All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//January
11 01, 2014

New Species of Slender-nosed Crocodile Discovered in Africa

By | January 11th, 2014|Animal News Stories|1 Comment

African Crocodile Diversity Just Gets More and More Complicated

It seems that today’s extant reptiles have still got a lot to teach us about their phylogeny and taxonomic relationships as a team of scientists studying crocodiles in central Africa have discovered a new species of these ancient creatures.  According to a scientific paper published in the academic journal “The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology)”, the rare Slender-snouted crocodile (Mescistops cataphractus) is actually two species and these two species diverged from each other at least seven million years ago.

An analysis of molecular data and genetic samples provided the University of Florida team, who working in collaboration with scientists from Gabon, with the evidence to suggest that there are two distinct species present in the central African crocodile population.

A New Species of Slender-nosed Crocodile May Have Been Identified

New species of Crocodilian discovered.

New species of Crocodilian discovered.

Picture Credit: Matt Shirley

Describing how the discovery was made, lead author of the paper Matthew Shirley stated:

“It was simply a matter of going to places people before us never wanted to go or thought possible to go.”

This part of Africa had been beset with civil war, local militias and lack of infrastructure, the sites where Slender-nosed crocodiles could still be found were remote and very difficult to get access to.

Post doctorate researcher Shirley and his team have not only identified two genetically different species, but they have noted anatomical and physical differences too.

The researcher explained:

“There were actually two different species of Slender-snouted crocodile, as well as one sub-species, described in the past.  Over the years these were all synonymised with Mecistops cataphractus, but we are now faced with the necessity of determining if any of these previous names is equally applicable to the new taxa.”

When it comes to the scientific names of organisms, any binomial name attributed in the past may take precedence, it will be a question of trawling through the archives to see if such a name exists.  This new discovery has very important implications for the conservation of these small, Africa crocodiles.  The split between the two species suggests that the West African Slender-nosed crocodile is on the verge of extinction.

Matthew Shirley commented on how vulnerable to extinction these crocodiles are:

“Over the past eight years of effort I and others have detected less than fifty Slender-snouted crocodiles in the wild in West Africa, and of these less than seven were adults, compared to nearly 2,000 in Central Africa over the same time period and survey effort.  We recently evaluated its status for the 2014 IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature] Red List and found that it is Critically Endangered making it one of the top Crocodilian conservation priorities globally along with  the decline of Gharials, Siamese and Orinoco crocodiles.”

The research team called for drastic measures to help these critically endangered crocodiles.  It has been suggested that captive breeding programmes should be introduced with what crocodiles left in the wild being captured and put into zoos to permit the population to be boosted before any animals bred in captivity are released back into the wild.

Recently, crocodiles native to the African continent have gone through a considerable taxonomic revision.  Up until recently only three species of Crocodilian were recognised in Africa, the very dangerous Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), the Slender-snouted nosed crocodile (Mescistops cataphractus) and the Dwarf crocodile, also often referred to as Broad-snouted crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis).  Studies (also involving staff from Florida University), have suggested that there are two distinct Nile crocodile species, and three, genetically different types of Dwarf crocodile.

Potentially Two Species of Nile Crocodile

Scientists research the dentition of Crocodilians.

Scientists research the genetic characteristics  of Crocodilians.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If the scientific community recognises all of these new species then the species count for Africa will jump from three to seven.  These changes will mean a re-evaluation of total crocodile numbers in the wild and will have implications for future Crocodilian conservation.

10 01, 2014

Dino Toy Forum Soon to be Up and Running Again

By | January 10th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|2 Comments

Dino Toy Forum and Dinosaur Toy Blog Temporarily Down

Fans of dinosaur and prehistoric animal models may have encountered some difficulty logging onto the Dino Toy Forum and the related Dinosaur Toy Blog  over the last few days.  With so many new replicas due to be introduced this year it can be a little frustrating for all the enthusiastic and dedicated forum members.  However, Everything Dinosaur has been assured that the current difficulties will soon be sorted and these vibrant forums will soon be up and running again.

The reason for the downtime, is that both these sites are currently in maintenance mode prior to transfer to a new server, normal service will be resumed very shortly.

Over the last few days, Everything Dinosaur team members had received a number of emails from forum members asking what might have happened, we have been doing our best to allay any concerns replying to all those received, a spokes person from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are confident that it will be business as usual very shortly.  It has to be remembered that these sites are a real labour of love for the forum administrators and they have fit in updates, amendments and any changes into their busy work schedules.  All concerned should be congratulated for doing such an excellent job.”

