Happy New Year from Everything Dinosaur

Happy New Year

Next year is nearly open us, so it is out with the old and in with the new as we look forward to all the exciting Earth Science discoveries that are going to take place over the next twelve months.  There are the London Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to look forward to as when as notable historic events to commemorate such as Captain Scott’s tragic Antarctic expedition, one hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Piltdown Man evidence being presented to the Geological Society, the inclusion of New Mexico and Arizona in the United States and so forth.

2012 is going to be another fascinating year for palaeontology.  We at Everything Dinosaur also note that it will mark one hundred years since the formal naming and describing of the largest extant species of lizard – the Komodo Dragon as well as the 100th anniversary of the book “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Wishing all our readers a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Happy New Year to all our Readers

Happy New Year!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are looking forward to writing more blog articles in 2012, a year that will see us reach the landmark of our 2,000th on-line article.

Top Ten Most Popular Everything Dinosaur Blog Articles 2011

Everything Dinosaur’s Favourite Articles in 2011

As the year draws to a close, team members at Everything Dinosaur have been compiling all the statistics on the huge number of web log articles that have been written over the last twelve months.  A total of three hundred and sixty-three articles have been added to the Everything Dinosaur blog this year, we have covered an amazing range of stories from new dinosaur discoveries, updates on dig sites, reviews of models and other prehistoric animal themed products, we have even added some of our own videos to this blog.

It has certainly been a busy year for palaeontology and Earth Sciences in general.  Just for fun we have been putting together a list of the most viewed articles that were written this year – a sort of top ten in terms of popularity.  This list covers new Pterosaur discoveries, sea monsters, parasites, monster crocodiles and even a new type of Spinosaurid.

Here is our top ten:

10).  Battling Ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles enter in at the start of our countdown –  an article we published in early may concerning fossil evidence suggesting that some types of Ichthyosaur may have fought duels with their long snouts: Ichthyosaur Snout shows signs of Prehistoric Battle

9).  News reached us of a huge Salt Water crocodile being caught in the Philippines in September, one of the largest crocodiles ever seen, a huge animal: Monster Croc trapped by Philippine Villagers

8). The discovery of a new, enormous Spinosaurid from Brazil comes in at number eight in our countdown.  Based on a fragment of jawbone and some fossilised teeth, scientists in March announced the discovery of Oxalaia quilombensis, a member of the Spinosaur family that may have been larger than T. rex: The Big Boys from Brazil – New Spinosaurid Announced

7).  2011, marked the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the “London” specimen of Archaeopteryx and our little feathered friend featured in a number of news stories throughout the year.  Coming in at number seven in the top ten is the article written to mark the Natural History Museum’s Archaeopteryx fossil being declared the holotype by the ICZN: Natural History Museum Gets the Bird

6).  Writing on some topics can really get under our skin and the brief piece we wrote on the evidence suggesting that dinosaurs were plagued by blood-sucking parasites is an example of this.  It seems that these “terrible lizards” were brought down to size by lice and other parasites, according to a study by an international team: Dinosaurs Plagued by Lice

5). Turtles and their relatives get an entry into our top ten with an article written in the middle of July, following the publication of American research which explored how these reptiles survived the Cretaceous mas extinction event: How did the Chelonia Survive?

4).  Heading into the business end of our list, at number four is the article we wrote about a new Pterosaur species that possessed teeth like a piranha – a very nasty critter indeed.  Way back in January we wrote about Gwawinapterus beardi a fearsome Pterosaur with very large teeth: Flying Reptile with “Piranha-like” Jaws

3).  Our review of the feature-length dino/documentary called “March of the Dinosaurs” comes in at number three.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur were contacted by some of the people behind this ninety minute long programme that explored how some dinosaurs migrated to the Arctic and back again.  We still get people emailing us with questions regarding some of the dinosaurs featured, even more than six months later.  Naturally, we are happy to help and we reply to all our correspondence, the article can be found here: March of the Dinosaurs

