All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
18 02, 2015

The Rebor Replica Utahraptor (Assembly Instructions)

By | February 18th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Rebor 1:35 Scale Replica of Utahraptor (Wind Hunter)

The new Rebor 1:35 scale replica of Utahraptor (U. ostrommaysorum) has an articulated jaw and moveable, feathered arms.  It really is a most beautiful model.  However, a little bit of assembly is required, here is Everything Dinosaur’s quick guide to assembling your Utahraptor.

The Rebor 1:35 Scale Utahraptor Replica (Wind Hunter)

Depicting an agile, active dinosaur.

Depicting an agile, active dinosaur.

This model is packed into a sturdy padded box (plenty of foam for protection).  Carefully, unpack your parcel’s contents and locate the base.  You should have a small plastic bag stored in a separate foam compartment that contains the two detachable arms and that all important pin to secure the model to its base.

The Rebor Replica Utahraptor “Wings” and the Securing Pin

Check that you have a pin in with the detachable arms.

Check that you have a pin in with the detachable arms.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Carefully, secure the arms in place, you can leave them as moveable arms or if you are happy with a particular pose, you can glue the arms in place  if you want to.  Perhaps, professional model makers could use a little filler and re-touching paint to completely obliterate any sign of an articulation/join.

Carefully Push the Arms into Their Respective Sockets

Carefully attach the arms.

Carefully attach the arms.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Then it might be a good idea to remove the clear, plastic band that secured the articulated jaw in place before placing your model into position on its base.  Put the pin into the hole, look for the footprint mark if you struggle to spot it, (a hole is already made for the pin in the base).  Then carefully lower the hind foot onto the pin.  The hind foot has a hole in it and it is this that allows the model to be posed in such a dynamic one-footed stance.

Securing the Replica onto the Base

Pinning a Rebor Utahraptor in place.

Pinning a Rebor Utahraptor in place.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Really that’s all there is to it, time to relax and enjoy your 1:35 scale Rebor Utahraptor replica, the fearsome “Wind Hunter”.

To view the range of Rebor replicas available at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Replicas

17 02, 2015

Papo Young Apatosaurus – Video Review

By | February 17th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

The Young Apatosaurus dinosaur model is proving to be very popular amongst dinosaur fans and model collectors.  We have produced a brief video review of this new for 2015 Papo replica.  In this video review we look at the model in more detail and explain about the body proportions as they are shown in this particular dinosaur sculpt.

Everything Dinosaur Reviews the Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The video is just over eight minutes in length (8:08), we look at the skin texture in more detail, explain about the size of the head as it relates to the rest of the body  and we discuss that very thick neck.  The design team at Papo have certainly done an excellent job, on what is the company’s second Sauropod after the enormous Brachiosaurus replica was introduced a couple of years ago.

To view the range of Papo prehistoric animal replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

This dinosaur was formerly known as Brontosaurus (Thunder Lizard), a great name for one of the larger and heavier diplodocids.

For explanation as to why this dinosaur had to have its name changed: Why Brontosaurus is No More

Everything Dinosaur wrote a short article, a while back now, about the name change to Apatosaurus and the reasons for it, this is the article we refer to in our Papo Young Apatosaurus video review.

From the nostrils located on the top of its head (correct according to most palaeontologists), to the supersonic, cracking whip-like tail, this is a super dinosaur replica.  Well done Papo!

16 02, 2015

Widespread Ecological Diversity Amongst Early Mammals

By | February 16th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Tree-dwellers and Burrowers – Early Mammals More Diverse than Previously Thought

Fossils of two mouse-sized, mammals from China, indicate that some of the earliest known mammaliaforms (extinct relatives of modern mammals), had already diversified and become highly adapted to different ecological niches.  A joint Chinese/U.S. scientific team reporting in the academic journal “Science” discuss the implications for mammalian evolution and describe two new early mammals, one that was arboreal (tree dwelling) and fed on insects and tree sap, the other, a mole-like creature that probably spent much of its life underground.

