All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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22 03, 2020

We have Frogspawn in our Office Pond

By | March 22nd, 2020|Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Frogspawn Laid on 19th March (2020)

These might be challenging times for us humans (Homo sapiens), what with all the concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, but at least for some animals it is business as usual.  We have frogspawn in our office pond!  The first eggs were laid in the early morning of the 19th March.  We normally have frogspawn around the third week of March in our part of the world, the date of laying can vary by a couple of weeks, depending on the weather and the type of winter we have had.  However, the spawning usually takes place around this time of year (third week of March).

The First Frogspawn Spotted in the Office Pond Early on the 19th March 2020

Frogspawn in the office pond at Everything Dinosaur (March 19th 2020).

The first batch of frogspawn laid in the office pond (March 19th 2020).  The photograph was taken a few minutes after 8am in the morning.  From the size of the frogspawn we think that these are the eggs from a single female and that they had only just been laid.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

We have counted a total of seven frogs in the pond, the majority were males.  We tend to have the males arriving first and the females taking up residence a little time later (after all, the females tend to be pounced upon as soon as they enter the pond).  The frogs are all Common frogs (Rana temporaria), their name is a bit of a misnomer these days, as like many amphibians, they are becoming increasingly rare.

More Frogspawn was Laid that Morning (March 19th 2020)

Frogspawn spotted in the office pond - March 19th 2020.

More frogspawn laid on the morning of 19th March 2020.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur estimate that the egg masses represent the eggs from two or three females.  We shall continue to carefully monitor the pond (taking care not to disturb the frogs too much), to see if more eggs will be laid.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As we cope with the current restrictions on our lives due to the coronavirus crisis, we will be able to observe how the tadpoles are getting on – something for us to think about in these challenging times.  At least the frogs are behaving as normal, for them at least, it is business as usual.

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21 03, 2020

Everything Dinosaur and Fossil Workshops Postponed

By | March 21st, 2020|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur and Fossil Workshops Postponed

The planned dinosaur and fossil themed workshops that were scheduled to take place this weekend (Saturday, 21st March, 2020) have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.  These events had proved to be extremely popular but with the growing concern over coronavirus, staff at Rochdale Borough Council responsible for the “Dippy the Dinosaur” exhibition, have reluctantly decided to postpone these workshops along with all the other related exhibition events and activities.

Everything Dinosaur Was Conducting a Series of Family Themed Workshops and Other Activities

Everything Dinosaur workshops cancelled for March 21st (2020).

Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil themed workshops planned for the “Dippy on Tour” exhibition have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A statement posted on the Borough Council’s “The Dippy Experience” website explains the reasoning behind the suspension of planned events related to the dinosaur exhibition:

“In light of the current situation we’ve taken the difficult decision to suspend Dippy in Rochdale.  The health and safety of our residents and visitors must come first and now is the time to take a pause.  We will review the possibility of reopening Dippy on Tour in Rochdale in the upcoming months.”

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Families are at the centre of everything we do and this is particularly important during these challenging times.  We have been monitoring the situation very closely and we fully understand and support the decision taken.  The hands-on nature of our fossil handling activities would make operating the workshops extremely difficult given the current restrictions.  However, we have moth-balled all the various activities that we had planned and prepared, these will be stored at one of our warehouses, so that before “Dippy” leaves the northwest of England, we could deliver the workshops we promised.”

A Chance to Reschedule the Dinosaur and Fossil Workshops

A spokesperson from Rochdale Borough Council thanked the team members at Everything Dinosaur for their efforts so far and stated that the Council would love to welcome Everything Dinosaur back, rescheduling later on in the year.

We shall see how things go, but dates in our busy diaries can be switched around and changed over to accommodate the eager young palaeontologists of the northwest of England.

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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.

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19 03, 2020

Canadian Fish Fossil Lends Palaeontologists a Helping Hand

By | March 19th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fish Fossil Helps to Demonstrate How Fins Turned into Hands

A team of international scientists including researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide (South Australia) and the Université du Québec à Rimouski (Canada), have scanned the fossilised remains of an ancient fish with tetrapod tendencies to reveal evidence of how the limbs of fish evolved into the terrestrial appendages of land animals.  The fossilised remains date from the Late Devonian and are approximately 380 million years old.  The fossil is a specimen of Elpistostege (E. watsoni), the discovery of a much more complete skeleton of this strange animal gave the researchers the opportunity to analyse the body plan of this predator in much greater detail than previously.

