Category: Dinosaur Fans

Prehistoric Times Issue 111 Reviewed

A Review of Prehistoric Times (Issue 111) Autumn 2014

Summer may be over for us in the northern hemisphere and for the UK the clocks go back next week heralding some months when nights are going to be longer than days.  However, perfect fireside reading has arrived in the nick of time, in the shape of the latest edition of the quarterly magazine “Prehistoric Times” and once again it is jam packed with interesting articles, fantastic artwork and features.  Decorating the front cover is a beautiful rendering of a Cretaceous fight scene between an unfortunate Hippodraco (iguanodontid) and a mob of Utahraptors.  This artwork was created by the very talented Julius Csotonyi and inside this issue there is a super interview with the palaeo-artist and a review of his new book “The Palaeoart of Julius Csotonyi” by Julius and Steve White.  Everything Dinosaur team members were sent a copy of this hardback a few months ago, it really is an excellent book showcasing the talents of a remarkable artist.  The interview with Julius conducted by “Prehistoric Times’s” editor Mike Fredericks, is supported by lots of illustrations which show the range of prehistoric animals and time periods covered by Julius in his new publication.  The scene featuring several Late Cretaceous herbivores demonstrating “dietary niche partitioning” is my personal favourite, although my nephew likes the eyeball-plucking raptor best – still that’s kids for you.

The Front Cover Artwork (Prehistoric Times Issue 111)

Prehistoric Times magazine.

Prehistoric Times magazine.

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times

One of the featured prehistoric animals is Baryonyx and there are oodles (scientific term), of great illustrations sent in by readers on this member of the Spinosauridae and we greatly appreciated the article by Phil Hore on this Theropod.  We too, like Phil, have speculated on how many fossil specimens ascribed to prehistoric crocodiles in the past may well turn out to be evidence of widely dispersed spinosaurids.  Special mention to our chum Fabio Pastori for a simply stunning Baryonyx drawing.

The magazine has a bit of an “English theme” running through it.  Dinosaur discoveries of southern England are documented in another article, which features the artwork of John Sibbick and there is a well written piece by John Lavas that discusses the impact of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Lost World”, a novel that we are informed has not been out of print since its publication back in 1912.  Bringing things right up to date, our review of “Dinosaurs of the British Isles” is featured, a book which documents and catalogues the Dinosauria known from these shores.

Tracy Ford continues his series on how to draw dinosaurs by discussing integumental coverings – feathers, quills and bristles on the Dinosauria.  He makes some excellent points and it is great to see a piece that features one of our favourite dinosaur discoveries of recent times, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus.  This little feathered, plant-eating dinosaur makes another appearance in the Palaeo News section, along with updates on the Spinosaurus quadruped/bidped debate, giant prehistoric birds, a newly described Archaeopteryx specimen and a short report on Dreadnoughtus schrani .  Dreadnoughtus is important as a large number of bones have been found, helping palaeontologists such as Dr. Kenneth Lacovara (Drexel University), to estimate the body mass of this huge Titanosaur.  This dinosaur discovery adds a whole new dimension to body mass estimations using femora radii.  Everything Dinosaur wrote a short article on this discovery, it was favourably commented upon by the scientists behind the research paper and we basked in the glory of being praised by the researchers (for a few days at least).

To read more about “Prehistoric Times” and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times Magazine

Dan LoRusso is interviewed about his work on the Battat “Terra” model range and there is a special feature on the bizarre, sabre-toothed Thylacosmilus.  The “English” theme is re-visited once again with a fascinating article penned by Allen A. Debus which examines the way palaeontology was depicted in the popular press of the 19th Century, the list of references at the end of this article is especially helpful.  Amongst the many other features and news stories is an interview with Todd Miller, the director of the film all about the controversy surrounding the Tyrannosaurus rex named “Sue”, the thirteenth documented T. rex dinosaur discovery hence the film’s title “Dinosaur 13″.  We had the very great pleasure of meeting Pete Larson in London just a few weeks before the film’s August 15th premier.  Pete chatted about the documentary and Everything Dinosaur did some work on behalf of the media company responsible for the distribution of this excellent film in the UK back in the summer.

