All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/2019
8 06, 2019

Feathers Came First Then Birds Evolved

By | June 8th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Feathers Came First Then Birds Evolved

With the discovery of the amazing feathered dinosaur fossils from China, scientists have had to re-think their views about the appearance of dinosaurs, but the story of the evolution of the feather goes more than just skin deep.  In a follow up, to an earlier scientific paper published late last year that examined the evidence for four different types of feather in the Pterosauria, a team of researchers have concluded that the feather arose around 80 million years earlier than the first bird.  Furthermore, the study, led by scientists at the University of Bristol proposes that feathers played a significant role in helping to shape modern terrestrial ecosystems.

Not Just a Flight of Fancy – Feathers Change the Way We Look at Archosaurs

A fossilised feather from the Crato Formation

Numerous isolated feathers have been preserved indicating the presence of Avialae – primitive birds and theropod dinosaurs closely related to birds.  In addition, feather-like structures have been identified in pterosaurs.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

Changing Our Understanding of Feathers, Their Function and Role in Evolution

Writing in the academic journal “Trends in Ecology and Evolution”, the researchers develop the work undertaken last year that looked at evidence for feathers in flying reptile fossils from China and utilises techniques deployed in molecular biology to plot the development of integumentary producing genes within the Archosauria.  If feathers did evolve in the Pterosauria as well as the Dinosauria, then this suggests that their common ancestor may have been feathered to.  Feather-like structures probably arose relatively early in the evolution of the Archosaurs.

Lead author of the paper, Professor Mike Benton (Bristol University), commented:

“The oldest bird is still Archaeopteryx first found in the Late Jurassic of southern Germany in 1861, although some species from China are a little older.  Those fossils all show a diversity of feathers – down feathers over the body and long, vaned feathers on the wings.  But, since 1994, palaeontologists have been contending with the perturbing discovery, based on hundreds of amazing specimens from China, that many dinosaurs also had feathers.”

Archaeopteryx – An Early Bird But Not The First Creature to Have Feathers

An illustration of Archaeopteryx.

The first bird – “Urvogel”, the Archaeopteryx but not the first animal to have feathers.

Picture Credit: Carl Buell

Links Between Fish Teeth, Scales, Feathers and Mammalian Hair

Feathers are modified epidermal appendages that consist mainly of horn-like proteins (β-proteins).  Research has identified links at the genetic level between structures in vertebrates associated with shark teeth, dermal scales in teleost fishes, reptilian scales, feathers and mammalian body hair.  The discovery that genes specific to the production of feathers evolved at the base of the Archosauria clade rather than in association with stem members of the Avialae (birds), is supported by fossil evidence in the form of numerous examples of feathered dinosaurs including examples of feathers in Ornithischian dinosaurs as well as the Theropoda.  Many of the authors of this new paper also worked on the study into feathers in pterosaurs published in December last year.

A Genetic Link Between Dermal Coverings in Tetrapods and Teleost Fish Scales

Looking at the orgins of feathers, a link established between integumentary coverings and fish scales.

Fish scales linked to feathers in genome analysis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If feathers evolved before the evolution of flight, they probably arose first as simple monofilament structures most likely to aid the retention of body heat in the archosaurian ancestors of birds and dinosaurs, perhaps first appearing sometime in the Early Triassic, a time after the Permian mass extinction which had led to a massive terrestrial faunal turnover and the evolution of more active animals with upright, erect gaits.

Co-author of the study, Baoyu Jiang from the University of Nanjing (China), added:

“At first, the dinosaurs with feathers were close to the origin of birds in the evolutionary tree.  This was not so hard to believe.  So, the origin of feathers was pushed back at least to the origin of those bird-like dinosaurs, maybe 200 million years ago.  In fact, we have shown that the same genome regulatory network drives the development of reptile scales, bird feathers, and mammal hairs.  Feathers could have evolved very early.”

Pterosaurs Had Feathers

The breakthrough for the research team occurred when two new types of pterosaur from China were studied.  Their pycnofibres showed branching, they did not have monofilaments but tufts and downy-like feathers, this led to the conclusion that members of the Pterosauria had feathers too.

Baoyu Jiang continued: “The breakthrough came when we were studying two new pterosaurs from China.

Professor Benton postulated that this area of research indicates the origins of feathers some 250 million years ago.

The professor explained:

“The point of origin of pterosaurs, dinosaurs and their relatives.  The Early Triassic world then was recovering from the most devastating mass extinction ever, and life on land had come back from near-total wipe-out.  Palaeontologists had already noted that the new reptiles walked upright instead of sprawling, that their bone structure suggested fast growth and maybe even warm-bloodedness, and the mammal ancestors probably had hair by then.  So, the dinosaurs, pterosaurs and their ancestors had feathers too.  Feathers then probably arose to aid this speeding up of physiology and ecology, purely for insulation.  The other functions of feathers, for display and of course for flight, came much later.”

