All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//September
20 09, 2013

Real Adventure Dinosaur Floor Puzzle Reviewed

By | September 20th, 2013|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Colourful Dinosaur Themed Floor Puzzle gets Thumbs Up!

Just in to Everything Dinosaur – a brand new giant dinosaur floor puzzle.

Measuring an enormous 60cm x 91cm when complete, with 35 large robust 2″ x 3″ pieces, and its own carrying box with handle, this giant floor puzzle is designed for little hands, and a big floor space.

The new dinosaur jigsaw from the Real Adventure Collection, depicts a bright and colourful prehistoric scene, and is complete with all our favourites.  A fearsome T. rex in the foreground is hungry and on the attack, a mother Triceratops is protecting her baby, the Ankylosaurus is wary, whilst a small Theropod dinosaur (with feathers), hides and waits.  A Titanosaur and its young seek protection from the predators in the waters, whilst the Parasaurolophus stop by the water’s edge to take a drink.  With an exploding volcano in the back drop, and Pteranodon soaring above – this jigsaw really has them all.

Dinosaur Jigsaw Puzzle – Designed for Young Dinosaur Fans

Prehistoric scene as a dinosaur themed jigsaw.

Prehistoric scene as a dinosaur themed jigsaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This dinosaur floor puzzle has been specially designed so that little hands can grasp and put together the puzzle pieces.  Completing jigsaws is a great way to help young dinosaur fans develop observational skills, improve hand-eye co-ordination and assist them with their reasoning, all very helpful as mums, dads and other grown ups help to prepare them for their school days.

Suitable for ages 3+, this giant floor puzzle will aid motor skills, and many of our reviewers told us that once the puzzle was complete they got their budding young palaeontologists to count all the prehistoric animals in the scene, could they spot them all?  Look out for the sneaky, camouflaged Pachycephalosaur.  In addition, many of the children were asked to name the prehistoric animals and to try to work out which ones were plant-eaters and which animals were the meat-eaters.  Putting together a puzzle such as this does lend itself to lots of other learning orientated extension activities – can your young dinosaur fan make up a story to explain what the picture shows?

To view Everything Dinosaurs extensive range of dinosaur themed puzzles: Dinosaur Jigsaws and Dinosaur Puzzles

This new addition to Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaur themed jigsaws and puzzles gets a big thumbs up.

19 09, 2013

Swaledale Fossil Limestone for King Richard’s Tomb

By | September 19th, 2013|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Famous Figures|0 Comments

Leicester Cathedral Publishes Plans for the Tomb of King Richard III – Fossils to Play a Role

Church authorities at Leicester Cathedral have announced plans for the burial tomb of King Richard III.  The impressive tomb, is the proposed final resting place of Richard of York who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in in 1485, although there is a strong campaign to have Richard’s remains returned to York for burial.  Leicester Cathedral’s  plans are for a stone tomb, carved with a deep cross and set upon an engraving of a white Yorkshire rose.  The project is likely to cost something like £1.3 million to complete.

The stone that is intended to be used is Swaledale limestone, highly appropriate as this stone is from Swaledale (naturally), part of the magnificent North Yorkshire countryside.  Although this stone comes in various colours, greys, off-white and even with a blueish hue it is highly fossiliferous.  The limestone was formed at the bottom of a shallow sea that covered much of what was to become the United Kingdom back in the early Carboniferous geological period.  It is coarse grained and contains a substantial amount of fossil remains of  invertebrate marine creatures, most notably the flexible stems of sea lilies otherwise known as crinoids.  Crinoids belong to the same phylum as starfishes and sea urchins, they look superficially like plants (hence the name sea lily), but they are in fact an animal.  Entirely marine, crinoids have been around since the Cambrian and can still be found today.  Typically, crinoids consisted of a hold fast to anchor them to the sea-bed and a flexible stem made up of calcite plates (called stem ossicles or columnals), which supported umbrella-like branching tubular arms that were able to trap food items in passing currents.  When the creature dies, the minute organic fibres that held the stem ossicles together rot and the stem disintegrates.  In the ancient limestone beds of Swaledale crinoids were so numerous that their fossils form a substantial part of the rocks.

When polished, the fossils show up very clearly and the details of the stem ossicles can be seen very clearly.

Fossil Rich Carboniferous Limestone 

Rock fit for a King!

Rock fit for a King!

