Guidraco 1:4 Scale Model (CollectA)

Guidraco Pterosaur Model is on Its Way

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are very excited as we await the arrival of the first of the 2015 model releases from CollectA.  One of the first replicas that will be available in the early Spring is a super model of the Pterosaur known as Guidraco, the name means “malicious ghost dragon” and this model is in the company’s “Supreme Deluxe” range.  One look at the model and you can see why it needed the “supreme” designation, it is very well designed and a wonderful depiction, of what we think is a member of the Ornithocheiridae.

The 1:4 Scale Guidraco Pterosaur Replica

Model has an articulated jaw.

Model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Described as standing around 25 centimetres tall, if you include the crest, this is not much smaller than the reconstructions of Guidraco venator seen in several Chinese museums.  The skull size is around 13cm and the largest of those vicious rostral teeth are around 14 millimetres in length.  The wing finger is a whopping 26cm long.  The overall length of the model that we have measured is 23 centimetres, this really is a very impressive replica indeed.

Can I Keep These Please?

A pair of Guidracos, note the articulated jaws.

A pair of Guidracos, note the articulated jaws.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The above picture gives you some idea of just how big these flying reptile replicas are.  It also gives you quite a good idea about how excited we are about these new additions to the CollectA “Prehistoric Life” model range.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of CollectA scale models: The Range of Scale Prehistoric Animal Models from CollectA

We have already prepared a fact sheet on this fascinating and enigmatic creature, this fact sheet will be sent out with models.  These new for 2015 models will be with us shortly, if you would like more information or if you would like to reserve one (with no obligation to purchase) just drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur to Reserve a Guidraco

Scotland’s Very Own Ichthyosaur

Dearcmhara shawcrossi - An Ichthyosaur from the Isle of Skye

No it’s not a dinosaur, contrary to some media reports.  It certainly is not “Nessie”, but it does mark the culmination of a tremendous effort by Scottish palaeontologists to collate and study marine reptile fossils that have been found in Scotland.  A new species of Ichthyosaur (marine reptile), has been described from fossils found on the Isle of Skye.  The “wee beastie” has been named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, the name comes from the Scottish Gaelic for marine lizard and the trivial name honours amateur fossil hunter Brian Shawcross who found the creature’s fossils at Bearreraig Bay in 1959.  Bearreraig Bay is part of a highly fossiliferous coastline which can be found on the eastern side of the island.  As far as we at Everything Dinosaur know, this is the first marine reptile to be given a Gaelic name, Dearcmhara is pronounced “jark vara”.

 A Model of an Ichthyosaur (Fish Lizard)

An Ichthyosaurus Model

An Ichthyosaurus Model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 Around 170 million years ago, much of the Isle of Skye was underwater.  A shallow sea separated the landmasses of Europe and North America, this sea formed when rifts in the Earth’s crust led to the break-up of the super- continent Laurentia.  Marine reptiles like Dearcmhara shawcrossi were part of a diverse ecosystem, Dearcmhara grew to around 4.5 metres in length, motor boat size as described by Dr. Steve Brusatte (University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences), who led the study.

Fossil Vertebra of the Newly Described Species

Most likely a dorsal vertebra from Dearcmhara.

Most likely a dorsal vertebra from Dearcmhara.

Picture Credit: BBC News

 Dr. Steve Brusatte (holding the fossil in the photograph) went onto comment:

“During the time of the dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats.  Their fossils are very rare, and only now, for the first time we’ve found a new species that was uniquely Scottish.”

The Isle of Skye is a very important part of the world to palaeontologists.  Exposures along the shoreline and inland are strata that was laid down during the Middle Jurassic.  There are very few places in the world where such rocks are exposed and this makes any fossil discovery from the island very significant indeed.

Recently, Everything Dinosaur wrote about a new initiative to try and protect the island’s geological heritage in the wake of fears that unscrupulous fossil dealers might want to remove rare and valuable fossil bones of Plesiosaurs and Ichthyosaurs.

To read the article: Action Taken to Safeguard Scotland’s Fossils

The discovery of a new species of Scottish Ichthyosaur is just part of a collaborative effort being undertaken by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Hunterian Museum, the National Museums of Scotland, Staffin Museum (Isle of Skye) and Scottish National Heritage to try and catalogue significant vertebrate fossil finds.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Without the donation made by local fossil enthusiast Brian Shawcross, this new species of Ichthyosaur would not have been recognised.  This goes to show how important amateur fossil collectors can be when it comes to learning about life in the past.”

