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21 10, 2018

Flea Bites and Dermal Infections in Glyptodonts

By | October 21st, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|2 Comments

Fleas on Glyptodonts

A new study examining one of the more bizarre types of megafauna from prehistoric South America has revealed that glyptodonts and their relatives suffered from fleas and dermal infections.  It seems that the hard, bony armour of some of these car-sized giants was no defence against flea bites.  Brazilian-based scientists writing in the open access, on-line journal “PLOS One”, have studied hundreds of pieces of glyptodont armour and discovered evidence of infections caused by fleas.

Such armour might have deterred a sabre-toothed cat from attacking, but the osteoderms and armoured tails were no defence against parasites.

A Skeleton of the Giant Glyptodont Panochthus spp.

Fossil glyptodont Panochthus.

A glyptodont fossil (Panochthus frenzelianus).  Researchers studied the tiles of bone (osteoderms) that formed the protective bony exoskeletons of extinct types of armadillo and determined that these armoured giants suffered from parasites and skin infections.

Picture Credit: R. Somma/Wikimedia Commons

Extinct Members of the Order Cingulata Studied

The scientists from Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-Árido, Mossoró (Brazil), studied the osteoderms that make up the exoskeleton of two extinct genera of glyptodonts Panochthus (pictured above) and Glyptotherium.  In addition, the research team examined the fossilised armour of another extinct armadillo-like creature Pachyarmatherium.  All these mammals belong to the Order Cingulata (armadillos and their relatives).  Damaged osteoderms were noted in all three genera and attributed to attacks by fleas and infections.  The scientists were able to identify the flea bites as coming from one particular genus  – Tunga.  The Tunga flea, sometimes referred to as the “jigger flea”, is native to South and Central America and is known to parasitise a number of large mammals including humans.  The bites cause well-defined circular lesions and perforations.  Such patterning was identified in a number of fossilised pieces of dermal armour.

Flea bites permitted secondary damage to be caused by the invasion of pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

The External Surface of Osteoderms from the Glyptodont Glyptotherium Showing Pitting and Damage

Cingulata osteoderm parasite infection.

Osteoderms of the Brazilian glyptodont Glyptotherium showing damage from flea bites.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

The picture (above) shows severe pitting (black arrows) in (A) and three other osteoderms attributed to Glyptotherium which show stages of damage from (B), slight, through to (D) advanced pitting and the response to the damage by the deposition of more bone (calcium deposition).  The scale bar in A = 3 cm, whereas, the scale bar in B-D is 4 cm.

A Life Reconstruction of the Brazilian Glyptodont Glyptotherium

Glyptotherium life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the giant South American glyptodont Glyptotherium.

Picture Credit: Larjard/Wikimedia Commons

The bone alteration and re-growth identified in this study represent the first record of flea attack and pitting in two genera of large glyptodonts Panochthus and Glyptotherium and in a non-glyptodontid, large cingulate (Pachyarmatherium), from the Quaternary of the Brazilian Intertropical Region.  These newly identified flea bite occurrences and subsequent infections widen the geographic distribution of those diseases during the Cenozoic and provide more evidence for the co-evolution of parasites such as the Tunga flea and South American megafauna.

The scientific paper: “Ectoparasitism and Infections in the Exoskeleton of Large Fossil Cingulates” by Fábio Cunha Guimarães de Lima, Kleberson de Oliveira Porpino published in PLOS One

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20 10, 2018

Deinonychus Artwork

By | October 20th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Deinonychus Artwork

The bird-like qualities of the large dromaeosaurid Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus) have been captured in this superb dinosaur-themed artwork by the Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang.  This is one of our favourite illustrations of this enigmatic, fast-running Theropod, finally named and described in 1969.

An Illustration of the Large North American Dromaeosaurid Deinonychus antirrhopus

An illustration of a flock of Deinonychus.

“They are flocking this way!” A flock of dromaeosaurid dinosaurs (Deinonychus) on the move.  Artwork by Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

A Modern Interpretation with a Retrospective Look

This beautifully-crafted image was created quite recently (2016, we think), but the choice of colours and the muted tones of the backdrop give this image quite a retrospective look.  It is reminiscent of the prehistoric animal illustrations that featured in the Brooke Bond Picture Cards series “Prehistoric Animals”, that was first published in the early 1970’s, ironically, just a few years after Deinonychus (which features in the card set), was named and described).

The artist has taken great care to depict this three-metre-long predator as an active, agile animal just as the palaeontologist John Ostrom envisioned it in his ground-breaking work that led to a complete re-think about the Dinosauria.  This revolution in thinking about the dinosaurs and their close relatives was termed the “dinosaur renaissance”.  The idea that these were slow-moving, clumsy, stupid animals was swept away and there was a definitive move towards portraying dinosaurs as animals that were as well adapted to their environments as modern mammals.