The tree dweller, named Agilodocodon scansorius lived around 165 million years ago, the subterranean creature called Docofossor brachydactylus was discovered preserved in slightly younger strata, it burrowed underground whilst dinosaurs roamed overhead some 160 million years ago.  Both these creatures are Middle Jurassic Docodonts, an extinct Order of early proto-mammals.

The discovery of these two very different fur covered animals further supports the theory that just like modern-day mammals, Jurassic forms were highly adaptable and early mammals diversified to take advantage of a large range of ecological habitats.

Agilodocodon scansorius – Artists Impression and Skeleton Reconstruction

Early arboreal mammal from north-eastern China.

Early arboreal mammal from north-eastern China.

Picture Credit: University of Chicago (illustration by April Neander)

Commenting on the significance of these fossil finds, Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo (University of Chicago’s Department of Organism Biology and Anatomy), who co-authored the scientific papers stated:

“Before the turn of this century, it was generally thought that Mesozoic mammals could not diversify much in the dinosaur dominated ecosystem.  But fossil discoveries in recent years have built up a different picture.  In the last ten to fifteen years palaeontologists have found many Mesozoic mammals with very interesting functional and ecological specialisations.”

The research team that studied these fossils, was made up of scientists from the Beijing Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago.  They conclude that Docodonts adapted to a very broad range of environments such as arboreal and subterranean habitats, despite competition from the Dinosauria, other reptiles and early birds.  Agilodocodon was a small, swift  animal with limb and finger bone dimensions that are comparable to modern tree dwelling mammals.  Study co-author David Grossnickle, a graduate student at Chicago University emphasised that it was amazing to see arboreal adaptations occurring so early in the evolutionary history of mammals.  He reflected that this research suggests that some extinct mammalian relatives exploited evolutionarily significant niches, long before true mammals.

An Artists Impression  and Skeleton Reconstruction of Docofossor brachydactylus

Ancient mole-like animal.

Ancient mole-like animal.

Picture Credit: University of Chicago (illustration by April Neander)

The Agilodocodon fossil material came from the Ningcheng County of Inner Mongolia, whilst the Docofossor material came from Hebei Province of China, to the south-east.  Docofossor lived around 160 million years ago. It lived in burrows on shores of  lakes and fed on worms and insects in the soil.  This small creature had reduced bone segments in its fingers, leading to shortened but wide digits, perfect adaptations for digging.  African Golden Moles possess almost the exact same adaptation.  This characteristic is due to the fusing of bone joints during embryonic development.  With African Golden Moles, the development of the digits is influenced by the genes GDF-5 and BMP.  As the extinct Docofossor has a very similar anatomy, the research team conclude that this genetic mechanism may have played a comparable role in early mammal evolution.

Mammals from the Middle Jurassic were once thought to have a very limited ecological footprint, only occupying a few niches in the food web.  However, these two new fossil discoveries along with early finds studied by the Chinese team, fossils such as Castorocauda, a fish-eating, swimming Docodont described back in 2006, provide strong evidence that early mammals adapted to a very wide range of environments.

The Phylogenetic Relationship Between Docodonts, Early Mammals and Extant Mammalia

Examining the phylogeny of early mammaliaforms.

Examining the phylogeny of early mammaliaforms.

Picture Credit: University of Chicago (illustration by April Neander)

Although not closely related to modern placental mammals such as our own species, the Docodonts are revealing themselves to have been a highly successful and very adaptable group of warm-blooded creatures.  It is the mammalian trait of being very adaptable that many scientists believe was key to them becoming the dominant megafauna after the demise of the Dinosauria, Pterosauria and marine reptiles.  It seems this adaptability runs deep in the mammal family tree.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of the University of Chicago in the compilation of this article.

