All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/2017
4 10, 2017

Rebor Wind Hunter in Newsletter Spotlight

By | October 4th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Rebor Utahraptor Replica Features in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

A lot of Rebor replicas have come back into stock at Everything Dinosaur, so it was fitting that a number of these fabulous scale models were featured in the latest Everything Dinosaur newsletter that came out earlier this week.  The headline highlighted the 1:35 scale Rebor Wind Hunter replica (Utahraptor ostrommaysorum), a reserve list had been opened for this eagerly awaited model and collectors were soon emailed with the good news that this model was now in Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse once again, along with the Cerberus Clan set and the 1:6 scale Compsognathus replica (Sentry).

The Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Featured the Rebor Replica Wind Hunter Model

Rebor Utahraptor model features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Rebor Wind Hunter replica features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor 1:35 Scale Utahraptor Replica

The Rebor 1:35 scale Utahraptor replica was the first “raptor” model that Rebor ever produced and it remains one of the most popular figures in this range.  Since “Wind Hunter” was launched, a number of dromaeosaurid models have been added, the focus has been on Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis), but this model of Utahraptor, a dinosaur that lived long before Velociraptor evolved, has been out of production for some time and it is great to see it back.

The Rebor Utahraptor 1:35 Scale Model (Wind Hunter)

Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor model).

Beautiful detail on this model – the Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To enquire about the Rebor Wind Hunter model and for information on the rest of the Rebor replicas range: Email: Everything Dinosaur

To view all the Rebor figures available: Rebor Replicas

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model, a 1:40 scale model of a prehistoric elephant (M. trogontherii) has got a lot of collectors very excited and this fantastic, museum quality figure also featured in our newsletter.  This is the first of new series of wonderful prehistoric animal models and Everything Dinosaur team members look forward to breaking the news about what’s coming next.  Model fans and collectors won’t be disappointed.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To visit the Eofauna Scientific Research section on the Everything Dinosaur website: Eofauna Scientific Research at Everything Dinosaur

Compsognathus and Deinonychus in the Spotlight

Everything Dinosaur newsletter September 2017.

Lots of prehistoric animal models featured in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our brief newsletter included details of the Rebor Deinonychus trio coming back into stock, “Tooth”, “Thrill” and “Shoot” are available and ready to do battle with the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus model (Hercules) over its kill, the Tenontosaurus corpse (Ceryneian Hind).

The Special Edition Papo Box Set

Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus special edition gift box.

The Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus gift box.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Opposite the news about the Rebor Sentry figure, we also included an update on stocks of the limited edition Papo box set which features a juvenile Spinosaurus.  This two-figure special edition has been selling very quickly and Papo dinosaur model fans were being urged to reserve their set or make a purchase as stocks may not last until Christmas.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

3 10, 2017

Squid the Last Meal of a Baby Ichthyosaurus

By | October 3rd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Baby Ichthyosaurus communis Dined on Squid

A team of UK-based scientists have identified the youngest and therefore the smallest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis known to science and, just for good measure, they have found what could have been the marine reptile’s last meal.  Inside the body cavity of the seventy-centimetre-long fossil, the researchers found tiny “hook-like” structures, these are the less digestible parts of squid and therefore, the scientists were able to deduce that this young Ichthyosaurus had recently fed on cephalopods.

A Young Ichthyosaurus communis Attacking a Prehistoric Squid

A neonate Ichthyosaurus communis feeding on a squid.

A neonate Ichthyosaurus attacks a squid.

Picture Credit: Julian Kiely

The artist Julien Kiely has kindly reconstructed the new-born in this fantastic scene, which depicts the moment a newly born Ichthyosaurus communis attacks a squid.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, one of the authors of the scientific paper, published today in the journal “Historical Biology – The International Journal of Paleobiology”, Dean Lomax stated:

“It is amazing to think we know what a creature that is nearly 200 million years old ate for its last meal.  We found many tiny hook-like structures preserved between the ribs.  These are from the arms of prehistoric squid.  So, we know this animal’s last meal before it died was squid.”

From the Biggest to the Smallest

University of Manchester palaeontologist Dean Lomax, in collaboration with German colleagues, had recently published a paper describing the largest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis, a female that turned out to be pregnant when she died.  Everything Dinosaur wrote an article about the research in August*, as well as having described the biggest I. communis, just a few weeks later, this new paper, describes the smallest.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax Holds the Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Specimen

Dean Lomax holding the neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax holding the baby Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

*To read the article about the largest Ichthyosaurus communis specimen: Palaeontologists and the Pregnant Ichthyosaurus

Ichthyosaurus communis

Several species of Ichthyosaurus have been identified, but Ichthyosaurus communis was the first, being named and described in 1822 from fossil material discovered by Mary Anning.  These reptiles were viviparous and a number of specimens showing embryos preserved inside their mothers are known.  However, this Ichthyosaurus is one of only a handful of fossils that represent very young animals.  As it was not preserved in association with a larger specimen (the mother) and as there are stomach contents present, it is likely that this fossil represents an independent, recently born animal, the first neonate Ichthyosaurus communis skeleton to be described.

