All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
27 10, 2015

Spinosaurus Drawing from Everything Dinosaur

By | October 27th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Spinosaurus Illustration (2014)

With the imminent arrival of the new CollectA Spinosaurus replicas (1:40 Deluxe, Walking and Swimming dinosaur models), team members at Everything Dinosaur have been preparing a new illustration of this fearsome Theropod dinosaur.  Following a review of the fossil data carried out by Ibrahim et al in 2014, Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) is now depicted as a quadruped (walking on all four legs).  Although this view is not accepted by all palaeontologists, the writers of the academic paper (published September 2014), portrayed the dinosaur widely regarded as the largest meat-eating dinosaur known to science, as an aquatic animal very much at home in the water.

Spinosaurus Illustration by Everything Dinosaur

The 2014 interpretation of Spinosaurus.

The 2014 interpretation of Spinosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Much controversy surrounds this new interpretation, it certainly is a very intriguing concept, a Theropod dinosaur that evolved into a quadruped and took up an niche in the swampy, equatorial environment of Cretaceous northern Africa, that of a super-sized crocodilian.

To view the CollectA Deluxe Spinosaurus at Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models

To view the not to scale Spinosaurus models from CollectA: CollectA Dinosaurs

The “Spinosaurus Re-boot” as it has been called, is going to be the focus of debate amongst vertebrate palaeontologists for some years to come, in the meantime, we can marvel at the new CollectA dinosaur models.

The full title of the autumn 2014 paper is “Semi-aquatic Adaptations in a Giant Predatory Dinosaur”, it was published in the academic journal “Science”.

List of authors: Nizar Ibrahim, Paul C. Sereno, Cristiano Dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco, Matteo Fabbri, David M. Martill, Samir Zouhri, Dawid A. Iurino and Nathan Myhrvold

Whatever the appearance and habits of Spinosaurus, it remains an extremely popular dinosaur amongst model collectors and dinosaur fans, peaking at number 2 in the annual Everything Dinosaur survey of the most popular prehistoric animals (2013 data).  It has featured in the top ten most popular prehistoric animals list as compiled by Everything Dinosaur for many years.

27 10, 2015

Life on Earth May Have Started Earlier Than Thought

By | October 27th, 2015|General Teaching, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Life on Earth May Have Started Earlier Than Thought

Evidence of Photosynthesis from 4.1 Billion Years Ago

Scientist from two universities based in the California (University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University) have published a report that proposes that life on Earth may have evolved much earlier than previously thought.  The team conclude that life could have existed as far back as 4.1 billion years ago, a remarkable statement as it is believed Earth was formed just a few hundred million years before.  Our planet is approximately 4.54 billion years old.  To claim that life existed 4.1 billion years ago, puts the origins of life some 300 million years earlier than previously claimed.

Publishing in the on line edition of the journal entitled “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, the team suggest that graphite identified within ancient zircon crystals found in Western Australia, is evidence of a biological process having taken place.  Analysis of the transition of uranium to lead isotopes preserved inside the zircon indicate that the zircon is at least 4.1 billion years old.  Therefore the graphite, which must have been older than 4.1 billion years to have become trapped inside, may suggest that biological processes that produced pure carbon were taking place on our planet that far back in deep time.

The Team Identified Dark Spots inside Ancient Zircons

The graphite ( a form of pure carbon) could be evidence of life.

The graphite ( a form of pure carbon) could be evidence of life.

Picture Credit: University of California (Los Angeles)

When Did Life on Earth Begin?

The zircons were formed as a result of volcanism.  The Jack Hills region of Western Australia preserves some of the oldest rocks known.  Analysis of dark spots found trapped inside the zircon suggests graphite (a form of pure carbon), one that is associated with the process of photosynthesis, a by-product of an ancient biological process.

The co-author of the study, Professor Mark Harrison (University of California, Los Angeles) stated:

“Twenty years ago, this would have been heretical, finding evidence of life 3.8 billion years ago was shocking.  Life on Earth may have started almost instantaneously, with the right ingredients life seems to form very quickly.”

This work has implications for understanding how life on our planet started.   This research is significant as it suggests that life in the universe may be much more abundant than previously thought.

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