A Near Complete Specimen of Elpistostege watsoni with Accompanying Line Drawing

Elpistostege watsoni fossil with interpretive drawing and life reconstruction.

The near complete Elpistostege specimen with line drawing showing the outline of the skeleton and a life reconstruction.  The research was conducted on a fossil specimen that had been discovered in 2010.

Picture Credit: South Australia Leads/Flinders University

Strategic Professor in Palaeontology (Finders University), Professor John Long, announced the discovery of the near complete fossil specimen in the journal “Nature”.  Commenting on the significance of the fossil find, he stated that the specimen “reveals extraordinary new information about the evolution of the vertebrate hand.”

High Energy X-Rays to Assess Fin Structure

The research team bombarded the fossil specimen with high energy X-rays to reveal the presence of limb and wrist bones hidden in the fins.  Evidence of finger-like bones could also be made out.

The Professor added:

“This is the first time that we have unequivocally discovered fingers locked in a fin with fin-rays in any known fish.  The articulating digits in the fin are like the finger bones found in the hands of most animals.  This finding pushes back the origin of digits in vertebrates to the fish level and tells us that the patterning for the vertebrate hand was first developed deep in evolution, just before fishes left the water.”

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Devonian Elpistostege

Elpistostege life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of Elpistostege.

Picture Credit: Miguasha National Park/Johanne Kerr and François Miville-Deschênes

The high resolution scans revealed the presence of a humerus (upper arm bone), the radius and ulna (the two bones from the forearm), carpal bones from the wrist and the presence of bones that resembled digits.  The fossil specimen measures 1.57 metres in length.  It comes from exposures of the Escuminac Formation located in the Canadian province of Quebec.  The strata represent a brackish water, estuarine environment and palaeontologists have long speculated that such a habitat may have been one of the driving forces behind the evolution of limbs capable of terrestrial locomotion in certain types of ancient fish.  The teeth in the broad jaw suggest that Elpistostege was an apex hypercarnivore, but whether it fed on other fish or ventured out onto land to grab insects and arthropods on the shore (as indicated by the position of the eyes at the top of the head suggesting an ambush predator), remains unknown.

Co-author of the scientific paper Richard Cloutier (Université du Québec à Rimouski), commented that over the last ten years or so, fossils representing the fish-to-tetrapod transition had helped palaeontologists to gain a better understanding about this important stage in vertebrate evolution.

He added:

“The origin of digits relates to developing the capability for the fish to support its weight in shallow water and for short trips out on land.  The increased number of small bones in the fin allows more planes of flexibility to spread out the weight through the fin.”

In previous studies, Dr Cloutier had postulated that Elpistostege might represent the most primitive tetrapod known to science, an accolade currently held by the closely related Tiktaalik, fossils of which come from northern Canada (Ellesmere Island).

Australian Professor John Long has dedicated much of his academic career to studying Devonian fish and the early stages of the evolution of the modern tetrapod body plan.

Here are some blog articles that provide more details of his research: The Early Evolutionary History of Sharks.

A Placoderm “Platypus”: Ancient Placoderm from Australia.

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18 03, 2020

Every Day Everything Dinosaur Will Give Away a Lucky Charm

By | March 18th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Golden Rat Lucky Charm Giveaway with Everything Dinosaur

Things might be a little difficult right now due to the coronavirus outbreak, but team members at Everything Dinosaur are determined to keep cheerful and are trying to spread a little joy and happiness in these challenging times.  Take for example, an initiative started this week to include a Mojo Fun golden rat lucky charm as a free gift to one Everything Dinosaur customer each day.

The Beautiful Mojo Fun Golden Rat Lucky Charm Key Ring

Mojo Fun lucky charm key ring - golden rat.

The beautiful Mojo Fun lucky charm rat key ring.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Giving Away Mojo Fun Golden Rat Lucky Charms

In the Chinese lunar calendar, the year 2020 is the year of rat.  The rat in the Chinese zodiac is seen as a sign of surplus, good prospects and wealth.  The rat is strongly linked to the family in Chinese culture (a consequence of this rodent’s ability to breed rapidly), rats are seen as successful, adaptable but happy to lead a quiet, peaceful existence.

