All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//December
13 12, 2018

December Newsletter from Everything Dinosaur

By | December 13th, 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

December Newsletter from Everything Dinosaur

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter have been kept up to date with all our special offers for Christmas.  In addition, newsletter readers have had the chance to reserve the new for January 2019, Rebor limited edition “Club Selection” Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane” as well as to ensure they are amongst the first in the world to receive the forthcoming Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus scale model.

Countdown to Christmas – Special Offers from Everything Dinosaur

Buy a pair of Rebor tyrannosaurid figures.

Countdown to Christmas! Everything Dinosaur offers the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurid figures Mountain and Jungle as a pair.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Beasts of the Mesozoic “Raptors”

Everything Dinosaur stocks the full range of these amazing 1/6th scale, Beasts of the Mesozoic articulated dinosaur figures, including the difficult to acquire accessory sets and the build-a-raptor kits.  The Beasts of the Mesozoic dinosaur figures are targeted at discerning replica and figure collectors.  All the figures are hand-painted and articulated and these prehistoric animal models are great to display.  Everything Dinosaur is the exclusive European distributor for the Beasts of the Mesozoic range of models.

To see the amazing Beasts of the Mesozoic “raptors” available from Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic Prehistoric Animal Figures

Beasts of the Mesozoic Models Flocking Your Way

Beasts of the Mesozoic figures from Everything Dinosaur

Beasts of Mesozoic figures available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Models and Trilobite Soft Toys

The Everything Dinosaur December newsletter also featured an update on the articulated, very rare, Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurus rex figures from Japan.   All three colour variations including “smoke green” and the “classic” colouration are still available, but stocks are getting low.  Safely arrived at our warehouse is a new soft toy, a wonderful example of Palaeozoic plush!  We have a cute and cuddly Trilobite soft toy in stock.  The soft toy Trilobite measures a fraction over 16 centimetres in length and we know the eyes are wrong (Trilobita had compound eyes), however, the soft toy is so wonderful we had to add it to our soft toy range.

A Perfect Pair – Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurs and a Soft and Cuddly Trilobite

Rare Kaiyodo T. rex figures and a soft toy Trilobite.

Kaiyodo Tyrannosaurus rex figures and a soft toy trilobite.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Priority Reserve Lists for January Releases are Now Open

Our newsletter also featured an update on what is coming out early in 2019.  Our reserve list for the forthcoming (January release), Rebor Club Selection limited edition hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane” has now opened and subscribers have been given VIP access to this figure, after all, only 1,000 “Hurricanes” have been made.  Team members promise to set aside figures for list members and then email them to let them know that their hatching Baryonyx is available to purchase.

Priority Reserve Lists Open for New Rebor and Eofauna Scientific Research Figures

Priority reserve lists for new for 2019 dinosaur models.

Reservation lists open for new dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Furthermore, our December newsletter featured an update on the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research 1:35 scale Giganotosaurus model.  This beautifully crafted model is also due to arrive in January.  A reserve list has been opened and Everything Dinosaur customers have been urged to let us know their requirements to avoid disappointment when this figure is released.

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

12 12, 2018

Mosasaur Attack 66 Million Years Ago

By | December 12th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossil Sea Urchin Preserves Evidence of an Attack from a Mosasaur

Sixty-six million years ago, in a shallow sea in what is now Denmark, a sea urchin lay partially submerged on the seabed, when a keen-eyed mosasaur spotted it and went in for the kill.  The marine reptile grabbed the sea urchin and bit it, but for some reason, the attack was aborted, the invertebrate was dropped and the little sea urchin survived the encounter with the apex predator.  How do we know all this?  A remarkable fossil has been discovered by amateur geologist Peter Bennicke at Stevns Klint, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the few places in the world where rock layers mark the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary providing evidence to support the extra-terrestrial impact event that contributed to the demise of the Dinosauria.

Fossil Provides Evidence of a Mosasaur Attack

Sea urchin fossils reveals evidence of an attack by a mosasaur.

Fossil evidence of predator/prey interaction – mosasaur attacks sea urchin.  The image above shows an illustration of a typical hypercarnivorous mosasaur and an example of the fossilised test of a sea urchin.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Preserving Evidence of Predator/Prey Interactions

The stretch of chalk cliffs at Stevns Klint on the Danish island of Zealand (Sjaelland), was granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 2014.  The chalk deposits record the K/T boundary and the cliffs provide a record of the faunal turnover from the very end of the Cretaceous (Maastrichtian faunal stage), through to the earliest stage of the Palaeogene Period (Danian faunal stage).  Sea urchin fossils are relatively common at this location, but the specimen found by Mr Bennicke is very special as it records evidence of predator/prey interaction.

