New from CollectA for 2016 (Part 2)

Beishanlong, Lythronax, Struthiomimus New for 2016

You wait ages for an Ornithomimosauria clade model to come along and then, thanks to CollectA, two arrive!  These models are part of the exciting 2016 introductions, along with a replica of the “King of Gore” Lythronax (L. argestes), a ferocious tyrannosaurid, fossils of which come from Utah.

1:4o Scale Deluxe Beishanlong (B. grandis)

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2016.

Available from Everything Dinosaur in 2016.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Fossils of this giant, member of the “bird mimic” clade come from Gansu Province (China), it was a contemporary of the feathered tyrannosaur Xiongguanlong, (X. baimoensis), a replica of which was introduced by CollectA earlier this year.  Beishanlong was one of the largest of the Ornithomimosauria known, although the best preserved specimen represents an immature animal, the fragmentary fossilised bones when compared to more complete specimens suggest that this dinosaur grew to a length in excess of eight metres.  Skull material is absent from the fossil record, so CollectA have based their replica on more complete ornithomimids.  It certainly is a most impressive figure.

Anthony Beeson, the designer behind the CollectA range of prehistoric animal models explained:

“Beishanlong, was an “ostrich mimic” and a Chinese dinosaur.  It was amongst the largest of the ostrich mimics and is important as being an earlier relative of Deinocheirus.  The CollectA model is based on a skeleton that I admired at Hong Kong’s Science Museum during my last visit.”

Beishanlong is going to be one of the new additions to the Deluxe scale model range made by CollectA.  It will be available from Everything Dinosaur in the spring of 2016, or thereabouts.  As it stands an impressive 23 centimetres tall it is going to tower over the smaller CollectA Xiongguanlong replica.   This is quite apt, as Beishanlong would have towered over Xiongguanlong when they shared the same Asian habitat some 120 million years ago.

To read an article published in 2009 but the discovery of Xiongguanlong and Beishanlong: Giant Ornithomimid and New Tyrannosaur from Gansu Province

Lythronax – “The King of Gore”

Available from Everything Dinosaur around the middle of 2016.

Available from Everything Dinosaur around the middle of 2016.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Approximately, the size of Beishanlong but much heavier and decidedly more dangerous, Lythronax was a top predator of the Middle Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous.  The genus name translates as “the King of Gore”.  With its wide but short snout and robust jaws, this dinosaur would have been very formidable.  Many palaeontologists believe that this Theropod was a direct ancestor of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.  CollectA are beginning to assemble quite a collection of Tyrannosaurs – Eotyrannus, Tarbosaurus, the feathered T. rex, Xiongguanlong and another close relative of Lythronax, Bistahieversor that roamed what was to become New Mexico around four million years or so after “the King of Gore” became extinct.

To read about the discovery of Lythronax: “The King of Gore” – New Tyrannosaur from Utah

Anthony commented:

“The early Tyrannosaur Lythronax from Utah was chosen really because of its importance in the evolutionary chain of that genus and also because I love the name!  One can never have too much gore in play as most boys know.  Like Tyrannosaurus , Lythronax had eyes pointing to the front giving it binocular vision and the ability to gauge depth.”

Some nice detail is shown in the photograph of the model, the shaggy, feathered coat, tufts of feathers on the top of the head and evidence of almost pennaceous feathers on the forelimbs.

The CollectA Lythronax replica measures around 18 centimetres long, the head height is a fraction over 8.5 centimetres.  It will be available from Everything Dinosaur around the middle of 2016.

The last of the latest batch of dinosaur model pictures to be released by CollectA is another feathered dinosaur.  Once upon a time, feathered dinosaur models were the exception, now thanks to the work of the likes of CollectA more and more feathered dinosaur replicas are being produced.

New for 2016 The CollectA Struthiomimus Model

New for 2016 a Struthiomimus dinosaur model.

New for 2016 a Struthiomimus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Named almost one hundred years ago (1917), this is the dinosaur that gave rise to the term “ostrich mimic”, as this is what the genus name Struthiomimus means.  It is great to see a replica of this fast-running Late Cretaceous resident of North America.  Once again, CollectA have to be applauded, as they have given their model, long pennaceous feathers on the forearm, this suggests that they have been keeping up to date with the latest ornithomimid studies, in particular some recently published papers on remarkably well-preserved Ornithomimus specimens.

There are not many models of the Ornithomimidae around, this is a very welcome addition.

