany)  into the relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals.

To read more about this study: Shedding Light on our Closest Relatives – The Neanderthal in all of Us

You can have a go at creating your own Neanderthal with a forensic, clay peg sculpture kit.  This kit enables model makers to recreate the face of real Neanderthal man that lived 50,000 years ago.

Neanderthal peg sculpture kit and other dinosaur crafts: Dinosaur Crafts for Children

The study carried out by the University of York suggests that groups of early humans living between 500,000 and 40,000 years ago took care of their sick or wounded.  The scientists discovered that a child with a congenital brain abnormality lived until at least five years of age and a Neanderthal with a withered arm, deformed feet and who was blind in one eye was cared for by the tribe for at least twenty years.

A Sculpture of an Elderly Neanderthal Man

Picture Credit: Action Press/Rex Features

This life size model of an old Neanderthal man is on display in the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany.

Dr. Penny Spikins, of the University’s archaeological department and the lead author of the study stated:

“Compassion is perhaps the most fundamental human emotion. It binds us together and can inspire us, but it is also fragile and elusive.  This apparent fragility makes addressing the evidence for the development of compassion in our most ancient ancestors a unique challenge.  Yet the archaeological record has an important story to tell about the prehistory of compassion.”

A recent discovery of the fossilised, fragmentary remains of an elderly Homo heidelbergensis in Spain, also suggest that H. heidelbergensis cared for their sick and elderly.  Although this individual was elderly (at least 45 years of age) and had a spinal deformity that prevented him from hunting or carrying heavy loads he must have been given food by others in his group.  Perhaps, as a senior member of the clan he had a certain status and could provide valuable advice and hunting/gathering information to his group members.  A highly developed inner ear and a complex larynx suggests these early hominids may have had a language.

It seems the “human” qualities of compassion and caring for others may not be truly unique to our own species.  Contradicting natural selection in this manner (the survival of the fittest)  may have permitted early humans to gain an evolutionary advantage by developing strong ties and bonds to the group.

9 10, 2010

Manchester Science Festival Back with a Bang

By | October 9th, 2010|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Manchester Science Festival October 23rd to 31st

Celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity, the fourth annual Manchester Science Festival is fast approaching and this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever.  Those hard working organisers of the festival have over 200 science based events taking place in and around the Manchester area (England) over the nine days of the festival – a huge variety of activities from making frozen nitrogen ice cream, discovering the plight of the humble honey bee, and learning about maths through the medium of stand up comedy.

There will be something for everyone – from kids to adults, science buffs to the uninitiated.  Many events are interactive such as crafty work shops, but there will also be heated debates, music, stand-up, stories and science busking.  A number of the events are free and those with a charge are pretty reasonably priced.

Festival Director Natalie Ireland commented:

“Well what a line up we have this year!  It’s going to be an amazing Festival – personally I can’t wait to see the Super K Sonic Boooum – but we have such a breadth of events that I’m sure the whole of the north will find something to get excited about and get involved in.”

The list of events is very long but some of the highlights include, Super K Sonic Boooum, the Universe explained in a massive installation which gives you chance to ride in a dinghy over 50,000 tonnes of extremely pure water with scientists from Japan.  Also there is the chance to learn about real crime forensic work, take part in the making of your very own regional television programme and to learn all about the use of science in the kitchen.

If you are a dog owner, try to make the “Pedigree Chums” presentations, as they lift the lid on over 200 years of selective dog breeding and explore the relationship between dogs and humans.  One of the things we are most looking forward to is Manchester Museum’s Andrew Gray, the Museum’s Curator of Herpetology giving two hands-on talks about the diversity and current plight of reptiles and amphibians in the world today.  Your chance to get to grips with some of our scaly friends and to hear about the extinction threat facing half the species of amphibians known.

You can even get the chance to see how you would cope as a super-human or test your psychic abilities, there is so much packed into the festival this year, it sounds like it is going to be the best ever.