The curator at the nearby Geomuseum Faxe, Jesper Milàn stated:

“It’s really an exciting find this, not only is there an exciting story to tell about it, but it also provides important information about how the animals in the Cretaceous sea lived and who ate who.  It is such a find that helps put meat and blood on the otherwise dry fossils, when you can suddenly see such a small everyday drama caught in the stone.”

The Echinocorys Specimen Showing Evidence of a Mosasaur Attack

Echinocorys fossil showing teeth marks (mosasaur attack).

Echinocorys (sea urchin) fossil showing pathlogy (teeth marks from a mosasaur).

Picture Credit: Jesper Milàn

What Type of Mosasaur Attacked the Sea Urchin?

The round tooth marks are located near the top of the Echinocorys specimen, suggesting that the attack came from above and it is likely that the sea urchin was partially exposed out of the sediment on the sea floor when the attack occurred.  An examination of the morphology of the tooth marks and their spacing indicates that the attacker had slender teeth, that were circular in cross-section and that these teeth were spaced relatively far apart in the jaw.  Two types of hypercarnivorous mosasaurids are known from Denmark – Mosasaurus hoffmanni and Plioplatecarpus spp.  It could be speculated that one of these types of mosasaur was responsible for the attack.

A Mosasaurid Specimen is Used to Demonstrate the Sea Urchin Attack

Mosasaurid Attacks a Sea Urchin.

Demonstrating how the mosasaurid attacked the sea urchin.

Picture Credit: TV OST

Lucky Escape for the Sea Urchin

Although a mosasaurid grabbed the sea urchin, it apparently abandoned the attack.  Hypercarnivores such as M. hoffmanni and Plioplatecarpus probably preyed on a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates, but their teeth are not really suited to crushing the shell of an Echinocorys.  Recently, Jesper Milàn in collaboration with other scientists, reported the discovery of a single broken tooth of a mosasaur called Carinodens minalmamar.  The tooth crown was found in the uppermost Maastrichtian chalk strata at Stevns Klint,  indicating that this Mosasaur probably lived around 50,000 years before the deposition of the iridium rich K/Pg boundary material.  The shed tooth is reported to have come from the 11th or 13th position in the jaw.  The tooth represents the northernmost occurrence of the genus Carinodens found to date.  Carinodens minalmamar, was a very different type of predator compared to Mosasaurus hoffmanni and Plioplatecarpus, it was a specialist shell-eater (durophagus).  The short, thick and rounded teeth  of this type of mosasaur would have made quick work of the test of an Echinocorys.

Examples of the Teeth of Carinodens spp.

Teeth from the mosasaurid Carinodens.

Examples of the teeth of the durophagus mosasaurid Carinodens.

Picture Credit: Holwerda and Jagt

The sea urchin may count itself fortunate to have been attacked by a mosasaur more used to catching fish, sea birds and other marine reptiles.  If a mosasaur such as Carinodens had grabbed the Echinocorys, then it is likely that the sea urchin would not have survived.

An exhibit telling the story of the sea urchin and who tried to eat it will open at the Geomuseum Faxe in February 2019.

To read an article about Stevns Klint being granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status: Famous KT Boundary gets UNESCO World Heritage Site Status

11 12, 2018

Prehistoric Cave Art Reveals an Understanding of Astronomy

By | December 11th, 2018|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Cave Paintings Indicate a Link with Complex Astronomical Measurements

Scientists have decoded some ancient (Palaeolithic and Neolithic), cave art and found consistent links which indicate that Stone Age people had an advanced knowledge of astronomy.  The artworks located across Europe (Spain, France and Germany, with some younger artworks studied from Turkey), are not simply depictions of animals and hunting, the wild animals that have been painted onto cave walls represent star constellations and are used to represent dates and catastrophic events such as meteor strikes.

The Famous Lascaux Shaft Cave Painting (France)

The Lascaux Shaft Cave Painting

The cave painting shows a wounded bison with its entrails hanging outside his body standing over a prone man with a bird mask.  Once thought to depict a hunting accident and also linked to shamanism, scientists now think such symbolism relates to understanding movements of celestial bodies.

Picture Credit: Alistair Coombs

This research, published in the latest edition of the quarterly “Athens Journal of History”, suggests that perhaps as far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using knowledge of how the position of the stars slowly changes over thousands of years.  The study conducted by scientists from Edinburgh University and the University of Kent, hints at the possibility that ancient peoples understood an effect caused by the gradual shift of the Earth’s rotational axis.  Discovery of this phenomenon, called precession of the equinoxes, was previously thought to have occurred much more recently (credited to the Ancient Greek civilisation).

