All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//March
11 03, 2019

New Australian Ornithopod Described

By | March 11th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Galleonosaurus dorisae – A New Aussie Dinosaur

A new type of Australian dinosaur has been described from the fossilised remains of five upper jaw bones (maxillae) found at the Flat Rocks locality in the Wonthaggi Formation in the famous Gippsland Basin of Victoria.  Five small-bodied Ornithopods are now known from the state of Victoria.  The new plant-eating dinosaur has been named Galleonosaurus dorisae.  The jaw bones are of different sizes and this has permitted palaeontologists to plot growth changes in these little dinosaurs as they matured.

Writing in the Journal of Palaeontology, the researchers which include Matthew Herne (University of New England, New South Wales) and Alistair Evans (Monash University, Melbourne), used detailed CT-scans of the fossil material to gain fresh insights into the structure and morphology of the cranial anatomy and dentition of small Australian Ornithopods.  The research leading to the establishment of this new genus has also helped to define more clearly other small Ornithopods known from the Gippsland Basin and the Otway Basin located on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Ornithopod Galleonosaurus dorisae

Galleonosaurus dorisae illustrated.

A life reconstruction of the newly described Australian Ornithopod Galleonosaurus dorisae.

Picture Credit: James Kuether

“Galleon Lizard”

When the scientists were examining the maxillae, their shape reminded them of the upturned hull of an old-fashioned sailing ship – a galleon.  It was the morphology of the jaw that inspired the genus name “Galleon Lizard”.  The species or trivial name honours Doris Seegets-Villiers for her geological, palynological, and taphonomic work on the Flat Rocks fossil vertebrate locality.

Jaw Fossils and a Tooth with a CT-scan of the Fossil Material

Galleonosaurus fossiils and a CT-scan of a jaw.

Fossil jaw bones, a single tooth and a CT-scan image of a jaw bone (Galleonosaurus dorisae).

Picture Credit: Herne et al

Niche Partitioning in Ornithopods

The plethora of vertebrate fossils at the Flat Rocks site, suggests that several more dinosaurs await discovery.  However, for the moment, the researchers are confident that Galleonosaurus shared its habitat with at least one other small, light, fast-running Ornithopod – Qantassaurus intrepidus.  The jaws of Qantassaurus are more robust and more powerful.  The researchers were able to confirm that Q. intrepidus is uniquely characterised by a deep, foreshortened dentary (lower jaw).  This suggests that the robust Q. intrepidus and the more gracile jawed G. dorisae fed on different vegetation, they did not compete directly for food, an example of niche partitioning.

Dr Herne described Galleonosaurus:

“We know it would have been a two-legged, quite agile plant-eating dinosaur.  It seems that Galleonosaurus was no doubt closely related to possibly as many as four or five other species that look a little bit similar and were similar sizes, but we can tell they’re different by the anatomy of the jaws and the teeth.”

A Lush Conifer Dominated Rift Valley with an Immense Volcanic Mountain Chain to the East

Extensive research on the Otway Formation material to the west of Port Phillip Bay in conjunction with research on the geology of the Gippsland Basin have permitted scientists to build up a picture of what life was like in this part of Australia during the Early Cretaceous.  The dinosaurs lived in an extensive rift valley that had formed as Australia began to separate from Antarctica. Conifer forests dominated and at such high latitudes, the lush environment would have been subjected to long periods of extensive daylight in the summer, but conversely the winters would have been cold with little daylight each day.  Although the Earth’s climate was much warmer than today during the Early Cretaceous, it is quite possible that these little dinosaurs would have had to endure winter temperatures close to freezing.

Gondwana in the Early Cretaceous (Barremian Faunal Stage)

Gondwana in the Early Cretaceous.

Around 125 million years ago, although Gondwana was breaking up, Australia was still linked to Antarctica with a large volcanic mountain range to the east.

Picture Credit: Herne et al

A Skeletal Reconstruction of the Skull of Galleonosaurus and the Anatomical Position of Jaw Material

Jaw fossils of Galleonosaurus dorisae.

An illustration of the skull of Galleonosaurus dorisae with fossil elements placed in the correct anatomical position.  The lower jaw shown in the image might pertain to G. dorisae based on a reassessment of other known lower jaw elements associated with Q. intrepidus and Atlascopcosaurus loadsi.