Ah well, summer may be over but at least we have another super edition of “Prehistoric Times” to keep us occupied over those long autumn evenings.

Schleich Anhanguera Model Update

Schleich Anhanguera with Articulated Lower Jaw

Thanks to all those dinosaur fans who sent in questions with regards to the new prehistoric animal models being introduced by Schleich in 2015.  Everything Dinosaur team members have responded to all the emails, Tweets and Facebook comments received and we have hopefully, answered the majority of enquiries.  However, to help answer a couple of the more common questions we are posting up this short blog article.

Mini Dinosaurs (Set of 8)

Mini Dinosaurs from Schleich.

Mini Dinosaurs from Schleich.

Picture Credit: Schleich

The mini dinosaurs will be launched in late January 2015.  Although, marketed as a set of 8 dinosaurs, one of the models will be a Pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus).  The models will range in size from 3cm to about 5.5cm in length.  They are aimed at the collecting market.

Mini Dinosaurs – Name the Prehistoric Animals

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in January 2015.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Schleich

One of the questions we have been asked is which prehistoric animals do the models represent?  Here is the answer for you:

  1. Triceratops
  2. Stegosaurus
  3. Velociraptor
  4. Quetzalcoatlus (Pterosaur)
  5. Pentaceratops
  6. Spinosaurus
  7. Tyrannosaurus rex
  8. Saichania

Other new introductions by Schleich for January 2015 are in the World of History model series (larger models from 6cm to around 20cm in length).  These models are the Kentrosaurus and Anhanguera (another Pterosaur).  Yes, we can confirm that the Anhanguera has an articulated lower jaw.

Schleich Anhanguera (articulated lower jaw)

Moveable lower jaw on figure.

Moveable lower jaw on figure.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur team members know all about the other Schleich model introductions, but for the time being we are not able to post up these details.  However, expect to hear some interesting and intriguing news about Schleich’s plans for later on in 2015.  Keep checking out this blog site or our Facebook page for additional information.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing rang or large Schleich dinosaur models: Schleich World of History Prehistoric Animal Models

Still Time to Enter Everything Dinosaur’s Book Competition

Competition Time – Win a Signed Copy of “Dinosaurs of the British Isles”

Calling all dinosaur fans and those who appreciate prehistoric animals and palaeontology.  There is still time to enter Everything Dinosaur’s fantastic competition to win a signed copy of “Dinosaurs of the British Isles”, a super compendium of British dinosaur discoveries written by Dean Lomax and Nobumichi Tamura.

A Chance to Win “Dinosaurs of the British Isles”

A comprehensive guide to British dinosaurs over 400 pages.

A comprehensive guide to British dinosaurs over 400 pages.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

This unique publication catalogues all the major dinosaur fossil discoveries from the British Isles.  With a foreward from Dr. Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum (London), Dean and his fellow author Nobumichi Tamura provide a comprehensive account on the dinosaurs of the entire British Isles.  It really is a most informative read.

How to Enter the Everything Dinosaur Competition

Our competition is this, if you were to discover a new species of dinosaur in the British Isles – what name would you give it?  We want you to come up with a name for a new British dinosaur!

To enter our “name a British dinosaur” competition, for a chance to win this truly amazing account of the dinosaurs of the British Isles, all you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page, then leave a comment with your suggested name for a new British dinosaur on the picture of the front cover of  the book (shown above).

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”.

Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page: “LIKE” Our Facebook Page and Enter Competition

We will draw the lucky winner at random and the British dinosaur name competition closes on 31st October.  Good luck to everyone who enters!

Terms and Conditions of Name a British Dinosaur Competition from Everything Dinosaur

Automated entries are not permitted and will be excluded from the draw.

Only one entry per person.

The prize is non-transferable, no cash alternative will be offered.

