All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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8 10, 2017

Dinosaur Artwork – Palaeoart

By | October 8th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Dinosaur Artwork – Palaeoart

Illustrating prehistoric life, whether it is drawing Devonian landscapes, colouring in Cambrian scenes, painting Pterosaurs or sketching Silurian fishes is extremely important as these artworks help to inform, educate and fire the imagination of the public.  At Everything Dinosaur, we are very lucky as we get to meet so many talented palaeoartists, from the very young to the young at heart.  When visiting a school, we often get given some pictures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that the children have produced, perhaps, inspired by our dinosaur themed workshops in school.  We also get the chance to work with professional palaeoartists who make a living providing illustrations for books, museum galleries and exhibitions.

Late Cretaceous China – Superb Artwork by Zhao Chuang

China - Late Cretaceous

Late Cretaceous China – an amazing prehistoric landscape.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Helping to Illustrate Prehistoric Life

The illustration above, depicts the Late Cretaceous of China, this artwork was created by the very talented illustrator Zhao Chuang, who describes himself as a science artist.  Mr Chuang, a founder member of PNSO (Peking Natural Science Organisation), has collaborated with numerous leading palaeontologists and natural history museums including the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Natural History Museum.  The scene above shows China around 77 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous), a herd of duck-billed dinosaurs arrive at a waterhole, these large herbivores have nothing to fear from the beautifully feathered dromaeosaurid on the left of the image, whilst the Ankylosaurine Pinacosaurus, confident that its body armour will keep it safe, wanders away from the water having drunk its fill.

The artwork on the boxes of the prehistoric animal figures made by PNSO is also excellent too.  To view the range of prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs

Take for example, the artwork on the large Triceratops model within the PNSO model range.  The model is placed in a forest setting and the low light effect shows the scales on the figure very well.  The background is in soft focus, whilst in contrast, the Triceratops is very prominent.  The superb detail on the PNSO Triceratops can be clearly seen.  The strapline on the box is “every life should be respected”, a core message that is depicted across a range of Zhao Chuang inspired products.

PNSO Box Art – Triceratops (T. horridus)

PNSO Triceratops box art.

PNSO box art- Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Importance of Palaeoart

Palaeoart helps to portray ancient life and plays an extremely important role in helping to depict long extinct creatures.  The best examples represent the animals and landscapes using the very latest scientific thinking, helping to directly contribute to the public’s knowledge and understanding with regards to life in the past.  It is often these images, those seen in books and increasingly, images viewed on-line, that help to inspire the next generation of palaeontologists.

Zhao Chaung’s Illustration of the Theropod Concavenator

Concavenator dinosaur illustration (Zhao Chuang)

A beautiful illustration of the Theropod dinosaur Concavenator.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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7 10, 2017

Everything Dinosaur and Proposed Royal Mail Strike Action

By | October 7th, 2017|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Contingency Planning in Place if Royal Mail Strike Goes Ahead

On Thursday (5th October), it was announced that Royal Mail workers in the UK are set to go on strike for 48-hours from the 19th October in a dispute over pensions, job status and pay.  The Communication Workers Union (CWU), has informed the management at the Royal Mail Group that 111,000 postal workers will walk out and go on strike until Saturday 21st October.  As a mail order company, this is quite troubling news, especially as we build up to the very busy Christmas period.  However, Everything Dinosaur has already started to put in contingency plans to help manage any potential disruption in UK mail services.

Potential Parcel Disruption with Proposed Royal Mail Strike Action

Royal Mail industrial action threatened (October 2017).

The threat of industrial action at Royal Mail.

Picture Credit: Andrew Milligan/Press Association

This industrial action is proposed to take place at or after 11am on Thursday 19th October and run until 11am Saturday 21st October 2017.  The CWU has already intimated that further industrial action cannot be ruled out at this stage.  This dispute, which has been ongoing for some considerable time, may escalate and industrial action of this nature could, potentially disrupt Christmas deliveries.

Everything Dinosaur has already been contacted by Royal Mail over this issue and we have plans in place to help minimise any disruption should strike action go ahead.

As a mail order company, we have put into place some contingency plans to help reduce any inconvenience to our customers.

