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12 05, 2017

Popular Palaeontologist to Present at Prestigious Science Festival

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

Dean Lomax Presenting at Cheltenham Science Festival

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

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

Dean Lomax (palaeontologist) studies Ichthyosaur fossils.

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

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

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

A Fossil Detective Exploring Deep Time

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

Dean explained:

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

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

Dean Lomax and Judy Massare examining Ichthyosaur specimens.

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

Picture Credit: Dean Lomax

“Jurassic Britain” – Dinosaurs and Ichthyosaurs

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

Dean added:

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

Monster Marine Reptiles from Somerset (I. somersetensis)

Ichthyosaurus somersetensis holotype.

ANSP 15766, holotype specimen of Ichthyosaurus somersetensis.

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

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

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

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

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

“Dinosaurs of the British Isles”

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

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

11 05, 2017

“Baby Louie” Dinosaur Fossil Identified as New Species

By | May 11th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A New Species of Giant Oviraptorosaur – Beibeilong sinensis

The mystery of the world’s largest dinosaur eggs has been solved, and an infamous baby dinosaur fossil once the property of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, now has a family.  In 1993, a fossilised clutch of giant dinosaur eggs and an associated embryo dinosaur skeleton was discovered east of the small village of Zhaoying, close to the township of Yangcheng, Xixia County, in western Henan Province.  Like many thousands of dinosaur egg fossils found in this part of central China, the specimen was illegally sold overseas to a buyer in America.  The fossil was then sold to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 2001.  Subsequently, the partial nest with the small, articulated dinosaur skeleton, nick-named “Baby Louie”, was repatriated to China and it is currently housed in the Henan Geological Museum.

In a paper this week in “Nature Communications”, researchers which include Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary) and Professor Phil Currie (University of Alberta), have identified a new species of giant Oviraptorosaur – “Baby Louie” represents potentially one of the largest feathered creatures known to science.

The dinosaur has been named Beibeilong sinensis, the name means “baby dragon from China”.

Photographs of the Holotype Fossil Material (Beibeilong sinensis)

Beibeilong sinensis egg fossils with impression of egg size and position overlaid.

Right image shows schematic overlay of approximate locations of individual eggs. Eggs 1 through 4 are in an upper layer just beneath the skeleton, whereas egg 5 is in a lower layer of the block. Scale bar is in centimetres.

Picture Credit: Nature Communications/Darla Zelenitsky

The picture above shows two images of the holotype nest fossil from which the new species of dinosaur, B. sinensis was described.  The picture on the left shows the fossil material with the embryo fossil located just below the scale bar.  On the second photograph, the location of five of the eggs making up the clutch have been superimposed on the fossil to give an indication of their position.

Giant Dinosaur Eggs

The eggs were given their own oogenus, Macroelongatoolithus (the name means “large elongate stone eggs”).  These are the largest-known type of dinosaur eggs with some fossils measuring around sixty centimetres in length.  The eggs associated with the Beibeilong embryo measure about forty-five centimetres long.   That’s about three times as long as a typical Ostrich egg (Struthio camelus), although Ostrich eggs are more ovoid in shape.  The research team suggest that the dinosaurs which laid these eggs, giant caenagnathid Oviraptorosaurs, created nests that may have been around three metres in diameter.

An Artist’s Illustration of the Giant Oviraptorosaur Beibeilong sinensis

Beibeilong nesting scene.

A breeding pair of Beibeilong dinosaurs and their nest of giant dinosaur eggs.

 Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

The Gigantoraptor Effect

The discovery of the giant fragmentary fossils of a strange Theropod (Gigantoraptor erlianensis) in 2005 changed views on the Oviraptorosauria clade forever.  When formally described in 2007, Gigantoraptor was at least five times bigger than any other known oviraptorid.  Palaeontologists had proof that giant, beaked dinosaurs existed.

To read about the discovery of Gigantoraptor: New Giant Member of the Oviraptorosauria – Gigantoraptor

Beibeilong becomes the second genus of giant members of the Oviraptorosauria.  If “Baby Louie” had lived, then this dinosaur might have reached a length of eight metres or more and it would have easily weighed more than a tonne.  Beibeilong has been assigned to the Caenagnathidae, an enigmatic group of beaked Theropods closely related to the Oviraptoridae and nested with them into the Oviraptorosauria clade.

