All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//November
10 11, 2012

Using Papo Prehistoric Mammal and Neanderthal Models to Illustrate an Article

By | November 10th, 2012|Adobe CS5|0 Comments

Papo Models Help with Image

Now that the news regarding the excavation of the nearly complete Woolly Mammoth fossilised skeleton has been circulated, it is time to focus on a little bit of Everything Dinosaur’s Adobe CS5 work which was undertaken so that the feature we wrote could be illustrated.

The finding of the Changis-sur-Marne Mammoth with pieces of flint associated with the bones suggests to palaeontologists that this Mammoth may have been attacked by Neanderthals.  Another possible scenario is that Neanderthals may have butchered the carcase of the Mammoth and removed cuts of meat.  The French research team hope to use radiocarbon dating to assess the age of the fossils.  A close examination of any cut marks or pathology on the bones themselves should enable a theory regarding the Neanderthal/Mammoth interaction to be put forward.

But how to illustrate a potential scenario where a Woolly Mammoth is attacked by a hunting party of Neanderthals? Thanks to Papo and their recently extended range of Pleistocene-aged replicas (part of the French company’s “Dinosaures” range), we can use images of Woolly Mammoth models and Neanderthal hunters to create our own scene in Adobe CS5.

Once the model images had been selected, it was a question of choosing a suitable backdrop image to reflect the landscape of this part of France perhaps as long ago as 200,000 years back.   Then with a little positioning and a little use of the Transform – Scale elements; team members at Everything Dinosaur could create their own prehistoric scene.

Neanderthals Attacking a Woolly Mammoth and Calf 

Neanderthals attacking a Woolly Mammoth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The beautifully crafted and painted Papo models are great for creative play and it is great to see such detailed models of Woolly Mammoths and Neanderthals in such a model and figure range.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Woolly Mammoth models: Prehistoric Animal models from Papo

Look out for the Papo Woolly Rhino model (Coelodonta spp.) due to be launched next year.  More details no doubt available on the Everything Dinosaur blog and our other social media pages.

9 11, 2012

Teaching Science in Schools

By | November 9th, 2012|Educational Activities, Photos/Schools, Press Releases|0 Comments

Year 4 Meet up with Everything Dinosaur (Year 8 Helped)

An interesting assignment this morning working with a number of gifted and talented pupils from feeder Primary schools at Painsley Catholic College (Staffordshire).  Rated by OFSTED as “outstanding”, Painsley Catholic College is one of approximately 360 schools in the country that have the designation of being a specialist science school.  The facilities at the College are excellent.  The well appointed science department is staffed by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of teaching staff, laboratory technicians and administrators.  It has seven well resourced laboratories, including three ICT rooms designed to fit the needs of key stage three and four pupils.  The College also has five teaching laboratories designed to meet the requirements of teaching students aged sixteen plus.

One of the Science Labs at Painsley Catholic College where Everything Dinosaur was Teaching

Well resourced teaching facilities.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The aim of the Science department at the College is to make learning about how things work interesting and exciting and to make all students enthusiastic about learning scientific ideas, encouraging the scientists of the future.  The College wants to develop all students’ scientific skills and in an ever developing scientific world, ensure that all our students can embrace new ideas and understanding of the world around them.

We at Everything Dinosaur share this philosophy and this morning we worked with Year four pupils (aged 8-9) who had come in to the College to learn a little about Earth sciences with one of our teacher/dinosaur experts.  Students from Painsley Catholic College, year eight (aged 12-13), had been invited to help with the assignments – studying a dinosaur trackway and exploring some ideas about Triceratops horridus and Tyrannosaurus rex.

Mrs Rolfe, one of the science teachers at the College, took plenty of photographs and we look forward to seeing some of these pictures showing the young scientists hard at work studying fossils and using observation, investigation and evaluation to study scientific principles.

