All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
10 09, 2020

New Papo Models Feature in Newsletter

By | September 10th, 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

New Papo Models Feature in an Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

New Papo models feature in the Everything Dinosaur early September newsletter including the controversial Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  The Papo Giganotosaurus is very well made and distinctly Papo, however, its anatomically inaccurate stance and unusual body proportions have led to criticism from some prehistoric animal model collectors.  This substantial dinosaur model has certainly divided opinions.  Some collectors might regard it as a throwback to much earlier dinosaur sculpts but there is no denying the quality of the finish and the excellent detailing, especially those carefully created skin folds and scales.

The Papo Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model Features in the Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model headlines the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Chilesaurus and the New Colour Variant Papo Parasaurolophus

Such has been the excitement and controversy over the introduction of the Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model, that the other recently introduced Papo models have been somewhat overlooked by dinosaur model fans and collectors.  However, Everything Dinosaur team members were eager to make amends and include the Papo Chilesaurus and the new colour variant of the Papo Parasaurolophus model in the company’s newsletter too.

Making Waves of Their Own (Papo Chilesaurus and the Papo Parasaurolophus Models)

Papo dinosaurs feature in an Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

The new for 2020 Papo Chilesaurus and the recently introduced Papo Parasaurolophus colour variant feature in the latest edition of the Everything Dinosaur company newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To pick up a new for 2020 Papo Giganotosaurus or any of the other Papo prehistoric animal models including the Parasaurolophus and the Chilesaurus: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

A Popular Postosuchus and a Rare Bullyland Ichthyosaur

Everything Dinosaur had received a number of enquiries about the popular, recently introduced Schleich Postosuchus figure.  More stock of this replica of a Late Triassic predator had recently arrived and team members were keen to communicate this information to our subscribers.  In addition, there were just a few of the very rare and now out of production Bullyland Ichthyosaurus models still available.  This Ichthyosaurus figure had been officially retired around seven years ago, it was first omitted from the Bullyland brochure back in 2013.  We know how collectors like to acquire rare models, so we included a mention of the Bullyland Ichthyosaurus in our newsletter, helping our customers to avoid paying exorbitant prices for the same figure on auction sites.

Promoting a Popular Postosuchus and a Rare Bullyland Ichthyosaur

Prehistoric Postosuchus and the Bullyland Ichthyosaurus feature in Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

The popular Schleich Postosuchus model is back in stock and there are a few limited edition Bullyland Ichthyosaurus models still available.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To request to be added to the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list, just simply send us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

9 09, 2020

What was Panthalassa?

By | September 9th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

What was Panthalassa? Where was it?

At Everything Dinosaur, we get lots of enquiries and questions emailed to us.  For example, we recently received an query about Panthalassa, the sender had heard the name but was not sure what this referred to, other than that it had something to do with ancient life.  Panthalassa is the name of the huge, super-ocean that was created with the convergence of the world’s landmasses into a single block, known as Pangaea (sometimes also referred to as Pangea).  Panthalassa was formed in the Late Palaeozoic Era it persisted for much of the Mesozoic.  It was sub-divided in the Late Triassic into Pacific and Atlantic regions as the geological process of rifting led to the formation of the Atlantic Ocean Basin.

A Map Showing the Approximate Location of Pangaea and the Surrounding Panthalassa Ocean (circa 200 mya)

The super-ocean Panthalassa.

The location of the super-ocean Panthalassa around 200 million years ago.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Enormous Body of Water

The Panthalassa Ocean at its largest size covered more than 70% of the entire planet’s surface.  The term “Panthalassa” is derived from the Greek and means “all sea”.  This enormous body of water was so vast, that if you had observed our planet from certain viewpoints in outer space, no trace of any land on planet “Earth” could be observed.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

” We get contacted by all sorts of people asking all kinds of questions, students at university, pupils at school, parents contacting us on behalf of a curious child who has asked a question which they themselves have been unable to answer and we do our best to respond to all the queries that we receive.  It might take a while for our team members to reply, but we do genuinely, try to help as many people as we can.”

Hopefully, the information we provided on Panthalassa will permit smooth sailing for the emailer when it comes to looking at prehistoric oceans from now on.

