Category: Dinosaur Fans

A Video Review of the Collecta Ichthyovenator Dinosaur Model

Collecta Ichthyovenator – A Video Review

Ichthyovenator laosensis, the “fish hunter from Laos is the only member of the Spinosauridae known from Asia.  Prior to this dinosaur’s discovery in 2010, fossil teeth from Asia had been ascribed to a Spinosaur and this dinosaur was tentatively named Siamosaurus.  Teeth that could have potentially belonged to a Spinosaur have been found in several locations in south-east Asia, most notably Thailand, hence the name Siamosaurus “lizard from Siam”, but the validity of this genus remains under dispute.  Ichthyovenator remains, for the moment, as the only member of the Spinosauridae from Asia.  In this short video (6.06), team members at Everything Dinosaur compare the new Collecta dinosaur model with the fossil material.

A Video Review of the Collecta Ichthyovenator Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Although the video covers the bizarre twin sails on the back of this Theropod, it is not known why this dinosaur may have possessed such a strange anatomical feature.  Palaeontologists cannot even be sure what these structures looked like, or indeed how long they were.  As to their function, a number of theories have been put forward, for example, the first sail at the front may have played a role in visual communication, whilst the second structure, positioned over the hips, may actually have been a fleshy hump where food reserves could be stored, rather like the hump of a bison or the humps seen in extant camels today.

To view the Ichthyovenator dinosaur model at Everything Dinosaur and to see the complete range of Collecta prehistoric animals stocked: Collecta Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

A Review of the Xenoceratops Dinosaur Model from Collecta

Everything Dinosaur Reviews the Collecta Xenoceratops

The prehistoric animal model manufacturer called Collecta have produced a number of horned dinosaur models over recent years and in 2014 they have introduced a replica of the bizarre Xenoceratops, a horned dinosaur that is distantly related to the better known Styracosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus.

This dinosaur is known only from fragmentary skull material representing at least 3 individual animals found in Upper Cretaceous strata in south-western Alberta, the rest of the animal has been modelled on more complete fossil material.  Collecta have chosen to give their replica a very striking paint job, with a black body contrasting with a lighter coloured underside and white strips on the head crest standing out against flashes of blood red located on the nasal bone and on the top of the neck frill.

The Collecta Xenoceratops Dinosaur Model

The dinosaur with "alien" headgear

The dinosaur with “alien” headgear

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Note that Xenoceratops has been give a line of bristle-like protrusions running along the top of the hips to the base of the tail.  Palaeontologists have uncovered evidence to suggest that some Late Cretaceous horned dinosaurs may have had bristles or quills on their rumps.  If they had such structures,  then there purpose remains unclear, perhaps they were brightly coloured and used in visual communication between members of the herd.  If viewed from the side, the bristles may have made this herbivore look bigger than it actually was, a deterrent to an attacking Tyrannosaur.  Or indeed, it has even been suggested that the structures were made up of sharp spines that could protect the hip area from attack, it has even been proposed that these spines were tipped with poison.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta models including the new 2014 releases: Collecta Prehistoric Animal Models

The model measures approximately thirteen and a half centimetres long  and the tip of those impressive, white horns on the top of the frill are about seven centimetres off the ground.  Although it is difficult to conclusively gauge the size of this dinosaur based on the fossil record, we estimate that this model is in approximately 1:44 scale based on an adult Xenoceratops being around six metres in length.

The bizarre horns and neck shield of this dinosaur are very well recreated by Collecta.  It did have a spectacular frill with two huge horns sticking out of the top of the neck frill and two large, sideways pointing horns positioned over the eyes.  Analysis of a partial, right nasal bone suggests that this dinosaur may also have possessed another horn on the tip of its nose, this is not shown in the model but the base, the boss, is painted a bright red colour.

One area of a dinosaur model, often overlooked is the cloaca or vent, the posterior opening of the animal.  Collecta have made sure that their Xenoceratops has a very obvious vent and the model shows lots of nice detail on the underside.  Note the correct number of fingers and toes, again Collecta taking the time and trouble to make sure that the replica is anatomically correct.

View of the Underside of the Collecta Xenoceratops Dinosaur Model

Excellent detail on the underside of the dinosaur model.

Excellent detail on the underside of the dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is an excellent addition to the Collecta range of prehistoric animal models, this is, after all, a replica of a dinosaur that itself was only named and described less than two years ago.