Like Signs of the Zodiac

In western, occidental science, constellations are represented by symbols such as animals, for example, The Great Bear, Pegasus, Aries and Leo.  It seems this idea has roots far back into our ancestry.  The researchers estimate that Stone Age people could define the date of an astronomical event according to this celestial calendar to within 250 years or thereabouts.  The findings indicate that the astronomical insights of ancient people were far greater than previously believed.  One practical application of this knowledge would have been seen in navigation.  Knowledge of the movements of the stars in the night sky would have aided navigation across open water out of sight of land.  This new study may have implications for how we perceive human migration in prehistory.

Studying Palaeolithic and Neolithic Art

The scientists discovered all the ancient sites they studied across Europe and into Turkey used the same method of date-keeping based on sophisticated astronomy, even though the art was separated in time by tens of thousands of years.  The oldest art in the research project was the Lion-Man sculpture from the Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, in southern Germany.  This sculpture is believed to have been created around 38,000 B.C.  The most recent artworks incorporated into this research come from Neolithic sites in southern Turkey which are dated to around 9,000 years ago.  Researchers clarified earlier findings from a study of stone carvings at one of these sites – Gobekli Tepe in (Turkey), which is interpreted as a memorial to a devastating comet strike around 13,000 years ago.  The extra-terrestrial impact event is believed to have caused a mini Ice Age in the northern hemisphere (the Younger Dryas period).

Löwenmensch Figurine or Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave (Germany)

The Lion-man sculpture of Hohlenstein-Stadel.

Löwenmensch figurine or Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave complex.  Carved from Mammoth ivory, the figure probably took several hundred hours to make.

The scientists also decoded what is probably one of the most famous ancient cave paintings, the Lascaux Shaft Scene in France.  The artwork, which features a dying man and several animals (see above), may commemorate another comet strike around 17,200 years ago.  The team confirmed their findings by comparing the age of many examples of cave art, known from chemically dating the paints used, with the positions of stars in ancient times as predicted by sophisticated software.

Dr Martin Sweatman (School of Engineering at Edinburgh University), stated:

“Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last Ice Age.  Intellectually, they were hardly any different to us today.  These findings support a theory of multiple comet impacts over the course of human development and will probably revolutionise how prehistoric populations are seen.”

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

10 12, 2018

Please Order Early for Christmas

By | December 10th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Please Order Early for Christmas

There are only eleven more shopping days to Christmas, but with Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, this means that there will be little movement in the international and domestic mail network from the 22nd December onwards.  Customers are advised to order early to avoid any potential disappointment on the big day.

Confirmation of the Last Recommended Posting Dates for Christmas Delivery

Last posting dates for Christmas.

Last recommended posting dates for Christmas (Royal Mail) in 2018.

Table Credit: Royal Mail

Recommended Last Posting Dates

The table above has been put together using information from Royal Mail.  Whilst staff at Everything Dinosaur do all they can to send out goods promptly and to provide accurate information on posting dates, it is certainly worthwhile checking with Royal Mail and other national carriers to obtain the latest postal information and updates.  Please note, the dates highlighted in the table above, are the last recommended dates for posting.  It is always sensible to send out gifts as early as possible in order to avoid disappointment.  Postal services get very busy in the run up to Christmas, posting early is always prudent and rest assured, our staff will be on hand to help customers with any queries or questions that they might have.

Everything Dinosaur Team Members Working Hard to Ensure a Rapid Despatch of Parcels

Team members working hard to despatch parcels.

Everything Dinosaur working hard to manage Christmas deliveries.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Working Hard to Ensure a Rapid Turnaround and Despatch of Orders

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been working all weekend to ensure that orders placed for Christmas delivery get packed and sent out as rapidly as possible.  Extra collections have been organised to cope with the large volume of orders the UK-based company receives at this time of year.  Orders placed before 2.30pm each afternoon will normally be despatched by 5.30pm the same afternoon (5.30pm is the last scheduled collection of the day).

Everything Dinosaur personnel have also been organising a special collection service to make sure that any last minute gifts get sent on their way as quickly as possible.  Royal Mail have stated the last recommended posting dates for UK parcels (see table above), however, if you are waiting for a gift to arrive, it is worth remembering that there are a number of areas in the UK where extra deliveries are taking place and Royal Mail has also organised Sunday deliveries in many parts of the country, especially in cities.

Please Check Your Delivery Address and Remember the Postcode

There are lots of things that customers can do to help ensure that parcels are delivered promptly.  For example, prior to finally hitting the “submit” button, it would be very sensible just to check the zip/post code and to ensure that the house name or house number has been included in the delivery address information.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Team workers are doing all they can to despatch parcels as quickly as possible, please help us to help you by ensuring that delivery addresses are correct and please place orders as early as possible.  Placing orders early can make a huge difference at this time of year.”

