All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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20 09, 2018

Did Alvarezsaurids Eat Eggs?

By | September 20th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Qiupanykus zhangi – Is This Evidence of Egg-eating Dinosaurs?

A team of scientists including researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Henan Geological Museum and Lanzhou University, have published a paper announcing the discovery of a new species of dinosaur.  The little animal that might have weighed around half a kilogram, has been named Qiupanykus zhangi and it has been classified as an alvarezsaurid, a group of bizarre, small, long-legged dinosaurs with highly specialised arms.  Eggshell fragments found close to the remains of the dinosaur’s tail, have thrown up the intriguing possibility that alvarezsaurids with their stocky arms and robust single claw, could have used their highly adapted limbs to break open the eggs of other dinosaurs and therefore these dinosaurs may have been specialist egg-eaters (ovivores).

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Qiupanykus zhangi Breaking Open Dinosaur Eggs

Qiupanykus zhangi Depicted Breaking into the Eggs of an oviraptorid.

Qiupanykus zhangi – a new alvarezsaurid from the Late Cretaceous of central China.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

The Youngest Alvarezsaurid from China

The fossil consisting of the rear portions of the skeleton of an individual was found in Guanping, Qiupa town in the Luanchuan County of Henan Province (central China).  Although the bones are poorly preserved, fossilised elements include most of the hind limbs, part of the hips some bones from the neck and twenty-five bones from the tail (caudal vertebrae).  Named specimen 41HIII-0101, it was excavated from Upper Cretaceous deposits (Late Maastrichtian faunal stage) of the Qiupa Formation. Qiupanykus is the youngest member of the Alvarezsauridae known from China so far described.  The paper describing the fossil specimen has been published in the journal “China Geology”.

A View of the Fossils of Q. zhangi and an Accompanying Line Drawing

Qiupanykus zhangi fossils and line drawing.

Qiupanykus zhangi fossils and accompanying line drawing.  Note the scale bar is 10 centimetres.  An eggshell fragment has been identified on the left of the picture.

Picture Credit: China Geology

The Enigmatic Alvarezsauridae

The Alvarezsauridae are a geographically widespread family of very bird-like Theropod dinosaurs.  Alvarezsaurid fossils have been found in Mongolia, China, as well as North and South America. They seem to have had a wide temporal distribution too, with the earliest known genera being excavated from Upper Jurassic strata in China.  When first studied, these little, fast-running dinosaurs were thought to have been flightless birds, but as more fossil remains were found they were re-classified as non-avian dinosaurs.  These dinosaurs have presented palaeontologists with a mystery.  Their stubby arms and single, massive, hypertrophied claw indicate an adaptation to a specialised lifestyle.  Perhaps, they used their strong arms and their large claw for digging out burrows, some scientists have suggested that these dinosaurs were specialised insect eaters and they used their powerful front limbs to break into the mounds of termites.

A Pair of Alvarezsaurids Break Into a Termite Mound

Alvarezsaurids breaking into a termite mound.

Proposed alvarezsaurid feeding strategy.

Picture Credit: Dougal Dixon

Did Qiupanykus zhangi Eat Eggs?

The discovery of an eggshell fragment in close proximity to the skeleton led the researchers to speculate on a possible link between Qiupanykus and egg eating.  The team ruled out that the egg might have been laid by Qiupanykus as they calculated that it was too small to have laid such a large egg and the eggshell resembled the shell of an oviraptorid dinosaur egg.  In 2012, Everything Dinosaur reported upon the discovery of a pair of eggs found in association with another alvarezsaurid from South America (Bonapartenykus ultimus), in the subsequent scientific paper, the researchers did comment as to the parentage of the eggs, they might have been laid by an oviraptorosaurid dinosaur.

When discussing the discovery of an eggshell fragment very close to the tail bones of Qiupanykus zhangi the research team provide three possible explanations:

  1. The eggshell fragment was buried by chance alongside the remains of Q. zhangi the finding of the eggshell in association with a dinosaur skeleton is just coincidence.
  2. The eggshell comes from an egg laid by an alvarezsaurid dinosaur, it was part of a brood.
  3. The eggshell fragments were from eggs broken by alvarezsaurid dinosaurs and the eggs were not laid by them.

