All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//March
13 03, 2012

New Collecta Prehistoric Animal Models Have Arrived

By | March 13th, 2012|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

First of the New Collecta 2012 Models

Late last night there was a special delivery at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse, the first of the new Collecta 2012 models arrived.  Team members busied themselves unpacking all the boxes and by the end of the night Utahceratops, Kosmoceratops, Neanderthal figures, Hypsilophodon family group and even a dead Triceratops had been added to Everything Dinosaurs product range.

The Neanderthal Figures from Collecta

New Neanderthal Models

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The New Dead Triceratops Model (Collecta Dinosaurs)

A meal for a T. rex

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Dino Prey – Dead Triceratops is the first carcase of a dinosaur made specifically for this type of market.  It adds extra realism to model sets and like the rest of this new model range it is very well made and painted.  The carcase is supposed to have been the remains of a T. rex kill, or did T. rex merely scavenge the corpse of a dead Ceratopsian that it has sniffed out with its powerful sense of smell?

Amongst the new additions now available from Everything Dinosaur is the Miragaia Stegosaurus model as well as the Dolichorhnychops marine reptile model, even a fearsome Mapusaurus (Mapusaurus roseae).

To view the models available from Everything Dinosaur: New Dinosaur and Neanderthal Models

The New Additions to the Everything Dinosaur Range

New Collecta Models now in stock

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

12 03, 2012

Low Tides Attract Fossil Hunters

By | March 12th, 2012|Educational Activities, Geology|0 Comments

Low Tides and Longer Days Bring Out the Fossil Hunters

Spring is in the air, it is time to dust off the overalls, get out the geological hammers, the sturdy boots, the safety goggles and the trusty high visibility clothing and to once again indulge in the hobby of fossil collecting.  At this time of year, the weather is getting a little milder, the worst of the winter storms are over and the bad weather will have eroded more exciting finds out of cliffs and onto beaches, making fossils much easier to obtain.

Beaches can be a great place to find fossils.  Wave action exposes fossils on the shoreline and helps to erode rocks and fossils out of any overhanging cliffs.  Many exciting finds, even dinosaurs have been found after a careful examination of the rocks on the shore.

In particular, spring tides can be a blessing for any keen fossil hunter.  Spring tides occur just after a new and full moon and they mark the greatest difference between high and low water.  It is the very low tides that can make the difference allowing fossil hunters to access parts of the shoreline not normally exposed.  The high tides can have an effect of scouring the beach, especially if there are plenty of pebbles and gravel available.  The low tide/high tide combination can expose new fossil bearing rocks and permit some exciting finds to be made.

Time for some Fossil Hunting

Avoid cliff edges as rock falls may be likely

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Naturally, precautions should be taken.  For a modest investment, a local tide timetable can be purchased.  This provides invaluable information in the form of a set of tables, usually broken down into calendar months that show the time of the low tide and the time of the high tide for any given day.  Armed with this knowledge, you can venture onto the beach and exploit the shoreline at the low tide, whilst remaining confident that  you will not put yourself into harm’s way with  a rising tide, threatening to cut you off.

Another sensible precaution before venturing onto the beach to look for fossils is to let someone know what time you will be expected back.  A mobile phone is useful in case you need to change you plans in mid trip, but it is still good advice to inform someone as to when you are likely to return.   If it is possible, bring a friend along to help you search.  This is much safer than venturing out onto the beach or around the bottom of cliffs on your own.  Two pairs of eyes are better than one when it comes to looking for fossils and it is always useful to have an extra pair of hands to help you carry your discoveries back home.

At low tide parts of the seabed not normally exposed to the air are available for you to explore.  After the winter storms, some large rocks may have been washed a long way down the beach and into the far reaches of the tidal zone.  This can lead to some interesting finds, especially if you are amongst the first to venture out.  It is also fascinating to see the beach at this time of year, in the early morning light it can look quite atmospheric and even though you may have visited the location on numerous occasions a low tide can make even the most mundane of beach views look entirely different.

