All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Educational Activities

Everything Dinosaur’s work with schools and other educational bodies. Articles, features and stories about dinosaurs and their role in education and educating young people.

25 03, 2020

Everything Dinosaur – Still Operating Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By | March 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur – Far from Extinct

Dear Customers and Friends of Everything Dinosaur,

We are living in unprecedented times.  The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has global implications, we would once again, like to convey our thoughts and sympathies to all those people who have been affected by this virus.

Everything Dinosaur would like to extend our well wishes to each and every one of our customers and friends.  We want to pass on our thoughts and sympathies to all those people who have been affected by this outbreak.  This is a very difficult time for all of us.  We would like to briefly update you on the current situation at Everything Dinosaur.

We are far from extinct!  Whilst we are constantly reviewing advice received from the UK Government, the Chamber of Commerce and our Dept of Trade and Industry account manager, for the time being at least, our mail order business is operating as normal.

Business as Usual for Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur taking steps to ensure business as usual.

Everything Dinosaur has put in place a number of measures that means the company can operate the mail order business.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Customers Can Still Place Orders!

Everything Dinosaur is still operating!  The plans we put in place weeks ago have put us in a reasonable position when it comes to our mail order business.  Whilst we will always heed the advice of the Government and the Chamber of Commerce, we are still able to operate our mail order business.  Customers can still place orders; we are still despatching and our customers are receiving their parcels.

We don’t have a crystal ball, but because we have lots of contacts in China and elsewhere in the world, team members at Everything Dinosaur quickly became aware of the potential implications if the disease spread outside of Hubei Province (China).  We started to put plans in place back in January (2020), a rolling set of measures to support our staff, our customers, our suppliers and our local community.

Everything Dinosaur Putting Plans In Place to Manage in Difficult Times

Business as Usual at Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur working hard to stay on top of the situation.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Preparations and Plans

The United Kingdom and much of the world, may now be in lockdown.  Everything Dinosaur began its preparations on a “just in case scenario” ten weeks ago.

These preparations included:

  • Cutting back on the amount of teaching work undertaken to permit more management time dedicated towards the mail order business.
  • Using stocks (purchased 2018 for outreach science programmes) of alcohol based hand sanitisers (some of which have already been donated to vulnerable members of the local community).
  • Deliberately building up stock of dinosaur models, figures and other items and ensuring that these could be packed and despatched from homes if needed.
  • Building up quantities of packaging supplies to help support the mail order operations.
  • Implementing stringent cleanliness regimes and social distancing.
  • Taking all essential steps to ensure the safety and protection of all Everything Dinosaur team members.
  • Switching shipment delivery addresses to permit stock to remain accessible to Everything Dinosaur team members.
  • Liaising closely with factories in order to put in place contingency plans to ensure continuity of stock.
  • Suspension of all but essential travel, suspension of all face-to-face meetings.
  • Postponement of outreach science programmes and dinosaur themed workshops.

In the last three weeks we have received a total of eighteen FEEFO reviews all of them rated Everything Dinosaur as a 5-star service provider.

We are still continuing to maintain the very highest levels of customer service.

Helping Out at Home

Lots of our customers have been in touch, with many of our customers having to stay at home, they have been looking for products and projects to help get them through these uncertain times.  We are should not overlook the mental health of those persons advised to self-isolate.  A hobby like dinosaur model collecting, model making, replica painting, building dioramas and so forth can play a significant part in helping with well-being.  We are also aware of the large numbers of children currently at home.

Keeping Children Occupied – Dinosaurs for Creative, Imaginative Play

Children playing with Schleich dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Children playing with dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: Schleich

Free Resources, Downloads, Fact Sheets, Games and Teaching Materials

It has always been our philosophy to support teachers, teaching assistants and home educators.  It is our belief that play is an essential part of childhood and the young people learn more whilst they are having fun.  A new dinosaur is named and described every two weeks or so.  There is always plenty to talk about when it comes to prehistoric animals.  In the light of the current situation, Everything Dinosaur acknowledges that some of our customers have additional needs and we have rolled out a programme of extra support and assistance.

