All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//January
11 01, 2018

Ancient Butterflies, Flutter By

By | January 11th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossilised Wing Scales Provide Evidence of Triassic Moths and Butterflies

Butterflies and moths might be regarded as delicate creatures, what with the diaphanous wings and light-weight bodies, but a new study published in the journal “Science Advances” suggests that the Lepidoptera have been around for many millions of years longer than previously thought.  The new fossil discoveries, made by an international team of scientists led by Timo van Eldijk and Bas van de Schootbrugge (Utrecht University), have also challenged the presumed co-evolution between flowering plants (Angiosperms) and pollinating insects.

Fossil Evidence for Ancient Moths and Butterflies

Fossil scales of moths and butterflies.

Fossil scales of moths and butterflies as found in the drill cores from Schandelah, Lower Saxony (Germany).

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht

A core drilled into sediments in Schandelah, Lower Saxony (northern Germany), revealed microscopic wing scales some 70 million years older than the oldest, confirmed fossils of flowering plants.  The team’s findings suggest that wing and body scales found in rocks some 201 million years old, provide evidence that the Lepidoptera survived the end-Triassic mass extinction event.  Indeed, like the Dinosauria, moths and butterflies may have benefited from the extinction event, being able to exploit environmental niches vacated by extinct species.

Drilling into Ancient Rocks Triassic/Jurassic Strata

Drill cores reveal evidence of prehistoric moths and butterflies.

Drilling to produce the cores (northern Germany).

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht/Dr Bas van de Schootbrugge

Commenting on the significance of the core drill study, Utrecht University student Timo van Eldijk explained:

“The mass extinction event occurred at the end of the Triassic and was associated with massive volcanism as the super continent Pangaea started to break apart.  As a result, biodiversity on land and in the oceans suffered a setback with many key Triassic species going extinct, including many primitive reptiles.  However, one major group of insects, the Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies, appeared unaffected.  Instead, this group diversified during a period of ecological turnover.”

The Moth and Butterfly “Tongue”

Extant butterflies and moths have a well-known association with flowering plants.  As they feed on the nectar with their long proboscis (an elongated, sucking mouthpart), they pick up pollen and therefore play an important role in Angiosperm reproduction.

Dr Bas van de Schootbrugge (Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University) stated:

“The fossil remains contain distinctive hollow scales and provide clear evidence for a group of moths with sucking mouthparts, which is related to the vast majority of living moths and butterflies.”

A Scanning Electron Microscope Image of the Wing Scales on an Extant Moth Species

A scanning electron microscope image of Glossata wing scales.

A scanning electron microscope image showing the wing scales on a modern-day Glossata moth.

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht

What Did the Triassic Lepidoptera Feed On?

If there were moths and butterflies about some 201 million years ago, some 70 million years before the first flowering plants, then what were the adult animal’s feeding on?  The researchers conclude that the first Lepidopterans were feeding on non-flowering seed plants (Gymnosperms), one of the most successful plant groups of the early Mesozoic.  The earliest proboscid moths (Glossata), likely used their long, sucking mouthparts to feast on the sugary pollination beads secreted by several groups of Gymnosperms.

There is another tantalising and very controversial aspect that is worth considering.  What if the flowering plants evolved much earlier than previously thought?

In 2013, Everything Dinosaur published an article providing information on some intriguing research that suggested flowering plants originated more than 240 million years ago, in the Early Triassic.  If flowering plants were around over 100 million years earlier than previously thought than a symbiotic relationship between early Lepidoptera and early Angiosperms could have already been in place.

To read the article about evidence for Lower Triassic flowering plant fossils: Saying it with Flowers 100 Million Years Before Anyone Expected

On the basis of the fossilised wing and body scales recovered from Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic sediments, the scientists have provided the earliest evidence to date for moths and butterflies.  The diversity of the scales found confirm a Late Triassic radiation of lepidopteran forms, including the divergence of the Glossata, a clade that consists of the living butterflies and moths with a sucking proboscis.   The team conclude that the early evolution of the Lepidoptera was probably not severely interrupted by the end-Triassic mass extinction event.