Picture Credit: Open University

We are not sure whether there is any record of Richard of York being an avid collector of fossils, but if the tomb is built, visitors to the Cathedral will be able to view evidence of  life in a prehistoric sea as well as learning about the last Plantagenet King of England.  T

The fossilised stems of crinoids are also known as “St Cuthbert’s beads”.  St Cuthbert was a monk at the monastery located at Lindisfarne, otherwise called Holy Island (Northumberland), local legend states the Cuthbert would make rosaries by threading a thin piece of thread through columnals that he had collected on the shore.

18 09, 2013

Dinosaurs in a Wind Tunnel – Giving up the Secret of Microraptor Flight

By | September 18th, 2013|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans|0 Comments

Wind Tunnel Tests Provide New Data on the Evolution of Powered Flight in Birds

Thanks to some amazing dinosaur fossil discoveries that have been made in recent years, most notably from the Liaoning Province of northern China, palaeontologists have been able to study a number of feathered Theropod dinosaurs and primitive birds.  Such studies have shed light on the evolution of feathers and provided information on the origins of powered flight.  However, little work has been done on testing the flight abilities of these early Cretaceous creatures.  The flight performance, stability and aerodynamics of one Theropod dinosaur, a genus called Microraptor, one of the smallest dinosaurs known to science, has been put to the test by a team of researchers at Southampton University (United Kingdom).

About two dozen or so specimens of Microraptor have been excavated from the fine grained sedimentary deposits of Liaoning Province.  Many of these beautifully preserved fossils show that this little dinosaur had asymmetrical flight feathers on both its arms and its legs.  The body was covered in downy feathers and this carnivore, which probably weighed around 1,000 grammes, had a long, rigid tail that sported an array of feathers too.  In essence the feather covered limbs and tail provided Microraptor with five potential lifting surfaces, it essentially had five wings.

The Fossilised Remains of a Microraptor

Insight into the evolution of flight using a wind tunnel.

Insight into the evolution of flight using a wind tunnel.

The scientists from Southampton University built a full scale model of Microraptor in order to test the flight abilities of this “flying dinosaur”.  Tests in a wind tunnel suggest that the fore-limb dominated bird flight passed through an evolutionary stage of four-winged flight (terapteryx).  The research into Microraptor indicates that this dinosaur’s anatomy represents an important stage in the development of gliding leading on to powered flight.

The wind test results show that Microraptor would have been most stable gliding when large amounts of lift was generated from its wings.  Flight simulations demonstrate that this behaviour had advantages since this high lift coefficient allows for slow glides, which can be achieved with less height loss.  For gliding down from low elevations, such as trees, this slow, and aerodynamically less efficient flight was the gliding strategy that results in minimal height loss and longest glide distance, a most efficient form of movement.

For many years, the position and orientation of Microraptor’s legs and wings as it glided had been debated.  However, the leg position and wing shape turns out to be largely irrelevant, the wind tunnel tests indicate that changes in these variables make little difference to the dinosaur’s ability to fly.

Senior Lecturer in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University, Dr. Gareth Dyke, a co-author of this new study commented:

“Significant to the evolution of flight, we show that Microraptor did not require a sophisticated, ‘modern’ wing morphology to undertake effective glides, as the high-lift coefficient regime is less dependent upon detail of wing morphology.  This is consistent with the fossil record, and also with the hypothesis that symmetric ‘flight’ feathers first evolved in dinosaurs for non-aerodynamic functions, later being adapted to form aerodynamically capable surfaces.”

Model of a Microraptor to Test Aviation Capabilities

Up, up and away!

Up, up and away!

Picture Credit: Solent

The research has been written up for inclusion in the next edition of the academic journal  “Nature Communications”.

Dr. Roeland de Kat, the study’s co-author and a Research Fellow in the Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Group (Southampton University), added:

“What interests me is that aerodynamic efficiency is not the dominant factor in determining Microraptor’s glide efficiency.  However, it needs a combination of a high lift coefficient and aerodynamic efficiency to perform at its best.”

This is the first time such wind tunnel tests have been carried out on such a sophisticated model representing a Microraptor, the model even has real feathers applied to its limbs, these feathers provide detailed information on the effect of air currents and on drag, helping the researchers to gain a much deeper understanding of the flight capabilities of this Early Cretaceous dinosaur.  Further details of this research will be presented at a conference celebrating the importance of British and Chinese dinosaur fossil discoveries being held later this week at the National Oceanography Centre (Southampton).