The Ichthyosaurus Fossil on Display at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham

The neonate Ichthyosaurus communis fossil specimen.

The neonate I. communis specimen.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

The fossil is definitely a new born and not a dwarf species of Ichthyosaur as the scientists noted the large ring of sclerotic bone relative to the eye socket and the poorly ossified (highly cancellous) bones of the skull and other parts of the skeleton, these signs all indicate that these are the fossilised remains of a very young marine reptile.

Niche Partitioning in the Ichthyosauria

The new specimen is from the collections of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham).  Palaeontologist Nigel Larkin, a research associate at Cambridge University, cleaned and studied the specimen in 2016,  as he prepared the fossil, he became aware of its potential significance.  Nigel has recently been involved in an extensive restoration project at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire.  He has been helping to restore the Victorian Geological Gallery at this National Trust property to its former glory.  As one of the most highly respected fossil preparators in the UK, Nigel was able to reveal the fossil’s secrets as he cleaned and helped to preserve the delicate marine reptile skeleton.

To read an article about the Geological Gallery preservation project at Biddulph Grange: Fossil Hunting at Biddulph Grange

The discovery of squid remnants in the gut area suggests these types of Ichthyosaur specialised in hunting cephalopods.  Commenting on the implications of this fossil, Dean Lomax explained:

“This is interesting because a study by other researchers on a different type of Ichthyosaur, called Stenopterygius, which is from a geologically younger age, found that the small – and therefore young – examples of that species fed exclusively on fish.  This shows a difference in prey-preference in new-born Ichthyosaurs.” 

This could hint at niche partitioning, whereby similar species use different resources within an environment to reduce direct competition and to help them co-exist.

Dean Lomax and Nigel Larkin in Front of the Jurassic Seas Exhibit (Lapworth Museum of Geology)

The neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil on display.

Dean Lomax (left) and Nigel Larkin (right) in front of the Lapworth Geological Museum exhibit.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

How Old is the Fossil?

The specimen, part of the vertebrate fossil collection of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham), has no provenance data associated with it.  Unfortunately, there were no collection notes or other details to help the palaeontologists to identify where the fossil came from.  However, permission was granted for Nigel to remove a small portion of the matrix surrounding the fossil.  He passed this on to Ian Boomer (University of Birmingham) and Philip Copestake (Merlin Energy, Resources Ltd), so that they could analyse the rock for microscopic fossils.  Based on the types of microfossil preserved, the scientists were able to identify that this Ichthyosaur was around 199-196 million years old, (uppermost Hettangian faunal stage to lowermost Sinemurian of the Early Jurassic).

Nigel outlined the difficulties the team faced:

“Many historic Ichthyosaur specimens in museums lack any geographic or geological details and are therefore undated.  This process of looking for microfossils in their host rock might be the key to unlocking the mystery of many specimens.  Thus, this will provide researchers with lots of new information that otherwise is lost.  Of course, this requires some extensive research, but it is worth the effort.”

In addition, establishing a microfossil signature for a fossil may also help in those cases where theft of fossil material is suspected.

As part of the study, the skeleton was Micro CT-scanned and a three-dimensional digital model was created by Steve Dey of ThinkSee3D Ltd.  Using medical imaging software, Steve converted the three sets of CT cross-sectional images (from scans of the tail, middle section and head) into a single digital three-dimensional model of the whole animal.  This non-destructive technique provided further key information helping to identify the species and potentially, helping to provide new data on Ichthyosaur ontogeny.

The beautiful new-born Ichthyosaurus is on display in the recently refurbished Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, which was nominated for the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year.

The scientific paper: “The First Known Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Skeleton: A Rediscovered Specimen from the Lower Jurassic, UK” by Lomax, D. R., Larkin, N. R., Boomer, S., Dey, S. and Copestake, published in “Historical Biology”.

2 10, 2017

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | October 2nd, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The eagerly awaited Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth replica is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Team members have spent most of the day contacting all those customers and model fans who asked us to reserve one for them.  We have been so busy sorting out all the requests that we have had little time to admire this excellent representation of Mammuthus trogontherii ourselves.

The 1:40 scale Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth Replica

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth at Everything Dinosaur

Sorting out Eofauna Steppe Mammoth models at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Checking Models Over Prior To Despatch

Stocks of this 1:40 scale model arrived around noon (BST) and prior to sending out orders, our dedicated team members inspected the models just to ensure that everyone had an appropriate data card and that the replicas were in tip-top condition.  The first orders were packed and sent on their way within two hours.  As well as the data card, Everything Dinosaur is sending out a fact sheet on the Steppe Mammoth with every model purchased.