Each year for the past few years, Mojo Fun has produced a special, limited edition replica of the animal represented by the new Chinese year.  These figures are highly prized and difficult to obtain, but at Everything Dinosaur, we have decided to include one of these beautiful models in a parcel every day until our stock runs out.

Everything Dinosaur Giving Away Lucky Charms

Everything Dinosaur lucky charm giveaway.

Everything Dinosaur is giving away a golden rat lucky charm key ring to one customer every day until the stock runs out.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We had intended to give away these stunning little models once the new for 2020 Mojo Fun prehistoric animal models arrived, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, these models, like a lot of other items have been delayed.  So, we thought we would cheer everybody up by sending one of these special figures out to a customer every day for as long as our stocks last.  For us, it’s all about spreading a little happiness and joy at this difficult time.”

Take a Photograph – Share the Smile!

In addition, we are asking all those customers who receive a golden rat, to take a picture of their lucky charm next to their purchases from Everything Dinosaur.  If they email the picture to us, we will then post it up onto our social media pages so that we can share the joy a little.

Take a Photograph of Your Gift Next to the Items from Everything Dinosaur – Share the Smile

Everything Dinosaur giving away Mojo Fun golden rat key rings.

Everything Dinosaur giving away Mojo Fun golden rat lucky charms.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As a valued customer, we hope this gift brings a little happiness and we have asked recipients to take a picture of their gift alongside the prehistoric animals purchased from Everything Dinosaur.  If the photograph is then emailed to us, we will post the picture up onto our social media pages so that everyone can share in the fun.

To view the Mojo Fun range of prehistoric animal models and replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Model Range.

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17 03, 2020

CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus 1:40 Scale (Turntable Tuesday)

By | March 17th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus 1:40 Scale (Turntable Tuesday)

As Everything Dinosaur team members get better acquainted with the video management software and other technical aspects of the company’s small studio, we have opted to try and produce at least one dinosaur or prehistoric animal themed YouTube video a week.  With the arrival of a small turntable, we decided to start showcasing various dinosaur figures by producing short (around one or two minutes long), videos.  In this brief YouTube video, we highlight the new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus dinosaur model.

Turntable Tuesday – The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Fukuisaurus Dinosaur Model Takes a Spin

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fukuisaurus – A Japanese Dinosaur

The CollectA Fukuisaurus model follows hot on the heels of the CollectA Fukuiraptor figure that was introduced in 2019.  Both dinosaurs are associated with the famous Kitadani Formation of Fukui on the Japanese island of Honshu.  The ornithopod Fukuisaurus (which was named and described in 2003) and the theropod Fukuiraptor, which was formally scientifically described three years earlier, come from the same bonebed in the Kitadani Dinosaur Quarry (Bonebed I).  It has been speculated that Fukuiraptor preyed upon Fukuisaurus, but there is very little scientific evidence other than the proximity of the fossil material to support this supposition.

Two Models of Dinosaurs from the Lower Cretaceous of Japan

CollectA dinosaur models Fukuiraptor and Fukuisaurus.

The CollectA Fukuiraptor (top) and the CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus (bottom).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Fukuisaurus and CollectA Fukuiraptor

Towards the end of this short video (it lasts a fraction over two minutes long), the CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus and the CollectA Fukuiraptor are shown together.  This permits dinosaur model fans and collectors to get a really good look at both figures.  Although the Fukuisaurus is part of the CollectA Deluxe range and it is in approximately 1:40 scale, as Fukuisaurus was a relatively small member of the hadrosaurid lineage, the actual dinosaur model is quite small.  Everything Dinosaur team members have measured the replica and it is approximately 14 cm long and stands around 5.5 cm high at the hips.

It is beautifully detailed and there is much to be admired in this CollectA figure (yes, we do point out in the video that this dinosaur model does have a cloaca).

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“A lot of dinosaur model fans and collectors have asked us to make more videos about prehistoric animals, we are working hard to get up to speed and we do intend to produce another forty or so videos this year, including reviews of some of the new for 2020 CollectA models.”

The CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus 1:40 Scale Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus.