  • More packing of parcels has been scheduled to take place on the weekend prior to the 19th October.  By ensuring all orders placed on Saturday and Sunday are despatched on the following Monday, these orders should avoid the worst of any industrial action.
  • Additional, mail collections have been organised for the Tuesday and Wednesday proceeding the proposed industrial action.  This should enable us to get parcels into the mail system more quickly and help to minimise the impact of any industrial action that has taken place.
  • Staff will continue to pack items during any period of disruption, this will ensure a prompt collection and placement into the mail network as soon as any industrial action has finished.
  • Time has been allocated on the Saturday (21st), to enable us to pack orders and to get them sent out on that day.
  • All our correspondence, letters and such like are being held back so that in our own small way we can reduce the workload and the subsequent backlog for local Royal Mail staff.

In addition to not having any Royal Mail service over the intended period of strike action, further disruption can be expected as the backlog of letters and parcels is cleared.  Orders despatched by other channels such as via courier services are not going to be affected and we have already discussed with our couriers contingency plans to cover any increase in the number of courier deliveries that we use.

Everything Dinosaur Putting Plans in Place to Minimise the Impact on Customers

Royal Mail parcels being sorted.

Royal Mail parcels (2017).  Plans are in place to help minimise the disruption.

Picture Credit: Press Association/Royal Mail

Everything Dinosaur, like many firms, is actively exploring alternative mail delivery systems.  The strike action, if it is to continue, may result in delays with the Christmas post.  We are doing all we can to assist customers and provide support.

However, we urge that it would be very sensible for customers not to leave ordering until quite late, especially as the Christmas mail build up increases.  It is always a good idea to order early, so for birthdays, parties and Christmas our advice is to plan ahead.

Royal Mail management have put a press release about the threat of industrial action, in this press release they state:

“We are committed to further talks as a matter of urgency to reach agreement with the CWU.  There are no grounds for industrial action.  We want to reach agreement.  Earlier this week we reminded the CWU of the dispute resolution procedures that we agreed in the Agenda for Growth.  These dispute resolution procedures were set up as a vehicle to resolve industrial disputes.  We wish to use them to do just that.  External mediation as set out in Agenda For Growth has not taken place.  We will use all legal options at our disposal, including applying to the High Court for an injunction to prevent industrial action.”

Naturally, we will keep all our customers informed.  We will keep you posted….

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6 10, 2017

New Prehistoric Crocodile with a Tough Skull

By | October 6th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ieldraan melkshamensis – The Monster of Melksham

A new species of prehistoric marine crocodile has been described after an amazing effort by the preparators at the Natural History Museum (London), to separate this crocodile’s partial skull and fragmentary jaw bones from an extremely hard concretion, in which the fossils were entombed.  Although in very poor condition, the research team from the University of Edinburgh as well as the Natural History Museum, were able to identify enough unique anatomical traits (autapomorphies), to allow a new species to be erected.  The new marine crocodile (metriorhynchid) has been named Ieldraan melkshamensis, the species name honouring the town of Melksham in Wiltshire where the fossil material was unearthed.

Ieldraan melkshamensis – One Tough Crocodylomorph with a Very Tough Skull

Ieldraan melkshamensis fossil material.

Ieldraan melkshamensis fossil with the inset showing a large, conical tooth in detail.

Picture Credit: University of Edinburgh/Davide Foffa

The specimen was acquired by the Natural History Museum in 1875, but because of its poor condition it did not attract a lot of scientific attention.  The fossil being entombed within an extremely hard concretion (septarian concretion), meant any form of scientific study was extremely limited.

Mark Graham, Senior Fossil Preparator at the Natural History Museum explained the problem:

“The specimen was completely enclosed in a super-hard rock nodule with veins of calcite running through, which had formed around it during the process of fossilisation.  The work took many hours over a period of weeks, and great care had to be taken to avoid damaging the skull and teeth as they became exposed.”

Newest member of the Metriorhynchidae

Measuring more than three metres in length, Ieldraan melkshamensis was one of the most powerful and dangerous marine predators in the warm, shallow seas of western Europe some 163 million years ago (Callovian faunal stage of the late Middle Jurassic).  The teeth with their distinctive striations (series of ridges running down the length of the teeth) indicate that this large crocodylomorph, which was very distantly related to today’s crocodilians, fed on large prey items.  It might have hunted other marine reptiles as well as preying on squid and fish.  It has been classified as member of the Metriorhynchidae family, specifically assigned to the sub-family Geosaurinae and a phylogenetic analysis places Ieldraan as the sister taxon of Geosaurus, perhaps the best-known of all the metriorhynchids, having been named and described over 100 years ago.

