All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//October
11 10, 2017

Education a “Hot Spot” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

By | October 11th, 2017|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

“Hot Spot Education” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse

Today, sees the start of the annual Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair), regarded by many teachers and educationalists as the most important trade fair for books, publishing and digital media.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur will be attending and we are excited to see (and hear about), the latest developments in the publishing world.  This huge international event has attracted over seven thousand exhibitors from over one hundred countries and during the course of the next five days, the Frankfurter Buchmesse will bring over a quarter of a million visitors to Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt Book Fair Starts Today

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017

The Frankfurt Book Fair opens today.

Picture Credit: Frankfurt Book Fair

Education a Priority

Once again, education and learning take priority at the Frankfurt Book Fair, with many hundreds of exhibitors supporting the education sector in attendance.  For those visitors with an interest in education, be they teachers, those who school at home or education practitioners, check out the “Hot Spot Education” zone in Hall 4.2.  This part of the exhibition is dedicated to looking at innovations in the fields of teaching and learning aids.  The focus is on how digital products and services are changing the classroom, expect plenty of opportunities to try out the latest whiteboards and e-learning solutions.

The “Hot Spot Education” Brings Together Buyers and Suppliers

The Educational Hot Spot at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

A focus on education at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Picture Credit: Frankfurt Book Fair

The use of digital technology is a day-to-day reality for teachers in all parts of the school system, from pre-school and nursery right up to university and further education.  The Frankfurt Book Fair organisers promise that the “Hot Spot Education” area will provide a platform for displaying new products and teaching services.  Company stands will feature the latest interactive learning tools and the latest whiteboards and whiteboard software.  In addition, visitors can expect to hear from technology hardware providers that support this sector and to meet consultants who can assist with digital service provision.  The special educational needs (SEN) market is particularly strongly represented.

We all like to learn whilst having fun.  Whilst visiting this part of the huge exhibition, check out the stands that feature game developers and those companies that support a range of products to help inspire and enthuse young minds through active play.

10 10, 2017

Fused Bones in Primitive Birds Earlier than Previously Thought

By | October 10th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The Evolution of the Light but Strong Skeleton for Powered Flight

It is widely accepted that birds evolved from dinosaurs.  The Order Dinosauria is now classified into two parts, the non-avian dinosaurs, which are extinct and the avian dinosaurs (the birds), which are very much still with us.  However, the evolution of the specialised anatomy that enables powered flight is not well understood.  Birds have several skeletal modifications that greatly assist them when it comes to their aerial abilities.  Any aeronautical engineer will expound the virtues of a light but strong frame for an aircraft, birds have a light but strong skeleton with many elements fused for greater rigidity.  A team of scientists writing in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, have provided new evidence to help explain how these remarkable anatomical modifications came about.  This evolutionary story is likely to be much more complicated than previously thought.

Some Theropod Dinosaurs Evolved into Birds Skeletal Similarities and Differences

Bird skeleton compared to ground dwelling dinosaur skeleton

A skeleton of the Theropod dinosaur compared with a simplified skeleton of a modern bird.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the skeleton of the recently described oviraptorid Corythoraptor jacobsi compared to that of a modern bird.  The bird skeleton shows a number of adaptations for powered flight, such as fused hand and foot bones and an enlarged sternum but the ground-dwelling Oviraptor possesses number of anatomical characteristics which show its affinity to modern birds.  Both Aves and the Oviraptoridae are included together in the clade Maniraptora which consists of modern birds and their closest extinct relatives from the Coelurosaurian Theropods.

Pterygornis dapingfangensis – Fused Bones

A second, beautifully-preserved specimen of the Early Cretaceous Enantiornithine bird Pterygornis dapingfangensis has fully fused hands (carpometacarpus bones) as well as a fused pelvic girdle.  Dating from around 120 million years ago, this specimen is the oldest known bird fossil which shows these modifications for powered flight.  The fossil comes from the Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province (north-eastern China).  This sparrow-sized creature is one of several genera known from these Lower Cretaceous deposits, only the Solnhofen deposits of Germany are older in terms of the bird fossils they contain.  The exquisite specimen shows that the carpometacarpus and the pelvis are completely fused, it had been thought that these traits did not appear in Aves until the Late Cretaceous.   The fossil record had shown that all bird fossils associated with Upper Cretaceous deposits have a completely fused hand and pelvis.  Thanks to this newly published scientific paper, the historical origin of these avian bone fusions has been pushed back some forty million years.