Zhao Chuang shows Deinonychus as a social animal, moving in a flock and at speed too.  The killing second-toe claw is raised off the ground as this dinosaur moves and it possesses a shaggy integumentary covering of simple feathers on its body as well as pennaceous feathers on its arms.  The yellow eye with its slit pupil gives this dinosaur a particularly frightening look.  A flock of Deinonychus heading your way would have been a terrifying sight.

It is a pleasure for Everything Dinosaur to  highlight the artwork of Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang.  Today, we feature one of our favourite illustrations of Deinonychus.

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19 10, 2018

Feeding Traces on the Frill of a Young Centrosaurus

By | October 19th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Bite Marks Found on the Frill of a Young Centrosaurus

The movies and television documentaries featuring dinosaurs are stuffed full of them, but the fossil record tells a different story.  What are we referring to?  Dinosaurs hunting, attacking and fighting other dinosaurs.  Rarely has a programme or film been produced about the Dinosauria that does not feature some gory scenes of a bloody battle or a fearsome Theropod feasting on some poor, unfortunate plant-eating victim.  However, although such interactions obviously took place, the fossil record demonstrating such behaviour is extremely sparse.  A new paper, published in the open access journal “PeerJ”, reports on the discovery of bite marks preserved on the frill of a young Centrosaurus.

This raises two intriguing questions:

  • Which meat-eating dinosaur made the bite marks?
  • Is this evidence of predation or scavenging a carcass?

Dinosaurs Fighting – A Tyrannosaur Attacks a Horned Dinosaur (Styracosaurus)

Daspletosaurus fighting a horned dinosaur.

Tyrannosaur fighting a horned dinosaur.

Picture Credit: John Gurche

Bite Marks – Tell-Tale Signs of Predator/Prey Interaction

Bite marks on fossil bones can provide valuable information about interactions between carnivorous dinosaurs and the animals that they attacked.  It is not always possible to distinguish whether the trace fossils represent wounds inflicted on an animal during a fight, or whether these marks represent post-mortem feeding, such as consumption of the victim.  If there are signs of healing and bone growth, palaeontologists can be confident that the bite marks in that instance represent a lucky escape for the intended victim.  The key thing to note, is that the more data about bite marks that can be collected, the better the dataset that palaeontologists have to compare potential bite mark injuries against.

Part of the Skull of a Juvenile Centrosaurus With Tooth-marks

Ironically, quite a large proportion of the tooth-mark fossils associated with dinosaurs come from those deposits that are associated with the remains of large-bodied tyrannosaurids.  In this newly published paper, the scientists from Queen Mary University London and the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Alberta, Canada), report on the discovery of a portion of the skull from a juvenile horned dinosaur.  The bone, a fragment of the squamosal, which makes up part of the frill, was found on the surface of a dinosaur bonebed in the Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation.  The fossil is approximately 76.3 to 75.6 million years old and has been assigned to the horned dinosaur species Centrosaurus apertus.

Views of the Fragment of the Squamosal Bone (Centrosaurus apertus) and Line Drawings

Identifying potential bite marks in a bone from a juvenile Centosaurus.

The two sides of the partial squamosal bone from a juvenile Centrosaurus showing signs of damage/wear/bite marks. Actual fossil (A and B), interpretive line drawings (A1 and B1).

Picture Credit: PeerJ with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Key

BM = Probable bite marks

? = Possible bite marks

Analysis of the fossil found numerous marks and gouges on both sides of the fossil bone.  Some of these marks could have resulted from damage due to transportation prior to burial.  Other marks could reflect effects caused by chemical erosion or the presence of vascular grooves.  However, the scientists were able to propose that at least some of the marks were due to teeth coming into contact with the bone.

The Position of the Partial Squamosal on the Skull of a Juvenile Centrosaurus and an Adult Skull Shown for Comparison

Juvenile (A) and adult (B) Centrosaurus skulls.

A comparison of Centrosaurus skulls (C. apertus) Juvenile (A) and adult (B).  The squamosal bone that makes up part of the frill is shaded grey, whilst the portion of bone in the study is shaded dark grey.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Although it is difficult to assess the size of the horned dinosaur based on such a small fragment of bone, the scientists suggest that based on comparisons with squamosal bones from adults, the juvenile Centrosaurus was perhaps about a third the size of a fully grown Centrosaurus.

Which Dinosaur Made the Feeding Traces?