The Importance of Kulindadromeus

Co-author Dr Maria McNamara (University College Cork, Ireland), explained that the discovery of a feathered dinosaur not thought to be closely related to birds has changed the way some palaeontologists view the evolution of feathers.  In 2014, a formal paper was published on a small, bird-hipped dinosaur that was named Kulindadromeus.  Fossils of this small, Siberian herbivore showed that it had skin covered with scales on the legs and tail, but strange, feathery filaments over much of the rest of its body.

The article announcing the discovery of feathers on an Ornithischian dinosaur: Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

A Scale Model of the Feathered Ornithischian Dinosaur Kulindadromeus (K. zabaikalicus)

A scale model of the feathered dinosaur Kulindadromeus.

A 1:1 scale model of Kulindadromeus (Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus)

Picture Credit: T. Hubin/RBINS

Dr McNamara commented:

“What surprised people was that this was a dinosaur that was as far from birds in the evolutionary tree as could be imagined.  Perhaps feathers were present in the very first dinosaurs.”

Fellow co-author Danielle Dhouailly (University of Grenoble, France), studies the development of feathers in baby birds, especially their genomic control.  Her research has demonstrated that modern birds such as chickens often have scales on their legs or necks, these are in fact evidence of reversal, what had once been feathers had reverted to their more ancient form, that of reptilian scales.

This research supports the idea that gene regulatory networks show that the development of scales, feathers and hairs are co-ordinated by a similar set of genes.  Feathers and body hair probably evolved in the Early Triassic with the ancestors of mammals and birds, at a time when synapsids (the lineage of tetrapods that led to mammals) and archosaurs (dinosaurs and birds), show independent evidence of higher metabolic rates.  It was the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian that re-set the evolutionary clock and permitted the evolution of more active land animals, setting terrestrial lifeforms on a course that would ultimately lead to the rise of the dinosaur, volant flight in the Dinosauria and of course the evolution of modern mammals including ourselves.

The scientific paper: “The Early Origin of Feathers” by M. J. Benton, D. Dhouailly, B. Jiang and M. McNamara published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

To read our earlier article (December 2018) that examined the evidence for four different kinds of feather-like structures associated with pterosaur fossils: Are the Feathers About to Fly in the Pterosauria?

To read an article from 2015 setting out a counter argument concluding that the majority of the Dinosauria probably did not have feathers: Most Dinosaurs Were Probably Scaly.

7 06, 2019

The Lost Creatures Exhibition – Queensland Museum

By | June 7th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Lost Creatures Exhibition – Queensland Museum

The “Lost Creatures” exhibition at the Queensland Museum (Australia), has been open for more than five years.  Hasn’t the time flown by.  The exhibition opened in December 2013, its aim was to document the amazing prehistoric creatures that once inhabited this part of Australia.  The skilfully designed displays to be found on level two of the museum, took visitors on a journey from around 250 million years ago to more recent times to meet ancient megafauna such as giant monitor lizards, terrifying marine reptiles and of course, dinosaurs.

The “Lost Creatures” Exhibition at the Queensland Museum (Opening Publicity Photograph)

The "Lost Creatures" Exhibition 2013.

Dinosaurs, pterosaurs and other prehistoric animals from Queensland feature in the “Lost Creatures” exhibition.

Picture Credit: Queensland Museum

Recently, Everything Dinosaur has produced a number of articles about Australian dinosaur discoveries, ironically, the most recent articles have featured dinosaur fossil finds, not from Queensland but from New South Wales.

To read about a recently described new Australian dinosaur: Have you Herd of Fostoria dhimbangunmal?

For a second article, published this year about Australian dinosaurs:  A New Australian Ornithopod – Galleonosaurus dorisae.

Queensland’s Long-lost Inhabitants

Commenting on the significance of the exhibition when it first opened the Minister for Science, Innovation, Information Technology and the Arts, at the time, Ian Walker stated:

“Lost Creatures tells an epic story of the struggle to survive and reveals which species survived extinction events in Queensland’s distant past.”

Remains of Armoured Dinosaurs on Display

Australian armoured dinosaur fossil display.

The remains of armoured dinosaurs make up part of the “Lost Creatures” exhibition.

