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Australopithecus sediba – Jaw Study Suggests a More Delicate Bite

Australopithecus sediba – Bio-mechanical Study Hints at Diet

South Africa might be regarded by many as the “cradle of humanity”, thanks to the wealth of Australopithecus and early hominin fossils found in that part of the world.  Thanks to a collaborative research effort involving a bio-mechanical study of skull strength and bite forces, it seems that further light is being shed on the diet of one of southern Africa’s most famous early residents Australopithecus sediba.  This new research may help palaeoanthropologists to further refine the evolutionary position A. sediba in relation to the hominins and ultimately this Australopith’s relationship to our own species.

H. sapiens Compared to A. sediba and Pan troglodytes (Chimpanzee)

A. sediba is in the middle, the human to the left of the picture with the chimp skeleton on the right.

A. sediba is in the middle, the human to the left of the picture with the chimp skeleton on the right.

Picture Credit: University of Witwatersrand

Fossils which came to be known as A. sediba were discovered in 2008 at the famous dig site of Malapa in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, located around thirty miles north-west of the city of Johannesburg.  Research published in 2012 suggested that this gracile, possible early human ancestor, had lived on a eclectic woodland diet including hard foods mixed with tree bark, fruit, leaves and other plants.  Other research, reported upon by Everything Dinosaur in 2013, provided further insight into the dietary habits of early hominins.

To see the article on research into early hominin diets: From a Forest Diet to a Savannah Smorgasbord

To read an article explaining how A. sediba came to be named: South African “Cradle Fossil” Named

This new study carried out by an international team of researchers, including Professors Lee Berger and Kristian Carlson from the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) at the University of the Witwatersrand, now shows that Australopithecus sediba did not have the jaw and tooth structure necessary to exist on a steady diet of hard foods.  This may have important implications on how this species of Australopith is viewed in terms of its evolutionary link to that line of hominins that eventually led to our own kind.

Bio-mechanical Study Indicates that A. sediba Did Not Have “Nutcracker Jaws”

Bite Force Study on A. sediba cranium.

Bite Force Study on A. sediba cranium.

Picture Credit: Image of MH1 by Brett Eloff provided courtesy of Lee Berger (University of the Witwatersrand).

The picture above show the fossilised skull of A. sediba (specimen number MH1) and a finite element model of the skull depicting strains experienced during a simulated bite on the its back teeth (premolars).  “Warm” colours indicate high mechanical strain, whilst “cool” colours indicate areas of low strain on the skull.

Commenting on the research, published today in the scientific journal “Nature Communications”, Professor David Strait (Washington University, St Louis, USA) stated:

“Most Australopiths had amazing adaptations in their jaws, teeth and faces that allowed them to process foods that were difficult to chew or crack open.  Among other things, they were able to efficiently bite down on foods with very high forces.”

Co-author Dr Justin Ledogar, researcher at the University of New England in Australia added:

“Australopithecus sediba is thought by some researchers to lie near the ancestry of Homo, the group to which our species belongs, yet we find that A. sediba had an important limitation on its ability to bite powerfully; if it had bitten as hard as possible on its molar teeth using the full force of its chewing muscles, it would have dislocated its jaw.”

Not Biting Off More Than It Could Chew

Bio-mechanical modelling based on a computer generated replica of the fossil skull material does not provide conclusive evidence that Australopithecus sediba was on the direct evolutionary line towards Homo, but it does indicate that dietary changes were shaping the evolutionary paths of early human species.  The data acquired from the bio-mechanical analysis does not dispute the possibility that A. sediba occasionally ate hard foods such as nuts and bark.  However, limitations on the amount of bite force that the skull could withstand suggests that hard foods needing to be processed with high bite forces were not an important component of the diet of this species.

About Australopithecus sediba:

Australopithecus sediba, a diminutive pre-human species that lived about two million years ago in southern Africa, has been heralded as a possible ancestor or close relative of Homo, our own family.  Australopiths appear in the fossil record about four million years ago, and although they have some human traits such as the ability to walk upright on two legs, most of them lack other characteristically human features such as a large brain, flat faces with small jaws and teeth, and advanced use of tools.  Humans, members of the genus Homo, are almost certainly descended from an Australopith ancestor, and A. sediba is a candidate to be either that ancestor or something similar to it.

