All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

25 05, 2017

Ceratopsid Tooth Paper Published (Part 2)

By | May 25th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Owl Creek Ceratopsid Tooth and Palaeoenvironment Implications

Yesterday, team members at Everything Dinosaur published an article on the discovery of a single fossil tooth from a Late Cretaceous horned dinosaur that had been found in Union County (Mississippi).  This discovery, the first evidence of a dinosaur from the Owl Creek Formation, has implications for the way in which palaeontologists perceive the ecosystems that existed on the ancient landmasses of Laramidia and Appalachia.

Museum Specimen 7969- The Ceratopsid Tooth

Fossil tooth of a dinosaur from Mississippi.

Horned dinosaur tooth discovered in Mississippi.

Picture Credit:  Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MDWFP)

To read yesterday’s article: Ceratopsid Tooth Paper Published (Part 1)

Why So Few Horned Dinosaur Fossils Found in Marine Sediments?

Palaeontologists know that during the latter stages of the Cretaceous, there were many different types of horned dinosaur (Ceratopsian).  Lots of fossil evidence has been discovered in western North America and a myriad of different forms have been described, particularly over the last ten years or so.  The likes of Triceratops may have first been described back in the late 1880’s but so many different horned dinosaur genera have been established in recently times, that numerous vertebrate palaeontologists refer to the last decade as the “Golden Age of Horned Dinosaur Discoveries”.

New Ceratopsian Faces Since 2007

So many different horned dinosaurs.

Illustrations of different horned dinosaurs that have been named since 2006.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur with artwork from Julius Csotonyi, Danielle Dufault and the Canadian Museum of Natural History/Andrey Atuchin

Despite all these horned dinosaur fossil discoveries, the Owl Creek Formation tooth, is one of only a handful of North American Ceratopsian fossils which have been found associated with marine strata.  The question is why?

Duck-billed Dinosaur Fossils in Marine Sediments

Compared to other types of Late Cretaceous dinosaur – ceratopsids, Theropods, ankylosaurids, et al, Hadrosaur fossils are the most common dinosaur fossils to be found in marine rocks laid down towards the end of the Cretaceous.  Duck-billed dinosaur fossils in marine sediments, are hardly what you would call abundant, but in relation to other large, obviously terrestrial dinosaurs, Hadrosaur fossils are more numerous in those rocks associated with having been laid down under the sea.

Although the fossil record shows a degree of bias, dinosaurs such as some of the smaller Theropods and the Pachycephalosaurs may be under-represented for example, this still does not explain why, compared to the Hadrosaurs, the almost equally specious and abundant horned dinosaurs don’t show up in marine deposits.  Ceratopsians may have preferred slightly different habitats than the Hadrosaurs.  Research undertaken in 2010 (Eberth), suggested that most of the horned dinosaur fossil remains were associated with lake, alluvial or coastal plain habitats, at least amongst the Ceratopsidae family.

Ceratopsians Such as Triceratops May Have Preferred Different Habitats Compared to Hadrosaurs

Triceratops dinosaur illustration.

Triceratops may have preferred to live away from rivers.

Picture Credit: Julius Csotonyi

The alluvial, low-lying wetland areas are strongly associated with river channels and these specific areas can be divided into two distinct parts.

  1. The riparian influenced part – the river and the river/channel margins.
  2. The floodplain – areas not adjacent to the river or the channel margins but flooded by the river when the river burst its banks.

Put into simple terms, dinosaurs such as Triceratops have left fossils associated with floodplain (muddy) deposits, whereas, duck-billed dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus fossils are more associated with fluviatile (sandy) deposits.

If transport along river channels are the most common cause of “bloat and float” carcases, then, the lack of horned dinosaur fossils in marine sediments could be explained by ceratopsids, preferring to live on those parts of the floodplain, not very near to the river.  They may have had a preference for habitats outside of the riparian zones.

A Hadrosaur Corpse Floating Out to Sea (Bloat and Float Scenario)

Dinosaur corpse washed out to sea.

An artist’s illustration of the duck-billed dinosaur carcase washed out to sea.

Picture Credit: Masato Hattori

24 05, 2017

Ceratopsid Tooth Paper Published (Part 1)

By | May 24th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Paper on the First Reported Horned Dinosaur Tooth from Eastern North America Published

In July 2016, Everything Dinosaur team members reported the discovery of a single tooth from a horned dinosaur in North America.  Given the dental batteries that these herbivorous dinosaurs possessed, that teeth, being extremely hard, stand up well to the fossilisation process and given the number of new North American ceratopsid species named in the last decade, this fossil find might not sound that surprising.  It’s not really about what was found, but where it was found, as the fossil tooth is the first horned dinosaur tooth to come to the attention of the scientific community from the eastern part of the United States.  To a palaeontologist this is a big deal, a very big deal indeed!

Views and Accompanying Computer Generated Images of the Single Tooth

Ceratopsid tooth from eastern North America.

Various views of the horned dinosaur tooth (Own Creek Formation, northern Mississippi).

Picture Credit: PeerJ

To read Everything Dinosaur’s earlier article about the ceratopsid tooth fossil find: Horned Dinosaur Tooth Discovered in Northern Mississippi

North America in the Late Cretaceous – A Tale of Two Landmasses

A variety of different types of horned dinosaur evolved in the western part of North America during the Late Cretaceous (Campanian faunal stage through to the Maastrichtian faunal stage).  However, during this period in Earth’s history, the landmass we now know as North America looked very different.  The continent was split into two parts, by a large, shallow sea (Western Interior Seaway).  At its fullest extent, this shallow sea stretched from the Gulf of Mexico, through the United States and Canada to the Arctic circle.  Size estimates vary, but it has been suggested (U.S. Geological Survey), that at its maximum, the sea was between 1,900 and 3,000 miles long between 600 to 1,000 miles in diameter.  Bordering the sea in the west was the long, narrow strip of land – Laramidia, whilst to the east, the landmass called Appalachia could be found.  Sea levels rose and fell over this period, eventually the Western Interior Seaway contracted, retreating south as plate movements pushed up the landmasses.  At the time of the dinosaur extinction, this once great area of tropical sea was reduced to a strip of water around the Gulf of Mexico, covering parts of the south-western USA.

