All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//March
23 03, 2014

Download a Dinosaur Drawing from Everything Dinosaur

By | March 23rd, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Dinosaur Drawing Materials from Everything Dinosaur

As the Easter break is approaching, team members at Everything Dinosaur thought it would be a good idea if we created a dinosaur picture that young fans of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals could colour in.  The picture we have created shows  a scene from the Cretaceous geological period.  A brave Psittacosaurus is defending its nest which contains two baby dinosaurs from the attentions of an attacking Oviraptor.  In the background a large Pterosaur can be seen flying in the distance.

Dinosaur Drawings Available from Everything Dinosaur

Free dinosaur drawings available from Everything Dinosaur.

Free dinosaur drawings available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Oviraptors have been in the news recently with the naming of a new species of North American Oviraptor (Anzu wyliei).

If you would like to request this image as a download so that your young dinosaur fan can colour it in, simply email Everything Dinosaur and one of our team members will send you the drawing.

Email Everything Dinosaur: Contact Us

22 03, 2014

Putting the “Chicken from Hell” into Context

By | March 22nd, 2014|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Anzu wyliei – Probably Feathered and an Omnivore from the very end of the Cretaceous

With the publication of the scientific paper on the newest member of the very bird like Oviraptorosauria published this week in the on line journal PLoS One (Public Library of Science),  team members at Everything Dinosaur attempt to put the discovery of the “chicken from Hell” into context.  The dinosaur has been named Anzu wyliei and this genus has been erected based on the fossils of three individual dinosaurs discovered in Upper Cretaceous deposits of North and South Dakota (United States).  The fossil sites are around fifty kilometres apart and they represent a dinosaur, whose presence in the Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian faunal stage) had long been suspected but these fossils provide definitive proof that such creatures roamed the western United States at the end of the Cretaceous.

Most discoveries of Oviraptorosaurs have been made in Asia, most notably in China and Mongolia.  Much of what has been inferred about A. wyliei has been based on comparisons with Asian Oviraptors, even though the remains of the three individuals when combined together represent about 80% of the total skeleton.  For example, Anzu wyliei has been pictured as a feathered dinosaur, although no fossilised feathers have been associated with the Hell Creek Formation specimens.  The covering of a shaggy coat of feathers is inferred, as a result of Asian specimens preserved in finer grained matrices which have permitted feather preservation.  The discovery of skull material, including a hyper extended premaxilla indicates that this dinosaur had a large rounded crest on the top of its skull.  This feature is common to a number of Oviraptor genera.

An Illustration of Anzu wyliei

Scale bar = one metre

Scale bar = one metre

Picture Credit: PLoS One/Everything Dinosaur

The picture above gives an overall impression of what this new dinosaur species looked like.  The post cranial bones coloured grey represent fossil specimens.  The skull material indicated represents the extent of the fossil material found to date.  The Oviraptorosauria can be split into a number of families, one such family is the Caenagnathidae (the name means “recent jaws” – as the group were originally thought to be a Cretaceous clade of birds). The jaws are very bird-like and these dinosaurs had no teeth.  Intriguingly, compared to other North American members of the Caenagnathidae such as Chirostenotes spp. known from older rocks found in Alberta, Canada (Campanian faunal stage), Anzu wyliei was a real bruiser!  Body mass estimates based on femur (thigh bone) measurements suggest that this dinosaur weighed between 200 and 300 kilogrammes and that it probably stood around 1.5 metres high at the shoulder and had an overall length approaching 3.5 metres.  Some of the Canadian Caenagnathines were probably only around 20 kilogrammes in weight when fully grown.

The Reconstructed Skull of Anzu wyliei

A reconstruction of the skull (left side view)

A reconstruction of the skull (left side view)

Picture Credit: Donald E. Hurlbert (Smithsonian Institute)

 The American scientists from Utah University, the Smithsonian Institute and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History re-examined the fossil material that had been collected a few years earlier.  Their research helps palaeontologists to piece together a little more about the other types of dinosaur that shared the same environment with more famous dinosaurs like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex.

Phylogenetic analysis suggests that this new species of dinosaur was most closely related to Caenagnathus collinsi (known from Campanian-aged strata from Alberta, Canada).  The fossils have also suggested that A. wyliei and other Caenagnathines may have preferred open expanses such as floodplains, as to what they might have been eating way back at the end of the Cretaceous, these animals were probably generalist omnivores.  It is likely that the bulky Anzu wyliei fed on small mammals, insects, lizards, baby dinosaurs and plants.  It may even have specialised in eating the eggs of other dinosaurs.  Scientists have nick-named this dinosaur the “chicken from Hell” a reference to the Hell Creek Formation where the fossils were found.

