All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/2020
3 07, 2020

Preparing for Sinoceratops

By | July 3rd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Preparing for Sinoceratops

Everything Dinosaur is expecting its latest shipment of PNSO products to arrive at the company’s warehouse in the next few days.  The products have cleared customs and inspection and team members are awaiting to hear the scheduled time of delivery from the transport company.  The two new for 2020 baby dinosaur figures (young T. rex and the young Sinoceratops), will be in stock very soon at Everything Dinosaur.

A-Qi the Baby Sinoceratops Figure from PNSO

PNSO baby Sinoceratops dinosaur model.

A-Qi the baby Sinoceratops model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

PNSO Aaron the Baby T. rex Dinosaur Model

Aaron the baby T. rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Aaron the baby Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Sinoceratops Fact Sheet

Just like the vast majority of prehistoric animal models that Everything Dinosaur supplies, we intend to provide a free Sinoceratops fact sheet with the PNSO A-Qi Sinoceratops figure.  Our team members have been busy preparing for the arrival of the PNSO figures by researching and writing a fact sheet on the only undisputed ceratopsid known from Asia – Sinoceratops zhuchengensis.  Just where within the Ceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs does Sinoceratops fit remains uncertain.  Although classified as a member of the Centrosaurinae, it shares a number of anatomical traits with the chasmosaurs too.  At around six metres in length and weighing two tonnes, it is much larger than other basal centrosaurines, more the size of some of the earliest members of the Chasmosaurinae such as Utahceratops (U. gettyi) from Utah and the geologically older Judiceratops (J. tigris) from Montana.

The Scale Drawing of Sinoceratops (S. zhuchengensis) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Sinoceratops scale drawing.

Sinoceratops scale drawing prepared for the Everything Dinosaur fact sheet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Splitting the Ceratopsidae – Chasmosaurs and Centrosaurs

The Ceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs is further divided into two broad sub-families, the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae.  In general terms, chasmosaurs are distinguished by their long brow horns with reduced nose horns and tall neck frills.  The centrosaurs, in contrast, have large nose horns, reduced brow horns and smaller neck frills.  As more and more horned dinosaurs have been discovered and described including basal members of each sub-family, this rather simplified approach has fallen out of favour, the anatomical traits between the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae becoming somewhat blurred.

Simplified Illustration Defining Ceratopsid Sub-families

Chamosaurine compared to centrosaurine.

A simplified comparison between the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the scientific paper describing Sinoceratops (Xu Xing et al 2010), the authors commented that the Sinoceratops taxon was considerably larger than most other centrosaurines but similar in size to basal chasmosaurines.  In addition, the researchers stated that Sinoceratops is more similar to chasmosaurines than to other centrosaurines in several features, thus blurring the distinction of the two ceratopsid subgroups.

The discovery of the first member of the ceratopsids known from outside North America provided significant information on the morphological transition from non-ceratopsid to ceratopsid dinosaurs, but also complicated the biogeography of the Ceratopsidae family as a whole.

2 07, 2020

Tiny Dinosaur Eggs from Japan Reveal Small Theropods

By | July 2nd, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Dinosaur Eggs Provide a View on a “Hidden Ecosystem”

Not all the dinosaurs that ever existed are likely to be named and described by scientists.  Identifying these long extinct creatures relies on there being a fossil record of some sort to study.  A team of researchers writing in the journal “Cretaceous Research”, report on a new Lower Cretaceous fossil egg locality in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, that provides a tantalising glimpse into a hidden dinosaur dominated ecosystem.

The researchers, which include Kohei Tanaka (University of Tsukuba, Japan) and Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary, Canada), describe eggs and eggshell fragments associated with four ootaxa, two of which are new to science.  The site reveals a hidden diversity of small dinosaurs, particularly non-avian theropods, in the Hyogo region and indicates the area was utilised for nesting by various small dinosaur species in the Early Cretaceous.

The Newly Erected Ootaxa Himeoolithus murakamii the Most Abundant Ootaxa from the Quarry Site

Himeoolithus murakamii a new ootaxa from Japan.

