All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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18 04, 2019

Early Miocene Giant Hyaenodont Bigger than a Polar Bear

By | April 18th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Simbakubwa kutokaafrika – Giant African Hyaenodont

Scientists writing in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology” have described a new species of giant Hyaenodont from sub-Saharan Africa that was bigger than a polar bear.  The giant carnivore, most likely the apex predator in its Early Miocene ecosystem, has been named Simbakubwa kutokaafrika and this fearsome beast with its huge teeth is the stuff of nightmares.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Giant Hyaenodont Simbakubwa kutokaafrika

Simbakubwa kutokaafrika life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the newly described giant hyaenodont Simbakubwa kutokaafrika.

Picture Credit: Mauricio Anton

A Chance Discovery

Co-author of the scientific paper Matthew Borths (Duke University, North Carolina), was visiting the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya in 2013  to view some specimens.  He asked to view the contents of a collection labelled as “hyaenas” and he discovered a gigantic lower jaw bone more than forty centimetres in length.   The bones and teeth had been placed in a drawer after a dig in western Kenya in the late 1970’s and had remained there ever since.

The genus name, Simbakubwa is from Swahili “simba” meaning “lion” and “kubwa” meaning “big”, big this animal certainly was, its body weight has been estimated at over 1,500 kilograms making S. kutokaafrika heavier than the largest land carnivore alive today, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).  The species name kutokaafrika, is also from Swahili, it means “from Africa”.

The Lower Jaw of S. kutokaafrika Compared to the Jaw of a Modern Lion (Panthero leo)

Simbakubwa jaw compared to the jaw of a lion.

Simbakubwa kutokaafrika mandible, with Panthera leo mandible for comparison.

Picture Credit: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

The picture (above), shows the holotype left dentary (KNM-ME 20A), in (A) lingual, (B) buccal and (C) occlusal views.  It is compared in size to the lower jaw of a modern lion (Panthero leo), photograph (D).  Note the scale bar is 5 cm.

Classified as a Member of the Hyaenodonta (Hyainailourinae)

The carnivore has been classified as a member of the Hyaenodonta (Hyainailourinae), a large and diverse group of creodonts that may have evolved in Africa.  These animals dominated predatory niches in ecosystems until the emergence of the modern Carnivora.  As such, Simbakubwa is only very distantly related to today’s big cats the Felidae.

The Giant Teeth of a Giant Prehistoric Predator

Views of the teeth of Simbakubwa kutoaafrika.

What big teeth you have – Simbakubwa kutokaafrika.

Picture Credit: Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology

The photograph (above), shows isolated teeth associated with the lower jaw.  Pictures (A, B and C) show a right lower canine in lingual, buccal and occlusal views.  A right molar (m1), is shown in (D) occlusal, (E) lingual and (F) buccal views and the second right molar (m2), is shown in (G) occlusal, (H) lingual and (I) buccal views, whilst a left molar (m2), is show in (J) occlusal, (K) lingual and (L) buccal views.  Note the scale bar equals 5 cm.

A Widely Dispersed Clade of Super-sized Mammalian Predators

The hyainailourine hyaenodonts are among the biggest land mammalian carnivores known to science.  The group is temporally and geographically widely dispersed with fossil finds in Europe, Asia, North America, Arabia as well as Africa.  The fossil material assigned to the Simbakubwa genus represent the most complete hyainailourine known from sub-Saharan Africa.  The researchers conclude that the fossils represent a relatively young adult animal and the material was collected at the Meswa Bridge site (western Kenya).

Bayesian ancestral state reconstruction supports an Afro-Arabian origin for Hyainailourinae with subsequent dispersal to Europe and Asia.  A regression analysis conducted by the authors of the paper, based on carnassial size suggests that Simbakubwa could have weighed around 1,500 kilogrammes, more than four times the weight of a modern African lion.   The evolution and extinction of Hyainailourinae offers important insights for interpreting ecological transitions from Paleogene to Neogene faunas in Afro-Arabia and Eurasia.

The scientific paper: “Simbakubwa kutokaafrika, gen. et sp. nov. (Hyainailourinae, Hyaenodonta, ‘Creodonta,’ Mammalia), a gigantic carnivore from the earliest Miocene of Kenya” by Matthew R. Borths and Nancy J. Stevens published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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17 04, 2019

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Adjusting the Arms

By | April 17th, 2019|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

Adjusting the Arms on the Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Dinosaur Model

The recently introduced Rebor Killer Queen T. rex dinosaur models are proving to be very popular with collectors and dinosaur model fans.  This Tyrannosaurus rex figure is available in two colour variants (plain and jungle) and several parts of this dinosaur are poseable.  The lower jaw is articulated, the tail contains a flexible rod that enables it to be put into numerous poses and the arms move to.

