All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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1 04, 2020

Everything Dinosaur – Free Resources Including Teaching Materials

By | April 1st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Main Page, Press Releases, TV Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur – Providing Support and Free Teaching Resources

The Chinese have a saying “may you live in interesting times”.  These are certainly interesting times as we all have to get used to the “new normal” with the coronavirus pandemic to contend with.  Team members would like to convey their thoughts and best wishes to all those who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We have introduced new measures and policies that have enabled the mail order part of our business to keep operating.  In these difficult times, having a hobby to act as a distraction can provide great comfort and help to relieve stress.   Dinosaur model collecting can have a positive impact on mental health and we have been delighted to receive lots of pictures (and videos too), from collectors who have showcased their collections.

The Mail Order Operations of Everything Dinosaur – Still in Business

Free resources and providing support.

Free resources and support from Everything Dinosaur.  The mail order part of the business is still operating and team members are supporting customers by providing lots of free to use resources and teaching materials.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Helping to Support Teachers and Those Teaching at Home

Everything Dinosaur has been able to put in place contingency plans helping to keep the company operating through these uncertain times.  Our outreach work, liaising with museums and other academic institutions has had to be temporarily put on hold and our school visits have been postponed, but team members are doing all they can to support teachers, teaching assistants, parents, guardians and all those people home schooling at the moment.

Free to Use Teaching Materials and Learning Resources All with a Prehistoric Animal Theme

Free teaching resources and learning materials from Everything Dinosaur.

Free learning materials, teaching resources and advice provided by Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We do appreciate that the education of many children has been disrupted.  We know how challenging this can be, not just for teaching professionals but also for those adults who have children at home who now need to take on a teaching role and to also find ways of keeping their charges entertained.  Hopefully, our free to use teaching materials, lesson plans and activity ideas will prove to be helpful in the current situation.  We have already supplied hundreds of free downloads and our dedicated school website is geared to handle even more requests in the next few weeks.”

A Blog Site and Lots for Free Puzzles and Games

The Everything Dinosaur blog continues to provide a useful source of information regarding science stories and fossil discoveries.  Team members are striving to maintain their routine of posting one new article every day.  In addition, staff have been busy sending out free puzzles, dinosaur themed quizzes, word searches and even specially compiled dinosaur themed crosswords following requests from fans of prehistoric animals.

The Everything Dinosaur Blog is a Useful Place to Gather Information and We Have Also Sent Out Lots of Free Games and Puzzles

Everything Dinosaur's blog provides lots of helpful resources and team members provide free downloads.

The Everything Dinosaur blog provides lots of helpful resources and team members provide free downloads.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube and Facebook

It’s not just education, we recognise that in the current situation there is a need to entertain as well as inform.  Team members have been busy creating new YouTube videos and posting up several times a day onto the company’s social media pages including the Facebook site.

Everything Dinosaur Providing Lots of On-line Content to Support Dinosaur Fans

Helping with home schooling supporting our customers.

Free to access YouTube and Facebook resources including teaching materials, information and learning resources.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If you wish to subscribe to the Everything Dinosaur newsletter so that you can keep up with company developments, simply email us: Email Everything Dinosaur.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

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31 03, 2020

CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Scale Microraptor (Turntable Tuesday)

By | March 31st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Turntable Tuesday – CollectA Deluxe Microraptor Dinosaur Model

It’s “Turntable Tuesday” and it is time to put another prehistoric animal model on the Everything Dinosaur turntable and give it a spin.  Today, we feature the awesome, new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe 1:6 scale Microraptor dinosaur model.

“Turntable Tuesday” The New for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Microraptor Dinosaur Model Goes for a Spin

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Deluxe Microraptor is in stock at Everything Dinosaur, this fantastic, feathered dinosaur figure and the rest of the CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life collection can be found here: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

CollectA Deluxe Microraptor Dinosaur Model

First named and scientifically described twenty years ago, Microraptor has become one of the most studied of all the Chinese dinosaurs from Liaoning Province.  It was the first dinosaur specimen found to demonstrate the presence of flight feathers on its hind legs as well as on its arms.  Three species have been assigned to this genus, although there is some debate as to their validity as separate species.  Microraptor fossils are the most abundant non-avialan dinosaur found in the Jiufotang Formation (Liaoning Province).  All the material comes from the same bedding plane – the Shangheshou Bed.  It has been estimated that over three hundred specimens have been collected to date, although it is difficult to verify this figure as a large number of specimens are in the hands of private collectors who are reluctant to come forward due to the difficulties that might arise once these fossils come to the attention of the Chinese authorities.

The Stunning CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Scale Microraptor Dinosaur Model

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe 1:6 scale Microraptor dinosaur model.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:6 scale Microraptor dinosaur model.  The iridescent feathers and the bifurcated tail are highlighted in the “turntable Tuesday” video.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Iridescent Feathers and a Bifurcated Tail

In 2012, a scientific paper was published in “Science”, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that reported upon a study of fossilised pigment cells (melanosomes), preserved within a Microraptor fossil specimen (BMNHC PH881).  The researchers compared the arrangements of the melanosomes to those of extant birds and concluded that although Microraptor feathers were black, the melanosomes were reminiscent of the melanosomes found in birds that have iridescent feathers.

