All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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17 08, 2019

A Ferocious Carnotaurus

By | August 17th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Main Page|0 Comments

A Ferocious Carnotaurus

The image below is an illustration of the Late Cretaceous South American abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei), by the renowned Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang.  This is one of our favourite illustrations of the dinosaur known as “meat-eating bull”.

The Illustration of Carnotaurus (C. sastrei)

Carnotaurus illustrated by the renowned artist Zhao Chuang.

An illustration of the fearsome theropod dinosaur Carnotaurus by Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

The artwork (above), was produced as part of a series of commissioned pieces to illustrate the science/art world by Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang for PNSO (Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation).

Carnotaurus sastrei

Known from an almost complete skeleton found in Argentina, this large, carnivorous dinosaur was scientifically described in 1985.  Zhao Chuang has chosen to focus on the remarkable skull of this Late Cretaceous abelisaurid.  The head is short and blunt with two imposing horns positioned over the eye sockets sticking out sideways.  The deep skull contrasts with the slender lower jaw which for such a large dinosaur (estimated at more than seven metres in length), indicates a relatively weak bite.  For many years, Carnotaurus was regarded as a hunter of large prey, however, analysis of the bite force exerted by the jaws indicated a surprisingly weak bite for a carnivore weighing in excess of a tonne.  Research (Mazzeta et al 2009), indicated that this dinosaur could generate a bilateral bite force – measured on both sides of the jaw, of around 3,400 Newtons.  In contrast, the much smaller extant lion (Panthera leo) and the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) are capable of generating bite forces of at least 1.3 times the bite force calculated for Carnotaurus, even though these living carnivores are considerably smaller.

As to what Carnotaurus ate, this is open to speculation, but it could have specialised in catching smaller animals or perhaps it was a specialised scavenger, the narrow jaws proving adept at removing flesh from corpses.  Whatever, Carnotaurus consumed, we still take time out to admire this marvellous illustration by the very talented Zhao Chuang.

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15 08, 2019

What Killed the Cave Bears? Probably Us

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

Who rather than What Killed the Cave Bears?

A team of international researchers writing in the academic journal “Scientific Reports” have concluded that the extinction of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), could probably be put down to the impact of our own species – Homo sapiens.  Anatomically modern humans would have competed with this large, mostly herbivorous bear for caves as our species migrated into Europe.  This competition and our hunting of the bear, along with our impact on the populations of other species of large mammal, put increased pressure on the species leading it into a terminal decline before final extinction some 24,000 years ago.

The Papo Cave Bear (U. spelaeus) Model

The new for 2017 Papo Cave Bear model.

Lateral view of the Papo cave bear model.  Specimens from Europe including France were used in this new cave bear study.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Spectacular Mammalian Fauna – Until about 50,000  – 40,000 Years Ago

Today, Europe has a relatively impoverished big mammal fauna, however, this was not always the case.  As recently as 50,000 years ago, some of the largest terrestrial mammals known roamed the extensive European forests, grasslands and steppes.  By the onset of the Holocene Epoch, the vast majority of terrestrial mammals more than fifty kilograms in weight had disappeared.  The reasons for the demise of the once relatively ubiquitous cave bear has been the subject of numerous scientific studies.  In this latest paper, the researchers used an analysis of mitochondrial DNA taken from cave bear fossils from several European countries.   Specimens from Switzerland, Serbia, Italy, Germany, Spain and France were involved in the study (59 specimens).  The DNA analysis, in combination with a statistical evaluation, was used to plot the decline of the cave bear, which was related to the extant brown bear (Ursus arctos).

A Mounted Skeleton of a Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus)

A mounted cave bear fossil from an auction.

Cave bear up for sale!  This Late Pleistocene megafauna species is represented by one of the largest fossil records in Europe.  The study looked at specimens from fourteen different locations.

