All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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14 11, 2016

Free Dinosaur Themed Anti-Bullying Posters

By | November 14th, 2016|General Teaching|Comments Off on Free Dinosaur Themed Anti-Bullying Posters

Dinosaurs “Power for Good” Anti-Bullying Week

This week sees the start of Anti-Bullying Week in the United Kingdom.  This annual event, aimed at raising awareness about bullying is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and to coincide with the start of a week-long of activities, Everything Dinosaur is making parents and teachers aware that the company has produced a series of free, dinosaur themed anti-bullying posters.  Bullying in schools is being tackled in proactive ways by many schools, but sadly incidents of bullying do still occur.  Cyber or on line bullying is also becoming a serious problem, with a report from the NSPCC’s Childline service stating that it counselled more than 4,500 children in the last twelve months, an increase of 88% compared to 2011-2012.

Everything Dinosaur’s Free to Download Anti-Bullying Posters

Anti-bullying poster provided by Everything Dinosaur.

Stop the Bullies!  Make your school a bully free school.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Themed Anti-Bullying Posters

Aided by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, a number of country-wide events and activities are planned.   These will help to raise awareness over the issue of bullying and the consequences of having been bullied and Everything Dinosaur team members have been doing their bit to help primary school teachers and educationalists to get the anti-bullying message across.

Everything Dinosaur provides teachers, teaching assistants and other educationalists, such as those who home educate, with lots of free teaching resources.  Amongst this extensive set of resources, several anti-bullying posters have been prepared, we encourage all interested parties to download these resources.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Bullying blights lives and we support the great work done by many organisations to raise awareness about the problem.  It is essential that we get the message across to school children that bullying is simply not going to be tolerated.  We have seen some tremendous initiatives launched by schools with regards to anti-bullying strategies and we hope our free dinosaur themed anti-bullying posters will help to get this important message across.”

13 11, 2016

Appreciating Dunkleosteus

By | November 13th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Dunkleosteus Exhibit at the Naturmuseum Senckenberg

At the Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Frankfurt, Germany), visitors are treated to a spectacular gallery featuring that most diverse group of vertebrates, the fish.   Fans of Palaeozoic fossils can see several specimens on display, including a beautiful Dunkleosteus exhibit.

The Anterior Portion of Dunkleosteus on Display

Dunkleosteus on display.

The spectacular Dunkleosteus exhibit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Greeting you at the gallery entrance area is a cast of the plated skull and jaws of the giant Devonian predator Dunkleosteus.  It certainly is a most impressive sight.  Sharp-eyed readers can spot the John Sibbick illustration that can be seen behind the replica skull with its shear-like jaws.  In the background part of the fossil fish display can be seen.  It features a life-size model of a Coelacanth (Latimeria).

Standing Guard at the Fish Gallery Entrance – Dunkleosteus

A Dunkleosteus exhibit.

A Dunkleosteus cast on display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Powerful Placoderm

Dunkleosteus was a huge, prehistoric fish with an armoured head made up of several bony plates that covered over thirty percent of the entire animal’s length. Larger specimens had dermal armour that was up to five centimetres thick.  The Placoderms (armoured fish); evolved in the Silurian period from ancestors that had no teeth, instead this group of fish developed a pair of extremely sharp bony plates that hung from the top jaw, the edges of the lower jaw were also bony and as sharp as a razor.  The jaws could be slammed together like a pair of self-sharpening shears.  Dr John Newberry formally named and scientifically described this apex predator in 1873.  The genus name honours the famous American palaeontologist Dr David Dunkle of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

As for size, a number of estimates have been published.  The Everything Dinosaur fact sheet sent out with Dunkleosteus model purchases suggests a maximum length of about nine to ten metres, with a maximum body mass of around four tonnes.

12 11, 2016

Apex Predator from Late Cretaceous Antarctica

By | November 12th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Largest Mosasaur from Antarctica Described – Kaikaifilu hervei

A team of international researchers writing in the journal “Cretaceous Research”, have published details of the largest Mosasaur to be identified from Upper Cretaceous strata in Antarctica.  The newly described marine reptile has been named Kaikaifilu hervei, the scientists, which included Rodrigo Otero, a palaeontologist at the University of Chile and the lead researcher on the study, named the Mosasaur after “Kai-Kai filú,” an almighty giant reptile that ruled the sea in legends from the Mapuche culture from southern Chile and Argentina.  The species name honours Francisco Hervé (University of Chile), who has done much to improve our understanding of the palaeoclimate of Chile and Antarctica.