To read an article that explains the importance of the Isle of Skye from a palaeontological perspective: Scotland’s Mid Jurassic Heritage

Thank You Cards from Customers

Everything Dinosaur Receives Thank You Cards from Customers

At Everything Dinosaur we try to help everyone who contacts us.  We get all sorts of correspondence, emails from teachers asking for advice and support with lesson plans, young dinosaur fans asking questions, museum enquiries and exhibitions wanting our help over the telephone and so on.  Part of our extensive customer base is made up of those parents and grandparents who may not be as internet savvy as the rest of the population.  We get letters sent into us asking for help in finding a specific dinosaur toy and phone calls from those customers who are reluctant to buy on line and prefer to talk to a person over the phone.

We are happy to help where we can and as a result of our customer service, we then get thank you cards and letters sent into the Everything Dinosaur offices by grateful customers.

Thank You Card Sent into Everything Dinosaur

Customer's send in thank you cards to Everything Dinosaur.

Customers send in thank you cards to Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We all work long hours and it is nice to know that our help is appreciated.  A typical response to some questions that we have answered for a budding, young palaeontologist is:

“I am so grateful, that you took the time and trouble to answer Ben’s questions.  The information you provided was certainly comprehensive and he was so excited when I showed him the email.  Thank you to for the lovely drawing materials that you sent.”

It’s all in a day’s work for us, although with the volume of correspondence we have these days, please be patient, we do try our best to respond to all those customers who have contacted us that require a reply.

Saying Thanks with Angiosperms – Customer Thank You Card

Thank you card received by Everything Dinosaur.

Thank you card received by Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s Social Media Targets 2015

Setting Targets for our Social Media in 2015

Having reviewed our progress on the various social media platforms that we support, Facebook, Twitter, Everything Dinosaur’s Youtube channel and so forth, it is time to look ahead to what we think we can achieve over the next twelve months.  She who must be obeyed “Tyrannosaurus Sue” has set targets for “likes” on Facebook, followers on Twitter, pins on Pinterest and so forth.  We are going to list them here and periodically, throughout the year review our progress.  2015 should be an exciting time for Everything Dinosaur, we are going to have lots of new and exciting dinosaur toys and prehistoric animal models, but first and foremost let’s take a look at those targets.

  •  Everything Dinosaur’s School Website (Dinosaurs for Schools)

Since this website went live in August of last year, we have been able to help many hundreds of teachers and thousands of school children.  The free downloads, teaching resources, lesson plans and activity ideas have been very well received indeed.  In 2014, we posted up sixty-seven articles on the teaching blog, all about dinosaur discoveries and about how to teach about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in school.  We featured pictures, drawings, dinosaur museums that had been set up in classrooms, all sorts of creative and imaginative teaching ideas.   With the focus in England very much on working scientifically we shall continue to do all we can to assist teaching professionals, museums and home educators.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s website for schools and home educators: Teaching About Dinosaurs in Schools

So in 2015 our targets for the Dinosaurs for Schools website are:

  1. A further 125 articles posted up on the teaching blog site (total by the end of the year to be 192 articles)
  2. At the moment we have twenty downloads available to support schools, we intend to add another ten to this list, (total number of downloads available = 30)
  •  Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

We really enjoy posting up pictures, articles and information on our Facebook page, we have lots of friends and last year we accumulated 1,580 “likes” we are truly honoured.   We have about 175 friends on Facebook too.  At Everything Dinosaur we believe that Facebook “likes” have to be earned and not purchased we shall continue to work hard to earn every appreciative “like” that we receive.

Targets:

  1. Increase “likes” to “2,000″ by the end of 2015
  2. Increase the number of friends we have on Facebook to 400 by the end of the year
  3. Run at least three competitions and free giveaways to show our gratitude to our Facebook fans (just like we did last year)
We believe customer service is the key to getting "likes".

Target for 2015 is 2,000 earned “likes”.

Feel free to “like” our page by clicking on the Facebook logo – that would be brilliant!!

  • Twitter

With over 2,000 “tweets”, Everything Dinosaur team members are beginning to find their feet on Twitter, we love the immediacy of this platform and sharing pictures of fossils and illustrations of prehistoric animals.  Our Twitter feed is linked to our dinosaurs for schools website so we can “tweet” about good teaching practice and post up pictures of children’s artwork and such like.