The researchers ruled out crocodiles, other reptiles and mammals when it came to identifying what creature made the bite marks.  This left the team with three types of Theropod dinosaur to investigate.  Troodontids, Dromaeosaurs and Tyrannosaurs are known from the Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation.  There is also the genus Richardoestesia to consider, its affinity within the Theropoda is uncertain.  The bite marks are too small to have been made by a large Tyrannosaur, but a juvenile Tyrannosaur might have scavenged the carcass.  It is also possible that a dromaeosaurid may have fed on the remains as well.  It is possible that both the dromaeosaurid and a young Tyrannosaur fed on the carcass, after all, modern carcasses may be fed on by multiple species (lions may kill a zebra but hyenas may chase them off the kill and rob them of the carcass – kleptoparasitism).

To read an article from Everything Dinosaur published in 2015 that looks at the structure of the teeth of different Theropod dinosaurs: Research to get your Teeth into

A Hypothesised Reconstruction of a Juvenile Gorgosaurus Feeding on the Carcass of a Juvenile Centrosaurus

A speculative illustration of a young Gorgosaurus feeding on the carcass of a juvenile Centrosaurus.

A young Tyrannosaur (Gorgosaurus) scavenging the carcass of the juvenile Centrosaurus.

Picture Credit: Marie-Hélène Trudel-Aubry/PeerJ

Slim Pickings

The marks on the squamosal fragment represent the first documented case of a carnivore consuming a juvenile ceratopsid, but the trace fossils may represent scavenging a corpse rather than predation.  However, there is not a lot of meat on a squamosal bone.  The scientists suggest that the feeding marks represent late stage consumption, as the most nutritious parts of the young Centrosaurus had already been eaten.  It is possible that a large Tyrannosaur made the kill, fed and then abandoned the carcase which was later picked over by other Theropods.

Despite the apparent preferences for feeding on juvenile dinosaurs, most feeding traces described to date are on the bones of adults which may have resisted being consumed and destroyed (even by large Tyrannosaurs).  Feeding traces on a juvenile dinosaur remain unusual and exceptionally rare.  Perhaps the size and shape of Ceratopsian skulls, even in juveniles, made them difficult to process or required an excess of handling effort for a relatively little reward in terms of food.

The scientific paper: “Bite Marks on the Frill of a Juvenile Centrosaurus from the Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation, Alberta, Canada” by David W.E. Hone, Darren H. Tanke and Caleb M. Brown published in PeerJ

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18 10, 2018

CollectA Prehistoric Animal Model Retirements 2019

By | October 18th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models Retired (2019)

At this time of year, speculation always mounts as to what new models are going to be introduced next spring.  Not too long for readers and customers to wait until Everything Dinosaur publishes this information, but for the moment we are going to focus on those replicas and figures being retired and therefore becoming more and more difficult to obtain.  CollectA for example, will be retiring numerous models from their prehistoric animal ranges in 2019.

CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Paraceratherium Being Retired

Several scale models are going out of production, the CollectA Deluxe Paraceratherium is being dropped and will no longer be available.  This figure was introduced back in 2009 and it represents one of the largest, terrestrial mammals to have ever lived.   Paraceratherium is distantly related to today’s rhinos and it demonstrates the huge variety within the odd-toed ungulates (Perissodactyla).

CollectA Paraceratherium Deluxe 1:20 Scale Being Retired

CollectA Deluxe Paraceratherium.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Paraceratherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Further announcements about scale model retirements from the CollectA range will be made by Everything Dinosaur shortly, in the meantime, we do have some stocks of Paraceratherium available and this model and the rest of the Deluxe range from CollectA can be viewed here: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life

CollectA “Prehistoric Life” Model Retirements

In addition, numerous replicas from the “Age of Dinosaurs Popular” range are being dropped.  The first of the models to be retired include:

  • Becklespinax – a model of an enigmatic English Theropod dinosaur introduced in 2009.
  • Muttaburrasaurus – an Australian Ornithopod, possibly responsible for part of the Lark Quarry trace fossil assemblage.  The model was introduced in 2010.
  • Tsintaosaurus – often referred to as the “unicorn dinosaur” due to the bizarre head ornamentation.  Tsintaosaurus is a hadrosaurid known from China.  The model came out in 2012.
  • Edmontonia – a model of a Canadian Nodosaur that was added to the CollectA prehistoric life range in 2010.
  • Koreaceratops Family – a sheep-sized Ceratopsian that might have been semi-aquatic.  Koreaceratops was named in 2010 and the CollectA model came out in 2012.
  • Swimming Spinosaurus – this model showing Spinosaurus as a quadruped at home in the water was introduced in 2015.

The First of the CollectA Prehistoric Life Models to be Dropped in 2019

CollectA models retired (2019).