Himeoolithus murakamii egg fossil, high resolution image, line drawing of egg showing elongated shape and life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture with life reconstruction by Ayaka Nagate

The Kamitaki Locality

The fossil site, known as the Kamitaki locality lies close to the  Sasayama River in Kamitaki, Sannan-cho, Tamba City,  Hyogo Prefecture.  One horizon has yielded a variety of small vertebrate fossils including frogs and lizards, plus a partial tail from a titanosaur that was formally named and described in 2014 (Tambatitanis amicitiae).  Eggshell fragments are also associated with this part of the site.  However, a horizon some 5.5 to 6.75 metres above the bonebed layer has yielded an astonishing quantity of egg fossils, including a nearly complete egg, several partial eggs and hundreds of eggshell fragments.  The researchers conclude that this horizon represents a nesting area in which a variety of small theropods raised their young.

As a result of this research, two new theropod egg taxa have been named – Himeoolithus murakamii and Subtiliolithus hyogoensis.  Although no skeletal remains of these little dinosaurs have been found, the presence of all the egg fossils suggests that there were numerous different types of small theropod co-existing in this ancient ecosystem.

The Location of the Fossil Site within Hyogo Prefecture

Fossil site location.

The location of the Kamitaki fossil site.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture/Cretaceous Research with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The mudstone deposits are thought to have been laid down around 110 million years ago (Albian faunal stage of the Lower Cretaceous) and the palaeoenvironment has been described as floodplain which was subjected to a extremes of seasonality with long periods of very dry conditions punctuated by a very wet season that led to flood events.

The most abundant ootaxon at the quarry, Himeoolithus, is represented by four eggs and over 1300 scattered eggshell fragments. Himeoolithus accounts for over 96% of all the egg fossils associated with this site.  Himeoolithus is the smallest non-avian theropod egg known to date, the scientists estimate that the egg probably weighed about as much as a quail egg (around 9.9 grammes).  It is also a very unusual shape, being elongate with its length 2.25 times its width (length : width ratio 2.25).  The new egg fossil horizon was discovered in 2015 and was mapped and intensively excavated in the winter of 2019.  In total, the egg fossil horizon and the lower Kamitaki Bonebed (Ohyamashimo Formation), have yielded six small theropod ootaxa.

The Stratigraphy of the Kamitaki Locality and Examples of Associated Ootaxa

Stratigraphy of the Kamitaki locality with examples of theropod ootaxa from the site.

The stratigraphy of the Kamitaki locality with examples of theropod ootaxa from the site.  Subtiliolithus hyogoensis is the second of the new ootaxa to be reported in the scientific paper.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture/Cretaceous Research

Notable Biodiversity

The ootaxa demonstrate that this ancient habitat was home to a variety of small theropod dinosaurs.  It is likely that many other palaeoenvironments associated with the Lower Cretaceous were also home to a diverse variety of small theropods too, these animals being currently under-represented in the fossil record.

Lead author of the paper, Professor Kohei Tanaka, confirmed that the research team thought that the new egg fossil horizon was a nesting site and the deposit was not the result of a transportation and subsequent burial of egg material from another location:

“Our taphonomic analysis indicated that the nest we found was in situ, not transported and redeposited, because most of the eggshell fragments were positioned concave-up, not concave-down like we see when eggshells are transported.”

The professor added:

“The high diversity of these small theropod eggs makes this one of the most diverse Early Cretaceous egg localities known.  Small theropod skeletal fossils are quite scarce in this area.  Therefore, these fossil eggs provide a useful window into the hidden ecological diversity of dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous of south-western Japan, as well as into the nesting behaviour of small non-avian theropods.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Tsukuba (Japan), in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Exceptionally small theropod eggs from the Lower Cretaceous Ohyamashimo Formation of Tamba, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan” by
Kohei Tanaka, Darla K. Zelenitsky, François Therrien, Tadahiro Ikeda, Katsuhiro Kubota, Haruo Saegusa, Tomonori Tanaka and Kenji Ikuno published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

1 07, 2020

Guineafowl Contribute to a Better Understanding of Early Jurassic Dinosaur Tracks

By | July 1st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Guineafowl – Walking Like Dinosaurs

Researchers from Brown University (Rhode Island, USA) and Liverpool John Moores University, have plotted the tracks made by living birds in a bid to reveal new information about how some of the early theropod dinosaurs walked.  In a paper, published today in Biology Letters, the scientists describe how they analysed the locomotion of guineafowl (Order Galliformes) and discovered that dinosaurs may have moved in a similar way, despite the absence of a long, counter-balancing tail in modern Aves.

