All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//July
11 07, 2018

The Selenopeltis Slab (Trilobites Galore)

By | July 11th, 2018|Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

The Selenopeltis Slab (Trilobites Galore)

In a far corner on the ground floor of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, there can be found an amazing trilobite fossil exhibit.  This piece of sandstone preserves the remains of three different genera of trilobites, a death assemblage that attests to the diversity and success of these marine arthropods.  The fossil, which was acquired by the museum in 2005, is known as “the Selenopeltis Slab”.

Fantastic Fossils – The Selenopeltis Slab

Trilobite fossils - the Selenopeltis slab.

Trilobites galore – the Selenopeltis slab.  Can you identify three different types of trilobite?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

From the Ordovician Period

A slab of sandstone from the Mecissi-Alnif area of Morocco preserves the fossilised remains of three genera of trilobite.  The sandstone was deposited some 450 million years ago (Ordovician), a time when invertebrates dominated oceanic biotas.  The trilobite Selenopeltis is the most common fossil arthropod on the slab, it is characterised by the presence of long spines on both flanks of the body.  The second genus Calymenella, is a large, elongate trilobite with an evenly rounded outline. The third type of trilobite represented in this mass death assemblage is Dalmanitina, a smaller animal with a long spine extending backwards from the posterior end of the pygidium (tail piece).

The sandstone slab also contains the fossilised remains of numerous brittle stars, a type of echinoderm related to starfish, (look for the small, disc-like bodies with five, slender, tapering arms).

10 07, 2018

Bullyland Ammonite at the Museum

By | July 10th, 2018|Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Bullyland Ammonite on Display

We spotted an old friend whilst on a visit to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Oxford, England).  In a display case showing fossils of ammonites we noted that a Bullyland ammonite replica had been placed inside the display case to give visitors an idea of what an ammonite actually looked like.  Ammonite fossil shells may be relatively common, but it is surprising how few people understand that living inside the shell was an animal with tentacles, a creature related to today’s squid, cuttlefish and octopus.

 Spotted in a Museum Display Case – the Bullyland Ammonite Replica

We spotted a Bullyland ammonite model being used to help illustrate a display of ammonite fossils.

A Bullyland ammonite model is used to help illustrate a display of ammonite fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Robust Ammonite Replica

The ammonite model from Bullyland is a robust replica of this iconic mollusc primarily known from the fossil record of the Mesozoic.  It is a super addition to any fossil fan’s collection.  Ideal for creative play, school or home study and for use in museums as the display case at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History testifies.  It is wonderful to see a Bullyland figure used in such a way, helping to educate and inform.

To view the Bullyland ammonite model and the rest of the figures in the Bullyland range available from Everything Dinosaur: Bullyland Models and Figures

The Bullyland Ammonite Figure as it Appears on the Everything Dinosaur Website

Bullyland ammonite model.

The Bullyland ammonite replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Helping Out at Many Museums we Suspect

Lots of museums have fossils of ammonites within their invertebrate fossil collections, we suspect that many curators and exhibition managers have taken advantage of this excellent replica and used it to help illustrate what these enigmatic cephalopods looked like.  After all, when our team members visit schools to conduct dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, we use this same Bullyland ammonite to explain to children which bit of an animal is likely to become a fossil and which bits are not likely to fossilise.

At a little under eighteen centimetres in length and with a shell diameter of around nine centimetres, this model was certainly at home amongst the Jurassic ammonite fossils on display.  Seeing the Bullyland ammonite replica being used in a museum got us thinking, are there any other examples of prehistoric animal models and figures being incorporated into a scientific exhibition or display?

It was a pleasure to peruse part of the extensive fossil collection at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and to discover an old friend.

9 07, 2018

Triassic Dinosaurs Just Got a Lot Bigger!

By | July 9th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Ingentia prima – Giant Late Triassic Sauropodomorph from Argentina

Argentina might have been home to huge, plant-eating dinosaurs associated with Cretaceous-aged strata, after all, one of the biggest terrestrial vertebrates known to science is the Titanosaur called Argentinosaurus (A. huinculensis), just one of a number of super-sized leviathans from this part of the world.  However, a team of scientists, writing in the academic journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” have announced the discovery of yet another giant, South American dinosaur, but this time one that roamed northern Argentina around 210 million years ago, in the Late Triassic.