Given the specialised limbs and the strong, robust thumb claw of alvarezsaurids it is possible that these dinosaurs used their specialised arms and claws to crack open the eggs of other Tetrapods and as such  alvarezsaurid dinosaurs were not insectivores digging into termite mounds but instead fed upon eggs (ovivores).

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2012 article about Bonapartenykus ultimusAlvarezsaurid Eggs Uncovered In Patagonia

To read Everything Dinosaur’s recent article that looks at fossil discoveries that are helping to map the evolution of the specialised arms of alvarezsaurids: Two New Chinese Dinosaurs Prove Handy

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19 09, 2018

Beasts of the Mesozoic Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

By | September 19th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

JurassicCollectables Reviews Beasts of the Mesozoic Figures

The talented team at JurassicCollectables have produced a review of the two figures from the amazing Beasts of the Mesozoic model collection.  This range of articulated “raptor” figures has been winning praise from dinosaur fans and model collectors and now, thanks to a super video review from JurassicCollectables, subscribers to their YouTube channel can see what all the fuss is about.  In the video, the Environmental Accessory Pack – Desert with the Mononykus figure is reviewed alongside the beautiful Linheraptor exquisitus replica.

JurassicCollectables Reviews L. exquisitus and the Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Beasts of the Mesozoic Figures

The Beasts of the Mesozoic range of figures consists of 1:6 scale, articulated “raptors”, although some of the animals featured such as Mononykus olecranus, the model that is supplied in the Desert Environmental Accessory Pack and features in this video review, is not a member of the Dromaeosauridae.  The series is the brainchild of talented designer and artist David Silva and Everything Dinosaur has an exclusive agreement to supply these figures in the European Economic Area (EEA) by on-line channels and mail order.

The JurassicCollectables Video Review Features the Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor exquisitus and the Desert Accessory Pack

Reviewing Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor and the Desert Accessory Pack.

JurassicCollectables reviews the Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor and the Desert Accessory Pack which features Mononykus.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

For Discerning Model and Figure Collectors

The state-of-the-art modelling techniques that have been used to create this range are highlighted in the JurassicCollectables video.  The narrator unpacks each figure in turn (starting with the Linheraptor) and then assembles the figures demonstrating how the support pegs and points of articulation work.  It is great to see the video featuring the box art and the background artwork that can be found on the inside of the packaging.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor Figure

Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor figure.

The exquisite Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor exquisitus figure.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

To view the Beasts of the Mesozoic range exclusively available from Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic Figures

One of the benefits of the JurassicCollectables video review is that viewers can see the model assembled and it was very useful to see the storage pockets under the model’s base where the spare toes that come with the “raptors” can be stored safely and securely.  The flexible tail on the Linheraptor figure was also demonstrated.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor exquisitus Displayed Against the Box Background

Linheraptor (Beasts of the Mesozoic) on display.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Linheraptor exquisitus figure displayed against its box background.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Hand-painted, Articulated Prehistoric Animal Sets

The Beasts of the Mesozoic range also includes four accessory packs, which comprise a small, articulated dinosaur model with a diorama based on a different prehistoric environment.  The JurassicCollectables video narrator took care to highlight the contents of one of these accessory packs, the desert set featuring the bizarre dinosaur M. olecranus.

The Desert Accessory Pack Featuring Mononykus

Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack contents.

The contents of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack with the Mononykus figure.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The carefully crafted video (which lasts a little over fifteen minutes), showed the contents of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack and demonstrated how to set up the dinosaur diorama.  It was helpful to see how all the accessories including the beautifully detailed Protoceratops skull and the realistic rocks can be combined together to make a stunning prehistoric animal diorama.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack Assembled

Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack.

The assembled Beasts of the Mesozoic Desert Accessory Pack featuring Mononykus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Desert Accessory Pack Comes Complete with a Dinosaur Nest and Hatchling

JurassicCollectables took each of the accessories in turn and discussed their merits.  For example, the Desert Accessory Pack includes a set of dinosaur eggs and a “raptor” hatchling.  The narrator commented on each of these items and made sure that viewers had a chance to appreciate each piece.  The Beasts of the Mesozoic range of figures is a welcome addition to the collectables market and in this very informative video, the flexibility and the range of poses for each of the models was demonstrated.  Collectors can create their very own prehistoric scene and the versatility of these kits enables every collector to have their own, unique dinosaur diorama.

