Imagine that a giant prehistoric insectoid has been brought back to life ....











JIMMY WATSON - All he wanted for Christmas was a large hexapod robot, to programme. He saved his paper round money for almost a year to buy his dream project. Then, his other dream came true. The Dinobot came to life. The artwork for this story is now at Herstmonceux Museum in Sussex, on permanent display.





Christmas ant project




At a time in the not too distant future, the ice melts at both poles revealing features on the land not seen for 200 years.  A converted Frigate, the US Arktos is discovered at the South Pole locked into melting ice. She has been missing since an expedition in 1838. A famous ship at the time, formerly the USS Essex, she had been bought at auction in 1837 and hastily refitted by a group of explorers who had come by a fossilized artifact thought to be of considerable archaeological importance. The fossilized jaw was said to have originated in Antarctica brought back as a souvenir by the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellinghausen during his fabled 1820 expedition.


Another fantastic discovery is a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the ice, dated by scientists to be millions of years old. Mysteriously, the scientist who discovered and dated the tunnel complex disappears, but not before his find is leaked to a Sky news researcher on the Discovery channel.




Seals under ice in the Weddell Sea




SEALS - The Antarctic, Weddell Sea is home to seals and whales, where killer whales especially benefit from seal meat and the high food energy contained in blubber.





The Antarctic is inhabited by survey expeditions from up to six counties at any one time. Though the country is not the sovereign territory of any one nation. But, by agreeing a series of treaties an understanding is in place and this wilderness is amply protected as a result.


Three new expeditions are launched by competing concerns, the first a Swedish venture lead by a headstrong Bjorn Atlas and his navigator Sven Johansson. The second expedition is a multinational effort lead by Cathy Carter with 3 veteran arctic explorers. The third expedition is a private enterprise secretly funded by Chinese Triads, under the leadership of Lin Po Chang, a child genius and infamous martial arts champion and his two dedicated henchmen.


A race ensues where the teams vie with each other, to secure the archaeological prize that is there for the taking.  Lin Po Chang, is not only a master of the martial arts (Taekwondo & Karate) but also a keen paleontologist, who predicted the existence of variant life-forms on this continent and has more than a hunch as to the inhabitants of this tunnel complex.





A giant prehistoric ant in a block of solid ice



ANTARCTIC DISCOVERY - Scientists get very excited when they find an extinct species of giant insect in the Antarctic ice. Please note that this drawing is copyright © Jameson Hunter Ltd 2015. You will need permission from Jameson Hunter to be able to reproduce it. 






Several fatal accidents occur in quick succession, then an egg clutch is discovered in a section of a tunnel.  For a moment all rivalry is dispatched as the parties marvel at the find.  They assume the eggs are prehistoric and dinosaur remains, though the eggs have a tough leathery exterior, rather than a hard shell.


Systematically, Chang eliminates the remaining opposition, pitting the Swedes against Carters crew, until only one man and one woman remain alive to challenge Chang: Sven Johansen and Cathy Carter. In a desperate act of self sacrifice, Johansen tackles Chang while Carter escapes seriously wounded to reveal the tragic turn of events to her Sky colleague, the self same Discovery channel researcher - she dies shortly after.


Meantime, Chang deploys his talent to nurture one egg through a simulated incubation when a creature not seen on Earth during Man's evolution is brought back into an unsuspecting world.


The creature is smuggled aboard an ageing Ice Patrol survey vessel called the 'CoolArctic' bound for England, in a crate marked rock samples, whereupon it burrows out and grows rapidly, eating two crew members of the survey vessel who discovered, then tried to kill it. Chang had already relocated the remaining eggs, before setting out to rendezvous with his precious cargo in Portsmouth, unaware of the developments onboard CoolArctic.




Map of Southampton docks and the River Test



ATLANTIC EXPRESS - The container ship reaches Southampton docks. The giant prehistoric insect swims the river heading away from civilization into the New Forest area on Hampshire.





Map of the RiverBeaulieu and Bucklers Hard, Hampshire



ELIZABETH SWAN - John, Charley and Dan navigate the River Beaulieu to dock at Bucklers Hard. This is not far away from reports of missing ponies.





