Category: Dinosaur Fans

A Video Review of the Paleo-Creatures Eotyrannus

Paleo-Creatures Eotyrannus lengi – A Video Review

Those talented people from Paleo-Creatures have put down their modelling tools for a few minutes, just long enough so that they can produce some short videos showcasing the prehistoric animal replicas that make up the Paleo-Creatures range of scale models.  The principal person behind this exciting range is Jesús Toledo and we commend him, not only for his superb models but also for narrating the videos in English, not his first language.  Our congratulations to you Jesús and the first Paleo-Creatures video we have posted up on the Everything Dinosaur blog features Eotyrannus.  This is highly appropriate, as the fossil material related to this Early Cretaceous tyrannosaurid comes from the Isle of Wight, off the coast of southern England.  Eotyrannus (E. lengi) is in fact one of three members of the Tyrannosauroidea clade or superfamily known from the British Isles (we wonder if you can name the other two)?*

The Video Review of Eotyrannus lengi by Paleo-Creatures

Video Credit: Paleo-Creatures

A Video Introduction to the Paleo-Creatures Model Range

In this short, three-minute video, the narrator discusses the thinking behind the colouration of this particular dinosaur model.  In addition, the cleverly crafted articulated lower jaw is demonstrated and some interesting information about Eotyrannus is provided.  The video is shot outside and the figure really comes into its own when seen in bright, natural light.  Listen out for the sound of some avian dinosaurs in the background.

The speaker is quite correct to state that Eotyrannus most likely lived in a forest environment (hence the green and brown counter shading given to that feathery coat, this would have been excellent camouflage).  We at Everything Dinosaur have some information from a palaeoenvironmental study of the Isle of Wight and Portsdown High region during the deposition of the Wessex Formation that supports this view.   When Eotyrannus roamed, some 130 million years ago, to the north of the area where the fossils of this dinosaur were found, the land rose gently upwards and the tree fern dominated vegetation gave way to extensive conifer forests.  It has been suggested that Eotyrannus lived in the forest and only occasionally ventured out onto the open floodplain, an area dominated by much larger Theropods.

Things Change in Palaeontology

However, new fossil finds and continuous research can change viewpoints.  A few months ago, a palaeontology student on field trip to Compton Beach (western part of the Isle of Wight), discovered a single Eotyrannus tooth that measured nearly three centimetres long.  This was a much bigger tooth than the teeth associated with the known Eotyrannus lengi fossil remains.  The Eotyrannus holotype material was from a juvenile and the length of this dinosaur when an adult had been estimated to be around five to six metres long.  With this new fossil discovery, it is likely that Eotyrannus grew to be much bigger, perhaps in excess of eight metres in length and it would have been considerably heavier than the previously estimated quarter of a tonne.  If it was a large predator, then it may well have made its home in more open country, however, juveniles would still probably have sought safety in the cover of the forested areas, better to keep out of the way of any large carnivores.

The Eotyrannus lengi Dinosaur Figure

Paleo-Creatures Eotyrannus dinosaur model.

Everything Dinosaur stocks the Paleo-Creatures range of prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Scale of the Eotyrannus Dinosaur Model

In the informative and well-shot video, the narrator states that this model is in 1:32 model scale.  At Everything Dinosaur, we have assessed this beautiful, twenty-one centimetre replica to be around 1:28 scale, based on scaling up the known skeletal material from the holotype specimen.  With the recently discovered fossil tooth, the 1:32 scale interpretation given by Paleo-Creatures may prove to be more accurate.  That’s the great thing about science, just when you thought you were on firm footing something happens and the ground falls away from you, ironically very much like the highly unstable cliffs surrounding the plant debris bed where the Eotyrannus bone material was found.

To see the Eotyrannus lengi replica and the other Paleo-Creatures models stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Purchase the Paleo-Creatures range of prehistoric animal models here

Everything Dinosaur has an exclusive agreement to stock the Paleo-Creatures range of prehistoric animal scale models in the UK.  This growing collection features a number of dinosaurs as well as some of the more unusual creatures that once roamed planet Earth or swam in ancient seas.

*Just for the record, the other two members of the Tyrannosauroidea clade associated with the British Isles are:

  • Proceratosaurus bradleyi – from the Forest Marble Formation (Middle Jurassic – late Bathonian faunal stage).  Fossil material from Gloucestershire (central, southern England).
  • Juratyrant langhami – from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Late Jurassic – early Tithonian faunal stage).  Fossil material from Dorset (south-coast of England).