8 11, 2012

Predator/Prey Relationships in Miocene Spain

By | November 8th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Joint American and Spanish Team Study Teeth to find out what Sabre-Toothed Cats Ate

A ratio of Carbon 12 to Carbon 13 isotopes preserved in the fossilised teeth of apex predators and herbivores that lived over nine million years ago has provided a joint American and Spanish research team with an insight into how food chains worked in the latter part of the Miocene epoch.  The study, the academic paper having been published in the scientific journal  “The Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biology”, focused on the diets of the top, predatory mammals and attempted to establish how large carnivores such as Sabre-Toothed Cats and Bear Dogs (Amphicyonids) were able to live in the same habitats without necessarily competing for the same food resources.

Palaeontologists from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid) and the University of Michigan (United States) studied the fossilised teeth of  specimens of animals that had been found at a number of fossil dig sites at Cerro de los Batallones, just 25 miles south-west of Madrid.  A substantial number of vertebrate skeletons have been discovered in this area, two dig sites are particularly rich in predator fossil bones.  Scientists suspect these sites represent “natural predator traps”, a herbivore may have become stuck fast in mud and this then attracted a number of carnivores and scavengers to the location hoping to feed on the hapless plant-eater.  The meat-eaters soon became stuck too, and the rising pile of corpses would have attracted more and more predators, thus the number of carnivore fossil specimens found at such sites are far in excess of the number of herbivore fossil specimens found.  Fossils found include those of hyenas, martens and skunks.

The researchers studied two species of Sabre-Tooth Cat, Promegantereon ogygia, about the size of an African Leopard (Panthero pardus pardus) and the much larger and heavier Machairodus aphanistus, which was about the size of an extant African Lion (Panthero leo).  It is quite common to hear people describe Sabre-Toothed Cats as “Sabre-Toothed Tigers”, this is an inaccurate description, as although Sabre-Tooths do belong to the same taxonomic family as today’s “Big Cats” – Felidae, Sabre-Tooth Cats are not  closely related to Tigers.

Identifying the Role of Sabre-Toothed Cats in Ancient Food Webs

Ambush predators, animals of woodlands and dense scrub?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The other type of apex predator the research team studied was the Bear Dog known as Magericyon anceps.  Bear Dogs are neither Bears or Dogs but seem to be distantly related to both types of carnivore, sharing a common Vulpavine ancestor.  M. anceps was a particularly large and powerful example of the Mid to Late Miocene Bear Dogs, large specimens could weigh over 200 kilogrammes and would have stood over a metre high at the shoulder.

The study of the teeth isotopes revealed that the Sabre-Toothed Cats shared the same woodland habitat.  The smaller Sabre-Toothed Cat species probably used the abundant cover to avoid encounters with M. aphanistus.  Sabre-Toothed Cats have a different build when compared to modern cats.  They are not built for speed but have immensely strong front legs and shoulders.  Scientists have speculated that Sabre-Toothed Cats specialised in being ambush predators rather than pursuit predators, chasing after their prey.  The woodland habitat would have been ideal for ambushing herbivores.

To arrive at their findings, the researchers conducted what’s called a stable carbon isotope analysis on the animals’ teeth. Using a dentist’s drill with a diamond bit, they sampled teeth from 69 specimens, including 27 Sabre-Toothed Cats and Bear Dogs.  The rest were plant-eaters.  They isolated the carbon from the tooth enamel.  Using a mass spectrometer, which you could think of as a type of scale, they measured the ratio of the more massive carbon 13 molecules to the less-massive carbon 12.  An isotope is a version of an element that contains a different number of neutrons in its nucleus.

Carbon 12 and 13 are both present in the carbon dioxide that plants take in during photosynthesis.  Different plants make use of the isotopes in different ways, and so they retain different amounts of them in their fibres.  When a herbivore eats a plant, that plant leaves an isotopic signature in the animal’s bones and teeth.  The signature travels through the food chain and can be found in carnivores as well.

One of the research paper’s authors stated:

“This would be the same in your tooth enamel today.  If we sampled them, we could have an idea of what you eat.  It’s a signature that remains through time.”

Cerro de los Batallones in the Late Miocene

Predator/Prey Relationships Studied.

Picture Credit: Mauricio Antón

This illustration depicts how the region of Cerro de los Batallones in central Spain likely looked 9 million years ago.  A superb scene created by Mauricio Antón and we acknowledge the University of Michigan press information which provided this image.