Speaking on behalf of the Dino Toy Forum and the Dinosaur Toy Blog, Adam Stuart Smith, one of the leading lights of these two sites, stated:

“Yes, there has been a small hiccup during the migration and there have been some small difficulties with the login page.  However, we are working hard to resolve the problem and that both the blog and the forum will be up and running again ASAP.”

Everything Dinosaur has been assured that nobody’s streams and comments have been lost, everything will be functioning back to normal very soon.

In the meantime, Adam recommends checking the Dino Toy Blog for additional information and updates: Dino Toy Blog

Update

Just as promised, those clever people behind the Dino Toy Blog and the Dino Toy Forum have sorted everything out, and these sites are now up and running once again.

9 01, 2014

Papo Introduce Set of Mini Dinosaur Models

By | January 9th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

New for 2014 A Tub of Mini Dinosaur Models from Papo

Papo of France, the innovative manufacturer of models, figures and replicas will be adding a set of six mini dinosaur models to their growing prehistoric animal themed product range.  The six dinosaurs, are just part of a number of product extensions that Papo have planned for 2014.  A source at Everything Dinosaur commented that Papo would be adding more than sixty-five replicas to their overall portfolio, the new additions include an eagerly awaited model of Archaeopteryx, as well as a Dilophosaurus and a baby Triceratops.

To learn more about the Archaeopteryx figure and other new Papo introductions: New Prehistoric Animal Replicas from Papo

The Set of Six Dinosaur Models From Papo

A set of six dinosaur figures from Papo.

A set of six dinosaur figures from Papo.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These are the first images that we have received, the appearance of the models may vary slightly from the pictures shown but they do give an impression of contents of the tub.  This is the first set of dinosaur models in the “mini Papo” range.  We have identified the models as a Brachiosaurus, a raptor (possibly a Velociraptor), Spinosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a Stegosaurus.  Papo currently offer these animals as part of their larger “The Dinosaurs” model range, perhaps these mini figures could represent juveniles that can then be displayed with the bigger models.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s current range of Papo prehistoric animal models: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated that this set of mini dinosaur models would probably be available around late May/June of 2014.

The Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model from the Mini Dinosaurs Tub

A mini Stegosaurus dinosaur model

A mini Stegosaurus dinosaur model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

8 01, 2014

Update on Everything Dinosaur’s Social Media Activities

By | January 8th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

Checking on Everything Dinosaur’s Social Media Progress

It has been a very busy 2013 for Everything Dinosaur team members, what with all our outreach work with schools, universities and museums.  In addition, to packing and despatching all our customer orders we remain committed to updating all our social medial platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter etc.

As part of our New Year predictions, team members outlined the plans and targets for Everything Dinosaur’s social media activities over the next twelve months or so, these included the following:

  • Blog – to post up at least 365 articles in 2014 (if we do we will have posted up in excess of 2,800 articles it total on the Everything Dinosaur web log).
  • Ezine – to have 685 articles posted up on this platform by the year end
  • YouTube – to have produced another 35 videos and seen viewing figures go over the 800,000 mark in total
  • Pinterest – to have over 3,000 pins up on the Everything Dinosaur boards by December 31st 2014
  • Facebook – 1,200 likes and to continue to post up pictures, articles, snippets and so forth to encourage lively debate.
  • Twitter – 2,000 tweets

To read the article about Everything Dinosaur’s predictions, what news stories and features this blog will cover in 2014: Everything Dinosaur New Year Predictions – 2014

Let’s just take a few minutes to review progress/plans to date concerning some aspects of Everything Dinosaur’s social media status.

The blog is scheduled to have on-going maintenance on it throughout the next few months.  At the same time, team members are committed to posting up another 365 articles over the year.  If the maintenance is completed and if the articles are posted up, in reality Everything Dinosaur will have nearly 2,900 on line articles.  An extremely creditable performance.

The Ezine target is quite a challenge.  To date the company has posted up around 560 articles on this particular platform.  Although, it is not a priority for Everything Dinosaur, this does equate to ten, original articles approved and up each month.  We shall see how things progress.

YouTube videos, we enjoy researching, writing and producing these short (five minute) videos and they have been very well received by our customers.  We intend to post up new videos at the rate of three per month and if our current viewing figures are repeated throughout the year, then we should go past the 800,000 views figure in the next twelve months or so.  Over the next few days we expect to break through the 600,000 views mark only having celebrated reaching half a million views early in December.

Celebrating Reaching the Landmark of 500,000 YouTube Views

Half a million views on Everything Dinosaur's Youtube channel.