Retired CollectA models 2019.  Becklespinax (top left), Muttaburrasaurus (top right), the Koreaceratops family group (middle left) and Tsintaosaurus (middle right) with the armoured dinosaur Edmontonia below Tsintaosaurus.  The figure at the bottom is the swimming Spinosaurus, all these dinosaur models are being dropped by CollectA from the Prehistoric Life model range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Still Time to Obtain These Replicas from Everything Dinosaur

Fortunately, Everything Dinosaur has been aware of these model retirements and has been able to secure some stocks.  Collectors and model fans still have the opportunity to pick up these models from Everything Dinosaur.

To view the CollectA “Prehistoric Life” range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models

Although CollectA will be introducing several new models for 2019 (Everything Dinosaur will announce the first of these soon), this is the first time for some years that the number of model retirements exceeds the number of new replicas being introduced by CollectA.

We will keep our readers informed about other model retirements and indeed, shortly we will be posting up information about what’s new for 2019.

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17 10, 2018

Looking Forward to “Prehistoric Times” (Autumn 2018)

By | October 17th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Issue 127 of “Prehistoric Times” Heading to Everything Dinosaur

Team members have been reliably informed that the next edition of the amazing “Prehistoric Times” magazine is in the post and heading towards our offices.  The next issue (autumn 2018, or as our American friends would say fall 2018), will be with us in a few days.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times Magazine Issue 127

Prehistoric Times issue 127 (fall).

Prehistoric Times issue 127 (autumn 2018).

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks (Prehistoric Times)

Rajasaurus Features on the Front Cover

The powerful, Late Cretaceous predator of the Indian sub-continent Rajasaurus features on the front cover.  Rajasaurus (R. narmadensis) was formally named and described in 2003.  It is a member of the enigmatic and bizarre abelisaurids and we look forward to reading more about this large carnivore in the forthcoming edition of “Prehistoric Times”.  Specifically, we hope to learn more about any thoughts on niche partitioning between Rajasaurus and the contemporary Indosuchus, another large abelisaurid that co-existed with “princely lizard”.

A Scale Drawing of Rajasaurus narmadensis

Scale drawing of Rajasaurus.

Probably an apex predator in its environment – but how did it interact with Indosuchus?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Getting Our Teeth into Megalodon

One of the must see films of last summer was “Meg” starring Jason Statham and a population of giant prehistoric sharks.  The author of the novel on which the film was based, Steve Alten, is interviewed and we can look forward to hearing more about the marine reptiles that inspired the artwork of the famous Czech illustrator and palaeoartist Zdeněk Burian.  In issue 127, New Zealander John Lavas, provides part 10 of his long running series, this time the focus is on Burian’s depiction of plesiosaurs and pliosaurs (Plesiosauria).

“Prehistoric Times” is published four times a year and it has built up a strong reputation for its superb articles, illustrations and reader submitted artwork.  It is highly regarded by many dinosaur fans and model collectors from all over the world.

To learn more about the magazine and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times Magazine

The autumn edition of “Prehistoric Times” will also feature the “shovel-tusked” member of the Proboscidea – Platybelodon.  We look forward to Phil Hore’s article on this distant relative to extant elephants.  For much of the 20th Century, most palaeontologists thought that Platybelodon lived in swamps, but analysis of tooth wear patterns suggested that this sizeable beast fed on tough, coarse vegetation.  It is now thought that Platybelodon was an animal of relatively open, grassland and scrubland environments.  We shall have to wait for the arrival of the magazine to find out the latest information and scientific evidence.

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16 10, 2018

Spitsbergen Ichthyosaurs – Newly Described Fossils Open Up the Ophthalmosaurids

By | October 16th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Learning More About Palvennia hoybergeti

The Svalbard archipelago located off the coast of northern Norway, has attracted the attention of palaeontologists for several decades.  Some of the marine strata exposed on these islands date from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, the remote location and inaccessibility has not prevented hardy scientists from exploring these deposits and over the years, a huge number of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils have been collected.  Writing in the on-line, open access journal “PeerJ”, researchers from the University of Oslo, the London Natural History Museum, the University of Alaska and the University of Alaska Natural History Museum, have described a number of new Ichthyosaur specimens that have been excavated from Spitsbergen, the largest island in the group.

To date, four different types of ophthalmosaurid Ichthyosaur are known from these rocks (the Slottsmøya Member of the Agardhfjellet Formation).  Several specimens are described in the newly published paper, including a disarticulated but relatively complete fossil of Palvennia hoybergeti.  P. hoybergeti is a Late Jurassic ophthalmosaurid marine reptile, that had been described back in 2012, from a single and very incomplete skull.  This new specimen (museum number PMO 222.669), has a mostly complete skull and reveals important new information about this short-snouted Ichthyosaur species.