This exciting Elephantidae replica, yes, Mammoths are members of the elephant family, (though they are more closely related to extant Asian elephants than they are to living African elephants), is the first in a new model series from Eofauna Scientific Research.  Collectors can expect more prehistoric mammal models as well as some amazing dinosaur models in the future.

To view the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model: Eofauna Scientific Research – Steppe Mammoth

The Steppe Mammoth Model has a Dynamic Pose and Shows Amazing Detail

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

Mammuthus trogontherii was one of the largest members of the elephant family to have existed.  A fully grown adult male could weigh as much as fourteen tonnes and measure 4.5 metres high at the shoulder.  These elephants were probably cold adapted and gave rise to the much smaller, but better known Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius).  The very last of the Steppe Mammoths are believed to have died out around 30,000 years ago.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model is based on a Steppe Mammoth specimen studied by Eofauna company members in northern China.  The bones of this specimen were then scaled up to equate to the remains of the largest individual known (a specimen from Mosbach, Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany).  The head is modelled on the only complete skull known of this species, which was discovered in Novosibirsk, Russia.  A prototype model was created initially and from this the production model came about.  Collectors and model fans can be assured that the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth is a highly accurate replica, one that was subjected to rigorous testing by researchers who really know their elephants.

A Handy Geology Ruler Provides a Good Scale for this Elephant Replica

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (geology ruler provides scale).

A geology ruler provides a handy scale for the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information on the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth simply contact Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur

1 10, 2017

Pterosaur Study Sheds New Light on Jidapterus

By | October 1st, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Jidapterus edentus Gets Grounded

A team of researchers, writing in the on-line, academic, open access journal PLOS One, have published a reassessment of the Early Cretaceous Pterosaur Jidapterus (J. edentus).  This flying reptile, with a wingspan estimated to be between 1.6 and 1.7 metres, is one of a number of flying reptiles known from the Lower Cretaceous deposits of the Jiufotang and Yixian Formations, which between them have helped palaeontologists to build up a detailed picture about life in northern China some 125 million years ago (Jehol Biota).  In this new study, Jidapterus is identified as a valid genus (there had been some doubts raised over whether or not the single fossil specimen known represented another closely related Pterosaur species – Chaoyangopterus zhangi).  In addition, the authors postulate that Jidapterus might have been a ground dwelling forager, Everything Dinosaur team members have speculated that Jidapterus only took to the trees to evade predators or perhaps to roost.

The Only Known Specimen of Jidapterus edentus with an Accompanying Line Drawing

Line drawing and holotype of Jidapterus edentus.

The holotype fossil of Jidapterus edentus and accompanying line drawing.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Tricky Pterosaur

Named in 2003, Jidapterus is known from a single, partially articulated and nearly complete specimen (holotype RCPS-030366CY).  It is a member of an enigmatic family of Pterosaurs called the Chaoyangopteridae (pronounced Chow-yang-op-tery-rid-aye).  Several species have been named, from Brazil (Lacusovagus) and from Lebanon (Microtuban), to read more about the Lebanese Pterosaur, the first flying reptile to be described from this part of the world: Pterosaur Fossil Flies Home.  Most of what palaeontologists know, about this family of flying reptiles, distantly related to the giant azhdarchid Pterosaurs, comes from studying the fossilised remains of chaoyangopterids from northern China.  Trouble is, these delicate flying reptile specimens associated with Liaoning Province are squashed as flat as a pancake.  The researchers identify a number of anatomical traits (autapomorphies) that reinforce the idea that Jidapterus should be considered as a distinct genus.

In addition, the scientists examined the feet and claws of Jidapterus and concluded that this flying reptile, once thought to have been a piscivore, was probably omnivorous, foraging on the forest floor for seeds and other plant material, as well as snatching up invertebrates and small creatures.  Whether or not the narrow, pointed beak (labelled in the diagram above) was entirely toothless remains open to debate.

The scientific paper: “The Toothless Pterosaur Jidapterus edentus (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchoidea) from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota and its Paleoecological Implications” by Wen-Hao Wu, Chang-Fu Zhou and Brian Andres published in PLOS One.

30 09, 2017

Strong-armed Sabre-Tooth Kittens

By | September 30th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Sabre-Toothed Kittens and Their Strong Arms

A new study undertaken by scientists from California State Polytechnic University, the University of Wisconsin and colleagues at Bristol University, has concluded that Smilodon (S. fatalis), kittens were born with strong arms, stronger than similarly-sized modern big cats.  However, their pattern of bone development was congruent to other members of the Felidae.

Strong Kittens Grew up to be Strong Cats

Sabre-Toothed Cats

The famous “Sabre-Toothed Cat” – Smilodon.  Strong kittens – strong cats.