Commenting on this, the second of the ornithomimids to be introduced next year, Anthony Beeson said:

“I have wanted to do a Struthiomimus model for a long time and also to produce more ornithomimids or ostrich mimics .  In the 1950’s Struthiomimus was well known to dinosaur enthusiasts, but since Jurassic Park, Gallimimus has eclipsed it in popular culture.  John Sibbick, the palaeoartist once bemoaned its passing to me.  It has not previously featured greatly in the toy record.  It was a very common ornithomimid dinosaur that was found in Late Cretaceous North America.”

The model is scheduled to come out at about the same time as the Lythronax replica (mid 2016), it measures 11 centimetres long, and that head stands some 6.5 centimetres off the ground.

So that’s the very latest information on new CollectA prehistoric animals for you, in summary, one Tyrannosaur, two members of the Ornithomimosauria clade, three feathered Theropods and top notch replicas they are too.

To view the current CollectA range of Deluxe models available at Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe Models

To view the remainder of the CollectA Prehistoric Life range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Not to Scale Models


This article has been amended to ensure more accurate terms related to taxa and classification are used.

“The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild”

New Blog Covering Science Topics

A new open encyclopaedia project has started that covers the sciences.  This new web blog that everyone can contribute to, covers subjects as diverse as biology, botany, geology, mineralogy palaeontology, cryptozoology and speculative evolution.  There is even room for xenobiology (the manipulation of biological processes) and astrobiology (naturally evolved life in the universe) on this new site run by enthusiast Destin Bogart and his colleagues.

Providing a Platform for Informed Discussion

Main logo of The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild

Main logo of The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild

Picture Credit: Destin Bogart

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild looks at the living world (real and imagined) and aims to provide a forum for like-minded individuals to express their views, publish articles and add to the discussion.  Findings and hypotheses most welcome!

A Wide Range of Topics Covered

For the uninitiated, Destin provides a handy, brief explanation of the topic areas the blog intends to cover.  Biology is the study of living things, botany is the study of plant life, whereas zoologists study animals.  Geology covers the Earth and its processes, mineralogy is the study of crystals and minerals and readers of the Everything Dinosaur blog should need no introduction to palaeontology.  At the Guild, the administrator wishes to encourage discussion on cryptids (unknown organisms), so cryptozoologists would concern themselves with beasts of myth or legend, the Yeti, or Scotland’s Loch Ness monster for example.

In Search of the Loch Ness Monster et al

An Illustration of a Plesiosaurus.

An Illustration of a Plesiosaurus.

Astrobiology, xenobiology, and speculative evolution allow enthusiasts to gain a better understanding the mechanisms of natural selection and evolution as well as providing an entertaining look into what could share this universe with the 8.2 million species or so to be found on our own planet.

Commenting on the inclusion of some of the more “obscure” disciplines within this blogsphere, one of the administrators stated:

“Astrobiology is the search for extraterrestrial life, xenobiology is the study of extraterrestrial organisms, and speculative evolution basically takes an event, or situation in which evolution could take a different path.  This blog will focus mainly on the solid sciences and will occasionally delve into these fictitious sciences to prove, disprove, and approve.”

The team at the Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild will strive to publish only the most accurate and scientifically acceptable information and speculations. Over the time span of this project, readers will learn through videos, presentations, talk-seminars, and info-videos about the Earth, its composition, the life that lived and still lives on it and speculate on the future of our planet and other life carrying bodies in the universe.

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild line up includes Brandon Ahrens, Sergio Treviso, Molly Essenburg, Destin Bogart and David Lichliter and this experienced team aims to bring to its readership the very latest developments in scientific literature, providing informed comment but retaining a light touch with a focus on entertaining as well as enlightening.

Publishing Plans

Plans include publishing new articles every week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), authors, academics and science writers are invited to contribute to what is described as an “experience-heavy project”.

Discussing the need to attract more high calibre writers, Destin Bogart explained:

“We are a small group and we need more members!  Scientists and scientifically minded people are invited to submit their contributions and we are also looking for candidates with a gift for narration, to provide the voice overs for our planned video series.”

To contact the organisers of the Guild: Contact the Guild

The team intend to base each article on a specific organism, examining how it lives, its biology and so forth.  Looking into the future (something we at Everything Dinosaur would expect astrobiologists to be very accomplished at), the Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild intend to create a series of encyclopaedias that contain all the articles published.  These encyclopaedias will, at first, probably be made available via a digital download and they will include a directory of the contributors (profiles, avatars and a short biography).