 A Scale Drawing of Microraptor

M. gui scale drawing

M. gui scale drawing

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

17 09, 2013

Cloning Dinosaurs from DNA Preserved in Amber Emtombed Blood-sucking Insects Not Possible

By | September 17th, 2013|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|0 Comments

Researchers Conclude that “Jurassic Park Scenario” Not Likely

The title of the next instalment of the “Jurassic Park” movie franchise may have just been announced (Jurassic World), but for one group of Manchester University academics it is finally time to pour cold water on the idea that dinosaurs could be cloned from DNA recovered from blood-sucking insects that had been found in amber.  Research carried in the early 1990’s suggested that minute amounts of DNA could be recovered from insects that had been preserved trapped in tree resin (amber).  However, new research published in the online journal “Public Library of Science – Biology”, which used the very latest DNA recovery techniques, casts doubt on the ability to extract DNA from such a source.

Researchers from the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester can now confirm that the existence of DNA in amber fossils is highly unlikely.  The team led by amber expert Dr David Penney and co-ordinated by ancient DNA expert Professor Terry Brown used highly-sensitive “next generation” sequencing techniques, the most advance type of DNA sequencing, on insects in copal, the sub-fossilised resin precursor of amber.

Ancient Insects Preserved in Amber

Scientists explore the "Jurassic Park DNA theory".

Scientists explore the "Jurassic Park DNA theory".

The research was conducted wearing full forensic suits in the dedicated ancient DNA facility at The University of Manchester, which comprises a suite of independent, physically isolated laboratories, each with an ultra-filtered air supply maintaining positive displacement pressure and a managed access system.

According to Professor Brown:

“In the original 1990’s studies DNA amplification was achieved by a process called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which will preferentially amplify any modern, undamaged DNA molecules that contaminate an extract of partially degraded ancient ones to give false positive results that might be mistaken for genuine ancient DNA.  Our approach, using “next generation” sequencing methods is ideal for ancient DNA because it provides sequences for all the DNA molecules in an extract, regardless of their length, and is less likely to give preference to contaminating modern molecules.”

The team concluded that their inability to detect ancient DNA in relatively young (60 years to 10,600 years old) sub-fossilised insects in copal, despite using sensitive next generation methods, suggests that the potential for DNA survival in resin inclusions is no better, and perhaps worse, than that in air-dried museum insects (from which DNA has been retrieved using similar techniques).  This raises significant doubts about claims of DNA extraction from fossil insects in amber, many millions of years older than the copal specimens.

Dr Penney added:

“Intuitively, one might imagine that the complete and rapid engulfment in resin, resulting in almost instantaneous demise, might promote the preservation of DNA in a resin entombed insect, but this appears not to be the case.  So, unfortunately, the Jurassic Park scenario must remain in the realms of fiction.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the contribution of Manchester University in compiling this article.

16 09, 2013

Dinosaur Expert in a Tin – A Great Christmas Gift

By | September 16th, 2013|Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Dinosaur Expert in a Tin – Great Christmas Gift Idea

In response to requests from Mums and Dads of budding young palaeontologists, Everything Dinosaur has come up with a handy dinosaur themed gift idea.  With an emphasis very much on education, the team have put together an assortment of prehistoric animal themed goodies all packed into a sturdy metal box with a colourful dinosaur motif.  The gift set, appropriately labelled “Dinosaur Expert in a Tin” is aimed at children from eight years and upwards and is available exclusively from Everything Dinosaur’s website.  It makes a super Christmas or birthday gift and helps solve the problem of what to give a young dinosaur fan.

“Dinosaur Expert in a Tin” – Gift Idea

Gift idea for a budding palaeontologist

Gift idea for a budding palaeontologist

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We wanted to put together a gift set so that grown ups could provide their young charges with a range of stimulating and creative dinosaur themed activities and items.  The product concept has received very favourable feedback, after all, not many gift sets feature a dinosaur excavation kit as well as a genuine fossil.”

The Dinosaur Expert in a Tin gift set includes a full colour, beautifully illustrated dinosaur book, a notebook with pencil, two prehistoric animal models, stickers as well as the fossil find excavation kit and a real fossil with its own display box, all items have been approved by the dinosaur experts in the company.