Dr Justin Ledogar explained:

“Humans also have this limitation on biting forcefully and we suspect that early Homo had it as well, yet the other Australopiths that we have examined are not nearly as limited in this regard.  This means that whereas some Australopith populations were evolving adaptations to maximise their ability to bite powerfully, others (including A. sediba) were evolving in the opposite direction.”

Foods that were important to the survival of Australopithecus sediba probably could have been eaten relatively easy without the need for high bite forces.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the support of the University of Witwatersrand in the compilation of this article.

Reception Childen Get Excited About Dinosaurs

Reception Classes Study Dinosaurs

It has been a busy day at Mount Carmel RC Primary (Manchester, England) as the two classes of Reception children have been learning about dinosaurs and fossils with a special workshop conducted by an Everything Dinosaur team member.  The children in Foundation Stage Two, have been studying dinosaurs and life in the past over the course of this half-term and they were keen to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject.  With the help of the enthusiastic teaching team, the eager pupils had created lots of artwork and some super examples of hand-writing in their dinosaur workbooks.

The bright and well-organised classrooms were adorned with lots of prehistoric animal themed work that the children had produced.  Our dinosaur expert has heard a rumour that one of the teachers has found some dinosaur eggs, we hope the children have thought about what materials might make a good nest for a dinosaur!

What will happen when the egg hatches?  We will have to wait and see…

A Busy Morning

Splitting the morning into two roughly equal sessions, divided by the mid-morning break, we were able to deliver very tactile learning with lots of fossil handling.  It was a good job that some of the children had managed to have a hearty breakfast, several of the fossils and other artefacts were heavy, but thanks to the helpful teaching assistants, the children were able cope.  Lots of photographs were taken, we especially liked the snarling dinosaur faces on the big class photograph at the end of each workshop – very scary!

The children in the two Reception classes have even been doing some homework, what a bunch of enthusiastic palaeontologists they are.  One of the teachers showed our dinosaur expert a beautiful picture that Edith had brought in to show her friends at school.  It is a wonderful picture of a Tyrannosaurus rex.  Can you remember how many fingers T. rex had altogether?

A Wonderful Dinosaur Picture Sent in by Edith (Reception Class)

Edith painted a lovely dinosaur picture.

Edith painted a lovely dinosaur picture.

Picture Credit: Edith (Mount Carmel RC Primary School)

What a colourful picture Edith!  Lots of reds, blues and yellows and even a splash of white to help the green dinosaur feel at home.  We like the black eyes that you gave your Tyrannosaurus rex.  His eyes match the black stripe running down his back, at least we presume it’s a boy, it could be a girl T. rex.  Can the children remember the special fact our dinosaur expert told them about the Tyrannosaurus rex girls?

Extension Activities

After the visit, it was straight back to the office to email over the promised extension activities and fact sheets to help support the teaching team and their scheme of work.  We did set some of our “pinkie palaeontologist challenges”, including the design of the children’s very own dinosaur and an exercise which involved the careful measuring of dinosaur footprints.  We even sent over a picture of a T. rex and asked if the children could have a go at labelling the various parts of his body, those small arms, the fingers and the skull of course.

Reception Children Challenged to Label a Dinosaur

Can you label a T. rex?

Can you label a T. rex?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are glad all the children had a great time and thanks again for the super drawing Edith.

Duck-Billed Dinosaurs – Sweet Home Alabama!

Alabama Fossil Sheds Light on the Origins of Duck-Billed Dinosaurs

The Duck-Billed dinosaurs, or to be more precise, the Hadrosauroidea were a super-family of plant-eating, bird-hipped dinosaurs that dominated Late Cretaceous ecosystems throughout most of the northern latitudes.  The fossils of these large dinosaurs, some of which evolved into the biggest facultative bipeds known to science, can be seen in museums throughout the world, but little is known about the evolutionary origins of this very successful part of the Dinosauria.  However, a remarkable fossil find from Alabama (south-eastern United States), is helping to shed new light on the origins of the duck-billed dinosaurs.

The Fossils of Eotrachodon orientalis Laid Out

The skull and jaw bones including the predentary are nearest the camera.