2).  The announcement in November of the new additions to the Collecta range of prehistoric animals is just pipped to the number one spot and has to settle for the runners up position.   There are going to be a number of new models introduced by Collecta/Procon, we at Everything Dinosaur have been working hard to make sure our readers are updated with new pics, information and updates on these exciting introductions, the first of which are scheduled to be with us in about five weeks: Collecta Announces New Models for 2012

1).  Holding on to the top spot, is perhaps one of the saddest stories that we featured on our blog this year.  Unfortunately, there is an increasing trend for sites of special scientific interest such as those that contain fossils to be vandalised, as unscrupulous people try to find valuable fossils that they can sell either to private dealers or on auction sites.  The value of fossils has shot up dramatically over recent years and this has led to many incidents of “fossil vandalism” as we at Everything Dinosaur term it.  A particularly sad story of one such attack was reported by us in November, it took place on the Isle of Skye: Important Jurassic Fossil Site Ransacked

With all the new and exciting discoveries, the progress made with research projects and such like, it is sad to think that this particularly upsetting news story made it to number one in our chart.  However, if by writing these articles we can help in some way to deter any other would be vandals then we would have at least made a small contribution to saving our fossil heritage.

Everything Dinosaur’s Top Ten News Stories of 2011

New Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

Papo Introduces a Number of New Replicas and One Re-paint (Time to form your Own T. rex Family Group)

The French based figure and model manufacturer Papo have announced their new prehistoric animal models for 2012.  Papo market their prehistoric animals under the “Dinosaures” brand, with the introduction of a total of seven new replicas, three of which are not dinosaurs, it may be time for Papo to extend this umbrella branding to include animaux préhistoriques”.

The high standards that collectors have come to expect from Papo have been maintained, and the new introductions brings the total model range to twenty-five (including the two cavemen figures).  There are a couple of retirements. Firstly, the camp fire that we at Everything Dinosaur sold along with the two cavemen figures, this is being retired and we don’t think any more will be available.  In addition, the award winning T. rex with its moving lower jaw is being replaced by a re-painted version – a sort of T. rex with a makeover, the colour scheme will be predominately light brown.

The Re-painted T. rex Model

Award winning T. rex with a new look.

Picture Credit: Pap0/Everything Dinosaur

It is fascinating to see how Papo’s designers are modifying their range of prehistoric animal models.  This T. rex has been one of the company’s “flag ship” replicas, and it has proved to be a top selling sculpt over the years.  The re-paint is interesting, with its subtle stripes and dusky colours, perhaps a homage to the origins of the really big Late Cretaceous Tyrannosaurs which are believed to have originated from the dry and dusky interior of China, before they migrated into North America.  This model will be available from Everything Dinosaur in February.

Tyrannosaurs have certainly been at the centre of Papo’s design efforts over the last few months, as hot on the heels of the re-paint, comes a brand new sculpt of an adult Tyrannosaurus and what a monster this is!

The Green Running T. rex from Papo

Hot on your Heels – a Running T. rex

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

There are some subtle differences between this new interpretation and the previous model of this iconic dinosaur.  The forelimbs have been slightly re-positioned to reflect the latest thinking regarding their position and the lack of pronation that big Theropods had; (the ability to twist their arms and to hold their fingers parallel to the ground).   The eye crests are retained but these are joined by a small, raised ridge that runs from the skull down the neck and the dentition (layout of the teeth) has been altered.  The model is very well balanced and gives the appearance of movement, with T. rex being depicted as a lean and muscular predator.  The first T. rex replica produced by Papo was heavily influenced by the Tyrannosaurus rex that featured in the Jurassic Park film trilogy, our experts at Everything Dinosaur have noticed the influence of another Tyrannosaur seen in recent films, in this new replica – the prominent premaxilla and the large teeth resemble the Tyrannosaur known as Vastatosaurus rex seen in the Peter Jackson re-make of King Kong that came out in 2005.  The Vastatosaurus rex was interpreted as being a descendant from the North American Tyrannosaurs, it was the top predator on Skull Island and the only dinosaur brave and strong enough to tackle the giant ape.  This new model will be available in February 2012.

A Close Up of the Head of the New Papo T. rex

A homage to recent dinosaur movies?