The Western Interior Seaway (Campanian Faunal Stage)

The Western Interior Seaway.

A map showing the Western Interior Seaway of North America circa 75 mya.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Horned Dinosaurs Migrated from Laramidia to Appalachia

The dinosaur tooth, a single fossil specimen from the right side of the lower jaw (right dentary), was discovered by George Phillips, (curator of Palaeontology at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science), as he explored a stream bed in Union County (Mississippi), that is known to yield marine fossils that date from the very end of the age of dinosaurs (Maastrichtian faunal stage).  The tooth was found in association with a Mosasaur tooth, ammonite remains, brachiopods and other fossils.  Based on the stratigraphic evidence and the fossil assemblage associated with the tooth, the authors of the scientific paper, published in PeerJ, conclude that this tooth provides evidence that at some time during the very Late Cretaceous horned dinosaurs were able to migrate from Laramidia to Appalachia over a land bridge.

George commented:

“A land bridge before the end of the Cretaceous could have allowed horned dinosaurs to migrate or disperse through Texas or Arkansas, right before they were all killed in the calamity [a reference to the End Cretaceous impact event].”

Chasmosaurines Went East

Migrating Chasmosaurine dinosaurs into eastern North America.

A potential horned dinosaur migration route into eastern North America.

Picture Credit: PeerJ with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows two views of North America in the Late Cretaceous (A) around 73.5 million years ago (mya) and (B) around 68 million years ago (mya).  The authors suggest that horned dinosaurs were able to migrate eastwards from Laramidia into the Mississippi Embayment (Miss Emb), area of Appalachia.  Only Chasmosaurine horned dinosaurs are shown migrating into Appalachia (B).  The identity of the horned dinosaur to which the tooth belonged, is unknown, but if the land bridge existed towards the very end of the Cretaceous, then by this date Centrosaurine dinosaurs may well have become extinct in North America.  No fossils of ceratopsids assigned to the Centrosaurinae clade have been found in rocks dating from the Late Maastrichtian.

A Typical Ceratopsian Tooth

Tooth of a Triceratops.

A typical tooth of a Ceratopsian with its two distinct dental roots (Triceratops).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows a typical Ceratopsian tooth, from the Chasmosaurine Triceratops.  The fossil tooth from the Owl Creek Formation is the first evidence of dinosaurs to have been found in this formation, (the tooth is the first large, terrestrial animal fossil to have been found in the very well-known and thoroughly explored Owl Creek Formation).  It shows the typical ceratopsid tooth features, including the double root, and a prominent, blade-like carina (serrated edge).  The specimen (MMNS VP-7969), shows little sign of wear so it is unlikely that this fossil had been transported a great distance from where it was found.  It is tantalising to think, that perhaps, a little further upstream more horned dinosaur fossils are awaiting discovery, yet to be exposed by erosion.

Not Reworked and No Floating Carcase from Laramidia

The researchers reject the idea that the tooth has ended up in the stream bed having been eroded out of other rocks and re-deposited in the Owl Creek Formation.  The tooth is too pristine and therefore reworking from notably older Cretaceous-aged rocks is rejected.  In addition, the authors of the paper, Dr Andrew Farke (Raymond M. Alf Museum of Palaeontology, Claremont, California) and George Phillips, discount the idea that the tooth came from a carcase of a horned dinosaur that floated across from Laramidia.  The tooth, they postulate, provides evidence of a land bridge and that at least one kind of dinosaur migrated eastwards to populate the other half of the North American landmass.

A Model of the Late Cretaceous Horned Dinosaur Triceratops (T. horridus)

Pegasus Triceratops dinosaur model.

Great quality model kit to build and paint from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “The First Reported Ceratopsid Dinosaur from eastern North America (Owl Creek Formation, Upper Cretaceous, Mississippi, USA) by Andrew A. Farke and George E. Phillips published in the journal “PeerJ”.

This fossil discovery provides an intriguing insight into Late Cretaceous palaeoenvironments and the types of dinosaurs that inhabited them, more about this in a follow-up article.

21 05, 2017

Megazostrodontidae and Molars

By | May 21st, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Wareolestes rex – Uniting English Teeth with a Scottish Jawbone

This month has seen the publication of a scientific paper on one of the lesser known animals of the Middle Jurassic, a very distant ancestor of us and one that roamed the land that we now know as the United Kingdom.  The fossil collection attributed to the morganucodontan Wareolestes (W. rex), an animal named from four isolated teeth found in Oxfordshire (England), has increased with the description of a partial jawbone (left dentary), complete with several teeth. Writing in the publication of the Palaeontological Association, the researchers from Oxford University and the National Museums of Scotland, conclude that this animal had milk teeth, as adult teeth were identified that had not yet erupted through the jawline.  This means that this little mammaliaform (close to a true mammal but not quite), was a juvenile and the jaw fossil indicates that Wareolestes replaced its teeth once, just like humans, dogs, cats, horses and many other types of extant mammal.

An Illustration of the Head of Wareolestes rex

The Middle Jurassic mammaliaform (W. rex).

An illustration of Wareolestes rex.