8 10, 2010

Chinese Scientists Announce Discovery of New Theropod Dinosaur Genus

By | October 8th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Chinese Academy of Sciences Announces New Genus of Coelophysoidea

A spokesperson, speaking on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has announced that a new genus of meat-eating dinosaur (Theropod) has been discovered in China.

The fossils of this new dinosaur were unearthed at Longshan, Lufeng county in the Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Chuxiong part of Yunnan province, last month.  Yunnan province is one of the most southerly of all China’s provinces, it borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam.

Professor Dong Zhiming, regarded by many as the world’s most successful dinosaur hunter of recent years, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, commented that this dinosaur was relatively small and lived approximately 180 million years ago.

This new dinosaur genus, which has yet to be formally named and described, was at least 1.2 metres in length and would have stood approximately 0.7 metres high.  It is a member of the Coelophysoidea; a clade of primitive, fast-running dinosaurs from the Early Jurassic.

An Illustration of a Typical Coelophysoidea Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Members of the Coelophysoidea clade, such as Coelophysis (pronounced see-low-fie-sis) were basal Theropods.  They had long tails, “s”shaped necks and thin narrow jaws, that were lined with needle-sharp teeth.  These small, bipeds had four fingers on each hand (a primitive Theropod dinosaur trait), although the smallest digit may have been vestigial.  Thanks to the discovery of more than 100 specimens at the world famous Ghost Ranch site (New Mexico), Coelophysis is perhaps, the best known, non-avian dinosaur.  A number of fascinating prehistoric animal fossils have been discovered at the Ghost Ranch location.  These have provided scientists with an insight into the rise and diversification of the Dinosauria.

To read more about the recent dinosaur discoveries from the Ghost Ranch site of New Mexico: New Theropod Sheds Light on Early Dinosaur Diversification

The finding of a relative of Coelophysis in southern China, will help scientists to piece together more information on how dinosaurs evolved and spread around the globe.

Professor Zhiming commented:

“The discovery of the new dinosaur might promote research on the classification and evolution of dinosaurs in China.”

The Chinese scientists intend to study the fossil bones for a little while longer, before officially naming and describing this new dinosaur.

7 10, 2010

A Review of the Wild Safari Dinos Brachiosaurus Model

By | October 7th, 2010|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Wild Safari Dinos Brachiosaurus Model

We have been busy in the boardroom again, this is our review of the Wild Safari Dinos Brachiosaurus model – a fresh look at a famous dinosaur.

A Video Review of the Wild Safari Dinos Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Brachiosaurus model and other dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

This is certainly a most impressive addition to the Wild Safari Dinos model range.

6 10, 2010

Explanation put Forward for Cause of Luna Park Dinosaur Fire

By | October 6th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Electrical Fault Most Likely Cause of Southsea Dinosaur Fire

Police investigators attempting to establish the cause of the fire that destroyed the Luna Park sculpture of an Ultrasaurus on Southsea common have suggested that the most likely cause was an electrical fault that led to the blaze.

The magnificent model of a huge, long-necked dinosaur which on a clear day could be seen as far away as the Isle of Wight was burnt down a few days ago, to read about the fire:

Luna Park Blaze: Southsea Dinosaur Sculpture Destroyed by Fire

At first, a number of local residents thought the fire had been started deliberately, many blaming students and suggesting arson.  However, police and fire examiners now believe that the most likely cause of the blaze was a fault in the installation’s electrical systems due to the heavy rain that occurred on the morning of the incident.

Investigating police office, PC Jack Oakley stated:

“The original assessment was of course that the cause of the fire was doubtful.  On closer inspection, it appears as though the severe weather we experienced in the early hours of Friday morning caused water to seep into the structure.

PC Oakley went on to add:

“That in turn could well have resulted in an electrical fault in the lighting system on the underbelly of the structure, which was powered by a generator.   I still have a few enquiries left to make but it is likely that the report’s conclusion will effectively bring my investigation to a close.”  

The popular dinosaur attraction was due to start a short tour of the UK, but the fire has completely destroyed it, leaving only part of the superstructure still standing.  A number of witnesses to the blaze had come forward in an attempt to help the police with their enquiries.

