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

13 01, 2022

Everything Dinosaur Receives a Little Thank You

By | January 13th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Earlier this month (January 2nd, 2022), Everything Dinosaur published the fantastic news that Dorset Council had approved the erection of a bronze statue honouring Mary Anning at Lyme Regis on the famous “Jurassic Coast”. Team members at Everything Dinosaur have supported the charity “Mary Anning Rocks” that was set up to raise funds and to campaign for a permanent memorial to Mary Anning to be established.

To read our earlier post about the Dorset Council approval and to see images of the proposed statue: Mary Anning Statue Approved by Dorset Council.

As a small token of the charity’s gratitude, we received a little note and a gift.

Everything Dinosaur is thanked for their campaign support.
Everything Dinosaur is thanked for their support of the Mary Anning Rocks campaign to have a statue erected in Lyme Regis to honour the pioneering palaeontologist and fossil collector Mary Anning.

Honouring a Pioneering Palaeontologist

Our chum, Brandon Lennon who leads fossil walks at Lyme Regis and like Mary Anning before him, sells fossils that he finds on the beaches around Lyme Regis, sent us the gift which includes a personal thank you from the patrons of the charity and an informative booklet on Mary Anning’s life and work written by Nigel J. Clarke.

Brandon Lennon, a patron of the charity himself wrote:

“Thanks so much for all your help, in the early days”

Everything Dinosaur was one of the first organisations from outside Lyme Regis to back the campaign and to help raise awareness. Since the charity’s inception, Everything Dinosaur has helped to promote and support the fundraising.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is wonderful to have seen the plans for a statue come to fruition. The unveiling will probably take place in the late spring, we would love to be at the event but due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to make plans to visit Lyme Regis at this time. We congratulate the organisers and fundraisers for all their hard work in ensuring a permanent memorial to Mary Anning. Her statue will remind all the visitors to the area of her contribution to the nascent science of palaeontology and will help to inspire the next generation of scientists”.

Mary Anning - A life on the rocks
The inside front cover of the Mary Anning booklet by Nigel J. Clarke (edited by Sue Clarke) features the iconic portrait of Mary Anning and her dog Tray and the “Sea Sells Seashells” poem which is believed to have been inspired by Mary’s fossil finds.
4 01, 2022

Aiding an Ammonite

By | January 4th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur, try their best to help their customers. Our knowledgeable staff can provide lots of information and advice when it comes to prehistoric animals, but our contacts and connections are not just confined to models and model collecting.

For example, when a customer enquired about getting a fossil ammonite that he had found prepared and cleaned, we were able to provide assistance.

Fossil ammonite (geological hammer provides scale).
Large ammonites preserved on the beach. Everything Dinosaur team members get asked all sorts of questions related to dinosaurs and fossils. They can even point customers in the direction of professional fossil preparators.

A Mollusc Fossil from the Midlands

The Everything Dinosaur customer explained that they had found an ammonite fossil when visiting a large construction site in the midlands (UK). The mollusc fossil dates from the Jurassic and they wanted to have it cleaned and conserved, with the iron pyrites elements that did not constitute the fossil removed.

We were able to text them with the contact details of a talented nearby preparator who was very experienced in cleaning and preparing ammonites and had probably worked on a few examples from the same location.

An ammonite fossil find.
An ammonite partially eroded out of a nodule. We think this is an example of Dactylioceras commune. A professional fossil preparator can turn this specimen into a stunning display piece.

We are happy to help with customer’s enquiries and do our best to put them in touch with professionals who can assist them with their fossil collections.

3 12, 2021

Festive Theropod Gift Ideas

By | December 3rd, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page|0 Comments

Searching for an unusual festive gift for a dinosaur fanatic can be a bit of a challenge. However, those hard-working and dedicated staff at Wollaton Hall, currently curating the Titus the T. rex is King exhibition, have it all in hand.

If you are looking for new and exciting stocking filler present ideas for dinosaur fans of all ages, look no further with Titus T. rex is King unique Christmas gift vouchers and official merchandise.