Everything Dinosaur has created a short, helpful video that explains how to free up the arms on this Rebor replica.  When first unpacked, the forelimbs can be a little stiff and difficult to move.  However, give the joints a few seconds of heat, such as from a hairdryer and collectors will find that the warmed joints become easier to manoeuvre.  The video has been posted up on our Instagram page along with some more pictures and it is up on our YouTube channel as well.

An Easy Way to Adjust the Arms on the Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on Instagram: Everything Dinosaur on Instagram (everythingdinosaur1)

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Visit Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Channel

Helpful Videos for Model Collectors and Dinosaur Fans

At Everything Dinosaur, we use our various social media platforms, such as this blog, our Facebook page along with Instagram and our YouTube channel to post up helpful information about prehistoric animals and dinosaur models.  We will also be posting up videos in the near future that demonstrate the articulated jaw on the Rebor Killer Queen and a video that highlights the poseable tail.  We try our best to educate and inform our customers about the various prehistoric animal models and figures that we supply.  However, we can sometimes get our colour variants mixed up, for example, in the video highlighting how to free up the arms we referred to the figure as a “plain” variant, however, eagle-eyed viewers will spot that we were actually using the Rebor Killer Queen “jungle” colour variant in our video shoot.

The Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Dinosaur Models (Plain and Jungle Colour Variants)

Rebor Killer Queen - Plain and Jungle.

The Rebor Killer Queen T. rex is available in two colour schemes (jungle and plain).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Trade Mark for Everything Dinosaur

Eagle-eyed viewers to our various social media platforms will also notice some subtle changes to our themes and layout.  Everything Dinosaur has received a trade mark and our team members are slowly amending all our social media platforms to reflect this.  For example, our header image for the Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has already been changed.

A New Banner for Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel header.  Note the ® symbol which denotes a registered trade mark.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Note the ® symbol associated with the Everything Dinosaur logo, Everything Dinosaur is now a registered trade mark (February 2019).

A spokesperson for the UK-based dinosaur company said:

“We try and post up helpful images, advice and videos for our customers.  Our YouTube channel contains a number of model reviews, competitions and helpful tips.  When it comes to the Rebor Killer Queen figures, our simple guide to freeing up the arms should help to prevent any unfortunate accidents.  In addition, we have commenced a programme to update our company visuals to reflect our trade mark status.”

To view the range of Rebor figures and models available from Everything Dinosaur, including both colour variants of the recently introduced Rebor Killer Queen models: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures

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16 04, 2019

JurassicCollectables Reviews a New Pteranodon Model

By | April 16th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon Model Review

The talented team at JurassicCollectables have posted up a short video review of the new for 2019 walking Pteranodon model from the Wild Safari Prehistoric World figure collection.  This video review really helps collectors and prehistoric animal model fans to appreciate the vivid colours that Safari Ltd chose for their new pterosaur figure.  Unlike most flying reptile figures, this new for 2019 introduction, depicts Pteranodon on the ground, after all, these members of the Pterosauria must have spent some time on “terra firma”.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon Video Review

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Fantastic Details Around the Skull and Eye

In the short video review, (the video lasts six minutes and thirty seconds), the narrator takes the Pteranodon model out of its wrapping and provides viewers with a guided tour of the figure.  Much of the video focuses on the beautifully-painted head, crest and beak.  In particular, the painting around the eye is praised.  Safari Ltd  have made Pteranodon figures before, but this is the first Pteranodon model that has been depicted in a walking pose and not with the wings stretched out in a flying position.

In the Video, the Quality of the Painting Around the Eye is Highlighted

A close-up view of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon model.

The superbly painted Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon model.  In the video, viewers are given a close-up view of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Pteranodon longiceps

The genus Pteranodon and the first species (P. longiceps), was erected in 1876 (Othniel Charles Marsh).  Numerous models of this famous Late Cretaceous pterosaur have been made, but few of them with the quality of sculpt and the paintwork of this Safari Ltd replica.  The shape of the crest denotes the species and the tiger colouration and the subtle airbrushing on the crest is admirable.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon (P. longiceps) Model

JurassicCollectables reviews the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon figure.