The scientific paper that proposes iridescence in the plumage of Microraptor “Reconstruction of Microraptor and the Evolution of Iridescent Plumage” by Quanguo Li, Ke-Qin Gao, Qingjin Meng, Julia A. Clarke, Matthew D. Shawkey, Liliana D’Alba, Rui Pei, Mick Ellison, Mark A. Norell and Jakob Vinther published in the journal Science.

In Everything Dinosaur’s short “Turntable Tuesday” video, these iridescent feathers on the CollectA Microraptor are highlighted.  In addition, the model also sports a bifurcated tailfan, as reflected in fossil discoveries.  It has been suggested that this tailfan structure and the iridescent feathers were primarily used for display.

Highlighting the Feathers (CollectA Deluxe Microraptor Model)

The CollectA Deluxe Microraptor Model.

Showing the iridescent feathers and the bifurcated tailfan of the CollectA Deluxe Microraptor model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel can be found here: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.  We recommend that you subscribe.

To purchase the CollectA Deluxe 1:6 scale Microraptor and other models in the CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

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30 03, 2020

Pterosaurs, Pterosaurs and Even More Pterosaurs

By | March 30th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

The “Golden Age” of Pterosauria Research

In the last few weeks, a number of scientific papers have been published detailing new pterosaur discoveries and fossil finds.  We really do seem to be living in a “golden age” of flying reptile research.  For example, researchers have identified the fragmentary fossil remains of three types of pterosaur from the famous Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco (Anhanguera, Coloborhynchus and Ornithocheirus).  Even before the dust had settled on that publication, another scientific paper, published this week, describes Afrotapejara zouhri, the newest member of the Tapejaridae, fossils of which also come from the enigmatic Kem Kem beds.

The “Golden Age” of Pterosaur Research – Illustration of Three of the New Pterosaur Types Described

New pterosaur genera described from the Kem Kem Beds of Morocco.

The pterosaur Anhanguera soars over the skies of North Africa with Coloborhynchus and Ornithocheirus to keep it company.

Picture Credit: Megan Jacobs (Baylor University, Texas)

Cretaceous Fossils Mixed Up in a Blender

The Kem Kem Formation is exposed in south-eastern Morocco and neighbouring Algeria.  The extensive deposits represent an inter-tidal, estuarine environment with large, wide lagoons and a broad floodplain criss-crossed by numerous rivers.  These sediments were laid down in the Albian to Cenomanian faunal stages of the Cretaceous, approximately 100 to 95 million years ago.  The terrestrial landscape was dominated by dinosaurs, surprisingly, there seems to have been an overabundance of big theropods present – Spinosaurus, Rugops (other abelisaurs), Sauroniops, Deltadromeus, Carcharodontosaurus, potential dromaeosaurids and a wealth of other fossil bones and isolated teeth that represent indeterminate species.

Trouble is, the transport of material due to river and tidal action has resulted in a mixing up of fossil material.  Fossil beds contain a vast array of jumbled up, disarticulated material, much of which may also have been re-deposited from its original stratigraphic layer.  These deposits have been colourfully described as representing fossils that have been put in a blender, such is their mixing and depositional status.

Typical Isolated and Fragmentary Vertebrate Fossil Remains from the Kem Kem Beds

Fossil remains (Kem Kem beds).

Assorted vertebrate fossil remains from the Kem Kem beds of Morocco.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Pterosaurs as Piscivores

In the first scientific paper, researchers from the University of Portsmouth, Baylor University (Waco, Texas), the University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit), Leicester University, the Laboratoire Santé et Environnement (Morocco) and the University of Bath report on the discovery of fragmentary jaws and associated teeth that led to the identification of three new types of pterosaur.  The remains suggest three ornithocheirid pterosaurs, a second species of Coloborhynchus and an Ornithocheirus reminiscent of Ornithocheirus fossil material known from the Cambridge Greensand deposits of southern England.  In addition, a portion of a lower jaw (mandibular symphysis), closely resembles that of the South American ornithocheirid Anhanguera piscator, fossils of which are known from the roughly contemporaneous Romualdo Member of the Santana Formation (Brazil).

An Illustration of Anhanguera (Ornithocheiridae Family)

An illustration of Anhanguera.

A typical member of the Anhanguera genus.  Note the large and very prominent, conical teeth in the jaw.  All three newly described genera are believed to have been primarily fish-eating (piscivores).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As well as representing a turbulent depositional environment, the fossiliferous beds of south-eastern Morocco provide an additional challenge for scientists.  Local residents mine the sedimentary rocks, often using only rudimentary tools and materials, so that they can sell their fossil finds to dealers and collectors.  Fortunately, in this case, the fragments of jaw were acquired by scientists enabling a proper academic investigation to be carried out.  The teeth of these pterosaurs suggest that they were probably piscivores, the largest of which probably had a wingspan in excess of four metres.