Picture Credit: Elsa Panciroli

In addition, the pattern of tooth replacement reflects an important stage in mammalian evolution and is linked to the production of milk to feed offspring.  This discovery marks the first time that mammaliaform tooth replacement has been identified from Scottish fossil material.

Jawbone from the Isle of Skye

The two-centimetre-long jawbone was found on the Isle of Skye (Kilmaluag Formation), in rocks that were laid down some 165 million years ago, when this part of the world consisted of tropical islands surrounded by a warm shallow sea (Bathonian faunal stage).  The Middle Jurassic was an important time for mammalian evolution, unfortunately, there are very few fossil bearing exposures around the world that record evidence of life on our planet during this important period.  The Isle of Skye is one of these locations, along with a handful of other places including the western United States.

To read more about Scotland’s Mid Jurassic heritage: What Does Scotland Have in Common with Wyoming?

Linking English Teeth to a Scottish Jaw

The teeth and the newly described jawbone, although tiny by the standards of most dinosaurs, the dentary of Wareolestes is about as big an average sized tooth in the lower jaw of Megalosaurus (M. bucklandii), tells palaeontologists that Wareolestes was quite big for a mammaliaform.  Wareolestes grew to be around the size of a pet guinea pig, not massive, but most of the Middle Jurassic mammaliaforms were not much bigger than shrews.

Wareolestes rex was named and described from those few isolated teeth found in Oxfordshire.  Controversy surrounded the first tooth to be found, the holotype.  Scientists were not sure whether the tooth represented a tooth from the upper (maxilla) or lower jaw (dentary), they were not sure from which side of the mouth the tooth came from.  An analysis of the holotype tooth with the newly described Scottish jawbone clarifies the situation.  The original tooth from the Kirklington mammal beds in Oxfordshire came from the left side of the lower jaw (dentary).

The Fossil Jaw and a Line Drawing

Jawbone and line drawing of Wareolestes jawbone fossil.

The fossil jawbone from the Isle of Skye (Wareolestes).

This little fur-covered animal, may have been nocturnal, a strategy that would have helped the guinea pig-sized Wareolestes avoid predators – crocodylomorphs and Theropod dinosaurs for example.  Like other morganucodontans, it was probably insectivorous.  Careful CT scans and the creation of three-dimensional fossil images, allowed the English and Scottish-based researchers to identify the unerupted replacement teeth in the jaw.  Had this Wareolestes perished just a few weeks later, then it is very likely that the adult teeth would have been in place and scientists would not have had confirmation of the diphyodont (two sets of teeth), nature of this little beastie.

The Specialised Teeth of Mammals

Mammals have specialised teeth, canines, incisors, molars and such like.  Reptiles in contrast, have dentition that tends to be more homogeneous (all similar shapes).  Wareolestes had teeth very similar to those of a modern mammal.  This animal had “milk” teeth which were replaced by “adult” teeth as the animal grew.  It can be inferred from this that adult females looked after and nurtured their young.  Milk may have been secreted from modified pores for their offspring to lap up.  There may have been small grooves or channels in this patch of skin with the milk pore, to help the liquid pool and collect so that the baby Wareolestes could feed.

This is an exciting discovery and we are looking forward to hearing more about fossil finds from the field work on the Isle of Skye.  Researchers from Oxford University (England) and the National Museums of Scotland (Scotland), have found a jawbone fossil (Scotland) that solves a mystery surrounding some isolated teeth found decades earlier in England.  The story has a sense of closure about it, just like the fitting cusps and crowns associated with those specialised teeth of mammals.  However, we suspect that the dedicated team behind this particular piece of research will publish more papers about Middle Jurassic fossil finds, we can’t wait to get our teeth into them.

20 05, 2017

The Latest Everything Dinosaur Customer Newsletter

By | May 20th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor, Battat Terra and Bullyland – Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s news feed received this week an email newsletter giving them notification of the arrival of the limited edition Rebor hatchling Stegosaurus “Clover” and the repainted “Fallen Queen” Triceratops horridus dinosaur model.  Subscribers have the opportunity to discover the latest releases, to get updates on what’s coming into stock and to be kept abreast of product developments.

This can be really important, especially with the likes of the Rebor “Clover” replica, as only 1,000 of these exquisite models have been made.

The Latest Everything Dinosaur E-News

Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

The Everything Dinosaur E-News (mid May 2017).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are opportunities to opt into the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list when placing an order, but guests and other visitors to the Everything Dinosaur website can subscribe by simply scrolling down the home page and filling in the form on the bottom right of the screen.

Scroll Down the Everything Dinosaur Homepage to Find the E-News Subscription Form

Subscribe to the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Scroll down the Everything Dinosaur home page to find the subscription area.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s website here: Everything Dinosaur

Breaking News on Battat (Battat Terra)

The latest newsletter also provides information on the Battat Terra range of dinosaurs.  This model range, originally designed for the Boston Museum of Science in America, currently consists of twelve replicas.  However, in the newsletter, Everything Dinosaur informs readers that this number is likely to be reduced as models are retired.  One of the key objectives of these newsletters is to ensure that collectors are kept up to date with such developments.

Battat Terra Dinosaurs – Soon to be Less Than Twelve

Battat Terra dinosaur models.

The Battat Terra dinosaur model range (for the moment).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“Periodically, we send out a formal newsletter to our database of subscribers.  We take great care to manage this list and we do our best to inform our customers about product developments, new blog articles highlighting dinosaur fossil discoveries, the latest introductions, model retirements and such like.  We send out these newsletters so that we can keep this ever-growing list up to date with developments.”

The Newsletter Provides Helpful Information About Prehistoric Animal Model Ranges

Helping customers to stay informed.