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus dinosaur model (1:40 scale).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

When will the CollectA Fukuisaurus be in Stock?

The first batch of the new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animal models including the Fukuisaurus have been delayed (coronavirus).  As soon as Everything Dinosaur have news about these models, then it will be posted up onto this blog and onto the company’s social media pages.

In the meantime, to view the Fukuisaurus production sample video and all the other videos on the Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To see the CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life range of models: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life.

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16 03, 2020

Coronavirus Fears Brings a Halt to Jurassic World Three

By | March 16th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Movie Reviews and Movie News|0 Comments

Film Project Stopped as a Precaution

One of the consequences of the global coronavirus outbreak is that many film projects have been halted in their tracks.  It has been announced that filming on “Jurassic World: Dominion”, the third movie in the reprised “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” film franchise has been postponed until further notice.  Everything Dinosaur understands that some filming had taken place in Canada and a set built at Pinewood Studios (London), but all filming has been stopped and a decision as to when production will start again will be taken in a few weeks.

Filming Halted on “Jurassic World: Dominion”

Stars to return in "Jurassic World 3".

Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum will reprise their roles in the forthcoming film.  However, Gennaro (pictured far left), played by Martin Ferrero, is not going to return in “Jurassic World: Dominion”, his part in the franchise was ended by a hungry T. rex in the 1993 film “Jurassic Park”.

Picture Credit: Getty Images

Filming Commenced on February 25th (2020)

Filming had started in Canada on February 25th (2020).  Director Colin Trevorrow confirmed this in a message on his Instagram account.  Over recent years, several science fiction/adventure films have been shot in Canada, dubbed “the Hollywood of the north” by some movie insiders.

Jurassic World 3 is just one of several major film and television projects that have had to be suspended due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.  The film was due to be released in the United States on June 11th 2021, with a release date in the UK of June 21st.  It is not known at this time, whether the postponements will result in a delay in the release in the film.

A Monster Hit!

When “Jurassic World” was released in June 2015, it become the first film in movie history to take more than $500 million USD in its opening weekend.  The film went onto gross a total of $1.6 billion USD in box office revenues across the world.  The second film in this trilogy “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, released in 2018, was nearly as successful.  Although the film received mixed reviews, it went onto gross $1.3 billion USD in box office receipts.  Analysts are expecting the third film, which is expected to be the final instalment, “Jurassic World: Dominion”, to continue the financial success story, after all, as a team member from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“People just love dinosaurs”.

“Jurassic World: Dominion” sees a number of the original actors and actresses in the “Jurassic Park” film of 1993 reprising their roles.  Steven Spielberg is expected to continue his role as executive producer.  Dinosaur fans and movie goers may have to wait just a little bit longer to see the final film.

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15 03, 2020

Casting Doubt over Oculudentavis

By | March 15th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Is Oculudentavis a Member of the Archosauria?

On the 11th March (2020), Everything Dinosaur posted up a blog article featuring the discovery of a remarkably well-preserved fossil skull that had been found in amber from northern Myanmar.

To read our blog post: Hummingbird-sized Dinosaur from Burmese Amber.

Following publication, a number of academics have questioned the conclusions made by Xing et al with regards to this fossil representing a member of the Maniraptora.  It is certainly true that the validity of the interpretation of the fossil skull as maniraptoran has subsequently been challenged post publication (Wang Wei et al).  They comment that the shape of the skull is not unique to archosaurs, many lizards for example, show similar characteristics, the phylogenetic analysis is questioned, along with the apparent absence of an antorbital fenestra (an opening in the skull of all known archosaurs between the orbit and the naris).

The Very Bird-like Skull of Oculudentavis khaungraae But Can Appearances be Deceptive?

Oculudentavis khaungraae computer generated image of the skull.

Oculudentavis khaungraae computer generated image of the skull (left lateral view).

Picture Credit: Xing et al (Nature)

It is suggested that the skull actually comes from a lizard and that the specimen is not from an archosaur at all.

The original publication noted that the spoon-shaped bones that make up the sclerotic ring were reminiscent of that seen in the eye sockets of lizards.  Scleral bones of this shape have never been found in a dinosaur or a bird, it is suggested that these bones support the idea that the fossil is that of a lizard and not a member of the Archosauria.