Titus the T. rex Christmas gift experience
Have yourself a “roarsome” Christmas and take the stress out of looking for an unusual festive gift for the dinosaur fanatic(s) in your life, with a range of gift vouchers and official Titus the T. rex is King merchandise. Picture credit: Wollaton Hall.

For Dinosaur Fans of All Ages

This festive season, give a gift like no other with a truly unique experience to visit the first real Tyrannosaurus rex to be exhibited in England for over a hundred years.

For a limited period up until, Friday 24th December – exclusive festive-themed ticket vouchers will be available to purchase from the Wollaton Hall website. To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, the last chance to purchase the vouchers will be Sunday December 12th.

Visit the Wollaton Hall website to learn more about the Christmas 2021 offers: Visit Wollaton Hall website.

A range of special merchandise developed to accompany the exhibition is also available, including a limited-edition guidebook which provides a comprehensive overview of the discovery of Titus, the on-going research into the specimen and gives a glimpse of life 66 million years ago in the Hell Creek of Montana. There are plenty of stocking fillers including pens, bags, t-shirts and a limited-edition hardback companion guide – all ideal for dinosaur lovers of all ages.

Titus the T. rex Skull and Jaws
The skull of the T. rex exhibit on display at Wollaton Hall until August 2022.

The Titus: T. rex is King exhibition at Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum (Nottingham), which runs until August 2022, is a once in a lifetime experience and the perfect gift for friends and family of all ages.

General tickets for TITUS T. REX IS KING are on sale now, set at £12 for an adult, £8 for a child (under 16 years), students and concessions, £32 for a family ticket (two adults and two children under 16 years) and under 3s and carers have no entry fees to pay. Excludes booking fee.

2 10, 2021

T. rex Joins in Halloween Fun

By | October 2nd, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page|0 Comments

All Hallows Eve is fast approaching. Halloween a time of spooky stories, murderous monsters and scary skeletons, all harmless fun but 66 million years ago real monsters roamed our planet and one of the most frightening of them all was Tyrannosaurus rex, a giant carnivorous dinosaur that could have swallowed a small child in one gulp!

Visitors to Wollaton Park in Nottinghamshire will get the chance to experience the fearsome T. rex up close as “Titus the T. rex is King” exhibit will be open this October half-term. Staff members have laid on a separate spooky skeleton trail in the grounds and the Deer Park, as the stunning Grade I listed mansion gets ready for the bewitching hours.

Titus the T. rex Halloween fun at Wollaton Hall
This Halloween take time out to take in a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton at Wollaton Hall.

“Titus the T. rex is King” Exhibition

Covering some 4,000 square feet across four exhibition galleries, visitors to the “Titus the T. rex is King” exhibit will get the chance to view a skeleton of the “tyrant lizard king”, complete with its terrifying, bone-crushing teeth. Experience the excavation, fossil study and preparation, examination and the rebuilding of one of the largest, land predators of all time. Some monsters might be imaginary, but this cleverly constructed exhibition tells the story of a living animal and the actual T. rex fossil bones incorporated within the display provide an insight into the life of an apex predator, a giant reptile, the last of its kind, the result of over 100 million years of evolution which resulted in a 7-tonne dinosaur with super senses tuned to hunting and killing.

Titus the T.rex exhibit
The spectacular Titus the T. rex exhibit at Wollaton Hall.

A Bone-chilling Journey of Discovery

Set to excite and engage all ages with digital and interactive virtual media displays, the exhibition allows visitors to dig for dinosaur bones, unpack the skeleton anatomically and re-create Titus. To further prepare young visitors for perhaps encountering a terrifying T. rex one day, Wollaton Hall’s Learning & Education team are running a series of dinosaur themed Family Workshops which will be available during the October half-term.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, commented:

“We are thrilled that the exhibition Titus: T. rex is King enables families to experience a real life skeleton of a T. rex, and discover and explore Natural History, evolution and the environment. It has been enjoyed by local residents and visitors from far afield, and if you haven’t visited already, what better time to see the skeleton of a giant dinosaur than at Halloween!”

Halloween Fun at Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Park will also see the return of the Traditional Rides fair with a Halloween twist and fair food, including mushy peas, burgers, hot dogs, bonfire marshmallow milkshakes and pumpkin spiced lattes in the café kiosk for a variety of Halloween fun this October half-term.