A Model of a Typical Metriorhynchid Crocodylomorph (Plesiosuchus)

Plesiosuchus marine crocodile model.

Available from Everything Dinosaur a Plesiosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Plesiosuchus model shown above is part of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World model collection, replicas of marine crocodiles are quite rare, to learn more about this model series and to view the range at Everything Dinosaur: Safari Ltd: Wild Safari Prehistoric World”

The authors of the scientific paper, published in the “Journal of Systematic Palaeontology” conclude that if this new species is a sister taxon to Geosaurus, this places it in the Geosaurini clade and this data suggests that the major Geosaurini lineages originated millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Lead author Davide Foffa (School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh), stated:

“It’s not the prettiest fossil in the world, but the Melksham Monster tells us a very important story about the evolution of these ancient crocodiles and how they became the apex predators in their ecosystem.  Without the amazing preparation work done by our collaborators at the Natural History Museum, it would not have been possible to work out the anatomy of this challenging specimen.”

Prehistoric Marine Crocodile on Patrol – Plesiosuchus manselii

Marine crocodile (Plesiosuchus).

Plesiosuchus manselii illustrated.  A typical metriorhynchid.

Picture Credit: Fabio Manucci/University of Edinburgh

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5 10, 2017

Thailand’s Biggest Dinosaur Discovery Reported

By | October 5th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossils of Biggest Dinosaur Found to Date in Thailand Reported

Everything Dinosaur has received reports that news sources are stating that fossils of a very big dinosaur, a Sauropod, have been found in Thailand.  The first dinosaur bone from Thailand was discovered back in 1976, since then, as the country’s geology has been mapped and explored, a number of exciting dinosaur fossil discoveries have been made, mostly by employees of the Department for Mineral Resources, which is part of the Ministry for Natural Resources and the Environment.  Thailand has quite extensive Mesozoic-aged exposures from both marine and non-marine environments.  To date, team members think that the largest dinosaur known from Thailand would be Phuwiangosaurus (P. sirindhornae), which is estimated to have reached a length of about twenty metres and weighed as much as seventeen tonnes.

The First Every Dinosaur Fossil from Thailand

Partial Sauropod femur (Thailand)

The distal end of a Sauropod femur.

Picture Credit: Department of Mineral Resources (Thailand)

The photograph above shows the first dinosaur fossil to have come to the attention of science found in Thailand.  The distal end (the part furthest away from the body) of a femur was found eroding out of a stream bed in 1976.  Since then, a number of dinosaur genera have been named and described including an Iguanodont (Sirindhorna khoratensis) and two sizeable Theropods (Siamotyrannus isanensis and Siamosaurus suteethorni).

A senior government official (Niwat Maneekut, deputy director-general of the Department of Mineral Resources), is reported to have said that the fossils come from the north-east of the country.  A single fossilised bone was found by a villager in the Nong Bua Raheo district of  Chaiyaphum province, around two hundred miles north-east of the capital Bangkok, last year, but more recent excavations led by palaeontologists from the Department of Mineral Resources had recovered a further twenty pieces of bone.

Information remains patchy, but the fossils are estimated to be around 100 million years old and scientists are conducting more research.

Phuwiangosaurus is Believed to be a Member of the Euhelopodidae and Therefore Similar to Euhelopus

Scale drawing - Euhelopus.

Euhelopus scale drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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4 10, 2017

Rebor Wind Hunter in Newsletter Spotlight

By | October 4th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Rebor Utahraptor Replica Features in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

A lot of Rebor replicas have come back into stock at Everything Dinosaur, so it was fitting that a number of these fabulous scale models were featured in the latest Everything Dinosaur newsletter that came out earlier this week.  The headline highlighted the 1:35 scale Rebor Wind Hunter replica (Utahraptor ostrommaysorum), a reserve list had been opened for this eagerly awaited model and collectors were soon emailed with the good news that this model was now in Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse once again, along with the Cerberus Clan set and the 1:6 scale Compsognathus replica (Sentry).

The Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Featured the Rebor Replica Wind Hunter Model

Rebor Utahraptor model features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Rebor Wind Hunter replica features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor 1:35 Scale Utahraptor Replica

The Rebor 1:35 scale Utahraptor replica was the first “raptor” model that Rebor ever produced and it remains one of the most popular figures in this range.  Since “Wind Hunter” was launched, a number of dromaeosaurid models have been added, the focus has been on Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis), but this model of Utahraptor, a dinosaur that lived long before Velociraptor evolved, has been out of production for some time and it is great to see it back.

The Rebor Utahraptor 1:35 Scale Model (Wind Hunter)

Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor model).

Beautiful detail on this model – the Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To enquire about the Rebor Wind Hunter model and for information on the rest of the Rebor replicas range: Email: Everything Dinosaur

To view all the Rebor figures available: Rebor Replicas

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model, a 1:40 scale model of a prehistoric elephant (M. trogontherii) has got a lot of collectors very excited and this fantastic, museum quality figure also featured in our newsletter.  This is the first of new series of wonderful prehistoric animal models and Everything Dinosaur team members look forward to breaking the news about what’s coming next.  Model fans and collectors won’t be disappointed.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To visit the Eofauna Scientific Research section on the Everything Dinosaur website: Eofauna Scientific Research at Everything Dinosaur

Compsognathus and Deinonychus in the Spotlight

Everything Dinosaur newsletter September 2017.

Lots of prehistoric animal models featured in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our brief newsletter included details of the Rebor Deinonychus trio coming back into stock, “Tooth”, “Thrill” and “Shoot” are available and ready to do battle with the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus model (Hercules) over its kill, the Tenontosaurus corpse (Ceryneian Hind).

The Special Edition Papo Box Set

Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus special edition gift box.

The Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus gift box.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Opposite the news about the Rebor Sentry figure, we also included an update on stocks of the limited edition Papo box set which features a juvenile Spinosaurus.  This two-figure special edition has been selling very quickly and Papo dinosaur model fans were being urged to reserve their set or make a purchase as stocks may not last until Christmas.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

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3 10, 2017

Squid the Last Meal of a Baby Ichthyosaurus

By | October 3rd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Baby Ichthyosaurus communis Dined on Squid

A team of UK-based scientists have identified the youngest and therefore the smallest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis known to science and, just for good measure, they have found what could have been the marine reptile’s last meal.  Inside the body cavity of the seventy-centimetre-long fossil, the researchers found tiny “hook-like” structures, these are the less digestible parts of squid and therefore, the scientists were able to deduce that this young Ichthyosaurus had recently fed on cephalopods.

A Young Ichthyosaurus communis Attacking a Prehistoric Squid

A neonate Ichthyosaurus communis feeding on a squid.

A neonate Ichthyosaurus attacks a squid.

Picture Credit: Julian Kiely

The artist Julien Kiely has kindly reconstructed the new-born in this fantastic scene, which depicts the moment a newly born Ichthyosaurus communis attacks a squid.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, one of the authors of the scientific paper, published today in the journal “Historical Biology – The International Journal of Paleobiology”, Dean Lomax stated:

“It is amazing to think we know what a creature that is nearly 200 million years old ate for its last meal.  We found many tiny hook-like structures preserved between the ribs.  These are from the arms of prehistoric squid.  So, we know this animal’s last meal before it died was squid.”

From the Biggest to the Smallest

University of Manchester palaeontologist Dean Lomax, in collaboration with German colleagues, had recently published a paper describing the largest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis, a female that turned out to be pregnant when she died.  Everything Dinosaur wrote an article about the research in August*, as well as having described the biggest I. communis, just a few weeks later, this new paper, describes the smallest.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax Holds the Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Specimen

Dean Lomax holding the neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax holding the baby Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

*To read the article about the largest Ichthyosaurus communis specimen: Palaeontologists and the Pregnant Ichthyosaurus

Ichthyosaurus communis

Several species of Ichthyosaurus have been identified, but Ichthyosaurus communis was the first, being named and described in 1822 from fossil material discovered by Mary Anning.  These reptiles were viviparous and a number of specimens showing embryos preserved inside their mothers are known.  However, this Ichthyosaurus is one of only a handful of fossils that represent very young animals.  As it was not preserved in association with a larger specimen (the mother) and as there are stomach contents present, it is likely that this fossil represents an independent, recently born animal, the first neonate Ichthyosaurus communis skeleton to be described.

