All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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3 11, 2011

Planet Dinosaur – Cast of Characters Chasmosaurus

By | November 3rd, 2011|Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

“Chasm Lizard” Steps into the Spotlight

When it comes to that horned dinosaur group the Chasmosaurinae, it is normally the likes of Triceratops and Torosaurus that get all the attention, so it was with great delight that another member of this family of horned dinosaurs – Chasmosaurus was depicted in the BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur”.

Known from extensive fossil material, Chasmosaurus fossils have been found in large bone-beds indicating that many individuals died together at the same time.  The first fossils of this dinosaur were discovered in Alberta in the 1880s as this vast area of Canada began to be mapped by geologists.  Fossils relating to what we now know as Chasmosaurus were formally named and described as Monoclonius by the eminent Canadian palaeontologist Lawrence Lambe in 1902.  Following several revisions the Chasmosaurus genus was established by Lambe in 1914.

Although not quite as big as its more famous relatives Triceratops and Torosaurus, this dinosaur reached lengths in excess of five metres and would have weighed more than three tonnes.  In the sequence featuring Chasmosaurus, this dinosaur, a single large bull is attacked by a gang of marauding Tyrannosaurids.  Although, most probably a herd animal itself, the large, male herbivore is depicted living away from the herd – just as male elephants do today.  This animal could quite easily fend off an attack from a single predator, but when mobbed by a group of Tyrannosaurs the tables are well and truly turned.

The scene was created to reiterate some of the current scientific thinking that suggests Tyrannosaurs may have hunted in packs.

To read an article on the proposed hunting behaviour of large, Late Cretaceous Theropods: T. rex roamed in packs: Fact or Fiction?

A Model of the Ceratopsid Dinosaur Chasmosaurus

“Chasm Lizard” in the spotlight

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of dinosaur models, including a super Chasmosaurus dinosaur model available from Everything Dinosaur: Dinosaur Toys for Girls and Boys

2 11, 2011

Planet Dinosaur – Cast of Characters Nothronychus

By | November 2nd, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

The Bizarre Theropod Nothronychus

In the final episode of the six-part television series “Planet Dinosaur”, the programme focuses on how the Dinosauria adapted and evolved to exploit new environmental opportunities.  The Theropods, arguably the most successful of the main groups of dinosaurs, are featured heavily with Oviraptorids and Tyrannosaurs.  In addition, for the first time in this television series, viewers are introduced to the “Scythe Lizards”, the spectacular Therizinosaurs and the best known genus of Therizinosaur – Nothronychus makes an appearance.

Nothronychus is a member of the Therizinosaurid (pronounced Ther-ih-zine-oh-sore-id) family, a bizarre group related to meat-eating dinosaurs, but adapted to eating plants.  Nothronychus was the first Therizinosaur to be found outside Asia.  It has the typical features of a Therizinosaur, a small head, with jaws that contained leaf-shaped teeth, (suggesting a plant-eating diet) and a beak.  The long neck was used to reach up into the branches of trees so that Nothronychus could feed.  The strong, powerful arms with their three-clawed hands are typical of the Therizinosaur group.  Scientists believe that this type of dinosaur would have had a similar lifestyle to the extinct giant sloth (Megatherium) and this is how Nothronychus (sloth-like claw) got its name.  Nothronychus was named and described by James Kirkland and Douglas Wolfe in 2001.  It is known from two partial skeletons, approximately 40-50% complete.  The species name is Nothronychus graffami.  Everything Dinosaur team members have posted up a picture of a Nothronychus dinosaur model.

An Illustration of Nothronychus graffami

Gaffam’s Slothful Claw

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view dinosaur models including Therizinosaurs: Dinosaurs for Boys and Girls

The discovery of this five metre long giant was a curious as this dinosaur’s anatomy.  Barry Albright of the University of North Florida and David Gillette (Museum of Northern Arizona)  were exploring some Cretaceous marine deposits for vertebrate fossils in an area of western Utah (USA) when Merle Graffam, a museum volunteer who was with them found a dinosaur toe bone.  The site was carefully examined and it was thought that more of the dinosaur’s fossils were in the strata waiting to be exposed by the elements.  An excavation was started and by its end, the team had recovered nearly half the skeleton of a new North American Theropod, a Therizinosaur, the first to be discovered outside Asia.

It seems peculiar to find the fossilised remains of a terrestrial animal more than sixty miles out  from the prehistoric shore line in what are marine deposits.  How did the Nothronychus get there?  A number of theories have been put forward, perhaps this animal was washed out to sea and drowned and currents took the carcase to its final resting place.  Or maybe the corpse of this bizarre Theropod was taken out to sea by a receding flood tide.  One of the puzzles is, with an ocean full of hungry predators the carcase was not scavenged and torn apart.  The body was very nearly complete when it settled on the seabed.  Some scientists have postulated that this plant-eater was carried far out to sea on a huge floating mat of soil and vegetation and eventually drowned when the raft broke up.

2 11, 2011

Planet Dinosaur – Cast of Characters Saurophaganax

By | November 2nd, 2011|Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Apex Predator of the Morrison Formation

Little is known about Saurophaganax maximus, the Theropod dinosaur that bullied the Allosaurus fragilis out of a meal of Camptosaurus in one of the episodes of the BBC television series “Planet Dinosaur”.  The very few fossils ascribed to this genus were dug up in the 1930s but they were not properly studied and assessed until sixty years later.