8 09, 2020

Eternal Sleeping Dinosaur Discovery

By | September 8th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Changmiania liaoningensis A New Basal Ornithopod from Liaoning Province

A new species of basal ornithopod dinosaur has been named and described from Liaoning Province in north-eastern China.  The dinosaur has been named Changmiania liaoningensis which translates from the Chinese as “eternal sleeper from Liaoning”.  The researchers which include Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and Paul-Emile Dieudonné (Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Argentina), in collaboration with colleagues from Jilin University and Shenyang Normal University (China), postulate that Changmiania lived in burrows.

The Holotype of Changmiania liaoningensis (PMOL AD00114) and a Life Reconstruction

Changmiania liaoningensis fossil material and life reconstruction.

The perfectly preserved holotype fossil of Changmiania liaoningensis with a life reconstruction.  The very nearly intact, articulated specimens suggest that the dinosaurs were entombed in their burrows during a volcanic eruption.

Picture Credit: Carine Ciselet

From the Lujiatun Beds of the Yixian Formation

The pair of beautifully preserved fossils, like so many vertebrate fossils from this part of the world were acquired from farmers.  Many locals supplement their incomes by finding and excavating specimens.  Whilst welcoming the opportunity to be able to study the material, palaeontologists are often frustrated by the lack of information available to them pertaining to the fossil’s location and how it was preserved (taphonomy).  However, it is thought that the fossils herald from the Lujiatun Beds (Yixian Formation) of western Liaoning Province.  These three-dimensional fossils were formed when these dinosaurs were entombed in pyroclastic material created by a volcanic eruption.  Numerous dinosaurs are known from the Lujiatun Beds including the dromaeosaurid Graciliraptor (G. lujiatunensis), the troodontid Mei long, the small tyrannosauroid Dilong paradoxus along with psittacosaurs, neoceratopsians and the ornithopod Jeholosaurus (J. shanyuensis).

Scientists have been able to accurately date the volcanic ash layer to approximately 123 million years ago, which means this diverse dinosaur biota lived during the early Aptian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous.   The hot, volcanic debris that covered these two dinosaurs may have perfectly preserved most of the skeleton but any evidence of an integumentary covering such as feathers was destroyed as these animals met their fate whilst fast asleep in their burrows.  The resting dinosaurs having been caught up and consumed in a violent pyroclastic flow is the scenario tentatively proposed by the research team in the scientific paper published in PeerJ.

The Two Fossils of Changmiania liaoningensis

Views of the holotype and a referred specimen of Changmiania liaoningensis.

The holotype fossil (A) and a close view of the anterior portion of the holotype (B), with a second referred specimen of Changmiania liaoningensis (C).

Picture Credit: Yang et al (PeerJ)

A Basal Ornithopod

The little dinosaur measured approximately 1.2 metres long, the tail representing fifty percent of the animal’s total body length.  The extremely short neck, consisting of just six cervical vertebrae, the robust forelimbs and stocky shoulder blades suggest that this dinosaur might have dug burrows.  This idea is supported by the position of the fossil specimens and the morphology of the front of the skull, which may have assisted with shovelling dirt aside.  The long hindlimbs and tail indicate that Changmiania was a fast runner, able to avoid trouble whilst away from its underground den.

This is not the first time fossorial behaviour has been inferred for a dinosaur.  For example, in 2007 Everything Dinosaur wrote a short post about another potential burrowing ornithischian, another basal ornithopod that was named Oryctodromeus cubicularis, remains of which come from the sandstones of the Blackleaf Formation of Montana (USA): A Burrowing Dinosaur from Montana.

Changmiania lived at least 10 million years earlier than O. cubicularis.  A phylogenetic analysis places Changmiania liaoningensis as the most basal ornithopod dinosaur known to science.

The scientific paper: “A new basal ornithopod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China” by Yuqing Yang, Wenhao Wu, Paul-Emile Dieudonné and Pascal Godefroit​ published in PeerJ.

7 09, 2020

The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape

By | September 7th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape

Everything Dinosaur has received stock of the new, Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape.  This sturdy backpack which folds out to reveal a stunning prehistoric playscape is supplied with two dinosaur models.  Only a limited quantity is available and we expect this colourful, dinosaur-themed backpack to prove very popular with young dinosaur fans, especially with Christmas only a few months away.