The dinosaur, classified as a member of the Sauropodomorpha, has been named Ingentia prima and it was certainly very big for a Late Triassic animal, with an estimated body weight of around ten tonnes and a length of approximately ten metres.  To provide a comparison, the Sauropodomorph Plateosaurus (P. engelhardti), from the Late Triassic of western Europe, that would have been a contemporary of Ingentia prima, is estimated to have reached a length of about eight metres with a body mass of around four tonnes.  The later Sauropodomorph Lufengosaurus (L. huenei), from the Early Jurassic of China, might have been around six metres long and is estimated to have weighed more than 1.5 tonnes, Ingentia is much, much bigger.

Sauropodomorpha Size Comparison

Sauropodamorpha size comparison.

Sauropodomorpha size comparison Plateosaurus, Lufengosaurus and Ingentia prima compared.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur with I. prima illustration by Jorge A. González

First Giant

The discovery of Ingentia prima does rather upset the dinosaurian apple cart.  It had been thought that gigantism in the Sauropodomorphs evolved in the Early Jurassic, however, here was a ten-tonne giant, comparable in size to those Early Jurassic Sauropods that roamed some thirty-five million years later.  The evolution of giant, plant-eating, long-necked dinosaurs came about as a result of the development of numerous anatomical characteristics but I. prima displays many features of the body plan of basal, small Sauropodomorphs and lacks most of the anatomical traits previously regarded as adaptations to gigantism.

The Fossilised Material in the Field (Partial Exposure)

Ingentia prima fossils.

The fossil material representing a single, large individual dinosaur is partially exposed.

Picture Credit: Cecilia Apaldetti

Lead author of the scientific paper, Dr Cecilia Apaldetti (Universidad Nacional de San Juan, San Juan, Argentina), commented:

“It [Ingentia] was enormous.  It was at least twice as large as the other herbivores of the time and until now it was believed the first giants to inhabit the Earth originated in the Jurassic, about 180  million years ago.”

The dinosaur’s scientific name pays tribute to its size, the name translates from the Latin to “first giant”.  It had been thought, that if the first dinosaurs appeared around 230 million years ago, it took fifty million years for the first giants to evolve, the discovery of a partial skeleton in San Juan Province (north-western Argentina), has changed all that.

Quebrada del Barro Formation

The fossil material consisting of shoulder blades, cervical vertebrae (neck bones) and elements from the forelimbs, heralds from the Quebrada del Barro Formation.  The Ingentia fossil material was found adjacent to the fossilised remains of three individuals belonging to the already known and closely related species Lessemsaurus sauropoides, which had been named and scientifically described back in 1999.

The researchers, in addition to describing I. prima formally for the first time, were able to examine the three new specimens of Lessemsaurus sauropoides.  Ingentia has been placed in a newly erected family of long-necked dinosaurs, the Lessemsauridae, a branch of the Sauropoda that evolved gigantic forms like the later Eusauropods (true Sauropods).  The Eusauropoda includes those famous Jurassic giants such as Diplodocus, Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus, as well as the later Titanosaurs such as the mighty Argentinosaurus, which roamed Argentina some 115 million years after Ingentia became extinct.

Circular Saws were used to Help Extract the Large Fossil Bones

Extracting the fossils of Ingentia prima.

Circular saws were used to remove the larger blocks of fossils after they had been jacketed.

Picture Credit: Cecilia Apaldetti

Why so Big?

Early Sauropodomorphs were small, agile bipeds, but the ancestors of Ingentia adopted a different evolutionary strategy.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Developing a larger gut would allow more effective processing of tough vegetation, enabling these types of dinosaurs to extract more nutrients from the plants that they consumed.  Furthermore, by becoming big, these dinosaurs would have had less to fear from the predators that shared their environment, including Theropod dinosaurs.  If you are very large, a meat-eating dinosaur might avoid you and look for an easier meal elsewhere.  Becoming a giant is an evolutionary strategy found in a number of herbivorous animals”.

The Remarkable Skeleton of Ingentia prima

The lessemsaurids (Ingentia, Lessemsaurus and a third Early Jurassic dinosaur from South Africa named Antetonitrus), may have lacked the extremely long necks found in later Eusauropods, but their bones reveal some remarkable adaptations nonetheless.  Pneumatic structures have been identified in the vertebrae (air sacs), this indicates that these dinosaurs had a sophisticated and extremely efficient bird-like respiratory system.  These air sacs will have also helped to prevent these animals from overheating, a problem with large creatures, (surface area to volume ratio – hence one of the reasons why African elephants have large ears).  This kind of respiratory system implies the presence of cavities in their bones – a pneumatised skeleton that would have helped to lighten the animal and make locomotion more efficient.