The skull and jaw bones including the predentary are nearest the camera.

Picture Credit: Jun Ebersole, McWane Science Centre

The beautifully preserved fossils were found by amateur fossil hunters exploring a creek in Montgomery County, Alabama, when they come across one of the bones eroding out of the soft marine sediment.  Thanks to the efforts of an international team of researchers, the fossil material has been carefully prepared and it has been confirmed that these bones and the few teeth (see bottom right hand corner of the photograph), represent a new species of primitive duck-billed dinosaur.  The dinosaur has been named Eotrachodon orientalis (dawn rough tooth from the east).  It is the most complete primitive hadrosaurid dinosaur ever to be found in the eastern United States.

An Illustration and Scale Drawing of E. orientalis

The orange shaded area indicate fossils found.

The orange shaded area indicate fossils found.

Picture Credit: Florida State University with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

In Honour of Trachodon

Lead author of the scientific paper, published this week in the “Journal of Vertebrate  Palaeontology”, Albert Prieto-Marquez, stated that the genus name honours Trachodon, a name that would be very well known to fans of dinosaurs.  Trachodon is the genus erected in 1856 by Joseph Leidy as a result of fragmentary bones and teeth having been excavated from the Upper Cretaceous rocks (Judith River Formation) of Montana.  It was one of the very first American dinosaurs described, the first duck-billed dinosaur to be named (although some of the teeth used to describe it were later identified as Ceratopsian), and although the name is now regarded as a nomen dubium (not a valid genus), Trachodon appeared in countless books about dinosaurs for the best part of 120 years.  The popularity of Trachodon was helped by wonderful illustrations produced by palaeoartists such as Zdenek Burian (Trachodon and Tyrannosaurus rex).

Trachodon Became the Archetypal Duck-Billed Dinosaur

An illustration of Trachodon.

An illustration of Trachodon.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Now Trachodon has been honoured with a valid genus (Eotrachodon).  At perhaps, nine metres long, Eotrachodon orientalis was certainly not the biggest, but the fossil find is extremely significant none-the-less.  Firstly dinosaur fossil finds are rare from the south-eastern United States.  To read an article about which U.S. States have dinosaur fossils: 37th U.S. State with A Dinosaur Fossil

Commenting on the significance of the discovery, one of the authors of the scientific paper, Gregory Erickson (Florida State University) explained:

“This is a really important animal in telling us how they came to be and how they spread all over the world.”

Did the Hadrosaurs Originate in Appalachia?

Whilst the specimen was being prepared at the McWane Science Centre (Birmingham, Alabama), the scientists were able to piece together the skull bones and identify a modified nasal area of the skull that had, until now been regarded as a characteristic associated with Saurolophine hadrosaurids (solid-crested and crestless forms).  Dating the fossil to the Late Santonian faunal stage (83 million years ago), it suggests that the duck-billed dinosaurs originated on the continental landmass known as Appalachia.  During the Late Cretaceous, North America was split by into two by a wide sea (the Western Interior Seaway), Laramidia lay to the west, whilst the larger landmass of Appalachia lay to the east.  Phylogenetic analysis indicates that Eotrachodon is a basal member of the hadrosaurids and thus, it can be postulated that this group of dinosaurs evolved on Appalachia.  Land bridges formed as the Western Interior Seaway permitted these dinosaurs to migrate off this continental landmass and to spread to other parts of the Late Cretaceous world.

Reseracher Jun Ebersole, (McWane Science Centre), stated:

“For roughly 100 million years, the dinosaurs were not able to cross this barrier.  The discovery of Eotrachodon suggests that duck-billed dinosaurs originated in Appalachia and dispersed to other parts of the world at some point after the seaway lowered, opening a land corridor to western North America.”

Fossil Find Suggests Hadrosaurids Originated from Appalachia

Sweet Home Alabama.

Sweet Home Alabama!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A View of the Left Lateral Side of the Skull

Scale bar = 5cm

Scale bar = 5cm

Picture Credit: Albert Prieto-Marquez et al

Win! Win! Win! with Everything Dinosaur

Go Pink with Everything Dinosaur!  Win a Super Megaloceras Soft Toy

Still time to enter Everything Dinosaur’s super, soft toy giveaway.  We have one big, pink and very cute soft toy which needs a home.  It is a reindeer and very sweet and cuddly it is too, but our palaeontologists have been pretending that it is a Megaloceros baby  – can you give our soft toy a new home?