The New Mojo Fun Combined Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape

Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack with Playscape.

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack with playscape features two Mojo Fun dinosaurs on the decorative front panel, a T. rex (left) and an Allosaurus (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Dinosaur Playscape Inside

Ideal for creative, imaginative play and suitable for children aged three years and over, this dinosaur backpack once unzipped folds out into a roomy dinosaur-themed prehistoric playscape.  Young dinosaur fans can have fun wherever they go and Everything Dinosaur supplies two dinosaur models with the backpack along with a Mojo Fun catalogue, permitting budding junior palaeontologists to explore the other prehistoric animal models and figures available in the Mojo range.

The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack Folds Out to Reveal a Wonderful Prehistoric Landscape

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack is supplied with two model dinosaurs.

The dinosaur backpack opens up to provide a playscape for dinosaur models. Two dinosaurs are included with the backpack along with a Mojo Fun collector’s catalogue.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Sturdy and Robust Straps and Handle

A sturdy handle is located on the top of the backpack and there are two robust straps on the rear making this play set highly portable and easy to carry.  The play area is quite substantial, the maximum height of the playscape is 32 cm, the maximum length of the playscape area is a whopping 58 cm, so there is plenty of room for dinosaur models and toys to roam around.

The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack/Playscape has Two Strong and Study Straps

Robust but conforrable straps on the backpack.

Study straps on the Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The colourful front panel features two Mojo dinosaur models, a Tyrannosaurus rex and the Mojo Fun Allosaurus.  The panel itself is embossed and raised slightly providing a stylish three-dimensional effect.

The Raised and Embossed Front Panel of the Backpack/Playscape

Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack - embossed dinosaur print.

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack with playscape has a raised and embossed dinosaur -themed design on the front panel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Super Value Dinosaur Themed Gift

This item would make an ideal Christmas gift and it is superb value at just £16.66 plus tax (if applicable) and postage (price as of September 2020).  A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The Mojo backpack combined with playscape is supplied with two dinosaur models so enthusiastic fans of the Dinosauria can play wherever they go.”

An Ideal Christmas Gift for a Young Dinosaur Fan

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack.

Beautifully presented! The Mojo Fun combined backpack and dinosaur themed playscape makes an ideal Christmas gift for young dinosaur fans.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape combined can be found in the Mojo section of Everything Dinosaur’s website (whilst stocks last): Mojo Fun Prehistoric Animals.

6 09, 2020

An Armoured Dinosaur from British Columbia

By | September 6th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Body Fossils of an Ankylosaurian Dinosaur from British Columbia

A small sandstone block containing the back end of a single, fragmentary dorsal vertebra, a dorsal neural arch and two pieces of rib, probably fossils from one animal, have been identified as the fossilised bones of an armoured dinosaur.  This material, originally collected in 1930, is one of just a handful of dinosaur bones known from the early Late Cretaceous of Canada (Cenomanian faunal stage).  Although fossilised footprints associated with ankylosaurian dinosaurs are known from the area, these are the earliest reported body fossils from the Dunvegan Formation of British Columbia and as such these bones may provide palaeontologists with a new perspective on the transition of dinosaur biotas into the Late Cretaceous of North America.

Fossil Material Identified as Ankylosaurian

Photographs and line drawings of ankylosaurian fossil material.

Sandstone block containing portions of two ankylosaurian dorsal vertebrae and two probable ribs.  Photograph (a) and line drawing (b) lateral view.  Photograph (c) reserve side of block showing two probable ribs and parts of the vertebrae with (d) line drawing.

Picture Credit: Arbour et al (Fossil Record)

Bones Collected in 1930

The specimen was collected by the Canadian geologist Merton Yarwood Williams in 1930 during a geological survey of the area of the “Peace River district”.  Charles M. Sternberg later identified the fossil material as representing an ornithischian dinosaur resembling Camptosaurus.  It was loaned to the Royal Ontario Museum for preparation and study and as part of the research, several members of the scientific team visited the area where the fossil was discovered in an attempt to relocate the original site.  Unfortunately, high river levels prevented an extensive search of the steep sided riverbanks.  The team did find a number of plant fossils and a natural cast of a dinosaur footprint – Tetrapodosaurus, an ichnogenus believed to represent an ankylosaurian.  Dinosaur footprint fossils are associated with this area, many of these tracks are thought to represent armoured dinosaurs.

