All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//July
21 07, 2020

Preparing for the New CollectA Invertebrates

By | July 21st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing for the New CollectA Invertebrates

Everything Dinosaur team members are busy making space in their warehouse for the arrival of the new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animal models.  The new CollectA releases were exclusively revealed in a series of blog posts and YouTube videos in the autumn of 2019.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 global pandemic has interrupted production plans and many new models and figures have been delayed.  In total, CollectA planned to introduce eighteen new replicas in 2020.  Everything Dinosaur was able to secure release and delivery of six figures earlier this year (1:6 scale Protoceratops, 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus, 1:40 scale Bajadasaurus, 1:6 scale Microraptor, Prehistoric Life Baryonyx and the rearing Diplodocus colour variant).

Six of the planned new figures are invertebrates, namely a nautilus, a horseshoe crab, a belemnite, an example of a straight-shelled nautiloid cephalopod – Orthoceras, an ammonite, specifically Pleuroceras and a replica of a large trilobite – Redlichia rex.  Everything Dinosaur team members are optimistic about having these superb figures in stock soon.

The New for 2020 CollectA Models (including Invertebrates) are on Their Way

CollectA Arthropods and Cephalopods new for 2020.

New CollectA Arthropods and Cephalopods.  Everything Dinosaur hopes to have in stock in the next few weeks (as of late July 2020), all six of the new for 2020 CollectA invertebrate figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Unfortunately, the planned release of many new for 2020 figures and replicas have been seriously compromised due to the global coronavirus pandemic.  The CollectA range has been affected too.  We are doing all we can to keep our customers informed and updated with regards to developments and we hope that these exciting figures, the remaining new prehistoric animals from CollectA, will be available from Everything Dinosaur in the very near future.”

CollectA and Everything Dinosaur Previewed the Extensive Range of New Figures in Late 2019

What a collection? The new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals.

Some of the illustrations we used in our recent videos (autumn 2019), announcing the new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animal models.  Some of the new models expected in 2020 from CollectA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Preparing Fact Sheets for New Figures

As part of the company’s preparations as they anticipate the arrival of the new models, several new fact sheets have been added to the database.  In addition, scale drawing for a number of these new figures have been commissioned and completed.

An Orthocone/Orthoceras Scale Drawing an Early Design for the New Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Orthocone/Orthoceras scale drawing.

An early scale drawing design for the Orthoceras/Orthocone fact sheet.  The straight-shelled nautiloids show an enormous variation in size with giants such as Cameraceras with a shell length of up to 10 metres and a total body length approaching 12 metres.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of CollectA Prehistoric Life figures available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Figures.

To view the range of scale models (CollectA Deluxe range): CollectA Deluxe Scale Models of Prehistoric Animals.

20 07, 2020

Prehistoric Times Issue 134 Reviewed

By | July 20th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

A Review of Prehistoric Times Magazine (Issue 134)

Summer is officially here at the Everything Dinosaur offices with the arrival of the summer edition of “Prehistoric Times”, issue number 134.  This is the magazine for dinosaur enthusiasts and fans of model collecting.  Published four times a year, “Prehistoric Times” provides a one-stop shop for all your prehistoric animal collecting needs.  Adorning the front cover is an illustration of Allosaurus by the highly influential Zdeněk Burian.  Inside the magazine John Lavas continues his comprehensive review of the famous Czech artist’s work, the summer edition starts the sequence of articles that will cover dinosaur illustrations produced by Burian and it is the theropods that take centre stage.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times (Summer 2020)

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

The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine (summer 2020).  Inside the magazine (page 11), the full illustration featuring a Stegosaurus is discussed.   This artwork was produced in 1950.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

Diplodocus and Kaprosuchus

Diplodocus and Kaprosuchus are featured and Phil Hore provides plenty of information including the story of “Dippy” the Diplodocus, not just the London Natural History Museum cast that occupied the famous Hintze hall from 1979 until 2017.  Reading the article was quite poignant for Everything Dinosaur team members, as they had been working with the Natural History Museum “Dippy” tour in the UK when the COVID-19 pandemic began to get really serious and such events were cancelled.  There are some wonderful Diplodocus themed illustrations included, look out for the skeleton reconstruction by John Sibbick and the “head on” view created by the talented Luis Rey.  There is a Diplodocus drawing submitted by Fabio Pastori and Mark Hallett, provides some illustrations too, along with an article discussing nostril placement in diplodocids.