Everything Dinosaur newsletter (mid May 2017).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter and to enquire about subscribing, simply: Email Everything Dinosaur

Newsletters provide an excellent opportunity for Everything Dinosaur to maintain relationships with its customers as well as providing a convenient platform for subscribers to access informative content.  They are also very easy for dinosaur fans to share with their own contacts and followers.  Naturally, they will not replace the personal correspondence that team members provide, dealing promptly and swiftly with customer emails and enquiries.

Feedback from Customers

It is important to give customers the opportunity to correspond with Everything Dinosaur.  Two-way communication is simplified as, with all Everything Dinosaur’s newsletters, there is an email link to allow recipients to contact the company directly.  Staff are happy to help with individual queries and they do their best to offer advice.

The spokesperson added:

“We get all sorts of questions, typically we get asked about shipping and postage options, requests for model measurements, requests to reserve replicas and of course, lots of questions about forthcoming releases.  We even get sent questions about prehistoric animals, the latest enquiry received just a couple of hours ago concerned a question about the smallest dinosaur known to science.”

The next E-News to be sent by Everything Dinosaur is due to be dispatched in about seven days or so, it will introduce a new model range to company’s ever-growing prehistoric animal model portfolio.

19 05, 2017

Say it with Flowers from the Danian to be Exact

By | May 19th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Flowering After a Disaster – Oldest Buckthorn Fossilised Flowers

Next week sees the start of the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.  The great and the good will be attending this Royal Horticultural Society event, regarded by many gardeners and growers as the highlight of the year.  Today, Everything Dinosaur turns its attention to a paper published earlier this month in the journal PLOS ONE.  A team of researchers have found fossils of flowering plants that were once growing in Argentina, not long after, (in geological terms anyway), the global catastrophe that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs.  The fossils represent plants of the Rhamnaceae family, commonly referred to as Buckthorns.  These plants have a global distribution today and a number of species can be found in parks and gardens in the UK.

Two Fossilised Flowers Identified as Members of the Rhamnaceae Family (Buckthorn)

Two Buckthorn flower fossils.

Two fossilised Buckthorn flowers next to each other were discovered in shales of the Salamanca Formation in Chubut Province, Patagonia, (Argentina).

Picture Credit: Nathan Jud/Cornell University (USA)

Flowering After the Fern Spike

A lot has been written about the mass extinction event that marked the demise of the non-avian Dinosauria, some 66 million years ago.  However, as well as the dinosaurs, pterosaurs and many kinds of marine reptile, other groups of animals (and plants), were devastated in the impact event and its aftermath.  Plant families were decimated too and researchers have been examining strata that were laid down in the years following the end Cretaceous extinction event in a bid to assess how ecosystems recovered.

Micro-fossil studies indicate that it was the ferns that were the first major group of plants to recover after the end Cretaceous mass extinction.  In the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian faunal stage), fern spores make up around 10 to 25% of the plant micro-fossil assemblage.  In Danian Epoch deposits, laid down at the very beginning of the Palaeocene, scientists find that in some parts of the world, fossilised fern spores make up nearly 99% of the plant micro-fossil assemblage.  This is referred to as the “Fern Spike”, ferns recovering quicker than angiosperms and other types of plants.  This recovery is echoed today, as ferns are often the first to colonise land devastated by a volcanic eruption.

The “Fern Spike” – Plotted Against Geological Time

Plotting the Danian fern spike.

A graph showing the recovery of ferns after the Cretaceous mass extinction.

Graph Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The research team including lead author Nathan Jud (Cornell University), report on the discovery of the first fossilised flowers post the Cretaceous extinction to be found in South America.  The fossils date to the early Palaeocene (Danian faunal stage), less than one million years after the extraterrestrial impact event.  The flowers and other plant fossils were found in shales which form part of the Salamanca Formation (Chubut Province, Patagonia).

Commenting on the significance of their discovery, Nathan Jud stated:

“The fossilised flowers provide a new window into the earliest Palaeocene communities in South America and they are giving us the opportunity to compare the response to the extinction event on different continents.”

The Origins of the Rhamnaceae Family

Plants of the Rhamnaceae family might have a global distribution today, but from where did this highly successful group of shrubs, trees and bushes originate?  Scientists have argued about whether early Buckthorns originated in the ancient super-continent Gondwana, which later split and includes most of the landmasses in the Southern Hemisphere today.  Or did the Rhamnaceae evolve further north on another super-continent from the Mesozoic – Laurasia?

Dr Jud commented:

“This and a handful of other recently discovered fossils from the Southern Hemisphere, supports a Gondwanan origin for the Rhamnaceae, in spite of the relative scarcity of fossils in the Southern Hemisphere relative to the Northern Hemisphere.”

Fossilised Leaves from the Salamanca Formation (Buckthorn Family)

Views of Buckthorn leaves (Danian faunal stage).

Buckthorn fossils (leaves).

Picture Credit: Nathan Jud/Cornell University and PLOS ONE

The scientists, which include Ari Iglesias (Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina), and Peter Wilf (Pennsylvania State University), suggest that fossils found in southern Mexico and Columbia provide evidence that the first members of the Rhamnaceae family evolved in the Late Cretaceous, shortly before the extinction event.  Although, many types of plant died out at the end of the Mesozoic, the ancestors of extant Buckthorns were able to make it through the global catastrophe.

A plausible scenario is that the Rhamnaceae first evolved in the equatorial region of Gondwana, but survived the extinction event by clinging on in the southern most portion of South America, many thousands of kilometres from the Yucatan peninsula impact site.  These plants were then able to re-colonise other parts of the world in the aftermath of the extinction event, perhaps taking advantage of the niches in ecosystems vacated by recently extinct plant species.

