All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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21 02, 2018

Plants May Have Originated 100 Million Years Earlier

By | February 21st, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Pushing Back the Origins of Plants by 100 Million Years

An analysis of the genes of living plants has revealed that the very first plants may have evolved 100 million years earlier than the fossil record suggests.  Writing in the academic journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)”, researchers conclude that the first plants to colonise the Earth evolved around 500 million years ago, whereas, the current known fossil record provides evidence of plant spores from Ordovician-aged rocks and the first Rhyniophytes, Bryophytes and Lycophytes originated in the Silurian approximately 420 to 400 million years ago.

The Research Team Examined the Origins of Early Land Plants

Researching into the origins of early land plants.

Early land plants would have resembled the flora found in this Icelandic lava field.

Picture Credit: Paul Kenrick (Natural History Museum, London)

Lead author of the study, Dr. Philip Donoghue (Department of Earth Sciences, Bristol University) commented:

“Land plants emerged on land half a billion years ago, tens of millions of years older than the fossil record alone suggests.”

The current theory is that true plants, capable of surviving in a terrestrial environment evolved from “pond scum”.  Plants play a hugely important role in shaping the climate of our planet through photosynthesis and respiration.  The greening of the Earth permitted terrestrial environments to be opened up for exploitation by the first land animals.  Plants can help to establish and maintain soils and the roots of plants play a vital role in the physical and chemical weathering of rocks.  The breaking down of rocks is a key process in the carbon cycle that regulates the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

Tracking Evolution Using a Molecular Clock

The scientists, which included Dr Mark Puttick from the Natural History Museum (London), used a molecular clock which analysed the combined evidence of genetic differences between related living species and the fossils of ancient ancestors.   The concept of a molecular clock works on the assumption that evolutionary changes occur at regular time intervals.  If the rate of genetic change (mutation), in the DNA of an organism can be compared to the genome of a closely related species then their relationship can be tracked back through time, identifying the characteristics of a common ancestor.  Tracking back using this methodology, the team concluded that the first plants evolved much earlier than previously thought.

Co-lead author of the research, Dr Jennifer Morris (Bristol University), explained:

“The global spread of plants and their adaptations to life on land, led to an increase in continental weathering rates that ultimately resulted in a dramatic decrease the levels of the “greenhouse gas” carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global cooling.  Previous attempts to model these changes in the atmosphere have accepted the plant fossil record at face value, our research shows that these fossil ages underestimate the origins of land plants and so these models need to be revised.”

An Incomplete and Sparse Fossil Record

The fossil record of early plants is particularly poor.  It is far too incomplete to act as a reliable guide to the evolution and origin of land plants.  The molecular clock allowed the team to compare differences in the genetic make-up of extant plant species, these relative genetic differences were then converted into geological ages using the sparse fossil record as a loose framework.  This work suggests that the ancestor of land plants was living in the middle of the Cambrian and it is similar in age as the first known terrestrial animals.

A Cross Section of the Devonian Land Plant Rhynia gwynne-vaughanii from Scotland

An image of the early vascular plant Rhynia gwynne-vaughanii (Devonian).

A cross section of the early vascular plant – Rhynia gwynne-vaughanii.

Picture Credit: Natural History Museum, London

A Taxonomic Conundrum

The research into the origins of land plants has been complicated as the taxonomic relationships between the earliest land plants are not clear and distinct.  Using similarities in the shape and structure of land plants, scientists have mapped a number of conflicting outcomes for a cladistic analysis of early plant relationships between the most primitive groups such as the Bryophytes (liverworts and mosses) and the vascular plants (Tracheophytes) and a primitive sub-group of vascular plants, the Lycophytes.  Using the molecular clock model to map phylogenetic relationships the team identified several evolutionary family trees for the early plants.  The liverworts could be a sister clade to all other land plants, with either mosses, hornworts or a moss-hornwort grouping as the sister group to the Tracheophytes.

Seven Alternative Cladistic Relationships for Early Plants were Considered in the Study

The possible cladistic relationships between early land plants.

The possible cladistic relationships between early land plants.

Picture Credit: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

However, when each of these phylogenetic relationships was tested in turn, against the molecular clock model, the end result still indicated an origin of land plants some 100 million years earlier than previously thought.  The researchers conclude that the first land plants may therefore have originated during the Late Cambrian or at the latest during the Early Ordovician.