Aiming to Make a Big Impact

The end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

Aiming to make a big impact.

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild welcomes new scribes and anyone wishing to participate in this exciting project that has all ready established a Tumblr account as well as a blog and web platform.  Soon a dedicated YouTube channel will be added.

Explore The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild website: Website

Find The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild on Tumblr: Tumblr Account

The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild Blogsite: The Expeditioner’s Discovery Guild Blog

The “Highland Giant” of the Karoo Basin

Femur of Giant Dinosaur Put on Display

The fossilised bones of the largest dinosaur ever found in South Africa were put on display at the Witwatersrand University Origins Centre this week.  The fragmentary remains, including a colossal partial femur (thigh bone), represent a plant-eating dinosaur that once roamed the land that is now known as the Lesotho Highlands some 200 million years ago.  The size of this, as yet, unnamed dinosaur is certainly impressive.  At an estimated fourteen tonnes, it was twice as heavy as Tyrannosaurus rex, but its sheer bulk is of limited interest to palaeontologists.  What is much more significant is that this specimen indicates the presence of very large dinosaurs in this part of the world during the Early Jurassic (Hettangian stage), it extends the faunal mix that existed in this region of the super-continent Gondwana, just a few million years after the Triassic/Jurassic extinction event.

A Scale Drawing Comparing the South African Sauropod to Well-known Dinosaurs and a Human (with Dog)

Dipolodcus, T. rex and the

Dipolodocus, T. rex and Aardonyx celestae are compared


Picture Credit: Witwatersrand University Origins Centre

The picture above also includes Aardonyx, a basal Sauropodomorph from South Africa.  Aardonyx has been described as a transitional form of lizard-hipped plant-eater, showing a trend in this part of the Dinosauria for heavier and heavier animals that eventually evolved into obligate quadrupeds.

To read an article about the discovery and naming of Aardonyx: South Africa’s Transitional Dinosaur Fossil

Nick-named The “Highland Giant”

Nick-named the “Highland Giant” the first fossils of this huge basal Sauropod were found during excavations under the Caledon River for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project some twenty years ago.  The bones were so bulky that they were stored in separate storage rooms.  It was only after the fossil specimens were relocated to new storage facilities that it was realised that the fossils represented the remains of a single, individual dinosaur.

Commenting on the fossil find, Dr. Jonah Choiniere, a senior researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Witwatersrand University stated:

“This is the biggest dinosaur we have ever found.  We do not know what the species is, hopefully we will know in a year or so.  We are not sure if this is a new species.”

Dr. Jonah Choiniere with Some of the Fossil Material

Dr. Choiniere with the fossils of the  "Highland Giant"

Dr. Choiniere with the fossils of the “Highland Giant”.

Picture Credit: Witwatersrand University Origins Centre

Other fossils collected in the same region have been associated with this giant Sauropod, the picture above shows Dr. Choiniere with some of the fossils, having a person in the picture provides a handy scale.  Recently, there have been a number of important dinosaur discoveries from South Africa.  For example, in August Everything Dinosaur reported on the naming of Pulanesaura (basal Sauropod) and in June, team members produced an article featuring Sefapanosaurus.

Pulanesaura article: Pulanesaura – A Case of “Four Legs Being Better than Two”

Sefapanosaurus article: New Sauropodomorph from South Africa

Fossils of the Early Jurassic Sauropod Have Come to Light Over Twenty Years

Fossils of the "Highland Giant" include claws and a vertebra.

Fossils of the “Highland Giant” include claws and a vertebra.

Picture Credit: Witwatersrand University Origins Centre

CollectA Spinosaurus Models

CollectA Spinosaurus Models (2015)

There is a saying that good things come in threes, a bit like the manual unguals (claws) on a Spinosaurus and thanks to CollectA, dinosaur fans have now got three new models of this super-sized predator to savour.  Everything Dinosaur have just taken in stock of the CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Spinosaurus and the two smaller Spinosaurus models, one showing the quadruped pose and one depicting this north African dinosaur swimming.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Spinosaurus Replica

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: CollectA

We note there has been some debate as to the scale of this replica.  This is a little difficult to estimate, given that all three Spinosaurus models are based on the 2014 interpretation published by Ibrahim et al.  The new interpretation caused a lot of controversy and discussion in academic circles, particularly over scaling in relation to the hind limbs and so forth, but the authors still depicted Spinosaurus in excess of sixteen metres long.  If we take the curve of the tail into account and measure the CollectA Deluxe replica from nose to tail it is an impressive 38 centimetres long, perhaps a fraction longer.  So if we compare this replica to the scale used by Ibrahim and colleagues, we do get an approximate 1:40 scale for this beastie.