To read another article that explores the diverse fauna of the Middle Jurassic strata of China: The Amazing and Diverse Daohugou Biota

15 02, 2015

A Video Review of the Schleich Anhanguera Model

By | February 15th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos|0 Comments

Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur – Video Review

With all the new models and replicas due out this year, Everything Dinosaur team members are having a job finding the time to review them all.  However, after several requests, we have got round to shooting a quick video review of the new for 2015 Schleich Anhanguera replica.  What a beautiful model of a flying reptile this is!  The detail around the eyes is simply amazing and although the wing shape and stance of this replica is not quite how we imagined, this does nothing to detract from what is a very colourful and well made Pterosaur model.

Everything Dinosaur Reviews the new for 2015 Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur Replica

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

Over the last three years or so Schleich have revamped their prehistoric animal model range, opting to change the sizes of their models and introducing a number of very colourful and bright prehistoric animals.  The sky blue tones of the Anhanguera replica certainly make this flying reptile model stand out from the crowd.

To view the range of Schleich prehistoric animals available from Everything Dinosaur: Schleich World of History Dinosaurs

In this video, which is six minutes and thirty-five seconds long, we talk about where in the world Anhanguera fossils have been found and then we describe the model in detail.  Schleich has made a model of Anhanguera before, a smaller replica once formed part of the company’s not-to-scale “dinosaurs” range.

The First Anhanguera Model made by Schleich

This model was retired a number of years ago.

This model was retired a number of years ago.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is not the only Pterosaur figure introduced by Schleich this year.  In the popular, mini dinosaurs range, a flying reptile replica was included, this time a model of a giant Pterosaur, distantly related to Anhanguera, the Late Cretaceous behemoth known as Quetzalcoatlus.  It too is a very colourful replica.

The Mini Dinosaurs Quetzalcoatlus Model

A colourful mini Quetzalcoatlus Pterosaur figure.

A colourful mini Quetzalcoatlus Pterosaur figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see the full range of Schleich mini prehistoric animal figures: Schleich mini dinosaurs (Quetzalcoatlus too)

The Schleich Anhanguera has an articulated lower jaw and we discuss the “fish grabbing device” that this Pterosaur had in our video review.

14 02, 2015

Exporting to the United Arab Emirates

By | February 14th, 2015|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Dinosaurs Fly out to the UAE as Everything Dinosaur Helps Support Washing Powder Promotion

For Sue Judd, Finance Director at Everything Dinosaur each day seems to bring new and remarkable challenges.  Working in such a niche market, after all, there are not many businesses that sells dinosaurs, Sue never knows what the next incoming call or email might lead to.

A  leading sports and entertainment company based in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), got in touch and asked could we supply them with assorted dinosaur model kits, prehistoric animal skeleton models and Triceratops themed arts and crafts to help support a big promotion for one of the Persian Gulf’s leading washing powder brands.  No worries, it’s all in day’s work and reassured by the fact that Everything Dinosaur have the advice and support of the International Trade team at South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, before you could say “Tyrannosaurus rex” it was all sorted out and the prehistoric animals were on their way to the UAE.

Sue Helps to Load Up the “Dino Van” with the Export Order

Off to the airport, Everything Dinosaur exports to the UAE.

Off to the airport, Everything Dinosaur exports to the UAE.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on this latest export success for the dinosaur toys and models company, Sue stated:

“We seem to be building a reputation as the “go to” company when it comes to sourcing various items for use in dinosaur themed promotions.   As a retailer, we are used to sending out parcels to customers all over the world, but it helps to know when we are dealing with exports that we have the Chamber of Commerce on board to help us out”.

It seems that dinosaur toys and games really do have world-wide appeal.

13 02, 2015

Dinosaur Fan Makes Everything Dinosaur Unboxing Video

By | February 13th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

Matthew the Dinosaur King – Unboxing Video

At Everything Dinosaur we get the chance to view all the amazing pictures and videos sent into us or posted up on line by our customers.  We are really impressed by all the hard work involved, for example, we noticed that Matthew, a keen fan of prehistoric animal models had posted up a video of him unboxing the new Safari Ltd models and two of the new for 2015 replicas from Schleich.  In this short, (5 minute) video, Matthew unpacks the Carnegie Collectibles Velociraptor along  with the four new Wild Safari Dinos prehistoric animals – Nasutoceratops, Sauropelta, Archaeopteryx and the amazing Yutyrannus.  We were really impressed with the comments Matthew makes about these new dinosaur models.