Half a million views on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 As for the image platform, Pinterest, to date we have posted up around 1,590 pictures, articles and features, it is our aim to have over 3,000 up by the end of 2014, this equates to an effective doubling of our Pinterest presence, or to put it succinctly, we need to post up an average of thirty pictures a week to reach this target.  With our vast dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed database we certainly have the pictures and images to hand to enable us to do this.

With a target for Facebook likes of 1,200 genuine customer likes for the year, we have to earn a “like a day”, as Tyrannosaurus Sue says, so far we are just about on target to achieve this.  However, if you like this blog, our dedicated customer service and the fact that we are all round, nice people, feel free to visit our Facebook page and to give us a “like” it would be greatly appreciated.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a "like".

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a “like”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our Twitter feed, is another social platform that we have been very proud to be involved in.  We have supported anti-bullying campaigns, promoted educational events and “tweeted” in support of teachers, the National Autism Society and other notable bodies.  We shall continue to work with this platform this year, but we won’t “tweet for a tweet’s sake”, we shall restrict our correspondence to pertinent and relevant information only.  Two thousand tweets is around 1,300 for the year, or about twenty-five per week.

We shall see how we do, keeping you posted on Everything Dinosaur’s progress.

7 01, 2014

Dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia

By | January 7th, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Evidence of Abelisaurid and Enormous Titanosaur Discovered in Saudi Arabia

An international team of researchers including scientists from Museum Victoria, Monash University (Australia), Uppsala University (Sweden) and the Saudi Geological Survey have uncovered evidence of dinosaurs from Saudi Arabia.  This is the first record of substantial dinosaur fossils being found in the Gulf State.

A series of enormous vertebrae, identified as belonging to an as yet, unknown species of Titanosaur and teeth fossils believed to have come from a large, carnivorous Abelisaurid were found during a scientific expedition to explore the north-western part of the Saudi Kingdom, along the coast of the Red Sea (Adaffa Formation).  During the Late Cretaceous, this part of the world, now famed for its extensive deserts, was a lush, verdant flood plain, the flora supported massive herbivores.  The rounded bones show signs of extensive abrasion the sort of damage associated with bones that were battered by waves and rolled around as a result of tidal action.  This data and an analysis of the sedimentary strata itself supports the idea that these fossils were deposited close to the sea, perhaps in the mouth of an estuary.

The Location of the Fossil Discoveries

Dinosaur fossils from Arabia.

Dinosaur fossils from Arabia.

Picture Credit: PLoS One

The illustration above shows the location of the fossil find in relation to modern-day Saudi Arabia, a map of the world during the Late Cretaceous indicating where on the Gondwanan margins the animal’s lived and a more detailed map of the strata from which the fossil material was excavated.

The strata from which the fossils have been excavated dates from the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs, (Campanian/Maastrichtian faunal stage) and an academic paper detailing the discovery has recently been published in the on line scientific journal PLoS One (public library of science).

Dr Benjamin Kear, based at Uppsala University in Sweden and lead author of the study into these taxonomically identifiable Arabian dinosaurs  commented:

“Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula, with only a handful of highly fragmented bones documented so far. This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them.  Indeed, these are the first taxonomically recognisable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula.”

Dr. Tom Rich, Senior Curator (Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeobotany) at the Museum Victoria stated:

“Dinosaur remains from the Arabian Peninsula and the area east of the Mediterranean Sea are exceedingly rare because sedimentary rocks deposited in streams and rivers during the Age of Dinosaurs are rare, particularly in Saudi Arabia itself.”

At the time when these types of dinosaurs roamed, much of the landmass we know today as the Arabian peninsula was underwater.  The Titanosaur and the suspected Abelisaurid lived on the area of land that formed the north-western coastal margins of the African continent.

The Fossils Found in Saudi Arabia

Two types of dinosaur fossil found.

Two types of dinosaur fossil found.

Picture Credit: PLoS One

The sandy coloured objects at the top of the picture are the fossilised vertebrae of the Titanosaur, the isolated teeth of the suspected Abelisaurid can be seen below.

Explaining some of the problems about the lack of fossil material from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Rich added:

“The hardest fossil to find is the first one.  Knowing that they occur in a particular area and the circumstances under which they do, makes finding more fossils significantly less difficult.”