In the paper, the researchers conclude that the Kem Kem fossil assemblage includes at least nine species of pterosaur, of which the majority (five), are members of the Ornithocheiridae.  These strata help to support the theory that toothed pterosaurs remained diverse throughout the late Early Cretaceous, before going into decline and eventually disappearing after the Cenomanian faunal stage.

And There’s More – Another Moroccan Pterosaur This Time a Tapejarid

New pterosaur discoveries are behaving a bit like buses at the moment (prior to the coronavirus pandemic), three come along and then shortly afterwards another one turns up.  Many of the same scientists from the first academic paper, have published, albeit a little earlier than expected, another paper, this time naming a new species tapejarid pterosaur.  Unlike the other three, this flying reptile was edentulous (no teeth in the jaws).  The newly described tapejarid has been named Afrotapejara zouhri, based on yet more fragmentary material including jaw elements.

A Typical Illustration of a Tapejarid Pterosaur

Tupandactylus illustration.

A scale drawing of the tapejarid Pterosaur Tupandactylus imperator.  A typical tapejarid – a family of pterosaurs famed for their striking and often over-sized head crests.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossil jaws seem to be taphonomically selected for in the Kem Kem beds.  Other pterosaur remains have been frequently reported from these deposits, but rarely are the fossils diagnostic.  Isolated mandibular material had hinted at the present of tapejarids in northern Africa in the Early Cretaceous, but Afrotapejara is the first genus to be erected.  It represents the fourth example of a toothless pterosaur taxon to have been described from the Kem Kem beds and it provides the first unambiguous evidence to support the presence of the Tapejaridae in Africa.  The genus name translates as “African tapejarid”, whilst we suspect that the specific name honours Samir Zouhri, one of the authors of the first pterosaur paper reported upon in this blog post.

Based on this evidence, it seems that we really are living in a “golden age” of pterosaur research.

The first scientific paper: “New toothed pterosaurs (Pterosauria: Ornithocheiridae) from the middle Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco and implications for pterosaur palaeobiogeography and diversity” by Megan L. Jacobs, David M. Martill, David M. Unwin, Nizar Ibrahim, Samir Zouhri and Nicholas R. Longrich published in Cretaceous Research.

The second scientific paper: “A new tapejarid (Pterosauria, Azhdarchoidea) from the mid-Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Takmout, southern Morocco” by David M. Martill, Roy Smith, David M. Unwin, Alexander Kao, James McPhee and Nizar Ibrahim published in Cretaceous Research.

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29 03, 2020

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review CollectA Fukuisaurus

By | March 29th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus 1:40 Scale Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy preparing a bespoke video studio so that they can provide more in-depth video reviews for customers and fans of dinosaur model collecting.  The first full-length review of a dinosaur model has been published on the company’s YouTube channel.  The dinosaur model reviewed is the beautiful, new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus.

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review of the New for 2020 CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Fukuisaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus and to see the rest of the CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus Video Review

In our short video we try to combine a little bit of the science behind the study of this Japanese dinosaur with comments about the CollectA Deluxe replica.  For example, we discuss the model and its quadrupedal stance but in reality this herbivorous dinosaur probably spent the majority of its time in a bipedal posture (the forelimbs were much shorter than the hindlimbs).  In addition, we comment on the beautifully painted mouth and beak of Fukuisaurus.  The video then provides information about the unusual anatomical features associated with the skull of Fukuisaurus.

The Fukuisaurus Video Review Provides Plenty of Close-up Views of the Dinosaur Model

 Everything Dinosaur video review of the new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus dinosaur model (close-up views).

The Everything Dinosaur video review of the new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus dinosaur model (close-up views).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A 1/40th Scale Model?

The video also provides the opportunity for the Fukuisaurus to be measured.  Viewers can see that the figure measures approximately 14 centimetres long.  CollectA have included this model in their CollectA Deluxe range and it is described as being in 1:40 scale.  However, team members at Everything Dinosaur advise collectors to take a more relaxed approach to stated scales when it comes to prehistoric animal models, especially dinosaurs.  Most dinosaurs are known from relatively scrappy and incomplete skeletons, therefore, it is often very difficult to provide accurate information about the size and weight of the animal.  In the Everything Dinosaur Fukuisaurus fact sheet that accompanies sales of this model, we state that Fukuisaurus (F. tetoriensis), was approximately 4 to 4.5 metres in length.  Based on these dimensions, we estimate that the model is in approximately 1:30 or 1:32 scale.

The CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus.

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus dinosaur model 1:40 scale, or perhaps 1:32 scale?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our video review permits us to explain a little more about the size and scale of this dinosaur model.

Fossils Found in Close Association with Fukuiraptor (F. kitadaniensis)

The bedding plane from where the fossils of Fukuisaurus were found (the lower portion of Bonebed I at the famous Kitadani Quarry on Honshu Island, Japan), also contain the fossilised remains of a theropod dinosaur. This dinosaur is the similar-sized Fukuiraptor, which was actually formally described some three years before Fukuisaurus. The phylogeny of Fukuiraptor remains open to debate, although numerous vertebrate palaeontologists support the idea that Fukuiraptor was a member of the enigmatic Megaraptora clade.

Fukuiraptor may have hunted Fukuisaurus. In the Everything Dinosaur video review, the narrator comments upon this possibility and discusses the lack of evidence to support this notion.