The second mate on the CoolArctic reports the chaos aboard their vessel to the British Admiralty, shortly after being forced to abandon ship with the remainder of the crew, on the advice of his superiors to scupper the ship. The ship sinks but the resourceful creature manages to cling to flotsam then hitch a ride on a container ship the 'Atlantic Express' under the cover of darkness.


MI6 and the CIA decide to send in John Storm, an expert diver, archaeologist and enthusiastic adventurer to report on the goings on. Storm is happy to oblige if it means adding to his DNA collection for his usual fee - a hefty donation to his favourite charities. Having equipped his solar powered ship, the Elizabeth Swan, with arctic clothing and supplies, he, Dan Hawk and Charley Temple sped from the Southern Ocean to the Weddell Sea and there to Deception Island, an extinct volcano.


The team set up camp onshore and soon the trio locate the excavation site, then using the 'Ark' (a DNA database) Storm uncovers disturbing new evidence to support a theory that dinosaurs were not wiped out by a meteor striking the earth (creating an artificial ice age), but by very efficient hunting animals related to the Vespoidea or Myrmecia Giganticus taxonomic group, part of a long extinct branch of the family Formicidae of the order Hymenoptera - insects in plain speak. This strain appears to have evolved rapidly by adaptive radiation. From the evidence on site it seems that these deadly animals hunted in packs in significant numbers to overwhelm much larger animals (an example of which may be seen in 6mm army ants overcoming a 40mm bull ant and just about any animal in the jungle that gets in their way).


From DNA analysis aboard an energy depleted Elizabeth Swan, Storm estimates that this species grew to between 3-5 metres and that they were warm blooded with a high tolerance to low temperatures, with a kind of lung to supply vast amounts of oxygen to their spiracles via an organ pumped dorsal aorta to the other organs in an otherwise classic exoskeleton arrangement. Storm and Hawk realize the danger if such a creature were ever to be introduced on the mainland and with evidence that eggs have been removed from the site, alert MI6 and the CIA to the danger.





North and South Atlantic Oceans 



WEDDELL SEA to ENGLAND - The most direct route is not always the quickest route across an ocean. There are trade winds and currents that, more often than not, make it quicker to go with the flow. The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre. Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.

In 1823, British sealer James Weddell discovered the Weddell Sea. Otto Nordenskiöld, leader of the 1901-1904 Swedish Antarctic Expedition, spent a winter at Snow Hill with a team of four men when the relieve ship became beset in ice and was finally crushed. The crew managed to reach Paulet Island where they wintered in a primitive hut. Nordenskiöld and the others finally were picked up by the Argentine Navy at Hope Bay.

The Antarctic Sound is named after the expedition ship of Otto Nordenskiöld. The sound that separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from Dundee Island is also named “Ice-berg Alley”, because of the huge ice-bergs that are often seen here. Snowhill Island, located east of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is almost completely snow-capped, hence its name. Swedish Antarctic Expedition under Otto Nordenskiöld built a cabin on the island in 1902 where Nordenskiöld and three members of the expedition had to spend two winters. In 1915, Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance got trapped and was crushed by ice in this sea. 





Storm and crew head to England at high speed. Meanwhile Chang has landed in Portsmouth, to await the remaining eggs unaware that the CoolArctic is at the bottom of the ocean and the Atlantic Express then docks in Southampton to unload her containers.


The giant prehistoric animal jumps ship at night crossing the River Test heading west, finding comfort in the outskirts of the New Forest where it feeds on ponies that are in plentiful supply. Eventually, losses of these equines come to the attention of a nature group and that is passed on to Hampshire police, relayed to MI6 and thence to John Storm.


Storm and crew came into the Solent proceeding up the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard. An expedition into the bracken led Storm some miles from one of the pony corpses toward a wooden area near Worts Gutter (Furzey Lane). Storm called MI6 for backup. MI6 rushed to surround the area with heavily armed troops to protect civilians.




Charley Temple is attacked by one of the giant ants



CHARLEY TEMPLE - The above is a scene from the proposed sci-fi movie: Sectasaur. Here, Charley Temple is about to be eaten by one of the prehistoric ants that have been brought back to civilization from the Antarctic ice. Please note that this drawing is copyright © Jameson Hunter Ltd 2015. You will need permission from Jameson Hunter to be able to reproduce it. 