The Second Specimen of Pterygornis dapingfangensis

Pterygornis dapingfangensi helps scientists to better understand bird evolution.

Pterygornis dapingfangensis fossil.

Picture Credit: W. GAO (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Great Fossils but Squashed Flat!

Named in 2015 from a single, disarticulated specimen, discovered near the town of Dapingfang, Chaoyang County in Liaoning Province, Pterygornis shows a number of unique autapomorphies that distinguishes it from other Enantiornithines and the second fossil has shown that the body plan for a rigid, fused skeleton was present in at least one species of bird from the Early Cretaceous.

Dr Steve Brusatte (University of Edinburgh), who reviewed the scientific paper, commented:

“These [fused bones] are fundamental features of the modern bird blueprint, and are integral to giving birds the strength and rigidity needed to fly.  There seems to have been a lot of experimentation among early birds, with different species trying out different ways of making their skeletons stronger and better able to withstand the rigours of flight.”

Sadly, many of the fossils from the Jiufotang Formation have been compressed and distorted as a result of the fossilisation process.  However, despite the taphonomy that ends with a lot of the fossils from these rocks being squashed flat, the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to identify that the fused bones in the second known specimen of Pterygornis were not a result of pathology or the fossilisation process.

The Disarticulated Holotype Specimen of Pterygornis dapingfangensis

Pterygornis dapingfangensi holotype material.

The scattered and disarticulated fossil remains of Pterygornis dapingfangensis.

Picture Credit: Wang Min

The lack of transitional fossils has hindered the process of identifying the evolutionary process towards the modern bird skeleton.  However, in this research paper the authors outline how the fusion of pelvic bones and those in the hands and feet may have evolved independently in non-avian dinosaurs, primitive and more advanced birds.  The scientists speculate that varying degrees of bone fusion were likely to have evolved in basal birds, perhaps as a result of environmental pressures or related to a refinement of flight capability.  It seems that the developmental pathway from ground-dwelling dinosaur to the skeletal shape of living birds has a few more surprises to spring before it is more fully understood.

9 10, 2017

Papo Dimorphodon and the Papo Roaring Smilodon are in Stock

By | October 9th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Papo Roaring Smilodon and Papo Dimorphodon in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The last of the new for 2017, individual model releases from Papo are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  The eagerly awaited Papo Dimorphodon along with the Papo Roaring Smilodon have arrived at our warehouse.  All those model fans and collectors who wanted to be informed about these replicas have been emailed.

The Papo Dimorphodon Model is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

Papo Dimorphodon figure.

The Papo Dimorphodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Dimorphodon Model

This is a beautifully crafted figure.  Everything dinosaur team members have been asked to estimate the scale of this particular Papo replica.  Papo themselves, don’t publish a scale guide for their models, but as this flying reptile has a wingspan of around fifteen centimetres and the fossils of the species Dimorphodon macronyx suggest a wingspan of about one hundred and fifty centimetres, it is not unreasonable to suggest a scale of 1:10.

The dimensions of the model are:

  • Length around 9.5 cm
  • Height of head 6 cm approximately
  • Wingspan 15 cm

The Papo Dimorphodon has an articulated lower jaw, continuing the trend for this French manufacturer to add articulated jaws to Theropods and other meat-eating animals in the company’s “Les Dinosaures” range.

A Closer View of the Skilfully Painted Head of the Papo Dimorphodon Model

The Papo Dimorphodon model (detail of the head).

The Papo Dimorphodon flying reptile head close-up.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The colour palette for this Papo model includes a lustrous, almost metallic blue for the integument of the back of the skull.  This is a superbly painted flying reptile model.

To view the Papo range of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animals

The Papo Roaring Smilodon

Flying in along with the Dimorphodon, we have the Papo “Roaring Smilodon”, a figure that has had a bit of a mixed reception from model fans and reviewers.  When we first saw pictures of this prehistoric mammal, we were a little concerned over the lion-like mane and the tiger stripes on the rump and back legs.  We are not aware of any fossil evidence for a mane in Smilodon species, stripes are controversial but they would have made effective camouflage, however, the model is very characteristically Papo and it has a certain degree of charm.  This replica, now that we have seen it up close, is beginning to grow on us.