Rachael Evans, Museums Development Manager at Nottingham City Museums added:

“Coming face to face with an actual T. rex is an experience very few in the world can claim. Even in skeleton form, Titus’ power and presence is unmistakable – we have had to dedicate the largest room at Wollaton Hall just to him alone. Titus T. rex is King will take you on a truly unique journey discovering all there is to know about this dinosaur – the largest predator in its ecosystem. The sheer size and scale of the skeleton takes your breath away. It is a truly an amazing discovery and an absolute must-see.”

Can you spot the prehistoric animals? Can you find “Titus the T. rex”?

Tickets and Details

Tickets for “Titus T. rex is King” are on sale now (October 2021). Priced at £13 for an adult, £8.75 for a child (under 16 years), students and concessions, £34 for a family ticket (two adults and two children under 16 years) and under 3s and carers have no entry fees to pay. (Includes booking fee).

Family Workshops tickets vary based on the activity. The ‘skeleton’ outdoor trail is available in Wollaton Hall’s shops & cafés for £2.

For further information and for ticket details: Wollaton Hall “Titus T. rex is King” Exhibition.

1 09, 2021

Exclusive T. rex Secret Science Symposium

By | September 1st, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Wollaton Hall’s resident T. rex will provide the impressive backdrop to a trio of exclusive palaeontology themed workshops taking place on Saturday 25th September (2021). Organised as part of the “Titus: T. rex is King” exhibition that Everything Dinosaur team members were lucky enough to visit back in July, ticket holders will be able to meet experts and get access to presentations and workshops and participate in a private guided tour of the giant Tyrannosaurus rex exhibit led by Nottingham’s resident T. rex expert Martin Nunn.

Titus the T.rex exhibit
The spectacular Titus the T. rex exhibit at Wollaton Hall. On Saturday 25th September (2021), three interactive science workshops will be delivered by a panel of experts specially assembled to mark the first time in a hundred years that real T. rex fossils have been put on display in England.

Limited Numbers of Tickets Available

The Prehistoric Secret Science Show for European Researchers’ Night is open to adults and children (over the age of ten) and numbers will be limited. The workshops will run from 2pm until 6.30pm and they have been designed to offer the opportunity for those eager to learn more about prehistoric life to delve deeper into the research that is currently taking place.

Organisers of the “Titus: T. rex is King” exhibition report that the exhibition has been very popular over the summer with ticket sales for the rest of the year continuing to exceed expectations. Such is the level of interest in dinosaurs and prehistoric animals that the Wollaton Hall staff in collaboration with academics and researchers based in the Midlands, wanted to do more to help inspire and educate the next generation of scientists. Speakers at this special event will include marine reptile expert and author Dr Adam Smith, pterosaur aficionado and palaeobiologist Dr Jordan Bestwick (University of Birmingham), along with Nottingham University’s Dr Susannah Lydon, (Assistant Professor in Plant Science) who will deliver a presentation entitled “Plants from the Time of T. rex”.

Titus: T. rex is King
If you are in the dark about the latest research on the Dinosauria, the workshops will shed light on some of the ground-breaking studies currently being undertaken.

A Packed Programme

The packed programme will include:

  • “Prehistoric animals and what is swimming now” by Dr Tom Hartman, Programme Chair of the Masters in Biological Photography and Imaging and Tim Sexton, Species and Recording Officer from Rutland Water Nature Reserve.
  • Palaeoartist Jed Taylor, will be running a T. rex palaeoart workshop – how to create dinosaur illustrations with the help of the latest scientific knowledge.
  • “Plants from the time of T. rex” by palaeobotanist Dr Susannah Lydon, Assistant Professor in Plant Science at the University of Nottingham.
  • A presentation from palaeontologist Dr Adam Smith and author Jonathan Emmett, who will be discussing their latest foray into the world of children’s books – “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.
  • A talk by Dr Barry Lomax (Nottingham University), an expert on how our planet’s climate has changed over Deep Time.
  • A presentation from palaeobiologist Dr Jordan Bestwick.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, commented:

“We are thrilled that the Titus: T. rex is King has been so successful that it has enabled the Nottingham City Museums to create a symposium in September, offering expert talks and workshops in palaeontology. Witnessing Titus the T. rex and hearing from specialists will be a unique experience allowing visitors for Nottingham and beyond to delve into the world of a T. rex and discover palaeontology.”