Sharing the Same Bonebed and Now Sharing the Same Video

Two CollectA dinosaur models on display.

The CollectA Fukuiraptor dinosaur model (left) and the CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Pleurokinetic Skull of an Ornithopod

The dinosaur model video review also provides the opportunity to discuss some of the unique anatomical traits associated with Fukuisaurus.  Ornithopod skulls were remarkable examples of natural selection.  These dinosaurs evolved the ability to chew their food.  In order to process the tough stems of cycads, pine needles and horsetails, these dinosaurs evolved pleurokinetic skulls.  To process food in their mouths, the lower jaw moved up and against the inner surface of the teeth in the upper jaw, to produce a scissor-like cutting action.  To achieve this, the top part of the skull had to accommodate the movement of the lower jaw.  The skull could flex slightly in several places allowing the skull to be hinged (pleurokinetic joints).  In our video review, we discuss this and point out that the maxilla (part of the upper jaw), was closely associated with a facial bone in the skull.  This suggests that the skull of Fukuisaurus either could not flex, or that it was hinged in a different way to the skulls of related ornithopods.

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel is jam-packed with lots of prehistoric animal model reviews and information, we also post up lots of hints and tips about dinosaur model collecting along with reading recommendations, new book reviews and we have introduced “turntable Tuesday”, our once-a-week short video review of a prehistoric animal figure.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

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28 03, 2020

First Batch of New for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Animals in Stock

By | March 28th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock

The first batch of new for 2020 prehistoric animal models from CollectA are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  The first six prehistoric animal figures are available from Everything Dinosaur.  These figures are the 1:40 scale CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus, the CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus (also in 1:40 scale), the 1:6 scale Microraptor and the Protoceratops in the same scale.  We also have the Baryonyx model along with the new rearing Diplodocus colour variant (grey).

Six new CollectA Dinosaur Models are in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The six new CollectA dinosaur models.

Six new for 2020 CollectA dinosaur models.  Top left, the new rearing Diplodocus colour variant, top right the CollectA Baryonyx.  Middle row the 1:40 scale Bajadasaurus and the Fukuisaurus.  Bottom row the 1:6 scale Protoceratops and the Microraptor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Six of the Best!

CollectA intend to introduce a total of eighteen prehistoric animal figures in 2020.  Due to coronavirus production plans have been interrupted, but Everything Dinosaur has been able to receive stocks of the first six models to be released.  These six new dinosaur figures help to demonstrate the great variety of body plans within the Dinosauria.  As for the models, we could say that they represent “six of the best”.

The Beautiful 1:40 Scale Fukuisaurus Dinosaur Model (CollectA Deluxe)

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus dinosaur model.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus dinosaur model.   A wonderful model of an ornithopod from the Early Cretaceous of Japan.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Prehistoric Life Baryonyx Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Baryonyx dinosaur model (2020).

The new for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Life Baryonyx dinosaur model.  The figure has been placed on a display base so that the feet can be kept in proportion with the rest of the dinosaur’s body.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rearing Diplodocus – New Colour Variant (Grey)

CollectA rearing Diplodocus - grey

New for 2020 CollectA rearing Diplodocus – grey.  The model is the same sculpt as the rearing Diplodocus figure which was introduced in 2013.  It is likely that the 2013 Diplodocus will now be retired, but at the time of writing, this had not been confirmed by CollectA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Deluxe Scale Figures

Four of the newly arrived CollectA dinosaur models are scale figures.  As well as the 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus (pictured earlier), there is a 1:40 scale replica of the recently described (2019), sauropod Bajadasaurus (B. pronuspinax).

The 1:40 Scale CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Bajadasaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 CollectA Bajadasaurus dinosaur model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  That’s a very impressive set of spikes on the neck of this herbivorous dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA 1:6 Scale Protoceratops Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Protoceratops model.

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Protoceratops dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Scale Microraptor Model

CollectA Deluxe Microraptor - new for 2020

The CollectA Deluxe Microraptor model (1:6 scale).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The new CollectA Baryonyx and the rearing Diplodocus can be found at this section of the Everything Dinosaur website: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

The Fukuisaurus, Bajadasaurus, Protoceratops and the 1:6 scale CollectA Deluxe Microraptor dinosaur model can be found here: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models.

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27 03, 2020

Recommended Reading – Dinosaurs

By | March 27th, 2020|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Recommended Reading – “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”

With an estimated one quarter of the world’s population currently in lockdown and not able to get out and about, team members at Everything Dinosaur have been providing lots of support and assistance.  As we are unable to visit schools or to work in museums, we have ensured that our huge range of dinosaur and fossil teaching materials remain accessible to all those teachers, parents and guardians attempting to home educate.

However, we have also been asked to recommend suitable prehistoric animal themed reading materials.  So, in this spirit, the first publication we shall highlight is the excellent “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”, written by the highly talented American palaeontologist and geologist Donald R. Prothero, adjunct professor of geological sciences at California State Polytechnic University (Pomona, California).

The Front Cover of “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”

"The Story of the Dinosaursin 25 Discoveries".