Kaikaifilu hervei fossil material was found by a Chilean palaeontology expedition to the remote Seymour Island (sometimes called Marambio Island), off the Antarctic peninsula.  This location has attracted a number of scientific expeditions in recent years as the strata exposed on parts of the island bridges the time period from the end of the Cretaceous and into the Palaeocene Epoch. The fossils, which include a fragmentary skull, plus a partial left humerus, elements from the jaw and about thirty teeth have been dated to around 66 million-years ago (López de Bertodano Formation).

The Estimated Size of Kaikaifilu hervei

Kaikaifilu hervei size comparison

Kaikaifilu hervei estimated to be around ten metres in length.

Picture Credit: Otero, R, A, Cretaceous Research with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Based on better known Mosasaurs, the scientists estimate that K. hervei reached lengths in excess of ten metres.  It was probably an apex predator preying on the plesiosaurs that shared its shallow, marine environment.  The fossil skull is only the second Mosasaur skull known from Antarctica.  The other Mosasaur skull found in Antarctica represents the closely related, but earlier Taniwhasaurus antarcticus, which is estimated to have been about half the size of K. hervei.  T. antarcticus fossils have been found on James Ross Island, part of the same archipelago as Seymour Island.

The Fossil Excavation Site on Seymour Island

Mosasaur excavation site Seymour Island.

The desolate excavation site (K. hervei) Seymour Island in Antarctica.

Picture Credit: Otero, R, A, Cretaceous Research

Lead author of the study, Rodrigo Otero stated:

“Prior to this research, the known Mosasaur remains from Antarctica provided no evidence for the presence of very large predators like Kaikaifilu, in an environment where Plesiosaurs were especially abundant.  The new find compliments one expected ecological element of the Antarctic ecosystem during the latest Cretaceous.”

Kaikaifilu has been classified as a member of the Tylosaurinae sub-family of the Mosasauridae, as such, it was closely related to the Tylosaurus genus known from the United States.  The thirty or so teeth show heterogeneity (different shapes), this suggests that species of Mosasaur named from just their different shaped teeth may in fact represent the Kaikaifilu genus and the researchers have postulated that the discovery of heterogeneous teeth on Seymour Island may lead to some revision amongst the Mosasauridae.

The scientific paper: “Kaikaifilu hervei gen. et sp. nov., A New Large Mosasaur (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Upper Maastrichtian of Antarctica”

11 11, 2016

New CollectA Models for 2017 (Part 2)

By | November 11th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

New CollectA Models for 2017 (Part 2)

Time to reveal the next three models for 2017 to be introduced by CollectA.  Dinosaur and prehistoric animal model collectors and fans of all things prehistoric can expect a Deluxe 1:40 scale Deinocheirus, a new horned dinosaur figure – Regaliceratops and a Deluxe 1:40 scale Kronosaurus replica complete with articulated jaw.

In the first part of our series of articles introducing the new for 2017 CollectA prehistoric animal replicas, we hinted that there would be another horned dinosaur to come.  This time it would not be a member of the Centrosaurinae clade like Styracosaurus and Einiosaurus, so we are very pleased to introduce Regaliceratops.

New for 2017 the CollectA Regaliceratops Dinosaur Model

CollectA Prehistoric Life Regaliceratops model.

The CollectA Regaliceratops horned dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Regaliceratops

Named back in 2015, Regaliceratops (R. peterhewsi) rather upset the Ceratopsid apple cart as the skull showed Centrosaurine characteristics despite its classification as being a member of the Chasmosaurinae.  It is always good news when a relatively recently scientifically described dinosaur becomes a model and CollectA have done a great job depicting this stocky and statuesque herbivore.  The brightly coloured head shield and the body paint really make this particular dinosaur’s features stand out.

CollectA Regaliceratops Measurements

The official measurements we have for this new horned dinosaur model are as follows: length, a fraction under 12.5 cm long and height 5 cm approximately.

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Kronosaurus (articulated jaw)

Swimming into view comes the first (hint) of the marine reptiles for 2017.  A magnificent Kronosaurus figure complete with an articulated lower jaw.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Kronosaurus Model

The CollectA Kronosaurus replica with articulated lower jaw.