John Storm and Charley Temple went in hoping to somehow capture the animal without harming it. They stalked the animal for a time, but the creature had located and been stalking them, following their scent trail - when the giant insect came up from behind over the brow of a ravine and knocked Charley nearly unconscious as she reacted in fright. Storm managed to strike the creature with an axe he had picked up along the way. It fell down lying still in partial shock. 


Charley and John marvel at the anatomy of this ancient breed. Ignoring the dangers, they both set about patching the creature's wound with antiseptic and bandages that Charley had brought along in case they got into trouble. The dino ant allowed them to patch her up, ignoring the pain, it lay immobile listening to the couple talking, pretending to be incapacitated. The creature understood that the dialogue between John and Charley is not aggressive or threatening, but rather caring - and marks these two humans down as allies.





John Storm fights for his life against a giant prehistoric ant



JOHN STORM - The Captain of the Elizabeth Swan battles one of the largest prehistoric insects that ever lived, despite his reservations about killing any animal. We may have found a stuntman to play the part of John Storm for the making of a pilot. A pilot in this case is a short film sequence, perhaps one scene, or a trailer to whet the appetite of of film angels. Please note that this artwork is copyright © Jameson Hunter Ltd 2015. You will need permission from Jameson Hunter to be able to reproduce it. 





The insectoid feigned recovery, when John panicked and again went for the axe. Also as a reflex action the dino ant lashed out at John, throwing him backwards over a ledge, and Charley sprawling through some undergrowth. He managed to grab hold of a few roots - he was now at the mercy of the creature.


The huge insect rushed in for what John thinks is the kill, but instead puts itself at risk on the ledge to pull John up to safety. Meanwhile government troops are closing in and have seen what looks to them like a struggle, so increase their pace determined to kill the creature.


John dusted himself off while the magnificent insect squatted adjacent, also cleaning itself.  Puzzled at the turn of events, he spoke to the animal - and the creature responded, turning its head to look at John - as if trying to understand. The giant insect regarded John's voice as a friendly sign and had logged his and Charley's scent as such.


As a scientist John could not help himself, but to offer his hand palm up to the creature. The animal moved to the hand and studied it with both of its feelers, tickling him. John's heart was pounding, the insect could easily amputate his hand with its razor sharp jaws.


Charley Temple struggled back through the bracken and saw the interaction between John and the insect. She immediately realized that for some reason the creature had accepted them as not being a threat. It had knocked her down as a reflex action. She moved in closer also proffering her hand, and again the prehistoric insect smelled her all over with its antennae. Charley giggled at the touch. Insects smell, taste and feel with their antennae and some have magnetic magnetite in them making a biological compass.





Terry will be John Storm for the movie pilot featuring the giant ant robot



TERRY - If you live in Sussex and not too far from Eastbourne, why not help us to make this project more interesting and get some practical experience under your belt while you are at it. Anyone interested in animatronics or entomology is most welcome, from university students to retirees. Terry will be playing the part of John Storm in a pilot film that could be shot in 2016 if crowd funding is successful. Get in touch if you are interested in film making or acting and might be able to help out on either of these fronts: 07484727027 or email:






John and Charley exchanged huge grins at the discovery. This animal was not a threat, but more of a find for mankind. Just then the government troops opened fire wounding the animal. John and Charley both leapt in front of the insect yelling at the soldiers to stop firing, but Charley caught a bullet in the arm and screamed in pain. At this the giant insect pushed them to one side and moved forward to protect them both from the gunfire. In the process, it took several more bullets and finally one to the head. It collapsed.


John and Charley got up shouting as loud as they could to hold fire. Charley was in some pain. The firing stopped, enabling them to get to the insect. It looked at them and raised its feelers, Charley took one in her good hand and John the other and the trio embraced for a minute, then the creature subsided and its antenna went limp - it was dead .........


John shuddered with remorse, anger welling up inside of him. Charley cried openly. A huge soldier ran to the scene whelping with delight at the kill. "Yes," cried the soldier, making macho muscle signs with his arm. "Yes," said John, and gave him a powerful punch to the jaw and the soldier went down. Charley went to hit him despite here sore arm, but a few more men came in brandishing guns. She shouted and glared at them adopting a threatening posture. "Do you know what you have done. You trigger happy idiots." The soldiers had no reply, and they went away rather sheepishly; feeling like idiots. Up to that point they thought they had saved her life.