Win a Very Pink Soft Toy Member of the Deer Family

Deer little thing!

Win a soft toy with Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Whether it is a Megaloceros or a baby Reindeer, it certainly is very cute and one very lucky person is going to win it, can you give this soft toy a new home.

Competition to Win a Super Soft Toy with Everything Dinosaur

All you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page, then comment on the pink deer picture including a suggestion for the name for this super and very sparkly soft toy.  It is certainly a “deer little thing”  but he/she needs a name!  We can’t think of one can you?

Our Facebook Page: “LIKE” our Facebook page and enter the competition!

The name caption competition closes on Friday 12th February.  We “deerly” hope you win!

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of super prehistoric animal soft toys: Prehistoric Animal Soft Toys

Terms and Conditions of Soft Toy Name Caption Competition

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

Only one entry per person

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

The Everything Dinosaur name a soft toy competition runs until Friday 12th February 2016.

Winner will be notified by private message on Facebook.

Prize includes postage and packing

For full terms and conditions contact: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Punch and Judy” Dimorphodon Models Reviewed

Rebor “Punch and Judy” Dimorphodon Models Reviewed

The eagerly awaited Rebor Dimorphodon replicas are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur and what a splendid Pterosaur diorama these figures make.  The Rebor “Punch and Judy” Dimorphodon models are in approximate 1:6 scale and represent a male and female of the species (D. macronyx).  The male, nick-named Punch, is depicted as sitting on a log and like “Judy”, the female, it is available separately, but Everything Dinosaur are also offering the two models as a set, as when joined together they really do make a spectacular addition to any model fan’s collection.

Two Dimorphodons (Male and Female) by Rebor

A very well crafted Pterosaur dioramra.

A very well crafted Pterosaur diorama.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The diorama allows Rebor to explore the idea of sexual dimorphism in Pterosaurs.  A number of fossils indicate that it was the males of the Pterosauria that were likely to possess more flamboyant crests and ornamentation than the females.  Although, the dimorphodontids lack cranial crests, Rebor has opted to give their male a more colourful snout and a bright red tail rudder.  These are in stark contrast to the female (Judy), which tends to have a more muted colour scheme overall.

“Punch” the Flamboyant Rebor Dimorphodon Model

The male of the pair (Punch).

The male of the pair (Punch).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor are to be congratulated, they have depicted the deep skull, the dentition and robust limbs of this Early Jurassic Pterosaur very effectively.  Intriguingly, the male is only just a fraction bigger than the female (eighteen centimetres compared to sixteen and a half centimetres).  The fossil record suggests that the males and females of the species (Dimorphodon macronyx), were generally similar in size.  This is in contrast to later Pterosaurs, such as those that make up the genus Pteranodon.  In the pteranodontids, it is the males that are believed to have been much larger than the females.

The male is depicted as sitting on a log.  Clearly, Rebor have taken into consideration some of the more recent research into dimorphodonts.  It was once thought that these flying reptiles were the Mesozoic equivalent of Puffins and that they lived near the coast and dined on fish.  Studies into the teeth, jaw mechanics and the anatomy of these Raven-sized creatures indicate that they were in all likelihood insectivores and not particularly agile fliers.  They have been depicted as animals of the forests, grubbing around in the leaf litter for insects, larvae and other small animals.  The presence of a log for the male Dimorphodon to perch on pays homage to this idea that these flying reptiles were very much at home in woodlands.

“Judy” Soaring over the Skies

Lots of detail to be admired.

Lots of detail to be admired.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Judy – The Flying Dimorphodon Figure

The female is supplied with a stiff metal rod, which measures twenty centimetres in length.  One end of this rod is inserted into a small hole in the chest of the model, the other end can be inserted into a discrete hole in the base.  This permits the collector to depict this Pterosaur in a flight.  The overall height of the model is around twenty-two centimetres, no glue is required, we found that the rod held the female Pterosaur model securely without the need to resort to a permanent fix.  Both models have articulated lower jaws and the paintwork and detailing around the jaws is particularly noteworthy.

