All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
//April
20 04, 2021

New Species of Titanosaur Described

By | April 20th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A new species of titanosaur has been named and described this week based on a partial skeleton unearthed in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The dinosaur has been named Arackar licanantay which translates as “Atacama bones” in the indigenous Kunza language.

Life Reconstruction Arackar licanantay
A life reconstruction of the newly described Late Cretaceous titanosaur Arackar licanantay from the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Picture Credit: Museo Nacional de Historia Naturala Santiago (Chile).

The Second Titanosaur from Chile to be Named

As far as Everything Dinosaur team members are aware, this is the second titanosaur to be named and described from fossil remains found in Chile. The first was Atacamatitan chilensis, fossils of which were discovered at the beginning of this century. Although Atacamatitan is only known from fragmentary remains, the alignment, shape and skeletal position of the femur in relation to the hips are very similar to that of Arackar, so, Atacamatitan was probably closely related to Arackar licanantay, although its fossilised remains were found many hundreds of miles to the north.

Three Chilean Dinosaurs to Date

In total, three non-avian dinosaurs have been described from fossil remains discovered in Chile. The other dinosaur making up this trio is the peculiar Chilesaurus (Chilesaurus diegosuarezi), which is know from Jurassic deposits in the Aysén region of southern Chile. To read about the discovery of Chilesaurus: Chilesaurus – Shaking the Dinosaur Family Tree.

Chilesaurus scale drawing.
A scale drawing of the bizarre Late Jurassic dinosaur Chilesaurus. Chilesaurus is one of just three non-avian dinosaurs known from Chile (April 2021). Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Arackar licanantay – “Atacameño Bones”

Writing in the journal “Cretaceous Research”, scientists from the National Museum of Natural History (Chile), the Palaeontological Network of the University of Chile and the Dinosaur Laboratory of the National University of Cuyo describe a partial skeleton from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian–Maastrichtian) beds of the Hornitos Formation, Atacama Region, of northern Chile. The holotype material consists of cervical and dorsal vertebrae along with limb bones and the ischium. The dinosaur’s name translates as “Atacameño bones” in the language of the indigenous Kunza people.

Arackar licanantay fossil material being excavated
Identifying a limb bone from the new species of titanosaur (Arackar licanantay). Picture credit: Universidad de Chile.

A Sub-adult Specimen

The fossils were found in the 1990s by national geologist Carlos Arévalo (National Geology and Mining Service), at a site around 45 miles south of the city of Copiapó, (Atacama Region). The bones represent a sub-adult individual estimated to have been around 6.3 metres in length. Although the adult size of Arackar is not known, it has been suggested that when fully grown, this herbivorous dinosaur would have been around 8-9 metres long, relatively small for a titanosaur.

Arackar was certainly no giant unlike other titanosaurs such as Dreadnoughtus, Notocolossus or Argentinosaurus which lived millions of years earlier. The discovery of this dinosaur helps to support the idea that towards the end of the Cretaceous (Campanian to Maastrichtian stages), these types of dinosaurs got smaller, perhaps in response to climate change.

Bone Dry

The fossil site might be located in one of the driest parts of the world, but when Arackar roamed (sometime between 80 and 66 million years ago, the age of the Hornitos Formation is uncertain), the climate was much more humid with the lush vegetation consisting of many types of flowering plant (angiosperms), conifers such as araucarias and podocarpaceae as well as ferns and cycads.

Chile may have only three non-avian dinosaurs described to date, but the scientists are confident that many more genera will be named. For example, close to the Arackar fossils, the remains of a second, as yet undescribed titanosaur were discovered.

Titanosaur fossil material (Arackar licanantay)
Fossil remains at the dig site, the preserved remains of limb bone. Another titanosaur specimen that has yet to be described was found close by. Picture Credit: Universidad de Chile.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, Consuelo Valdés, the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage stated:

“This finding is a relevant opportunity to learn about and disseminate the value of our country’s palaeontological heritage, which is unique in the world. But, at the same time, we hope to motivate curiosity and interest in research in children and young people. Chile in the extreme north and south has palaeontological treasures still hidden in layers many millions of years old. These bones can tell the story of the animals and plants that have lived in our country long before the first human groups arrived here.”

South America – Home to the Titanosaurs

The scientific description of Arackar licanantay may have important implications for the taxonomy and phylogeny of the clade of derived and advanced titanosaurs known as the Lithostrotia. Of the eighty or so genera of titanosaurs named and described so far, fifty-five come from South America but most have been found to the east of the Andes in Brazil and Argentina.

