All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//January
21 01, 2019

100 million-year-old Cretaceous Hagfish Shakes Our Family Tree

By | January 21st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Research Changes Views over Evolution of Jawed Vertebrates

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Manchester University, have helped unravel the secrets hidden in the fossilised remains of an ancient hagfish, a slimy, eel-like fish whose descendants still swim the oceans of the world today.

Working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA), the Manchester University team have identified the first detailed fossil of a hagfish.  The Manchester team were led by Professors Phil Manning and Roy Wogelius, powerful X-rays were used to provide a detailed examination of the fossil specimen, providing a fresh perspective on the evolution of jaws in animals with back bones (vertebrates).

The Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil Specimen Being Prepared for Synchrotron Analysis

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil.

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil being prepared for synchrotron X-ray analysis.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

The X-rays were produced using the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), a cyclic particle accelerator at Stanford University (California).  Once the fossil had been scanned, the data produced helped answer the question as to when these ancient jawless fish branched-off the vertebrate evolutionary tree.

An Important Discovery

The discovery is incredibly important as it changes our view of the evolutionary lineage that gave rise to modern-day jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), from bony fish to humans.  The scientific paper is being published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.  The fossil, a specimen of a hagfish from the Late Cretaceous comes from Lebanon and it measures just over thirty centimetres long.  The fossil represents a species named Tethymyxine tapirostrum.

Commenting on the importance of this research, Professor Phil Manning (Chair of Natural History at the University of Manchester) stated:

“This is an extremely significant discovery as it recalibrates our understanding of the evolutionary history of all early vertebrates, an ancestral line that leads to all jawed beasties including us. Humans!”

Professor Manning added:

“This wonderful fossil plugs a 100-million-year gap in the fossil record and shows that hagfish are more closely related to the lamprey than to other fishes.  The chemical maps produced at SSRL enabled our team to see for the first time the anatomical features so crucial to the interpretation of this very distant relative.”

Lampreys are another form of ancient, blood-sucking, jawless fish also still in existence today.  These findings show that both the hagfish and lamprey evolved their eel-like body form and strange feeding systems after they branched off from the rest of the vertebrate line of ancestry about 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian geological period.

Professor Manning at the SSRL (Stanford University)

Professor Phil Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Professor Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

Dr Tetsuto Miyashita, (Fellow in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at Chicago University), who led the research, explained:

“This is a major reorganisation of the family tree of all fish and their descendants.  This allows us to put an evolutionary date on unique traits that set hagfish apart from all other animals.”

The Bizarre Hagfish

The bizarre hagfish are entirely marine and are the only known living animals that possess a rudimentary skull but no vertebral column.  They do have very primitive vertebrae but instead of a back bone like other vertebrates they just have a modified notochord.  They have a unique defence mechanism to help them ward off ocean predators such as sharks.  They can produce copious amounts of slime, clouding the water in their proximity and clogging the gills of would-be attackers.  In some parts of Asia, such as South Korea, this slime is prized and used in cooking.

It was this ability to produce slime that made the Tethymyxine fossil all the more important and rare.  The discrete chemistry locked within the fossil could only be mapped using synchrotron-based imaging techniques developed by the Manchester/SSRL team.  Manchester University  is an established world leader in the synchrotron-based imaging of fossil remains.  This technique has permitted the team to identify the “chemical ghost” of the preserved soft tissue and slime glands of the fossil.  Soft tissues are rarely preserved as fossils, which is why there are so few examples of prehistoric hagfish for palaeontologists to study.

The detailed scans picked up the chemical signal for keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and nails.  Keratin is a crucial part of what makes the hagfish slime defence so effective.

Professor Wogelius, (Chair of Geochemistry at The University of Manchester), commented:

“Our team at Manchester has been using these increasingly sophisticated imaging techniques to help us better understand ancient fossils and resolve chemistry derived from both the organism and the environment in which they were preserved.”

Professor Manning added:

“This ‘chemical’ fossil has offered new and exciting evidence that has enabled a more robust reconstruction of the vertebrate family tree.  However, it was only made possible through the collaboration of an international team, as Darwin once said, ‘In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed’”.