Phil’s Kaprosuchus article includes plenty of “boar croc” artwork as well.   Cody Zaiser’s galloping crocodyliform is particularly impressive.

Kaprosuchus is One of the Featured Prehistoric Animals in Issue 134

The Papo "Boar Croc" model - Kaprosuchus.

The popular Papo Kaprosuchus model.  A replica of “boar croc”.  “Prehistoric Times” magazine includes a “short and sweet” feature on this genus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Collector Updates and Neanderthals

Randy Knol provides updates on some of the new releases, now expected towards the latter stages of 2020 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and his notes on the models include some cleverly composed photographs of the figures.  Dr Andreas Forrer provides a guided tour of three locations in his native Switzerland that were once inhabited by Neanderthals.  As well as featuring lots of stunning scenery, the article includes plenty of facts about our near cousins including some information on the author’s own genotype, complete with a trace of Homo neanderthalensis DNA.

There’s also a very well written feature on how to draw Lambeosaurines, specifically Corythosaurus, penned by Tracy Lee Ford.  Editor Mike Fredericks, now happily much better after having had a spell in hospital (a troublesome gall bladder), contributes with his regular “Collector’s Corner” and book reviews in “Mesozoic Media”.  If creepy crawlies give you the creeps, then it might be best to avoid John Tuttle’s article that documents some of the giant arthropods that once scuttled or buzzed around ancient ecosystems.

One of the Stunning Theropod Illustrations by Zdeněk Burian that Feature in the Magazine

Burian depicts a Triassic landscape.

Beautiful and evocative artwork from Burian (Coelophysis bauri and Eupelor durus).

Picture Credit: Zdeněk Burian as featured in Prehistoric Times

Subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” Magazine

Issue 134 (summer 2020), is packed full of fascinating articles, great artwork and well-written features.  Everything Dinosaur recommends this excellent magazine for dinosaur model fans.

For further information about Prehistoric Times and to subscribe: Prehistoric Times Magazine.

19 07, 2020

Cretaceous Africa Diorama

By | July 19th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Cretaceous Africa Diorama

An enthusiastic dinosaur model collector has sent Everything Dinosaur some photos of their Cretaceous diorama inspired by the finding of a sawfish model.  Robert, a long-time customer of Everything Dinosaur, has created a super-sized prehistoric animal diorama, he wanted to depict prehistoric north Africa and the domain of the fearsome theropod Spinosaurus (Albian to Turonian faunal stages of the Cretaceous).

The 1:40 Scale CollectA Deluxe Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model has Captured an Onchopristis 

Spinosaurus feeding on an Onchopristis.

Spinosaurus has caught an Onchopristis.  Onchopristis may have resembled an extant sawfish but it was not closely related to today’s sawfish.  The saw-like rostrum was up to two metres long and this fish was a member of the cartilaginous Chondrichthyes.  Although, size estimates for this fish vary, many palaeontologists state it reached lengths of between five and eight metres.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Dinosaur model enthusiast Robert commented:

“While searching through my model prehistoric sea creature collection, I discovered a small sawfish model which makes an ideal Onchopristis for the Middle Cretaceous African dinosaur Spinosaurus to catch and feast upon.  So, I took some more pictures for you to download.”

The Fish Model has been Carefully Placed in the Articulated Jaws of the Spinosaurus Model

Spinosaurus feeding on an Onchopristis.

Spinosaurus with its catch.  There is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that Spinosaurus was a piscivore and as fossilised vertebrae assigned to Onchopristis have been found in association with Spinosaurus remains, it is known that these two species were contemporaneous.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

An Extensive Prehistoric Landscape

Robert has constructed an extensive prehistoric landscape complete with watering hole, dinosaur nesting sites and footprints.  He has used this landscape to create various prehistoric scenes depicting dinosaur biota associated with famous fossil sites and locations.  Over the years, Robert has sent into Everything Dinosaur images depicting the Early Cretaceous of Europe, Triassic prehistoric animals, dinosaurs from North America and several other compilations including a dinosaurs of South America themed Cretaceous diorama.

A Close View of the CollectA Deluxe Spinosaurus with its Prey

Spinosaurus with its catch.