A Scale Drawing of a Giant Caenagnathid Oviraptorosaur (G. erlianensis)

Gigantoraptor scale drawing.

The largest feathered animals known to science.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Originally, the Caenagnathidae family was erected to describe, what was thought at the time, a lineage of extinct birds.  Over the last thirty years or so, more fossil discoveries have been made in North America and Asia.  When first described Gigantoraptor was thought to be a member of the Oviraptoridae, however, Gigantoraptor is now joined in the Caenagnathidae by perhaps, the equally large Beibeilong.

An Abundance of Giant Dinosaur Egg Fossils

The Beibeilong material was excavated from strata from the Gaogou Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Cenomanian to Turonian faunal stages).  The research team suggest that Beibeilong roamed central China some ninety million years ago, twenty million years earlier than Gigantoraptor.  An abundance of Macroelongatoolithus eggs reported from Asia and North America is in stark contrast to the very few bones found of giant caenagnathids.  Thanks to the association between “Baby Louie” and the giant eggs, the first known association between skeletal remains and eggs of caenagnathids, palaeontologists are confident that these giant, beaked dinosaurs may have been relatively common throughout the northern hemisphere during the Late Cretaceous.

A View of the Dinosaur Embryo Skeleton (Beibeilong sinensis) and Accompanying Line Drawing

Beibeilong fossil and line drawing.

“Baby Louie” fossil (Beibeilong sinensis) and line drawing – scale bar = 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Nature Communications/Darla Zelenitsky

The picture above shows a close view of the embryo skeleton (left) and a simplified line drawing highlighting important bones.

Key

fr = frontal bone (skull), or = orbit (skull), lj = lower jaw, d = dentary, fi = fibula, ti – tibia, il= ilium, f = femur.

9 05, 2017

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Papo Ceratosaurus

By | May 9th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Papo Ceratosaurus Video Review

Those clever and talented people at JurassicCollectables have posted up another dinosaur model review onto their YouTube channel.  This time it is the stunning new for 2017 Papo Ceratosaurus in the spotlight.    The Papo Ceratosaurus is one of six new dinosaurs or repainted dinosaurs being added to the Papo range this year and it has attracted praise from many model forums and collecting communities, it is a fantastic model of the Late Jurassic predator.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Papo Ceratosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Jurassic Collectables

Ceratosaurus Takes Centre Stage

In this video, which lasts a little over four minutes, the narrator takes the viewer on a guided tour of this excellent figure.  Starting with a detailed examination of the skull and that articulated lower jaw, the spokesperson for JurassicCollectables comments on the use of various washes to add detail and the careful choice of paints as well as highlighting how nicely sculpted the digits and claws are.  In a lot of the artwork that depicts Theropod dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation of the western United States, it is often the larger Allosaurus that is given centre stage, a case in point being the David Bonadonna artwork that accompanied our article (May 5th), on the new diplodocid Galeamopus pabsti.*

With the introduction of the Papo Ceratosaurus dinosaur model, Ceratosaurus is likely to gain in popularity, especially amongst dedicated collectors, who perhaps may not have heard a lot about this Late Jurassic Theropod.

The Papo Ceratosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Ceratosaurus model.

Papo Ceratosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Several Species within the Ceratosaurus Genus

A number of species have been assigned to the Ceratosaurus genus, including a species from Portugal and a tentative assignment after fossil material was discovered in Tanzania.  The large skull in proportion to the body size has been captured in this Papo replica and the JurassicCollectables video review provides plenty of scope for viewers to study this replica from a variety of angles.  Those bony ridges (extensions of the lacrimal bones), are shown in close-up view and the narrator takes care to discuss the paintwork associated with the dermal armour that runs down the back and the flanks.

The New for 2017 Papo Ceratosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Ceratosaurus.

The Papo Ceratosaurus dinosaur figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Scale Comparisons with Other Papo Models

A feature of the video reviews from JurassicCollectables are the size comparisons undertaken using other well-known prehistoric animals.  Naturally, “off-colour Alan” is on hand to help out and in this video, the 2016 Papo Kaprosuchus along with a Papo Velociraptor figure are used to provide an indication of the size of the Ceratosaurus.  For good measure, the recently reviewed Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model is filmed next to the Papo Ceratosaurus.  It is great to see these highly collectable figures shown in this way.