JurassicCollectables reviews the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

This well-crafted figure measures over eight centimetres long and the head is some ten centimetres off the ground.  The Pteranodon model used in the review was one of the first of the production figures to be made.  In this most informative video review, the model is compared with the recently reviewed Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figure .  The Papo green standing T. rex also features, along with a cameo appearance by off-colour Alan.  No JurassicCollectables video review would be complete without an appearance of the Alan Grant figure.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon Compared to the “Classic” Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figure

A Pteranodon model compared to a T. rex model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Pteranodon compared to the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Our thanks to JurassicCollectables for posting up such an interesting and helpful video review, of what is an excellent pterosaur model.

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables contains lots of informative and helpful dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos.  Everything Dinosaur recommends that readers subscribe to JurassicCollectables: JurassicCollectables YouTube Channel

To view the range of Wild Safari Prehistoric World models and figures including the 2019 Pteranodon model: Safari Ltd Wild Safari Prehistoric World

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15 04, 2019

Scientists Identify Ancient “Monster” from the Deep

By | April 15th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Tentacled “Cthulhu” Fossil Reveals Relative of Modern Sea Cucumbers

The remarkable Silurian-aged deposits located at a secret site in Herefordshire (England), have provided scientists with a unique look at the early evolution of sea cucumbers and their relatives.  The rocks at this location are comprised of very fine grained volcanic ash that settled on the seafloor some 430 to 425 million years ago.  These deposits have preserved in fantastic detail the remains of the marine biota.  The latest new species to be named from this location is Sollasina cthulhu, a multi-tentacled, benthic animal that was a ferocious predator.  The prehistoric sea cucumber’s trivial name honours the “Cthulhu” universe, as it resembles some of the monsters created by the American, 20th Century science-fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft.  At only three centimetres across, it might not look very formidable to us, but its numerous tentacles, (actually tube feet), would have been used to terrorise and capture other animals as it roamed across the seafloor.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Sollasina cthulhu

Life reconstruction of the Silurian ancestral sea cucumber Sollasina cthulhu.

Sollasina cthulhu life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: Elissa Martin, (Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History)

Writing in the academic journal the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology)”, palaeontologists from the USA and the UK were able to create an accurate, three-dimensional digital reconstruction of the 430 million-year-old fossil.  The exceptionally preserved fossil, once analysed using this three-dimensional computer modelling technique, revealed details of internal soft tissues previously not seen in a fossil like this.

Sollasina cthulhu

Like other fossils from the secret Herefordshire “Lagerstätte”, Sollasina cthulhu was examined using a method that involved grinding it away, layer-by-layer, with a photograph taken at each stage.  This led to hundreds of images being produced which were then combined in a special computer programme to create an exact 3-D image, a “virtual fossil”.  The scientists, which included researchers from the Oxford Museum of Natural History, Leicester University, Imperial College London, Yale University and the University of Southern California, were able to make out an internal ring, which is believed to be part of the organism’s water vascular system.  The water vascular system is the system of fluid-filled canals used for feeding and movement in living sea cucumbers and their relatives.

Dr Imran Rahman (Deputy Head of Research at Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and lead author of the paper stated:

“Sollasina belongs to an extinct group called the ophiocistioids, and this new material provides the first information on the group’s internal structures.  This includes an inner ring-like form that has never been described in the group before.  We interpret this as the first evidence of the soft parts of the water vascular system in ophiocistioids.”

Computer-based Analysis

This new fossil was subjected to a phylogenetic analysis to assess the evolutionary relationships between fossil sea cucumbers and sea urchins (members of the Echinodermata Phylum).  The results showed that Sollasina and its relatives are more closely related to sea cucumbers than they are to sea urchins.  This has provided a new insight into the evolution of this very important group of invertebrates.

A Computer-generated Three-dimensional Image of Sollasina cthulhu

3-D computer generated image of S. cthulhu (tube feet shown in different colours).

Three-dimensional reconstruction of Sollasina cthulhu using the computer programme.  Tube feet shown in different colours.

Picture Credit: Dr Imran Rahman (Oxford University Museum of Natural History)

Dr Jeffrey Thompson (University of Southern California) and a co-author of the paper commented:

“We carried out a number of analyses to work out whether Sollasina was more closely related to sea cucumbers or sea urchins.  To our surprise, the results suggest it was an
ancient sea cucumber.  This helps us understand the changes that occurred during the early evolution of the group, which ultimately gave rise to the slug-like forms we see today.”