Both species of Sabre-Toothed Cat showed no statistical differences in the ratio of Carbon 12 to Carbon 13 in their teeth samples.  This means that they probably fed on similar prey animals that lived in the woodlands, but their body sizes probably meant that they targeted different sized prey.  They may also have avoided direct competition by hunting at different times of the day.  It has been speculated that Promegantereon ogygia may have hunted after dusk, or spent more time in the trees, so as to avoid the attentions of larger types of Sabre-Toothed Cat in the area.  It seems that the members of the Machairodontinae living in the area that was to become central Spain preferred to eat primitive horses, animals that were not yet the highly efficient runners seen on race tracks today.

The tests on the Bear Dog teeth showed a different ratio, indicating that an alternative type of prey was preferred by these carnivores.  The Bear Dogs hunted animals that lived in more open, grassland habitats, they seem to have been better suited to pursuit predation, tackling herbivores that lived in open areas such as antelopes.

It seems that nine million years ago, a number of mammalian apex predators were able to co-exist in this part of Europe as they seem to have specialised in hunting different types of prey animal.

Commenting on the study, one of the researchers stated that such investigations using isotope analysis of fossil teeth provided an insight into the diets of long extinct creatures.  This in turn gave the palaeontologists an understanding of an ancient, long extinct ecosystem.

7 11, 2012

Getting to Know Ampelosaurus

By | November 7th, 2012|Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Ampelosaurus – Europe’s Best Known Sauropod?

Heralded by many a French palaeontologist as Europes’s best known Sauropod, Ampelosaurus,  a fifteen tonne, Late Cretaceous Titanosaur can lay claim to having been found on land famous for sparkling wines.  Fossils of dinosaurs had  been known from the Upper Aude valley of southern France since the 19th Century, there are even earlier reports about strange casts and stones being discovered in the area, but the first intensive exploration of the Cretaceous sediments did not take place until about forty years ago.  The first fossils of Ampelosaurus, rib bones, vertebrae and a single tooth were discovered by a French expedition in 1989, close to a highly respected vineyard.  Since then more than 500 fossils of this dinosaur have been excavated from a series of bone beds found in this locality.

The main bone bed of fossils is located close to a site known as “Bellevue”, the vast number of fossil bones have provided palaeontologists with a wealth of data, which is why Ampelosaurus is often claimed to be the best known Sauropod in Europe.

An Illustration of Ampelosaurus (Scale Drawing)

Ampelosaurus = "Vine Lizard".

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The fossils have been deposited in strata made up of fine to coarsely grained conglomerates and mudstone indicating that the bone beds represent the remnants of an ancient river bed.  The majority of the fossils are disarticulated and very badly eroded indicating that the bones of these dinosaurs may have been abraded as a result of the action of the river water.  However, all the fossils at this location represent a single species – Ampelosaurus atacis no other dinosaur remains have been found in association with these fossils.

Could this be evidence of a herd drowning together as they attempted to cross a swollen river?

6 11, 2012

Classroom Prepared in Readiness for Dinosaur Teaching Topic

By | November 6th, 2012|Educational Activities|0 Comments

Dinosaurs Greet Year 3 As They Return from Half-Term

Year 3 children at Foxhill Primary school (South Yorkshire) got a pleasant surprise when they returned to school after their half-term break this morning.  Teachers, Miss Faulkner and Miss Hartley had been busy preparing the classrooms in readiness for teaching about dinosaurs, which is Year 3’s topic for the rest of the winter term.

Lots of dinosaur pictures and information adorned the walls of the classrooms, along with questions about dinosaurs that the children had compiled as part of their preparation for this topic.  The segregated part of the classroom that had been designated as a quiet reading area had some wonderful cut-out dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on the wall. Even the sign stating “Reading Area” had been created using dinosaur pictures – very imaginative.  Guarding the reading room was a big illustration of a meat-eating dinosaur, not a T. rex (three-clawed fingers) perhaps some sort of Allosaurus?

Fearsome Dinosaur Pictured on the Classroom Door

Having a "roaring" time in the reading area.