Dinosaur Fan Makes Everything Dinosaur Unboxing Video

Picture Credit: Matthew the Dinosaur King

In addition, to the new Safari Ltd models, Matthew discusses the first of the new for 2015 Schleich World of History replicas, namely the beautiful Kentrosaurus and the colourful Anhanguera Pterosaur, complete with articulated lower jaw.  We know just how eager model collectors are when it comes to getting their hands on new prehistoric animal models, over the next few weeks or so our warehouse is going to be very busy with all the new stock deliveries.  We are excited too.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Safari Ltd replicas: Safari Ltd Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

A spokesperson from the UK based company commented:

“It is always a pleasure to view unboxing videos and to hear from our customers in general.  We know how keenly model collectors anticipate new additions to ranges, so we work as hard as we can to get them into stock as quickly as possible.”

Our congratulations to Matthew and we look forward to viewing his individual model reviews (as hinted in the video).  One thing for sure, viewers can see how well packaged our parcels are, lots of bubble wrap on show and a strong box for sending out the items. We have been busy on a number of other projects this week, including sorting out the new Schleich replicas and models that are due out in the summer of 2015, we think that Matthew will probably want to make another unboxing video when the second batch of Schleich replicas become available later this year.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s current Schleich models: Schleich World of History Prehistoric Animals

We know that Matthew and many of our other customers around the world have posted up videos and reviews, we do try and catch up with them all, give a “like”, provide a positive comment, give a Google thumbs up and so on.  Everything Dinosaur is always delighted to see such reviews and videos posted up by our customers.

Well done Matthew.

12 02, 2015

A Review of the Schleich Anhanguera Replica

By | February 12th, 2015|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Reviews the Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur Model

This is a review of the new Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur model and what a wonderful flying reptile model it is too.

Anhanguera is a member of the Ornithocheiridae family of Pterosaurs, a group of flying reptiles that seem particularly well-adapted to long-distance soaring.  Most of the fossils of ornithocheirids are associated with marine environments and their fossils have been found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

New For 2015 The Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur Model

The colourful Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur model.

The colourful Schleich Anhanguera Pterosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Anhanguera is very typical of the family and a number of species are known.  The most complete Anhanguera fossils have been found in Brazil in the famous Santana Formation of Lower Cretaceous strata.   Although, fragmentary flying reptiles ascribed to Anhanguera have also been found in England.

The English fossil material comes mostly from the Cambridge Greensand Formation, and consists of just scraps, very worn segments, usually more robust parts of the skeleton such as the jaw tips.  These are the fossilised remains of Pterosaurs that died far out to sea.  Skeletons were broken up by scavengers and wave action before coming to rest on the seabed, to get further scavenged and disassociated.  These remains were gradually buried and preserved as fossils only for them to be eroded out of these rocks by ancient storms and re-deposited in what are much younger sedimentary rocks.

It is thanks to the Brazilian fossil material that we have such a good understanding of Anhanguera and this Schleich replica does rather a good job of depicting what this flying reptile probably looked like.

The head and the jaws are very large and the forelimbs are proportionately much bigger and more robust than the hind limbs.  The neck is thick, indicating that this a strong and muscular part of the body and evidence of a tufty, hair-like integumental covering of pycnofibres, the fuzzy coat of the Pterosauria, has been skilfully recreated in the model.