The Salamanca Formation is among the most precisely-dated sites of the Palaeocene. The age of the fossils was corroborated by radiometric dating (using radioactive isotopes), the global palaeomagnetic sequence (signatures of reversals of Earth’s magnetic field found in the samples), along with the mapping of zonal fossils (relative dating).

In conclusion, Dr Jud stated:

“These are the only flowers of Danian age for which we have good age control.  Researchers have discovered other fossilised flowers in India and China from around the Danian, but their dates are not as precise.”

16 05, 2017

Rebor “Clover” Hatchling Stegosaurus Coming to Everything Dinosaur

By | May 16th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Rebor “Clover” – Limited Edition Hatchling Stegosaurus is Coming to Everything Dinosaur

The superb, limited edition Rebor “Clover”, a replica of a hatching Stegosaurus, is coming to Everything Dinosaur very soon.  Team members at the UK-based company are expecting delivery of these hand-painted scale models to the Everything Dinosaur warehouse within 48-hours.

Update: The Rebor “Clover” limited edition is now available from Everything Dinosaur (until stocks run out).

To view the range of Rebor prehistoric animals available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Replicas

The Rebor Hatchling Stegosaurus Replica “Clover”

Rebor "Clover" hatching Stegosaurus.

Rebor hatchling Stegosaurus “Clover”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Limited Edition Rebor Replica

Only 1,000 of these hatching dinosaur models have been made.  “Clover” joins other Rebor hatching dinosaur models such as “Rudy” the hatching Tyrannosaurus rex and “Jolly”, the Triceratops hatchling which was the first in this special series to be introduced.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Both Jolly and Rudy proved to be extremely popular with dinosaur fans and we already have had lots of enquiries and requests to reserve one of these limited edition replicas.”

To reserve a limited edition Rebor “Clover” (hatching Stegosaurus): Email Everything Dinosaur to Reserve “Clover”

Update: The Rebor “Clover” limited edition is now available from Everything Dinosaur (until stocks run out).

Complete with Pieces of Eggshell and a Four-Leaf Clover

As well as the display stand and the model itself, the Rebor hatchling Stegosaurus comes supplied with a set of poseable ferns which form a fantastic backdrop to the replica.  Two extra pieces of eggshell are provided so that diorama makers and collectors can present their own model in a unique way.  The baby Stegosaurus even has a lucky four-leaf clover to keep it company, a quirky piece of design from Rebor which makes this beautifully crafted replica even more appealing.

The Rebor “Clover” Comes with a Four-Leaf Clover

Rebor "Clover" hatching Stegosaurus.

Rebor hatchling Stegosaurus “Clover”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 Clovers are nested within the genus Trifolium, which in turn is assigned to the plant family Fabaceae (the legumes).  It is likely that the Fabaceae originated during the Mesozoic, however, the earliest fossils that can be definitively assigned to the Fabaceae appeared in the late Palaeocene Epoch (fifty-six million years ago approximately).  This flower family may have first evolved during the time of the dinosaurs, but it is highly unlikely that any member of the Stegosauridae ever fed on clover, or even another member of the legumes family for that matter.  The heyday of the Stegosaurs was the Late Jurassic and this family of plant-eating dinosaurs were probably long extinct before the Fabaceae evolved.  Still, we can give Rebor a lot of credit for their innovative approach to prehistoric animal modelling.

To view the range of Rebor prehistoric animals available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Replicas

A Rebor Hatching Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model

Rebor "Clover" hatching Stegosaurus.

Rebor hatchling Stegosaurus “Clover”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Hatching Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model from Rebor

Stegosaurus is one of the most popular of all the dinosaurs.  It regularly features in the top ten of dinosaurs in Everything Dinosaur’s annual prehistoric animal survey.  Rebor have already produced a Stegosaurus figure, a baby Stegosaurus which is named “Melon”, this is a 1:35 scale, hand-painted replica.  There are rumours that Rebor intend to introduce a replica of an adult Stegosaurus, but we at Everything Dinosaur, couldn’t possibly comment…

The 1:35 Scale Baby Stegosaurus Replica from Rebor (Melon)

"Melon" the Rebor Stegosaurus replica.

Rebor baby Stegosaurus “Melon”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Update: The Rebor “Clover” limited edition is now available from Everything Dinosaur (until stocks run out).

15 05, 2017

Pennaceous Feathers in New Troodontid from China

By | May 15th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Jianianhualong tengi – Feathered Troodontid Shows Mosaic Evolution

A turkey-sized, feathered dinosaur that once roamed the forests of north-eastern China some 125 million years ago, is helping palaeontologists to piece together the evolution of characteristics that led to the true birds.  In addition, the new dinosaur named Jianianhualong tengi (pronounced: jay-any-an-who-long ten-gee) provides direct evidence for the presence of pennaceous feathers in an unquestionable troodontid Theropod.  J. tengi is also the earliest known troodontid discovered to date.

Feathered Like a Modern Bird but Flightless Jianianhualong tengi

Jianianhualong tengi illustrated.

A life reconstruction of the early troodontid Jianianhualong tengi.

Picture Credit: Julius T. Csotonyi

Asymmetrical Pennaceous Feathers

The Mesozoic-aged strata of Liaoning Province (China) has yielded a myriad of spectacular Theropod dinosaur fossils, providing palaeontologists with a unique insight into the forest dwelling fauna and flora.  Liaoning is famous for its spectacular fossils of maniraptoran dinosaurs, the clade of Theropod dinosaurs that includes the birds (Aves) and their nearest dinosaur relatives.