A X-ray Imagery was Used to Map the Movement of Bones in the Foot of Guineafowl

Modern birds help to interpret dinosaur tracks.

Plotting the foot movements of extant Guineafowl to help interpret Early Jurassic dinosaur footprints.

Picture Credit: Turner et al/Liverpool John Moores University

Retaining Features of Their Non-avian Dinosaur Ancestors

The researchers used X-rays to image and plot the bird tracks in three-dimensions, as the guineafowl walked through a variety of substrates with different properties.  The feet of ground-dwelling birds retain many features of their dinosaurian ancestors, after all, living birds are members of the Order Theropoda along with famous dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex.  The locomotion of the guineafowl permits insights into the complex interplay between anatomy, foot motion (kinematics) and substrate.  The results can then be used to assess the tracks made by dinosaurs.

Studying Avian Dinosaur Tracks Provides a Fresh Perspective on Ancient Non-avian Dinosaur Fossil Tracks

Dinosaur footprint.

A dinosaur footprint from the Isle of Skye.  This new study can shed light on ancient dinosaur trackways.

Picture Credit: Scottish National Heritage

A Looping Pattern Below the Ground Identified

Despite substantial step-to-step variability, the foot consistently moves in a looping pattern below the ground, matching the “looping motion” of dinosaur feet captured in the fossil record from the Early Jurassic.

One of the scientific paper’s authors, Dr Peter Falkingham, a senior lecturer in vertebrate biology at Liverpool John Moores University stated:

“Dinosaurs were moving in very similar ways to modern birds even 200 million years- ago (many millions of years before birds evolved), even though they were quite different, having long, muscular tails, for instance.  The similarity of motion, and the similarity of foot shape (three-toed) between dinosaurs 200 million years ago and birds today tells us how successful and versatile that foot has been evolutionarily.”

A Lateral View Showing the Foot Movement and the Looping Pattern of the Toes

The consistant looping pattern.

Plotting the movement of digit III through a variety of substrates revealing the consistent looping pattern identified below the ground.

Picture Credit: Turner et al/Liverpool John Moores University

The scientists report that when a foot sinks into the sediment, a) the sub-surface motion gets recorded and b) the foot has to get out again.  Where it exits relative to where it went in can tell us how the foot was moving.  Despite substantial kinematic variation, the foot consistently moves in a looping pattern below ground.  As the foot sinks and then withdraws, the claws of the three main toes create entry and exit paths in different locations.  Sampling these paths at incremental horizons captures two-dimensional features just as fossil tracks do, allowing depth-based zones to be characterised by the presence and relative position of digit impressions.

Analysis of Early Jurassic Theropod Tracks

Analysis of Early Jurassic dinosaur tracks.

Exit features and depth zone attribution in Early Jurassic theropod fossil tracks.

Picture Credit: Turner et al/Liverpool John Moores University

When the fossilised tracks of a small, theropod dinosaur were examined, the scientists found an equivalent looping response to soft substrates.  This study, comparing extant and extinct track-makers provides important new data on substrate properties and will assist with the interpretation of dinosaur tracks providing a fresh perspective on these important trace fossils.

This paper provides a new theoretical framework and vocabulary for describing relative positions of entry and exit traces, offering a new way of studying fossil footprints.

For a related article where researchers from Brown University in collaboration with international colleagues conducted earlier research on dinosaur footprints using guineafowl: Walking with Dinosaurs – the Birth of a Dinosaur Footprint.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of Liverpool John Moores University in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “It’s in the loop: shared sub-surface foot kinematics in birds and other dinosaurs shed light on a new dimension of fossil track diversity” by Morgan L. Turner, Peter L. Falkingham and Stephen M. Gatesy published in Biology Letters.

30 06, 2020

Mojo Prehistoric Mammals – “Turntable Tuesday”

By | June 30th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

“Turntable Tuesday” – Mojo Prehistoric Mammals

For Everything Dinosaur’s weekly video feature “Turntable Tuesday”, we wanted to do things a little differently.  Usually, we showcase a single prehistoric animal figure in a short video review.  However, with the addition of a whopping sixteen new Mojo dinosaurs into the “Prehistoric and Extinct” range, team members were concerned that some of the excellent prehistoric mammal models made by Mojo might get overlooked.  Rather than highlighting a single figure, the “Turntable Tuesday” feature was extended so that we could display the Cenozoic mammals produced by Mojo.