Details of the Ankylosaurian Vertebrae (British Columbia)

Details of the Ankylosaurian vertebrae (British Columbia).

Right lateral view of isolated neural arch (a), with (b) axial view of the isolated centrum, broken at its approximate mid-length and showing strong constriction, inferring an hour-glass shape for the bone.  Ventral view of the transverse process of the isolated neural arch (c).

Picture Credit: Arbour et al (Fossil Record)

The Dunvegan Formation outcrops in both northern Alberta and British Columbia, it is primarily composed of marine strata and deposits laid down in a near-shore delta environment.  Vertebrate fossils are rare but shark and teleosts (bony fish), fossils have been found, including one remarkable discovery of a bony fish found in a 75 mm diameter oil drill core – Tycheroichthys dunveganensis.

To read about this serendipitous fossil fish discovery: Amazing Fossil Fish Found in Canadian Oil Drill Core.

These fragmentary remains (CMN 59667), are the only body fossils of an ankylosaurian known from British Columbia, although a few dermal scales and ossicles from an outcrop of the Dunvegan Formation in Alberta have been ascribed to an armoured dinosaur.  It is difficult to date the sediments accurately, but the fossils are approximately 99-96 million years old.

What Sort of Ankylosaurian Was It?

CMN 59667 has been identified as ankylosaur material based on a number of traits and characteristics observed in the vertebrae.  Although ankylosaur fossils are known from roughly contemporaneous strata in the United States, these types of dinosaurs are not common components of the associated dinosaur fauna.  The body fossils are too fragmentary to confidently assign them to either a nodosaurid or an ankylosaurid ankylosaur.  The fossils are still highly significant, terrestrial Cenomanian assemblages are rare in North America but those fossils that have been found provide evidence of an important time in our planet’s history when there was a considerable faunal turnover between the end of the Early Cretaceous and the earliest Late Cretaceous.

A Scale Drawing of the Roughly Contemporaneous Animantarx from the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah (USA)

Animantarx Scale Drawing.

A scale drawing of the armoured dinosaur from Utah – Animantarx ramaljonesi.  This dinosaur speculatively assigned to the Nodosauridae, is roughly contemporaneous with the ankylosaurian from the Dunvegan Formation of British Columbia.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The discovery of skeletal fossils from the Pine River demonstrates the potential for the Dunvegan Formation to produce terrestrial vertebrate fossils that may provide important new data on this significant transitional period during the Cretaceous.  The researchers hope that the discovery of more body fossils from this location will help them to make a more specific identification as to what sort of ankylosaurian dinosaur roamed this part of British Columbia.

To read about the discovery of a leptoceratopsid, the first unique dinosaur from British Columbia, that was named and described by two authors of the ankylosaurian scientific paper: A New Leptoceratopsid Ferrisaurus sustutensis from British Columbia.

The scientific paper: “An ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Cenomanian Dunvegan Formation of northeastern British Columbia, Canada” by Victoria M. Arbour, Derek Larson, Matthew Vavrek, Lisa Buckley and David Evans published in the Fossil Record, an open-access journal of the Museum für Naturkunde

5 09, 2020

Preparing a Video Review of Lisowicia bojani

By | September 5th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Preparing a Video Review of the CollectA 1:20 Scale Lisowicia

Everything Dinosaur has been busy planning a video review of the new for 2020 Lisowicia bojani 1:20 scale replica.  This eagerly anticipated prehistoric animal model has been in stock for a couple of weeks and it has been very well received by model collectors and fans of prehistoric animal replicas.  CollectA are to be praised for introducing a model of a Triassic giant, as Lisowicia had only been named and described in 2018.