Event Details

The Prehistoric Secret Science Show for European Researchers’ Night.
Saturday September 25th, 2:00pm – 6:30pm.
Ticket Price is £25.00 for an adult which includes a guidebook and bag, and £18.00 for a child which includes a pencil case and bag (plus booking fee).

For further information and to purchase tickets: Prehistoric Secret Science Show.

10 07, 2021

Drawing Prehistoric Fish

By | July 10th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

A few days ago, Everything Dinosaur published a drawing of the marine reptile Elasmosaurus that we had commissioned. Today, we publish an illustration of the monstrous fish that was a contemporary of Elasmosaurus, another resident of “Hell’s Aquarium” otherwise known as the Western Interior Seaway. The fish is Xiphactinus and we have commissioned an illustration of this predator as we prepare for the arrival of the 1:40 scale CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus replica in a few weeks’ time.

Xiphactinus drawing
The Xiphactinus drawing that was commissioned by Everything Dinosaur as the company prepares for the arrival of the CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus 1:40 scale replica.

Xiphactinus “Sword Ray”

Xiphactinus was a large, bony fish that was both geographically and temporally widespread. The genus name is from the Latin and Greek and translates as “sword ray”, with some specimens over six metres in length, this was one very voracious predator and prehistoric animal model collectors have been keen to get a figure of Xiphactinus introduced into a mainstream model series.

CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus model.
The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Xiphactinus prehistoric fish model. A fantastic replica of a very formidable marine predator.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that this figure, along with the other remaining new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal figures should be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in August or thereabouts.

The spokesperson went onto explain that the Xiphactinus (pronounced Zee-fak-tin-us), drawing would be used in a fact sheet that would be sent out with purchases of this CollectA model.

Fact sheets prepared for the Beasts of the Mesozoic range of models.
A collection of fact sheets created by Everything Dinosaur. These fact sheets are sent out free of charge to accompany sales of prehistoric animal models and figures.

Xiphactinus and Elasmosaurus

As well as being contemporaries in the marine biota of the Western Interior Seaway, Everything Dinosaur expects these two models to arrive at their UK warehouse at the same time. These figures will no doubt provide double delight for fans of marine monsters.

To view the range of not to scale prehistoric animal models in the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Life Series: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Life.

To view the range of scale prehistoric animal models produced by CollectA and available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe and Supreme Models.

5 07, 2021

Preparing for Elasmosaurus

By | July 5th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

We are expecting the rest of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models to be in stock in a few weeks’ time. As team members at Everything Dinosaur prepare for their arrival, we have been updating our illustration of Elasmosaurus on our Elasmosaurus fact sheet.

Everything Dinosaur commissions illustrations of prehistoric animals – just one of the many ways in which we support the palaeoart community.

Elasmosaurus scale drawing
The Elasmosaurus scale drawing commissioned by Everything Dinosaur as the company’s fact sheet is updated.

A Change in the Tail

Observant readers will spot that the tail of our Elasmosaurus has been given a fin. This reflects some of the latest research into this Late Cretaceous, long-necked member of the Plesiosauria. The CollectA Elasmosaurus has also been given a tail fluke. Back in November 2020, when we announced the new for 2021 CollectA figures we created a short video highlighting the fossil evidence that supports the presence of a caudal fluke in members of the Plesiosauria.

To read more about this: New Prehistoric Animal Models for 2021 from CollectA (Part 3).

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Elasmosaurus model.
CollectA Elasmosaurus marine reptile model. A new for 2021 marine reptile model from CollectA.

Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheets

For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we supply, Everything Dinosaur researches and writes a fact sheet on that creature. These fact sheets are then sent out free to our customers with their model purchases. This is one of the ways in which team members help to inform and educate the public about the amazing animals that once existed on our planet.

