All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//April
30 04, 2018

Prehistoric Times Issue 125 Reviewed

By | April 30th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|1 Comment

Prehistoric Times Magazine Spring 2018 Reviewed

The latest edition of Prehistoric Times, the quarterly magazine for fans of dinosaurs and collectors of prehistoric animal models, has arrived at Everything Dinosaur.  A veritable cornucopia of long extinct creatures is included in issue 125, from the false sabre-toothed cat Barbourofelis, to giant Titanosaurs (Patagotitan), Burian’s Ichthyosaurs, Tracy’s Tyrannosaurus rex and a dramatic Pleistocene tar pit diorama with a Smilodon feeding on a trapped Mastodon.

The Front Cover of Issue 125 Features Barbourofelis

Prehistoric Times magazine (spring 2018).

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 125).

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks/Photograph by Everything Dinosaur

The artwork for the front cover was provided by the talented Spanish, palaeoartist Mauricio Anton and this issue features lots of reader art too.  A special mention to Phil Wilson for a superb depiction of a pair of Carnotaurus causing mayhem and a big dinosaur thumbs-up to Marcus  Burkhardt for highlighting Mesozoic plant life with a beautiful illustration of a cycad (Cycadeoidea family).   Cycads were globally distributed during the Age of Dinosaurs, the contributors to this, the 25th anniversary edition of Prehistoric Times, are also spread world-wide with articles from New Zealanders, residents of Brazil, Englishmen, Canadians and an interview with the American palaeontologist Steve Brusatte, currently based at Edinburgh University (Scotland).

Patagotitan Profiled

The huge Titanosaur Patagotitan (P. mayorum) is profiled in this issue.  Phil Hore does an excellent job on telling the story of one of the largest terrestrial animals known to science, yet another giant from South America.  Look out for the interview with palaeontologist Steve Brusatte, which along with Tracy Lee Ford’s feature on illustrating T. rex is a highlight of this edition.

The Giant Titanosaur Patagotitan Features in Issue 125

Patagotitan mayorum at the American Museum of Natural History (New York).

Titanosaur exhibit (Patagotitan mayorum).

Picture Credit: D. Finnin/American Museum of Natural History

For further information about the magazine and details on how to subscribe to Prehistoric Times: Subscribe to Prehistoric Times Magazine

Silver Jubilee Edition

The spring edition of Prehistoric Times marks twenty-five years of publication.  A lot has happened in palaeontology and dinosaur model making since this magazine first came out in 1993.  Some of these developments are covered in the Mesozoic media section, which includes an excellent review of “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” penned by Steve Brusatte.  The latest fossil finds and dinosaur discoveries are collated in the “Paleonews” section and there is the first part of a series of articles about prehistoric animals that have featured on stamps by Jon Noad.  British model collector Mike Howgate outlines the origins and the evolution of the Dinocrats range of toys.

Tucking in to Prehistoric Times

The first edition of "Prehistoric Times".

Subscribe to “Prehistoric Times”.

Picture Credit: © 2018 Studiocanal S.A.S. and The British Film Institute

As always, this issue of the magazine is jam-packed with lots of fantastic articles, illustrations, news and features.  A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented on the silver jubilee of Prehistoric Times.

“Our congratulations to everyone who has contributed to Prehistoric Times magazine.  We are looking forward to reading the 50th year anniversary issue.”

29 04, 2018

“Puncture and Pull” Theropod Teeth Provide Insight into Dinosaur’s Diet

By | April 29th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Dinosaur Teeth Provide Information on the Diet of Theropods

Palaeontologists have speculated on the preferred prey of Theropod dinosaurs for decades.  These mainly meat-eating dinosaurs did not chew their food but bit into their victims and tore off chunks of flesh, a feeding technique named “puncture and pull”.  In newly published research, scientists have looked at the serrations on the sides of Theropod teeth and assessed their role in feeding.  An analysis of microscopic scratches and wear patterns on the teeth of several different types of Canadian and Spanish carnivorous dinosaur has revealed that the troodontid dinosaurs with their large, broad and hooked, serrations (denticles) may have specialised in hunting smaller, softer prey as their teeth might have been damaged if they had bitten into a struggling, large animal.

Study of Dinosaur Tooth Serrations Suggest Differences in Preferred Prey

Various Theropods involved in the tooth study.

