A Video Review of the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Collecta Saurophaganax – A Video Review

Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy writing scripts for video reviews on the latest batch of Collecta prehistoric animal models to be received into our warehouse.  The first of these model reviews features Saurophaganax, arguably one of the biggest meat-eating dinosaurs known to science.  In this short (six minutes, thirteen seconds) video, we look at the Collecta Saurophaganax in more detail, explain why there is still confusion over this genus and reflect on how a 145 million year old dinosaur is still capable of harming people today.

Everything Dinosaur’s Review of the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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

Collecta have made a number of allosaurid models, they certainly have expanded their model range in recent years and this Collecta Saurophaganax dinosaur model is a super addition to the company’s not-to-scale model series.

Record Breaking Apatosaurus Thigh Bone

Apatosaurus Femur Fossil – Biggest Apatosaurus Fossil Femur Found to Date

Reports received from Colorado state that a six foot seven inch long Sauropod femur has been safely removed from the Mygatt-Moore Quarry, a famous, highly fossiliferous site which has provided museums in the western United States with hundreds of Upper Jurassic dinosaur fossils.  The quarry has been excavated for many years but this new fossil extraction is something special.  The femur, believed to come from a species of Apatosaurus represents the largest thigh bone associated with the long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur to have been found to date.

An Illustration of Apatosaurus

Apatosaurus dinosaur model.

Apatosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A number of Apatosaurus species have been described.  It was a member of the diplodocid clade of Sauropods and up until now the largest individuals of this species were around twenty-five metres in length.  However, this enormous femur (it measures 200.66 cm approximately), indicates that this genus could have reached lengths in excess of twenty-five metres.  Apatosaurus is one of the most popular of all the dinosaurs and it is often, still, referred to as Brontosaurus (Thunder Lizard).

For an explanation as to why the term Brontosaurus is no longer used to describe this dinosaur: Why Brontosaurus is no more

Volunteers and Scientists at the Fossil Dig Site

Giant dinosaur bone ready for lifting from fossil quarry.

Giant dinosaur bone ready for lifting from fossil quarry.

Picture Credit: Robert Gay (Museum of Western Colorado)

The excavation and extraction work was supervised by palaeontologists from the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey Museum.   The fossil had been spotted back in 2010, but it has taken a number of summer expeditions to prepare the fossil for its removal.  Museum volunteers Kay Fredette and Dorothy Stewart originally spotted the fossilised thigh bone, slowly eroding out of the surrounding rock, at first, all that was exposed was a “pancake-sized” chunk of rock.

After the burlap and plaster fossil was lifted by crane onto awaiting transport, Kay Fredette commented:

“We’ve got to clean the bottom side of it and there’s so much other bone around it.  It is going to take a couple of years to finish this.”

In total, the fossil including the remaining matrix and its cradle weighed more than 1,270 kilogrammes, a spokes person from Everything Dinosaur explained that the plaster and burlap protected fossil would be transported to a laboratory and once installed inside, a team of preparators would begin the long process of cleaning the fossilised bone and extracting it from the surrounding rock.

Volunteer Kay Fredette (foreground) Next to Another Dinosaur Bone

Helping to dig up dinosaurs.

Helping to dig up dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Robert Gay (Museum of Western Colorado)

The Everything Dinosaur spokes person stated:

“To give readers an idea of the weight of the object, the fossil bones, its matrix and surrounding cradle that had to be lifted weighed about as much as a Ford Focus motor car”.

The Mygatt-Moore Quarry is located in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and the scientists at the Museum of Western Colorado hope to learn more about the potential maximum size of this iconic dinosaur.

Dr. Julia McHugh, who helped supervise the fossil extraction stated:

“So after the remaining matrix is removed and the bone is repaired it is going to be used to verify its taxonomic identity.  That means what animal it belongs to as well as whether it was a fully grown, mature adult.”

Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Stegosaurus Corpse from Collecta in the Spotlight

The model making company called Collecta have recently added a replica of a dead Stegosaurus to their prehistoric animals model range.  This is the second dinosaur corpse introduced by Collecta, the Stegosaurus following the Triceratops carcase that was added in 2012.

The Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse Dinosaur Model

Attacked by an Allosaurus?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Stegosaurus is one of the easiest to recognise dinosaurs with its rows of plates running along its back and the spikes on its tail.  The Stegosauria is actually represented by a large number of different genera, these  herbivorous dinosaurs probably first appeared in Asia, and then migrated to North America, Africa and into Europe.  The type of Stegosaur that most people are familiar with has the plate layout and spikes seen in this Collecta replica, representing a Stegosaurus from the Late Jurassic of the western United States.

Most model collectors and young dinosaur fans have several Stegosaurus models in their collections, however, the introduction of a Stegosaur corpse will help model makers to create an authentic scene reflecting life in the Late Jurassic.  This Stegosaurus has been attacked and killed by a large meat-eating dinosaur, potentially something like an Allosaurus or possibly another member of the allosaurid family called a Saurophaganax.  Coincidently, both an Allosaurus and a Saurophaganax model are made by Collecta and available from Everything Dinosaur.

Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse and the Collecta Saurophaganax Dinosaur Model

Food for a dinosaur?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Stegosaurus corpse measures 18 centimetres in length and although it is not part of a scale model series,  it is designed to fit approximately to the scale of a number of Late Jurassic dinosaur models made by Collecta in the same figure range.  The model is very well sculpted with lots of detail, we particularly appreciate the fine wrinkles and folds depicted as part of the skin texture.

If we focus on the topside of the model, for the moment, we can see that the body cavity has been opened exposing the ribs and parts of the intestinal tract.   A nice touch from the artists at Collecta are the rivulets of partially congealed blood that can be seen on the lower portion of the belly.

Lots of Detail on the Stegosaurus Figure

Some gory details on this Collecta Stegosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are deep wounds visible in the upper arm/shoulder area and also at the back of the thigh.  These wounds are probably post-mortem, that is they occurred as the carcase was fed upon and they were not the result of any injuries from combat.  The thigh bone along with the humerus and the scapula, the shoulder blades, supported large muscles and it is these fleshy areas along with organs such as the liver that were likely to have been consumed first by any predator.

To view the Collecta range of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Collecta Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

If we consider the underside of the model, we can see evidence of a bite on one of those famous back plates and there is a small bite mark on the tail.  The most obvious flesh wound is a large wound  at the top of the neck.  The design team at Collecta probably wanted to indicate that this was the fatal injury that brought this large herbivore down.  Clearly from what we can see in this replica, the model makers have taken great care to depict the Stegosaurus corpse and to reflect the pathology seen in the model, to what may very probably have happened in a fight to the death between a Stegosaur and a large, meat-eating Theropod dinosaur.

A corpse such as this would have provided a large carnivore, an Allosaurus for example, with enough food to keep the animal going for several weeks.  Without a better understanding of dinosaur metabolism, how long a single Stegosaur corpse could have sustained a big meat-eater is open to speculation.  However, the carcase would have attracted a lot of scavengers and if this skeleton had been preserved as part of the fossil record, palaeontologists would probably have found gouge marks on the bones and evidence of feeding by smaller dinosaurs, perhaps even broken teeth in association with the Stegosaur remains.

The model is beautifully painted. The Stegosaur has a bluey/green body with a lighter underside and the plates and tail spikes are painted a combination of orange and brown.  It is a skilfully crafted dinosaur replica.

New Type of “Four Winged” Flying Dinosaur – A Liaoning Surprise?

