All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
21 08, 2016

Learning Life Skills – The Achievosaurs

By | August 21st, 2016|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

The Achievosaurs Soft Toys

Teachers and teaching assistants all round the country are busy finalising their schemes of work in readiness for the new term and Everything Dinosaur team members have been helping.  Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) children have been benefiting from an innovative use of dinosaur and prehistoric animal soft toys – the Achievosaurs and Everything Dinosaur has been busy supplying schools and other educational establishments with fluffy and soft prehistoric animal plush in preparation for the start of the autumn term.

“Askaraptor” One of the Achievosaurs from Everything Dinosaur

A Utahraptor dinosaur soft and cuddly toy.

“Askaraptor” – a Utahraptor dinosaur soft toy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For children in Foundation Stage classes (Nursery and Reception), the start of a new term can be quite daunting.  However, teaching teams are tasked with introducing key learning skills at a young age.  The “Achievosaurs”, a group of soft toy prehistoric animals can help children to develop these key skills.  In essence, the Achievosaurs, or as they are sometimes called “the Achieveosaurs”, with the extra “e”, aims to teach children about positive ways in which they can improve their ability to learn.  These qualities include being prepared to ask questions, to share ideas and thoughts and to persevere.  To help reinforce learning the children are incentivised by being able to look after the dinosaur soft toy which epitomises the learning skill that they have demonstrated.

Adopting the Achievosaurs Learning Concept

A large number of schools have adopted the Achievosaurs learning concept across the EYFS cohort and into Year 1.  The dinosaur soft toys often link with a term topic whereby the children study dinosaurs and fossils, for example “the Jurassic Forest” scheme of work.

Achievosaurs Helping to Reinforce Life-Long Learning Skills

Achievosaur soft toy dinosaurs

Helping to reinforce life-long learning skills.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase dinosaur soft toys to make up your own learning skills Achievosaurs set: Itsy Bitsy Soft Toy Dinosaur for Achievosaurs

Here is a list of some of the key learning skills that can be reinforced through the use of the Achievosaurs teaching concept:

ASKARAPTOR – I can use my imagination and ask interesting questions (based on a “raptor” dinosaur such as Velociraptor or Utahraptor regarded as some of the more intelligent and agile of all the dinosaurs).

EXPLORASOR – I like to explore ideas and I enjoy new experiences.

SOLVEOSAURUS REX – I can solve problems and improve (based on T. rex the most famous dinosaur of all).

STICKASAURUS – I stick at tasks and persevere (based on Stegosaurus a popular, plant eating dinosaur with plates on its back).

THINKODOCUS – I think carefully about what I learn (based on the big, plant-eating dinosaur called Diplodocus).

TRYCERATOPS – I try new things, don’t give up and work really hard (based on Triceratops, a very well known horned dinosaur with three horns).

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“One of the great things about the Achievosaurs learning concept is that you can create your own Achievosaurs to suit the particular needs of each class.  For example, we were informed by a Nursery teacher that one of her charges, an only child, had difficulty integrating into the class and found it hard to share things with the other children.  The teaching assistant created “Shareosaurus”, so that this child could be rewarded when they shared items with their classmates.”

Preparations for Later on in Life

These important skills can help prepare children for learning later on in life.  Teachers and teaching assistants can come up with their on variants and new additions, however, the trouble is, identifying soft toys that represent the likes of Diplodocus and Tyrannosaurus rex.  The experts at Everything Dinosaur can help.

With the support of Everything Dinosaur’s trained specialists, teachers can utilise a child’s fascination with dinosaurs to help reinforce important life lessons.  Enthusing and motivating children to learn by using dinosaur soft toys in school.

Team members from the company also visit schools to delivery practical, lively and very kinaesthetic dinosaur themed workshops:

To read more about Everything Dinosaur’s school workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur to Enquire About Dinosaur Themed School Workshops

20 08, 2016

Fishing Ankylosaurs?

By | August 20th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Liaoningosaurus paradoxus Lives Up To Its Name

With the description of a new specimen of the armoured dinosaur Liaoningosaurus having being published, rather than cementing what scientists knew about this Early Cretaceous dinosaur, it seems that palaeontologists are perhaps going to have to re-think this particular member of the bird-hipped dinosaurs, tentatively assigned to the Ankylosauridae.  A number of fish skeletons were preserved in association with the fossilised bones and teeth of this little critter, this has, along with an assessment of the shape of some of these bones and an examination of the very peculiar teeth, led to the authors of the paper speculating that Liaoningosaurus was a fish-eater.  A sort of armoured dinosaur that thought it was a freshwater turtle.

Did Liaoningosaurus Eat Fish?

Liaoningosaurus a fish-eating armoured dinosaur.

A newly discovered specimen of Liaoningosaurus indicates that these small armoured dinosaurs may have eaten fish.