If you have a query about Christmas deliveries, or indeed any aspect of Everything Dinosaur’s delivery service please email: Email Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s website: Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Website

9 12, 2018

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

By | December 9th, 2018|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast” – Book Review

At a conference in a rather chilly Helsinki held seventeen years ago this week, delegates of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), confirmed that World Heritage Site status would be conferred upon a 95-mile stretch of the coastline of southern England covering the east Devon and Dorset coast.

In the minutes of the conference, the reason for this award was recorded:

“The Dorset and East Devon Coast provides an almost continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting approximately 185 million years of Earth history.  It also includes a range of internationally important fossil localities – vertebrate and invertebrate, marine and terrestrial – which have produced well-preserved and diverse evidence of life during Mesozoic times.”

However, this description does not convey the true majesty of this location, nor does it provide a sense of awe that this part of the British Isles inspires in so many people.  Neither does it do justice to the simple pleasure of finding a fossil, gazing at it and realising that you are the first living creature in 180 million years to set eyes upon the petrified remains of what was once another inhabitant of our planet.

Then a book is published, a book that provides a sense of the stunning natural landscape, a book that transports the reader back in time, a book that conveys the sense of excitement and achievement associated with fossil collecting – “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast” – does all this and more.

The Front Cover of “A Guide To Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

"A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast" published by Siri Scientific Press

A beautifully illustrated guide to fossil hunting on the West Dorset coast.  RRP of £18.95 – highly recommended.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Conveying a Sense of Beauty, Conveying a Sense of Wonder

Authors Craig Chivers and Steve Snowball focus on one part of the “Jurassic Coast”, that beautiful coastline that runs east from Lyme Regis to the foreboding cliffs of Burton Bradstock.  First the scene is set.  There is a brief description of the geological setting and an outline of the contribution to science of arguably Dorset’s most famous former resident, Mary Anning, and then the reader is taken in Mary’s footsteps through a series of guided walks travelling eastwards along the coast and forwards in time to explore the geology and remarkable fossil heritage of this unique sequence of sedimentary strata.

The Book is Filled with Stunning Photographs of Fossil Discoveries

Prepared specimen of Becheiceras gallicum.

A Lower Jurassic ammonite (Becheiceras gallicum) from the Green Ammonite Member (Seatown, Dorset).

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press (fossil found and prepared by Lizzie Hingley)

A Reference for All Collectors and Fossil Enthusiasts

Drawing on their detailed knowledge of fossil collecting, Craig and Steve describe what to look for and where to find an array of fossil specimens along this part of the “Jurassic Coast”.  The landscape is vividly portrayed and the book provides a handy, rucksack-sized reference for fossil collectors, whether seasoned professionals or first time visitors to Dorset.  We commend the authors for including copious amounts of helpful information on responsible fossil collecting and for publishing in full the West Dorset Fossil Collecting Code.

Breath-taking Views of the Natural Beauty of the Coastline

Fossil hunting around Seatown.

Golden Cap – excursions around Seatown.  Majestic views of the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Recreating Ancient Environments

Talented palaeoartist Andreas Kurpisz provides readers with digital reconstructions of ancient environments and brings to life the fossil specimens, showing them as living creatures interacting with other prehistoric animals in a series of Jurassic landscapes and seascapes.  These reconstructions help to document the changing environments that are now preserved within the imposing cliffs of this remarkable part of the British coastline.

Crinoids (Sea Lilies) from the West Dorset Coast

Crinoids from the "Jurassic Coast".

The book contains stunning photographs of fossils from the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur, Mike Walley commented:

“This guide manages to capture the beauty and the fascination of this part of the “Jurassic Coast”.  It is a “must have” for all fossil collectors and if ever the delegates at that UNESCO conference needed to reaffirm their decision to grant this stunning part of the British coastline World Heritage Site status, this book provides ample evidence to justify their original decision.”

For further information and to order this exquisite guide book: Order “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

8 12, 2018

Animantarx Fact Sheet

By | December 8th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Geology, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing a Fact Sheet for the Schleich Animantarx Model

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy preparing for the arrival of the first batch of new for 2019 Schleich prehistoric animal figures.  In this first set of models from the German-based manufacturer, there is a replica of the armoured dinosaur called Animantarx (Animantarx ramaljonesi), a fact sheet providing information about this nodosaurid is being compiled, so that customers of Everything Dinosaur can learn about this enigmatic member of the Thyreophora (shield-bearers).

New for 2019 the Schleich Animantarx Dinosaur Model

The new for 2019 Schleich Animantarx dinosaur model.