  • Ensuring that everyone, not just schools have access to our free, educational downloads: General Teaching Resources.
  • Reception, nursery and Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 3-6) dinosaur themed teaching resources to download: Early Years Downloads.
  • Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 6 to 12) dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources to download: Key Stage 1 and 2 Downloads.
  • Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (ages 12 to 16) dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources to download: Key Stage 3 and 4 Downloads.
  • The Everything Dinosaur teaching blog – hundreds of articles featuring advice, hints, lesson plans and other materials: Everything Dinosaur Teaching Blog.
  • In addition, there is this blog site, with over 4, 750 articles and features about prehistoric animals and fossil discoveries.
  • Over the last ten days, Everything Dinosaur has initiated a programme of sending out every day to a lucky customer a free Mojo Fun golden model.
  • Support for our customers with additional needs have been rolled out including surprise free gifts, learning materials and free downloads.
  • Sending out personalised projects and providing one-to-one support for parents of children/young people with an interest in fossils and dinosaurs.
  • Supplying free puzzles, games, top trumps, crosswords as part of a programme to help support families in lockdown.

Everything Dinosaur Has Launched a Programme of Supporting Families at Home

Teaching support from Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur providing lots of free resources to support families.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur remains committed to doing all it can to help in the current difficult situation.  For the time being, we are able to operate our mail order business with the minimum of disruption.  Everything Dinosaur is far from extinct!

Keep well, stay safe!

20 03, 2020

Everything Dinosaur Continuing to Support Schools and Home Educators

By | March 20th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Continuing to Support Schools and Home Educators

At this time of uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak, Everything Dinosaur team members want to let you know how we are responding to the recent announcement about school closures. Our hearts go out to all those affected globally by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.  We are doing all we can to assist the education sector.  Everything Dinosaur is currently operating as normal and we intend to provide regular updates in what is a very fluid situation.  We are working very hard to limit the disruption to schools, nurseries and other academic bodies.

Everything Dinosaur has released the following statement:

Everything Dinosaur Team Members Helping to Support the Education Sector and Home Schooling

Everything Dinosaur supporting schools and home educators.

Everything Dinosaur team members working hard to support the educational sector and home schooling at this difficult time (coronavirus outbreak 2020).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The website links to gain access to our free teaching resources and other educational materials:

In addition, this blog site has posted up news stories, information about fossils, features about dinosaurs, evolution, natural selection, new theories and articles on other science related subject areas, every day since May 2007.  This is a resource that has over 4,750 articles, which are all free to access, helping to provide additional materials for teachers, teaching assistants, academics and home schoolers.

Furthermore, our hard-working and enthusiastic staff handle numerous email enquiries each day, providing advice, free prehistoric animal fact sheets and other resources.

Everything Dinosaur is working extremely hard to help support universities, colleges, nurseries, other academic bodies and home educators.  We continue to provide free of charge, a wide range of fossil and dinosaur themed teaching resources and learning materials.

10 01, 2020

Spotting a Gomphotherium

By | January 10th, 2020|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Spotting a Gomphotherium

Whilst on a visit to a school to deliver a series of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops to lower Key Stage 2 classes, one of our team members at Everything Dinosaur was given the opportunity to view some of the work carried out by the Year six children as they studied Darwinism and natural selection as part of their curriculum.  Several of the children had collaborated on poster displays providing an outline of Darwin’s ground-breaking theory regarding how populations change due to the transfer of heritable traits from one generation to another.  The posters included details of Darwin’s life such as his voyage on the Beagle, his work on the finches on the Galapagos Islands and of course, the publication of his book “The Origin of Species” and its consequences for academia and the wider world.

One part of the display focused on the evolution of the elephant family (Order Proboscidea) and our eagle-eyed team member spotted an image of the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Gomphotherium model that had been used to help illustrate different genera of ancient elephants.

