Palaeontology Predictions for 2017 – How did we do?

Back in early January 2017, Everything Dinosaur team members had a go at predicting the news stories that our blog site would cover in the next twelve months or so.  After our crystal ball gazing we made a total of seven predictions:

1).  A New Epoch – Arise the Anthropocene!

2).  More Mini Dinos – The “Microsaurs” are Coming!

3).  “Enormosaurus” to Get a Formal Scientific Name

4).  The Impact of the Dinosaurs of China Exhibition in the UK

5).  Everything Dinosaur’s New Website

6).  Fossil Sites and Vandalism

7).  Dinosaur Fossilised Eggs Discovery

Arise the Anthropocene!

The impact of our own species on the planet was never far from the news channels last year, a trend that will be continued long into the future.  In the early 2017 blog article, we specifically highlighted the problem of non-biodegradable plastics and their impact on the ecology of the ocean.  This huge problem was brought into sharp focus with the excellent “Blue Planet II” television series broadcast by the BBC.

The Impact of Plastics in our Oceans was Highlighted in Early 2017 by Everything Dinosaur

Plastic pollution, the impact of mankind on the environment

Non-biodegradable plastics and other debris on a beach.

As yet, the Anthropocene has not been formally adopted as a distinct unit of geological time.  The body tasked with defining the start of this new Epoch and also defining the end of the current Epoch (the Holocene), the Anthropocene Working Group, has not reported back to the International Commission on Stratigraphy.  The idea to mark the impact on the environment by our own species, with the establishment of a new unit of geological time has been accepted, it is now a case of agreeing when in history our influence started to become profound.

Mini Dinosaur Discoveries

With the Dinosauria, it is often the big fossil specimens that grab the headlines. Everything Dinosaur predicted that a number of new species of small Theropod dinosaur would be named and described.  Sure enough, a number of “little critters” had scientific papers written about them, for example, in March, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the discovery of a new species of Early Cretaceous dromaeosaurid.  Zhongjianosaurus yangi was about eighty centimetres long (most of that was tail), it has been described as “Microraptor on stilts”.

Newly Described Chinese Dinosaur Z. yangi

The holotype fossil material of Zhongjianosaurus yangi.

The holotype of Zhongjianosaurus yangi.   A new “Microsaur” described in 2017.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

“Enormosaurus” Gets Formal Scientific Name

The huge Titanosaur dubbed “Enormosaurus”, which had been featured in the television documentary “Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur” was finally named and described, just as we predicted.  A scientific paper published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology)” in August announced Patagotitan mayorum to the world.  Attenborough’s giant, sixty-nine tonne dinosaur finally had a scientific name.

An Illustration Showing the Size of Patagotitan mayorum

Patagotitan size comparison.

Patagotitan mayorum size comparison with an adult African elephant and a human for scale.

Picture Credit: G. Lio/Everything Dinosaur

To read the article about the naming of P. mayorumGiant Dinosaur Gets a Name

The Dinosaurs of China Exhibition Proves to be a Big Hit

In the summer and autumn of 2017, visitors to Nottingham were given the opportunity to view some amazing Chinese dinosaur fossils close up.  The “Ground Shakers to Feathered Flyers” exhibition show-cased some of the astonishing dinosaurs from north-eastern China that demonstrate the evolutionary link between Theropod dinosaurs and birds.  As we predicted, the exhibition proved to be a big commercial success with hundreds of thousands of visitors “flocking” to the East Midlands.

A Huge Gigantoraptor Towers Over the Exhibition

Dinosaurs of China 2017.

Giant dinosaurs featured in the exhibition.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur is already working on a number of dinosaur, monster and prehistoric animal themed events for 2018…

The New Everything Dinosaur Website

Just as we said, our new website went live in the early Spring of 2018.  It is mobile device friendly, has lots more interactivity and permits us to make purchasing dinosaur toys and models so much easier than ever before.  Tens of thousands of orders processed and FEEFO 5-star ratings across the board provide testimony with regards to the site’s success.

Visit Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur

Fossil Sites and Vandalism

Sadly, our prediction about more deliberate damage to fossil sites came true, all too frequently.  Over the course of the last twelve months we have reported upon the apprehension of a Chinese dinosaur egg fossil thief (March 2017) and last month, we reported the sad news that a three-toed dinosaur foot print fossil in Australia had been deliberately vandalised.

To read the story: Dinosaur Footprint Vandalised

Dinosaur Fossil Eggs

For such a geographically widespread group, with a huge temporal range, dinosaur eggs are relatively rare.  However, our last prediction concerned the discovery of dinosaur fossil eggs and sure enough, on December 25th (blogged about on December 27th), we picked up reports that Chinese construction workers had discovered more than twenty dinosaur egg fossils during the construction of a school in Jiangxi Province (south-eastern China).

Dinosaur Egg Fossil Discovery

Chinese dinosaur egg fossils.

Local scientists examine the dinosaur egg fossils.

Picture Credit: Ming Kangping/China News Service

We wonder what amazing dinosaur news stories and fossil discoveries we will cover in this blog over the next twelve months or so…

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