Anatomical studies indicate that Dimorphodon was a relatively poor flier.  Wing morphology and loading suggests that this deep-skulled Pterosaur would have had limited aerial manoeuvrability and may have been actually quite reluctant to take to the air.  Leading Pterosaur expert, the very talented Mark P. Witton, has speculated that Dimorphodon was a Mesozoic equivalent of an extent Rail or a Grouse and that flight would have been quite strenuous, perhaps only taking to the air for very short flights – hops between trees for example.  The wingspan of the female (Judy) is twenty-four centimetres and at 1:6 scale this roughly approximates to the known fossil record (wingspan up to 1.5 metres).

The Pair of Rebor Dimorphodons (Punch and Judy)

Although very splendid replicas in their own right, the models really come into their own when united and displayed in a single diorama.  The log which the male sits on can be positioned onto the base that comes with Judy.  In fact, Rebor have engineered their models to ensure that there is a snug fit between this base and the log.  The female can be depicted flying over the male whilst he sits, perched as if in readiness to join her in flight, who knows, a courtship between these two beautiful model Pterosaurs perhaps?

Punch and Judy can be Displayed Together

The "Punch and Judy" show!

The “Punch and Judy” show!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The view the Rebor Dimorphodon models and all the Rebor replicas: Rebor Replicas

Commenting on the addition of these models to the Rebor replica range, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The two models work really well together and Rebor have obviously strived hard to provide a very effective Pterosaur diorama.  It is great to see a flying reptile like Dimorphodon added to the Rebor range, Punch and Judy are very exciting additions to the Rebor product portfolio.”

There is certainly much to be admired from the latest Rebor introductions.  The base of Judy even comes with a little lizard figure.  Once the two models are united, this little reptile can be posed peeping out from underneath the log, as if it is hiding from the two dimorphodonts, just in case they decide to make a meal of him.

The Female Dimorphodon Replica (Judy) Comes with a Lizard Figure

Nice detail on Judy's base including a movable lizard figure.

Nice detail on Judy’s base including a moveable lizard figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 Well done Rebor!  Both models are very well made and together they make a fantastic Pterosaur diorama.

Highly recommended.

Fossils Found at Weston Rhyn Primary School

Jupiter and Saturn Classes Study Dinosaurs

It certainly was a “dinotastic” day for children in Jupiter and Saturn classes at Weston Rhyn Primary, as these two classes spent the day learning all about prehistoric animals and fossils.  In a morning of dinosaur themed activities, the Year5/6 class (Jupiter), learned that sometimes animals believed extinct prove to be very much still with us, a little bit of homework for Mrs Jones (teaching assistant), as she was challenged to conduct some research into Coelacanths.  In addition, under the enthusiastic tutelage of the class’s teaching team the children had created a Mesozoic timeline listing all the geological periods that make up the so called “Age of Dinosaurs”.  This gave our dinosaur expert an opportunity to check understanding and also allowed him to furnish the class teacher with some fact sheets to help populate the timeline with various well-known dinosaurs.  The budding young palaeontologists had a go at fossil casting as well as exploring the link between dinosaurs and birds.  Some of the children have chickens at home (one pupil even had quails).  Could they take a photograph of the bird’s feet – ample evidence here of the link between our feathered friends and meat-eating dinosaurs.

Plenty of Evidence of a Rich and Varied Teaching Programme in Key Stage 2

Excavating their own fossils.

Excavating their own fossils.

Picture Credit: Weston Rhyn Primary School/Everything Dinosaur

The fossil handling activities proved very popular and the Year 5/6 children were given the opportunity to work scientifically, investigating a strange fossil found at the bottom of a coal mine in Illinois (United States of America).

Saturn Class Get Busy with Dinosaur Research

In the afternoon, it was the turn of Saturn class and the children grappled enthusiastically with the problem of what to call a new dinosaur species.   We used a real life example to demonstrate some of the pitfalls when it comes to naming a new dinosaur, especially one with “big thighs”.  Not wishing to see Mrs Owen (teaching assistant), left out, our dinosaur expert asked her to find out about Sir Richard Owen, the English anatomist and scientist who was given the task of coming up with a name to describe what we now know as the Dinosauria.  Perhaps, Mrs Owen might even be distantly related to Sir Richard, we sent over some links and further information about the founder of the Natural History Museum (London) and asked the children could they design their very own blue plaque like the one erected at Sir Richard’s old school in Lancaster?