Picture Credit: Ji et al

A Paradoxical Dinosaur – Divides Opinion

The scientists publishing in the “Journal of Geology” postulate that Liaoningosaurus paradoxus is not only one of the smallest bird-hipped dinosaurs (Ornithischians) so far described, but it might represent the first carnivorous member of the Ornithischia too.  To understand a little more about this dinosaur we have to return to the beginning, way back to 2001 when this dinosaur was formally named and described after the near complete fossilised remains of an individual armoured dinosaur were found in deposits that form the famous Yixian Formation of Liaoning, north-eastern China.  The fossils were thought to represent a juvenile and as such, with quite a bit of growing to do (it was presumed), the researchers noted its distinct anatomical features but put them down to the fact that many of these traits would be modified as the animal grew into maturity.  After all, the body-plan of an armoured dinosaur was quite well known and why should this 34 centimetre-long specimen deviate from that plan to any great extent?

Typical Late Cretaceous Ankylosaurs – (Saichania and Ankylosaurus)

Models of armoured dinosaurs.

Armoured dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

One of the stranger features identified in the original 2001 paper was that Liaoningosaurus seemed to possess a large, bony plate, described at the time as being “somewhat shell-like” that shielded the abdomen.  This “belly-plate” was reminiscent of the plastron found in turtles.  This was the first time that any such structure had been reported on from any member of the Dinosauria.  In 2014, a reassessment of the fossil material led by ankylosaurid specialist Victoria Arbour concluded that these structures were more likely to represent fossilised skin.

A Line Drawing of the Holotype Fossil of Liaoningosaurus and a Close up of the “Belly Plate” (IVPP V12566)

Liaoningosaurus fossil drawing.

A line drawing of the very “turtle-like” holotype of the armoured dinosaur Liaoningosaurus.

Picture Credit: Arbour et al (2014)

The picture above shows a line drawing of the first Liaoningosaurus fossil to be described (A) with a close up of the skin which was thought to be some sort of protective plate on the abdomen (B).  The scale bar equals five centimetres and the dinosaur does resemble a turtle in shape to some extent.

Fossilised Fish Inside the Body Cavity

The co-authors of the new scientific paper cite the presence of numerous fish fossils inside the body cavity of the Liaoningosaurus as evidence that suggests that this armoured dinosaur might have been a piscivore (fish-eater).  Up until now, it was thought that armoured dinosaurs such as the ankylosaurids were entirely herbivorous.

The Remains of Freshwater Fish Found in Association with the Body Cavity of Liaoningosaurus

Liaoningosaurus bones with fish remains in the body cavity.

The newly described Liaoningosaurus suggests that these armoured dinosaurs may have eaten fish.

Picture Credit: Ji et al

In the photograph above the orange marks indicate the location of fish fossils.

The scientists are quick to state that this evidence is not conclusive.  Three ways in which the fish could have been preserved with the dinosaur are considered:

  1. Could the fish have been sheltering inside the sunken corpse of the dead dinosaur or perhaps scavenging it when they themselves were overtaken by some catastrophic event and died?
  2. The corpse of the Liaoningosaurus could simply have to come to rest on the bottom of the body of water that coincidentally also had a number of dead fish lying on the sediment where it landed.
  3. Liaoningosaurus was a very specialised form of armoured dinosaur, one that was either fully or semi-aquatic and it fed on fish.

Of the three explanations, it is the latter, the piscivore hypothesis, that is favoured by the authors.  After all, this is not the first case in the Kingdom Animalia of one type of animal adopting a very different lifestyle compared to its near relatives.  Take the nocturnal and retiring Pangolin (Order Pholidota), for example.  These mammals are the only members of the Mammalia to have evolved large, protective keratin scales over their bodies, ironically superficially similar to the bony osteoderms and scutes of armoured dinosaurs.  Pangolins are insectivores, but their nearest relatives the Carnivora are almost all meat-eaters preying on other vertebrates.

Long Limbs and Forked Teeth

Both scientific papers allude to the fact that this small dinosaur, a little over thirty centimetres in length, had a number of peculiar anatomical features.  The long lower limbs, sharp claws and elongated feet could be traits that reflect the immaturity of the individuals but they also could be adaptations for a swimming habit – could Liaoningosaurus be the first carnivorous Ornithischian dinosaur to be described?

Those teeth, oversized for an ankylosaurid and their strange crowns could be adaptations for catching and eating slippery fish.  There are teeth present in the premaxilla, once thought to be a characteristic of a juvenile ankylosaurid that was lost as the animal grew up.  Teeth in the front of the mouth make sense if you are catching fish for a living.  The finger-like, forked crowns are highly modified, they would have made short work of any fish to get within grabbing distance of those powerful jaws.