Targets:

  1. 3,200 “tweets” by December 31st 2015
  2. To increase the number of people we follow over 5oo (up from 345).
  3. To increase the number of people following us from 370 to 650 by the end of the year
  • Youtube

At the moment our Youtube channel: Everything Dinosaur on Youtube has ninety-six videos, this is a few less than we anticipated after we did not get all the videos made that we wanted to last year.   However, we are still really impressed with the number of channel views which now stands at over 890,000 (thanks to everyone).  Subscriber numbers have topped 1,200 which is also very impressive as far as we are concerned.  We make model and replica reviews, post up collecting tips and hints and generally like to feature our favourite prehistoric animal models.  Our targets for the Everything Dinosaur Youtube channel are listed below our Youtube banner.

Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Youtube Channel

Click on the banner to visit Everything Dinosaur's Youtube channel.

Click on the banner to visit Everything Dinosaur’s Youtube channel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

  1. Number of videos up from 96 to 125 by the end of December 2015
  2. To achieve 1,000,000 video reviews by June 12th 2015 (the day of the world premier of “Jurassic World”) and then to achieve 1,235,000 views in total by the end of the year
  3. To up our channel subscribers from 1,200 to 1,750
  • Pinterest

With 5,300 pins on a total of 31 boards and 735 followers (496 following), Everything Dinosaur team members have worked hard to post up pictures and helpful information related to Pterosaurs, marine reptiles and of course dinosaurs.  We will create a dedicated board to marine reptiles and attempt to get over 250 pins up on this new board by the end of the year.  In addition, we shall set the following goals for Everything Dinosaur’s Pinterest presence.

  1. 8,500 pins
  2. 1,050 followers
  3. 600 following

To visit our Pinterest pages, simply click on the Pin It logo below:

Click to visit Everything Dinosaur's Pinterest pages.

Click to visit Everything Dinosaur’s Pinterest pages.

That’s about all for social media targets, but we will continue to remain as dedicated to our customers as we always have been and we look forward to hearing from you in the future.  Let’s see how close or how far over the targets the team members at Everything Dinosaur achieve by the end of the year.

Ah But!  What about this Blog?

Last but not least we come to the Everything Dinosaur web log.  Since we started blogging back in May 2007, we have tried to post up an article at least once a day, aiming for a total of 365 articles and news stories per year.  To date we have published an incredible 2,867 features, stories and articles.  We estimate that by May 20th we will have posted up our 3,000 blog post, to us, that’s simply amazing.  We will have to mark that landmark, with for a start, a special blog post.  By the end of the year our target is to have added another 365 articles to this site, making a total by December 31st of 3,221 or thereabouts.  We shall see…

The Inspiration behind Nasutoceratops?

The Diversity of the Ceratopsidae

The last decade or so has been regarded by many palaeontologists as the “Golden Age of Horned Dinosaurs”.   There have been so many new genera of horned dinosaur described, revisions of earlier research and a whole set of new theories looking at everything from mating rituals, ontogeny and phylogenetic relationships.  Model manufacturers have been keen to reflect the changing state of play with this branch of the Ornithischia.  Both CollectA and Safari Ltd have got into the habit of producing at least one new Ceratopsian figure each year.

In 2015, for example, a Nasutoceratops dinosaur model will be introduced by both CollectA and Safari Ltd.  This dinosaur, the name means “large nosed horn face”, was only formally described back in 2013.   It lived in what was to become Utah, towards the end of the Cretaceous period and this hefty herbivore sported a pair of large brow horns that pointed forward like the horns of some types of cow.

An Illustration of Nasutoceratops (N. titusi)

Nasutoceratops -  a Centrosaurine dinosaur from Utah

Nasutoceratops – the brow horns face forward.

Picture Credit: Raul Martin

To view an article written by Everything Dinosaur on the dinosaur discovery: “Large Nose, Horn Face” – Nasutoceratops

Both models are extremely well done and Everything Dinosaur will be stocking both the CollectA Nasutoceratops and the Wild Safari Dinos model.