The First Fossil Parrot from Siberia

Prehistoric “Polly” Challenges View on Ancient Parrot Radiation and Dispersal

A partial tarsometatarsus bone from Siberia proves that ancient parrots lived much further north in the past.  This fragment of bone, dating from around 18-16 million years ago was discovered in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia.  This is the first time parrot fossils have been found in Siberia or the whole of Asia for that matter.  Parrots are mostly confined to the tropics and sub-tropics of our world today.  The parrots (Order Psittaciformes), are represented by nearly 400 hundred species and they are found throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia and the New World.  This fossil discovery, a single bone that measures around half a centimetre in length has challenged the view that parrots spread into the New World by crossing the Atlantic from Africa.  Another route will have to be considered, a movement east across the northern latitudes of Siberia and down into the New World from Alaska.

The Fragment of Fossil Bone Compared to Extant Specimens

Miocene parrot fossil from Siberia.

The prehistoric tarsometatarsus fossil compared to other parrot specimens (extant).

Picture Credit: Dr Nikita Zelenkov (Borissiak Palaeontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the tiny fragment of the tarsometatarsus of the Miocene parrot (a, e, i, j, k) compared to other fossil specimens and tarsometatarsus bones from extant species.


_ = specimen number PIN 2614/218 Early Miocene of Tagay (eastern Siberia)

= tarsometatarsus of the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo (from Australia) Calyptorhynchus funereus

_ = tarsometatarsus of the Cuban Parakeet (Aratinga euops)

_ = tarsometatarsus of the Black-capped Lory (Lorius lory) of New Guinea

Psittaciformes Dispersal Routes

 The fossil was discovered at Tagay Bay, Olkhon island (Lake Baikal) in the Irkutsk Region of Eastern Siberia, Russia.  This location (Khalagay Formation), has yielded a number of Early Miocene vertebrate fossils including rodents, members of the rhino family, hippos and cats.  The deposits are also famous for the number of bird fossil specimens found.  It is the only location in Asia where Early Miocene Aves fossils have been found.  Author of the scientific paper, describing this discovery, Dr Nikita Zelenkov of the Borissiak Palaeontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences explained the significance of this fossil:

“This locality is also interesting because it preserves a rich community of fossil birds.  But no exotic birds have been found there before.  Unfortunately, this find is not good enough to reconstruct the appearance or lifestyle of this parrot, but we can see that it was rather similar to modern ones.  So, it was likely a very modern-looking small bird, around the size of a budgerigar.”

It shares features with another earlier fossil parrot bone in Germany, reported in a study published in 2010, belonging to a species called Mogontiacopsitta miocaena.  However, no parrot fossils have been found this far north before, or indeed in Asia.  This suggests that parrots may have spread to the New World via an eastern route rather than flying across the Atlantic from Africa, a hypothesis favoured by many palaeontologists until the unearthing of this new fossil evidence.

A Map Showing the Old World Distribution of Psittaciformes and Parrot Fossil Finds

Extant parrot distribution (Old World)

Old World parrot distribution and fossil finds from Europe and Asia.

Picture Credit: Biology Letters

The map above shows current Old World distribution of parrots (black area), Miocene finds of parrots in Europe including Mogontiacopsitta (white stars) and the position of Tagay locality (black star) where the tarsometatarsus fragment was found.

What is a Tarsometatarsus?

To a vertebrate palaeontologist, the tarsometatarsus is a very important bone.  It is a relatively long, lower leg bone found only in the skeletons of birds and certain types of dinosaur.  It is fully fused in modern birds although, in prehistoric bird types, the fusion is somewhat different and far from complete, for example in the Enantiornithines, a diverse group of Mesozoic birds that died out at the end of the Cretaceous, the bones that form the tarsometatarsus were only partially fused along their length.  The bones that make up the tarsometatarsus are represented by the ankle and toe bones (metatarsals) in mammals and other types of Archosaur.

The scientific paper (Biology Letters): “The First Fossil Parrot (Aves, Psittaciformes) from Siberia and its Implications for the Historical Biogeography of Psittaciformes.”

Fossil Hunting Event at Biddulph Grange Garden

Budding Palaeontologists Wanted at Biddulph Grange Garden – Sunday 30th October

On the cusp of “Dinovember” already and Sunday 30th October will see team members from Everything Dinosaur visiting the prestigious Biddulph Grange Garden (Staffordshire), to set up a fossil finding activity in support of the fund to help restore and refurbish the amazing Geological Gallery at this National Trust property.  The beautiful Biddulph Grange House and Gardens, a fine example of Victorian architecture and landscaping, hide a secret.  Theologian, lay preacher and naturalist James Bateman, the erstwhile owner of the house and gardens, built a unique gallery dedicated to uniting the ideas of a biblical creation with the newly emerging sciences of geology and palaeontology.

An Illustration of the Victorian Geological Gallery

An lithograph of the geological gallery at Bidduph Grange House.

An illustration of James Bateman’s amazing Geological Gallery in its Victorian heyday.

Picture Credit: National Trust

This amazing gallery is currently being restored and Everything Dinosaur will be inviting “palaeontologists in training” to brush up on their fossil hunting skills and help us to discover fossils.  What you find you can take home and keep!