The scientific paper: “Timescale of Early Land Plant Evolution” by J. L. Morris, M. N. Puttick, J. Clark, D. Edwards, P. Kenrick, S. Pressel, C. H. Wellman, Z. Yang, H. Schneider and P. C. J. Donoghue, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

20 02, 2018

New Schleich Prehistoric Animals (Summer 2018)

By | February 20th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Schleich Prehistoric Animals (Summer 2018)

Here are our first pictures of the second batch of Schleich prehistoric animal models to be released in 2018.  Collectors and dinosaur fans will probably be aware that Everything Dinosaur has had in stock the January 2018 Schleich releases for some time, joining these figures are three new prehistoric animals, two dinosaurs and one flying reptile.  The models are a juvenile Therizinosaurus, a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex and a Pteranodon replica.  All three models are expected to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in July.

The New for 2018 Schleich Juvenile Therizinosaurus Model (Available July 2018)

Schleich juvenile Therizinosaurus dinosaur model.

Schleich juvenile Therizinosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Juvenile Therizinosaurus

This model is slightly smaller than the Therizinosaurus model with the red/black colour scheme that was introduced a few weeks ago, hence the juvenile moniker.   Both the arms and the lower jaw are articulated (we think) and the body proportions are slightly different when compared to the adult Therizinosaurus.  The sculpt gives the impression of feathers on the body and the blood-red colouration is quite striking.  There is much more red on the juvenile figure when compared to the adult Therizinosaurus model (see below).

The Adult Therizinosaurus Dinosaur Model (Schleich)

Schleich Therizinosaurus dinosaur model.

Schleich new Therizinosaurus (January 2018).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The head shape and the blood-red colouration gives the Schleich juvenile Therizinosaurus a dragon-like quality.

Schleich Juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex

Also due out in the summer is a second juvenile figure, this time it is a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.   When this new T. rex figure comes out (July 2018), it will become the third large, individual Tyrannosaurus rex model available in the Schleich range.

Available July 2018 The Schleich Juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex

Schleich juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.

Schleich juvenile T. rex.  The larger, more robust adult Schleich T. rex figure can be seen in the background.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is an interesting sculpt, as although it is very similar to the Schleich T. rex figure that came out last year, it does have a different skull shape and subtle differences in the paint scheme.  For example, it has black vertical bands, perhaps to help hide this juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex from other apex predators such as larger members of its own kind or the fearsome, dromaeosaurid Dakotaraptor (D. steini).  Recently, it has been proposed that tyrannosaurids may have lived in family groups, if they did, then this implies that they would have probably hunted as a pack.  Palaeontologists know that as T. rex grew, it underwent a dramatic transformation.  It changed from a relatively fleet-footed, long-legged animal into a robust, heavy-weight bruiser.  Both types of T. rex model are depicted in the photograph above, the juvenile figure is in front of the larger adult model.  These two figures could represent two tyrannosaurids in a family, a sub-adult and the larger, heavier fully-grown animal.  Each family member might have had a specialised role in hunting, the faster, more agile juveniles could pursue the intended victim, shepherding them to the large, fully-grown adults that were responsible for bringing the prey down.

Schleich Pteranodon Model (July 2018)

Team members at Everything Dinosaur remember the Pteranodon model with a blue coloured head crest that was part of the old “Saurus” range and was retired around a decade ago.  Schleich are bringing back a large, individual Pteranodon model, but the new figure (available July 2018), is radically different.

The New for 2018 Schleich Pteranodon Model

Schleich flying reptile (Pteranodon).

Schleich Pteranodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This flying reptile model continues the current Schleich leitmotif for bright and colourful figures.  The model is posed as if it is flying and in the examples that we have seen, the painting around the head and that long beak is excellent.  We do appreciate that this figure has a somewhat stylised appearance, but we don’t want to quibble as it seems particularly suitable for robust, creative play.  Pteranodon remains one of the better-known members of the Pterosauria amongst young fans of ancient life, we suspect the popularity of Pteranodon may have influenced Schleich when it came to bringing back a Pteranodon model into its range.

A Close-up View of the New for 2018 Schleich Pteranodon Model

Schleich Pteranodon replica.

Schleich Pteranodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the current range of Schleich prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur, including all the early 2018 releases: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

All three models are expected to be in stock around July 2018.

19 02, 2018

Dinosaur Poems

By | February 19th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

A Poem About Parasaurolophus

Whilst delivering a dinosaur and fossil workshop with a Year 1 class, we were asked to help inspire the children by providing some inspirational poems about prehistoric animals. The class had been looking at poetry and its rhythmic qualities, writing poems about animals that lived close to the Poles when they were studying “life in the freezer” during the first part of the Spring Term. The teacher wanted to reintroduce this exercise, but this time to tie it in with the topic for the remainder of the Spring Term – dinosaurs.

A Poem About Parasaurolophus

Parasaurolophus poem.