Photographs of the New Specimen of Liaoningosaurus and Close Up Views of Three Maxillary Teeth (with Line Drawing)

Fossils of a fish-eating armoured dinosaur described.

(a) positive dorsal view, (b) negative counterpart of specimen with (c) three maxilla teeth in lateral view and (d) a line drawing showing the forked crowns – an adaptation for eating fish?

Picture Credit: Ji et al

The photograph above shows the positive slab and the counter slab (the negative) of the fossil.  In the bottom left corner there is a close up of three teeth, to the right a line drawing showing the peculiar forked pattern of the tooth crowns.

When first described, this little dinosaur was given the trivial name “paradoxus” a reference to the paradox the fossil represented.  It could not be decided where in the Ankylosauria clade Liaoningosaurus should be placed, paradoxically, despite the finding of a second beautifully preserved specimen, scientists still have lots of questions to explore when it comes to the smallest armoured dinosaur described to date.

This is one dinosaur that certainly lives up to its name.

Reference: Ji, Q., Wu, X., Cheng, Y., Ten, F., Wang, X., Ji, Y. “Fish hunting Ankylosaurs (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Cretaceous of China”. Journal of Geology. doi: 10.3969 /j.issn.1674-3636.2016.02.183

19 08, 2016

T. rex Skull Goes on Display

By | August 19th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Burke Museum Hopes T. rex Skull Gives New Museum a “Head Start”

The partially prepared, jacketed skull of an adult Tyrannosaurus rex which wandered the plains of Montana some 66.3 million years ago has gone on public display at the Burke Museum (Seattle, Washington State).  One of only fifteen T. rex skulls known, the Hell Creek Formation specimen is described as “pristine” and is part of the fossilised remains of an individual animal, representing some 20% of the entire skeleton which was discovered on Bureau of Land Management land by two Burke Museum volunteers – Jason Love and Luke Tufts.  As a result, this Tyrannosaurus rex has been nicknamed “Tufts-Love Rex”.

Arriving at the Burke Museum (Washington State)

The T. rex skull fossil arrives at Burke Museum.

Arriving at the Burke Museum (T. rex skull specimen).

Picture Credit: Burke Museum

The Fossil Find of a Lifetime

The volunteers were exploring a sandstone ridge in northern Montana when they spotted several fragments of bone on the surface.  They followed the trail of tiny fossil bones until they came across a partly exposed vertebrae.  The size of the fossils and their honeycomb texture indicated to Jason and Luke that they had found the remains of a Theropod dinosaur.  The pair alerted their colleagues and what could be the most important excavation in the Museum’s one hundred and seventeen year history, began.

A Bone Fragment Showing the Typical Honeycomb Internal Structure (Theropod Dinosaur)

The tell-tale honeycomb structure of fossil bone indicates Theropod dinosaur.

A close up of the fossil bone shows the typical honeycomb structure indicative of a Theropod dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Jason Love/Burke Museum

Some twenty tonnes of rock has had to be removed to expose the disarticulated skeleton.  So far, teeth, ribs, vertebrae and that beautifully preserved skull have been identified.  The skull was removed in a single block, which in itself weighed more than a tonne.  A local farmer was called in to help provide the lifting gear to remove the plaster jacketed fossil.  The skull has gone on display at the Burke Museum and it is hoped that the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen will form the centrepiece of a new dinosaur exhibit when the refurbished museum fully opens in 2019.

Jacketed Ribs of the T. rex Lie Next to the Skull Block

T. rex fossils in the field being prepared for transport.

Ribs of a T. rex in their plaster jacket next to the skull block.

Picture Credit: Dave DeMar/Burke Museum

For the time being, visitors will have to content themselves with looking at the partially prepared skull fossil.  Dr. Greg Wilson (Burke Museum Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology and University of Washington associate biology professor), helped with the first phase of the excavation and he is very excited about this meat-eating dinosaur fossil discovery.

Dr. Wilson stated:

“When we started to see those teeth with the skull, we knew we had a fantastic specimen.  Not only is it a fantastic specimen, it is incredibly rare.  Although arguably the most iconic and well-known species of dinosaur, the T. rex skull is one of only about fifteen reasonably complete ones known to exist in the world.”

Field Team Members Located the Squamosal Bone (Bone from the Back of the Skull)

The squamosal bone of a T. rex is exposed.

The back of the skull of a T. rex (squamosal bone exposed).

Picture Credit: Larry Mose/Burke Museum

An Average-Sized Skull for a Tyrannosaurus rex

Although the exact dimensions of the skull have yet to be calculated, this can wait until the rock matrix has been removed, researchers estimate that the skull measures about 1.2 metres long by about a metre wide.  The bones represent an adult animal, one that may have been around fifteen to twenty years of age and with an estimated length of more than ten metres, the fossils represent a sizeable beast.  The strata represent deposits laid down in an ancient riverbed.  The dinosaur might have drowned in the river, or more likely the corpse of the T. rex was washed downstream and buried before it could be scavenged by other predators.