Picture Credit: Queensland Museum

More than a Hundred Fossils on Display

The exhibition consists of more than one hundred fossil specimens which combine with beautiful three-dimensional animal reconstructions and fossil casts to bring Queensland’s prehistoric fauna to life.  Star attractions include the giant lizard Megalania, arguably Australia’s most famous dinosaur – Muttaburrasaurus and remains of ancient prehistoric mammals, some of the giant marsupials that dominated “down under”.

Giant Mammals and the Remains of Prehistoric Reptiles

Giant mammals and marine reptile fossils.

The remains of giant mammals and marine creatures on display.

Picture Credit: Queensland Museum

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition highlights include remains of the enormous, prehistoric wombat Diprotodon as well as a life-size reconstruction of the hind leg of the sauropod Rhoetosaurus which stands over two metres high.  In addition, more than ninety square metres of the famed Lark Quarry dinosaur trackways are on display along with a video speculating how the numerous dinosaur tracks might have formed.

When this exhibit first opened it was hailed as one of the most comprehensive overviews of Australia’s ancient megafauna, it is pleasing to see that after nearly six years it is still attracting lots and lots of visitors.

6 06, 2019

Giant Dinosaur Footprint Found in Playground

By | June 6th, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|2 Comments

Giant Dinosaur Footprint Spotted at School

Pupils at Newport Infant School (Shropshire), are studying dinosaurs and prehistoric animals over the next two weeks.  The schoolchildren discovered a huge three-toed dinosaur footprint in their well-kept and spacious playground at the start of the week.  With the help of the dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team the pupils decided that the giant track must have been made by a dinosaur!

A Giant Dinosaur Footprint Discovered in the School Playground

Huge dinosaur footprint spotted at a school.

A huge dinosaur footprint spotted at a school.

Picture Credit: Newport Infant School/Everything Dinosaur

Mr Remington, the school caretaker took the precaution of sealing off that part of the playground and the children became “dinosaur detectives” as they tried to work out what kind of dinosaur had paid them a visit.  The footprint is just one of the many creative dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed activities that the staff have planned for the children.  All the school is involved from Reception to the Year 2 classes and Everything Dinosaur had been invited into the school to deliver a series of workshops with the budding young palaeontologists.

During the workshops the children demonstrated some amazing knowledge and were happy to explain about dinosaurs and to discuss dinosaur facts.  Some of the children in the Reception classes had even brought in numerous dinosaur books from home to show our dinosaur expert.

We hope the additional teaching resources and extension materials that we supplied helps to support the school’s creative and challenging scheme of work.

5 06, 2019

The Neolithic of West Wales Explored

By | June 5th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

University Staff and Students Find Neolithic Artefacts

Staff and students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Lampeter campus have uncovered evidence of New Stone Age activity in western Wales including the discovery of a stone axe that would have been a prized possession some 4,000 years ago.  The stone axe find was made during an archaeological dig at Llanllyr in Talsarn, Ceredigion county.  The dig is part of a programme of undergraduate fieldwork, enabling students to gain “hands on” experience and to practice field techniques.  Excavations have been centred around low mounds surrounded by marshland, areas that are believed to have formed dry ground in the past and as such, they are key places to study for signs of early human habitation.  These “islands” of raised, dry ground appear to have been the focus of activity in the Neolithic period (between four and six thousand years ago), when people left behind traces of their presence in the form of flint tools and other artefacts.

Staff and Students Working at the Archaeological Site

Flint tools found in Ceredigion.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) – Lampeter campus working at the Neolithic dig site.

Picture Credit:  University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)

Trenches Dug to Explore the Deposition of Material

Exploratory trenches were dug at the site and in one, a ground stone axe was discovered.  This rare artefact very probably had a wooden handle when in use thousands of years ago.  The axe would have taken many hours of skilled labour to shape, academics have expressed surprise that such an object was abandoned in this landscape.  The team from the University are also investigating the surrounding area using boreholes to recover samples suitable for reconstructing the ancient vegetation and to provide further data to help date the age of the stone tool finds.

The Flint Stone Axe Found at the Site

The stone axe.

The stone axe with an archaeological ruler for scale.  The chopping face of the axe can be seen on the right.

Picture Credit:  University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)

Field Work Experience – An Important Teaching Aid

Joint leader of the dig team, Dr Martin Bates, a geoarchaeologist at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David commented:

“Running an excavation like this is an important part of our teaching here at Lampeter and giving our students the opportunity to gain the skills an archaeologist needs is very important.  When we began our excavations, we did not anticipate finding Neolithic artefacts so this is a bonus for the team.  Hopefully, we can come back next year with a new group of students and continue our investigation of this important piece of Ceredigion’s history.”