To view the CollectA Deluxe Spinosaurus at Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models

 A Pair of Spinosaurus Models (CollectA Swimming and CollectA Walking Spinosaurus Dinosaurs)

CollectA Spinosaurus available from Everything Dinosaur.

CollectA Spinosaurus available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Just like their bigger counterpart, the two smaller models (both around 23 centimetres in length or so), are very well made.  Lots of detail has been added and it is really pleasing to see those cranial crests given prominence.  You can really imagine that these two little chaps had the dense bones as proposed in the September 2014 paper*, indicative that here was a Theropod with several adaptations to an aquatic lifestyle.  Of particular note are the very crocodilian tails of these two models, the base of each tail is broad and deep, providing propulsion through the water just like an extant crocodile today.

The CollectA Swimming Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA swimming Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

The CollectA swimming Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper certainly attracted a great deal of attention when it first was published, twelve months on, the debate continues, only recently another review of spinosaurid material from North Africa was published.  This review challenged many of the earlier findings, it even added an extra dimension with the inclusion of further studies related to the vertebrae assigned to Sigilmassasaurus, these Kem Kem fossils (Morocco), really have muddied the waters even further when it comes to a reassessment of all things spinosaurid.

To view the not to scale Spinosaurus models from CollectA: CollectA Dinosaurs

The “Spinosaurus Re-boot” as it has been termed, is going to rumble on, in the meantime, we can enjoy these new dinosaur models.

The full title of the September 2014 paper is “Semi-aquatic Adaptations in a Giant Predatory Dinosaur”, it was published in the journal “Science”.

List of authors: Nizar Ibrahim, Paul C. Sereno, Cristiano Dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco, Matteo Fabbri, David M. Martill, Samir Zouhri, Nathan Myhrvold and Dawid A. Iurino

Getting Along “Swimmingly” – A Pair of CollectA Spinosaurus Models

A pair of CollectA Spinosaurus dinosaur models.

A pair of CollectA Spinosaurus dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Spinosaurus Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur (Tomorrow)

CollectA Spinosaurus are on their Way!

The eagerly awaited Spinosaurus replicas including the 1:40 scale Deluxe Spinosaurus with an articulated lower jaw are their way to Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.  These eagerly awaited dinosaur models are the last of the 2015 CollectA production to reach us and when the stock arrives and is checked over we shall commence the operation to let everyone who contacted us and wanted to reserve one that these beautiful replicas have arrived.

All Three 2015 CollectA Spinosaurus Dinosaur Models

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Joining the 1:4 scale Supreme Guidraco Pterosaur figure and the wonderful Feathered T. rex (also in 1:40 scale like the Deluxe Spinosaurus), will be the three new versions of Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus), which represent one of the very latest interpretations, of what is believed to be, the largest meat-eating dinosaur known to science.

The CollectA 1:40 Scale Deluxe Spinosaurus

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

A Carnivorous Dinosaur at Home in the Water and on Land

These three, hand-painted models are based on the re-examination of the Spinosauridae fossil material that was published last year (Ibrahim et al).  In what was a dramatic report, a team of scientists including Paul Sereno, Nizar Ibrahim, Cristiano Dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco, Matteo Fabbri plus others esteemed academics including the UK’s David Martill re-examined all the known Spinosaurus fossil material from North Africa and concluded that Spinosaurus was adapted to a life as an aquatic animal.  Put simply, it was a dinosaur that looked like a dragon and decided to live like a crocodile.

The paper, entitled “Semi-aquatic Adaptations in a Giant Predatory Dinosaur”, was published on September 26th 2014, so CollectA have been remarkably quick off the mark to produce this trio of replicas.