Trouble with the Teeth

The roots of the tiny teeth do not seem to be located in sockets in the jawbone (thecodont dentition).  This was a peculiar feature remarked upon by a number of academics once this paper had been widely circulated.  Teeth located in sockets is a characteristic of toothed-archosaurs such as crocodilians and the dinosaurs.  Other types of tetrapod also show this tooth morphology, but in Oculudentavis the teeth are not in sockets but either fused to the jaw (acrodont dentition) or located within grooves that can be found along the length of the jaw bones (pleurodont dentition).

The number of teeth in the jaw far exceeds that known for any type of ancient bird.  The tooth line extending under the eye-socket (orbit), is also highly unusual.  Such anatomical traits are associated with the Squamata (lizards and snakes), not with the Archosauria.

These arguments (along with others, such as the absence of feathers), have led some scientists to question the conclusions made in the original Nature publication.  Oculudentavis might not be a bird or a dinosaur, it might represent the preserved remains of a lizard.

An Anolis Lizard (A. equestris) Displaying its Throat Sac

Is the skull that of a lizard?

An Anolis lizard, note the long snout, large eyes and the jaw that extends under the orbit.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scramble to publish can sometimes lead to a lack of peer review opportunities and a foreshortening of pre-publication correspondence amongst academics.  When the “Nature” paper was published it certainly created a great deal of interest in the wider media.  Sadly, we suspect that any challenge to the original paper’s conclusions or subsequent revision will not attract anywhere near as much publicity.

We shall await developments.

Perhaps, in future we could refer to such controversies as “Oculudentavism”

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14 03, 2020

March Model Madness

By | March 14th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter – March Model Madness

It is March model madness, with a new edition to the Everything Dinosaur model range plus the return of some old favourites.  Newsletter subscribers will have received this week our latest missive and it provides details of the new Wild Past Protoceratops, plus Rebor replicas and a “heads up” that the mighty 1:20 scale CollectA Deluxe Elasmotherium is back in stock!

The brand Wild Past has only recently been launched, but the first of the models in this exciting range is already in stock at Everything Dinosaur, but be warned, the 1:35 scale Protoceratops andrewsi complete with a nest of dinosaur eggs has had a very limited production run, so stock of this particular member of the Protoceratopsidae is likely to sell out fast.

Headlining the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter – The Wild Past Protoceratops Model

Wild Past Protoceratops dinosaur model makes headlines.

The Wild Past Protoceratops dinosaur model makes headlines.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Return of Rebor Replicas

Good news for fans of Rebor replicas.  Although the extended Chinese New Year led to disruption in international delivery networks, Everything Dinosaur had been able to arrange the shipment of the popular Rebor “Raptor” replica called “Sweeney” and the 1:6 scale Compsognathus model “Sentry”.  Newsletter readers were the first to receive an update letting them know that both these Rebor figures were once again available.

The Rebor “Raptor” 1:18 Scale Velociraptor “Sweeney” and the 1:6 Scale Compsognathus “Sentry” are Back in Stock

Rebor "Sweeney" and "Sentry".

The Rebor 1:18 scale Velociraptor replica called “Sweeney” and the Rebor 1:6 scale Compsognathus model “Sentry” are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fascinating Foetus and a Charging 1:20 scale Elasmotherium

In addition, the Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus wet specimen with light up base is also available.  This fascinating model of an embryonic dinosaur was first introduced in the late summer of last year.  Standing around 22 centimetres high, the figure makes a striking centrepiece to any prehistoric animal model collection.  Joining the Velociraptor is the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Elasmotherium, this replica too is also now available.

Rebor and Rhinos (Elasmotherium) Available from Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Oddities Velociraptor and CollectA Deluxe Elasmotherium.

The Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus with light up base and the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Elasmotherium model are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There may be a number of issues surrounding international logistics with the continuing coronavirus outbreak but there are lots of prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur including the Wild Past Protoceratops, Rebor replicas and the CollectA Deluxe Elasmotherium.

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletters

Subscribing to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletters is easy, to get updates, information about new releases, dinosaur discoveries and fossil news, just drop us an email.