An Illustration of a Typical Oviraptor

Part of the Carnegie Collectibles Range from Safari Ltd

A typical feathered Oviraptor

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokes person from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This research is extremely important as it helps to fill in the gaps in terms of the smaller, Theropods that lived at the very end of the Cretaceous.  These fossils represent some of the youngest Oviraptor fossils discovered to date.”

21 03, 2014

Art and Science Combine in School During Fossil Study

By | March 21st, 2014|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

School Children Make Models of Fossils as they Study Dinosaurs

Year 1 and Year 2 children at Hoylandswaine Primary School showcased their dinosaur and prehistoric animal knowledge this week during a school visit from a dinosaur expert at Everything Dinosaur.  Under the tutelage of Miss Birkinshaw, the class teacher, the children had been studying dinosaurs and fossils with a special emphasis on food chains and the role of carnivores/herbivores in ecosystems.  A dig site had been created in the classroom, with Miss Birkinshaw and the children providing fossils for the budding young palaeontologists to excavate.  A grid system had been overlaid and the children had been set a number challenges to identify and describe the objects located on various parts of the dig site.  This reflects what we actually do when it comes to mapping an actual fossil excavation.

Primary School Children Map Out Their Own Fossil Excavations

Palaeontology in schools

Palaeontology in schools

Picture Credit: Hoylandswaine Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Some super Ammonite fossils can be seen in the picture.

As part of the morning’s activities the children examined a variety of fossils including teeth from a giant prehistoric shark (C. megalodon) and with Harry’s help the size of the backbone of a Stegosaurus was compared to our own vertebrae.  Mrs Burr (Teaching Assistant) and Miss Burkinshaw were appointed team captains as one half of the class were given the task of casting a replica shark fossil tooth, whilst the other half were challenged with casting a dinosaur toe bone which had come from a huge and very old duck-billed dinosaur, a specimen of a dinosaur called Edmontosaurus.

The children asked lots of questions and they learned some facts about Tyrannosaurus rex which meant that their poster display on the “King of the Tyrant Lizards” would have to be altered in the light of the information that they had been provided with.  Lots of artwork and creative writing was on display and in the corridor close to the school office there was was a display that had been populated by various dinosaur themed objects and a special workbook that showed some of the areas of study that the children had been looking at.

School Dinosaur Project Book on Display

Children write about fossils and fossil discoveries

Children write about fossils and fossil discoveries

Picture Credit: Hoylandswaine Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

On the left-hand side of the book shows pictures of Plesiosaur fossils (a marine reptile), fortunately, our expert had a piece of a Plesiosaur vertebrae on hand to show some of the children who had stayed behind during lunch to ask further questions.  Young Jack had brought in some of his own fossils.  His fossil collection proved very handy when Harriet exhibited the fossil model she had made out of clay.  Our expert was able to talk about the lines of symmetry in Harriet’s colourful model and then compare the clay fossil to a real “sand dollar” fossil in Jack’s fossil collection.

Comparing a Clay Model to a Fossil “Sand Dollar”

Sand dollar fossil compared to a clay model.

Sand dollar fossil compared to a clay model.

Picture Credit: Hoylandswaine Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

Harriet had done a wonderful job of making and painting her fossil.  The lines radiating out from the centre reminded our dinosaur expert of the fossilised calcite plates associated with a type of sea urchin (Echinoids – pronounced “eck-in-oids”), often referred to as a “sand dollar”.  “Sand dollars” fossils are relatively common, these animals are part of a group of sea creatures that originated around 480 million years ago (Ordovician), but most of the “sand dollar” fossils seen today are much more recent.  Still, Jack’s fossil could be over twenty million years old.  The rigid external skeleton of a “sand dollar” is called a “test”.  On the top surface, is a five pointed star-like structure, these are five paired rows of pores, like look a little like the petals on a flower.  These pores can seen on Jack’s fossil.  When the sea urchin was alive, tube feet projected through theses pores and these feet were multi-purpose, they helped the little animal to burrow into soft sediment,  to move about and they also helped the animal breathe and to gather food.

“Sand dollars” are around today and often tests are washed up onto the beaches of the Western United States.  These tests look like coins hence their common name, but they are also sometimes called “Mermaid coins”, in the past sailors used to believe that if they found one it would bring them good fortune on their next voyage.

Note for Harriet

Lots of different types of “sand dollar” sea urchins are alive today, and some are indeed coloured green and blue.

To conclude the visit, our dinosaur expert set the class a challenge.  The children could write a thank you letter but they must use capital letters and connectives correctly.  Perhaps they could write about their favourite dinosaur or indeed, include a special dinosaur fact in their letter.