The Herefordshire site has provided palaeontologists with some remarkable fossils to study:

An ancient Silurian ostracod: An Ancient Ostracod from Herefordshire

A rare Silurian marine worm: Rare Silurian Fossil Worm from a Herefordshire “Hotspot”

A Prehistoric Scene – Life in the Silurian Seas

Life in the Silurian seas.

A typical Silurian marine biota.  The ecosystem is dominated by arthropods, corals, brachiopods and molluscs.

Picture Credit: The Open University

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “A New Ophiocistioid with Soft-tissue Preservation from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, and the Evolution of the Holothurian Body Plan” by Imran A. Rahman, Jeffrey R. Thompson, Derek E. G. Briggs, David J. Siveter, Derek J. Siveter and Mark D. Sutton published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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14 04, 2019

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Models Imminent

By | April 14th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Models Imminent

The eagerly awaited Rebor Killer Queen Tyrannosaurus rex models are due to arrive at Everything Dinosaur in the next few days.  Both versions of the Rebor T. rex are coming into stock, the brown/black-coloured model (plain) and the predominately green-coloured replica (jungle).  This is the second Rebor T. rex pairing after the successful launch of “Vanilla Ice” in the autumn of 2018.

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Figures (Plain and Jungle) Coming to Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex models.

The Rebor Killer Queen Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur models (jungle and plain colour variants).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Pair of “Killer Queens”

The Rebor Killer Queen models have articulated lower jaws, moveable forelimbs and a flexible tail so the tail can be posed in various positions.  When these figures arrive, Everything Dinosaur team members will be busying themselves by contacting all those who have reserved figures.  It is likely that these very collectable figures will feature in Everything Dinosaur’s next customer newsletter.

Each Tyrannosaurus rex figure measures approximately 40 centimetres in length.  At the hips, the models measure a fraction under 13 centimetres in height.

New for Spring 2019 The Rebor Killer Queen Tyrannosaurus rex (Plain)

Rebor Killer Queen Tyrannosaurus rex model (plain).

The Rebor Killer Queen T. rex dinosaur model (Plain).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Plain or Jungle Colour Variants

Collectors will have the opportunity to pick up two versions of this model.  Tyrannosaurus rex is known from Upper Cretaceous strata from the United States and Canada.  One fossilised footprint from Mexico, suggests that the “King of the Tyrant Lizards” lived in Mexico as well, but no body fossils have confirmed this assertion.  It has been suggested that T. rex was confined to more northern latitudes, even the most southerly portions of Laramidia could not be described as “jungle”, although the palaeoenvironment in the southern portion of Laramidia is regarded as sub-tropical.  T. rex would have been familiar with plains, although analysis of plant fossils indicates that the Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian faunal stage), deposits are representative of a riverine dominated system surrounded by forest.

Rebor Killer Queen Tyrannosaurus rex Model (Jungle Colour Variant)

Rebor Killer Queen T. rex dinosaur model.

T. rex Killer Queen (jungle).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“Congratulations to Rebor for making two more excellent Tyrannosaurus rex models.  The different colour variants provide dinosaur fans and collectors with the opportunity to get two different versions of the same model and we have received lots of emails from customers asking us to reserve figures for them.  As soon as the shipment arrives at our warehouse, we will get the cartons unpacked and checked over as quickly as possible, then it is simply a question of getting the stock on-line and contacting all those people on our priority reserve list.  The Rebor Killer Queen T. rex figures could be stock as early as tomorrow.”

It has recently been confirmed that Everything Dinosaur will be offering both “plain” and “jungle” as a set at a specially discounted price.

Purchase the Pair of Rebor Killer Queen T. rex Models Together (Jungle and Plain)

Buy the Rebor Killer Queen T.rex models as a pair (jungle and plain).

Purchase the Rebor Killer Queen T. rex models as a pair (plain and jungle).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Rebor prehistoric animal models and figures stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures

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13 04, 2019

Dimetrodon Confrontation

By | April 13th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Dimetrodons Battle for Dominance

Today, we feature another of those wonderful prehistoric scenes created by Safari Ltd.  Safari Ltd have produced some superb images illustrating various models within their excellent Wild Safari Prehistoric World range and today, the sail-backed, pelycosaur Dimetrodon steps into the spotlight.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon Diorama

Dimtrodon confrontation.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon diorama.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

In the illustration (above), a pair of Dimetrodons confront each other.  Such intraspecific conflicts may have been relatively common as animals fought for dominance, mates and territory.