Changyuraptor yangi – Let’s Not Get into Too Much of a Flap

And so on the 15th July, the paper on a new type of airborne dinosaur was published in the journal “Nature Communications”.  The world was officially introduced to Changyuraptor yangi or to interpret the genus name, “long feathered raptor”.  At about the size of a European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), this newest member of the microraptorines, is the largest Theropod dinosaur discovered to date with long pennaceous feathers attached to the hind limbs.  At an estimated weight of around three to four kilogrammes, it is three times heavier than the largest species of Microraptor – M. zhaoianus (if indeed the fossils discovered to date do indeed represent three different species and not a single species but with extensive intra-specific variation), and four times heavier than that extant gull we mentioned earlier.  Changyuraptor has other claims to fame.  For example, its tail feathers are extremely long, measuring nearly thirty centimetres in length.  The longest tail feather is around 30% the length of the entire skeleton.

However, for us at Everything Dinosaur, the announcement of this fossil find comes as no real surprise.  The fossil material is from north-eastern China and it forms part of the amazing Jehol Biota which represents an Early Cretaceous ecosystem which has been preserved in strata that date from around 133 million years ago to 121 million years ago or thereabouts.  All the Microraptorine fossil material comes from this part of the world and the fossilised fauna and flora portray a habitat that had distinct seasons with a temperate forest habitat interspersed with large bodies of freshwater and swamps.  The area teemed with life and with the finding of one predatory Dromaeosaurid dinosaur with aerodynamic abilities (Microraptor), finding other examples of dinosaurs filling this ecological niche was always likely.

These hunters may not have caught their prey on the wing, but they probably spent a great deal of their lives high up in the tree canopy living an arboreal existence and stomach content analysis from Microraptor specimens indicate that these dinosaurs, closely related to the likes of Velociraptor, ate small mammals, lizards and even primitive birds.  One poor unfortunate perching bird seems to have been swallowed whole.

An Illustration of Changyuraptor yangi (Silhouette of Person shows Scale)

“Four winged” terror

Picture Credit: S. Abramowicz

The international team of scientists behind the scientific paper, such as Luis M. Chiappe (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County), Michael Habib (University of Southern California), Gang Han, Shu-An Ji, Xueling Liu and Lizhuo Han (Bohai University, Liaoning Province), in collaboration with colleagues based in New York and South Africa have described the beautifully preserved fossil material and then analysed this animal’s flight characteristics. Why, for example, did this “four-winged terror” have such long feathers on its tail?

The Holotype Fossil Material (C. yangi)

The slab (a) and the counter slab (b) of the Holotype

Picture Credit: Nature Communications

At 1.32 metres in length and weighing close to four kilogrammes, taking to the air may not have been too much of a problem for our feathered friend here.  Especially if this dinosaur launched itself from the branches of trees and glided around.  However, controlling itself in flight and coming into land may have been somewhat more difficult for such a heavy, large-bodied animal.  The international research team examined the aerial competency of Changyuraptor and concluded that the tail may have acted as a pitch control structure, reducing air speed and helping to ensure a safe landing.  Those hind limbs with their feathers too, would have assisted with gliding and with the legs rotated down and underneath the body as it descended, then the feathers could have made effective air brakes, in a similar way to the “trousers” on Archaeopteryx.

To read an article on the feathered legs of Archaeopteryx: Feathers Evolved Before Flight – Archaeopteryx Had Feathered Trousers

Dr. Michael Habib (University of Southern California) stated:

“It makes sense that the largest microraptorines had especially large tail feathers, they would have needed the additional control.”

Dr. Alan Turner of Stony Brook University (New York), a co-author of the paper added:

“Numerous features that we have long associated with birds in fact evolved in dinosaurs long before the first birds arrived on the scene.  This includes things such as hollow bones, nesting behaviour, feathers…and possibly flight.” 

Bone structure analysis undertaken concluded that this was a fully grown, mature animal that rivalled the largest Pterosaurs known from Liaoning Province in size as it glided in the sky above this ancient Chinese landscape.  The holotype material was found back in 2012 and since its discovery the notion that flight preceded the origin of Aves has been consolidated.  Birds inherited flight characteristics from their near relatives the Dinosauria.  For the time being we shall give the last word to Luis Chiappe:

“This new fossil documents that dinosaur flight was not limited to very small animals but to dinosaurs of a more substantial size.  Clearly far more evidence is needed to understand the nuances of dinosaur flight but Changyuraptor is a major leap in the right direction.”