Providing an Insight into Today’s Climate Change

MSc student Timo Van Eldijk stated:

“This evidence has transformed our understanding of the evolutionary history of moths and butterflies as well as their resilience to extinction.  By studying how insects and their evolution was affected by dramatic greenhouse warming at the start of the Jurassic, we hope to provide insight into how insects might respond to the human-induced climate change challenges we face today.”

An Example of an Extant Member of the Glossata Clade

A living member of the Glossata clade.

An extant Glossata moth with similar wing scales to those found in the Upper Triassic/Lower Jurassic drill cores.

Picture Credit: Hossein Rajaei/Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany)

The scientific paper: “A Triassic-Jurassic Window into the Evolution of Lepidoptera” by Timo van Eldijk, Torsten Wappler, Paul Strother, Carolien van der Weijst, Hossein Rajaei, Henk Visscher and Bas van de Schootbrugge, published in the journal “Science Advances”.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the University of Utrecht in the compilation of this article.

10 01, 2018

Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland

By | January 10th, 2018|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

A Review of the Fossils of Folkestone, Kent

Fossil collecting is a popular hobby and there are a number of excellent general guide books available.  However, the newly published “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” by geologist and museum curator Philip Hadland, takes a slightly different perspective.  Instead of focusing on lots of fossil collecting locations, Philip provides a comprehensive overview of just one area of the Kent coast, the beaches and cliffs surrounding the port of Folkestone.  Here is a book that delivers what its title implies, if you want to explore the Gault Clay, Lower Greensand and Chalks around Folkestone then this is the book for you.

The Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland – A Comprehensive Guide

Fossil collecting guide to the Folkestone area.

Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland and published by Siri Scientific Press and priced at £12.99 plus postage.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

A Comprehensive Overview of the Geology and the Palaeoenvironment of the Folkestone Area

The author clearly has a tremendous affection for this part of the Kent coast.  His enthusiasm is infectious and the reader is soon dipping into the various chapters, dedicated to the rock formations exposed along the cliffs and the fossil delights to be found within them.  Folkestone is probably most famous for its beautiful Gault Clay ammonites, the clay being deposited around 100 million years ago and a wide variety of these cephalopods can be found preserved in the rocks.  The book contains more than 100 full colour plates, so even the beginner fossil hunter can have a go at identifying their fossil discoveries.

Clear Colour Photographs Help with Fossil Identification

Ammonite fossils from Folkestone (Anahoplites praecox).

Anahoplites praecox fossil from Folkestone.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Surprises on the Shoreline

The book begins by explaining some of the pleasures of fossil hunting, before briefly outlining a history of fossil collecting in the Folkestone area and introducing some of the colourful characters who were prominent fossil collectors in their day.  The geology of the area is explored using terminology that the general reader can understand and follow, but academics too, will no doubt gain a lot from this publication.  Intriguingly, the Cretaceous-aged sediments were thought to have been deposited in a marine environment, however, the Lower Greensand beds have produced evidence of dinosaur footprints.  The palaeoenvironment seems to have been somewhat more complex than previously thought, the Lower Greensand preserving evidence of inter-tidal mudflats, that were once crossed by dinosaurs.  Isolated dinosaur bones have also been found in the area and the book contains some fantastic photographs of these exceptionally rare fossil discoveries.

Helping to Identify Fossil Finds

Folkestone fossils - ammonites.

Folkestone fossils – ammonites.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Prehistoric Mammals

To help with identification, the colour plates and accompanying text are organised by main animal groups.  There are detailed sections on bivalves, brachiopods, corals, crustaceans, gastropods, belemnites and ammonites.  There are plenty of photographs of vertebrate fossils too and not just fish and reptiles associated with the Mesozoic.  Pleistocene-aged deposits are found in this area and these preserve the remains of numerous exotic prehistoric animals that once called this part of Kent home.

Fossil Teeth from a Hippopotamus Which Lived in the Folkestone Area During a Warmer Inter-glacial Period

Folkestone fossils - Teeth from a Hippopotamus.

Pleistocene mammal fossils from Folkestone (Hippopotamus upper canine and molar).