The Abelisaurid is estimated to have been around six metres in length, the fossils from the plant-eating Titanosaur indicate an animal perhaps in excess of 20 metres long.  The recognition of Titanosaurians and Abelisaurids from Saudi Arabia extends the palaeo-geographical range of these groups along the entire northern Gondwanan margin during the very Late Cretaceous.  In addition, given the extreme rarity of Dinosaurian fossil material from this part of the world, these fossils  hint at the diversity of these types of dinosaurs throughout this region towards the end of the Mesozoic.

Everything Dinosaur is grateful for Museum Victoria (Melbourne, South Australia) for their help in compiling this article.

6 01, 2014

Update on Papo Production Schedules for 2014

By | January 6th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Archaeopteryx, then Dilophosaurus with the Baby Triceratops Model to Follow

The latest information about the likely release dates for the new Papo prehistoric animal models is as follows:  The Archaeopteryx model is likely to be available first, sometime shortly after March 1st according to a spokes person from Everything Dinosaur.  The Dilophosaurus model will be released next, this replica of a Jurassic meat-eating dinosaur, is likely to be available towards the end of the second quarter of 2014, perhaps late May.  The final figure for 2014, in the “Les Dinosaures” model range as this French manufacturer would say, is the juvenile Triceratops.  The Triceratops figure, complete with its “baby brow and nose horns”, is likely to be available sometime in quarter three, that’s around July of this year.

The Baby Triceratops Dinosaur Model from Papo

Available in 2014 from Everything Dinosaur.

Available in 2014 from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The two prehistoric cavemen figures (caveman with stone axe and caveman with spear) have been retired.

The dates outlined above are subject to change, however, we at Everything Dinosaur remain committed to bringing these replicas into our ever-growing range of dinosaur models and toys.  We shall keep readers posted regards Papo’s progress.

5 01, 2014

Deposits Magazine (Issue 36) Reviewed

By | January 5th, 2014|Magazine Reviews|0 Comments

A Review of Issue 36 (Winter 2013/14) of Deposits Magazine

The latest edition of “Deposits” magazine arrived at Everything Dinosaur the other day and what a jam-packed edition it is.  In the previous issue there was an article all about Pliocene micro-fossils and a beautiful image of the foraminifera Polystomiella vuispa, can be seen on the front cover.

Inside, there is an eclectic mix of articles on fossils, geology and palaeontology from a number of international contributors.  For example, there is a brief feature summarising the latest research into Late Cretaceous Elasmosaurid fossils from Morocco and the preceding pages detail a successful fossil hunting trip to Abereiddy Bay (Pembrokeshire, Wales) to study those enigmatic, bizarre graptolites.  Graptolites are/were (see below) a group of tiny animals that lived in colonies and built minute tubular homes for themselves.  Graptolite fossils look like pencil markings or saw-blades preserved in strata and a number of species are important in helping to identify geological biozones.  If you thought that the graptolites were extinct then this article is worth reading as it proposes a link between Graptolites and extant Pterobranchs.

Deposits Magazine Issue 36

Issue 36

Issue 36

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Geologists will get their kicks from a very informative article from Dr. Trevor Watts and his trip to Iceland to journey down the emptied-out magma chamber of a volcano.  For those of us who stay closer to home there is an article all about classifying Ammonites as well as a super article all about Doncaster (South Yorkshire) and this part of Yorkshire’s hidden treasures in terms of geology and palaeontology.  Lots of fossil finds, a number of news snippets and an update on a series of articles on how the tropics drives speciation.  All in all, this magazine makes a wonderful read, and with the dark nights and long days in the Everything Dinosaur offices, it is a welcome magazine, one that will help us plan a few fossil hunting excursions of our own.

4 01, 2014

Fossil Collecting Advice in the Current Stormy Weather – Don’t!

By | January 4th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Geology, Press Releases|0 Comments

Stay Away from Coastal Paths, Beaches and Cliffs

Much of the United Kingdom has experienced stormy weather over the last few days.  Such storms are not uncommon, indeed they are expected at this time of year, however, the ferocity of the storms, the flooding and the high winds has led to a great deal of damage.  There are something like one hundred flood warnings in place across England and Wales, including half a dozen or so in southern England and along the south coast that had been classified as “severe”, meaning that there is a “danger to life”.  Scotland too, has had its share of appalling weather, with another twenty or so flood warnings currently in place.  The Environment Agency has been producing updates so that coastal communities and those likely to be affected can be kept informed as the weather situation changes from hour to hour.  Maps of areas likely to be threatened by flooding have been produced and a number of councils and other public bodies have put out warnings.