Spinosaurus with its catch (Onchopristis).

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Other Theropods Depicted Too

Although the finding of a sawfish replica was the inspiration behind this diorama, a depiction of the potential predator/prey relationship.  Robert has also chosen to depict other theropods within his extensive prehistoric landscape.

A Suchomimus Spotted by the Waterhole with a Sawfish

Suchomimus feeds on Onchopristis.

A Suchomimus has caught an Onchopristis.  Lots of prehistoric animal action depicted along the shores of the realistic watering hole in the dinosaur diorama.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Our thanks to dinosaur model collector Robert for sending in these pictures to us.

Two Feeding Sauropods also Featured in the Dinosaur Diorama

Two feeding sauropods.

Nigersaurus and Malawisaurus feeding.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

18 07, 2020

Celebrating the Start of National Dragonfly Week

By | July 18th, 2020|Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

National Dragonfly Week (Saturday 18th – Sunday 26th July) 2020

Today, Saturday 18th 2020, is the start of Dragonfly Week, an annual celebration of these amazing members of the Odonata organised by the British Dragonfly Society. It is wonderful to see these magnificent creatures emerging from the office pond and we know how important small ponds are to many temperate species as in recent years, great tracts of wetland habitat have been lost.

Recently Emerged from the Office Pond – A Hawker Dragonfly

Dragonfly spotted around the office pond.

A dragonfly that has just emerged from Everything Dinosaur’s office pond.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We are not experts, but we think the majority of dragonflies that we see are Southern Hawkers (Aeshna cyanea), a relatively large and inquisitive species that is widespread in the UK and Europe.  These insects have a long fossil record with the first winged forms evolving around 325-330 million years ago (Carboniferous).  They may have been around for a very long time, but it is always exciting to see them leave the office pond and very occasionally we can spot them in the warehouse yard.

A Fossil of a Dragonfly (Brazil – Crato Formation)

Dragonfly fossil (Cretaceous).

The first animals to take to the air.  Dragonflies are believed to be amongst the very first animals to evolve powered flight.  The insects had the sky largely to themselves until the first members of the Pterosauria evolved.

Picture Credit: Manchester University

17 07, 2020

Schleitheimia Fills a Sauropod-sized Gap in Dinosaur Evolution

By | July 17th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Schleitheimia schutzi – Oldest Known Transitional Sauropodomorph

The biggest dinosaurs of all were the sauropods.  Famous giants such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, exhibits of which adorn numerous main galleries of natural history museums around the world.  However, how these giant quadrupeds evolved from their much smaller sauropodomorph ancestors is poorly understood.  A team of scientists from Munich, Utrecht and Zürich have been able to identify a new ancestor of the long-necked dinosaurs (true Sauropoda),  from strata in the Swiss Canton of Schaffhausen.  The dinosaur named Schleitheimia schutzi is the oldest transitional form between the Sauropodomorpha and the Sauropoda described to date.

A Life Reconstruction of Schleitheimia schutzi

Schleitheimia schutzi life reconstruction.

An illustration of the giant, newly described Sauropodomorpha Schleitheimia schutzi.   A Plateosaurus is in the background and a predatory pseudosuchian can be seen in the foreground.

Picture Credit: Beat Scheffold (Naturforschende Gesellschaft Schaffhausen)

Hidden Amongst the Substantial Plateosaurus Remains

Although there are several substantial bonebeds in Switzerland that represent the Plateosaurus genus, (a sauropodomorph) and our knowledge regarding the global distribution of this group has certainly improved over the last five years or so, the diversity of the Sauropodomorpha and its composition remains controversial.  The researchers which include Professor Oliver Rauhut from the Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, (Munich), Femke Holwerda currently at the Royal Tyrrell Museum (Alberta, Canada) and Heinz Furrer from Zürich University re-examined a series of fragmentary fossils recovered from three different locations associated with Plateosaurus bonebeds.  They concluded that the material represents the remains of two different, very big and robust sauropodomorphs.  One of these is described as a new taxon – Schleitheimia schutzi.

A Partial Femur Assigned to Schleitheimia schutzi

Partial femur assigned to Schleitheimia.