The serrated teeth of Theropod dinosaurs provides evidence of preferred prey.  The teeth in the picture have been scaled to the same crown height for comparative purposes.

Picture Credit: Current Biology

The Ziphodont Teeth of Theropods

The teeth of meat-eating dinosaurs tend to be curved, with sharp, serrated edges (ziphodont), the shape and size of the tooth serrations (the denticles) varies considerably between different species.  Tyrannosaurids such as the North American Gorgosaurus and dromaeosaurids such as Dromaeosaurus both have rounded, almost rectangular denticles, despite these animals being very different sizes, with the Gorgosaurus having much larger teeth.  In contrast, the dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes has more pointed denticles that, over time can become worn and then they resemble the serrations found on the tooth of Dromaeosaurus.  Troodontids, such as Troodon have unique hooked denticles, that are proportionally much bigger than the denticles found on similarly sized Theropods.  Troodon means “wounding tooth”, a reference to the large, distinctive serrations on its teeth.

This new study under taken by University of Alberta scientists, along with colleagues from the Universidad de Zaragoza and the Universidad de La Rioja (Spain) and the Royal Ontario Museum, examined the strength of the teeth and their serrations to see whether they provided any clues about potential prey as these dinosaurs fed using the “puncture and pull” technique.

Microscopic Scratches on Dinosaur Teeth Identified by Scanning Electron Microscopy

Scratches and microwear support the idea of a "puncture and pull" feeding technique.

Tiny scratches (highlighted in yellow) support the idea of puncture and pull feeding in Theropod dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Current Biology

The picture (above), shows microwear patterns on three different Theropod teeth (scale bar = 100 um).  Each pair of pictures shows the same section of tooth with the microwear and scratches highlighted in yellow on the picture (right).  Two scratch orientations were present on all studied teeth, one oriented parallel to the border of the tooth, and one oriented 30°–40° to the tooth border, this supports the idea of “puncture and pull” feeding behaviour.

The photographs at the top show the denticles of Pyroraptor, a dromaeosaurid from Laño, Spain.  The middle photographs represent the tyrannosaurid Gorgosaurus from the Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada).  The photographs (bottom) show the denticles of Troodon (T. inequalis), also from the Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada).

Microwear and Finite Element Analysis

The researchers used scanning electron microscopy to map the wear and scratches on individual serrations in conjunction with a statistical method (finite element analysis), to identify stress patterns in teeth as they were involved in feeding.

Commenting on the research, one of the authors of the scientific paper, Ryan Wilkinson (University of Alberta), explained that their study supported the idea of “puncture and pull” feeding:

“We found the microwear patterns were similar in all of the teeth we examined, regardless of the size of the dinosaur, the size of the tooth or the shape of the denticles.”

It was concluded that the shape and strength of the dinosaurs’ teeth made them more or less vulnerable to breakage, forcing them to select different types of prey.  For troodontids, their tooth serrations were particularly prone to stress and therefore not suited to coping with struggling prey.  This suggests that although troodontids were of a similar size to many dromaeosaurs, they may have selected much smaller, less mobile prey, hinting at niche partitioning in those environments were dromaeosaurs and troodontids may have been coeval.

Stress Tests on Different Theropod Teeth

Stress tests on different Theropod dinosaur teeth.

Stress assessments of different Theropod teeth.

Picture Credit: Current Biology

The picture above shows plotted stress tests on three types of Theropod dinosaur teeth – Dromaeosaurus (top), the dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes (middle) and a troodontid (bottom).  The “hotter” the colour ie. red, orange, yellow, the greater the stress on that part of the tooth during a bite.

The teeth of troodontids were identified as being particularly susceptible to breakage when biting into struggling prey.

Ryan Wilkinson added:

“The large hooked denticles of troodontids acted like a lever and caused high stress within the denticles and the tooth, which may cause the tooth to break.”

Implications for Feeding Troodontids

The researchers, which included renowned Ankylosaur expert Victoria Arbour of the Royal Ontario Museum and a former student at the University of Alberta working with Professor Phil Currie, who also contributed to the study, conclude that the microwear evidence supports the idea of “puncture and pull” feeding in Theropod dinosaurs and that troodontids may have favoured smaller prey than dromaeosaurids, as their teeth did not stand up so well to the stresses and strains of coping with struggling prey.

The “Puncture and Pull” Feeding Technique as Demonstrated by the Dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes

The Theropod puncture/pull feeding technique.