The JurassicCollectables YouTube channel is jam-packed with hundreds of amazing and very informative dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos.  Everything Dinosaur recommends subscribing to this really well managed channel: Find JurassicCollectables on YouTube Here

Papo’s “Les Dinosaures” Model Range

Although, Papo has chosen not to create scale models, their range of prehistoric animal figures is increasingly rapidly.  In addition, to the models already introduced this year, Everything Dinosaur is expecting stocks of the new Dimorphodon, Cave Bear, Smilodon and the Cryolophosaurus dinosaur to arrive shortly.  In terms of Theropods (not including models of birds), Papo currently offers nearly a dozen Theropods and several variations of the most popular carnivorous dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex.  There are plans to add yet more in the late autumn, (more about this nearer the time).  For the moment, we shall watch the JurassicCollectables Papo Ceratosaurus video review once more.

To the full range of Papo prehistoric animals including the Papo Ceratosaurus model on Everything Dinosaur’s website: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

*To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on Galeamopus pabstiWhipping Up Interest in Whiplash Dinosaurs

8 05, 2017

Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough

By | May 8th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Famous Figures, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Sir David Attenborough 91 Today

Happy birthday Sir David Attenborough!  Sir David Attenborough is ninety-one years’ young today.

Many Happy Returns Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has inspired so many.

Although not as active as he was, Sir David continues to take a great interest in natural history and science projects around the world and today, we at Everything Dinosaur take time out to honour this naturalist and broadcaster who has done so much to raise the profile of the natural world.

Over the last twelve months or so, Everything Dinosaur have published a number of articles inspired by Sir David.  For example, back in August, we wrote about a pocket-sized marsupial lion that had been named in honour of the English broadcaster: Attenborough’s New Kitty.

More recently, in March of this year, we wrote about the naming of a new species of Silurian Arthropod that had been also be named in Sir David’s honour: Newly Described Silurian Fossil Honours Sir David Attenborough

Our very best wishes to you Sir, we hope you enjoy your birthday.

5 05, 2017

Whipping Up Interest in Whiplash Dinosaurs

By | May 5th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

New Species of Diplodocid Dinosaur – Galeamopus pabsti

Writing in the academic journal “Peer J”, palaeontologists Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), have identified a new species of diplodocid dinosaur within the Galeamopus genus.  The fossils, which come from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, specifically the Howe-Scott Quarry in the northern Bighorn Basin in Wyoming, (USA), further demonstrate the diversity of Sauropods associated with the Late Jurassic fauna of western North America.

A New Species of Diplodocid Dinosaur

Galeamopus pabsti illustrated.

A life reconstruction of G. pabsti.

Picture Credit: Davide Bonadonna with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Excavation began in 1995, by a Swiss field team led by palaeontologists Dr Hans-Jakob ‘Kirby’ Siber and Dr Ben Pabst (The Dinosaur Museum (Sauriermuseum) in Aathal, Switzerland).  The trivial name, honours Dr Pabst in recognition of his contribution to dinosaur fossil preparation and exhibition mounting.  This is the second member of the Galeamopus genus to be identified, the first species G. hayi, was erected in 2015, when Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus, along with colleagues from Oxford University and the Raymond M. Alf, Museum of Palaeontology, (Claremont, California, USA), published a paper that resurrected the genus Brontosaurus following an extensive review of the Diplodocidae.

For an article on the 2015 paper: The Return of Brontosaurus

Nearly Complete Fossil Specimen Just Missing the Tail

Importantly, much of the skull, although broken apart, was collected along with around the majority of the anterior portion of the skeleton.  The presence of fossilised wood and freshwater bivalves indicated that this individual had come to rest in a stream channel.  The skull has helped to assign a new species within the Galeamopus genus and the robust limb bones, such as the very sturdy upper arm bone (humerus), helps to distinguish the Galeamopus genus from the more gracile and slender Diplodocus.

Dr Emanuel Tschopp, who holds a number of academic posts including a position at the University of Turin, commented that the bones represent a young adult and that this dinosaur could have reached lengths in excess of twenty-seven metres.  Bite marks on the ribs and shed Theropod teeth found in association with the bones suggest that the dinosaur’s carcase was scavenged before it was finally buried.

A Late Jurassic Scene – Galeamopus pabsti Scavenged by Theropods

Scavenging the carcase of Galeamopus.