Distal end of left humerus of Schleitheimia schutzi n. gen., n. sp., PIMUZ A/III 549. a anterior view; b lateral view; c posterior view; d medial view; e distal view; f, proximal view of proximal break.  Scale bar = 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Rauhut et al (Swiss Journal of Geosciences)

The fossils had been thought to represent large examples of Plateosaurus.  Some of the material had been collected decades ago and given the huge size of the bonebeds and their monodominant nature little further thought had been given to the over-sized bones associated with the sites.

Professor Rauhut explained:

“Although Schleitheimia schutzi probably looked quite similar to Plateosaurus, this dinosaur with an estimated 9 to 10 metres body length is already significantly larger than the latter.  The new species [S. schutzi] was apparently very robust and like its gigantic descendants, probably moved on all fours, while Plateosaurus mostly walked on its hind legs.”

The genus name honours the type locality at Schleitheim, Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland, whilst the species name honours Emil Schutz (1916-1974) who collected the type material.

Special in Two Ways

Schleitheimia roamed central Europe around 210 million years ago (late Norian faunal stage of the Triassic).  This makes Schleitheimia a lot older than other known transitional types of dinosaur between sauropodomorphs and sauropods.  Secondly, it is the first transitional form known from the continent of Europe.  Phylogenetic assessment suggests that this dinosaur is a derived basal sauropodiform and possibly very close to the evolutionary line that led to the Sauropoda.  Its discovery highlights the diversity of sauropodomorphs in the Late Triassic and suggests that many types of sauropodomorph survived the end-Triassic extinction event and flourished in the early Jurassic.

Views of a Cervical Vertebra (Schleitheimia schutzi)

Neck bones (cervical vertebrae) attributed to Schleithimia.

Posterior cervical vertebra of Schleitheimia schutzi n. gen., n. sp., PIMUZ A/III 538. a, b left and right lateral views; c dorsal view; d anterior view; e posterior view; f ventral view. Scale bar = 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Rauhut et al (Swiss Journal of Geosciences)

The scientific paper: “A derived sauropodiform dinosaur and other sauropodomorph material from the Late Triassic of Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland” by Oliver W. M. Rauhut, Femke M. Holwerda and Heinz Furrer published in the Swiss Journal of Geosciences.

16 07, 2020

Ancient Mega Tsunamis Devastated Doggerland

By | July 16th, 2020|Geology, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Massive Tsunamis Devastated Ancient Britain

Scientists led by the University of Bradford have made a major breakthrough in the hunt for confirmation of a historic mega tsunami that is thought to have raged across the North Sea some 8,150 years ago.  Evidence of the catastrophic event has already been found in onshore sediments in Western Scandinavia, the Faroe Isles, north-eastern Britain, Greenland and Denmark but now for the first time, confirmation of the event has been identified on the UK’s southern coasts.

Map Showing the Location of the Storegga Slide

Map outlining the Storegga Slide and subsequent tsunami events.

Map showing location of Storegga Slide in 6,200 BC.

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

The giant tsunami, known as the Storegga Slide, was caused when an area of seabed the size of Scotland (measuring some 80,000 square kilometres and around 3,200 cubic kilometres), shifted suddenly off the coast of Norway.  This triggered huge waves that would have brought devastation to an inhabited ancient land bridge, which once existed between ancient Britain and mainland Europe, a region known as Doggerland, that is now submerged beneath the North Sea.

Professor Vince Gaffney (University of Bradford) explained:

“Exploring Doggerland, the lost landscape underneath the North Sea, is one of the last great archaeological challenges in Europe.  This work demonstrates that an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and scientists can bring this landscape back to life and even throw new light on one of prehistory’s great natural disasters, the Storegga Tsunami”.

The professor from the University’s School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences went onto add:

“The events leading up to the Storegga tsunami have many similarities to those of today.  Climate is changing and this impacts on many aspects of society, especially in coastal locations.”

Finding Traces of the Natural Disaster in the Southern North Sea

It is thought the tsunami, the largest to hit Northern Europe since the end of the last ice age, happened following a period of global climate change.  Until now no clear trace of the tsunami had been found across the southern North Sea and importantly no trace had been found on Doggerland, which was gradually swallowed by rising sea levels after the end of the last glacial maximum.  Indeed, scientists now think the tsunami may even have led to the final inundation of Doggerland.  Cores from an area south of a marine trough named the Outer Dowsing Deep provided nearly half a metre of tsunami-like deposits, stones and broken shells sandwiched between laminated estuarine sediments.  Dating indicated they were contemporary with the Storegga event, while analysis including geochemical, sedimentological, palaeomagnetic, isotopic, palaeobotany and “sedaDNA” (sedentary DNA), techniques showed the deposits could be readily interpreted as resulting from a tsunami.