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

The author comments that the presence of hippos, along with other large mammals such as elephants as proved by fossil finds, demonstrates how very different Folkestone was just 120,000 years ago.  It is likely that humans were present in the area, evidence of hominins have been found elsewhere in England and in nearby France, but as yet, no indications of human activity or a human presence in this area have been found.  Perhaps, an enthusiastic fossil hunter armed with this guide, will one day discover the fossils or archaeology that demonstrates that people were living in the area and exploiting the abundant food resources that existed.

A Partial Femur from a Large Hippopotamus Provides Testament to the Exotic Pleistocene Fauna

Folkestone fossils - partial femur from a Hippopotamus.

A partial femur (thigh bone) from a Hippopotamus.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

With a foreword by renowned palaeontologist Dean Lomax, “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” is an essential read for anyone with aspirations regarding collecting fossils on this part of the English coast.  The book, with its weather-proof cover, fits snugly into a backpack and the excellent photographs and text make fossil identification in the field really easy.

If your New Year’s resolution is to get out more to enjoy the wonders of the British countryside, to start fossil hunting, or to visit more fossil collecting locations, then the “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” by Philip Hadland would be a worthy addition to your book collection.

For further information on this book and to order a copy: Siri Scientific Press On-line

9 01, 2018

On the Trail of Megalodon Ancestors

By | January 9th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists in Alabama Solve Forty-Year Shark Puzzle

A team of scientists from the University of Alabama and the McWane Science Centre (Birmingham, Alabama), have solved a four-decade-long prehistoric shark mystery, naming a new species of Late Cretaceous marine predator, one that might possibly have been an ancestor of the mighty Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), the largest carnivorous shark known to science.  The new species of shark has been named Cretalamna bryanti, the species name honours the Bryant family, committed supporters of the University of Alabama, the McWane Science Centre and the Alabama Museum of Natural History, institutions that have all been directly involved in the study and subsequent paper publication in the academic journal PeerJ.

Views of the Holotype Tooth Helping to Define a New Species

Cretalamna fossil tooth.

Views of one of the fossil shark teeth helping to define a new Cretaceous shark species.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

The picture shows the holotype fossil tooth (MSC 2984.1) in two views (A) labial view – a view of the tooth showing the side which would have faced the lips (if the fish had them), the side of the tooth facing the outside of the mouth and (B), mesial view, (directed to the middle of the body).  The scientists were able to establish a new species of a Cretalamna shark based on precise measurements of the features of the teeth within the study.

Key

(CH) = crown height.

(CT) = crown thickness.

(CW) = main cusp width.

(TH) = total height.

(TW) = total width

Thirty-Three Teeth Collected

The shark has been described based on thirty-three teeth collected from four locations within Alabama over the best part of forty years.  The teeth all between two and two and three-quarters centimetres high, represent a shark known as an otodontid or “mega-tooth” shark.  As the skeletons of sharks are made from cartilage, they rarely fossilise but their teeth do survive the fossilisation process and as an individual shark may have hundreds or even thousands of teeth in its life, shark tooth fossils are relatively common.

Previously, the teeth had been assigned to the Cretalamna species C. appendiculatai, but these teeth are mostly associated with much older Cretaceous deposits found in Europe.  The Alabama shark teeth were collected from rocks representing two geological formations, the Tombigbee Sand Member and the slightly younger Lower Mooreville Chalk.  The fossils have been dated to 84 million to 82 million years ago, a time when this part of south-eastern America was covered by a shallow sea known as the Late Cretaceous Mississippi Embayment (part of the Western Interior Seaway).

Some of the Individual Teeth Examined in the Study

Cretalamna bryanti shark fossil teeth.

Cretalamna bryanti fossil teeth.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Explaining the postulated ancestry of the Megalodon sharks, lead author of the research Jun Ebersole (McWane Science Centre), stated:

“Over time, the sharks in the Megalodon line acquire [tooth] serrations, lose their cusplets (the little “fangs” on the sides of the main cusp) and grow to enormous sizes.   The newly described shark is an early member of this family, so its teeth are small and unserrated, with up to two pairs of cusplets.”