To read an article published by Everything Dinosaur announcing the discovery of this horned dinosaur: Horned Dinosaur with “Alien Headgear”

Ichthyosaur Fossil Discovered at Lyme Regis

New Ichthyosaur Fossil Discovery at Lyme Regis

Yesterday, team members at Everything Dinosaur received news that a beautifully preserved Ichthyosaur specimen had been discovered at Lyme Regis.  Our chum Brandon, a local fossil expert from Dorset, sent us some pictures and a video which illustrate the exciting discovery.   The specimen was discovered on the beach to the east of the town of Lyme Regis, near to where the council have been working to strengthen the cliff area and to improve the town’s coastal defences.

Video Footage of the Ichthyosaur Discovery

Video Credit: Brandon Lennon

 The video shows the block which contains the fossil specimen, vertebrae can be clearly seen along with some of the rib bones, the skull is only partially exposed.  The dig team will cut the block away from the surrounding material and carefully transport the specimen away so that it can be prepared and examined in detail.  From the video, the bones don’t look too compressed or deformed and although some of the distal elements of the skeleton are probably missing, this particular Ichthyosaur looks relatively complete.  It is a little difficult to get our bearings just from the video and the photographs that we have received but we think the specimen was discovered in the Blue Lias of the Church Cliffs section of beach, immediately east of Lyme Regis.

The Location of the Fossil Discovery

The location of the fossil find.

The location of the fossil find.

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

Water is carefully removed from around the fossil matrix, sand bags will be put in position to help keep the fossil material protected and then the dig team will map the exposed bones and work out the best way to cut and remove the stone block.

The Fossil Material is Carefully Examined

Icthyosaur fossil find April 2014.

Ichthyosaur fossil find April 2014.

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

Carefully the specimen is exposed and then the layout and orientation of the fossil material is studied.  Consideration needs to be given to the tide times as the specimen will be covered once the tide turns.

A Close up of the Ichthyosaur Fossil

The vertebrae can be clearly made out.

The vertebrae can be clearly made out.

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

The hand in the photograph helps to provide scale.  The Ichthyosaur is lying with its head facing towards the bottom right and the tail up towards the top left of the photograph.  The vertebrae can be clearly seen in the picture.  It is certainly a member of the Ichthyosauria Order, but it is very difficult to assign a species name to the specimen at this stage just having the short video and the photographs to study.  As a guess, it might be an example of Ichthyosaurus breviceps, however, it is best to wait until the fossil material has been more thoroughly prepared before any precise identification can be made.

The Ichthyosauria were an Order of fast-swimming, nektonic and (as far as we know entirely marine), predatory marine reptiles with dolphin-shaped bodies.  As a group, these highly specialised reptiles evolved in the Early Triassic and thrived throughout the Jurassic and for much of the Cretaceous, before finally becoming extinct around 80 million years ago.

An Illustration of a Typical Jurassic Ichthyosaur

Dolphin-like prehistoric animals.

Dolphin-like prehistoric animals.

Lyme Regis is an amazing place to visit and a fossil hunting trip to the beach is highly recommended, although we at Everything Dinosaur would advise that you take advantage of the local knowledge of a fossil hunting expert so that you can get the most from your visit.

To read more about guided fossil walks: Guided Fossil Walks (Lyme Regis)

We look forward to hearing more about this exciting fossil find and no doubt there will be more marine reptile discoveries made over the next few months.

A Review of the Collecta Xenoceratops Dinosaur Model

Collecta Xenoceratops Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Although this dinosaur was named and formally described less than two years ago, Collecta have been quick to introduce a model of this strange horned dinosaur, whose fossil remains have been found in Alberta, Canada.  In this brief video review, (4.42),  team members at Everything Dinosaur discuss the model and relate this replica to the known fossil material.  Since only cranial material has been found, the shape of the body is based on other Centrosaurine members of the Ceratopsidae such as Pachyrhinosaurus, Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus.

The Video Review of the Collecta Xenoceratops

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This video looks at the colouration chosen for the model, comments on how the horns and neck frill have been depicted and we even talk about posterior vents!

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta dinosaur and prehistoric animal models: Collecta Prehistoric Animal Models

Measuring around six metres in length, Xenoceratops (Xenoceratops foremostensis) was a sizeable beast.  In a number of on line articles, it has been stated that this dinosaur was named because with its many horns it looked alien.  Xenoceratops does mean “alien horned face”, but this Ornithischian dinosaur was named not because of its “alien looking” appearance but due to the rarity of Ceratopsian fossil material known from the Foremost Formation of south-western Alberta.

