All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
5 06, 2016

Kulindadromeus Gets Its Coat of Feathers

By | June 5th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Reconstructing the Feathered Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus

The remarkable Kulindadromeus (K. zabaikalicus), the earliest known member of the Ornithischia (bird-hipped dinosaurs), to have been feathered has been reconstructed as part of a dinosaur exhibition currently on display in Japan.  The beautifully made, life-size model of this early Middle Jurassic herbivore will provide visitors with an opportunity to see for themselves how some of the Ornithischia evolved into feathered forms.  Kulindadromeus suggests that perhaps, the majority of dinosaurs, not just the Theropods were covered in a coat of feathers.

A Life Size Model of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus

A scale model of the feathered dinosaur Kulindadromeus.

A 1:1 scale model of Kulindadromeus.

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

It was back in the summer of 2014 that Everything Dinosaur reported upon the discovery of an extensive bone-bed that preserved the fossilised remains of a number of specimens of this dinosaur.  The rocks represent strata that was laid down sometime between 175 and 160 million years ago (Middle Jurassic Period).

To read an article by Everything Dinosaur on the discovery of Kulindadromeus: Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

The Kulindadromeus fossil material comes from a site on the banks of the River Olov in the TransBaikal region of Siberia.  Dr. Pascal Godefroit (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences), one of the scientists responsible for naming this little, one-metre-long dinosaur back in 2014, has commissioned the reconstruction of a life-sized model of this feathered animal along with a replica of its skeleton.

A Model of the Skeleton of Kulindadromeus

A replica of the skeleton of Kulindadromeus.

A model of the Kulindadromeus skeleton

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Kulindadromeus was very probably bipedal and it may have lived in flocks, just like many birds do today, but it was not very closely related to Aves (birds).  It had filamentous structures covering most of its body, including its head, chest and neck.  The more complex feather-like structures were restricted to the upper arms and the top of the legs, an arrangement of feathers found in many fossils of small Theropod dinosaurs excavated from Lower Cretaceous strata in the famous Lioaning Province of China.  The long tail, that made up at least forty percent of the animal’s entire length may have been completely devoid of feathers, just covered in scales, giving this dinosaur a “rat-tailed” appearance.

Kulindadromeus Could Not Fly

Standing around sixty centimetres high a the hips, this fast-running dinosaur could not fly.  Instead, the feathers probably served as insulation to help keep this active, little animal warm.

Visitors Will Get the Chance to Look into the Eyes of Kulindadromeus

A life-size replica of the dinosaur Kulindadromeus from Siberia.

Kulindadromeus life-size replica.

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Fossils of this curious dinosaur were uncovered in a series of field expeditions between 2010 and 2013, one of the leading researchers was Dr. Sofia Sinitsa (Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology) from the Siberian city of Chita.  When the discovery of Kulindadromeus was announced, it led to wide speculation that all dinosaurs could have possessed some form of integumental covering.  Currently, Dr.  Maria McNamara of Cork University (Ireland), is working on a study of the microstructure of the animal’s “proto-feathers”.  A scientific paper detailing this research is due to be published soon.

Commenting on the significance of Kulindadromeus, Dr. Godefroit stated:

“It is a big discovery.  It has completely changed our vision of dinosaurs.  The animal had a short snout, long hind legs, short arms and five strong fingers.  It had reptile-like scales on its tail and shins, with short bristles on its head and back.”

Hundreds of Bones Excavated

During the course of the summer expeditions, the joint Belgian-Russian team excavated a vast amount of Kulindadromeus fossil material, as well as insect and plant fossil remains.

Kulindadromeus Fossil Material from the River Olov Site

Preserved Kulindadromeus bones in a volcanic ash deposit.

Kulindadromeus fossil material.

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS, V. Shevchenko

In the field photograph of one of the fossil slabs from the dig site (above), Kulindadromeus bones can be made out in the bottom right hand corner of the piece of rock.  Danielle Dhouailly, an expert on bird feathers from the Universite Joseph Fourier in La Tronche (France) explained:

“The feathers look like down feathers from some modern chickens.  When we compare them with the leg scales, it looks as if the scales are aborted feathers, an idea that has been suggested to explain why modern birds also have scaly, bare legs.”

The wonderful Kulindadromeus replica is currently being displayed at the Tokyo National Museum of Nature and Sciences.

