All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
19 12, 2014

An Ichthyosaurus from South Wales

By | December 19th, 2014|General Teaching|Comments Off on An Ichthyosaurus from South Wales

Amateur Fossil Collector Finds Two Metre Long Ichthyosaurus Fossil

Fossil collector Jonathan Bow made the discovery of a life time last September when he spotted an unusual rock whilst walking along the foreshore at Penarth (Vale of Glamorgan).  This part of the Welsh coast is one of the most popular locations for fossil hunting in the whole of the British Isles.  Fossils are eroded out of the cliffs and scattered along the beach, strong tides in the area scour the cliffs and a lot of fossil material dating from the Early Jurassic is deposited.  Fossils normally include pieces of ammonites, brachiopods and gastropods but occasionally fragments of vertebrate bone are found.  These fossils are from marine reptiles, paddle bones and occasional vertebrae can be picked up, but Jonathan’s discovery is truly exceptional.

The Prepared and Restored Ichthyosaur Specimen

Two metre long Ichthyosaurus specimen.

Two metre long Ichthyosaurus specimen.

Picture Credit: Jonathan Bow

Ichthyosaurs are not dinosaurs, they are reptiles but belong to a separate group of the Reptilia not closely related to the Dinosauria.  Early Jurassic forms resembled dolphins and these animals thrived in marine environments for over 130 million years.

Commenting on the fossil find a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is a remarkable discovery.  The specimen is almost complete and indicates that this animal died and was rapidly buried before currents or scavengers could scatter the bones.”

Everything Dinosaur has a number of Ichthyosaur specimens in its fossil collection.  Most of the fossils are from an Ichthyosaur species known as Ichthyosaurus communis.  This year, 2014 marks the bicentennial of the publication of the first scientific paper describing an Ichthyosaur.

The spokesperson from the educational company staffed by real dinosaur experts warned that on this part of the Welsh coast it was inadvisable to stray to close to the cliffs.

“The very mechanism that deposits fossils onto the shore, the action of the sea, is also eroding the surrounding cliffs at an alarming rate. Rock falls are common and we urge visitors to the area to take care and not to stray to close to the cliffs themselves.  There are plenty of fossils to find along the seashore.”

19 12, 2014

Information about “Sophie” the Stegosaurus thanks to Milan and Alisha

By | December 19th, 2014|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page|0 Comments

Young Dinosaur Fans Showcase their Dinosaur Knowledge and IT Skills

A few days ago we challenged the son of one of our customers to produce an article on the arrival of the new Stegosaurus exhibit at the Natural History Museum (London).  Although, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognisable of all the dinosaurs, with its strange plates on the back and its spiked tail, referred to as a “thagomiser”, very little research on this genus of Late Jurassic dinosaur has been carried out in recent years.  We suggested that young Milan should write a report on this Stegosaurus, his sister Alisha (aged 11), also joined in and produced a wonderful powerpoint slideshow containing lots of dinosaur facts and figures.

“Sophie” the Stegosaurus on Display

Milan used this picture to illustrate his dinosaur documentary.

Milan used this picture to illustrate his dinosaur documentary.

Picture Courtesy of the Natural History Museum and chosen by Milan

 Here is Milan’s documented notes on the subject of Stegosaurs:

Sophie The Stegosaurus – Documentary 2014 – 2015

Sophie the Stegosaurus was found in Wyoming, USA on its own.  The weight of the animal is around 1 ton.  Sophie the Stegosaurus would have eaten things like ferns and horsetails.  The  habitat where the animal may have lived could be rocky plain ground with lakes around it, this way they would have food and water when they most needed it.  They may not have traveled very far from their homes to eat too.  Sophie  may have lived and walked though the forests, or even  green canyon.  The plain surroundings where the  Stegosaurus may also have walked and lived in, would and could have been filled with  rocky mini towers or marshlands  (just like how it was shown on “Planet Dinosaur”).  Stegosaurs may have lived in large number groups like a herd.  This could be because groups made them feel safe.  Also, when they are eating some of them could keep an eye out for predators.  Stegosaurs lived as a herd and they grazed in small numbers too.  Sophie the Stegosaurus had 19 plates that grew on its back and scientists believe that Sophie did have built-in defence, which was all along the back, in the shape of the large plates.  The plates on the back may have been used as balance,  and also they may have another propose which is very clever.  When the animal feels like it is in danger or it needs to show that it’s the boss, the animal can change the colour of the plates by simply flushing its blood into the plates, which then changes colour to scare the predators off, this could be a small predator  or even one as big as an Allosaurus.