Picture Credit: BBC

The Treasure Trove of Fossils at La Brea

Using the extensive Smilodon fossil record preserved at the La Brea Tar Pits (Los Angeles, California), the researchers measured the limb bones of these big cats.  Only unbroken limb bones were included in the growth analysis.  Fortunately, given the huge number of Smilodon fossil specimens associated with this natural predator trap, the researchers, which included Donald Prothero, the author of “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”, that Everything Dinosaur was invited to review earlier this year* had a substantial data set to study.  For example, the scientists included thirty, Smilodon upper arm bones (humeri) representing cats at various growth stages in this study.  Their ontogenic analysis revealed that young animals had thicker and more robust bones than other members of the cat family (Felidae).  The bones did not become more robust as the cats grew, it seems Sabre-Tooths were born with big, strong arms.

Comparing the Upper Arm Bones of Big Cats Extant and Extinct 

Sabre-Toothed Cats were born with strong arms.

Comparing the humeri of extinct and extant big cats.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

The photograph shows a comparison of five big cat upper arm bones (the humerus).   The bones come from adult animals and provide a visual guide to the forelimb size of large felids.

From the left – the first, whitish bone is the humerus of a Mountain Lion (Cougar) – Puma concolor.  The second, whitish bone is the humerus from a Tiger, Panthera tigris.  The Tiger is a much bigger and heavier than the Mountain Lion.  The bone in the middle is the humerus of Smilodon fatalis, it is much thicker and more substantial.  The third whitish bone comes from a Lion Panthera leo.  The dark bone on the far right, comes from an extinct species that was contemporaneous with Smilodon.  This is the humerus of an American Cave Lion (Panthera atrox), the P. atrox bones used in the study also came from La Brea Tar Pits.

How Did the Limb Bones of Smilodon fatalis Change as the Cats Aged?

The research team discovered that whilst the arm bones of Smilodon, were more robust than those or extant big cats, they did not become more robust as the cats got older.  Smilodon kittens had big limb bones to begin with.  Mapping the bone growth (ontogeny), using the many specimens representing animals of different ages from the La Brea fossil collection, the team found that Smilodon grew in a similar way to other, primitive members of the Felidae and in the same way that many living cat species do today.  The bones lengthen and become more slender before they thicken.  This study, published in the on-line, open access journal PLOS One suggests that Felidae growth and development is much more constrained than previously thought, even in genera with very different morphotypes and bone structures.

Comparing the Radii of Big Cats (Living and Extinct)

Smilodon Limb Growth Study.

Comparing the radius of extinct and extant cat species.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

The photograph (above) shows the radii of the five species of big cat, laid out in the same order as the photograph which showed the humeri.  The radius is one of a pair of bones found in the forearm, it is the bone that is lateral to the body (facing the outside).

Left to Right:

  • Mountain Lion (Puma concolor)
  • Tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • Sabre-Toothed Cat (Smilodon fatalis)
  • African Lion (Panthera leo)
  • American Cave Lion (Panthera atrox)

Professor Prothero stated:

“Sabre-Tooth cats have extraordinarily strong front limbs for tackling and subduing prey before they slashed their throats or bellies with their sabre-like canine teeth.  Using the extraordinary collection of limb bones of Sabre-tooth kittens at La Brea, we found that their limbs don’t become more robust as they grew up, but instead retain the stereotypical growth pattern where the limbs grow longer more quickly than they grow thick.  To compensate, Sabre-tooth kittens were born with unusually robust limbs and retained that pattern as they grew.”

The limb measurements demonstrated that Smilodon fatalis kittens had the same growth curve graph as those of Tiger or Mountain Lion kittens, but they tended to be thicker from the outset.  For the same length of bone, the Sabre-Tooth kitten forelimb element (radius or humerus) always had a larger circumference than a comparably sized Mountain Lion or Tiger.

A Comparative Analysis of the Tibia of Smilodon (S. fatalis) Different Growth Stages

Smilodon tibia comparison.

Comparing the size of Smilodon leg bones (tibia).

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

* Everything Dinosaur’s review of “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals” by Donald R. Prothero: Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals – Book Review

The scientific paper: “Did saber-tooth kittens grow up musclebound?  A study of postnatal limb bone allometry in felids from the Pleistocene of Rancho La Brea” by Katherine Long, Donald Prothero , Meena Madan, Valerie J. P. Syverson published in PLOS One.

29 09, 2017

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter (Mid-September)

By | September 29th, 2017|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Prehistoric Elephants and Extant Elephants et al

A few days ago, Everything Dinosaur sent out their latest newsletter to their customer database.  A number of recent product introductions and one eagerly anticipated new model were featured.  Linking these two parts of the newsletter was the elephant family (Elephantidae), as the newsletter focused on the beautiful Family Zoo animal models including the fantastic African elephant (Loxodonta) and updated subscribers on the museum quality Steppe Mammoth replica coming into stock (Mammuthus trogontherii).

The Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Featured the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth Model

Everything Dinosaur newsletter (Sept. 2017).

Everything Dinosaur newsletter (mid-September 2017).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Steppe Mammoth Strides into View

The Steppe Mammoth replica is in 1:40 scale and it is the first in a new line of museum quality replicas from Eofauna Scientific Research.  Everything Dinosaur has been given a degree of exclusive distributorship over the sales of this exciting prehistoric elephant model.  A reserve list has been opened which allows model fans to have one of these fantastic figures set aside for them.  There is no obligation to purchase, no deposit needed and no requirement to pre-order.  Customers know that there is a model allocated to them and one of our dedicated team members will email them to let them know that the model is available should they wish to buy it.

To enquire about the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth model and reserve a replica: Email: Everything Dinosaur

Living Members of the Elephant Family and Chums

The second part of the Everything Dinosaur newsletter focuses on the superb PNSO Family Zoo range of models.  Firstly, there is the fantastic collection of ten animals from Asia.  These ten figures represent animals that are culturally very important to our species.  The hand-painted models include pandas, tigers, horses, brown bears, goats, wolves and dogs.   This collection is known as the “PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals” and they are extremely hard to obtain.  Thankfully, Everything Dinosaur has brought a number of sets over from China, our stock even includes the rare pig model and the Siamese crocodile.

The PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the PNSO Family Zoo range of models available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Family Zoo

Extant Animals Take Centre Stage in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

Promoting PNSO Family Zoo models.

Promoting PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Poplar Asian and Ten Most Popular African Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The second part of the PNSO Family Zoo range features those living creatures regarded as “free spirits”.  The models represent ten models of animals from the African Savannah.  The “PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular African Animals” includes rhinos, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest and of course a beautiful African elephant model.

The PNSO Ten Most Popular African Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals.

PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Naturally, a newsletter from Everything Dinosaur also included dinosaurs, updates on the Rebor 1:35 scale King T. rex as this figure came back into stock, plus highlights of fossil and prehistoric animal news studies that we had covered on our various blogs and social media sites.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

To see the full range of PNSO Family Zoo models including those wonderful elephants: PNSO Family Zoo Models and Figures

28 09, 2017

New Basal European Ornithopod Described

By | September 28th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Burianosaurus augustai  – Unappreciated Ornithopods

If you were able to book yourself onto a time-travelling safari to the Cretaceous, before journeying into the long distant past, you might explain to the travel guide that you would be hoping to spot a Tyrannosaur, get up close to a browsing armoured dinosaur or possibly take some photos of Triceratops.  However, we suspect, that even if such a venture was possible, few tourists would spare a thought for one group of dinosaurs, that ironically, you would be much more likely to encounter.  These are the Ornithopods, that diverse and extremely successful group of bird-hipped dinosaurs, that are often overlooked.  A new basal Ornithopod has been named and described this week – Burianosaurus augustai.  A plant-eating dinosaur named after the palaeoartist Zdeněk Burian, who, in his lifetime did much to raise the profile of the Dinosauria.

An Illustration of Burianosaurus (B. augustai)

Burianosaurus augustai illustrated.

An illustration of the basal Ornithopod from the Czech Republic – Burianosaurus augustai.

Picture Credit: Edyta Felcyn

The Dinosaur Equivalent of Antelopes

They lacked horns, body armour and for the majority, they did not reach huge sizes, but these herbivores would have made up a significant component of the dinosaur fauna in most Cretaceous ecosystems.  If you were to go on a safari to the Maasai Mara of Kenya or the Serengeti of Tanzania, tourists might be keen to spot lions, leopards and elephants but in all likelihood, you would encounter a great many different types of antelope.   Dinosaurs like the newly described Burianosaurus can be considered as being the dinosaur equivalent of today’s antelopes.

Described from a single, well-preserved, left femur (thigh bone), Burianosaurus is the first dinosaur to be named from fossils found in the Czech Republic.  It is not the first dinosaur fossil from the Czech Republic to be scientifically described, that honour goes to a single, broken tooth from an indeterminate Theropod from Upper Jurassic sediments that was described in 2014, coincidentally by the lead author of the paper describing Burianosaurus, Daniel Madzia (Polish Academy of Sciences).

The Fossilised Thigh Bone of Burianosaurus (Various Views)

Specimen number NBP oB 203 (Burianosaurus left femur)

Views of the left femur, the only fossil from which the basal Ornithopod Burianosaurus augustai has been described.

Picture Credit: The Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

The photograph (above), shows various views of the left femur of Burianosaurus.  This is the holotype fossil (NMP Ob 203), from which this genus was described.  It is not common these days, to have a new dinosaur genus erected on the description of a single bone.  When this fossil was first studied back in 2005, it was assigned to the iguanodontids.  However, over recent years the Iguanodontia and their relatives have been subject to phylogenetic reassessment and many of the taxonomic relationships between different components of the Ornithopoda have been revised.  The single bone was preserved in such fantastic condition, that its shape and muscle scars proved crucial in assigning a new dinosaur genus.