The establishment of this new species adds to the database regarding megafauna and hypercarnivores within the Western Interior Seaway.   This new otodontid would have co-existed with other large predatory sharks, along with elasmosaurids, huge meat-eating fish and members of the Mosasauridae.  Such was the number of large carnivores, that the Western Interior Seaway has been nicknamed “Hell’s Aquarium”!

Marine Life in the Western Interior Seaway (Late Cretaceous North America)

Western Interior Seaway.

Typical Western Interior Seaway marine life.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

8 01, 2018

New Schleich Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | January 8th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

New Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The first of the 2018 Schleich prehistoric animal figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Five new models are now available, the new for 2018 Schleich Triceratops, the new colour variant Therizinosaurus plus the Psittacosaurus, Oviraptor and the amazing Dinogorgon replica.

New for 2018 Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

New Schleich prehistoric animals (2018).

New Schleich prehistoric animal models (2018).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models for 2018

Four of the five models to have arrived to date, are dinosaurs, the exception is the confusingly named Dinogorgon.  Dinogorgon is a member of the Therapsida and, as such, is more closely related to us humans than it is to any dinosaur.  One group of the therapsids, evolved into large, sabre-toothed predators – the gorgonopsids (named after the Gorgons from Greek myth), Dinogorgon is a gorgonopsid, a member of an African subfamily (the Rubidgeinae), which were the apex predators in southern Africa at the end of the Permian.

The Schleich Dinogorgon Model

Schleich Dinogorgon.

The Schleich Dinogorgon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This beautifully detailed figure measures around thirteen centimetres long and it is great to see Schleich making models of prehistoric animals that predate the Dinosauria.

Schleich Oviraptor Model

Schleich have also introduced a model of an Oviraptor into their dinosaur range.  The Oviraptor continues the trend to introduce feathered dinosaur representations into the company’s portfolio.  The figure is resplendent with its shaggy coat and prominent wing feathers.  The model stands some ten centimetres high, so it works in scale with larger replicas representing larger species.  The detail of the individual feathers on the Schleich Oviraptor has already attracted a number of favourable comments.

The Schleich Oviraptor Dinosaur Model

Schleich Oviraptor Dinosaur Model.

The new for 2018 Schleich Oviraptor dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view all the new Schleich prehistoric animal figures currently in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models

Schleich Therizinosaurus

Another Theropod, but like Oviraptor, very probably not a hypercarnivore.  Schleich have introduced a new colour version of their popular Therizinosaurus figure.  Just like its predecessor, this model has an articulated jaw and moveable arms.

The New for 2018 Schleich Therizinosaurus (Colour Variant)

Schleich Therizinosaurus dinosaur model.

Schleich new Therizinosaurus (2018).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich New for 2018 Triceratops Dinosaur Model

An old favourite has been remodelled for 2018 by Schleich.  The German-based company has introduced a large model of Triceratops.  The figure measures a whopping 21 centimetres long and it works well in scale with the Tyrannosaurus rex models introduced by Schleich.  The Schleich Triceratops has been given a vivid red colouration, in stark contrast to the battleship grey that covers the majority of the figure.

The New for 2018 Schleich Triceratops Dinosaur Model is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model (2018).

The new for 2018 Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Psittacosaurus

The last of the new for 2018 figures to be featured is the splendid Schleich Psittacosaurus.  We know that Schleich will introduce more models in the near future but for the time being, we will conclude this brief overview of new prehistoric animal models by commenting on the Schleich Psittacosaurus.

The Schleich Psittacosaurus (2018)

Schleich Psittacosaurus (2018).

New for 2018, the Schleich Psittacosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This model shows lots of detail and the skull with its prominent jugals (bony projections) deserves praise.  The painting around the open mouth is particularly well done and it is good to see that Psittacosaurus has been given a set of bristles at the end of its tail, as the fossil record suggests.  The bright green colouration contrasts nicely with the muted, pale undertones of the belly, thus emphasising the idea (as supported by a recent scientific paper), that these types of dinosaurs were countershaded.

To read an article about countershading in Psittacosaurus:Calculating the Colour of Psittacosaurus

All in all, it is a big Iguanodon’s thumb up from Everything Dinosaur for these new Schleich replicas.  We also look forward to commenting on the new for 2018 Tawa (T. hallae) figure when it arrives at our warehouse.

