All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
12 06, 2018

The Pneumatic Bones of Theropods

By | June 12th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The Pneumatic Bones of Theropods (Living and Extinct)

Air-filled (pneumatic), bones are unique to birds amongst living terrestrial vertebrates.  However, it is known that many different types of Archosaurs as well as the birds had post-cranial bones with lots of air sacs.  Non-avian dinosaurs in the form of the Theropoda had them to.  Whilst visiting the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in London, this shared anatomical trait was beautifully demonstrated when viewing a number of avian exhibits.

An Ostrich Femur (Thigh Bone) Showing Pneumaticity

An ostrich femur showing extensive pneumaticity.

A cross-section of an ostrich femur showing the extensive air sacs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The caption in the display case reads:

“OSTRICH FEMUR – Birds have honeycomb bones to reduce weight for flight.  Flightless ostriches evolved from flying birds and retain this feature”.

The above statement is true, but technically (most probably), pneumatic, post-cranial bones have been inherited from the Dinosauria.

A Fragment of Theropod Bone Showing the Highly Pneumatised Internal Structure

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

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

Picture Credit: Jason Love/Burke Museum

Air-filled Bones Evolved Independently in Several Groups Avemetatarsalia

The fossil record has provided evidence of pneumaticity in Late Triassic Archosaurs (at least 210 million years ago), it is very likely that air-filled bones evolved much earlier in the branch of the Archosaurs (Avemetatarsalia), that includes the dinosaurs, pterosaurs and birds.  Bones with air sacs are also associated with derived members of the Sauropodomorpha.  It has been postulated that this characteristic evolved independently in several groups and that pneumaticity did not occur amongst these different Archosaurs as a result of sharing a common ancestor.

The evolution of light, but strong air-filled bones can be explained for the birds, as such bones would help reduce weight and make flying easier.   As for the other, extinct Archosaurs, this characteristic evolved in the Pterosauria (flying reptiles) for very probably the same reason – to reduce weight to make flying easier.  As for the dinosaurs and other largely non-volant Archosaurs that had this feature, pneumatisation might have evolved to reduce energy expenditure as these animals moved about.  After all, if you weigh several tonnes, as in the case of a basal Sauropod, if you could evolve a more efficient method of locomotion, than this makes a lot of evolutionary sense.

12 06, 2018

The Prehistoric Animals that Feature in “Fallen Kingdom”

By | June 12th, 2018|General Teaching, Key Stage 1/2|Comments Off on The Prehistoric Animals that Feature in “Fallen Kingdom”

“Fallen Kingdom” – Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

In response to the numerous requests from young dinosaur fans who have seen the latest instalment in the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” film franchise – “Fallen Kingdom”, here is a list of the prehistoric animals that we spotted in the movie.  In total, Everything Dinosaur team members spotted seventeen different prehistoric animals, how many did you see?

Hitting our Cinema Screens at Present – “Fallen Kingdom”

"Fallen Kingdom" film poster.

The official film poster for “Fallen Kingdom”.

Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Everything Dinosaur’s List of the Prehistoric Animals in “Fallen Kingdom”

  • Allosaurus – a big, carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic.
  • Ankylosaurus – an armoured dinosaur, a herbivore from the Late Cretaceous of North America.
  • Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus – a giant, long-necked plant-eating dinosaur from the Late Jurassic.
  • Baryonyx – a carnivorous dinosaur that may have specialised in catching fish, the first fossils of which were found in southern England.  Baryonyx lived during the Early Cretaceous of Europe.
  • Brachiosaurus – an enormous, plant-eating, long-necked dinosaur from the Late Jurassic.
  • Carnotaurus – a predatory dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of South America.
  • Compsognathus – at around a metre in length, the smallest non-avian dinosaur inhabitant of Isla Nublar.  This little dinosaur lived in Europe during the Late Jurassic.
  • Gallimimus – a fast-running, “ostrich mimic” dinosaur that lived in Asia during the Late Cretaceous.
  • Mosasaurus – not a dinosaur, but a marine reptile that belongs to the same group of reptiles as lizards and snakes.  These predators lived during the Cretaceous.
  • Pteranodon – also not a dinosaur, but a flying reptile from the Late Cretaceous, a pterosaur.  Pteranodon fossils have been found in North America, England and Asia.
  • Sinoceratops – a member of the horned dinosaur group, it roamed China towards the end of the “Age of Dinosaurs”.
  • Stegosaurus – “roof lizard”, a herbivore from the Late Jurassic of America.
  • Stygimoloch – a “bone-headed” dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America which was good at knocking down walls if the movie is to be believed!
  • Triceratops – one of the most famous of all the plant-eating dinosaurs.  Triceratops lived at the very end of the Cretaceous.  Its fossils have been found in North America.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex – no dinosaur film would be complete without an appearance of T. rex.  The “king of the tyrant lizards”, lived in North America and its fossils are associated with Upper Cretaceous sedimentary deposits.
  • Velociraptor – The “raptor” called Blue which was reared and brought up by animal trainer Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt).  Velociraptor lived during the Late Cretaceous of Asia.

A Model of a Blue Velociraptor

Velociraptor dinosaur model.

A model of a Velociraptor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last But Not Least – Indoraptor

Last but not least, comes Indoraptor, a dinosaur created from the DNA from Indominus rex – the monstrous carnivore from the previous film in the franchise – “Jurassic World” and Velociraptor.

Look out for the sequel which is scheduled for release in June 2021.  What dinosaurs do you think should be in this film?

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