All in all, it was a very busy day for our team member.  There were lots of questions from the children, he did his best to answer them all.  Even the tricky ones about how Velociraptor is wrongly portrayed in movies.  Once back in the office, there was just time to email over the promised extension plans and further teaching resources to help the school’s term topic before moving onto the next dinosaur teaching assignment.  The resources and additional information should help enrich the children’s learning experience and who knows, Weston Rhyn Primary might just produce some famous scientists in the future, perhaps some who will go on to be as famous as Sir Richard Owen!

Cambridge Plesiosaur Donated to Oxford Could Be New Species

Potential New Plesiosaur Species

A nearly complete plesiosaur skeleton that came to rest in marine sediments now located in northern Cambridgeshire might just prove to be a new species.  The fossilised remains were excavated out of a layer of rock discovered in a fenland quarry in November 2014, by archaeologists from the Oxford Clay Working Group.  A nearly complete plesiosaur skeleton that came to rest in marine sediments now located in northern Cambridgeshire might just prove to be a new species.  Over the next four days the team were able to excavate and remove nearly 600 bone fragments that represent a considerable portion of the entire skeleton.  Only some limb elements are missing.  The fossil, nick-named Eve, represents an individual around five and a half metres in length, early indications are that the bones show similarities with another plesiosaur known from the Peterborough area, called Picrocleidus.  However, Picrocleidus is believed to have been much smaller, at less than half the length of this new discovery, and its fossils are associated with much younger Jurassic strata (Callovian faunal stage), whilst “Eve” was found in rocks dating from about 165 million years ago (Bathonian faunal stage of the Jurassic).

The Huge Humerus (Upper Arm Bone) of the Plesiosaur

Sea monster from a Cambridge fen.

Sea monster from a Cambridge fen.

Picture Credit: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Dr. Carl Harrington, a member of the Oxford Clay Working Group, was the first person to find bones of this new sea monster.  Describing the find as “fantastic”, Dr. Harrington recalled the moment he first uncovered the delicate skull bones:

It was one of those absolute “wow” moments.  I was the first human to come face-to-face with this reptile.”

The quarry is owned by building supplies company Forterra and this part of Cambridgeshire has become very well known for its Jurassic vertebrate fossil finds.  For example, the first fossils of the giant prehistoric fish Leedsichthys  (L. problematicus) were also found in the Peterborough area.  Forterra have donated the specimen to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, where the fossilised remains are currently being prepared and studied in more detail with a view to determining whether or not this is a new species of marine reptile.

An Artist’s Interpretation of the New Marine Reptile (Plesiosaur)

Scale bar = 1 metre.

Scale bar = 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Nobomichi Tamura with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Plesiosaurs had two pairs of  oar-like paddles which they used to propel themselves through the water, recent studies suggest that, just like extant penguins, these marine reptiles, some of whom could reach lengths in excess of fifteen metres, actually “flew” through the water.

To read more about this research into plesiosaur propulsion: Computer simulations and marine reptile underwater flight

Nice to see that Cambridge is prepared to donate a pair of oars to Oxford, their bitter rowing rivals.

The Field Team Exclaimed that they had Never Seen so Many Vertebrate Fossils in Such a Small Area

A very fossiliferous area indeed!

A very fossiliferous area indeed!

Picture Credit: Oxford Museum of Natural History

New Papo Prehistoric Animals Make Their Debut – Part 2

New Papo Models (Kaprosuchus and the Green Velociraptor)

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been able to get up close to the five new prehistoric animal models to be added to Papo’s exciting model portfolio this year.  We have already reported on three of the models, namely the feathered Velociraptor, the new version of the Tyrannosaurus rex and the impressive Papo Baryonyx which should all be with us in just a few weeks time.

To read the report: Excitement Builds for New Papo Dinosaurs

However, we want to turn our attention to the other two models which Papo intend to release later in the year.  Time to show some photographs and comment upon the new for 2016 Papo Kaprosuchus and the re-painted Velociraptor replica.