More Crocodile Attacks Reported from India

More Crocodile Attacks Reported in Gujarat State

The number of crocodile attacks reported by the authorities in Gujarat State (western India), continues to rise with the latest victim a sixteen year old boy who was attacked by a crocodile as he swam in a lake close to Dena village (Gujarat).  A day earlier, a woman was dragged into the water by a crocodile near the town of Goraj.  The boy, Moin Qureshi managed to escape but suffered injuries to his legs.  Villagers report that the lake is home to at least two large crocodiles.

A spokes person for the villagers explained that locals had been requested to stay away from the water, Moin is in hospital recovering from his ordeal.  This attack follows a similar incident reported  from northern India last month when two girls were attacked by a crocodile, one of these attacks proved fatal.

There have been a number of such incidents reported from India this year, back in April, Everything Dinosaur team members reported on the series of crocodile attacks in Gujarat State.

To read more about these attacks: Third Fatality as a Result of Crocodile Attack Reported

At certain times of the year, crocodiles are believed to be more aggressive and therefore more likely to attack people, when females are guarding nests or when males are competing for territory for example.  Loss of habitat and the increasing population pressure may also be a factor as people are coming into contact with large crocodiles more frequently.

Papo Baby Triceratops – A Written Review

Papo Baby Triceratops Gets Reviewed

The last of the 2014 model introductions into the Papo range has arrived at Everything Dinosaur, it is the baby Triceratops replica and this is our review of this Papo dinosaur model.

Although Triceratops fossil material accounts for nearly forty percent of all the dinosaur fossils excavated from the famous Hell Creek Formation of the United States, fossils of baby dinosaurs are exceptionally rare.  Although there have been a few examples, including fragmentary elements of skull material from juvenile Triceratops often found in association with the bones of adult animals.  This association of bones from younger animals found with the fossilised remains of larger, older animals suggests that this horned dinosaur may have lived in small herds or even family groups.

Young, juvenile Triceratops would have relied upon the protection of adult animals.  A herd structure made up of dinosaurs of different ages would have made an effective defensive strategy against attacks from marauding Tyrannosaurs.

The Baby Triceratops Dinosaur Model from Papo

New for 2014 from Papo

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Papo Dinosaur models at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

The new baby Triceratops model manufactured by Papo measures around ten centimetres in length and the head with its small, brow horns and neck crest stands around five and a half centimetres high.  It is not possible to determine the age.  However, in 1997 the thirty centimetre long, nearly complete skull of a juvenile Triceratops was collected from the Montana portion of the Hell Creek Formation.  Its brow horns, horns that would grow to be more than a metre long in adults, were only a couple of inches in size and it was estimated that this specimen was around a year old or thereabouts.

The Papo baby Triceratops is obviously well fed as the model makers at Papo have given their replica a big stomach and there are lots of skin detail to admire both on the top and on the underside of this figure.  Along the back, the model has been given rows of larger scales, which are painted an off-white colour to help them stand out against the metallic grey colouration of the flanks, limbs and down the tail.  It has even been described as looking quite cute.

A Cute Baby Triceratops Dinosaur Model

Cute for a Triceratops?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The head shows lots of detail and reflects the fossil material found in Montana back in 1997.  The face has a greenish tint to it and the skull crest has been painted a sandy colour, with larger scales highlighted in black.  Interestingly, the neck shield has definite scalloped edges to it, these wavy edges were replaced in fully mature animals by the development of triangular scales along the edge of the adult frill.  The neck shield of this Papo model reflects quite accurately what is now known about the frills of juvenile Triceratops.

One small point to make about the feet, although the hind feet on this replica have the correct number of toes (four), the front feet are missing a digit.  Triceratops had five digits on its front feet, the Papo  baby Triceratops shows only four digits on its front feet.