John filed a report with MI6, advising of a great loss to science. He suggested that the South Pole should be examined further for clues as to how these animals lived, but that only archaeologists should complete such a study, not the military. These scientists would need to be briefed by him and sworn to secrecy. He did not include in his report the few touching moments that he and Charley had experienced. He (they) doubted anyone would believe it.


NOTE: This story is Copyright © Jameson Hunter Ltd, December 2015 and January 2016. All rights reserved.











Nature is up to its amazing feats once again. The ant colony featured in this video is so big that it would be the equivalent of building the great wall of china.

Now I can’t speak on the method of excavation, concrete dumped into the colony then excavated, but I do hope that the majority of the colony moved on before the concrete came down to freeze this epic structure in time.







I’ve highlighted ant hills that were made into sculptures using aluminum in the past but this behemoth of a structure is a metropolis in comparison.

This giant ant hill is a testament to the complexity of life on this planet, all living things continue to grow and evolve creating things that we have never seen before, there is tons of excitement left in what we don’t know.





Giant ant prop used in making the 1954 film: Them



THEM - WARNER BROS. - One of the giant ant props at the special effects workshops of the famous film company back in 1954. Wow, if we had that space and their budget! In the film world, anything is not only possible, but expected - and right now. Audiences are hungry for their next sci-fi fix.







Them! is a 1954 American black-and-white science fiction film from Warner Bros. Pictures produced by David Weisbart, directed by Gordon Douglas, and starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, and James Arness. The film is based on an original story treatment by George Worthing Yates, which was then developed into a screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes.

Them! is one of the first of the 1950s "nuclear monster" movies, and the first "big bug" feature. A nest of gigantic irradiated ants is discovered in the New Mexico desert; they quickly become a national threat when it is discovered a young queen ant and her consorts have escaped to establish a new nest. The national search that follows finally culminates in a battle with Them in the concrete spillways and sewers of Los Angeles.



New Mexico State Police troopers Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and Ed Blackburn (Chris Drake) discover a little girl in shock, wandering the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. They retrace her steps to a mobile home owned by an FBI agent named Ellinson, who was on vacation in the area with his family. The side of the trailer was ripped open from the outside, the rest of the family is missing and no money was taken. A single unidentifiable animal track seems to be the only clue. Then a strange, pulsating high-pitched noise echos out of the desert on the wind. The little girl briefly reacts in fear when she hears the sound, but this is not noticed by those around her.

A general store owner named "Gramps" Johnson is found dead; his store is also torn apart from the outside. No cash was taken, but a barrel of sugar was smashed open. Gramps' Winchester rifle was fired and is now twisted out of shape. Peterson leaves by car to check on the little girl and make a report, leaving Blackburn to guard the store. Blackburn hears the strange, pulsating sound outside and leaves to investigate; off-camera gunshots are fired, the strange sound grows faster and louder, and Blackburn's scream is heard.

A plaster cast of the odd footprint found near the trailer is sent to Washington, D.C. Peterson's boss later points out that Gramps had time to fire all his ammunition at his attacker, and Peterson's missing partner was a "crack shot", eliminating the possibility of a homicidal maniac. Even more puzzling is the coroner's determination of Johnson's cause of death: a broken neck and back, skull fracture, crushed abdomen, and "enough formic acid in his body to kill 20 men".

The FBI sends Agent Robert Graham (James Arness) to investigate after the Bureau is unable to identify the footprint. With him he brings Drs. Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter Pat Medford (Joan Weldon), both myrmecologists from the Department of Agriculture. The elder Medford examines the footprint. He later exposes the Ellinson girl to formic acid fumes, which revives her from a catatonic state; she screams, "Them! Them!"

Though his suspicions are validated by the girl's reaction, Medford will not reveal his theory; doing so prematurely might lead "to a nationwide panic". While investigating the Ellinson campsite, Pat screams when she encounters a giant, eight-foot long foraging ant. The lawmen run to her aid and empty their pistols into the insect with little effect. On directions from the elder Medford, Peterson and Graham destroy the ant's antennae, blinding it; they then kill it with sustained fire from a Thompson submachine gun. Harold finally reveals his theory: a colony of giant ants, mutated by radiation from the first atomic bomb test near Alamogordo, is responsible for the killings.