A poem about the Hadrosaur Parasaurolophus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fortunately, the Everything Dinosaur fossil expert had spotted numerous dinosaur and fossil themed poems during his many school visits and he was able to share some of these resources with the teaching team. Our team member had even come across a short piece of prose dedicated to the Late Cretaceous duck-billed dinosaur Parasaurolophus, a plant-eater with a bizarre head crest.

The Duck-billed Dinosaur Parasaurolophus

Mojo Parasaurolophus dinosaurs.

The Mojo Parasaurolophus dinosaur models (biped and quadruped).  Note the bizarre head crest.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Poetic Parasaurolophus

The role the crest played is debated by palaeontologists. It may have had a flap of skin, attaching the crest to the back of the neck and this might have been brightly coloured, allowing the crest to be used as an effective device for visual communication. The crest itself, could have played a role in signalling, perhaps its size and length demonstrated maturity or fitness for breeding. The dinosaur’s nostrils were connected to the crest by a series of complicated hollow tubes. Some palaeontologists have speculated that the crest could have acted as an amplifier or resonating device giving these dinosaurs very distinctive calls.

Whatever the purpose of that head crest, it was good to find a poem about a “tooting” Parasaurolophus!

18 02, 2018

Everything Dinosaur Adds New Paleo-Creatures Figures

By | February 18th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura, Mei long and Scelidosaurus

Just arrived, three new additions to the Paleo-Creatures range of replicas.  The new models are a sculpt of the giant Carboniferous Arthropod Arthropleura, a model of the little feathered dinosaur from Liaoning Province, north-eastern China, known as the “sleeping dragon” Mei long and a fabulous figure of the early armoured dinosaur from England Scelidosaurus (S. harrisonii).

In Stock at Everything Dinosaur the Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura Figure

Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura replica.

The Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Paleo-Creatures

Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura

Arthropleura is believed to have been one of the largest terrestrial invertebrates to have ever existed.  The largest specimens, based on trace fossils (parallel tracks preserved in Carboniferous sediments), indicate animals that were up to 2.6 metres long.  These animals resembled gigantic centipedes, but they are believed to have been omnivores or possibly vegetarian.  They scuttled around the leaf litter in the dense, humid forests of the Carboniferous, fossil specimens have been found in Europe, North America and the Middle East.  The Paleo-Creatures Arthropleura comes with its own display base and fact card, the invertebrate replica measures a little over seven centimetres in length, so this figure is in approximately 1:35 scale.

Paleo-Creatures Mei long

Mei long is a basal member of the troodontid dinosaurs, it roamed the forests of north-eastern China during the Cretaceous, two specimens are known, both are believed to have perished when volcanic ash engulfed the area and both dinosaurs were found in what was thought to have been a sleeping position, hence the name Mei long which translates as “sleeping dragon”.

The Beautiful Mei long Replica by Paleo-Creatures

Paleo-Creatures Mei long.

The Paleo-Creatures Mei long figure.

Picture Credit:  Everything Dinosaur/Paleo-Creatures

The specimen that has been declared the type fossil, represents a juvenile, measuring a little over half a metre in length.   It is complete and preserved in three-dimensions, a result of the rapid burial by the hot volcanic ash.  This dinosaur died with its head tucked under its wing and its legs neatly tucked under its body, a sleeping posture that is reminiscent of extant birds.  The similarity in resting postures provides palaeontologists with further evidence to support the Theropod dinosaur – Aves link.

Paleo-Creatures Scelidosaurus

The last of the three, new Paleo-Creatures replicas to be added to Everything Dinosaur’s range is the Scelidosaurus figure, a replica of a dinosaur whose fossils are associated with the small coastal village of Charmouth on the Jurassic coast of Dorset.

The Paleo-Creatures Scelidosaurus Figure

Paleo-Creatures Scelidosaurus replica.

Scelidosaurus dinosaur model by Paleo-Creatures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Paleo-Creatures

The Paleo-Creatures Scelidosaurus figure comes complete with a beautiful display base.  The Scelidosaurus can be displayed on its bespoke base with its prehistoric plant, or the figure can be displayed independently.

The Paleo-Creatures range features a host of amazing figures, all designed and individually sculpted by Jesús Toledo, a very talented artist based in Spain.  The Paleo-Creatures range includes dinosaurs and some of the more bizarre and astonishing animals that once graced our planet, incredible creatures such as Tullimonstrum and the giant amphibian Koolasuchus.