The CollectA Deluxe Kronosaurus model.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

Fans of marine reptiles are likely to get quite excited about this short-necked member of the Plesiosauria, the model has been carefully thought out, taking into account some of the latest research into this formidable predator.  The deep body, large skull, the jaws with their heterogeneous teeth and some teeth very fang-like, long powerful flippers and that fluke on the end of the tail – all highly commendable.  Model collectors with long memories might remember a short-lived Schleich Saurus Kronosaurus figure that had similar colouration.  The Schleich Kronosaurus was around about a decade ago, in our view, this new CollectA offering is much the superior figure.

CollectA Deluxe Kronosaurus Swims into View

The CollectA Kronosaurus replica with articulated lower jaw.

The CollectA Deluxe Kronosaurus model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Kronosaurus Measurements

This is quite a large model, it measures a total of 31 cm long, making the CollectA Kronosaurus about the same length as the CollectA Deluxe Pliosaurus that came out in 2015.  The height of the model (from the top of the skull) is estimated to be 6 cm.

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Deinocheirus

Hot on the heels of the not-to-scale Deinocheirus figure that was released last year, comes this Deluxe model.  Our view of this giant ornithomimosaur has been revised over the last few years and the design team at CollectA have been quick to acknowledge these revisions and apply them to their model range.

New for 2017 A CollectA Deluxe Deinocheirus

The CollectA 1:40 scale Deluxe Deinocheirus model.

The CollectA 1:40 scale Deluxe Deinocheirus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

The colour scheme chosen for this new figure is almost identical to the smaller model introduced last year.  However, the stance is slightly different and the tail in the larger, Deluxe version is not raised as high.  The head of the CollectA Deluxe model is also turned a little and not facing forwards. One thing that it does have in common with the popular Prehistoric Life model is that the tongue can be seen in both figures.  Palaeontologists have speculated that the deep lower jaw may suggest that this strange dinosaur had an over-sized tongue!

A Comparison between the two CollectA Figures Showing the Latest Interpretation of Deinocheirus

CollectA Deinocheirus models compared.

A comparison between the not to scale CollectA Deinocheirus model of 2016 with the new for 2017 Deluxe Deinocheirus figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Deluxe Deinocheirus Measurements

The official measurements we have for the CollectA Deluxe Deinocheirus are: length 28.5 cm approximately and the model stands some 15 cm high.

As for when these models will be available, we are expecting our first stock of these three new models sometime around the end of February, or perhaps the first week of March or thereabouts.

To view the CollectA Prehistoric Life including 2016 models: CollectA Prehistoric Life Collection

To view the CollectA Deluxe model range: CollectA Deluxe Scale Models

To read an article about the discovery of Regaliceratops: Regaliceratops – A Right Royal Rumble

For an article that discusses the revision of Deinocheirus (D. mirificus): Deinocheirus – Done and Dusted (for now at least)

Look out for more information on new prehistoric animal models from CollectA next week.

10 11, 2016

“Stuck in the Mud” Dinosaur Provides Insight into Oviraptorosaur Radiation

By | November 10th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|2 Comments

Tongtianlong limosus – One Very Unusual Fossil Posture

A team of international researchers, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dongyang Museum (Zhejiang Province, China) and Edinburgh University have announced the discovery of a new genus of bird-like dinosaur.  This newest member of the Oviraptoridae family, most likely met its demise when it became trapped in mud.  The animal was preserved with its forelimbs splayed out and outstretched as if beseeching someone or something to help pull it to safety. This dinosaur’s run of bad luck did not end in the Maastrichtian, the specimen was nearly blown up when construction workers were preparing the ground for the building of a new high school.

Two Views of the Fossil Skeleton Material (Tongtianlong limosus)

Tongtianlong fossils.

Two views of the holotype fossil material of Tongtianlong (a) dorsal view and (b) lateral view. Scale bar = 10 cm.

Picture Credit: Nature Scientific Reports (Junchang Lü et al)

Late Cretaceous Southern China was Oviraptorosaur Country

The fossil material, a near complete, three-dimensional specimen was saved by the construction workers, those who had narrowly avoided blasting the last resting place of this sheep-sized dinosaur to smithereens, a drill hole for an explosive charge can even be seen in the pelvic area of the holotype specimen (see photograph above).   The builders did their best to retrieve as much of the fossil material as they could.  With such an amazing skeleton to study, the researchers were quickly able to identify it is an oviraptorid and several unique characteristics led them to describe it as a new species.