Although Ingentia shows these adaptations to gigantism, it lacks many of the features associated with the later Sauropods.  For example, its legs were more bent and not the huge, weight-bearing columns associated with the Diplodocidae and the Macronaria.

The Remarkable Bones and Respiratory System of Ingentia prima

The sophisticated respiratory system of Ingentia prima.

The air sacs of Ingentia (green) the lungs shown in brown.

Picture Credit: Jorge A. González

A Dinosaur Ahead of Its Time

The quality of bone preservation permitted the research team to examine the histology of the dinosaur’s bones.  The scientists compared the bone growth in the new fossils with those of an earlier, bipedal Sauropodomorph as well as a later Eusauropod.  The histology of the earlier Sauropodomorph revealed a cyclical growth pattern, the animal growing in spurts, whereas, the Eusauropod bones, when examined in cross-section, revealed another pattern of growth.  This dinosaur grew acyclically, growing throughout its long life.  Members of the newly erected Lessemsauridae family grew differently.  Their bones show evidence of growth spurts, a trait found in their ancestors but when they grew, they really put on a spurt.  The researchers identified a growth rate of around two to three times faster than the already impressive rate of the later Eusauropods.

Ingentia demonstrates that the first wave of colossal giant dinosaurs evolved some thirty-five million years earlier than previously thought.  In addition, with an accelerated growth rate, unique limb adaptations and a bird-like respiratory system, the Lessemsauridae got big but they did it in a different way when compared to the later long-necked dinosaurs.

When it comes to the “LESSemsauridae” – Less may actually mean more…

The scientific paper: “An Early Trend Towards Gigantism in Triassic Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs” by Cecilia Apaldetti, Ricardo N. Martínez, Ignacio A. Cerda, Diego Pol & Oscar Alcober published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

8 07, 2018

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor “War Pigs”

By | July 8th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Rebor “War Pigs- Ankylosaurus Figures

The latest JurassicCollectables video to be posted up on their YouTube channel features not one, but three Rebor replicas to be exact.  All three of the recently introduced Ankylosaurus 1:35 scale figures have been reviewed in a single video, permitting collectors and dinosaur model fans to get a really good close up look at these armoured dinosaurs and compare the three different colour schemes.  Palaeontologists are not sure in which habitat Ankylosaurus (A. magniventris) lived, so Rebor  have cleverly introduced three different versions – “plain”, “mountain”and  “woodland”.

JurassicCollectables Reviews All Three War Pigs – “Plain”, “Mountain” and “Woodland”

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Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

A Flexible Bony Club Tail

In this detailed and most informative review, (the video lasts a little under nineteen minutes), viewers are given the opportunity to have a really good look at all three of these skilfully crafted replicas of one of the most famous plant-eating dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous.  In the video, viewers are shown just how flexible that bony club tail is.  The figure comes as a two-piece set, the tail can be inserted into a slot and this saves on packaging and helps to protect the tail and the rest of the figure during transit.  Once inserted, the tail can be moved into a variety of poses, collectors can depict their Ankylosaurus model swinging its club tail.

JurassicCollectables Demonstrating the Flexible Bony Club Tail

The flexible tail of the Rebor War Pig - Ankylosaurus

Demonstrating the flexible tail of the Rebor War Pig Ankylosaurus (Mountain colour variant).

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The head of each model can also be twisted and put into a variety of poses.  This is not demonstrated in the video, but JurassicCollectables cover this point in their most helpful comments section.

To view the Rebor War Pig Ankylosaurus replicas and the entire Rebor prehistoric animal model range: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Replicas

“Magnificent Fused Lizard”

Although named and scientifically described around 110 years ago and now representing an entire family of armoured dinosaurs (the Ankylosauridae), palaeontologists are increasingly becoming aware of just how atypical this armoured giant actually was.  Rebor’s interpretation follows the principles laid out in several recently published scientific papers and the narrator from JurassicCollectables carefully guides the viewer over some of the finer points of each colour variant.  The close up of the interior of the mouth with its glossy look and the demonstration of the articulated jaw are worthy of special mention, as is the comparison with the Papo Ankylosaurus figure that occurs towards the end of this video review.

The medium of video permits the differences between the three colour schemes to be clearly seen.  The narrator’s personal favourite is “plain”, seen on the left of the picture below.

All Three Rebor War Pigs Shown Together

All Rebor Ankylosaurus models together.

All Rebor War Pig models “Plain”, “Mountain” and “Woodland” shown together.  Which one is your favourite?

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

All three figures together make a very impressive display, the idea of providing three distinctive colour schemes for this 1:35 scale replica based on different habitats is an inspirational one from Rebor.