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

 An Image of the “V. rex” from the Movie Storyboards from King Kong

Did this influence the Papo Replica?

The Tyrannosaur theme continues with the introduction of two juvenile Tyrannosaurus replicas.  The design team at Papo must have been reading up on recently published scientific papers which postulated that Tyrannnosaurs may have been pack hunters, living in small family groups.  The recently refurbished and re-opened dinosaur halls at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, features an exhibit of three skeletons of T. rex, an adult, a teenager and a juvenile all feeding off the carcase of a dead Edmontosaurus. This is the first time, that Tyrannosaurs have been depicted in a family group.  We think that Luis Chiappe, the Director of the Museum’s Dinosaur Halls would be intrigued to see how Papo have interpreted the young T. rexes.

To view an article on the T. rex exhibition at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum: Grand Opening of New Dinosaur Halls at Museum

The Juvenile T, rex (Baby T. rex – green)

Young T. rex from Papo

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

The Baby T. rex (brown replica) fromPapo

A Nasty Nipper!

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

Our experts at Everything Dinosaur, think the green T. rex represents a slightly older animal, whereas the brown T. rex is a replica of a much younger animal, perhaps less than a year old, if current ontogeny theory (growth rate) associated with Late Cretaceous Tyrannosaurs is correct.  The age of the animal can be estimated by looking at the body proportions, note the size of the head in comparison with the rest of the creature.  In both models, the head is raised as if the young creature is looking up at one of its parents, perhaps begging for food or seeking the assurance and protection of an older member of the Tyrannosaur family group.  Papo is to be commended for taking the time and trouble to research some of the latest theories regarding Tyrannosaurs and then incorporate this research into their figures.

We suspect that just like at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, these T. rex models can be posed so that collectors and dinosaur fans alike can form their own T. rex family group.  All the Tyrannosaur models are scheduled to be available from February.

Joining the large Woolly Mammoth available from Papo, comes not one but two baby Mammoths.  The trend to feature prehistoric animals in family groups seems to extend from the Tyrannosaurs of the Late Cretaceous right up to last Ice Age with these new Papo models.

The Baby Woolly Mammoth (Standing)

Baby Woolly Mammoth – the New Lyuba?

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

When team members at Everything Dinosaur first saw this picture, we thought “cute” the vulnerability of a young creature in a harsh environment has really been captured by the Papo model makers. This sculpt reminded us of “Lyuba” the remarkable fossilised Mammoth baby found just a few years ago in Siberia.  With the retirement of other hand-painted Mammoth models, these two replicas are very welcome.

Baby Woolly Mammoth (Walking)

Mammoth on the Move

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

Note the humps on the back of these young animals.  Scientists studying the extremely well-preserved remains of “Lyuba” the youngest Mammoth fossil ever found, discovered that these babies did indeed have a hump on the back.  It has been suggested that young Mammoths were able to lay down fat and store it in their bodies, in a similar way to creatures like camels – an adaptation to living in a cold, harsh environment when food supplies were never guaranteed.

To read more about the baby Mammoth known as “Lyuba” and how palaeontologists are finding about the diet of young Mammoths: Baby Mammoth Stomach Contents Under Scrutiny

Marine reptiles are not left out from the new Papo 2012 collection.  We had known about the introduction of a replica of the fearsome marine reptile Tylosaurus for some time, now we can put up a picture of this model, which will be available from February.

The New Tylosaurus Model from Papo

“Protuberance Lizard” a new replica from Papo

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

A number of genera of this type of marine reptile are known from the fossil record.  The scaly skin on this replica could be Papo’s way of highlighting the affinity this group of predators have with the Squamata (lizards and snakes).  Tylosaurs are believed to be closely related to modern monitor lizards, although at over fourteen metres long (some species), these extinct creatures are much larger.  It is apt for Papo to introduce a model of a Tylosaurus in 2012, as next year marks the 140th anniversary of the naming of this marine reptile.  This model will work well with the existing Papo marine reptile model (Plesiosaurus) that was introduced to the range in 2009.  It will be available in February.

