dinosaurs-unearthed

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Stegosaurus

Usually I steer well clear of the Daily Telegraph. It’s not exactly my favourite newspaper-it hires Miranda Devine, for one-but it’s doing a dinosaur promotion at the moment. Buying the paper gives you a token that you can cut out and redeem at a newsagency for a model dinosaur skeleton and a sheet containing facts and the instructions for assembling the model. I was only planning to get the interesting models (such as the inexplicable choice of Gigantspinosaurus), but model dinosaur skeletons have a nostalgic pull on me. So, to borrow a popular phrase, I gotta catch em all. And why not blog about it as well?

The first in this series is Stegosaurus, available on Sunday for free (all the rest are $2). I don’t know why they didn’t give out Tyrannosaurus first, but this is how things have turned out. It’s a scaled-down version of a model that I’ve seen in lots of places; I have a glow-in-the-dark plastic version I got with some magazines ages ago. It’s a cute model Stegosaurus.

The fact sheet is decent overall aside from including the amazingly outdated ‘second brain’ idea. There’s also the problem of the timeline at the bottom placing Stegosaurus in the Cretaceous. Whoops!

Out of the models, the Stegosaurus is the only one to come with more than a factsheet. It comes with a nice little album to slip the sheet into. On the back is a disclaimer regarding the information that the sheets contain. According to it, “every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all the information…contained.” As we have seen (and will see), this is a blatant lie.

NEXT: Tyrannosaurus.

Kings Island - Dinosaurs Alive

Kings Island confirmed yesterday that it’s brand new Dinosaurs Alive! attraction would open as planned, despite being struck by a fire earlier in the week. Update: The attractions did in fact open yesterday! 

Earlier in the week one of the animatronic dinosaurs that feature in the attraction caught fire, after the park had closed to the public. The fire was successfully extinguished by the Fire Department, with none of the other dinosaur models being affected. Kings Island is currently investigating the cause of the blaze, but were insistent that the attraction would open as planned.

Dinosaurs! Alive will be the world’s largest animatronic dinosaur park, and will occupy 15.5 acres of woodland. It will feature more than 60 life-sized dinosaur models, 56 of which will be animatronic. The park has decided to take the option of charging an additional $5 per guest who wishes to visit the attraction ON TOP of the standard admission. 

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Triceratops

The very last dinosaur in the series is Triceratops! When I first started writing about DU, I wondered why Triceratops was placed at the end of the series, rather than near the front as famous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus were. But if you think about it, putting one of the very last dinosaurs as the last of the models makes sense, in a way.

If I compared this Triceratops model to the one I have already it would be an unfair comparison, as the model I have is the biggest wooden dinosaur skeleton I own, and a great deal more complex than the others. So I’ll think about the DU model on its own merits. The first thing I noticed was that it is the simplest model in the series, with only 15 parts (most have over 20). It doesn’t even have any tail vertebrae pieces. But this simplicity doesn’t mean that it’s a tiny model. It’s a good size for a DU piece.

Maybe the fact sheet makers got better towards the end, because again there’s no glaring inaccuracies or weird facts. One neat thing is that the image has a line of quills along the back, a speculative feature that nonetheless shows that sometimes they ARE keeping up with research.

NEXT: Roundup!

10

This weekend Andrew and I went to the dinosaur exhibit at the museum. :3 

We also cooked dinner at his house, which was stir-fry, which is apparently the only thing we cook together.

The pictures say Andrew and I are only 5 + 6 feet tall, but we found out the dino scale picture wasn’t totally on the ground.

Last night I was feeling super sick and gross so Andrew took me out for a drink and then we came home and cuddled. I think I’m really spoiled.

Paleontologists unearth 1st dinosaur fossil ever found in the state of Washington

Paleontologists unearth 1st dinosaur fossil ever found in the state of Washington

MEXICO: When thinking of dinosaur fossils people usually imagine the Montana Badlands, a huge stretch of rugged terrain filled with ancient fossils. There’s a good reason for that, the rough interior of North America is a prime spot for fossils where the land was filled with life in ancient times. Where you wouldn’t expect to find a dinosaur fossil is the coast of Washington state since it was…

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Dinosaurs Unearthed: Ankylosaurus

Today’s dinosaur is Ankylosaurus! It’s just about the smallest model in the collection, both in height AND length. Like Gigantspinosaurus, it’s posed looking around, though the tail is also bent, suggesting that there’s some predator threatening it. It’s a bit more interesting than the average DU model because of that.

Also interesting is how the armour was translated into this model. There are five strips of armour, and one of the rib pieces has slots for all of them. I like the effect of an armoured shell, particularly because the ribs are visible underneath it.