An Illustration of Tongtianlong limosus Trapped in Mud

The feathered dinosaur Tongtianlong limosus mired in mud.

Tongtianlong trapped in mud.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

This is the sixth species of oviraptorosaur* to have been discovered in the Upper Cretaceous strata (Nanxiong Formation), exposed in Ganzhou Province (south-eastern China).  The prevalence of oviraptorid fossil material may represent some form of preservation bias, but more likely, the fossil material indicates that this part of world was home to a variety of different types of oviraptorosaur.  Analysis of skull shape and the jaws suggest that each type of oviraptorosaur had evolved to exploit different food resources.  The number of different kinds of this type of dinosaur found in this locality suggests that oviraptorids were undergoing a radiation and rapidly evolving.  As such, these feathered, bird-like dinosaurs, may have been one of the last groups of dinosaur to undergo evolutionary radiation before their extinction.

The Skull of Tongtianlong limosus with Line Drawing  Below

Skull and line drawing of Tongtianlong limosus.

The skull of Tongtianlong with an accompanying line drawing.  Scale bar = 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Nature Scientific Reports (Junchang Lü et al)

Key

aof = antorbital fenestra, bc = braincase, d =dentary, emf = external mandibular fenestra, eo = exoccipital, f -= frontal, j = jugal, l = lacrimal, ltf = lower temporal fenestra, m = maxilla, n = nasal, nar = narial opening, npc = nasopharyngeal canal, o = orbit (eye socket see note), p = parietal, pm = premaxilla, pno = pneumatic opening, po = postorbital, q = quadrate, qj = quadratojugal, sq = squamosal and stf = supratemporal fenestra

Lots of Different Oviraptorid Dinosaurs in the Ecosystem

Tongtianlong is the sixth oviraptorosaurian taxon named from the Nanxiong Formation in this part of south-eastern China.  All these taxa have been named since 2010, the genera are:

  • Banji (B. long) named in 2010 – size unknown.
  • Ganzhousaurus (G.  nankangensis) named in 2013 – size not known.
  • Jiangxiasaurus (J. ganzhouensis) named in 2013 – size not known
  • Nankangia (N. jiangxiensis) named in 2013 – 2.5 metres long.
  • Huanansaurus (H. ganzhouensis) named in 2015 – 2.5 metres in length.

In the scientific paper the researchers explore the possible reasons why there were so many oviraptorids in Late Cretaceous southern China.  It could be due to “taxonomic inflation”, some of the specimens described could in fact be males or females of already known species or perhaps the fossils could represent already described species of dinosaur but different growth stages.  The scenario the scientists favour is that the fossils are documentary evidence supporting the idea that there was a genuine radiation of oviraptorosaurs.

The Scientific Paper: A Late Cretaceous Diversification of Asian Oviraptorid Dinosaurs: Evidence from a New Species Preserved in an Unusual Posture

9 11, 2016

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor Oddities Tylosaurus proriger

By | November 9th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

JurassicCollectables Video Review of Rebor Tylosaurus proriger “Charon”

Time to catch up with what those clever people at JurassicCollectables have been up to and today we showcase their latest Rebor review, a video review of the Rebor Fossil Oddities Studies Tylosaurus proriger.  The great thing about JurassicCollectables YouTube channel is that it permits dinosaur fans and model collectors to get a good look at any potential purchases.  A video is the ideal way to appreciate the quality of what is, a new line from Rebor, after all, “Charon” – more about the name later, is a display piece and the video does give viewers a fantastic opportunity to assess this novel, marine reptile-themed item.

JurassicCollectables Video Review of the Rebor Fossil Oddities Studies (Tylosaurus proriger)

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

A New Product Line for Rebor

In this short, but informative video review, the narrator comments that the Fossil Oddities Studies Tylosaurus proriger represents a brand-new line for the company.  He is quite right to make this point, Rebor have been keen to give collectors merchandise that reflects prehistoric life from a different perspective.  The output of the company so far has been focused on interpreting animals based on the fossil evidence.  This new product line, takes a different standpoint, it actually sets out to give collectors the opportunity to acquire something that reflects the fossil evidence itself.  That’s a novel twist and we congratulate Rebor on taking this route.  The T. proriger replica is set in its own museum-like display cabinet and it can be lit from the top (four AAA batteries are required), just like an exhibit in a natural history museum.