To view the models available from Everything Dinosaur: Paleo-Creatures Replicas and Figures

17 02, 2018

JurassicCollectables Highlights the Rebor “Raptors”

By | February 17th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Video Showcasing the Rebor “Raptors”

In response to popular demand, those highly talented people at JurassicCollectables have produced a video highlighting the range of “Raptors” that have been made by Rebor.  In this highly informative video, the narrator takes the viewer on a tour of the numerous dromaeosaurid models produced by Rebor.  This is a chronological tour, not in terms of the geological age of the fossils, but a timeline that lists the order in which these replicas were produced.  As JurassicCollectables are big fans of the movie franchise “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World”, the figures, most of which are very reminiscent of the Velociraptors seen in the films, the narrator is able to discuss some of his favourite pieces.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor Raptors to Date (Early 2018)

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

A Timeline of Rebor “Raptors”

In this video review, which lasts a little over thirteen minutes, the first replica to be discussed is “Windhunter”, the Utahraptor figure (Utahraptor ostrommaysorum), which ironically is geologically much older than the Velociraptors depicted in the video.  The Rebor replicas have proved to be so popular, as not only are they excellent sculpts, but they remind collectors of the Velociraptors from the film franchise.  Some of the Rebor models pay tribute to Stanley “Stan” Winston, the American television and film special make-up effects creator responsible for the majority of the dinosaurs seen in the early “Jurassic Park” films.  This explains some of the names chosen by Rebor such as the baby Velociraptor figure “Stan” and the 1:18 scale cursorial replica “Winston”, which the narrator heralds as one of his personal favourites.

The Rebor 1:18 Scale Replica Velociraptor “Winston”

Rebor Velociraptor "Winston".

Rebor 1:18 scale Velociraptor model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Bronze Effects

It is not only the people behind the films that are honoured by this part of the Rebor range.  When the first film in the dinosaur-themed franchise came out, “Jurassic Park”, in 1993, a series of limited-edition bronze dinosaur models were cast.  Rebor produced their own limited-edition “Raptors” the bronze-effect “Father and Son” figures which were based on the “Winston and Stan” Velociraptor replicas.  In the video, the commentator points out the superb detailing on these figures and even highlights the areas on the models where the bronze-effect has been given a greenish tinge, to mimic the metal as it ages.

The Limited-edition Rebor “Father and Son” Velociraptor Replicas

Limited edition Rebor Velociraptors "Winston and Stan".

The Rebor replicas “Winston and Stan”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Only 1,000 of these model sets were produced, still, Rebor fans can view these figures in the JurassicCollectables video.  JurassicCollectables have done a good job in discussing the various Rebor models representing “Raptors” in chronological order, from the first to be produced to the latest such as “Gunn” and “Rose”, for completeness here is Everything Dinosaur’s list of Rebor dromaeosaurids from the first model to be produced to the very latest to come off the production line.

The List of Rebor Dromaeosaurids (First to Latest)

  • Rebor “Windhunter” Utahraptor ostrommaysorum
  • Rebor Club Selection Velociraptor Triplets (limited edition)
  • Rebor 1:6 scale Velociraptor Hatchlings
  • Rebor 1:35 scale baby Utahraptor “Breeze”
  • Rebor 1:18 scale baby Velociraptor “Stan”
  • Rebor Velociraptor “Winston”
  • Rebor “Father and Son” Velociraptor set (limited edition in bronze effect) – “Winston and Stan”
  • Rebor “Cerberus Clan” a trio of Deinonychus figures (D. antirrhopus)
  • Rebor 1:18 scale leaping Velociraptors “Spring-heeled Jack” and “Alex Delarge”
  • Rebor 1:18 scale Velociraptor “Pete”
  • Rebor 1:18 scale Velociraptors “Gunn” and “Rose”

To view the Rebor model range available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Replicas and Figures

More Raptors to Come

Rebor has plans to add more dromaeosaurids to their model range.  Collectors will have the chance to add even more figures to their very own raptor pack.  As for personal favourites, we agree with the narrator in the JurassicCollectables video, “Winston” is very popular amongst Everything Dinosaur team members, but for the moment, this replica is just pipped by a nose by the excellent Velociraptor “Pete”.

The Rebor 1:18 Scale Velociraptor Figure “Pete”

Rebor "Pete" Velociraptor Model

A cursorial (running Velociraptor) called “Pete from Rebor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

JurassicCollectables have produced video reviews of all the models seen in this very well made compilation video.  To view these videos, visit JurassicCollectables on YouTube.  Everything Dinosaur recommends that readers subscribe to the JurassicCollectables YouTube channel: JurassicCollectables on YouTube

16 02, 2018

Lizards Up on Two Feet in the Early Cretaceous

By | February 16th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Lizards Sprinted to Safety to Avoid Predation

A team of international scientists writing in the journal “Scientific Reports”, have described the oldest lizard trackways known to science that record bipedal behaviour.  The little lizards lived around 110 million years ago, in what is now South Korea, it has been speculated that just like extant lizards, they took to their hind legs to avoid being eaten.  The mudstone slab preserves a total of twenty-nine prints, representing four trackways made by lizards.  The lizard trackways occur in the same horizon as the pterosaur ichnotaxon, Pteraichnus koreanensis, it has been speculated that these small animals were taking to their hind legs and sprinting away to avoid the attention of marauding flying reptiles.