Picture Credit: Herne et al

A Phylogenetic Analysis

The scientists conclude that a highly diverse, small-bodied Ornithopod fauna flourished in the periodically disturbed, high-latitude, riverine floodplain environment of the Australian-Antarctic rift valley during the Early Cretaceous (Barremian to Early Albian faunal stage).  A phylogenetic analysis places Galleonosaurus as the earliest member of the Elasmaria, a clade of Gondwanan Ornithopods distantly related to the Hypsilophodonts.

The Five Victorian Ornithopods – Spanning 12 million years

The Lower Cretaceous rocks either side of Port Phillip Bay were laid down at different times during the Cretaceous.  The Gippsland Basin deposits close to the town of Inverloch, were laid down around 125 million years ago, however, the Otway Basin deposits (Eumeralla Formation), represent younger material laid down in the Early Albian (113 million years ago).

  1. Leaellynasaura amicagraphica – named in 1989 (Early Albian faunal stage), from the Eumeralla Formation (Otway Basin).
  2. Atlascopcosaurus loadsi – also named in 1989 from the Eumeralla Formation.
  3. Diluvicursor pickeringi – named in 2018 (Eumeralla Formation).  To read an article about the discovery of this dinosaur: Fast-running Ornithopod from Victoria.
  4. Qantassaurus intrepidus named in 1999 from the Wonthaggi Formation (Gippsland Basin) – older strata associated with the Barremian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous.
  5. The newly described Galleonosaurus dorisae (2019), also from the Wonthaggi Formation.

Dr Herne stated:

“The interesting thing about that whole coast line is it gives us a decent age range over quite a long period.”

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is likely that many more small dinosaurs are going to be named and described in the future.  Fossil finds from Victoria will, most likely, lead to further revisions of Gondwanan Ornithopod taxonomy.”

10 03, 2019

Bring Back the Original Papo Green Standing T. rex?

By | March 10th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|6 Comments

Bring Back the Original Papo Green Standing T. rex?

In one of our recent discussions with the management team at Papo, Everything Dinosaur team members were asked to provide feedback on the introduction for 2019 of the Papo brown running T. rex dinosaur model.  Tyrannosaurs have been a staple of the Papo range ever since their first Tyrannosaurus rex, the famous green standing T. rex figure was introduced.  Sales of the brown running Tyrannosaurus rex continue to be strong, but this got us thinking, what if Papo was to produce a limited production run of their original T. rex model?

The Iconic Papo Standing T. rex Dinosaur Model

The Papo Green Standing T. rex dinosaur model.

The last of its kind, the Papo green standing T. rex dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Officially Retired

The original Papo T. rex was officially retired after the 2011 production run, however, Everything Dinosaur was able to use its influence to acquire the very last stocks of this dinosaur replica, but these very soon sold out.  With its articulated lower jaw and peg-like, blunt teeth, this award winning dinosaur model had been very popular with young dinosaur fans and model collectors.  It was replaced by the brown colour variant with a new head sculpt in May 2012, but Everything Dinosaur still receives periodic requests from model fans eager to get hold of this dinosaur figure.

Since then, the Papo range of prehistoric animal replicas has expanded considerably, but as the Papo imagery associated with their first “tyrant lizard king” seems to be out of copyright, young dinosaur fans have been increasingly exposed to images of this figure, but unable to obtain it.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s Papo prehistoric animal models: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

At the time the original green standing T. rex figure from Papo was retired, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The Papo model T. rex with the product code 55001, has been replaced with a new, brown coloured version, but we have been inundated with requests to see if we could get hold of any models.  It is pleasing to note that our influence and relationship with Papo is strong and we have been able to secure the remaining stock.”

The question is whether with the introduction of a brown running T. rex figure, should Papo bring back the original green standing T. rex?

The Papo Green Standing T. rex Dinosaur Model – Long Extinct but Should it Come Back?

The Papo green standing T. rex dinosaur model.

The Papo green standing T. rex dinosaur model. Should we start a campaign to re-introduce this long extinct figure?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Should Papo bring back for a limited time their original green standing Tyrannosaurus rex?

9 03, 2019

The CollectA Rearing Diplodocus – Demonstrates Niche Partitioning

By | March 9th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Teaching|0 Comments

The CollectA Rearing Diplodocus – Niche Partitioning

The beautifully sculpted and skilfully painted CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur model helps us to demonstrate a concept called niche partitioning.  The term niche partitioning is used by ecologists to explain how organisms use the resources in an environment differently to avoid competition and therefore, by doing this, they can all co-exist.  Diplodocus is known to have co-existed with several other long-necked dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic, but they were able to share the same environment as they very probably fed on different types of vegetation.  They were probably not directly competing with each other for resources.