All Three Rebor War Pigs can be Purchased as a Set from Everything Dinosaur (whilst stocks last)

All three Rebor War Pigs are available together as a special set.

All three War Pigs (Ankylosaurus models) are available as a set from Everything Dinosaur (whilst stocks last).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Comparing the Rebor War Pigs with Other Rebor Replicas

Off-colour Alan makes his customary appearance, there is a nice shot of Alan patting the head of one of the Rebor replicas.  JurassicCollectables have built up an extensive database of Rebor model reviews and it is pleasing to note that a size comparison is made using the Rebor Y-rex figure (Yutyrannus huali).

The Rebor Y-rex Figure Compared to the Rebor Ankylosaurus War Pig (Plain Colour Variant)

Rebor War Pig Ankylosaurus (plain) compared to the Rebor Y-rex figure.

The Rebor Y-rex figure (Yutyrannus) compared to the Rebor War Pig Ankylosaurs “plain” colour scheme.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

It is these little touches and these details that really help to make the JurassicCollectable’s YouTube channel stand out from all the other review channels.

Everything Dinosaur recommends the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables.  Visit the YouTube channel of Jurassic Collectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube , don’t forget to subscribe to the JurassicCollectables channel, after all, some 71,000 dinosaur and prehistoric animal model fans already have!

7 07, 2018

Dunkleosteus – A Very Popular Placoderm

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

Dunkleosteus – A Very Popular Placoderm

One of the iconic animals of the Devonian is the large, Placoderm predator Dunkleosteus (D. terrelli).  This huge, prehistoric fish with self-sharpening shears for jaws and an armoured head is just one of more than 200 genera of Placoderms described to date, but as it measured around six metres in length, it competed with early sharks for the role of apex marine predator.  The new for 2018 CollectA 1:20 scale replica of this carnivore is one of just a handful of models that have been produced, as such, it is very rare to have any Devonian vertebrates included in the model portfolio from a mainstream manufacturer.

The CollectA 1:20 Scale Replica of Dunkleosteus

The CollectA Dunkleosteus

The CollectA 1:20 scale Dunkleosteus replica which was introduced in 2018.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the CollectA 1:20 scale Dunkleosteus model and the other figures in the CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life

Dermal Armour Up to Five Centimetres Thick

The formidable, armoured head might have made up more than a third of the animal’s entire body length and there is no doubting that this fish had a ferocious bite, but scratches, puncture wounds and gouges preserved on the dermal plates (which in the very biggest specimens were up to five centimetres thick), attest to the fact that these carnivores were attacked themselves.  Whether this pathology, preserved on the fossils represents a record of attempted predation, or whether these wounds were caused by intraspecific combat remains open to debate.

Intriguingly, if other Dunkleosteus fish did not cause these wounds, then what sort of marine predator did?  Is there some unknown Devonian assailant still awaiting discovery in Late Devonian strata somewhere?

A Reconstructed Skull of Dunkleosteus on Display at the Senckenberg Nature Museum

A Dunkleosteus exhibit.

A Dunkleosteus cast on display at the Senckenberg Nature Museum (Frankfurt, Germany).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Placoderms (Class Placodermi), arose in the Early Silurian and they persisted for tens of millions of years, evolving into a myriad of forms. However, as far as the fossil record goes, there is no record of Placoderms surviving into the Carboniferous.  The last of these armoured fish became extinct at the end of the Devonian (Famennian faunal stage of the Late Devonian).

The CollectA Dunkleosteus Replica

CollectA Dunkleosteus.

CollectA 1:20 scale Deluxe Dunkleosteus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

6 07, 2018

Win, Win, Win with Everything Dinosaur

By | July 6th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Win “You’re Roarsome” – Dinotastic Puns and Quotes

WIN! WIN! WIN! with Everything Dinosaur!

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

Everything Dinosaur has teamed up with those clever, creative people at Summersdale Publishers and we have two copies of their latest offering “You’re Roarsome” to give away.  “You’re Roarsome” is an uplifting little book, full of dinosaur themed puns and quotes to rock your world.

Win a Copy of “You’re Roarsome” – (Front Cover Picture)

The front cover of the awesome "You're Roarsome".

“You’re Roarsome” front cover.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Summersdale Publishers

This pocket-sized, prehistoric publication is jam-packed with quotes, sayings and puns to tickle your “funny bone”, enthuse and inspire.  With a pink Tyrannosaurus rex in sunglasses on the front cover and quotes from such luminaries as William Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela and Bruce Lee inside, nothing like this has been published for over 65 million years!