Aimed at serious model collectors aged fourteen years and older (these are display pieces and not toys), each Beasts of the Mesozoic prehistoric animal figure is based on the latest scientific research and these very well made videos from JurassicCollectables give potential buyers an ideal opportunity to view the kits and their contents before making a purchase.

The JurassicCollectables YouTube channel has over 75,000 subscribers and an amazing 855 videos.  Everything Dinosaur recommends fans of prehistoric animals subscribe to this amazing YouTube channel: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube

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18 09, 2018

Dinosaur Questions for Year 1

By | September 18th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Answering Dinosaur Questions for Year 1 Pupils

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy preparing for a dinosaur workshop at Ewloe Primary in Wales.  The children in Year 1 have been researching dinosaurs and finding out lots of facts about prehistoric animals.  One of the teachers at the school emailed Everything Dinosaur with a list of questions that the children had compiled.

Year 1 Children Think of Questions About Dinosaurs

Why do dinosaurs have spikes on their backs? Isabelle.
Why do some dinosaurs have four legs and some not? Amelia.
Why do some dinosaurs have armour? Cora.
Why do some have arms? Emily
Why do some walk in a clumsy fashion? Lily
Why do some have horns? Sorcha
Why do some only eat plants? Paige
Why do some dinosaurs fly? Emma
Why do some run really fast? Harri
Why do they fight? Lyla-Brooke
Why are some vegetarian? Isaac
Why do they have sharp teeth? Riya
Why are they all different sizes? Scarlett
Why do some have long tails? Jac
Why do some have such a long neck? Olly
Why do some have arms? Charlotte
Why do they leave footprints and how? Noah
Why do they have tails? Katelyn
Why do they have claws? Leah

Image Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are quite  a lot of questions and our dinosaur expert will endeavour to answer some of them during the school visit to conduct the dinosaur workshops.  However, here are a couple of answers that we have prepared.

Why Do Dinosaurs Have Arms?

Our thanks to Charlotte and Emily for thinking up this super question.  All dinosaurs had arms, a pair of arms just like us in fact.  The bones in these arms were very similar to the bones that we have in our arms from the shoulder to the wrist joint (the humerus, sometimes called the funny bone and the ulna and radius bones), but there are differences in our wrists and fingers.

The arms of dinosaurs were adapted to help them to do different things.  Some dinosaurs walked on all fours, the arms of these dinosaurs were used for walking.  Other dinosaurs walked on two legs and their arms were used in other ways.  For example, the ostrich-like Struthiomimus (Strooth-ee-oh-mime-us), had quite long, thin arms which may have had feathers on them.  These arms were not wings, this dinosaur was too big to fly, but Struthiomimus may have flapped its arms about to scare off predators, to attract a mate or perhaps to shade its babies from the sun.

Different Dinosaurs with Different Arms

Different dinosaur arms.

Dinosaur arms and their different functions.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Do Dinosaurs Leave Footprints and How?

Lots of animals and even people leave footprints, if you walk over something soft like mud or sand your foot will sink in and leave an impression behind.  If you walk on something hard, like the concrete paths around your school, you don’t leave footprints, but if you were to walk on the concrete before it had hardened then your feet would sink into the concrete and you would create a footprint.  Nice time you go to the beach and you walk on the sand take a look behind you, as you may have left a trail of footprints.

Can You Spot the Dinosaur Footprints?

Dinosaur tracks and prints fossil site (China).

Lots of dinosaur tracks made in the soft sand as the dinosaurs walked by, as the sand turned into rock so the dinosaur footprints have been preserved as fossils.

Picture Credit: Lu Yong

When a dinosaur walked over soft ground such as the mud by a lake or a sandy river bank, they would leave a set of footprints.  Sometimes, these tracks would get quickly covered by more sand and mud and over millions of years these layers would harden and turn into stone such as mudstone and sandstone.  These rocks might preserve the dinosaur footprints as fossils.

A Dinosaur Steps in Some Mud and Leaves a Footprint

Typical two-toed dinosaur track.

A dinosaur making a footprint.

Picture Credit: Matt Celeskey

The shape and size of the fossil footprint provides palaeontologists with clues as to what sort of dinosaur might have made the track.