20 01, 2019

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Articulated Jaw

By | January 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Eofauna Giganotosaurus with an Articulated Jaw

One of the great things about supplying dinosaur models and prehistoric animal figures to collectors all around the world, is that we get to examine the models in our warehouse before they get allocated space on the shelves in readiness for being purchased and dispatched.  When a shipment of new models arrives, there is a lot of excitement around the office and whilst unpacking all the cases, we have the opportunity to examine up close and in detail the latest editions to Everything Dinosaur’s product portfolio.

This week has seen the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus model in 1:35 scale.  The model is beautifully detailed and we thought it fitting to make a short video of the articulated jaw, after all, the size estimate for this meat-eating dinosaur of around 13-14 metres in length was based on the discovery of some super-sized Giganotosaurus teeth.

Admiring the Articulated Jaw on the 1/35th Scale Giganotosaurus carolinii Dinosaur Model by Eofauna Scientific Research

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fifty New Prehistoric Animal Models Coming to Everything Dinosaur in 2019

At the beginning of the year, we predicted that we would be adding approximately fifty new models to our already extensive range.  That’s just about one new model every week.  To read about our palaeontology crystal ball gazing and other predictions for 2019: Our Predictions for the Forthcoming Year.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus is the first dinosaur model to be created by this talented company.  We knew about the introduction of this Theropod many months ago, when we met up with the senior management team of Eofauna Scientific Research, we even helped with the production of the text that accompanies this beautifully-crafted dinosaur model.

We have added this figure to our own prehistoric animal model collection (we already have the two prehistoric elephants – the Steppe Mammoth and the Straight-tusked Elephant), we chose to create a short video just to demonstrate the skilfully sculpted skull and to highlight the model’s articulated jaw.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Over the last few days we have been busy emailing all those people who had contacted us so that they could reserve a model.  We have already received lots of amazing feedback and even seen some of video reviews posted up by our customers.  We are already looking forward to the fourth model to come out from Eofauna Scientific Research.  No doubt, details about this will be posted up on this blog site and on Everything Dinosaur’s social media sites in the near future.

A Plastic Cradle Helps Protect the Model in Transit and Also Prevents any Issues with Legs Warping

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.  The third prehistoric animal model to be created in this exciting replica range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three of a Kind – The Current Eofauna Model Range

Three Eofauna replicas illustrated.

Illustrations based on the three Eofauna replicas (left to right), Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Mammuthus trogontherii and Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Eofauna Scientific Research

To view all the models in the Eofauna Scientific Research range available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Prehistoric Animal Models

19 01, 2019

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Schleich Spinosaurus

By | January 19th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Schleich Spinosaurus Review by JurassicCollectables

Those clever and talented film-makers at JurassicCollectables have produced a review of the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus, a figure that has received a lot of praise from dinosaur enthusiasts and model collectors.  Schleich, the German model and figure manufacturer, have produced several Spinosaurus figures over the years.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have considered writing an article highlighting how changes in these models have reflected scientific understanding, but for the time being we have this wonderful video review of the Spinosaurus to watch.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

The Schleich Spinosaurus (2019)

This is the first Spinosaurus model produced by Schleich that portrays this dinosaur as a quadruped.  In this well-crafted and highly informative video the narrator takes viewers on a guided tour of this excellent addition to the Schleich model range.  The video itself is just a little over seven minutes in length and a video review such as this, really helps dinosaur model fans to get a good look at a figure, helping them to decide whether or not to add it to their collection.

An Impressive and Highly Praised Schleich Spinosaurus is Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

A video review of the Schleich Spinosaurus by JurassicCollectables

JurassicCollectables have produced a video review of the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables provides a comprehensive resource for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model reviews.  The videos are skilfully produced and provide viewers with the opportunity to examine prehistoric animal figures and dinosaur models in detail.

Visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube , Everything Dinosaur recommends that dinosaur enthusiasts and prehistoric animal model fans subscribe to JurassicCollectables.

The New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

The new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model, depicting Spinosaurus as a quadruped.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Crocodilian Features

In the video, the quadrupedal stance is commented upon.  The influence of crocodilan anatomy on the model is also stated, many palaeontologists believe that Spinosaurus was semi-aquatic and took up an ecological niche similar to large crocodilians today – that of an aquatic predator.  The narrator takes care to point out the long tail with its crocodilan scutes.  The skull is also shown in detail and there are plenty of close-up shots of those long, narrow crocodile-like jaws.

The Spinosaurus Model is Carefully Measured in the Video Review

The Schleich Spinosaurus model is measured.