New for 2015 the Wild Safari Dinos Nasutoceratops

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2015.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

The diversity of the horns and bony ornamentation within the Ceratopsidae is amazing.  When the fossil material which was to become the holotype for the Nasutoceratops titusi was being evaluated, it was remarked how the horns reminded the scientists of the horns of a cow.  We spotted a cow the other day that reminded us of the new CollectA Nasutoceratops dinosaur model.  Could this have been the inspiration behind the CollectA replica?

Cow Reminds Everything Dinosaur of Nasutoceratops

the inspiration behind a dinosaur model?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A cow from the Mesozoic, how ridiculous, not at all, as this article proves: Prehistoric Udders!

A Review of Everything Dinosaur’s Social Media Targets (2014)

How Did Everything Dinosaur Get On in 2014?

Everything Dinosaur team members made predictions about what our social media performance might be over 2014.  This formed part of a larger project that involved staff trying to forecast the news stories and articles that we would feature on this blog site over the year.  With so much emphasis being placed on customer interactions, two-way communication and such like, social media platforms are more important than ever before.  We at Everything Dinosaur, remain committed to being open and honest with all our customers, we try to help and assist where we can.  Our team members do their best to respond to every customer query, enquiries and questions sent into us about prehistoric animals.

“Tyrannosaurus Sue” set some targets regarding our social media work and exposure, these were reviewed periodically over the last twelve months (June and September).  We shall provide a sort of “end of year report”, an update on what we did and what we achieved.

To read the last update on Everything Dinosaur’s social media work (September 2014): Everything Dinosaur on Social Media

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

This time last year, we set a target of 1,2oo “likes”, this kept being revised upwards as we continued to post up pictures, snippets from news stories, updates, previews of new models and such like.  In September, we set a new target of 1,380 likes before the end of December 2014.  We thought this was quite ambitious but by the end of the year we had achieved over 1,500.  A very big thank you to everyone who supported our Facebook page.

You can help us, by visiting Everything Dinosaur on Facebook (click the Facebook  logo below) and “like” the Everything Dinosaur page.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

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

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

Twitter

By September we had “tweeted” 1,670 times, but could we reach our target of 2,000 tweets before the year came to a close?  The answer was yes, just, with our 2,000th tweet being posted up in  late December.  Currently, we have 371 followers on our Twitter feed and we are following a total of 346.  We shall see what targets are set for 2015 shortly.

The Everything Dinosaur Blog (this site)

It was an ambitious target, to continue to post up articles, averaging one a day over the whole year.  If we achieved this level of posting, then, we would have over 2,800 articles and features on line.  By June, some 151 new articles had been added and by December 31st the blog site contained a grand total of 2,854 published news stories and features.  If we continue to work at this rate, sometime over the next one hundred and forty days or thereabouts we will hit the landmark of a 3,000th article on line.

Pinterest

Our initial target to have 3,000 pins was soon overtaken, in fact the target of 3,000 pins posted was achieved in May.  In June, we set an additional target, to get to 4,000, this too was passed and in September we set a new mark of 5,200 by the end of the year.  To our surprise, our enthusiastic pinning led to a total of 5,300 pins by the end of 2014.  We are following 495 other “pinners” and we have 731 “pinners” following us.  Another target, not simply met but smashed.  We now have a total of 31 boards.

Youtube

We would not regard ourselves as the next Cecil B. DeMille, our videos and video reviews are not of Jurassic World quality but they have proved popular once again this year.  Back in January 2014, we stated that we wanted to make more videos and to achieve over 800,000 views.  Our video output may not have been prolific, but by June we had added another fourteen and our viewing figures were already approaching the target amount.  We set a new target of 900,000 video views and sure enough in early December we surpassed this mark.  We will go over the 1,000,000 views mark in the next few weeks, we are so honoured and we thank everyone for watching our videos.

So all in all, not a bad effort, we have surprised ourselves with what we have achieved.  We will have to see how we get on this year (2015).

One Nine Tonne Block Potentially Six Plus Utahraptors

Utahraptor Predator Trap Promises Fresh Insight into Dromaeosaurs

Lots of media coverage in the last few days concerning the efforts of a research team from Utah and their remarkable work to remove a nine tone block of mixed mudstone and sandstone that may contain the fossilised remains of a pack of Utahraptors from an isolated Mesa located in the Arches National Park (eastern Utah).  The block is believed to represent what is known as a “predator trap” and it may contain the fossilised remains of six Utahraptors, a fleet-footed, feathery hunter, related to the Velociraptor of Mongolia, but much, much bigger.  If the sandstone/mudstone block can be prepared, then palaeontologists will be able to gain further information about the growth habits (ontogeny) of these Theropod dinosaurs.  It may be difficult to ascertain whether the fossils represent a pack of dinosaurs that perished together, or whether the concretion represents the demise of a number of dinosaurs over a prolonged period, i.e. individual dinosaurs becoming fatally trapped rather than the whole group succumbing together.