Win a Copy of “You’re Roarsome” in Everything Dinosaur’s Competition

All you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s FACEBOOK page, then comment on the “You’re Roarsome” front cover picture, just tell us your favourite dinosaur and we will enter you into our free prize draw.

Everything Dinosaur on FACEBOOK: “LIKE” our Facebook page and enter the competition!

We will draw the lucky winners at random and the “You’re Roarsome” competition closes on midnight Monday 30th July.  Good luck, we hope you win this “Pterrific” little book.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of dinosaurs and prehistoric animal models and toys: Everything Dinosaur

Little Snippets of Wisdom, Puns and Quotes

Fossil-fuelled puns and quotes.

Fossil-fuelled puns and quotations.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Summersdale Publishers

Terms and Conditions of the “You’re Roarsome” Competition

Automated entries are not permitted and will be excluded from the draw

Only one entry per person

The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered

The Everything Dinosaur  “You’re Roarsome” competition runs until midnight Monday 30th 2018.

Winner will be notified by private message on Facebook.

Prize includes postage and packing

For full terms and conditions contact: Contact Everything Dinosaur

Win, Win, Win with Everything Dinosaur

Win, win, win with Everything Dinosaur.

Win a copy of the “You’re Roarsome” book with Everything Dinosaur.  Like our Facebook page and comment on the front cover picture by telling us your favourite dinosaur to enter this free prize draw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Summersdale Publishers

“You’re Roarsome” is published in hardback and priced £6.99 (ISBN: 978 1 78685 812 2).

PLEASE NOTE – THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

5 07, 2018

Scientists Turn to Fossil Plants to Determine Tibetan Plateau Uplift

By | July 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Plant Fossils Pinpoint the Timing of the Uplift of South-eastern Tibet

The immense Tibetan Plateau which borders the Himalayas, is sometimes referred to as the “roof of the world”.   This foreboding landscape rises thousands of metres above sea level, it harbours a unique ecosystem and is the source of some of the most economically significant rivers in the world.  However, when this plateau was formed and the geological mechanisms that led to this part of Asian being uplifted to form this elevated plain, are poorly understood.

Fossilised plants may help determine when the uplift occurred.  This may seem unlikely, when studying tectonic forces, but by looking at living flora, scientists can determine information about the climate and habitat that the plants are living in from their shape, leaf size and structure.  These same pointers can be identified in fossil plants too.

Plant Fossils Helping to Unlock the Geology of South-eastern Asia

Plant fossils from south-eastern Tibet.

Plant fossils associated with different layers in the Markan Basin provide an indication of climate change and geological uplift.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Plants Interact with Their Environment

Plants live at the Earth’s surface and have to constantly interact with the atmosphere, their leaves are very good at recording their surroundings, including properties of the atmosphere that are related to altitude.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), more specifically from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), have been examining plant fossils from the Lawula Formation in the Markan Basin, south-eastern Tibet.  They have used plant fossil evidence to assess the date of the uplift of south-east Tibet.  The mountain range building may have been accelerated when the Tibetan Plateau was already around three kilometres above sea level and rising to its present-day height.

Fortunately, the strata with plant fossils were found between volcanic ash layers that allowed them to be precisely dated using argon isotope degradation analysis.  It turned out that the fossil assemblages were much older than their relatively modern appearance would suggest.  Several thousand fossil leaves were examined from four different layers of sediment.  Two fossiliferous layers proved to be the most important for this study.  The lower level (MK3), was dated using the isotope analysis to around 34.6 million years ago, whilst the upper layer (MK1), was dated to 33.4 million years ago.  As such, these deposits span the Eocene-Oligocene Epoch Transition (around 33.9 million years ago), a time when there was dramatic climate change.

One of the Fossil Sites (Kajun Village, Markan Basin)

The Markan Basin (south-eastern Tibet).

A view of one of the fossil sites (Kajun Village) currently at around 3,900 metres above sea level.

Picture Credit: Science China Press

Intriguingly, the older layer MK3 is dominated by leaves of the ring-cupped oak and members of the birch family, whereas MK1 consists almost exclusively of alpine taxa with small leaves.  The plant fossils suggest that the habitat changed from a relatively temperate evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved plant dominated flora to alpine scrub.

The CAS research team concluded that during the Eocene-Oligocene Transition, south-eastern Tibet was around three kilometres high and actively rising, close to its present-day height.  The team’s results demonstrate that the onset of geological uplift took place earlier, some ten million years earlier than previously suggested.

The results show that the elevation of south-eastern Tibet took place largely in the Eocene, which has major implications for uplift mechanisms, landscape development and the evolution of the flora and fauna of this region.