Prehistoric Mammal Models Take a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase Mojo prehistoric animal models (dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures): Mojo Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

Often Overlooked Elements from a Range

Prehistoric mammal models, Smilodon, Woolly Mammoths, Brontotheres and such like are not going to sell as well as models of Triceratops, Stegosaurus and T. rex.  Manufacturers have to make commercial decisions as to which models they continue to make as their range expands.  For collectors, the addition of a lot of new models in a particular product range can sometimes be bad news, as figures of less high profile animals are retired and taken out of production to make room.

The Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” Range Contains Some Excellent Prehistoric Mammal Figures

Prehistoric mammal models from Mojo.

A selection of prehistoric animal models from the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range.  From left to right – Brontotherium, Daeodon, Hyaenodon gigas and the baby Woolly Mammoth model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

“Turntable Tuesday” – Mojo Prehistoric Mammals

The “Turntable Tuesday” video lasts for four and a half minutes.  Following a brief introduction in which we outline some of the problems that can occur when a model range is expanded dramatically, the Mojo Brontotherium model is discussed.  The video swiftly moves on introducing the baby Woolly Mammoth model and the Hyaenodon gigas.  Rare, out of production figures are also discussed such as the excellent Mojo Quagga and the recently retired Thylacine replica.

The Mojo Quagga Figure

Mojo Quagga replica.

The Mojo Quagga model.  This model has been retired and it is now out of production.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s video concludes with a look at the Mojo Smilodon, the entelodont (Daeodon) and provides further information on the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range.

The Mojo Smilodon Model is also Featured in the Video

A selection of prehistoric mammal models from Mojo.

The Mojo Smilodon also features in Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube video.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Focus on the Mojo Smilodon Model

Views of the Mojo Smilodon.

Various views of the Mojo Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal related reviews and features: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

29 06, 2020

A Preview of the Next Edition of “Prehistoric Times”

By | June 29th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

The Front Cover of Issue 134 “Prehistoric Times”

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next edition of the quarterly magazine “Prehistoric Times”.  We have not got too long to wait and just to whet the appetites of subscribers we have published a picture of the front cover of the next issue (issue number 134).  The front cover features an illustration of Allosaurus by the distinguished and extremely influential Zdeněk Burian.  In the summer issue of the magazine, John Lavas continues his long-running series of articles discussing the work of the famous Czech artist.  In this edition, the focus in on Burian’s theropod dinosaur artwork.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (Issue 134 – Summer 2020)

"Prehistoric Times" magazine, the front cover of issue 134.

The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine (summer 2020).

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

The editor of the magazine, Mike Fredericks commented:

“John Lavas has finally reached the dinosaurs painted by Burian so we celebrate with a rare painting of his of Allosaurus on the front cover.  We include Diplodocus and Mark Hallett also writes an article about this dinosaur with much of his art.”

As always, the next issue of “Prehistoric Times” will be crammed full of informative articles, news, model reviews and updates on dinosaur fossil discoveries.  The fearsome ancient crocodyliform Kaprosuchus (K. saharicus) from the Upper Cretaceous Echkar Formation of Niger also features in the forthcoming issue.

To subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” magazine: Learn more about “Prehistoric Times” magazine.

28 06, 2020

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

By | June 28th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

Everything Dinosaur team members made a commitment in 2020 to post up at least fifty new videos on the company’s YouTube channel.  This is quite a challenge considering all our other activities on social media, such as this blog site for example.  However, Everything Dinosaur is on track to achieve this and recently the company posted up a new YouTube channel trailer to help promote Everything Dinosaur on the YouTube platform.

Everything Dinosaur’s New YouTube Channel Trailer

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

YouTube Channel Trailer

Our YouTube promotional trailer explains what we do and why we do it!  The video lasts a fraction over 2 minutes and it attempts to explain our passion for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model collecting.  If you want to learn some of the science behind the prehistoric animal models and figures in your own collection, then watch the trailer through as it packed with examples of our work and highlights of our videos.