Area of Ancient Tsunami Research off the Norfolk Coast

Tsumani research area off the Norfolk coast.

Area of research off the Norfolk coast.

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

The study was led by the University of Bradford and collaborators from the University of Warwick, St Andrews University and a number of other academic institutions including the Washington Smithsonian and the London Natural History Museum.

Differentiating a Tsunami Event from Periodic Storm Activity

Evidence for a tsunami event is often difficult to discern from sediment deposition that results from periodic storm activity.  Key to understanding the sequence of events was the interpretation of geochemical signatures of three major waves hitting and retreating from the land.  In a part of the research instigated by the University of Warwick team, the scientists were able to examine how biomass changes with large natural events.

Professor Robin Allaby (University of Warwick) stated:

“This study represents an exciting milestone for sedimentary ancient DNA studies establishing a number of breakthrough methods to reconstruct an 8,150 year old environmental catastrophe in the lands that existed before the North Sea flooded them away into history.”

At the time the tsunami hit Doggerland, a Mesolithic hunter-gather people could have been using the remaining archipelago and for those unfortunate enough to be caught within the tsunami runup zone, it would have been devastating.  However, the palaeo-topography and environmental modelling suggest that much of the landscape may have survived reasonably intact to rapidly return to pre-tsunami conditions.  The longer term fate of these lands was to be submerged as sea level rose to those of the present day.

Professor Vince Gaffney (University of Bradford)

Professor Vince Gaffney (University of Bradford).

Professor Vince Gaffney, 50th Anniversary Chair at the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford.

Picture Credit: University of Bradford

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

The scientific paper: “Multi-Proxy Characterisation of the Storegga Tsunami and Its Impact on the Early Holocene Landscapes of the Southern North Sea” by Vincent Gaffney, Simon Fitch, Martin Bates, Roselyn L. Ware, Tim Kinnaird, Benjamin Gearey, Tom Hill, Richard Telford, Cathy Batt, Ben Stern, John Whittaker, Sarah Davies, Mohammed Ben Sharada, Rosie Everett, Rebecca Cribdon, Logan Kistler, Sam Harris, Kevin Kearney, James Walker, Merle Muru, Derek Hamilton, Matthew Law, Alex Finlay, Richard Bates and Robin G. Allaby and published in the journal Geosciences.

15 07, 2020

Deadly Dolphin Predator of the Oligocene Epoch

By | July 15th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Well-preserved Skeleton Provides Information on Evolution of Toothed Whales

The well-preserved fossilised remains of a large cetacean from the coastal low country of South Carolina is helping palaeontologists to better understand the evolution of rapid locomotion in toothed whales.  The specimen, which is nearly complete (cranial material, plus most of the spine and the remains of one flipper), was found in the early 1990’s by Mark Havenstein, a commercial palaeontologist and a former student at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.  The skeleton was later acquired by a private fossil collector before being donated to the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College.

Writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, a team of researchers led by Robert W. Boessenecker (Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston), have identified it as a large, predatory dolphin which shows adaptations within its skeleton to permit fast swimming.

Palaeontologist Robert W. Boessenecker Poses with the Fossil Material

Palaeontologist Robert W. Boessenecker poses with the fossil material

Robert W. Boessenecker (Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston), poses with the Ankylorhiza fossil material.

Picture Credit: College of Charleston/Robert Boessenecker

Extant cetaceans are superbly adapted to a marine existence, with tail flukes a key evolutionary innovation in propulsion, an adaptation shared by all living species.  Some dolphins, for example, have been recorded swimming at speeds in excess of 50 km/h (27 knots).  These fast speeds and bursts of acceleration are attributed to the thrust provided by the powerful tail fluke with flippers providing steering.  These movements are enabled by a sturdy and powerful body with a relatively rigid torso consisting of numerous compacted vertebrae and movement in the water is adjusted by varying the angle of the flippers.  Eocene-aged cetaceans reveal a transition from a semi-aquatic lifestyle to a fully aquatic one with adaptations to permit a nektonic habit.  However, the rarity of Oligocene whale skeletons has hampered the efforts of palaeontologists to understand how the evolution of tail fluke-powered, but forelimb-controlled locomotion came about.  The newly named Ankylorhiza tiedemani, which had previously only been known from a partial rostrum, represents a transitional form in terms of its forelimb shape and structure.   Its forelimb is intermediate in morphology between stem cetaceans and living whales, whereas its axial skeleton displays incipient rigidity at the base of the tail with a flexible lumbar region.