PC Oakley commented:

“I’d like to thank everyone who contacted the police to provide information about the possible causes of the fire.”

It is a sad end to the sculpture, the brainchild of artists Heather and Ivan Morison.  The local authority is awaiting clearance from the police to remove the remains of the 53 feet long dinosaur, ironically in its sorry state it is still attracting visitors to the Common.  People are curious to see the structure and to take one last picture before it is removed.

Lightning had been suspected in addition to the arson theory, again ironic as we at Everything Dinosaur have speculated on the possibility of large Sauropods being susceptible to lightning strikes, after all, on an exposed fern plain in a thunderstorm, they were probably the tallest things around and they could have attracted lightning bolts.

5 10, 2010

Sneak Preview of New Carnegie Dinosaur Model

By | October 5th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Revealing the new Carnegie Collection Dinosaur Model for 2011

Everything Dinosaur’s close working relationship with Safari Limited gives our dinosaur experts privileged access to the company’s latest models and new introductions.  There is just one new model planned for launch in 2011 into the Carnegie Collectibles range, it is a model of the European Stegosaur Miragaia.

The New Carnegie Miragaia Dinosaur Model

Picture Credit: Safari/Everything Dinosaur

This strange Jurassic Stegosaur is known from Upper Jurassic strata of Portugal.  It has the longest neck of any known Stegosaur.  The holotype specimen includes most of the front section of the animal, including an incredible fifteen neck vertebrae (cervical vertebrae).  It is likely that this dinosaur that roamed what was to become Portugal 150 million years ago had at least seventeen neck bones (that is ten more than us and two more than a Diplodocus).  In fact, this Stegosaur had more bones in its neck than most of the so called long-necked Sauropods.  Formally described in 2009, scientists remain uncertain as to why Miragaia had such a long neck, it is likely however, that it was an adaptation to permit this dinosaur to feed on understorey vegetation, rather than low browsing.  The evolution of longer necks is observed in genera of antelopes today with several types of antelope having a long neck to permit them to reach up and feed on branches not accessible to shorter-necked types of antelope.

This 1:30 scale model measures just under 24 centimetres in length and we look forward to adding it to our Carnegie Collectibles range when it comes out in the late Spring of 2011.

To view Everything Dinosaurs current range of Carnegie dinosaur models with the soon to be added Carnegie Collectibles Miragaia dinosaur model.

Carnegie Dinosaurs and other Dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys for Girls and Boys – Dinosaur Models

4 10, 2010

Everything Dinosaur on Youtube – Model Review

By | October 4th, 2010|Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur on Youtube

The procurement of a video camera has enabled team members at Everything Dinosaur to put together their own videos, reviewing and commenting on some of the items we stock in our web shop.  The first video, on Youtube, is a review of the Safari Ltd Wild Dinos Apatosaurus, a new interpretation of this long necked dinosaur.

In this five minute video, we explain a little about the fossil evidence that influenced the model’s design and comment on features of this replica of a long-necked dinosaur.

The Review by Everything Dinosaur of the Safari Ltd Wild Safari Dinos Apatosaurus Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the model and other dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Toys

We intend to put up some more videos, each one featuring a specific model or range from the Everything Dinosaur online shop.  How many we put up depends on our acting skills (terrible) and how often we can access the boardroom.  There are certainly a lot of Wild Safari Dinos that we could make video reviews of, hope you like our video review of the Wild Safari Dinos Apatosaurus dinosaur model.

3 10, 2010

Something Fishy This Way Comes

By | October 3rd, 2010|Book Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Ray Troll’s New Book – Top Quality Contemporary Art

Alaskan based artist Ray Troll has a new book out, featuring some of his amazing T-shirt illustrations that Ray has created over the years.  We got to hear about Ray and his unique art work through the “palaeontology grapevine” for Ray, not only creates art based around living creatures today, but he has produced some stunning and unique interpretations of animals in the fossil record.  The book is entitled “Something Fishy This Way Comes”, it is published by Sasquatch Books of Seattle (Washington State).