A Lizard Escapes from a Pterosaur (Early Cretaceous of South Korea)

A lizard takes to its hind legs to avoid the attentions of a Pterosaur.

A lizard sprints away from an attacking Pterosaur (Pteraichnus koreanensis).

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

Rare Lizard Trace Fossils from the Hasandong Formation

The researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Seoul National University, the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources along with Anthony Fiorillo of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas, Texas) studied the mudstone slab, which measures approximately seventy centimetres by thirty centimetres in size and identified the tiny tracks, as that of a basal member of the Iguania Infraorder of lizards.  The team came to this conclusion as living iguanians, such as those in the Basiliscus genus (basilisk lizards), have strong hind legs and are facultative bipeds, that is, capable of running on their back legs when the need arises.  The fossil record also shows that these types of lizards were present in Asia during the Early Cretaceous.

The Mudstone Slab with Trace Fossils and Accompanying Line Drawing

Fossilised lizard tracks and line drawing.

Photograph of the fossil slab with accompanying line drawing.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The trace fossils were excavated from an old quarry adjacent to Hadong power station in Hadong County, in south-central South Korea.  It is believed that the strata in this area (Hasandong Formation) was laid down around 112 to 110  million years ago (Aptian/Albian faunal stages of the Early Cretaceous).  The well-preserved tracks have allowed the scientists to examine in detail the hand (manus) and foot (pes) anatomy of the ancient lizard.

When Did Lizards Develop Bipedal Capabilities?

Although, bipedal locomotion is known today and the Squamata (lizards and snakes), are the most specious of all the living reptile types, the fossil record for these creatures is particularly sparse.  Palaeontologists, remain uncertain as to when bipedal locomotion in lizards arose, although it has been inferred based on the relative proportions of front and hind limbs as seen in Tijubina pontei, an Early Cretaceous lizard, whose fossils are associated with the Crato Formation of Brazil.  The trackways discovered in South Korea suggest that bipedal locomotion in ancient lizards is deeply rooted in the phylogeny of lizard evolution.

Hand and Foot Tracks (Manus and Pes)

Hand and foot prints Sauripes hadongensis.

Manus and pes tracks of Sauripes hadongensis, (a) Enlarged photograph and drawing of a manus imprint (B1). (b) A pes imprint (A6).

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

Sauripes hadongensis

The foot prints (pes) are plantigrade, indicating that this lizard walked on its toes and heels, just like us and all lizards today, as opposed to the digitigrade locomotion of the Dinosauria.  Although the individual prints are very small, around two centimetres in length, the five toes (pentadactyl), are clearly defined.  The lizard tracks appear in the same horizon as the pterosaur ichnotaxon Pteraichnus koreanensis and it has been speculated that the lizards could have been escaping from a flying reptile.  Behaving as a facultative biped, would also have elevated the head and this would have permitted the lizards to keep a better look out for aerial predators.

The scientists have estimated the ancient lizard’s body length by comparing the trackways to the extant lizard Tropidurus torquatus, a living member of the Infraorder Iguania.  The ichnotaxon has been named Sauripes hadongensis which translates as “lizard foot from Hadong County”.

An Illustration of the Bipedal Locomotion of the Ancient Lizard

An illustration of the running lizard (bipedal running).

An illustration showing the bipedal interpretation of the lizard trackway (SVL – snout to vent length and PL – pes length).

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The Palaeoenvironment of Lower Cretaceous South Korea

The mudstone strata has produced tridactyl (three-toed) dinosaur tracks as well as trace fossils representing the tracks of small pterosaurs.  Fossilised plants are also associated with these layers of rock.  It is suggested that the mudstone represents deposits from a swampy area or possibly the margins of a lake.   The Hasandong Formation has yielded numerous body fossils including several different types of vertebrate (turtles, pterosaurs, crocodilians and dinosaurs).  These fossilised bones are isolated, broken and highly fragmentary, indicating that they may have been exposed on the surface for some considerable time prior to subsequent burial.  They also may have been transported for some distance before deposition.  This taphonomy suggests that large rivers crossed this location, the mudstone slab may have been sited in an area away from a main river channel, that was subjected to periodic flooding by water with low energy, otherwise the delicate prints may not have been preserved.