However, fossils of the very closest types of dinosaur to the Aves, those in the clade Eumaniraptora (also known as the Paraves) – dromaeosaurids and troodontids, have had scientists in a bit of a flap.  The discovery of Jianianhualong tengi from the Yixian Formation of Baicai Gou in Yixian County, Liaoning, will help palaeontologists to better understand the development of anatomical features as well as feathers, that led to the evolution of birds.

Definitely a member of the Troodontidae

Previously, the troodontid species described from China had caused extensive debate amongst scientists.  Their exact position in the dinosaur family tree was controversial.  Jianianhualong tengi is unquestionably a troodontid and by definition, very closely related to birds.  It had large, prominent arm and leg feathers as well as a frond-like integumentary covering on the tail.  This distribution pattern of feathers and their asymmetrical shape is similar to that seen in other basal members of the Paraves, such as the dromaeosaurid Microraptor, but this is the first time that such definitive bird-like features have been identified in what is undoubtedly, a member of the Troodontidae.

Photograph and Line Drawing of Holotype Specimen (J. tengi)

Line drawing (right) and photograph (left) of J. tengi fossil specimen.

Photograph (left) and line drawing (right) of J. tengi holotype.

Picture Credit: Nature Communications

Demonstrating Mosaic Evolution

Jianianhualong tengi demonstrates mosaic evolution, the process where parts of an animal’s skeleton changes without simultaneously affecting other portions.  For example, Jianianhualong has anatomical features that are transitional between long-armed basal troodontids and derived short-armed ones, shedding new light on troodontid character evolution.  The feathers are similar to those seen in Archaeopteryx and Anchiornis and this confirms that asymmetrical, pennaceous feathers were probably ancestral to the Paraves.

Evidence of Asymmetrical Plumage in Jianianhualong tengi

 Jianianhualong tengi plumage.

Plumage of J. tengi.

Picture Credit: Nature Communications

The picture above shows (a) feathers over dorsals, (b) feathers attached to anterior caudals, the base of the tail (c) an asymmetrical tail feather, (d) a line drawing of an asymmetrical tail feather, (e) tail frond and (f) negative LSF (laser-stimulated fluorescence) image of tail frond.  All scale bars equal two centimetres.

The researchers, which include Professor Phil Currie (University of Alberta), report their findings in the academic journal “Nature Communications”

The new scientific paper on Jianianhualong helps palaeontologists to comprehend how these types of dinosaurs and their close avian relatives evolved, but there is another question to answer. Why would dinosaurs like Jianianhualong evolve asymmetrical flight feathers if they were not used for flight?

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur speculated:

“Perhaps asymmetrical feathers helped this 1.2-metre-long dinosaur to run quicker through the forest.  There is no evidence to suggest that Jianianhualong or that it was arboreal.”

Professor Currie commented:

“As the closest relatives to birds, troodontids are certainly one of the most interesting groups of dinosaurs, and any time you find a feathered dinosaur and discover a new species is pretty cool. With mosaic features, we’re looking for the answer as to why there’s a combination of primitive and advanced features.”

Its discovery is highly significant in reconstructing both the skeletal and integumentary evolution of troodontids, and the more inclusive paravians, whereas, with other reported troodontids from the Jehol Biota such as Sinovenator (S. changii), Mei long and Sinusonasus magnodens their assignment to the Troodontidae remains uncertain.

What’s in a Name?

The genus name honours Jianianhua, he Chinese company that helped fund this research and the word “long” is the Chinese Pinyin for “dragon”.  The trivial name honours Ms Fangfang Teng, who secured the specimen for study.

14 05, 2017

JurassicCollectables Compares Acrocanthosaurus Models

By | May 14th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Papo Acrocanthosaurus Compared to Rebor Acrocanthosaurus

Over the last couple of years, dinosaur fans and model collectors have had the opportunity to obtain a number of replicas of the enigmatic Cretaceous Theropod Acrocanthosaurus (A. atokensis).  As well as the Safari Ltd replacement for the extremely rare Carnegie Collectibles Acrocanthosaurus, CollectA added an Acrocanthosaurus model into their Deluxe 1:40 range.  In 2016, Rebor introduced their highly-acclaimed 1:35 scale replica “Hercules” and a few weeks ago Papo added Acrocanthosaurus to their “Les Dinosaures” series.

But how do these models compare?  That’s a question that those clever people at JurassicCollectables set out to answer in their latest video review.  In this video, the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus and the Papo Acrocanthosaurus are put side by side, viewers have the chance to compare and contrast these two models.

JurassicCollectables Compares Acrocanthosaurus Models

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Giving Channel Subscribers Want They Want

This comparison video came about as several subscribers to JurassicCollectable’s YouTube channel had requested it.  We admire the way in which the team behind the video channel responded promptly to requests and in this short video, (duration just under two minutes), dinosaur fans get the chance to examine these two excellent replicas and compare and contrast them.

To subscribe to JurassicCollectables YouTube channel: JurassicCollectables on YouTube

The Two Acrocanthosaurus Replicas are Compared

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus compared to the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus.

Comparing the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus to the Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus (left) shown next to the Rebor 1:35 scale Acrocanthosaurus (right).

High-spined Lizard Models

Only a handful of body fossils of this large, meat-eating dinosaur have been found.  It’s phylogenetic relationship within the Theropoda is still debated and exactly over what time period Acrocanthosaurus roamed the United States is difficult to establish definitively.  Trackways from Texas have been ascribed to Acrocanthosaurus along with isolated teeth from as far away as Maryland in the eastern United States, even the exact size of this predator is controversial, although most estimates suggest a maximum length of around twelve metres.

Comparing the Heads of the Two Acrocanthosaurus Models (Papo and Rebor)

The Rebor Acrocanthosaurus compared to the Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

Comparing the Papo Acrocanthosaurus with the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

As with all the videos from JurassicCollectables, the camerawork is excellent and the models are always in focus.  In this video, the viewer is given the opportunity to get a really close look at these two striking dinosaur models.