Front cover of the new book by Professor Donald R. Prothero “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our Book Review

Team members were lucky enough to be sent an advance copy of this new book.  Having read it, we produced a review and put this on our blog site in December (2019).

Our review can be found here: Everything Dinosaur reviews “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This book tells the fascinating story of how our understanding of the Dinosauria has changed and evolved from the early days of the science of palaeontology through to some of the latest research involving dinosaur colouration and inferred social behaviours.  Dinosaur fans will be delighted with this latest offering from Columbia University Press and Everything Dinosaur highly recommends this new publication.”

This book can be acquired from the Columbia University Press website: Columbia University Press.   The search function on the Columbia University Press website can be used to find other books authored by Donald R. Prothero.

Whilst much of the world is in lockdown, it might be prudent and indeed opportune to catch up with some reading.

Stay safe, keep well.

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26 03, 2020

Late Cretaceous Southern United States Had “Raptors” Too

By | March 26th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Dineobellator notohesperus – A Velociraptorine with Extra Attitude!

Scientists have described a new species of “raptor” from the Late Cretaceous of New Mexico.  Described from fragmentary remains, this two-metre-long carnivore was related to Velociraptor.  It may have been roughly the same size as the Mongolian genus, but it probably was even more agile with a stronger grip.  Its discovery suggests that the dromaeosaurids were diversifying right up to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

Life Reconstruction Dineobellator notohesperus (Maastrichtian of New Mexico)

Dineobellator Life Reconstruction

A trio of the newly described dromaeosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of New Mexico (Dineobellator) gather at a waterhole.  The titanosaur Alamosaurus passes by in the background and in the distance a tyrannosaur is approaching.

Picture Credit: Sergey Krasovskiy

Writing in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”, the researchers from The University of Pennsylvania and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, describe a partial, skeleton excavated from the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness of New Mexico, found within a few metres above the base of the Naashoibito Member.  The coarse sandstone deposits are notoriously difficult to date, these sediments were deposited towards the end of the Cretaceous between 70 and 66.3 million years ago (Maastrichtian faunal stage).

Fossil material includes parts of the skull, elements from the jaws, fragments of vertebrae, tail bones (caudal vertebrae), one rib with other pieces of rib and limb bones including a nearly complete right upper arm bone (humerus) and a nearly complete right ulna (bone from the forearm).  The first fossilised remains were found in 2008, subsequent field work carried out in 2009, 2015 and 2016 yielded more fossil material, mostly very fragmentary in nature.  It is believed all the fossil material, including a claw from the right hand, represents the remains of a single dinosaur.

A Skeletal Reconstruction of Dineobellator notohesperus

Known fossil material and skeletal reconstruction of Dineobellator.

A silhouette and postulated skeleton of Dineobellator (known fossil material in white).

Picture Credit: Jasinski et al/Scientific Reports

A Small but Dangerous Dinosaur

Dineobellator notohesperus is the first dromaeosaurid to be described from the southern United States.  It would have lived in the south of the Cretaceous landmass of Laramidia.  Although no evidence of feathers has been found, the ulna shows evidence of a row of small rounded pits in the bone, interpreted as anchor points for large feathers on the arm (ulna papillae).  Analysis of the forelimbs suggest that Dineobellator had stronger arms with a more powerful grip.  A study of the tail bones suggest that the tail had greater movement which would have made this dinosaur adept at making sharp turns and agile changes of direction.  The researchers suggest these anatomical traits provide an insight into how this small theropod hunted and behaved.

The researchers, which include Dr Steven Jasinski (Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania), postulate that Dineobellator was an active predator that occupied a discrete ecological niche in the food chain whilst living in the shadow of Tyrannosaurus rex.  The newest North American “raptor” Dineobellator notohesperus is pronounced dih-nay-oh-bell-ah-tor noh-toh-hes-per-us and the genus name comes from the native Navajo word “Diné”, a reference to the Navajo Nation and the Latin word “bellator” which means warrior.  The trivial name has been erected to acknowledge the location of the fossil find.  The word “noto” is from the Greek meaning southern and “hesper” the Greek for western.  This is an acknowledgement that Dineobellator roamed the south-western part of the United States.  In addition, Hesperus is a reference to a Greek god, the personification of the evening star (Venus) and by extension “western”.

Dr Jasinski has already had a considerable impact on the Dromaeosauridae family.  Back in 2015, Everything Dinosaur reported on the formal description of Saurornitholestes sullivani, a dinosaur named by Steven Jasinski whilst a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.  To read more about S. sullivaniSniffing Out a New Dinosaur Species.

An Illustration of Saurornitholestes sullivani

Saurornitholestes sullivani illustrated

An agile dinosaur, an illustration of Saurornitholestes sullivani.  Although the fossil material associated with this species was found in New Mexico, S. sullivani lived several million years earlier than Dineobellator notohesperus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Tough Life for a Tough Dinosaur

A phylogenetic analysis undertaken by the research team places Dineobellator within the Velociraptorinae subfamily of the Dromaeosauridae.  Other Maastrichtian “raptors” known from North America are few and far between (Acheroraptor and Dakotaraptor – both from the Hell Creek Formation).  The discovery of Dineobellator suggests that dromaeosaurids were still diversifying at the end of the Cretaceous and as an velociraptorine, its fossils lend further weight to the idea that faunal interchange between Asian and North American dinosaurs took place sometime during the Campanian/Maastrichtian.