I wish the eyes were placed further back, because then it would be accurate to the actual skull of the animal. Oh well.

The fact sheet finally offers us a mistake. The image is not actually of Ankylosaurus, but of its relative Euoplocephalus. It’s not something I can come down on them too hard for, though. The armour of Ankylosaurus isn’t that complete, so for ages reconstructions just took the armour of Euoplocephalus (which was far more complete) and plugged it onto Ankylosaurus. The model is closer to reality than the picture, as Ankylosaurus basically had flat plates, not spikes.

NEXT: Triceratops

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Pteranodon

I bet you thought that the next model was going to be Triceratops. Well, it isn’t! Triceratops is actually (spoilers!) the last model in the collection. Tuesday’s model is the Pteranodon!

I have a bigger version of this model, and they’re exactly the same in every way but scale. I didn’t like assembling this model much-the pieces weren’t cut very well so it was hard work pushing them out of the sheet.

A flick through the paper revealed that the Telegraph is running its own articles on the animals in the DU collection. Pteranodon has the first noteworthy one because of two major gaffes. First, it claims that a screencap from ITV’s Primeval is from the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs. Second, a typo results in about one hundred years passing between Pterandon’s discovery and naming. Because this was by the same person (O.C. Marsh), it looks quite odd.

NEXT: Spinosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Apatosaurus

So yesterday’s model was Apatosaurus. It’s only the second herbivore in the collection, though next week is going to be a herbivore bonanza. Kind of like buses, then-you wait for ages and then a whole lot come at once.

I actually prefer this smaller model to the larger version I have. The larger model stands on its tail so some of its legs are off the ground, but this one has different front legs so that it keeps the tail clear from the ground. It’s weird how this one doesn’t have eyes, even punched-in eyes like the Stegosaurus, but then again neither does the larger model.

The fact sheet and article are remarkable because they don’t get anything amazingly wrong. This is a first! They also confirm my suspicion that the Stegosaurus sheet incorrectly places it in the Cretaceous, as the timeline for Apatosaurus highlights the Jurassic period.

NEXT: Brachiosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Dimetrodon

Today’s model is Dimetrodon! It’s the first model in the set that I don’t already own a version of, so I was quite excited for it. I think it’s my new favourite. So easy to push the pieces out and slot them together.

Remember yesterday when I said that Spinosaurus was basically Dimetrodon without having to explain that it wasn’t a dinosaur? Yeah, the Daily Telegraph ran an article on Dimetrodon and said that it was an early dinosaur (which it isn’t; the fact sheet managed to get that right). I’ve only seen that info once before on a Dinosaurs Attack! card, and I’m not sure a card showing Dimetrodon attacking a bus is a good source of information.

Trivia: the Dimetrodon is the closest thing that DU has to a state exclusive model. The Daily Telegraph carries the promotion everywhere except in Queensland, where the Courier Mail carries it instead. For some reason (possibly because Spinosaurus is similar enough), Queenslanders miss out on getting Dimetrodon.

NEXT: Apatosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Tyrannosaurus

Second in the series is Monday’s dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus.

Like the Stegosaurus, I have a larger glow-in-the-dark version from a magazine series. Unlike the Stegosaurus, I’m inexplicably in love with this model. It was so easy to put together and it looks really nice, too.

The accompanying fact sheet includes the amazingly discredited ‘Tyrannosaurus was a scavenger’ hypothesis. It also says that 'early T. rex’ had feathers. Not sure if they’re referring to baby T. rex or older tyrannosaurs like Dilong.

NEXT: Pteranodon

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Parasaurolophus

Today’s dinosaur is Parasaurolophus! Can you believe that there’s only two more models to go and then we’re done?

Anyway, I own a larger version of this model, and I can’t decide if I prefer one over the other. The tiny one is really well done, and it was a joy to assemble because the pieces didn’t stick in the frame like with other models. It was a bit different to the other models in that the head was last to be assembled, when it’s usually the first part to be put together. I really like the head on this one, and the exaggerated crest.

Once again, nothing significant on the fact sheet front, although the picture is the most colourful of the entire series.

NEXT: Ankylosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Ornithomimus

Today’s dinosaur is Ornithomimus! Like Gigantspinosaurus, I haven’t seen any Ornithomimus wood kits for sale, but because Ornithomimus isn’t nearly as obscure as Gigantspinosaurus, it’s entirely possible that they exist and I haven’t seen any before.