Measuring the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Measuring the Model

JurassicCollectables include a video segment in which the model is carefully measured.  At Everything Dinosaur, we also measure the models in our inventory.  The length of the Schleich Spinosaurus is approximately 29 centimetres.  Later on in the video, the Spinosaurus is compared with the classic Papo green Tyrannosaurus rex figure, off-colour Alan also makes a welcome return and helps to demonstrate just how large this new Schleich figure is.

This Spinosaurus is one of five new prehistoric animal models introduced by Schleich in early 2019.  The other models are:

  • Dimorphodon
  • Dimetrodon
  • A new colour version of their Giganotosaurus model
  • Animantarx (armoured dinosaur model)

To view the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus and the other models in the Schleich prehistoric animal model range: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

18 01, 2019

Supporting Women in Science

By | January 18th, 2019|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Supporting Women in Science

Whilst preparing to undertake a dinosaur and fossil workshop with a year 1 class, one of our team members spotted a superb display in the school hall, highlighting the role of women in science.  The concept of working scientifically is one of the key elements of the new national teaching curriculum that has been introduced.  It is wonderful to see the role of women in science being showcased to children at primary schools in this way.

Celebrating the Role of Women in Science

School poster acknowledges the role of women in science.

Celebrating the role of women in science.  A school poster showcases some of the leading female scientists and their contribution to building a better understanding about our world.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Chien-Shiung Wu, Hedy Lamarr, Sandra Faber and Rosalind Franklin

The poster explains some of the principles required to be a scientist such as gathering and recording data, making observations and devising experiments.  The work of four women are highlighted on this prominent poster.  Firstly, there is the physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, who worked on the Manhattan Project and become the first female tutor at the prestigious physics department at Princeton University in America.  Hedy Lamarr, perhaps better known for her acting career but also an accomplished mathematician and inventor is also featured.  She helped pave the way for today’s wireless technology.  During World War II, Hedy Lamarr worked on a radio guidance system which was more robust and difficult to jam and distort.  The principles of her work helped to lead to the development of today’s Bluetooth technology.

The poster also features Englishwoman Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist who pioneered X-ray crystallography (XRC), a method by which the atomic and molecular structure of an object can be determined.  Her work helped to reveal the internal structures of complex minerals and most famously DNA.

A Poster in the Hall of a Primary School Celebrates the Work of Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin

The double helix of DNA.

Rosalind Franklin helped to unravel the structure of the double helix of DNA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last but least, the display poster features the work of astronomer Sandra Faber.  Sandra Faber has been instrumental in the Hubble Telescope programme helping to provide some of the most detailed images of the universe ever recorded.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is great to see the work of famous women scientists highlighted in this way.  During our dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, we explore the contribution made to palaeontology by Mary Anning, who during her lifetime was given very little credit for her discoveries, but now is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Earth sciences.  Let’s hope the poster helps to inspire girls to think more seriously about a career in the sciences.”

Providing such positive role models to young girls may help encourage them with their own experiments in the school science classes.  It is important to highlight and celebrate diversity, helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.

17 01, 2019

The Eofauna 1:35 Scale Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

By | January 17th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Eofauna 1:35 Scale Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

The Eofauna 1:35 scale replica of the huge Theropod Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii), is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  This is the third replica in the Eofauna Scientific Research series and the first representative of the Dinosauria to be introduced to this highly-respected model range.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model (1/35th Scale)

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Accurate Representation of a Member of the Carcharodontosauridae

Remarkably, when the fossilised remains of a leg bone from a large, meat-eating dinosaur was found by car mechanic Ruben Carolini whilst prospecting for fossils in Neuquén Province (Argentina), the field team that was dispatched to explore the site went onto excavate nearly seventy percent of the skeleton of an individual dinosaur.  To find so many elements of the skeleton of a large Theropod in close proximity is exceptionally rare.  From this material, palaeontologists were able to build up an accurate picture of this hypercarnivore.  Ironically, it was some years after the announcement of the discovery of Giganotosaurus (1994), that a more complete study of the anatomy of this Late Cretaceous dinosaur was undertaken.

The scientists at Eofauna Scientific Research have used their expertise to create an accurate representation of a member of the Carcharodontosauridae family.  Giganotosaurus carolinii may have been bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, although estimates of a body length in excess of 14 metres are based on fossilised teeth not more conventional size estimates such as femora measurements.