Picture Credit: Associated Press

Five Major Mitochondrial DNA Lineages

The researchers discovered five major mitochondrial DNA lineages resulting in a noticeably more complex biogeography of the European lineages during the last 50,000 years than had been previously thought.  In addition, the team propose that there was a drastic decline in the cave bear population commencing around 40,000 years ago, which coincides with the arrival of anatomically modern humans.  This study supports a potential significant human role in the general extinction and local extirpation (localised extinctions) of the European cave bear and illuminates the fate of this megafauna species.

Lead-author of the study, Professor Verena Schuenemann (University of Zurich, Switzerland), stated:

“It is the clearest evidence we have so far that humans might have played a big role in the extinction of the cave bear.”

Biogeologist Hervé Bocherens of the University of Tuebingen (Germany), a co-author of the scientific paper added:

“There is more and more evidence that modern humans have played a determinant role in the decline and extinction of large mammals once they spread around the planet, starting around 50,000 years ago.  This happened not just by hunting these mammals to extinction, but by causing demographic decline of keystone species, such as very large herbivores, that led to ecosystems’ collapse and a cascade of further extinctions.”

The scientific paper: “Large-scale mitogenomic analysis of the phylogeography of the Late Pleistocene cave bear” by Jocsha Gretzinger, Martyna Molak, Ella Reiter et al published in Scientific Reports.

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14 08, 2019

The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur”

By | August 14th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” – What is it?  When and Where Did it Live?  What it May Have Eaten and Lived Alongside

A few weeks ago, we set young palaeontologist Thomas a challenge, could he research and write an article for posting up onto the Everything Dinosaur blog.  Thomas has taken up our offer and here is the first of his articles, it provides information on a prehistoric animal close to Thomas’s  heart the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur”.

The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur”, a specimen announced earlier this year, was a large plesiosauroid belonging to the family Pliosauridae and is related to the better known pliosaurs such as Pliosaurus and Liopleurodon in fact, it may have lived alongside and directly competed with these two better-known pliosaurs at some point.  It has been estimated at 8 metres long.

The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” on Display at North Lincolnshire Museum

Rose Nicholson, Richard Forrest and Darren Withers with the Scunthorpe Pliosaur.

Rose Nicholson from North Lincolnshire Museum, palaeontologist Richard Forrest and Darren Withers from Stamford and District Geological Society with the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur”.

Picture Credit: North Lincolnshire Museum

When and Where Did it Live and Where was it Found?

The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” lived around 160 to 155 million years ago in what is now north Lincolnshire (England).  These fossils date from the Late Jurassic and the United Kingdom 160 million years ago was a very mysterious place.  Whilst marine fauna is decently represented in the fossil record, there is still much science does not know about the seas from this time and this new specimen may help open up a new window into that mysterious world.  The terrestrial fauna on the other hand, is poorly represented and full of mystery with one of the only described theropods being the British Metriacanthosaurus from Dorset (a close relative of Sinraptor from China).  The pliosaur specimen was recovered from a CEMEX quarry.

Partially Excavated Fossils at the Excavation Site

Ribs and a vertebra fossil in situ.

Ribs and a vertebra in situ.

Picture Credit: Yorkshire Geological Society

What Did it Live With and What Might it Have Eaten?

Inhabiting the seas alongside the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” were other pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, turtles, fish, ichthyosaurs, squid, ammonites, marine crocodiles, sharks and more.  Some of these animals include the pliosaurs Liopleurodon, Simolestes and Pliosaurus which would have competed with it and the plesiosaurs Cryptocleidus and Colymbosaurus which could have been prey of the pliosaur especially the latter plesiosaur’s young.

Palaeontologist Richard Forrest Holding a Fossil Tooth

The pliosaur tooth examined by Richard Forrest.

Richard Forrest holding a pliosaur tooth.

Picture Credit: North Lincolnshire Museum

Looking at the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur’s” dentition, the known teeth of this pliosaur are reminiscent of teeth associated with Pliosaurus (Pliosaurus brachydeirus),  a species which has been found in Lincolnshire.  From this comparison, it can be concluded that the Scunthorpe individual possibly preyed upon other marine reptiles and other large marine fauna.  Stomach content of related pliosaurs and bite marks left by them on their prey show that pliosaurs like the Scunthorpe specimen would have been hunting a wide range of hard bodied marine prey from large ammonites to plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, however, they wouldn’t have shied away from preying on softer bodied animals.