It is not known whether Dineobellator notohesperus was a pack hunter.  The fossilised remains do indicate that this was one very tough dinosaur but it did not have everything its own way.  A rib shows a deformity, suggesting that this bone was broken, but the animal suffered this trauma a while before it died as the break is healed.  Intriguingly, the scientists identified a prominent gouge mark preserved on the hand claw (manual ungual).  This gouge mark, which measures nearly a centimetre long, terminates in a small depression.  The scientists suggest that this damage was not caused by disease or by any process associated with the preservation of the fossil bones.  The team suggest that this was an injury that occurred close to, or at the time of this dinosaur’s demise.

The researchers speculate that this Dineobellator received an injury in a fight with another Dineobellator or perhaps this damage to its hand claw was inflicted upon it by another type of predatory theropod.

Views of the Hand Claw of  Dineobellator notohesperus Showing Damage Interpreted as a Wound Inflicted by Another Theropod Dinosaur

The manual ungual of Dineobellator.

Views of the hand claw of Dineobellator.  The right manual ungual of Dineobellator notohesperus (I) lateral view, with (J) a silhouette of the transverse plane of the right manual ungual near the distal end.  Image (K) shows the claw in media view with the dashed area highlighted in (K) showing the gouge mark (L).  The red arrow indicates the pathology.  Scale bars equal 1 mm, please note (L) is not to scale.

Picture Credit: Jasinski et al/Scientific Reports with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “New Dromaeosaurid Dinosaur (Theropoda, Dromaeosauridae) from New Mexico and Biodiversity of Dromaeosaurids at the end of the Cretaceous” by Steven E. Jasinski, Robert M. Sullivan and Peter Dodson published in Scientific Reports.

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25 03, 2020

Everything Dinosaur – Still Operating Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By | March 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur – Far from Extinct

Dear Customers and Friends of Everything Dinosaur,

We are living in unprecedented times.  The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has global implications, we would once again, like to convey our thoughts and sympathies to all those people who have been affected by this virus.

Everything Dinosaur would like to extend our well wishes to each and every one of our customers and friends.  We want to pass on our thoughts and sympathies to all those people who have been affected by this outbreak.  This is a very difficult time for all of us.  We would like to briefly update you on the current situation at Everything Dinosaur.

We are far from extinct!  Whilst we are constantly reviewing advice received from the UK Government, the Chamber of Commerce and our Dept of Trade and Industry account manager, for the time being at least, our mail order business is operating as normal.

Business as Usual for Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur taking steps to ensure business as usual.

Everything Dinosaur has put in place a number of measures that means the company can operate the mail order business.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Customers Can Still Place Orders!

Everything Dinosaur is still operating!  The plans we put in place weeks ago have put us in a reasonable position when it comes to our mail order business.  Whilst we will always heed the advice of the Government and the Chamber of Commerce, we are still able to operate our mail order business.  Customers can still place orders; we are still despatching and our customers are receiving their parcels.

We don’t have a crystal ball, but because we have lots of contacts in China and elsewhere in the world, team members at Everything Dinosaur quickly became aware of the potential implications if the disease spread outside of Hubei Province (China).  We started to put plans in place back in January (2020), a rolling set of measures to support our staff, our customers, our suppliers and our local community.

Everything Dinosaur Putting Plans In Place to Manage in Difficult Times

Business as Usual at Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur working hard to stay on top of the situation.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Preparations and Plans

The United Kingdom and much of the world, may now be in lockdown.  Everything Dinosaur began its preparations on a “just in case scenario” ten weeks ago.

These preparations included:

  • Cutting back on the amount of teaching work undertaken to permit more management time dedicated towards the mail order business.
  • Using stocks (purchased 2018 for outreach science programmes) of alcohol based hand sanitisers (some of which have already been donated to vulnerable members of the local community).
  • Deliberately building up stock of dinosaur models, figures and other items and ensuring that these could be packed and despatched from homes if needed.
  • Building up quantities of packaging supplies to help support the mail order operations.
  • Implementing stringent cleanliness regimes and social distancing.
  • Taking all essential steps to ensure the safety and protection of all Everything Dinosaur team members.
  • Switching shipment delivery addresses to permit stock to remain accessible to Everything Dinosaur team members.
  • Liaising closely with factories in order to put in place contingency plans to ensure continuity of stock.
  • Suspension of all but essential travel, suspension of all face-to-face meetings.
  • Postponement of outreach science programmes and dinosaur themed workshops.

In the last three weeks we have received a total of eighteen FEEFO reviews all of them rated Everything Dinosaur as a 5-star service provider.

We are still continuing to maintain the very highest levels of customer service.