Photographs of Individual Hind Foot Prints (Pes) with Digits Highlighted

Pes tracks of Sauripes hadongensis.

Photographs of the foot prints of Sauripes hadongensis with the digits highlighted.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2014 article about the discovery of a tiny Theropod dinosaur from South Korea: Tiny Terror from South Korea

The scientific paper: “Lizards Ran Bipedally 110 Million Years Ago” by Hang-Jae Lee, Yuong-Nam Lee, Anthony R. Fiorillo and Junchang Lü published in Scientific Reports

15 02, 2018

Everything Dinosaur Wins Gold Trusted Service Award 2018

By | February 15th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Gold Trusted Service Award 2018

Everything Dinosaur has been awarded the Gold Trusted Service Award (2018) by FEEFO.  FEEFO is an independent global ratings company that operates worldwide.  Everything Dinosaur has partnered with FEEFO since the new company website went live around twelve months ago.  Over this period, we have been able to maintain very high customer ratings for our service and products, this has resulted in FEEFO recognising Everything Dinosaur’s efforts by awarding the most prestigious accolade of all.  When it comes to dinosaur toys, models and games, it looks like Everything Dinosaur’s service can’t be beaten.

Everything Dinosaur is Awarded FEEFO’s Highest Accolade – Gold Trusted Service Award

Everything Dinosaur wins top award.

FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award (Everything Dinosaur).

Picture Credit: FEEFO

Top Marks for Customer Service

In an email sent by Andrew Mabbutt, the Chief Executive Officer of FEEFO, we were informed that we had achieved the highest grade of customer service and as a result, Everything Dinosaur had been recognised with the awarding of this prestigious accolade.  To be afforded the honour of Gold Standard, a company has to maintain an average service score of 4.5 out of 5 over a sustained period.  Everything Dinosaur has a 5 out 5 (100%) customer service rating.

Gold Trusted Service Award from FEEFO

Everything Dinosaur awarded Gold Trusted Service accolade.

FEEFO Gold Trusted Service Award.

Picture Credit: FEEFO

Collecting Reviews

Collecting feedback and reviews  from customers is a powerful way of engaging with Everything Dinosaur’s customer base.  It helps Everything Dinosaur to maintain trust and to have a bigger on-line presence.  Real customers providing real feedback about our products and customer service.

A spokesperson for the UK-based dinosaur company stated:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the highly respected Gold Trusted Service accolade from such a reputable company as FEEFO.  We feel very honoured and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers who have taken the time and trouble to provide feedback to FEEFO.”

Over 1,500 Customer Comments

Since Everything Dinosaur partnered with FEEFO twelve months ago, the company has received around 1, 500 customer reviews and comments.  In the first six weeks of 2018, Everything Dinosaur has received nearly 100 customer feedback reports and the company’s service rating has been maintained at 100% (five out of five stars).

Our thanks once again to all our customers and dinosaur fans who have taken the time and trouble to provide feedback about our products and customer service.

To view the range of dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed toys, games and models available from Everything Dinosaur: Visit Everything Dinosaur

14 02, 2018

The Very First Edition of “Prehistoric Times”

By | February 14th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page, Movie Reviews and Movie News, Photos, Prehistoric Times|0 Comments

“Prehistoric Times” First Edition

Two years ago, Everything Dinosaur was informed that Aardman Animations, the company behind such iconic characters as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and films such as “Arthur Christmas”, had approached our chum Mike Fredericks, the editor of the quarterly magazine “Prehistoric Times” to request permission to utilise his magazine in a forthcoming movie.  The film entitled “Early Man” was premiered in the UK last month and is due to be released in the United States later this week.

A Still from the Animated Film “Early Man” Showing the Prehistoric Times

The first edition of "Prehistoric Times".

An early subscriber to “Prehistoric Times”.

Picture Credit: © 2018 Studiocanal S.A.S. and The British Film Institute

“Prehistoric Times”

Everything Dinosaur contacted Aardman Animations and they very kindly agreed to release a still from the movie, showing one of the lead characters, Lord Nooth, the greedy leader of the Bronze Age folk, voiced by British actor Tom Hiddleston, perusing an edition of “The Prehistoric Times”.

The modern version of “Prehistoric Times” (an unintended oxymoron), is a quarterly publication which has been in circulation for more than a decade, but clearly the magazine was popular much earlier.  From this evidence, it seems that this magazine has been in vogue since the New Stone Age.

For further information about “Prehistoric Times” – the quarterly, not the scroll version: Prehistoric Times Magazine

You can even read it in the bath should you wish to do so, although the prehistoric Wild Boar is optional.