Lucky Student

Second-year student Joe Neal was the lucky person who uncovered the stone axe.  The archaeology undergraduate student stated:

“It’s a great find for us, I couldn’t have hoped to find anything better.  This is my first dig and the first time I have found anything, so this is great.”

Dr Ros Coard, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at UWTSD, added:

“The University of Trinity Saint David has run excavations at the Llanllyr site over a number of years but mostly found later medieval material, so to find a much deeper pre-history is exciting and broadens our understanding of the Aeron Valley and this part of Ceredigion.  It is a most unusual and unexpected find certainly warranting further exploration of the area.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in the compilation of this article.

To read about a New Stone Age jawbone with a beeswax filling: Neolithic Dentists.

To read an article about the mapping and recording of high altitude, ancient Stone Age artwork: High Rise Archaeology.

4 06, 2019

Have you Herd of Fostoria dhimbangunmal?

By | June 4th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Australia’s Newest Dinosaur Fostoria dhimbangunmal – A Gem of a Fossil Discovery

A team of scientists from the University of New England (New South Wales, Australia), in collaboration with the Australian Opal Centre, have announced the discovery of yet another Aussie dinosaur.  The dinosaur has been named Fostoria dhimbangunmal (pronounced Foss-taw-ree-ah dim-baan-goon-mal) and it has been identified from a series of opalised fossils representing a number of individual animals excavated from an opal mine near Lightning Ridge (New South Wales).

The herbivorous dinosaur, which would have measured around 5-6 metres in length when fully grown, has been classified as an iguanodontid and phylogenetic analysis based on a recently published data set positions Fostoria as the sister taxon to a clade of Gondwanan iguanodontians that includes Anabisetia saldiviai, Talenkauen santacrucensis (both from Argentina) and arguably, Australia’s most famous ornithopod –  Muttaburrasaurus langdoni.

A Life Reconstruction of Fostoria dhimbangunmal

Fostoria dhimbangunmal life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of a Fostoria dhimbangunmal.

Picture Credit: James Kuether

Evidence of a Herd of Plant-eating Dinosaurs

The fossil material has been opalised and it represents the remains of at least four different animals of different sizes/ages preserved in a monodominant bone bed excavated from the underground opal mine.  Opalised individual fossils of dinosaurs have been found in this part of New South Wales before, but it is remarkable that so many body fossils have been opalised in this case.

Lead author of the scientific paper, published in the  “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology”, Dr Phil Bell (University of New England), stated that he was stunned by the sheer number of bones that had been found.  He explained:

“We initially assumed it was a single skeleton, but when I started looking at some of the bones, I realised that we had four scapulae (shoulder blades) all from different sized animals.”

Finding these fossils in the same place suggests that these are the remains of a group of dinosaurs that travelled together, as such, this is the first instance of a “herd of dinosaurs” being discovered in Australia.

Fossil Material – Elements from the Forelimb and Shoulder Girdle

Fostoria dhimbangunmal fossil bones (shoulder girdle and forelimb).

Fostoria forelimb and shoulder girdle elements.

Picture Credit: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

The picture (above), shows views of a left scapula (A, B and C).  Views of the left humerus (D, E and F) along with views of the left radius (G, H and I), scale bar = 2 cm.

The First Partial Skull of a Dinosaur from New South Wales

Most parts of the body are represented by the fossils, including elements from the skull such as the quadrate and other fossil bones that make up the braincase.  The frontal bones have enabled the researchers to compare the skull roof of Fostoria to other iguanodontids and hypsilophodontids which has helped with classification.

Fossils of Fostoria dhimbangunmal Exposed

In situ - Fostoria dhimbangunmal fossils.

Fostoria dhimbangunmal fossils photographed in situ.  Key (mt) – metatarsal, (is) ischium, (na) neural arches from vertebrae, (fr) unidentified fragment and (dr) dorsal rib.

Picture Credit: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

Honouring Robert Foster

The genus name honours opal miner Robert Foster, who discovered the bonebed in the 1980’s.  The species name comes from the language of the Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaalayaay, and Gamilaraay peoples, after the Sheepyard opal field where the bonebed is located.  Scientists and field team volunteers from the Australian Museum in Sydney helped excavate the fossils, but the bones remained unstudied until donated to the Australian Opal Centre by Robert’s children Gregory and Joanne Foster back in 2015.

A View of an Opalised Toe Bone (F. dhimbangunmal)

An opalised toe bone of Fostoria dhimbangunmal.

An opalised toe bone of the newly described dinosaur Fostoria (F. dhimbangunmal).