Same Dinosaur, Different Styles but Similar Poses

The narrator points out that the Papo model’s head is lower than the Rebor replica version, both companies have depicted Acrocanthosaurus in a different way.  However, there are similarities in the pose, particularly the position of the hind feet and the curve of the long tail.  This is best seen from overhead (see picture), in the JurassicCollectables video, care has been taken with shot selection to ensure that these differences and similarities can be highlighted.

An Overhead View (Dorsal View) of the Papo Acrocanthosaurus and the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus

Acrocanthosaurus models compared.

Overhead views of the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus (right) compared to the Papo Acrocanthosaurus (left).

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Commenting on the similar poses of the two dinosaurs, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“It is all to do with stability.  Although the Papo model has the added benefit of having its front claws resting on the ground to give support, when it comes to getting a large, bipedal figure to stand up it is important to get the balance point over the hips.  The neck is slightly curved and the tail has been give an “S” shape in both these figures, this helps to balance the model and allows the design team to make the hind feet more in proportion with the rest of the sculpt.”

Both figures have their merits and it is great to see another type of apex predator included in a model range, other than the usual T. rex and Allosaurus figures.

To view the Papo Acrocanthosaurus and the rest of the Papo range: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models
For the Rebor 1:35 scale Acrocanthosaurus and the other Rebor replicas: Rebor Prehistoric Animals

13 05, 2017

Zuul – The Destroyer of Shins

By | May 13th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

 Zuul crurivastator – A New Ankylosaurid from the Judith River Formation of Montana

Another day and another new dinosaur, this time an armoured dinosaur from the Coal Ridge Member of the Judith River Formation (Montana).  Researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum, describe Zuul crurivastator, pronounced Zoo-ul cruh-uh-vass-tate-or, in a paper published this week in the journal of the Royal Society.  The genus name honours a fictional monster from the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters”.  The research team, that includes Victoria Arbour and David Evans, were reminded of the monster “Zuul the Gatekeeper of Gozer”, when studying the dinosaur’s prominent horns and ridges on the exquisitely preserved skull.

A Life Restoration of the Newly Described Late Cretaceous Ankylosaurid Zuul crurivastator

An ankylosaurid - Zuul crurivastator.

Life restoration of Zuul crurivastator (Danielle Dufault).

Picture Credit: Danielle Dufault

The species name crurivastator means “destroyer of shins”, after the bony tail club, which on this specimen, was fifty-two centimetres long.  The club could inflict severe damage to the legs of any Theropod dinosaur aiming to make a meal out of Zuul.  The club may also have been used during intraspecific combat, with ankylosaurids fighting over territory or mates.

An Illustration of the Head of Z. crurivastator Compared to the Fictional Movie Character

Ghostbuster Zuul compared to the dinosaur.

Zuul compared to the Ghostbuster figure (Zuul).

Picture Credit: Danielle Dufault and CBS

Most Complete Ankylosaurid Specimen Found in North America

Entire, or very nearly entire fossilised skeletons are exceptionally rare.  This is the first ankylosaurid specimen with an almost full set of skull bones to be found, it also has a virtually intact tail club.  Z. crurivastator represents the most complete ankylosaurid found to date in the whole of North America.  The fossil material (ROM 75860) was discovered by chance during the removal of overburden as a field team excavated the remains of a tyrannosaurid.  This six-metre-long armoured dinosaur is believed to lived between 76.2 and 75.2 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous.

The Posterior Portion of the Specimen with Members of the Research Team

Zuul crurivastator fossil material.

From left to right Ian Morrison (palaeontology technician, Marianne Mader (Director, Centre for Earth & Space/Fossils and Evolution), Victoria Arbour (NSERC postdoctoral fellow), Danielle Dufault (scientific illustrator) and David Evans (Temerty Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Picture Credit: Brian Boyle/Royal Ontario Museum

Lots of Taxa within the Sandstone Block

The majority of the skeleton was preserved in a sandstone concretion.  The tail, pelvis and dorsal vertebrae were articulated, whilst elements of the anterior of the specimen including the skull were disarticulated but in relative close association to their position in the skeleton when this dinosaur was alive.  Assigned to the tribe Ankylosaurini, a phylogenetic analysis nests Zuul crurivastator closer to Scolosaurus cutleri and Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus than to either Euplocephalus and Ankylosaurus.

The dinosaur was found upside down and was excavated in two large blocks, the largest of which, containing the torso, weighed more than 15 tonnes and is still undergoing preparation.  The dig site also produced the remains of numerous other Late Cretaceous animals and plants, including Theropods, hadrosaurids, turtles, crocodilyforms as well as invertebrates and fossils of some of the vegetation that the armoured dinosaur might have fed upon.

The presence of abundant soft tissue preservation across the skeleton, including in situ osteoderms, skin impressions and dark films that probably represent preserved keratin, make this exceptional skeleton an important reference for understanding the evolution of dermal and epidermal structures within the Ankylosaurinae clade.

A Close View of Preserved Soft Tissue on a Bony Spike on the Tail of Zuul.

Soft tissue preservation (Zuul).

Preserved soft tissue sheath of a bony spike on the tail of Zuul.

Picture Credit: Brian Boyle/Royal Ontario Museum

Skull and Jaws

The skull and jaws represent some of the best preserved ankylosaurid material ever found.  Once the skull had been prepared, the scientists were amazed at the detail that was revealed.  It led to comments that the skull and the jaws looked like that they had sculpted just a few days earlier, rather than representing the remains of an animal that roamed the United States at least 75 million years ago.