Unique autapomorphies (traits) in the skeleton such as the shape of the dorsal vertebrae that would have given this dinosaur a very straight withers and back indicate that A. licanantay is not only closely related to Chile’s other titanosaur – Atacamatitan chilensis, but also to Rapetosaurus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar and Isisaurus (from India).

Titanosaur Taxonomic Relationships
The taxonomy of South American titanosaurs over time and geographical distribution. The red star represents the approximate placement of Arackar licanantay. Picture credit: Hechenleitner et al (Communications Biology) with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur.

Co-author of the paper, Alexander Vargas (Palaeontological Network of the University of Chile), commented that it would be helpful if palaeontologists could understand the biogeographical distribution that allowed related titanosaurs to be so widespread.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Universidad de Chile in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Arackar licanantay gen. et sp. nov. a new lithostrotian (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of the Atacama Region, northern Chile” by David Rubilar-Rogers, Alexander O. Vargas, Bernardo González Riga, Sergio Soto-Acuña, Jhonatan Alarcón-Muñoz, José Iriarte-Díaz, Carlos Arévalo and Carolina S. Gutstein published in Cretaceous Research.

19 04, 2021

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Reviewed

By | April 19th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The new for 2021 CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus dinosaur model is now in stock at Everything Dinosaur. This is one of the biggest sauropod figures that CollectA have made and this beautifully detailed replica has certainly impressed model fans and collectors.

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Dinosaur Model
The beautifully detailed CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus dinosaur model (lateral view).

Scale Dinosaur Model

CollectA have declared a scale of 1:100 for their Mamenchisaurus. As the model measures around 40 cm in length this figure represents a dinosaur that would have measured approximately 40 metres, this is perhaps a little too large for most of the Mamenchisaurus species named to date.

The CollectA Mamenchisaurus Sauropod Figure
CollectA Mamenchisaurus model.

The model has been exquisitely designed. The neck is slightly curved and the small head is turned towards the animal’s left shoulder. This pose gives the model a more natural look, the animal is moving along and looking towards its left as it walks. The head has been beautifully crafted, the nostrils are visible and the mouth is open displaying the small teeth. There were teeth present all along the jawline and this has been accurately portrayed in the CollectA model.

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus (close view of the head)
A close view of the exquisitely detailed head of the CollectA Mamenchisaurus model.

Fine Detail of Scales and Dermal Armour

As well as having a row of prominent spikes that descend from the back of the head down to the end of the tail, the design team at CollectA have added rows of raised scutes along the neck, flanks and down the tail of the figure. There is much to be admired in the fine skin texture and the limbs have been proportioned to reflect the fossil record. The claws and toes have been painted in the same tan tone as the spikes and this realistic dinosaur model has been given a cloaca.

The CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Model
The CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus measures around 40 cm in length and that impressive head on the end of that long neck is about 24 cm off the ground.
The CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Model
The dermal scutes and raised scales on the model can be clearly seen in this photograph.

An Asian Sauropod

It is refreshing to see CollectA create a scale model of a Chinese sauropod rather than a replica of a sauropod associated with western North America and the Morrison Formation. Due to the large number of fossils assigned to this genus, thanks to huge numbers of bones found in Shaximiao Formation exposures (Sichuan Province, China), Mamenchisaurus is one of the best known of all the Jurassic members of the Sauropoda. It is great to see a mainstream manufacturer such as CollectA make a model of this dinosaur.

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Dinosaur Model
The new for 2021 CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus dinosaur model.

Highly Recommended

The figure has been given a small defensive club on the end of its tail, reminiscent of Shunosaurus. There may be some debate as to whether this dinosaur possessed such a club, fused caudal vertebrae in at least one specimen does suggest that a tail club was present.

All in all, this is a very detailed model and it is a very welcome addition to the CollectA Deluxe model range.

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus Model
CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus dinosaur model.

To view the CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus and to see the other figures available from Everything Dinosaur in this this range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

18 04, 2021

Amending Amargasaurus

By | April 18th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been asked to cast their eyes over a display panel being prepared to accompany an exhibition featuring the bizarre South American sauropod Amargasaurus.

"Lucio" the PNSO Amargasaurus model.
PNSO Amargasaurus “Lucio”. Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy updating a display board for an exhibition that will feature a life-size replica of Amargasaurus.

“Reptile from Amarga Canyon”

Known from a single, partial skeleton discovered in 1984 in northern Patagonia (La Amarga Formation), Amargasaurus was related to Diplodocus although it was much smaller measuring around 10 metres in length with an estimated weight of approximately 5 tonnes.

Papo Amargasaurus
Papo Amargasaurus dinosaur model. Several model manufacturers have produced replicas of Amargasaurus.