The carcase of Galeamopus is scavenged by an Allosaurus whilst two smaller Ceratosaurus approach warily.

Picture Credit: Davide Bonadonna

Dr Tschopp stated:

“Diplodocids are among the best-known Sauropod dinosaurs.  Numerous specimens of currently fifteen accepted species belonging to ten genera have been reported from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous of North and South America, Europe, and Africa.  However, the highest diversity is known from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the western United States, a recent review [the 2015 paper] recognised twelve valid, named species, and possibly three additional, yet unnamed ones.”

A View of the Reconstructed Skull of Galeamopus pabsti

Diplodocid skull (G. pabsti).

A right lateral view of the reconstructed skull of G. pabsti.

Picture Credit: Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus

Although, the tail bones are missing, the scientists are confident that like all the other diplodocids, Galeamopus pabsti had a long tail, which in this case, represents more than half of the animal’s total body length.  This long whip-like tail may have been used to help herd members keep in contact with each other or perhaps it had a role in defence.  If attacked these dinosaurs might have lashed out with their tails, or perhaps moved them so quickly that they would have made a sonic boom (breaking the sound barrier).

4 05, 2017

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Papo Acrocanthosaurus

By | May 4th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Papo Acrocanthosaurus Video Review

When the new for 2017 Papo prehistoric animal models were first announced, great excitement was generated around the introduction of a large Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.  Dinosaur fans and model collectors who have been lucky enough to pick up this model already, have raved about its quality.  Now viewers of the very informative JurassicCollectables YouTube channel can see what all the fuss was about, as a video review of this dinosaur replica has been posted up by JurassicCollectables.

The JurassicCollectables Video Review of the New for 2017 Papo Acrocanthosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

The Papo model range continues to go from strength to strength and the JurassicCollectables video shows the quality of the paintwork and attention to detail on this model.  In this short video, which is just a fraction under five minutes in length, the narrator talks us through the features that have made this particular Papo model a “must have”.

Praise for the Camera Work

The camera work should be praised as this video provides some excellent close-up views of this Acrocanthosaurus, including the superb detail that can be found on the interior of the mouth, which as the narrator comments, has been lovingly sculpted.  Even the side of the jaw shows attention to detail with scales carefully depicted.

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

The Papo Acrocanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the video, the narrator comments on the excellent colour tones and skin texture seen in this Papo model.  The dynamic pose is discussed and this is compared to the Papo standing Tyrannosaurus rex replica, which also provides a good size comparison.  The wash on the feet and hands is noted, as is the care and attention to detail when it came to painting individual scales along the flanks.  As well as a regular appearance by “off-colour Alan”, an impression of size is given when the Papo Acrocanthosaurus is compared with the 2016 Papo Kaprosuchus prehistoric crocodile.  Just like the Papo Kaprosuchus, the Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model also has an articulated jaw.

The JurassicCollectables YouTube channel has amassed over 54,000 subscribers and is home to some 700 dinosaur and prehistoric animal inspired videos.

Everything Dinosaur recommends dinosaur and model fans to visit JurassicCollectables on YouTube and to subscribe: JurassicCollectables on YouTube

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis

Named and described in 1950, Acrocanthosaurus (A. atokensis) is regarded as one of the largest Theropod dinosaurs known from the Aptian and early Albian faunal stages of the Cretaceous.  Fossils of this huge meat-eater have been found in Oklahoma, Texas and Maryland (USA).  In addition, other fragmentary fossils and some trace fossils from other U.S. States have been assigned to this genus.

Everything Dinosaur Photographed the Papo Acrocanthosaurus Prior to its Formal Launch

A view of the Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.

Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Papo Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model and the rest of the excellent Papo “Les Dinosaures” model range: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

Our thanks once again to JurassicCollectables for producing such an informative video.

3 05, 2017

The Last Dinosaur from Africa

By | May 3rd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Chenanisaurus barbaricus – Substantial Abelisaurid from Late Cretaceous Morocco

One of the last types of dinosaur to have existed in north Africa has been described in a new scientific paper published in the journal “Cretaceous Research”.  A fragment of jaw bone (dentary) and isolated teeth discovered in a phosphate mine at Sidi Chennane in the Oulad Abdoun Basin, (Morocco), has enabled scientists to identify a new species of abelisaurid.  The dinosaur, named Chenanisaurus barbaricus may belong to an as-yet undescribed family of Abelisaurs unique to Africa.