For Teacher

  • Can the children think of six different ways they use their arms?  Take photographs of these activities and make a poster for display describing what their arms are being used for.  Think through and list the tasks that arms will be asked to do when it comes to putting the posters up on a wall for display.  Write down the list of tasks needed to put a poster up on a wall, can a member of the class instruct their classmates correctly to ensure the task is completed?
  • Using plastic tubs filled with wet sand make a series of impressions using everyday objects found in the classroom, can the children work out what the objects were just from the impressions made?  Make salt dough and have the class use various objects to make their own salt down fossils.  Press an object into the salt dough to make an impression and then bake the dough to make it hard to preserve the imprint.
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17 09, 2018

Stay Small if you Want to Survive the Mesozoic

By | September 17th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Tiny Fossils Reveal How Shrinking Was Essential for Successful Mammalian Evolution

Mammals and Dinosaurs may have shared a common reptilian ancestor, but these two tetrapod lineages diverged from one another a very long time ago.  However, mammals lived alongside the dinosaurs for many millions of years and a new study published in the academic journal “Nature”, suggests that staying small and inconspicuous was a key factor contributing to the evolution of mammals.  It was only after the extinction of the dinosaurs and other types of reptile, pterosaurs and marine reptiles, for example, that mammals were able to grow much larger.

Most Mammals Remained Small During the Mesozoic and Many were Probably Nocturnal

Purbeck (Dorset) 145 million years ago.

Purbeck Lagoon 145 million years ago, small placental mammals living alongside dinosaurs.  As darkness falls Durlstodon (top left) looks on whilst two Durlstotherium scurry through the undergrowth.  In the centre a Durlstotherium has been caught by Nuthetes destructor.

Picture Credit: Mark Witton

The Origins of Mammals

There are three types of mammals living today, there are the monotremes, the egg-laying mammals such as the platypus and the echidna, remnants of a once very widespread and diverse group of egg-laying mammals called the Australosphenida, that existed in the southern hemisphere for much of the Jurassic and Cretaceous.  Secondly, there are the pouched mammals, the marsupials, familiar creatures such as kangaroos, possums, koalas and such like.  Thirdly, there are the much more common and geographically widespread placental mammals (humans are a placental mammal).  The first true mammals such as the Late Triassic Eozostrodon, Megazostrodon and Morganucodon lived over 200 million years ago and a team of scientists from the United States and the UK have concluded that whilst the dinosaurs grew into giants, the ancestors of all modern mammals opted for a different strategy, they stayed small.

A Life Reconstruction of the Morganucodont Morganucodon of the Late Triassic

Staying small helped A model of the Late Triassic mammaliaform evolution during the Mesozoic.

A model of the Late Triassic mammaliaform Morganucodon.

Picture Credit: University of Birmingham

Getting to Grips with the Mammalian Jaw

The researchers used modern computer analysis to examine what happened to the skeleton of our tiny, shrew-like mammal ancestors.  Modern mammals have a unique lower jaw, consisting of a single bone that bears teeth (the dentary).  In contrast, other vertebrates have more complex lower jaws formed by several bones fused together.  In the course of the evolution of mammals, the complex jaws became simplified and a new jaw joint was formed, whilst some of bones that once formed the back of the jaws (the articular in the lower jaw and the quadrate in the back of the upper jaw), became much reduced in size, moving to the middle ear to evolve a role to aid hearing.

For an article that looks at the evolution of hearing in the mammaliaform and true mammals: Let’s Hear It For Mammalian Evolution

A Transitional Process

The scientists looked at how it was possible for the jaw to be restructured, whilst the animal was still able to feed and to hear.  X-ray computed tomography (CT scans) were employed to assess the skulls and jaws, computer models were then built to simulate the evolutionary process.  The team’s results showed that the small size of the fossil mammals significantly reduced the stresses in the jaw bones when feeding, while still being powerful enough to capture and bite through prey, such as insects.

Early Mammals were Small and Shrew-like

The Middle Jurassic mammaliaform (W. rex).

An illustration of Wareolestes rex.  An early mammaliaform that probably was nocturnal and insectivorous.

Picture Credit: Elsa Panciroli

Commenting on the study, lead author and lecturer at Birmingham University, Dr Stephan Lautenschlager stated:

“Our results provide a new explanation of how the mammalian jaw evolved over 200 million years ago.  Getting very small appears to have been crucial for our mammalian ancestors.  This allowed them to reduce the stresses in the jaw during feeding and made the restructuring of the jaw bones possible.”