To read more about the original Spinosaurus research: Spinosaurus – Four Legs Better than Two

 The Swimming Dinosaur (Popular CollectA Model Range)

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

In essence, the 2014 study depicted Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) as a semi-aquatic hunter, more at home in water than in a terrestrial environment.  Although descended from entirely terrestrial ancestors, Spinosaurus had evolved into a supreme specialist, an obligate quadruped of a Theropod that was very much a creature of the large rivers and deep lakes of its ancient Cretaceous habitat.  In recognition of this research, CollectA created a total of three new Spinosaurus models, a swimming one (pictured above), the Deluxe 1:40 scale replica mentioned earlier and a walking Spinosaurus (see below).

A Walking Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model (CollectA)

A Spinosaurus going for a stroll.

A Spinosaurus going for a stroll.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

To see Everything Dinosaur’s existing range of Deluxe CollectA models: CollectA Scale and Deluxe Models

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing range of CollectA not to scale models: CollectA Prehistoric Animals

A spokesperson for the UK based company stated:

“It is great to see these three fascinating depictions of Spinosaurus.  CollectA are to be praised for the quick turnaround from the published paper to making this a production model and also for taking on the challenge of depicting this iconic dinosaur in this way, bringing a whole new dimension when it comes to dinosaur model collecting.”

TetZooCon 2015 and Everything Dinosaur

TetZooCon 2015 and Everything Dinosaur

It’s full steam ahead with just a few days to go to the second annual TetZooCon, a convention dedicated to Tetrapod Zoology and what an amazing day it’s going to be.  The London Wetland Centre is the venue and on Saturday 14th November, the great and the good in the TetZoo-verse will descend on Barnes, London SW13 to enjoy a variety of speakers covering subjects as diverse as Pterosaurs to Pygmy Elephants?  Keeping to the all things beginning with “P” theme, renowned palaeoartists Mark Witton, Bob Nicholls (he of the famous Nigersaurus eye-lashes illustration, ask him about this whilst you are there) and John Conway will be holding a special palaeoart workshop.  If you have ever wondered how artists are able to create such stunning illustrations of long, extinct creatures now’s your chance to find out.

Countdown to TetZooCon 2015

Click on the logo to visit the Paypal booking service.

Click on the logo for more information!

Image Credit: Darren Naish

Organised by Darren Naish, vertebrate palaeontologist, acclaimed science writer and all round good guy, and the super talented John Conway, Saturday’s event provides an amazing opportunity to meet top academics and to learn all about the comings and goings in terms of some of the latest thinking regarding the astonishing creatures that share our planet, plus of course, lots of information on those animals that have dropped out of the gene pool.  Animals such as the Ichthyosaurs which will be covered in a talk given by the University of Southampton’s Jessica Lawrence-Wujek.  So if “fish lizards” are your thing, head down to the London Wetland Centre on the 14th.

For further information and to book: TetZooCon 2015

The event starts at 9am and Everything Dinosaur are proud to be associated with this wonderful day out.  Look out for some super prehistoric animal models that we have donated for the quiz that will round off the fun filled and very informative day.

Look out for our Logo at TetZooCon 2015

Proud to sponsor Tetzoocon 2015.

Proud to sponsor TetZooCon 2015.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Tea and coffee are provided, and lunch can be purchased at the nearby Water’s Edge Cafe.  TetZooCon promises to be the best thing to hit this part of London since the Ice Age!

Commenting on the event, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained:

“Events like TetZooCon provide those with a general interest in science with a marvellous opportunity to converse with leading scientists, artists and science writers.  Sadly, these opportunities, are few and far between and it is great to see such a convention taking place.  We wish the organisers and everyone attending the very best and we look forward to hearing more about this exciting event.”

Everything Dinosaur Slides Between Speakers at the Conference

All ready for the 14th November.

All ready for the 14th November.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We note that the day is to be concluded with a visit to a local hostelry, a trip to the Red Lion Pub!  Fantastic planning Darren et al, choosing an inn with a Tetrapod connection.   Sounds like it is going to be a great day!

First Pictures of New CollectA 2016 Models

Mercuriceratops, T. rex Prey, Hunting T. rex and Metriacanthosaurus

The first pictures of some of the new for 2016 models made by our chums at CollectA have been released.  Everything Dinosaur has been given an exclusive first look, so without further ado, here are the first four.

