Mummy and I have been doing a course at university, called Dino 101. Every day, we get to watch a video, and some have questions and some don't, and sometimes we even get to build a dinosaur on the computer. I'm learning lots about dinosaurs. Did you know that the vertebrae in your neck are called cervical vertebrae? And the ones in your back are called dorsal vertebrae. And some dinosaurs had tummy ribs called gastralia.
This is a fossilised feather from an archaeopteryx, and it is x-rayed. There is a palaeontologist at the University of Manchester, and he's called Dr Phil Manning, and he x-rayed the feather to find out what colours archaeopteryx feathers were.
And he found out that they were black and white! The x-ray light was brighter than a million suns! That is a lot - a million suns!
You can read more on the University of Manchester website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=10202 (edit from Mummy: bottom image taken from there, top image taken from http://blogs.rsc.org/ja/2013/06/13/plumage-patterns-in-a-150-million-year-old-bird-revealed/ )
We know this is not a fossil, but it was another type of dig. When Mummy was out walking, she dug the ground to see if she could find anything old. And she found a bottle! We took the shards home, we cleaned them super-carefully, and then we puzzled it back together. That's what palaeontologists do when they find a dinosaur skeleton, so it was good practice. The bottle is about 100 years old!!
(Clarification from Mummy: the bottle was half out of the ground!)
This is what it looked like when we finished it:
Today, we did an archaeological dig. It might not look like it's for fossils, but it is what palaeontologists sometimes do. Usually, you dig for something that's already there, but we buried things, and then, in 8 weeks, we're going to dig them out and see if they've changed. We buried six things - three of them were organic, and three of them were inorganic. Organic means they were alive, and inorganic means they weren't alive. Our organic things were a banana skin, a hyacinth leaf and a piece of paper (paper is organic, because it's made from trees). Our inorganic things were a fossil, a lego brick and a coin. The fossil was once alive, but now it is stone, so it's inorganic.
For each one we had to say what colour it was, draw a picture, measure it, and say what it felt like. And when we dig them up, some of them might have changed, and some of them might have not changed.
Then we went outside. We put sand in a plastic box, and we made one layer, and we put two things on it. And then we made the next layer, and then we put two things on, and then we made a layer of soil, and we put two things on it, and we put more soil on top.
Now it's finished. It's going to stay in our garden for eight weeks, and then we'll tell you if anything's changed. If you want to make your own archaeological dig, you can use the information that we used: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory/dig_family.pdf
Today would have been the 100th birthday of another fossil expert called Mary. She was called Mary Leaky, and she found a ...
... fossilised ape skull. The ape was called a "Proconsul". Her husband was called Louis, and he was a fossil expert as well. They were both archaeologists, and they taught us lots about how we evolved. Evolution is how apes turned more and more into people, and soon the apes turned into stone age people, and then the stone age people turned into us. It only took a few million years. Now I know two fossil experts called Mary, but Mary Anning is still my favourite.
[Image from http://leakeyfoundation.org/about-us/leakey-family/mary-leakey/]
This is my fossil shelf. It's in my bedroom, by my reading corner. Daddy made it all. We had a shelf, but we needed more shelves. So Mummy and I went to the studio, and we made some shelves. Mummy sawed them and I painted them, and Daddy screwed them in-between the shelves that were there. The top shelf is the present shelf, the middle shelf is the ones that we bought, the next shelf is the fossil-found-shelf, and then there's my grading ammonites (every time I grade in Taekwondo, I get an ammonite. I've done three gradings, so next grading is my all-green belt, and I'll get another ammonite).
One day when we run out of shelves, we're going to put some more on.
We have been reading some more messages. Hazel suggests that we send pictures of our fossils to the Natural History Museum in London. That sounds like a good idea, but we are meeting a fossil expert on Thursday, and we'll tell you all about it. But we'd love to go to the Natural History Museum on holiday.
Dianne and Chloe are saying they are going to come back and see what new things there are happening - after Thursday, we'll be writing about what the expert says, and then you can come back!
We have been reading more messages (thank you!!) Rozelle sent us a story about a plesiosaur, you can read it here: http://www.leicestershirevillages.com/barrowuponsoar/theplesiosaur.html. We found out that the plesiosaur was a bit like a killer whale!
Heidi told us some more about Lyme Regis, and now I really want to go there. Mummy says Heidi is really good at Taekwondo, and I do Taekwondo, too!
We have just read some more comments. Ruth told us all about Whitby Jet - it is a fossil, too. It comes from a tree called a monkey puzzle tree. We think we found some Whitby Jet, but we're not sure, it might just be a stone. We looked what a monkey puzzle tree looks like, here is a picture ( http://bonsaibc.ca/CONIFERS%20A-O.htm). We did see lots of jet in Whitby in the shops, some were jewellery, and some were carved like animals, but we didn't buy any.
When I woke up today, there were lots of messages, and I love reading them. Mummy says we might read a few of them at a time, so we can say thank you and write about them here. A boy called Christian wrote to say he wants to go fossil hunting now at Whitby, and I hope you have a good time there!! Kay says she has two big ammonites, maybe you want to make a fossil website, too!
Chris told us about a huge ammonite in Lyme Regis, I would love to go fossil hunting there. We found a picture of it (maybe? Image from http://www.bugbog.com/gallery/england_pictures/lyme-regis-fossils.html)
Hello, my name is Toby. I am five years old, and I want to be a palaeontologist. I really like fossils, so I'm writing down everything I do with fossils! My Mummy is doing the typing until I'm a bit older, but she writes everything I say.