Like most pliosaurs, the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” probably had a very powerful sense of smell, good eyesight, acute hearing and a powerful bite, all necessary adaptations for a hunting pliosaur to have in order to hunt effectively.

Holding a Fossilised Pliosaur Tooth

Holding a pliosaur tooth.

Holding a fossil tooth.

Picture Credit David Haber

The ecology at the time would have consisted of kelp forests, reefs, coastal shallows and a steep pelagic drop-off that plummets into a benthic zone.  Pliosaurs such as Liopleurodon, Pliosaurus and the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur” probably used these drop-off points as ambush spots to strike unsuspecting prey from below.

When attacking prey, Pliosaurs would have come up from below like white sharks and either rammed or bitten prey in one massive disabling blow to the prey item to prevent it’s escape.   In conclusion, the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur “was a large pliosaur which could have occupied the apex predator niche in its warm, shallow coastal ecosystem hunting all manners of prey from fish and squid to marine reptiles using sight, hearing and smell to track down its prey and applying similar hunting strategies to modern Great Whites to secure and catch that prey.  This discovery is an important one as it opens up a window into a little known area of the Late Jurassic British seas and helps palaeontologists piece together that ancient ecosystem over 155 million years ago.

Holding the Ancient History of North Lincolnshire

Pliosaur fossils.

History in your hands, part of the fossilised skeleton.

Picture Credit: The Stamford and District Geological Society Facebook page

Our thanks to Thomas for compiling this article on the “Scunthorpe Pliosaur”.

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13 08, 2019

Monster Penguin from the Palaeocene of New Zealand

By | August 13th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Crossvallia waiparensis – Monster Penguin from New Zealand

Sixty-six million years ago, the non-avian dinosaurs became extinct.  The end-Cretaceous mass extinction event also resulted in the extinction of the majority of the marine reptiles, the mosasaurs and the plesiosaurs.  Nature abhors a vacuum and in some parts of the world, the apex piscivore niche became occupied by man-sized penguins.  This idea of prehistoric penguin super-predators has been boosted with the naming and scientific description of a “monster penguin” from Palaeocene-aged deposits on New Zealand’s South Island.  Weighing in at an estimated eighty kilograms, and standing around 1.6 metres tall, Crossvallia waiparensis is one of the largest penguins known to science.

The Newly Described Crossvallia waiparensis Compared to an Average-height Woman

Crossvallia waiparensis compared to a human.

Crossvallia waiparensis compared to an average-height woman.

Picture Credit: Canterbury Museum

One of the World’s Oldest Species of Penguin

Writing in the scientific journal “Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology”, researchers Dr Paul Scofield and Dr Vanesa De Pietri (Canterbury Museum), in collaboration with their colleague Dr Gerald Mayr (Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany), describe C. waiparensis based on leg bones representing an individual animal and tentatively referred partial humeri (upper arm bones).  The fossils were found by amateur palaeontologist Leigh Love last year, during field work at the Waipara Greensand fossil site located north of Canterbury.

The sediments were laid down in the Palaeocene Epoch (66 to 56 million years ago), making C. waiparensis is one of the world’s oldest known penguin species.  The discovery also reinforces the idea that penguins (Sphenisciformes), attained large size early in their evolutionary history.  The biggest extant penguin is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), which can weigh more than twenty kilograms and stands around 1.2 metres high.

Overview of the Leg Bones of C. waiparensis

Fossils of Crossvallia waiparensis.

Fossils of Crossvallia waiparensis a giant penguin from the Palaeocene of New Zealand.

Picture Credit: Mayr et al

The photograph (above), shows an overview of the leg bones of Crossvallia waiparensis (A-L), along with views of the tentatively referred proximal end of a left humerus (M-O), scale bar = 5 centimetres.