The Fearsome Utahraptor ostrummaysorum

Utahraptor is the largest genus of Dromaeosaur described to date.  Although regarded by many scientists as being the “Arnold Schwarzenegger” of this particular type of meat-eating dinosaur, it was very typical of the group.  It was a fast running, bipedal predator and most likely feathered.  Adults reached lengths of around five and a half metres with a skull length in excess of fifty-five centimetres.  The sickle-shaped second toe claw was up to thirty-eight centimetres long and like other “raptors”, palaeontologists have postulated that Utahraptor could lift up its sickle claw whilst running, with toes three and four bearing the weight of the animal.  Utahraptor was named and described in 1993, one of the scientists involved in the formal scientific description was James Kirkland. James Kirkland, now one of the best known American palaeontologists, was leading a field trip involving University of Utah students back in 2001, when the first dinosaur bone, a leg bone was found indicating that a site on a 240 metre high Mesa in the Arches National Park, might yield an exciting dinosaur discovery.

The Location of the Utahraptor Fossils

The inset shows a close up of the nine tonne boulder in situ.

The inset shows a close up of the nine tonne boulder in situ.

Picture Credit: James Kirkland/St. George News

The inset and the red arrow indicates the location of the fossil find on the Mesa which is managed by the U.S National Parks Service.  Removing fossils from such locations is prohibited without special permits issued by the Government.

An Illustration of a Fearsome Utahraptor

Speedy, dinosaur hunters

Speedy, dinosaur hunters

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Further expeditions to the site, indicated that this was something special.  Back in 2004, it was confirmed that there was a mass of disarticulated and associated fossil bones preserved and over the last decade or so, the on-going investigation led scientists to believe that the best option was to remove the majority of the fossils in one massive block.  The excavation culminated in the removal of an 18,200 lb mass of boulders, carefully protected by burlap and plaster.  It was a tricky job negotiating the steep slopes of the Mesa but after heavy plant was brought in the huge rock was loaded onto a low loader for transportation to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (Salt Lake City).

One of the Utahraptor Jawbones Found at the Site

Slab and counter slab.

Slab and counter slab.

Picture Credit: James Kirkland/St. George News

Commenting on the fossils, which may represent at least six different aged Utahraptors, James Kirkland (Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Utah) stated:

“We realised all the raptors were intertwined.  As we tried to separate the bones from the ground, we kept running into more skeletons.  We ended up with a giant mass.”

Amongst the fossil material listed so far is a nearly two foot long adult skull, along with elements from a baby Utahraptor’s ten centimetre long skull.  These fossils will help scientists to work out how these animals changed as they grew and developed.  This discovery, part of an extremely rich fossil heritage from the American State has been described as a “Rosetta stone of dinosaur fossil hunting for Utah.”

A Predator Trap?

In conjunction with the Utahraptor remains, scientists have uncovered fragmentary fossils of a herbivorous iguanodontid.  It has been proposed that the stench of the rotting carcase of the herbivore attracted the predators who were hoping to scavenge on the rotting corpse.  However, these creatures too, become stuck in what was effectively quicksand and what killed them helped preserve their bodily remains.  Predator traps occur when large number of meat-eaters congregate around the corpse of a prey animal that has become stuck in mud or quicksand.  A number of predator traps are known from the fossil record, the Early Cretaceous tyrannosaurid Guanlong has been associated with a predator trap, the tar pits at La Brea (Los Angeles), are effectively one huge predator trap, they still catch out unwary birds and small mammals today.

To read an article about how scientists think large dinosaur footprints could have proved deadly for smaller animals: Did Dinosaur Footprints Trap Small Animals?