The CollectA rearing Diplodocus can be posed in a rearing position, as if it is reaching high into the upper canopy of a forest in order to reach the leaves and branches at the very top of the trees that other dinosaurs could not reach.  We created a short video (45 seconds), that demonstrates how the CollectA Diplodocus can be balanced to demonstrate niche partitioning.

The CollectA Diplodocus Demonstrates Niche Partitioning in the Sauropoda

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Providing a Challenge to Schoolchildren During a Dinosaur Workshop

When Everything Dinosaur team members visit schools, we explain this concept using dinosaurs as an example and then challenge the class to think of examples of niche partitioning within modern ecosystems.  This helps reinforce understanding about food chains/food webs and how ecosystems are constructed.  It also helps to demonstrate an important principle in palaeontology, the idea that we use comparisons from living creatures and environments today to help us understand life in the ancient past.

A Sauropod Dinosaur Rears Up

A long-necked dinosaur rears up.

A rearing Sauropod.  As well as reaching food, the ability to rear could have had a secondary function as a defensive response to an attack from a predator.

Picture Credit: M. V. Eashwar

Niche Partitioning

Many types of extant herbivorous animal, normally quadrupedal, are able to rear up onto their hind legs in order to reach food that otherwise they would not be able to access.  As an extension to this exercise in schools, we ask the pupils to construct food webs to reflect how the chosen ecosystem functions.

A Gerenuk Antelope Feeding

A Gerenuk antelope.

A South African antelope a Gerenuk rears up to reach foliage.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Our team members have posted up numerous articles exploring this topic area on this blog.

To read an article about niche partitioning within Jurassic marine environments: Marine Reptile Teeth Tell the Tale of Changing Seas

An examination of why the Cretaceous of northern Africa seems to have had large numbers of super-sized predators: Why so Many Large Predators in Cretaceous Africa?

The CollectA Rearing Diplodocus Dinosaur Model

CollectA have included several Sauropod figures within their “Prehistoric Life” model range.  The CollectA rearing Diplodocus model is one of the larger figures within this not-to-scale range, with a rearing height of approximately 23 centimetres.

The CollectA Diplodocus Dinosaur Model

CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur figure.

The CollectA rearing Diplodocus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the CollectA rearing Diplodocus and the other CollectA models available from Everything Dinosaur: The CollectA Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Model range

8 03, 2019

Celebrating International Women’s Day

By | March 8th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos/Schools, Press Releases, Teaching|0 Comments

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today, March 8th is International Women’s Day, an annual event that has its origins in the early part of the 20th century.  Over the last few years, with women’s rights and inequality issues gaining much greater media attention, this day has provided an opportunity to highlight the many challenging issues and barriers women face, for team members at Everything Dinosaur, it allows us a platform to celebrate and commemorate the huge contribution women have made and continue to make to science.

Spotted in a London Primary School – Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists

School poster acknowledges the role of women in science.

Celebrating the role of women in science.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.  International Women’s Day has become an important date in the international calendar as it provides an opportunity to focus on the achievement of women and amongst other things to celebrate the role women play in the advancement of human knowledge and their contribution to society.  It also provides a focal point to address gender inequality.

When team members visit schools, we provide information to help the teachers to identify suitable role models for the children to learn about.  We have been lucky to have worked with some amazing scientists from all over the world and we can provide lots and lots of examples supporting the cause of gender equality in science, after all, the word scientist does not distinguish between male and female.

We Try and Breakdown Stereotypical Views about a Career in the Sciences

Developing scientists in schools.

Developing the next generation of scientists.  Helping to break down gender stereotypes.

Picture Credit: Lego

Celebrating the Life and Work of Mary Anning

One of the role models we suggest is Mary Anning (1799-1847).  This famous fossil hunter from Dorset and her story has become synonymous with elements of the national curriculum for schools (primary school level).  When we visit schools, we provide lots of additional teaching resources and we often challenge the class to research and write about Mary Anning (independent learning and non-chronological reporting).

A Challenge to a Key Stage 1 Class – Ten Questions About Mary Anning

Mary Anning Non-chronological report.

A non-chronological report exercise based on the life and work of Mary Anning.  Helping to promote the role of women in science.