The severe weather is likely to weaken cliffs, coastal paths and sea fronts, we strongly advise anyone considering going fossil hunting to postpone their trip, if it involves travelling to an area that might be affected by the bad weather.  Land slips and rock falls are very likely in the saturated strata, quarries too and other areas with over hanging rocks will also be dangerous.

Land slips and Rock Falls make Fossil Hunting on Beaches Very Dangerous

Dangerous Conditions for Beachcombers

Dangerous Conditions for Beachcombers

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

The arrow in the picture is pointing to a person, this gives a scale to the photograph showing a large rock fall on the Dorset coast.  The storms and high tides will expose a lot of fossil material in a number of places in the United Kingdom.  Everything Dinosaur’s advice at the moment for would-be fossil collectors, is to stay away from coastal paths, sea cliffs and beaches. Fossils exposed by the stormy weather will still be around to find after the bad weather has passed.  The material although likely to be dispersed, will still be there or thereabouts in a few days time and visiting such locations will be safer.

Take care and if in any doubt, simply don’t go.

3 01, 2014

Top Ten Most Popular Prehistoric Animals of 2013

By | January 3rd, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates|0 Comments

A List of the Ten Most Popular Prehistoric Animals (2013)

At the start of 2014, team members at Everything Dinosaur compile a list of the top ten most popular prehistoric animals over the last twelve months or so.  Throughout last year, we have been kept busy noting requests for dinosaur fact sheets, drawing materials, views on website pages, comments as well as results from surveys carried out amongst students as a result of our many school visits.  This information is then collated over the Christmas break so that we can produce a list of the most popular animals from the fossil record.  All this data has been brought together and a list compiled of the ten most popular dinosaurs and other extinct creatures and we can now present our findings (with last year’s position, where applicable) given in brackets.

10.) Dimetrodon (16)

This popular Pelycosaur makes our top ten after an absence of a number of years.  We received lots of requests for Dimetrodon drawing materials and questions regarding Dimetrodon, particularly D. grandis following the launch in early in 2013 of the Papo Dimetrodon prehistoric animal model,

Papo Dimetrodon Model Boosts Pelycosaur’s Popularity

Fearsome sail-backed reptile, with exquisite detail.

Fearsome sail-backed reptile, with exquisite detail.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

9). Pachyrhinosaurus (28)

With a rush of activity over the last month or so, all as a result (we suspect), of a herd of these horned dinosaurs starring in a recently released dinosaur movie, Pachyrhinosaurus leaps into the top ten and is the highest climber in our chart overall.

Film Stars in 2013 – Pachyrhinosaurus

Popular dinosaur film stars.

Popular dinosaur film stars.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The performance of our Pachyrhinosaurs was also boosted thanks to the number of emails and other enquiries we received when we published details of the discovery of a baby Pachyrhinosaurus fossil in Alaska.  Our blog article discussed the possibility of these large herbivores breeding in northern latitudes, rather than simply migrating during the summer months to feed.

To read the article (published in June 2013): Juvenile Dinosaur Fossil Discovered within the Arctic Circle

8). Giganotosaurus (13)

Replacing Diplodocus in the top ten comes the lumbering super carnivore – Giganotosaurus (G. carolini).  There seems to have been a trend this year for more information requests, downloads and so forth being related to meat-eating dinosaurs than to plant-eating dinosaurs.  Giganotosaurus is the first of four Theropod dinosaurs in our top ten list.

Giganotosaurus Dinosaur from South America

Schleich Giganotosaurus

Schleich Giganotosaurus dinosaur model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

7).  Pteranodon (7)

The first of only two non-movers in our compilation and the only flying reptile (member of the Pterosauria) to feature in this countdown, although an honourable mention should go to Quetzalcoatlus, another Pterosaur that nearly made our chart.

Taking to the Skies at Number Seven

Bright and Colourful Hand-Puppet of a Cretaceous Pterosaur - Pteranodon

Bright and Colourful Hand-Puppet of a Cretaceous Pterosaur – Pteranodon

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With its long crest and big, toothless beak this flying reptile proved to be very popular with younger prehistoric animal fans.

6).  Stegosaurus (4)

Still very popular with girls who are fascinated by dinosaurs, Stegosaurus slips to just outside Everything Dinosaur’s top five.  Ironically, there have not been many articles written by our team members about this enigmatic member of the Dinosauria over the last twelve months or so.  Perhaps a lack of articles about this plated dinosaur may have contributed to its drop of a couple of places.

Stegosaurus Slips

Young children study dinosaurs.