This replica with its typical baby dinosaur features, the disproportionately large skull, the big eyes, small horns and short tail, works very well when it is placed alongside the adult Triceratops figure which was introduced by Papo into their prehistoric animal model range sometime ago.

Two Triceratops Models Available from Everything Dinosaur

The baby Triceratops figure next to the adult Papo Triceratops

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

All in all this is an excellent young Triceratops dinosaur model.  For example, if you look very closely at the open jaws ,details of the animal’s palate can be made out in the roof of the mouth along with a small, pink tongue filling the lower jaw.  This replica is a welcome addition to the Papo model range.

Flags out for Collecta

New Collecta Models – Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Mammals

Fact sheets have been prepared, scale drawings commissioned and checked and its full speed ahead at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse as team members eagerly await the arrival of the latest batch of 2014 Collecta models. Staff have had prototypes of the new models for some time and indeed, Everything Dinosaur was one of the first organisations to get stocks of the Quetzalcoatlus with prey, the Ichthyovenator and the delightful Xenoceratops, soon we will be able to add a lot more including a replica of a palm tree.

New Collecta Models for 2014

New Collecta prehistoric animal models

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The full list of models due into stock goes something like this: Deluxe 1:20 scale Arsinoitherium, Deluxe 1:40 scale Therizinosaurus, more stock of the extremely popular Deluxe Carcharodontosaurus, the Coconut Palm Tree replica, Bistahieversor, Saurophaganax, Gastonia, the juvenile T. rex, and the mighty Mosasaurus.  Almost too many for us to remember.

New Collecta Models due to Arrive Shortly

Is there room in our warehouse for all of these?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Collecta models: Collecta Prehistoric Animals

For fans of prehistoric scenery, Everything Dinosaur will be adding the Collecta Coconut Palm model to its stock.  This model of a stand of palm trees is ideal for helping to create prehistoric scenes.  Palm trees are a relatively ancient group of flowering plants (angiosperms), with palm tree fossils associated with Upper Cretaceous and Early Palaeogene strata.

New for 2014 The Collecta Palm Tree Replica

Tropical Plants from Collecta

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

So its full steam ahead for Collecta.

Everything Dinosaur Says Sorry

Our Apologies

A number of Everything Dinosaur customers and blog fans have been experiencing either slow download speeds or a loss of the Everything Dinosaur websites and blog completely.  We would like to apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused.  Everything Dinosaur’s  on line presence was undergoing essential maintenance as well as a number of upgrades, all designed to improve our customer service.

“Stego” and “rex”,  Everything Dinosaur’s two, plush IT engineers have been helping with the project and they have created a banner which was put up on the company website, Everything Dinosaur that reassured visitors to our website that everything was running OK.

“Stego” and “rex” Make a Contribution to the Site Upgrades

This banner appeared on the website during maintenance

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Note to the rest of the Everything Dinosaur team.  Is it a good idea to have “Stego” and “rex” helping out our IT operations?  After all, Stegosaurus is famous for having a brain the size of a walnut and Tyrannosaurus rex is famous for having very short arms and only two fingers on each hand.

Never mind, essential maintenance done and it’s upwards and onwards from here for the company renowned for its ability to supply dinosaur toys and games.

Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Model – A Video Review

A Video Review of the Collecta Dead Stegosaurus Corpse

The second, deceased dinosaur model to be included in the Collecta prehistoric animal replicas range is a model of a Stegosaurus corpse.  In this brief video (five minutes, thirty-two seconds), Everything Dinosaur looks at this dinosaur model in more detail and comments on the quality of this replica as well as explaining the pattern of the wounds such as the bite marks on the body.

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review (Collecta Stegosaurus Corpse)

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Most prehistoric animal model collectors have a number of Stegosaurs in their collection, thanks to Collecta, they can now obtain an authentic replica of a dead Stegosaurus, which is ideal for dioramas and for creating prehistoric scenes.  Bring on the Theropods.