A Tylosaurus on Display (Rebor Fossil Oddities Studies)

Rebor (Charon) Tylosaurus proriger.

Rebor Tylosaurus proriger in display case.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor admirers will get the chance to see another fossil interpretation very soon, the next model to be released (in the next two weeks), is a 1:1 scale replica of a baby Lourinhanosaurus (L. antunesi).  In 1993, over 100 fossilised dinosaur eggs were discovered in Portugal, these were identified as Lourinhanosaurus, some of these eggs were so perfectly preserved that tiny fossilised embryos could be identified.  The Rebor “baby Bonnie”, the Lourinhanosaurus embryo model, is based on this fossil material.  This model will be introduced under the Rebor “Club Selection” banner, as only 1,000 replicas have been made.

Fossil Studies 01

In the four minute long video, the back of the box is shown, the slot to allow the display figure to be hung on a wall is identified and the lighting feature explained.  JurassicCollectables shot some of the video with the lights out, just with the model itself lit, viewers can appreciate the quality of the construction and see how effective the lighting is.  In addition, the attention to detail on this new Rebor figure is highlighted.  The little touches give this item real finesse.  For example, the narrator points out the quality of the hinges on the box, they are based on the very sort of brass hinges found in real museum display cases and the Rebor Fossil Oddities Studies Tylosaurus proriger even has a brass effect nameplate.

Name that Marine Reptile Figure?

Rebor Tylosaurus proriger nameplate.

The Rebor “Charon” Tylosaurus nameplate.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 We congratulate JurassicCollectables for producing this excellent video review, congratulations also to Rebor for producing this fine replica of a famous marine reptile in the first place.

JurassicCollectables have made some fantastic prehistoric animal videos including amazing video reviews of the Rebor range, to see these videos and to subscribe to their very informative YouTube channel: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube

To view the range of Rebor replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

Why Charon?

Charon (Kharon), was the ferryman of Hades.  In Greek mythology, Charon ferries the souls of the dead across the rivers Acheron and Styx.  We think it quite appropriate to name an interpretation of a fearsome marine creature after a mythological figure associated with water and death.  Charon is also the name of the largest of the five known moons that orbit the dwarf planet Pluto.  Pluto was very much in the news during this product’s development as the New Horizons spacecraft approached this faraway part of our solar system in 2016 and provided unparalleled views of this cold, icy world and its near neighbour Charon.  The name for the moon Charon was formally adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1986, making this year, the year of the introduction of the Rebor Fossil Oddities range, the thirtieth anniversary of the naming of this celestial body.

8 11, 2016

Rapid Recovery of Patagonian Plant-Insect Associations

By | November 8th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Research Suggests Southern Hemisphere a Relatively Safe Haven after End Cretaceous Impact Event

Life in much of the southern hemisphere seems to have recovered more quickly than ecosystems further north after the catastrophic Yucatan Peninsula impact event that marked the end of the Cretaceous.  Furthermore, the southern parts of our planet may have provided a biodiversity refuge after the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction.  These are the conclusions drawn in a newly published scientific paper written by researchers based in the United States and Argentina.

The scientists, which included graduate student Michael Donovan and his supervisor, Professor Peter Wilf (Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University), examined thousands of fossil leaves preserved in strata that represent the latest stage of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) and the earliest part of the Palaeocene (Danian).  The fossils were examined under high magnification to identify traces of insect-feeding damage.  From this data, the team were able to calculate how robust and diverse the ecosystem was at each point in deep time represented by the different stratigraphical layers.

An Analysis of Insect Feeding Damage on Fossil Leaves

Leaf miner damage in a Cretaceous leaf.

Mining in a leaf. Initial serpentine phase packed with frass followed by a dramatic widening into a
blotch phase on leaf and b, close-up
of mine path in a.

Picture Credit: Pennsylvania State University

Insect Damage on Leaves – A Measure of the Health of Terrestrial Food Chains

Biologists and botanists have used the number of plant/insect associations recorded in modern-day terrestrial ecosystems to assess the biodiversity of the food chain.  These same principles can be applied to a study of fossil biota and as such, a study that looks at plant-insect associations across the K/Pg boundary can provide palaeontologists with a more complete understanding of how ecosystems coped and bounced back from a mass extinction event.