A Close-up of the Beautifully Detailed Skull of the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

The Eofauna 1:35 scale Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Museum Quality Model

Measuring approximately thirty-nine centimetres in length and with a head height of eleven centimetres, this is a most impressive model and much larger than most other replicas of Giganotosaurus that have been produced in the last few years.  The attention to detail on this figure is superb and the muted colours and patterns help to emphasis the figure’s quality.  The lower jaw is articulated and when the mouth is opened a glossy, red coloured mouth and tongue are revealed.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model has an Articulated Lower Jaw

Giganotosaurus carolinii dinosaur model.

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the Eofauna Giganotosaurus and the rest of the prehistoric animal models within the Eofauna Scientific Research range: Eofauna Scientific Research Figures

There are life-size skeletal reconstructions of Giganotosaurus on display in several natural history museums around the world, however, we think collectors and dinosaur fans are going to be more than happy with this 1:35 scale, museum quality replica.  Although this figure has been available for just a few days, reviews and feedback has already come in from Everything Dinosaur customers.

William wrote to tell us:

“The Giganotosaur’s beautifully robust head is masterfully captured with clean lines, smoothly closing jaws an all-round superb job.”

Our thanks to William and all the other model collectors who have contacted us to let us know their delight at acquiring this fine piece.

A Lateral View of the Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus Model

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

16 01, 2019

Year 1 Children Prepare Questions About Dinosaurs

By | January 16th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaur Questions from Year 1 at Barford Primary

Children in Year 1 at Barford Primary (Ladywood, Birmingham), have embarked on a new term topic.  Under the enthusiastic and expert guidance of their teachers, the children are learning all about dinosaurs, fossils and life in the past.  One of Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and fossil experts was dispatched to the school to visit 1G and 1L to help kick-off the dinosaur themed topic in style.

Prior to delivering the two workshops (one workshop for each Year 1 class), our team member was given the chance to discuss learning objectives and outcomes with the class teachers in a spacious and very tidy Year 1 classroom.

The children had been thinking of questions that they would like to know the answer to, a start had been made on one of the classroom display boards and some questions had already been posted up.

Children at Barford Primary School (Year 1) Prepare Questions About Prehistoric Animals and Fossils

Questions about dinosaurs from Year 1 (Barford Primary)

Barford Primary – dinosaur questions.  The two classes of Year 1 children had been preparing questions about dinosaurs and life in the past.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Barford Primary

Learning About Fossils

During the workshop, the children were able to handle the same sort of fossils that Mary Anning, the famous fossil hunter from Dorset would have discovered on the beach at Lyme Regis.  Mary Anning makes a fine role model for children in Key Stage 1, as she was not much older when she found the fossilised remains of a huge marine reptile (Ichthyosaur) eroding out of the cliffs close to her home town.

One of the questions asked by the pupils was “how is a fossil made?”  Using simple language and terms our dinosaur expert leading the workshop was able to explain how most fossils are formed and that it is because we have fossils, such as bones, teeth and footprints that palaeontologists have been able to demonstrate that millions of years ago giant reptiles roamed the Earth.  All very helpful with the scheme of work for the Year 1 children as another question asked by a budding, young scientist was “how do we know that dinosaurs existed?”

Fossils Help Scientists to Learn About Life in the Past

A Gorgosaurus on display.

Gorgosaurus fossil display.  Fossils help scientists to learn about life in the past.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Manchester University

Populating a Prehistoric Scene

One of the questions that our staff member spotted whilst visiting the Year 1 children (1G and 1L), was “what killed the dinosaurs”?  The children were keen to demonstrate their pre-knowledge and provided very confident answers, in the challenging and engaging scheme of work prepared for the term topic, the question concerning what caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs will be thoroughly researched and explored.  One theory that has been proposed is that a long period of volcanism caused global climate change, this volcanism in conjunction with an extra-terrestrial impact event led to the extinction of around seventy percent of all life on land, including the non-avian dinosaurs.

Volcanic Eruptions Could Have Played a Role in the Extinction of the Dinosaurs

Barford Primary (Year 1) design a prehistoric scene.

Primary school children design their own dinosaur landscape.  Volcanic eruptions could have been a factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Barford Primary

15 01, 2019

The Left Femur of Aepyornis

By | January 15th, 2019|Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A Thigh Bone from an “Elephant Bird”

Whilst on a recent visit to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, a beautiful specimen of a femur from an extinct “elephant bird” was spotted in a display case on the ground floor.    The thigh bone is purported to come from the genus Aepyornis, we suspect that from the robust nature of the bone, this is from A. maximus, or the bone may have to be classified to the genus Vorombe, following a reassessment of the largest specimens.