Young children study dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

5). Brachiosaurus (6)

Climbing up (not that we imagine this colossal dinosaur could climb very much), Brachiosaurus lumbers into our top five.  Once again, a Papo model (Papo Brachiosaurus) resulted in a lot of information requests and fact sheet downloads of this huge Sauropod.  This long-necked dinosaur remains one of the most popular dinosaurs of all time and it is regularly placed highly on the Everything Dinosaur countdown.

In at Number Five – Brachiosaurus

In our studio - Papo Brachiosaurus.

In our studio – Papo Brachiosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

4). Velociraptor (5)

Up one place to number four is Velociraptor.  This little, lithe meat-eater is always popular but we noticed a distinct spike in interest whenever, news of the latest Jurassic Park film (Jurassic Park IV – Jurassic World) was mentioned in the media.  Popular as always, especially amongst Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children who attended our dinosaur themed teaching sessions.

Velociraptor Makes Top Four

Feathered Dinosaurs

Feathered Dinosaurs

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read the latest update on Jurassic Park IV: What dinosaurs will feature in the new Jurassic Park Movie?

3). Triceratops (2)

Down one place from last year is Triceratops, the highest ranked herbivore Everything Dinosaur’s countdown.  This Late Cretaceous horned dinosaur is equally popular amongst boys and girls.  Lots of requests for drawing materials and questions received from members of the public as well as the media when news stories about new Ceratopsian discoveries were being covered.

“Three Horned Face” in at Number Three

Palaeontologies most popular horned dinosaur.

Palaeontology’s most popular horned dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

One of the reasons we suggest for Triceratops falling to number three in our chart might be the news about so many other horned dinosaur discoveries over the last twelve months or so.  From new species (Nasutoceratops) to fossils of baby Chasmosaurs perhaps all these news stories diluted in some way the requests for fact sheets and other material from Everything Dinosaur on the most iconic of all the Ceratopsians.

To read an article about the discovery of fossils of a very young Chasmosaurus: Baby Chasmosaurus Fossil Unearthed in Alberta

2). Spinosaurus (3)

Switching places with Triceratops is Spinosaurus which takes the runners up spot for 2013.  This sail-backed Theropod, believed by many to be the largest meat-eating dinosaur known to science has had a resurgence in popularity since it appeared in episode 1 of the BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur” a couple of years ago.  We get lots and lots of questions about Spinosaurus and Spinosaurus fossils sent into us from school children, Spinosaurus with its enormous size, long narrow jaws and huge claws seems to have captured children’s imaginations.  Good job we have some Spinosaurus teeth to show the children when we visit schools to undertake dinosaur workshops.

Spinosaurus Proving to be Very Popular in 2013

Number 2 in Everything Dinosaur's list the fearsome Spinosaurus.

Number 2 in Everything Dinosaur’s list the fearsome Spinosaurus.

Picture Credit: BBC

It looks like the fishing Spinosaurus in the picture is taken a bow, well done Spinosaurus!

1). Tyrannosaurus rex (1)

Retaining number one spot is the “King of the Tyrant Lizards”, Tyrannosaurus rex.  No longer regarded as the world’s largest known land carnivore (although certainly one of the biggest discovered to date), T. rex still tops the Dinosauria popularity tree and does not seem likely to be shifted just yet.  Although other Tyrannosaurids have become better known by the general public, when asked to name a dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex still goes out on top.  Rumour has it that T.rex will not play a major part in the forthcoming Jurassic Park IV, other predators will take top billing, we shall have to wait and see.  For the time, being T. rex reigns supreme with more requests for drawing materials received by Everything Dinosaur team members than nearly all the other meat-eating dinosaurs put together.

Tyrannosaurus rex – Number 1 for 2013

T. rex as popular as ever.

T. rex as popular as ever.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It seems no prehistoric animal exhibition is complete without T. rex being featured.  North America’s largest Tyrannosaurid seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to capturing the imaginations of young and old.  Perhaps, it’s those huge teeth, the immensely strong jaws or may be its because of those tiny arms, whatever the reason in Everything Dinosaur’s survey T. rex is still the “king of the dinosaurs”.

2 01, 2014

Everything Dinosaur’s Predictions for 2014

By | January 2nd, 2014|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Press Releases|2 Comments

Palaeontology Predictions for the Year Ahead (Dinosaurs, Fossil Finds and So Forth)

This year marks the centenary of the naming of the duck-billed dinosaurs Gryposaurus (Lawrence Lambe) and Corythosaurus (Corythosaurus casuarius named by Barnum Brown).  This year, also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the palaeontologist John Ostrom finding fossils of an agile, meat-eating dinosaur that was eventually to become called Deinonychus and the start of a research programme that was to dramatically change the way in which the Dinosauria were perceived.  It also fifty years since a team of geologists working in Niger (Africa), uncovered the nearly complete skull of an ancient crocodile that led to a much better understanding of the ancient predator Sarcosuchus.  Indeed, back in 1964, thanks to another amazing skull fossil, scientists first got the opportunity to examine the double-crests atop the head of the carnivore now known as Dilophosaurus.