Given the excellent state of preservation of the bones discovered so far, the scientists involved with the “Tufts-Love Rex” are confident that they will be able to learn much more about this particular dinosaur, perhaps even if the fossils represent a male or a female “Tyrant Lizard King”.

18 08, 2016

New Species of Ancient Dolphin Hiding in a Museum Collection

By | August 18th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Arktocara yakataga – May Hold Key to Freshwater Dolphin Evolution

Back in the early fifties, when geologist Donald J. Miller (United States Geological Survey), was mapping the area of Alaska that would eventually become Yakutat City, he came across an ancient skull of a whale. The snout had been broken off and lost but the preserved cranium led to the conclusion that the cranial material and associated teeth belonged to an ancient dolphin.  The fossils were despatched to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where they remained until a newly published study revealed their significance.

A New Species of Prehistoric Dolphin

The fossils represent a new species of prehistoric dolphin, an animal that lived around twenty-five million years ago and it represents the most northerly specimen of this type of toothed whale ever found.  The genus name translates from the Latin as “Face of the North” a reference to the high latitude location of the fossil discovery and the fact that the skull has been designated the holotype.

A Line Drawing (A) and a View of the Fossil Skull (B)

Arktocara skull.

A dorsal view of the skull of Arktocara (right) and associated line drawing (left)

Picture Credit: James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institute

Published in the academic journal “PeerJ”, palaeontologists Nicholas Pyenson and Alexandra Boersma describe the fossils and place it within the toothed-whale group, specifically the Platanistoidea.  Ironically, the only extant members of this group are confined to freshwater river systems, but the fossil record indicates that these types of dolphins evolved in marine environments.  The scientists hope that this new fossil discovery, a specimen that had languished in the Smithsonian fossil collection for more than half a Century, will help to shed light on the phylogeny of the Platanistoidea as well as assisting in the research to determine how these particular toothed whales evolved.

Alex Boersma, currently based at the California State University, commented:

“It’s a lovely skull, which is probably the first thing I noticed about it”.

The Skull and Other Fossil Elements

Arktocara Fossil Material

The fossil Arktocara yakataga (resting on an 1875 ethnographic map of Alaska) belonged to a dolphin that swam in subarctic marine waters around 25 million years ago.

Picture Credit: James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institute

The researchers are confident that more strange Cetacean skulls may be awaiting discovery in northern latitudes and Alex is sure that this specimen “could answer questions about how this once cosmopolitan group dating back over twenty million years dwindled down to just a few freshwater species.”

The Poul Creek Formation

The fossil comes from the Poul Creek Formation, but the exact location remains unknown, however, the scientists estimate that the fossil dates from between 29 and 24 million years ago, an important period in the history of whale evolution as the two main groups the toothed-whales “Odontoceti” and the baleen whales “Mysticeti” were diversifying and radiating into a number of new genera.

Measuring a little under two and a half metres in length, Arktocara yakataga was about the size of a modern Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).  Although the scientists cannot be absolutely certain where the animal died, after all, bones can be transported considerable distances prior to burial and fossilisation, it seems reasonable to assume that this mammal did live in a marine environment.  The research team stress that many other types of important fossil may be lingering within the collections of museums, their significance having not yet been realised due to incorrect labelling or inaccurate classification.

An Illustration of Arktocara yakataga

Arktocara illustrated.

An illustration of Arktocara.

Picture Credit: Linocut print art by Alexandra Boersma

To read a recently published article about the origin of high frequency hearing in whales: How High Frequency Hearing in Whales May Have Evolved

17 08, 2016

How the Marsupial Lion Got To Grips With Its Prey

By | August 17th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|1 Comment

Unique Elbows of Thylacoleo Hints at Hunting Strategy

The fearsome Thylacoleo (Thylacoleo carnifex), commonly referred to as the “Marsupial Lion” may have had a unique hunting strategy.  The anatomy of the limbs indicate that this native of Australia up until around 46,000 years or so ago, had very robust front legs, but it was not a fast runner.  It was probably an ambush specialist, but how did this 100 kilogramme mammal despatch its prey?  After all, it did not have the teeth typical of a carnivore.  For example, Thylacoleo lacked canines in the lower jaw and although they were present in the upper jaw, they were extremely small (a feature no doubt noted by Richard Owen, later Sir Richard Owen, who named and described this genus back in 1859).

The Fearsome Thylacoleo – but How Did it Hunt and Kill?

The fearsome Thylacoleo (Marsupial Lion)

Capable of climbing trees and with strong forelimbs for despatching prey.