In an analysis of 3,646 fossil leaves from the latest Maastrichtian as well as from the Danian faunal stages preserved in strata located in Chubut Province, Patagonia (southern Argentina), the team concluded that it took approximately four million years for plant-insect associations to recover after the extraterrestrial impact event.  Studies of insect-plant associations in strata of similar age but much closer to ground zero (western North America), indicate that it took at least nine million years for these associations to recover.

Insect Damage on Fossil Leaves from the Palaeocene

Fossil leaves showing insect damage.

Insect damage from fossil leaves (Danian faunal stage of the Palaeocene).

Picture Credit: Pennsylvania State University

The picture above shows examples of Palaeocene fossil leaves with insect feeding damage.  In photograph (k), skeletonised leaf tissue as a result of insect feeding is shown and (l) shows a portion of the leaf margin of Dryophyllum australis with feeding evidence along the margin.   This new paper, published in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution” supports the emerging hypothesis that the impact of the extraterrestrial impact event on ecosystems was variable, particularly in the southern hemisphere.

In general terms, in areas closer to the impact site, such as in western North America, little evidence has been found to support the idea that many different types of insect survived.  However, ecosystems seem to have recovered much faster in South America.  Studies of microscopic plankton and pollen have also provided evidence that life bounced back more quickly in the southern hemisphere than in the north.  The palaeolatitude of the Chubut Province was around 50 degrees south, such locations may have provided a refuge for biota that could then migrate northwards as conditions improved.

Intriguingly, not all fossil sites in the southern hemisphere show signs of biota refuge status at the K/Pg boundary.  In June of this year, Everything Dinosaur published an article on a study of the Upper Cretaceous rocks and Lower Palaeocene strata exposed on Seymour Island in the Antarctic.  This research indicated that there was a dramatic and rapid extinction event in southernmost marine environments.

To read more about this study: Global Catastrophe Caused End Cretaceous Mass Extinction

7 11, 2016

Scars on the Moon Hint at Protoplanetary Impacts

By | November 7th, 2016|Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Non-radial Imbrium Sculpture on the Moon – our Violent Past

Between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago, our young planet (and much of the inner solar system for that matter), was subjected to an intense bombardment of space debris left over from the formation of the planets.  This period in Earth’s history is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) and if you look at the moon with a pair of binoculars or study pictures of the surface of Mercury or Venus you will see that much of the moon and these rocky planets is pot-marked with huge numbers of craters.  These craters are a testament to our solar system’s violent, destructive past.  Writing in the journal “Nature” astronomers from Brown University (Rhode Island) and Sandia National Laboratories (New Mexico), have conducted a detailed analysis of one such impact crater on the moon.  Their research suggests the type of objects that caused many of the craters were substantially bigger than previously thought.  The rocky bodies of the early solar system were subjected to bombardment from many protoplanets.

Analysing the Geology of the Imbrium Crater on the Moon

Imbrium basin ejector.

The trajectory of debris is plotted (green lines), whilst most ejecta radiates from the centre outwards other debris paths show an entirely different route.

Picture Credit: Professor Schultz

Looking up into the Man in the Moon’s Right Eye

The scientists concentrated their study on the Mare Imbrium, part of an extensive basin (Imbrium basin), located in the northern hemisphere of our satellite.  The 750 miles-wide Imbrium basin, which can be seen with the naked eye, is better known as the man in the moon’s right eye.  The researchers have calculated that this feature came about due to the impact of a huge object, a protoplanet bigger than Wales.  This object sent ejecta flying in all directions helping to fuel the Late Heavy Bombardment of Earth.  Previous models had suggested that the Imbrium basin was formed after an impact from a chunk of space rock some fifty miles in diameter, in this new paper, the scientists have calculated that the body that caused this particular feature on the moon was at least three times as big.

Rimmed grooves, lineations and elongate craters around Mare Imbrium shape much of the nearside Moon.  This pattern was coined the Imbrium Sculpture by astronomers, most of these features emanate radially outward from the impact crater’s centre, what you would expect to see from a collision event.  These features were created by rocks blasted from the crater when it was formed, and they are concentrated on the basin’s south-eastern side, suggesting the impact came from a north-westerly direction.  However, there are other scars on the moon’s landscape in the Imbrium basin that do not conform to this model, they don’t converge on the crater’s centre.