7 01, 2018

Triassic Inspired Prehistoric Animal Diorama

By | January 7th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Triassic Prehistoric Animal Landscape

Our thanks to dinosaur fan and model maker Robert Townsend who has sent in to Everything Dinosaur some pictures of his Triassic inspired prehistoric landscape.  Robert has constructed a large diorama complete with prehistoric vegetation, a waterhole and dinosaur footprints in the substrate.  In the latest set of photographs emailed to Everything Dinosaur, the prehistoric landscape has been populated with a range of prehistoric animal models that represent extinct creatures from the Triassic.

The Triassic Inspired Prehistoric Animal Diorama

A Triassic montage.

The Triassic landscape by Robert Townsend.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

A Terrific Triassic Landscape

The Triassic represents a transitional period in terrestrial faunas associated with the single, giant landmass Pangaea.  A number of reptile families died out towards the end of the Triassic and the Dinosauria emerged as the dominant terrestrial fauna.  Robert’s diorama includes a number of dinosaurs, such as the recently introduced Wild Safari Prehistoric World Coelophysis model and other Theropods such as the larger Liliensternus (CollectA).

A Coelophysis Inspects a Hatching Dinosaur

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Coelophysis model.

A Coelophysis mother and hatching egg.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Coelophysis (C. bauri) is known from the famous Ghost Ranch area of New Mexico, from exposures that represent part of the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation.  More than 1,000 individual skeletons of this meat-eating dinosaur have been excavated and the palaeofauna of the Ghost Ranch location featured in the first episode of the iconic 1999 television series “Walking with Dinosaurs”.  The episode was entitled “New Blood” and highlighted the radiation of the dinosaurs.  Other prehistoric animals to feature in that episode, such as Postosuchus and Plateosaurus are also included in Robert’s excellent diorama.

A CollectA Plateosaurus is Threatened by a Liliensternus (CollectA)

A Liliensternus threatens the larger Plateosaurus.

The CollectA Liliensternus confronts the CollectA Plateosaurus.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Model maker Robert stated:

“I thought that you might like another selection of my latest prehistoric diorama pictures.  This time it’s from the Late Triassic of North America and Europe.  It is interesting to note that in the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic the continents of North America and Europe/Asia appear to have been so close together that there were plenty of land bridges to connect the two and that land animals could easily pass between them in either direction.”

A Postosuchus (left) Encounters the Extremely Long-necked Tanystropheus

Tanystropheus and Postosuchus at the waterhole.

A Postosuchus and a Tanystropheus at a Triassic waterhole.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

It is great to see that model producing companies are prepared to make models of early dinosaurs along with prehistoric animal figures that represent animals from the Triassic.

Our thanks to Robert for sending in these fascinating pictures of his Triassic inspired diorama.

6 01, 2018

JurassicCollectables Reviews Rebor “Rose”

By | January 6th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

A Review of the Rebor “Rose” Velociraptor Figure by JurassicCollectables

Those clever and talented people at JurassicCollectables have posted up another Rebor replica review.  The latest video features the Rebor Velociraptor named “Rose”, a representation of a female “raptor”, one of a pair of figures (one male, one female) introduced by Rebor last month.  These videos are a splendid way for dinosaur fans and model collectors to get a good look at any potential acquisition.  As well as showing the model, the narrator highlights key features and also compares the figure to other similar replicas, so collectors can gain an appreciation of its size and scale.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor Raptor “Rose”

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Rebor “Winston”, Rebor “Pete” and Rebor “Rose”

The narrator praises the figures calling them “lovely sculpts with lovely paint jobs”.  The Rebor female raptor “Rose” is compared with the recently reviewed Velociraptor “Pete” and a third Rebor Velociraptor replica “Winston”.  In the video, the skull shape and eyes of the Rebor “Winston” and the new “Rose” are carefully considered and the viewer is treated to a detailed inspection of the differences between the skulls and the eyes of these two models.