Everything Dinosaur Making Preparations for a Video Review of Lisowicia bojani

Everything Dinosaur "Dynamic Dicynodont" Video Title

Everything Dinosaur – “Dynamic Dicynodonts” a video review of the CollectA 1/20th scale Lisowicia bojani with a cameo by Placerias too.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Member of the Dicynodontia

Lisowicia is the largest member of the Dicynodontia, a group of protomammals that originated in the Permian and persisted (in the case of Lisowicia, the youngest dicynodont to be described to date), into the Late Triassic of Europe.  The fossil remains of several individuals, found in clay pit in southern Poland are at least ten million years younger than any other member of the Dicynodontia.

The CollectA 1:20 Scale Deluxe Lisowicia bojani is Reviewed in the Everything Dinosaur Video

Lisowicia bojani model (CollectA Deluxe).

CollectA Deluxe Lisowicia bojani model.  Everything Dinosaur team members are planning a video review of this popular CollectA model.  The articulated jaw might even get a mention in the YouTube video.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Picking up a Placerias

Team members intend to provide information about the discovery of Lisowicia and its significance.  In addition, the video will also feature an inexpensive replica of Placerias (another dicynodont, but this time from North America).

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our objective for the video is to showcase the new CollectA Lisowicia and to discuss dicynodonts in general.  The video will also permit us the chance to take a good look at the Placerias model we also offer.  This particular synapsid figure has proved to be very popular with model makers wanting to include a variety of Late Triassic fauna in dioramas.”

The Placerias Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

Placerias model.

The Placerias figure available from Everything Dinosaur whilst stocks last.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur intend to have their “Lisowicia/Dynamic Dicynodonts” YouTube video posted up in the next few days.

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has over 175 dinosaur and prehistoric animal related reviews and features: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To view the CollectA 1:20 scale Lisowicia replica and the rest of the prehistoric animal scale models available: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models and Replicas.

4 09, 2020

A New Armoured Dinosaur from China

By | September 4th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis – Late Cretaceous Chinese Ankylosaur

Chinese scientists have described a new species of armoured dinosaur based on a single fossilised bone found at a dig site in the city of Zhucheng in Shandong Province (eastern China).  The fossil, a right ilium, has been identified as typical of the Ankylosauria clade and represents the first evidence found to date of ankylosaurs being present in the Late Cretaceous of that part of eastern China.  The dinosaur has been appropriately named Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis which translates as “Chinese Ankylosaurus from Zhucheng”.

The Holotype Fossilised Right Ilium (Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis)

Sinoankylosaurus ilium in (a) ventral and (b) dorsal views. Scale bar = 10 cm.

The fossil ilium bone (holotype specimen) of Sinankylosaurus.  Sinankylosaurus ilium in (a) ventral and (b) dorsal views.  Scale bar = 10 cm.

Picture Credit: China Geological Bulletin

A Significant Hip Bone

The ilium is a broad, plate-like bone located at the top of the hip girdle.  Its shape and size varies considerably depending on the dinosaur genus.  These bones and the placement of the hips can be very helpful to palaeontologists when it comes to identifying different members of the Dinosauria.  For example, most theropods have narrow hips so the distance between the left and right ilia (plural for ilium), is relatively short.  However, there are exceptions, the mainly herbivorous theropods the therizinosaurids have much wider hips.  Numerous sauropods and all thyreophorans (armoured dinosaurs), have very wide hips in relation to their body proportions.  In armoured dinosaurs the distance between the left and right ilia is substantial and in Cretaceous ankylosaurs this bone is very distinctive as it exhibits lateral flaring, providing anchor points for large muscles.

The configuration of the ilium in association with the other hip bones, the ischium and pubis, led to the establishment of two main dinosaur Orders – Saurischia and Ornithischia as proposed by the British palaeontologist Harry Govier Seeley in 1887.  These three bones form the “hip socket” into which the head of the femur (thigh bone) is located.

Classifying Dinosaurs Based on Hip Structure

The shape of the hip bones help to classify the Dinosauria.

Classifying dinosaurs by the shape of their hip bones.  The configuration and orientation of the hip bones led to the establishment to two main groups of dinosaurs in the 19th Century.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

From the Xingezhuang Formation

The ilium was found about a decade ago.  It comes from the Xingezhuang Formation of the Upper Cretaceous Wangshi Group.  The strata have proved difficult to date but most palaeontologists suggest that this formation is between 77 to 73 million years old (middle to late Campanian faunal stage).  With so very little fossil material to go on, the scientists have used the roughly contemporaneous ankylosaurid Pinacosaurus (P. grangeri) which heralds from the Djadokhta Formation of Mongolia, as a reference and to permit a life reconstruction of an ankylosaurid to be used in media releases.