 Dr. Pascal Godefroit added:

“I was really amazed when I saw this.  We knew that some of the plant-eating Ornithischian dinosaurs had simple bristles and we couldn’t be sure whether these were the same kinds of structures as bird and Theropod feathers.  Our new find clinches it, all dinosaurs had feathers, or at least the potential to sprout feathers.”

The discovery of Kulindadromeus and the identification of feathered Ornithischians raises the tantalising possibility that the common ancestor of both the Theropoda and the Ornithischian dinosaurs, which might have lived more than 235 million years ago, may have been covered in feathers.

5 06, 2016

You’ve Never Seen a Dinosaur Like This Before

By | June 5th, 2016|General Teaching|Comments Off on You’ve Never Seen a Dinosaur Like This Before

A Feathered Mid Jurassic Plant-eater – Kulindadromeus

A team of international scientists have created a life-size model of the dinosaur they named and described two years ago.  The dinosaur, called Kulindadromeus (pronounced cull-lind-ah-dro-me-us), was only around one metre in length, small, when most people think of dinosaurs as being huge animals.  Size is not everything when it comes to the dinosaurs, as Kulindadromeus represents a member of the bird-hipped group of dinosaurs and fossil evidence suggest that this little reptile had feathers.

A Model of the Plant-eating Dinosaur Kulindadromeus

Kulindadromeus dinosaur model.

A model of the feathered dinosaur Kulindadromeus on display.

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Important Fossil Discovery

Many hundreds of fossils of this herbivorous dinosaur were found by field expeditions to a site on the river Olov in Siberia (Russia).  It was from these fossils that scientists were able to work out that this dinosaur ran around on its two hind legs, that it had five toes on each foot, a beak, a long scaly tail and most importantly of all, that it had feathers on its body.  The largest feathers seem to be confined to the top of the legs and arms with another set of feathers protruding from the animal’s rump.

Some of the Extensive Fossil Material Collected by the Palaeontologists

Kulindadromeus fossil material

Kulindadromeus fossils photographed at the dig site.

Picture Credit: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The fossil material comes from finely grained sedimentary rocks that were laid down in the Middle Jurassic (between 175 and 160 million years ago).  The joint Russian and Belgian field team also found plant and insect fossils.  The strata represents a watery, lakeside environment that had horsetail plants growing in the shallow lake margins.  A number of Kulindadromeus individuals have been identified from the fossil remains and by studying the fossil material, the scientists have been able to build up an accurate picture of what this dinosaur actually looked like.

The life-size replica and a model of the skeleton of Kulindadromeus (shown below), is currently on display at a museum in Japan.

A Model of the Skeleton of Kulindadromeus

Kulindadromeus skeleton model.

A model of the skeleton of Kulindadromeus.

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Many scientists have concluded that one group of dinosaurs the Theropods, a group that consisted of mainly meat-eating dinosaurs were feathered.  The Theropods were lizard-hipped dinosaurs, the discovery of Kulindadromeus suggests that bird-hipped dinosaurs were also probably covered in feathers.

4 06, 2016

High Rise Archaeology

By | June 4th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Pioneering Scans of Prehistoric Paintings

Researchers from the University of York (Yorkshire, northern England) have carried out a series of pioneering scans of the highest prehistoric paintings known from Europe.  Working at a fraction under 7,000 feet above sea level (2,133 metres), the team have been studying the rock art of Abri Faravel, a crude rock shelter discovered five years ago in the southern French Alps.  The team used car batteries to power laser and white-light scanners in order to examine the ancient artworks.

The Abri Faravel Rock Art

Rock Paintints at Abri Faravel (south-eastern France).

The paintings at the Abri Faravel. Two groups of roughly parallel lines, and two animals facing one another.

Picture Credit: C. Defrasne

The picture above shows (left) a photograph of the rock art taken in normal light and (right) a closer view of  the paintings – colours enhanced with DStretch with the YBR matrix.

Writing in the open access, online journal “Internet Archaeology”, the team confirm that the rock shelter, located in the Parc National des Écrins, has seen phases of human activity since the Mesolithic up to Medieval times.  The rock paintings are the highest (in terms of altitude) painted representations of animals known from the continent.

The Site of the Abri Faravel Rock Shelter Location

The Abri Faravel rock shelter location.

View and situation of the Abri Faravel from the south-east – location of the Abri Faravel indicated with an arrow.

Picture Credit: Loïc Damelet, CNRS/Centre Camille Jullian

The white arrow, to the left of the centre of the photograph marks the location of the Abri Faravel rock shelter.