Picture Credit: Robert A. Smith/Australian Opal Centre

Commenting on the significance of these fossils, palaeontologist and special projects officer, Jenni Brammall of the Australian Open Centre said:

“Fostoria has given us the most complete opalised dinosaur skeleton in the world.  Partial skeletons of extinct swimming reptiles have been found at other Australian opal fields, but for opalised dinosaurs we generally have only a single bone or tooth or in rare instances, a few bones.  To recover dozens of bones from the one skeleton is a first.”

An Important Gondwanan Representative of the Iguanodontians

Although most palaeontologists believe that the iguanodontid dinosaurs were very speciose and diverse during the Early Cretaceous, fossils representing iguanodontids from southern latitudes, what would have been the super-continent of Gondwana, are quite rare.  For example, until Fostoria was described, only one Australian iguanodontid dinosaur – M. langdoni, was known.  Fostoria dhimbangunmal extends the temporal range of these types of dinosaurs in Australia to the Cenomanian (early Late Cretaceous).  It and Muttaburrasaurus are the only iguanodontians known from the eastern margin of the inland sea, the Eromanga Sea, whereas the group is conspicuously absent from the contemporaneous ornithopod-dominated ecosystems of the Australian-Antarctic rift valley in Victoria.

To read about a recent ornithopod addition to the biota of the Australian-Antarctic rift valley: New Australian Ornithopod Described – Galleonosaurus dorisae.

The scientific paper: “Fostoria dhimbangunmal, gen. et sp. nov., a new iguanodontian (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the mid-Cretaceous of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia” by Phil R. Bell, Tom Brougham, Matthew C. Herne, Timothy Frauenfelder and Elizabeth T. Smith published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

3 06, 2019

Mojo Fun Prehistoric Mammals

By | June 3rd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Mojo Fun Prehistoric Mammals

The excellent “Prehistoric & Extinct” model range (Mojo Fun), contains a lot of dinosaur figures but today, we focus on a couple of prehistoric mammal models.  We have praised this model range before, congratulating the company for producing figures of recently extinct creatures such as the Quagga of southern Africa and the Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine).  The range includes a number of other prehistoric mammals, replicas of some creatures that became extinct millions of years ago and not just within the last 150 years or so as in the case of the Thylacine and the Quagga.

A Scene Featuring Mojo Fun Prehistoric Mammals

A landscape featuring Mojo Fun prehistoric mammal models.

Mojo Fun prehistoric mammals (Hyaenodon gigas and Deinotherium).

Picture Credit: Mojo Fun/Everything Dinosaur

Hyaenodon gigas and Deinotherium

The picture (above), depicts the fearsome Hyaenodon gigas one of the largest members of the Hyaenodontidae family (foreground).  Some fossil specimens indicate that this cursorial mammal could have weighed as much as 500 kilograms.   The large, elephant-like animal in the background is a Deinotherium, a very popular Mojo Fun prehistoric animal figure amongst collectors, after all, not that many replicas of “gigantic, terrible beast” have been produced.

The Mojo Fun Deinotherium Model

New colour Mojo Fun Deinotherium 2018.

Mojo Fun Deinotherium (new colour 2018).  A new colour variant of this popular prehistoric animal replica was introduced last year.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Wide Temporal and Geographical Ranges

Mojo Fun have taken great care in the creation of their promotional image.  A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is always a pleasure to post up images depicting prehistoric animal models from the various ranges that we support.   We have some more images kindly supplied by Mojo Fun of some of their new for 2019 prehistoric animals, we are looking forward to posting up these images to, when the figures come into stock.”

A Hyaenodon gigas Scale Drawing Based on the Mojo Fun Hyaenodon Figure

Hyaenodon gigas scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the giant, carnivorous mammal Hyaenodon gigas.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossils of both Hyaenodon and Deinotherium genera have a wide geographical and temporal distribution.  H. gigas is known from the Lower Oligocene of south-eastern Mongolia, so it lived long before the first members of the Deinotheriidae evolved and certainly before the first members of this elephant family left Africa and became more widespread.  However, as the Deinotherium genus is believed to have existed from the Miocene to the Pliocene Epoch and as some hyaenodonts persisted until the Late Miocene, it is possible that species of Deinotherium would have been contemporaneous with some of the last members of the Hyaenodontidae.

An interaction between a member of the Deinotheriidae and a carnivorous hyaenodont could have taken place.

To view the range of Mojo Fun models stocked by Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models

2 06, 2019

Examining a Jaw Fragment from a Dimetrodon

By | June 2nd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Examining a Jaw Fragment from a Dimetrodon

Team members at Everything Dinosaur had the opportunity to examine a jaw fragment from a Dimetrodon whilst on a visit to the National Museum (Cardiff).  This fossil, from a genus not associated with the British Isles, was part of an exhibit highlighting different types of reptile that existed prior to the evolution of the first dinosaurs.  Although, many museums around the world have extensive Dimetrodon fossil collections, it was pleasing to be able to have a really good look at the piece of jaw bone up close.