Professor Emily Rayfield (Bristol University), who lead the study added:

“The evolution of the mammalian jaw joint has perplexed palaeontologists for over 50 years.  Using computational methods, we can offer explanations to how our mammalian ancestors were able to maintain a working jaw while co-opting bones into a complex sound detection system.  Our research is about testing ideas of what makes mammals unique among the animal kingdom, and how this may have come about.”

The scientific paper: “The Role of Miniaturisation in the Evolution of the Mammalian Jaw and Middle Ear” by Stephan Lautenschlager, Pamela Gill, Zhe-Xi Luo, Michael J. Fagan and Emily Rayfield published in the journal Nature.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the University of Birmingham in the compilation of this article

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16 09, 2018

Everything Dinosaur September Newsletter

By | September 16th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Kaiyodo Sofubi, New Rebor and a Soft Toy T. rex

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter received their latest instalment a few days ago and what a jam-packed newsletter it was.  The headlines were dominated by the arrival of the amazing Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurus rex figures.  These three, articulated T. rex figures have been eagerly anticipated by collectors and they are very rare, so it was great to see all three models featuring (018A, 018B and the “classic” 018C).

Announcing the Arrival of the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figures

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex (classic colouration).

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Dinosaurs

The three Tyrannosaurs with a total of ten points of articulation each, make wonderful pieces for any serious dinosaur figure collector.  It is very difficult to obtain these figures from outside Japan and newsletter readers have been contacting us over the last few days to congratulate us and to express their delight over these detailed models.

To view the limited edition Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaurs including the “smoke green” and the “classic” colour variants: Kaiyodo Prehistoric Animal Models

Get Your Hands on a Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figure (018A).

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With prices from £32.99 plus postage, these models are already proving to be extremely popular with collectors.

Rebor Vanilla Ice “Jungle” and “Mountain”

The Kaiyodo “Smoke Green” T. rex and Rebor Vanilla Ice “Jungle”

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figure (smoke green) and a Rebor "Vanilla Ice" - jungle variant.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figure (smoke green) and a Rebor “Vanilla Ice” in the jungle colouration.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur will be stocking the amazing pair of 1/35th scale Rebor Tyrannosaurs which will be sold under the name Vanilla Ice.  There are two colour variants available, the one pictured above, is the Vanilla Ice “Jungle” Tyrannosaur, a beautiful, green-coloured Theropod.  This model will be available at the end of October or thereabouts and Everything Dinosaur has opened a priority reserve list for this dinosaur model.

The Rebor Vanilla Ice 1:35 Scale Tyrannosaur Figure “Mountain” and a Dinomites T. rex Soft Toy

The Rebor "Vanilla Ice" Mountain variant and a soft toy T. rex.

Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Mountain and a soft and cuddly T. rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the Rebor Vanilla Ice “Mountain” dinosaur model.  It, like its counterpart “Jungle”, is a superb replica.  Both Tyrannosaur models have an articulated lower jaw and “Mountain” along with “Jungle” should be arriving at our warehouse on or around the end of October.

To join our priority reserve list for the Rebor Vanilla Ice “Jungle” and “Mountain” Tyrannosaur figures, simply email Everything Dinosaur: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Dinomites Soft Toy T. rex

To complete our Tyrannosaur theme for our latest newsletter, a picture and information about our Dinomites T. rex soft toy were included, it is a wonderful example of prehistoric plush.  It is a super soft and cuddly Tyrannosaurus rex, aimed at young dinosaur fans.  For further information about the huge range of soft toy prehistoric animals stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Soft Toy Dinosaurs from Everything Dinosaur

The Dinomites Soft Toy Tyrannosaurus rex

Dinomites T. rex soft toy.

The Dinomites T. rex soft toy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular customer newsletter, just drop our dedicated team members an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

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15 09, 2018

A View of the Jurassic Coast

By | September 15th, 2018|Geology, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Viewing the “Jurassic Coastline”

The famous “Jurassic Coast” stretches for 95 miles (155 kilometres).  It runs from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset and the layers of sedimentary rock record approximately 185 million years of Earth’s history. This coastline on the English Channel was designated at England’s first UNESCO natural World Heritage Site back in 2001 and although it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every month during the summer, there are still quiet parts to be explored and enjoyed.