An Illustration of the Late Cretaceous Abelisaurid Chenanisaurus barbaricus

Chenanisaurus barbaricus illustration.

An illustration of Chenanisaurus barbaricus.

Picture Credit: University of Bath with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

A Blunt Snout with an Unusually Short and Robust Jaw

Analysis of the fragment of dentary, along with the associated teeth, indicates that the jaw of this dinosaur was very short, even for an abelisaurid.  The morphology of the jaw is described as being even more extreme than that seen in other abelisaurids such as Carnotaurus.  Extensive wear on the teeth suggests hypercarnivory (diet consisting of more than 70 percent meat), Chenanisaurus was around 7-8 metres in length and it may have been an apex predator within the Late Cretaceous ecosystem.

A Photograph Showing Two Views of the Jaw Fragment

Jaw fragment fossil C. barbaricus.

Jaw fragment fossil (labial and buccal view).

Picture Credit: University of Bath

Marine Deposits from a Phosphate Mine

Lead author of the scientific paper, Dr Nick Longrich (Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath), along with colleagues from Morocco, France, and Spain studied the jaw fossil and teeth that had been found in 66 million-year-old strata in a phosphate mine located in northern Morocco.  Dinosaur fossils from the end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian faunal stage) are exceptionally rare in north Africa.  Rising sea levels had isolated Africa as the super-continent of Gondwana continued to break up and from about 95 million years onwards, much of the former terrestrial habitat of the Dinosauria in north Africa was lost to the sea.

Commenting on the rarity of the fossil find, Dr Longrich stated:

“This find was unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks – it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales, and finding a fossil lion.  It’s an incredibly rare find – almost like winning the lottery.  But the phosphate mines are so rich, it’s like buying a million lottery tickets, so we actually have a chance to find rare dinosaurs like this one.”

Confirming a Distinct African Terrestrial Fauna

Not only was Chenanisaurus barbaricus one of the last dinosaurs to roam our planet, its discovery supports the idea of a distinct north African terrestrial fauna towards the end of the Age of Dinosaurs.  During the Maastrichtian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous, horned dinosaurs and hadrosaurids were the most common and specious large, plant-eating dinosaurs in North America and Asia, whereas a different group of dinosaurs dominated terrestrial ecosystems in South America, India and Madagascar (Titanosauriformes and abelisaurids).  In North America and Asia, the dominant, apex predators were Tyrannosaurs.

In 2004, a paper published in the “Journal of African Earth Studies”, provided details of a right hindlimb (femur, tibia and fibula), that had been found in phosphate deposits near the town of Khouribga (central Morocco).  Just like Chenanisaurus, these fossils date from approximately 66 million years ago and were also found in marine rocks.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur are not aware of a new genus having been established as a result of the discovery of the leg bones, but their presence in the rocks does indicate that titanosaurids survived in north Africa until the very end of the Cretaceous.  These fossils along with the Chenanisaurus material suggests the persistence of a classic Gondwanan abelisaurid/titanosaurid fauna in mainland Africa right up to end- Cretaceous extinction event.

Tyrannosaurid versus Abelisaurid Distribution

Abelisaurid versus tyrannosaurid distribution.

Tyrannosaurid versus abelisaurid distribution.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Key

Tyrannosaurids = green

Abelisaurids = brown

The picture above shows a general distribution of apex predatory dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous, with the exception of southern Europe, tyrannosaurids dominated the apex predator positions in Laurasia, whilst the abelisaurids dominated in the regions that made up Gondwana.

Phylogenetic analysis undertaken by the research team suggests that Chenanisaurus may represent a lineage of abelisaurids that is distinct from those previously described from the latest Cretaceous of South America, Indo-Madagascar, and Europe, consistent with the hypothesis that the fragmentation of Gondwana led to the evolution of endemic dinosaur faunas during the Late Cretaceous.

Dr Longrich added:

“We have virtually no dinosaur fossils from this time period in Morocco, it may even be the first dinosaur named from the end-Cretaceous of Africa.  It’s also one of the last dinosaurs in Africa before the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.  It is an exciting find because it shows just how different the fauna was in the southern hemisphere at this time.”