The female Velociraptor is depicted in a squatting position, as if the animal is resting and the points of articulation are discussed.  This Rebor replica has an articulated lower jaw as well as poseable forearms.  The exquisite colouration and details of the scales on the body are reviewed and commented upon.

The Rebor Velociraptor Figure “Rose”

Rebor "Rose" Velociraptor Model.

Rebor Velociraptor “Rose”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Pack of “Raptors”

In this carefully made video, JurassicCollectables have included a review of the packaging.  The back of the Rebor “Rose” box shows the range of Rebor Velociraptor figures in 1:18 scale that have been made so far.  With Rebor, dinosaur fans and model collectors have a wonderful opportunity to build their own pack of dromaeosaurids, very reminiscent of the Velociraptors seen in the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World film franchises.

It is good to see the various Rebor models and figures shown together.  Viewers can get an appreciation of potential dinosaur dioramas when the likes of Rebor “Winston” and the dynamic leaping Rebor “Spring heeled Jack” are included in the same video.  Rebor is certainly building a strong reputation for its 1:18 scale figures.

To view the range of Rebor models available from Everything Dinosaur including the difficult to obtain Rebor “Winston” and “Spring heeled Jack”: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

In terms of new scale models, collectors are going to have to wait until April before there are more Rebor releases.  However, collectors and model fans have plenty to enjoy in the current range and these excellent video reviews by JurassicCollectables really show these figures in superb detail.  Look out for the cameo appearance of “off-colour Alan” towards the end of this fifteen-minute review.  He appears just after the “tale of the tape” when Rose is measured.  The narrator makes a very good point, the Rebor 1:18 scale raptor range works very well in terms of scale with the original Jurassic Park models and figures.

The Rebor Female Velociraptor Dinosaur Model – “Rose”

Rebor "Rose" a 1:18 scale Velociraptor figure.

The Rebor Velociraptor “Rose”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The narrator concludes the video by stating that for fans of the Velociraptors seen in films such as Jurassic Park III, the models from Rebor are a must-have for the collection.  We shall shortly post up details of the JurassicCollectables review of the partner model to accompany “Rose”, the male Velociraptor appropriately termed “Gunn”.

In the meantime, check out the amazing YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables, it is crammed full of beautiful video reviews and other fantastic material for the dinosaur model enthusiast.

JurassicCollectables: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube.

5 01, 2018

Velociraptor Portrait by PNSO

By | January 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

A Velociraptor Illustration by PNSO

We wanted to post up another beautiful dinosaur illustration by the talented Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang (Peking Natural Sciences Organisation).  So, without further ado, here is a beautiful drawing of the head and neck of a Velociraptor.

A Beautiful Drawing of the Head and Jaws of Velociraptor

A Velociraptor drawing.

An illustration of Velociraptor.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

A Pictorial Guide to Palaeontology

Taken from “A Pictorial Guide to Palaeontology” by Zhao Chuang and Yang Ying, this Velociraptor illustration is devoid of feathers.  However, although Velociraptor may have been feathered, the head and neck could have been bare.  Some members of the vulture family, including species from the Old World as well as the Americas, lack feathers on the neck and head.  This allows them to feed on the carcasses of other animals without getting their feathers caked in blood.  In addition, the bare head and neck play a role in thermoregulation.  Lack of insulating feathers around the skull and neck, permit these large birds to lose heat to their surroundings, helping them to keep cool.

The bare-necked Velociraptor illustrated by Zhao Chuang may reflect similar themes, related to avoiding getting dirty feathers whilst feeding and thermoregulation.

4 01, 2018

Estemmenosuchus Scale Drawing

By | January 4th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Estemmenosuchus Scale Drawing

One of the new 1:20 scale figures from CollectA for 2018 is a model of the Dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus.  We are not expecting this model to arrive in stock until the middle of this year, but we are busy preparing a fact sheet to accompany sales of this Permian herbivore (most scientists state that these animals were plant-eaters).  For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we sell, we include a fact sheet about that animal in with the customer’s order.  Along with the fact sheet, we also provide a handy scale drawing so that readers can see at a glance just how big this prehistoric animal was.