Last but by no means least, comes the largest model that Papo have made in their “Dinosaures” range.  In fact, this will be one of the largest models ever made by Papo, and indeed one of the biggest dinosaur models around.  Papo are introducing their first ever Sauropod figure, and what an excellent model it looks to be.

Coming out in July 2012, Papo are introducing a model of Brachiosaurus.

The New Brachiosaurus Model from Papo (July 2012)

The new Heavyweight Champion!

Picture Credit: Papo/Everything Dinosaur

The more traditional, elephantine colouring will contrast well with other Macronaria models due to be introduced next year.  The Brachiosaur is depicted as a very heavy-set, powerful creature and this replica will make an excellent centrepiece for many a collector.  It is due to be released in Summer 2012, just in time for the London Games, looks like we are going to need an Olympic-sized warehouse to store all these new models from Papo.

A New Theory Regarding our Next of “Fin”

Early Tetrapods Thrived in Woodlands

In a study published in the most recent edition of the scientific publication “The Journal of Geology”, University of Oregon based researchers are claiming that the first land dwelling Tetrapods originated in humid, forested habitats.  The scientists claim that they have evidence to suggest that the first types of fish to move around on land lived on wooded flood plains.

Up until the early 1980′s most palaeontologists accepted the hypothesis that fish such as the Panderichthyids, from which Tetrapods are believed to be descended made the move out of water onto land as a result of many water courses drying up.  This theory stated that as inland sea, lakes and rivers gradually shrank and eventually dried up, as the climate warmed, the fish that lived in these habitats evolved terrestrial habits and adapted to a life in which greater and greater amounts of time were spent out of the water.  Evidence for the hot Devonian climate can still be seen in many places today.  As water evaporated mineral deposits such as salt were left behind.  These were readily oxidised in contact with the air and this led to the formation of great, red sandstone belts that can be seen in many parts of the world.  The sandstone sea stack, known as the “Old Man of Hoy” is an example of Devonian aged sandstone.

One of the most prominent exponents of this “fish onto dry land” theory was Alfred Romer, who died in 1973 after a long and distinguished academic career which saw him serve in the faculties of both Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Eusthenopteron – A Candidate for the Ancestor of Tetrapods

The name Eusthenopteron means “good strong fin” – ideal for a tramp in the woods?

Picture Credit: Parc National de Miguasha

However, there have been a number of challenges to this theory.  Many scientists now believe that the first Tetrapods evolved in much more humid and wetter habitats.   According to Gregory J. Retallack (University of Oregon), his discoveries at numerous sites in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania suggests that Romer and his supporters got it wrong when they postulated on fish adapting to a drier climate.

Professor Retallack, believes that his own studies show that the first land-dwelling Tetrapods evolved in much more wet and humid environments – wooded floodplains.

He stated:

“Such a plucky hypothetical ancestor of ours probably could not have survived the overwhelming odds of perishing in a trek to another shrinking pond.”

During the Late Devonian, there was no immense struggle to escape drying water courses in order to ensure survival, according to the Professor.  In this new study, he argues for a very different explanation.  The Professor examined numerous buried soils in rocks yielding footprints and bones of early transitional fossils between fish and amphibians of Devonian and Carboniferous geological age.  What he found raises a major challenge to Romer’s theory and supports later theories put forward over the last thirty years or so that suggest that limbs did not develop from the paired fins of the Panderichthyids to help creatures walk on land, but they probably evolved to help these animals crawl over plant stems and logs in clogged up water courses.

The Professor commented:

“These transitional fossils were not associated with drying ponds or deserts, but consistently were found with humid woodland soils.  Remains of drying ponds and desert soils also are known and are littered with fossil fish, but none of our distant ancestors.  Judging from where their fossils were found, transitional forms between fish and amphibians lived in wooded floodplains.  Our distant ancestors were not so much foolhardy, as opportunistic, taking advantage of floodplains and lakes choked with roots and logs for the first time in geological history.”
During the Late Devonian and Early Carboniferous, extensive swamps and lowland forests evolved.  It is the preserved remains of these huge areas that have helped form the immense coal deposits found in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The Professor’s study supports the theory of a wet, watery world from which the first Tetrapods evolved to exploit these forested habitats.  Limbs would prove “handy” (no pun intended), for negotiating fallen logs and other obstacles, whilst flexible necks allowed for feeding in shallow water.  By this new woodland hypothesis, the limbs and necks, which distinguish salamanders from fish, did not arise from “reckless” adventure in deserts, but rather were nurtured by a newly evolved habitat of humid, wooded floodplains.