Helping Out at Home

Lots of our customers have been in touch, with many of our customers having to stay at home, they have been looking for products and projects to help get them through these uncertain times.  We are should not overlook the mental health of those persons advised to self-isolate.  A hobby like dinosaur model collecting, model making, replica painting, building dioramas and so forth can play a significant part in helping with well-being.  We are also aware of the large numbers of children currently at home.

Keeping Children Occupied – Dinosaurs for Creative, Imaginative Play

Children playing with Schleich dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Children playing with dinosaur and prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: Schleich

Free Resources, Downloads, Fact Sheets, Games and Teaching Materials

It has always been our philosophy to support teachers, teaching assistants and home educators.  It is our belief that play is an essential part of childhood and the young people learn more whilst they are having fun.  A new dinosaur is named and described every two weeks or so.  There is always plenty to talk about when it comes to prehistoric animals.  In the light of the current situation, Everything Dinosaur acknowledges that some of our customers have additional needs and we have rolled out a programme of extra support and assistance.

  • Ensuring that everyone, not just schools have access to our free, educational downloads: General Teaching Resources.
  • Reception, nursery and Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 3-6) dinosaur themed teaching resources to download: Early Years Downloads.
  • Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 6 to 12) dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources to download: Key Stage 1 and 2 Downloads.
  • Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (ages 12 to 16) dinosaur and fossil themed teaching resources to download: Key Stage 3 and 4 Downloads.
  • The Everything Dinosaur teaching blog – hundreds of articles featuring advice, hints, lesson plans and other materials: Everything Dinosaur Teaching Blog.
  • In addition, there is this blog site, with over 4, 750 articles and features about prehistoric animals and fossil discoveries.
  • Over the last ten days, Everything Dinosaur has initiated a programme of sending out every day to a lucky customer a free Mojo Fun golden model.
  • Support for our customers with additional needs have been rolled out including surprise free gifts, learning materials and free downloads.
  • Sending out personalised projects and providing one-to-one support for parents of children/young people with an interest in fossils and dinosaurs.
  • Supplying free puzzles, games, top trumps, crosswords as part of a programme to help support families in lockdown.

Everything Dinosaur Has Launched a Programme of Supporting Families at Home

Teaching support from Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur providing lots of free resources to support families.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur remains committed to doing all it can to help in the current difficult situation.  For the time being, we are able to operate our mail order business with the minimum of disruption.  Everything Dinosaur is far from extinct!

Keep well, stay safe!

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24 03, 2020

CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus (Turntable Tuesday)

By | March 24th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus Turntable Tuesday

Time to pop into our studio and to put the new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus dinosaur model through its paces for “turntable Tuesday”.  Each week, Everything Dinosaur intends to feature a prehistoric animal on the company’s YouTube channel and today, it is the CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus going for a spin.

“Turntable Tuesday” – The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Bajadasaurus

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

The YouTube channel of Everything Dinosaur features lots of videos of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animal figures.  Our aim is to provide model reviews, hints and tips for collectors and to develop videos that provide a useful resource for our customers and for dinosaur fans of all ages.

To see Everything Dinosaur on YouTube and to subscribe: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Bajadasaurus (B. pronuspinax)

Bajadasaurus was only formally named and scientifically described in February 2019 (although the fossils were found back in 2010), we congratulate the design team at CollectA for being so quick off the mark when it comes to bringing out a figure representing a dinosaur that was described a little over a year ago.  It has been assigned to the Dicraeosauridae family of long-necked dinosaurs, although, these dinosaurs are characterised by their relatively short necks when compared to the related diplodocids such as Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus and Diplodocus.

The CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus with its Bizarre Neck Spines

The CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe1:40 scale Bajadasaurus dinosaur model.  The neck spines (enlarged, paired neural spines) are forward facing and may have had a role in defence against theropod dinosaur attacks.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If the fossil material has been interpreted correctly, then Bajadasaurus was one of the most bizarre of all the Dinosauria known to science.  The model, and indeed the scientific illustrations of this prehistoric animal have been based on better-known dicraeosaurids.  The huge neural spines, associated with the cervical vertebra assigned to position C5 in the neck of this dinosaur, gave rise to the idea that each neck bone had a pair of enormous, keratin-coated spines which would have acted as a formidable deterrent for any meat-eating dinosaur looking for a meal.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog article about the scientific description of Bajadasaurus pronuspinaxDefensive Dicraeosaurids – the Bizarre Bajadasaurus.

A Very Spiky Sauropod – The CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus.

CollectA Bajadasaurus dinosaur model (1:40 scale).  A view of the amazing neck spines of this South American dinosaur that lived approximately 14o million years ago.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus and the rest of the prehistoric animals in the CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life model range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life.

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23 03, 2020

Discovery of the Oldest Bilaterian – Ikaria wariootia

By | March 23rd, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Meet Your Oldest Ancestor – Ikaria wariootia 

A team of international scientists have identified the first ancestor of animals that show bilateral symmetry, in ancient marine sediment around 555 million years old.  Palaeontologists had predicted that such an organism would be identified in Ediacaran sediments, essentially a creature with a body plan that has been adopted by the majority of the Kingdom Animalia, now thanks to the use of sophisticated three-dimensional laser scans funded by NASA, the “smoking gun” evidence has been found.