Saurornitholestes demonstrates the puncture/pull feeding technique of Theropod dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Sydney Mohr with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Dromaeosaurus and Saurornitholestes were well-adapted for handling struggling prey, whilst troodontid teeth indicate that these dinosaurs may have had a different diet.

Troodon May Have Tackled Small Prey

Beasts of the Mesozoic Troodon.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Mountains accessory pack, features Troodon.  New research suggests that Troodon may have fed on different prey when compared to dromaeosaurids.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “Puncture-and-Pull Biomechanics in the Teeth of Predatory Coelurosaurian Dinosaurs” by Angelica Torices, Ryan Wilkinson, Victoria M. Arbour, Jose Ignacio Ruiz-Omeñaca and Philip J. Currie published in “Current Biology”.

28 04, 2018

Dinosaur Facts Compiled by Year 1 Children

By | April 28th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Facts Compiled by Year 1 Children

Children in Year 1 compiled lots of facts about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals as part of a term topic on life in the past.  The enthusiastic teaching team had challenged the pupils to conduct some independent research into dinosaurs and other creatures that lived before people.  The children were given a choice, they could research a single animal such as Brontosaurus, Triceratops or Tyrannosaurus rex, or they could create a poster about dinosaurs in general.  The only prerequisite stated by the teachers was that the children’s work had to include lots of information, lots of facts.

Children in Year 1 Compile Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Posters

Children in Year 1 design dinosaur posters.

Year 1 children design dinosaur posters.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School (Squirrel Class)/Everything Dinosaur

Demonstrating Knowledge

During our visit to the school to conduct a series of dinosaur workshops with the Year 1 classes, the children were keen to demonstrate their knowledge confidently asserting that dinosaurs laid eggs and that dinosaur fossils could be found all over the world, even in Australia!  We provided a number of extension resources to help support the school’s scheme of work, including a challenge to the children to create a non-chronological report on the life and times of the famous scientist Sir Richard Owen, highly appropriate since one of the children was called Owen.

Producing Dinosaur Posters for Display at the School

Lots of dinosaur and prehistoric animal facts on a poster.

Dinosaur facts compiled by Year 1 children.  This poster features a lot of different dinosaurs including herbivores and carnivores.  To date, something like 1,300 dinosaur genera have been described.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School (Squirrel Class)/Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and to enquire about our dinosaur workshops: Contact Everything Dinosaur, Request a Quotation

Dinosaurs as a Teaching Topic

Learning about dinosaurs provides plenty of opportunities for cross-curricular activities.  For example, the children had been exploring the properties of different materials by making prehistoric animal models and this topic has lots of scope to include writing activities (fiction and non-fiction writing).  Everything Dinosaur’s workshop leader challenged the classes (and their teachers), to produce a dinosaur themed poem.  A piece of prose that features a prehistoric animal, an intriguing idea that helps the children explore different types of writing and gives them the opportunity to develop their vocabulary, introducing the idea of stanzas, cadence, verses and iambic pentameter.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our workshops provided the ideal provocation to kick-start the children’s term topic.  Dinosaurs and prehistoric animals certainly enthused the pupils and they were eager to demonstrate their pre-knowledge and to show their visitor all the posters, fact sheets and non-chronological reports on life in the past that they had created.  The teachers too, were very enthusiastic and eager to learn, taking lots of notes and photographs during the sessions with the three classes.”

27 04, 2018

Everything Dinosaur’s May Newsletter (2018)

By | April 27th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

May Newsletter – Model Retirements and New Figures Back in Stock

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter received their latest bulletin this week.  They were the first to know about the arrival of more stocks of the Rebor Velociraptor 1:18 scale replica “Winston”, as well as the arrival of more of the Rebor Yutyrannus huali figure, the Rebor Y-REX, the first 1:35 scale model produced by Rebor.

Back in Stock at Everything Dinosaur the Rebor Y-REX and the Rebor Velociraptor Figure “Winston”

May newsletter Rebor Y-REX and "Winston" back in stock.

Everything Dinosaur May newsletter announces Rebor models back in stock.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur customers who had requested a model be reserved for them have already been contacted by team members.