A Map of the Nearside of the Moon Showing the Location of the Imbrium Basin

The Imbrium basin on the moon.

A map of the nearside of the moon showing the Imbrium basin outlined in red.

Picture Credit: NASA

Blasting Objects from a Gun Designed by NASA

In order to understand how these strange features were formed, the researchers commissioned a large gun created by NASA to help them understand the nature of the surface of the moon.  The team then shot projectiles out of this gun at supersonic speeds to recreate the conditions of the LHB.

The corresponding author of this new paper, Professor Peter Schultz (Planetary Geosciences Group at Brown University), explained about the use of the NASA facility.

“It’s a three-storey tall gun at NASA’s Ames Research Centre [California], that was created during the Apollo programme to understand better the nature of the lunar surface.  It fires small projectiles at six to seven kilometres per second.  What this does is reveal dynamics you can’t recreate with a slingshot, because the objects are going so fast that they let off strong shockwaves.”

A sophisticated high speed camera was used to record the simulated impact events.  These images revealed that pieces of material break off up-range of the main crater and these items continue to travel at very high speeds scouring the impact crater’s surface in a non-radial fashion, reminiscent to the features seen on the moon in the vicinity of the Imbrium basin.

This research explains the non-radial scars observed in the area of the Mare Imbrium.  It also permitted the research team to estimate the impact object’s size based on the signature impact pattern that was created.  According to the team’s calculations the object that struck the northern hemisphere of the moon was many times larger than previously thought, it was a protoplanet.  A protoplanet is a large body in orbit around a sun that is becoming rounded by its own gravity and is massive enough to show signs of internal melting to produce a differentiated interior.

The research team then conducted a similar analysis on other moon features including the Mare Moscoviense and the Mare Orientale which are found on the far side of our satellite (does not face Earth).  The scientists concluded that these features too, were probably as a result of protoplanet impacts.

Experiments and Computer Models Assess Impact Events

Experiments to assess how moon craters were formed.

A comparison of scouring marks produced in the NASA experiments (top) and those produced in a computer modelling exercise assessing the impact of a 60-mile-wide object on the moon.

Picture Credit: Professor Schultz

Professor Schultz stated:

“We are not claiming the entire Late Heavy Bombardment was from protoplanets – other asteroids were going bump in the night as well, but this paper does suggest there were a lot of large protoplanets roaming the inner solar system.”

By modelling what happened after the Imbrium basin was created, Professor Schultz and his co-authors have shown that protoplanet impact events could have been responsible for many of the other smaller features on the moon.  Ejecta from the impact would have “rained down” onto the moon creating the pot-marked surface we see today.

The professor explained:

“It’s like shrapnel ripping off and coming back to hit us again and again.”

The research team are hoping to apply their modelling methodology to allow them to study impact craters on other rocky planets such as those found on Mercury.  Their research could also help to improve our understanding of the geography of Mars, the fourth rocky planet in our solar system, one that like Earth, was affected by the LHB and just like our own planet, subsequent erosion has masked the impact craters.

The scientific paper: “Origin and Implications of Non-radial Imbrium Sculpture on the Moon.”

6 11, 2016

Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus on Display

By | November 6th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Naturmuseum Senckenberg Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus

With the wonderful Rebor Compsognathus replica back in stock (Sentry), it is worthwhile reflecting on the amazing Solnhofen exhibit in the vertebrates’ gallery at the Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Frankfurt).  The famous, finely grained Upper Jurassic Solnhofen and Holzmaden deposits are not too far from the Frankfurt museum, so a number of fossil specimens including pterosaurs, marine reptiles and dinosaurs are represented within that part of the collection on view to the public.

Compsognathus and Archaeopteryx on Display at the Museum

Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus on display.

An exhibit showing the similarities between Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the brightly lit Compsognathus and Archaeopteryx exhibit, these two Late Jurassic animals are compared side by side.  There is a focus on the delicate jaws of Compsognathus (the genus name means “elegant jaw”), whilst the Archaeopteryx section looks at the adaptations within the skeleton for flight.  The informative display boards are in English as well as German, very helpful for visitors and this display forms part of a larger exhibit that looks at the relationship between small, cursorial Theropod dinosaurs and the evolution of the Aves (birds).  The bones within the display itself are casts of the actual fossils but great care has been taken to light the exhibit so the minute details, even traces of feathers on the Archaeopteryx specimens, can be made out.