Unlike most other sauropods, the neck was disproportionately short and it was probably a specialist browser of small trees and bushes, a feeding strategy that prevented it from competing directly with the numerous other types of sauropod dinosaur that shared its habitat.

This dinosaur had two rows of tall, thin spines sticking up from the vertebrae that ran from the top of the head down to the base of the short neck. These spines then tapered into a single row of smaller spines that continued down the animal’s back to the tail. When first scientifically described in 1991, it was suggested that these spines were defensive weapons used to deter attacks from predators or in combat between rivals. Some palaeontologists have suggested that these spines supported skin membranes that formed two parallel sail-like structures. These sails could have played a role in thermoregulation, visual communication between herd members or perhaps they were used in courtship displays.

The discovery in northern Patagonia, of the closely related Bajadasaurus with its equally spiky array of neck spines that curve forward towards the head has led some palaeontologists to conclude that the neck spikes on these dinosaurs were indeed primarily defensive structures.

Bajadasaurus skeletal reconstrution and fossil find location.
A skeletal reconstruction of Bajadasaurus, location map of fossil finds and drawing of the fossil material in situ. The discovery of the closely related Bajadasaurus has led some palaeontologists to conclude that the elaborate neck spines associated with Amargasaurus were primarily defensive structures. Picture credit: Gallina et al published in Scientific Reports.
17 04, 2021

First New for 2021 CollectA Models in Stock

By | April 17th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The first of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models are in stock at Everything Dinosaur. Team members have been busy contacting all those customers who wanted to be emailed when these figures came into stock.

New for 2021 CollectA dinosaur models
The first five new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models are in stock at Everything Dinosaur. The new for 2021 figures are the Neovenator scenting prey (top left), CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus in 1:100 scale (top right), the Age of Dinosaurs Popular range Kamuysaurus (middle) and the Megalosaurus in ambush (bottom left) and the Brontosaurus prey (bottom right).

Mamenchisaurus (CollectA Deluxe)

By far the largest figure, in fact the biggest dinosaur model that CollectA will introduce this year is the Mamenchisaurus. It measures around 40 cm in length and that well-proportioned and detailed head stands some 24 cm high. CollectA state that this figure is in approximately 1:100 scale, so the figure represents a specimen around 40 metres long. This suggests that when creating this replica, the design team at CollectA had in mind one of the larger species known from this genus such as Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum.

CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus dinosaur model.
CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus a 1:100 scale replica of an Asian sauropod.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur praised CollectA for adding a model of this sauropod to their model range.

Brontosaurus Prey

CollectA know what fans of dinosaurs like to see, lots of gore and blood and the new for 2021 CollectA Brontosaurus prey does not disappoint. It has been beautifully sculpted and depicts a deceased sauropod that is in the process of being consumed by a large theropod dinosaur, perhaps a member of the allosaur family. This would be appropriate as last year, CollectA introduced a model of an Allosaurus roaring.

New for 2021 the CollectA Brontosaurus prey.
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Brontosaurus prey model. The wounds inflicted on the Brontosaurus reflect attack and feeding strategies that have been postulated for large theropod dinosaurs.
CollectA "Roaring" Allosaurus model.
The CollectA “Roaring” Allosaurus dinosaur model. This figure would make an ideal partner for the recently introduced CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range Brontosaurus prey.

Kamuysaurus japonicus

Formally named and described in 2019, Kamuysaurus continues the CollectA trend to include dinosaurs known from Japan in their product portfolio. Although known only from a single specimen, the fossils found represent a considerable proportion of the skeleton and as a result Kamuysaurus has been confidently assigned to the Edmontosaurini tribe.

CollectA Kamusaurus dinosaur model.
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Kamuysaurus model. A replica of a hadrosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of Japan.

Two British Dinosaurs

The other two models that have just arrived in stock are the Megalosaurus in ambush figure and the Neovenator scenting prey. Both these dinosaurs are associated with Britain, although Megalosaurus has become a bit of a taxonomic waste basket over the last 200 years or so since this dinosaur was scientifically described.

CollectA Megalosaurus in ambush dinosaur model.
The new for 2021 CollectA Megalosaurus in ambush dinosaur model. Available from Everything Dinosaur.
CollectA Neovenator scenting prey dinosaur model.
The new for 2021 CollectA Neovenator scenting prey dinosaur model.

Replacing Earlier CollectA Models

The new for 2021 Megalosaurus and the new Neovenator figures replace earlier sculpts in the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range that were introduced around ten years ago. The models have been updated to more accurately represent the known skeletal material and the dinosaurs have been given lips to reflect the current debate about this amongst palaeontologists.