Metriacanthosaurus – M. parkeri

"Parker's moderately spined lizard"

“Parker’s moderately spined lizard”

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

First up, Metriacanthosaurus, an eight metre long monster that once roamed southern England.  Known from fragmentary fossils, excavated from an exposed Upper Jurassic horizon near the town of Weymouth (Dorset, England), this dinosaur may have been the apex predator of that part of the world around 156-157 million years ago.  Where Metriacanthosaurus is placed in the Theropoda remains hotly debated.  Once classified as a Megalosaur, more recent research has placed this formidable hunter in the Sinoraptoridae.  It is a beautiful model and it’s great to see another “English” Theropod added to the impressive CollectA “Prehistoric Life” model range.  Metriacanthosaurus measures an imposing 17 cm in length.

T. rex the Hunter!

A hunting T. rex.

A hunting T. rex.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

You wait ages for a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex model and then two* turn up within a few months.  The second new for 2016 model is a depiction of a hunting T. rex and what a skilfully created replica it is.  The hunting T. rex measures 24 cm long and Anthony Beeson, the clever designer behind this range explained:

“Tyrannosaurus rex hunting is designed with a less evolved plumage when compared to the 2015 CollectA Deluxe Feathered T. rex model so that it may be interpreted by the collector as either an immature male or as a female.  The latter in order to show sexual dimorphism.”

Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the creation of this, the very latest depiction of the “Tyrant Lizard King”.

Tyrannosaurus Prey – T. rex Corpse

T. rex Corpse

T. rex Corpse

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

Not every hunt was successful, even for Tyrannosaurus rex.  Like Metriacanthosaurus that lived some ninety million years earlier, T. rex may have been an apex predator, but sometimes it did not get everything its own way.  At 31 cm long, this is an impressively sized model which shows lots of detail, the gory demise of a Tyrannosaur possibly as a result of an encounter with a bigger member of its own species or maybe after a battle with a pack of the recently described giant, Hell Creek Formation dromaeosaurid Dakotaraptor (D. steini).

Explaining how he decided on the pathology for his model, designer Anthony Beeson stated:

“I designed Tyrannosaurus as prey in order to show that however fearsome a carnivore may appear, it is likely to end up in the food chain eventually.  It also shows that Tyrannosaurus faced death at the hands of its own species especially during mating and the body shows damage caused by another Tyrannosaurus based on bite marks identified in the same areas on other fossils.” 

It is fantastic to see a T. rex corpse introduced by CollectA, Everything Dinosaur are “dead” certain that this will prove to be a very popular model!

* There are now three feathered Tyrannosaurus rex replicas thanks to CollectA.

The Chasmosaurine Mercuriceratops

Wonderful horned dinosaur replica.

Wonderful horned dinosaur replica.

Picture Credit: CollectA/Everything Dinosaur

Continuing the trend (or should that now be called a tradition), for producing excellent horned dinosaur models, is a replica of the Chasmosaurine Mercuriceratops and it’s another beauty.  This carefully painted Ceratopsian measures an impressive 16.5 cm long and it is a beautiful rendition of a distant relative to Triceratops and Torosaurus.  CollectA have by far and away the most extensive line up of horned dinosaur models, this new for 2016 addition is going to prove to be a big hit with fans of horned dinosaurs.

More news about CollectA will be posted up by Everything Dinosaur in the near future.  All these models will be available from Everything Dinosaur in the Spring of 2016.  Looks like it is going to be a great year for CollectA!

To view the existing range of CollectA prehistoric animals: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models

To view the Deluxe CollectA range: CollectA Deluxe Scale Models

*Oops four feathered T. rex models from CollectA we forgot about the juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex replica.

Warrington’s Wonderful Dinosaurs

A Morning with Year 1 and Reception (Winwick CE Primary)

October was a very busy month for the dinosaur experts at Everything Dinosaur with lots of school visits to squeeze in amongst all the other prehistoric animal projects that we were involved with.  On a Wednesday, towards the end of the month we delivered a dinosaur workshop to Reception and Year 1 pupils at Winwick CE Primary School (Warrington, Cheshire) and what a fun and fact filled morning it was.  The emphasis was on exploring dinosaurs and fossils so that the term topic could link into key areas of the national curriculum related to numeracy and literacy.  Lots of extension ideas and activities followed on from our visit, for example, we set the Year 1 children one of our special “pinkie palaeontologist challenges” – could they compose a thank you letter to Everything Dinosaur?

A Set of Wonderful Dinosaur Thank You Letters from Year 1

Year 1 write thank you letters.