An Image of the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Gomphotherium Model Features in the Display

CollectA Deluxe Gomphotherium model features in a school poster.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Gomphotherium model features in a display on the evolution of elephants.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Many different types of prehistoric elephant were featured in the posters.  For example, one of the earliest and most primitive members of the elephant family – Moeritherium was featured, along with Deinotheres and representatives of the Mammuthus genus.

The CollectA Deluxe Gomphotherium Model

CollectA Gomphotherium.

The CollectA 1:20 scale Gomphotherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our team member suggested that Everything Dinosaur would be happy to assist the children with their studies by providing scale drawings of a number of proboscideans.

25 10, 2019

Reception Classes Create Prehistoric Landscapes

By | October 25th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Reception Classes Create Prehistoric Landscapes

The three classes of Reception-aged children at Broughton Primary in Flintshire have been busy learning all about dinosaurs and fossils this term.  With the half-term break approaching, a team member from Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to deliver three dinosaur workshops, one for each class, to help reinforce their learning as the topic came to a conclusion.  During the visit, our dinosaur and fossil expert was given a tour of a couple of the spacious and tidy classrooms and shown the prehistoric landscapes that the children had created.

Class 1 (Dosbarth 1) – Prehistoric Landscape

Reception class children build their own "prehistoric park".

A very colourful prehistoric landscape created by a Reception class.

Picture Credit: Broughton Primary (Flintshire)

What do Dinosaurs Need to Keep them Healthy and Happy?

As part of an enriched and varied scheme of work, the Reception classes have been learning about animals and what they need to help keep them safe, healthy and happy.  The children have incorporated some of this learning into their prehistoric landscapes that they have been building.  For example, class 1 ensured that there were plenty of plants for the herbivores to graze upon and lots of rocks for the dinosaurs to hide amongst to keep them safe from Tyrannosaurus rex.

As part of the extension activities for the classes following our workshops, we supplied extra resources for the teaching team.  Each class was given their very own hard hat to wear when they went out looking for fossils.  Dinosaurs as a term topic certainly lends itself to lots of creative play and exploration.

A Prehistoric Landscape Created by a Reception Class – Can you See the Three Fossil Hunting Hard Hats?

Class One build a dinosaur landscape.

The prehistoric scene created by a Reception class (Dosbarth 1).  The three fossil hard hats donated by Everything Dinosaur can be seen in the background.  These hard hats have a lamp on the front to help the children search for fossils.

Picture Credit: Broughton Primary (Flintshire)

The enterprising teaching team had used a variety of materials to help create the mini “Jurassic Parks”, these items will help the children to explore and learn about the properties of different materials.  Class 3 had even included a large, cardboard and cloth cave for their dinosaur models to hide in.

The Prehistoric Landscape Created by Class 3 (Dosbarth 3)

Class 3 build their own prehistoric landscape.

The prehistoric landscape created by class 3.  A very colourful landscape for the dinosaur models to play in.

Picture Credit: Broughton Primary (Flintshire)

Cretaceous Conifers

The children in class 3 had created a large cardboard and crepe paper forest for the plant-eating dinosaurs to browse.  The forest would provide lots of handy nesting places for the dinosaurs too.

Cretaceous Conifers – A Prehistoric Forest for Dinosaurs to Explore

A forest fit for dinosaurs.

Cardboard and crepe paper trees for the dinosaurs to hide amongst.

Picture Credit: Broughton Primary (Flintshire)

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching work in schools and to enquire about a school visit: Contact Everything Dinosaur/Request a Quotation.

17 09, 2019

Preparing for a School Visit

By | September 17th, 2019|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Teaching|0 Comments

Preparing for a Fossil Workshop

The autumn term is well underway and team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy conducting dinosaur themed and fossil workshops in schools, catering for a wide range of different age groups.  This week, our team members will be dealing with the eager and very excitable Early Years Foundation Stage classes (Nursery and Reception), as well as working with slightly more mature (we hope), students in Key Stages 3 and 4.