Ankylorhiza tiedemani Probably Occupied an Apex Predator Niche

Ankylorhiza tiedemani life reconstruction.

A pod of Ankylorhiza tiedemani prehistoric dolphins attacking seabirds.

Picture Credit: Robert Boessenecker

Commenting on the importance of the South Carolina specimen, lead author Robert Boessenecker explained that the discovery was one of the first skeletons found of a very early member of the toothed whales (Odontoceti), shortly after they diverged around 35-36 million years ago from baleen whales (Mysticeti).

He added:

“What makes that important is its evolutionary position as a very early branching dolphin.  Most early dolphins are known only from skulls, so having a skeleton with flippers and most of the vertebrae gives us an unprecedented look into the evolution of swimming adaptations.  That unprecedented window surprisingly told us that baleen whales and dolphins have many similarities owing to convergent evolution since their evolutionary split 35 million years ago.”

“Fused Roots”

The scientists estimate that Ankylorhiza grew to about 4.8 metres in length and probably occupied a similar predatory role in marine environments as modern orcas do today.  The genus name means “fused roots” and refers to the strongly fused tooth roots.  A phylogenetic assessment places Ankylorhiza near to the base of the toothed whale radiation and if this is the case, than it implies that several adaptations to aid locomotion such as a shortened humerus and a narrow but powerful peduncle (the end of the body that is adjacent to the fluke), evolved independently in both the Odontoceti and the Mysticeti.  In essence, that there is evidence to support the theory of convergent evolution in locomotor features between toothed and baleen whales.

The Fossil Material and a Skeletal Outline of Ankylorhiza tiedemani

Ankylorhiza fossil material.

Ankylorhiza fossils and skeletal outline.  Items in white are known fossils.

Picture Credit: Boessenecker et al (Current Biology)

Ankylorhiza’s skeleton shows a combination of more derived as well as primitive features, thus helping to cement it as a basal member of the toothed whale lineage.

Robert Boessenecker stated:

“These primitive features are surprising because palaeontologists and biologists long assumed that many of the adaptations for rapid swimming in baleen whales and toothed whales were ancient adaptations shared thanks to their common heritage over the past 35 million years.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press article from the College of Charleston in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Convergent Evolution of Swimming Adaptations in Modern Whales Revealed by a Large Macrophagous Dolphin from the Oligocene of South Carolina” by Robert W. Boessenecker, Morgan Churchill, Emily A. Buchholtz, Brian L. Beatty and Jonathan H. Geisler published in Current Biology.

14 07, 2020

Reviewing New PNSO Dinosaurs

By | July 14th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

New PNSO Dinosaurs Video Review

Everything Dinosaur has posted up a short video review of the two, new for 2020 PNSO young dinosaurs.  Our review focuses on Aaron the young T. rex and its counterpart figure, A-Qi the young Sinoceratops.  These PVC models arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse a few days ago and team members were keen to post up a review as these baby dinosaur figures as they are very different from other PNSO prehistoric animals.

A Focus on Two Very Cute and Adorable PNSO Dinosaurs

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Focus on Aaron and A-Qi

The video review lasts four minutes and twenty four seconds.  It begins with an introduction and then the two figures are shown and compared.  Aaron the Tyrannosaurus rex model is highlighted first and the narrator comments that PNSO have taken great care to make the body proportions of their baby tyrannosaurid as scientifically accurate as possible.  The awkward-looking long hind limbs and the big feet are very reminiscent of a young bird and the colouration reminded the reviewer of the countershading associated with the Chinese compsognathid Sinosauropteryx.   To read more about this: Sinosauropteryx article.

Comparing the Two PNSO Models Together

PNSO young dinosaur models.