The Everything Dinosaur name a British dinosaur competition runs until Friday, October 31st 2014.

Winner will be notified by email or private message on Facebook.

Prize includes packing and postage.

For full terms and conditions simply email us: Contact Us

To read Everything Dinosaur’s Review of “Dinosaurs of the British Isles”: “Dinosaurs of the British Isles” Reviewed

Can’t wait to get hold of this book!  ”Dinosaurs of the British Isles” can be ordered direct from Siri Scientific Press: Visit Siri Scientific Press

New Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models for 2015

New Additions to the Schleich Model Range

Team members at Everything Dinosaur had been informed about the pending changes to Schleich’s prehistoric animal portfolio and now we can share with readers the first pictures of the exciting new replicas Schleich intend to launch next year.

First item of news, the “dinosaurs” range, a set of small prehistoric animal models made by Schleich, are going to be retired.  We suspect that the retirement will be formally announced at the end of this year.  This range, which at one stage grew to consist of twelve prehistoric animal replicas, has been gradually reduced in number and by the end of the year it will no longer be available.  The replacement model series will consist of eight figures.  There will be seven dinosaurs plus one Pterosaur (Quetzalcoatlus).

New for 2015 – The New Range of Prehistoric Animal Figures from Schleich

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Picture Credit: Schleich/Everything Dinosaur

It is certainly a colourful range and it will include lots of favourite dinosaurs (Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, T. rex etc).  We are particularly looking forward to pairing up the Pentaceratops in this new range with the larger “World of History” Pentaceratops that came out this year.

Pentaceratops Dinosaur Model from Schleich

Schleich Pentaceratops available from Everything Dinosaur.

Schleich Pentaceratops available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Due to be Retired – The Schleich “Dinosaurs” Range

Going, Going Gone- Schleich Dinosaurs models series

Going, Going Gone- Schleich Dinosaurs models series

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing Schleich replica range including the last of the soon to be retired “dinosaurs”: Schleich Dinosaurs

Our advice is to get these models whilst stocks last.  Sadly, once they are retired, the price of these replicas will soar as collectors strive to acquire them for their collections.

In addition, Everything Dinosaur team members believe that Schleich intends to add a further two models to its “World of History” replica range.  The two new additions for 2015 are Kentrosaurus and that toothsome member of the Pterosauria – Anhanguera.

New for 2015 – Schleich Kentrosaurus

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015

Picture Credit: Schleich

Everything Dinosaur does not recall Schleich making a Kentrosaurus dinosaur model before, we don’t think they have made any Stegosaur replica before, except of course the ubiquitous Stegosaurus.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Anhanguera replica.

The Schleich Anhanguera (Pterosaur Replica)

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Picture Credit: Schleich

This is certainly a much bigger and much more colourful model of an Anhanguera than the one featured for a few years in the “dinosaurs” model range from Schleich.  The skull of this flying reptile was almost half the length of its total length.  2015 will mark the 30th anniversary of the naming and describing of this Brazilian Pterosaur.

To view the existing “World of History” replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: World of History Prehistoric Animal Models (Schleich)

Exciting times ahead for Schleich and Everything Dinosaur.

Writing Notes on the Most Famous Dinosaur of All

Notes About Tyrannosaurus rex

Everything Dinosaur team members have been sent some notes from a model manufacturer all about that most famous dinosaur of all T. rex.  Our dinosaur experts have been asked to proof read this information and to suggest any ways in which this data can be improved upon as it is to be used in a product information sheet to be supplied with the dinosaur model.

Here is the information that we have been asked to look at:

Tyrannosaurus rex:

[Tyrannosaurus (meaning "tyrant lizard") is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur, the most well-known species Tyrannosaurus rex , also commonly abbreviated to T. rex (rex means “king”in Latin), lived during the the upper Cretaceous Period, 67 to 66 million years ago in what is now western North America. Tyrannosaurus rex is not only one of the largest land carnivores, but also one of the largest known land predators of all time.  The most complete specimen measures up to 12.3 metres in length, 4 metres tall at the hips, the estimated weight is around 7 tons.  It is suggested that the bite force of Tyrannosaurus rex could have been the strongest of any terrestrial animal that has ever lived.]