The Stegosaurus walked the earth around 150 million years ago – this was the Jurassic age.  Looking at the animal more closely you can see that it has two large sharp spikes on  either side of its tail.  These spikes where used to slam and hurt predators that got to close to them.  Time to time they also used these spikes to hurt each other.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Thank you Milan, for sending us your Stegosaurus information, we enjoyed reading all about Sophie the Stegosaurus.  We really appreciate the information that you sent us on this American dinosaur.”

Alisha Makes a Dinosaur Themed Powerpoint Presentation (The First Slide)

Dinosaur Facts Book by Alisha

Dinosaur Facts Book by Alisha

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

The powerpoint slide created by Alisha contains twelve, carefully crafted slides, Everything Dinosaur team members enjoyed viewing Alisha’s presentation.

Size Comparisons of Long-Necked Dinosaurs by Alisha

The size of huge Sauropods.

The size of huge Sauropods.

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

To conclude her excellent powerpoint presentation, Alisha compiled a short quiz (fortunately she did include the answers).

One of the Dinosaur Themed Questions

Dinosaur themed quiz questions.

Dinosaur themed quiz questions.

Powerpoint presentation by Alisha

Proud dad, Neil explained:

“She created the whole presentation, by herself without any adult help or supervision and I was really impressed by what she had created – she taught me how to do a few things too!”

Clearly with Milan’s dinosaur knowledge and Alisha’s presentation skills, if the media team at the Natural History Museum ever need any help they will know who to turn to.

Concluding his article on “Sophie” the Stegosaurus, Milan provided Everything Dinosaur with a list of ten things that we ought to know about these armoured dinosaurs.

Good Facts about Stegosaurus – by Milan

1 . Stegosaurus is the most famous dinosaur from the group known as stegosaurids.  They are plant-eaters of the Jurassic age , some scientists think of the tail and if the Stegosaurus has the defence against predators.

2. There have 19 plates found along the back of Stegosaurus  and 4 spikes on its tail.

3. At 560 centimetres long and 290 centimetres tall, similar in size to a 4×4 vehicle, the skeleton has over 300 bones. It was found virtually complete in the USA 11 years ago, with only the left arm and base of the tail missing.

4. The plates and spiky tail are used to scare other dinosaurs away.

5. The Stegosaurus`s use plates to reflect colour to scare predators and control the tail to help the spiky tail to hit a target.

6. Stegosaurus has 300 bones to show museums like the Natural History Museum.  Visitors will see the Stegosaurus (Sophie) on display at the museum.

7. Some palaeontologists believe that the action of the tail and plates that Sophie had were used in defence, like a prehistoric hammer.

8. Stegosaurus has a beaky mouth, perfect to eat soft plants.

9. Sophie was not fully grown when she died.  There were many types of different sized Stegosaurus around America, “Sophie” was a Late Jurassic herbivore.  There were many armoured herbivores in the Early Cretaceous too.

10. Stegosaurus means “roofed lizard”,  it was a vegetarian (herbivore), other dinosaurs were carnivores.

Milan Included this Picture of the Stegosaurus in his Notes

The preserved skeleton of "Sophie" the Stegosaurus.

The preserved skeleton of “Sophie” the Stegosaurus.

Picture Credit: Milan (Courtesy of the Natural History Museum)

Our thanks to Milan, Alisha and dad Neil for letting us post up the information on dinosaurs that they compiled for us after we gave them one of our “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”.

In conclusion, Milan stated:

“Sophie is the best preserved Stegosaurus ever to be found, it lived and tried to survive in the prehistoric world of the dinosaurs.”

Article written by Milan, with powerpoint presentation by Alisha.

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