All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//March
21 03, 2011

Comparing Sauropods to Vacuum Cleaners

By | March 21st, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|2 Comments

New Study Extols the Virtue of Having a Long-Neck for Sauropods

A team of UK based researchers have calculated that Sauropods such as Apatosaurus and Nigersaurus evolved long-necks so that they could reach a lot of plant food material without having to move very far.  This new study has calculated that the long necks of these herbivores enabled them to gather a great deal of food without having to expend a lot energy.  Think of a Diplodocus as a thirty metre long feeding platform.

The scientists have compared the long-necks of Sauropods to the long, extension nozzle fitted to post war vacuum cleaners, devices to help housewives and their partners cope with having to lug a heavy machine around the house.

The long necks of these highly successful group of lizard-hipped dinosaurs, taken to extremes by the enormously long neck of the Sauropod Mamenchisaurus for example, resemble the solution that designers came up with when they realised that early vacuum cleaners were too cumbersome to manoeuvre easily around a room.  The fitting of a long, extension hose permitted the user to reach more area of the carpet, without having to move the heavy suction machine and the bag.

In a study led by Professor Graeme Ruxton (Glasgow University) and Dr. David Wilkinson at Liverpool John Moores University, animals such as the Late Jurassic Brachiosaurus would have used 80% less energy foraging for food when its neck reached nine metres from its torso than if the neck was only six metres long.

Long-necked Dinosaurs – Nature’s Vacuum Cleaners

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With a 6-metre neck, the heavy Brachiosaurus could only have reached food immediately beneath or above it and would have had to move to reach more, but a longer neck gave the creature the ability to feed on vegetation further away while standing still.

A lot of work has already been undertaken by researchers as they try to understand the anatomy of Sauropods, creatures that were the largest type of land animal ever to evolve, with some species reaching lengths in excess of thirty metres.  In the study, published in the scientific journal “Biology Letters” the researchers state:

“We draw an analogy here with the cylinder vacuum cleaners that were commonplace in households in industrialised countries from the 1950s to the 1970s.  Because the machinery required to create suction was large and heavy, the main body of the vacuum cleaner was positioned by the user in a central location within a room.  The user then moved the light head-part at the end of a long tube across the surrounding carpet.

This is certainly an interesting comparison, one that helps to explain the “feeding platform” concept favoured by many palaeontologists.  Over recent years more fossils of Jurassic and Cretaceous Sauropods have been discovered, indicating just how diverse this basic long-necked body plan became.

For example, the bizarre Sauropod Nigersaurus (from Niger in Africa) has been nicknamed the “Mesozoic Lawnmower”, to read more about this peculiar long-necked dinosaur click the link below:

Nigersaurus: Nigersaurus – the dinosaur that grazed like a cow.

20 03, 2011

Frog Spawn (March 2011)

By | March 20th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Exciting News – First Pictures of Frog Spawn from the Office Pond

Team members at Everything Dinosaur  have spotted the first frog spawn in the office pond.  Quietly, without wishing to disturb any frogs that may also be spawning, we have taken a photograph of the frog spawn.

Frog Spawn in the Office Pond

Frog spawn in the pond.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A picture of this year’s frog spawn in the office pond.  We look forward to observing the development of the eggs.

20 03, 2011

Suspected Man-Eater Caught in Queensland

By | March 20th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Crocodile Suspected of Attack on Fisherman is Caught

A three-metre long Saltwater crocodile suspected of attacking fisherman Todd Bairstow has been caught in a trap say Australian Wildlife Rangers.  A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) said the crocodile was caught using a trap set at Trunding Creek, near where Todd Bairstow, clung to mangroves as a large Saltwater crocodile attempted to drag him to his death from the bank where he had been fishing.

A Picture of a Saltwater Crocodile

Picture Credit: Associated Press

The DERM staff are now attempting to confirm that this was the crocodile responsible for the attack.  Mr Bairstow has undergone a number of operations and has had to suffer protracted and painful sessions to clean his wounds caused by the highly infectious crocodile bites.  The captured crocodile has been transferred to a secure facility near Weipa for assessment and will then be taken to a zoo or a crocodile farm.