The pair of PNSO young dinosaur models that feature in Everything Dinosaur’s short video.  Aaron the young T. rex and A-Qi the young Sinoceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The video goes on to provide an overview of the Sinoceratops figure (A-Qi), before highlighting the product leaflet that can be found in each box.

To purchase PNSO models and figures from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Models and Figures.

Photographs Taken by Fans of PNSO

The short video review also permitted team members to post up some of the amazing photographs sent into the company by fans of the PNSO model range.  Prior to the summary section, concluding the review, we were able to feature a few of the numerous photos that we had been sent by customers.  Our thanks to all those who gave us permission to use their images.

Two Very Photogenic Dinosaur Figures from PNSO

Sharing pictures of the two new for 2020 PNSO young dinosaur models.

Sharing customer photographs of the two new PNSO dinosaur figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Aaron and A-Qi are certainly two very photogenic dinosaur models.  We really do enjoy receiving these pictures and where possible we like to share photographs and images with our Facebook fans and Instagram followers.

The YouTube channel of Everything Dinosaur contains over 175 videos featuring lots of prehistoric animal models.  The company aims to post up at least one new video each week and our YouTube presence has already attracted thousands of followers and subscribers.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel: Visit Everything Dinosaur on YouTube and Subscribe.

13 07, 2020

Lusovenator santosi – A Carcharodontosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal

By | July 13th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The “Hunter of Lusitania” – Lusovenator santosi

The fearsome carcharodontosaurids (family Carcharodontosauridae), comprise some of the largest terrestrial predators that ever lived.  Giant theropods such as Giganotosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus and Tyrannotitan rivalled the largest tyrannosaurs in terms of size and probably (in some cases), were even bigger.  It had been thought that these types of carnivorous dinosaur were confined to the Cretaceous, but there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that this group was well established and geographically widespread by the Late Jurassic.

A team of scientists writing in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology” have described a new species of carcharodontosaurid based on fossils found in Portugal.  The dinosaur has been named Lusovenator santosi, the genus name translates as “hunter of Lusitania”, a reference to the Lusitanian Basin, the geological region where the fossils are from.  Their research supports the idea that these types of predators were present in the northern hemisphere some twenty million years earlier than previously thought.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Jurassic Carcharodontosaurid Lusovenator santosi

Lusovenator life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of Lusovenator.

Picture Credit: Carlos de Miguel Chaves

A Reassessment of Allosaur Fossil Material

The researchers, based in Lisbon and Madrid, re-evaluated fragmentary fossil material collected over the last two decades at sites located on the Portuguese coast about 35 miles (60 kilometres), north of Lisbon.  Initial examination suggested that this material represented a member of the Allosauridae, but a more detailed analysis of the fossils led the researchers to conclude that this material represented a dinosaur from the Carcharodontosauridae, a family nested within the clade Allosauria, but distinct from famous Late Jurassic super-predators such as Allosaurus fragilis, which is known from the western United States.

Lead author of the scientific paper, Elisabete Malafaia (University of Lisbon), commented that this discovery demonstrates the importance of the Iberian Peninsula as a key region for understanding the dispersal of carcharodontosaurids as well as other types of dinosaur across the northern hemisphere during the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous.

Fossil Material Assigned to Lusovenator santosi

Lusovenator fossil material.

Fossil material assigned to Lusovenator santosi with a silhouette showing skeletal location.

Picture Credit: Malafaia et al (Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology)

One of the Oldest Members of the Carcharodontosauridae

The oldest definitive carcharodontosaurid described to date is Veterupristisaurus (V. milneri) from the Middle Dinosaur Member of the famous Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania.  Veterupristisaurus (pronounced Vet-ter-roo-pris-tee-sore-us), is believed to have lived around 154 million years ago (Kimmeridgian faunal stage of the Late Jurassic).  Other fragmentary fossil remains from China and Germany have also been tentatively assigned to Late Jurassic carcharodontosaurids.  Lusovenator lived around 145 million years ago, as such, it is the oldest carcharodontosaurian allosauroid yet discovered from Laurasia.

The fossil material is believed to represent a relatively young animal, with a body length of approximately 3.5 metres.  Although, probably not fully grown, the vertebrae and the ilium show a number of anatomical traits that distinguish Lusovenator from the Allosauridae and nest it with the related, but distinct Carcharodontosauridae.