The Ichthyosaurus Fossil on Display at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham

The neonate Ichthyosaurus communis fossil specimen.

The neonate I. communis specimen.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

The fossil is definitely a new born and not a dwarf species of Ichthyosaur as the scientists noted the large ring of sclerotic bone relative to the eye socket and the poorly ossified (highly cancellous) bones of the skull and other parts of the skeleton, these signs all indicate that these are the fossilised remains of a very young marine reptile.

Niche Partitioning in the Ichthyosauria

The new specimen is from the collections of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham).  Palaeontologist Nigel Larkin, a research associate at Cambridge University, cleaned and studied the specimen in 2016,  as he prepared the fossil, he became aware of its potential significance.  Nigel has recently been involved in an extensive restoration project at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire.  He has been helping to restore the Victorian Geological Gallery at this National Trust property to its former glory.  As one of the most highly respected fossil preparators in the UK, Nigel was able to reveal the fossil’s secrets as he cleaned and helped to preserve the delicate marine reptile skeleton.

To read an article about the Geological Gallery preservation project at Biddulph Grange: Fossil Hunting at Biddulph Grange

The discovery of squid remnants in the gut area suggests these types of Ichthyosaur specialised in hunting cephalopods.  Commenting on the implications of this fossil, Dean Lomax explained:

“This is interesting because a study by other researchers on a different type of Ichthyosaur, called Stenopterygius, which is from a geologically younger age, found that the small – and therefore young – examples of that species fed exclusively on fish.  This shows a difference in prey-preference in new-born Ichthyosaurs.” 

This could hint at niche partitioning, whereby similar species use different resources within an environment to reduce direct competition and to help them co-exist.

Dean Lomax and Nigel Larkin in Front of the Jurassic Seas Exhibit (Lapworth Museum of Geology)

The neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil on display.

Dean Lomax (left) and Nigel Larkin (right) in front of the Lapworth Geological Museum exhibit.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

How Old is the Fossil?

The specimen, part of the vertebrate fossil collection of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham), has no provenance data associated with it.  Unfortunately, there were no collection notes or other details to help the palaeontologists to identify where the fossil came from.  However, permission was granted for Nigel to remove a small portion of the matrix surrounding the fossil.  He passed this on to Ian Boomer (University of Birmingham) and Philip Copestake (Merlin Energy, Resources Ltd), so that they could analyse the rock for microscopic fossils.  Based on the types of microfossil preserved, the scientists were able to identify that this Ichthyosaur was around 199-196 million years old, (uppermost Hettangian faunal stage to lowermost Sinemurian of the Early Jurassic).

Nigel outlined the difficulties the team faced:

“Many historic Ichthyosaur specimens in museums lack any geographic or geological details and are therefore undated.  This process of looking for microfossils in their host rock might be the key to unlocking the mystery of many specimens.  Thus, this will provide researchers with lots of new information that otherwise is lost.  Of course, this requires some extensive research, but it is worth the effort.”

In addition, establishing a microfossil signature for a fossil may also help in those cases where theft of fossil material is suspected.

As part of the study, the skeleton was Micro CT-scanned and a three-dimensional digital model was created by Steve Dey of ThinkSee3D Ltd.  Using medical imaging software, Steve converted the three sets of CT cross-sectional images (from scans of the tail, middle section and head) into a single digital three-dimensional model of the whole animal.  This non-destructive technique provided further key information helping to identify the species and potentially, helping to provide new data on Ichthyosaur ontogeny.

The beautiful new-born Ichthyosaurus is on display in the recently refurbished Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, which was nominated for the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year.

The scientific paper: “The First Known Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Skeleton: A Rediscovered Specimen from the Lower Jurassic, UK” by Lomax, D. R., Larkin, N. R., Boomer, S., Dey, S. and Copestake, published in “Historical Biology”.