19 03, 2011

Crocodile found in Middlesbrough

By | March 19th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Spectacled Caiman found in Middlesbrough

Police seized a baby crocodile in a raid on an industrial unit in Middlesbrough (north-east England).  The crocodile, actually a Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodylus) is currently being checked over by vets.  Caimans are a group of small crocodiles that share the same characteristics of their larger cousins the crocodiles and alligators.  Many Spectacled Caimans are imported into the U.S. for the pet trade, it may be that this particular animal may have been brought over from the United States.

This caiman was being kept as a pet by a thirty year old, exotic animal enthusiast from Middlesbrough.  At only two feet long, the baby, known as “fluffy” may not be a man-eater but they still possess a powerful bite and could be capable of taking off a finger if a handler was not careful.  As an adult, Spectacled Caiman reach lengths of up to 2.5 metres in length, and although they rarely attack land mammals and people they are highly dangerous.

A Picture of a Caiman

Picture Credit: Blue Planet

A man has been arrested on suspicion of keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence.  A spokesperson for the National Wildlife Crime Unit which worked alongside Cleveland Police in this case, commented:

“The Spectacled Caiman has been seized and removed through the animal reception centre at Heathrow airport, where they will find a more appropriate home for it.”

The spokesperson (Andy McWilliam) went on to add:

“There are people who want to keep animals like these, but they need to have a licence, as there is a risk.  They need to pay for the licence, have their premises inspected by the local authority and meet significant standards so the animal is safe and cannot escape.”

Although not particularly endangered, many caimans are hunted illegally in the wilds of South America for their skins which are used to make handbags and other fashion items.  The eggs and young of these ancient creatures are also highly prized and once hatched these animals can be sold as pets.

A number of zoos and wildlife parks keep these animals as part of a world-wide conservation effort, indeed some Caimans kept in captivity are believed to learn their names and respond to them when they are called.  To read more about Caimans in captivity: Crocodiles Respond to their Own Names when Called

18 03, 2011

Frog Spawn in the Office Pond Spotted

By | March 18th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

We have Frog Spawn in our Office Pond

The frogs have been busy in the office pond, on Wednesday and Thursday we were able to count up to seven frogs in the pond, but no spawn until this morning.  We have just spotted the first batch of spawn, which must have been laid last night, despite the clear skies leading to a drop in air temperature to just above freezing.

When we compare notes from previous years, the frogs have spawned two days earlier this year than they did in 2010.  So far we have not seen as many frogs in the pond as last year but we are confident that more spawning will take place and that we may well end up with as much frog spawn as we did last year.  This is the fourth year in a row that we have had frogs spawning in our office pond.

17 03, 2011

New Giant Sauropod – Angolatitan – Ancient Fish Food

By | March 17th, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Scientists Announce Discovery of a New Sauropod Species

As Angola is opened up to permit exploration of its diverse geology, so scientists are being given the opportunity to study the fossilised remains of the ancient flora and fauna of this huge African country.  Angola is perhaps one of the last places on Earth that has yet to be fully explored in terms of its geology and this has led to a number of new prehistoric animal discoveries, the latest of which is the formal announcement of a new giant Sauropod species.

The new dinosaur, a member of the Sauropoda (long-necked dinosaurs) has been named Angolatitan adamastor.  The name means “Angola giant”, the species name refers to a mythical sea creature from Portuguese legend.  Although, only a partial forelimb has been found to date, scientists are confident that this creature represents a new species of Sauropod.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur wrote an article outlining the possibilities of many new dinosaur discoveries from this African country, to read this article and to learn more about the work being undertaken in Angola by palaeontologists: Angola Starts to Share its Fossil Secrets

The paper on this new species of herbivorous dinosaur, the latest titan to be found in Africa was published in the scientific journal “The Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science”.  The fossilised bones, longer than an adult man, were found in marine strata dating from approximately 90 million years ago (Turonian faunal stage).  Scientists think that the carcase of this animal was washed out to sea and its body was scavenged by marine reptiles and predatory fish such as sharks.  Indeed, a number of fish bones and shark teeth were found in association with the fossil dinosaur bones.