New for 2017 – the Papo Roaring Smilodon Model

The Papo roaring Sabre-Tooth Cat.

The Papo roaring Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The figure shows some amazing detail.  The musculature of this powerful predator is very well depicted and the raised paw has a fantastic finish.  The head and those gaping jaws have been skilfully sculpted and we love the way the nose is wrinkled.  It certainly is a very dynamic pose and when you look at our own photographs of the model, the details and the clever sculpting really stand out.

Papo Roaring Smilodon Figure

The Papo Roaring Smilodon.

Papo Roaring Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Getting to Grips with the Papo Roaring Smilodon Figure

Roaring Smilodon from Papo

Papo roaring Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the picture above, you can see the animal’s ribs and the musculature of those immensely strong and powerful shoulders.  Scientists now know that even young Sabre-Tooths had very strong forelimbs, to read an article about this recent research: Strong-armed Sabre-Tooth Kittens

This year, Papo has certainly introduced an eclectic range of figures, we look forward to commenting on the company’s new editions for 2018.

In the meantime, it is great to see “two form tooth” and a roaring “knife tooth” added to the Papo model range.

8 10, 2017

Dinosaur Artwork – Palaeoart

By | October 8th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Dinosaur Artwork – Palaeoart

Illustrating prehistoric life, whether it is drawing Devonian landscapes, colouring in Cambrian scenes, painting Pterosaurs or sketching Silurian fishes is extremely important as these artworks help to inform, educate and fire the imagination of the public.  At Everything Dinosaur, we are very lucky as we get to meet so many talented palaeoartists, from the very young to the young at heart.  When visiting a school, we often get given some pictures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that the children have produced, perhaps, inspired by our dinosaur themed workshops in school.  We also get the chance to work with professional palaeoartists who make a living providing illustrations for books, museum galleries and exhibitions.

Late Cretaceous China – Superb Artwork by Zhao Chuang

China - Late Cretaceous

Late Cretaceous China – an amazing prehistoric landscape.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Helping to Illustrate Prehistoric Life

The illustration above, depicts the Late Cretaceous of China, this artwork was created by the very talented illustrator Zhao Chuang, who describes himself as a science artist.  Mr Chuang, a founder member of PNSO (Peking Natural Science Organisation), has collaborated with numerous leading palaeontologists and natural history museums including the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Natural History Museum.  The scene above shows China around 77 million years ago (Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous), a herd of duck-billed dinosaurs arrive at a waterhole, these large herbivores have nothing to fear from the beautifully feathered dromaeosaurid on the left of the image, whilst the Ankylosaurine Pinacosaurus, confident that its body armour will keep it safe, wanders away from the water having drunk its fill.

The artwork on the boxes of the prehistoric animal figures made by PNSO is also excellent too.  To view the range of prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs

Take for example, the artwork on the large Triceratops model within the PNSO model range.  The model is placed in a forest setting and the low light effect shows the scales on the figure very well.  The background is in soft focus, whilst in contrast, the Triceratops is very prominent.  The superb detail on the PNSO Triceratops can be clearly seen.  The strapline on the box is “every life should be respected”, a core message that is depicted across a range of Zhao Chuang inspired products.

PNSO Box Art – Triceratops (T. horridus)

PNSO Triceratops box art.

PNSO box art- Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Importance of Palaeoart

Palaeoart helps to portray ancient life and plays an extremely important role in helping to depict long extinct creatures.  The best examples represent the animals and landscapes using the very latest scientific thinking, helping to directly contribute to the public’s knowledge and understanding with regards to life in the past.  It is often these images, those seen in books and increasingly, images viewed on-line, that help to inspire the next generation of palaeontologists.