Picture Credit: Peter Trusler/Australian Post

In a new paper, published in the academic journal “Paleobiology”, scientists from the University of Málaga (Spain), in collaboration with colleagues from Bristol University conclude that Thylacoleo used its big but blunt incisors to grab prey before carrying out the “coup de grâce” with a swipes from its powerful paws which possessed a formidable set of claws including a super-sized claw on its first digit, (the equivalent digit in our species being the thumb).

Comparing Elbows

How was this conclusion made?  It’s relatively simple really, the scientists studied the fossilised elbows of Thylacoleo and compared them to a number of living mammals (placental as well as marsupial).  It turns out that this pouched predator had a unique elbow joint amongst carnivorous mammals.

One of the authors of the newly published paper, Christine Janis (Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, currently on a leave of absence from a professorship at Brown University, United States), explained that this study indicates that there is a strong association between the anatomy of the humerus where it articulates with the ulna and radius (the elbow) and the way in which animals move about.

The Fossilised Remains of a Marsupial Lion

Marsupial Lion (Thylacoleo) remains.

The fossilised bones of a Marsupial Lion (Australia).

Specialised runners like canids (dogs) have an elbow joint indicating movement restricted to a back and forwards motion, helping to stabilise their bodies on the ground, great for running, whilst mammals that are confident climbers, monkeys for example, have an elbow joint that allows for rotation of the hand.  Felidae (cats), have an elbow joint of intermediate shape, as they use their forelimbs to wrestle prey and many types of cat are adroit when it comes to climbing.

In contrast, the unique elbow joint of Thylacoleo permitted extensive rotation of the hand but it also possessed features not seen in extant mammals that permitted the elbow to stabilise the limb when the animal was on the ground.  The “Marsupial Lion” has long been thought to have been at home in the trees, an animal capable of an arboreal existence, although ironically a number of the most complete and best preserved Thylacoleo fossils have been found in limestone caves in the Nullabor Plain region of Australia (Nullabor loosely translates as “no trees”).

Christine Janis stated:

“If Thylacoleo had hunted like a lion using its forelimbs to manipulate its prey, then its elbow joint should have been lion-like.  But, surprisingly, it had a unique elbow-joint among living predatory mammals , one that suggested a great deal of rotational capacity of the hand, like an arboreal mammal, but also features not seen in living climbers, that would have stabilised the limb on the ground (suggesting that it was not simply a climber).”

Christine and her colleagues group Thylacoleo with living animals that have an extreme amount of forelimb manoeuvrability, animals such as primates, sloths and anteaters.  The analysis showed that it had a greater degree of manoeuvrability than any living, meat-eating placental mammal and the team concludes that Thylacoleo was mainly terrestrial but with some climbing abilities and the forelimbs were used to overpower prey.

The African lion (Panthera leo) does not possess such flexible forelimbs and when the unique elbow joint is considered in conjunction with that over sized first digit claw, the researchers hypothesise that the “Marsupial Lion” used its claws to kill.  The big, but blunt incisors in the jaws were probably used to clamp down on prey and then with the large and retractable claw on the semi-opposable thumb (the dew claw), Thylacoleo could have slashed at its victims.

The First Human Inhabitants of Australia Knew All About the Marsupial Lion

However, it hunted, Thylacoleo was one creature that you would not want to have encountered in the outback.   The first Australians, the ancestors of the today’s aboriginal people, would have known Thylacoleo and probably they were wise enough to give it a wide berth.

The scientific paper: “Ecomorphological determinations in the absence of living analogues: the predatory behaviour of the marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) as revealed by elbow joint morphology”

To read an earlier article which examined the link between scratches made on cave walls and the climbing abilities of the Marsupial Lion: Don’t Climb a Tree to Avoid a Thylacoleo!

16 08, 2016

Getting Excited About Paleo-Creatures

By | August 16th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

A Short Video of the Paleo-Creatures Replicas

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are getting very excited at the imminent arrival of the first of the Paleo-Creatures prehistoric animal models.  Stocks of Xenacanthus, Tullimonstrum (Tully’s monster) and Atopodentatus (A. unicus) et al,  will soon be filling our warehouse shelves and we can’t wait for the shipment to arrive.  Everything Dinosaur announced recently that they would be stocking the Paleo-Creatures line of high quality, polyurethane resin replicas.

The Paleo-Creatures range of hand-crafted, scale model prehistoric animals has been created by talented Spanish artist and designer Jesús Toledo.  He very kindly sent Everything Dinosaur a link to a short video showing the models that we had ordered laid out ready for packing before they were despatched to our warehouse.  In this short video (one minute forty-five seconds), viewers get the chance to see up close for themselves just how gorgeous these models are.  Check out the video in this link: Paleo-Creatures Video

Video Credit: Jesús Toledo (Jetoar’s Collectables)

A Row of Torvosaurus Models from Paleo-Creatures

Paleo-Creatures Torvosaurus

A row of Paleo-Creatures Torvosaurus.