Make Your Own Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Easter Holiday Activity Idea – Making Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Here’s a simple and fun recipe aimed at young dinosaur fans, a recipe to make dinosaur chocolate nests.  This is a great activity for the Easter holidays.

Dinosaur Chocolate Nests – What you Need

Ingredients – (makes a batch of about 8 to 10 dinosaur  nests)

  • Plain or Milk cooking Chocolate 225 grammes (8oz)
  • Packet of Breakfast Cereal Cornflakes or Shredded Wheat variety
  • Packet of Sugar Coated Mini-chocolate Eggs
  • Pack of Small Cake Cases

How to Make the Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

1.  Take the cooking chocolate out of its wrapper and snap it into small pieces into a heat-proof bowl.  Then melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water (simmering).  Putting the bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds (full power), will help to melt the chocolate if you are in a hurry and need to get the chocolate to melt more quickly.

2.  Once melted remove from the heat (turn off the heat source) and give the chocolate a quick stir to ensure all the chocolate pieces have melted.

3.  Put in the chosen breakfast cereal, a little at first then gradually add more until the chocolate/cereal mix takes on the appearance of twigs or wood in a nest.

4.  Spoon enough of the chocolate/cereal mix into each of the cake cases, a table spoon is usually sufficient.  Make a little indentation in the centre of each chocolate dinosaur next, this hollow is where the eggs will be placed.

5.  Put two mini-chocolate eggs into the hollow formed at the centre of each nest.  The chocolate being sticky, will ensure that the eggs stay in place.  A pair of eggs per nest is all that is needed.  Palaeontologists know that dinosaurs laid their eggs in twos (dinosaurs unlike birds had two ovipositors) – egg laying apparatus of a dinosaur has been described as being like a “double barrelled shot-gun”.

6.  Then leave the nests to harden and set, they should be ready to eat in under 2 hours.

Great for a Dinosaur Party – Dinosaur Chocolate Nests

Super dinosaur chocolate nests which are fun and easy to make.

Super dinosaur chocolate nests which are fun and easy to make.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s huge range of dinosaur themed party items: Dinosaur Party Supplies

Some Facts about dinosaur eggs (for all young, budding palaeontologists)

A).  Dinosaur eggs were not as large as many people think, the largest dinosaur eggs known to science are about the size of a soccer ball.  Some of the biggest dinosaur eggs have been ascribed to a genus of huge, long-necked dinosaur (Titanosaur), whose fossils have been found in France.  This dinosaur is called Hypselosaurus (the name means “high ridged lizard”.  Hypselosaurus was named and described back in 1869, from fossils found in Provence, however, scientists are unsure as to whether the genus name can be established based on such fragmentary fossil evidence.  The genus is now termed a nomen dubium, palaeontologists have doubts about its validity.

B).  Dinosaur eggs were lots of different shapes, some were very round some, oval shaped some even quite pointy at one end. The shape of the egg tells scientists a little about the dinosaur that laid them.  Something like forty different types of dinosaur egg have now been identified by scientists.

C).  The classification of fossil eggs is referred to as ootaxa, dinosaur eggs are classified in virtually the same way as other organisms are classified using the classical Linnaean method (after the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus 1707-1778), there are oofamilies, oogenera and oospecies.

D).  Some dinosaurs were very attentive parents, incubating the eggs and protecting the nest.  When the eggs hatched the parents brought food to the nest for the baby dinosaurs.

E).  The oldest dinosaur eggs that contain the fossils of baby dinosaurs inside them were found in China and a report published on them in 2013.  These eggs are around 190 million years old.

Dinosaur Fossilised Eggs (Hypselosaurus)

Fossilised Dinosaur Eggs but who laid them?

Fossilised Dinosaur Eggs but who laid them?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Articles on dinosaur egg discoveries published by Everything Dinosaur:

X).  Not the World’s Biggest Dinosaur Eggs!

Y).  Treasure Trove of Dinosaur Eggs Discovered in India

Z).  School Children Make Dinosaur Egg Discovery

High Risk of Landslides on the Dorset Coast

Beware of Landslides – Lyme Regis Cliffs

Many schools have broken up for the spring holidays and families might be tempted to take a day trip to visit the Jurassic Coast in search of fossils.  A visit to the beautiful coast of Dorset and to towns such as Lyme Regis is highly recommended, but we urge caution when on the beach searching for fossils as the cliffs in the area remain particularly unstable and rock falls are very common.