Picture Credit: Foxhill Primary/Everything Dinosaur

We love the way the tail has been shaped round the door handle.  Miss Faulkner made the yellow tummy by carefully placing sticky, yellow squares onto the dinosaur’s underside.  The children enjoyed spotting the changes that had taken place in their classroom over the half-term holiday period.  The teachers aided by teaching assistant Mrs Wainwright and Everything Dinosaur began the topic with a morning of dinosaur themed activities.  As Miss Faulkner had chosen “Collaboration” as one of the key objectives for her class this term, the children collaborated on making a cast of a dinosaur tooth, before going on to look the fossilised teeth of prehistoric animals.

In a second session with Miss Hartley’s class, the budding young palaeontologists explored the differences between carnivores and herbivores and Miss Hartley got the chance to handle and describe some fossils.  There was even some time to look at the questions the children had come up with as they thought about how the dinosaurs died out, where can fossils be found and which animals alive today most resemble dinosaurs?

We have sent over a template for creating a scale model of a dinosaur timeline, so that the children can learn about some of the geological periods and plot on the timeline when dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals lived.  Sounds like Year 3 are going to getting involved with plenty of extension activities as they explore this particular topic.

5 11, 2012

French Scientists Puzzle over “Helmut” the Marne Mammoth

By | November 5th, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|2 Comments

Fossilised Mammoth shows Evidence of Neanderthal/Mammoth Interaction

A team of French scientists from the public institute responsible for protecting the archaeological heritage of France have been busy excavating an almost complete fossil of a Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) that has been found near to the river Marne.  A spokesperson for the National Institute for Preventative Archaeological Research (INRAP) stated that such a discovery was extremely rare in France as only three such near complete specimens had been discovered in the country since 1859.

The adult Mammoth has been nick-named “Helmut” by the research team.

Isolated Mammoth bones and teeth have been found in France, the remains of prehistoric elephants that once roamed this part of Europe, a small fragment of their extensive range across the northern hemisphere, but the discovery at Changis-sur-Marne in the  Île-de-France region in north-central France represents a single, almost entire individual skeleton.  Initial examination of the fossil material revealed shards and chips of flint amongst the bones.  The French team have speculated that these flakes were most probably from the stone tools of Neanderthals.  Although at this stage it is uncertain whether the Mammoth was killed by a hunting party or whether a group of Neanderthals took meat from the carcase.

“Prehistoric Battle” Circa 200,000 Years Ago?

Pleistocene Mammoth fossil found at Changis-sur-Marne.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Analysis of the shards of flint may provide clues as to how the stone chips got there and the bones themselves may reveal evidence of injury caused by flint spears or perhaps distinct cut marks where the meat would have been taken off the bone.  Researchers hope to be able to date the specimen accurately.  At the moment it is suggested that the bones may be up to 200,000 years old, or perhaps from an animal that lived just 50,000 years ago.
Some of the Fossilised Woolly Mammoth Remains
Picture Credit: INRAP
The circumstances of the animal’s death will also be investigated.  It remains unclear as to whether this animal drowned, whether it was trapped in mud, or the victim of a successful hunt by Neanderthals.
This French discovery is making vertebrate palaeontologists who specialise in the study of Pleistocene Epoch mammals very excited.  The flint flakes indicate interaction between the Mammoth and a human species, such finds in palaeontology are extremely rare.  In the Calvados region of Lower Normandy (Basse Normandie), scientists excavated the partial remains of an ancient, straight-tusked elephant (Elephas antiquus), the fossilised bones of this extremely large elephant, distantly related to the modern, extant Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), showed signs of having been cut by stone tools.  Evidently, a party of human hunters scavenged this carcase.  Scientists suspect that here to, as with the Woolly Mammoth of Changis-sur-Marne, the butchery was carried out by Neanderthals.
The Dig Site Part of a Larger Archaeological Excavation
Picture Credit: INRAP
Two other sites are known from the Middle Palaeolithic of western Europe (the second sub-division of the Old Stone Age), both in Germany, where evidence of a human species have interacted with prehistoric elephants.  In both the German cases the elephant species concerned was a Woolly Mammoth.  The French team in collaboration with German researchers are hopeful that their River Marne discovery will help to build up a picture regarding the hunting and survival skills of Neanderthals.
Our species being responsible for the flint flakes found in association with the Changis-sur-Marne Mammoth has not been completely ruled out.  Homo sapiens may have reached western Europe around 50,000 years ago so it remains possible that modern humans could have interacted with this particular Woolly Mammoth if it had lived around 50,000 years ago.  The French research team hope to use radiometric dating in combination with a stratigraphic analysis of the surrounding matrix to accurately date the fossil material.
A Large Tusk and Elements from the Lower Jaw including a Tooth
Picture Credit: INRAP
The quarry site at Changis-sur-Marne may look like the surface of a strange alien planet with the mounds of excavated material and bare rock exposed at the site but the research team are determined to extract as much information about the Mammoth and the environment in which it lived as possible.  The fossilised bones of the Mammoth were originally found by chance as archaeologists excavated the remains of a settlement dating back to the Roman occupation of Gaul.  Once it had been determined that the bones found did not represent those of livestock the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) was alerted and a specialist team from INRAP was dispatched to investigate the site.
A Fragment of Flint from a Stone Tool Found in Association with a Mammoth Tooth
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Once the excavation at the quarry has been completed, the fossilised bones will be sent to a museum laboratory for further preparation and it is hoped this specimen will form part of a museum exhibit, perhaps in the Natural History Museum of Paris.
4 11, 2012