The findings, Retallack said, dampen both the old desert hypothesis of Romer and a newer inter-tidal theory put forth by Grzegorz Niedbwiedzki and colleagues at the University of Warsaw, after the discovery of some remarkable Late Devonian trace fossils of early Tetrapods found in ancient, preserved, lagoonal mud found in southeastern Poland.

To read about the Polish discovery: From the Water and Onto the Land – Thirty-Five Million Years Earlier

In 2010, the Polish team published their discovery of evidence suggesting the existence of 2.5 metre long, 395-million-year-old Tetrapods in Late Devonian strata.   The track-ways they uncovered suggest that some types of animal may have been capable of venturing out onto land many tens of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

As with the desert pond theory, postulated by Romer,  this new hypothesis also proposes that fish gradually developed an adaptation of their existing swim bladder into a rudimentary lung that allowed them to survive for longer periods out of water.  That happened about the same time as paired fins were developing into true limbs.

Another advantage that the new Tetrapods had was a lack of any land-based predators to discourage their early perambulations.   Given that these were no “small fry” but in some cases, creatures almost a metre long, they faced no danger from bigger fish in the sheltered inlets and oxbows of a flooded woodland.

Fish in woodland habitats, whatever next?

Made in China – The Evolutionary Origins of Multi-cellular Life Forms

Chinese Fossils shed Light on Single-celled Ancestry of Animals

An international team of scientists have published a remarkable paper detailing their research into an amazing, microscopic fossil that provides evidence of the single-celled ancestor of all complex animal life forms.  The fossil shows an amoeba-like organism dividing in asexual cycles, first to produce two cells, then four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two and so on.  The pattern of cell division is very similar to that found in animal embryos, including our own human embryo – but the fossil dates from approximately 570 million years ago, from a geological period known as the Ediacaran (Proterozoic Eon).

The term Proterozoic means “earlier life” in Greek, and this eon covers the time between 2.5 billion years ago up to the beginning of the Cambrian geological period around 542 million years ago.  Scientists know that over this immense period of time, life on Earth slowly became more diverse and complex – although all life remained on the microscopic scale up until almost the end of this eon, a time referred to as Neoproterozoic era.

The activity of photosynthetic microbes, transformed our planet providing it with an oxygenated atmosphere, this had first begun in the Archean Eon, but this process continued and in conjunction with climatic changes, simple life forms started to become more abundant.  Although, Natural History museums, focus on vertebrate life forms such as Dinosaurs and Woolly Mammoths for example, the evolutionary events taking place during the  Proterozoic era had a much more significant impact on life on Earth.

During the Proterozoic, cells gradually became larger, more diverse and specialised.  Eukaryotes (cells with a nucleus) began to dominate and feeding by ingestion that would eventually lead to the evolution of a gut and digestive system took place for the first time.  The transformation of simple cells into these more advanced, specialised cells was probably the longest and hardest step in evolution – demonstrated by the fact that as the Proterozoic gave way to the Phanerozoic (visible life) Eon, there was to be a huge acceleration in evolution – known as the Cambrian explosion.

Fossil evidence of the single-celled ancestors of animals are extremely rare. However, an international team of scientists have discovered such a set of fossils in rocks dating to around 570 million years ago – Mid Ediacaran Period.  The fossils were unearthed in southern China.  The paper on this discovery has just been published in the journal “Science”.  The research team was made up of scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute, the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Bristol University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

Computer Generated Image of Micro-Fossil Undergoing Division

Meet your earliest Ancestor?

Picture Credit: University of Bristol Press Release

The computer generated and enhanced image shows 570 million year old multi-cellular spore body undergoing vegetative nuclear and cell division (foreground) based on synchrotron x-ray tomographic microscopy of fossils recovered from rocks in South China.  The background shows a cut surface through the rock – every grain (about 1 mm diameter) is an exceptionally preserved gooey ball of dividing cells turned to stone.