To view the CollectA Deluxe Mamenchisaurus and the other CollectA Deluxe prehistoric animal models: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animals and Dinosaurs.

To view the other new for 2021 CollectA figures: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range.

16 04, 2021

PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus

By | April 16th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

PNSO have announced that they will be adding a model of the bone-headed dinosaur Pachycephalosaurus to their mid-size model range. Say hello to Austin the Pachycephalosaurus, this exciting new for 2021 dinosaur model is likely to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the early summer.

PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus dinosaur model
The new for 2021 PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus dinosaur model.

Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis

This new figure is a replica of Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, the largest known member of the bone-headed dinosaur group (Pachycephalosauridae). The dinosaur model shows meticulous detail and has been exquisitely painted.

PNSO Pachycephalosaurus dinosaur model.
Austin the Pachycephalosaurus (P. wyomingensis).

Model Measurements and Scale?

Austin the Pachycephalosaurus measures 17. 8 cm long and its beautifully detailed head is a fraction under 7 cm off the ground. PNSO does not publish a scale for their mid-size figures but based on an estimated length of P. wyomingensis of approximately 4.6 metres, this figure is in around 1:26 scale.

PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus model measurements
The PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus dinosaur model measurements and known skeletal material. The Pachycephalosaurus figure measures 17.8 cm long and it has a head height of 6.6 cm.
Austin the PNSO Pachycephalosaurus (dorsal view)
Austin the PNSO Pachycephalosaurus (dorsal view).

The Famous Hell Creek Formation

Pachycephalosaurus fossils (mostly cranial material), are associated with the famous Hell Creek Formation, although they are exceptionally rare compared to other ornithischians such as members of the Ceratopsidae and hadrosaurids. Austin the Pachycephalosaurus joins Doyle the Triceratops, Sede the Ankylosaurus and Wilson the T. rex dinosaur models in the PNSO portfolio that celebrates the dinosaur fauna of Hell Creek.

Dinosaurs of the Hell Creek Formation
PNSO figures that celebrate the dinosaur fauna of the Hell Creek Formation.

Available in the Summer

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that this figure was due to be announced at 10am on the 17th of April (Beijing time), but as images had been already leaked on-line by other companies, Everything Dinosaur received permission from PNSO to publish details about Austin the Pachycephalosaurus earlier than scheduled.

The PNSO Austin the Pachycephalosaurus is likely to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the summer of 2021.

To view the current range of PNSO models and figures available at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

15 04, 2021

Rebor Compsognathus Replicas Further Delayed

By | April 15th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The Rebor Compsognathus longipes stained dissection replicas have been delayed. Neither the limited-edition C. longipes Victorian Goth stained dissection specimen or the other Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes preserved dissection specimen are going to be available tomorrow (16th April), as planned. Customers who had placed pre-orders for one or both of these eagerly anticipated figures were expecting to receive news of their availability. Everything Dinosaur had a release date of 16th April scheduled for these replicas. However, the shipment remains stuck in customs and neither ourselves or Rebor are able to obtain any information as to when these items will be released.

The Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes Preserved Dissection Specimen (Victorian Goth)
Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes Preserved Dissection Specimen (Victorian Goth). This beautiful, limited-edition figure is being held up at customs. Everything Dinosaur team members are doing all they can to resolve this issue (April 2021).

Global Logistics Badly Affected by the Pandemic

We do apologise for this, we are as frustrated as our customers are with regards to this situation. There are severe delays at most ports and global logistics remains under considerable strain due to the pandemic. Whilst we continue to work closely with the port authorities to work towards a resolution, there is, sadly, very little we can do at this moment and this issue is beyond our control. We have therefore decided to push back the release for this figure until May 13th (May 13th, 2021),

Team Members Working Hard to Find a Solution

Once again, we at Everything Dinosaur apologise for the inconvenience and we want to assure you that Rebor and ourselves are doing all we can to get these goods released and delivered to our warehouse.

The other Rebor Compsognathus longipes dissection specimen is also on the same shipment and therefore subject to the same delay. This product also had a release date of 16th April (tomorrow), but due to the on-going issue at the port we have also pushed back the release date for this figure until May 13th (May 13th, 2021).

The Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes Preserved Dissection Specimen
The Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes preserved dissection specimen. This Rebor figure has been subject to delays but Everything Dinosaur continues to work towards a resolution.

Everything Dinosaur apologises for the inconvenience and we want to assure you that we are doing all we can to get these goods released and delivered to our warehouse.

At Everything Dinosaur, we work seven days a week and we are doing everything we can to try to resolve this problem. However, there is in reality very little we can do. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding at this difficult time.