Zhao Chaung’s Illustration of the Theropod Concavenator

Concavenator dinosaur illustration (Zhao Chuang)

A beautiful illustration of the Theropod dinosaur Concavenator.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

7 10, 2017

Everything Dinosaur and Proposed Royal Mail Strike Action

By | October 7th, 2017|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Contingency Planning in Place if Royal Mail Strike Goes Ahead

On Thursday (5th October), it was announced that Royal Mail workers in the UK are set to go on strike for 48-hours from the 19th October in a dispute over pensions, job status and pay.  The Communication Workers Union (CWU), has informed the management at the Royal Mail Group that 111,000 postal workers will walk out and go on strike until Saturday 21st October.  As a mail order company, this is quite troubling news, especially as we build up to the very busy Christmas period.  However, Everything Dinosaur has already started to put in contingency plans to help manage any potential disruption in UK mail services.

Potential Parcel Disruption with Proposed Royal Mail Strike Action

Royal Mail industrial action threatened (October 2017).

The threat of industrial action at Royal Mail.

Picture Credit: Andrew Milligan/Press Association

This industrial action is proposed to take place at or after 11am on Thursday 19th October and run until 11am Saturday 21st October 2017.  The CWU has already intimated that further industrial action cannot be ruled out at this stage.  This dispute, which has been ongoing for some considerable time, may escalate and industrial action of this nature could, potentially disrupt Christmas deliveries.

Everything Dinosaur has already been contacted by Royal Mail over this issue and we have plans in place to help minimise any disruption should strike action go ahead.

As a mail order company, we have put into place some contingency plans to help reduce any inconvenience to our customers.

  • More packing of parcels has been scheduled to take place on the weekend prior to the 19th October.  By ensuring all orders placed on Saturday and Sunday are despatched on the following Monday, these orders should avoid the worst of any industrial action.
  • Additional, mail collections have been organised for the Tuesday and Wednesday proceeding the proposed industrial action.  This should enable us to get parcels into the mail system more quickly and help to minimise the impact of any industrial action that has taken place.
  • Staff will continue to pack items during any period of disruption, this will ensure a prompt collection and placement into the mail network as soon as any industrial action has finished.
  • Time has been allocated on the Saturday (21st), to enable us to pack orders and to get them sent out on that day.
  • All our correspondence, letters and such like are being held back so that in our own small way we can reduce the workload and the subsequent backlog for local Royal Mail staff.

In addition to not having any Royal Mail service over the intended period of strike action, further disruption can be expected as the backlog of letters and parcels is cleared.  Orders despatched by other channels such as via courier services are not going to be affected and we have already discussed with our couriers contingency plans to cover any increase in the number of courier deliveries that we use.

Everything Dinosaur Putting Plans in Place to Minimise the Impact on Customers

Royal Mail parcels being sorted.

Royal Mail parcels (2017).  Plans are in place to help minimise the disruption.

Picture Credit: Press Association/Royal Mail

Everything Dinosaur, like many firms, is actively exploring alternative mail delivery systems.  The strike action, if it is to continue, may result in delays with the Christmas post.  We are doing all we can to assist customers and provide support.

However, we urge that it would be very sensible for customers not to leave ordering until quite late, especially as the Christmas mail build up increases.  It is always a good idea to order early, so for birthdays, parties and Christmas our advice is to plan ahead.

Royal Mail management have put a press release about the threat of industrial action, in this press release they state:

“We are committed to further talks as a matter of urgency to reach agreement with the CWU.  There are no grounds for industrial action.  We want to reach agreement.  Earlier this week we reminded the CWU of the dispute resolution procedures that we agreed in the Agenda for Growth.  These dispute resolution procedures were set up as a vehicle to resolve industrial disputes.  We wish to use them to do just that.  External mediation as set out in Agenda For Growth has not taken place.  We will use all legal options at our disposal, including applying to the High Court for an injunction to prevent industrial action.”

Naturally, we will keep all our customers informed.  We will keep you posted….

6 10, 2017

New Prehistoric Crocodile with a Tough Skull

By | October 6th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ieldraan melkshamensis – The Monster of Melksham

A new species of prehistoric marine crocodile has been described after an amazing effort by the preparators at the Natural History Museum (London), to separate this crocodile’s partial skull and fragmentary jaw bones from an extremely hard concretion, in which the fossils were entombed.  Although in very poor condition, the research team from the University of Edinburgh as well as the Natural History Museum, were able to identify enough unique anatomical traits (autapomorphies), to allow a new species to be erected.  The new marine crocodile (metriorhynchid) has been named Ieldraan melkshamensis, the species name honouring the town of Melksham in Wiltshire where the fossil material was unearthed.