Picture Credit: Mary Anning

Tomorrow, March 9th, is the anniversary of the death of Mary Anning, at just 47 years of age.  As well as working with Key Stage 1 children exploring the fossils that Mary Anning found and her role in helping to improve our understanding of prehistoric life, when working with older children in Upper Key Stage 2, we introduce other issues that are reflected in the life and work of the famous fossil hunter.  For example, in Georgian and early Victorian times, the academic world largely shunned the idea of women making a contribution to scientific enquiry.  During her lifetime, Mary Anning received little credit and very little reward for her efforts.  These days, we live in somewhat more enlightened times, although many might argue that there is still a long way to go before true equality is achieved.

When working with Year 5 and Year 6 students we explore how other scientists treated Mary and her endeavours.  She was not permitted to join the Geological Society of London, being a woman, this was forbidden and many of her male contemporaries not only refused to give her credit for her discoveries and insights, they actually took much of the credit for themselves.  Sadly, Mary died all too soon having spent much of her life in abject poverty.  When Everything Dinosaur team members visit Lyme Regis, where Mary was born, we make a pilgrimage to her grave at St Michael’s church and pay our respects.

Mary Anning’s Grave at Lyme Regis She is Buried Alongside Her Brother Joseph

Mary and Joseph Anning are buried here.

The grave of Mary and Joseph Anning.  It has become the custom to leave a fossil at the grave as a tribute to Mary’s contribution to science.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Royal Society Acknowledges Mary Anning

In 2010, the Royal Society published a list of the top ten British women who had most influenced the history of science.  Mary Anning was included in this list.  Much has changed in terms of gender equality in the sciences, however, despite the Royal Society having its roots in the early 1660’s, it is worth remembering that the first female Fellow was not elected until 1945 (we think).

Another female scientist included in the Royal Society list was the chemist, biologist and physicist Rosalind Franklin.  Rosalind was an outstanding polymath who made an enormous contribution to our understanding of DNA and RNA and pioneered X-ray crystallography (XRC).  Rosalind Franklin is commemorated on the poster we spotted in the primary school.

Rosalind Franklin is Featured on the School Poster Praising the Contribution of Women in Science

Highlighting the work of Rosalind Franklin.

The work of Rosalind Franklin is highlighted.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

7 03, 2019

Everything Dinosaur Achieves 6,000 “Likes” on Facebook

By | March 7th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Prehistoric Times|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Reaches 6,000 “Likes” on Facebook

Today, Everything Dinosaur celebrates the benchmark of having achieved 6,000 “likes” on Facebook.  Our Facebook page (@EverythingDinosaur), provides a reliable source of information on new prehistoric animal models, figure retirements, updates on fossil finds and we post up lots and lots of images of prehistoric animals, especially dinosaurs.   We even publish surveys and polls too!

The Everything Dinosaur Facebook page reached the landmark of 5,000 “likes” at the end of July 2018, a little over seven months later, we have smashed through the 6,000 “likes” threshold on our page.  A huge thank you to all those followers and friends who have “liked” our page.

6,000 Facebook “Likes” for Everything Dinosaur

Facebook and 6,000 "likes"

6,000 Facebook “likes” click to “like” Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Reaching Facebook Milestones

In June 2015, the Everything Dinosaur Facebook page passed the landmark of 2,000 “likes”.  By early November 2017, this had been doubled to more than 4,000 and now we have had a fifty percent increase on this with an additional 2,000 “likes” added in less than fifteen months.

A representative from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“I would like to thank all our friends, followers, customers, dinosaur enthusiasts and collectors of prehistoric animal figures who have taken the time and trouble to visit our Facebook page and to give Everything Dinosaur’s page a “like”.  We really do appreciate this and, unlike some Facebook sites, all of our “likes” are genuine.  The increase in our page’s popularity has come from organic growth and not a single “like” has come from any form of paid for advertising and promotion.  We all feel very honoured.”

Visit Everything Dinosaur on Facebook

The “like” button on the Facebook social media platform permits users to easily interact with Everything Dinosaur.  The page provides status updates, photos, links, news, polls and comments.  Gaining legitimate and genuine “likes” on Facebook gives an organisation authority and provides reassurance to other Facebook visitors.   This helps to build up a community around the company and helps to reinforce customer loyalty and trust.

 

We believe customer service is the key to getting "likes".

“Like” our Facebook page.

Everything Dinosaur Celebrating 6,000 “Likes” on Facebook

6,000 "Likes" on Facebook for Everything Dinosaur.

Everything Dinosaur achieves 6,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Once again, a very big thank you from all of us at Everything Dinosaur to all of you.