Year 1 write thank you letters.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Sure enough, we received an envelope from the school, sent into us by the class teacher (Mrs Common) and inside we found a lovely set of thank you letters from the children.  Our dinosaur expert had asked the children to make sure they got their words onto the lines correctly, that they used capital letters and full stops.  In addition,  we wanted to see some wonderful spelling.

Amelia Says Thank You to Everything Dinosaur

Amelia says thank you.

Amelia says thank you.

Picture Credit: Winwick CE Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

What super writing Amelia, well done you!

Year One Class Send in Thank You Letters After Dinosaur Workshop

A thank you letter from Ethan.  Well done!

A thank you letter from Ethan. Well done!

Picture Credit: Winwick CE Primary School and Everything Dinosaur

We enjoyed reading through the letters and we loved looking at the wonderful prehistoric animals that the children had drawn, especially the Ammonites!

To discover more about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Dinosaurs for Schools

Commenting on the busy morning, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We had a fantastic time working with the children.  Special thanks to Mrs Dudley, Mrs Hansley, Miss Abu and Mr Bate for their help and assistance on the day.  A big Iguanodon thumbs up to Mrs Cameron who even offered us some toast at break-time.”

It sounds like Everything Dinosaur were very well looked after at the school.  Dinosaurs as a term topic provides so many opportunities for children to gain confidence with their writing, develop their vocabularies and to practice simple addition and subtraction.  A big thank you to all the children who sent in letters to us, this is greatly appreciated.

Dakotaraptor Compared to Utahraptor

Dakotaraptor Compared to Utahraptor

The vast majority of the dromaeosaurids known were actually rather small when compared to other types of Theropod dinosaur.  As a group, these active dinosaurs were geographically widespread with fossil specimens found in Asia, both North and South America and even England (Nuthetes destructor).  All species described to date were predatory and they certainly seemed to have been amongst the most adaptable of all the Theropoda.  Over the last few years our view of these feathered terrors has changed.  They are no longer confined to the role of swift cursorial (running) hunters, scientists have proposed that many members of the Dromaeosauridae were excellent climbers (scansorial), tree dwellers (arboreal) and that a number of them were volant (capable of powered flight or gliding).

Dromaeosaurids like Changyuraptor Seemed to have Filled a Variety of Ecological Niches

"Four winged" terror

“Four winged” terror

Picture Credit:  S. Abramowicz

The illustration above depicts the dromaeosaurid Changyuraptor yangi from Liaoning Province (China), it was very probably capable of flight.

Giant Raptors – Gigantism in the Dromaeosauridae

Over the dromaeosaurids long evolutionary history, gigantic forms did evolve and we suspect that Cretaceous-aged strata still hold the undiscovered remains of a number of super-sized dromaeosaurids.  With the naming and describing of Dakotaraptor (D. steini), the Hell Creek Formation can now boast a gigantic sized raptor amongst its faunal members.  At around five and a half metres in length Dakotaraptor was a sizeable beast, but for the moment, the dinosaur called Utahraptor (U. ostrummaysorum) which roamed what was to become the State of Utah more than fifty million years before Dakotaraptor evolved, is regarded as the largest.

Direct comparisons are difficult, the two individuals that represent Dakotaraptor (a gracile form and a more robust specimen) are known from only fragmentary remains, limb bones, vertebrae including caudal vertebrae, for example.  The holotype of Utahraptor is also fragmentary, consisting of some cranial material, a tibia and caudal vertebrae.  Some further fossil material assigned to Utahraptor has come to light since Utahraptor ostrummaysorum was formally named and described, but even so, direct comparisons between these two North American giants is difficult.

Comparing Claws

Ironically, there is one part of these two dinosaurs that we can compare and contrast.  The famous sickle-toe killing claw, what is termed the pedal ungual II.

The Sickle-Toe Claws of Utahraptor and Dakotaraptor Compared

Comparing those "killer claws".

Comparing those “killer claws”.

Picture Credit: Robert DePalma with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

In the photograph above, a cast of the second toe claw of Utahraptor (left) is compared to that of Dakotaraptor (right).  The claws are very similar in size, although the degree of curvature is different.  In addition, Dakotaraptor had a more pronounced flexor tubercle (the ringed area in the photograph).  This would suggest that the second toe claw of Dakotaraptor was highly mobile dorsoventrally (it could be moved up and down really well).  This might indicate that Dakotaraptor, already nick-named D-raptor, was more capable of slashing with its second toe and with some considerable force too.