Everything Dinosaur fact sheets, supplied with prehistoric animal models.
The unboxing video features some Everything Dinosaur fact sheets. Dinosaur fans and model collectors appreciate the free fact sheets that we supply. Picture credit: JurassicCollectables.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Model Range

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs model range contains a wide variety of prehistoric creatures including lots of marine reptile models including the elasmosaurid Hydrotherosaurus. Team members are looking forward to the arrival of the new CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Elasmosaurus replica and sending out free fact sheets with purchases.

To view the range of CollectA Age of Dinosaur figures in stock: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

22 04, 2021

Studying Spinosaurus

By | April 22nd, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been asked to cast their expert eyes over a display board that focusses on Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus aegyptiacus). Spinosaurus has become an increasingly popular dinosaur with children since it featured as the main protagonist in the third of the “Jurassic Park” films – “Jurassic Park III” that was released in 2001.

The public profile of this dinosaur was also boosted when it was featured in the first episode of the six-part BBC documentary series “Planet Dinosaur” that first aired ten years ago (2011).

From paddler to swimming the “evolving” image of Spinosaurus. The image (above) is from the BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur” that first aired in 2011. Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/BBC.

“Spiny or Thorn Lizard”

Known from the Late Cretaceous of North Africa (Cenomanian faunal stage), Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) is regarded by many palaeontologists as the largest theropod dinosaur known to science. Its exact size remains controversial with various size estimates and assessments of body mass having been made. Several studies have indicated that this carnivore could have reached lengths in excess of 15 metres and perhaps weighed as much as 20 tonnes.

The huge neural spines associated with Spinosaurus
A picture of those extended neural processes that may have supported a sail-like structure or perhaps a fleshy hump. Picture Credit: Washington University in St. Louis

A Dinosaur that Behaved Like a Crocodile

Much of what we know about Spinosaurus comes from research carried out over the last twenty-five years. Although it was named and scientifically described over a hundred years ago.

Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus), was described in 1915 by the famous German palaeontologist Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach based on fragmentary fossils found in series of expeditions to the Bahariya depression in the Western Desert of Egypt. Much of the fossil material collected during these expeditions was destroyed by allied bombing raids in World War II.

Everything Dinosaur team members have updated the information panel for the exhibition. The panel provides readers with details of some of the most recent research that suggests that Spinosaurus was quadrupedal and semi-aquatic.

Swimming Spinosaurus 2020
A pair of spinosaurids hunting the giant, prehistoric sawfish Onchopristis. Picture Credit: Davide Bonadonna/National Geographic.

The function of the enormous sail remains a mystery. This structure was formed by elongated spines that were extensions of the back vertebrae. The sail may have played a role in helping this large dinosaur keep cool (thermoregulation). It also may have played a role in visual communication between spinosaurs. The spines could even have supported a fleshy hump that stored reserves of fat. The display panel we have helped to prepare will help to tell the story of how our perceptions regarding “Spiny or Thorn Lizard” has changed over the years.

13 02, 2021

Providing Data on Baryonyx

By | February 13th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

Producing a Display Board About Baryonyx

Our project work continues despite the lockdown (COVID-19).  For example, in anticipation of outdoor events and exhibitions in the UK starting up again in the summer of 2021 an events company has requested the assistance of Everything Dinosaur team members to help them provide suitable dinosaur-themed data for a series of prehistoric animal display boards being prepared for an exhibition.

One of the theropods we have been asked to help with is Baryonyx (B. walkeri), the first fossils of which were brought to the attention of science back in 1983.  This dinosaur was formally described in 1986 (Charig and Milner).

A Model of the Theropod Dinosaur Baryonyx (B. walkeri)

CollectA Baryonyx dinosaur model.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Baryonyx dinosaur model, photographed outside.  A recently introduced model of Baryonyx with a human figure providing an approximate scale.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Information for the Display Board

Name: Baryonyx (B. walkeri).
Means: Heavy Claw.
Period: Early Cretaceous, about 125 million years ago.
Where have Baryonyx fossils been found: England, Spain, (Europe).