Just how dangerous the cliffs can be was brought home to us when local fossil expert Brandon Lennon sent us a video which captures one of the very many landslides that have occurred in the area over recent weeks.  In this short video (0:49), taken on Monmouth beach to the west of Lyme Regis heading towards the county of Devon, rocks and debris can be seen tumbling onto the beach within just a few yards of bystanders.

Landslide at Monmouth Beach (Lyme Regis)

Video Credit: Brandon Lennon

We are grateful to Brandon for sending Everything Dinosaur this video and we recommend staying away from the cliffs along the Dorset coast.  When it comes to fossil collecting, we advise that visitors to the Lyme Regis area look for fossils on a falling tide and to search around the tide line where the sea will have washed off mud and clay from rocks exposing a lot of potential fossil material.

Take advantage of a the help and advice of a professional fossil collector by going on an organised fossil collecting walk for further information: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks

In addition, here are some hints and tips to help fossil hunters keep safe whilst out fossil collecting on the beaches around Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

  • Always stay away from the cliffs
  • Do not climb on the cliffs or any recent landslips/mudflows
  • Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you are expected back
  • Have a mobile phone handy in case of emergencies
  • Beware of the threat of landslides, especially during or just after bad weather
  • Note the tide times particularly high tide and take the advice of the local coastguard etc.
  • Aim to collect fossils on a falling tide, be aware of the incoming tide especially around headlands where you could easily get cut off
  • In rough weather, be aware of strong winds and high waves and the fact that the footing underneath might be treacherous
  • Wear suitable clothing and shoes

Win “Ovi” the Oviraptor with Everything Dinosaur

Last Chance to Enter the “Ovi” the Oviraptor Competition

Just a few days to go before we close our “Ovi” the Oviraptor competition, the closing date for entries for this free to enter competition is noon (BST) on Friday April 11th.  One lucky dinosaur fan will be able to adopt their very own cute and very cuddly Oviraptor soft toy, just in time for Easter.

Win “Ovi” the Oviraptor Soft Toy with Everything Dinosaur

Visit Everything Dinosaur's Facebook Page, give our page a "like", leave a comment suggesting a surname for "Ovi".

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook Page, give our page a “like”, leave a comment suggesting a surname for “Ovi”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For your chance to win a super, soft and very cute “Ovi” the  Oviraptor just visit Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page (click the Facebook logo below or click on the picture of “Ovi” and his Easter eggs above) “like” the Everything Dinosaur page and scroll down to the “Ovi” picture and suggest a surname for our cuddly dinosaur.

Visit Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a "like".

Click the logo to visit our Facebook page and to give our page a “like”.

We have had lots of amazing entries already, for your chance to win, “like” our Facebook name and leave a comment with a suggested surname.  Don’t forget the closing date for entries is midday on Friday April 11th.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of prehistoric animal soft toys: Soft Toy Dinosaurs

Best of luck!

This competition has now closed.

Call for more Work to be Done on Western Australia’s Dinosaur Trails

Research being Carried out on the Dampier Peninsula Dinosaur Tracks

Usually when team members at Everything Dinosaur are asked to write about Australian dinosaur research, the focus is on sites in Queensland or indeed Victoria, however, a series of extensive dinosaur tracks located in Western Australia, along the Dampier peninsula north of the small town of Broome, are rapidly coming to prominence.  In the Early Cretaceous, around 130 million years ago (Barremian faunal stage), Australia was much further south than it is today, it was not a separate continent but attached to the landmass that would become Antarctica.  Coal deposits and plant fossils indicate that the climate at this southerly latitude was much warmer than it is today, there was probably no permanent ice at the poles and the land that was to become Western Australia was a huge flood plain, crossed by large, slow moving rivers.  Dinosaurs flourished in this environment and evidence of the diversity of the dinosaurs has been preserved in a multitude of dinosaur tracks.  The trackways can be found all along the coast north of Broome, where the Lower Cretaceous Broome sandstone is exposed.  The lengths of the tracks are very significant, some of the trackways can be correlated over a tens of metres, they are regarded as “mega track sites”, otherwise known colloquially as “dinosaur freeways”.

Tridactyl Theropod Tracks from the Broome Area

Three-toed dinosaur tracks.

Three-toed dinosaur tracks.