Commenting on the Utahraptor fossil discovery, a spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur stated:

“These fossils represent a remarkable opportunity for palaeontologists to learn about one of the most formidable predators of the Cretaceous.  Around 120 million years ago, this part of what is now the desert of Utah, was covered in a series of large and often seasonal lakes.  As the water evaporated over the long, dry season, so herbivorous dinosaurs would run the risk of getting stuck in the mud and soft sand on the shore.  With water seeping away from such sites, quicksand was quickly formed and these would ensnare unwary dinosaurs.  It will be difficult for the scientists to state with any degree of certainty whether or not this fossil site provides evidence of pack behaviour in  Dromaeosaurs, but we suspect that the debate over this type of dinosaur behaviour, already inferred by other fossil finds, will come to fore once more.”

Exclusive! CollectA Announces New Spinosaurus Models

Makeover for Iconic Dinosaur – Spinosaurus

Everything Dinosaur can exclusively reveal that those clever people at CollectA will be introducing a new Deluxe Spinosaurus replica into the company’s highly successful “Prehistoric Life” model collection.  In total, three new Spinosaurus models will be available as CollectA updates its model range to reflect changes in the way that scientists interpret fossils.

 New for 2015 Deluxe Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

Leading the way in interpreting dinosaur fossils.

Leading the way in interpreting dinosaur fossils.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Spinosaurus is one of the most famous of all the dinosaurs and 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the naming and formal scientific description of this iconic dinosaur, widely believed to be the largest predatory dinosaur that ever lived.  Back in September of last year, Everything Dinosaur team members reported upon the publication of a new scientific paper that showed this dinosaur in a whole new light.  Based on a comprehensive review of the known fossil data, scientists proposed that Spinosaurus walked on all fours rather than just its hind legs (obligate quadruped).  The title of the paper, published in the journal Science “Semi-aquatic Adaptations in a Giant Predatory Dinosaur”, just about says it all.  Here was a new way of interpreting the fossils of a Theropod dinosaur.  Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was depicted as a predator perfectly adapted to a life in rivers and lakes.  Think of Spinosaurus as “a dinosaur that decided to become a crocodile”, it’s a crude analogy but it does make the point.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The publication of the new research into Spinosaurus was one of the most eagerly anticipated scientific papers last year.  It’s amazing how quickly CollectA have been able to take the very latest information about a dinosaur and to create a replica that strongly reflects the scientific literature.  This new Deluxe Spinosaurus really shows how much care and attention this company pays to the science of palaeontology.”

Ironically, Everything Dinosaur had been inundated with  enquiries from dinosaur fans and serious model collectors about whether a replica showing this new interpretation of Spinosaurus was going to be produced.  We can exclusively reveal that CollectA have done this, and this model will be available from Everything Dinosaur in July (or thereabouts).

To read the article published by Everything Dinosaur on the new Spinosaurus interpretation: Spinosaurus – Four Legs are Better than Two

The Deluxe Spinosaurus measures approximately 36cm in length making it around 4cm bigger than the Deluxe 1:40 scale T. rex dinosaur model also made by CollectA.  The size of this new replica, reflects the current scientific thinking that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was indeed, larger than Tyrannosaurus rex.

This new model has been very skilfully crafted and it will have an articulated lower jaw.  The introduction of articulated jaws is going to be a feature of many of CollectA’s 2015 product offerings.  Both the eagerly awaited Deluxe feathered T. rex and the 1:40 scale Acrocanthosaurus dinosaurs, which are due to be introduced in the spring, will have articulated lower jaws, as will the 1:4 scale Guidraco Pterosaur replica.

CollectA Deluxe Spinosaurus will have an Articulated Lower Jaw

Model features an articulated jaw.

Model features an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

In Total Three New Spinosaurus Models from CollectA in 2015

If this news wasn’t enough to get dinosaur fans roaring with excitement, CollectA will be introducing a total of three Spinosaurus replicas in 2015.  The new Deluxe Spinosaurus will be replacing the company’s current Deluxe Spinosaurus.  Joining it will be two smaller models in the very popular, not-to-scale model range.  The existing Spinosaurus model in the not-to-scale range will be replaced by two replicas, one depicting Spinosaurus on land, the other, a model of Spinosaurus swimming.  These two figures will be available from Everything Dinosaur later on this year, and, as soon as we have photographs we will be posting them up, but we do know that each of these replicas measures around 26cm in length.

The 2014 reinterpretation of Spinosaurus attracted  a lot of attention from the scientific community. One of the most controversial areas was how this dinosaur might have protected its huge thumb claw when it walked on four legs.  The idea of Spinosaurus walking on its knuckles has been suggested.