An Illustration of Saurophaganax

Big Predator of the Late Jurassic

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

On the basis of differences in cervical and caudal vertebrae the fossil material was ascribed to a separate genus away from Allosaurus but these two predators were very closely related and indeed, Saurophaganax might just be a very old and very large A. fragilis.

1 11, 2011

Collecta Announces New Prehistoric Animal Models for 2012

By | November 1st, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products|6 Comments

Exciting New Additions to the Collecta Model Range

Collecta have announced that there will be a number of new additions to their range of prehistoric fauna and flora model ranges, including a number of new 1:40 scale models plus the introduction of cave people, in a first for this company.

These new models including Argentinosaurus, Mapusaurus and an exciting replica of the mysterious Deinocheirus will be released in the early spring and into the summer of 2012.

List of Models Due to be Launched in 2012 including Collecta Dinosaurs

New Models due to be Launched.

Table Credit: Everything Dinosaur with thanks to Anthony Beeson

 We have provided a brief note next to each of the models to help readers, other items will be available as boxed sets.  Pictures should be with us shortly and we look forward to writing about these new and exciting additions which will be in stock with Everything Dinosaur next year.  It will be fascinating to see how the fossil material for Deinocheirus has been interpreted, this animal is only know from a pair of huge, forelimbs over eight feet in length.

Accompanying the release information there was a statement provided by Anthony Beeson, all round good guy, and one of the principals behind the Collecta range.  It is Anthony who continues to strive hard to get as many British dinosaurs represented in this range and we are delighted to see the long overlooked Hypsilophodonts get their chance to be in the spotlight.

Anthony’s statement:

2012 sees Collecta enter its sixth year of existence in producing models of prehistoric fauna and flora with the introduction of two new series and the creative expansion of a third.  In an attempt to likewise educate and to provide the greatest amount of creative play both the new series will, it is hoped, be well received.

As a child growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s I always found it annoying that no manufacturer ever produced anything for my toy carnivorous dinosaurs to eat.  Herbivorous dinosaurs could be catered for by the bushes and trees produced for modern zoo and farm animals, but meat eaters were apparently not allowed food.  This situation has continued until now for, as a result of this omission, Collecta is the first company to introduce an innovative new series entitled Dinosaur Prey to complement its carnivorous dinosaurs and to add a new educational element to building a prehistoric diorama or landscape. Dinosaur Prey will include dead animals from different geological eras and will feature evidence that we can ascertain from the fossil record of wounds that might have been inflicted on them by carnivores during conflicts. Allied to this new series is the introduction of a new standard size Collecta Tyrannosaurus rex that comes complete with its prey, a dead Struthiomimus.

We at Everything Dinosaur can see Anthony’s point, when we work on exhibitions for museums, the carnivores are very often depicted with their “victim” – very often the carcase of dinosaur that the animal would have been feeding on.

Anthony goes on to state:

A problem with producing scale models of dinosaurs are the many important but small creatures that were a prominent part of any prehistoric landscape but that have been too small to realistically be commercially produced for sale in retail outlets as individual figures.  It has been my wish for some time to solve this problem and with this in mind in 2012 I have designed and Collecta starts a second innovative new series entitled Dinosaur Families featuring family or clan groups of small dinosaurs in scale with the larger animals in the range.  I have chosen Hypsilophodon, one of my favorite “British” dinosaurs to commence the series and, by request, the newly discovered Ceratopsian Koreaceratops.  The figures are presented in family groups on landscaped bases also ornamented with an example of prehistoric flora.

An Illustration of Koreaceratops

Koreaceratops

Picture Credit: Julius Csotonyi

To read about the discovery of Koreaceratops: Swimming Ceratopsians – New Species of Horned Dinosaur

This year Collecta is also pleased to expand its innovative and ground-breaking collection of Prehistoric Flora that it first introduced in 2009.  As with the original two examples, these new additions are intended to add yet another element of educational interest and enjoyment in studying and playing with dinosaurs and to complement the animals in both the standard and deluxe ranges and help in the building of prehistoric dioramas.  As with the earlier examples they are also intended to provide “food” for the herbivores!  The plants are equipped with bases that may be joined to those of the Dinosaur Families to form landscaped scenes.

The 2012 standard dinosaur range includes the recently discovered Ceratopsian dinosaurs Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops together with the marine reptile Dolichorhynchops and the South American giants Argentinosaurus and Mapusaurus.  In the Deluxe 1:40 range I am pleased to present updated and considerably improved models of Neovenator and Amargasaurus, together with my idea of the enormous but little known Deinocheirus. Joining the current Deluxe 1:15 Tyrannosaurus is a new and huge Triceratops that we hope is our most accurate model of the species to date. In the Prehistoric Animals range we introduce a model of the North American Megacerops, also known as Brontotherium, that we hope will find favour.

Everything Dinosaur’s Illustration of the Marine Reptile Dolichorhynchops

“Doli” to his friends!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mike Fredericks

 We are all looking forward to these new model introductions.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing model range:  Dinosaur Models

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