Predator of the Permian

Known from North America, Europe and Russia, several species of Dimetrodon have been named.  One of the largest (D. grandis) is estimated to have weighed around two hundred kilograms and measured in excess of three metres in length.  Dimetrodon grandis would have been an apex predator within its ecosystem and it is quite probable that these reptiles (distantly related to modern mammals), would have battled each other to win mates and to gain territory in which to hunt.  In the illustration created by Safari Ltd, we see a pair of Dimetrodons confronting each other against a backdrop of a conifer forest.  It is possible, that these large reptiles may have competed with each other for the best basking sites, an example of intraspecific competition.  After all, if that large sail played a role in thermoregulation, the best places to warm up in the morning would have been at a premium for these large animals.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon Model

Dimetrodon model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon model.  Introduced into the model range in 2018.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Evolving Dimetrodon Models

The latest incarnation of Dimetrodon by Safari Ltd was introduced into their model range in 2018.  It ostensibly replaced an earlier figure that had been part of the Carnegie Collectibles model series.  When the Carnegie relationship ended and this part of the Safari Ltd model portfolio was retired, the company had the opportunity to introduce several new figures in subsequent years.  For example, in 2018 the new Dimetrodon replica was one of fourteen new prehistoric animal figures launched.

The Earlier Carnegie Collection Dimetrodon Figure

Dimetrodon model.

Sail-back reptile with ferocious teeth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon figure is approximately the same size as the earlier Carnegie Dimetrodon (approximately 19 cm long), but there are subtle differences between the two models.  The sails are different shapes, the supporting struts (elongated spines from the vertebrae), are more prominent in the most recently introduced version and the limbs in the 2018 model look more powerful and robust.  These changes reflect the changing interpretation of the fossil material associated with this genus.

To view the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon model and the rest of the figures and replicas in this range stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Safari Ltd/Wild Safari Prehistoric World Figures and Replicas

Our congratulations once again to the design team at Safari Ltd.  Not only has this company produced some excellent prehistoric animal figures, including monsters from the Palaeozoic like Dimetrodon, they have also produced fantastic promotional images of their creations.

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12 04, 2019

A New Species of Therizinosaur from China

By | April 12th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Lingyuanosaurus sihedangensis – A New Species of Therizinosaur is Announced

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the University of Alberta, have announced the discovery of a new Therizinosaur based on fragmentary fossils from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of Liaoning Province (north-eastern China).   This is the third Therizinosaur to have been named from the Jehol Group, joining Jianchangosaurus and Beipiaosaurus.  These dinosaurs are approximately the same size, the researchers have put forward a number of theories to help explain why three similar-sized members of the Therizinosauridae could have potentially co-existed without directly competing.

The dinosaur has been named Lingyuanosaurus sihedangensis (pronounced: ling-you-an-oh-sore-us), the genus name honours the city of Lingyuan, whilst the trivial epithet refers to the town of Sihedang where the fossils were discovered.

Fossil Material Ascribed to Lingyuanosaurus sihedangensis Prior to Complete Preparation

Lingyuanosaurus fossils.

Lingyuanosaurus fossil material.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The picture above shows some of the fossils used to name and describe this new species of dinosaur.  Top left (a), limb bones consisting of a right femur and left tibia, whereas, (b) contains ribs, part of the right humerus and the ischium.  Slab (c) consists of claw bones (manual unguals) and ribs, whilst (d), shows the right ankle bone (astragalus) and the left ilium.  Note the scale bar equals 5 cm.

An Intermediate Position within the Therizinosauria

Described from a single, disarticulated but associated partial skeleton, the exact age of the fossils is disputed.  The fossil-bearing strata at Sihedang have been assigned to the Yixian Formation in some studies but to the younger Jiufotang Formation in others.  A phylogenetic analysis carried out by the authors places Lingyuanosaurus in an intermediate position within Therizinosauria.  It has been placed between the early-branching Therizinosaurs such as Falcarius, Jianchangosaurus, and Beipiaosaurus and the late-branching ones such as Alxasaurus and Therizinosaurus.  Lingyuanosaurus sheds additional light on the evolution of major Therizinosaurian characteristics, including the distinctive pelvic girdle and hindlimb morphology seen in this group.