To view the range of Rebor replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Scale Models and Figures

Model Retirements

In a meeting with the senior management of Safari Ltd a few months ago, Everything Dinosaur was informed that the model making company was going to slim down its inventory.   Three models have been retired, the Edmontosaurus, Inostrancevia and the Nigersaurus, expect more retirements to be announced by Everything Dinosaur in the near future.  Also, rumoured to be consigned to extinction, is the Battat Terra Amargasaurus figure, this Sauropod dinosaur model, is believed to be out of production.

Newsletter Readers were Amongst the First to Find Out About Model Retirements

Everything Dinosaur announces model retirements in its May 2018 newsletter.

Everything Dinosaur announces model retirements in its May 2018 newsletter – three Safari Ltd models (Inostrancevia, Nigersaurus and Edmontosaurus) plus one retirement from Battat (Battat Terra Amargasaurus).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Safari Ltd Retirements

The model of the gorgonopsid Inostrancevia, part of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World model range was introduced along with the Edmontosaurus back in 2011.  It is a shame to see these three figures out of production, but we can expect to hear of new model introductions to this award-winning range in the autumn.

Models Out of Production

Safari Ltd model retirements.

Safari Ltd model retirements in 2018.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Battat Terra Amargasaurus

Rumours abound about the retirement of the Amargasaurus dinosaur model from the Battat Terra range.  It is proving very difficult to find stocks, however, model collectors and dinosaur fans can rest assured, Everything Dinosaur has plenty of stock of this figure that is believed to have been withdrawn from production.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“One of the benefits of subscribing to our newsletter is that you can find out about model retirements and figures going out of production before most other collectors.  This enables dinosaur fans who have subscribed to complete their model collections.”

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

Giant Squid Soft Toys and New Papo Models

One of our more unusual soft toys features in the May newsletter, the cute and cuddly giant squid soft toy.  This colourful plush Cephalopod measures over eighty centimetres long from the tips of the tentacles to its rear end.  We also had to mark the arrival of the first for 2018 Papo figures by giving the Papo cave man with spear, the Papo young Spinosaurus and the Papo Amargasaurus a mention.

New Papo Figures and a Giant Squid Soft Toy

May newsletter, new for 2018 Papo models (young Spinosaurus, cave man with spear and an Amargasaurus) plus a giant squid soft toy.

May newsletter 2018 – Papo models and a giant squid soft toy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

With the disappearance of the Battat Terra Amargasaurus and the arrival of the Papo Amargasaurus model, it seems fans of this South American, long-necked dinosaur will be able to collect a replica of this dinosaur after all.

To view the range of Papo prehistoric animals and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures

26 04, 2018

Clever Cretaceous Lacewings

By | April 26th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Evidence of Insect Mimicry and Camouflage in Burmese Amber

Researchers from the China Agricultural University, the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have discovered a new species of lacewing preserved in 100 million-year-old Burmese amber (burmite).  The scientists have identified two lacewing larvae that show adaptations for mimicking liverwort plants.  Mimicry and camouflage is relatively commonplace in the natural world, but evidence of this within the fossil record is extremely rare.

Two views (Dorsal and Ventral) of a Preserved Lacewing Larva Camouflaged to Look Like a Liverwort

Fossil lacewing larva preserved in amber from Myanmar. Scale bar - 1 mm.

New green lacewing larva Phyllochrysa huangi in (A) dorsal view and (B) ventral view.

Picture Credit: the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology 

Lacewings and Liverworts

Lacewings are insects which are characterised by their very fine, reticulated wings.  They are globally widespread and something like 2,000 living species have been described to date.  As larvae and adults, they are voracious hunters and are popular with farmers and growers as they eat lots of pests, such as aphids.  Fossils of these delicate insects are rare but specimens are known that date from the Jurassic.  Liverworts are much older, they lack a vascular system and true roots tending to grow very close to the ground.  Liverworts are thought to be similar to the very first land plants that evolved in the Silurian geological period.  Despite liverworts having existed since the Palaeozoic, mimicry between insects and liverworts is extremely rare in both modern and fossil ecosystems.  This discovery, reported in the academic journal “Current Biology” represents the first record of liverwort mimicry by fossil insects and brings to light an evolutionary novelty, both in terms of morphological specialisation as well as plant-insect interaction.

Lacewing Larvae and Liverworts Preserved in Amber

Liverworts and lacewing larvae preserved in amber.