On Display at the National Museum Cardiff – A Fragment of the Jaw from a Dimetrodon

A Jaw fragment from a Dimetrodon.

A close-up view of a jaw fragment from a Dimetrodon (Dimetrodon spp.).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The teeth sockets can be identified and although the bone has some rather ominous looking cracks, two of the teeth have been preserved in situ.  We suspect that this is a piece from the dentary (lower jaw), Everything Dinosaur staff were unable to identify the Dimetrodon species from this fossil.  Unfortunately, the accompanying information panel did not provide details of where the fossil was found or which Dimetrodon species it had been assigned to.

An Illustration of Dimetrodon is Included in the Exhibit

Dimetrodon jaw fragment fossil.

The Dimetrodon jaw fragment exhibit at the National Museum (Cardiff).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dimetrodon not a Dinosaur but Everything Dinosaur Likes to Feature this Pelycosaur

When posting up images of prehistoric animals like Dimetrodon on social media platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram, Everything Dinosaur is sometimes challenged and asked why a company so associated with the Dinosauria should post up images of a creature that was not closely related to dinosaurs?  However, as we provide such as wide variety of prehistoric animal models and figures, there is bound to be a bit of overspill out of the Dinosauria and into other tetrapods, indeed, we also supply models of plants, various extinct mammals and of course, plenty of Palaeozoic critters too!

Instagram Pictures of Dimetrodon Models Often Get Commented Upon

A large Dimetrodon model.

A large Dimetrodon model, although not a dinosaur, this type of animal is frequently featured in Everything Dinosaur’s social media posts.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

1 06, 2019

Update on the Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus

By | June 1st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Update on the Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus

The limited edition Papo Spinosaurus model has been delayed and the original launch date for this eagerly awaited dinosaur figure has been put back with a release date now estimated at August/September.  Everything Dinosaur remains heavily committed to this figure and by delaying this figure by a few weeks, this does permit both Papo and ourselves to ensure a successful roll out of other new for 2019 Papo models such as the Gorgosaurus, the new colour variant Stegosaurus and the Pentaceratops model.

Latest news:  Now likely to be in stock in October.

Papo Spinosaurus Figure Delayed

Spinosaurus dinosaur model from Papo

The awesome Papo Spinosaurus dinosaur model.  Delayed until August/September 2019.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Technical Issues

Technical issues have been cited as the reason for the delay.  With such an eagerly anticipated dinosaur figure, we are confident that design team at Papo and the production staff would be wanting to create the very best, most detailed model possible and therefore it may be sensible to take a little longer with the production process and the design of the special box that this figure will be presented in.

Everything Dinosaur team members have been involved in detailed discussions concerning the boxing of this figure.  As a business, we are trying to cut down on single use cardboard as part of our environmental policy, aiming to maintain our excellent record when it comes to recycling cardboard and paper.  However, a spokesperson from Papo’s senior management commented that the gift box “really highlights the premium value of this limited edition item” and added that “it’s also a good protection against shocks during the shipment.”

Papo Spinosaurus aegyptiacus Part of the French Technical Document

Papo Spinosaurus en Francais,

Papo limited edition Spinosaurus, technical document.  The model has been delayed a release date is now expected August/September 2019.  The design of the gift box can be seen on the right.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Same Model – New Delivery Date

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are hopeful that the first production samples will be ready for inspection in late July.  The expected delivery of models ready for sale to the wider public should be August/September, if Everything Dinosaur receives further information and updates, these will be published on this blogsite as well as on the company’s various social media platforms.

The Papo Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) Dinosaur Model is Expected August/September

Papo Spinosaurus model due August/Septermber 2019.

The Papo Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus) dinosaur model is now expected August/September.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“All those people who are on Everything Dinosaur’s priority reserve list will still be offered a model, nothing has changed for them in terms of being guaranteed the chance to purchase this limited edition figure.”

The spokesperson went onto add:

“We have a meeting with Papo in a couple of weeks’ time, we hope to receive further information and if there is any additional news regarding this model or indeed any of the other new for 2019 figures such as the Papo Pentaceratops, the Gorgosaurus or the new colour variant Stegosaurus, we shall be sure to pass this information onto our customers”.

To view the range of Papo prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Figures

Update – now likely to be in stock in October 2019.