6 03, 2019

Twisting and Turning Tyrannosaurs Made them Top Predators

By | March 6th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

New Study Suggests Tyrannosaurids More Manoeuvrable than Other Large Theropods

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Oklahoma State University Centre for Health Sciences have applied mathematical models to assess the manoeuvrability of predatory dinosaurs.   This research, published in the on-line journal PeerJ, involving numerous collaborators, suggests that large bodied Tyrannosaurs were more agile and able to turn more sharply than other similar sized Theropods such as Allosaurs and carcharodontosaurids.

A Large Tyrannosaur Attacks a Styracosaurus

Daspletosaurus fighting a horned dinosaur.

Tyrannosaur fighting a horned dinosaur.  A new study suggests that large bodied Tyrannosaurs may have been surprisingly agile.

Picture Credit: John Gurche

A Factor in the Evolutionary Success of Tyrannosaurs

The research involving complex mathematics, a study of animal anatomy and physics compared how rapidly meat-eating dinosaurs could turn their bodies.  In summary, the scientists concluded that Tyrannosaurs could attack smaller, faster and more dangerous prey.  It is suggested that the greater manoeuvrability of these carnivores may have been a factor in their evolutionary success.

Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Eric Snively, in collaboration with co-author Haley O’Brien (Oklahoma State University Centre for Health Sciences) along with several other leading palaeontologists such as Professor Phil Currie (University of Alberta), demonstrated that whether a Tyrannosaur was dog-sized or a fully-grown, mature adult, it retained its agility and manoeuvrability.

Three-dimensional Computer Models Used to Test Tyrannosaurid Manoeuvrability

Assesing the agility of tyrannosaurids.

Computer models were created to examine the agility of tyrannosaurids.

Picture Credit: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Enhanced Agility Compared to Other Super-sized Theropods

Tyrannosaurs were assessed to be more agile as they had relatively short bodies (anteroposteriorly short thoracic regions, and cervical vertebrae that aligned into posterodorsally retracted necks).  In summary, shorter bodies meant less turning resistance and even their tiny arms helped!  In addition, long, tall ilia bones (part of the hip), provided plenty of room for huge leg muscle attachments that gave the power needed for rapid turns and pivots.

The Size of the Ilia (Hip Bones) was Used to Infer Muscle Size Along with Postulated Tail Depth

Tyrannosaur agility, mapping the position of leg locomotor muscles.

Mapping muscle groups to assess the agility of tyrannosaurids.  Tyrannosaur musculature was compared to that of an extant alligator.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

In terms of the fastest results from the Tyrannosaur family, a horse-sized juvenile T. rex turned the quickest for its size, followed by the giant T. rex “Sue”, the enormous, mature adult from the Field Museum (Chicago).

Eric Snively described the T. rex turn as something akin to a “slow-motion-ten-tonne figure skater from hell,” quite apt in a way as T. rex fossils are known from the Hell Creek Formation.

Biomechanical Model Has Implications for Large Theropod Hunting Strategies

The researchers used very accurate anatomical assessments and rigorous statistics to create three-dimensional models that could then be tested for their range of movements.  Different Theropods were examined including Dilophosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Giganotosaurus, Sinraptor as well as numerous Tyrannosaurs at different growth stages as well as smaller members of the Tyrannosauroidea Superfamily such as Raptorex.  With respect to other Theropods, tyrannosaurids were found to be increasingly agile without compromising their large body mass, such that in a pairwise comparison, tyrannosaurids were achieving the same agility performance as much smaller Theropods.  For example, a 500 kg Gorgosaurus had slightly greater agility scores than the 200 kg Eustreptospondylus, and an adult Tarbosaurus nearly twice the agility scores of the lighter Sinraptor.

The Oxford University Specimen of Eustreptospondylus Used in the Study

Eustreptospondylus dinosaur skeleton exhibit.

The fossil specimen on display (E. oxoniensis).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Siri Scientific Press

Enhanced agility and tight manoeuvrability in tyrannosaurids suggest that T. rex et al had superior abilities when it came to pursuing and subduing prey.  This new research may have important implications when it comes to examining how large Theropods hunted.

If tyrannosaurids were more agile and able to manoeuvre faster than other large predators they may have been more adept than earlier, super-sized, apex predators when it came to catching agile prey.  It is postulated that this capability of tyrannosaurids is consistent with coprolite evidence that indicates that tyrannosaurids fed on juvenile Ornithischians.  Furthermore, it is proposed that healed Tyrannosaur bite marks on fossilised remains of adult horned dinosaurs and Hadrosaurs indicate an ability to outmanoeuvre quadrupedal prey.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Whilst this is a fascinating piece of research, it is important that we don’t entirely discount observations of modern-day predator/prey interactions.  Often an apex predator will select a weakened, or sick animal within a herd to attack.  In addition, young animals are particularly vulnerable as they are smaller and less experienced in avoiding predators compared to adult animals.”