The team have concluded that the closest known relative of C. waiparensis is a fellow Palaeocene species Crossvallia unienwillia, which was identified from a fossilised partial skeleton found in the Cross Valley in Antarctica.  This newly described “monster penguin” is not the first giant penguin to have been discovered.  For example, the Eocene taxa Anthropornis and Palaeeudyptes were comparable in size, if not bigger and this suggests that giant penguins evolved several times in the evolutionary history of the penguin family.

To read a related article from Everything Dinosaur: Gigantism in Penguins

The scientific paper: “Leg bones of a new penguin species from the Waipara Greensand add to the diversity of very large-sized Sphenisciformes in the Paleocene of New Zealand” by Gerald Mayr, Vanesa L. De Pietri, Leigh Love, Al Mannering and R. Paul Scofield published in Alcheringa; An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.

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12 08, 2019

The Next Eofauna Model Will Be… Atlasaurus

By | August 12th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|3 Comments

Atlasaurus – The Fourth Prehistoric Animal Figure from Eofauna Scientific Research

Today, Everything Dinosaur can announce that the fourth figure in the Eofauna Scientific Research range will be… Atlasaurus (A. imelakei), a peculiar sauropod from the Middle Jurassic of North Africa, whose taxonomic affinity within the Sauropoda remains uncertain.  Known from a single specimen, representing an individual animal, this is one very untypical member of the long-necked dinosaurs.  The model is one of two new for 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research figures, both will be available around October, possibly early November.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.

Atlasaurus (Eofauna Scientific Research).

Picture Credit: Eofauna Scientific Research/Everything Dinosaur

A Peculiar Sauropod Trying to Fit In

Named and described in 1999 (Monbaron, Russell and Taquet),  a significant proportion of the skeleton of Atlasaurus (A. imelakei) is known to science.  The type specimen, housed in the Musée des sciences de la Terre de Rabat (Morocco), is just missing a few pieces of bone and about half the caudal vertebrae (tail bones).  This is one very peculiar Sauropod, for instance, despite having been named and described quite recently, the type specimen lacks a specific, unique specimen number.  When first studied, it was thought that this dinosaur was similar to Brachiosaurus which was believed to have roamed both Africa and North America.   Subsequently, following a review of brachiosaurid fossils, the African material has largely been attributed to the genus Giraffatitan.   It has been suggested that Atlasaurus may not be closely related to Brachiosaurus at all, it could be a more basal sauropod and a member of the Turiasauria, long-necked dinosaurs that were geographically widespread during the Middle Jurassic.

Unlike Most of the Sauropoda, the Skull of Atlasaurus is Known

Close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.

A close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.  Is it us, or is this dinosaur model smiling?

Picture Credit: Eofauna Scientific Research/Everything Dinosaur

Bizarre Body Proportions

At first glance, the Eofauna Scientific Research figure might look a little strange.  This has nothing to do with the model, it’s just that Atlasaurus was a very strange-looking dinosaur.  The limbs of this dinosaur were proportionately longer than those of any other sauropod.  It had taken a different evolutionary route when compared to its relatives.  The limbs had become elongated and lengthened, whilst in contrast, the neck remained relatively short.  Relative to the length of its dorsal vertebral column Atlasaurus had a much shorter neck, a longer tail and long legs.  In addition, it had a bigger head.  It roamed North Africa around 168-164 million years ago and it has been suggested that its bizarre body proportions evolved so that it could exploit a particular niche in the ecosystem.  It lived in a seasonal, forested environment close to the coast and it is thought that this sauropod was a medium to high-level browser of the forest canopy.

Everything Dinosaur has already opened a reserve list for this eagerly awaited, 1:40 scale figure.  The model itself, measures around 30 cm in length and has a head height of approximately 22.5 cm.

A Reserve List for the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus is Now Open

Email Everything Dinosaur to join our priority reserve list for Atlasaurus.

Email Everything Dinosaur to join our reserve list for Atlasaurus.

