All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
11 02, 2015

Fossil Hunting Down Under

By | February 11th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Local Fossil Hunters Get the Chance to Work with Professionals

On Sunday 22nd February amateur fossil hunters will get the chance to visit one of the state of Victoria’s most important fossil sites and get advice from leading palaeontologists.  Museum Victoria is holding a special event at the historic Beaumaris Bay fossil site.  The sandstone cliffs preserve evidence of marine fauna from Australia’s prehistoric past.  Many types of shark teeth have been discovered along with the fossilised bones of a number of marine vertebrates.

The day will involve talks from professional fossil hunters Dr Erich Fitzgerald (Museum Victoria), Professor Tim Flannery and Professor John Buckeridge of RMIT University (Melbourne).  Local amateur fossil hunters will also have the chance to have their finds identified by these experts.

Local Fossil Collectors and Professional Scientists Working Together in Beaumaris Bay

Fossil site has open day.

Fossil site has open day.

Picture Credit: David Hastie/Museum Victoria

Commenting on the special, interactive day dedicated to fossil collecting, Dr Erich Fitzgerald (Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Museum Victoria) stated:

“There is simply no better place to find fossils in Melbourne than Beaumaris.  They have helped us paint a rich portrait of what Victoria was like millions of years ago.  The abundance of fossils of large marine animals, especially sharks and whales, suggests that between 6 and 5 million years ago the coastal waters of Victoria were far richer in nutrients than they are today.”

But fossil hunting is not just for professional scientists, as most professional scientists are happy to admit.  Fossils are being eroded out of the sandstone cliffs all the time and if it was not for the dedicated community of local fossil hunters, many potentially significant finds could be severely abraided by wave action or lost all together before a professional palaeontologist got the chance to explore the area.

Dr. Fitzgerald added:

“In Museum Victoria’s collection there are thousands of stunning fossils from Beaumaris, many collected by enthusiastic members of the public with a keen interest in palaeontology.  The public can provide an extremely valuable insight from their fossil discoveries, which would potentially not have been uncovered otherwise.”

Back in 2012, Everything Dinosaur reported on the discovery of a fossilised leg bone found in the Beaumaris Bay area that was identified as belonging to a new genus of “toothed” marine bird.

To read more about this discovery: Giant “Toothed” Birds Once Soared over Southern Australia

With such a huge country to explore, Everything Dinosaur has predicted on numerous occasions that this continent will provide palaeontologists with a number of new fossil discoveries, even new types of dinosaur.  Members of the public who participate in sensible, careful fossil hunting and who are sensitive to the environment and wish to work within the fossil hunting code can make a huge contribution to the Earth sciences.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the support of Museum Victoria in the preparation of this article.

11 02, 2015

Dinosaur Themed Measuring Idea (EYFS)

By | February 11th, 2015|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Dinosaur Themed Measuring Idea (EYFS)

Comparing Our Bodies to Dinosaurs

Whilst on a dinosaur workshop visit to a school in West Yorkshire (Bamford Academy), our fossil expert was given the opportunity to see some of the term topic work undertaken by children in Foundation Stage Two.  Artwork and posters on display in and around the classroom indicated that the teaching team had created an imaginative and challenging scheme of work for the children.  There was lots of evidence of children exploring the properties of materials, use of numbers and comparing our bodies to the bodies of other animals, including dinosaurs.

A giant footprint (Tyrannosaurus rex) had been made and the children measured the size of this footprint by placing their shoes into the footprint to see how many pairs of shoes would be required to fill it.

A Novel Dinosaur Footprint Measuring Exercise

Comparing ourselves to dinosaurs.

Comparing ourselves to dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy/Everything Dinosaur

The footprint shape is not quite how a large Theropod dinosaur’s footprint would have actually looked like.  We were able to supply some drawings of real dinosaur footprint impressions from our collection, this helped form an extension, measuring activity as part of our dinosaur workshop visit.  Our fossil expert also had to alter some of the text that the teachers had put up, but this did not detract from this excellent and novel teaching idea.

The Foundation Stage Two class thoroughly enjoyed their dinosaur workshop.  They enthusiastically took part in the physical activities and one of the teaching assistants stated:

“The fossils were very exciting to touch and hold and the movements and actions made the programme more tactile for Early Years.”

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