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2 10, 2017

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | October 2nd, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The eagerly awaited Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth replica is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Team members have spent most of the day contacting all those customers and model fans who asked us to reserve one for them.  We have been so busy sorting out all the requests that we have had little time to admire this excellent representation of Mammuthus trogontherii ourselves.

The 1:40 scale Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth Replica

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth at Everything Dinosaur

Sorting out Eofauna Steppe Mammoth models at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Checking Models Over Prior To Despatch

Stocks of this 1:40 scale model arrived around noon (BST) and prior to sending out orders, our dedicated team members inspected the models just to ensure that everyone had an appropriate data card and that the replicas were in tip-top condition.  The first orders were packed and sent on their way within two hours.  As well as the data card, Everything Dinosaur is sending out a fact sheet on the Steppe Mammoth with every model purchased.

This exciting Elephantidae replica, yes, Mammoths are members of the elephant family, (though they are more closely related to extant Asian elephants than they are to living African elephants), is the first in a new model series from Eofauna Scientific Research.  Collectors can expect more prehistoric mammal models as well as some amazing dinosaur models in the future.

To view the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model: Eofauna Scientific Research – Steppe Mammoth

The Steppe Mammoth Model has a Dynamic Pose and Shows Amazing Detail

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

Mammuthus trogontherii was one of the largest members of the elephant family to have existed.  A fully grown adult male could weigh as much as fourteen tonnes and measure 4.5 metres high at the shoulder.  These elephants were probably cold adapted and gave rise to the much smaller, but better known Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius).  The very last of the Steppe Mammoths are believed to have died out around 30,000 years ago.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model is based on a Steppe Mammoth specimen studied by Eofauna company members in northern China.  The bones of this specimen were then scaled up to equate to the remains of the largest individual known (a specimen from Mosbach, Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany).  The head is modelled on the only complete skull known of this species, which was discovered in Novosibirsk, Russia.  A prototype model was created initially and from this the production model came about.  Collectors and model fans can be assured that the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth is a highly accurate replica, one that was subjected to rigorous testing by researchers who really know their elephants.

A Handy Geology Ruler Provides a Good Scale for this Elephant Replica

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (geology ruler provides scale).

A geology ruler provides a handy scale for the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information on the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth simply contact Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur

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1 10, 2017

Pterosaur Study Sheds New Light on Jidapterus

By | October 1st, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Jidapterus edentus Gets Grounded

A team of researchers, writing in the on-line, academic, open access journal PLOS One, have published a reassessment of the Early Cretaceous Pterosaur Jidapterus (J. edentus).  This flying reptile, with a wingspan estimated to be between 1.6 and 1.7 metres, is one of a number of flying reptiles known from the Lower Cretaceous deposits of the Jiufotang and Yixian Formations, which between them have helped palaeontologists to build up a detailed picture about life in northern China some 125 million years ago (Jehol Biota).  In this new study, Jidapterus is identified as a valid genus (there had been some doubts raised over whether or not the single fossil specimen known represented another closely related Pterosaur species – Chaoyangopterus zhangi).  In addition, the authors postulate that Jidapterus might have been a ground dwelling forager, Everything Dinosaur team members have speculated that Jidapterus only took to the trees to evade predators or perhaps to roost.

The Only Known Specimen of Jidapterus edentus with an Accompanying Line Drawing

Line drawing and holotype of Jidapterus edentus.

The holotype fossil of Jidapterus edentus and accompanying line drawing.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Tricky Pterosaur

Named in 2003, Jidapterus is known from a single, partially articulated and nearly complete specimen (holotype RCPS-030366CY).  It is a member of an enigmatic family of Pterosaurs called the Chaoyangopteridae (pronounced Chow-yang-op-tery-rid-aye).  Several species have been named, from Brazil (Lacusovagus) and from Lebanon (Microtuban), to read more about the Lebanese Pterosaur, the first flying reptile to be described from this part of the world: Pterosaur Fossil Flies Home.  Most of what palaeontologists know, about this family of flying reptiles, distantly related to the giant azhdarchid Pterosaurs, comes from studying the fossilised remains of chaoyangopterids from northern China.  Trouble is, these delicate flying reptile specimens associated with Liaoning Province are squashed as flat as a pancake.  The researchers identify a number of anatomical traits (autapomorphies) that reinforce the idea that Jidapterus should be considered as a distinct genus.