Important Skull Discovery in 1964 Helped Define Dilophosaurus

Skull fossil found 50 years ago helped to describe Dilophosaurus (1970).

Skull fossil found 50 years ago helped to describe Dilophosaurus (1970).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Just for a bit of a challenge to ourselves, we thought it a good idea to try to predict what news stories, events, fossil discoveries and other dinosaur and prehistoric animal related articles would be featured in this web log over the next twelve months or so.  Our thanks to all our Facebook and Twitter fans who made such wonderful suggestions.  Many proposed that a new species of horned dinosaur will be named this year.  Those who said this are very probably going to be proved correct, as we are aware of a number of specimens currently being prepared and examined in the United States which could well turn out to be new species of Ceratopsian when their descriptions are published this year.

A number of people predicted that more evidence would be published this year supporting the theory that Tyrannosaurus rex was feathered.  An interesting speculation, we are grateful for the suggestions received, even one that confidently predicted that a living dinosaur would be photographed in the Cameroon/Congo border region (Central Africa) – now that would be a great news story.

Putting aside any thoughts about cryptozoology for the time being, Everything Dinosaur team members have come up with a list of predictions.  They are in no particular order and in about twelve months time we will review them and see how we did.

1).  Storms around the UK’s Coasts will Lead to a Number of Vertebrate Fossil Discoveries

This is quite a topical prediction, given the number of flood warnings issued and the battering our coastlines have been taking over the last few days, but back in early December the suggestion was put forward that with the very saturated cliffs around Black Ven (Dorset) or indeed at Hunstanton (North Norfolk coast), where the chalk strata is becoming increasingly unstable, a major vertebrate fossil discovery may be made.  Erosion will expose a lot of fossil material and excavations to help prepare and strengthen existing coastal defences could well lead to the discovery of a number of significant vertebrate fossils.   How about a new Ichthyosaur specimen from Charmouth or perhaps, a substantial amount of prehistoric mammal material from the Pleistocene aged cliffs at West Runton?

2).  Further Insights into the Genetic Make Up of Hominins and The Relationship between Other Hominins and H. sapiens

There has been astonishing progress when it comes to the research being carried out into the genomes of ancient hominins.  New techniques are permitting viable amounts of organic material to be extracted from older and older fossilised bones and in 2014 we expect further revelations regarding our own species, its ancestry and our relationship with others on the “human family tree”.  Organic material such as collagen analysed from fossil samples will provide new and exciting insights into the genetic relationship of our own species to extinct species of earlier hominins.

Genetics and Bio-palaeontology Adding to Our Hominin Knowledge Base

Collagen testing.

Collagen testing.

Picture Credit: Manchester University

3).  Trailer for Jurassic Park IV to be Released

After several delays, the latest film in the Jurassic Park franchise “Jurassic World” is scheduled to be released next year.  Over the next twelve months or so we can look forward to seeing the first official trailers for the film being released by Universal Studios.  The film is supposedly being premiered as early as June 2015 and dinosaur fans have been promised that there are a number of new and very scary prehistoric animals in this fourth part of the franchise.

To read an article on “Badass Dinosaurs”: Very Scary Dinosaurs to Feature in the Next Jurassic Park Movie

4).  Polar Exploration Leads to Fossil Find

A number of exploration projects are currently being undertaken by oil companies both in Antarctica and within the Arctic Circle.  Test drilling, sedimentary rock studies and borings will provide geologists with data on the potential for new fields of crude oil and natural gas.  As the exploration continues, we expect that, as a result of this work, a number of body fossil discoveries will be made.  Let us consider the search for fossil fuels in the Arctic Circle, given the ongoing research it seems probable to us that fossils of a marine reptile or perhaps a new species of Ammonite will be found.  It is also possible for more fossils of early Tetrapods to be excavated perhaps from Greenland or some other related landmass in the high Arctic.