We shall see what the budding young palaeontologists from Hoylandswaine Primary School come up with…

For further information on Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Dinosaur Workshops for Schools

21 03, 2014

Art and Science Combined in Dinosaur Study

By | March 21st, 2014|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Art and Science Combined in Dinosaur Study

Key Stage 1 Pupils Show Off their Own Fossil Dig Site

Pupils at Hoylandswaine Primary School (Yorkshire), showed off their dinosaur and fossil knowledge this week during a dinosaur workshop in school organised by Everything Dinosaur.  Miss Birkinshaw, the class teacher (mixed Year 1 and Year 2 class), had been helping the children study prehistoric animals and famous fossil collectors like Mary Anning.  Our dinosaur expert showed the children the typical fossils that Mary found on the Dorset coast and explained where some of her fossils could be seen in museum collections.

Food chains and food webs were explored and how fossils are formed were discussed. The school children had even created their own fossil dig site complete with a mapping grid.

Classroom Fossil Dig Site at Hoylandswaine Primary

fossil dig site in classroom.

fossil dig site in classroom.

Picture Credit: Hoylandswaine Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

 The grid system permitted the teachers to set out a number of challenges to the class.  Could they identify the objects by grid reference?  More capable learners were challenged to create their own dig sites using graph paper and to plot their fossil discoveries.  The Everything Dinosaur export suggested this classroom exercise reflects what happens at real fossil sites when an important task of the field team is to map the site accurately.

Questions Associated with the Dig Site Activity

Mapping and plotting exercise incorporated into dinosaur workshop.

Mapping and plotting exercise incorporated into dinosaur workshop.

Picture Credit: Hoylandswaine Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur team member suggested that this fossil dig site exercise could be extended by getting the children to create their own fossil grid “battleships game”.  Our dinosaur experts provide lots of extension ideas and activities and often are able to send over free downloadable resources to assist the teaching team.  The term topic of dinosaurs and fossils combined art skills as well as subjects from the science element of the curriculum very effectively.

20 03, 2014

Bullyland Prehistoric World Europasaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

By | March 20th, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Museum Line Europasaurus Dinosaur Model Review

This is a brief review by Everything Dinosaur, the UK based retailer of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed products.  The review is of the Bullyland Europasaurus dinosaur model,  part of the company’s Prehistoric World Museum Line range.

Bullyland Europasaurus Dinosaur Model

Europasaurus holgeri

Europasaurus holgeri

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A number of dinosaurs have names like the names of continents, the giant Titanosaur genus known as Antarctosaurus  for example, although this long-necked dinosaur’s fossils have not been found in Antarctica.  Europasaurus fossils were found in Europe and it was very distantly related to Antarctosaurus, but it was much smaller than this “southern giant”.  A thigh bone assigned to the Antarctosaurus genus is actually longer than a number of the complete fossilised skeletons of Europasaurus.

Europasaurus was a dwarf form, of a long-necked dinosaur.  A number of fossilised skeletons were discovered together in a limestone quarry in Lower Saxony, (Germany) in 1998.  These fossils represented individuals that ranged in size from 1.7 metres long up to over six metres in length.  At first, the fossils were thought to be of baby dinosaurs, but studies of growth marks preserved in the fossil bones (histological studies), later proved that the animals at around six metres long were indeed adults.  Europasaurus was a Brachiosaur, closely related to giant dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus and the huge Sauropod from Portugal called Lusotitan but it was much smaller, with even the very largest specimens probably weighing no more than a tonne.

The Museum Line Europasaurus

Dwarf dinosaur of the Late Jurassic.

Dwarf dinosaur of the Late Jurassic.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Europasaurus lived during the Late Jurassic approximately 154 million years ago.  At this time, much of Europe was covered by tropical seas.  There was an archipelago of small islands off the coast, this was land that had once been part of the mainland but rising sea levels had gradually cut-off  the dinosaur populations.  Dinosaurs that had been  marooned quickly adapted to living on islands with limited food resources and the Sauropod population evolved into a miniature form.

Smaller dinosaurs would need less food to sustain them and so the Sauropods became diminutive compared to their mainland ancestors.   Animals often become smaller when they are living on an island with limited food resources, this evolutionary process is called insular dwarfism.  Large animals become smaller over a number of generations as the population adapts to new circumstances.  Other examples from the fossil record include the dwarf prehistoric elephants that lived on the island of Crete and the tiny Titanosaur called Magyarosaurus from the Upper Cretaceous (Hateg Formation of Transylvania).