A Skeletal Drawing of the New P. hoybergeti Specimen PMO 222.669

Skeletal drawing of the newly described Palvennia hoybergeti Ichthyosaur specimen.

A line drawing of the fossilised skeleton of the newly described specimen of Palvennia hoybergeti. Viewed from underneath (ventral view), note scale bar = 50 cm.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

A Short-Snouted Ichthyosaur

The fossil specimen (PMO 222.669) has provided the researchers with new information on the skull morphology of Palvennia hoybergeti.  It has a much reduced snout, superficially similar to the Early Jurassic Ichthyosaur Ichthyosaurus breviceps, although the two genera are not closely related and they lived tens of millions of years apart.

The Rostrum and Teeth of Specimen Number PMO 222.669

Rostrum and isolated teeth with line drawing P. hoybergeti.

Rostrum and teeth of PMO 222.669, referred specimen of P. hoybergeti.
(A), photograph and (B), interpretation of the rostrum from the surface stratigraphically down.  Disarticulated teeth in (C), and (D), different views of the same tooth and (E), and (F), different views of a second tooth.  The scale bar (A-B) is 10 cm, whilst the scale bar (C-F) is 1 cm.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

The relatively robust, short snout (rostrum) and the broad teeth may represent adaptations to feeding on other types of prey compared to other members of the Thunnosauria clade.  It could be speculated that Palvennia hoybergeti may have been less of a specialist cephalopod or fish hunter, perhaps preying on larger animals such as other Ichthyosaurs.

A View of the Top of the Skull of the Newly Described Palvennia hoybergeti Specimen

Skull roof of Palvennia hoybergeti with line drawing.

Photograph of the skull of P. hoybergeti (dorsal view) with an accompanying line drawing. Scale bar = 10 cm.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Confusing Pectoral Girdles

The researchers conclude that the more complete specimen that they have described greatly adds to our knowledge of this taxon.  Furthermore, two additional, newly discovered ophthalmosaurid specimens with pectoral girdles were also described in the paper.  The shape of the bones in the pectoral girdle, (the shoulders and associated bones for attaching the forelimbs), had thought to be quite useful diagnostic tools when assessing these types of Ichthyosaur. However, although the shape of the coracoids may provide some guidance as to taxonomy, the scientists noted that the fossils from the Slottsmøya Member show a degree of individual variation which might compound the issue of identifying unique anatomical characteristics to help define a genus.

An Illustration of the Ophthalmosaurid Palvennia hoybergeti

Palvennia hoybergeti illustrated

An illustration of the ophthalmosaurid Ichthyosaur Palvennia hoybergeti. Scale bar = 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Ichthyosaur specimens from Spitsbergen span quite a substantial temporal range.  Fossils of these marine reptiles have been found in strata dating from the Early Tithonian of the Late Jurassic, whilst some specimens have been located in Early Berriasian deposits (Early Cretaceous).  It is proposed that future studies should aim to include a large number of specimens and use quantitative approaches to reveal phylogenetic and evolutionary patterns.  As the temporal range of these fossils covers some six million years (around 150 million years ago to 144 million years ago), the fossils from this part of the Svalbard archipelago may prove valuable in helping to determine the evolution of the Ichthyosauria at a time when a number of ecosystems were suffering from extinction events.

The scientific paper: “A New Specimen of Palvennia hoybergeti: Implications for Cranial and Pectoral Girdle Anatomy in Ophthalmosaurid Ichthyosaurs” by Lene Liebe Delsett​, Patrick Scott Druckenmiller, Aubrey Jane Roberts, Jørn Harald Hurum and published in PeerJ.

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15 10, 2018

Baby Tylosaurus Provides Clues to How Marine Reptiles Hunted

By | October 15th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Baby Tylosaurus Fossils Shed Light on Tylosaurus Hunting Strategy

The fragmentary remains of a baby Tylosaurus may have provided palaeontologists with an insight into how the giant and powerful marine predator Tylosaurus hunted.  Analysis of the front portion of the jaw shows that this tiny terror lacked a deep rostrum, whilst older, larger specimens and the adults all had these bony protrusions.  Scientists writing in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleonotology” hypothesise that Tylosaurus rammed its victims with its snout in a similar fashion to a hunting method observed in extant Orcas.

Fearsome Mosasaurs – How Did These Predators Subdue Their Prey?

Different Mosasaurs

Comparing different models of Mosasaurs.  Fossil teeth and bones indicate that several types of Mosasaur were apex predators but how did these animals subdue their prey?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Scientists are aware that pods of Orcas (Orcinus orca), tend to specialise in different types of prey, some hunt fish, others specialise in hunting other marine mammals whilst others are generalists, however, it is known that Orcas tend to stun prey such as seals and dolphins by ramming them with their snouts.  A study of the smallest Tylosaurus skull fossils found to date, suggest that as these animal’s grew their snouts (rostrums) became elongated and more robust.  It is suggested that these predators rammed their victims in the same way that some living Killer Whales do.