For ticket prices and further information: Palaeontology Camp at Biddulph Grange Garden

Everything Dinosaur team members are busy sorting out all sorts of amazing fossils that they intend to giveaway to lucky fossil hunters on Sunday 30th October, with so many fossils to find, visitors to this fund-raising event are bound to come away with something special, we might even bring a few of our dinosaur fossils and other items along too.

Sorting Prehistoric Sharks Teeth Ready for the Fossil Hunt

fossilised shark teeth.

A successful fossil hunt.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Unique Space

The Geological Gallery demonstrates the growing scientific understanding of ancient life on Earth and marries it with the biblical view of creation as outlined in the first book of the bible (Genesis).  James Bateman’s vision was to set out fossils and the history of prehistoric animals and plants in the context of the seven days of the Christian creation story.  The garden was a marvel of its age, providing a striking exhibition of beautiful fossils and colourful rocks.  A dedicated team of volunteers at the National Trust are setting out to restore the Geological Galley to its former glory and visitors on Sunday have the opportunity to see the progress, as well as to take home a little bit of Earth’s prehistory for themselves.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur might even play one or two games and provide some palaeontological puzzles to test the knowledge of the young fossil hunters who join us on the day (watch out mums, dads, grandparents and guardians, we might just teach you a thing or two too).

Chirotherium Fossil Track Being Restored to the Exhibit

A Chirotherium reptile print (Triassic).

Restoring one of the fossil exhibits in the Biddulph Grange Geological Gallery.

Picture Credit: National Trust

For further information on the exciting day of dinosaur themed activities (the fun starts at 11.30am Sunday morning), check out this link: Budding Palaeontologists at Biddulph Grange Garden!

Visit to the Senckenberg Natural History Museum

The Senckenberg Natural History Museum (Naturmuseum Senckenberg)

When in Frankfurt, take the opportunity to visit one of the largest natural history museums in Germany, the Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Senckenberg Natural History Museum).  Team members at Everything Dinosaur did just that, visiting the museum just prior to the commencement of a major refurbishment programme.  The spacious dinosaur gallery is perhaps, the most popular gallery in the museum and it is certainly worth a look around, but in addition, there are plenty of other gems to spot amongst the extensive collection of The Senckenberg Research Institute.

Tyrannosaurus rex Greets Visitors to the Naturmuseum Senckenberg

T. rex replica outside the Frankfurt museum.

A well-known Frankfurt landmark. The T. rex outside the Naturmuseum Senckenberg .

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Dinosaur Gallery

With a life-size replica of T. rex to be found opposite the main entrance, visitors to the museum will not be surprised to discover that a cast of Tyrannosaurus rex can be found in the ground floor dinosaur gallery.  The near forty-foot long replica positioned on a landscaped area over the road from the entrance to the museum, is in very good condition, given the amount of attention the Frankfurt T. rex was getting from young dinosaur fans who were delighted to get up close to the statue and run between the Theropod’s giant legs.

A Cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex Skeleton in the Dinosaur Gallery

T. rex skeleton at the Frankfurt Natural History Museum

The museum’s dinosaur gallery. Naturmuseum Senckenberg

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Dinosaur Gallery

Although the gallery is quite large and all the life-size dinosaurs that occupy the floor space are mounted on raised platforms, visiting the gallery later in the afternoon, affords the visitor the best views as towards closing time the galleries are much less busy.

For us, a highlight of the dinosaur gallery was being able to view the marvellous Bob Nicholls replica of Psittacosaurus, the dinosaur featured in a recently published scientific paper that examined the idea of counter shading in forest dwelling dinosaurs.  This beautiful model demonstrates how our views about the appearance of dinosaurs has changed.  Contrast, for example, Bob’s remarkable replica with some of the painted images of dinosaurs that occupy the walls of the dinosaur gallery.

The Life-size Psittacosaurus Replica on Display

Life-size Psittacosaurus replica.

A model of the dinosaur called Psittacosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The beautifully preserved fossil Psittacosaurus specimen that was used in the recent study into dinosaur colouration can be found in the Senckenberg Research Institute’s vertebrate fossil collection.  The fossil probably came from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province (north-eastern China), most likely from an illegal smuggling operation.  However, the specimen was purchased by the Frankfurt museum (see photograph below).

To read an article from Everything Dinosaur about this exciting area of research: Calculating the Colour of Psittacosaurus

A Cast of the Psittacosaurus Fossil on Display at the Museum

A Psittacosaurus fossil.

Psittacosaurus fossil on display at the Senckenberg Naturmuseum (Frankfurt).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As well as specimens of Diplodocus, Iguanodon, Triceratops (T. prorsus) and Euoplocephalus, look out for the wall-mounted Plateosaurus and the collection of dinosaur eggs.

An Oviraptor on Display Next to Examples of Dinosaur Nests and Eggs

An Oviraptor and dinosaur eggs exhibit.