A Drawing of a Typical Therizinosaur

Drawing of a typical Therizinosaurus.

A drawing of a typical Therizinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Where Did Lingyuanosaurus Fit into the Jehol Biota?

Measuring around two metres in length, this is the third similar-sized Therizinosaur to be assigned to this Early Cretaceous biota of northern China.  The presence of three very similar types of dinosaur in the Jehol Group is unusual.  Unless the region was particularly rich in resources, these dinosaurs could have been in direct competition with each other.  The researchers put forward several possible explanations as to why three similar Therizinosaurs have been identified.

  • Firstly, the beds in which these Therizinosaurs (Jianchangosaurus, Lingyuanosaurus and Beipiaosaurus), have been found are not precisely dated.  The Yixian and the Jiufotang Formations were deposited over a span of at least 8 million years.  It is possibly that these three dinosaurs could have been separated from each other by a considerable period of time, hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Secondly, these three species are known from different parts of Liaoning Province.  Whereas, Jianchangosaurus and Lingyuanosaurus were found at sites just a few miles apart, Beipiaosaurus heralds from more than 200 miles further north.   There is some, albeit limited, evidence to suggest that during the Early Cretaceous the deposition of the Jehol Group occurred in multiple small basins, suggesting that the three Jehol Therizinosaurs might have been separated by geographic barriers even if they were mutually contemporaneous.
  • Thirdly, if these three Therizinosaurs did live at the same time, in the same habitat, they might have occupied different niches in the ecosystem.  The teeth of Jianchangosaurus are different (although the holotype represents a juvenile, so comparison with fully grown animals can be problematic), this suggests that Jianchangosaurus might have fed on different types of vegetation compared to Lingyuanosaurus and Beipiaosaurus.  In addition, the ratio of limb bones in Beipiaosaurus is different to the other two dinosaurs, it might have been relatively slow in comparison with Jianchangosaurus and Lingyuanosaurus and therefore it could have had a more limited range.

Claw Fossils (Manual Unguals) – Lingyuanosaurus sihedangensis

Manual unguals (Lingyuanosaurus).

Claw fossils of Lingyuanosaurus (manual unguals).

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

The scientific paper: “A New Transitional Therizinosaurian Theropod from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China” by Xi Yao, Chun-Chi Liao, Corwin Sullivan and Xing Xu published in Scientific Reports

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11 04, 2019

A New Species of Early Human from the Philippines

By | April 11th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Another Branch on the Hominin Family Tree – Homo luzonensis

Over the last thirty years or so, our understanding of the evolution of the human family tree has moved on considerably.  Ironically, it is not so much the discovery of new fossils that have helped to fill in the significant gaps in our knowledge, although recent discoveries, most notably in South Africa have helped to improve our understanding.  Advances in our understanding of the genome of our own and closely related species such as the Neanderthal can perhaps be cited as having the greatest impact.  However, our family tree is far from understood and a new paper, published in the journal “Nature” this week, only demonstrates how much more we have to learn.  Indeed, the human family tree has another branch, step forward Homo luzonensis from Luzon Island in the Philippines.  This hominin may have been small in stature, but this is big news for anthropologists.

One of the Co-authors of the Scientific Paper (Professor Philip Piper) Holding a Cast of a Toe Bone

A cast of the toe bone of Homo luzonensis.

Professor Piper (Australian National University), holding a cast of a toe bone assigned to H. luzonensis.

Picture Credit: Lannon Harley (Australian National University)

The picture (above) shows Professor Philip Piper (School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University), holding the cast of a hominin third metatarsal (toe bone).  The fossil was found in 2007 in the Callao Cave system (northern Luzon, Philippines) and dated to 67,000 years ago.  Ascribed to the genus Homo, it provided the earliest direct evidence of a human presence in the Philippines archipelago, but to which species did this toe bone belong?

A New Species of Human

Researchers from the National Museum of Natural History (Paris), Bordeaux University and the University of Poitiers, along with colleagues from the Griffith University and the Australian National University were led by Dr Armand Mijares (University of the Philippines).  During the excavations at the Callao Cave site, a total of thirteen fossil specimens were found relating to humans, teeth, foot, finger and hand bones as well as a partial femur.  The scientists have concluded that the material represents at least three individuals.

The finger and toe bones are curved, suggesting that climbing was still an important activity for this human species.

Curved Toe and Finger Bones Indicate that Tree Climbing was Important for Homo luzonensis

The curved pedal (toe bone) of H. luzonensis.