Picture Credit: Jesús Toledo (Jetoar’s Collectables)

 The picture above is from the short video that was sent to Everything Dinosaur.  The video shows some of the models lined up ready for packing prior to their despatch to our warehouse.   The model in the middle is the beautiful Paleo-Creatures Torvosaurus replica.  What a fantastic dinosaur model this is!  Just behind Torvosaurus some Paleo-Creatures Tullimonstrum (T. gregarium) can be seen.  Lining up in front of the fearsome Torvosaurus are some Kosmoceratops models, perhaps being just in front of a hungry Torvosaurus, especially a model with an articulated lower jaw, is quite a dangerous place for a horned dinosaur model to be.

Aegirocassis and Koolasuchus Replicas (Paleo-Creatures)

Paleo-Creatures models.

The Aegirocassis replicas (foreground), Koolasuchus models (background).

Picture Credit: Jesús Toledo (Jetoar’s Collectables)

The splendid Aegirocassis (anomalocaridids, also referred to as anomalocarids) are lined up ready to be packed, these are wonderful models of the giant Ordovician filter-feeder.  In the background, some of the Koolasuchus replicas are awaiting their turn to be packed.  They too, are very beautiful and highly detailed, hand-crafted models.

To read a press release announcing that Everything Dinosaur would be stocking the Paleo-Creatures model range: Paleo-Creatures Coming to Everything Dinosaur

A Close Up of the Paleo-Creatures Concavenator

The Paleo-Creatures Concavenator.

A close up view of the Paleo-Creatures Concavenator.

Picture Credit: Jesús Toledo (Jetoar’s Collectables)

The fine detailing on these models can really be made out, both in these still pictures and from the video that was kindly sent in to us.

Eotyrannus (E. lengi) Model from Paleo-Creatures

Paleo-Creatures Eotyrannus model.

The Paleo-Creatures Eotyrannus ready for shipping.

Picture Credit: Jesús Toledo (Jetoar’s Collectables)

15 08, 2016

A New Brazilian Titanosaur (Most Likely)

By | August 15th, 2016|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

“Sousatitan” from North-eastern Brazil

All eyes might be on the likes of Usain Bolt, Jason Kenny, Nicola Adams et al at the Rio Olympic Games, but today, Everything Dinosaur turns its attention to another part of Brazil, an area some two thousand kilometres (1,200 miles) further north.  The discovery of a single dinosaur leg bone has provided scientists with an insight into the growth and development of the biggest type of land animal to ever have lived – a Titanosaur.

An Illustration of a Group of Titanosaurs

Titanosaurs illustrated.

An illustration of a group of Titanosaurs.

Picture Credit: Marcos Paulo

The Sousa region in Paraiba State is famous for its extensive dinosaur trackways, however, actual bones are few and far between in the so called “Valley of the Dinosaurs”.  Thanks to the sharp eyes of local resident Luiz Carlos Gomes, the fibula (part of the lower leg), of a giant long-necked dinosaur has been excavated and studied by an international team of scientists.  Luis spotted the pieces of bone eroding out of a rock face and posted a photograph of his find on line.  Palaeontologists were soon alerted and the fossil fragments were carefully removed and pieced together.

The bones most likely represent a new species of Titanosaur.  For the moment, the animal has been nick-named “Sousatitan”, but sadly, unless more fossils are found, it is likely that this single bone will not lead to a formal scientific description and the erection of a new species of Brazilian dinosaur.

The scientists including palaeontologist Aline Ghilardi (Federal University of Pernambuco), report in the journal “Cretaceous Research”, that the fossil find is the first dinosaur bone to be found in the Rio do Peixe basin complex and that the strata in which the bone was found dates from the Early Cretaceous, indicating that Titanosaurs roamed this part of north-eastern Brazil around 136 million years ago.  Extensive, wide- bodied trackways found in this region had been attributed to titanosaurids, but this fragmented lower leg bone is the first body fossil to indicate the presence of dinosaurs in this part of Gondwana.

Various Views of the Titanosaur Fibula

Various views of the lower leg bone of an indeterminate Titanosauriform.

“Sousatitan” fibula images.