A Still from a Video Showing a Killer Whale Ramming a Dolphin

Orca rams a Dolphin.

An Orca rams a Dolphin.

Picture Credit: Discovery

Little Killer/Tiny Tylosaurus

Lead author of the scientific paper, Professor Takuya Konishi, explained that he examined fossils of a very young Tylosaurus whilst working on his master’s degree in 2004.  The fossils came from an animal with a skull length of around thirty centimetres, approximately 1/6th the size of an adult Tylosaurus skull.  The fossils come from the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk of western Kansas, deposits that were laid done in the shallow Western Interior Seaway.  The baby Tylosaurus is estimated to have lived around 85 million years ago.  The fossils had been originally found in 1991, by palaeontologist Michael Everhart (Sternberg Museum of Natural History), the small size and fragmentary nature made initial identification difficult and the fossils has been assigned to another type of Mosasaur, a Platecarpus, remains of which are relatively common in the Smoky Hill Chalk Member.

Tiny Fossil Fragments Identified as Neonate Tylosaurus

Baby Tylosaurus skull and jaw fossil bones.

Pieces of the skull and jaw of the baby Tylosaurus.  Specimen number FHSM VP-14845.

Picture Credit: Christina Byrd/Sternberg Museum of Natural History with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Lack of a Prominent Snout

The lack of a snout puzzled the scientists who were unable to tie this material to other Tylosaurine remains.  The Platecarpus assignment seemed the best fit, then Professor Konishi had his “eureka” moment.  The elongated rostrum of Tylosaurus might develop as the animal grew, this anatomical feature might not be present in very young examples of this genus.  While Platecarpus and other members of the Mosasauridae have teeth that begin virtually at the tip of their snouts, mature Tylosaurus possess a bony protrusion called a rostrum that extends out from its face, a similar feature is found in Orcas.  The research team speculate that this rostrum might have served as a battering ram and protected the marine reptile’s teeth as it slammed into its prey.

Professor Konishi takes up the story:

“Having looked at the specimen in 2004 for the first time myself, it too took me nearly ten years to think out of that box and realise what it really was,  a baby Tylosaurus yet to develop such a snout.”

The Ontogeny of Tylosaurus

Tylosaurus ontogeny - as these reptiles grew their rostrums become elongated and more robust.

Elongation and development of the rostrum in Tylosaurus.  Scale bar equals 2 cm.

Picture Credit: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

The picture (above) shows various Tylosaurus fossil specimens.  Specimen number FHSM VP-14845 is from the neonate Tylosaurus (left) and moving towards the right, the rostrums denote progressively older, larger Tylosaurus specimens.  The researchers identified greater anteroposterior alignment of two pairs of premaxillary teeth in association with alveolar elongation (tooth socket spacing).  The abbreviation t2  denotes the second premaxillary tooth, this alveolar elongation slows down as the Tylosaurus ages, as seen here between specimens FHSM VP-14840 and RMM 5610.  In contrast, the rostrum continues to grow and to become deeper and more robust.

Professor Konishi and His Co-workers Suggest Tylosaurus Used Its Snout to Ram Prey

Takuya Konishi (Cincinnati University) with a Mosasaur skull cast.

University of Cincinnati Biology Professor Takuya Konishi points out the rostrum on a Mosasaur skull.

Picture Credit: Joseph Fuqua II/University of Cincinnati Creative Services

The Possibility of Misidentified Fossil Material

The scientists suggest that, as Tylosaurus developed its “tell-tale” snout as it grew, then this could mean that other fossil specimens of Mosasaurs from the Western Interior Seaway may have been mistakenly classified as other types of Mosasaur.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“What was once thought to be a diagnostic feature of Tylosaurus, a robust and elongated snout, might not be as diagnostic as previously thought.  This means that short-snouted fossil remains assigned to other types of Mosasaur could, actually represent juvenile Tylosaurus specimens.”

The scientific paper: “The Smallest Known Neonate Individual of Tylosaurus (Mosasauridae, Tylosaurinae) Sheds New Light on the Tylosaurine Rostrum and Heterochrony” by Takuya Konishi, Paulina Jiménez-Huidobro and Michael W. Caldwell published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

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14 10, 2018

Countdown to Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Tyrannosaurs

By | October 14th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Countdown to Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Tyrannosaurs

Dinosaur fans and model collectors do not have too long to wait until the arrival of the two new Rebor replicas, the “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurids – mountain and jungle.  These beautifully crafted figures are due to be sent out from the factory on or around Saturday, the 20th October and within a few days after this date, the shipment should be arriving at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse.  We have already opened a special reserve list for these figures and we should be publishing pricing details soon.