Ieldraan melkshamensis – One Tough Crocodylomorph with a Very Tough Skull

Ieldraan melkshamensis fossil material.

Ieldraan melkshamensis fossil with the inset showing a large, conical tooth in detail.

Picture Credit: University of Edinburgh/Davide Foffa

The specimen was acquired by the Natural History Museum in 1875, but because of its poor condition it did not attract a lot of scientific attention.  The fossil being entombed within an extremely hard concretion (septarian concretion), meant any form of scientific study was extremely limited.

Mark Graham, Senior Fossil Preparator at the Natural History Museum explained the problem:

“The specimen was completely enclosed in a super-hard rock nodule with veins of calcite running through, which had formed around it during the process of fossilisation.  The work took many hours over a period of weeks, and great care had to be taken to avoid damaging the skull and teeth as they became exposed.”

Newest member of the Metriorhynchidae

Measuring more than three metres in length, Ieldraan melkshamensis was one of the most powerful and dangerous marine predators in the warm, shallow seas of western Europe some 163 million years ago (Callovian faunal stage of the late Middle Jurassic).  The teeth with their distinctive striations (series of ridges running down the length of the teeth) indicate that this large crocodylomorph, which was very distantly related to today’s crocodilians, fed on large prey items.  It might have hunted other marine reptiles as well as preying on squid and fish.  It has been classified as member of the Metriorhynchidae family, specifically assigned to the sub-family Geosaurinae and a phylogenetic analysis places Ieldraan as the sister taxon of Geosaurus, perhaps the best-known of all the metriorhynchids, having been named and described over 100 years ago.

A Model of a Typical Metriorhynchid Crocodylomorph (Plesiosuchus)

Plesiosuchus marine crocodile model.

Available from Everything Dinosaur a Plesiosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Plesiosuchus model shown above is part of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World model collection, replicas of marine crocodiles are quite rare, to learn more about this model series and to view the range at Everything Dinosaur: Safari Ltd: Wild Safari Prehistoric World”

The authors of the scientific paper, published in the “Journal of Systematic Palaeontology” conclude that if this new species is a sister taxon to Geosaurus, this places it in the Geosaurini clade and this data suggests that the major Geosaurini lineages originated millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Lead author Davide Foffa (School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh), stated:

“It’s not the prettiest fossil in the world, but the Melksham Monster tells us a very important story about the evolution of these ancient crocodiles and how they became the apex predators in their ecosystem.  Without the amazing preparation work done by our collaborators at the Natural History Museum, it would not have been possible to work out the anatomy of this challenging specimen.”

Prehistoric Marine Crocodile on Patrol – Plesiosuchus manselii

Marine crocodile (Plesiosuchus).

Plesiosuchus manselii illustrated.  A typical metriorhynchid.

Picture Credit: Fabio Manucci/University of Edinburgh

5 10, 2017

Thailand’s Biggest Dinosaur Discovery Reported

By | October 5th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossils of Biggest Dinosaur Found to Date in Thailand Reported

Everything Dinosaur has received reports that news sources are stating that fossils of a very big dinosaur, a Sauropod, have been found in Thailand.  The first dinosaur bone from Thailand was discovered back in 1976, since then, as the country’s geology has been mapped and explored, a number of exciting dinosaur fossil discoveries have been made, mostly by employees of the Department for Mineral Resources, which is part of the Ministry for Natural Resources and the Environment.  Thailand has quite extensive Mesozoic-aged exposures from both marine and non-marine environments.  To date, team members think that the largest dinosaur known from Thailand would be Phuwiangosaurus (P. sirindhornae), which is estimated to have reached a length of about twenty metres and weighed as much as seventeen tonnes.

The First Every Dinosaur Fossil from Thailand

Partial Sauropod femur (Thailand)

The distal end of a Sauropod femur.