A View of the Beach at Low Tide (Dorset, England)

Atmospheric beach at low tide

When exploring the top of the beach, near to the cliff bottoms, it is best to be cautious and to look out for any signs of a potential rock fall.  Sometimes, speaking to locals can give fossil hunters an idea of how dangerous any cliffs might be and the frequency of land slips and rock falls.  If warning signs have been posted up then they are there for a very good reason and they must be heeded at all times.

Fossils can be found on many parts of Britain’s coastline.   A geological map will provide information on the age of rocks and indications as to whether or not they are likely to contain fossils.  There are many excellent guides that can be purchased for a small fee and plenty of other information resources available both on-line and off-line.  To get the most out of any visit to a beach to search for fossils it is best to do some reading and research before hand.

Unfortunately, the weather cannot be guaranteed, so it is always a good idea take some waterproof clothing, there is nothing more frustrating than having to abandon a fossil hunting trip because rain gear was forgotten and the weather has taken a turn for the worse.  Sensible shoes are a must, even on the driest and sunniest of days.  A decent pair of walking boots is a sound investment for anyone with an interest in fossil collecting, alternatively, stout wellington boots can be worn.  When searching for fossils on a low tide, it is worth remembering that many of the exposed rocks on the beach will be covered by seaweed, this can be extremely slippy and great care must be taken when traversing rocky areas.  A strong walking stick can be of assistance as can a rucksack as keeping things in a back pack enables you to have your hands free to help with clambering over any particularly large obstacles.

If a geology hammer is to be used, perhaps to crack open a nodule searching for ammonites or such like, it is a very sensible precaution to slip on a pair of safety goggles.  Rock shards and other debris could fly up as you strike the surface of the rock and the goggles help protect your eyes.  It is certainly well worth while cracking a few nodules on certain beaches, such as those public beaches in Dorset that make up part of southern England’s Jurassic coast.  Many of these large nodules contain ammonite fossils and if you are lucky you might be able to find your own ammonite specimen.

 At Low Tide Ammonites Appear

Crack open a rock nodule and you never know

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

The above picture shows a super ammonite – Asteroceras confusum found by Lyme Regis fossil expert Brandon Lennon.   A superb specimen collected at low tide.

With fossil hunting a few hours on the beach can result in some amazing and fascinating additions to your fossil collection.  To get the very best out of the spring low tides, we suggest you find out if there is a local fossil expert who conducts organised trips, let an expert take you on a fossil walk and help you to discover some truly fascinating natural wonders.

To read more about guided fossil walks around Lyme Regis: Guided Fossil Walks with Brandon Lennon

11 03, 2012

Frog Blog – We have Frog Spawn in the Office Pond

By | March 11th, 2012|Animal News Stories, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

The Frogs have Started to Spawn

After a mild and cloudy night we have arrived this morning to discover the first batch of frog spawn in the office pond.  This was probably laid in the early hours of this morning.  So far we have counted ten frogs in the pond, all are very active and we suspect that more spawn will be laid over the next few hours or so.  We will keep a careful watch on proceedings without trying to disturb our “frog-orgy” too much.

The frogs have spawned approximately a week earlier than last year, this is perhaps due to the milder winter that we have had.  Interestingly, the spawn has been located at one of the deeper parts of the pond, according to the old wives tale, when frogs spawn in deep water it is a sign that the spring is going to be very dry – not good news for East Anglia and south-east England which are already experiencing a drought.

One of the problems of spawning in deep water is that if the frog’s activity dislodges the spawn it will roll into even deeper water and disappear towards the bottom of the pond.  If this happens the spawn may be delayed in hatching as the water temperature surrounding the spawn will be that much colder.  We suspect water temperature has a significant effect on the speed of the development of the tadpoles.

11 03, 2012

Kosmoceratops – Most Ornate of the Ceratopsians

By | March 11th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|1 Comment

Preparing for the arrival of Kosmoceratops Models

All is in readiness to receive the new Collecta dinosaur models, they will be arriving sometime next week at Everything Dinosaur.  Team members have been finalising the fact sheets and checking over the data in preparation for sending them out with customer orders.  As part of our preparations to receive the Collecta prehistoric animal models we have commissioned a series of drawings of the prehistoric animals featured in the new releases – animals such as Kosmoceratops, Mapusaurus and Utahceratops.