The Abri Faravel research forms part of a wider collaborative project between archaeologists from the University of York and colleagues from the Centre Camille Jullian, Aix-en-Provence, France.  The long-running study had investigated the development of human activity over the last 8,000 years or so at a high altitude.  Scientists have excavated a series of stone animal enclosures and human dwellings that date from the Bronze Age.  However, older artefacts have been found, including Mesolithic and Neolithic flint tools as well as hand-thrown Iron Age pottery, a brooch dated to Roman times and some metalwork dating from the Middle Ages.

The paintings are regarded as the most unique feature of this site.  They reveal a story of human habitation and activity from the Mesolithic to the Post-Medieval period.

The project leader, Dr. Kevin Walsh (Senior Lecturer in York’s Department of Archaeology), commented:

“After years of research in this valley, the day we discovered these paintings was undeniably the highlight of the research programme.  Whilst we thought that we might discover engravings, such as in the Vallée des Merveilles to the south-east, we never expected to find prehistoric paintings in this exposed area that affords so few natural shelters.”

Researchers Study the Rock Art by Taking a Series of Scans

White-light scan of the rock art.

Conducting the white-light scan of the rock art.

Picture Credit: Dr. K. Walsh

Dr. Walsh went onto say:

“As this site is so unusual, we made the decision to carry out a laser-scan of the rock shelter and the surrounding landscape, plus a white-light scan of the actual paintings.  The scanning was logistically complex as our only source of electricity was car batteries, which, along with all of the scanning equipment, had to be carried up to the site.  This is the only example of virtual models, including a scan of the art, done at high altitude in the Alps and probably the highest virtual model of an archaeological landscape in Europe.”

A Polished Neolithic Stone Axe Found Close to the Site

Neolithic stone axe found near to the Faravel rock shelter.

Neolithic polished stone axe found close to the  Abri Faravel rock shelter.

Picture Credit: Guillaume Contini

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of the University of York in the compilation of this article.

3 06, 2016

Dinosaur Diorama “Jurassic Giants”

By | June 3rd, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

“Jurassic Giants of the Western World”

At Everything Dinosaur we always enjoy seeing how model collectors have used the prehistoric animal models that they have purchased from our website.  We get sent lots of photographs of dinosaur themed dioramas and we enjoy looking at these pictures, we really appreciate the effort and skill that goes into such model making activities.  Take for example, the work of Robert Townsend, he has built a thirteen-foot-long model landscape that depicts life in the Late Jurassic.  With Stegosaurus, Torvosaurus, Ceratosaurus and a plethora of Sauropods installed into the sweeping panorama, we would suggest that the model depicts life on Earth around 150 million years ago.

“Jurassic Giants of the Western World”

A Late Jurassic dinosaur diorama.

A splendid Late Jurassic diorama.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Robert has carefully planned his prehistoric landscape, it is a marvellous interpretation of the flora and fauna associated with a famous fossil location such as the Morrison Formation of the western United States. In fact, Robert has entitled his model “Jurassic Giants of the Western World”, as indeed, during this time in the Late Jurassic, continental North America was dominated by giant mega-herbivores such as Diplodocus, Camarasaurus, Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus.

Sauropods Dominate in this Dinosaur Diorama

Feeding Sauropod dinosaurs.

A group of Sauropods feeding.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

These long-necked dinosaurs in turn shared their world with a range of Ornithischian dinosaurs such as the spectacular Stegosaurs and the rapidly diversifying Ornithopoda that would, one day, come to dominate plant-eating dinosaur populations.

A Colourful Stegosaurus Searching for Something to Eat

A model of a Stegosaurus.

A Stegosaurus diorama by Robert Townsend

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

We like the way that this Stegosaurus model has been posed in the background, behind the foliage, this helps to support the feeling of depth and perspective in this dinosaur diorama.  A useful tip for all model makers is to try to create different points of interest within the scene that they are creating.  For example, on the left side of the landscape, a Diplodocus mother and baby encounter a crocodile down by the river (see photograph below).  The choice of foliage helps to enhance the view and draws the eye to what could be a dangerous moment in the life of a young Sauropod.

Meeting a Crocodile Down by the River

Dinosaurs encounter a crocodile.

Diplodocus mother and baby encounter a crocodile.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend 

Creating a Sense of Scale in the Diorama

The Camptosaurus model provides a scale to the larger Brachiosaur replica.

A Brachiosaurus (background) and a Camptosaurus (foreground).