Picture Credit: Department of Mineral Resources (Thailand)

The photograph above shows the first dinosaur fossil to have come to the attention of science found in Thailand.  The distal end (the part furthest away from the body) of a femur was found eroding out of a stream bed in 1976.  Since then, a number of dinosaur genera have been named and described including an Iguanodont (Sirindhorna khoratensis) and two sizeable Theropods (Siamotyrannus isanensis and Siamosaurus suteethorni).

A senior government official (Niwat Maneekut, deputy director-general of the Department of Mineral Resources), is reported to have said that the fossils come from the north-east of the country.  A single fossilised bone was found by a villager in the Nong Bua Raheo district of  Chaiyaphum province, around two hundred miles north-east of the capital Bangkok, last year, but more recent excavations led by palaeontologists from the Department of Mineral Resources had recovered a further twenty pieces of bone.

Information remains patchy, but the fossils are estimated to be around 100 million years old and scientists are conducting more research.

Phuwiangosaurus is Believed to be a Member of the Euhelopodidae and Therefore Similar to Euhelopus

Scale drawing - Euhelopus.

Euhelopus scale drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

4 10, 2017

Rebor Wind Hunter in Newsletter Spotlight

By | October 4th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Rebor Utahraptor Replica Features in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

A lot of Rebor replicas have come back into stock at Everything Dinosaur, so it was fitting that a number of these fabulous scale models were featured in the latest Everything Dinosaur newsletter that came out earlier this week.  The headline highlighted the 1:35 scale Rebor Wind Hunter replica (Utahraptor ostrommaysorum), a reserve list had been opened for this eagerly awaited model and collectors were soon emailed with the good news that this model was now in Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse once again, along with the Cerberus Clan set and the 1:6 scale Compsognathus replica (Sentry).

The Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Featured the Rebor Replica Wind Hunter Model

Rebor Utahraptor model features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Rebor Wind Hunter replica features in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor 1:35 Scale Utahraptor Replica

The Rebor 1:35 scale Utahraptor replica was the first “raptor” model that Rebor ever produced and it remains one of the most popular figures in this range.  Since “Wind Hunter” was launched, a number of dromaeosaurid models have been added, the focus has been on Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis), but this model of Utahraptor, a dinosaur that lived long before Velociraptor evolved, has been out of production for some time and it is great to see it back.

The Rebor Utahraptor 1:35 Scale Model (Wind Hunter)

Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor model).

Beautiful detail on this model – the Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To enquire about the Rebor Wind Hunter model and for information on the rest of the Rebor replicas range: Email: Everything Dinosaur

To view all the Rebor figures available: Rebor Replicas

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model, a 1:40 scale model of a prehistoric elephant (M. trogontherii) has got a lot of collectors very excited and this fantastic, museum quality figure also featured in our newsletter.  This is the first of new series of wonderful prehistoric animal models and Everything Dinosaur team members look forward to breaking the news about what’s coming next.  Model fans and collectors won’t be disappointed.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To visit the Eofauna Scientific Research section on the Everything Dinosaur website: Eofauna Scientific Research at Everything Dinosaur

Compsognathus and Deinonychus in the Spotlight

Everything Dinosaur newsletter September 2017.

Lots of prehistoric animal models featured in the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our brief newsletter included details of the Rebor Deinonychus trio coming back into stock, “Tooth”, “Thrill” and “Shoot” are available and ready to do battle with the Rebor Acrocanthosaurus model (Hercules) over its kill, the Tenontosaurus corpse (Ceryneian Hind).

The Special Edition Papo Box Set

Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus special edition gift box.

The Papo juvenile Spinosaurus and the Papo Ceratosaurus gift box.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Opposite the news about the Rebor Sentry figure, we also included an update on stocks of the limited edition Papo box set which features a juvenile Spinosaurus.  This two-figure special edition has been selling very quickly and Papo dinosaur model fans were being urged to reserve their set or make a purchase as stocks may not last until Christmas.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

3 10, 2017

Squid the Last Meal of a Baby Ichthyosaurus

By | October 3rd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

Baby Ichthyosaurus communis Dined on Squid

A team of UK-based scientists have identified the youngest and therefore the smallest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis known to science and, just for good measure, they have found what could have been the marine reptile’s last meal.  Inside the body cavity of the seventy-centimetre-long fossil, the researchers found tiny “hook-like” structures, these are the less digestible parts of squid and therefore, the scientists were able to deduce that this young Ichthyosaurus had recently fed on cephalopods.