The New for 2016 Papo Kaprosuchus Prehistoric Crocodile Model

The pen provides scale.

The pen provides scale.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This really is the pick of the bunch, when it comes to the new model introductions this year.  It is a wonderful figure, a fantastic replica of the Cretaceous crocodile Kaprosuchus (K. saharicus).  This fast-running ancient predator certainly captured the imagination of dinosaur fans when it was formally described back in 2009.  West Africa 95 million years ago, must have been a very scary place with the likes of Kaprosuchus on the prowl.  The model reminds us of the Papo Nile Crocodile figure, but the teeth and the limb position are all “Boar Crocodile” that’s for sure.  The figure measures 23 centimetres in length, but naturally, had that impressive and powerful tail been stretched out behind the model, it would have been a lot longer.  Based on the known fossil record, Everything Dinosaur estimates that this prehistoric crocodile figure is in approximately 1:20 scale.

Papo Kaprosuchus Replica – A Splendid Prehistoric Crocodile

An impressive ancient crocodile model.

An impressive ancient crocodile model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A number of Papo prehistoric animal models have articulated jaws, but unlike them, this figure does not have an articulated lower jaw.  In this instance it is the upper that is articulated.  Once the mouth is opened those magnificent teeth are revealed in all their glory.  The attention to detail does the team at Papo great credit.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing range of Papo figures: Papo Prehistoric Animals and Dinosaur Models

New for 2016 the Papo Green Velociraptor

As well as introducing a feathered Velociraptor model this year, (see yesterday’s blog article), Papo will be adding a green version of their existing Velociraptor model.  The model has been painted with a distinctive green hue.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have already nick-named this dinosaur “Echo” in honour of one of the “Jurassic World” raptors.

The Papo Green Velociraptor Dinosaur Model

A new Velociraptor figure from Papo for 2016.

A new Velociraptor figure from Papo for 2016.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Good news, for dinosaur fans, the introduction of this colour variant does not spell the end for the existing Papo Velociraptor (Everything Dinosaur product code MOPA011, Papo model number 55023), there are no planned retirements from the Papo range this year.  Everything Dinosaur will therefore be stocking all three Papo Velociraptor models in 2016.

Both the Papo Kaprosuchus and the Papo green Velociraptor models are expected sometime in quarter 2 of this year (around June or perhaps July).  We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of these models in our warehouse.

Excitement Builds for New Papo Dinosaurs

New Papo Prehistoric Animals Make Their Debut – Part 1

Team members at Everything Dinosaur got the chance to admire the five new Papo prehistoric animal models for 2016 recently, the first opportunity staff have had to get up close to the new Papo Baryonyx, green Velociraptor, the coloured variant running T. rex , Papo Kaprosuchus and the feathered Velociraptor.  The models, four of them dinosaurs, certainly are quite a striking bunch (not sure what the collective noun for a group of Papo models should be), we were able to take measurements and get an idea of approximate scale.

First up, the very quirky Baryonyx, much more colourful than the catalogue pictures had indicated.  It definitely reflects the Papo style.

The New for 2016 Papo Baryonyx Dinosaur Model

Available from Everything Dinosaur in a few weeks.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in a few weeks.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It is certainly a very intriguing replica, with its stripes, rusty coloured neck, spikes and tripodal stance.  The new Papo Baryonyx measures 33 centimetres long and that elegantly sculpted upper jaw reaches some 16.5 centimetres into the air.  This new model is bigger than the Papo Allosaurus and only slightly smaller than the imposing Papo Spinosaurus, it is approximately the size of the Papo Running T. rex replica.  Based on these measurements, team members estimate that the Papo Baryonyx figure is around the 1:30 scale, but since the maximum size of Baryonyx is not known, this may be an underestimate on our part.

Everything Dinosaur expects this exciting new Spinosauridae to be in its store Everything Dinosaur in a few weeks time.

New Papo Baryonyx Figure is Coming Soon!

Papo Baryonyx dinosaur model.

Papo Baryonyx dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Feathered Velociraptor

Also available in just a few weeks is the new Papo Velociraptor dinosaur model.