An Illustration of Angolatitan on the African Cretaceous Shoreline

Picture Credit: Associated Press

Commenting on the naming of this new species, Matthew Bonnan, a Sauropod expert at Western Illinois University (United States) stated that the research team’s claim to have discovered a new species is entirely justified.

Dr. Bonnan said:

“I think they’ve been very careful, the more people and places that we involve in science, the better off we all are.”

The Reconstructed Forelimb of the Giant Sauropod

Limb bones of Giant Sauropod

Picture Credit: News Source AP

The picture above shows palaeontologist Octavio Mateus who has been prominent in an number of important Angolan excavations, standing next to the scapula and the humerus of this new giant dinosaur providing scale.

He went onto add how this new discovery could help palaeontologists understand how Sauropods adapted to different environments stating that it was “really cool” to see research coming out of Angola.  Given the huge size of this country and the early reports from palaeontologists we have received about other dinosaur hunting “hot spots”, it is very likely that many more new dinosaur genera will be discovered.

16 03, 2011

A Review of the Collecta Ankylosaurus Model (1:40 scale)

By | March 16th, 2011|Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Collecta Ankylosaurus Model Review

Collecta have added a 1:40 scale model of the Late Cretaceous armoured dinosaur Ankylosaurus to their scale model range.  This range has increased over the last two years and includes a number of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models, including T. rex, Brachiosaurus and a number of other armoured dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus and Hylaeosaurus.

A Picture of the Collecta Deluxe Ankylosaurus Replica

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The model measures twenty-five centimetres in length and stands nearly 10 centimetres tall at the shoulder.  The tail club is shown in mid swing and the animal seems to be bellowing, perhaps warding off an attack from a predatory Tyrannosaurus.  The model is well painted and the detail quite fine on what is a large model of an Ankylosaurus.

To view the Collecta range (Collecta Deluxe Dinosaurs) and other dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

15 03, 2011

Megalodon Jaws Ready to Go Under the Hammer

By | March 15th, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Giant Shark Jaws – Up for Auction

The giant prehistoric shark, Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) may well have been one of the largest marine predators of all time.  This huge fish, conservatively estimated to have reached lengths in excess of fifteen metres lived during the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs.  Very few fossilised remains of its body have been discovered, with a body supported by cartilage (like all sharks and rays), only under special conditions can cartilage be preserved.  However, the teeth, made of enamel, the same as our teeth, are a different story.  It is mainly  from the many thousands of fossil teeth that have been found that scientists have pieced together what we know about this enormous hunter of whales and other sea creatures.

Now the biggest set of Megalodon jaws ever constructed is being auctioned in the USA.  If you wanted the set of jaws, which stand nearly nine feet tall, they would probably set you back a jaw dropping £500,000.  Fossil hunter Vito Bertucci took almost twenty years to construct the huge jaws, the largest ever assembled and which measure over 3.2 metres in diameter.  Indeed Megalodon is believed to have been so big, that it could swallow an adult Great White Shark whole.  The teeth were retrieved from rivers in South Carolina, where the robust, tough fossils get washed into as they are eroded out of sediments by the action of the water.

The Reconstructed Megalodon Jaws Up for Auction

Picture Credit: Rex Features

The set of jaws consist of 182 beautifully preserved fossil teeth, some of which are over twenty centimetres in length.  They are going under the hammer at Heritage Auctions (Dallas, Texas) on June 12th and experts expect this lot to sell for in excess of $700,000 USD.

David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History Auctions at Heritage Auctions commented:

“Megalodon ruled the temperate and warm waters of all the oceans between 25 million and 1.5 million years ago.  It was a shark that grew to the length of two city buses and preyed on whales and other sharks.  With jaws that size, and a hugely voracious appetite, you or I would be no more than an hors d’oeuvre for this monster.”