One of the things we have been asked to discuss with the students in year nine and ten that we will be working with this week, is potential career options in the Earth sciences.  This is certainly a very broad subject and we hope to provide some pointers.  We have been brushing up on our knowledge regarding career paths as well as brushing up some rather beautiful Dactylioceras ammonite fossils that we intend to use in a short exercise looking at taphonomy and the importance of index fossils.

Selecting Fossils to Use in Our Exercise with Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Students

Ammonite fossils (Dactylioceras).

A selection of ammonite fossils to be used in an exercise exploring the role of index fossils with science students.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

12 09, 2019

Year 1 Children Find Fossils

By | September 12th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Year 1 Children Find Fossils

The children in Year 1 at St Joseph’s Primary (Lancashire), had a morning of pretending to be palaeontologists as their autumn term topic “Dinosaur Planet” was kicked-off in style.  The friendly staff had prepared a scheme of work all about dinosaurs, an area of learning used elsewhere in the school, as the Nursery children (EYFS), would also be studying Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus et al over the course of the academic year.

Prior to our visit to conduct a morning of dinosaur and fossil themed activities with the enthusiastic children, the teaching team had challenged the class to record in their topic books what they knew about these long extinct animals.  Our dinosaur expert was impressed with the neatness of the handwriting, how well the letters had been formed and the appropriate finger spacing between words.

“Dinosaur Planet” – What I Know About Dinosaurs

At the start of the dinosaur topic the Year 1 children recorded what they know about dinosaurs.

At the start of the dinosaur topic the Year 1 children recorded what they know about dinosaurs.  For example, one pupil wrote that dinosaurs are related to reptiles – that’s right, the Dinosauria are indeed a diverse group of reptiles.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Did Diplodocus Have a Long Neck?

As part of the writing exercise, referred to as KWL:

  • what I know?
  • what I want to know?
  • what have I learned?  An opportunity to check understanding at the end of the topic.

The year 1 children wanted to know why did a Diplodocus have a long neck?

Why Did a Diplodocus Have a Long Neck?

CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur figure.

During the morning of dinosaur themed activities, the school visitor from Everything Dinosaur made sure to answer the question about the neck of Diplodocus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The first part of the morning involved visual and kinaesthetic learning with lots of physical exercises to help reinforce learning.  In the second part of the workshop, which was conducted in the classroom, the children were given the opportunity to find their own fossils.  The eager young palaeontologists found lots of fossils in our special challenge, teeth from prehistoric sharks, pieces of fossilised turtle shell, lots of ammonites and even some armour from a Jurassic crocodile!

The Children Demonstrated Lots of Pre-knowledge

Year 1 KWL exercise at the start of the dinosaur term topic.

KWL exercise (Year 1 term topic).  The Year 1 children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge about dinosaurs, even a Gallimimus was mentioned.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are confident that the budding young palaeontologists at St Joseph’s Primary are going to really enjoy their autumn term topic.

3 09, 2019

Colourful Creative Dinosaurs

By | September 3rd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Colourful Creative Dinosaurs

Our thanks to young Nataliya (Year 2), who sent into Everything Dinosaur a beautiful illustration of a dinosaur that she had designed following a visit to her school by one of our team members.  Nataliya and her classmates had taken up our challenge to design a dinosaur as part of an extension exercise that arose following one of our dinosaur and fossil workshops at the school.  The dinosaur was named “spikeraptor” and despite its fearsome name, Nataliya explained that this dinosaur was a herbivore and even included a picture of some leaves that the dinosaur was grazing upon in her prehistoric portrait.

A Colourful Dinosaur Design – “Spikeraptor”

A colourful green dinosaur - Spikeraptor the product of the imagination of young Nataliya (Key Stage 1).