The argon isotope analysis of the volcanic ash layers helping to date the Markan Basin fossils, adds to a growing list of Palaeogene sites in this part of Asia, which are actually far older than biostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic data indicate.  The researchers postulate that their study supports the growing body of scientific opinion that the evolution of the highly diverse Asian biota is s Palaeogene, not a Neogene phenomenon and took place before the end of the Eocene.  The evolution of modern-day ecosystems may be deeply-rooted in the Palaeogene and this may have been driven by the changing and complex Tibetan topography and resultant climate change.

The scientists from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden are continuing to collect plant fossils from different parts of Tibet.  They hope to build a model framework which permits a much better understanding of the uplift and the forces involved over deep time.

4 07, 2018

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter Early July 2018

By | July 4th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Newsletter (Early July 2018)

The latest prehistoric animal scale models from CollectA along with information about the new Rebor Velociraptor “Sweeney” and the Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant figure are all included in Everything Dinosaur’s latest customer newsletter (early July 2018).  Four new CollectA scale models are in stock, plus the Rebor Velociraptor “Sweeney” reserve list is now open and the Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant model (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) is due to arrive very shortly.

Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter (Early July 2018) Features the New for 2018 CollectA Scale Models

CollectA Dimetrodon and the CollectA Estemmenosuchus 1:20 scale figures.

Two new Permian prehistoric animal figure models have arrived in stock at Everything Dinosaur – CollectA Dimetrodon and the CollectA Estemmenosuchus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Four New CollectA Scale Prehistoric Animal Models

The latest CollectA scale models have arrived at Everything Dinosaur and feature in the company’s latest newsletter.  Fans of CollectA  have requested that more Palaeozoic figures be added to the range.  Earlier this year, a 1:20 scale Dunkleosteus was added and now joining this Devonian Placoderm are two Permian figures, representing Dimetrodon and the Dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus.  Both these figures are also in 1:20 scale.

To view the new CollectA Deluxe scale models and the rest of the CollectA scale model range: CollectA Deluxe Models

The 1:40 Scale CollectA Deluxe Ceratosaurus and the CollectA 1:20 Scale Gomphotherium Figure

CollectA Gomphotherium 1;20 scale model and the 1:40 scale CollectA Ceratosaurus.

The CollectA Ceratosaurus and the CollectA Gomphotherium models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In addition to the CollectA Dimetrodon and the CollectA Estemmenosuchus, also just in are the 1:40 scale Ceratosaurus dinosaur model and the prehistoric elephant Gomphotherium.  Like the CollectA Dimetrodon figure, the 1:40 scale Ceratosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated lower jaw.

The Reserve List for the New Rebor Velociraptor “Sweeney” Has Opened

Newsletter subscribers are among the first to learn that another Rebor 1:18 scale Velociraptor replica is on the way.  A reserve list has been opened for Rebor “Sweeney”, subscribers can ensure that they are able to purchase this new Theropod figure when it arrives at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse later this month.

To reserve a new Rebor Velociraptor figure “Sweeney” or to request a subscription to Everything Dinosaur’s regular company newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

The New Rebor Velociraptor “Sweeney” and the Eofauna Straight-tusked Elephant

The new Rebor "Sweeney" Velociraptor figure and the Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant.

The new Velociraptor figure from Rebor “Sweeney” and the Eofauna Palaeoloxodon antiquus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur newsletter is a great way for subscribers to keep up with new model introductions, information about figure retirements and other news about collecting dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures.

The New Eofauna Straight-tusked Elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus)

Readers of our latest newsletter were also provided with an update on the progress being made with the eagerly awaited Eofauna Straight-tusked elephant figure (Palaeoloxodon antiquus).   This new prehistoric animal replica, the second in the exciting Eofauna range, is due to arrive at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse in just a few days.  A reserve list has been opened for this popular 1:35 scale model, collectors don’t need to tie a knot in their trunks to remember, let Everything Dinosaur take care of reserving a model for you.  When the stock arrives, we will set a figure aside for you and even drop you an email to let you know that this model is available to purchase.

Newsletter subscribers can look out for more updates about other new for 2018 figures shortly.  At Everything Dinosaur, we do all we can to keep our readers and subscribers informed.

3 07, 2018

Eggshells and Eggs Provide a Unique Insight

By | July 3rd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Cracking the Code – What Eggs and Eggshells Can Tell Us

A researcher based at the University of Edinburgh has produced a “cracking” assessment on the use of eggs and eggshells of living and extinct Archosaurs to obtain information about ancient environments, the behaviour and biology of vertebrates that may have lived many millions of years ago.