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

A sense of scale can be created by combining various models.  In the photograph above, Robert has used a CollectA Camptosaurus replica in the foreground to help to emphasise the size and scale of the Carnegie Brachiosaurus which has been placed directly behind it.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This is a fascinating dinosaur diorama, which has been a real labour of love for Robert.  Not only has he taken a great deal of care in the layout of his prehistoric scene but he has endeavoured to reflect the fauna and flora that existed during a specific geological age, which from a palaeontological perspective, really elevates this model landscape.”

A Window Into a Prehistoric World

A proper plaque for a prehistoric landscape diorama.

The prehistoric scene has a plaque.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

UK-based Robert has even added a plaque to his four-metre-long model display, our thanks to him for sharing pictures of his creation.

2 06, 2016

Rebor Replica News

By | June 2nd, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Dinosaur Model News – Summer 2016

Email Everything Dinosaur here to reserve your models: Reserve Models Here or checkout the article below for more information.

Exciting news for the fans of the Rebor replica series as there are going to be a number of new additions to the Rebor range coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur within the next two weeks.  Firstly, not one but two Compsognathus model sets.  Compsognathus, was one of the first complete dinosaur skeletons ever found.  It is actually known from two specimens, one discovered in Germany in the late 1850’s and one found in France in 1971.   Hence, Rebor are introducing two Compsognathus sets, in honour of the two specimens.

Available from Everything Dinosaur Mid June – SENTRY!

The Rebor replica Sentry (Compsognathus).

Rebor Compsognathus – Sentry

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Flock of Compsognathus Models

Also launched at the same time is a set of four Compsognathus models entitled “BAD COMPANY”, these too will be available from Everything Dinosaur in mid June.

The Rebor Compsognathus Flock “BAD COMPANY”

Rebor Compsognathus set "Bad Company"

Rebor “Bad Company” Compsognathus model set.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our chums at Rebor tell us that the Compsognathus model in “Sentry” will be the same as one of the models in the “Bad Company” four pack.  However, with the “Sentry” replica, customers will also receive a beautiful model of the ancient Late Jurassic dragon fly Protolindenia.

The Beautiful Rebor Protolindenia Dragonfly Model (Sentry model set) Compared to a Dragonfly Fossil

The Rebor Protolindenia model compared to a fossil dragonfly.

The Rebor Protolindenia model is part of the Rebor “Sentry” Compsognathus set.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To reserve a Rebor “Sentry” Compsognathus or to reserve a Rebor “Bad Company” model set, simply: Email Everything Dinosaur

New Additions to the Rebor “Scout” Series

Say hello to “Breeze” a baby Utahraptor which is the latest addition to the very popular Rebor “Scout” series.  This 1:35 scale replica of a Utahraptor (U. ostrommaysorum) will also be available from Everything Dinosaur around the middle of June.

The Rebor “Scout” Series Baby Utahraptor – “BREEZE”

Rebor "Breeze" Utahraptor baby.

REBOR 1:35 baby Utahraptor museum class replica nicknamed “Breeze”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Continuing the dromaeosaurid theme, as “Stan” the baby Velociraptor model will also be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in a couple of weeks or so.  This model is also from the Rebor “Scout” series and it is a 1:18 scale museum quality model of a Velociraptor youngster.

The Rebor “Scout” Series Baby Velociraptor “STAN”

1:18 Rebor baby Velociraptor replica.

“Stan” the baby Velociraptor model from Rebor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To reserve any or all of these models (the  Rebor “Sentry”,  “Bad Company” or the Scout series “Breeze” or the baby Velociraptor “Stan”, simply: Email Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s current range of Rebor replicas: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Museum Quality Replicas

1 06, 2016

Roadway Leads to Devonian Deposit

By | June 1st, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

“Treasure Trove” of Devonian Fossil Material Discovered During Road Construction

Upgrading a portion of a major trunk road in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa has enabled palaeontologists to get a rare insight into the flora and fauna of an ancient Devonian ecosystem.  In a press release sent to Everything Dinosaur by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL), the creation of a cutting as part of road improvements, has exposed a highly fossiliferous shale deposit containing fossils of both plants and animals that lived more than 360 million years ago.

Roadworks Uncovers a Devonian Deposit

Devonian fossils found in Eastern Cape Province

Grahamstown road fossil discovery.

Picture Credit: SANRAL

The photograph above shows palaeontologist Dr. Robert Gess (Albany Museum in Grahamstown), with 360 million year-old invertebrate and plant fossils discovered outside Grahamstown, Eastern Cape province.