Talking about Minmi – Basal member of the Ankylosaurs

By | November 4th, 2012|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Minmi – An Australian Armoured Dinosaur with Attitude

We have been busy today getting our fact sheet on Minmi (M. paravertebra) approved so that we can send it out with Collecta models of this dinosaur.  It seems that this dinosaur has a lot of fans, and not just Australians, it seems to be a very popular member of the Ornithischia.

The first fossils of this armoured dinosaur were found in the mid 1960s, in Queensland.  Since then a number of specimens have been found including an almost complete skeleton which was discovered in marine sediments indicating that the corpse of this dinosaur had been swept out to sea.  Most of the body was preserved but parts of the legs were missing, perhaps scavenged by a marine reptile or a shark whilst the corpse was still afloat.  Minmi had relatively long legs, hexagonal shaped armour plating on its underside and rows of scutes and osteoderms (body armour) running in lines from its head down to its tail.  A series of small spikes projected outwards from the hips and there was a pair of prominent triangular bony structures that pointed outwards from the back of the skull.  The armour would have offered some protection, but this dinosaur may also have been able to run away from any potential attackers.

Everything Dinosaur’s Illustration of Minmi

An Aussie armoured dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This fact sheet has been produced to accompany sales of the Minmi model (Collecta series).  To view the extensive range of Collecta dinosaur models available from Everything Dinosaur: Prehistoric Animal models from Collecta

It is always interesting to hear from customers and dinosaur fans in general and we have fielded a number of questions about this dinosaur over the last couple of years or so.  It seems armoured dinosaurs that come from Australia have lots of fans!

3 11, 2012

New Super Predator Emerges out of the Kem Kem Formation

By | November 3rd, 2012|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|2 Comments

Sauroniops pachytholus – Palaeontologists turn to Tolkien to Name a New Dinosaur

A new super-sized meat-eating dinosaur has been named by a team of scientists after the evil Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings books written by J.R. R. Tolkien.  The inspiration for naming a new genus of organism can come from many things, but since this new predatory dinosaur is only known from a fragment of skull bone that was positioned directly above the eye socket (orbit) the name Sauroniops pachytholus seems entirely appropriate.  The name means “thick domed eye of Sauron”, in reference to the bump and thickened portion of the skull fragment studied.

The Fossilised Element from the Skull

Views of the portion of the skull accompanied by scientific illustrations.