The Schleich Animantarx dinosaur model (new for 2019).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Using Ankylosaurs for Biostratigraphical Dating of the Cedar Mountain Formation

The disarticulated and fragmentary fossils representing a single, individual animal were described in 1999 (Carpenter, Kirkland, Burge and Bird) and Animantarx is one of numerous Ankylosaurs known from the Cedar Mountain Formation of the western United States.  The Cedar Mountain Formation has the highest concentration of ankylosaurid species of any Lower Cretaceous formation, it is hoped that further field work will help palaeontologists to build up a better picture of their evolution and subsequent radiation.

The list of armoured dinosaurs is quite long for example:

  • Sauropelta – Poison Strip Sandstone
  • Cedarpelta – Mussentuchit Member
  • Animantarx – Mussentuchit Member
  • Peloroplites – Mussentuchit Member
  • Gastonia – Yellow Cat Member

It has been suggested that given the numbers of armoured dinosaurs present in the strata, ankylosaurids can be used to help with relative dating of rock layers (biostratigraphy).

A Scale Drawing of Animantarx

Animantarx Scale Drawing.

A scale drawing of the armoured dinosaur from Utah – Animantarx ramaljonesi.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Distinct Cretaceous Dinosaur Faunas

Recent research has identified three distinct dinosaur-based faunas represented by the vertebrate fossils from the Cedar Mountain Formation.  Ankylosaurs are the most common dinosaur of the upper part of the Yellowcat Member and Poison Strip Sandstone of the Cedar Mountain Formation but are rare in other members.  This scarcity may be due to insufficient collecting in the middle and upper parts of the Cedar Mountain.  Nevertheless, Ankylosaur dinosaurs indicate a three-fold division of the Cedar Mountain dinosaur faunas.  Intriguingly, Animantarx is known from the youngest member of the Cedar Mountain Formation (Mussentuchit Member).  These rocks hold a mixture of Early and Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils – tyrannosaurids, ceratopsids, iguanodonts, ankylosaurids etc.  The strata might document a migration event whereby Asian dinosaurs moved into North America via an Alaskan land bridge.  This migration may have contributed to the extinction of several types of endemic North American members of the Dinosauria.

To view the range of Schleich prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

7 12, 2018

Countdown to the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model

By | December 7th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Countdown to the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model

Not long to wait now before the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  These beautiful 1:35 scale models are due to arrive in January 2019.  Everything Dinosaur customers, who joined our priority reservation list, are guaranteed that they will be offered a figure (some people have reserved two), as soon as the stock arrives at our warehouse, we shall be emailing list members to let them know that we have set aside a personally selected figure and we will be dropping them a line to inform them that it is in stock.

The Eagerly Anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus Model is Scheduled to Arrive in January 2019

Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur replica.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  This fantastic figure is due to arrive in January 2019.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Museum Quality Replica of “Giant Southern Lizard”

This Eofauna PVC figure, the third that the company has made, is a superb, museum quality replica of the huge South American carnivore Giganotosaurus.  This fantastic figure has certainly got model collectors and dinosaur fans excited.  It is a wonderful 1:35 scale model of Giganotosaurus carolinii, regarded as one of the largest terrestrial hypercarnivores to have ever existed.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model (2019)

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.  It even comes supplied with its own fact card, as well as for Everything Dinosaur customers, a Giganotosaurus fact sheet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It truly is a remarkable figure, the first dinosaur model in this series to be made by Eofauna Scientific Research.  Our customers who joined the priority reserve list are guaranteed to be offered a model, when the stock arrives, team members will personally select figures and email customers to let them know that the Giganotosaurus is now available.”

The Illustration of Giganotosaurus carolinii Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Giganotosaurus scale drawing.

Everything Dinosaur’s commissioned scale drawing of Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the fantastic range of Eofauna Scientific Research scale models available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Models

The Carcharodontosauridae

Giganotosaurus is a member of the Carcharodontosauridae family of Theropod dinosaurs.  This family was erected by the German palaeontologist Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach in 1931.  Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach was also responsible for naming and describing the famous African dinosaur Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus).  This family of dinosaurs is now nested within the clade Carnosauria and includes some of the largest predatory animals to have ever lived, giants such as Shaochilong from China, Neovenator from southern England as well as South American monsters such as Giganotosaurus, Tyrannotitan and Mapusaurus.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Giganotosaurus (1:35 scale replica).

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of dinosaur replicas have not long to wait now before the Eofauna Giganotosaurus 1:35 scale model is in stock.  Next year is going to be a landmark year for Eofauna Scientific Research with the introduction of their first figure representing a member of the Dinosauria.  These are exciting times for dinosaur fans and model collectors.