A View of the Jurassic Coast Towards Burton Bradstock East of Lyme Regis

Heading east from Lyme Regis to Burton Bradstock.

The view towards West Bay and Burton Bradstock.  A beautiful day on the UNESCO World Heritage site, the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The photograph shows a section of the sandstone cliffs that lie to the east of Seatown in Dorset, the view shows West Bay and on the far right the sheer sandstone cliffs of Burton Bradstock can just be made out.

What a terrific view, this area of southern England may attract huge numbers of visitors every year, but there are still some areas, especially those more difficult to access parts of the coastline, that can provide opportunities to have a small section of a UNESCO World Heritage site, all to yourself, for a few minutes at least.

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14 09, 2018

Yizhousaurus Helping to Give Sauropod Evolution a “Head Start”

By | September 14th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Yizhousaurus sunae – Chinese Dinosaur May Help Unlock Key to Giant Dinosaur Evolution

A newly described long-necked dinosaur that once roamed south-western China during the Early Jurassic is helping palaeontologists to better understand the development of a dinosaur lineage that was to lead to the evolution of the largest land animals that ever lived.  The dinosaur, named Yizhousaurus sunae with its three-dimensional, well-preserved skeleton and undistorted skull provides new data on how the Sauropod dinosaurs were able to achieve a giant body size.  This dinosaur lived approximately 190 million years ago and it has been estimated to have reached a length of about seven metres.  Its beautifully preserved bones can help palaeontologists to fill in a gap in their knowledge as they attempt to work out how bipedal, lizard-hipped dinosaurs of the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic evolved into the giant, quadrupedal Sauropods like Brontosaurus, Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus that dominated terrestrial ecosystems in the Late Jurassic.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration with colleagues from the Museum of Texas Tech University (Texas, USA) and the Bureau of Land and Resources of Lufeng County (Yunnan Province, China) have published their findings in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”.

A Reconstruction of the Skeleton of Yizhousaurus sunae

Yizhousaurus skeletal reconstruction.

A – Yizhousaurus skeleton reconstruction with known bones shaded in grey and (B) the location of the bones at the fossil site.  Note the scale bar equals 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Xiao-Cong Guo (A) and Qian-Nan Zhang (B)

A Significant Discovery

The specimen was collected near Duwafang Village, Chuanjie Town, Lufeng County, (Yunnan Province).  The fossils were found back in 2002 and partly reported upon at the Geological Society of America Conference in 2010, where it was described as a basal Sauropod.  A phylogenetic analysis carried out by the research team places Y. sunae closer to the Eosauropoda (on the way to the Sauropod family), than many of the other, similar dinosaurs known from this part of China, such as Lufengosaurus and Yunnanosaurus.  The skull has a lot of characteristics of a Sauropod dinosaur, when the bones of the skull are examined phylogenetically without considering the postcranial fossil material, then this dinosaur is placed in a different position on the Sauropodomorpha family tree.  Yizhousaurus is described as a Sauropodiform, a long-necked dinosaur that is within the Sauropodamorpha clade but not quite a true Sauropod, a sort of blurred evolutionary area that incorporates all the dinosaurs that have traits like Sauropods but are not direct ancestors of dinosaurs such as Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus.

The Skull and Jaw of Yizhousaurus sunae with Line Drawings

The skull of Yizhousaurus and accompanying line drawings.

Views of the Yizhousaurus skull fossil with line drawings.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

Commenting on the significance of the fossil material, one of the paper’s co-authors from the Chinese Academy of Sciences explained that the discovery enriches the diversity of Sauropodiformes and is significant to the studies on the origin and evolution of these types of lizard-hipped, plant-eating dinosaurs.  The specimen is currently on display at the museum in Lufeng Dinosaur Valley and the bones represent one of the best-preserved skeletons to have come out of the uppermost layer of the Zhangjiaao Member of the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation.

Yizhousaurus sunae – What’s in a Name?

The generic name Yizhou refers to the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province, where the fossils were found.  The specific (trivial) name honours Professor Ai-Ling Sun, for her great contribution to Chinese vertebrate fossils, including those from Lufeng County.

A Drawing of an Early Jurassic Sauropodiform (Based on Lufengosaurus)

Lufengosaurus drawing.