Picture Credit: Andrea Cau

The Kem Kem Formation of Morocco and Algeria represents a series of strata laid down in the Cretaceous (Albian to Cenomanian faunal stages), approximately 95 to 100 million years ago.  The majority of the deposits represent an inter-tidal, estuarine environment, with wide lagoons, and broad, flat flood plains crossed by many rivers further inland.  The environment supported and extensive and diverse flora and fauna, so rich in fact that this area probably supported the largest number of apex predators in any known Mesozoic habitat.  A number of meat-eating dinosaurs have been associated with the Kem Kem Formation, most named from fragmentary fossil material just like Sauroniops.  The list of predators reads like a “who’s who” of Theropod dinosaurs – Carcharodontosaurus, Deltadromeus, Spinosaurus, Rugops and now the 13 metre long Sauroniops joins their ranks.

Sauroniops Illustrated (Feeding on a Young Spinosaurus)

Sauroniops feeds on a Spinosaurus (background), whilst a pair of Spinosaurs flee the scene.

Picture Credit: Emiliano Troco

Palaeontologists had long suspected that there were other Theropod dinosaurs awaiting discovery from the sedimentary rocks of this region.  The strata from south-west Morocco for example, had yielded a large number of fossilised Theropod teeth, these had yet to be assigned to any particular genus.  One of the problems with the strata in this part of the world is that the fossils found within them are extremely fragmentary in nature.  The action of river water and the tides has jumbled up and dis-articulated any fossil bones and teeth that have survived, the fossiliferous deposits have been described by palaeontologists as if all the fossils had been put into a blender, the blender turned on and the resulting mix re-deposited.

Fragments of Fossil Material Typical of the Kem Kem Formation

Typical Fossils from the Kem Kem Formation.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Skull Fragment Superimposed on a Carcharodontid Skull with Human Skull for Comparison

Sauroniops compared to a human skull.

Picture Credit: Andrea Cau

The age of the fossil bearing rocks of south-eastern Morocco is disputed, in the case of this new dinosaur genus, the exact age of the fossils appertaining to Sauroniops is further complicated as it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where this fossil material was found.  A private collector purchased the fossil bone from a local fossil trader in Morocco, the trader stated that the fossil was purchased himself from local fossil hunters near to the small village of Taouz, which itself is located in a mountainous region close to the border with Algeria.  The private collector later donated this specimen to a Museum located at Montevarchi in central Italy (Tuscany).

With just an isolated fragment of skull material measuring 18.5 centimetres in length to work with, a team of Italian scientists compared the shape and structure of this part of the skull (left frontal bone) with those of other meat-eating dinosaurs known from the Kem Kem Formation and concluded that this fragment (assigned the identification code of MPM 2594) was indeed attributable to a new type of carnivorous dinosaur.  An academic paper has just been published in the scientific journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, some five years after the fossil was acquired by the private collector.

Based on comparisons with the skulls of other Theropods, the palaeontologists have estimated that Sauroniops may have been up to thirteen metres in length, establishing “the eye of Sauron” as one of the apex predators known from this part of the world.  One of the lead authors of the scientific paper, Andrea Cau commented that with the frontal bone to study, the only part of this dinosaur known, it seemed appropriate to name the fearsome creature after the evil eye of Sauron from the J. R. R. Tolkien novels.

Given the paucity of the fossil material, it is extremely difficult to assign any further characteristics to this new dinosaur species, however, S. pachytholus has been tentatively assigned to the Carcharodontosauridae and placed close to Eocarcharia, which itself has been described from a maxilla and a parietal bone (skull bones found in the Sahara).

Phylogenetic Assessment of S. pachytholus

Assigning a place for S. pachytholus in the Theropod family tree.

Diagram Credit: Andrea Cau

The orange arrow in the cladogram indicates the potential position of S. pachytholus amongst the Carcharodontids.

The bump and raised portion of the skull has been seen in other Carcharodontids as well as Abelisaurids.  The scientists have speculated that these animals had crests over their eyes which indicated that they were mature, breeding adults.  These bumps and crests may have been brightly coloured and acted as signalling devices in non-verbal communication between members of the same species.  It has even been suggested that these thickened portions of the skull evolved as a result of intra-specific competition.  Animals of the same species competing with each other to win mates, social status, fight over the carcases of other dinosaurs and so on.  Perhaps the Carcharodontids and their relatives were “head bumpers”.