To request to join the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list just send us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

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13 03, 2020

Telling the Time in the Late Cretaceous

By | March 13th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossil Clam Helps Scientists to Tell the Time

Researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Ghent have used 70 million-year-old fossil bivalves to gain information about day length and seasonal variations during the Late Cretaceous.  Tyrannosaurids and duck-billed dinosaurs had days that were approximately 30 minutes shorter than ours, as a consequence of this their year was about a week longer.

Writing in the academic journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, the researchers conducted a series of tests on the fossilised shells of a type of bivalve (Torreites sanchezi).  The fossil was found on a mountainside in Oman, but back in the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, this area was a shallow, subtropical sea.

Daily Growth Rings Preserved in Fossil Bivalves Can Provide Scientists with Data About Ancient Planetary Systems

Fossil bivalves can help scientists understand planetary systems.

The growth rings laid down by rudist bivalves can help scientists to better understand ancient planetary systems.  An example of a bivalve fossil (Spondylus) from the Cretaceous.  This type of bivalve evolved in the Early Jurassic and can still be found today in tropical seas.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Laser Used to Bore a Hole in the Shell

Many types of molluscs grow quickly and they lay down discernible growth rings on their shells every day.  Scientists can conduct a series of tests on these markers and identify useful information about the climate and the environment in which the mollusc lived.  For example, using the growth rings, the researchers were able to determine that the fossil specimen died when it was around nine years of age.

A laser was used to bore a series of tiny holes in the shell, samples were taken and analysed for trace elements.  Using this information, the scientists were able to gain information on the temperature and the chemistry in the sea water in the reef environment where the mollusc lived.  The marine temperatures fluctuated between summer and winter, with a peak of around 40 ˚ Celsius in summer and 30 ˚ Celsius in winter.  The average annual sea temperatures were warmer than previously thought.

The Rings on the Bivalve Shell Can Provide a Lot of Information

Fossil Bivalves provide dating data.

Microscopic analysis of the fossil shell can help scientists work out day length and seasonal variations in the past.

Picture Credit: Niels de Winter et al

In addition, the scientists determined that the bivalve grew much faster during the day than it did at night.  This phenomenon is not uncommon with bivalves today, some species form symbiotic relationships with algae, it is thought that the Cretaceous species was in a similar relationship.  A combination of counting layers, spectral analysis of chemical cyclicity and chemical layer counting shows that the mollusc laid down 372 daily laminae per year, demonstrating that length of day has increased since the Late Cretaceous, as predicted by numerous astronomical models and previous studies of fossil molluscs.  However, this study represents the most accurate assessment of seasonal growth, day length and annual environmental changes recorded in a fossil from the Late Cretaceous.

The Earth’s orbit around the sun does not alter that much, the extra 7 days recorded in a year, are not really a record of the Earth taking longer to make its orbit, but a reflection of the fact that the Earth was spinning faster on its axis 70 million years ago.  With the Earth turning faster, a day was slightly shorter compared to what we experience in the 21st century.  A day in the Cretaceous would have lasted approximately 23 1/2 hours.

An Explanation – Why is the Rotation of the Earth Slowing Down?

The Earth’s orbit around the sun does not change a great deal, but the length of a day on Earth has been steadily increasing since our planet and its moon were formed.  The moon’s gravity is acting on our planet, it creates friction from ocean tides and this is gradually slowing the Earth’s rotation.  At the same time, Earth’s own gravity is having an effect on the moon.  The pull of the tides accelerates the moon, so the satellite is being pushed away from our planet.  When the Torreites sanchezi bivalve was alive, a dinosaur on the beach at night would have seen a moon that looks bigger than the one we see today, it was several thousand metres closer to Earth.

The research team conclude that as bivalve shell calcite preserves quite well, this study permits further work using other fossils to determine seasonality, marine temperatures and day length.  This should help to document environmental change in warming ecosystems and widen our understanding of the magnitude of short‐term changes during greenhouse climates.

The scientific paper: “Subdaily-Scale Chemical Variability in a Torreites sanchezi Rudist Shell: Implications for Rudist Paleobiology and the Cretaceous Day-Night Cycle” by Niels J. de Winter, Steven Goderis, Stijn J.M. Van Malderen, Matthias Sinnesael, Stef Vansteenberge, Christophe Snoeck, Joke Belza, Frank Vanhaecke, and Philippe Claeys published in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

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