Commenting on these exciting new additions and their relationship to the recently published research, model designer Anthony Beeson stated:

“I am not happy with the idea that the animal walked on its knuckles so I have made the hands point outward when on land as is the other theory [locomotion of an obligate quadruped].  As is the case with the Ichthyovenator [a Spinosauridae dinosaur replica introduced by CollectA last year] I have given the animals many crocodilian features especially the tail scutes that are such a decorative part of those creatures.”

We at Everything Dinosaur are delighted to hear this news and we can’t wait to see the models themselves.  When we have more information we will post it up. Promise!

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

Tyrannosaurus rex and a Chocolate Mountain

Has T. rex Bitten Off More than it Can Chew?

Yes, we know that tyrannosaurids did not chew their food.  The table manners of a Tyrannosaurus rex would have been non existent, these fearsome creatures were “tearers and gulpers” not to put too fine a point on it.  The team members at Everything dinosaur could not resist the strapline.  However, “she who must be obeyed”, our boss affectionately known, when she is out of ear shot as “Tyrannosaurus Sue” is slowly but surely making her way through the mountain of chocolates, sweets and goodies she seems to have accumulated over the holiday period.

“Chocolate Mountain” Slowly Being Eroded

A mountain of chocolate.

A mountain of chocolate.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Taking a perspective from a background in geology, “Tyrannosaurus Sue” assures us that her chocolate mountain, like all mountains is gradually being “eroded”.  Roll on Easter!

Answering Questions from a Young Dinosaur Fans

Answering Questions Sent in Over Christmas

Over the last few days we have been catching up with our correspondence and one of the tasks is to answer all the questions sent in by young dinosaur fans.  We have had a larger number of questions to handle than in previous years, but we are just about on top of the job.  Our thanks to Owen, Jacob, Simon, Theodore, Claire and Steven for sending in this selection of questions.

How many fingers did Tyrannosaurus rex have?

T. rex has two fingers on each hand.  These dinosaurs evolved from dinosaurs that had three fingers on their hands.  In some Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid dinosaur fossils a vestigial third finger can be made out.

Was Rajasaurus a powerful dinosaur?

Rajasaurus (the name means “Prince Lizard”) was a member of the abelisaurid group of meat-eating dinosaurs.  The fossils of this dinosaur have been found in Upper Cretaceous rocks of India.  At around eleven metres in length and weighing an estimated 3-4 tonnes this was a indeed a powerful and fearsome hunter.  Living at the same time as Rajasaurus was a second, slightly smaller and more lightly built abelisaurid.  This dinosaur has been named Indosuchus.  It has been suggested that these two predators did not compete for food, Indosuchus tackling smaller animals and the larger Rajasaurus specialising in attacking the really big herbivores such as Titanosaurs.

A Scale Drawing of Rajasaurus

Probably an apex predator in its environment.

Probably an apex predator in its environment.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There is now strong evidence that these predatory dinosaurs also lived in Europe during the Late Cretaceous.  To read an article about the discovery of an abelisaurid from France: New French abelisaurid Named after Road Builder

Where have fossils of Liliensternus been found?

Fossils of this Late Triassic carnivorous dinosaur have been found in Germany and France.

What were the top five biggest meat-eating dinosaurs?  What were the largest carnivorous dinosaurs called?

This is difficult to say as a number of the very large, carnivorous dinosaurs are known from fragmentary or partial remains.  Some of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs known include Giganotosaurus, Allosaurus fragilis, Saurophaganax, Spinosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus, Torvosaurus gurneyi, Tyrannosaurus rex, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, Tarbosaurus, Sauroniops pachytholus, Tyrannotitan, Mapusaurus, Zhuchengtyrannus magus.

You can find out more information about these dinosaurs by searching through the articles on this web log or perhaps by looking at dinosaur books.

Was Compsognathus the fastest dinosaur?

Compsognathus was regarded as the smallest dinosaur known for a number of years, but fossil finds in the late 20th Century led to the describing of a number of new species of smaller dinosaurs.  Compsognathus was certainly a swift runner and quite agile and in a study by Manchester University scientists, which compared the velocities of a number of dinosaurs, as well as humans and some flightless birds, Compsognathus came out as the faster sprinter.

To read the article and see the performance table: Could T. rex Run Faster than David Beckham?