In 1983, amateur fossil hunter, William Walker discovered parts of a giant claw, a claw bone and a tail bone whilst exploring a clay pit in Ockley, Surrey.  Palaeontologists from the British Museum (now known as the Natural History Museum) in London were despatched to investigate and this led to the recovery of approximately 70% of the skeleton of a new type of theropod dinosaur.  The huge claw, after which Baryonyx is named, measures over 30 cm along its curve.  It is possible that Baryonyx used this claw to hook fish out of water, while hunting on riverbanks.  The fossils found in the Surrey clay pit came from a dinosaur that was not fully grown.  Baryonyx could have measured up to 9.5 metres long, 2.5 metres high at the hips and probably weighed over 2 tonnes.

Dinosaurs Associated with the Wealden Group

A reconstruction of the Isle of Wight in the Lower Cretaceous

The prehistoric animals associated with the Wealden Group (Isle of Wight).  A Baryonyx feasts on the carcase of an Iguanodon, whilst a herd of sauropods (Pelorosaurus) passes by on the right.  The Baryonyx may not have too long to feed as a Neovenator approaches from the left.

Picture Credit: John Sibbick

9 02, 2021

Stegosaurus Information Panel

By | February 9th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

Stegosaurus Information Panel

As part of our on-going work with an events management company Everything Dinosaur team members have been asked to prepare an information panel on Stegosaurus for an exhibition.  Despite being one of the most popular of all the dinosaurs and a “terrible lizard” that the public find very easy to recognise, this genus has proved to be problematical for palaeontologists and ever since the first Stegosaurus was scientifically described back in 1877 by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, the stegosaur family have gone through several revisions.

The Bullyland Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model – Stegosaurus is One of the Most Famous of All the Dinosaurs

Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

The Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.  An iconic replica of a famous dinosaur that because of its plates and spiky tail is easy to identify for members of the public.  However, its taxonomic history has been far from straight forward.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In surveys conducted by Everything Dinosaur, to determine favourite prehistoric animals, Stegosaurus has been placed as high as three, with only Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops beating it in terms of popularity.  Putting together a concise yet informative display panel for Stegosaurus represented quite a challenge.

The Stegosaurus Information Panel

Name: Stegosaurus

Means: Roof Lizard

Period: Late Jurassic, about 155-150 million years ago

Where have Stegosaurus Fossils been Found? Colorado, Utah and Wyoming in the USA and Portugal (Europe)

Stegosaurus was a slow-moving herbivorous quadruped and is perhaps one of the easiest dinosaurs to recognise thanks to its plates and tail spikes.  However, ever since the first fossils of this iconic dinosaur were found in 1877 Stegosaurus has caused much controversy.  For example, the famous American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, the first scientist to describe Stegosaurus, thought that the plates resembled the large flat bones that formed the shells of some types of prehistoric sea turtle.  Marsh suggested that Stegosaurus was an aquatic animal.  It was not until 1891, after the discovery of several more specimens that the first skeletal reconstruction of Stegosaurus was completed.  The hind limbs are much longer than the front limbs and it has been suggested that Stegosaurus could have reared up so it could feed on the branches of trees.

“Sophie” the Stegosaurus a Star Attraction at the London Natural History Museum

Sophie the Stegosaurus at the London Natural History Museum

Sophie the Stegosaurus (S. stenops), a star exhibit at the London Natural History Museum.  The most complete Stegosaurus specimen known to science.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Scientists are still debating what the bony plates were used for and how exactly they were arranged along the back.  The plates are not attached to the spine but held in place with cartilage, tendons and muscles.  It is thought that the plates were arranged in two alternating rows running down the back with the largest plates (up to 1 metre high), located over the hips.  In this position the plates would have provided very little protection, it seems more likely that they played a role in species recognition or display behaviour.  The bony plates may also have helped maintain body temperature by acting as heat regulators.  The largest species measured around 9 metres in length and weighed more than 3 tonnes.  Stegosaurus also had two pairs of spikes on the end of its tail. These were probably defensive weapons.

To read an article about the research into the most complete Stegosaurus (S. stenops) specimen known to science: “Sophie” the Stegosaurus at 1.6 tonnes.

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