All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
8 06, 2017

Megalosaurus Fossil Still Surprises

By | June 8th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

World’s First Named Dinosaur Reveals New Teeth

The fossils that led to the first scientific account of a dinosaur can still provide some surprises, even 193 years after the original paper describing them was published.  The first dinosaur to be scientifically described Megalosaurus (M. bucklandii), has stepped once more into the spotlight.  A team of researchers have discovered five new teeth within the lower jaw fossil of the world’s first named dinosaur.

Megalosaurus Fossils Used to Describe the First Dinosaur in 1824

Megalosaurus teeth and jaws.

Views of the dentary (lower jaw) and individual teeth (lectotype Megalosaurus).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the original lithograph of the right dentary of Megalosaurus.  The jawbone is show in lingual* view (top) and in buccal** view (middle) with drawings of individual teeth (bottom).

Using state-of-the-art computer tomography scanning technology and three-dimensional computer generated modelling software, the researchers from the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Oxford’s Museum of Natural History have been able to provide new insights about one of the most iconic fossils in the world.

One of the authors of the study, presented this week at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)’s conference in Italy, Professor Mark Williams stated:

“Being able to use state-of-the-art technology, normally reserved for aerospace and automotive engineering, to scan such a rare and iconic natural history specimen was a fantastic opportunity.  When I was growing up I was fascinated with dinosaurs and clearly remember seeing pictures of the Megalosaurus jaw in books that I read.  Having access to and scanning the real thing was an incredible experience.”

Famous Dinosaur Jawbone

In 1824, the Reverend William Buckland published a description of various fossils that had been found as quarrying tunnels were excavated at Stonesfield, north of Witney in Oxfordshire.  The fossils had been found some years before, the dentary having been placed in the collection of the Oxford Anatomy School at Christchurch College (Oxford) in 1797.  Reverend Buckland believed the fossilised bones and teeth came from a giant, antediluvian lizard, hence the name “Big Lizard”, Megalosaurus having been proposed by James Parkinson in 1822.

A 19th Century Interpretation of Megalosaurus Compared to a Modern Interpretation of M. bucklandii

The changing view of Megalosaurus.

A modern interpretation of Megalosaurus (left) with a reconstruction based on the original illustration by Richard Owen (right).

Picture Credit: University of Warwick/Mark Garlick

The illustration above shows an artist’s impression of how Victorian palaeontologists such as Richard Owen thought the Megalosaurus looked (right), compared with a modern interpretation of this Middle Jurassic carnivore.

Digital Three-Dimensional Image of the Dentary

Using state of the art CT scanning technology and specialist three-dimensional analysis software, Professor Williams took more than 3,000 X-ray images of the world-famous Megalosaurus jawbone, creating a digital three-dimensional computer generated image.  The image revealed five previously unseen teeth embedded in the dentary and also provided important insights into historical repairs.  It turns out that there is actually less plaster and filler in the fossil, as this technique has allowed scientists to see the extent of the infilling and repairs for the first time.

Megalosaurus bucklandii was Probably an Apex Predator

The Megalosaurus model (Oxford Museum)

Dinosaur in the Garden (Megalosaurus)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The specimen is damaged, it is likely that some of the damage occurred when the fossil was excavated but over the two hundred years since the fossil was found some restoration work has taken place.  For example, records at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where the specimen is housed, show that sometime between 1927 and 1931 repairs to the jawbone took place.  The scans show the true extent of repairs on the fossil for the first time, revealing that there may have been at least two phases of repair, using different types of plaster.  This new information will help the museum make important decisions about any future restoration work on this iconic fossil.

The analysis also revealed the presence of five teeth that had not been detected before.  The teeth consist of the remains of old, worn and broken teeth plus embryonic replacement teeth.  Unlike us, Megalosaurus was able to continually replace its teeth throughout its life.  The replacement tooth grew inside the jaw, adjacent to the root of the active tooth on the lingual* side of the jaw.  A full-sized, but very thin crown formed first and this grew in thickness as more layers of dentine were added.  The growth of the embryonic tooth placed pressure on the active tooth root, causing the root to become slowly reabsorbed into the jawbone.  The replacement tooth was able to push itself inside the old tooth root and effectively usurp that tooth from the socket in the jaw where it had been located.  The old, worn tooth having been weakened, would most likely break and the crown would be lost, permitting the younger tooth to replace it in the jawline.  A similar process is seen in extant Crocodylia today.