To see the range of Collecta prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Collecta Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Ancient Creepy-Crawlies Resurrected

410 Million Year Old Arachnid Walks Again

A team of international researchers have used fossils of ancient Arthropods from the London Natural History Museum to recreate the movements of some of the world’s first terrestrial predators.  Researchers from the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) and Manchester University have used an open source computer programme called Blender to model the walking motion of a 41o million year old ancient Arachnid.  The video shows the most likely gait that this tiny prehistoric predator could achieve as it stalked across the Devonian landscape.  The paper, which details this research has been published in a special edition of the academic publication the “Journal of Palaeontology”.

The scientists took minute slices of the fossils of these early Arachnids and once the limb segments and their joints had been identified they worked out the range of limb motion possible.  From these measurements and using comparisons with extant Arachnids, the researchers modelled the walking action using the Blender software programme.  In this way, a creature dead for over 410 million years could once again walk.

Dr. Russell Garwood, (palaeontologist at Manchester University), stated:

“When it comes to early life on land, land before our ancestors came out of the sea, these early Arachnids were top dog of the food chain.  They are now extinct, but from about 300 to 400 million years ago, they seem to have been more widespread than spiders.  Now we can use the tools of computer graphics to better understand and recreate how they might have moved – all from thin slivers of rock, showing the joints in their legs.”

Supplemental Data Video 2 – Palaeocharinus Locomotion

Video Credit: University of Manchester Press Room

The video shows the ancient Arthropod (Palaeocharinus genus) walking.  Although a formidable looking animal, this early creepy-crawly was less than half a centimetre in length.  The fossils used in this study came from the famous Lower Devonian strata at Rhynie (Aberdeenshire, Scotland).  The Rhynie chert deposit contains evidence of one of the earliest terrestrial ecosystems known to science.  More than twenty primitive plant species have been identified along with Arthropods such as mites and trigonotarbids such as Palaeocharinus that hunted amongst the miniature forest made up of Rhyniophytes (primitive plants).

Co-author of the scientific paper, Jason Dunlop (Museum für Naturkunde), added:

“These fossils,  from a rock called Rhynie chert, are unusually well-preserved.  During my PhD I could build up a pretty good idea of their appearance in life.  This new study has gone further and shows us how they probably walked.  For me, what’s really exciting is that scientists can make these animations now, without needing the technical wizardry and immense costs of a Jurassic Park-style film.”

Although not true spiders, trigonotarbids are related to modern spiders but they lack certain spider features such as silk producing spinnerets.  As a group, they first appear in the fossil record in the Late Silurian.  The oldest trigonotarbid specimen, that we at Everything Dinosaur know about, comes from the Upper Silurian deposits of Ludow , Shropshire (Ludlow epoch around 420 million years ago).  It was Jason Dunlop who was responsible for describing this discovery (1996).

A Highly Magnified Image of a trigonotarbid (Palaeocharinus)

The highly magnified section shows leg segments clearly.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scale bar in the picture represents 2 mm.

Dr. Dunlop stated:

“When I started working on fossil Arachnids we were happy if we could manage a sketch of what they used to look like, now we can view them running across our computer screens.”

The development of sophisticated computer programmes is permitting scientists to re-create three-dimensional images of spectacular fossils.  In addition, new generation programming technology is now capable of bringing long extinct creatures back to life, at least in cyberspace.  The predatory Palaeocharinus might be quite frightening, but at half a centimetre long it would probably not even had got a second glance if you spotted on in the garden.  However, other specimens from Upper Devonian strata, as yet not fully described fossils, indicate that there were much larger creatures at home amongst the primitive plants such as the Rhyniophytes and Lycopsids (clubmosses), some fossils indicate Arthropods nearly an inch in length.  These creatures may not be trigonotarbids but perhaps represent an entirely new family of Arthropoda.

Dr. Garwood concluded:

“Using open source software means that this is something anyone could do at home, while allowing us to understand these early land animals better than ever before.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences (University of Manchester) in the compilation of this article.

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