New green lacewing larva and potential model plants from Burmese amber. (B, E, G are larvae, the others are liverworts)

Picture Credit: the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology 

Camouflaged to Look Like Liverworts

The larvae have broad flanges on their abdomen and thorax that resemble the fleshy, ribbon-like fronds of liverworts.  The insect which has been named Phyllochrysa huangi, is the only known species of lacewing with distinctive foliate lobes on the larval body.  These newly described insects are the first evidence of direct mimicry in lacewing larvae.  This camouflage may have helped the vulnerable larvae to avoid detection by predators, or they might have used this body bauplan to help ambush potential prey.

Two Phyllochrysa huangi Larvae Hide Out Amongst the Liverworts

Phyllochrysa huangi camouflaged on the liverworts (highlighted by arrows).

A life reconstruction of two Phyllochrysa huangi hiding amongst liverworts.  The larvae are highlighted by red arrows.

Picture Credit: Yang Dinghua

The researchers conclude that these fossils preserved in amber demonstrate a hitherto unknown life-history strategy amongst these types of insect, a strategy that apparently evolved from a camouflaging ancestor but did not persist into modern times with this lineage.

A Hot and Humid Cretaceous Jungle

The amber from Burma (Myanmar) has provided palaeontologists with an astonishing insight into life in a Cretaceous tropical rainforest.  Numerous types of invertebrate have been named, including damselflies, spiders and blood-sucking ticks that may have fed on the blood of dinosaurs.  The remains of larger creatures have been found preserved in amber too, including the feathered tail of a dinosaur and a baby enantiornithine bird.

To read about the blood-sucking Cretaceous parasites: Blood-sucking Dinosaur Parasites

Fossilised baby bird preserved in amber: Watch the Birdie!

Prehistoric spiders with whip-like tails: Spiders with Tails

Dinosaur tail trapped in tree resin: The Tale of a Dinosaur Tail

The globally widespread extant liverworts consist of over 9,000 named species.  Although, like the lacewings, their fossil record is very poor, it seems likely that they began to become much more diverse during the Cretaceous as the rapidly evolving angiosperm trees provided new habitats for them.  Just like their modern counterparts, Cretaceous liverworts grew on the leaves and bark of trees as well as on other plant surfaces.  It is logical to assume that the camouflaged lacewing larvae also probably lived on trees which were densely covered by liverworts, with the lacewing’s liverwort mimicry aiding their survival.

25 04, 2018

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex Wins Award

By | April 25th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

Accolade for Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex

Readers of Prehistoric Times magazine have voted the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex model the best dinosaur toy of 2017.   The figure faced tough competition, but it had a number of factors in its favour.  Firstly, it is a model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the most popular of all the prehistoric animals and secondly, this skilfully crafted replica depicted T. rex with a shaggy coat of feathers, a modern interpretation of this iconic dinosaur.

Voted the Best Dinosaur Figure of 2017 by Readers of Prehistoric Times Magazine

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex and the other models in this range available from Everything Dinosaur: Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models and Figures

A Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex Figure

Standing a little under fifteen centimetres high and measuring an impressive 32 centimetres long, this Tyrannosaurus rex figure depicts the “Tyrant Lizard King” with a coat of reddish-brown protofeathers, with more prominent quills on the top of the formidable skull and the running down the back of the neck.  The feathers on the back of the head and neck suggest that these quills might have played a role in visual display, the body feathers as shown in this replica, would have made a very effective coat, helping to keep this reptile warm.  The designers at Safari Ltd chose to make the snout and the underside of the neck bare, a similar characteristic is seen in extant vultures.  Many species of vultures such as the Lappet-faced (Torgos tracheliotos) and the White Rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) have heads and necks which are devoid of feathers.  A mistake often made, is to assume that this lack of feathers on the neck and head prevents the bird from getting caked in blood as it reaches inside carcasses to feed.  This adaptation may assist in helping the vulture to keep clean, but it is now known that the bare head and neck play a role in thermo-regulation, helping the bird to cool down.  Perhaps the design team at Safari Ltd had considered this research before finalising the feathery features on their 2017 dinosaur model.

A Close-up View of the Head of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex

Feathered T. rex model.

The back of the neck of the T. rex model has prominent feathers.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Previous Winners (2015 and 2016)

Safari Ltd have won this accolade on several previous occasions, in 2015 the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sauropelta model was voted number one, whilst last year the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon figure was honoured.

Previous Winners the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon and Sauropelta Models

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Iguanodon and Sauropelta.