A Young Ichthyosaurus communis Attacking a Prehistoric Squid

A neonate Ichthyosaurus communis feeding on a squid.

A neonate Ichthyosaurus attacks a squid.

Picture Credit: Julian Kiely

The artist Julien Kiely has kindly reconstructed the new-born in this fantastic scene, which depicts the moment a newly born Ichthyosaurus communis attacks a squid.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, one of the authors of the scientific paper, published today in the journal “Historical Biology – The International Journal of Paleobiology”, Dean Lomax stated:

“It is amazing to think we know what a creature that is nearly 200 million years old ate for its last meal.  We found many tiny hook-like structures preserved between the ribs.  These are from the arms of prehistoric squid.  So, we know this animal’s last meal before it died was squid.”

From the Biggest to the Smallest

University of Manchester palaeontologist Dean Lomax, in collaboration with German colleagues, had recently published a paper describing the largest specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis, a female that turned out to be pregnant when she died.  Everything Dinosaur wrote an article about the research in August*, as well as having described the biggest I. communis, just a few weeks later, this new paper, describes the smallest.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax Holds the Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Specimen

Dean Lomax holding the neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax holding the baby Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

*To read the article about the largest Ichthyosaurus communis specimen: Palaeontologists and the Pregnant Ichthyosaurus

Ichthyosaurus communis

Several species of Ichthyosaurus have been identified, but Ichthyosaurus communis was the first, being named and described in 1822 from fossil material discovered by Mary Anning.  These reptiles were viviparous and a number of specimens showing embryos preserved inside their mothers are known.  However, this Ichthyosaurus is one of only a handful of fossils that represent very young animals.  As it was not preserved in association with a larger specimen (the mother) and as there are stomach contents present, it is likely that this fossil represents an independent, recently born animal, the first neonate Ichthyosaurus communis skeleton to be described.

The Ichthyosaurus Fossil on Display at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham

The neonate Ichthyosaurus communis fossil specimen.

The neonate I. communis specimen.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

The fossil is definitely a new born and not a dwarf species of Ichthyosaur as the scientists noted the large ring of sclerotic bone relative to the eye socket and the poorly ossified (highly cancellous) bones of the skull and other parts of the skeleton, these signs all indicate that these are the fossilised remains of a very young marine reptile.

Niche Partitioning in the Ichthyosauria

The new specimen is from the collections of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham).  Palaeontologist Nigel Larkin, a research associate at Cambridge University, cleaned and studied the specimen in 2016,  as he prepared the fossil, he became aware of its potential significance.  Nigel has recently been involved in an extensive restoration project at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire.  He has been helping to restore the Victorian Geological Gallery at this National Trust property to its former glory.  As one of the most highly respected fossil preparators in the UK, Nigel was able to reveal the fossil’s secrets as he cleaned and helped to preserve the delicate marine reptile skeleton.

To read an article about the Geological Gallery preservation project at Biddulph Grange: Fossil Hunting at Biddulph Grange

The discovery of squid remnants in the gut area suggests these types of Ichthyosaur specialised in hunting cephalopods.  Commenting on the implications of this fossil, Dean Lomax explained:

“This is interesting because a study by other researchers on a different type of Ichthyosaur, called Stenopterygius, which is from a geologically younger age, found that the small – and therefore young – examples of that species fed exclusively on fish.  This shows a difference in prey-preference in new-born Ichthyosaurs.” 

This could hint at niche partitioning, whereby similar species use different resources within an environment to reduce direct competition and to help them co-exist.

Dean Lomax and Nigel Larkin in Front of the Jurassic Seas Exhibit (Lapworth Museum of Geology)

The neonate Ichthyosaurus fossil on display.

Dean Lomax (left) and Nigel Larkin (right) in front of the Lapworth Geological Museum exhibit.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/University of Birmingham

How Old is the Fossil?