The views of the femur are (A) a view from the front, (B) viewed from the back, (C) a medial view (the bone viewed from the side closest to the body, think of it as the “inside leg view”) and (D) a lateral view, the bone viewed from the side of the bone towards the outside of the body.  Photographs (E) and (F) are views of the bone from the top looking down (proximal) and from the bottom of the bone looking up (distal).

The scale bar is 10 centimetres and the white arrow in (A) indicates the site from which a small sample of fossil bone was taken to permit an internal examination of bone structure to take place.  This histology helped the research team, writing in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, to identify this specimen as coming from a young, adult animal.

Bigger than Hypsilophodon (H. foxii)

A lot of work has recently been undertaken in a bid to better understand how different Ornithopods were related to each other.  These dinosaurs are characterised by their small, quite triangular heads, large orbits (eye sockets) and relatively primitive dentition (at least when compared to their relatives that comprise the Ankylopollexia clade – more derived Iguanodonts, Camptosaurs and the duck-billed dinosaurs).  Their front limbs tended to be much shorter than their hind limbs, so these dinosaurs were probably bipedal, although capable of dropping onto all fours if needed.  Burianosaurus has been depicted as being very similar to Hypsilophodon (H. foxii), to which it was related.  However, the largest H. foxii thigh bone that we at Everything Dinosaur are aware of, is only about half the size of the holotype of B. augustai.  Based on this we estimate that Burianosaurus was around four metres long.

Size Estimate Burianosaurus Compared to Hypsilophodon

Hypsilophodon and Burianosaurus size comparison.

An approximate size comparison between Burianosaurus and Hypsilophodon (H. foxii).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Honouring Burian and Augusta

The genus name honours the famous palaeoartist Zdeněk Burian (1905–1981), whilst the species name refers to the influential palaeontologist and author Josef Augusta (1903 – 1968), who between them, did much to popularise the study of prehistoric animals.  Like Burianosaurus, both Burian and Professor Augusta came from the Czech Republic.  The single fossil bone that represents this new genus (the thigh bone), was found in the Korycany Beds of the Peruc-Korycany Formation.  These are a series of marine deposits laid down in a shallow sea, close to land during the Cenomanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur estimate that Burianosaurus lived around 95 million years ago.

In the scientific paper, the researchers carry out  a series of phylogenetic analyses of Ornithopod data and as a result, B. augustai is classified as a basal Ornithopod, however, quite how the Ornithopoda is configured remains open to debate.  If you do ever get the chance to participate in a time-travelling safari to the Cretaceous, look out for these fast-running, bipeds, fossils of which are just as valuable to science as that of any other dinosaur.

The scientific paper: “A Basal Ornithopod Dinosaur from the Cenomanian of the Czech Republic” by Daniel Madzia, Clint A. Boyd and Martin Mazuch published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

27 09, 2017

New T. rex Documentary Coming Soon to the BBC

By | September 27th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page, Press Releases, TV Reviews|0 Comments

T. rex” Documentary with Chris Packham

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham will be presenting a special one-hour documentary on the “King of the Tyrant Lizards”.  Sources close to Everything Dinosaur expect this television programme to form part of the corporation’s Christmas 2017 schedule.

Chis Packham Brings Tyrannosaurus rex to Television

Chris Packham naturalist.

Naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham will narrate a documentary about T. rex.

Picture Credit: BBC

New Insight into the Life and Behaviour of an Apex Late Cretaceous Predator

Life-long dinosaur fan Chris Packham once told Everything Dinosaur team members that one of the first things he made at school was a plasticine model of T. rex.  His model with its kangaroo stance and tail dragging on the floor was based on pictures of Tyrannosaurus rex he had encountered in books.  In the fifty years or so, since Chris made that model, our understanding of this iconic Late Cretaceous predator has been transformed.  This sixty-minute, one-off television programme, aims to bring viewers up to date and combines state-of-the-art computer animation and the very latest research into one of the largest land carnivores known to science.

Viewers Can Expect T. rex to be Depicted with a Shaggy Coat of Feathers

CollectA hunting T. rex model.

A hunting T. rex.  The latest dinosaur models show T. rex as a feathered dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the programme, Chris embarks on a journey to expose the myths and misconceptions surrounding T. rex.  He aims to separate the science from the often inaccurate portrayal of this dinosaur as seen in many movies.  Viewers can expect further information about the running speed of this 7-tonne monster, it is unlikely there will be any scenes with a Tyrannosaur chasing down a jeep à la Jurassic Park.  Taking inspiration from the “Tyrannosaur Chronicles – The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs” by palaeontologist Dr David Hone (London University), the programme will explore the biology, diet, behaviour and anatomy of T. rex.