It’s quite similar to the Velociraptor, in that it is also a biped that doesn’t rely on its tail for support. However, it’s less stable than the Velociraptor, falling over unless you position the legs just right. It also has less parts, and it has only one rib piece because the body is so short. While it was easy to assemble, I’m not being blown away by the finished product like I was with the Velociraptor. It’s a perfectly good model, just not very exciting.

The same goes for the included facts. Nothing’s notably wrong. About the only thing to comment on is the picture. It’s clearly inspired by this piece of palaeoart, only that the DU version is green instead of grey. It also seems more rough and unfinished that the other DU illustrations-I think it must have been done by the same guy who did the Styracosaurus image because they look similar, i.e. crap.

NEXT: Parasaurolophus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Gigantspinosaurus

Today’s model is Gigantspinosaurus! This is the model that made me consider collecting the DU models in the first place, and I’ve been hanging out for it ever since DU started. I have never, ever, EVER seen a wooden model (or any model for that matter) of this obscure Chinese dinosaur. Considering this, I think that this is the only DU model that is completely original.

Compared to the others, Gigantspinosaurus is interesting because it doesn’t have a static pose with the head pointed in a straight line. Instead, it is looking to one side. It’s an unusual pose for a model like this, given that they’re limited by being made out of flat sheets of wood.

Despite being such an odd choice in a collection full of popular dinosaurs, I’m not too enamoured with it because it was absolute HELL to put together. A lot of bits just didn’t want to slot together, and my fingers still hurt a bit from pushing too hard. I’m willing to bet that Gigantspinosaurus will be the most complained-about figure because of these difficulties. Given the difficulty, and the number of parts in this model (43, compared to around 30 for most other models), it seems like this is the least ‘child-friendly’ of the models.

There’s not really much to comment on about the fact sheet or the article, because Gigantspinosaurus is such a recently described and obscure dinosaur that it hasn’t been subject to an influx of new data like, say, Spinosaurus has. 

NEXT: Ornithomimus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Plesiosaurus

Today’s model is Plesiosaurus! It seems that Tuesday is Non-Dinosaur Day for the collection-last Tuesday we had Pteranodon, and today we have Plesiosaurus. It’s the first of a string of three models which I have never owned in any form.

It’s a pretty neat model. I’m especially fond of the barrel-like body, as it gives it a good shape, and it’s close to how Plesiosaurus would have been in life. It’s especially cool how it even has little gastralia (I think that’s the right term) under the ribs-hooray for easily omitted details! You might be wondering why it looks like the front flippers are the wrong way around. I was too, but after I put them in ‘right way around’ I found out why they’re like that. The model just falls over if both pairs of flippers face the same direction!

The fact sheet, interestingly enough, focuses on plesiosaurs in general rather than Plesiosaurus itself. It gets a bit confusing because they don’t put it in the same time period twice! One of the 'Did You Know?’ bits is devoted to debunking the Loch Ness Monster, which I thought was an interesting choice.

Plesiosaurus is the 10th model in the collection, out of 15 in total. We only have five more to go! How time flies.

NEXT: Gigantspinosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Styracosaurus

Monday’s dinosaur is Styracosaurus! The larger version I have is close to my heart, because it was the first (or one of the first) wooden skeleton model that I ever owned.

I’m happy to say that I really like this smaller version. Unlike the Brachiosaurus, which didn’t work shrunk down, the Styracosaurus works brilliantly. It’s a tiny adorable chunky dinosaur.

Neither the fact sheet nor the article in the paper have any gaffes. One suggested ‘classroom question’ asks what kind of enclosure a zoo could keep a Styracosaurus in. About the only thing I want to point out is that the CGI image is the worst of the lot. It just looks like crap.

NEXT: Plesiosaurus

Dinosaurs Unearthed: Velociraptor

Today’s model is Velociraptor! We’re over half-way through Dinosaurs Unearthed! We’re doing it, you guys, we’re making it happen!

This model is my new favourite. Like the Dimetrodon, I’ve never had one of these, so it’s all new to me. It’s a big contrast to the other models. They’re posed rather statically, like old skeleton displays in museums. The Velociraptor, though, is an obvious product of the dinosaur revolution. You really get a sense of this animal having been a vicious predator because it’s posed so actively. My only issue is that the model can fall over if you don’t pose its legs just right.

Also it has the most pieces of any DU model so far with 36.

The fact sheet and article are interesting for one thing. As you can see in the above photo, the CGI reconstruction shows a featherless JP-esque raptor. However, in both the fact sheet and the article in the paper, it’s pointed out that Velociraptor is believed to have been feathered! So they’re calling out their illustrator on not feathering the Velociraptor! I think this is pretty neat given how inaccuracies have plagued the series.

NEXT: Styracosaurus