To enquire about reserving this model or any other model within Everything Dinosaur’s huge range: Email Everything Dinosaur

7 12, 2018

Drawing Dinosaurs Using Stencils

By | December 7th, 2018|Early Years Foundation Reception, General Teaching|Comments Off on Drawing Dinosaurs Using Stencils

Drawing Dinosaurs Using Stencils

During our travels visiting schools, we get to meet lots of eager, young, enthusiastic learners and their equally enthusiastic teachers.  We are always amazed at the carefully crafted and challenging schemes of work that have been devised for the children.  All sorts of learning styles are catered for including visual and kinaesthetic learning styles.  Whilst on one visit to a school to deliver a dinosaur and fossil themed workshop to a Reception class, we commented on the use of stencils that had helped the budding, young palaeontologists draw prehistoric animals.  One of the members of the senior leadership team arranged for some examples of the children’s work to be posted to our offices.

Drawing Dinosaurs Using Stencils

Using stencils to draw dinosaurs.

Foundation Stage children try out some dinosaur stencils.

Colourful Dinosaur Drawings in the Classroom

The large and spacious Foundation Stage 2 classroom had some beautiful dinosaur themed displays.  There was even a volcano made from tissue paper on one side of the room.  The children were eager to show our dinosaur expert their drawings.  The stencils had certainly helped and the pupils demonstrated their learning by confidently naming each dinosaur that the stencils represented.  They even told us what each dinosaur ate (herbivore or carnivore) and when the dinosaur lived (Jurassic or Cretaceous).

A Bright, Colourful Triceratops Stencil

Drawing dinosaurs using stencils.

Stencils make drawing dinosaurs quite easy, ever for Reception-aged children.

Helping to Develop Motor Skills

Simple art and craft lesson plans can help young learners gain confidence and improve their motor skills.  By drawing dinosaurs, children can practice their fine motor skills, essential when it comes to manipulating a pen, aiding the development of confident writers.  We even saw some examples of the children’s hand-writing on display.

We hope the tridactyl dinosaur footprints we provided encourage the children to write their own names in the dinosaur track.

6 12, 2018

Stenopterygius Ichthyosaur Fossil Preserves Pliable Skin and Blubber

By | December 6th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Soft-tissue Evidence for Warm-blooded Ichthyosaurs

The fossilised remains of a beautifully-preserved Ichthyosaur fossil from the Lower Cretaceous of Germany has revealed that “fish lizards” had blubber just like many modern, mammalian marine animals.  In addition, the fossil is so well-preserved that some of the soft-tissue associated with the specimen have retained some of their original pliability.  The fossil is an example of Stenopterygius, (MH 432; Urweltmuseum Hauff, Holzmaden, Germany) and it demonstrates aspects of convergent evolution showing how Ichthyosaurs adapted to a marine environment in remarkably similar ways to what is seen in modern cetaceans.

Specimen Number MH 432 – The Partial Skeleton of a Stenopterygius Ichthyosaur with an Accompanying Line Drawing

Stenopterygius fossil with soft tissue preservation.

The fossilised remains of a Stenopterygius Ichthyosaur contains soft tissue preservation.  Fossil (top), with line drawing (bottom).  The fossil specimen is approximately 85 cm in length.

Picture Credit: Johan Lindgren

The marine reptile lived in what is southern Germany today, during the Jurassic Period approximately 180 million years ago.  At that time, the reptile, which was probably around two to three metres in length, swam in a vast, shallow ocean that was then covering large parts of present-day Europe.

Johan Lindgren, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geology (Lund University, Sweden), led the international collaboration that resulted in the most comprehensive and in-depth examination of a soft-tissue fossil ever undertaken.  Among other things, the study revealed that the soft parts had fossilised so rapidly that both the original cells and their internal contents were preserved.

The international research team identified blubber under the smooth skin that lacked scales.  Traces of internal organs were also analysed.

Dr Lindgren observed:

“You can clearly see both the body outline and remains of internal organs.  We can even distinguish the different cellular layers within the skin.”

Finding Evidence of Blubber Under the Skin

The researchers identified blubber underneath the skin.  To date, such specialised fat-laden tissue has only been found in modern marine mammals and adult individuals of the Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelyidae coriacea).  The discovery of blubber suggests that Ichthyosaurs had metabolic rates that were higher than those of typical extant reptiles.  It suggests a degree of homeothermy in the Ichthyosauria.  In essence, these reptiles were able to sustain an internal body temperature regardless of how cold the water was they were swimming in.