Helping to Identify Forgeries

This research was made possible through a collaboration between Professor Williams’ research group at WMG, University of Warwick – including PhD researcher Paul Wilson – and Professor Paul Smith, director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.   When not being scanned or used in other research, the Megalosaurus jawbone forms part of an extensive British dinosaur fossil display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

An ability to utilise a non-invasive technique to map fossil material provides palaeontologists and conservators with vital information about the preservation status of a specimen.  It also identifies and maps any repairs that have taken place previously.  In addition, this technique which does not harm the fossil, can detect the presence of filler and other modifications often added by unscrupulous dealers to raise the potential value of their fossil finds.

Forgeries and hoaxes have no hiding place when it comes to CT scans.

The research was recently presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)’s International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference in Torino, Italy.

The scientific paper, “Utilising X-Ray Computed Tomography for Heritage Conservation: The case of Megalosaurus bucklandii”

* lingual view = a view of the side of the jaw that is adjacent to the tongue.

** buccal view = a view of the side of the jaw that is adjacent to the cheek.

8 06, 2017

Everything Dinosaur Adds Mojo Models to the Range

By | June 8th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

Mojo ” Prehistoric and Extinct” Models Available from Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has added the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range to its portfolio of prehistoric animal models.  All thirty-one of the current range of figures is now stocked by Everything Dinosaur, everything from Ankylosaurus to the Young Tyrannosaurus rex and every model in between.

Everything Dinosaur is Proud to Add Mojo Models to Its Range

Mojo dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the complete range of Mojo models stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” Models

Dinosaur Models

The current range includes all the popular dinosaurs.  There are Brachiosaurus models, Stegosaurs, Velociraptors and of course several different models of T. rex including a 1:40 scale replica and a new for 2017, pair of hunting “Tyrant Lizard Kings”.  You have a choice, do you prefer the green hunting T. rex or the fiery red version?

The Green Hunting Tyrannosaurus rex Dinosaur Model by Mojo

Hunting T. rex dinosaur figure (Mojo).

The Mojo hunting T. rex (green).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For fans of Theropods, along with the T. rex replicas and three different Velociraptor models to collect, there is also a new for 2017 Allosaurus model too.  All of the models are suitable for children from three years of age and they are all hand-painted.

Not Just Dinosaurs but Prehistoric Mammals as Well

One of the great things about the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range is that it features lots of other types of extinct animal as well as dinosaurs.  For example, the current range also includes a Deinotherium, Sabre-Tooth Cat, an Entelodont (Daeodon), the vicious Hyaenodon gigas, two Woolly Mammoth replicas and a wonderful Brontothere (Brontotherium).  We at Everything Dinosaur accept that Brontotherium is a junior synonym of Megacerops, but that did not stop us writing a fact sheet about this “Thunder Beast”!  In fact, all of the Mojo models sent out by Everything Dinosaur are despatched with a fact sheet about the animal, written and researched by our own team members.

The Mojo ” Prehistoric and Extinct” Deinotherium Model

The Deinotherium model by Mojo.

Mojo Deinotherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Recently Extinct Creatures Too

Everything Dinosaur has also brought in models representing animals that have only recently been declared extinct*.  Within the Mojo range there is a model of the Quagga, a recently extinct sub-species of Plains Zebra from southern Africa.  There is also an excellent Thylacine replica for fans to collect.

The Mojo Quagga Model

Mojo Quagga replica.

The Mojo Quagga model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

* There is an ongoing selective breeding programme to breed back Quagga traits in a herd of zebra, subsequent generations have produced animals with more Quagga-like colouration.

* Scientists in Australia are currently setting camera traps in a bid to capture evidence of a small living population of Thylacines.  The “Tasmanian Wolf” may not be extinct, some fragmented populations may still exist in the more remote parts of Australia, especially on the island of Tasmania.

These two figures certainly don’t look out of place amongst all the Mojo dinosaur models.

To view all the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Prehistoric Animal Models

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