The specimen, part of the vertebrate fossil collection of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, (University of Birmingham), has no provenance data associated with it.  Unfortunately, there were no collection notes or other details to help the palaeontologists to identify where the fossil came from.  However, permission was granted for Nigel to remove a small portion of the matrix surrounding the fossil.  He passed this on to Ian Boomer (University of Birmingham) and Philip Copestake (Merlin Energy, Resources Ltd), so that they could analyse the rock for microscopic fossils.  Based on the types of microfossil preserved, the scientists were able to identify that this Ichthyosaur was around 199-196 million years old, (uppermost Hettangian faunal stage to lowermost Sinemurian of the Early Jurassic).

Nigel outlined the difficulties the team faced:

“Many historic Ichthyosaur specimens in museums lack any geographic or geological details and are therefore undated.  This process of looking for microfossils in their host rock might be the key to unlocking the mystery of many specimens.  Thus, this will provide researchers with lots of new information that otherwise is lost.  Of course, this requires some extensive research, but it is worth the effort.”

In addition, establishing a microfossil signature for a fossil may also help in those cases where theft of fossil material is suspected.

As part of the study, the skeleton was Micro CT-scanned and a three-dimensional digital model was created by Steve Dey of ThinkSee3D Ltd.  Using medical imaging software, Steve converted the three sets of CT cross-sectional images (from scans of the tail, middle section and head) into a single digital three-dimensional model of the whole animal.  This non-destructive technique provided further key information helping to identify the species and potentially, helping to provide new data on Ichthyosaur ontogeny.

The beautiful new-born Ichthyosaurus is on display in the recently refurbished Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, which was nominated for the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year.

The scientific paper: “The First Known Neonate Ichthyosaurus communis Skeleton: A Rediscovered Specimen from the Lower Jurassic, UK” by Lomax, D. R., Larkin, N. R., Boomer, S., Dey, S. and Copestake, published in “Historical Biology”.

2 10, 2017

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | October 2nd, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The eagerly awaited Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth replica is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Team members have spent most of the day contacting all those customers and model fans who asked us to reserve one for them.  We have been so busy sorting out all the requests that we have had little time to admire this excellent representation of Mammuthus trogontherii ourselves.

The 1:40 scale Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth Replica

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth at Everything Dinosaur

Sorting out Eofauna Steppe Mammoth models at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Checking Models Over Prior To Despatch

Stocks of this 1:40 scale model arrived around noon (BST) and prior to sending out orders, our dedicated team members inspected the models just to ensure that everyone had an appropriate data card and that the replicas were in tip-top condition.  The first orders were packed and sent on their way within two hours.  As well as the data card, Everything Dinosaur is sending out a fact sheet on the Steppe Mammoth with every model purchased.

This exciting Elephantidae replica, yes, Mammoths are members of the elephant family, (though they are more closely related to extant Asian elephants than they are to living African elephants), is the first in a new model series from Eofauna Scientific Research.  Collectors can expect more prehistoric mammal models as well as some amazing dinosaur models in the future.

To view the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model: Eofauna Scientific Research – Steppe Mammoth

The Steppe Mammoth Model has a Dynamic Pose and Shows Amazing Detail

Steppe Mammoth model.

The amazing detail on this Steppe Mammoth model can be easily seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii)

Mammuthus trogontherii was one of the largest members of the elephant family to have existed.  A fully grown adult male could weigh as much as fourteen tonnes and measure 4.5 metres high at the shoulder.  These elephants were probably cold adapted and gave rise to the much smaller, but better known Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius).  The very last of the Steppe Mammoths are believed to have died out around 30,000 years ago.

The Eofauna Steppe Mammoth model is based on a Steppe Mammoth specimen studied by Eofauna company members in northern China.  The bones of this specimen were then scaled up to equate to the remains of the largest individual known (a specimen from Mosbach, Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany).  The head is modelled on the only complete skull known of this species, which was discovered in Novosibirsk, Russia.  A prototype model was created initially and from this the production model came about.  Collectors and model fans can be assured that the Eofauna Scientific Research Steppe Mammoth is a highly accurate replica, one that was subjected to rigorous testing by researchers who really know their elephants.

A Handy Geology Ruler Provides a Good Scale for this Elephant Replica

Eofauna Steppe Mammoth (geology ruler provides scale).

A geology ruler provides a handy scale for the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information on the Eofauna Steppe Mammoth simply contact Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur

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