The Front Cover of Something Fishy This Way Comes

Picture Credit: Ray Troll

The book is a collection of Ray’s T-shirt art over the last three decades, it features a wide range of subjects, some of them rarities, all created by a highly talented and individual artist with a love of all things fish and fossil.  The book has 128 pages and is produced in full colour so readers and fully appreciate the intricate details of Ray’s creations.  To help promote the book, Ray is leaving his beloved fishing grounds to go on a short book signing tour of the west coast.  We wish him well with his endeavours and long may Ray continue to produce stunning works of art depicting the rich and diverse life that exists or has existed on our planet.

2 10, 2010

Giant Dinosaur Model at Southsea Common Burnt Down

By | October 2nd, 2010|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Fire Fighters Called out at 3am to Try to Save Dinosaur

The huge model of a long-necked dinosaur created by artists Heather and Ivan Morison has been destroyed in a blaze.  It is not known how the fire started that destroyed the 53 feet long statue, but police officers from Portsmouth’s Targeted Patrol team are looking into the matter.

To read an article on the installation of the giant dinosaur model: Ultrasauros Visits Southsea Common

The enormous dinosaur was brought to Southsea Common earlier in the summer and it has proved to be a very popular attraction, especially with young children.  Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the fire service the metal and fibreglass structure, known as “Luna Park”  has been virtually destroyed.

The life-size sculpture represents an Ultrasauros, an enormous Brachiosaurid dinosaur whose fossilised bones were discovered in the United States.  The genus is now no longer valid, dinosaur hunter Jim Jenson described the dinosaur based on several large bones that had been found in association with each other, but these fossils appear to represent two different and distinct Sauropod genera.  As these two genera have already been described and named, the genus Ultrasauros is no longer valid.  For Professor Jenson the difficulties over Ultrasauros had begun earlier with the naming of this dinosaur.  He originally named the beast Ultrasaurus, however, the name had to be changed to Ultrasauros because the name Ultrasaurus had already been used two years earlier to describe the fossils of a smaller Sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) discovered in South Korea.

The Remains of Luna Park

Picture Credit: BBC News

Fire fighters were called to the scene around 3am this morning, but they were unable to save the sculpture, citing difficulties in accessing the common and the fact that the fibre glass was well alight by the time they were able to take any action.

Acting crew manager Scott Yule, from Hampshire fire service, said the model’s location meant crews could not gain easy access.

He added:

“We were called to reports to a dinosaur alight on Southsea Common – not something you get every day on the call log”.

Commenting on the remains of the structure he went on to add:

“The neck of the dinosaur is on the floor, completely collapsed, it is quite a sight, unfortunately.”

Portsmouth councillors had hoped that the statue would have become a permanent resident in Hampshire once the installation had finished a tour.  It was due to be erected in Colchester in a few days time, before travelling onto Cardiff.

The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson said that the model had proved very popular, especially with young children and families.

The Ultrasauros Statue before the Fire

Picture Credit: BBC News/Morison

The councillor stated:

“It’s incredibly sad, families have loved it, kids have loved climbing all over it”.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but arson has not been ruled out.  The blaze coincided with student freshers week and some residents and locals have been quick to blame students, believing that the fire may have been a student prank that went horribly wrong.

PC Jack Oakley from Portsmouth’s Targeted Patrol team commented:

“What we’re dealing with currently is an unexplained fire.  We’re looking into the possible causes to establish whether it was accidental or deliberate.  We’ve got police and fire experts looking into the possibility of forensics although unfortunately the current bad weather is not helping.   I understand there were a number of people who witnessed the fire and took footage of it on their mobile phones and I’m hoping they will be able to help my enquiries. ”

The police have appealed for anyone on Southsea Common at the time of the fire, to come forward as they may be able to help determine how the blaze began.

It is such a shame to report on the demise of the Ultrasauros sculpture, very disappointing to hear of its destruction, perhaps it was a lightning strike but if deliberate arson is proved then we hope that the culprits are brought to justice.

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