In addition, the scientists examined the feet and claws of Jidapterus and concluded that this flying reptile, once thought to have been a piscivore, was probably omnivorous, foraging on the forest floor for seeds and other plant material, as well as snatching up invertebrates and small creatures.  Whether or not the narrow, pointed beak (labelled in the diagram above) was entirely toothless remains open to debate.

The scientific paper: “The Toothless Pterosaur Jidapterus edentus (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchoidea) from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota and its Paleoecological Implications” by Wen-Hao Wu, Chang-Fu Zhou and Brian Andres published in PLOS One.

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30 09, 2017

Strong-armed Sabre-Tooth Kittens

By | September 30th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Sabre-Toothed Kittens and Their Strong Arms

A new study undertaken by scientists from California State Polytechnic University, the University of Wisconsin and colleagues at Bristol University, has concluded that Smilodon (S. fatalis), kittens were born with strong arms, stronger than similarly-sized modern big cats.  However, their pattern of bone development was congruent to other members of the Felidae.

Strong Kittens Grew up to be Strong Cats

Sabre-Toothed Cats

The famous “Sabre-Toothed Cat” – Smilodon.  Strong kittens – strong cats.

Picture Credit: BBC

The Treasure Trove of Fossils at La Brea

Using the extensive Smilodon fossil record preserved at the La Brea Tar Pits (Los Angeles, California), the researchers measured the limb bones of these big cats.  Only unbroken limb bones were included in the growth analysis.  Fortunately, given the huge number of Smilodon fossil specimens associated with this natural predator trap, the researchers, which included Donald Prothero, the author of “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals”, that Everything Dinosaur was invited to review earlier this year* had a substantial data set to study.  For example, the scientists included thirty, Smilodon upper arm bones (humeri) representing cats at various growth stages in this study.  Their ontogenic analysis revealed that young animals had thicker and more robust bones than other members of the cat family (Felidae).  The bones did not become more robust as the cats grew, it seems Sabre-Tooths were born with big, strong arms.

Comparing the Upper Arm Bones of Big Cats Extant and Extinct 

Sabre-Toothed Cats were born with strong arms.

Comparing the humeri of extinct and extant big cats.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

The photograph shows a comparison of five big cat upper arm bones (the humerus).   The bones come from adult animals and provide a visual guide to the forelimb size of large felids.

From the left – the first, whitish bone is the humerus of a Mountain Lion (Cougar) – Puma concolor.  The second, whitish bone is the humerus from a Tiger, Panthera tigris.  The Tiger is a much bigger and heavier than the Mountain Lion.  The bone in the middle is the humerus of Smilodon fatalis, it is much thicker and more substantial.  The third whitish bone comes from a Lion Panthera leo.  The dark bone on the far right, comes from an extinct species that was contemporaneous with Smilodon.  This is the humerus of an American Cave Lion (Panthera atrox), the P. atrox bones used in the study also came from La Brea Tar Pits.

How Did the Limb Bones of Smilodon fatalis Change as the Cats Aged?

The research team discovered that whilst the arm bones of Smilodon, were more robust than those or extant big cats, they did not become more robust as the cats got older.  Smilodon kittens had big limb bones to begin with.  Mapping the bone growth (ontogeny), using the many specimens representing animals of different ages from the La Brea fossil collection, the team found that Smilodon grew in a similar way to other, primitive members of the Felidae and in the same way that many living cat species do today.  The bones lengthen and become more slender before they thicken.  This study, published in the on-line, open access journal PLOS One suggests that Felidae growth and development is much more constrained than previously thought, even in genera with very different morphotypes and bone structures.

Comparing the Radii of Big Cats (Living and Extinct)

Smilodon Limb Growth Study.

Comparing the radius of extinct and extant cat species.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

The photograph (above) shows the radii of the five species of big cat, laid out in the same order as the photograph which showed the humeri.  The radius is one of a pair of bones found in the forearm, it is the bone that is lateral to the body (facing the outside).