Writing in the open access Royal Society Open Science, Shaena Montanari (School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh University), has reviewed how the use of eggshells in the modern and fossil record allow an interpretation of a variety different Archosaurs and other amniotes across deep time, providing a unique record of ancient environments and ecosystems.

A Nest of Large Dinosaur Eggs

Titanosaur dinosaur eggs.

An example of Titanosaur fossil eggs.  Fossil eggs and eggshell can provide valuable insights into egg-layers and environments.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Overlooked Body Fossils

Biologists studying living vertebrates and palaeontologists studying extinct animals can look at the skeleton (fossil bones) and make deductions.  Other materials in both modern and ancient environments can be overlooked.  Take for example, the shelled eggs of Archosaurs, the Squamata and potentially monotremes, these, if they are preserved in the fossil or archaeological record, can provide a wealth of information to help support other areas of research.  Palaeontologists know that dinosaur eggs were not that much different from the eggs of living birds.  Eggs provide another biogenically created material that can be used to reveal specific information about the egg-layers and the environments they live in when assessed with different types of geochemical, morphological and molecular techniques.   The matrix surrounding the holotype fossil material of the dromaeosaurid Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus), contained fragments of fossil eggshell, later assigned (in all probability due to the low energy depositional environment and taphonomy of the fossil material), to Deinonychus.   This was the first record of a dromaeosaurid egg, however, this material was either overlooked or perhaps ignored when the dinosaur bones were first found back in the 1930’s.

Examples of Fossil Eggshell

Examples of fossil eggshell.

Three examples of fossil eggshell.

Picture Credit: Royal Society Open Science

The photograph (above) shows three examples of dinosaur eggshell fragments from the Gobi Desert.  Such items may be overlooked in the quest for more substantial body fossils but different eggshell types possess varied forms of ornamentation and can help to establish more information about the fossil biota.  The three pieces in the photograph, probably represent different types of dinosaur (from left to right Titanosaur, oviraptorid and potentially troodontid).  Microscopic analysis of the shell structure, along with pore density and isotope data can provide information about the ancient environment and inferred nesting behaviour of long extinct creatures.  Isotope analysis from eggshell can even provide information on the diet of the animal that laid the egg.

Post-doctoral researcher Shaena, explains in the paper that archaeologists can learn a remarkable amount about early human settlements by examining ostrich eggshells.  Ostrich eggshell is found in association with human food waste dumps, as bead decorations, sometimes associated with ritual burial or as containers for water.  Archaeological sites as far apart as China, India and north Africa have yielded Ostrich egg remnants.  These pieces of shell could be used to provide direct evidence of environments where early communities settled.

A Selection of Whole or Virtually Complete Dinosaur Eggs

Examples of fossil Archosaur eggs.

Examples of whole or partial fossilised eggs.

Picture Credit: Royal Society Open Science

The photograph shows a variety of fossil Archosaur eggs from Mongolia (a) three bird eggs from the Gobi Desert, (b) a pair of unidentified Theropod dinosaur eggs from the Cretaceous of Mongolia (AMNH FR 6513).  Photograph (c) shows an oviraptorid egg (Cretaceous of Mongolia -AMNH FR6508) and (d) is a probable Ornithopoda egg, again from the Cretaceous of Mongolia (AMNH field number 707)

Clumping Isotopes – Learning About Body Temperature

Researchers have developed a technique in which the body temperature of the dinosaur laying the egg can be calculated by plotting the presence of two rare isotopes found in calcium carbonate a key element in the formation of eggshell and a material that has a high preservation potential.  From an analysis of the way in which these two isotopes clump together in the same molecule, scientists are able to infer data about the body temperature of the mother.  As the eggs are formed within the oviduct(s) of egg-laying animals, the temperature of mineral formation should reflect the body temperature of the ovulating female.  In this way, such studies can inform the debate about endothermy or otherwise within the Dinosauria.

The scientific paper: “Cracking the Egg: The Use of Modern and Fossil Eggs for Ecological, Environmental and Biological Interpretation” by Shaena Montanari and published in the Royal Society Open Science.

2 07, 2018

A Placoderm “Platypus” Fish from Australia (Where Else)?

By | July 2nd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Brindabellaspis – Placoderm Resident on Australia’s First Reef

The Queensland coast (Australia), might be famous for its Great Barrier reef today, but this was not Australia’s original reef, some 400 million years ago, there was a reef, located in what is now New South Wales, mostly built by entirely different types of organisms, that was a natural wonder of the Early Devonian.  Living on the bottom of the shallow sea in which this ancient reef formed was a strange-looking fish, with a sensitive beak, oddly reminiscent of another, not quite so ancient resident of  “Down Under” – a duck-billed platypus.