A helicopter search conducted by the Medfords, Peterson, Graham, and Major Kibby, on orders from General O'Brien, discovers the ants' nest. Cyanide gas bombs are tossed into it, and Graham, Peterson, and Pat descend into the nest to kill any survivors. Deep inside, Pat finds evidence that two queen ants have hatched and have escaped to establish new colonies. To avoid a general panic, the elder Medford gives a government task force a briefing on ants, as the government covertly investigates all reports of any unusual activity, even sightings of "flying saucers".

The first report comes from south Texas where a private pilot (Fess Parker) has been committed to a mental hospital after claiming that his aircraft was forced down by UFOs, shaped like giant ants. Next, the Coast Guard receives a report of a giant queen hatching her brood in the hold of a freighter at sea in the Pacific; giant ants attack the ship's crew and there are few survivors. The freighter is later sunk by U. S. Navy gunfire, eliminating one of the queens.

A third report comes in that leads Peterson, Graham, and Major Kibby to a rail yard in Los Angeles where a smashed boxcar has been emptied of 40 tons of sugar. An alcoholic in a hospital "drunk tank" claims to have seen giant ants outside his window. The mutilated body of a father is recovered, but his two young sons with him are missing. Peterson, Graham, and Kibby find evidence that the dad and kids were flying a model aircraft in the Los Angeles River drainage channel near the hospital. Given the apparent convergence of sightings, the President of the United States declares martial law in Los Angeles; more troops are assigned to find the new nest in the vast storm drain network under the city.

Peterson finds the two missing boys alive deep inside the drain system, but they are trapped near the ants' nest. He calls for reinforcements and goes in alone to rescue them, getting both boys to safety just before he is attacked by a giant ant. Graham arrives with reinforcements and kills the ant attacking Peterson, as others swarm to protect the nest. Peterson dies from his injuries. Graham and the other soldiers fight off the ants, but a tunnel collapse isolates Graham. Several ants charge him, but he is able to hold them off with his machine gun just long enough for the other troops to break through and make the rescue. The queen and her young hatchlings are discovered and destroyed with flame throwers.

Afterward, Dr. Medford makes a philosophic observation: "When Man entered the Atomic Age, he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict."





A serious hard case, giant ants from Australia



DINO-JAWS - Now that is what we call a pair of snappers. We'll not be aiming to replicate this scheme 100%, but doing an interpretation based on likely evolution with a lot of artistic licence thrown in. That is because it is so vivid, it would not be believed by cinema audiences. The coloration is though superb. H G Wells was famous for his science fiction adventure books, including Empire Of The Ants.






When Them! began production in the fall of 1953, it was originally conceived to be in 3-D and Warner Color. During pre-production, tests were to be shot in color and 3-D. A few color tests were shot of the large-scale ant models, but when it was time to shoot the 3-D test, Warner Bros' "All Media" 3-D camera rig malfunctioned and no footage could be filmed. The next day, a memo was sent out that the color and 3-D aspects of the production were to be scrapped; black and white and widescreen would now be the film's format. Warner Bros. hoped to emulate the "effective shock treatment" effect of its previous science fiction thriller The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms; ultimately, however, the film was not shot in widescreen. Because of the preparation of certain shots, many of the camera set-ups for 3-D still remain in the film, like the opening titles and the flame throwers shots aimed directly at the camera.

Although Warner Bros. was dissatisfied with the color results, the film's titles were printed in a vivid red and blue against a black and white background to give the opening of the film a dramatic "punch". This effect was achieved by an Eastman Color section spliced into each film print. The VHS tape release in 1985, the subsequent laser disc, and the later DVD release have retained this black and white with color title effect.

The entrance to the ants' final nest was shot along the concrete spillways of the Los Angeles River, between the First and Seventh Street Bridges, east of downtown. The depiction of the Chihuahua Desert of southern New Mexico is actually the Mojave Desert near Palmdale, California. Mercy Hospital was a real institution and is now Brownsville Medical Center.

Actor James Whitmore wore "lifts" in his shoes to compensate for the height difference between himself and James Arness. It has also been noted that Whitmore employed bits of "business" (hand gestures and motions) during scenes in which he appeared to draw more attention to his character when not speaking.