The metal box even has its own handle so the gift set can be carried around by the young budding palaeontologist.

To see more of Everything Dinosaur’s educational themed products including the Dinosaur Expert in a Tin gift set: Educational Dinosaur Themed Gift Ideas

With Christmas just over 100 days away (a mere blink in geological time), it seems that Everything Dinosaur have done their bit to help make shopping for dinosaur themed gift ideas that much easier this year.

15 09, 2013

The Wild Safari Dinos Gryposaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

By | September 15th, 2013|Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Reviews Gryposaurus (Safari Ltd)

Included within the excellent Wild Safari Dinos and Prehistoric Life range is  this fascinating model of the Hadrosaur known as Gryposaurus.  This dinosaur may have lacked the ostentatious head-gear of other duck billed dinosaurs, but a lot of fossil material has been ascribed to this genus and as such it represents an important member of the Late Cretaceous mega fauna of North America.

Gryposaurus is  known from numerous skulls, articulated specimens and even fossilised skin impressions.  In comparison to other duck-billed dinosaurs, such as the crested Lambeosaurines, Gryposaurus had relatively longer and slimmer front legs.  The design team at Safari Ltd have been careful  to depict the slim forelimbs on their model.  This dinosaur very probably lived in herds and spent most of its time walking on all fours, adopting a bipedal stance only rarely, perhaps to flee from a marauding Tyrannosaur.

The model is painted a beautiful, dusky blue, with a light tan underside and a beige coloured row of prominent scales running from behind the skull almost to the tip of the animal’s stiffened tail.  This dinosaur is posed in a quadrupedal stance with the tail, which makes up approximately half this animal’s length,  held out straight behind it.  The presence of ossified tendons in the fossil record supports the idea that the tails of these duck-billed dinosaurs were stiff and held off the ground.

The Gryposaurus genus was established in 1914 by the famous Canadian palaeontologist Lawrence Lambe after studying fossils found in Alberta, Canada.  A number of species of Gryposaurus are now recognised by palaeontologists, making this type of duck-billed dinosaur one of the most geographically widespread of all the Hadrosaurs known to science.

 The Gryposaurus Dinosaur Model (Safari Ltd)

New Duck-billed Dinosaur for 2013

New Duck-billed Dinosaur for 2013

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

The most prominent feature of the skull, is the famous “Roman nose” that gives this dinosaur its name.  Gryposaurus means “hook-nosed lizard”.  This feature is formed by the highly arched nasal bones.  In some fossil specimens that team members at Everything Dinosaur have seen, the top part of the crest is roughened.  It has been speculated that soft tissues were connected to  these nasal bones, skin and cartilage forming a bulbous area that could be inflated as the animal breathed.  Once again, Safari Ltd are to be congratulated for the way in which this feature has been depicted on their replica.  We like the piercing blue eyes as well, an eye colouration not usually associated with dinosaur models.

 Dinosaur with Blue Eyes – Wild Safari Dinos Gryposaurus

A Blue-eyed dinosaur.

A blue-eyed dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

What purpose this bulbous soft tissue served is unknown.  It could have  amplified the animal’s calls so perhaps it was used for auditory as well as visual communication amongst members of the herd.  The enlarged nasal passages could have been very well supplied with blood vessels so this “Roman nose” could have helped this dinosaur keep cool and otherwise regulate its body temperature.

Fossils of skin impressions of Gryposaurus have been found.  These show that this dinosaur was covered in many different types of scale  The model makers at Safari Ltd have obviously paid a lot of attention to the fossil material as they have ensured that their Gryposaurus replica reflects what is known about this dinosaur’s skin texture.

This well-made model measures approximately 22 centimetres in length, from its clearly defined beak to the tip of its blue painted tail.  Size estimates for this dinosaur do vary, but based on what is presumed to be fully grown adult specimens of Gryposaurus notabilis this replica is in 1:36 scale so it fits in well with other models in the Wild Safari Dinos and the Carnegie Collectibles model ranges.  This Gryposaurus dinosaur  model is an excellent addition to the Wild Safari Dinos range.  It is always a pleasure to see duck-billed dinosaurs included in a range of quality replicas.  We at Everything Dinosaur even provide a  fact sheet so that collectors can read all about this Late Cretaceous herbivore, where its fossils have been found, how big these dinosaurs were, their taxonomic affinities to other Hadrosaurs and other fascinating facts.