13 02, 2018

Spot the Woolly Mammoth Model

By | February 13th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Which Woolly Mammoth Model is This?

The successful British television detective drama “Endeavour” has begun its fifth season and one of the episodes of this prequel to the long-running series “Morse”, featured a story involving a film company called “Mammoth Pictures Studios”, which had made a horror movie about an Egyptian Pharaoh and a curse.  The emblem of the Studio, shown in the first few moments of the programme, which was entitled “Cartouche”, caught our eye, as it featured a model of a Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius).

The Fictional Woolly Mammoth Emblem from the Television Programme

A Woolly Mammoth model on the television.

The emblem of the fictional film company Mammoth Pictures Studios.

Picture Credit: Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece

Which Woolly Mammoth replica was this?

Identifying the Woolly Mammoth Model

The selection of the fictional film company’s name was no accident, “Endeavour” is produced by two organisations “Mammoth Screen” and “Masterpiece”, the choice of an iconic Pleistocene animal as the Studio’s logo was a clever pun on the name of one of the co-production companies.  As the model revolved around on its simulated block of ice, we wondered how many model and figure collectors would have recognised the replica.  It was tricky, the Woolly Mammoth was only on screen for a few seconds and it was shot from angle that gave the impression that the model was far larger than it actually was.   When the camera is held low in relation to an object in shot and the viewer is given the impression of looking up at the object, then the object in question can look far more imposing and substantial than it actually is.

Trying to Identify the Woolly Mammoth Figure

Woolly Mammoth model on television.

The Woolly Mammoth figure from the television series.

Picture Credit: Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece

The clever use of photography made the identification task quite difficult.  The model looks to have received a make-over in terms of its paint job, which also complicated recognition, after all, this is a detective television programme so working out the model was not going to be easy.  However, as the Mammoth rotated on its plinth it was suggested that this was a Carnegie Collectibles 1:30 scale Woolly Mammoth replica, one that had been retired and out of production.

Is This the Woolly Mammoth from “Endeavour”?

Carnegie Woolly Mammoth model.

A model of a Woolly Mammoth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This Woolly Mammoth model was manufactured by Safari Ltd but was retired, along with the entire Carnegie Collectibles range in 2015.  It is quite a rare figure, one that is difficult to obtain.  Sadly, we at Everything Dinosaur sold out of this particular figure, some months ago.

Ice Age Icon – Woolly Mammoth

Woolly Mammoth figure seen on televison.

The Woolly Mammoth model seen on the television programme.

Picture Credit: Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece

Solving a Mystery

At the very beginning of a detective drama, we had our own little mystery to solve.  Have we detected correctly?  Perhaps we need the observational skills and quick mind of the eponymous police office upon whom this television series is based.

12 02, 2018

Stepping into the Lower Cretaceous of Maryland

By | February 12th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Diverse Footprint Assemblage Reveals Early Cretaceous Biota

Back in 2012, Everything Dinosaur reported upon the discovery of a partial nodosaurid footprint found at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland (USA).  Subsequent excavations have revealed a diverse trace fossil assemblage, preserving footprints of dinosaurs, mammals and flying reptiles (Pterosauria) located in a single slab of sandstone.  This remarkable fossil records a snapshot in deep geological time and shows how different types of animals interacted in a wetland environment.

A View of the Cast of the Actual Fossil that Records the Entire Track Bearing Surface

Goddard Space Centre (NASA) trackways.

The cast of the track bearing surface reveals over 70 trace fossils.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

Co-corresponding author of the scientific paper, published in the journal “Scientific Reports”, Ray Stanford (NASA, Goddard Space Flight Centre), the scientist who first discovered trace fossil evidence at the Goddard site, commented:

“It’s a time machine.  We can look across a few days of activity of these animals and we can picture it.  We see the interaction of how they pass in relation to each other.  This enables us to look deeply into ancient times on Earth.  It’s just tremendously exciting.”

Natural Impressions

The single slab of iron-rich sandstone measures over two metres in length and the cast of the fossil (see above), represents at least eight different track types denoting dinosaurs, crocodilians, pterosaurs and mammals.  All the tracks are preserved as natural impressions (concave epireliefs) and at least twenty-six mammalian tracks have been identified.  Analysis of the fossil material suggests that all the impressions were made within a relatively short time of each other, the fossil (GSFC-VP1) can be interpreted as snapshot recording the activities of a diverse biota around a wetland area during the Early Cretaceous (Albian/Aptian faunal stages).

A Schematic Showing the Extant of the Trace and Body Fossils Preserved

Trackways represent a diverse biota.