Everything Dinosaur’s Trailer Showcases the Variety of Videos the Company has Produced

Showcasing Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel hosts a wide variety of dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos.  The channel has over 170 prehistoric animal themed videos posted on it.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Award-winning Dinosaur Company

Everything Dinosaur is a multi-award-winning mail order company, with thousands of customers all over the world.  We have customers in something like 160 countries and as our trailer video points out, we have even sent dinosaur models to the North Pole!  We really enjoy talking about life in the past, deep time and the amazing creatures that inhabited prehistory.  It’s great to be able to share ideas and explore the fascinating hobby of model collecting with fellow dinosaur fans and enthusiasts, so we developed a YouTube channel as a natural extension of our social media outreach.

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Channel

Everything Dinosaur's YouTube Channel.

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos are now on-line.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has a Large Social Media Presence

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We get lots and lots of emails, our Facebook and social media pages are very active and the Everything Dinosaur blog has over 4,800 articles and features.  We have had a YouTube channel for some years, but it has recently been revamped and we are on course to post up at least fifty new videos this year.”

Lots of Videos on the YouTube Channel of Everything Dinosaur

Lots of videos to view on Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

Some of the videos on the YouTube channel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

27 06, 2020

Rebor and New Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

By | June 27th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Models and Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Newsletter

The latest edition of Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter was sent out earlier this week.  Subscribers were amongst the very first in the world to be informed that the spectacular Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis” were back in stock.  In addition, the newsletter highlighted the return of the Rebor 1:35 scale “Killer Queen” replica in the jungle colour scheme.  The new range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs, all sixteen of them were featured too!

The Pair of Rebor Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis” Feature in the Newsletter

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Oasis" and "Green Day".

Buy the Pair! Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Special Offer from Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Dilophosaurus male “Green Day” and the female “Oasis” are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Buy the pair at a special price!  Just £49.99 (including tax if applicable) plus shipping (price as of June 2020).  Two fantastic Rebor figures – snap up a double of “double crested lizard” to add to your collection.

The Male and Female Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models from Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

The Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor range of replicas and figures: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Models Are Available Separately

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Green Day" and "Oasis".

Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis” Dilophosaurus models. These models are available separately and as a pair whilst stocks last.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Killer Queen” – Jungle and Sixteen New Dinosaurs from Mojo Fun

One of the top-selling figures over the last year or so has been the Rebor Tyrannosaurus rex replica called “Killer Queen”.  A small number of these excellent T. rex figures have arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse and our team members have been quick to inform collectors and newsletter fans of their arrival.  This display piece, complete with an articulated jaw measures over 40 centimetres in length, as the song says: “guaranteed to blow your mind”.

Mojo Fun has introduced a total of sixteen new dinosaur models representing dinosaurs from the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.  Our newsletter featured these new releases from Mojo too.

Rebor “Killer Queen” in the Jungle Colour Variant and New Dinosaurs from Mojo

Rebor jungle colour variant "Killer Queen" and new Mojo models.

Rebor “Killer Queen” jungle colour variant and sixteen brand new Mojo dinosaur models in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of the Rebor “Killer Queen” – plain colour variant don’t have long to wait for this model to be back in stock either.  This figure will be back in stock at Everything Dinosaur in July (2020).

Highlighting Mojo Brachiosaurus Deluxe and the Troodontid Model

In the popular Mojo Fun range, collectors are rather spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which models to acquire.  There are lots of new theropods, two Baryonyx figures, a new T. rex plus Spinosaurus, Velociraptors, Allosaurus and one of our personal favourites – a replica of a feathered troodontid dinosaur complete with an articulated jaw.  Herbivorous dinosaurs are well-represented in the new Mojo Fun range as well.  For example, the range includes new models of Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Triceratops plus Mamenchisaurus, Mandschurosaurus, Brontosaurus and a beautiful Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur model.

Highlighting Mojo Dinosaur Models (Troodontid and the Brachiosaurus Deluxe)

Mojo Brachiosaurus deluxe and the troodontid dinosaur model.

New for 2020 Mojo Troodontid and Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the amazing range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models.

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter

Subscribing to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletters is easy, to get updates, information about new releases, dinosaur discoveries and fossil news, just drop us an email.