14 09, 2013

Picturing a Dragonfly

By | September 14th, 2013|Photos|0 Comments

Trying to Photograph a Dragonfly – Respecting Pterosaurs

Occasionally, a dragonfly is seen around Everything Dinosaur’s office pond.  These aerial masters have been buzzing around ponds, lakes and rivers on planet Earth since the Carboniferous, it always makes our day when we get to see one.  Taking a photograph of the insect is more than a little tricky.  Dragonflies are highly manoeuvrable and extremely fast, however, when the creature settles sometimes a quick picture can be taken.

Taking a Photograph of a Dragonfly

Be quick, otherwise it will fly off.

Be quick, otherwise it will fly off.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As we struggled to take its picture, we thought about the flight capabilities of Pterosaurs.  These flying reptiles were once thought to be poor fliers, barely more than gliders.  However, scientists now think that many Pterosaurs, such as members of the Rhamphorhynchidae  and the Anurognathidae were very capable aerial predators.  Next time you see a dragonfly whizz by, consider this point, some Pterosaurs were highly adept aerial predators which may have hunted and caught such insects on the wing.

13 09, 2013

Squiggle Dinosaurs (Dinosaur Drawing Game) Reviewed

By | September 13th, 2013|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Review of Squiggle Dinosaurs

Squiggle dinosaurs is a dinosaur drawing game aimed at young dinosaur fans.  This drawing game has been specially devised to help young children develop their imagination and creativity.  Spin the spinner and select one of twelve dinosaurs listed on the spinning device, then using the squiggle pad with its wavy squiggle, the illustrator has to create a sketch of the named dinosaur.  Lots of favourite dinosaurs to draw such as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex.

 Squiggle Dinosaurs (Dinosaur Drawing Game)

Doodle a dinosaur.

Doodle a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Squiggle dinosaurs is a dinosaur game aimed at inspiring your child’s creativity.  It has proved popular with our review team.  Can you draw an awesome Allosaurus from a squiggle?  How about a vicious Velociraptor?  Give it a try, simply spin the wheel and change the squiggle into the dinosaur that you land on.

There are one hundred unique squiggles and the pack is even supplied with a special doodling pencil.  On the back of the game there is a handy pronunciation guide to help grown ups and little ones remember and pronounce the name of the prehistoric animal selected.

Squiggle dinosaurs is recommended for children aged four years and upwards, and it was awarded the Preferred Choice Award (Creative Toy Awards) by Creative Child Magazine.

To view the dinosaur drawing game, squiggle dinosaurs and Everything Dinosaur’s other educational games: Educational Dinosaur Games

12 09, 2013

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates

By | September 12th, 2013|Famous Figures, TV Reviews|0 Comments

David Attenborough on Television Screens Once Again

For those of us in the United Kingdom, look out for David Attenborough’s new television series which starts on Friday 20th September and is being shown on BBC 2 (9pm).  This two-part documentary series which has the same format as the 2011 documentary series called “David Attenborough’s First Life” takes viewers through the evolution of the vertebrates.   The evolution of animals with backbones is one of the greatest stories in natural history. Brand-new discoveries of fossils, including some amazing fossil discoveries from China, combined with stunning CGI and cinematography enable Sir David to tell this fascinating story and reveal that humans (Homo sapiens) are just part of an amazing lineage of animals that dates back some 500 million years or so.

In the first episode, entitled “From The Seas To The Skies”, David Attenborough uses new fossil evidence to unlock nature’s most extraordinary story, the incredible ascent of the animal group that now dominates our planet, the vertebrates.  The origins of the vertebrates lie in primitive fish that once swam in ancient seas but remarkable advances allowed them to make the radical move onto land, and then take to the skies with the advent of flight.

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates

Sir David tells the story of the vertebrates.

Sir David tells the story of the vertebrates.

Picture Credit: BBC

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have rated this series ten out of ten, we highly recommend watching either on the television or via other channels such as online.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of BBC Media Centre for the compilation of this article.