The Wilhelm scream, created three years earlier for the film Distant Drums, is used during the action sequences: when a sailor aboard the freighter is grabbed by an ant, when James Whitmore's character is caught in an ant's mandibles, and when an overhead wooden beam falls on a soldier in the Los Angeles storm-drain sequence.

The giant ants were constructed and operated by unseen technicians supervised by Ralph Ayers, and were actually purplish-green in color. During the climactic battle sequence in the Los Angeles sewers, there is a brief shot of one ant moving in the foreground with its side removed, revealing its mechanical interior. This blunder has been obscured in the DVD releases of the film.




Them! was released in June 1954 and by the end of that year, had accrued US $2 million in distributors' domestic (U.S. and Canada) rentals, making it the year's 51st biggest earner. It was Warner Bros. highest grossing film that year.

The New York Times review noted "... from the moment James Whitmore, playing a New Mexico state trooper, discovers a six-year-old moppet wandering around the desert in a state of shock, to the time when the cause of that mental trauma is traced and destroyed, Them! is taut science fiction." The reviewer in Variety opined it was a "top-notch science fiction shocker. It has a well-plotted story, expertly directed and acted in a matter-of-fact style to rate a chiller payoff and thoroughly satisfy the fans of hackle-raising melodrama."




Collectors model of THEM!



THEM - A collectible scale model diorama as a souvenir of the movie.





Since its original release, Them! has become generally regarded as one of the very best science fiction films of the 1950s. Bill Warren described the film as " ... tight, fast-paced and credible ... [T]he picture is suspenseful." Phil Hardy’s The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction noted, "Directed by [Gordon] Douglas in semi-documentary fashion, Them! is one of the best American science fiction films of the fifties." Danny Peary believed the film "Ranks with The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as the best of the countless 50s science fiction films." In the Time Out Film Guide, David Pirie wrote, "By far the best of the 50s cycle of 'creature features' ... retains a good part of its power today." The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 7.6/10, based on 26 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "One of the best creature features of the early atomic age, Them! features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies."

Them! was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects and won a Golden Reel Award for best sound editing. The film has been nominated for two American Film Institute lists, AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills and AFI's 10 Top 10 (science fiction genre).





London's Natural History Museum exhibit



MUSEUM PIECE - The Natural History Museum in London uses animatronic models of dinosaurs to bring their displays to life and entertain visitors. The trend continues to make this one of the fastest growing business areas for young engineers to get their teeth into.





The Anthropocene Epoch



NEW EPOCH: ANTHROPOCENE - Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author of a study published in Science Magazine in January 2016 is quoted as saying: “We could be looking here at a step-change from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch.”

There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch. 


Prof Phil Gibbard, a geologist at the University of Cambridge who set up the working group to consider formalising the Anthropocene, said that while he respected the work of the group, he questioned how useful it would be to declare a new epoch. Gibbard suggested it might be better if the Anthropocene was seen as a cultural term – such as as the Neolithic era, the end of the stone age – rather than a geological one.


* We’ve pushed extinction rates of flora and fauna far above the long-term average. The Earth is now on course for a sixth mass extinction which would see 75% of species extinct in the next few centuries if current trends continue

* Increased the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere by about 120 parts per million since the industrial revolution because of fossil fuel-burning, leaving concentrations today at around 400ppm and rising

* Nuclear weapon tests in the 1950s and 60s left traces of an isotope common in nature, 14C, and a naturally rare isotope, 293Pu, through the Earth’s mid-latitudes

* Put so much plastic in our waterways and oceans that microplastic particles are now virtually ubiquitous, and plastics will likely leave identifiable fossil records for future generations to discover

* Doubled the nitrogen and phosphorous in our soils in the past century with our fertiliser use. According to some research, we’ve had the largest impact on the nitrogen cycle in 2.5bn years

* Left a permanent marker in sediment and glacial ice with airborne particulates such as black carbon from fossil fuel-burning


Humans are altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate. Any formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale hinges on whether humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a stratigraphic signature in sediments and ice that is distinct from that of the Holocene epoch. Proposals for marking the start of the Anthropocene include an “early Anthropocene” beginning with the spread of agriculture and deforestation; the Columbian Exchange of Old World and New World species; the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE; and the mid-20th century “Great Acceleration” of population growth and industrialization.