The Scale Drawing of Kosmoceratops

Ornate horned face – Kosmoceratops

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The new models include scale models, as well as not to scale replicas.  We are particularly looking forward to the Neanderthal figures and the chance to replenish our stocks of Plateosaurus and Torosaurus.

10 03, 2012

Rhamphorhynchus – Fishing can be a Dangerous Business

By | March 10th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Rhamphorhynchus Falls Victim to Ganoid Fish

Scientists have frequently speculated how the likes of Rhamphorhynchus, a Late Jurassic, long-tailed Pterosaur hunted fish.  A remarkable fossil find from lithographic limestone deposits of Solnhofen (Germany) may add weight to the theory that these Pterosaurs skimmed the surface of the water, snatching fish from the sea with their spiky-toothed jaws.  There is certainly evidence in the fossil record to suggest that Rhamphorhynchus genera were piscivores (fish-eaters), however, this amazing fossil discovery also suggests that certain types of fish lurking in the anoxic (depleted of oxygen, thus aiding fossil preservation), waters of the lagoon were prepared to attack these flying reptiles and drag them to their doom.

It seems that after a successful hunt, one unlucky Pterosaur was grabbed by a predatory fish, a ganoid fish known as Aspidorhynchus acutirostris.  These two fish-eaters became tangled up, the Pterosaur drowned and unable to shake the Rhamphorhynchus out of its mouth, the Jurassic fish also met its demise.

Pterosaur versus Ganoid Fish Preserved in the Fossil Record

Accidental fatal encounter between two Jurassic piscivores

Picture Credit: PloS One

The picture above shows the flying reptile with its wing trapped in the fine teeth of the predatory fish.  A number of fossils are known from the Solnhofen deposits were skull elements of ganoid fish are found in association with the remains of members of the Rhamphorhynchidae.  Since the jaws of the fish could not open very wide, and since no Pterosaur remains have been found in the stomachs of fossilised fish of this genus, it can be assumed that flying reptiles were not a normal prey item for this predator.  Perhaps the water disturbance of a Pterosaur skimming the surface water fishing attracted the attention of the larger fish, who inadvertently grabbed the Rhamphorhynchus as it flew passed.

Rhamphorhynchus is one of the best known of all the long-tailed Pterosaurs.  Several species have been identified, the largest of which had a wingspan about the size of the height of a man (nearly six feet).  Fossils of the Pterosaur  have been found in strata associated with coastal areas.  The teeth in the narrow jaws were long, pointed and interlocked when the jaws were closed indicating that this Pterosaur was probably a hunter of fish, this new fossil discovery indicates that sometimes, inadvertently at least, Rhamphorhynchus became the hunted.

An Illustration of a Rhamphorhynchus

Flying low over the water – vulnerable to attack from below

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Evidently, the flight membrane of the reptile, jammed in the teeth of the fish.   Evidently, the fish could not swallow the Pterosaur due to its size and bulky skeleton.  Furthermore, ganoid fishes like Aspidorhynchus have skulls with limited kinetic options such that they were not suitable to manipulate prey that exceeded the standard gape of the jaws.  So for the fish, it could not swallow its victim, nor could it free itself from the wing membrane.

The authors of the paper on this remarkable fossil find (paper published in the “Public Library of Science –  Biology”), suggest that the aktinofibrils of the tough and leathery wing membrane of the Pterosaur got jammed between the densely packed teeth of the fish.  Like most extant fish Aspidorhynchus had no other possibility to get rid of its unwanted victim than trying to shake it loose or swimming rapidly and trying  spinning or twisting manoeuvres.   That the fish in fact tried to get rid of its unwanted meal by vigorous movements of its head is evidenced by the distortion of the left wing finger elements, while the remaining skeleton of the Rhamphorhynchus lies in natural articulation.  This is one Jurassic encounter that ended fatally for both participants.

Vertebrate skeletons from different creatures found together is exceedingly rare in the fossil record.  A number of fossils found at Solnhofen reveal this unfortunate relationship between Rhamphorhynchus and ganoid fish, but this specimen provides scientists with supporting evidence with regards to the feeding methods of the flying reptile.  Lodged in the throat of the Pterosaur are the fossilised remains of a small Leptolepidid fish.  The Pterosaur also has fish bones in its stomach.  The undigested state of the fish in the throat suggests that the Rhamphorhynchus was seized during or immediately after a successful hunt.