Picture Credit: Government of Western Australia (Dept. of State Development)

In a survey undertaken in 2011 a number of dinosaur trackways were classified and assessed, something in the region of fifteen different types of dinosaur have been identified including Sauropods, Ornithopods, Theropods and armoured dinosaurs (Thyreophora).

Dr. Steve Salisbury (University of Queensland), one of the researchers who carried out the study in 2011 is keen to see further research work undertaken and is enthusiastic about making the dinosaur tracks and trails better known to the public.  However, it is important that any studies are undertaken with the utmost respect for the feelings of the local indigenous people as the tracks and footprints play an important role in local aboriginal art and culture.  Dr. Salisbury commented on the importance of these Cretaceous dinosaur footprints:

“There are some really important ones, scientifically and culturally, that we don’t really want to let everyone know where they are.  But there are plenty of tracks that it would be fantastic to share them with people… Broome should embrace what it’s got on its doorsteps because it’s really special.”

In addition, care should be taken when it comes to publicising the location of some of the tracks, thefts of dinosaur footprints have occurred and in 1996 prints made by an armoured dinosaur were stolen from the Crab Creek area on the north coast of Roebuck Bay.  The theft of dinosaur fossils, even trace fossils such as footprints is an all too often occurrence, to read an article about the theft of a dinosaur footprint from Jurassic aged strata near to the town of Moab in Utah: Dinosaur Footprint Stolen in Utah.

Some of the Sauropod prints (long-necked dinosaurs) are huge.  Individual prints have been measured at over 1.7 metres long.  Although ichnologists (the term used to describe a person who studies trace fossils), are not able to assign a genus to the footprints, it has been estimated that some of the Sauropod dinosaurs that made the tracks were in excess of thirty metres in length.

Giant Sauropod Trackways from Western Australia

Dinosaur tracks from the Broome area of Western Australia.

Dinosaur tracks from the Broome area of Western Australia.

Picture Credit: Government of Western Australia (Dept. of State Development)

The enormous, rounded prints of a Sauropod dinosaur can be clearly seen in this picture taken in the Red Cliffs area.

The scientists hope that their studies will help shed more light on the ecology of this part of the world in the Early Cretaceous.  The large number of different dinosaur species that the tracks potentially represent gives the palaeontologists the opportunity to learn a little more about the behaviour and interactions of the Dinosauria.  The team intend to digitally map the locations using technology similar to that used recently to recreate the famous Sauropod/Theropod tracks preserved in the Paluxy River of Texas.

To read more about the Paluxy River trace fossils: Digitally Mapping a Famous Set of Dinosaur Tracks

Dr. Salisbury explained what the dinosaur footprints and tracks showed:

“Some of them look like they’re on a mission; they’re definitely heading somewhere.  Other ones look like they’re lost, and they’re wandering around in circles… We’ve got a record of what they were doing and it’s a hundred and thirty million years old, so it’s pretty special.  If you could go back in time and look at the Broome area, you would have seen all these different types of dinosaurs wandering around; it would have been really special. It’s your own Cretaceous Park, on your doorstep.”

The tracks are sacred to the local indigenous people.  The Aborigine tribes in the area believe that the tracks help explain their creation story and the scientists are keen to record the fossils, take latex rubber copies of the prints but to leave all the tracks in situ.  The first recorded description of a print made by non-indigenous people dates back to the 1930′s but the entire region has not been fully studied to date.  The survey undertaken in 2011 highlighted the importance and the significance of the location, now scientists are hoping to learn more by walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs Beginning with “Z”

Dinosaurs Whose Names Start with the Letter “Z”

With a number of new Chinese dinosaur fossil discoveries being announced over the last few years or so, the number of dinosaurs, whose names begin with the letter “Z” has increased dramatically.  For example, the Thyreophoran (armoured dinosaur) from China called Zhejiangosaurus and the Hadrosaur called Zhuchengosaurus.  These are both examples of Ornithischian dinosaurs known from Cretaceous aged strata.  However, Jurassic, lizard-hipped dinosaurs (Saurischians) get a look in to at the end of the alphabet thanks to the discovery of Zigongosaurus (long-necked Sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic).

It is not just dinosaurs from China that dominate the very last letter of the alphabet.  Our experts at Everything Dinosaur can think of two dinosaur genera from Argentina that both begin with the letter “Z”.  Firstly, there is the poorly known Triassic Theropod called Zupaysaurus, whose fossils date from the Middle Triassic.  Then there is the much larger Zapalasaurus, a Diplodocid Sauropod from Cretaceous aged strata.