A colourful green dinosaur – Spikeraptor the product of the imagination of young Nataliya (Year 2).

Picture Credit: Nataliya (Key Stage 1) and Everything Dinosaur

Lovely Labels!

As part of a writing exercise we asked the children to label their prehistoric animal’s body parts.  Nataliya was keen to emphasis the spikes and prickles on her dinosaur and our congratulations to Nataliya and the rest of the class for sending in some super drawings with fantastic examples of handwriting.  These drawings have made our day and we shall post them up in our warehouse so that all the Everything Dinosaur team members can view them.

31 08, 2019

The Lost Kingdom of the Purbeck Group

By | August 31st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page|1 Comment

The Lost Kingdom of The Purbeck Group

Our thanks to Thomas for sending into us the third and final article that he has compiled over the summer holidays.  Thomas has chosen to feature the biota associated with the Lower Cretaceous deposits of the Purbeck Group of south-eastern England.

The Purbeck Group consists of limestone, mudstones and evaporites representing a series of freshwater, brackish and marine environments laid down in the Upper Jurassic and into the Early Cretaceous, approximately 145 to 139 million years ago.  The fossils associated with these sedimentary rocks provide evidence of changing palaeoenvironments and also of faunal turnover, including a record of different types of dinosaur.

This world is not talked about often but is very interesting for at some point during the Late Jurassic allosauroids became extinct in the British Isles only to return sometime in the Early Cretaceous (around 140-139 million years ago).  Falling sea levels are thought to have contributed to the reintroduction of these theropods to their former territory.  During their absence, tyrannosauroids evolved to fill the niche left by the allosauroids, although in the Jurassic, they were not apex predators.

Let’s Meet the Dinosaur Fauna of this Lost Kingdom

  • Nuthetes destructor – known from extremely fragmentary fossil material, possibly a dromaeosaurid or perhaps a member of the Tyrannosauroidea (Proceratosauridae?).  The size of this dinosaur is unknown, although based on measurements of the anterior portion of the partial dentary associated with this species, a length of approximately 1.6 metres has been speculated.
  • Echinodon becklesii – represented by isolated teeth, one fragmentary skull and a handful of isolated jaw bones, this dinosaur is thought to be a member of the Heterodontosauridae.  It was a relatively small dinosaur with a body length of approximately 60 centimetres.
  • Owenodon hoggii – regarded as an ornithopod and known from a badly crushed right dentary found at Durleston Bay (Dorset) in 1860.  Hind limb material from near Speeton, (Yorkshire), recovered from Berriasian-aged deposits and a single tooth from Spain have also been tentatively assigned to O. hoggii.  The size of Owenodon remains unknown but it has been suggested that it could have been around 6 metres long.  Its taxonomic position remains uncertain.  When first described in the mid 1870’s it was thought the fossils represented a type of Iguanodon.

A Life Reconstruction of the Ornithopod Owenodon hoggii

Life reconstruction Owenodon hoggii.

A reconstruction of Owenodon hoggii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Undiagnostic Specimens

The Purbeck Limestone Group has also yielded a variety of other dinosaur fossils.   For example, a single, beautifully preserved tooth and a partial tail bone (caudal vertebra), which represent an armoured dinosaur.  These fossils lack any specific autapomorphies (distinct features or traits), they are regarded as indeterminate, although it could be speculated that these fragmentary fossils represent a member of the Nodosauridae family, possibly a member of the subfamily Polacanthinae.  A single, partial metacarpal from a sauropod has also been found.

Thrombolites – Preserved Evidence of Ancient Microbial Communities are Associated with the Purbeck Group Limestones

Thromobolite structures are associated with the Purbect Group

A thrombolite around a former tree stump (fossil forest, Lulworth, Dorset).  Preserved in the limestone – evidence of microbial communities that formed around tree stumps and other organic debris.   This photograph was probably taken at the fossil forest ledges that lie to the east of Lulworth Cove.