Our team members will address this matter shortly, but first thing we have done is to put the species name into italics.

Preparing Notes on Tyrannosaurus rex for a Model Manufacturer

The Business End of a Tyrannosaur

The Business End of a Tyrannosaur

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Most of the information that we have been sent is right, more or less, we just have to polish the phrasing a little and perhaps change the order of the sentences.  It should not take us too long, after all, we do supply a lot of dinosaur toys and dinosaur models, all with our own prehistoric animal fact sheets included.

Writing Notes for a Model Manufacturer

Helping a Manufacturer Get to Grips with Yutyrannus

Everything Dinosaur’s team members get asked to do a lot of work for various companies, we undertake such work usually free of charge as our objective is to try and help the organisation with educational matters, such as getting information correct about a particular dinosaur, perhaps information for a museum exhibition, a product leaflet or even literature aimed at the school’s market.  One example of such work undertaken is our current research into the basal tyrannosauroid from north-eastern China Yutyrannus huali.  We have our own fact sheet and scale drawings of this particular member of the Tyrannosaur family.  This information has proved to be very useful as we prepare notes to assist with a data card all about this Theropod dinosaur.

Yutyrannus huali

Yutyrannus huali meaning “beautiful feathered tyrant” and sometimes referred to as being a relative of the more famous carnivorous dinosaurs of Late Cretaceous North America, as this dinosaur has been classified as belonging to the same superfamily of Theropod dinosaurs as the iconic T. rex, was scientifically described in 2012.   It roamed north-eastern China during the Early Cretaceous.  The scientific description was based on three, nearly complete fossil specimens excavated from strata associated with Liaoning Province.  The holotype fossils, representing the largest of three individuals indicate that adult animals may have reached a length of around 9 metres and weighed approximately 1,400 kg.

Everything Dinosaur’s Drawing of Yutyrannus (Y.  huali)

Dinosaur drawing (Yutyrannus)

Dinosaur drawing (Yutyrannus)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Evidence of plumage (feathers) is preserved on parts of all three known specimens.  Whilst there is a lot of evidence to indicate that many small Theropod dinosaurs had feathers, Yutyrannus huali  fossils suggest that some giant carnivorous dinosaurs may also have been feathered.  It has been speculated that feathers may have helped insulate and keep these dinosaurs warm as this part of China during the Early Cretaceous had a decidedly chilly climate, with average annual temperatures roughly equivalent to what they are today in north-eastern China.

Isotope studies using the wonderfully well-preserved teeth of this dinosaur indicate that the average annual temperature in north-eastern China during the time when Yutyrannus roamed was about 10 degrees Celsius.  To put this in perspective, this is approximately the same annual average temperature of Manchester in England or Washington D.C. in the United States.  If Yutyrannus was alive to day it would have been perfectly at home in northern England or indeed on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

It’s all part of Everything Dinosaur’s customer service.

Two New Model Additions to Everything Dinosaur’s Range

Wild Safari Dinos Triceratops and Wild Safari Dinos Smilodon Added

The Wild Safari Dinos model series made by Safari Ltd has been highly praised by model collectors and dinosaur fans alike.  Everything Dinosaur team members are already looking forward to receiving stock of the new for 2015 Wild Safari Dinos models (Gastonia, Yutyrannus, Nasutoceratops and a replica of Archaeopteryx, but in the meantime, the company keeps adding more Safari Ltd models to its inventory.

For example, the Wild Safari Dinos Triceratops and Smilodon models were added this week.

The Wild Safari Dinos Triceratops Model

An excellent replica of a Triceratops.

An excellent replica of a Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Safari Ltd

A spokesperson for the UK based dinosaur model retailer stated:

“This Triceratops figure has been in a lot of our personal collections, we really like the quality of the finish on this particular replica, especially the scaly texture and the folds of skin.  Safari Ltd have really worked hard to provide a top quality Triceratops.”