One theory as to the origins of complex life on our planet, proposes that sophisticated eukaryotic cells evolved by the symbiotic fusing of different kinds of bacteria.  For example,  bacteria capable of fermenting substances merged with swimming, mobile bacteria and the resultant life forms, over hundreds of millions of years merged with oxygenating bacteria and some of these life forms were to become the ancestors of the Animal Kingdom.

However, fossil evidence of these major evolutionary transitions is extremely rare.

The fossils, studied by the international team show in remarkable detail the stages the life cycle of an amoeba-like organism dividing in asexual cycles.  Ultimately resulting in hundreds of thousands of spore-like cells that were then released to start the cycle over again.   The pattern of cell division is so similar to the early stages of animal (including human) embryology that until now they were thought to represent the embryos of the earliest animals.

Using advanced sophisticated X-ray scanning techniques the scientists were able to view the organisation of cell structures within their protective cell walls.  These delicate structures should not have been fossilised but within their marine environment, they became buried in sediments rich in phosphates and it was these phosphates that impregnated the cell membranes, turning them into stone.

Imagine a 570 million-year-old tomb, within which can be found microscopic evidence of cell division.

Lead author on the subsequent research paper Therese Huldtgren, a doctoral student at the Department of Palaeozoology, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden commented:

“The fossils are so amazing that even their nuclei have been preserved.”

The powerful X-ray microscopy methodology used by the team revealed that the fossils had features that multi-cellular embryos did not  This led the researchers to the conclusion that the fossils were neither animals nor embryos but rather the reproductive spore bodies of single-celled ancestors of animals.

The team used a gigantic microscope in Switzerland to see inside the fossils.  This machine is called the Synchrotron, and it is housed in a building the size of a football stadium.  It is the one of only a handful of machines of its kind that can produce X-ray images of the magnification and clarity to permit scientists to study micro-fossils in great detail.  Powerful generators fire high-energy electrons around a circular tube, at phenomenal speeds (close to the speed of light).   As they travel, they emit X-rays that are so strong that they can penetrate solid rock, and the tiny microscopic fossils, allowing scientists to build up a three-dimensional image of the primitive organism represented by the fossil material.

Professor Philip Donoghue, Professor of Palaeobiology at the School of Earth Sciences, (University of Bristol), stated:

“We were very surprised by our results.   We have been convinced for so long that these fossils represented the embryos of the earliest animals, much of what has been written about the fossils for the last ten years is flat wrong.   Our colleagues are not going to like the result.”

Professor Stefen Bengtson,  Professor of Palaeozoology, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm added:

“These fossils force us to rethink our ideas of how animals learned to make large bodies out of cells.”

Prior to this research such images were interpreted as being the embryos of early animals, sponges or perhaps even the cells of sulphur-oxidising bacteria.  Looking at and interpreting the preserved remains of organisms more than 550 million years old which measure just a few microns across is at the cutting edge of palaeobiology, but the team are confident about their findings.

Which Kingdom are You?

Animalia, Plantae, Fungi etc.

Image Credit: S. A. Museum

The picture above shows another example of a micro-fossil from China.  This too dates from the Late Proterozoic Eon.  Prior to this new research such fossil images were thought to represent a number of organisms, including embryos of animals that can be found in the Ediacaran fauna, but now some images produced by high-powered X-ray tomography are being interpreted as evidence of the evolutionary origins of multi-cellular life forms.

A Review of the Deinosuchus Crocodile Model

Deinosuchus (Carnegie Collectibles – Safari Ltd) by Everything Dinosaur

After team members at Everything Dinosaur produced a short video review of the Kaprosuchus prehistoric crocodile model, we were asked to create a video of the Deinosuchus replica.  Both these models are made by Safari Ltd, one is a terrestrial crocodile whereas, the other, Deinosuchus, was adapted to a life in water.

Deinosuchus was a water-borne ambush predator, a formidable creature that lived in the Late Cretaceous of the southern United States.  This is an excellent replica, the Carnegie Collectibles Deinosuchus crocodile model.