Left to Right:

  • Mountain Lion (Puma concolor)
  • Tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • Sabre-Toothed Cat (Smilodon fatalis)
  • African Lion (Panthera leo)
  • American Cave Lion (Panthera atrox)

Professor Prothero stated:

“Sabre-Tooth cats have extraordinarily strong front limbs for tackling and subduing prey before they slashed their throats or bellies with their sabre-like canine teeth.  Using the extraordinary collection of limb bones of Sabre-tooth kittens at La Brea, we found that their limbs don’t become more robust as they grew up, but instead retain the stereotypical growth pattern where the limbs grow longer more quickly than they grow thick.  To compensate, Sabre-tooth kittens were born with unusually robust limbs and retained that pattern as they grew.”

The limb measurements demonstrated that Smilodon fatalis kittens had the same growth curve graph as those of Tiger or Mountain Lion kittens, but they tended to be thicker from the outset.  For the same length of bone, the Sabre-Tooth kitten forelimb element (radius or humerus) always had a larger circumference than a comparably sized Mountain Lion or Tiger.

A Comparative Analysis of the Tibia of Smilodon (S. fatalis) Different Growth Stages

Smilodon tibia comparison.

Comparing the size of Smilodon leg bones (tibia).

Picture Credit: PLOS One/DRP

* Everything Dinosaur’s review of “The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals” by Donald R. Prothero: Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals – Book Review

The scientific paper: “Did saber-tooth kittens grow up musclebound?  A study of postnatal limb bone allometry in felids from the Pleistocene of Rancho La Brea” by Katherine Long, Donald Prothero , Meena Madan, Valerie J. P. Syverson published in PLOS One.

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29 09, 2017

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter (Mid-September)

By | September 29th, 2017|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Prehistoric Elephants and Extant Elephants et al

A few days ago, Everything Dinosaur sent out their latest newsletter to their customer database.  A number of recent product introductions and one eagerly anticipated new model were featured.  Linking these two parts of the newsletter was the elephant family (Elephantidae), as the newsletter focused on the beautiful Family Zoo animal models including the fantastic African elephant (Loxodonta) and updated subscribers on the museum quality Steppe Mammoth replica coming into stock (Mammuthus trogontherii).

The Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Featured the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth Model

Everything Dinosaur newsletter (Sept. 2017).

Everything Dinosaur newsletter (mid-September 2017).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Steppe Mammoth Strides into View

The Steppe Mammoth replica is in 1:40 scale and it is the first in a new line of museum quality replicas from Eofauna Scientific Research.  Everything Dinosaur has been given a degree of exclusive distributorship over the sales of this exciting prehistoric elephant model.  A reserve list has been opened which allows model fans to have one of these fantastic figures set aside for them.  There is no obligation to purchase, no deposit needed and no requirement to pre-order.  Customers know that there is a model allocated to them and one of our dedicated team members will email them to let them know that the model is available should they wish to buy it.

To enquire about the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth model and reserve a replica: Email: Everything Dinosaur

Living Members of the Elephant Family and Chums

The second part of the Everything Dinosaur newsletter focuses on the superb PNSO Family Zoo range of models.  Firstly, there is the fantastic collection of ten animals from Asia.  These ten figures represent animals that are culturally very important to our species.  The hand-painted models include pandas, tigers, horses, brown bears, goats, wolves and dogs.   This collection is known as the “PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals” and they are extremely hard to obtain.  Thankfully, Everything Dinosaur has brought a number of sets over from China, our stock even includes the rare pig model and the Siamese crocodile.

The PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the PNSO Family Zoo range of models available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Family Zoo

Extant Animals Take Centre Stage in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

Promoting PNSO Family Zoo models.

Promoting PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Poplar Asian and Ten Most Popular African Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The second part of the PNSO Family Zoo range features those living creatures regarded as “free spirits”.  The models represent ten models of animals from the African Savannah.  The “PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular African Animals” includes rhinos, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest and of course a beautiful African elephant model.

The PNSO Ten Most Popular African Animals

PNSO Family Zoo Asian Animals.

PNSO Family Zoo Ten Most Popular Asian Animals.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Naturally, a newsletter from Everything Dinosaur also included dinosaurs, updates on the Rebor 1:35 scale King T. rex as this figure came back into stock, plus highlights of fossil and prehistoric animal news studies that we had covered on our various blogs and social media sites.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

To see the full range of PNSO Family Zoo models including those wonderful elephants: PNSO Family Zoo Models and Figures

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