The results from this study could help to explain why the Ichthyosauria had such a large geographical range during the Mesozoic.  These creatures, that first evolved in the Triassic and died out some 80 million years ago, had an almost global distribution, even in cold waters.  Their layer of blubber would have helped them to dive very deep, perhaps diving to the deepest parts of the Epipelagic zone of the ocean or even into the Mesopelagic zone (diving down more than 220 metres).

Comparing Pressure and Heat Treated Porpoise Blubber to Ichthyosaur Fossil Blubber

Fossil blubber compared to heat and pressure treated porpoise blubber.

A comparison between artificially matured modern porpoise integument and fossil Ichthyosaur blubber.  A cross-section through porpoise skin and blubber before decay experiments (left).  In the centre, side (top) and internal (bottom) views of heat and pressure-treated porpoise integument (note severe reduction of the blubber layer).  Views, side (top) and internal (bottom) of fossilised ichthyosaur skin and blubber (right).

Picture Credit: Johan Lindgren and Martin Jarenmark

The team of international scientists also examined remains of the animal’s liver, which included part of the original biochemistry (eumelanin pigment and haemoglobin residues).

Dr Lindgren stated:

“It’s truly remarkable that the biomolecules we discovered so closely match the tissues that we could identify.”

In the study, the researchers also succeeded in showing that the fossil contains tissues that still retain some of their original pliability, even though 180 million years have passed since the animal died and sank to the bottom of the sea.  The team used chemicals to remove the mineral phase of the specimen, the inorganics that once turned the animal carcass into a petrified fossil.  Subsequent tests revealed that the soft tissues still retained a degree of elasticity.

Ichthyosaurs Had Counter Shading

A study of the melanophores and their distribution across the body indicates that Ichthyosaurs possessed countershading.  They were darker on top, but lighter underneath.  The upper part of the body was dark, this may have helped the animal to warm up rapidly at the surface after a deep dive.  The dark colouration would absorb more energy from the sun.  In addition, the dark upper part of the body would provide a degree of UV protection and the countershading would have provided effective camouflage.  Many, living large pelagic (actively swimming), animals exhibit countershading.

A Model of an Ichthyosaur Showing Countershading

Countershading in an Ichthyosaur.

An example of countershading in a member of the Ichthyosauria.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Identifying Pigment Cells (Melanophores) in Fossil Material

Close up pigment cells (melanophores) in the fossil.

180 million-year-old pigment cells (melanophores), (left), light micrograph of the branched melanophores.  Synchrotron-radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) rendering of a melanophore with long dendritic processes (centre).  Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of a melanophore that contains melanosome organelles (right).

Picture Credit: Mats E. Eriksson, Federica Marone and Ola Gustafsson

Improving our Knowledge of Taphonomy

The research team conclude that this fossil has provided some remarkable insights into Ichthyosaur anatomy and biology.  The study also reveals how much more we have to learn about the process of fossilisation (taphonomy).  The beautifully-preserved Stenopterygius fossil demonstrates a number of adaptations that Ichthyosaurs share with other, living marine creatures such as the Leatherback turtle and toothed whales such as dolphins and porpoises.  Ever since the first outlines of preserved soft tissue were recognised in Ichthyosaurs, scientists have commented on their superficial resemblance to modern cetaceans.  Thanks to this new study, it seems that this resemblance goes a lot further than was previously thought.

A Close-up View of Fossilised Skin (Stenopterygius)

Evidence of soft tissue preseved in a Stenopterygius fossil.

Fossilised skin forming the trailing edge of the right pelvic fin on the specimen.

Picture Credit: Johan Lindgren

The scientific paper: “Soft-tissue Evidence for Homeothermy and Crypsis in a Jurassic Ichthyosaur” by Johan Lindgren, Peter Sjövall, Volker Thiel, Wenxia Zheng, Shosuke Ito, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Rolf Hauff, Benjamin P. Kear, Anders Engdahl, Carl Alwmark, Mats E. Eriksson, Martin Jarenmark, Sven Sachs, Per E. Ahlberg, Federica Marone, Takeo Kuriyama, Ola Gustafsson, Per Malmberg, Aurélien Thomen, Irene Rodríguez-Meizoso, Per Uvdal, Makoto Ojika and Mary H. Schweitzer.  The paper is published in the journal Nature.

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

5 12, 2018

New Dinosaur Named from New South Wales

By | December 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Weewarrasaurus pobeni – Hints at Different Kinds of Dinosaur Communities

The fortuitous discovery of pieces from the lower jaw of a small, plant-eating dinosaur is helping scientists to discover more about the Cretaceous dinosaurs that once roamed Australia.  Writing in the academic journal “PeerJ”, the researchers provide evidence to support the idea that there were numerous small-bodied Ornithopods at high latitudes in south-eastern Australia, whilst further north, in what would have been slightly warmer environments, these types of dinosaurs co-existed with much bigger Ornithopods and Titanosaurs.

