All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
8 11, 2015

Year 2 Learn about Dinosaurs as Pets

By | November 8th, 2015|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on Year 2 Learn about Dinosaurs as Pets

Why would a Dinosaur Not Make a Good Pet?

That was the question at the heart of Year 2’s science based term topic.  To help answer this question, the teaching team at Bishop King CE Primary School invited a team member from Everything Dinosaur to deliver a workshop on dinosaurs and fossils to each of the school’s two Year 2 classes.  The dinosaur themed workshop, part of a day of activities organised by Everything Dinosaur, proved to be extremely effective and the children were fully engaged and learned lots of amazing facts about prehistoric animals.

Year 2 Were Challenged to Design Their Own Dinosaur

A "Dimetriasaurus" designed by Dimetria.

A “Dimetriasaurus” designed by Dimetria.

Picture Credit: Bishop King CE Primary School

As part of a series of extension activities designed to help the children gain confidence with their handwriting, the dinosaur expert from Everything Dinosaur challenged the children to have a go at designing their very own dinosaur.  There were some wonderful and very creative examples.  The picture above shows a very colourful “Dimetriasaurus” designed by Dimetria.

The term topic is entitled would a dinosaur make a good pet?  It permits the children to explore concepts such as food chains, ecosystems, habitats, life cycles and extinction.  With the aid of the expert from Everything Dinosaur, the teaching team were able to utilise some resources provided by the company to challenge the children with some dinosaur themed mathematical challenges.

The budding young palaeontologists at Bishop King CE Primary (based in Lincoln, Lincolnshire), certainly rose to the challenge and could not wait to have a go at creating their own prehistoric animals.  Lots of lovely drawings with clear, well annotated labels.  Well done Year 2!

8 11, 2015

“Fanged Eels” and “Fire Frogs” of the Permian

By | November 8th, 2015|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

“Fanged Eels” and “Fire Frogs” of the Permian

An international team of scientists led by researchers from the Field Museum of Chicago (USA) and the Natural History Museum (London), have unearthed an large number of vertebrate fossils that provide an insight into the fauna that existed in a huge, lowland swamp that covered a part of the southern portion of the ancient super-continent Pangaea.  The fossils are extremely significant as most of what palaeontologists know about life on Earth some 278 million years ago comes from fossils found in North America and Europe.  Vertebrate fossils from South America dating from the Artinskian faunal stage of the Early Permian are extremely rare.

Amongst the significant fossil finds, the scientists writing in the journal “Nature Communications” describe fanged eel-like amphibians, hunters with huge mouths that resemble giant salamanders and a reptile which was previously unknown from South America.

A Bizarre Watery World Dominated by Amphibians

Evidence of the fauna of Brazil some 278 million years ago has been unearthed.

Evidence of the fauna of Brazil some 278 million years ago has been unearthed.

Picture Credit: Andrey Atuchin

The large lakes and swamps were home to an ancient ecosystem that was like nothing around today.  Amphibians dominated this watery world and these newly described fossils from the Parnaiba Basin of north-eastern Brazil provide a detailed record of the fauna that was present in the southern part of Pangaea close to the tropics.

Commenting on the discoveries, one of the authors of the report, Chicago Field Museum scientist Ken Angielczyk stated:

“Almost all of our knowledge about land animals from this time, comes from a handful of regions in North America and western Europe, which were located near the equator.  Now we finally have information about what kinds of animals were present in areas farther to the south, and their similarities and differences to the animals living near the equator.”

For example, the lizard-like creature named Captorhinus aguti was previously known from fossils found in  the south-western United States, this research extends this animals faunal range by a considerable margin.

The Early Reptile Captorhinus aguti

A resident of Brazil - Captorhinus.

A resident of Brazil – Captorhinus.

Picture Credit: Field Museum (Chicago)

This reptile reached lengths of around half a metre, it had batteries of crushing teeth and it has been suggested that this Eureptile was probably herbivorous.

Fanged Eel-Like Amphibians

The fanged amphibian is a new species, it has been named Timonya annae.  Measuring up to forty centimetres in length, this amphibian has been described as a cross between a freshwater eel and a Mexican salamander.  Although capable of moving around on land, it was very much at home in the water where it hunted small fish, other amphibians and invertebrates.

A Close up of the Newly Described Permian Amphibian Timonya annae

A fanged amphibian from the Early Permian.

A fanged amphibian from the Early Permian.

Picture Credit: Andrey Atuchin

Lurking in the background of the picture above is a large, predatory amphibian, a member of the Rhinesuchidae family.  As far as we at Everything Dinosaur are aware, the genera or  species has not been identified within the scientific paper.  It would have been one of the top aquatic predators in the lake system perhaps reaching lengths in excess of 1.2 metres.

The Beautifully Preserved Skull of Timonya annae

A close up of the Timonya skull.

A close up of the Timonya skull.

Picture Credit: Juan Cisneros

 Fire Frogs

The other new species of amphibian has been named Procuhy nazarienis (pronounced pro-coo-ee naz-ar-ee-en-sis), the name means “fire frog” in the native Timbira language of this part of Brazil.  It was closely related to T. annae and the name was inspired by the Pedra de Fogo Formation (Rock of Fire), where the fossils were found.  The strata in the Lower Pedra de Fogo Formation (the stratigraphic zone that contains the fossils), is well known as it contains flints which were used to make fires.  The term “frog” is also misleading, these amphibians were not closely related to extant frogs or indeed to that branch of the Amphibia that gave rise to the frog lineage.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the contribution of the Field Museum in the compilation of this article.

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