When the proposed femur to tibia bone ratios are compared between Utahraptor and Dakotaraptor, it can be seen that D. steini had body proportions very similar to the much smaller dromaeosaurids such as Dromaeosaurus.  Utahraptor’s hind legs seem to have been more robust and as a result Utahraptor may have been a heavier animal, but in a sprint Dakotaraptor probably had the edge.  Both dinosaurs could very probably outrun even the most talented athlete.

The presence of this new predator expands the record of Theropod diversity in Late Cretaceous Laramidia, adding a new dimension to the ecology and food chains that likely occurred in North America towards the end of the Mesozoic.

Why Dakotaraptor steini?

The genus name translates as “robber or thief from Dakota”, whereas the trivial name honours American palaeontologist Walter W. Stein.

Dakotaraptor a Giant Raptor

Dakotaraptor steini and Niche Partitioning

An international research team which included scientists from the University of Kansas, Pete Larson (Black Hills Institute of Geological Research) and Bob Bakker (Houston Museum of Science and Nature) , have finally solved a hundred year mystery with the describing of a very large dromaeosaurid from fluvial deposits that form part of the famous Hell Creek Formation exposed in South Dakota.  Teeth, very typical of a dromaeosaurid, had been found in the Late Maastrichtian deposits indicating the presence of a very large “raptor”, however, no bones to link to the teeth were known.  However, a paper published in “Paleontological Contributions” describes Dakotaraptor (D. steini) and a new super-sized Dromaeosaur has been introduced to the world.

Dakotaraptor – A Fearsome Predator

Dakotaraptor steini

Dakotaraptor steini

Picture Credit: Emily Willoughby

At an estimated five and half metres in length, this new meat-eating dinosaur, known from fragmentary remains representing two individuals fills a niche within the food web of the fauna represented by the vertebrate fossils associated with the famous Hell Creek Formation.  A number of small Theropods are known as well as the super-sized Tyrannosaurs such as T. rex.  Dakotaraptor represents a sort of “halfway house” when it comes to the carnivores associated with Hell Creek.  Its limbs and body are very similar to the smaller dromaeosaurids known from this part of the world, dinosaurs such as Dromaeosaurus, (the first dromaeosaurid ever described), Saurornitholestes, and the recently named Acheroraptor but proportionately much larger.  Dakotaraptor was one “raptor” that actually did grow to be as big as the “Velociraptors” featured in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Commenting on the size and scale of Dakotaraptor, co-author of the publication and Kansas University palaeontologist, David Burnham said:

“This new predatory dinosaur also fills the body size gap between smaller Theropods and large Tyrannosaurs that lived at this time.”

The fossils were found in 2005, lead author of the research, Robert DePalma, (curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History) led the field expedition to Harding County (South Dakota) where the specimens were located.  At the time, he was a graduate student studying under former Kansas University professor and curator Larry Martin, who sadly passed away in 2014.

He explained:

“This Cretaceous period raptor would have been lightly built and probably just as agile as the vicious smaller Theropods such as Velociraptor.”

In addition to being roughly the size of the iconic “Raptors” from Jurassic Park, there are two very exciting skeletal features preserved in Dakotaraptor.  The paper describes a massive dromaeosaur sickle claw on the middle toe.  It measures 16 cm from top to bottom and 24 cm along the outer curve.  This was an impressively large raptorial claw, even for an animal this size.  The ulna, a bone in the forearm, bares 15 large and distinct quill knobs, or ulnar papillae, which are reinforced attachment points on the wings of birds and other dinosaurs where the large, pennaceous feathers attach.  This makes Dakotaraptor the largest known dinosaur with confirmed wings.

Reconstructed Dakotaraptor Wing and Proposed Plumage

The "wings" of Dakotaraptor.

The “wings” of Dakotaraptor.

Picture Credit: Robert DePalma

Dakotaraptor may not have competed directly with adult Tyrannosaurs.  Perhaps it adopted a different hunting strategy or specialised in attacking a different sort of prey.  By doing this it would have avoided direct competition between it and other large predatory dinosaurs. This is an example of niche partitioning.

When asked by Everything Dinosaur about this particular aspect of the research, Robert DePalma explained:

“Niche partitioning is a given, Dakotaraptor had to occupy a distinct ecological niche.  If it coexisted with the other large predators, had the same herbivores available to them, and did not out compete each other to extinction, then there had to be different strategies going on.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of Kansas University and Robert DePalma in the compilation of this article.

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