Three animatronic giants: Camarasaurus, Tarbosaurus and Gallimimus, were the big stars in Age of the Dinosaur exhibition that opened on the 22nd of April 2011 in London. Paul Gallagher, their exhibition Project Manager, is quoted as saying: 'I am really impressed by the skin quality and the realism of the dinosaurs up close,' after inspecting the 1.5 tonnes Tarbosaurus inside the Museum.

The installation is in the Waterhouse Gallery. Age of the Dinosaur will take visitors back millions of year into the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. It will feature six life-size animatronic dinosaurs, one animatronic bird, and about 75 specimens and specimen replicas with hundreds of insect, plant and tree models.


Developed with palaeontologists, animal behaviour experts, biologists and Museum curators, Age of the Dinosaur is a unique journey through the three periods of the Mesozoic era - the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Travelling back between 65 million and 250 million years, visitors are immersed in scientifically accurate habitats, witnessing the sights, sounds and smells of the world of the dinosaurs.

Featuring around 50 real specimens, lifelike models, full-scale animatronics and stunning film footage, Age of the Dinosaur paints an evocative picture and tells a compelling scientific story of a vital period in Earth’s history. As visitors enter the exhibition they will see the history of Earth presented on a large-scale timeline covering the Triassic period to the present day. They will then explore Jurassic specimens that reveal the climate, biodiversity and geography of that era.


An atmospheric underwater area depicts ocean life from the Jurassic period. Animals, fish and ammonites swim past as visitors see specimens from the deep close up. There's also a Cretaceous period watering hole. Strange sounds fill the air and accurate recreations of trees, plants, animals and insects complete the sensory experience. 

In a special discovery area, visitors can learn how our planet looked in the days of the dinosaurs. Here they can interact with exhibits, handle real specimens and experience the Museum’s impressive scientific resources.

In the final part of the exhibition, visitors learn about the extinction of dinosaurs and travel forwards in time to the present day, before being asked to imagine what the world will be like in 65 million years. What kind of animals will roam the Earth then?

And, because no exhibition visit is complete without a browse of the gift shop, they also offer a wide range of dinosaur merchandise at wholesale prices.

The Natural History Museum - Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7942 5000












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Dr Paul Graham
Reader, School of Life Sciences
University of Sussex
John Maynard Smith Building
Brighton, BN1 9QG
t: +44 1273 872943!



Scince fiction movie about giant mutated ants by Warner Brothers    Ant-Man the Marvel movie 2015 with Paul Rudd  A prehistoric giant ant hatches from a frozen egg to create havoc 



LEFT - 1954 Warner Brothers movie poster for "Them." The plots are completely different, but the idea is similar, save that there is a degree more plausibility in the scale - and we hope, the ants to be used in the film. C. LEFT - Empire of the Ants, starring Joan Collins, a movie from 1977. C. RIGHT - Ant-Man from Marvel comics, a 2015 movie that was well received, benefiting from CGI, that has made so many classics that much more enjoyable. RIGHT - Movie idea, lurking beneath the Antarctic ice is a discovery that scientists will die for. This story is now the subject of a low budget pilot to be produced mostly in the UK.




Fish hook ant from Cambodia



FISH HOOK ANT - This little beauty is from Cambodia, where an interesting defence adaptation is four hooks or barbs that can only really cause pain to an attacker if eaten. Hence, one worker must be sacrificed to ward of predators from the nest - after which most predators learn not to eat this species.







A WOOD ANT - This is a far less ferocious ant found in the south of England: Formica Rufus. You will find them in wooded areas, but please do not disturb the nests - they are a protected species - and they will squirt you with formic acid if you are not careful.







BROWN BULLDOG ANT - A superb example of this Australian Ponerine sporting custom dark coloration at around 30mm in length. Some of these giants are kept as pets, especially the well known Bullet ant in South America.








DINOPONERA GIANT ANT - One of the largest ants in the world with fearsome jaws, not quite so menacing as the Bulldog ant, but still pretty amazing - and with a magnificent sting in the tail.







Dreaming about a robot hexapod, a Christmas wish


Marion finds Jimmy's moneybox


More money in the moneybox, than expected


Johnny Johnson's detention, King Geek and the Geeklets














Artwork for Sectasaur, a story about a giant insect discovered as the Antarctic thaws



A Sectasaur™ (thawed) - now on permanent display at Herstmonceux Museum, in Sussex, England.







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