The Bullyland Europasaurus dinosaur model has been very carefully sculpted.  It has the typical domed head of a Brachiosaur and the forelimbs are larger than the hind limbs, again a typical trait of the Brachiosaurids.  This hand-painted model is a light tan colour with dark brown spots on the flanks and along the neck and tail.  This colouration would have proved to be effective camouflage for a herbivorous dinosaur living in a forest environment.  Bullyland state that their Europasaurus is in 1:30 scale, based on the size of the largest Europasaurus specimen known and given this model’s total length of 23cm we at Everything Dinosaur estimate a scale in the region of 1:26.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s rang of Bullyland dinosaurs: Museum Line Dinosaur Models including Europasaurus

There is much to be admired about this replica.  The large thumb claw on the front limbs is clearly visible and the nostrils have been positioned in the right place based on the known Europasaurus skull material.  The skin texture is particularly well done with lots of detail and there are even different shaped scales present over different parts of the dinosaur’s body.  As with all the named dinosaur and prehistoric animals supplied by Everything Dinosaur this model is supplied with its own fact sheet that will tell you a little more about Europasaurus, its discovery, and the latest information on this amazing Late Jurassic Sauropod.

A Close Up of the Head of Europasaurus

Nostrils are in the right place according to fossil study.

Nostrils are in the right place according to fossil study.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

19 03, 2014

Thank you letter from a School

By | March 19th, 2014|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Primary School Children Write Thank you Letters to Everything Dinosaur

After a busy few weeks with Everything Dinosaur team members carrying out a lot of dinosaur workshops in schools, team members are busy preparing free downloads for the company’s new “dinosaurs for school” website.  As well as all this teaching activity we have also been keeping up with the huge volume of correspondence that we receive.  Amongst all the drawings, pictures, feedback forms, information requests and such like we get letters from school children who have been involved with our dinosaur teaching in schools.  One such letter was sent from Holly from Yorkshire, we were so impressed that we thought we would post Holly’s excellent letter on our blog site.

Holly Says Thank You to Everything Dinosaur

School children thank Everything Dinosau

School children thank Everything Dinosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Holly

Naturally, our team members respond to all those letters, enquiries and contacts that require a reply.

We wrote to Holly saying:

“We are glad that you like dinosaurs and we were very impressed with your writing skills, your letter was very well laid out, the first word that you wrote started with a capital letter and you remembered to use full stops.  You also remembered to put your name on the letter at the bottom, well done Holly!”

We look forward to working with Holly and her classmates in the future and undertaking more dinosaur teaching in schools.

19 03, 2014

Thank You Letter (Primary School)

By | March 19th, 2014|Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Thank You Letter (Primary School)

Holly Says Thank You

With a busy few weeks behind us and even more dinosaur and fossil themed workshops planned for April, Everything Dinosaur’s team members are taking a welcome break in which to catch up with all their “dinosaurs for schools” correspondence.  With all the teaching work that we do it is inevitable that we get lots of letters, posters and drawings sent into our offices.  Often these items are part of extension activities designed to reinforce learning and demonstrate appropriate vocabulary.

Here is a letter from Holly (Key Stage 1) who, along with the rest of her class had written in to Everything Dinosaur to say thank you for our visit and to say how much she enjoyed working with us.

A Thank You Letter from Holly

Thank you note (creative writing exercise).

Thank you note (creative writing exercise).

Picture Credit: Holly (Key Stage 1)

Glad we were able to help out Holly, have fun learning all about dinosaurs, fossils and other prehistoric animals with your classmates.

 

18 03, 2014

A Review of the Carnegie Dinosaurs 2014 T. rex Replica

By | March 18th, 2014|Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|6 Comments

2014 T. rex Model (Carnegie Dinosaurs) is Reviewed

The only new addition for 2014 in the Carnegie Collectibles scale dinosaur model range made by Safari Ltd, is this updated version of Tyrannosaurus rex.  At Everything Dinosaur, we are aware that Safari Ltd have made quite a number of  T. rex models over the years, there have been a number of recent introductions, such as the excellent Wild Safari Dinos Tyrannosaurus rex model that came out back in 2012.

To see a video review of the 2012 Tyrannosaurus rex model introduction: Wild Safari Dinos T. rex Video Review

The reason for this particular dinosaur model’s introduction as we understand matters,  is to commemorate 25 years of working with the palaeontologists at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  The model itself shows a number of modifications when compared to the very early Carnegie Collectibles Tyrannosaurs.   It has a more graceful appearance with slightly longer legs, the arms are significantly reduced and those famous two fingers are orientated towards the horizontal, a grasping position rather than the downward pointing “bunny pose”  for the claws as we at Everything Dinosaur refer to it.