The Robust Left Femur on Display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Elephant bird left femur.

Aepyornis (elephant bird) left femur but possibly representing the genus Vorombe.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Native to Madagascar

Following the first taxonomic revision of the Aepyornithidae for more than fifty years, the species formerly known as Aepyornis titan was renamed Vorombe titan and it is the largest member of the bird family known to science.  It has been calculated that V. titan stood around three metres tall and weighed approximately 800 kilograms.

Whether or not the left femur represents A. maximus or V. titan, one thing is for sure, that’s a very strong looking leg bone.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the taxonomic revision of the Aepyornithidae: The World’s Largest Bird – Ever!

If you look carefully, where the internal structure of the bone is exposed, the honey-comb texture (pneumacity) can be observed.  This is a feature common to both avian and many non-avian dinosaurs.

14 01, 2019

Basilosaurus – The Apex Predator

By | January 14th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Research Confirms Basilosaurus Was a Top Predator

Readers with a long memory might remember an episode from the BBC “Walking with Beasts” television series that first aired in 2001.  In this sequel to “Walking with Dinosaurs”, the focus was placed upon the evolution of the mammals after the dinosaur extinction.  “Whale Killer”,  which was episode two in the six-part series, told the story of a pregnant Basilosaurus (archaic whale), desperately searching for food to help the calf growing inside her.  Thanks to raids on Dorudon whales and their young, the Basilosaurus is able to successfully give birth and this episode ends with the mother swimming away with her new-born calf following close behind.

An Illustration of the Fearsome Early Toothed Whale Basilosaurus

PNSO Basilosaurus illustration.

An illustration of Basilosaurus.  The human figure provides scale.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Analysis of Basilosaurus Stomach Contents

A team of researchers writing in the on-line, academic journal PLOS One, have published the results of stomach content analysis of Basilosaurus specimens from the Late Eocene-aged site at Wadi Al-Hitan in Egypt.  It is confirmed that Basilosaurus fed on smaller whales (juvenile Dorudon atrox) as well as large fish (Pycnodus mokattamensis).  The scientists, which included Manja Voss (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) and Mohammed Sameh M. Antar from the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, Cairo, state that this is the first direct evidence of Basilosaurus (B. isis) diet.

A Size Comparison Between an Adult Basilosaurus isis and an Adult Dorudon atrox

An adult Basilosaurus compared to an adult Dorudon whale.

Comparing an adult, fifteen-metre-long Basilosaurus isis museum mounted skeleton to a fully grown Dorudon atrox.

Picture Credit: PLOS One/University of Michigan

Basilosaurus – Top of a Tethys Ocean Ecological Pyramid

The Late Eocene Epoch was a time of dramatic change and global extinction.  The once mighty Tethys Ocean was very much reduced, but the first, giant, toothed whales had evolved and the research team cite Basilosaurus isis, the Late Miocene Livyatan melvillei, and the extant Orca (Orcinus orca) as three marine apex predators known from relatively short intervals of time during the Cenozoic.  This research confirms the predator-prey relationship between the two most frequently found fossil whales at the Wadi Al-Hitan location.  Bite marks on the preserved skulls of Dorudon whales suggest predation and not scavenging behaviour by Basilosaurus.

A Photomosaic of a Basilosaurus Specimen (WH 10001)

Basilosaurus scattered remains.

Photomosaic of Basilosaurus isis (WH 10001) from the Gehannam Formation of Wadi Al Hitan.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

The image above shows a photomosaic of a scattered and disarticulated Basilosaurus isis specimen from the Gehannam Formation of Wadi Al-Hitan.  The disarticulation of the fossil skeleton and the scattering suggests disturbance by scavengers and possibly long exposure on the seafloor prior to burial.

The researcher conclude that Basilosaurus was a top apex predator that hunted and ate its prey alive, rather than scavenging for scraps.  If the Wadi Al-Hitan site, represents a calving area for the Dorudon, then this would have made an ideal hunting spot for a hungry Basilosaurus.  The dramatic scenes in episode two of the “Walking with Beasts” television series, have more published scientific evidence to back up the screenplay.