However, a number ornithomimid dinosaurs (ostrich mimics), with their longer legs and bigger stride length could probably run faster, certainly in a straight line when compared to the diminutive Compsognathus.  It has been estimated that a dinosaur like Sinornithomimus could have sprinted at over 40 miles per hour.

How big was the horned dinosaur Albertoceratops?

Size estimates vary, but this horned dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America was probably around five to six metres in length when fully grown.

Was Mapusaurus a strong dinosaur?

Muscle mass of a dinosaur is difficult to calculate, however, the size and position of key muscle groups can be studied by looking at the scars which indicate areas of muscle attachment on fossil bone.  Mapusaurus (M. roseae) was certainly a large predator.  There is some evidence to suggest that these animals hunted in packs.  The short arms were quite strong, but the hind legs were very powerful indeed.  It has been estimated that this dinosaur could run at speeds approaching 25 miles per hour, perhaps as fast as 30 miles per hour.

To read an article in which Mapusaurus is compared with Tyrannosaurus rexWas Mapusaurus as Big as T. rex?

 What was the smallest dinosaur?  Was the smallest dinosaur Bambiraptor?

A number of recent fossil discoveries has enabled scientists to reconsider which was the smallest dinosaur.  For a long time Mussaurus was thought to be the smallest dinosaur, however, the fossil upon which this claim had been made was actually a baby and as a Prosauropod, Mussaurus probably grew to more than three metres in length.  Several different types of dinosaur are believed to have been less than a metre long, perhaps weighing less than four kilogrammes.  Bambiraptor was around a metre in length, although the holotype material probably represents a juvenile.  The tiny, feathered Theropod from Mongolia known as Shuvuuia has been estimated to have been just sixty centimetres long.  Both Microraptor and Micropachycephalosaurus were extremely small, with estimates for the size of Microraptor at around seventy centimetres and weighing perhaps no more than two kilogrammes.

In 2011, Everything Dinosaur wrote an article all about the “Ashdown Maniraptoran” this is the smallest dinosaur known from Europe, it was about the size of a magpie.

To read the article: The Smallest European Dinosaur

The current title holder of the “smallest dinosaur known to science” is Fruitadens (F. haagarorum).  It may have reached lengths of around forty centimetres, more than half of its body length was made up of its tail.  It weighed as much as two bags of sugar, around 1-2 kilogrammes. The fossils of this tiny dinosaur were found in Colorado.  It is a bird-hipped dinosaur, most probably a plant-eater but it may also have eaten insects.

A Scale Drawing of Fruitadens (Fruitadens haagarorum)

An illustration of perhaps the smallest dinosaur known Fruitadens.

An illustration of perhaps the smallest dinosaur known Fruitadens.

Picture Credit: D. Trankina/NHMLAC

Which was the more powerful dinosaur Allosaurus or Suchomimus?

These are two very different Theropod dinosaurs making comparisons a bit difficult.  Allosaurus fragilis for example, lived during the Late Jurassic, whilst Suchomimus fossils have been found associated with Cretaceous strata at least thirty million years older.  Suchomimus fossils were found in Niger (Africa), whereas Allosaurus fragilis fossils come from the western United States.  In terms of size, Allosaurus may have been slightly bigger at around twelve metres and Allosaurus probably specialised in hunting and eating other dinosaurs, whilst Suchomimus being a member of the Spinosauridae family was probably primarily a fish-eater.  Suchomimus did have stronger arms and shoulders than Allosaurus (most likely).

Where were the fossils of Barosaurus found?  Did the dinosaur called Barosaurus exist?

Barosaurus, the name means “heavy lizard” and the name is pronounced Bah-row-sore-us, was a Sauropod that lived in the Late Jurassic.  It was a member of the diplodocid dinosaur family and its fossils have been found in the western United States (South Dakota, as well as possibly Utah and Wyoming).  It may have reached lengths in excess of 27 metres and weighed as much as 20 tonnes.  Its fossils are relatively rare and when compared to the better known Diplodocus genus, Barosaurus had a longer neck but a shorter tail.  It has been suggested that Barosaurus was a browser of tall trees and the fossils found are associated with wetter parts of what is now known as the Morrison Formation.  A wetter habitat could have allowed the trees to grow taller, ideal for a long-necked Barosaurus to browse upon.

Thank you for all the questions sent in to us, we shall continue to work hard and answer them as best as we can.

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