31 05, 2019

The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs – The Theropods

By | May 31st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs – The Theropods Reviewed

Ask a layperson to name a dinosaur and it is very likely that names such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor will be volunteered, these dinosaurs are members of the Theropoda, one of three great groups that make up the Dinosauria.  However, these two meat-eating dinosaurs are not typical of this group, there is a lot more to the theropods than meets the eye.  The beautifully illustrated “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods”, aimed at general readers as well as students and academics, helps to flesh out the story of the Theropoda and is essential summer reading for dinosaur enthusiasts.

The English Language Version of “The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods”

Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods"

The “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods” (front cover.

Details of 750 Theropod Dinosaurs

Written by Rubén Molina-Pérez and Asier Larramendi, the founders and scientific directors of Eofauna Scientific Research, this volume contains over three thousand records giving facts and detailed information on over 750 theropod species.  Indeed, it is claimed that every single theropod dinosaur described before 2016 is included, this book reflects an enormous amount of research into what is, the most diverse and speciose of this suborder of dinosaurs.

Hundreds of Theropod Dinosaurs are Featured in the Book

Diverse Theropoda.

The diverse and speciose suborder of the Dinosauria (Theropoda).

 

Stunning Full-colour Illustrations

Crammed full of full-colour reconstructions and illustrations  by Andrey Atuchin and Sante Mazzei, this book, within the portfolio of the Natural History Museum (London), is not laid out like most dinosaur books.  For example, each record has bibliographic references, permitting the reader the opportunity to explore the topic area in more detail.  Divided into eight sections the “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods” provides a comprehensive overview including information on extant theropods (birds), trackways, fossil eggs, biomechanics, trace fossils – even the sprinter Usain Bolt gets a mention!

Lots of Amazing Dinosaur Facts are Revealed and Can be Checked by Readers Thanks to the Bibliography

Chilesaurus ilustrated.

Chilesaurus – the slowest herbivorous Theropod known to science.

Theropod Anatomy

The geography of ancient continents is outlined and the distribution of different types of theropod highlighted.  There is an excellent section dedicated to theropod anatomy, along with a chapter dedicated to footprints “Testimony in Stone”.

Examples of Theropod Tracks (Extant and Extinct)

Line drawings illustrationg theropod footprints.

The ichnology of theropod footprints.

Records, Records and More Records

Throughout this book’s 288 pages, there are lots and lots of facts about the Theropoda listed including a graphical record of valid dinosauromorphs and theropods named and described up to 2016.  Look out for the snippet about how a fault in Triassic rock was mistaken for the huge footprint of a meat-eater, or the colourful illustration showing different types of dinosaur egg compared to a basketball.  Readers can expect to find the latest information about iconic dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor osmolskae and Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

Facts and Figures About the Largest Theropod – Spinosaurus aegyptiacus

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus illustrated.

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.  Could this be the largest theropod of all?

Intriguingly, it has been revealed that the authors had wanted to include all the Dinosauria in a single encyclopedia.  Such a project is too much of an undertaking for a single volume, so in the future books focusing on the Ornithischians and the Sauropodomorphs and their close relatives might be produced.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This is an excellent book, that has been lovingly crafted by a dedicated team of researchers and artists.  It provides a comprehensive overview of what is arguably one of the most successful type of tetrapod to have ever evolved.  We are delighted that this book is now available in English and we are happy to recommend it.”

“Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods”

Title: “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods”

ISBN: 978 0 565 09497 3

Price: Around £30.00 (GBP)

Format: Hardback (298 mm x 241 mm)

Publication: This month (May 2019)

Size: 288 pages approximately

Subject classification: Natural History/Dinosaurs

BIC and BISAC codes WNA/YNNA and  1) NAT007000 2) SCI054000

30 05, 2019

Two New Theropod Dinosaurs from Thailand

By | May 30th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis

Two new species of theropod dinosaur have been described from partial fossil remains excavated from strata associated with the Sao Khua Formation of north-eastern Thailand.  It is likely that both these meat-eating dinosaurs have affinities with the Megaraptora and their discovery lends weight to the idea that the Megaraptoridae and their near relatives probably originated in Asia.  The dinosaurs have been named Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis, Phuwiangvenator has been described as a megaraptoran whilst the exact taxonomic position of Vayuraptor remains uncertain, although the authors of the scientific paper suggest that it too was a member of the clade of dinosaurs with long-snouts, highly pneumatised skeletons and with large claws.

Bones in Approximate Life Position from the Right Foot of P. yaemniyomi

Bones from the foot of Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi.

Bones and claws from the right foot of Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi with an accompanying line drawing.