The largest non-tyrannosaurids, including Giganotosaurus, often lived in habitats alongside Sauropod dinosaurs.  These associations may suggest that allosauroids may have preferred less agile prey than did tyrannosaurids.  It is also possible that stability conferred by high rotational inertia, as when holding onto giant prey, was more important for allosauroids than turning quickly.

The researchers intend to undertake research to assess the manoeuvrability of ceratopsids and other prey such as duck-billed dinosaurs before applying the same techniques to examine Tyrannosaur bite forces.

5 03, 2019

Designing Dinosaur Models

By | March 5th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Designing Dinosaur Models

Designing dinosaur and prehistoric animal models is a tricky business.  With the advent of three-dimensional printing technology and modelling software, things have got a little easier but there is still all the work involved in creating prototypes, mould building and so on.  Today, we feature the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figure, a dinosaur model that was developed to demonstrate how scientific thinking regarding the stance of Theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex has changed over the last hundred years or so.

The Japanese model maker Kaiyodo has employed state-of-the-art modelling techniques to produce fantastic, highly collectable dinosaur models and figures.  The design team excelled themselves when developing a collectable figure with ten points of articulation.  Many models have an articulated lower jaw, but for the design team at Kaiyodo, doing the ordinary was out  of the question, in their limited edition T. rex Toy Box figures, they opted for an articulated upper jaw instead.

Demonstrating the Articulated Upper Jaw on the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Figure

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

Articulated Dinosaur Models

There has been a trend in recent years for dinosaur models to have articulated jaws and front limbs.  One of the benefits of an articulated jaw for example, is this feature does permit collectors to be able to close the mouth of their figure.  Many Theropod dinosaur models tend to depict these animals with their mouth open, not a natural pose at all.  Most tetrapods don’t walk round all day with the jaws wide open.  It is the lower jaw that is articulated in the vast majority of these figures. However, in order to demonstrate their engineering credentials, the design team at Kaiyodo gave their Sofubi Toy Box T. rex an articulated upper jaw (premaxilla and maxilla), as demonstrated in this short forty-five second video.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex in “Kangaroo” Pose

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex in a “kangaroo” pose.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

From Kangaroo to a Balanced See-saw

When first scientifically described, Tyrannosaurus rex was illustrated as a biped whose tail dragged on the ground.  The articulated tail of the Sofubi Toy Box T. rex permits the model to displayed in this position, a pose described as a “kangaroo pose” or sometimes a “kangaroo stance”.  However, the ingenious engineering allows this figure to be displayed in what is thought to be a more anatomically accurate pose, with the centre of balance over the hips and the tail lifted off the ground – a sort of pose described as a “balanced see-saw”.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi T. rex Model in a “Balanced See-saw” Stance

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box articulated T. rex model.

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box articulated T. rex figure with the tail lifted off the ground.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

When it comes to the engineering behind the design of dinosaur models, you have to hand it to Kaiyodo…

A Handy Dinosaur Model

T. rex dinosaur model (Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box - T. rex A).

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex dinosaur figure (T. rex A).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex figure is suitable for collectors from fifteen years and above and it can be found here: Kaiyodo Prehistoric Animal Models

4 03, 2019

Feathered Theropod Models Triumph in Poll

By | March 4th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Feathered or Scaly Theropod Dinosaur Models?  The Results are In

Recently, Everything Dinosaur team members set up a poll on the company’s Facebook site asking dinosaur fans and model enthusiasts which they preferred, feathered Theropod dinosaur models or models of Theropods with scaly skins?

The results are in and in this particular survey it is the feathered Theropod dinosaur models that have come out on top.  It’s a feather in the cap for feathered Theropod model designers.

Which Type of Theropod Model do you Prefer – Feathered or Scaly?

Feathered Theropod models preferred over scaly-skinned Theropod models.

In Everything Dinosaur’s survey of dinosaur model preferences with collectors it was the feathered Theropods that triumphed.  In this poll, 59% of respondents opted for the feathered dinosaur model option.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Reflecting Current Scientific Thinking

Step back ten years and virtually all the models of fearsome, carnivorous dinosaurs such as Allosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex were entirely devoid of a feathery integument.  Many mainstream manufacturers still prefer to produce non-feathered figures, an example being Schleich of Germany.