To request to join the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list just send us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

26 06, 2020

New Study Suggests “Marsupial Sabre-tooth” Was a Scavenger

By | June 26th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Thylacosmilus atrox – A Specialist Scavenger of Large Carcases

Huge canines in predatory mammals has developed on several occasions within the Class Mammalia.  Indeed, enormous sabre-like teeth can be found in the fossil record long before placentals and marsupials evolved, a case in point being the gorgonopsids of the Late Permian.  However, when the various types of mammal that developed such over-sized front teeth in their upper jaws are compared, it seems that not all sabre-toothed mammals were the ferocious predators that palaeontologists thought them to be.

Writing in the open access, on-line journal “PeerJ” researchers from the University of Birmingham, Bristol University and the Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee), conclude that the South American “marsupial sabre-tooth”, Thylacosmilus atrox may have been a scavenger, using its huge upper canines to eviscerate carcases before removing internal organs with a large tongue.

The South American Marsupial Thylacosmilus may not have been an Active Predator

Comparing the skulls of Thylacosmilus and Smilodon.

Skulls and life reconstructions of the marsupial sabre-tooth Thylacosmilus atrox (left) and the sabre-tooth cat Smilodon fatalis (right).  Examples of convergent evolution in unrelated animals, but a new study suggests that T. atrox may have behaved very differently, preferring to consume carcases rather than to actively hunt.

Picture Credit: Stephan Lautenschlager/University of Birmingham

Thylacosmilus atrox – A Very Peculiar Carnivore

Thylacosmilus (pronounced Thy-lak-o-smile-us), is a member of the extinct Order Sparassodonta and only distantly related to the marsupials of Australia.  Its fossils come mostly from northern Argentina, and it lived during the Late Miocene and Pliocene Epochs.  Described as a jaguar-sized marsupial with huge maxillary canines, bite force studies had indicated that, for its size, it had a relatively weak bite, much lower than modern, large felids.

Whilst most palaeontologists would agree that the placental genus Smilodon was an active predator, albeit with a different method of dispatching victims when compared to extant “big cats”.  This new research proposes that Thylacosmilus, in contrast, was not a fearsome hunter.  Skull comparisons and an analysis of fossil teeth indicate that, Thylacosmilus, with its generally longer and more slender upper canines, was not able to stab prey that effectively when compared to the likes of Smilodon fatalis.  What it lacked in penetration it made up for in pulling power, with a strong “pull-back” action using its jaws to rip apart the bodies of dead animals.

Dr Stephan Lautenschlager (University of Birmingham) explained:

“We found there was a difference in behaviour between the two species: Thylacosmilus’ skull and canines are weaker in a stabbing action than those of Smilodon but stronger in a ‘pull-back’ type of action.  This suggests Thylacosmilus was not using its canines to kill with, but to open carcasses.  We suspect it was some sort of specialised scavenger, using those canines to open carcasses and perhaps using a big tongue to help extract the innards.”

Convergent Evolution of a Sabre-toothed Skull

Convergent evolution of the sabre-toothed skull shape.

Convergent evolution.  A sabre-toothed skull has developed on several occasions in different types of tetrapod.  Note the presence of incisors in B, C and D but they are absent in the Thylacosmilus skull (A).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/C. R. Prothero/D. R. Prothero

The image (above), shows (A) the skull of Thylacosmilus, (B) the creodont Machaeroides, (C) Hoplophoneus, a member of the Nimravidae from North America and (D) the skull of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon.  This is an example of convergent evolution – the similar body plan has evolved independently in several not closely related species.

The scientists discovered that the maxillary canines of Thylacosmilus were different from the teeth of other sabre-toothed mammals.  They were more triangular in shape, like a claw rather than flat like the blade of a knife.

Co-author, Dr Christine Janis (University of Bristol) added:

“The animal has impressive canines, but if you look at the whole picture of its anatomy, lots of things simply don’t add up.  It lacks incisors, which big cats today use to get meat off the bone and its lower jaws were not fused together.”

A Life Reconstruction of Thylacosmilus atrox

Thylacosmilus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of Thylacosmilus atrox from the Late Miocene/Pliocene of South America.  Note scale bar equals 10 cm.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Puzzling Combination of Anatomical Traits

As well as lacking incisors, the researchers found that the molars of Thylacosmilus were proportionately small and not worn along their sides as expected in an animal that fed on meat.