Previous award winners (top) the Iguanodon figure in 2016 and the Sauropelta, winner in 2015 (bottom).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Safari Ltd

Attention to Detail

It is the attention to detail that impresses.  This product line has a deserved reputation for the excellent painting of models, but it is the fine details that really make the feathered T. rex figure stand out from the pack.  Take, for example, the scratches and scars on the muzzle of the dinosaur model.  Face biting amongst Tyrannosaurs has long been suspected and the sculptors at Safari Ltd were keen to incorporate evidence of this behaviour into this T. rex model.

Note the Scars on the Maxilla and the Beautifully Painted Head of the Figure

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World T. rex Dinosaur Model

Note the prominent scars on the muzzle of the T. rex figure (face biting).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We congratulate Safari Ltd for winning the Prehistoric Times best dinosaur model of the year award for three years running.  Given the fantastic quality of prehistoric animal replicas available at the moment winning this hat-trick is some achievement.  The feathered T. rex model is truly spectacular and a worthy winner.”

The Artwork Depicting the Safari Ltd Feathered T. rex when it was Launched in 2017

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Feathered T. rex artwork.

The concept art linked with the 2017 launch of the T. rex model.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd

24 04, 2018

Congratulations to Prehistoric Times Magazine

By | April 24th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Twenty-Five Years of Prehistoric Times Magazine

Congratulations to Prehistoric Times magazine it has just published issue number 125 (Spring 2018).  The 125th edition of this quarterly publication marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of this magazine, a firm favourite amongst dinosaur fans and model collectors.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (Issue 125)

Prehistoric Times magazine (spring 2018).

The front cover of Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 125).

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks/Prehistoric Times

Just Arrived in the Mail

Everything Dinosaur’s copy has just arrived in the post and we are looking forward to publishing a full review of this issue in the very near future.

For a review of the previous edition (winter 2017): Everything Dinosaur Reviews Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 124)

A lot has happened in the fields of palaeontology, fossil hunting and prehistoric animal model production since the magazine’s first issue was published way back in 1993, but the magazine continues to act as forum for palaeoartists to highlight their work.  The front cover features a pair of squabbling Barbourofelis, an illustration by the amazingly talented Mauricio Anton.  Over the years, a large number of world-renowned palaeoartists have had their work grace the front cover of Prehistoric Times.  The front covers are a real “who’s who” in this specialist area of artwork.  Don’t let the image of the Barbourofelis duel on the front cover, fool you.  Just because the genus Barbourofelis (false Sabre-Toothed cat), was endemic to North America, do not think this magazine is only for those who reside in the USA and Canada.  The publication has a world-wide (and growing) readership.

Celebrating 25 Years – Prehistoric Times Magazine

Prehistoric Times Silver Jubilee Edition.

Prehistoric Times magazines celebrates 25 years.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks/Prehistoric Times

Prehistoric Times Magazine

The magazine is aimed at prehistoric animal enthusiasts and collectors of dinosaur merchandise.  Every full colour issue has around sixty pages and it includes updates on the latest research, news and reviews of models and model kits plus interviews with artists and palaeontologists.  Readers can submit their own dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed artwork and illustrations too.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We congratulate Prehistoric Times magazine for reaching this landmark.  We do appreciate how much work is involved in producing this quarterly bulletin.  We would like to thank all those involved in its production and we wish all the staff and contributors every success.  We are looking forward to another twenty-five years of Prehistoric Times.”

For further information on Prehistoric Times magazine and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times Magazine

23 04, 2018

Year 2 Study Dinosaurs

By | April 23rd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Hedgehog, Squirrel, and Deer Classes Study Dinosaurs

The children in Year 2 at Newport Infant School (Shropshire), had an exciting day today when one of our dinosaur experts visited them to kick-start their new term topic all about dinosaurs, fossils and life in the past.  The three classes that make up the Year 2 cohort – Hedgehog, Squirrel and Deer had been set a challenge by their teachers over the holiday period.  Could the children create something to do with dinosaurs and then bring it into school?  The children set about this task with relish and our dinosaur expert was able to see the results of the children’s hard work, plus we suspect, the efforts of one or two grown-ups that also got involved in the project.

Examples of Dinosaur Models on Display in Deer Class (Year 2)

Dinosaur Models made by Year 2 children.