Schleich Have Yet to Produce a Feathered T. rex Dinosaur Model

Schleich Tyrannosaurus rex models circa 2008 and circa 2017.

Comparing Schleich Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur models through time.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Other model manufacturers have chosen to reflect current scientific thinking and produce feathered Theropod replicas, including fuzzy T. rex dinosaur models.  Schleich has moved towards introducing feathered Theropods, a number of dromaeosaurids have been introduced into their range over the last few years with varying degrees of feathery integumentary covering.  A model of the Late Triassic, fast-running predator Tawa (T. hallae), which was introduced by Schleich in 2018, has a feathery crest on its head and a “tuft” of feathers on its tail.  The Schleich Psittacosaurus, a model of an Ornithischian dinosaur, which was also introduced by Schleich last year, had feathers, reflecting the current scientific thinking.  In addition, the Oviraptor and the Therizinosaurus, both examples of Theropod dinosaurs have feathers, perhaps it is just a matter of time before Schleich introduces a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex.

Schleich Prehistoric Animal Model Releases in 2018 – A Trend Towards More Feathers?

New Schleich prehistoric animals (2018).

New Schleich prehistoric animal models (2018).  The new Schleich models introduced last year showed examples of feathery integumentary coverings.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

59% versus 41%

In the Everything Dinosaur poll, 59% of respondents voted in favour of feathered Theropod dinosaur models, whilst 41% stated that they preferred scaly Theropod figures.  A big thank you to all those who participated.  We appreciate all the comments that were posted up and the “shares” of our Facebook post too.

The Everything Dinosaur Facebook page provides status updates, photos, links to news stories and blog posts as well as lots of prehistoric animal model features.

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3 03, 2019

Late Triassic Frogs of North America

By | March 3rd, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The Earliest Equatorial Record of Frogs

Researchers including palaeontologists from the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech, have identified tiny fossil fragments collected from Upper Triassic deposits in Arizona that provide evidence of the oldest known frogs from North America.  Although, no new genus has been erected, the scientists are confident that further study of the microfossils at the location may yield skull and jaw bones which will result in the naming of new species.

A Little Chinle Frog Has a Close Encounter with a Phytosaur

A suggested encounter between a frog and a phytosaur.

A Chinle frog encounters a phytosaur. It is likely that phytosaurs would have fed on amphibians.

Picture Credit: Andrey Atuchin

The fossils are composed of several tiny pieces of hip bone, (from the ilium), they were collected last May from three separate locations within the famous Chinle Formation and they have been dated to between 223 and 213 million years ago.  The bones represent the earliest equatorial record of the Salientia, the group that includes stem and crown-frogs.  These tiny amphibians, little more than two centimetres in length, are not direct ancestors of modern frogs (Anura).

One of the authors of the scientific paper, published in the journal Biology Letters, Assistant Professor Michelle Stocker, stated that these fossils underscore the importance of microfossil collection, analysis and study as it helps palaeontologists to build up a more comprehensive picture of an ancient ecosystem.

Assistant Professor Stocker explained:

“This new find highlights just how much there is still to learn about the Late Triassic ecosystem and how much we can find when we just look a little closer.  We are familiar with the charismatic Archosaurs from the Chinle Formation, but we know that based on other ecosystems, they should make up a small percentage of the animals that lived together.  With this new focus, we are able to fill in a lot of those missing smaller components with new discoveries.”

Time-calibrated Stratigraphic and the Geographical Distribution Across Pangaea of Triassic and Jurassic Anurans

The stratigraphic and biogeographic distribution of Triassic and Jurassic fossil frogs.

Time-calibrated stratigraphic and biogeographic distribution of Triassic and Jurassic Period anuran specimens.

Picture Credit: Biology Letters

The image above shows (a) the stratigraphic sequence indicating the three fossil examples of Chinle frogs and their relationship to the Early Jurassic Prosalirus (MNA 291) from the Kayenta Formation (Arizona), whilst (b) shows the biogeographic distribution of fossil anurans from the Jurassic and Triassic.  Note, the proximity of the Late Triassic Chinle frogs to the equator.  Photograph (c) shows an eyelash sized fossil ilium whilst (d) and (e) are computerised scans of the same fossil material shown in lateral and medial views.  Scale bars equal 1 millimetre.