5).  Three-Dimensional Printers Come of Age

With the price of three-dimensional printer technology falling all the time, more and more research laboratories and academic institutions will be able to afford these machines.  Once linked to data from a CT scan, highly detailed, three dimensional models can be made and we predict that the application of this technology will lead to a number of advances including a better understanding of the brains and brain functions of early vertebrates.  Analysis of those all important skull fossils (cranial material) using this non-destructive technique, will shed further light on the balance and motor skills of vertebrates, on their senses and on the relative sizes and function of different portions of brain tissue.

2014 – The Year of the 3-D Printer?

New Technology meets Cretaceous Crocodile

New Technology meets Cretaceous Crocodile

Picture Credit: Sergio Azevedo

Computerised Tomography will produce images of fossil specimens, still entombed in a matrix and three-dimensional printers will be able to produce replicas of these fossils permitting a much more detailed analysis of the fossil material using this largely non-destructive technique.

6).  New Species of Mammal (probably a rodent discovered in South-east Asia)

Each year many thousands of new species are named and scientifically described.  However, the vast majority of these are invertebrates such as marine molluscs, insects and arachnids.  There have been some new vertebrates discovered over the last two years or so, perhaps most notably the Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) from the northern Andes mountains.  Everything Dinosaur team members predict that there will be a few more surprises revealed in the next twelve months, including a new to science, mammal species from South-east Asia.

7).  Arthropod Study Leads to Further Evidence for the Common Ancestor of Spiders and Scorpions

From mammals to creepy-crawlies, we predict that 2014 will be an important year for those scientists attempting to understand the origins and early diversity of the Arthropoda.  Arthropods represent the largest phylum in the Kingdom Animalia and include crustaceans, insects, mites, centipedes, millipedes, spiders and scorpions.  Research into the origins of spiders and their affinities to the scorpion clade will progress further this year and perhaps a Cambrian aged common ancestor will be identified.

Exciting Arthropod Discoveries Predicted for the Year Ahead

Scorpion had a powerful sting.

Scorpion had a powerful sting.

Picture Credit: University of Witwatersrand

8).  Everything Dinosaur to Develop a New Dinosaur Workshop/Teaching Website

With all the outreach and teaching work currently being undertaken by Everything Dinosaur staff, a new section of the company’s website has been promised.  We think that the project will get the go ahead in 2014 and a new part of the website dedicated to dinosaur workshops will be rolled out this year.  The new elements will include examples of our many lesson plans, lots of free downloads, resources in support of the national curriculum, teaching guidelines and just about everything a teaching team require to help them teach children about dinosaurs, palaeontology and fossils.  This new section will add to the support we currently provide to schools, universities, museums and other educational bodies and should be a boon for home educationalists all over the world.

Teaching About Dinosaurs in Schools in 2014

Children getting to grips with Dinosaurs

Children getting to grips with Dinosaurs

Picture Credit: Mayfield/Everything Dinosaur

9). Further Evidence for Feather-like, Filamentous  Integuments to be Found in the Ornithischia

Feathered Theropods are now relatively well established with even the Megalosaurs recently getting in on the act.  However, there has been much less evidence published in comparison regarding feathered, bird-hipped dinosaurs.  2014 may see this change, with new academic papers published that describe a number of fossil finds (perhaps once again from Liaoning in north-eastern China), showing evidence of feather-like structures in association with Ornithischian dinosaurs.  This could lead to scientists postulating that, far from being the sole domain of the Theropoda, feathers or feather-like structures evolved early on in the Dinosauria lineage.

10).  Where will Everything Dinosaur Be in Terms of Social Media by the End of 2014 – Setting Targets

Tyrannosaurus Sue, will no doubt be keeping a watchful eye on team members once again this year.  Given our partial success with last year’s social media targets, she, being the fiercest of all the known dinosaurs, will no doubt be keeping our noses to the grindstone as we set out new social media aims and targets for the next twelve months.

Our aims are as follows:

  • Blog – to post up at least 365 articles in 2014 (if we do we will have posted up in excess of 2,800 articles in total).
  • Ezine – to have 685 articles posted up on this platform by the year end
  • YouTube – to have produced another 35 videos and seen viewing figures go over the 800,000 mark in total
  • Pinterest – to have over 3,000 pins up on the Everything Dinosaur boards by December 31st 2014
  • Facebook – 1,200 likes and to continue to post up pictures, articles, snippets and so forth to encourage lively debate.
  • Twitter – 2,000 tweets

We do have other targets for social media but these are the ones closest to hand so we have popped them in.

Over the next twelve months or so we will reflect on these ten predictions about what we will be writing about and of course at the end of the year we shall produce a blog article on how well (or how badly) we have done.

Happy New Year.

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