An Oviraptor and its nest.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With many of the information panels written in both German and English, these thoughtful displays are most illuminating.

Other Museum Highlights

The mammal gallery is most impressive, look out for the Quagga display (an extinct sub-species of plains Zebra), one of just a handful of specimens in the world.  In the marsupial area, a Thylacine can be found, standing amongst its close relatives the Tasmanian Devil and the Quoll.

The Thylacine is Included in the Marsupial Mammals Display

A Thylacine on display.

A Thylacine is included in the Australian mammals part of the gallery (Senckenberg Museum).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Spectacular Displays of Ancient and Not So Ancient Prehistoric Elephants

Large elephants on display.

Prehistoric elephants on display at the Senckenberg Museum (Frankfurt).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Messel Oil Shales and Marine Reptiles

For the keen fossil fan, there is a substantial display of invertebrate fossils helping to get across the concept of deep time as well as explaining biostratigraphy (check out the ammonites that help to illustrate this).  An entire side gallery has been dedicated to the remarkable fossils from the Messel Oil Shales.  We suspect this part of the museum has been recently modernised, the displays were well lit and the many different types of animal and plant fossil from the Messel pits were thoughtfully showcased and grouped by Phyla and Orders.

Part of the Messel Oil Shales Gallery

Part of the Messel gallery (Senckenberg Museum).

The atmospheric Messel gallery at the Senckenberg Museum (Frankfurt).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The marine reptile gallery was also most impressive.  There were a large number of replica fossils on display including spectacular examples of Ichthyosaurs, Placodonts, Plesiosaurs, Turtles and Nothosaurs.  Visitors to the museum also have the opportunity to view examples of giants of the sea around today with a most informative Cetacean gallery.  It was also a pleasure to see explanation panels on the evolution of the whale family along with specimens representing Basilosaurus and Ambulocetus, the Ambulocetus tying in nicely with the Messel fossils exhibit.

 An Exhibit Explaining How the Plesiosauria “Flew” Underwater

An underwater flyer (Plesiosauria).

A display explaining how marine reptiles “flew” underwater.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

One of the Displays from the Spectacular Cetacean Gallery

Ancient whales on display.

The spectacular ancient whales gallery (Senckenberg Museum).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We look forward to learning more about the refurbishment programme for this museum and whilst we appreciate there will be some disruption during this work, we recommend this museum.  It is well worth a visit.

The Skin of a Spanish Titanosaur

Titanosaur Trace Fossils Excite Palaeontologists

Now that team members have published an article on Australia’s newest titanosaurid (Savannasaurus elliottorum), we can turn our attention to another scientific paper, actually published last month, which details an exciting Titanosaur related discovery but this time from Europe, or to be more precise Catalonia in Spain.  Researchers have discovered fossils of skin impressions in rocks that were formed from sediments deposited at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

A Close View of the Larger of the Two Dinosaur Skin Impression Fossils

Titanosaur skin impression.

Titanosauriform Sauropod dinosaur skin impression (Catalonia).

Picture Credit: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

How was the Skin Impression Made?

The picture above shows the bigger of the two dinosaur trace fossils.  Large, irregular, quite angular scales can be made out.  However, what the photograph shows is not the actual skin impression but a natural cast. Sometime around 66 million years ago a dinosaur was crossing a stretch of mud close to a river.  It may have slipped and fallen or perhaps it simply rested for a while lying down on the sticky muddy surface.  An impression of the animal’s scales was made in the soft mud.  These marks were later covered by sand, perhaps as a result of the river level rising.  Over tens of thousands of years, this sand was slowly turned to sandstone (sedimentary rock).  Uplift and subsequent erosion exposed the rock layer where the natural cast was preserved and over time the softer mudstone was gradually eroded away leading to the exposure of the natural cast of the dinosaur’s skin.  Trace fossils such as this preserve a moment in time, they preserve evidence of behaviour or activity.  If you look carefully you can see shadows around some of the individual scales, the scales are raised.  This sort of trace fossil is known as an epirelief (raised) fossil.

How do we Know the Fossils Come from a Titanosaur?

In truth, nobody knows for certain what type of animal left these impressions of its skin.  The shape of the scales are similar to other dinosaur skin impressions, so it is very likely that these fossils represent a member of the Dinosauria.  The size of the individual scales are just too big for the Theropod and Ornithopod dinosaurs that are known to have lived in this area some sixty-six million years ago.  In addition, palaeontologists have found the big, rounded tracks of wide-bodied Titanosaurs in similar-aged strata close by.  So, in all probability, these two fossils represent a Titanosaur and it is likely that the two epirelief trace fossils, one about twenty centimetres wide and the other just five centimetres across and within one and a half metres of the other, were made by the same animal at the same time.

Titanosaur Has a Lie Down

A dinosaur rests by the riverbank.

A titanosaurid takes a rest on a riverbank.