The Triceratops Model at Everything Dinosaur

One of our favourite Triceratops dinosaur models.

One of our favourite Triceratops dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This horned dinosaur replica certainly has plenty of detail and it is bound to prove very popular amongst our discerning customers.

Joining the Triceratops is the Wild Safari Dinos Smilodon model, a replica of a Sabre-Toothed Cat.  Many of our team members have had the opportunity to visit California to see the excellent Smilodon fossil specimens on display in a number of museums.  We have even got our hands dirty at the famous tar pits of Los Angeles (La Brea), we were delighted to be able to add this model to our range.

The Wild Safari Dinos Smilodon Model

Smilodon fatalis?

Smilodon fatalis?

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

The Smilodon joins the Wild Safari Dinos Mammoth replica and the larger scale model of a Woolly Mammoth (Carnegie Collectibles range) that Everything Dinosaur also stocks.  Perhaps Safari Ltd will add other mammal species to its model portfolio, a Dire Wolf (Canis dirus) or maybe even a prehistoric camel (Camelops hesternus) fossils of both these animals are associated with the Los Angeles fossil site.

To view the range of Safari Ltd models available: Safari Ltd Prehistoric Animal Models

To read an article and to see pictures of the new for 2015 models being introduced by Safari Ltd: New for 2015 Models

How Did Huge Sauropods Manage to Get Along Together?

Dietary Niche Partitioning Amongst the Sauropoda

A team of British scientists have been tackling one of the biggest puzzles in palaeontology and a sophisticated analysis of dinosaur skull bones might just have helped them solve a mystery of gigantic proportions.  Sauropods, that group of long-necked dinosaurs that include such famous creatures as Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus), ate vast quantities of plant material.  These huge animals with many individuals exceeding twenty metres in length and weighing many times more than a bull African elephant, would have been capable of stripping an area of vegetation, but the fossil record shows that in many parts of the world, lots of different species of Sauropod seem to have co-existed.  The scientists, a joint research team from Bristol University and the Natural History Museum (London), propose that Late Jurassic Sauropod skulls became specially adapted to help them feed on different types of plant material.  In this way, the skull morphology helped the long-necked dinosaurs divide up the available food resources between them, therefore limiting the amount of direct competition.

Previous studies had shown that in areas where lots of different species of Sauropods co-existed their body shapes and ability to angle their necks may have allowed the development of different feeding strategies with each species preferring to feed on a particular part of the flora that was available.

Proposed Sauropod Feeding Strategies

Long necks for different feeding envelopes.

Long necks for different feeding envelopes.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the picture above, models made by Safari Ltd help to illustrate current thinking about the feeding adaptations of members of the Sauropoda.  Diplodocids such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus with their very long necks and relatively horizontal feeding platforms probably specialised in feeding on ferns, cycads and plants that made up the vegetative understorey.  Whilst in the middle, dinosaurs such as camarasaurids a member of a different family of Sauropods called the Macronaria could feed on a wider range of plant material, cycads and seed ferns as well as being able to strip leaves off small trees.  The dinosaur in the bottom of the picture is a member of the Brachiosauridae (Brachiosaurus).  These dinosaurs had much longer forelimbs than hindlimbs and as a result, their heads were held much higher.  These dinosaurs probably specialised in feeding from the very tops of the tallest trees, parts of the vegetative canopy not available to other plant-eating dinosaurs (unless they knocked the trees down).  The tree in the picture is an Agathis conifer, a model also made by Safari Ltd.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of prehistoric plant models and dinosaurs (Safari Ltd): Carnegie Collectibles and Wild Safari Dinos Models

A Detailed Model of the Skull of Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus was probably the most common Sauropod living in the western United States during the Late Jurassic.

Camarasaurus was probably the most common Sauropod living in the western United States during the Late Jurassic.