Our favourite dinosaur beginning with the letter “Z” is the horned dinosaur from North America called Zuniceratops (Zuniceratops christopheri) which was formally named and described in 1998.

An Illustration of the North American Ceratopsian Zuniceratops

Reconstruction based on the likes of Zuniceratops.

Reconstruction based on the likes of Zuniceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In 2011, a giant Tyrannosaurine dinosaur was named and described from a bone bed found in Shandong Province in China.  This dinosaur was named Zhuchengtyrannus magus.  Unfortunately, the press releases announcing the discovery were sent out by the Chinese press agency on March 31st and they arrived in UK news rooms the next day.  Many media groups thought the story some kind of elaborate April Fool’s joke.  However, roaming north-eastern China in the Late Cretaceous was a very large, Tyrannnosaurine dinosaur that may have been about the same size as Tyrannosaurus rex.

To read more about Zhuchengtyrannus: New Tyrannosaur Named and Described from China

With so many new Chinese dinosaurs, we can expect many more dinosaurs to have names starting with the twenty-sixth letter of the western alphabet.

Papo Archaeopteryx Model – A Review

A Review of the 2014 Papo Archaeopteryx Model

The first of the new for 2014 prehistoric animal replicas to be released by Papo is this excellent model of the Late Jurassic “dino bird” known as Archaeopteryx.  Although no longer regarded as the “earliest bird” from the fossil record, as recent discoveries from north-eastern China have challenged Archaeopteryx’s taxonomic position in the Aves Order, the dozen or so fossils of this Late Jurassic creature remain some of the most studied vertebrate fossils to have ever been found.

Named  and described back in 1861, just two years after Charles Darwin had published the first edition of the “Origin of Species”.  Archaeopteryx is described as a transitional fossil between the reptiles and birds.  The fossil evidence reveals that Archaeopteryx had characteristics associated with a bird but it also retained a number of reptilian features.

Papo Archaeopteryx Model (New for 2014)

Ready for take off!

Ready for take off!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The design team at Papo have been keen to reflect a lot of what is known about Archaepteryx in their hand-painted replica and to also mirror some of the very latest research into this creature whose fossils have been found in southern Germany (Solnhofen).  For example, the figure is posed with its jaws wide open, permitting the teeth, so reminiscent of a small Theropod dinosaur to be prominently displayed.  The three-fingered claws on each wing are clearly visible and the claws themselves are strongly curved just like in the fossil material.

As for mirroring some of the very latest research, a close up of the dinosaur-like head reveals that the eyes are quite large, again reflecting the fossil data, but also the pupils are rounded.  Recent studies of the sclerotic rings, the ring of bones found in the eye socket of Archaeopteryx, indicate that this animal was very probably diurnal, that is, it was active during the day and it very probably had excellent colour vision.  Hence the bright, quirky plume of red coloured quills that project from the back of the skull – great for species recognition when you possess colour vision in what was largely still a green and brown world.

The Papo Archaeopteryx model measures approximately twelve and a half centimetres in length, from the tip of the jaws to the end of its fan of tail feathers.  The head itself, is around seven centimetres off the ground.  We estimate that this replica is in approximately 1 to 5 scale, based on fossil measurements that indicate that this creature was around the size of a modern day Magpie.

The paintwork is excellent, and a wide variety of colours have been used.  This marks a change for Papo as the rest of their prehistoric animal model range tends to be painted in one or two dominant colours.  Here we have bronze coloured feathers, contrasting with feathers painted white and light grey, even feathers showing a flash of azure blue with the top of the scaly neck painted an almost navy blue colour.

The detailing is superb with individual scales and feathers picked out on the model.  Perhaps, the quality of this model is best demonstrated by examining the underside of the tail, an area often neglected by other model making companies.  Here even the individual structure of feathers can be made out.

Unlike the majority of Papo’s carnivorous dinosaurs the jaws do not move, the reason for this is simple, when working with Papo we were told that the jaws proved too small to articulate, however, the fine detail of the mouth and the skull more than makes up for this.

An Excellent Papo Archaeopteryx Prehistoric Animal Model

Papo Archaeopteryx

Papo Archaeopteryx

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

All in all, this is an excellent model of an Archaeopteryx and one that is a welcome addition to the Papo model range, it does have a great deal to commend it.

To view the Papo prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

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