Children in Deer class (Year 2) made dinosaur models including some amazing, blue dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School (Deer Class)/Everything Dinosaur

Posters, Models, Dinosaur Dioramas Charts, Fact Cards – Lots of Dinosaur Themed Craft Ideas

The hard-working and dedicated teaching team deliberately kept the brief for the children quite vague.  It did not matter what the pupils produced, so long as it had something to do with dinosaurs.  A wide variety of different craft ideas were showcased as our dinosaur expert toured the three classrooms.  There were lots of prehistoric animal models, with many different types of materials used including cardboard, modelling clay and papier mâché.

Some children had chosen to produce a poster or a set of dinosaur fact sheets.  We spotted a poster in Hedgehog class which examined the diets of different dinosaurs, herbivore, omnivore or carnivore.  This poster was very timely, as we found out that the teachers had set the children a spelling list for them to learn this week and the words carnivore, herbivore and omnivore were included on the list.

Exploring the Diets of Different Dinosaurs

Exploring carnivores, herbivores and omnivores with Year 2.

Year 2 children explore dinosaur diets (Hedgehog class).

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School (Hedgehog Class)/Everything Dinosaur

Colourful Prehistoric Animals and Dinosaurs

This large primary school provides lots of exciting learning opportunities and the teaching team have created an imaginative scheme of work for the summer term.  The colourful prehistoric animals and cleverly created posters have set the scene for what will be a fascinating and varied topic.  During our visit, we set the classes a variety of challenges ourselves, these included learning about reptiles alive today, producing poems about dinosaurs and researching famous fossil hunters such as Mary Anning.

Some of the Dinosaur Models on Display in the Squirrel Classroom

Models of dinosaurs by Year 2 children.

Dinosaur models (Squirrel class).

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School (Squirrel Class)/Everything Dinosaur

22 04, 2018

The Ancient Whales Gallery

By | April 22nd, 2018|Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ancient Cetaceans – Frankfurt Natural History Museum

There are some very impressive prehistoric whale exhibits in the ancient whales gallery at the Frankfurt Natural History Museum (Frankfurt, Germany).  The Frankfurt Museum, also known as the Senckenberg Museum, houses one of the largest natural history collections in the whole of western Europe.  The extensive galleries highlight biodiversity and tell the story of the evolution of life on Earth.  One of the highlights of the entire collection is the substantial cetacean gallery that includes a number of mounted exhibits of ancient prehistoric whales.

The Ancient Whales Gallery (Senckenberg Museum)

Ancient whale fossils.

The magnificent ancient whales gallery at the Frankfurt Natural History Museum (Germany).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Basilosaurus

A team member from Everything Dinosaur spotted a glass case that contained the fossil skull and jaws of the Late Eocene whale Basilosaurus, fossils of which are known from New Zealand, North Africa, the United States and Europe.  This early toothed whale was an apex predator, reaching lengths in excess of twenty metres and perhaps weighing more than 10,000 kilograms.

The Skull and Jaws of the Fearsome Basilosaurus

Basilosaurus fossil jaws (Frankfurt Natural History Museum)

Basilosaurus fossil jaws.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Basilosaurus was popularised after it appeared in the BBC television series “Walking with Beasts”, a sequel to the famous “Walking with Dinosaurs” television series that was first aired in 1999.   Episode two of “Walking with Beasts” entitled “Whale Killer” told the story of a pregnant Basilosaurus and her search for enough food to sustain herself and her unborn calf as the world entered a period of climate change that would lead to a significant extinction event.

An Illustration of Basilosaurus

PNSO Basilosaurus illustration.

An illustration of Basilosaurus.  A Basilosaurus scale drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

21 04, 2018

Missing Link in Sea Turtle Evolution Identified

By | April 21st, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Peritresius martini – Missing Link in Sea Turtle Evolution

Tortoises, terrapins and turtles, collectively classified into the Order Testudines (sometimes referred to as the Chelonii), are a very ancient group of reptiles.  They were around before the crocodilians and the dinosaurs.  Surprisingly, not that much is known about the evolutionary origins of extant species, but newly published research by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has identified an important missing link in the lineage leading to modern sea turtles.

A new species of Late Cretaceous sea turtle has been named and described in a paper published in the academic on-line journal “PLOS One”.  The turtle, which had a shell more than a metre in diameter, has been named Peritresius martini.  The turtle’s name honours amateur fossil collector and retired scientist George Martin, who discovered the specimen in Lowndes County, Alabama and donated the fossil to the Alabama Museum of Natural History (Tuscaloosa, Alabama).