The Truth Behind an Iconic Theropod

Chris will meet numerous international experts and joins an excavation site in the Badlands of South Dakota to see how fossilised bones are excavated and prepared for study.  One of the aims of the production team will be to produce the most accurate CGI model of a T. rex created to date, that’s a long way from the plasticine figure from Chris Packham’s childhood.  Expect to see plenty of feathers in what is being hailed as a trailblazing documentary blending the latest research from palaeontologists, ideas from zoologists and ground-breaking computer technology.

To help put “flesh on the bones”, as it were, Chris will have access to Tristan (Tristan Otto), one of the most complete T. rex specimens ever found.  Discovered in 2010 in the Hell Creek Formation (Montana), some 170 bones from a single individual have been collected.  Tristan is housed in the vertebrate fossil collection of the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin).  It is the only actual fossil T. rex skeleton exhibit in Europe and a team of scientists are currently involved in an extensive research project to learn more about the life and times of this twelve-metre-long monster.

“Tristan Otto” on Display at the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin, Germany)

"Tristan" Tyrannosaurus rex on display (Berlin).

“Tristan Otto” the T. rex specimen on display in Berlin.

Picture Credit: Carola Radke (Museum für Naturkunde)

The documentary makers promise new information and insights into Tyrannosaur brain function and more details on those deadly, bone crushing jaws.

Chris Packham commented:

“Big, fierce and extinct!  It’s the most famous, most glamorous poster pin-up in the zoological world; it’s the greatest animal that ever lived.  And yet perhaps the most misrepresented too.  It’s time to put that right.  T. rex has evolved more in my lifetime than the last 65 million years.  It’s gone from a grey tail-dragging dullard to an intelligent, social super-predator.  Using science, we will at last tell the truth about T. rex.  Don’t bother to put the kettle on!”

Dinosaur fans in the UK can expect this documentary to light up their Christmas viewing, it will probably be available in other countries too, as broadcasting rights get sorted.

“T. rex” for BBC2 is a co-production between Talesmith and Cineflix.  The Executive Producer is Martin Williams and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Diene Petterle.

26 09, 2017

California Adopts a State Dinosaur

By | September 26th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Augustynolophus Makes the Grade

The duck-billed dinosaur Augustynolophus morrisi has become the state dinosaur symbol for California. “Auggie” as this Late Cretaceous member of the Hadrosaurinae has been nick-named by campaigners, joins a long list of symbols for the “Golden State”.  Thus, California becomes the eighth state in the Union to adopt a dinosaur as an official state symbol.

Hadrosaur Becomes the State Dinosaur for California

Augustynolophus image.

Augustynolophus has now become California’s dinosaur symbol.

Picture Credit: Augustynolophus Twitter Account

The End of a Long Campaign

It was back in April that Everything Dinosaur first reported on moves within the Californian Senate to adopt a duck-billed dinosaur as a symbol for one of the most populous parts of the United States.  The Assembly member for Santa Monica, Richard Bloom, put forward the legislation for this long extinct reptile to become honoured in this way.  The fossils of this eight to ten-metre-long herbivore come from Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian deposits).  The fossil material, including several elements from the skull, have been excavated from marine deposits of the Moreno Formation, strata more frequently associated with Mosasaurs and Plesiosaurs.  It is likely that rivers in spate occasionally washed the carcasses of these dinosaurs out into the sea, the bodies settled on the seabed and were rapidly buried, thus preventing the corpses being broken up by scavengers.  California is the only place in the world where fossils of this particular duck-billed dinosaur have been found.  Two specimens are known, both are part of the vertebrate fossil collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

To read this earlier article: Moves to Adopt a Dinosaur State Symbol for California

Governor Jerry Brown announced earlier this week that the signing of a bill making “Auggie” one of the official insignia of California had taken place.

Once Saurolophus, now Augustynolophus but Always Californian

The first fossil evidence for the dinosaur that was to eventually become the newest Californian state symbol was found in the Panoche Hills of Fresno County in 1939.  A second specimen was excavated from strata in the nearby San Benito County two years later.  The excavation work was undertaken by field teams from the California Institute of Technology.  Both specimens were originally assigned to the Hadrosaur genus Saurolophus, a dinosaur that was first named and described in 1912 from fossils discovered in Canada.

Researchers Excavating the Fresno County Fossil Find (1940)

Augustynolophus excavation.

A field team from the California Institute of Technology excavating the fossils of Augustynolophus.

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

A review of the fossil specimens led to an assignment of a new species within the Saurolophus genus – S. morrisi (2013), however, a more recent reassessment, involving a number of scientists from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, established that there were enough differences in the fossilised bones to permit the establishment of a new genus.  The species name honours Dr William J. Morris, a notable American palaeontologist who did much to improve our understanding of Mesozoic reptiles found in California.  The genus name, which was formally adopted in 2014, pays tribute to Mrs Gretchen Augustyn, a long-time supporter of the Earth sciences and a former Trustee for the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Palaeontology in Claremont, California.