2 05, 2017

Basal Brachiosaurids – Vouivria damparisensis

By | May 2nd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

French Revolution for the Brachiosauridae

This week there have been a number of papers published announcing newly described dinosaurs.  In time, we will get around to writing about several of them, but first, let’s take a look at the basal brachiosaurid Vouivria damparisensis, which has been described from fossil material representing a single animal that was first discovered back in 1934.

Earliest Relative of Brachiosaurus from north-eastern France

Vouivria damparisensis (brachiosaurid).

A newly described basal brachiosaurid Vouivria damparisensis.

Picture Credit: Imperial College London

Writing in the journal “Peer J”, lead author Dr Philip Mannion (Dept. of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College, London) and his co-workers Ronan Allain (Natural History Museum, Paris) and Oliver Moine (Laboratory of Physical Geography, CNRS / University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), propose that these fossils represent the earliest known brachiosaurid, a family of dinosaurs that include such well-known animals as Brachiosaurus and Giraffatitan.  However, despite the high profile (no pun intended), of “arm lizard” in particular, surprisingly, very little is known about the evolution of these Sauropods, Vouivria helps to fill in some significant gaps.

A Photograph of a Dorsal Vertebra from Vouivria damparisensis

A back bone of Vouivria.

A dorsal vertebra of Vouivria.

Picture Credit: Peer J

The picture above shows a bone from the spine of V. damparisensis.  The bone comes from the front part of the dorsal vertebrae, (A) left lateral view, (B) right lateral view, (C) anterior view; (D) ventral view. Scale bar equals five centimetres.

Middle/Late Oxfordian Sauropod

The Brachiosauridae seem to have had their heyday in the Late Jurassic, Vouivria is important as relatively few Sauropods are known from rocks of this age.  Most Sauropod fossils from the Jurassic are associated with rocks that were laid down in the latter stages of this geological period, namely during the Kimmeridgian–Tithonian faunal stages.  Vouivria damparisensis comes from strata that is several million years older, having lived around 160 – 158 million years ago.  In addition, it is known from relatively complete remains. Contrast this with the UK’s Late Jurassic Sauropod fossil material, in particular the likes of Duriatitan (D. humerocristatus), which like Vouivria, has been assigned to the Titanosauriformes, the clade of long-necked dinosaurs to which the Brachiosauridae family belongs.  Duriatitan is known from a single fossil bone (left femur) and this fossil, which comes from Dorset, was found in rocks that are believed to be about four million years younger than the rocks in which Vouivria was discovered.

At an estimated 15 tonnes and some 15 metres in length, Vouivria was a sizeable beast.  It is likely that this dinosaur fed on the upper storeys of pine trees and Araucaria, using its long neck to reach parts of trees that other herbivorous dinosaurs could not reach.

An Illustration of a Typical Brachiosaurid

Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

A colourful Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Revolutionising the Brachiosauridae Family Tree

The researchers were able to conduct an analysis of the Brachiosauridae family tree and an assessment of the evolutionary relationships indicates that by the Early Cretaceous, brachiosaurids were restricted to Africa and the United States.  They were probably extinct in Europe.

Furthermore, the team were able to postulate that fossils that most likely represent brachiosaurids are only known from the USA, Africa and western Europe.  Previously, studies examining the fossils of another long-necked dinosaur, Padillasaurus (P. leivaensis), from Lower Cretaceous rocks of Columbia, had suggested that Padillasaurus was a brachiosaurid.  The detailed description of Vouivria casts doubt on this suggesting that Padillasaurus was not a member of the Brachiosauridae and that as a result brachiosaurids remain unknown from South America.  Padillasaurus is placed within the Somphospondyli, another clade of Titanosauriformes, related to the brachiosaurids, but one with a much more global distribution.

A Modified Map Showing the Original Location of the Fossil Bones at the Dig Site

The layout of the bones of Vouivria.

A map showing the position of the bones at the original dig site.

Peer J modified from Dorlodot (1934)

Building upon the original 1934 description (Dorlodot) and the subsequent reassessment of the fossil material Lapparent (1943), before the fossil material was confined to storage, the researchers have provided a valuable insight into the radiation and geographical spread of brachiosaurids.  The current fossil evidence suggests that this type of Sauropod spanned the Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) through to the Late Albian/Early Cenomanian of the Cretaceous.  The last of the brachiosaurids lived in what is now known as the United States and it is likely that by the earliest Late Cretaceous (approximately 98 million years ago), the Brachiosauridae were extinct.