Picture Credit: Samathi et al

Lower Cretaceous Carnivorous Dinosaurs

The fossils were found nearly twenty-five miles apart, but the strata in which the fragmentary fossil material was found is contemporaneous and dated to the upper Barremian stage of the Lower
Cretaceous.  The first identified specimens of P. yaemniyomi were found by Preecha Sainongkham, a team member at the Phu Wiang Fossil Research Centre and Dinosaur Museum back in 1993.  The Phu Wiang Mountain region is highly fossiliferous and numerous vertebrate fossils representing the fauna of a low-lying, inland, lacustrine environment have been discovered over the years.  The first dinosaur bone known from Thailand was found in 1976, a scrappy bone fragment that was assigned to the Sauropoda.  This fossil was found by Sudham Yaemniyom, who was at the time a geologist with the country’s Department of Mineral Resources, Bangkok.  The species name of Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi honours his contribution to the geology and palaeontology of Thailand.

Phuwiangvenator is the larger of the two Theropods, it is believed to have measured around 5.5 to 6 metres in length.  It is known from dorsal and sacral vertebrae plus elements of the hind limbs and feet.  All the fossil material was found within the same bedding plane and within an area of just 5 square metres.

Views of the Right Tibia (A1 – A6) and a Proximal View of the Left Tibia (P. yaemniyomi)

Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi bones from the lower leg.

Right tibia (A) in various views with a proximal view (B) of the left tibia – Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi.

Picture Credit: Samathi et al

Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis – Raptor of the Wind God

The fossils associated with Vayuraptor were found in 1988.  It is known from a left tibia and ankle bones.  The genus name is from the Sanskrit for “Vayu”, a God of the Wind and the Latin term “raptor”, which means thief.  Analysis of the single lower leg bone indicates that like Phuwiangvenator, this dinosaur was a fast-running, cursorial predator.  The fossils of both dinosaurs are now part of the extensive dinosaur fossil collection at the Sirindhorn Museum in Kalasin Province.  This museum houses the largest collection of dinosaur fossil bones in north-eastern Thailand.

Analysis of the Tibia Suggests that Vayuraptor was a Fast Runner

Ankle and lower leg bone Vayuraptor.

Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis views of the left tibia and ankle (A5 and A6).

Picture Credit: Samathi et al

Megaraptora Originated in Asia

The establishing of at least one of these dinosaurs as a member of the Megaraptora clade, possibly both, helps to support the hypothesis that in south-eastern Asia during the Early Cretaceous, it was the Megaraptora that were diverse and playing the role of apex predators.  This is in contrast to other ecosystems elsewhere in the world, that were dominated by different kinds of theropod dinosaur.  A basal member of the Megaraptora, Fukuiraptor kitadaniensis is known from the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) of Japan, these two dinosaurs are also (most likely), from the Barremian.  Their identification supports the idea that these fast running, lightly built predators evolved in Asia.

A Model of the Basal Megaraptoran  Clade – Fukuiraptor

CollectA Fukuiraptor dinosaur model.

CollectA Fukuiraptor model.  It is likely that Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis were similar to Fukuiraptor kitadaniensis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Early Cretaceous Heyday for the Megaraptorans

Fossils of this type of meat-eating dinosaur have been reported from the Barremian to the Aptian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous.  The authors of the scientific paper, published in the scientific journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica”, note that several specimens of megaraptoran dinosaurs have been recorded from the Aptian of Australia and one reported from the later Albian faunal stage of South America.  Megaraptorans are known from the Late Cretaceous but seem to indicate that by around 90 million years ago, “megaraptors” had a more limited range and seem to have been confined mostly to South America.

A Typical Illustration of a Member of the Megaraptoridae Family of Theropod Dinosaurs

Roaming Patagonia 80 million years ago

A leggy, Late Cretaceous carnivore (Murusraptor).  Roaming Patagonia around 80 million years ago.  By the Late Cretaceous the Megaraptoridae may have been less widespread and more provincial.

Picture Credit: Jan Sovak (University of Alberta)

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The identification of these theropod remains that had been known about for more than twenty-five years, has been partially resolved.  Hopefully, more fossil material associated with the Vayuraptor genus will be found in Thailand so that it too can be more definitively placed within the Megaraptora clade.  Given the extent of the fossil discoveries made from the Phu Wiang Mountain region thus far, it is highly likely that more new dinosaurs will be named and described from Thailand in the future.”

To read an article about a Late Cretaceous member of the Megaraptoridae family from South America that was reported upon in 2018: A New Member of the Megaraptoridae from the Late Cretaceous of South America (Tratayenia rosalesi)

The scientific paper: “Two new basal coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs from the Lower Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of Thailand” by A. Samathi, P. Chanthasit and P. Martin Sander published in  Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

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