Explaining the significance of this finding, Dr Larisa DeSantis (Vanderbilt University) commented:

“The molars tend to wear flat from the top, rather like you see in a bone crusher.  But if you examine the detailed microwear on tooth surfaces, it’s clear that it was eating soft food.  Its wear is most similar to that of cheetahs which eat from fresh carcasses and suggests an even softer diet than fed to captive lions.  Thylacosmilus was not a bone-crusher and may have instead specialised on internal organs.”

Far from being a sparassodont version of Smilodon, Thylacosmilus probably filled a very different niche in the ecosystem.  In addition, to the differences in the skull and the teeth, Thylacosmilus was relatively short-legged and lacked a very flexible spine.  These characteristics along with an absence of retractile claws suggests that Thylacosmilus would have struggled to pursue all but the slowest of prey and would have had difficulty pouncing and holding on to victims.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Birmingham in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Thylacosmilus was not a marsupial “saber-tooth predator’ ” by Christine Janis, Borja Figueirido, Larisa DeSantis and Stephan Lautenschlager published in PeerJ.

25 06, 2020

Is this the Demise of a Duck-billed Dinosaur?

By | June 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Taxonomic status of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Five years ago, Everything Dinosaur reported the naming of a new species of duck-billed dinosaur that lived well inside the Arctic circle during the Late Cretaceous.  The dinosaur was named Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (pronounced 00-grew-na-luck kook-pik-en-sis).  At the time of publication, Ugrunaaluk was thought to be closely related to Edmontosaurus.  Since then, there has been quite a debate regarding the taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk.  In the latest twist of a tale set in prehistoric polar latitudes, researchers writing in PLOS One conclude that this Arctic dinosaur is most probably a species of Edmontosaurus.

The Taxonomic Validity of the Arctic Hadrosaur Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Ugrunaaluk illustrated.

The taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is controversial as this species was erected based on the study of the bones of immature, not fully adult individuals.

Picture Credit: James Havens

The Prince Creek Formation Specimens

Duck-billed dinosaur fossils from the Liscomb Bonebed (Prince Creek Formation, North Slope, Alaska), were the first dinosaur bones discovered from the Arctic.  When originally assessed, it was proposed that these hadrosaurids were Edmontosaurus, members of the sub-clade Hadrosaurinae.  In 2015, a scientific paper was published that proposed the closely related species Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.  However, the taxonomic status of this material is problematical.  The fossils associated with the Liscomb Bonebed site represent immature, sub-adults and as such many of the anatomical traits used to characterise U. kuukpikensis, may reflect the developmental age of the individual and the shape of the bones may have altered as the dinosaur grew and matured.

A Model of an Adult Edmontosaurus

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Emontosaurus model.

The new for 2020 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Edmontosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Looking at the Evidence

In this newly published paper, researchers from Okayama University of Science (Japan), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Texas) and Hokkaido University Museum (Japan), re-examined the skull bones from the Liscomb Bonebed and determined that the traits used to distinguish these Arctic fossils from those ascribed to Edmontosaurus were questionable.  In 2015, the scientific paper describing Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (Mori et al), proposed eight diagnostic characters for this new species.  Among the eight characters identified, three were proposed to distinguish Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis from the Edmontosaurus genus.  Four of these eight characters distinguished Ugrunaaluk from Edmontosaurus annectens, which is known from Maastrichtian aged deposits from Montana and one character to distinguish Ugrunaaluk from the geologically older Edmontosaurus regalis, fossils of which are found in Canada.

It is likely that the shape of the skull of Edmontosaurus changed as it grew.  The bones forming the skull would also undergo change in shape and size, because of this, any taxon erected solely based on the shape of skull bones from young animals is questionable.  In this newly published paper, the researchers, which include Ryuji Takasaki, a researcher at the Okayama University of Science and Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (Hokkaido University Museum), conclude that the Liscomb Bonebed hadrosaurid material should be ascribed to Edmontosaurus.

Comparing the Liscomb Bonebed Fossil Material with Known Edmontosaurus Skull Bones

Determining the identify of Alaskan duck-bills at the genus level.