Papo Feathered Velociraptor Dinosaur Model

The Papo feathered Velociraptor model.

The Papo feathered Velociraptor model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo have gained a strong reputation for their Theropod dinosaur models, and the existing Velociraptor model is a firm favourite amongst dinosaur fans and collectors.  The new feathered Papo Velociraptor is roughly the same size as the non-feathered Papo “raptor”, measuring 17 centimetres in length.  The tail has an attractive plume of feathers and, as you would expect from Papo the detailing and the paintwork are excellent.

A Close Up of the New Papo Feathered Velociraptor

A close look at the Papo feathered Velociraptor dinosaur model.

A close look at the Papo feathered Velociraptor dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Team members report that the hip height of this new dinosaur model is 7.5 centimetres approximately.  Like the Baryonyx, it too, will be available from Everything Dinosaur in just a few weeks.

Running T. rex Colour Variant

Joining the feathered Velociraptor and the Baryonyx at Everything Dinosaur will be a new colour variant of the very successful Papo Running T. rex dinosaur model.  It is the same size as the existing figure in the Papo range but the paintwork is most impressive and eye-catching.

The New for 2016 a Papo Running T. rex Colour Variant

Papo Running T. rex new colour version

Papo Running T. rex new colour version

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Just like the Baryonyx and the Papo feathered Velociraptor this replica will have an articulated lower jaw and on our first viewing all team members were impressed with the new style and paintwork.  It is a super edition to the Papo model range.

Papo Running T. rex – A Very Well Painted Dinosaur!

A new version of the Papo Running T. rex.

A new version of the Papo Running T. rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s current Papo model range: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Our report and photographs of the other new for 2016 Papo prehistoric animal models (Kaprosuchus and the green Velociraptor) will be published shortly.

A Sneaky Peek of the Schleich Dunkleosteus

Schleich Dunkleosteus –   A Sneaky Peek

Team members at Everything Dinosaur got the chance to get up close to a number of the new for 2016 Schleich prehistoric animal models the other day.  Feedback from our customers, those had already viewed the pictures on this blog in previous articles, has been positive, but we were asked to confirm whether or not the Schleich Dunkleosteus had an articulated jaw or not.  Just by chance we shot a short piece of video, showing the articulated jaw of the Dunkleosteus.  We do our best to respond to all the questions and queries we get regarding new model introductions, so without any further delay, here is a short ten second video which showcases the new Schleich Dunkleosteus and confirms that this Placoderm replica does indeed have an articulated lower jaw.

A Very Quick Peek at the New for 2016 Schleich Dunkleosteus Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This model is due to be introduced in the summer of 2016.  It is scheduled to become available at around the same time as the Herrerasaurus and the Baraparasaurus models.  For information on these two Schleich releases and for exclusive photographs, including more shots of that fantastic Dunkleosteus, check out this earlier article: New Schleich Dinosaurs* for 2016

Dunkleosteus from the Deadly Devonian

Reaching lengths of up to ten metres, Dunkleosteus (D. terrelli) was one of the largest vertebrates around during the Late Devonian.  Part of the highly successful Placoderm group, these armoured fish dominated marine and freshwater environments, having first evolved sometime in the Silurian.  This bizarre looking fish, with its huge jaw plates that acted like shears, was formally named and described in 1873 by Dr. John Newberry.  The genus name is in honour of the famous American palaeontologist Dr. David Dunkle of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A Scale Drawing of the Giant Dunkleosteus

Fearsome marine predator of the Late Devonian.

Fearsome marine predator of the Late Devonian.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of large Schleich prehistoric animal models supplied by Everything Dinosaur: Schleich World of History Prehistoric Animal Models

The fearsome reputation of this prehistoric fish was firmly secured in the minds of fans of ancient life when the Devonian was rated number five in the BBC television documentary “The Seven Deadliest Seas”.  Adventurer Nigel Marvin came face to face with this leviathan in the programme.  He used a spherical diving cage to protect himself from those powerful cutting plates.

Of all the new Schleich releases scheduled for this year, the Schleich Dunkleosteus certainly seems to have captured people’s imaginations.

We hope readers like our sneaky peek of the Schleich Dunkleosteus.

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