 Evidence of Rhamphorhynchus Hunting Fish

Rhamphorhynchus Caught a Fish

Picture Credit: PloS One

The picture shows a photograph (close up) of the jaws and throat of the Rhamphorhynchus (A), a line drawing showing the position of the small fish the Pterosaur swallowed (B) and a close up of the tiny fish fossil viewed under filtered ultraviolet light which shows up greater detail than natural light (C).

In the PloS One journal the pictures are described, the straight vertebral column and the closed tail fin, which is orientated towards the mouth cavity suggests that the fish was not regurgitated during the agony of the Pterosaur.  Furthermore the prey does not show any trace of digestion. A) photograph of the specimen WDC CSG 255 showing the position of the Leptolepides? in the throat of the flying reptile.  To the right hand side the skull of the ganoid fish predator visible.  B) line drawing of (A), C) close-up of Leptolepides? under filtered UV light: 1 caudal fin, 2 neural spines, 3 vertebral column.

To read more about the theory regarding how Pterosaurs such as the Rhamphorhynchidae may have hunted: Pterosaur Feeding Habits – Could they Skim the Water for Fish?

Solnhofen deposits outcrop in an east-west belt north of Munich (Germany), they have produced some exquisite fossils, a record of the flora and fauna of a Jurassic lagoonal environment.  This remarkable fossil helps to add to our knowledge about vertebrate interactions that took place in that shallow water environment all those millions of years ago.

9 03, 2012

A Slice through Deep Time at Lyme

By | March 9th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

Philpot Museum to Run More “Rock Cutting” Workshops

The Philpot Museum based in the historic seaside town of Lyme Regis is going to be running a series of workshops over the summer showcasing the skills of lapidary and fossil preparation.  Under the supervision of the museum’s dedicated staff and some of the professional fossil collectors at Lyme Regis, visitors will be able to test their own skills at preparing Jurassic aged fossils by having a go at polishing ammonites.

 2012 Workshop Dates at the Museum

Your Chance to be a Rock Star!

Table Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Building on the success of last year’s event the museum staff are expecting another high turnout with enthusiastic visitors observing how ammonites are carefully cut into sections using diamond bladed saws.  For a small fee, you can have a go at polishing your very own piece of the Jurassic coast.

To learn more about what the museum offers and to enquire about these special workshops: Museum Contact Details

Ammonites are cephalopods (related to modern squid and cuttlefish).  They originated in the Devonian and survived right up to the end of the Mesozoic.  Most ammonites have planispiral shells consisting of a series of living chambers that increase  in size outwards from the centre of the spiral.  They are a particularly diverse group and by cutting a fossil specimen, an internal mould for example,  in cross section and then polishing it a lot of the internal structure can be clearly seen.  Elements of the structure, reviewed by these processes, the suture lines for example, help palaeontologists to recognise individual ammonite species.

Polished Ammonites Showing Internal Structure

Have a go a lapidary this Summer

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on the museum’s plans, Brandon Lennon, a local fossil expert who takes Lyme Regis visitors on guided fossil walks along the Jurassic coast stated:

“Last year, hundreds of people attended the sessions, which lasted until 4.30pm each day, working on wonderful local specimens and gaining a real insight into the work of fossil preparation.”

This year, Brandon will once again be involved with the workshops.  He will be joined by Chris Andrews, a marine biologist and geologist who has been one of the main driving forces behind these events, helping to organise the museum’s outreach activities.

For Brandon, the spring tides and longer daylight hours will give him the chance to find more fossils along the beaches that surround Lyme Regis.  Experienced fossil hunter Brandon, conducts organised fossil walks along the Jurassic coast, giving visitors to the town an insight into the geological importance of this part of the Jurassic coast.

To learn more about Brandon’s fossil walks: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks with Brandon Lennon

There will also be an opportunity to meet up with Brandon and Chris at this year’s Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (4th to the 6th of May), the pair intend to showcase some ammonite polishing skills over the festival weekend.