Ms Mpati Makoa, a spokeswoman for SANRAL stated:

“A number of new invertebrates as well as excellently preserved plant fossils of the Devonian Period have been excavated and discovered in rock debris of the Witpoort Formation along the N2 between Grahamstown and Fish River.”

“Many Species have not yet been Documented by Palaeontologists”

The fossils represent a marine coastline ecosystem when what is now Eastern Cape was located at a much higher latitude, some fifteen degrees off the South Pole.  Africa formed part of a huge, southern super-continent (Gondwana) that consisted of land that would eventually become South America, Antarctica, Arabia, Australia and southern Asia.  This fossil site is especially significant as during the Devonian there was a great increase and diversity in terrestrial plants, which gradually spread inland from the coastal swamps.  Many of the fossil finds, although not studied in great detail to date, indicate that there are a number of new species of plant and invertebrate likely to be documented.

Beautifully Preserved Evidence of Late Devonian Terrestrial Plants

Plant fossils from Grahamstown (South Africa)

360 million year old plant fossils.

Picture Credit: SANRAL

According to Dr. Gess, the plant and invertebrate fossil discoveries are from ancient open river mouth ecosystems.

Dr. Gess stated:

“It differs from the fossil discoveries of the closed lagoon ecosystem of Waterloo Farm, an important South African palaeontological heritage site of the Late Devonian period which is around twenty kilometres away from the current excavation site where SANRAL is working.  The discovery is significant as palaeontological research and scholarship on marine ecosystems of the Devonian Period was primarily anchored in the fossil discoveries of Waterloo Farm.  Now, we are able to trace a much broader picture of life along an ancient coastline through the discovery of new plant and invertebrate species.”

An Illustration Showing the Approximate Location of the Waterloo Farm and Grahamstown Fossil Sites (Devonian Period)

Waterloo Farm and Grahamstown Devonian fossil sites.

The location of Waterloo Farm and Grahamstown where a substantial number of Devonian fossils have been found.

Picture Credit: University of Witwatersrand with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Commenting on the fossil flora found so far, Dr Gess explained:

“We have collected the remains of a shrub sized Iridopterid plant, from the group that was ancestral to modern horsetail plants.  Interestingly, while Iridopteralians were located both at Waterloo Farm and the current fossil excavation site, they are different, though both are undescribed species.  In addition, a number of types of clubmosses (lycopods) that formed patches of knee height branching stalks resembling bristling cat’s tails have been discovered and collected at the current site, as well as Zosterophylopsid plants.”

The team also retrieved the most complete specimens of the “fronds” of the Archaeopteris notosaria tree, which according to Dr. Gess is “the best preserved fertile material of this ancient tree on record”.

An Illustration of the Ancient Tree Archaeopteris notosaria

An illustration of the Devonian Tree Archaeopteris.

The Late Devonian Tree Archaeopteris.

Marine Invertebrate Fossils

Dr. Gess and his field team have also discovered a number of new marine invertebrates.

The doctor stated:

“We are busy describing a new species of bivalve or mud clam from Waterloo Farm.  However, at the new outcrops we are dealing with an entirely different bivalve that has never before been found.”

Just a few kilometres west of the main plant fossil localities and in slightly older strata, the field team also discovered linguloid brachiopod shells.

“Linguloid brachiopods were invertebrates that lived in burrows and had a long fleshy foot.  When found without other types of marine invertebrates they indicate a marine environment with some fresh water input.  They have never before been found in this age strata.”

Roadworks Play a Huge Role in Exploring South Gondwana in the Late Devonian

A series of road repair and construction projects in this part of the Eastern Cape over the last two decades has helped palaeontologists to piece together prehistoric ecosystems from approximately 360 million years ago.  For example, twenty species of Late Devonian fish have been found at the Waterloo Farm roadworks, these fossils have been found nowhere else in the world.  In addition, the Waterloo Farm site has yielded fossils of terrestrial, freshwater flora and marine seaweeds plus invertebrate fossils representing the ancestors of today’s spiders and scorpions.

Dr Gess explained that the black shale in which the fossils are found is very prone to weathering and in nature it is turned to formless clay before it reaches the surface of the ground.

“Roadworks, though, give the opportunity for palaeontologists to, as it were, reach deep into the landscape and retrieve fresh unweathered shale,” he said.

SANRAL plans to introduce a resting place and observation area along the N2 road so that members of the public can view the fossil site and learn about South Africa’s ancient past.

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