Delivering Two New Rebor Replicas Very Soon

Rebor Vanilla Ice "Mountain" and "Jungle".

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurid models – jungle (left) and mountain (right) colour variants.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle is painted in a camouflaged green palette and it has been very skilfully modelled and is the fourth tyrannosaurid to be created by Rebor.  The colouration of Late Cretaceous, large-bodied Tyrannosaurs remains contentious, the level of integumentary covering is not known and there has been considerable scientific debate about this aspect of tyrannosaurid anatomy.  Rebor has chosen to retain the “classic” scaly reptile look for these figures and most impressive the models are too.

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle Colour Variant

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

“Vanilla Ice” T. rex by Rebor “jungle”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain

The mountain version is painted with a slate grey hue.  It is not known what sort of habitats Late Cretaceous, large-bodied Tyrannosaurs lived in, but these hyper-carnivores were very probably the apex predators in these environments and they were quite geographically and temporarily widespread in the last fifteen million years of the Mesozoic.  For example, only a few days ago, a new genus of Early Campanian, large-bodied tyrannosaurid from New Mexico was named and described.  The dinosaur has been named – Dynamoterror dynastes which translates as “powerful terror ruler”.

To read more about Dynamoterror dynastes: Powerful Terror Ruler – Dynamoterror dynastes

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain Colour Variant

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

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

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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

Tale of the Tape – Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Replicas

Both models will be supplied with a tail attachment to insert into the back of the figure.  The tail is articulated to help create a range of poses for each Tyrannosaur.  In addition, both models will have an articulated jaw.  As for the size of these figures, they are both the same size, measuring approximately 42 centimetres long (with tail added) and standing around 12.5 centimetres tall.  Based on these measurements, we suggest that the actual model is slightly bigger than the 1:35 scaling suggests.

As to why they are called “Vanilla Ice”, we are not quite sure.  We are not aware of any obvious connection between the American rapper and television personality, Robert Matthew Van Winkle aka “Vanilla Ice”.  However, we have been reliable informed that “Vanilla Ice” has a birthday on October 31st, hopefully, Everything Dinosaur will have these two replicas in stock by then.

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13 10, 2018

The Ancestors of Sarahsaurus Probably Did Not Originate in North America

By | October 13th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Early Jurassic North American Sauropodomorphs were Migrants

The sauropodomorph dinosaur called Sarahsaurus was a migrant into North America just like the other North American sauropodomorphs that have been described to date.  That is the conclusion made by researchers from the University of Texas Austin, in a scientific paper published this week.  Recently, Everything Dinosaur has covered a number of technical papers that have featured the Suborder Sauropodomorpha (the sauropods and their direct ancestors).  The United States might be famous for dinosaurs such as Brontosaurus, Camarasaurus and Diplodocus, but surprisingly not much is known about the ancestors of these iconic, long-necked dinosaurs.  Writing in the open access journal PLOS One, the researchers from the University’s Jackson School of Geosciences, conclude that the handful of sauropodomorphs known from the Lower Jurassic of North America are not that closely related and they represent successive immigration waves into that part of the super-continent Pangaea.

Sarahsaurus and Other North American Early Jurassic Sauropodomorphs Do Not Form a Unique Clade

Sarahsaurus (North American dinosaur).

A life reconstruction of the North American sauropodomorph Sarahsaurus.

Picture Credit: Brian Engh

CT Scans and Phylogenetic Analyses

The researchers conducted the first detailed analysis of the fossils ascribed to the genus Sarahsaurus (Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis).  This dinosaur had been named back in 2010, from fossil material excavated from the Lower Jurassic Kayenta Formation exposed in north-eastern Arizona.  In total, three specimens, including the holotype were studied and subjected to computed tomographic imaging.  With more anatomical data, the scientists then conducted a series of phylogenetic assessments to see where within the Sauropodomorpha Sarahsaurus should be nested and importantly, how the other sauropodomorphs from North America such as Anchisaurus (A. polyzelus) and Seitaad (S. ruessi) were related to Sarahsaurus.

The Main Fossil Block Associated with Sarahsaurus and a Line Drawing Showing a Layout of the Fossil Material

Sarahsaurus holotype.

The main block containing much of the holotype specimen of Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis

All of the Sarahsaurus specimens referred to in this study came from siltstone deposits.  Manual preparation of the fossils was extremely laborious and time consuming.  Many of the bones were encrusted with an extremely hard purple-black oxide coating, hence the use of high-resolution X-ray CT scans to provide more information about the finer details preserved on the fossil material.