An illustration of an Early Jurassic typical Sauropodiform.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Development of the Super-sized Sauropods

The transformation from bipedal forms to the super-sized, four-footed Sauropods is considered to be linked to a series of complex evolutionary processes related to changes in skeleton size and shape to accommodate a larger gut and changes in the skull to accommodate a shift in feeding behaviour.  Yizhousaurus is characterised by a suite of features, which increases understanding of the anatomical variation on the relatively conservative “Prosauropod” skull plan.  The skull bones of Yizhousaurus are thickened and robust and the holes in the skull (fenestrae) are smaller and therefore consistent with the skull fenestrae of true Sauropods.  These features have led to Yizhousaurus being placed closer to the evolutionary base of the Sauropoda when compared to other Sauropodiformes, known from the Lufeng Formation.

The scientific paper: “A New Sauropodiform Dinosaur with a “Sauropodan” Skull from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province, China” by Qian-Nan Zhang, Hai-Lu You, Tao Wang & Sankar Chatterjee and published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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13 09, 2018

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figures in Stock

By | September 13th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figures in Stock

The amazing and highly collectable Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  A shipment of all three versions of this articulated Tyrannosaurus rex figure has arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse and team members have been busy alerting all those customers who wanted to be placed on the company’s priority reserve list and emailed when the models arrived.

All Three Versions of the  Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figures

Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figures and Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur and the Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurus rex figures.  The “classic” figure is in the centre of this photograph, with the sandy-coloured “tiger-striped” figure on the left with the “smoke green” model on the right.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur  

To view the range of Kaiyodo prehistoric animal models, including the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figures

Special Edition Articulated Replicas

The Japanese company Kaiyodo has built a strong reputation for high quality, innovative figures and models, some of which, like these T. rex replicas are articulated.  Kaiyodo models are ideal for serious model collectors and enthusiastic dinosaur fans, the trio of T. rex figures represent a collection of hand-painted and individually sculpted prehistoric animal and extinct creatures.  Many of the Kaiyodo prehistoric animals are special edition replicas with a limited production run.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurus rex (Smoke Green Colour Variant)

T. rex (smoke green) from Kaiyodo.

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figure (smoke green variant).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ten Points of Articulation

Each figure has ten points of articulation, allowing the T. rex to be put in a variety of poses.  These are the first collectable tyrannosaurid figures to have ten points of articulation, permitting them to be displayed in numerous positions.  For example, we have been informed by some customers keen to get their hands on these dinosaurs that they want to buy a pair, so that one can be displayed in the classic “kangaroo pose” with the tail on the ground, whilst the other figure can be displayed in a more modern, anatomically correct position.

Get Your Hands On a Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figure

T. rex dinosaur model (Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box - T. rex A).

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figure (T. rex A).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

018A, 018B and 018C Tyrannosaurs

The models have an age restriction upon them, they are collectable figures and therefore not suitable for persons under 15 years of age.  Kaiyodo is famous for its novel and quirky designs, even the product designations of 018A, 018B and 018C are unusual.  The classic figure (018C), comes in a presentation box with a clear plastic front so that the model can be seen inside the packaging.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Classic T. rex Figure

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figure comes in a presentation box.

The presentation box for the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box classic T. rex figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are delighted to welcome these Kaiyodo figures into our product portfolio, they have proved very difficult to get hold of and we know that there has been a limited quantity made, so it is very satisfying to be able to offer all three of these articulated collectable dinosaur figures to our customers.”

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12 09, 2018

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

By | September 12th, 2018|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Remembering Mary and Joseph Anning

When team members at Everything Dinosaur visit the coast of Dorset, they always try and take time out of their busy schedules to visit the grave of Mary Anning and her brother Joseph.  The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning can be found at St Michael the Archangel Church, in the appropriately named Church Street in the picturesque town of Lyme Regis.  In 1811, Mary along with her brother Joseph, discovered the fossilised remains of an Ichthyosaur, their first major, documented fossil discovery.  Within the Church itself, there is a stained glass window that honours the life and work of Mary Anning.  It was paid for in part, by members of the Geological Society in recognition of her contribution to this branch of scientific enquiry.

The Grave of Mary and Joseph Anning at Lyme Regis

Mary and Joseph Anning are buried here.