Homo luzonensis fossil digits and toes indicate that tree climbing was very important to this human species.

Picture Credit: Florent Détroit (Natural History Museum, Paris)

Commenting on the importance of these fossils, Professor Piper stated that this discovery represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of human evolution across south-eastern Asia.

A Relatively Small Hominin

Professor Piper explained:

“The size of the teeth generally, though not always, reflect the overall body-size of a mammal.  So, we think Homo luzonensis was probably relatively small.  Exactly how small we don’t know yet.  We would need to find some skeletal elements from which we could measure body-size more precisely.”

The researchers conclude that the hands and feet are reminiscent of the hands and feet of Australopithecines.  The Australopithecines are considered to be the ancestors of the Homo genus, which includes our own species – H. sapiens.

Posing Difficult Questions

The latest branch to the human family tree is posing a number of intriguing questions to palaeoanthropologists.  Did these primitive anatomical features result in this species of hominin due to adapting to an island life, after all Luzon was heavily forested, or are these traits resulting from primitive African hominins migrating to south-east Asia?

Summarising the situation, Professor Piper stated:

“So, the question is whether some of these features evolved as adaptations to island life, or whether they are anatomical traits passed down to Homo luzonensis from their ancestors over the preceding two million years.”

The Callao Cave System Has Been the Focus of a Number of Archaeological Excavations

The Callao Cave complex (Luzon Island).

Excavations at the Callao Cave complex.

Picture Credit: Callao Cave Archaeology Project

The Origins of Homo luzonensis

Recent excavations near the Callao Cave complex have produced evidence of a butchered rhinoceros and many types of stone stool, some of which have been dated to around 700,000 years ago.

Professor Piper said:

“No hominin fossils were recovered, but this does provide a timeframe for a hominin presence on Luzon.  Whether it was H. luzonensis butchering and eating the rhinoceros remains to be seen.”

Fossil Teeth of Homo luzonensis

Homo luzonensis teeth.

The teeth are quite small and helped to support the erection of a new species.

Picture Credit: Florent Détroit (Natural History Museum, Paris)

The Significance of South-East Asia

The identification of a new species of human in the Philippines makes the whole of south-east Asia very significant.  The Philippines is made up of many thousands of islands, it is possible that other islands may have had hominin populations that could be described as a new species, indeed, within the archipelago there could be evidence for several species of hominin.  For example, stone tools dating to around 200,000 years ago have been found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.   This suggests that ancient members of the human family tree may have inhabited many of the larger islands in south-east Asia.

Homo floresiensis and the Denisovans

Scientists are aware that south-eastern Asia was home to another species of human, the enigmatic Denisovans, which are known from just a handful of fossil bones found in the mountains of Siberia, but DNA studies have revealed that the Denisovans interbred with early modern humans in this region.  No fossil remains relating to the Denisovans have been found in south-eastern Asia thus far.

In addition, the Indonesian island of Flores was home to a hominin species (Homo floresiensis).  These diminutive people, nicknamed Hobbits because the scientific paper was published at the height of the interest in the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, are thought to have lived as recently as 50,000 years ago.

An article on Homo floresiensisDid Modern Humans Drive the Hobbit (H. floresiensis) to extinction?

Intriguingly, anthropologists have argued that H. floresiensis exhibits physical features that are reminiscent of those found in Australopithecines.   However, other researchers have argued that the Hobbits were descended from Homo erectus but that some of their anatomy reverted to a more primitive state, perhaps as a result of living on an island with limited resources.

For an article that discusses the significance of south-east Asia in human evolution: Did Humans Evolve Independently in Asia?

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10 04, 2019

New Look for Everything Dinosaur Website

By | April 10th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Maintenance on Website, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Look for Everything Dinosaur Website

Regular visitors to Everything Dinosaur’s main website (Everything Dinosaur), will notice some subtle changes to the theme and the website’s framework.  Customers can still expect our award winning 5-star service, that has not changed, nor have we reduced the range of dinosaur and prehistoric themed products that we stock, however, our use of sliders and animation has been reduced to help maintain fast page load times when our site is viewed on mobiles and other devices.

A Fresh, New Look for Everything Dinosaur’s Website

Dinosaur themed workshops in schools.