Everything Dinosaur’s Prepared Scale Drawing of Estemmenosuchus (E. mirabilis)

Estemmenosuchus scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the bizarre Dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus (E. mirabilis).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Deciding on Which Species of Estemmenosuchus to Depict

There are currently two species of Estemmenosuchus recognised, Estemmenosuchus mirabilis and the much larger Estemmenosuchus uralensis, but which species does the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale figure represent?  The CollectA model is over seventeen centimetres long and at 1:20 scale this represents an animal around 3.5 metres long.  This suggests that the model is getting towards the larger E. uralensis, which measured between 3.5 and 4.5 metres in length.  However, the larger Estemmenosuchus uralensis only had one pair of horny projections on the skull, whilst the smaller of the two recognised species E. mirabilis, had two pairs of horns on the top of the skull.

The CollectA Deluxe Estemmenosuchus Model (New for 2018)

Estemmenosuchus model from CollectA.

A Deluxe 1:20 scale Estemmenosuchus model from CollectA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are other anatomical differences too.  The skull of the larger species Estemmenosuchus uralensis was up to fifty percent longer.  The muzzle of E. mirabilis is proportionately smaller, but wider towards the front (anterior portion), there are also subtle differences in the morphology of the skulls, although both species show the characteristic thickened bone which is so reminiscent of the estemmenosuchids.  Based on this information, we think that the new for 2018 CollectA Deluxe Estemmenosuchus represents the smaller of the two valid species (E. mirabilis).  Our scale drawing has therefore been prepared based on an animal measuring around three metres in length and weighing an estimated 750 kilograms.

3 01, 2018

Preparing New Outlook Signatures

By | January 3rd, 2018|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing New Signatures for Emails

This week sees the installation of new computers at Everything Dinosaur.  This has given team members the opportunity to prepare new email signatures and other items as the new systems are installed in our offices.  With so many new items due to come into stock, it is a question of what products we should promote in our e-signatures along with what other information should we include in emails to customers.

Everything Dinosaur is expecting around fifty new models coming into our warehouse over the next twelve weeks or so.  We are expecting new products from Schleich, Papo, Mojo Fun, CollectA, Beasts of the Mesozoic, plus more stock of PNSO models and figures.  For our first signature of 2018, we have chosen to promote the Beasts of the Mesozoic range, an exciting range of 1:6 scale figures that represent (mostly) dromaeosaurids, although ironically, our Beasts of the Mesozoic signature features Balaur bondoc, which is now classified as a large, flightless bird and not a member of the Dromaeosauridae.

Preparing New Email Signatures for Everything Dinosaur

Beasts of the Mesozoic Balaur bondoc model.

Beasts of the Mesozoic “Raptors” Coming to Everything Dinosaur in 2018.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Preparing for All the New Products

Reserve lists have been operating for some months and several fact sheets have already been prepared along with scientifically accurate scale drawings.  Room has been allocated within our warehouse to receive the new products and we are looking forward to highlighting all the new arrivals on our blog and social media pages.  Look out for updates and featured articles being posted up on this weblog.

2 01, 2018

Palaeontology Predictions for 2017 – How did we do?

By | January 2nd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page|0 Comments

Palaeontology Predictions for 2017 – How did we do?

Back in early January 2017, Everything Dinosaur team members had a go at predicting the news stories that our blog site would cover in the next twelve months or so.  After our crystal ball gazing we made a total of seven predictions:

1).  A New Epoch – Arise the Anthropocene!

2).  More Mini Dinos – The “Microsaurs” are Coming!

3).  “Enormosaurus” to Get a Formal Scientific Name

4).  The Impact of the Dinosaurs of China Exhibition in the UK

5).  Everything Dinosaur’s New Website

6).  Fossil Sites and Vandalism

7).  Dinosaur Fossilised Eggs Discovery

Arise the Anthropocene!

The impact of our own species on the planet was never far from the news channels last year, a trend that will be continued long into the future.  In the early 2017 blog article, we specifically highlighted the problem of non-biodegradable plastics and their impact on the ecology of the ocean.  This huge problem was brought into sharp focus with the excellent “Blue Planet II” television series broadcast by the BBC.