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review of the Deinosuchus Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In this short (five minutes) review we discuss the Deinosuchus model, comment on the fossil material associated with this prehistoric crocodile and provide a little more information as to how Deinosuchus may have lived and hunted.  We enjoyed making this video using the Carnegie Deinosuchus.

Merry Christmas to all our Readers

Merry Christmas from Everything Dinosaur

December 25th and we are officially on holiday – hoorah!  Just time to wish all our web log readers a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2012.

Merry Christmas from Everything Dinosaur

Merry Christmas to all our Readers

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We have been busy with the blog over the last twelve months or so, staff at Everything Dinosaur intend to keep up their proud record of putting up a dinosaur themed or Everything Dinosaur related article every day.  There are now over 1,600 articles on line and we look forward to writing more for you over the next few days and into 2012.

Our behalf of all the team members at Everything Dinosaur – a Merry Christmas to you all.

Schleich Quetzalcoatlus going to cause a Flap

Bizarre Wings on the New Schleich Quetzalcoatlus

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been taking a look at the new models that are due to be released by the German based model and figure manufacturer, Schleich next year.  There had been a lot of rumours circulating regarding the changes being made by this company and a number of prehistoric animal models have been retired.  Sadly, the last of the prehistoric mammals, the two Woolly Mammoth models and the Smilodon are no more.  The “Saurus” range and the not to scale dinosaurs have been reduced, but there are a number of colour variants and new models being introduced.

Perhaps, the most controversial of all the new introductions is the replica of the Azhdarchid Pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus.  This is a new sculpt (model reference Schleich 14518) but it is not the model itself that will drive debate, it is the choice of wing pattern that the artists at Schleich have decided to add to the back of this flying reptile’s wings.  It certainly makes for an interesting Quetzalcoatlus flying reptile model from Schleich.

The New Quetzalcoatlus Flying Reptile Model from Schleich

Wings of a Butterfly?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

In what we think is a first for a mainstream prehistoric animal manufacturer, the designers at Schleich have given the wings of the new Quetzalcoatlus model, a patterned effect.  In fact the wings look very similar to the patterns seen on butterflies.  The wings of Pterosaurs consisted of a membrane of skin.  No preserved traces of a membrane have been found associated with Azhdarchid Pterosaurs, so the exact colouration, if any, cannot be determined, but most flying reptile models are shown with rather plain wings – certainly when compared to this new model.

The “Saurus” Quetzalcoatlus Replica

A more conventional Pterosaur Model

Picture Credit: Schleich

The “Saurus” Quetzalcoatlus will still be available in 2012, it reflects more of the conventional view of Pterosaurs. Covering the wings of butterflies, they have four wings, technically the same number as Pterosaurs as there is a smaller membrane – the fore-wing at the front of the arm on Pterosaurs, are thousands of scales made of chitin.  The wings of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) can be patterned and very colourful, the new Pterosaur model’s wings remind us of the pattern seen in the wings of many butterflies and moths.  Such patterning on a model is highly unusual, and we at Everything Dinosaur, doubt whether Pterosaur wings were coloured in this way.  The wings can’t be used for visual display as only the back surface of the wing is patterned.

This is certainly striking, but we are not sure about these markings.  Schleich also make a number of fairy and fantasy figures, perhaps the artists responsible for the new Pterosaur wings have been influenced by the designers of these other models.  We wait to see what other specialists make of this move by Schleich.

New Herbivorous Dinosaur Models from Schleich (May 2012)

Herbivorous Dinosaurs get New Paint Jobs from Schleich

Schleich of Germany have been revising a number of their model ranges with the introduction of a new artistic team.  Perhaps one of the most revised ranges has been their “Saurus” range of scale prehistoric animal models.  We covered the changes to the Theropods (meat-eaters mostly), in an earlier post today.  Now we focus on the new colour variants of herbivorous dinosaurs.

The large dinosaur model range made by Schleich, part of their “World of History” category will contain an number of plant-eating dinosaurs.  We have already featured their largest models the Sauropods, now we focus on the Stegosaurus, Saichania, Triceratops and the Parasaurolophus models that have replaced the previous “Saurus” replicas.