For further details about the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival: Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2012

8 03, 2012

International Women’s Day (Thursday 8th March)

By | March 8th, 2012|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

International Women’s Day

Today, Thursday 8th of March is International Women’s Day.  This is a day when the role of women in all walks of life, social, political, economic and in the fields of science are celebrated.  This is the one hundred and first International Women’s Day, in some countries this day is a national holiday.

We take time today to remember the endeavours of women scientists in the study of Earth Sciences, Jennifer Clack who helped revolutionise theories regarding the evolution of Tetrapods, Mary Anning, Dianne Edwards – the Welsh palaeobotanist, Dorothy Hill, perhaps best known for her work on Palaeozoic corals – there are far too many to list here, but we pay our respects to them all.

One person of particular note, on a day when we celebrate the contribution of women to society, would be Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska.  A palaeontologists from Poland, who after obtaining her Masters degree in Warsaw went on to lead a number of expeditions to the harsh and dangerous Gobi desert in search of vertebrate fossils – the first woman to organise and lead a scientific expedition to this region.  She has been involved with the naming of a number Mesozoic vertebrates as well as being renowned for her in-depth knowledge of Ordovician Trilobites.  Zofia has written many books on palaeontology as well as numerous scientific papers.  She has done much to popularise the study of dinosaurs in Poland.

7 03, 2012

The Last Meal of a Velociraptor

By | March 7th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Pterosaur Bone Found Lodged in Velociraptor Body Cavity Suggests a Scavenged Meal

Scientists have published a paper detailing their studies into a very well preserved skeleton of a Velociraptor which reveals evidence of one of the last meals of this little Cretaceous carnivore.  The fossil was unearthed in the Gobi desert back in 1994, but a detailed, formal study has only just been completed and published in the scientific journal “Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology”.

The fossil find, the first discovery of a Pterosaur bone in the body cavity of a dinosaur, suggests that Dromaeosaurs such as Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis), although active hunters, would have resorted to scavenging any available carcase that they could find.

An Illustration of Velociraptor mongoliensis

Did a juvenile Velociraptor have Pterosaur as its Last Meal?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Velociraptor, made famous by its largely inaccurate portrayal in the Jurassic Park film trilogy, was a small, fast running, Late Cretaceous carnivore, perhaps as much as two metres long and standing a metre high.  It had a long, narrow snout, with jaws that were capable of opening very wide.  The jaws were lined with about eighty, small, sharp teeth.  Velociraptor had long, three-clawed hands but perhaps its most famous anatomical feature was the enlarged, sickle-shaped claw on the second toe.  Scientists remain unsure as to what this huge toe claw was used for.  It has been suggested that this claw, that could be held clear of the ground as the animal walked, may have acted like a grappling hook, helping this predator latch onto and cling to struggling prey.  Velociraptor mongoliensis is known from a number of superb fossil specimens including an amazing fossil of a Velociraptor preserved with a herbivorous Protoceratops apparently these dinosaurs perished whilst in combat.

The international research team included palaeontologists from University College (Dublin), the Pterosaur bone inside the rib cage of the predator is an exciting discovery, this suggests that a flying reptile was one of the last things that this little dinosaur ate before it to met its demise.   The fossils suggest that this Velociraptor was a sub-adult, not yet fully grown perhaps weighing around 13 kilogrammes.  The bone fragment inside the body cavity, is highly pneumatised and the walls of the bone are very thin.  This suggests Pterosaur, and given the fact that Azhdarchid Pterosaur remains have been found in strata dated to the same geological time period in that part of the Gobi desert, the research team have postulated that the bone is from a member of the Azhdarchidae group of flying reptiles.

The Rib Cage and the Pterosaur Bone

The last meal of a Velociraptor

Picture Credit: David Hone et al 2012

The black arrows in the picture point to the Pterosaur remains found in the upper part of the rib cage, whilst the white arrow highlights evidence of a broken rib – evidence of a severe trauma in this dinosaur’s life.

The researchers have concluded that although Velociraptor was a fearsome predator, it would not have taken on a healthy full-sized Pterosaur, an animal with a wingspan more than the length of the Velociraptor’s entire body.