The Impact of Plastics in our Oceans was Highlighted in Early 2017 by Everything Dinosaur

Plastic pollution, the impact of mankind on the environment

Non-biodegradable plastics and other debris on a beach.

As yet, the Anthropocene has not been formally adopted as a distinct unit of geological time.  The body tasked with defining the start of this new Epoch and also defining the end of the current Epoch (the Holocene), the Anthropocene Working Group, has not reported back to the International Commission on Stratigraphy.  The idea to mark the impact on the environment by our own species, with the establishment of a new unit of geological time has been accepted, it is now a case of agreeing when in history our influence started to become profound.

Mini Dinosaur Discoveries

With the Dinosauria, it is often the big fossil specimens that grab the headlines. Everything Dinosaur predicted that a number of new species of small Theropod dinosaur would be named and described.  Sure enough, a number of “little critters” had scientific papers written about them, for example, in March, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the discovery of a new species of Early Cretaceous dromaeosaurid.  Zhongjianosaurus yangi was about eighty centimetres long (most of that was tail), it has been described as “Microraptor on stilts”.

Newly Described Chinese Dinosaur Z. yangi

The holotype fossil material of Zhongjianosaurus yangi.

The holotype of Zhongjianosaurus yangi.   A new “Microsaur” described in 2017.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

“Enormosaurus” Gets Formal Scientific Name

The huge Titanosaur dubbed “Enormosaurus”, which had been featured in the television documentary “Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur” was finally named and described, just as we predicted.  A scientific paper published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology)” in August announced Patagotitan mayorum to the world.  Attenborough’s giant, sixty-nine tonne dinosaur finally had a scientific name.

An Illustration Showing the Size of Patagotitan mayorum

Patagotitan size comparison.

Patagotitan mayorum size comparison with an adult African elephant and a human for scale.

Picture Credit: G. Lio/Everything Dinosaur

To read the article about the naming of P. mayorumGiant Dinosaur Gets a Name

The Dinosaurs of China Exhibition Proves to be a Big Hit

In the summer and autumn of 2017, visitors to Nottingham were given the opportunity to view some amazing Chinese dinosaur fossils close up.  The “Ground Shakers to Feathered Flyers” exhibition show-cased some of the astonishing dinosaurs from north-eastern China that demonstrate the evolutionary link between Theropod dinosaurs and birds.  As we predicted, the exhibition proved to be a big commercial success with hundreds of thousands of visitors “flocking” to the East Midlands.

A Huge Gigantoraptor Towers Over the Exhibition

Dinosaurs of China 2017.

Giant dinosaurs featured in the exhibition.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur is already working on a number of dinosaur, monster and prehistoric animal themed events for 2018…

The New Everything Dinosaur Website

Just as we said, our new website went live in the early Spring of 2018.  It is mobile device friendly, has lots more interactivity and permits us to make purchasing dinosaur toys and models so much easier than ever before.  Tens of thousands of orders processed and FEEFO 5-star ratings across the board provide testimony with regards to the site’s success.

Visit Everything Dinosaur: Everything Dinosaur

Fossil Sites and Vandalism

Sadly, our prediction about more deliberate damage to fossil sites came true, all too frequently.  Over the course of the last twelve months we have reported upon the apprehension of a Chinese dinosaur egg fossil thief (March 2017) and last month, we reported the sad news that a three-toed dinosaur foot print fossil in Australia had been deliberately vandalised.

To read the story: Dinosaur Footprint Vandalised

Dinosaur Fossil Eggs

For such a geographically widespread group, with a huge temporal range, dinosaur eggs are relatively rare.  However, our last prediction concerned the discovery of dinosaur fossil eggs and sure enough, on December 25th (blogged about on December 27th), we picked up reports that Chinese construction workers had discovered more than twenty dinosaur egg fossils during the construction of a school in Jiangxi Province (south-eastern China).

Dinosaur Egg Fossil Discovery

Chinese dinosaur egg fossils.

Local scientists examine the dinosaur egg fossils.

Picture Credit: Ming Kangping/China News Service

We wonder what amazing dinosaur news stories and fossil discoveries we will cover in this blog over the next twelve months or so…

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