A Close up of the Teeth in the Jaws of the Megalodon

Giant Shark Tooth

Picture Credit: Rex Features

Vito Bertucci died in 2004 in Georgia whilst diving for prehistoric shark’s teeth.  It is his brother Joey Bertucci who is auctioning the jaws.  Joey stated:

“This was something he [Vito] had a vision to do, it took him a lifetime of collecting to be able to build it.”

Megalodon may have been the largest shark of all time, although due to the nature of its cartilage skeleton the maximum size of this fish is difficult to determine.  Indeed, the extant Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) a filter feeder may prove to be the largest shark known to science.  However, we at Everything Dinosaur do sell a lot of Megalodon models on line.

To view a number of prehistoric animal monster toys, a “Megalodon shark model”,  books and games: sea monster and marine reptile toys

14 03, 2011

Man Survives Attack from Four Metre Crocodile

By | March 14th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Fisherman Survives Mauling by Saltwater Crocodile

Attacks by Saltwater crocodiles are becoming more frequent in Australia as locals and these large, predators come into close contact.  The latest attack involved a fisherman who was dragged into the water by a four-metre long crocodile whilst fishing near the bank of Trunding Creek, near Weipa on western Cape York Peninsula (Queensland).  Todd Bairstow (aged 28) was attacked on Wednesday, police say the man grabbed mangrove branches and fought for his life, punching and kicking the crocodile for fifteen minutes before his efforts and those of the person who came to his aid and hit the large croc across the head with a branch, permitted him to escape.

Mr Bairstow suffered multiple puncture wounds, dislocations and fractures including a broken finger.  The area is well-known for its large crocodiles and local fishing guide Dave Donald says that Todd was lucky to survive.

Mr Donald stated:

“His legs were very badly damaged and they think the croc may have tried to roll with him while he was still hanging onto the mangrove roots and made quite a mess of his legs.  It did try to grab him again as he was being dragged out of the water apparently, it was pretty aggressive.

Wildlife rangers will search for the crocodile in the hope they can locate it and remove it from the wild.  It is likely that a trap will be set so that the crocodile can be relocated to an area which is less populated.

13 03, 2011

Update on Mail Services into the USA and Canada

By | March 13th, 2011|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Latest Information from Royal Mail about North American Deliveries

With U.S. Homeland security services having increased checks and having employed additional security measures to check incoming mail to North America, customers using Airmail, Airsure and Surface Mail services have experienced further delays with their parcels.  We at Everything Dinosaur do all we can to ensure a prompt despatch of orders, checking customs forms, addresses and ensuring that customers are contacted with details of when and how their parcel(s) are being sent out.

Below is a transcript from the Royal Mail outlining the latest information on mail services to the USA and Canada.  Reading between the lines, it seems that Royal Mail acknowledges that there have been considerable delays to their normally very efficient mail service.  At Everything Dinosaur, we monitor parcels sent abroad and through our communications with our customers we have built up a picture of how long mail is actually taking to reach destinations in the United States.  Having to wait up to 30 working days for a parcel sent by Airmail service is an experience that a number of our overseas customers have had.

The Royal Mail update: (7th March)

“Further to the recent increased security measures for items carried on passenger airlines to the USA, Royal Mail has continued to work with relevant airlines and deploy a range of contingency measures and routes to get as much mail to the States as quickly as possible.

We are pleased to confirm that the vast majority of items have now reverted back to being flown to the USA, with only a small amount of mail having to be diverted to alternative routes, including sea containers.

As a result, most items, including personal and business letters and packets, should be delivered in the US within a few days of posting.  However, delays of about two weeks may continue for heavier packets sent by social (non-contract) customers that are still unable to fly due to security restrictions.  We are continuing to explore alternative solutions for these items, to return them to air transit as soon as possible

Royal Mail is very sorry for the recent unavoidable delays; we are continuing to work to minimise disruption to our customers, whilst ensuring we comply fully with the US directives and regulations.”

Customers can be reassured that we are doing all we can to help expedite parcel deliveries.

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