Picture Credit: David Button

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Based on counts of the fossilised bones, Camarasaurus seems to have been the most common of all the different types of Sauropod known from the Morrison Formation.  Perhaps this dinosaur was more of a “generalist” when it came to diet.  A half-way house between the long-necked diplodocids and the giraffe-like brachiosaurids.  An ability to feed on a wide variety of plants, including the tougher plants not available to the likes of Diplodocus and Apatosaurus, could have led to this particular genus of long-necked dinosaur being one of the most successful in the Late Jurassic of the western North America, to the south of the Sundance Sea.”

Building on previous studies, the British team looked specifically at the Sauropod fauna associated with the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the western United States.  At least ten different species of Sauropod are known from this formation, one of the most intensely studied fossiliferous formations in the Americas.  Although the Morrison Formation deposits represent a number of habitats, some of the most famous fossil beds such as those making up the Salt Wash Member indicate that some parts of the Morrison Formation represent deposits laid down in harsh, semi-arid environments, not the sort of place where one might expect vast numbers of different types of Sauropod.  Despite the harsh conditions, the fossil record shows that lots of different Sauropods co-existed.  When the diverse faunas of modern day Africa are considered, these habitats only support one truly huge, extant species – the elephant.  So how did the Sauropods get along with each other?

Bristol University’s PhD student David Button worked in collaboration with the Natural History Museum to examine how the skulls of different long-necked dinosaurs may have been adapted to help them feed on different types of plant.  Digital reconstructions were made of the skulls of Camarasaurus and Diplodocus using data compiled from Computerised tomography (CT scans).  From this data, a biomechanical model of the Camarasaurus skull was created and then this skull was compared to an existing digital model of the Diplodocus.  Finite Element Analysis (FEA), was used to assess the stresses that each skull could take.  FEA analysis is used in engineering to calculate loads and stress bearings in complex shapes, this research showed that the box-like skull of Camarasaurus gave this dinosaur a stronger bite.  Camarasaurus could have coped with tougher vegetation than Diplodocus.  The weaker bite and more delicate skull of Diplodocus would have restricted this animal to softer plant material such as ferns.  Diplodocus could have compensated for this to some extent by using its strong neck muscles to help detach plant material through movements of the head.

David Button concluded:

“Our results show that although neither could chew, the skulls of both dinosaurs were sophisticated cropping tools.  This study indicates that differences in diet between these two dinosaurs would have allowed them to co-exist.”

The research team used a number of biomechanical measurements from other Morrison Formation Sauropods to calculate the different types of feeding adaptations, providing evidence for different diets and overall a conclusion that dietary niche partitioning did occur in the Sauropoda.

Comparing the Skulls of a Typical Camarasaurid and Diplodocid

Analysis of fossil bone helped the researchers determine the size and location of jaw muscles.

Analysis of fossil bone helped the researchers determine the size and location of jaw muscles.

Picture Credit: David Button

In the picture above, the box-like skull of Camarasaurus is shown left (a) with a typical skull of a Diplodocus (b).

Co-author of the scientific paper, which has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology, Professor Emily Rayfield (Bristol University) stated:

“In modern animal communities differences in diet such as this, termed dietary niche partitioning, allow multiple species to co-exist by reducing competition for food.  Although, dietary niche partitioning has been suspected between Morrison Formation Sauropods based on their structural features and patterns of tooth-wear, this is the first study to provide strong, numerical, biomechanical evidence for its presence in a fossil community.”

This new research may help palaeontologists to understand more about how the Sauropoda evolved.  Sauropods from the Dashanpu Quarry region of China dating from the Middle Jurassic may also show similar adaptations over skull morphology and bite strength as reflected in the research done on the slightly later Sauropods from the Morrison Formation.

In addition, this analysis may help scientists to unravel the mechanisms responsible for supporting the high diversities of mega-herbivores found in other Mesozoic and Cenozoic animal populations, particularly those in resource limited environments.

For related articles on Sauropod feeding strategies:

Ostrich Necks Provide Clues to Sauropod Neck Flexibility

Diplodocus Feeding – a biter or a comber?