Goddard Space Flight Centre (NASA) tracks – schematic drawing.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports with additional annotations by Everything Dinosaur

Tracking the Dinosaurs

The track that first highlighted the potential of the site “the discovery track”, which is coloured light brown in the drawing above, and situated in the north-eastern corner of the sandstone slab, has been identified as a nodosaurid print.  This single print measures around 29 centimetres in diameter.  The posterior (heel) region is obscured by a smaller track of uncertain providence.  The small track could represent a print made by a juvenile Nodosaur.  If this is the case, then this section of the fossil could show the tracks made by an adult and juvenile armoured dinosaur as they walked together (see silhouettes adjacent to the track illustration).

A single, black object with a raised ridge is also preserved.  This has been interpreted as an individual scute from a nodosaurid.  Measuring five centimetres across, the fossil is surrounded by a polygonal pattern consistent with the surrounding integument associated with nodosaurid skin impressions.  The unique taphonomy of the Patuxent Formation that is exposed at the Goddard Space Flight Centre and other locations in Maryland has already provided palaeontologists with the beautifully-preserved impression of the rear half of an articulated baby nodosaurid.  This dinosaur was named Propanoplosaurus marylandicus by Stanford et al in 2011.

The Object Identified as a Nodosaurid Scute (Dermal Armour)

Potential Nodosaurid Scute

(A) photograph of nodosaurid scute and associated polygonal pattern of surrounding integument, (B) simplified outline of polygonal pattern.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The large nodosaurid print along with the track made by the left front foot of a Sauropod (see single print outlined in light purple and the silhouette on the schematic), confirms the presence of large dinosaurs in the area.

Small Theropod Dinosaurs Systematically Searching for Food

Four parallel trackway patterns made by crow-sized Theropod dinosaurs have been identified.  The outermost tracks of the group have been labelled in the schematic T1 and T4.  This parallel pattern and the short distance between individual footprints suggest that these small meat-eaters were moving slowly and working together to systematically comb the area for food.

Martin Lockley (University of Colorado, Denver) and co-corresponding author with Ray Stanford explained:

“It looks as if they were making a sweep across the area.”

Theropod Trackways T1 and T4 Illustrated

Theropod tracks.

Goddard Space Flight Centre (Theropod tracks).

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The picture above shows drawings of various Theropod tracks,  T1 consists of six footprints, whilst T4 is comprised of five individual prints (diagrams A and B).  The short stride length indicates very short steps, consistent with the idea that these little meat-eating dinosaurs were carefully scrutinising the area, probably hunting for food.  Diagrams C and D represent isolated tracks with toe digits widely separated (divarication) – note the scale bar = 20 cm.

Marvellous Mammalian Tracks

The dinosaur tracks might first catch the eye, but the real stars of this Early Cretaceous “dance floor” are the collection of mammalian prints.  At least twenty-six mammal tracks have been identified.  The largest print, covering around twenty-five square centimetres is the largest mammal footprint ever discovered from the Cretaceous.  This suggests that there were plenty of mammals about and some of them were quite big, about the size of a Highland terrier or a raccoon.

The researchers conclude that most of the mammalian prints represent small squirrel-sized animals and the study has resulted in the erection of a new ichnotaxon Sederipes goddardensis.  The genus name roughly translates from the Latin as “sitting foot” as some of these impressions indicate that the small mammals sat up in a similar way to extant prairie dogs.  The trivial name honours the Goddard Space Flight Centre.

Mammal Tracks as Identified on the GSFC-VP1 Specimen

Examples of mammal tracks.

Early Cretaceous mammal tracks (GSFC-VP1).

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The photograph (above), shows examples of the diverse mammal tracks.  Tracks m1-m4 include the holotype ichnofossils of the new ichnotaxon Sederipes goddardensis.  Note scale bar and (J) which denotes a large, five-toed track with an image of a similar track described in 2007.

The authors believe the wide diversity and number of tracks show many of the animals were in the area actively feeding at the same time.  It has been proposed that the mammals may have been feeding on worms and grubs, the small carnivorous Theropods were after the mammals, and the pterosaur tracks found in situ could suggest that flying reptiles were hunting in the vicinity too, perhaps after both the mammals and their reptile contemporaries.

The scientific paper: “A Diverse Mammal-dominated, Footprint Assemblage from Wetland Deposits in the Lower Cretaceous of Maryland” by Ray Stanford, Martin G. Lockley, Compton Tucker, Stephen Godfrey and Sheila M. Stanford published in Scientific Reports.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2012 article about the initial footprint discovery: Space Age Meets Dinosaur Age

Photograph of the Cast and Schematic Drawing

Schematic drawing and fossil cast (GSFC-VP1)

GSFC-VP1 cast and schematic drawing.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

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