Picture Credit: University of Southampton

Numerous trace fossils consisting of dinosaur tracks have been identified.  Footprint fossils suggest  the presence of other types of dinosaurs such as small ornithopods within the Purbeck Group ecosystem, there is even a track-way which may have conceivably been left by the “Purbeck giant tyrannosauroid”.

The Purbeck Giant Tyrannosauroid

Dinosaur tracks (natural casts), along with a single metatarsal bone indicate the presence of large theropods.  Classifying this material has proved difficult.  It has been suggested that these trace fossils and the body fossil (single foot bone), could represent a member of the Tyrannosauroidea.  This theropod superfamily is now known to have been both geographically and temporally wild spread during the Late Jurassic and the Early Cretaceous.

Large Theropod Metatarsal (Purbeck Group)

A large metatarsal (foot bone) - the Purbeck Giant.

The “Purbeck Giant”, a single theropod metatarsal.

Picture Credit: NHM Data Portal

Evidence linking this fossil to the Maniraptora is limited.  Based on comparative studies of other theropod toe bones, it has been estimated that the “Purbeck giant” could have been around 6.7 metres long with a hip height of approximately 1.9 metres.  To put into perspective why the “Purbeck giant” can’t be a maniraptoran, comparative analysis based on the foot bones of members of the Maniraptora suggest that this toe bone represents a maniraptoran that would have measured in excess of 9 metres in length.  The fossil bone (metatarsal III), could have come from a tyrannosauroid.  Until the arrival of the carcharodontosaurids in this part of western Europe, the “Purbeck giant” was most likely the apex predator.   This specimen was collected from Durlston Bay on the Isle of Purbeck (Lulworth Formation subdivision of the Purbeck Group).

Outdated Reconstructions of the “Purbeck Giant” and Neovenator compared to a Human and Nuthetes

Purbeck Group theropods.

A scale drawing showing some of the theropods associated with the Purbeck Group.  Neovenator (grey), “Purbeck giant” light red, Nuthetes (N. destructor) dark red.  Note scale bar = 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Eotyrannu5 (Dan Folkes)

When allosauroids (carcharodontosaurids), recolonised what was to become the southern British Isles, there may have been a faunal turnover event with the carcharodontosaurids replacing members of the Tyrannosauroidea as apex and secondary predators.  The youngest strata associated with the Purbeck Group (the Durlston Formation), partly overlaps with the Ashdown Formation of the Wealden Group (both Berriasian in age).  The dinosaur fossils associated with the Ashdown Formation and the younger elements that between them form the Hastings Subgroup, represent a different dinosaur fauna than what is associated with the Purbeck Group.

Neovenator salerii – Known from the Isle of Wight (Barremian Stage)

A model of Neovenator.

“New Hunter” from the Isle of Wight – N. salerii.  Did these types of theropod dinosaur replace the Tyrannosauridea in western Europe?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The climate at the time would have been like the Late Jurassic and it gradually became more temperate.  The fossil forest ledges, preserved east of Lulworth Cove, represent an interesting and integral part of this ecosystem.  Imagine a coastal conifer forest, now cover the floor of it in mosses and algae and dried up seaweed.  The ingress of the tides permitted bacterial colonies to form large doughnut-shaped concretions around many tree stumps, these structures, termed thromobolites, can be observed today.  Some of these circular structures are big enough for a person to sit in.

Fossils of Mammals

The sedimentary rocks associated with the Purbeck Group has also yielded fossils of many other types of vertebrate including fragmentary jaws and teeth of several types of Early Cretaceous mammal: Early Placental Mammals Identified.  It is likely that pterosaurs were present, the fossil record of flying reptiles is particularly poor, but tracks preserved in sediments that represent intertidal flats have been ascribed to the ichnogenus Purbeckopus pentadactylus and these tracks suggest the presence of large pterosaurs.

