All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
10 06, 2017

Fossils Rewrite the History of our Species

By | June 10th, 2017|General Teaching, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Fossils Rewrite the History of our Species

Pushing Back the Origin of our Species by 100,000 Years

Fossil hominin remains from the Atlantic coast of Morocco indicate that our species Homo sapiens originated at least 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.  In addition, this north African discovery challenges the idea of eastern Africa as being the “cradle of humankind” – at least in terms of the evolution of our species.

An Early Human Skull Compared to a Modern Human Skull (Homo sapiens)

Ancient H. sapien skull compaed to modern human.

A skull from the Jebel Irhoud cave site (left) compared to a modern human skull (right).

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum (London) with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Writing in the academic journal “Nature”, scientists that include lead author professor Jean-Jacques Hublin (Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany), have studied the fragmentary fossilised remains of five early humans and dated these remains to approximately 315,000 years ago.  Previous studies, had suggested that our species originated some 200,000 to 220,000 years ago.

Rewriting the Textbooks

Sixty miles west of the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, the remote cave site of Jebel Irhoud can be found.  The cave roof may have collapsed long ago, but this location has provided extremely important evidence about life in the Pleistocene Epoch.  This notable anthropological site was discovered in 1960, with the first extensive field work being undertaken a year later.  The limestone cave site has yielded a number of fossils of prehistoric mammals as well as bones and stone tools associated with both Neanderthals and our own species.  According to scientists, this new study indicates that the idea that our species evolved in eastern Africa is no longer tenable.  It is more likely that H. sapiens evolved all across the continent.

The Jebel Irhoud Site (Morocco)

The Jebel Irhoud fossil site (Morocco).

When occupied by archaic humans this site was a cave (Jebel Irhoud).

Picture Credit: Shannon McPherron (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)

Professor Hublin stated:

“It is not the story of it happening in a rapid way in a “Garden of Eden” somewhere in Africa.  Our view is that it was a more gradual development and it involved the whole continent.  So, if there was a Garden of Eden, it was all of Africa.”

Beautifully Preserved Human Jaw

The more than twenty human bones (from five individuals), include a nearly complete lower jaw, plus skull fragments. The material has been dated using several methods and the range of dates produced is between 280,000 to 350,000 years, with the most probable date around 315,000 years.

Facial Reconstruction of the Ancient Skull and Jaws

Reconstructing the facial features of a Jebel Irhoud person.

Facial reconstruction of the ancient H. sapiens.

The re-dating and the human remains from Jebel Irhoud convinced the research team that early H. sapiens once lived at this location.  The teeth, somewhat bigger when compared with those of modern humans, are a better match to H. sapiens than they are to Neanderthals or other known archaic humans.

The Jebel Irhoud skulls are elongated compared with those of modern people.  This suggests that these individuals’ brains were organised differently when compared to our own.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“These fossils overturn our ideas regarding the evolution of our species.  In addition, by comparing the skulls, jaws and teeth we can gain a better understanding of how our species Homo sapiens has evolved over the last 300,000 years.  We are not separate from the laws of natural selection, but very much shaped by them.”

10 06, 2017

Mojo Models Feature in Newsletter

By | June 10th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Features Mojo Models

Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” models feature in the latest edition of the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.  To celebrate Mojo models coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur, the latest company newsletter was dedicated to these excellent prehistoric animal models.

Mojo Fun Prehistoric Animal Figures Feature in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

Mojo prehistoric animal models.

Everything Dinosaur features Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” models in the latest newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has introduced all thirty-one of the current figures made by Mojo in their “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.  Unlike most other figure manufacturers, the Mojo range includes some recently extinct (or at least currently regarded as extinct), animals – creatures such as the Thylacine and the Quagga (a sub-species of Plains Zebra)*.  Naturally, the first model to be featured in the newsletter is the T. rex, specifically the green hunting Tyrannosaurus rex.  Mojo has a total of six “Tyrant Lizard King” replicas in its range, including a spectacular 1:40 scale model, which can be seen in the picture below (bottom right), as well as a model of a juvenile T. rex.

Marine Reptiles and Prehistoric Mammals in the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” Range

Mojo prehistoric animal models.

Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” animal figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Fun – Animal Planet

Mojo was founded eight years ago (2009), the company focuses on the design and production of high quality models.  Better known as “Mojofun”, the first model range was introduced in 2011 and the company’s product portfolio has grown steadily since.  The enthusiastic Mojo team members have plenty of ambition, they intend to continue to create the finest quality models that they can and to increase the range of animals featured.

The thirty-one models in the “Prehistoric & Extinct” range represent a total of nineteen different creatures, all of them are either reptiles or mammals and they lived during the Mesozoic or the Cenozoic Eras.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • Dinosaurs = nine dinosaurs represented (4 carnivores and 5 herbivores).
  • Prehistoric Mammals = six animals are represented.
  • Recently Extinct* = two models (Thylacine – Tasmanian Tiger and the Quagga)
  • Marine Reptiles = one model (Tylosaurus)
  • Prehistoric Crocodile = one model (Sarcosuchus)

Several of the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” models have recently been re-painted, allowing a number of new colour variants to be introduced.  The Mojo Parasaurolophus models are a case in point (see picture below).

Mojo Parasaurolophus Models (Biped and Quadruped)

Mojo Parasaurolophus dinosaurs.

The Mojo Parasaurolophus dinosaur models (biped and quadruped).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Studies of the fossilised bones of the duck-billed dinosaur Parasaurolophus indicate that this large, Late Cretaceous dinosaur was a facultative biped.  It probably spent most of its time on all fours, but when the need arose, for example, to flee an attacking Tyrannosaur, this dinosaur could run using just its hind legs.  We congratulate Mojo for including two versions of Parasaurolophus in its model range – one in a bipedal pose, the other representing Parasaurolophus as a quadruped.

Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” Models

Almost as many mammal models are included in the ” Prehistoric and Extinct” range as dinosaurs.  Model collectors have seen the number of prehistoric animal models in production decline in recent years, the addition of figures such as the Mojo Smilodon, Deinotherium and the Entelodont Daeodon, to Everything Dinosaur’s inventory is very welcome.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Mojo produces Velociraptor, Triceratops and Stegosaurus models and of course, this range offers a variety of Tyrannosaurs, but one of the attractions for us is that Mojo also offers some of the less common prehistoric animals such as a Hyaenodon replica and a Brontotherium.  We know that these types of replicas are greatly appreciated by model collectors.”

To view the range of Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” models available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Prehistoric and Extinct Models

Extinction*

The last known Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), died in captivity in 1936.  It is officially recognised as extinct, but a genetic research programme has been established for nearly twenty years with the aim of ultimately re-introducing these animals via cloning.  In addition, periodic sightings and reports of living Thylacines both from Tasmania and the Australian mainland have prompted a team of scientists to set camera traps in a remote part of northern Queensland to see if they can obtain evidence of a living population.  To read more about this: The Hunt for Tasmanian Tigers.

The Quagga Project was established in 1987 to reintroduce Quagga-like phenotypes via a selective breeding programme.

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