The wings are very stiff and help the Schleich Anhanguera to stand in what is probably not a very realistic pose, the hands were in all likelihood rested on the ground with the wing finger elevated, not pointed down, but this posture is a compromise between allowing the model to stand unaided and a flying position.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s World of History (Schleich) model range: Schleich World of History Models

The elongated fourth wing finger tended to support a much bigger portion of the actual wing, about 60% of the entire wing length.  The wings of Anhanguera were longer than seen in this replica and they were more elegant.  Wingspans of around four to five metres are associated with the larger species in the Anhanguera genus.  This was a wonderfully efficient long distance flyer, soaring on thermal currents that carried it effortlessly over the early Atlantic Ocean.  Think of Anhanguera as a Early Cretaceous equivalent of today’s Albatross or Frigate Bird.

The design team at Schleich have done a particularly good job with the skull and jaws.  It is very well painted and you have those two crests on the jaw tips, one on the upper jaw and a slightly smaller one on the bottom jaw.  It is the size and shape of the crests that help scientists to determine different types of Ornithocheirid.  We are really impressed with the modelling and painting around the eyes and the nostrils are well defined as well as being clearly visible.

The Beautiful Schleich Anhanguera Replica

The "Toothy Grin" of a Pterosaur!

The “Toothy Grin” of a Pterosaur!

How Anhanguera fed nobody knows. Perhaps it was a skim feeder, flying along with its beak in the water to catch fish at the surface, with those crests on the jaws helping acting as stabilisers.  Maybe it floated and seized fish swimming just below the surface, or perhaps it plunged into the water and pursued fish in a way similar to today’s Gannets and Shearwaters, no one really knows, what is certain, is that this is an excellent Pterosaur replica and a welcome addition to the Schleich model range.

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.

10 02, 2015

Bamford Academy Foundation Stage Study Dinosaurs

By | February 10th, 2015|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Chicks and Ducklings Learn All About Dinosaurs

For children in the Chicks and Ducklings classes at Bamford Academy, this term has been a very busy one as they have been learning all about dinosaurs, fossils  and life in prehistoric times. There were lots of colourful dinosaur themed artwork on display in the classroom and the budding young palaeontologists had looked at dinosaur eggs and pinned up many different types of prehistoric animals on the classroom’s “WOW” wall.

Class 1 and 2 Have Discovered That There Were Many Different Types of Prehistoric Animal

Lots of different extinct animals on display.

Lots of different extinct animals on display.

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s fossil expert who visited the school was shown where the volcanoes were in the picture and another very knowledgeable child pointed out that dinosaurs laid eggs.  During the tactile dinosaur workshop we looked at describing words for dinosaurs and fossils.  Real fossils feel cold and hard and some fossils can be really heavy.  When it came to considering appropriate describing words for a jawbone from a Triceratops, the children came up with words like “large” and “massive”, it took three of us to carry the jaw round to show the class, our expert was reliably informed that the teeth of Triceratops feel rough!.

The children were keen to take part and we had lots of describing words volunteered, one little girl, stated that the tooth of “Tyrannosaurus rex was gigantic!”

Lots of Evidence on Display of Activities to Develop Vocabularies

Lots of describing words for dinosaurs on display.

Lots of describing words for dinosaurs on display.

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy/Everything Dinosaur

A key theme of the teaching topic had been comparing our bodies to those of dinosaurs.  The enthusiastic teaching team had come up with a very creative way of demonstrating how big T. rex was.  A drawing of the three-toed print of a Tyrannosaurus rex was made and the children counted how many pairs of their shoes would it take to fill up the footprint.  The feet of some dinosaurs were very big and it was wonderful to see such a thoughtful method used to demonstrate just how large some dinosaurs were.

Working out the Size and Scale of Some Dinosaurs

Measuring and comparing.

Measuring and comparing.

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Some dinosaurs really did make enormous footprints.  The very biggest dinosaurs made footprints so large that if the track was filled with water a member of Chicks or Ducklings class could have had a bath in it?

Getting to Grip with Dinosaur Footprints

Potential Tyrannosaurid Print

Potential tyrannosaurid Print

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows one of Everything Dinosaur’s chums with a fossil footprint that could have been made by Tyrannosaurus rex.  The picture was taken in America (United States) and the children learned during the workshop that the big dinosaur fossil that was kept in the heavy, wooden box also came from America.