Picture Credit: Mark Witton (with some background alteration by Everything Dinosaur)

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona researcher and lead author of the scientific paper published in the “Geological” magazine, Victor Fondevilla, explained that although dinosaur skin impressions have been discovered in Europe before, they don’t come from the very end of the Mesozoic.

He stated:

“This is the only registry of dinosaur skin from this period in all of Europe, and it corresponds to one of the most recent specimens, closer to the extinction event, in all of the world.”

These trace fossils, located in the red sandstone beds of the Tremp Formation (southern Pyrenees), represent some of the most recent dinosaur fossils ever made, coming from the chronozone associated with the period of the Maastrichtian faunal stage immediately before the K-Pg extinction event.  These, in situ Titanosaur fossils come from C29r chronozone or chron, as these slices of time are sometimes referred to.  Thus, they represent some of the last fossils known representing Titanosauriforms.

Victor Fondevilla Points out Where the Larger of the Two Trace Fossils can be found on the Exposed Rock Face

Victor Fondevilla, (Autonomous University of Barcelona) examines one of the dinosaur skin fossils.

Looking at dinosaur skin fossils.

Picture Credit: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

The Scientific paper: “Skin Impressions of the Last European Dinosaurs” published in Geological Magazine (Cambridge University Press)

To read our article on “Wade” Savannasaurus elliottorum: Titanosaurs Crossing Continents Savannasaurus elliottorum

Carcharodontosaurus – A Very Popular Dinosaur

Carcharodontosaurus – An Enormous Carnivorous Dinosaur

Paleo Paul has been busy with his camera again as this week, team members at Everything Dinosaur were emailed some photographs of the latest addition to his fossil collection, a magnificent broken tooth from a very large Theropod dinosaur.  In his email, Paleo Paul explained that the tooth was from a North African, meat-eating dinosaur called Carcharodontosaurus, a dinosaur whose fossils first came to the attention of the scientific community in the early part of the 20th Century, although Carcharodontosaurus was not named and formally described until 1931.

The Large Theropod Tooth (Carcharodontosaurus)

Dinosaur fan sends picture of dinosaur tooth into Everything Dinosaur

The large, broken Theropod dinosaur tooth identified as Carcharodontosaurus.

Picture Credit: Paleo Paul

Carcharodontosaurus saharicus

Paleo Paul wrote to say that this dinosaur was named and described by the famous German palaeontologist Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach and this is a beautiful specimen.  In many of the fossil carcharodontid teeth that we have examined, the tip of the tooth is often missing and Paleo Paul is lucky to have this specimen in his fossil collection.  This is a broken tooth, the root is missing, this tooth was most probably shed when this dinosaur was alive.  The tooth may have been lost when this carnivore was either feeding or fighting.  Scientists now know that North Africa around 98 million years ago (Late Albian to Early Cenomanian faunal stages) was home to a number of large predatory dinosaurs.  Carcharodontosaurus saharicus is regarded as an apex predator, some of the teeth associated with this species are nearly twenty centimetres long!

A Close up of the Denticles (Serrations on the Teeth)

A close up of the denticles on the side of a Theropod dinosaur tooth.

A close up of the serrations on the side of the tooth.

Picture Credit: Paleo Paul

The photograph above shows a close up the tooth serrations (denticles) which are found on the carinae (sharp edges) of the tooth.  The shape, number and size of these denticles are helpful when attempting to identify which dinosaur the tooth likely came from.  Denticles can be found on both the leading edge (anterior) and the rear edge of the tooth (posterior), most Theropod teeth have two carinae therefore, in bilateral symmetry, but not always, the carinae can be offset or even split in some genera.  Being able to see clearly defined denticles such as these reflects the high degree of preservation of this particular fossil tooth.  Well done to Paleo Paul for getting a super close up photograph!

An Apex Predator

Carcharodontosaurus saharicus was very probably the top predator in its environment.  In the Everything Dinosaur database, we record C. saharicus as being potentially, up to fourteen metres long, reaching a head height of nearly six metres and weighing in excess of 6,000 kilogrammes.  It really was a formidable animal.  Carcharodontosaurus is very popular amongst dinosaur fans and Paleo Paul also sent in a couple of pictures of his CollectA Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus model

The CollectA Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus in a Dinosaur Diorama

The CollectA Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model.

The CollectA Carcharodontosaurus provides an excellent example of what palaeontologists think this dinosaur looked like.

Picture Credit: Paleo Paul

The CollectA Carcharodontosaurus provides an excellent example of what palaeontologists think this dinosaur looked like.

To view the CollectA Deluxe range of scale prehistoric animal models: CollectA Deluxe Scale Prehistoric Animal Models

Paleo Paul likes to modify and repaint his prehistoric animal replicas, but in this instance he has decided that the CollectA Carcharodontosaurus needs no such makeover. It is just fine as it is.