A Member of a Field Team Working on a Fossil Specimen

Field work - carefully extracting fossil material.

A field team member working on fossil material.

Picture Credit: LUSA

Furthermore, the identification of this new species expands the diversity of theropod dinosaurs known from the Late Jurassic of Portugal and reinforces the theory that the Iberian Peninsula is a key region to help understand the dispersal of a number of different types of dinosaur across the Northern Hemisphere at the end of the Jurassic and into the Early Cretaceous.

The scientific paper: “A new carcharodontosaurian theropod from the Lusitanian Basin: evidence of allosauroid sympatry in the European Late Jurassic” by Elisabete Malafaia, Pedro Mocho, Fernando Escaso and Francisco Ortega published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

12 07, 2020

Deciding on the Scale for a Prehistoric Animal Model

By | July 12th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Deciding on the Scale for a Prehistoric Animal Model

Here is our eagerly awaited YouTube video which explains how the scale for a dinosaur model is decided.  We look at the pros and cons of the 1:40 scale declaration for dinosaur models.  Determining the scale for any given prehistoric animal can be tricky and our video helps to illustrate some of the factors that need to be considered.  Tyrannosaurus rex, Edmontosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Megalosaurus and lots of other prehistoric animal figures are featured.

Determining the Scale for a Prehistoric Animal Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Outlining the Pitfalls when it comes to Dinosaur Scale Models

In our video, (it lasts 12 minutes), we explain some of the difficulties that manufacturers have when it comes to determining the declared scale size for a dinosaur model.  We illustrate this point using the CollectA 1:40 scale roaring feathered T. rex figure and compare it to the much smaller, but still in the declared 1/40th scale, Natural History T. rex replica.

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Video Compares Two Popular Dinosaur Models

Two Tyrannosaurus rex models are compared.

Comparing the declared scales (both 1/40th scale), of two popular dinosaur models.  The CollectA roaring T. rex is in the foreground with the Natural History Museum T. rex model in the background.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA roaring, feathered T. rex figure measures around 34 cm long, whilst the Natural History Museum model, also in the declared 1:40 scale size, is actually smaller, measuring about 26 cm in length.  Our video explains some of the problems that can occur when deciding on a scale model size for any particular prehistoric animal and outlines some of the decisions taken by model makers when it comes to deciding the appropriate scale for a figure.

Most Dinosaurs are Only Known from Fragmentary Remains

Although amazing dinosaur skeletons and exhibits adorn the halls of museums all over the world, the majority of the Dinosauria have been scientifically described from limited fossil remains, often fragmentary specimens representing a single individual.  Estimating the adult size of a dinosaur based on this evidence is challenging.  Even in those genera where palaeontologists have a relative abundance of fossils to study, problems over determining the maximum possible size for a given species can occur.

Allosaurus and Stegosaurus are Well-known Dinosaurs with Numerous Fossil Specimens to Study

Stegosaurus and Allosaurus fossils.

Allosaurus and Stegosaurus fossil material.  Even with a relative abundance of fossils to study, determining the size of an adult dinosaur and subsequently calculating the scale of any dinosaur model is a challenge.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Indeterminate Growth Complicates the Issue

Non-avian dinosaurs, as members of the Class Reptilia may have exhibited a biological phenomenon called “indeterminate growth”.  When a dinosaur reached adult size, its growth slowed down but it did not stop.  A section of our video explains the impact of indeterminate growth when it comes to determining the size of any dinosaur scale model.

For Example:

A sauropod reaches an adult size of 12 metres long, but it goes on to live for a further sixty years and over that time it grows at an average of just ten centimetres per year.  By the time it dies some six decades later, it is 60 x 10 cm longer (six metres) with a total body length of 18 metres.  It is fifty percent longer than when it first reached adult size.

The Effect of Indeterminate Growth on Dinosaur Body Size

Estimating the size of dinosaurs.

How indeterminate growth effects the estimation of dinosaur size.  If the size of an adult dinosaur remains uncertain, it can be difficult to assign a scale size to a scale model of that animal.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s examination of how scale sizes for prehistoric animals is calculated is just one of over 170 different videos on the company’s YouTube channel.

For dinosaur and prehistoric animal related videos and reviews: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

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