The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Paying Tribute to Mary Anning (1799-1847)

A stained glass window in the church is not the only way in which the contribution of Mary is remembered.  Over the last few years it has become something of a tradition to place a fossil or a pebble from the beach on the grave.  This is a touching gesture, one that allows tourists as well as professional fossil hunters to acknowledge the work of a pioneer in palaeontology.  Everything Dinosaur team members have done much to support the inclusion of the story of Mary Anning and her fossil discoveries within the English National Curriculum.  Mary Anning is one of the historical figures included in many study texts and schemes of work associated with English Primary School curriculum.   Her life and work provides an excellent role model for many people, especially girls, who can learn about a female scientist, someone who might help and inspire them to take a greater interest in science subjects.

Within the town of Lyme Regis, a blue plaque has been erected on the site of the Anning family’s residence and Mary’s first fossil shop.  The house has long gone, but in its place stands the Lyme Regis Museum which contains numerous displays of Mary’s fossil discoveries as well as some of her personal effects.

The Blue Plaque on the Wall of the Lyme Regis Museum Commemorating the Life and Work of Mary Anning

Mary Anning 1799-1847 - her blue plaque.

The blue plaque commemorating the birth of Mary Anning outside the Lyme Regis Museum.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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11 09, 2018

Everything Dinosaur to Stock Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex Models

By | September 11th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur to Stock Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex Models

Everything Dinosaur will be stocking the Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur models.  The beautiful 1:35 scale T. rex figure comes in two colour schemes, an eye-catching green colour scheme – “jungle” and a slate-grey version nick-named “mountain”.  Both models are due to arrive at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse at the end of October or thereabouts.

Available in Autumn 2018 – The Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex “Jungle” Replica

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor "jungle colour scheme".

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor “jungle”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex Dinosaur Figure – “Mountain”

Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur model "mountain".

Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur model by Rebor – mountain colour scheme.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Vanilla Ice Tyrannosaurus rex Figures

Both colour versions of this model “jungle” and “mountain” will arrive at our warehouse at the same time, so customers will be able to choose their favourite, or perhaps they might want the pair.

For further information and to reserve your Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur model (mountain and/or jungle), simply drop an email to Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur About Rebor Vanilla Ice Dinosaur Models

The Green Rebor Vanilla Ice Figure – Jungle Colour Scheme

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor "jungle colour scheme".

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor “jungle”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Slate-grey Rebor Vanilla Ice Figure – Mountain Colour Scheme

Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur model "mountain".

Vanilla Ice T. rex dinosaur model by Rebor – mountain colour scheme.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Vanilla Ice Measurements

Each figure measures around 42 centimetres in length and the head height is approximately 12.5 centimetres.  The Vanilla Ice T. rex models are in 1:35 scale or thereabouts.  They make fantastic companion pieces to the Rebor “King” Tyrannosaurus rex figure, which itself measures just under 37 cm long.  Each model will have an articulated jaw, just like the Rebor “King” T. rex dinosaur replica.

The Rebor Vanilla Ice “Jungle” T. rex Figure Displayed with the Jaw Open

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor "jungle colour scheme", a close view of the head.

Vanilla Ice T. rex by Rebor “jungle”.   The articulated lower jaw on this model is in the “open” position, showing the fantastic details in the mouth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Close View of the Head of the Vanilla Ice – Mountain Colour Scheme Model

Vanilla Ice T. rex in the mountain colour scheme.

Rebor Vanilla Ice T. rex “Mountain” close view of the head.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Stylish Tyrannosaurus rex Figures

The tail of each model will be flexible, permitting the figures to be displayed in slightly different poses.  The tail is packed as a separate piece in each presentation box, so, just like the recently introduced and highly popular Ankylosaurus “War Pig” figures, the tail has to be inserted into the base of the model to complete the 1:35 scale replica.  With the Rebor Triceratops “Fallen Queen” and the Ankylosaurus “War Pig” figures, all of which are also in 1:35 scale, collectors are going to be spoilt for choice how they display these highly collectable new T. rex models.  Dinosaur model fans can always display these new pieces with the Theropod figures already released by Rebor, after all, there are a lot of meat-eating dinosaurs within the Rebor range.  Perhaps, collectors could produce a diorama using the Ceratosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus, Carnotaurus or maybe the other tyrannosaurid figure from Rebor the Y-REX (Yutyrannus huali).

To view the extensive range of Rebor replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Figures

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