A Life Reconstruction of Pinacosaurus – Sinankylosaurus May Have Been Similar

Life reconstruction Pinacosaurus grangeri.

Pinacosaurus life reconstruction.  Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis may have been similar.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang (PNSO)

Sinankylosaurus is estimated to have measured around 5 metres in length and it may have weighed around 2 tonnes.

East Meets West

The discovery of a new dinosaur species adds to the diversity of dinosaurs associated with the Upper Cretaceous deposits of the Wangshi Group and also demonstrates the similarity between the dinosaurian faunas of eastern Asia and western North America in the Late Cretaceous.

For example, dinosaur fossils from the Xingezhuang Formation include hadrosaurs such as Shantungosaurus, ceratopsids such as Sinoceratops, tyrannosaurs and now an ankylosaurid.  This biota is similar to the dinosaur fauna associated with Campanian-aged deposits found in southern Canada and the USA.

3 09, 2020

Calculating the Size of Megalodon

By | September 3rd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Measuring Megalodon

Researchers from the University of Bristol in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Swansea have undertaken a detailed analysis using mathematical models and comparisons with extant shark species to provide an answer to the question – just how big was “megalodon”?  Writing in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”, the scientists set about trying to calculate the overall size and the body part dimensions of the giant prehistoric shark, an animal that is believed to be the largest macropredatory shark that has ever existed.

As a shark and therefore with a skeleton made from cartilage and not bone, body fossils are limited to the triangular teeth and to rare calcified vertebrae.  In the absence of extensive fossil material, it is very difficult for scientists to estimate just how big this predator was.  The problem is compounded when an extinct animal is considerably larger than the largest living macropredatory shark, the Great White (Carcharodon carcharias).

A Set of Jaws – This Prehistoric Shark is Known Mainly From Fossilised Teeth

Megalodon jaws.

A set of jaws from a “megalodon”  The lack of body fossils limits the ability of scientists to estimate body size.

Referencing O. megalodon

The research team which includes Professor Michael Benton (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), use the species moniker Otodus megalodon in the scientific paper.  Readers of this blog may note, that “megalodon” is listed as Carcharocles megalodon in many of our articles and indeed elsewhere in other scientific literature.  When it comes to this iconic fish, a creature which recently starred in its own movie, “The Meg”, which was released in 2018 and grossed more than $500 million dollars in cinemas, it is not only it size and body proportions that cause debate.  Its taxonomic placement is also controversial.  Most scientists consider “megalodon” to be a member of the Lamniformes Order – the mackerel sharks, furthermore, part of the Otodontidae family, the “megatoothed sharks”, but the phylogeny of the species remains uncertain.

Most studies of “megalodon” rely on comparisons with Carcharodon carcharias as the teeth morphology is similar, but in this research, the scientists estimated the body size and proportions of the extinct animal by comparing it to Great Whites and four other types of mackerel shark – namely:

  • The Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) which is present in British waters.
  • The Salmon shark (Lamna ditropis) from the North Pacific.
  • The Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) which has a global distribution including British waters but it is increasingly rare.
  • The Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) which is found in both temperate and tropical waters and like the closely related Shortfin Mako it is becoming increasingly rare.

This study marks the first quantitative estimate of O. megalodon specific body-part dimensions, beyond its overall body size.

Measuring the “Megalodon”

Measuring megalodon.

Silhouette models visualising Otodus megalodon body dimensions based on the extrapolations at different total lengths.  Silhouette (a)  ~ 16 m, (b)  ~ 3 m and (c)  ~ 8 m.  Life reconstruction of O. megalodon with 1.65 metre tall diver for scale.

Picture Credit: Cooper et al (Scientific Reports)

A Giant Prehistoric Shark

The Hollywood “megalodon” was around twenty-three metres in length.  The scientific paper does not suggest that this shark was that big, but their results suggest that a sixteen-metre-long animal had a head around 4.65 metres in length, that’s about the length of a Range Rover Discovery 4×4 vehicle.  The tail fin was estimated to have been approximately 3.85 metres high and this study suggests that the dorsal fin was around 1.62 metres tall.