The Earliest Stratigraphic Occurrence of Titanosauria in Brazil

“Sousatitan” represents the oldest Titanosaur bone found in Brazil and the scientists are hopeful that more material can be found to help them discover more about the sort of herbivorous dinosaurs that roamed central Gondwana during the Berriasian to the Valanginian faunal stages of the Early Cretaceous.  With the assistance of other researchers from the University of Cape Town, the team were able to establish that the leg bone came from a juvenile.  Analysis of the bone micro-structure taken from mid point in the fibula revealed that the bone came from a young animal, one that had been through a burst of growth but had not yet reached adult size.  The scientists estimate that this individual was around 5.7 metres in length and around 1.6 metres high at the hip when it died.  It is likely that as an adult, this dinosaur would have been much bigger.  Trace fossils (trackways) in the Sousa area suggest Titanosaurs more than sixteen metres long.

Size Comparison of Different South American Titanosaurs

Comparing the size of different Titanosaur.

Titanosaur size comparison chart (scale bar = 2 metres).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Palaeobiologist, Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (University of Cape Town) analysed the well-preserved, fossilised bone micro-structure of the animal and was able to conclude that the bone was from a juvenile.

She commented: “When I studied the bone micro-structure under the microscope, it was clear that the bone belonged to a juvenile Titanosaur.   The bone structure had features that indicated that the animal was still a fast-growing young individual and that it had died before it had reached full body size.”

For the moment “Sousatitan” might not be quite as familiar to Brazilians as Usain Bolt, Mo Farah or even their own gold medal winner from the track, Thiago Braz da Silva, but perhaps one day in the future, more fossils will be found and this part of north-eastern Brazil will have a newly described Titanosaur to call their own.

14 08, 2016

Thoughts on Rhamphorhynchus

By | August 14th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Rhamphorhynchus – A Popular Pterosaur

Of all the pterosaur models that Everything Dinosaur sells, the Rhamphorhynchus replica which is part of the Wild Safari Dinos Prehistoric Life range, is one of the most popular.  Introduced in 2010, this long-tailed member of  the Pterosauria has steadily grown in popularity with dinosaur fans and model collectors alike.

Everything Dinosaur’s Illustration of the Wild Safari Dinos Rhamphorhynchus Model

Rhamphorhynchus illustration

An illustration of the Pterosaur called Rhamphorhynchus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Wild Safari Dinos range of prehistoric animal models and replicas: Wild Safari Dinos and Prehistoric Animal Models

Studying the Brain Morphology of Pterosaurs

In 2003, a team of researchers lead by Lawrence Witmer (professor at Ohio University), looked into the fossil evidence in a bid to map the brain anatomy of several types of pterosaurs.  One of the flying reptiles studied, due to the quantity of fossils was  Rhamphorhynchus muensteri.  Using endocasts of the brain they retrieved by performing CAT scans of fossil skulls and by comparing these scans with extant flying animals, the scientists were able to estimate the various physical attributes of members of the Pterosauria so that their flying abilities could be assessed.

Witmer and his team found that Rhamphorhynchus held its head parallel to the ground due to the orientation of the osseous labyrinth of the inner ear, which helps animals detect balance. In contrast, pterodactyloid pterosaurs such as Anhanguera appear to have normally held their heads at a downward angle, both in during flying and whilst on the ground.

Marine Clays of Southern England

Rhamphorhynchus fossils have been recovered from Jurassic marine clays in southern England but the finest and best preserved specimens come from the famous Solnhofen quarry in Bavaria, (southern Germany).  Many of these fossils not only preserve the bones but also show impressions of soft tissues such as the wings and tail.  Ironically, the Messel oil shale beds and their Eocene fossils are a UNESCO World Heritage site (granted this status in 1995), but as far as we at Everything Dinosaur know, the Solnhofen quarries have not be granted this status.

The Popular Wild Safari Dinos Rhamphorhynchus Model

Rhamphorhynchus model

Wild Safari Dinos Rhamphorhynchus figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rhamphorhynchus – Flying Reptile

Rhamphorhynchus was a long-tailed type of flying reptile and several species have been described.  The wings were made of skin stretched between an elongated finger from its hand, down to the ankle.  It had a long, straight tail stiffened with ligaments which ended in a diamond-shaped rudder.  It is believed that one of the ways Rhamphorhynchus hunted was by dragging its beak in the water .  When it came into contact with prey, it would snap its needle-sharp teeth shut, and toss the food into its throat pouch, a structure that has actually been preserved in some rare fossils.  Palaeontologists still debate how this Jurassic reptile fed.

13 08, 2016

Take Care Fossil Collecting Near Cliffs

By | August 13th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Take Care Fossil Hunting Near Cliffs

It is the time of year in the UK when many families take to the seaside for a holiday and many of them will visit various coastal locations and indulge in a bit of fossil hunting.  Finding fossils on the beach can be a lot of fun.  It can certainly occupy and entertain the little ones and who knows, it might lead on to fossil collecting becoming a life time hobby.  However, we at Everything Dinosaur would like to take this opportunity to warn would-be fossil hunters of the dangers of getting too close to cliffs.