Picture Credit: Eofauna Scientific Research/Everything Dinosaur

To join our reserve list for the Eofauna Atlasaurus model: Email Everything Dinosaur to Join the Atlasaurus Reserve List

To view the rest of the Eofauna Scientific Research models available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Prehistoric Animal Models

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11 08, 2019

PNSO Megalodon (2019) Video Review

By | August 11th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Video Review of the PNSO Megalodon Model (Patton)

Our thanks to the talented “Matthew the Dinosaur King” for posting up a video review of the recently introduced PNSO Megalodon model with an articulated lower jaw.  In this short video review, the narrator discusses the taxonomy of this famous prehistoric shark and then examines the model in detail.

The Video Review of the PNSO Megalodon Shark Model

Video Credit: Matthew the Dinosaur King

Ancestor of the Great White Shark?

In this very informative video, Matthew comments on the problems involved with classifying this prehistoric fish when palaeontologists have only got the teeth and a few calcified vertebrae to study.  He points out that most scientists consider this shark to be a member of the Odontidae family (pronounced Oh-don-tid-day).  It had been thought that this prehistoric shark was closely related to and the direct ancestor of the Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias).    It is likely that Megalodon filled a similar position in the marine ecosystem as the extant Great White, that of an apex predator, hunting and consuming a wide variety of prey including marine mammals.  Any resemblance between Carcharodon carcharias and Megalodon (now, commonly described as Carcharocles megalodon), could be attributed to convergent evolution.  In 2012, Everything Dinosaur produced a short article about a fossil discovery that indicated that Great White sharks could be descended from ancient Mackerel sharks: Getting Our Teeth into the Origins of the Great White Shark.

The Video Review Also Shows the PNSO Megalodon Packaging

The packaging of the PNSO Megalodon model "Patton".

The beautifully designed box of the PNSO Megalodon model “Patton”.  This aspect of the new PNSO “Patton” model is commented upon in detail in the video review.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

What’s in the Box?

The reviewer takes time to examine the packaging of this model.  The box is examined in detail and the clear plastic support base that helps to protect the model in transit is shown.  The plastic base can be used to help display this figure, although it does balance quite well on its pectoral and small pelvic fins.

In the video, the articulated jaw of this figure is highlighted.  Other models of Megalodon have been produced before, for example, the narrator comments on the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Megalodon model (introduced in 2014), but “Patton” as PNSO has named this shark figure, has an articulated lower jaw.

A Close View of the Articulated Lower Jaw of the PNSO “Patton” the Megalodon Shark Figure

Mind your fingers! A view of the PNSO "Patton" Megalodon model.

A close up view of the PNSO “Patton” Megalodon model.  Mind your fingers!

Video image credit: Matthew the Dinosaur King

This new for 2019 PNSO figure has certainly proved popular with collectors.  This is the second Carcharocles megalodon model to have been produced by PNSO, both figures are available (whilst stocks last from Everything Dinosaur).  Our thanks to model collector Luke who sent into us a photograph of his recently purchased pair of “Pattons”.  Both the figure with the articulated jaw and the larger model with a stand, are called “Patton”.

The Two PNSO Megalodon Models on Display

Thank you Luke for sending in pics of his two PNSO Megalodon shark models.

Thanks to Luke for sending in pics of his two PNSO Megalodon shark models.

Picture Credit: Luke

We thank Luke for his photograph and for “Matthew the Dinosaur King” for providing such an excellent video review.

Everything Dinosaur recommends that readers subscribe to the YouTube channel of “Matthew the Dinosaur King”: “Matthew the Dinosaur King” on YouTube.

To see all the PNSO prehistoric animal models currently in stock at Everything Dinosaur, including the two PNSO Megalodon figures: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

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10 08, 2019

A Very Mammal-like Cynodont from Argentina

By | August 10th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Pseudotherium argentinus – A Very Mammal-like Cynodont from the Triassic of Argentina

Scientists have described a new species of cynodont, from a single, well-preserved skull found in north-western Argentina.  The animal has been named Pseudotherium argentinus and although this animal was not a mammal, the skull shows some very mammal-like characteristics.  For example, the cochlea is elongated but uncoiled and this feature is reminiscent of basal mammaliamorphs, the lineage that was to lead to true mammals and of course, ultimately, our own species.