This research is not likely to influence movie makers and film directors as they plan a sequel to the 2018 release, but the reconstruction of this giant fish,  represents a significant step towards a better understanding of the physiology of this monster.  In addition, having a better understanding of its body proportions and overall size will allow scientists to infer how much food these animals had to consume and other factors that may have facilitated its ultimate demise and extinction.

The Hollywood Movie was Based on the Novel by Steve Alten

"Meg" front cover image.

Exciting and thrilling adventure story based on “Megalodon”.  This research suggests that this giant prehistoric shark would have dwarfed a surfer.

The scientific paper: Paper: “Body dimensions of the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon: a 2D reconstruction” by J. A. Cooper, C. Pimiento, H. G. Ferrón, and M. J. Benton published in Scientific Reports.

2 09, 2020

How to Estimate the Weight of a Dinosaur?

By | September 2nd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Dinosaurs – A Weighty Problem

A weighty problem for palaeontologists studying non-avian dinosaurs is how to go about estimating the body mass of these long extinct creatures.  Working out how to weigh a dinosaur is compounded when it comes to the Sauropodomorpha, as there are no living analogies for scientists to use as a reference, nothing remotely like an Argentinosaurus or an Apatosaurus alive today to provide a guide when it comes to the calculations.  For those armoured dinosaurs too, finding a modern day analogy can be tricky.  As for the Theropoda, attempting to scale up Tyrannosaurus rex based on the largest living theropod today, an ostrich (Struthio camelus), has obvious drawbacks.

Writing in the academic journal “Biological Reviews”, researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of New England have helped to put the current methods used into context.

The Diverse Non-avian Dinosaurs – Estimating the Weight of Long Extinct Animals is a Challenge

The diverse Dinosauria.

The Dinosauria consists of a huge range of different sized animals with different body plans.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two Main Methods of Weighing a Dinosaur

The debate about just how heavy dinosaurs were has raged for more than 150 years.  A range of different methods are used to estimate body mass, but these can be split into two broad categories.

  1.  Volumetric Density (VD) – which involves calculating a body weight based on a three-dimensional reconstruction of the animal – working from the skeleton outwards.
  2.  Extant Scaling (ES) – measuring the size of limb bones in living animals, most usually the circumference of the femur (thigh bone) or the humerus (upper arm bone) and then scaling up the body weight based on measurements from the same bones in the skeleton of the dinosaur.

With no definitive non-avian dinosaur bodyweights known, there has been considerable debate as to which method was likely to produce the most robust and trustworthy results.  Lead author of the study, Dr Nicolás Campione (University of New England), explained that the research team created an extensive database of dinosaur body weight estimates going back to 1905, the year when the most famous dinosaur of all T. rex was scientifically described.  The scientists found that once scaling (ES) and reconstruction methods (VD), were compared, most estimates agreed.  Apparent differences are the exception, not the rule.

Co-author of the study, Dr David Evans (Royal Ontario Museum), explained that these findings should give authors confidence, it does not seem to matter too much which calculation method is used, as these results indicate that mass estimates are largely consistent between the two approaches.  The femur/humerus scaling method, which relies on relationships obtained directly from living animals of known body mass, provides a measure of accuracy, but often of low precision.  In contrast, reconstructions that consider the whole skeleton provide precision, but of unknown accuracy.  This is because reconstructions depend on our own subjective ideas about what extinct animals looked like, which have changed considerably overtime, a review of Iguanodon illustrations demonstrates this point succinctly.

Iguanodon’s Body Plan has Been Revised Many Times

Iguanodon - changing scientific interpretations.

The changing body plan of Iguanodon.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Does Knowing the Body Weight of a Dinosaur Matter?

Having an estimate of a dinosaur’s body weight is important.  Body size, in particular the body mass, influences all aspects of the animal’s life, including their diet, ability to maintain body temperature, reproduction and locomotion.

Dr Campione stated:

“If we know that we have a good estimate of a dinosaur’s body mass, then we have a firm foundation from which to study and understand their life retrospectively.”