The Rebor Sentry (Compsognathus longipes)

The Rebor replica Sentry (Compsognathus).

Rebor Compsognathus – Sentry

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor range of prehistoric animal models including the amazing Compsognathus scale model: Rebor replicas including the 1:6 scale Compsognathus replica “Sentry”

The Rebor Sentry is a fantastic museum quality model of this lithe and agile dinosaur.  The Rebor 1:6 scale replica comes with a model of a Jurassic dragonfly (Protolindenia).  It is thought that Compsognathus chased insects and other small animals in the undergrowth.  Catching a dragonfly would have been a challenge for this little dinosaur (the largest specimen indicates a total body length of around 120 centimetres).  However, the effort would have been well worth it as a dragonfly would have made a sizeable meal for this tiny Theropod.

The craftsmanship on the Rebor Sentry is exquisite.  For example, this replica even has an articulated lower jaw.

Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus Models

Several mainstream model manufacturers have added an Archaeopteryx figure to their ranges.  This is pleasing to see, as the “Urvogel” is an iconic animal representing a transitional form between a reptile and a true bird.  The term “Urvogel” is German and it means “first bird”.  Although Archaeopteryx was not the first bird to evolve, when its fossils came to prominence in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s, it did indeed represent the first major and widely studied fossils of a Jurassic member of the Aves, or at least an animal the represented a bridge between the Order Reptilia and the Aves.

At Everything Dinosaur, we are aware that a mainstream manufacturer intends to introduce another replica of Archaeopteryx in 2017, once we have permission to post up pictures on our social media pages we shall get them up.  As for Compsognathus replicas, these are few and far between, that long tail, small head, and those delicate limbs make sculpting replicas quite difficult, that’s why there is so much to be admired in the Rebor Sentry replica.

The 1:6 Scale Rebor Compsognathus Model (Sentry)

Rebor 1:6 scale Compsognathus model

The amazing Compsognathus model from Rebor available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

5 11, 2016

Last Recommended Posting Dates (Christmas 2016)

By | November 5th, 2016|Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Christmas 2016 – Last Recommended Posting Dates

There are under forty days to go until Christmas, the nights are certainly getting colder and team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy preparing and packing orders as fast as we can.  Our plans to assist customers with gift purchases are all in place and team members are on hand to advise telephone callers and provide help.  Extra warehouse shifts have been organised and the Saturday morning rota is in place to crack on with the extra packing that is required at this time of year.

As always, our efficient staff quickly respond to emails sent to them and we have produced a chart providing information on the last safe posting dates for Christmas parcels and gifts sent from the UK overseas.

Last Recommended Posting Dates (Royal Mail)

Royal Mail last posting dates (2016).

Last recommended posting dates for Christmas 2016.

Table Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The table above has been compiled from Royal Mail information.  Whilst staff at Everything Dinosaur do all they can to promptly send out goods and to provide accurate information on posting dates, it may be worthwhile checking with Royal Mail to obtain the latest postal information.  Remember, the dates listed in the table above, are the last recommended posting dates, it is always prudent to send out gifts as early as possible.  Postal staff and postal services get extremely busy in the run up to Christmas, posting early is highly recommended and rest assured, our staff will be on hand to assist customers with any queries that they might have.

Tips for Sending Christmas Gifts

1). Remember to include the house name or house number with the delivery address information that you provide with your order.

2). Check the zip code/postcode with care.

3). Before clicking the “submit” button to send an order to Everything Dinosaur, it is a good idea to check the delivery address for one last time.

4). Remember, with PayPal and our own website’s ordering process, customers can include a message to Everything Dinosaur in the order message box.

5). Everything Dinosaur’s website makes it easy for you to specify a different delivery address to your billing address, perhaps you want to send to a relative or even to work.

6). If you do decide to send an item to your work address, please ensure that you include the company name in the delivery address information, don’t forget to check the postcode or zip code.

7). If you think it will help, you can always specify a neighbour’s address where the parcel can be delivered to if you will be out at work when the delivery is likely to take place.

If you have a query about Christmas deliveries, or indeed any aspect of Everything Dinosaur’s delivery service please email: Contact Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s website: Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Website

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