The Carnegie Dinosaurs Tyrannosaurus rex Dinosaur Model
Carnegie Dinosaurs T. rex dinosaur model

Carnegie Dinosaurs T. rex dinosaur model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The feet are smaller and in proportion to the rest of the model.  The design team have worked hard to make the middle toe of the foot, effectively the third toe, bigger than the other two supporting toes.  As the feet are more to scale with the rest of the replica, the model is balanced by having the tip of the long tail resting on the ground.

The model measures a little over 23cm in length but when the curvature of the tail is taken into consideration the total length is more like 25cm.  The top of the impressively painted skull is around 13cm off the ground.  Safari Ltd state that this replica is in approximate 1:40 scale, roughly in the same scale as a lot of this company’s other Theropod dinosaur figures.

The detail around the jaws is particularly praiseworthy.  Care has been taken to give the impression of different sized teeth in the jaws although the teeth in the premaxilla (front of the upper jaw),  look a little small.  However, the teeth are very well painted and they contrast nicely with the metallic red used to paint the interior of the mouth and the tongue.  The layout of the teeth gives the impression of an almost heterodont- like appearance.  The different sized teeth indicative of an animal that was able to replace teeth that were broken and had fallen out of its mouth.

New for 2014 from Safari Ltd (Tyrannosaurus rex Dinosaur Model)

Fearsome dinosaur 1:40 scale figure.

Fearsome dinosaur 1:40 scale figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are sure that a number of palaeontologists will approve of the red coloured facial stripes that start at the tip of the muzzle and broaden out towards the back of the skull.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Safari Ltd prehistoric animal models: Carnegie Dinosaur Toys

Even with such a famous dinosaur as Tyrannosaurus rex, scientists are adding to their knowledge of Tyrannosaurs all the time and it is good to see a new replica of the “Tyrant Lizard King” added to the Safari Carnegie Dinosaur Collectibles range.  We at Everything Dinosaur even provide a  T. rex fact sheet so that collectors can read all about this iconic dinosaur, how it got its name, what it ate, what the fossils tell palaeontologists about how this animal may have fed and other fascinating snippets of information.

This is an excellent model of a Tyrannosaur, one that continues the Safari Ltd tradition of making good quality T. rex dinosaur models.

17 03, 2014

Nursery School Children Build a Dinosaur

By | March 17th, 2014|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Nursery School Children Build a Dinosaur

Early Years Learn All About Dinosaurs

When a team member from Everything Dinosaur visited a Yorkshire school, he got the chance to work with the teaching team over at the nursery. The enthusiastic nursery children loved showing our dinosaur expert their drawings and talking about their favourite dinosaur.  In return, we conducted a short workshop with the class all about how dinosaurs moved and what fossils feel like.  The children and the teaching team were so inspired by what they had done, that in the afternoon the children went into the playground and built their own dinosaur.

Nursery School Children Construct their own Dinosaur

A playground "Plateosaurus" perhaps?

A playground “Plateosaurus” perhaps?

Picture Credit: Badsworth Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

We had been working with Year 2 and Year 3 children but we were delighted to assist the EYFS teaching team and we were happy to provide lots of exciting extension activities and ideas for them to use with the nursery children.  The dinosaur topic worked well and it was great to see the sensory play area turned into a dinosaur theme park for the day.

17 03, 2014

Nursery School Children Construct Dinosaur

By | March 17th, 2014|Educational Activities, Teaching|0 Comments

Nursery Children Build their own Dinosaur

Whilst on a visit to teach about dinosaurs in school in Yorkshire, one of the Everything Dinosaur team members took a picture of a dinosaur that the nursery class had built as they too studied dinosaurs for the day.  As part of the dinosaur workshop, we were working with Year 2 and Year 3 children, but the nursery children also joined in the day of dinosaur themed activities with some colouring in of pictures of prehistoric animals and an exploration of dinosaurs using the sensory play area.

Nursery School Children Build a Dinosaur

Nursery school children construct a dinosaur in the playground.

Nursery school children construct a dinosaur in the playground.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Badsworth Primary School

Using the tyres and building blocks from the outside play area along with some crates that the class had borrowed the children were able to build their very own dinosaur.  One of the little palaeontologists pointed out the yellow feet, whilst another explained that they had put building blocks on the tail just like the plates on a Stegosaurus.

The Everything Dinosaur team member was not quite sure what name the children had come up with, but one of the nursery school children said that their dinosaur was “definitely a plant-eater”.

We suggested that this dinosaur should be called “Nurseryosaurus”.

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching work in schools: Dinosaur Workshops in School

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