The researchers recommend that future work seeking to estimate the sizes of non-avian dinosaurs, and other extinct animals, need to better-integrate the extant scaling and volumetric density methods as both approaches have been revealed to be more complementary than antagonistic.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Royal Ontario Museum in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The accuracy and precision of body mass estimation in non-avian dinosaurs” by Nicolás E. Campione and David C. Evans published in Biological Reviews.

1 09, 2020

New Papo Dinosaur Models in Stock

By | September 1st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Papo Giganotosaurus, Chilesaurus and the Parasaurolophus Colour Variant

The first of the new for 2020 Papo dinosaur models are in stock!  The Papo Giganotosaurus, the Papo Chilesaurus and the Papo Parasaurolophus (new colour variant).  Papo’s production plans were badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but the first of the 2020 batch of new figures planned for this year are safe and sound in Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.  Team members are busy working through all the reserve lists, contacting customers and despatching the Papo product newsletter that we had been promising our subscribers.

The Papo Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

The Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  The pose might be anatomically inaccurate but this substantial figure shows plenty of subtle variations in skin tone and texture and it has the “classic” Papo appearance.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Papo Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

When team members first saw a prototype of the Giganotosaurus they lobbied Papo to try and change the posture.  The figure is posed in the “kangaroo stance”, a body plan long abandoned by vertebrate palaeontologists.  The dinosaur might reflect the Allosaurus illustration by Zdeněk Burian, or the titular theropod “Gwangi” as depicted by Ray Harryhausen in the movie “Valley of the Gwangi”, as such it is very much a retrospective, but just like those earlier depictions, the replica certainly has appeal.

The Papo Giganotosaurus Model has an Articulated Jaw

Papo Giganotosaurus model.

The Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  The figure has an articulated jaw and it is extremely stable.  The skull is cleverly crafted and the subtle stripes on the model are to be admired.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This is a figure that is unlikely to appear in a museum exhibition next to a Giganotosaurus mount in a bid to demonstrate what scientists think this theropod actually looked like.  However, we suspect that it is going to make a lot of young dinosaur fans and Papo model collectors very happy.

The Papo Giganotosaurus Model Challenges the Papo Brown T. rex

Papo Giganotosaurus model confronts the Papo Brown T. rex.

The Papo Giganotosaurus model confronts the Papo Brown T. rex.  The Papo Giganotosaurus is a sizeable figure, it stands around twenty centimetres tall.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Papo Chilesaurus

In addition, the new for 2020 Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model has arrived, a replica of one of the strangest dinosaurs described to date.  The model measures around fifteen centimetres in length and the tail is some eight centimetres in the air.  The Papo Chilesaurus has an articulated jaw.

In Stock!  The Papo Chilesaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model.

The Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model.  The dinosaur was formally named and described in 2015.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Regarded as a “transitional taxon” by many palaeontologists as its skeleton exhibits a suite of characteristics that show affinity to both the Theropoda and the Ornithischia, Chilesaurus has been cited in the debate regarding the structure of the Dinosauria and whether or not the Baron et al scientific paper published in 2017, has redefined the phylogeny of the dinosaurs.  Although regarded as a biped that was capable of moving around on all fours, Papo have chosen to put their figure in a quadrupedal position.

The Papo Parasaurolophus (New Colour Variant)

The third in this eagerly anticipated trio, is the Papo Parasaurolophus colour variation.  The model is the same sculpt as the previous Parasaurolophus but the mottled greens in the original figure have been replaced by a striking series of black stripes that run from the tip of the tail up to the neck.  The stripes are also present on the curved head crest.  The colour scheme of the figure is a blend of greys, browns and muted oranges.  The new colour scheme is certainly intriguing, the stripes would have helped camouflage this dinosaur in a woodland for example and there is some evidence to suggest that these duck-billed dinosaurs preferred inland, forested environments.

The Papo Parasaurolophus Dinosaur Model

Papo Parasaurolophus dinosaur model (new colour variant).

The Papo Parasaurolophus dinosaur model (new colour variant).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Papo Parasaurolophus and the Papo Giganotosaurus

Papo Parasaurolophus and the Papo Giganotosaurus dinosaur models.

The Papo Parasaurolophus and the Papo Giganotosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view these Papo figures and to see the rest of the Papo prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Models and Figures.

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