Evidence for Seasonal Migrations Amongst Camarasaurids

A Review of the Collecta Bistahieversor Model

The Collecta Bistahieversor Model Reviewed

New for 2014 from Collecta in their not-to-scale prehistoric animal model series is this replica of Bistahieversor (pronounced Bis-tar-hee-eh-ver-sore), a member of the Tyrannosaur family  from New Mexico and distantly related to the much more famous T. rex  this is Everything Dinosaur’s review of this dinosaur replica.

The Collecta Bistahieversor Dinosaur Model

New for Summer 2014

New for Summer 2014

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

During the Late Cretaceous much of North America was covered by a huge sea.  This was called the Western Interior Seaway and it stretched from what is now the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.  The landmasses that bordered this inland sea were dominated by dinosaurs and what scientists are now recognising is that despite the mix of dinosaurs in the north and the south being very similar – Ceratopsians, Lambeosaurines, ankylosaurids, tyrannosaurids and so forth, the genera and species making up those faunas differed markedly across North America.  What you have is distinct regional ecosystems.  What we term “provinciality” and you can explore lots of articles about this on the Everything Dinosaur web log.

To read an article about the regional diversity of horned dinosaurs in North America: A Surge in Mountain Building May Have Led to Dinosaur Diversification

Bistahieversor fossils come from the oldest part of the Kirtland Formation, exposed in New Mexico, strata dating to around 74.5 million years ago.  Isolated teeth very typical of a large Tyrannosaur had been found for many years and these were thought to represent types of Tyrannosaur known from fossilised bones found in Montana and Alberta (Canada) in the north.  A partial skull found in 1990 was associated with Tyrannosaur fossil material from Montana, (potentially Daspletosaurus), but gradually as more body fossils were discovered in this part of the San Juan Basin, it was realised that these fossils represented the remains of a distinct southern genus of tyrannosaurid.  Following a review in 2010, the genus Bistahieversor (B. sealeyi) was established.

The name means “Bistahi Destroyer”, the genus honours the local Navajo indian population, the word “Bisti” means “place of the adobe formations” in the local dialect.  The trivial name honours museum volunteer Paul Sealey, who found the fossils of an adult animal in 1997.

The Collecta model stands on a base, it is the second , large Tyrannosaur model in the not-to-scale series to be placed on a base, the first being the modified T. rex with prey replica.  It is a very striking pose, the skin texture has been finished to give the impression of a shaggy, feathery coat.  Here is a model of a feathered Tyrannosaur reflecting the very latest in Theropd interpretation and part of a trend for more feathered dinosaur models, which we know is going to continue into 2015 and beyond.

The body proportions are based on what is known from the fossil material, particularly the adult specimen discovered in 1997, by Paul Sealey.  The skull sports a distinctive cranial crest and this has been further augmented by the model makers with the addition of a tuft of shaggy, black and white proto-feathers.  The crest on the skull may have been synonymous with a mature adult animal as no evidence for a crest was found on the fossilised skull of a juvenile which was discovered two years earlier (1995).

Like all the Collecta replicas, this is a beautiful model with a well-crafted paint regime consisting of tawny, black and white stripes which contrast nicely with the cream coloured belly.  Even the base has lots of detail, the feet seem to sink into the base to give the impression of a heavy animal walking across soft sand.

A Model of a Tyrannosaur Named in 2010

One of our field rulers provides scale.

One of our field rulers provides scale.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This model measures around 13cm in length.  Based on an adult animal being around 8.5 metres we estimate that this replica is in approximately 1:65 scale.  The powerful animal with its strong tail and robust skull probably weighed around 2.5 tonnes and it was very likely the apex predator in the coastal plain habitat found to the south of the Western Interior Seaway.

This is a beautifully crafted, hand-painted replica of  Bistahieversor, a dinosaur that was only named and scientifically described back in 2010.  It is an exciting addition to the Collecta range of prehistoric animal models and it is great to see more tyrannosaurids represented, especially feathered ones.