A study of skull bones from the Prince Creek Formation (Alaska), suggests that the immature individual duck-billed dinosaurs found at this site are from the Edmontosaurus genus and that Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis should be regarded as nomen dubium.

Picture Credit: PLOS One (Takasaki et al)

If the Arctic fossils are ascribed to Edmontosaurus, then this suggests that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread during the Late Cretaceous with fossils associated with this genus found in the northern states of the USA, Canada and Alaska.  The scientists consider that the Prince Creek Formation Edmontosaurus should be regarded as Edmontosaurus sp. until further discoveries of mature hadrosaurines from the Prince Creek Formation Bonebed and/or equivalently juvenile Edmontosaurus specimens from the lower latitudes allow direct comparisons.

Furthermore, if Edmontosaurus is associated with the very far north of Laramidia, this has implications for the ancestry of Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurids.  A number of duck-billed dinosaurs found in Asia may represent descendants of the Edmontosaurini lineage that migrated from Laramidia into Asia.

The Distribution of Edmontosaurus sp.

The distribution of Edmontosaurus.

The researchers suggest that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread occupying much of northern Laramidia and many of the Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurs may have been descended from the Edmontosaurus lineage.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The map (above), illustrates the distribution of Edmontosaurus as proposed by the research paper.  There is some evidence to suggest that Edmontosaurus preferred coastal environments and that this genus was widely distributed across northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous.  If this assessment proves to be correct, Edmontosaurus had a geographical distribution spanning about 4,000 kilometres from north to south in North America.

The scientists speculate that the ancestor of Asian hadrosaurids such as Kamuysaurus migrated from North America.

Japanese Hadrosaurs Had North American Roots

Professor Kobayashi commented:

“It is possible that the ancestor of Kamuysaurus that adapted to the environment at the northern limit of the species’ habitat crossed from North America to Asia and eventually evolved to Kamuysaurus.”

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the naming of Kamuysaurus: Famous Fossils from Japan are Named.

If the Prince Creek Formation hadrosaurs are established as members of the Edmontosaurus genus, then they could represent a new species of Edmontosaurus.  The large latitudinal distribution of this taxon could be re-established, the latitudinal range for Edmontosaurus would extend from about 40 degrees north to at least 70 degrees north.  The researchers conclude that despite the extensive geographical and temporal range of this taxon, the morphological disparity within different species associated with this genus is relatively small when compared to other members of the Hadrosaurinae.  The lack of any substantial anatomical differences between widely distributed species could reflect the relatively low latitudinal temperature gradient during the Late Cretaceous compared to today.  A relatively benign and unchanging environment would not have imposed significant pressure on species to evolve in order to adapt to new conditions.

To read our original article on the naming of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis: The Latest Dinosaur from Polar Latitudes.

Our article published in 2017, following a study of Edmontosaurus cranial material that also cast doubt on the taxonomic validity of U. kuukpikensisStudying the Skulls – Getting our Heads Around Edmontosaurus.

The scientific paper: “Re-examination of the cranial osteology of the Arctic Alaskan hadrosaurine with implications for its taxonomic status” by Ryuji Takasaki, Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ronald S. Tykoski and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi published in PLOS One.

24 06, 2020

Maintenance Scheduled on Everything Dinosaur’s Websites

By | June 24th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Maintenance on Website, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Website Routine Maintenance

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for routine maintenance and upgrades this weekend (Friday/Saturday 26th/27th June 2020).  As a result of this work, some visitors to our sites might experience a slight slowing down in our website performance and speed.  The work has been scheduled for a time when traffic to our three websites is at its lowest, Everything Dinosaur doing all it can to minimise any inconvenience to our customers.

Everything Dinosaur’s Websites Scheduled for Routine Maintenance

T. rex and Stegosaurus helping Everything Dinosaur with their website maintenance.

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for essential maintenance.  Our friendly Tyrannosaurus rex and our ever so helpful Stegosaurus will be on hand to oversee the work and to ensure that Everything Dinosaur’s customers are not inconvenienced too much.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Late this Friday or in the early hours of Saturday morning (BST), [June 26th/27th 2020] the servers that host Everything Dinosaur’s websites are undergoing some essential maintenance and updates.  During this time visitors to our websites, might experience a slowing down in the speed of our sites.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.”

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