The Known Fossil Material Ascribed to Peritresius martini

New species of Late Cretaceous sea turtle described.

The known fossil elements of P. martini with a line drawing showing their position in life.

Picture Credit: University of Alabama at Birmingham

In the picture (above), the known fossil elements are shown including elements from the carapace, the plastron and the pelvic girdle (centre image).  The fossil bones have been superimposed (in green) onto a line drawing showing a life reconstruction of the marine turtle.

Drew Gentry, lead author of the research and a PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham stated:

“This discovery answers several important questions about the distribution and diversity of sea turtles during this period of time.  It provides further evidence that Alabama is one of the best places in the world to study some of the earliest ancestors of modern marine turtles.”

Alabama During the Late Cretaceous

The new species of sea turtle (P. martini), swam in the shallow waters off the coast of Appalachia between 73 and 70 million years ago.  It has been compared to the extant (Chelonia mydas), the green sea turtle, that can be found off the coast of Alabama today.

Alabama in the Late Cretaceous and Fossil Turtle Discoveries

Alabama and turtle fossil finds.

Alabama in the Late Cretaceous.  The picture above shows the biostratigraphy and the palaeobiogeography of the Late Cretaceous fossil turtle discoveries of North America.  Note P. martini is marked by the yellow star.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Biostratigraphy and paleobiogeography of Late Cretaceous chelonioid species of North America.  Localities and taxon ranges for fossil occurrences key:

1).  Nichollsemys baieri – a sea turtle from the Bearpaw Formation of Canada dating from the Late Campanian.

2).  Porthochelys laticeps – a sea turtle from Kanas that lived during the Coniacian through into the Santonian faunal stages of the Late Cretaceous.

3).  Toxochelys latiremis  – a sea turtle known from western Kansas with a wide temporal distribution ranging from around 88 – 73 million years ago.

4).  Ctenochelys stenoporus – known from central Alabama.

5).  Prionochelys nauta – from the Mooreville Chalk Formation of Alabama.

6).  Toxochelys moorevillensis – from the Late Santonian and the Early Campanian which was named in 1953.

7).  Ctenochelys acris – closely related to C. stenoporus, graduate student Drew Gentry published a study that proved that C. acris was a valid species.  To read more about this research: Graduate Student Unlocks the Secrets of Sea Turtle Evolution

8).  Thinochelys lapisossea – from the Selma Formation of Alabama.

9). Zangerlchelys arkansaw –  a sea turtle from the Marlbrook Marl Formation of Arkansas.

10).  Peritresius martini – the newly described sea turtle from the study.

11).  Peritresius ornatus – a closely related marine turtle species to P. martini that was first named and described in the mid-19th Century.

12).  Euclastes wielandi – a primitive sea turtle dating from the Late Maastrichtian faunal stage of the Cretaceous.

13).  Catapleura repanda – a Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian faunal stage), turtle associated with Greensand marine deposits of New Jersey.

Commenting on the contribution of George Martin, Drew Gentry said:

“Professional palaeontologists often spend a great deal of time in laboratories performing the in-depth research necessary to properly study extinct species.  Almost every palaeontologist would love to spend more time in the field looking for fossils.  But, without people like George Martin, many of the most significant fossil specimens ever found in Alabama would still be buried in the dirt.”

A Fortuitous Fossil Find

This important marine turtle fossil discovery happened by chance as George Martin explained;

“Finding this fossil turtle was largely happenstance as I stopped to look at the rock strata exposed by the stream.  I found a fragment of the turtle shell embedded in the marl and returned to the spot several times over the next year to recover fragments of the turtle as they were uncovered by the stream.”

However, without the skull and limb bones, the appearance and habits of P. martini can only be speculated upon.  The scientists have no information on what it fed upon, how it moved or whether this turtle was a creature of the coastal seas or deeper water.  The discovery of this new species of Peritresius helps to fill a gap in the Stem Cheloniidae, a group of ancient sea turtles that are related to the majority of sea turtles found today.

A Timeline of Turtle Evolution

A timeline of Testudine species from the Late Cretaceous to the present day.

Time-calibrated, strict consensus phylogeny of select fossil and extant Testudine species.  P. martini is highlighted by the purple star.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of a University of Alabama at Birmingham press release in the compilation of this article.

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