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

Venezuela’s Second Dinosaur – Tachiraptor

Tachiraptor admirabilis – Tracing the Origins of the Big Theropods

Venezuelan dinosaurs must be a bit like buses, you wait for years for one to come along and then two arrive almost simultaneously.  Back in August of this year, we reported on the discovery of Venezuela’s first ever dinosaur, a small, plant-eater from the very Early Jurassic.  This dinosaur was named Laquintasaura venezuelae and it was the first dinosaur named from the north of South America.  Two months later and a second paper about a new Venezuelan dinosaur, this time a meat-eater, is about to be published.  Say hello to Tachiraptor, a bipedal, fast-running carnivore that may very well have been a predator Laquintasaura.

An Artists Impression of Tachiraptor Attacking Laquintasaura

A carnivorous Tachiraptor attacks a flock of Laquintasaura dinosaurs.

A carnivorous Tachiraptor attacks a flock of Laquintasaura dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Maurílio Oliveira

The illustration above shows the fearsome, newly described Theropod Tachiraptor attacking a small flock of primitive, Ornithopod dinosaurs (Laquintasaura), whilst a couple of alarmed Rhamphorhynchid Pterosaurs take flight.

To read more about Laquintasaura: Laquintasaura – What Does it All Mean?

The artist has chosen to illustrate both the dinosaurs in the picture as feathered creatures.  During the Early Jurassic, around 200 million years ago, approximately the time that both Tachiraptor and Laquintasaura lived, Venezuela was close to the equator.  The sandstone deposits in which the fossils were found indicate a flood plain environment.  This flood plain was surrounded by harsh, inhospitable deserts that probably did not support much vertebrate life.  Day temperatures would have been high, but just like many desert areas close to the equator today, at night, temperatures would have plummeted.  Relatively small animals like Tachiraptor and the even smaller Laquintasaura may have sported a coat of insulating feathers to help keep them warm.  A recent dinosaur discovery from Siberia (Kulindadromeus), suggests that many early types of dinosaur may have been feathered, although no fossil evidence for feathers in both Laquintasaura and Tachiraptor has been found (as far as we at Everything Dinosaur know), it seems reasonable at this point to depict these Early Jurassic members of the Dinosauria as feathered.

To read more about the discovery of Kulindadromeus: Information on Early Feathered Dinosaurs

If Laquintasaura has been described as being about the size of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), then to keep the canine motif, the predatory Tachiraptor may have been around the size of a grey wolf (Canis lupis), with a total length of 1.5 metres.  The size estimate is based on the two fossil bones ascribed to this genus discovered so far.  The fossils represent lower leg bones from two individuals, the research team responsible for the excavation and study of this new Theropod (Universidade de São Paulo), Brazil found the bones back in 2013 in the same cutting between the towns of La Grita and Seboruco where the fossils of Laquintasaura had been found.  Tachiraptor admirabilis honours the Venezuelan state of Táchira, the species name is in commemoration of the 1813 campaign led by Simón Bolívar to form a republic (known in Spanish as the Campaña Admirable – admirable campaign).

Tachiraptor – The Name Means “Robber of Táchira”

An agile, lithe predatory dinosaur.

An agile, lithe predatory dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dr. Max Cardoso Langer, of the palaeontology department of São Paulo University, one of the scientists involved with this study, explained that the fossil material consisted of a tibia and a second lower leg bone that was fragmented.  However, the locality and morphology of these scrappy fossils gave the research team the confidence to assign a new genus.  Although the exact taxonomic affinity within the Theropoda could not be established as the fossils date from the Hettangian faunal stage, it was most likely a basal Theropod.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“Very little is known about the dinosaurs that lived in the very Early Jurassic.  When Tachiraptor and Laquintasaura roamed Venezuela some 200 million years ago, the world was recovering from a mass extinction event.  The fossils of these two dinosaurs will help palaeontologists to understand better the implications for the Dinosauria after the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction.”

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