Long and Hollow Hip Bones

The fossil material gathered from extensive sieving  and screen washing of sediments in order to obtain microvertebrate fossils, consists of long, hollow hip bones with the hip socket offset rather than centred, anatomical traits that are characteristic of frogs and that help to support their hoping style of locomotion.  Stocker and her collaborators include fellow scientists from Virginia Tech, Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, and the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.

The Chinle frogs share more features with living frogs and Prosalirus, a genus of Early Jurassic frog found in sediments from the present-day Navajo Nation (Arizona), than to Triadobatrachus, an Early Triassic frog discovered in Madagascar.

Stocker added:

“These are the oldest frogs from near the equator.  The oldest frogs overall are roughly 250 million years old from Poland [Czatkobatrachus] and Madagascar, but those specimens are from higher latitudes and are not equatorial.”

Comparing the Ilia of Stem Anurans

Comparing fossilised hip bones from stem anurans (frogs).

Comparing the ilia of stem anurans and those of extant frogs (Ascaphus, Leiopelma, Alytes and Barbourula) scale bar = 1 mm.

Picture Credit: Biology Letters

Co-author Sterling Nesbitt (Virginia Tech), commented:

“Now we know that tiny frogs were present approximately 215 million years ago from North America, we may be able to find other members of the modern vertebrate communities in the Triassic Period.”

This is the first time that frog fossils have been found in sediments associated with phytosaurs and early members of the Dinosauria.

The research team hope that further work screening and washing sediments from the Chinle Formation sites, will yield more information about the tiny animals that lived alongside some of the first dinosaurs in North America.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“The sieving and screen washing methodology employed to discover the tiny hip bones and fossil material associated with Late Triassic frogs could also be used to help identify other small animals that lived in this ecosystem, animals such as salamanders, early squamates and even small mammals.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the Virginia Tech College of Science in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The Earliest Equatorial Record of Frogs from the Late Triassic of Arizona” by Michelle R. Stocker, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Ben T. Kligman, Daniel J. Paluh, Adam D. Marsh, David C. Blackburn and William G. Parker published in Biology Letters.

2 03, 2019

Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor

By | March 2nd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli

Our thanks to dinosaur model fan and collector Caroline who sent us some beautiful photographs of her recently purchased Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli figure.  The taxonomic position of Atrociraptor within the Dromaeosauridae remains contentious, however, with a short, powerful jaw and oversized teeth this predator lives up to its scientific name meaning, that of “cruel or savage thief”.

Everything Dinosaur were sent some Photographs of the Atrociraptor Figure Outdoors

Atrociraptor marshalli (Beasts of the Mesozoic) a 1:6 scale dinosaur figure.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli dinosaur model.  A beautifully composed photograph.

Picture Credit: Caroline

The outdoor location really brings out the colouration of the model, the exquisite way in which the bright red elements of the plumage have been blended in with the muted tones of brown and black.  The sun lit model highlights the texture and the individual feathers on the torso and the top of hips can be clearly seen in this well-composed photograph.

Atrociraptor marshalli

Named and described in 2004, some eighty years after the far better known Velociraptor (V. mongoliensis) was described, this dinosaur is estimated to have reached a length of approximately two metres and weighed around fifteen kilogrammes.  The fossil material associated with this genus comes from the famous Horseshoe Canyon Formation of southern Alberta, however, a single jaw fragment and some isolated teeth from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana may also represent Atrociraptor.

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of Atrociraptor marshalli

Atrociraptor marshalli scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the dromaeosaurid Atrociraptor marshalli.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fast Delivery of a Fast Member of the Dromaeosauridae

When sending her pictures to Everything Dinosaur Caroline commented:

“The order arrived not long ago.  Thank you for the fast delivery.  Please use the photos of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli if you wish.”

We are happy to post up Caroline’s excellent photographs, pictures of a fast running dinosaur, that was delivered quite fast as well.

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli Dinosaur Figure

A view of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli figure.

A close-up view of the distinctive short snout and the oversized teeth of the beautifully crafted Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli figure.

Picture Credit: Caroline

The photograph (above), shows a close-up view of the head of the Beasts of the Mesozoic model.  The characteristic short, robust snout and the oversized teeth that helped to define this genus can clearly be seen in this beautifully composed picture.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur praised the images saying:

“We are always pleased to receive photographs of purchases from customers.  The Atrociraptor model looks fantastic in these outdoor shots.”

To view the Beasts of the Mesozoic Atrociraptor marshalli and the rest of the Beasts of the Mesozoic articulated “raptor” models available from Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic Models

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