In addition, conducting the phylogenetic analysis was made even more problematic than usual as the material used to establish unique characteristics of Sarahsaurus which could then be used to compare with other sauropodomorphs, provided numerous obstacles for the scientists to overcome.  Firstly, a skull used in this study probably came from a much younger individual than the other Sarahsaurus specimens analysed.  Furthermore, not all the specimens shared the same bones so making direct comparisons to establish a unique set of features for Sarahsaurus was challenging.  These factors coupled with some mixing and redistribution of the holotype material in the sediment and the crushed nature of many of the fossil bones made the phylogenetic assessment very tricky, but the researchers were able to conclude that Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis is very probably a member of the Massospondylidae family, which means that this dinosaur is not closely related to the other North American Sauropodomorpha and is more closely related to dinosaurs known primarily from the southern hemisphere (Gondwana).

CT Scans of a Skull Specimen Provisionally Assigned to Sarahsaurus

CT scans help to plot the shape of the fossil skull provisionally assigned to Sarahsaurus.

Skull (MCZ 8893) provisionally referred to Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis, reconstructed from CT data.  Life reconstruction (H) by Brian Engh.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/Brian Engh

Waves of Dinosaur Migration into North America Following the End Triassic Extinction Event

If the three known North American sauropodomorphs are not that closely related and the likes of Sarahsaurus is classified as a member of the Massospondylidae, then this suggests that rather than evolving in North America, these dinosaurs arrived on that part of the super-continent of Pangaea as a result of a number of migrations that took place during the Early Jurassic.  This links with other research that suggests that although Theropods were present in North America during the Triassic transition to the Jurassic, other types of dinosaurs such as the Sauropoda and the Ornithischians populated this part of the world later.

The dinosaurs may not have been the super evolved terrestrial animals that simply outcompeted all the other Tetrapods in the world driving the majority to extinction.  Instead, the Dinosauria may have been opportunists, migrating into areas after the former occupants of key niches in the ecosystem had already died out.

Research Suggests that there were Several Migration Waves into North America During the Early Jurassic

Comparing three North American members of the Sauropodomorpha.

Relative ages of North American sauropodomorphs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the discovery of Seitaad ruessiDinosaur Buried Alive is a New Species from Utah

The scientific paper: “Anatomy and Systematics of the Sauropodomorph Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis from the Early Jurassic Kayenta Formation” by Adam D. Marsh and Timothy B. Rowe published in the open access journal PLOS One.

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12 10, 2018

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

By | October 12th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

More pictures of the eagerly awaited Eofauna Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii) dinosaur model have been released.  This fantastic replica of one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs to have ever lived is on schedule to arrive sometime between the middle of December and the end of that month.  Everything Dinosaur has opened up a priority reservation list for this model and it is already proving to be an extremely popular Theropod figure with a huge number of dinosaur fans wanting one of these models reserved for them.

To request to join our priority reserve list for the Eofauna Giganotosaurus: Email Everything Dinosaur

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Giganotosaurus Model with an Articulated Jaw

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus measures 39 centimetres long and the head height is an impressive 11 centimetres.  The replica is modelled in 1:35 scale and at this size, the figure represents an adult animal that is around 13.65 metres in length.  The Eofauna Giganotosaurus will also have an articulated lower jaw.  It will be the first of the Eofauna Scientific Research model range to have articulation.

A Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model with an Articulated Lower Jaw

Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To request to join Everything Dinosaur’s no obligation priority reserve list for this amazing dinosaur model simply: Email Everything Dinosaur

There is no need to pre-order, there is no deposit to pay, customers on our priority reserve list for this dinosaur will have a model set aside for them and then they will be emailed by an Everything Dinosaur team member to let them know that the Eofauna Giganotosaurus is in stock.  This fantastic dinosaur model is on schedule to be delivered in December, but it could arrive in the early New Year, it is possible that the shipment might get delayed due to adverse weather or space availability on the cargo ship, as freight routes tend to get very congested towards the end of the year over the Christmas period.

However, all those Everything Dinosaur customers who join our reserve list can relax, no matter when the models arrive they will be looked after by our dedicated team and they will be guaranteed the opportunity to acquire this excellent 1:35 scale dinosaur figure.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Model Range

This is the first dinosaur model to be included in the Eofauna Scientific Research model range, the first two models were members of the Order Proboscidea and both the Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) and the Straight-tusked Elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) were very well received by collectors and fans of prehistoric animal models.  The Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii), is just the first of what will be a series of dinosaur scale models being added to this wonderful range.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Model Range circa end 2018

The Eofauna model range (2018).

Eofauna model range 2018.  The Straight-tusked Elephant (left), Steppe Mammoth (centre) and the new Giganotosaurus model (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the current range of Eofauna models: Eofauna Scientific Research Models

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