Land Slips and Rock Falls are Common Around Britain’s Coasts

A rockfall at Lyme Regis

Rock fall onto the Ammonite Pavement on Monmouth Beach.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows a recent rock fall on Monmouth Beach which is located just to the west of the historic town of Lyme Regis on England’s famous “Jurassic Coast”.  Finding fossils on the beach can be a lot of fun but remember to stay away from the cliffs.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It can be all too tempting to explore a cliff face looking for fossils, we have witnessed many such occasions when people have ignored sign posts and clambered onto the cliffs or explored a recent rock fall.   Sadly, we have had to report in our blog a number of fatalities as a result of people getting caught in landslides and rock falls.”

The Fossil Collecting Code

Families would be well advised to take part in an organised fossil walk.  Local knowledge and expertise would be on hand to help visitors to make the most of an afternoon exploring our country’s prehistoric heritage.  At Lyme Regis there are a number of organised walks and tours, for further details: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks

Hunting for Fossils is a Great Summer Time Activity for Families

Looking for fossils at Lyme Regis.

Fossils can still be found on the shore.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read Everything Dinosaur’s helpful hints and tips with regards to safe fossil hunting: The Fossil Collecting Code – Hints and Tips

We urge everyone to take care when visiting beaches with high cliffs, it is best to stay well away from them and we also wish everyone who goes fossil hunting every success, here’s hoping you find some amazing fossils.

12 08, 2016

Paleo-Creatures Coming to Everything Dinosaur

By | August 12th, 2016|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Paleo-Creatures Replicas Added to Everything Dinosaur’s Huge Model Range

Everything Dinosaur is pleased to announce that the UK based prehistoric animal model supplier will be stocking the Paleo-Creatures range of prehistoric animal replicas.  Paleo-Creatures are the brain-child of talented Spanish artist and model maker Jesús Toledo.  The first ten figures should be arriving at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse next week and then model fans will be able to purchase on line at Everything Dinosaur’s website Everything Dinosaur shortly afterwards.

Coming into Stock in the Next Few Days – Paleo-Creatures Prehistoric Animal Models

The Paleo-Creatures range

An assortment of prehistoric animal replicas in the Paleo-Creatures range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Paleo-Creatures Replica Range

To start with, ten models are coming into stock.  The picture above shows the ten replicas, the top row shows Concavenator (C. corcovatus), the Koolasuchus (K. cleelandi) and the bizarre marine reptile Atopodentatus (A. unicus).  The middle section of the image showcases a further four Paleo-Creatures figures, on the left there is Aegirocassis (A. benmoulai), the giant filter-feeding anomalocaridid (anomalocarid) from the Ordovician.  The beautifully coloured Dilophosaurus (D. wetherilli), sits above a fantastic replica of the amazing Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) and to the right of the image we have the Paleo-Creatures Kosmoceratops (K. richardsoni).

A spectacular Xenacanthus, an ancient genus of freshwater shark, joins the Paleo-Creatures Torvosaurus and an Eotyrannus (E. lengi) on the third row.  Creator Jesús Toledo has even provided the Eotyrannus and Torvosaurus replicas with articulated lower jaws.

Amazing Figures for the Discerning Model Collector

Paleo-Creatures Concavenator

The Paleo-Creatures Concavenator model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information about the Paleo-Creatures range and enquire about availability and prices: Email Everything Dinosaur

Hand-Crafted and Beautifully Painted Prehistoric Animal Replicas

The Paleo-Creatures range of prehistoric animal figures are superb quality polyurethane replicas hand-painted with high quality acrylic paints.  Each one makes a fantastic piece for any model collector, especially discerning collectors of prehistoric animal models.  These scale models are available exclusively to Everything Dinosaur customers within Everything Dinosaur’s main markets and to express an interest in obtaining a Paleo-Creatures replica simply drop Everything Dinosaur an email and our dedicated team will contact you with further information: Email Everything Dinosaur for Further Information about the Paleo-Creatures Line

Aimed at collectors aged fourteen and above, these replicas are top quality display items.

The Paleo-Creatures Koolasuchus Figure

The fantastic Paleo-Creatures Koolasuchus.

A Paleo-Creatures Koolasuchus figure.

Picture Credit: Paleo-Creatures/Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We like the individuality of these figures.  Each Paleo-Creatures replica is carefully crafted and hand-painted, they really are excellent quality and we love the fact that some of the more amazing and bizarre prehistoric animals are represented.  For example,  it’s great to see a really good model of Koolasuchus, along with an interpretation of the bizarre Triassic marine reptile Atopodentatus.  Of course, there are dinosaur models and terrific they are too, but for us the real stars are the truly weird Tully Monster and the giant filter feeder Aegirocassis.”

The first ten models in this exciting new series will be available from Everything Dinosaur, next week!

Load More Posts