The Beautifully Preserved Skull and Jaws of Zuul crurivastator

Zuul crurivastator skull and lower jaw.

The skull and jaws of Zuul.

Picture Credit: Brian Boyle/Royal Ontario Museum

The newest member of the ankylosaurids had four large horns on its head.  One directly behind each eye (squamosal horn) and another horn that stuck out sideways from just underneath and slightly behind each eye-socket (quadratojugal horn).  It is these horns and the arrangement of the bony scales on the snout that enable palaeontologists to identify different types of Ankylosaur.

Co-author of the scientific paper, David Evans (Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum), stated:

“The preservation of Zuul is truly remarkable.  Not only is the skeleton almost completely intact, but large parts of the bony armour in the skin are still in its natural position.  Most excitingly, soft tissues such as scales and the horny sheaths of spikes are preserved, which will be a focus of our future research.”

Royal Ontario Museum Palaeontologists Victoria Arbour and David Evans Study the Fossil

David Evans and Victoria Arbour study the bony club tail.

Victoria Arbour and David Evans study the bony club tail.

Picture Credit: Brian Boyle/Royal Ontario Museum

The scientific paper: “A new Ankylosaurine Dinosaur from the Judith River Formation of Montana, USA, Based on an Exceptional Skeleton with Soft Tissue Preservation” by Victoria M. Arbour and David C. Evans.

12 05, 2017

Popular Palaeontologist to Present at Prestigious Science Festival

By | May 12th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dean Lomax Presenting at Cheltenham Science Festival

Award winning palaeontologist Dean Lomax, an honorary scientist at Manchester University, will be presenting at next month’s prestigious Cheltenham Science Festival.  In what is likely to be one of the highlights of the annual event, Dean will be focusing on British dinosaurs and speaking about some of his research into the Ichthyosauria.

“Jurassic Britain” with Dean Lomax at the Cheltenham Science Festival 2017

Dean Lomax (palaeontologist) studies Ichthyosaur fossils.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax with one of the Ichthyosaur specimens from a recent scientific study (Ichthyosaurus larkini).

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

The event, titled “Jurassic Britain” is scheduled to take place on Sunday June 11th at 5pm and further details can be found here: “Jurassic Britain” Information and Ticket Booking

A Fossil Detective Exploring Deep Time

Dean will expertly guide the audience through the myriad of amazing dinosaur fossil discoveries that sparked the original “dinomania” in Georgian and Victorian times.  From members of the Tyrannosaur family that once stalked Gloucestershire, Yorkshire Sauropods to huge Iguanodonts and armoured monsters that once roamed the Isle of Wight, often referred to as the “dinosaur capital of Europe”, the Doncaster-based scientist will demonstrate the importance of the British Isles when it comes to vertebrate palaeontology.

Dean explained:

“I’m looking forward to sharing with the public the incredible story of British dinosaurs.  When you hear the word dinosaur, most people think about dinosaurs from faraway lands, but it all started right here in Britain and I am going to introduce the public to some of the more incredible finds.”

Dean Lomax and Fellow Researcher Judy Massare Studying “Fish Lizards”

Dean Lomax and Judy Massare examining Ichthyosaur specimens.

Dean Lomax and Judy Massare examining Ichthyosaur specimens in the marine reptile gallery at the Natural History Museum (London).

Picture Credit: Dean Lomax

“Jurassic Britain” – Dinosaurs and Ichthyosaurs

Before the first dinosaur had been scientifically described, Georgian society was rocked by the discovery of the fossilised remains of bizarre sea creatures.  These fossil finds, such as those made by Mary Anning on the Dorset coast, helped shape the academic approach to the nascent sciences of geology and palaeontology.  In his hour-long lecture, Dean will also provide an insight into some of the latest research on one enigmatic group of marine reptiles – the Ichthyosaurs.

Dean added:

“The second part of my talk will focus on my continuing research into British Ichthyosaurs.  I’ve been researching these incredible marine reptiles for around eight years and in that time, some astonishing new species have been described.  If you like hearing about how fossils have been rediscovered and identified as something new to science then you should come along!”

Monster Marine Reptiles from Somerset (I. somersetensis)

Ichthyosaurus somersetensis holotype.

ANSP 15766, holotype specimen of Ichthyosaurus somersetensis.

Picture Credit: E. Daeschler Academy of Sciences of Drexel University.

The venue, for what no doubt will be a highly informative and illuminating presentation, is the impressive Crucible building, next to Cheltenham Town Hall, in the centre of this picturesque Gloucestershire town, that just happens to be not too far away from where distant relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex once stalked their prey.

“Jurassic Britain” – Sunday 11th June 2017 5pm to 6pm tickets £7 plus booking fee.

Eagle-eyed visitors may even be able to spot some Jurassic marine fossils for themselves.  Many of the town’s municipal buildings are constructed from Cotswold building stone.  These are limestones (Middle Jurassic), that were laid down in a marine environment and a number of small fossil shells and their casts can still be seen in the stonework.  How exciting to have one of the UK’s leading young palaeontologists discussing dinosaurs and marine reptiles in such an appropriate location!

For general information on the Cheltenham Science Festival, which runs from Tuesday 6th until Sunday June 11th: Cheltenham Science Festival 2017

“Dinosaurs of the British Isles”

For a general introduction to British dinosaurs, Everything Dinosaur recommends “Dinosaurs of the British Isles” written by Dean Lomax and Nobumichi Tamura.  This book provides a comprehensive account of the dinosaur discoveries from Britain and is aimed at the general reader as well as students and academics.

For further information about “Dinosaurs of the British Isles” and to purchase: Visit Siri Scientific Press

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