The speed in which the carcharodontosaurids outcompeted tyrannosauroids, like the “Purbeck giant”, might lead to the conclusion that carcharodontosaurids were more successful, efficient and effective predators than either the Pantyrannosauria, a recently proposed clade consisting of all those theropods related to T. rex and Dilong paradoxus but not including Proceratosaurus bradleyi and the Proceratosauridae.  Owenodon was a bit like a blend between Camptosaurus and Mantellisaurus – fast but still of decent size.  Nuthetes would have mainly hunted the mammals, reptiles, baby dinosaurs and Echinodon.

Our thanks to Thomas for sending in the information which helped us to compile this article.

To read an article published in 2018, which provides information on the discovery of sauropod tracks on the Isle of Purbeck: Dorset Dinosaur Tracks Discovered

25 08, 2019

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

By | August 25th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Our thanks once again to young Thomas who has spent part of his summer holiday compiling blog articles for Everything Dinosaur.  In this, his second piece, he focuses on the theropod fauna of the Late Jurassic of the British Isles and in particular a dinosaur known as Metriacanthosaurus parkeri, fossils of which come from Dorset.

The Oxfordian in the UK is a rather mysterious faunal stage of the Late Jurassic, especially when it comes to what was living on land at the time.  There are four described dinosaurs from this time one of which lived later in the Oxfordian than the others.  These three are the metriacanthosaurid Metriacanthosaurus parkeri at 7.5 metres long and just over 2 metres tall, the megalosaurid Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis which had a juvenile length of 5 metres and hypothesised adult length of 6 metres and the ankylosaurian Priodontognathus phillipsii which was probably, only a few metres long, maybe 2 to 3 metres long.

Approximate Size Comparisons of Late Jurassic British Theropods

Late Jurassic theropods size comparison.

Size comparison of Late Jurassic theropods.

Image credit: Eotyrannu5 (Dan Folkes)

Key

red = Juratyrant langhami

tan = Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis

blue = “Megalosaur”

green = Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Note – scale bar = 1 metre and J. langhami and the blue “Megalosaur” are dated to approximately the same time (Late Jurassic).

Indeterminate Dinosaur Fossil Remains

Strata associated with the Oxfordian faunal stage, (early Late Jurassic), yields fragmentary, indeterminate dinosaur remains including an indeterminate sauropod found nearby to Metriacanthosaurus, a femur of a juvenile stegosaur and a large tooth from North Yorkshire belonging to a theropod, possibly metriacanthosaurid in nature.  In addition, footprints have been found indicating other types of dinosaur present and based on fossil discoveries associated with strata from geologically older and slightly younger rocks than those ascribed to the Oxfordian, it can be concluded that megalosaurine megalosaurids, tyrannosauroids and ornithopods would have lived in the Oxfordian too, we just haven’t found them yet.

A Scale Drawing of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Scale drawing of Metriacanthosaurus.

A scale drawing of the Theropod dinosaur Metriacanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The British Isles During the Late Jurassic

The ecology of the time is also mysterious.  We know for certain that the UK was separated into a series of islands, many of the islands were close enough to allow dinosaurs like Metriacanthosaurus and Eustreptospondylus to travel between them.  However to reconstruct the flora and habitat we can look back to the Callovian stage as its likely the environment wasn’t too different from then which allows for the conclusion to be drawn that the islands were semi-tropical and lush in plant life with forests located in the middle of the islands spreading outwards and ending near or in some places at the coast.  Mixed in with the forests would have been rivers, streams, small lakes, swamps, floodplains, open woodland areas closer to the coast and at the coast, estuaries, marshes, ooid beaches, bars, lagoons, coves and other coastal structures.

A Seasonal Climate

The dry season on the islands would have been long and dry with humid areas and during the wet season, the islands would have had to endure harsh tropical storms with hurricane force winds.  Plant life consisted of pollen and spore releasing plants, gymnosperms like ginkgoes, conifers and cycads, ferns, other pteridophytes along with other plants such as horsetails.  The climate would have been warm and subtropical to tropical.