David Hone, one of the co-authors of the scientific paper, based at University College Dublin’s School of Biology and Environmental Sciences stated:

“It would be difficult and probably even dangerous for the small Theropod dinosaur to target a Pterosaur with a wingspan of two metres or more, unless the Pterosaur was already ill or injured.  So the Pterosaur bone we’ve identified in the gut of the Velociraptor was most likely scavenged from a carcase rather than the result of a predatory kill.”

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is possible that this particular Velociraptor was part of a pack and given it’s sub-adult size, it may have been quite low in the pecking order.  Just like packs of hunting dogs in Africa today, low status animals may have had to wait their turn before being allowed to feast on a kill.  Perhaps the Pterosaur had been attacked and killed by the pack and this individual had to be satisfied with a quickly gulped down bone as well as a few other scraps”.

Of course, such ideas can only be assertions, there is no evidence to suggest how the bone came to be in the body cavity of the Velociraptor, suffice to say it was ingested and using studies of the feeding behaviours of extant carnivores for comparison, it is likely that this Velociraptor was scavenging from the long, dead remains of a Pterosaur.

A Close-Up of the Bone in the Rib Cage

The bone is highlighted in red

Picture Credit: David Hone et al 2012

In the enlargement above we have highlighted the Pterosaur bone in red, the scale bar provides a scale size for this illustration.

The discovery of such a large bone, approaching eight centimetres in length, nearly as long as the Velociraptor’s jaws, suggest that small Dromaeosaurs were capable of consuming relatively large bones, something seen in crocodiles today.  Just like extant crocodilians, Velociraptor did not chew its food but swallowed it down as quick as it could – a good strategy for survival when at any minute a bigger predator may come along and bully you out of your meal.

The Pterosaur bone, lodged in the rib cage, where the stomach would have been probably had not been swallowed for long, before the Velociraptor met its end.

Dr. Hone added:

“The surface of the bone is smooth and in good condition, with no unusual traces of marks or deformation that could be attributed to digestive acids.  So it’s likely that the Velociraptor itself died not long after ingesting the bone”.

The rib cage itself provides an insight into the lives of Velociraptors.  The white arrow in the picture above points to a broken rib with signs of regrowth, suggesting that this dinosaur was injured or recovering from a traumatic injury at the time of its death.  Such evidence, known as pathology, shows that for this sub-adult Velociraptor, it must have taken a terrific knock at some point during its short life – but at least it lived to tell the tale – for a short while anyway.

To view a second article regarding evidence of Velociraptor scavenging behaviour: Velociraptors were Scavengers as well as Hunters

6 03, 2012

Young Artists at Openshaw Primary School Display their Dinosaur Art

By | March 6th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

Dinosaur Artwork on Display

Following a visit from one of Everything Dinosaur’s teacher/palaeontologists to Higher Openshaw Community School in Manchester, the young, enthusiastic pupils were sent some dinosaur drawing materials to help illustrate some of the teaching topics covered that term by their teacher Ms Boyd and her colleagues.

We really enjoyed working with the junior palaeontologists at the school and their teacher very kindly sent us some examples of the children’s artwork that they had produced with the drawing materials we had sent them.

Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animals ( Higher Openshaw Community School)

A Jurassic Scene

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Higher Openshaw

At Everything Dinosaur, we try to give pupils a sense of deep, geological time and that different prehistoric animals lived in different geological periods.  The drawing materials that we sent the school included a Jurassic landscape with authentic Jurassic aged plants.  The school children were then able to add their own Jurassic aged prehistoric animals , as we had emailed them specifically, dinosaurs and flying reptiles that lived during the Jurassic.

Jurassic Park – By Higher Openshaw Community School

School Children illustrate Dinosaurs

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Higher Openshaw

Our congratulations to all the school children involved in the dinosaur teaching topics, their artwork and illustrations are super.