CT Scan (Right Lateral View of the Skull of Pseudotherium argentinus

Pseudotherium Skull.

Computer generated model of the skull of Pseudotherium.  The skull in right lateral view with the cross-sectional profile indicated by the dotted line shown in white.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Helping to Unravel Mammal Evolution

Classified as a member of the Probainognathia, one of two clades within the Infraorder Eucynodontia, which includes modern mammals, the skull shows an enlarged braincase, large eye-sockets and other anatomical traits that indicate that this animal might have been developing the heightened senses associated with more advanced therapsids.  The fossil was found in 2006 during a field trip to the Ischigualasto Formation carried out by the Instituto y Museo de Ciencias Naturales of the Universidad Nacional de San Juan.  The strata in this region is believed to be between 231 and 226 million years old approximately.  The researchers conclude that Pseudotherium, the name means “false wild beast [mammal]” in reference to its mammal-like skull, may lie just inside or very close to the Mammaliamorpha, indicating that it might be a transitional form between the Probainognathia and basal mammals.

Many of the mammal-like cynodont specimens known, have badly crushed and deformed skulls.  Their state of preservation prevents palaeontologists from identifying key anatomical changes leading to more advanced therapsids.  The research team hope to recover more specimens from the Ischigualasto Formation which will shed further light on the evolution of our early mammal ancestors.

The scientific paper: “First record of a basal mammaliamorph from the early Late Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina” by Rachel V. S. Wallace, Ricardo Martínez and Timothy Rowe published in PLOS One.

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9 08, 2019

New Prehistoric Animal Model from Eofauna Scientific Research

By | August 9th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Prehistoric Animal Model from Eofauna Scientific Research

Our chums at Eofauna Scientific Research will be bringing out two new prehistoric animal models this autumn.  Eofauna Scientific Research has produced a trio of stunning prehistoric animal figures and by the end of the year, a further two beautiful replicas will join their range, both of which will be available from Everything Dinosaur.

Which prehistoric animals will be depicted?  We know, but we are not going to reveal what they are just yet, model collectors will have to wait a little while to find out.  However, just for a bit of fun, in association with Eofauna Scientific Research we have put together a little teaser – can you guess which prehistoric animal it is?

Which Prehistoric Animal Figure Will Eofauna Produce Next?

Which prehistoric animal figure will they produce next?

Eofauna Scientific Research which prehistoric animal figure will they produce next?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Eofauna Scientific Research

Prehistoric Animal Guessing Game

Something like 1,200 dinosaur genera have been described to date.  Scientists have named around 120 different types of pterosaur and hundreds of genera of prehistoric mammal have been erected.  Then of course you have all the amazing and bizarre Palaeozoic creatures to consider.  The Trilobita alone has approximately 20,000 different species arranged in ten orders (sometimes 9 depending on the taxonomy, which is still debated).

Our apologies if you don’t like prehistoric animal guessing games, feel free to attribute blame to Everything Dinosaur, we suggested to Eofauna that providing a “teaser” about new models would be a good way to develop a sense of anticipation and help raise awareness about their range of replicas.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Model Range at the Beginning of 2019

The Eofauna model range (2018).

Eofauna model range at the beginning of 2019.  Far left the straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus), in the middle a Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) and far right, the theropod dinosaur Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commissioning a Scientific Drawing

As well as making preparations for the arrival of a new prehistoric animal model, team members at Everything Dinosaur will be commissioning a scientific drawing to be used in association with this new Eofauna Scientific Research figure.

Previous Scientific Drawing That Have Been Commissioned – Eofauna Scientific Research Models

Three Eofauna replicas illustrated.

Illustrations based on the three Eofauna replicas (left to right), Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Mammuthus trogontherii and Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The first of the new for 2019 Eofauna models should be with us in late October, the second figure should follow about 14 days later.  Naturally, the figures could arrive sooner, they could arrive later, but model collectors can be assured these two new models are worth the wait and we look forward to revealing the first of these new 2019 figures in about a week.