The dinosaur has been named Weewarrasaurus pobeni (pronounced wee-whah-rar-sore-us poe-ben-eye) and it is the first new dinosaur to be described from New South Wales for nearly 100 years.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Gondwanan Ornithopod Weewarrasaurus pobeni

Weewarrasaurus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the small Ornithopod Weewarrasaurus.

Picture Credit: James Kuether

A Lucky Fossil Find

Adelaide-based opal buyer Mike Poben spotted the fossil pieces in a bucket of opal rubble from the Wee Warra opal field at Lightning Ridge (New South Wales, Australia).  The dinosaur was named in honour of the location and the trivial name recognises the contribution of Mr Poben who donated the specimens for research.

Numerous opalised dinosaur fossils are known from the Lightning Ridge area.  The material, including fragments of bones and isolated teeth come from the Griman Creek Formation.  Recent radiometric dating indicates that these deposits are around 100 to 96 million years old (Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous), making these rocks some 10 million years younger than equivalent exposures containing dinosaur fossils found in northern Queensland.

The Fossil Jaw Fragments (Right Dentary) of Weewarrasaurus pobeni

W. pobeni fossil material (right dentary in medial view).

The right dentary of W. pobeni (medial view). The two pieces are part of the same lower jaw.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Unfortunately, the underground mining process involves breaking up the rocks, so any specimens found tend to consist of isolated broken pieces, however the presence of a scalloped-shaped tooth in the object immediately caught the attention of Mr Poben, so he was able to quickly appreciate that this was part of a jawbone.  Lightning Ridge is the only place in the world where dinosaur bones and teeth routinely turn to opal.  Corresponding author of the scientific paper, Dr Philip Bell (University of New England), explained that researchers were now looking into acquiring more fossil material from opal mines.

Dr Bell stated:

“Unfortunately, the fossil remnants we see are almost always part of mining spoil… but on another hand, we would never get to see even those fragments if it wasn’t for mining.”

Opal Helps to Identify a Dinosaur

One of the benefits of the presence of opal in the fossil is that the distinctive banding pattern formed helped the scientists to identify that the two fossil pieces belonged to the same jawbone.

Views of the Jawbone Fossil (Weewarrasaurus pobeni)

Weewarrasaurus fossils.

Weewarrasaurus pobeni fossils (right dentary fragments in medial view).

Picture Credit: PeerJ/Dr Bell (University of New England)

The picture above shows three views of the fossils, (A), medial; (B), dorsal; and (C) lateral views.   The dashed black line shows the outline of the missing pieces that would have comprised a more substantial part of the dentary.  The dashed red lines indicate the distinctive banding pattern in the opal used to estimate the extent of the missing area.  Another jawbone fragment (LRF 766), representing a right dentary with teeth in situ from the nearby Three Mile opal field has also been assigned to this new dinosaur species.

Faunal Differences in Different Regions of Prehistoric Australia

The Griman Creek Formation fossils from Lightning Ridge indicate that there were numerous small Ornithopods living in this environment during the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous.  This research provides further evidence to support previous studies that favour a general abundance of small-bodied basal Ornithopods in high-latitude localities of south-eastern Australia.  These little dinosaurs, most of which were under two metres in length, inhabited a verdant flood plain, but this part of the Gondwana was at approximately 60 degrees south.  Today, Australia is much further north, the city of Sydney (New South Wales), is located at approximately 33.86 degrees south.  During the Cretaceous, the dinosaurs that inhabited the part of Australia we now call New South Wales, would have had to endure periods of darkness in the year when the sun dipped below the horizon, although the presence of ectothermic reptiles such as crocodyliforms and turtles indicate that average minimum temperatures may not have fallen below 5 degrees Celsius.  Even so, the climate may have been too extreme for Sauropods.  Cretaceous deposits in Queensland (Winton Formation), have revealed several Titanosaurs, but the colder temperatures experienced further south may have limited Sauropod distribution.

The researchers conclude that although future dinosaur fossil discoveries have the potential to alter these interpretations, it is suggested that the Griman Creek Formation at Lightning Ridge occupied a “meeting point” between more northern Sauropod-dominated faunas and the Ornithopod-dominated faunas that existed further south.

Computer Generated Images from Fossil Scans Helped to Identify Ornithopod Characteristics

Weewarrasaurus three-dimensional, computer generated images of the fossil material.

Three-dimensional renders of the posterior dentary fragment.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

To read a recent article about an opalised dinosaur toe bone found in South Australia: Lost Dinosaur Toe Bone Turns Up on the Internet

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