Helping to Spark an Interest in Science, History and Education

Augustynolophus (pronounced Awe-gus-tine-oh-loaf-us), was closely related to Saurolophus, but just three years after being placed into its own genus, the dinosaur has been honoured by becoming one of around thirty state symbols for the most heavily populated state in the Union.  It is not California’s state fossil, that accolade goes to Smilodon californicus, however, after sixty-six million years one of California’s oldest vertebrate residents has been recognised.  Some might think that such insignia are not important, but it is hoped that by raising the profile of the Dinosauria in this way, an interest in science, local history and the story of California will be sparked.

Fossils of Augustynolophus morrisi on Display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Augustynolophus fossils

Augustynolophus fossils on display.

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

25 09, 2017

Tyrannosaur Inspired Diorama

By | September 25th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Late Cretaceous Tyrannosaurs Feature in Dinosaur Diorama

Our thanks to Robert Townsend who set us some more photographs of the prehistoric animal inhabitants of his large dinosaur inspired diorama.  This time, the theme is Late Cretaceous Tyrannosaurus and the enthusiastic model maker has created a number of mini scenes featuring “Tyrant Lizard Kings” and their contemporaries.

A Pair of Tyrannosaurs Feeding on the Carcass of a Titanosaur

Two Tyrannosaurs feeding on the carcass of a Titanosaur.

A pair of Tyrannosaurs feeding on the carcass of a Titanosaur.

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

The picture above shows a Wild Safari Prehistoric World T. rex (foreground) with a now retired, Carnegie Collectables special anniversary T. rex replica (background).  Titanosaurs did co-exist with Tyrannosaurs, especially in the more southern parts of Laramidia.  The Titanosaur Alamosaurus sanjuanensis is known from Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian faunal stage) deposits, there is some evidence to suggest that T. rex scavenged carcasses of this huge Sauropod, whether or not they actively hunted these giants remains open to debate.  If you look carefully a series of three-toed dinosaur prints can be seen in the photograph, a nice touch from the model maker, adding realism.

An Adult T. rex Feeds a Juvenile

An adult T. rex feeds its baby.

T. rex mother and baby (feeding time).

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

One of the benefits of building such a large diorama is that various mini-scenes can be incorporated into the bigger scenario.  The photograph above shows an adult T. rex feeding a juvenile, one of the Schleich mini dinosaur figures.  In the picture below, an armoured dinosaur Euoplocephalus (from the Battat Terra range of figures) battles a T. rex.

Tyrannosaurus rex Attacks Euoplocephalus

T. rex and Euoplocephalus confrontation.

T. rex confronts Euoplocephalus.

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

Detailed Prehistoric Animal Replicas and Models

As the number of detailed prehistoric animal models and replicas have increased, collectors have been keen to find new ways of displaying their collections.  Mr Townsend has constructed a substantial three-metre-long landscape that lends itself to a wide variety of scene building concepts representing different parts of the geological record.  For example, the Late Cretaceous of North America was the inspiration behind these images and horned dinosaurs made up a substantial portion of the megafauna in this part of the world at the end of the Mesozoic.  Robert does not disappoint dinosaur fans as he has included several Ceratopsians in his diorama.

Horned Dinosaurs (Einiosaurus and Achelousaurus) Confront Marauding Tyrannosaurs

A pair of Einiosaurus dinosaurs defend themselves against a couple of T. rex.

Two Tyrannosaurs face a pair of horned dinosaurs

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

It is the attention to detail that elevates this dinosaur diorama, such as the skilfully painted backdrop complete with Pterosaur stickers.  The attention to detail is demonstrated in this aerial shot of the landscape, a Tyrannosaur is making its way across the model and its tracks can be clearly made out in the substrate.

An Aerial Shot of the Dinosaur Diorama Showing a Theropod Trackway

T. rex making tracks.

T. rex footprints in a diorama.

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

The image (above) also demonstrates the clever use of other props that add authenticity, such as the strategic placement of boulders and the use of various model plants to help represent the flora of the Mesozoic.

Plant Model Takes Centre Stage

T. rex lurks behind some prehistoric plants.

The Carnegie special edition Tyrannosaurus rex model behind a CollectA Monathesia and Cycad model.

Picture Credit: R. Townsend

In this cleverly composed photograph, it is the model of the prehistoric plants that take centre stage (CollectA Monathesia and Cycads), this model is seen in sharp focus, whilst a Tyrannosaurus rex model is in the background, other prehistoric plants frame the photograph and provide perspective.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

” A large landscape such as this lends itself to all sorts of possibilities when it comes to depicting life in the past.  Much thought and care has gone into its construction and it is always a pleasure to see how Everything Dinosaur’s customers display their purchases.”

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