Dinosaur workshops in schools, Everything Dinosaur offers dinosaur and fossil workshops in schools.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Constantly Working to Improve our Customer’s On Site Experience

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are constantly working to improve and enhance the experience visitors and customers have when they visit our websites.  Making such improvements are part of a long-term and on-going programme of investment to help this UK-based company stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technical developments.  After all, with our knowledge of the Dinosauria, we don’t want Everything Dinosaur going extinct!

The changes we have made will have no bearing on how the site is viewed.  It will have no impact on the site pages, all the customer benefits are retained, the changes just permit those visitors using mobiles and other devices (not viewing the site from a personal computer), to have slightly quicker load times, for the pages that they wish to view or the landing pages that they are directed to.

The Front Page Will Still Inform Customers About New Products and New Models

Promoting Eofauna Scientific Research figures and models.

New slides helping to promote the Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models and figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Website Functionality

The functionality of the website will not be affected by these changes.  The front page of our website will continue to inform visitors about new arrivals/new products and the Feefo ratings along with the chat live options will continue to be prominently displayed.  The “contact us” email link will still be accessible, but in the near future another, additional “contact us” link will be provided nearer the top of the page, just for customer convenience.

The First of the New Website Slides Promotes the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Articulated Tyrannosaurus rex Models

Promoting Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figures.

New Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex models feature in the first of our new promotional slides.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“These changes are part of an on-going process to reflect changes in technology and the preferences of customers.  We continue to monitor the performance of our various websites on a daily basis and to adjust them so that we can continue to meet the needs of our ever-growing and international customer base.  The first slides we have put up on Everything Dinosaur’s home page support our work with Eofauna Scientific Research and Kaiyodo.  These slides also give us the opportunity to promote our very popular dinosaur and fossil workshops in schools.  We now have greater flexibility in the sort of slides and other visuals that we can use to keep our website refreshed and up to date.”

A Programme of Further Investment

Just like when writing a scientific paper or report, the work done so far is part of a continuing process.  As with science, things move on and the Everything Dinosaur websites are constantly being reviewed and updated to meet the changing needs of the market place.

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9 04, 2019

More Improvements to the Everything Dinosaur Website

By | April 9th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

More Improvements to the Everything Dinosaur Website

Everything Dinosaur team members have set aside much of the time this week to schedule some adjustments and improvements to the company’s website.  Some minor changes are being made to the way in which pictures are being uploaded onto the site, these alterations are part of Everything Dinosaur’s on-going plans for continuous improvement and customers will not notice any difference in the operation of our various platforms.

As part of the changes, some of the visuals have been updated to include images of recently introduced or items that are being introduced in the very near future.

Changing Some of the Visuals on the Everything Dinosaur Website

The new design for the learning category (Everything Dinosaur).

Updating the learning category at Everything Dinosaur.  Changes are being made to some visuals and images to further improve the experience of visitors and customers.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Continuous Improvement – Kaizen

The Everything Dinosaur website is being constantly examined and analysed in order to detect areas where improvements can be made.  Our aim is to build a culture of continuous improvement and these goals and aims are reflected in the way in which we try to maintain and develop our on-line presence.   All team members have a role to play in helping to develop continuous improvement.  Take for example, some of the visuals that we use to promote various categories and sub-categories of products.  These are updated and refreshed in order to reflect the latest additions to our product range.

Updating the Papo Sub-category Image

The new design for the Papo category.

Updating the Papo figures and models category.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Updating Papo Images

As part of our revision of the images we use on the website, the visual associated with the Papo website has been updated to include the recently introduced brown, running Tyrannosaurus rex figure.  The image also depicts the Papo Pentaceratops and the Gorgosaurus, both models are due to in stock later on this year (summer 2019).

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Updating the visuals is important for our customers, it helps them to see how a product range is changing.  We not only take care to include upcoming, new items but also we ensure that out of production items are removed from these visuals.  After all, we don’t want to confuse our visitors.”

Updating Wild Safari Prehistoric World Images to Improve Page Loading

In addition to the Papo category being adjusted, other model categories have been revamped too.  Take for example, the Wild Safari Prehistoric World range of prehistoric animal models and figures.  Virtually all of the new for 2019 models are already in stock at Everything Dinosaur, but plans are well advanced to receive the last of this year’s new models – the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus.  As a result, the visual used to promote this sub-category has also been revised.  The new Allosaurus model has been added to this image.

Updating the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Model Sub-category

The new design for the Safari Ltd category.

Updating the Safari Ltd figures and models category.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Find Everything Dinosaur’s main website: Everything Dinosaur

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