14 01, 2019

Borealopelta Scale Drawing

By | January 14th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Borealopelta markmitchelli Fact Sheet Preparations

In a few weeks’ time, the first of the 2019 CollectA prehistoric animal models will be coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur.  One of the first figures expected to arrive is the Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta figure, a fifteen centimetre long replica of a nodosaurid that roamed north-western Alberta around 112 million years ago.  The fact sheet for this new dinosaur model is being prepared and a scale drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) has been produced.

The Scale Drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Borealopelta scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the armoured dinosaur Borealopelta from north-eastern Alberta (Canada).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Heavily Armoured with Countershading

The exquisite state of preservation has permitted palaeontologists to gain a great deal of information about the position of the osteoderms and scutes that covered the dinosaur’s body.  When the scientific paper providing the formal description of Borealopelta was published in 2017, the research team described how chemical analysis of organic compounds in the armour and skin permitted the research team to infer the armoured dinosaur’s pigmentation.  It was discovered that Borealopelta possessed countershading, with a reddish-brown top half contrasting with a much paler underside.  In extant animals, countershading helps to provide camouflage against predators, but most large animals today, such as rhinos, elephants and hippos, don’t have countershading.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta Dinosaur Model

CollectA Borealopelta dinosaur model.

The Age of Dinosaurs Popular – CollectA Borealopelta.  Note the paler underside of the animal – an example of countershading.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

At more than five metres long and with such strong armour, it seems surprising that this armoured dinosaur would evolve countershading to help it avoid detection.  Such a large and powerfully built dinosaur would have presented a formidable opponent for most Theropod dinosaurs, but apparently it paid Borealopelta to try to maintain a low profile.

It is not known what sort of meat-eating dinosaurs Borealopelta tried to hide from but three-toed prints, some measuring in excess of 90 cm long and ascribed to the ichnogenus Irenesauripis indicate that they may have been some 12-metre-plus carnivores in the ecosystem that were best avoided.

Everything Dinosaur’s original blog post announcing the discovery of the fossilised remains but before a formal scientific description was published can be found here: Extremely Rare Ankylosaur Fossil Turns Up in Alberta’s Oil Sands

To read an article about the dermal armour of Borealopelta markmitchelli: The Remarkable Armour of Borealopelta

What Sort of Giant Theropods?

As to what sort of Theropods could have predated Borealopelta, we can only speculate.  However, it has been postulated that the super-sized carnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid were probably carcharodontosaurids or allosaurids.  This armoured dinosaur is estimated to have weighed more than 1.3 Tonnes, it is much larger than animals alive today that have evolved countershading, therefore, the assumption is that there must have been super-sized, hypercarnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid.

Summarising the Research into the Armoured Dinosaur Borealopelta

The research into Borealopelta.

Summarising the research into Borealopelta.

Picture Credit: Brown et al, published in Current Biology with additional annotation from Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of  CollectA  prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models

The scientific paper: “An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics” by Caleb M. Brown, Donald M. Henderson, Jakob Vinther, Ian Fletcher, Ainara Sistiaga, Jorsua Herrera and Roger E. Summons published in Current Biology.

13 01, 2019

Tongue-shaped Leaves Link Continents

By | January 13th, 2019|Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Glossopteris Fossils Helped to Support the Theory of Plate Tectonics

The photograph (below), was taken at the Oxford University Natural History Museum (Oxford, England).  The display shows various fossils of the leaves of a prehistoric plant referred to as Glossopteris.  To be accurate, in palaeobotany, the term Glossopteris refers only to the tongue-shaped leaves of this seed-bearing, vascular plant distantly related to cycads and the ginkgo (Maidenhair tree).

The Fossilised Leaves of Glossopteris on Display at the Oxford University Natural History Museum

Glossopteris fossil leaves.

Examples of Glossopteris fossils from different parts of the world – India (left) and Australia (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In Support of Plate Tectonics Theory

Fossil finds of glossopteris leaves helped to support the theory of plate tectonics.  The photograph shows two fossils showing the tongue-shaped leaves of the gymnosperm Glossopteris.  The one on the left is a fossil from the Kamthi Basin (India), whilst the one on the right comes from Newcastle in the state of New South Wales, (Australia).

The discovery of fossils of this Permian-aged plant found in South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia and India helped to support the theory that in the distant past, these, now geographically separate landmasses once formed a giant, southern super-continent.  This landmass is termed Gondwana.

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