A Better Understanding of the Palaeoenvironment 

The scientific paper provides a better understanding of how the remains of the dinosaur were preserved.  During this period of Earth’s history, much of what we now know as western Europe consisted of a series of low-lying tropical islands.  The earlier studies had concluded that as the rocks in which this dinosaur was found originally come from a coastal environment, then the corpse of Vouivria was probably washed out to sea.  More detailed analysis of the surround rocks and sediments tell a different story.  The researchers conclude that Vouivria died in a lagoon, a habitat that existed during a brief decline in sea levels.  When sea levels rose again, the carcase was buried.

Commenting on the importance of these fossils, lead author of the study Dr Philip Mannion (Imperial College London), stated:

“We don’t know what this creature died from, but millions of years later it is providing important evidence to help us understand in more detail the evolution of brachiosaurid Sauropods and a much bigger group of dinosaurs that they belonged to, called Titanosauriformes.”

1 05, 2017

Everything Dinosaur to Stock Mojo Models

By | May 1st, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Adds Mojo Models

Everything Dinosaur is to add Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” models to the company’s already extensive product range.  The Mojo models are scheduled to go live on the Everything Dinosaur website in the middle of May, around week commencing 15th May.  JurassicCollectables exclusively revealed that Mojo models were coming to Everything Dinosaur in a recent unboxing video posted up on their YouTube channel.

Unboxing 2017 Prehistoric Animal Models Including Some Mojo Models

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

In this short, ten-minute video, the narrator discusses the contents of the latest parcel of prehistoric animals to be sent from Everything Dinosaur to JurassicCollectables – new for 2017 Papo models, the first batch of the 2017 CollectA replicas and in a scoop for this excellent YouTube channel, JurassicCollectables was able to reveal that the Mojo range had been added to Everything Dinosaur’s product portfolio.  The Mojo dinosaur models include Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Spinosaurus and a new for 2017 Allosaurus.

Mojo Models Coming to Everything Dinosaur

Mojo dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models

Formed in 2009, Mojo has created an exciting range of animal and fantasy figures.  In 2016, many of their existing models were given makeovers and new paint schemes ready for a re-launch this year.  In addition, a number of new sculpts and prototypes were prepared in order to expand the company’s product range.  Everything Dinosaur will be bringing into stock all thirty-one of the models in Mojo’s “Prehistoric and Extinct” animal model range, including the quite rare and hard to get prehistoric mammals such as the excellent Deinotherium model seen in the JurassicCollectables unboxing video.

In addition, new for 2017 Mojo dinosaurs will be available from Everything Dinosaur, including the wonderful Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex hunting (red) replica which led the narrator in the JurassicCollectables video to exclaim:

“The detail on this looks absolutely stunning” and “This looks amazing!”

The New for 2017 Mojo Hunting Tyrannosaurus rex (red colour)

Mojo hunting Tyrannosaurus rex.

Mojo hunting T. rex dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two versions of the large, hunting T. rex model will be available from Everything Dinosaur, the Mojo hunting T. rex (red) see picture above and JurassicCollectables video, plus a green version of this dinosaur model.  In total, there will be six new Tyrannosaurus rex models, including a juvenile replica and a 1:40 scale T. rex.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We have been most impressed by the way that the Mojo range has developed and we are delighted to be able to add these new replicas to our inventory.  In particular, it is great to see some of the more unusual prehistoric and extinct creatures featured.  For example, we will be adding the re-painted Hyaenodon gigas plus the entelodont Daeodon and the exquisite Brontotherium model to our product range.”

The JurassicCollectables unboxing video certainly highlights the quality of the prehistoric animals currently available and we look forward to viewing individual model reviews on the YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables provides an extensive library of informative prehistoric animal model reviews, if you have not already subscribed to this extremely professional channel then we at Everything Dinosaur, encourage you to do so.