The CollectA Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus on the Prowl

CollectA Carcharodontosaurus model.

CollectA Carcharodontosaurus prehistoric scene.

Picture Credit: Paleo Paul

Our thanks once again to Paleo Paul for sharing his photographs with us.

Titanosaurs Crossing Continents – Savannasaurus elliottorum

“Wade” Finally Gets a Name – Savannasaurus elliottorum

An Australian Titanosaur, nicknamed “Wade”, whose fossilised bones were discovered in 2005, has been formally described and named.  Say hello to Savannasaurus elliottorum, the scientific name may not be as catchy as its nickname, but this specimen does represent one of the most complete Titanosaurs discovered in Australia to date and its discovery is helping palaeontologists to piece together how these giant, herbivorous dinosaurs crossed continents, spreading out from South America and reaching Australia via Antarctica.

An Illustration of the Newly Described Titanosaur Savannasaurus elliottorum

Savannasaurus elliottorum

An illustration of the newly described Australian Titanosaur Savannasaurus.

Picture Credit: Travis Tischler/Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum

An Australian Giant

David Elliot, one of the co-founders of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, the museum established close to the town of Winton in Queensland that exhibits many of the Cretaceous fossils found in this region, spotted some fossil bones sticking out of the ground early in 2005.  Mr Elliott returned to the site later in the day with his wife Judy to take a closer look at the fossil fragments.  He hoped that the bones might represent a Theropod, but this idea was quickly put to one side when his wife “clicked” two bones together to make a distinctive metatarsal (toe bone) of a Sauropod.

The site was excavated in September 2005 by a joint Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Queensland Museum team and seventeen pallets of bones encased in rock were recovered.

The Location of the Savannasaurus elliottorum Fossil Find

Savannasaurus fossil site.

The quarry from which the fragmented bones later identified as Savannasaurus were excavated.

Picture Credit: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum/Site photo circa 2005

It has taken more than ten years or preparation work for the fossilised bones to be removed from the single silt stone concretion that encased them.  Everything Dinosaur has regularly reported on Australian dinosaur fossil discoveries and kept tabs on the progress of the “Wade” preparation work.

To read an earlier article (2013), on the preparation work: An Update on Wade the Aussie Dinosaur

Why “Wade”?

The nickname for this new species of Titanosaur honours Australian palaeontologist Dr Mary J. Wade.  During her long career, Dr Wade did much to help conserve and promote the extensive, exposed fossil bearing strata of Queensland.  She worked on a number of iconic Australian dinosaurs including Muttaburrasaurus as well as helping to map and study Precambrian fossils that were later to be described as Ediacaran biota.

Although one of the more complete Australian Titanosaur fossils yet described, the material is highly fragmentary and only about five percent of the skeleton has been recovered.  The fossils consist of one neck vertebra, several cervical ribs, eight dorsal vertebrae making up a partial sequence, several rib fragments, sacral vertebrae and at least five fragmentary tail bones (caudal vertebrae).  Limb bones are represented, several toe bones, elements from the ankle, bones from the manus (front feet) as well as incomplete humeri (upper arm bones).  The research team and volunteers were also able to recover a partial left radius and a highly fragmentary ulna and parts of the hip girdle.  Although no cranial (skull) material was recovered, the team were confident, almost from the start, that these bones represented a new species.  The fossils come from a site called “Belmont Station”, ironically, nearby cranial material from another, previously described Titanosaur was found (Diamantinasaurus matildae).  In the scientific paper which describes Savannasaurus, published in the journal “Nature”, the authors, which include lead researcher Dr Stephen Poropot, (Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum), describe the braincase and neck bones of Diamantinasaurus.

The Fossil Bones of Savannasaurus elliottorum Mapped onto an Outline of the Dinosaur

Savannasaurus elliottorum skeletal material.

Savannasaurus elliottorum outline of skeleton.

Picture Credit: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum

Plotting the Distribution of the Titanosauria

These two Titanosaurs are being used to help map the dispersal of the Titanosauria across the super-continent Gondwana as this huge landmass began to break up.  Although the fossil record remains patchy to say the least, the fossils, which have been dated to around 98-95 million years ago (Cenomanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous), suggest that by this time in Earth’s history Titanosaurs had dispersed from South America, migrated across Antarctica and entered the landmass that was later to become Australia.

Commenting on the significance of these fossils, Dr Stephen Poropot stated:

“We get a much better idea of the overall fauna.  And as a result, we can start piecing together how climate affected these dinosaurs, how the positions of the continent affected those dinosaurs and how they evolved through time as well.”

The Dispersal and Spread of Titanosaurs Across High Latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere

Mapping the dispersal of the Titanosauria

The spread and dispersal of Titanosaurs across southern latitudes.