To view the current range of Eofauna Scientific Research models available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Models

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8 08, 2019

The Very Peculiar Parrots of Ancient New Zealand

By | August 8th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Heracles inexpectatus – A Prehistoric Parrot

We had known about this for a little while, but we wanted to keep our beaks firmly shut until the scientific paper had been published, the biggest parrot known to science has been announced.  The metre tall, most probably flightless psittaciform roamed the South Island of New Zealand around 19 million years ago.  Named Heracles inexpectatus it was part of a bizarre Miocene-aged biota that existed in New Zealand, the remains of which have been excavated from a riverbank on the Manuherikia River, Home Hills Station, Otago (Bannockburn Formation).  The fossil deposits are close to the small town of St Bathans, this area is renowned for its remarkable fossil deposits that record life in a sub-tropical forest environment which surrounded a huge, lake, which at its largest  extent covered an area equivalent to nearly four times the size of the city of London.

A Life Reconstruction of Heracles inexpectatus

A life reconstruction of Heracles inexpectatus the newly described giant prehistoric parrot from New Zealand.

A life reconstruction of the newly described giant prehistoric parrot from New Zealand.  If you look carefully at this image you can see three small birds as well as the giant parrot.  These represent the extinct genus Kuiornis, which at around 8 cm high was dwarfed by H. inexpectatus.

Picture Credit: Dr Brian Choo (Flinders University)

A Flightless Forager

Writing in “Biology Letters”, the researchers which include Associate Professor Trevor Worthy (Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia), suggest that this parrot weighed around seven kilogrammes, and if it did, this makes it twice as heavy as the largest living parrot, the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), which also comes from New Zealand.  H. inexpectatus has been described based on partial lower leg bones (the shafts of the left and right tibiotarsi), which were collected in January 2008.  These two bones probably came from the same individual and since no other fossils related to a giant parrot have been found in the St Bathans area before, the discovery was quite unexpected, hence the trivial name of this new parrot species.

Comparing the Fossil Bone to the Leg Bones of an Extant Kakapo (Largest Living Parrot)

Comparing the fossil leg bone of the giant extinct parrot Heracles to the leg bones of the largest living parrot - the Kakapo.

Heracles leg bone (top) compared to the lower leg bones of a Kakapo parrot (bottom).

Picture Credit: Flinders Palaeontology Laboratory

Commenting on this quite surprising discovery, Associate Professor Worthy stated:

“New Zealand is well known for its giant birds.  Not only moa dominated avifaunas, but giant geese and adzebills shared the forest floor, while a giant eagle ruled the skies.  But until now, no-one has ever found an extinct giant parrot – anywhere.”

Carnivore or Omnivore?

It is the leg bones that give an indication of the bird’s size.  What it ate can be speculated upon, for example, in the absence of large mammalian predators Heracles could have been an apex predator, perhaps a hypercarnivore.  The rarity of the fossils, could indicate it was relatively uncommon and therefore likely to be near the top of an ancient food chain.

Associate Professor Worthy added:

“We have been excavating these fossil deposits for 20 years, and each year reveals new birds and other animals.  It [Heracles] was likely a flightless forager who ate abundantly on fruit and seeds but may have preyed on small animals that it could dig out of logs, or even snack on dead or dying moa.”

Co-author Professor Mike Archer (University of New South Wales), suggests that the feeding habits of such a large parrot could have been quite gruesome.

He explained:

“Heracles, as the largest parrot ever, no doubt with a massive parrot beak that could crack wide open anything it fancied, may well have dined on more than conventional parrot foods, perhaps even other parrots.”

More Amazing Fossil Finds from Otago Likely

Whilst the discovery of a giant prehistoric parrot is quite remarkable, the researchers are confident that the Miocene-aged sedimentary strata in this area (Manuherikia Group), will yield even more amazing fossils in the future.  In these rocks, palaeontologists have discovered the fossilised remains of around forty different types of bird, as well as bats, frogs and a crocodilian.