Dinosaurs on the Prowl

A Bright red Stegosaurus on the Prowl

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Higher Openshaw

The picture above shows a bright red Stegosaurus as drawn by one of the pupils with a Pterosaur (Rhamphorhynchus) flying overhead.  The colouration on the Stegosaur is particularly apt as palaeontologists believe that this plant-eating dinosaur could flush their plates with blood, making them turn bright red.  Scientist Ken Carpenter proposed that with such a rich blood supply to the dermal plates, they could have been flushed with blood at will making a colourful and impressive display.

Openshaw’s Young Dinosaur Illustrators

A very colourful Jurassic scene

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Higher Openshaw

They are certainly very colourful scenes and we enjoyed working with the school children and helping them to study dinosaurs.

An Allosaurus Hiding in the Ferns

A hiding Allosaurus

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Higher Openshaw

5 03, 2012

Bullyland Museum Line Therizinosaurus Model Reviewed

By | March 5th, 2012|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Bullyland’s Scythe Lizard – Therizinosaurus Replica Reviewed

Amongst the many new prehistoric animal model introductions in 2012 comes this replica of a Therizinosaurus (Scythe lizard) from Bullyland of Germany.  This company is well-known for its animal and figure models and for many years they have also produced a model range representing extinct creatures.  This addition to their “Prehistoric World” product line has articulated arms so the giant forelimbs with their huge claws can be moved up and down, permitting the model to be put into a number of different poses.

The Therizinosaurs, sometimes known as Segnosaurs were a group of strange-looking Theropod dinosaurs with long necks, stocky bodies, relatively short hind limbs but with massive forelimbs.  On each of their six fingers (three per hand) they had a huge, blade-like claw.  This claw, some of which measured more than a metre long are the largest claws known in the fossil record.

Scientists believe that although Therizinosaurus was descended from meat-eating dinosaurs, it and other Therizinosaurs adapted to a plant-eating habit, becoming almost entirely vegetarian, browsing on leaves like a giant ground sloth.  The enormous claws were probably used to pull down branches so that this animal could slowly wander through its forest habitat pulling down branches so that leaves and fruit could be easily picked off by its slender jaws.

Therizinosaurus was formally named by the Russian palaeontologist Evgeny Aleksandrovich Maleev in 1954.  Although, this animal is still very poorly known due to the lack of fossils found to date, remains of smaller Therizinosaur-like animals have been found and the reconstruction of Therizinosaurus in museums and by model makers is based on these remains.   Since other, smaller Therizinosaurs may have been covered by downy feathers, scientists have assumed that Therizinosaurus may have sported a shaggy, feathery coat.

This new Bullyland Therizinosaurus model measures approximately 25 centimetres long, the head stands around 13 cm high.  Since palaeontologists estimate that Therizinosaurus was at least 10 metres long, this makes this model something like 1:40 scale, although the manufacturers normally state 1:30 scale for a model in their museum line range.

Bullyland Therizinosaurus Model

“Scythe Lizard” from Bullyland

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The model has the impression that it is covered in a coat of downy, proto-feathers, with longer quills present at the end of the tail and along the forearms – evidence for this arrangement has been found in the fossil record of other feathered dinosaurs.  They body is painted a dark, sandy brown, with a lighter, mustard yellow under belly.  The model has painted white stripes across the squat back legs and along the arms and shoulders.  Two rows of white markings can also be seen running along the back to the end of the tail.  Such a colouration would help to camouflage this large animal in the dappled sunlight of a forest in the same way that similar markings help to camouflage animals today such as  forest dwelling antelope and the Okapi, a large, herbivore often referred to as the “forest giraffe” due to its close taxonomic relationship to its tall-necked, grassland cousin.

Discreetly on the underside the manufacturer has stamped the Bullyland trademark, and stated the models name – Therizinosaurus as well as confirming their suggested scale size 1:30.  The head shows lots of detail, the large nostrils positioned forward on the snout, typical of a Segnosaur.  The beak is prominent and the head is painted white to match the body markings.

The additional of articulated arms enabling dinosaur enthusiasts to position the great arms in a variety of poses gives this Therzinosaurus model extra play value.  A well-crafted replica of a bizarre Cretaceous dinosaur, well done Bullyland, this is another asset in their Museum Line model range.

To view Everything Dinosaurs model range, including Bullyland Museum Line replicas: Dinosaur Models

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