Picture Credit: Ron Blakey (Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc)

Although, palaeontologists have discussed a number of potential dispersal routes, it is likely that these types of dinosaurs had entered Australia from South America, presumably crossing Antarctica.  During the late Early Cretaceous the Earth went through a period of global warming.  Prior to this climate change, Titanosaurs, which were globally widespread in the Early Cretaceous were prevented from reaching Australia by the cold conditions in Antarctica.  Global warming facilitated the dispersal of Sauropods from South America to Australia via Antarctica.

David Elliott Co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum Poses with the Savannasaurus elliottorum Fossil Material

David Elliott poses with the bones of Savannasaurus.

David Elliott holds one of the metatarsals (toe bones) of S. elliottorum.

Picture Credit: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum


The genus name is derived from the Spanish (Taino) “zavana”(savanna), a reference to the grassland and pasture in which the specimen was found.  The species name honours the Elliott family for their continuing contributions to Australian palaeontology.

Differences between Savannasaurus and Diamantinasaurus

Although Savannasaurus and Diamantinasaurus were contemporaneous of each other and these giant herbivores may have been roughly the same size, living in the same habitat, preliminary measurements indicate that the forelimbs of Savannasaurus are proportionally quite different from those of Diamantinasaurus.  This may suggest adaptation to a different feeding platform, allowing these large dinosaurs to co-exist without competing with each other for food.

Prehistoric Times (Issue 119) Reviewed

A Review of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Autumn 2016)

The bumper autumn edition of Prehistoric Times has hit the office mat and Everything Dinosaur team members have been eagerly thumbing through its colourful pages.  All hail talented palaeoartist Fabio Pastori whose depiction of the tyrannosaurid affectionately known as Stan (STAN-BHI3033) adorns the front cover.  This is the fifth time that Fabio has produced front cover artwork for Prehistoric Times, it is always a pleasure to see his work and sure enough, there is plenty of Fabio’s amazing prehistoric themed artwork to marvel at inside, look out for the “picture perfect Cryolophosaurus” article.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Issue 119)

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 119)

A very colourful and action packed front cover.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

Acrocanthosaurus and Eohippus Inside

 The two featured prehistoric animals in this issue are the monstrous Acrocanthosaurus and the diminutive “dawn horse” Eohippus, Phil Hore does a good job producing updates on these two ancient creatures and both his articles are embellished with plenty of reader submitted artwork.  Amongst our favourites in the Acrocanthosaurus dedicated copy is the line drawing by Rich Morris and the image created by Manuel Gil Jaramallo, which reminded us of the Battat Acrocanthosaurus replica.  Look out for the wonderful model of Eohippus made by the great and sadly no longer with us, Ray Harryhausen, for the 1969 fantasy adventure film “Valley of the Gwangi”.

Regular contributor Tracy Lee Ford dedicates his how to draw dinosaurs series to Torosaurus and unravelling the rather complicated relationship this large herbivore has with other Late Cretaceous members of the Chasmosaurinae clade.  Once again this is a very well written and informative piece.  Fabio Pastori’s artwork can be seen throughout much of this edition of Prehistoric Times.  For example, in an article on spectacular Upper Jurassic fossils “What is Quarry 5?”  Fabio’s illustrations are used to bring various Stegosaurs and Sauropods to life.

To visit the Prehistoric Times website and for information on how to subscribe to Prehistoric Times magazine: Prehistoric Times

Don’t forget to check out part two of the excellent article on dinosaur name pronunciation and the third part of the Golden Age of Burian and his wonderful illustrations of prehistoric landscapes (article by John R. Lavas), this article is worth the cover price alone.

Once again Prehistoric Times delivers, it is jam-packed full of fascinating articles and features, enough to satisfy the appetite of even the most enthusiastic dinosaur fan.

Safari Ltd Prehistoric Animal Retirements 2017

Prehistoric Animal Models Being Retired by Safari Ltd in 2017

Much has been said about Safari Ltd’s drip feeding of information with regards to their new models and replicas.  Everything Dinosaur team members have tended to stay on the fence as it were, but we do know that there has not been much said about which models are being retired and coming out of production.  In this brief blog post we intend to address this.  For model collectors and dinosaur fans knowing what new replicas are coming is great, but it is also extremely important to know which models are not going to be made any more.

Lots of Fuss About the New Models but Which Ones are Going?

Some of the new for 2017 prehistoric animal models.

A montage of new model images from Safari Ltd.

Time to flip the coin and give our ten cents worth on the prehistoric animal retirements from Safari Ltd.

Gastornis is Gone!

Fans of this particular “Terror Bird” are going to miss this replica of the giant, flightless Gastornis or should that be Diatryma?  There is still some debate as to just how distinct these two genera are.  However, after a little more than three years, this colourful and highly collectable replica is going to go to that great big aviary in the sky.  Models of “Terror Birds” are rare and with the demise of this particular figure, they are likely to become rarer still.  If you have not got this replica yet, snap it up quick – or should that be “quack” after all, as a member of the Anseriformes, Gastornis is distantly related to today’s ducks.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gastornis – Out of Production

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gastornis

The Prehistoric Life Range – Gastornis

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 Tree Fern Felled!