A Life Reconstruction of the Earliest Bilaterian Known to Date (I. wariootia)

Ikaria wariootia the earliest known bilaterian.

Ikaria wariootia life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: Sohail Wasif/University California Riverside

Ikaria wariootia – The Size of a Rice Grain but a Big Discovery!

Writing in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America”, the researchers, which included scientists from University California Riverside and the South Australian Museum, examined tiny trace fossils, essentially burrows and borings into an ancient Ediacaran seabed (Ediacara Member, South Australia).  Proximal to some of these traces were very small oval impressions.  Thanks to funding from a NASA exobiology grant, the team were able to employ a sophisticated three-dimensional laser scanner to map these depressions in the ancient rock.  Computer-generated images revealed a worm-like organism with a cylindrical body and faintly grooved musculature.  A distinct head and tail were also identified.  This little animal represents the earliest bilaterian, a hugely significant step in the evolution of life on Earth.

The transition from simple, microscopic forms of life to the abundance and variety of complex creatures in the Cambrian remains quite poorly understood.  However, the beautifully preserved remains of soft-bodied organisms, many of which look like nothing alive today, associated with the ancient strata of the Ediacara Hills of South Australia have permitted palaeontologists the opportunity to learn about life on our planet prior to the evolution of hard body parts such as shells and exoskeletons.  Many of the creatures identified from their fossils had bizarre body forms such as the circular Dickinsonia (below), but scientists had predicted that animals with bilateral symmetry would be present in this ecosystem, it was just a question of finding them.

A Circular Impression of an Organism from the Ediacara Hills (South Australia) – Dickinsonia costata Fossil

Dickinsonia costata fossil.

The Ediacaran fossil Dickinsonia costata, specimen P40135 from the collections of the South Australia Museum.

Picture Credit: Dr Alex Liu (Cambridge University)

The development of bilateral symmetry was a critical step in the evolution of animal life, giving organisms the ability to move purposefully and a common, yet successful way to organise their bodies.  In the scientific paper, the research team describe Ikaria wariootia as ranging in size between 2 and 7 millimetres in length and being around 1 to 2.5 millimetres wide.   The largest specimens were about the size of a grain of rice, just the right size to have made the burrows and borings (trace fossils).

The discovery of Ikaria wariootia is consistent with predictions based on modern animal phylogenetics, that the last ancestor of all bilaterians was simple and small and represents a rare link between the Ediacaran and the subsequent record of animal life.  Put simply, I. wariootia is on the same part of the animal family tree as the majority of animals alive today and that includes us (Homo sapiens).

Ikaria wariootia Impressions Preserved in Ancient Marine Sediment

Ikaria wariootia impressions.

Ikaria wariootia impressions preserved in ancient marine sediments.

Picture Credit: Droser Laboratory/University of California Riverside

Commenting on the significance of the discovery, one of the authors of the scientific paper, Scott Evans (University of California Riverside), stated:

“We thought these animals should have existed during this interval [Ediacaran], but always understood they would be difficult to recognise.  Once we had the 3-D scans, we knew that we had made an important discovery.”

Analysis of modern animals and Ediacaran trace fossils predicted that the oldest bilaterians would be very small with simple body plans.  The research team found that the size and shape of Ikaria matched the predictions that had been made with regards to the maker of the trace fossil Helminthoidichnites, indicating sediment displacement and purposeful animal movement.  Importantly, in the Ediacara Member, Helminthoidichnites occurs stratigraphically below classic Ediacara body fossils such as Dickinsonia.  Together, these suggest that Ikaria represents one of the oldest total group bilaterians identified to date, with very little deviation from the characters and traits predicted for their last common ancestor.

In addition, these trace fossils persist into the Phanerozoic Eon (from the Cambrian Period onwards),  providing a critical link between the Ediacaran and Cambrian biota.

A Three-Dimensional Laser Image of a Scan of a Rock Depression Revealing the Body Plan of Ikaria wariootia

Three-dimensional laser scan of an Ikaria wariootia impression.

A three-dimensional laser scan of an Ikaria wariootia impression.

Picture Credit: Droser Laboratory/University of California Riverside

What’s in a Name?

The genus name comes from Ikara, which means “meeting place” in the local Adnyamathanha dialect.  It is the Adnyamathanha term for a grouping of mountains known as Wilpena Pound.  The trivial name comes from Warioota Creek, which runs from the Flinders Ranges to Nilpena Station in the Ediacara Hills.  It may look a fairly simple animal to us, but back in the Ediacaran Ikaria was one of the most complex organisms around.  It burrowed in thin layers of well-oxygenated sand on the ocean floor in search of organic matter, indicating rudimentary sensory abilities.  The depth and curvature of Ikaria represent clearly distinct front and rear ends, supporting the directed movement found in the burrows.  The walls of the burrows preserve evidence of “v-shaped” ridges, which indicate that Ikaria moved by contracting muscles across its body like an earthworm.  This is known as peristaltic locomotion.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of California Riverside in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Discovery of the oldest bilaterian from the Ediacaran of South Australia” by Scott D. Evans, Ian V. Hughes, James G. Gehling and Mary L. Droser published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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