New Research Suggests that Brindabellaspis stensioi had a Sensitive “Beak” Like A Duck-billed Platypus

Brindabellaspis life reconstruction.

Brindabellaspis stensioi illustration.

Picture Credit: Jason art Shenzhen

The Placoderm, named Brindabellaspis stensioi was originally scientifically described in 1980.  However, new fossil specimens, revealed by carefully removing the rock matrix using dilute acids, have shed new light on the evolution of jaws and provided palaeontologists with evidence that the earliest fish dominated ecosystems supported a myriad of forms.

Limestone beds exposed on the shores of Lake Burrinjuck in New South Wales have preserved an extensive reef fauna.  Over seventy species of fish have been identified to date, of these, it is the Placoderms that dominate, with around 45 species named and described so far.  Palaeontologists from Flinders University (South Australia) and the Australian National University (Australian Capital Territory), have reconstructed two of the ancient fossils and discovered that Brindabellaspis had a long bill (rostrum), extending out in front of its eyes.

The Picturesque Limestone Beds of Lake Burrinjuck

400 million-year-old limestone beds of Lake Burrinjuck.

Lake Burrinjuck in New South Wales (Australia).

Picture Credit: Flinders University

One of the authors of the study, published in “Royal Society Open Science” Benedict King, a Flinders University graduate stated:

“This was one strange looking fish.  The eyes were on top of the head and the nostrils came out of the eye sockets.  There is this long snout at the front, and the jaws were positioned very far forward.”

Unique Sensory System

Following a comprehensive evaluation of the skull including the anterior portion (revealed for the first time with these new specimens), the researchers discovered an exceptionally long premedian bone forming an elongated rostrum, supported by a thin extension of the postethmo-occipital unit of the braincase.  This seems to be a modified form of pressure sensor, perhaps used to detect prey in the muddy/sandy bottom of the seafloor.

Professor John Young (Flinders University), a world authority on ancient fish and a co-author of the paper added:

“We suspect that this animal was a bottom-dweller.  We imagine it used the bill to search for prey, somewhat like a platypus, while the eyes on top of the head looked out for danger from above.”

Adding the Missing Pieces – Thirty-Eight Years Later

For Dr Gavin Young (Flinders University), the discovery of the front portions of the skull and that remarkable, sensitive rostrum helps to “flesh out” his original research on Brindabellaspis stensioi.  Dr Young has spent more than five decades studying the fossil fish from the Lake Burrinjuck limestone beds, Dr Young was responsible for naming and describing this Placoderm in 1980, now thanks to these new fossils and high-resolution X-ray tomography, this 400 million-year-old fish has a face, albeit a very peculiar one, but one that may demonstrate convergent evolution with the egg-laying monotreme (platypus – Ornithorhynchus anatinus).

New Specimens of  Brindabellaspis stensioi  Included in this Study

Brindabellaspis fossils and a line drawing.

The rostrum and one of the new skull fossils with a line drawing.  Note scale bar (left) equals 1 centimetre.

Picture Credit: Royal Society Open Science

Dr Young explained:

“When we saw the dense sensory tubes on another broken snout, we immediately thought of the local platypus.  I am very gratified there is finally an accurate reconstruction of this strange skull.”

Specialists and Not Generalists

The scientists conclude that as Brindabellaspis was clearly such a specialist, then the ancient reef was a thriving and very diverse ecosystem with very probably, a range of specialist organisms making a living on the reef and in the surrounding shallow waters.

Professor Long commented:

“Despite this being one of the earliest well-known ecosystems including many species of fish, the inhabitants of this ancient reef were clearly not in any way primitive.  The new findings show that they were highly adapted and specialised in their own right.”

The Elongated Premedian Plate (Rostrum) of Brindabellaspis stensioi

Brindabellaspis elongated premedian plate.

The elongate premedian plate of Brindabellaspis. ANU V3247 in dorsal (a) and ventral (b) views. (c,d).  Interpretative drawings of a and b.  Scale bars represent 10 mm.

Picture Credit: Royal Society Open Science

The scientific paper: “New Information on Brindabellaspis stensioi Young, 1980, Highlights Morphological Disparity in Early Devonian Placoderms” by Benedict King, Gavin C. Young and John A. Long published in by Royal Society Open Science.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Flinders University in the preparation of this article.

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