Tatler feature

It is such a lovely gift to end the year, when Singapore Fossil Collectors is featured in the prestigious Tatler magazine. This is a fascinating exposé into the mysterious and enigmatic world of high-end fossil collecting. The full article is available here. Thank you Tatler Hong Kong for the shout-out, and here’s to a much better year ahead everyone. Happy new year!

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Mothership video!

As a special bonus, Mothership even produced a cute video featuring three founding members of Singapore Fossil Collectors and our geeky collections. Enjoy!

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Singapore Fossil Collectors on Mothership!

Mothership just published this great article covering the work that The Fossil Collector does to bring paleontology and a love for natural history to schools. You guys have truly mastered the art of storytelling, capturing the nuts and bolts of the hobby in such a fun way, while inspiring others to get started. Since the article came out, we’ve received many new members to our Facebook group Singapore Fossil Collectors, as well as a few queries from institutions that have reached out to invite us to deliver our presentations to their members! The breadth of your readership is really something too. Thank you so much!!!

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Jurassic World Café

This global Covid-19 pandemic has frozen all year-end travel plans, and event organisers have pull out all stops to entertain Singaporeans. For some reason, dinosaurs have featured heavily such as with the new Changi Jurassic Mile and the year-end decorations at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Another interesting pop-up restaurant from Nov 6, 2020 to Jan 3, 2021 has been at ION Orchard. We visited it and were delighted to see the same Jurassic World movie display raptor, together with a decent mechandising (toys) shelves. The food was priced reasonably and tasted ok, with cute names such as Fossil Excavation Cake, Jurassic World Burger, and Volcano Curry. Catch the great views with the kids during the school holidays!

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The largest egg in the world

The largest bird that ever lived, the genus Aepyornis or elephant bird was a ratite with up to seven species and the largest egg of any oviparous animal. The Malagasy often used its shells to transport water and rum. Aepyornis was 3 metres tall, weighed half a ton, and was indigenous to Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world. The first human settlers only arrived on Madagascar around 500 B.C., long after it split from India 88 million years ago. This animal or its remains may have inspired legends such as told by explorer Marco Polo, who first described in 1298 a bird that looked like an eagle, but “incomparably greater in size; being so large and strong as to seize an elephant with its talons.” Aepyornis became extinct about a thousand years ago. This collection includes a composite egg from Madagascar dating back to the 17th Century or earlier, as well as a set of two legs in immaculate condition belonging to a single specimen of Mullerornis from the Quaternary period, with each leg comprising of a tibia, a tarsus, and a femur.

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Home & Decor feature

I’m a big fan of Home & Decor magazine, so when The Fossil Collector was featured it was such a dream come true! Here’s the original feature.

This is a reprint in the Straits Times with the text intact.

And this is a re-print in The Peak magazine.

Thanks so much guys!

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The Fossil Collector featured in High Net Worth

High Net Worth is an online publication that “seeks to redefine ‘worth’ by focusing on people—shaped by stories, values, qualities—and the impact that they make on the world”.

When HNW approached me to share about the ‘fossil collecting, I was delighted that the journalist Eumund Tan was not only curious to understand my collection, but took pains to understand the ‘Whys’ of fossils and paleontology for me. His inquiry into the passion of fossil collectors was refreshing, and this is one of the first interviews that I went in some detail on my views around evolution and religion.

Hope you all enjoy the article!

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Introducing: The African T-Rex!

One of my favourite dinosaurs is the Carcharodontosaurus (Greekˌkɑːrkəroʊˌdɒntoʊˈsɔːrəs/karcharo (“jagged”), also known as the “African T-Rex”. It existed between 100 and 94 million years ago, during the Cenomanian stages of the mid-Cretaceous Period 110 to 93 million years ago. Originally called Megalosaurus saharicus, Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach renamed it after the shark genus Carcharodon due to the resemblance of its razor sharp, serrated teeth to the Great White Shark, the only extant Carcharodon member. This more primitive predator was in fact a carnosaur closely related to Giganotosaurus, rather than a close relative of T. rex. At up to 14 metres long, the Carch may have been slightly bigger than Tyrannosaurus which measured up to 12.3 metres long, but not quite as large as the largest carnivorous dinosaur of all time – Spinosaurus, with whom it likely came into conflict with in a battle of epic proportions. This pristine specimen is a right mandible of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus from the Kem Kem Formation of Morocco.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the original Jurassic Park!

The Singapore Fossil Collectors Group organised our first ever movie screening last Saturday of the latest installment of the franchise – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and were delighted to see sixteen fossil fanatics show up, including even some who were coming to see the movie for the second time!

Couldn’t think of anything befitting than our first-ever movie review. Here are the highlights of the movie for me:

The movie returns to Isla Nublar, three years after Jurassic World’s ill-fated second resort left off. You would have seen in the trailer that the premise involves saving the dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption. Although Costa Rica does lie along the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is quite unfathomable that a billion-dollar corporation such as Masrani Global would have neglected to factor this risk into their site selection study!

Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), now a dinosaur rights activist at the Dinosaur Protection Group, is reunited with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) on a rescue mission to re-site some 11 species of dinosaurs to a new deserted island home. Dinosaur lovers are in for a treat, as this time several new species join our favourite raptors, T-Rex, and Mosasaur: the Ankylosaurus, Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, Compsognathus, Gallimimus, Stegosaurus, and even a Baryonyx!

The main characters don’t quite manage to make a clean getaway before the eruption, but somehow most of the dinosaurs still end up captured and stowed onto a ship. As it turns out, the aide running expedition sponsor Benjamin Lockwood’s foundation has gone rogue, and is instead shipping the animals back to the Lockwood Manor to auction them to black market arms dealers! This would explain why they only needed one of each of the animals rather than a mating pair, although this little detail may have escaped our intrepid adventurers or paleoveterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) who thought they were re-locating the animals. One of my favourite scenes on the ship is where Clare and Owen find themselves trying inside a claustrophobic container with a drowsy T-Rex, trying to draw its blood!

The plot goes on to spend an extended part of the movie in the manor, which, apart from featuring an amazing museum, also has an underground lab, zoo, auction house, and logistics depot! In the hands of Spanish horror director JA Bayona (The Orphanage, A Monster Calls), this mansion also becomes a sort of ‘haunted’ house for the ensemble –  including Lockwood’s young granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon)- to play cat and mouse.

Yes, the plot may have as many holes as a Sinoceratops’ frill (just a couple, really!) and yes, it would have been nice if the story had more breakthroughs like the first Jurassic World did (e.g. an actual working theme park, hybrid dinos, raptor training, giant Mosasaur, as well as the idea of weaponising dinos – why not re-introduce Mammoths, sabretooth cats, Megalodon, or even Meganeura this time?). The acting and chemistry among the cast was good, the suspense and action was fun, the storyline had some moral takeaways for the kids, and of course the dinosaurs were spectacular as always.

Longtime Jurassic Park fans will enjoy seeing Dr Ian Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) cameo, but the dinosaurs were the real stars, especially clips of velociraptor Blue and his siblings when they were babies. There’s also a particularly adorable but grumpy Stygimoloch, who brings new meaning to the phrase ‘bull in a china shop’.

What are you waiting for? Go catch the movie already, or watch it for a second time!

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The Fossil Collector on Hello Singapore

Thank you 狮城有约 for the feature!

 

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