Ooid Beaches – an Explanation and Metriacanthosaurus

For context, ooid beaches are where beaches are made of small, fine sand-like granules of calcium carbonate, the largest quarry in the UK (Ketton Quarry), has a portion of it that dates to just before the Oxfordian stage and might help unravel the mystery behind the Oxfordian of Britain.  Metriacanthosaurus was most likely the apex predator of the time, hunting anything from smaller theropods to perhaps the sauropod dinosaurs it coexisted with, it would have had powerful jaws with large sharp teeth and long powerful arms tipped with large hand claws for grasping prey. Metriacanthosaurus’s raised neural spinal ridge was probably used for extra back muscle attachment anchor points allowing the animal to be physically stronger than other similarly sized theropods of the time, although this assessment remains largely speculative.  Metriacanthosaurus means “moderately-spined lizard”.

The CollectA Prehistoric Life Metriacanthosaurus parkeri Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Metriacanthosaurus.

“Parker’s moderately-spined lizard”.  This dinosaur was named after its tall neural spines.

Eustreptospondylus is a rather unique megalosaur, it may have been a lot like today’s Komodo dragon frequenting many islands combing beaches, hunting down smaller animals, perhaps raiding nests of larger dinosaurs and possibly even hunting fish.  Despite Eustreptospondylus’s hypothesised adult size, it would have still been prey for the likes of Metriacanthosaurus.  A specimen of another dinosaur found from this geological time is an ankylosaur called Priodontognathus.  It was around 2 to 3 metres long and is known from Yorkshire.

Our thanks once again to Thomas for sending in his article to us.

To read the first article submitted by Thomas: The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur.”

20 06, 2019

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

By | June 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Drawings and Letters from Year 2 (Great Wood Primary School)

Our thanks to the budding scientists at Great Wood Primary School in Morecambe (Lancashire), who sent into our offices some wonderful dinosaur illustrations and a set of beautifully written letters explaining how much they enjoyed their recent dinosaur workshop with one of our team members.  As part of our extension activity suggestions with the Year 2 classes we challenged them to design their very own prehistoric animal.  We received lots of amazing dinosaur designs.

A Selection of Letters from the Children – Some Featured Illustrations of Imaginary Prehistoric Animals

Letters from Year 2 children.

A selection of letters received from the eager young palaeontologists at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe, Lancashire).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Writing Thank You Letters

The teachers very kindly sent in thank you letters that the children had written.  Writing a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur is a great way for the teaching team to check learning and understanding following a recounting activity.  This letter writing exercise helps young learners practice sentence sequencing, planning their composition, as well as spelling and the layout and format of a letter.  The children can also read their letters out aloud as part of a further teaching activity within the classroom.

A Very Colourful Dinosaur Design with Lots of Wonderful Labels

Year 2 children draw dinosaurs.

A very colourful prehistoric animal produced by a Year 2 child at Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Children Produced Letters and Drawings

Dinosaur drawing and letter, Year 2.

Jessica’s dinosaur drawing and letter (Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We try to provide additional teaching resources when we visit a school to deliver a dinosaur themed workshop.  In addition, during our workshop with the class the opportunity often arises to challenge the children to produce a piece of work, such as their very own dinosaur design or to write a thank you letter.  In this way, we are providing extension ideas to the teaching team and supporting the teacher’s scheme of work.”

A Very Spiky Dinosaur Design

Dinosaur illustration from Stacey (Year 2).

Stacy chose to draw a green, armoured dinosaur with a very spiky tail.

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

Our thanks once again to the teaching team and the children in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School for taking the time and trouble to send into us examples of their work.  Congratulations to you all!

Dinosaurs with Spiky Tails was a Common Characteristic Amongst the Children’s Dinosaur Designs

Dinosaur illustration (Alice in Year 2)

A colourful dinosaur drawing from Alice in Year 2 at Great Wood Primary School).

Picture Credit: Great Wood Primary School (Morecambe)

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