Also for the chop is the tree fern model, one of three prehistoric plants (cycad and agathis conifer being the other two), in the Wild Safari Prehistoric World range.  These replicas proved to be very popular with dinosaur diorama makers and not being able to add a tree fern or two to prehistoric scenes is going to disappoint a lot of model makers.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Tree Fern – Gone to Seed

Tree fern model

Wild Safari Prehistoric World tree fern model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With Everything Dinosaur having received news of the demise of the tree fern it seems likely that the cycad and the agathis conifer models could have their days numbered too.   We are still able to source these two prehistoric plants but we suspect that remaining stocks will soon be exhausted.

Toob Strike

The hand-painted designer toob product line is also having a bit of a sort out.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur were sad to see the excellent prehistoric crocodiles toob retired a little while ago and now we hear that the prehistoric sharks and the prehistoric sea life toobs are also being withdrawn from production.

 Prehistoric Sea Life and Prehistoric Sharks Scuttled

Safari prehistoric toobs to be retired.

Prehistoric Sea Life and Prehistoric Sharks designer toobs retired.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These two toobs contained a number of replicas not found in mainstream prehistoric animal model production.  For example, in the prehistoric sharks toob there were models of Cretoxyrhina, Hybodus and Xenacanthus, whilst in the prehistoric sea life toob we know that collectors will miss the Metriorhynchus and the Basilosaurus replicas.  Credit to Safari Ltd for bringing out these models in the first place and we do understand, that in order to introduce new figures some older models, inevitably have to be retired.

Everything Dinosaur will have stocks of these items for a while yet, our advice is simple, purchase whilst you can if you want to add any of these to your model collections.  As these items get rarer and more difficult to obtain, expect prices to rise on auction sites as dealers get greedier and greedier.

To view what’s available from Everything Dinosaur, including rare Carnegie Collection models: Wild Safari Prehistoric World and the Carnegie Collection

Halloween Dinosaur Fun

Trick or Treat with a Dinosaur!

The countdown to Halloween has well and truly started and team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy sending out lots of dinosaur themed costumes for kids to help very young dinosaur fans get into the Halloween spirit.  Children seem to have a fascination with monsters and dinosaurs like Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex certainly tick all the boxes when it comes to monstrous animals with big teeth.  After all, a fully grown T. rex had jaws so big that it could swallow a small child whole.  Help your young dinosaur fans get into character with these super dinosaur dressing up costumes.

Dinosaur Halloween Fun!

Dinosaur costumes.

Dinosaur dressing up costumes for Halloween.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Trick or Treat!

Give your little ones a treat this Halloween!  With bright and colourful dinosaur dressing up costumes for three years and upwards, there’s bound to be something on the Everything Dinosaur website to get your little monsters roaring with excitement.

To see the range of dinosaur dressing up costumes, dinosaur hats and dinosaur masks, all specially designed for budding young palaeontologists, check out Everything Dinosaur here: Dinosaur Dressing Up

With the chest sizes of our dinosaur costumes starting at just sixty centimetres (24 inches), even children as young as three years of age can join in the dinosaur themed fun.  Whether it is dressing up for school, getting ready to go out trick or treating or simply joining in the Halloween activities at home, these dinosaur costumes are ideal.

Glow in the Dark Dinosaur Stickers and T. rex Skeletons

For that extra touch of authenticity make your young dinosaur fan’s day by giving him or her their very own dinosaur glow in the dark wall sticker.  Just switch of the light and watch your dinosaur skeleton glow in the dark!  Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide range of prehistoric animal stickers, it’s enough to get your own bones rattling with fright!

A Range of Dinosaur Themed Glow in the Dark Stickers

Dinosaur glow in the dark stickers.

Glow in the dark dinosaur stickers for Halloween.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For glow in the dark dinosaur themed stickers, dinosaur face masks and a whole trick or treat basket of prehistoric animal products visit: Everything Dinosaur

Perhaps you might even try out some prehistoric inspired food!  Here is a link to a recipe for a simple and easy to make jelly themed snack that we call “insects trapped in amber”, very creepy or should that be creepy-crawly!

How to make “insects trapped in amber A Prehistoric Party Treat Especially for Halloween!

Scary Dinosaur Skeletons Depicting Creepy Cretaceous Critters

Glow in the dark Tyrannosaurus rex.

A glow in the Dark T. rex wall poster

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The fossil record provides plenty of evidence of some very scary creatures that lived in the past.  Huge teeth, big claws and frightening scales, tusks, horns and amour seem to have been quite prevalent amongst the Dinosauria.  Which one do you think was the scariest?

It only requires to say to all our customers and followers of our social media platforms – happy Halloween!

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