Stegosaurus from Schleich

“Roof Lizard” gets a new Roof

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The red dermal plates of the previous “Saurus” Stegosaurus have gone, a more muted replica as shown above is the replacement.  You could say that “Roofed Lizard” has been given a new roof.

Triceratops Model – note indications of Fenestrae

Triceratops or perhaps Torosaurus?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

We like the tilted head position and if you look carefully you can see the impression of paired fenestrae in the neck frill (formation of holes in the neck frill just covered by skin).  Could this model have been designed with a thought about the Bakker et al hypothesis that as these Ceratopsians aged so their skull frills become larger and developed fenestrae.  Could Triceratops and Torosaurus be one and the same?

To read an article about this theory: The Extinction of Torosaurus – Second Time Around

 Replacing the “Saurus” scale model Saichania with a new paint job.  This model shows the defensive armour more clearly with the armour projections being picked out in an ivory colour.

Schleich Saichania Model

Saichania means “beautiful”

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

This model will be available in May 2012, the name Saichania means “beautiful” staff at Everything Dinosaur are looking forward to seeing whether this dinosaur lives up to its name.  Interesting to note that the small Saichania model has been retired from the not-to-scale Schleich model range that we refer to the “DI” range.

Last but not least is the interesting Parasaurolophus Hadrosaur model, nicknamed “banana feet” by Everything Dinosaur team members due to the choice of colour for the front limbs.  P. walkeri is one of our favourite duck-billed dinosaurs.

Parasaurolophus from Schleich (May 2012)

It’s “banana feet”!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

This is certainly an eclectic group of dinosaur models.  All the most popular dinosaurs seem to have been incorporated into the re-launch, and we at Everything Dinosaur look forward to taking a closer look at the models.

Schleich Introduce Dinosaur Models with Moveable Jaws

Schleich Theropod Models with Moveable Jaws for Late Spring 2012

Schleich the German figure manufacturer will be introducing a range of dinosaur models with articulated, moveable jaws in the late Spring of 2012.  The models all Theropods will have an articulated lower jaw so the model can be depicted with the mouth either opened or closed.  Five models will have this feature, they are all Theropods, namely T. rex, Spinosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Velociraptor and Allosaurus.

The Schleich T. rex Model with Articulated Lower Jaw

Open wide please!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

The Schleich Allosaurus with Moveable Jaw

Fearsome Jurassic Predator

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

The Allosaurus seems to have had a similar paint job as the Brachiosaurus (see link below to Sauropod article), the extension to the bony crest that covers the back of the neck is interesting, we don’t recall seeing this in Allosaurid skull material.  The prominent eye flashes, painted an “eye-catching” red, (no pun intended) are no longer there.

Schleich New Sauropods article: New Sauropods from Schleich

Giganotosaurus Model (Colour Variant with Moveable Jaws)

Biggest Land Carnivore known to Science with a “Big Bite”

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

The new Schleich Giganotosaurus model will be available in May, it is a re-paint of the existing Schleich Giganotosaurus but with the addition of articulated jaws.  The Spinosaurus has been given a similar treatment too.  The Spinosaurus model has been re-painted in what team members at Everything Dinosaur have termed “desert fatigues”.  This is an interesting choice given that this dinosaur is particularly associated with coastal swamps and freshwater environments.

Schleich Spinosaurus due out in May

Spinosaurus in desert camouflage

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

A genuinely new model introduction for next year is the Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis).  Looking very much like the Velociraptors seen in the first Jurassic Park movie, this model also has an articulated lower jaw.  Note the resting position of the front forelimb, it is in approximately the correct position anatomically based on the lack of pronation of most Theropod “hands”.  The limb on the ground also helps to stabilise the figure.  As Velociraptors stood on just two toes of each foot making a balanced “raptor” model presents unique challenges.

New Velociraptor Model from Schleich of Germany (May 2012)

Velociraptor mongoliensis replica

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

It looks like Schleich have taken a pointer or two from Bullyland of Germany and Papo of France by introducing articulated models into their product ranges.

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