11 09, 2013

“Duelling Dinosaurs” Likely to Set World Record at Auction

By | September 11th, 2013|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories|0 Comments

 Auction Date Set for “Battling Dinosaurs”

The auction date has been set for the sale of a remarkable fossil, one that shows a Tyrannosaur fighting with a horned dinosaur, both specimens could make a significant contribution to the study of vertebrate mega fauna of Late Cretaceous Montana.  The meat-eater, fossils of which are so beautifully preserved, almost the entire skeleton has remained in situ, could resolve the puzzle as to whether a ferocious, “pocket battleship of a Tyrannosaur” actually existed.  These specimens will go under the hammer at Bonhams Auction House (New York), on November 19th.  If you are looking for an unusual Christmas present expect to pay somewhere between $7 million and $9 million USD (£4.41 – £5.67 million GBP), experts predict that this auction lot will fetch a world record price for a fossil sale.

Many palaeontologists and academics are concerned that if these extremely rare specimens end up in private hands then the fossils may not be made available for scientific research.  The “Montana Duelling Dinosaurs”, a record of dinosaur inter-specific combat preserved for 67 million years may be lost to science.  The horned dinosaur is believed to be a type of Chasmosaurine Ceratopsian, belonging to the same group of horned dinosaurs as the famous Triceratops.  The Tyrannosaur, estimated at around seven metres in length could be a specimen of a Nanotyrannus (N. lancensis).  A skull discovered in 1942 and initially ascribed to the Gorgosaurus genus was later discovered to represent an adult animal not a juvenile.  In 1988, in the light of a study suggesting that this relatively diminutive skull did, indeed, represent a fully grown individual, the genus Nanotyrannus was erected.  Nanotyrannus means (little tyrant).  Whether Nanotyrannus is a separate genus, or whether the fossils ascribed to Nanotyrannus actually represent juvenile specimens of already described Tyrannosaurs has been hotly debated by palaeontologists.  The discovery of such a complete fossil Tyrannosaur could resolve this debate.

To read more about the discovery of these fossils: Duelling Dinosaurs Up For Auction

Pete Larson of the Black Hills Institute, (South Dakota), himself a highly respected expert on Tyrannosaurids, has been involved in the preparation work.  His PhD supervisor Dr. Phil Manning (Manchester University) has been granted access to the “duelling dinosaurs” and this week he will present his preliminary findings at a British Science Festival to be held in Newcastle.

The Fossil Specimen – “Duelling Dinosaurs”

Pete Larson can be seen in the background (blue T-shirt).

Pete Larson can be seen in the background (blue T-shirt).

Dr. Manning commented:

“This is possibly the most astoundingly amazing fossil in the world.  Even if it were a T. rex, it would be a big find because the fossil is 99.9 per cent complete. The most valuable T. rex ever found was only eighty-five percent complete.”
Recalling his observations of the fossil material, Dr. Manning stated that Tyrannosaurs were famous for having small forearms, but the forearm of the Montana specimen was much larger in proportion when compared to an adult Tyrannosaurus rex.  Unless the arms did not grow as fast as the rest of the animal as it matured, then the disproportionately large arms could indicate that Nanotyrannus is a real and distinct genus.
Dr. Manning was able to identify a number of important anatomical characteristics that could help confirm the existence of a mid-sized, intermediate predator amongst the Late Cretaceous dinosaur mega fauna of Montana.  The Tyrannosaur, whose teeth are embedded amongst the cervical vertebrae of the Chasmosaur, is described as a graceful looking creature with a flexible but strong neck.   Although, much more time to study the two fossils is required, Dr. Manning did suggest that:
“This find indicates that T. rex faced a mid-sized competitor predator or that they preyed on Nanotyrannus.”
For many years, scientists have pondered over the structure of the food chain when vertebrate fossils from the Hell Creek Formation are considered.  Whether scavenger or hunter, Tyrannosaurus rex is regarded as the apex predator, but little evidence had been found that suggested mid-sized predators in this ecosystem.  The only other predatory dinosaurs known from the Hell Creek Formation are the very much smaller Dromaeosaurids, dinosaurs such as Saurornitholestes and Dromaeosaurus, which measure little more than two metres in length.
Phil Manning concluded:
“It seems logical that this animal filled an intermediate ecological niche between the vast T. rex and contemporary Dromaeosaur predators.”
However, the fate of this specimen and whether or not it will be able to studied in greater detail depends on the swing of an auctioneer’s gavel.
We at Everything Dinosaur hope that if a museum or some other academic institution is unable to raise the funds required to purchase the fossil, the buyer will permit full scientific access to this important discovery.
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