The palaeontologists have concluded that the environment in this part of north Africa during the Cretaceous must have been particularly favourable to herbivorous dinosaurs and other creatures that would have made up the food chain.  It would have needed to be to support the number of large, predatory dinosaurs now known from this part of the world.

The Kem Kem Formation may yet yield more Theropod dinosaurs as these sediments are explored, the number of different carnivores found to date suggests that there must have been an abundance of food.

2 11, 2012

Helping out with a School – Answering Questions from Pupils

By | November 2nd, 2012|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

Lots of Questions from Young Palaeontologists

Following a recent visit to Bestwood Village Hawthorne Primary school to work with the young dinosaur experts in the reception/foundation stage classes, we promised that if we could not answer all the questions posed on the day, we would respond to any that the teacher emailed over to us.

Sure enough, one of the Foundation stage teachers emailed over a list of questions that the children had compiled.  They all enjoyed their dinosaur workshop with Everything Dinosaur and for a special treat Pam, the head dinner lady, the teachers and the teaching assistants organised a dinosaur backpackers picnic for the young palaeontologists on the afternoon of our visit.

The questions we were sent included:

  • Why do some dinosaurs have short arms?
  • How do they make their tails move?
  • What is our favourite dinosaur and why?
  • How many different types of dinosaur are there?
  • Which is the smallest dinosaur?
  • Which is the biggest dinosaur?
  • Did they go to sleep?

What fascinating questions.  True to our word, one of our dinosaur experts set about writing answers to all the questions received, fact sheets, and drawings were included to help explain our answers.   We even suggested extension activities that the teaching staff might want to consider so that the children themselves could explore the answers to the questions themselves – all aimed at learning and developing cognitive skills of course.

Bestwood Village Hawthorne Primary is a super school staffed by enthusiastic and capable staff all doing their bit to help encourage the next generation of scientists.

1 11, 2012

Papo Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

By | November 1st, 2012|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|2 Comments

Everything Dinosaur’s Review of the New Papo Brachiosaurus

The Papo Brachiosaurus is the last of the 2012 Papo dinosaur models to be released, it is also the largest model within the company’s prehistoric animal model range and indeed one of the largest replicas made to date by this French manufacturer.  This model of the Late Jurassic browser, measures forty centimetres in length and the head stands over thirty centimetres high.  The Brachiosaurus was due to be launched earlier in the year but it has been worth waiting for as this is another remarkable sculpt with this dinosaur being depicted as a heavy-set robust animal very reminiscent to the Brachiosaurs depicted in the Jurassic Park movie franchise.
There has been a tremendous amount of scientific research carried out on Brachiosaur fossil material over the last few years, indeed there is as strong argument to split the African and American Brachiosauridae fossils into separate genera. Recent studies have suggested that these dinosaurs were actually much lighter than previously thought, but Papo have opted to give their replica a very thick neck and a large body supported by very strong pillar-like back legs.  This reflects a more traditional view of the Brachiosauridae, the model gives the impression of a very powerful animal, one of the largest land-living animals known to science.
 Papo Brachiosaurus Model Being Reviewed
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur 
When attempting to calculate a scale for this new model it is worth noting that species such as B. altithorax are estimated to be up to 22-25 metres in length.  Based on this data, this would give the new Papo model an approximate scale of 1:55, for example, one centimetre on the model equals 55 centimetres on the actual dinosaur.
To view Everything Dinosaur’s Papo Model range: Papo Dinosaurs
Interestingly this Brachiosaur is depicted with its mouth open.  Most other models of Sauropods currently available are shown with the mouth closed.  The individual peg-like teeth can be made out and the nostrils are located at the top of the head which reflects current thinking regarding the placement of the nostrils on these large herbivores.
The colouration consists of mostly dark green with a lighter tan coloured underside, once again a more traditional interpretation of this dinosaur’s colouring.  The skin texture has been carefully crafted and shows a lot of detail.  We are sure Elmer G. Riggs who discovered the first Brachiosaur fossils in the western United States would be suitably impressed by this interpretation of Brachiosaurus.
The Papo Brachiosaurus is ideal for robust, creative play and will no doubt also prove to be very popular with dinosaur model collectors.
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