We looked at plant-eaters as well as meat-eaters and the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge as to what Triceratops and other dinosaurs ate.  It is a pity that we did not have any Stegosaurus fossils to show the children as there was a lovely, friendly Stegosaurus painted on one of the walls outside the classroom area.   The teaching team had encouraged the children to decorate the plates that ran along this dinosaur’s back and the children had also measured how long this dinosaur was by comparing it to the size of their own hands.

Measuring a Stegosaurus

How many hands?

How many hands?

Picture Credit: Bamford Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaurs as a term topic has certainly proved to be very popular with the children and it was clear that a very effective, creative and challenging scheme of work for this topic had been prepared by the teaching team.

9 02, 2015

Australia’s Extinction Rate Higher than Most Other Continents

By | February 9th, 2015|Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Many Native Mammal Species on the Brink of Extinction

A survey on Australia’s native mammal species due to be published this week will reveal that Australia is losing its mammal species at a faster rate than almost anywhere else in the world.  Much of the native fauna of Australia is unique and the introduction of cats and foxes is having an dramatic toll on small mammal species.  As most of these mammals are shy and nocturnal, people are simply not aware that many species are threatened.  In a scientific report prepared by Charles Darwin University (Northern Territory) the research team state that since 1788, the year of the founding of the first European colony on the continent, 11% of the 273 native, terrestrial mammals had become extinct.  The report suggests that 21% are threatened with a further 15% near threatened.

The Thylacine – A Famous Australian Extinction

The Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) was hunted to extinction in the 20th Century.

The Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) was hunted to extinction in the 20th Century.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Lead author of the study, conservation biologist John Woinarski declared:

“No other country has had such a high rate and number of mammal extinctions over this period, and the number we report for Australia is substantially higher than previous estimates.”

Cats are regarded as the number one problem.  Nobody knows for sure how many feral cats there are in Australia, but some estimates put it at around 23 million.  That’s one cat for every person in the country.  Foxes introduced for hunting, have also had an impact on native wildlife.  However, land management and agricultural practices may also be playing a role in the decline of many native species.

Fires either natural or deliberately  lit are also having a dramatic effect on the small mammal population.

Dr. Woinarski explained:

“Now we are seeing much more extensive and hot fires and that’s having an impact as well.  It’s not as serious a factor as predation by feral cats, which we think is the number one factor.  But the two factors aren’t independent.  It seems the impact of feral cats is far worse in extensively burnt areas, simply because many of those native land mammals species don’t have enough refuge left.”

In time, some of Australia’s most famous inhabitants might become extinct, animals like the Koala and many types of Wallaby.

Near-Threatened Status – the Brush-Tailed-Rat-Rabbit

Small mammal with Near Threatened status.

Small mammal with Near Threatened status.

Picture Credit: Ronald Stuart Craig Firth

The Charles Darwin University has been prominent in recent years, undertaking a number of significant and highly influential environmental research projects to assess the health of the country’s native flora and fauna.  The Brush-Tailed-Rabbit-Rat (Conilurus penicillatus), is one such mammal that has declined in numbers over the years.  Its small size and secretive nature has meant that the reduction in population has gone unnoticed by most Australians.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Hopefully, this new study will help to highlight the plight of many of Australia’s shy, nocturnal small mammals.  Tough choices may have to be made with regards to controlling feral cat populations and reducing the number of foxes if the decline in native species is to be halted.”

Intriguingly, Everything Dinosaur team members are not aware of any mention of the Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) and this amphibians impact on native mammal populations.  Introduced from Hawaii in the mid 1930’s, the Cane Toad is poisonous and has no natural enemies in Australia.  The Cane Toads not only compete for food and resources with native species, but they also eat large numbers of insects, including pollinators, frogs, small lizards and occasionally small mammals.   As these animals are poisonous throughout their life cycle, many Australian species have declined as a result of being poisoned the Western Quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii) is particularly threatened.

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