These fossil deposits have provided palaeontologists with an insight into the rich avian fauna of prehistoric New Zealand.  In 2018, Everything Dinosaur wrote about the discovery of fragmentary bones that suggested a type of prehistoric pigeon inhabited New Zealand during the Early Miocene: A New New Zealand Pigeon from the Early Miocene.

What’s in a Name?

A number of media outlets reporting this discovery have stated that the genus name Heracles honours the Greek hero (Hercules), renowned for his great strength.  That is true, but the inspiration behind the genus name is a little more subtle than that.  Some of the authors of this scientific paper about Heracles, were also involved in the discovery and naming of another much smaller parrot species from the Bannockburn Formation.  Nelepsittacus was named and described in 2011, its genus name was inspired by Neleus, who in Greek myth was the son of Poseidon and Tyro.  Neleus refused to release Hercules from a debt and was murdered by Hercules, so it seemed logical to give the much larger psittaciform from the St Bathans Fauna a name honouring Hercules.

The scientific paper: “Evidence for a giant parrot from the early Miocene of New Zealand” (2019) by Trevor H Worthy, Suzanne J Hand, Michael Archer, R Paul Scofield and Vanesa L De Pietri published in Biology Letters.

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7 08, 2019

Everything Dinosaur Video – Papo Pentaceratops and Papo Gorgosaurus

By | August 7th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Papo Pentaceratops and Papo Gorgosaurus Video

Over the last few months, team members at Everything Dinosaur have been working on an exciting new project.  We have been converting part of our warehouse area into a bespoke film studio so that we can take more photographs and produce more videos of prehistoric animal models that we sell.  Everything Dinosaur used to make quite a few videos for posting up onto the company’s YouTube channel, but our ability to shoot these videos was lost when the boardroom that we used was no longer available.  So, we have invested in a new film studio and although it is far from complete, we still have to sort out the sound quality and to bring in the studio lighting and such like, we have shot our first video.

With the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Papo Gorgosaurus and Papo Pentaceratops figures we took the opportunity to shoot, a short (rather unsteady) video of these two amazing models.

Introducing the Papo Gorgosaurus and the Papo Pentaceratops Dinosaur Models

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase these Papo dinosaur models and to see the rest of the Papo prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

Papo Gorgosaurus

The dinosaur known as “fierce or dreadful lizard”, arrived in stock a few days ago, we expect to sell out of this first batch of models very shortly, but not to worry more Papo Gorgosaurus models are on their way.  This dinosaur model is proving to be very popular with collectors, we have received lots of emails enquiring about this tyrannosaurid, almost as soon as we posted up some pictures of this model around six months ago.

The New for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Pentaceratops

One of a number of horned dinosaur figures produced by Papo over the years, the Pentaceratops has a very unusual pose.  It is depicted rearing up onto its hind legs as if confronted by a meat-eating dinosaur.  Although roughly contemporaneous with Gorgosaurus (G. libratus) – Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous, these dinosaurs lived on different parts of the North American landmass known as Laramidia.  Fossils of Pentaceratops are known from the south-central United States (Colorado and New Mexico), whilst Gorgosaurus is known from the Canadian province of Alberta, although there is some evidence to support the idea that this theropod genus roamed Montana.  Even if this is the case, there would have been hundreds of miles between any population of Gorgosaurus and a herd of Pentaceratops dinosaurs.  There is no evidence in the fossil record that these two dinosaurs ever met, there is, (as far as Everything Dinosaur is aware), no evidence of interspecific combat between these two species – however, this does not stop us from posting up a video, or indeed taking some photographs of the models together.

The Papo Gorgosaurus Confronts the Rearing Papo Pentaceratops

The new for 2019 Papo Pentaceratops and the Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur models.

The new for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus and the Papo Pentaceratops dinosaur models.  The Papo Gorgosaurus (left) confronts the rearing Papo Pentaceratops (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Team members are looking forward to posting up more videos and taking more photographs in our bespoke studio, we even promise to do something about our video camera shake!

Please feel free to take a look at our YouTube channel we shall be posting up more videos very soon.

Here is a link to the YouTube channel of Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

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