Visit the JurassicCollectables YouTube channel: View JurassicCollectables on YouTube and Subscribe

To visit the Everything Dinosaur models section of the website: Prehistoric Animal Models

29 04, 2017

Japan’s Most Complete Dinosaur Discovery

By | April 29th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Late Cretaceous Hadrosaur “Japan’s Greatest Dinosaur Fossil Find”

Scientists for Hokkaido University and Hobetsu Museum have announced the discovery of the fossilised remains of a Late Cretaceous duck-billed dinosaur.  In truth, a number of fragmentary fossils relating to a dinosaur had been found some years earlier, most notably caudal vertebrae (tail bones), before a more detailed and larger scale excavation was carried out to determine just how much of the dinosaur skeleton laid buried on a steep slope forming part of the large hills on the island of Hokkaido.

Many hundreds of hours of fieldwork later and some six tons of material have been removed containing one hundred and ninety fossils which represent the remains of an eight-metre-long hadrosaurid.  The fossils of this duck-billed dinosaur are the largest and most complete dinosaur discovery from Japan.  In a country where understatement tends to be the norm, some commentators have stated that the discovery of these fossils represent “one of the greatest discoveries in Japanese dinosaur research history.”

A Photograph Taken in 2013 Showing the Position of the Dig Site

Digging up the dinosaur bones (Hokkaido, Japan).

The outcrop on the steep slope where the fossilised remains of the duck-billed dinosaur were found on Hokkaido (Japan).

Picture Credit: Hobetsu Museum

Found in Marine Deposits

The hadrosaurid bones were found in the marine deposits of the Upper Cretaceous Hakobuchi Formation.  These sediments represent continental shelf strata, with a water depth of anything from 80 to 200 metres.  Scientists are not sure how the terrestrial dinosaur came to be located in offshore rock sediments.  Perhaps the dinosaur was washed out to sea and drowned or, the carcase of a dinosaur could have travelled out to sea with the gases inside its large gut keeping it afloat before the body cavity was ruptured and the corpse sank and settled on the seabed.  Ammonites and other zonal fossils indicate that the rocks from which the dinosaur was excavated are approximately 72 million years old (Late Campanian to Early Maastrichtian faunal stage).

A Photograph Showing the Dig Site with the Location of Several Bones Mapped Out

Part-way through the Japanese dinosaur excavation.

A photograph showing a large rock nodule with fossil dinosaur bone positions marked.

Picture Credit: Hobetsu Museum

Incredibly Rare Find

Japanese dinosaur discoveries are few and far between, with most of Japan’s dinosaurs having been described from a few, isolated fragments.  Experts say it’s incredibly rare to unearth so many fossils and be able to piece back together almost the entire skeleton.  Researchers from Hokkaido University and Hobetsu Museum are confident that these fossils will prove to be a new species of duck-billed dinosaur.  The excavation and preparation work has taken a total of four years.  Fortunately, the researchers had been posting regular updates on their progress to keep the inhabitants of the nearby town of Mukawa (on the southern coast of Hokkaido), fully informed and to deter any curious parties attempting to remove any of the partially excavated remains.

Commenting on the significance of the discovery, Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (Hokkaido University) stated:

“The fossils are also valuable in global terms.  We hope to discover what kind of dinosaur habitat existed along the coast.”

The Cleaned Bones Laid Out in Anatomical Position (Japanese Hadrosaurid)

Japanese hadrosaurid fossils.

Remains of a Late Cretaceous herbivorous dinosaur found in Japan.

Picture Credit: Avalon Red

The Hadrosaurid Fossils Probably Represent a New Species

Japanese hadrosaurid fossils.

The fossils of this duck-billed dinosaur represent the largest and most complete dinosaur discovery from Japan.

Picture Credit: Avalon Red

The picture above shows the scale of the dinosaur and the number of fossil bones discovered, laid out in approximate anatomical position.  The articulated section of caudal vertebrae, one of the first fossil finds at the site, are shown on the far right of the photograph.

An Artist’s Impression of the Hadrosaurid Corpse Floating Out to Sea

Dinosaur corpse washed out to sea.

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

Picture Credit: Masato Hattori

The dinosaur has been nick-named the “Mukawa dragon” and it is hoped that an exhibit will soon be created telling the story of how this duck-billed dinosaur came to rest at the bottom of a shallow tropical sea and what its carcase can tell palaeontologists about life in the Late Cretaceous.

Other Japanese dinosaur discoveries:

Schoolboy finds dinosaur bone: Japanese Schoolboy Finds Dinosaur Toe Bone

Hinting at a Japanese Theropod: Fragmentary Fossil Teeth Indicate Large Japanese Theropod Dinosaur

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