Still Available for Pre-order

Ironically, both Rebor Oddities Compsognathus longipes figures are still available for pre-order. Whilst Everything Dinosaur will continue to honour all the pre-orders placed by customers for these models and they guarantee that customers will be given the chance to acquire one or both of these figures when they finally arrive in stock, there are a handful of these replicas still available.

To view the Rebor range available from Everything Dinosaur and to pre-order the Rebor Oddities Compsognathus models, visit this section of our website: Rebor Models and Figures.

14 04, 2021

Limited Edition PNSO Bronze Sinosauropteryx Sculpture

By | April 14th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

PNSO intend to create a limited production of bronze Sinosauropteryx sculptures to commemorate the company having been in existence for ten years. Only fifty of the three hundred beautiful bronze Sinosauropteryx statues have been offered for sale outside China. Everything Dinosaur’s initial allocation was snapped up within hours, but the UK-based company has been offered a handful more of these highly sought after figures.

PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx reject mediocrity
PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx – to those who reject mediocrity.

Only 300 Figures Made

The bronze figure is one of a series of designs created by Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang from PNSO. The piece is entitled Gallery Series Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx. It is made from bronze and 1:3 scale. Due to the weight of this item, it is not intended for general sale. However, because of Everything Dinosaur’s long term relationship with PNSO a few more bronze figures have been offered for sale.

PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx bronze statue (model measurements)
The model measures 170 mm in length and the tail is 174 mm high. The figure weighs just under 1 kilogram once taken out of its robust protective packaging and presentation case.
PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx reject mediocrity
PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx – to those who reject mediocrity. Only 300 of these 1:3 scale dinosaur models have been scheduled for production.

Available Pre-order from Everything Dinosaur

Most of the figures have been snapped up by officials within China. Some are heading for museums and art collections. Only a very few have been offered for sale outside China and most of these have been already allocated.

The PNSO limited edition Yuyan the Sinosauropteyrx bronze figure.
The PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx 1:3 scale bronze sculpture is supplied with its own special packaging, a certificate of authenticity and is just one of only 300 being produced. Each figure has a unique number, just one of a limited production run.

The PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx 1:3 scale bronze sculpture is available on pre-order from Everything Dinosaur at £299.00 GBP including tax (if applicable) plus secure postage.

The bronze Sinosauropteryx can be pre-ordered from Everything Dinosaur here: Limited Edition PNSO Sinosauropteryx Bronze Sculpture.

13 04, 2021

Prehistoric Times Magazine Sneak Peek

By | April 13th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|1 Comment

Here is a sneaky peek at the forthcoming edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine, the quarterly publication aimed at fans of prehistoric animals, model collecting and artwork depicting dinosaurs and other long extinct creatures. This stunning illustration of interspecific combat within the Dinosauria will adorn the front cover of issue 137 (spring 2021).

Prehistoric Times Front Cover Spring 2021
The front cover image of the forthcoming edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine (issue number 137 – spring 2021)

“Prehistoric Times” Magazine

Editor Mike Fredericks, who sent Everything Dinosaur the front cover image says that issue 137 is going to be jam-packed with all the articles, artwork and features that makes this publication so popular.

Mike commented:

“We have an interview with Glen McIntosh one of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World animators who is also a great artist who designed the Indominus rex, plus much more.”

With the latest instalment of the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” movie franchise due to hit cinemas shortly, the timing of this interview could not have been better.

Look out for a special feature on the Late Cretaceous North American tyrannosaur Daspletosaurus, an apex predator known from Montana and Alberta.

Drawing of Daspletosaurus.
Daspletosaurus – a large tyrannosaur present in the Late Cretaceous ecosystem of North America. Two species have been assigned to this genus, but possibly two more might be added in the near future as more scientific papers are published.

Subscribe to Prehistoric Times

Team members at Everything Dinosaur recommend that blog readers subscribe to “Prehistoric Times”. Published four times a year, this is a fantastic magazine for followers of palaeoart, collectors of dinosaur models and for the general reader with an interest in prehistoric life.

To subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” magazine: Subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” magazine.

12 04, 2021

New Jurassic Pterosaur Reveals the Oldest Opposed Thumb

By | April 12th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

An opposable thumb gives us apes a huge advantage, just ask a dog to hold a spoon for you, however, opposable thumbs are not just limited to gorillas, chimps, orangutans and our own genus Homo. Other apes have them too, as do some marsupials and tree frogs. In reality, opposed thumbs are rare in the Kingdom Animalia, but an international team of scientists including researchers from the University of Birmingham, have just described a new species of flying reptile and it’s the earliest example known to science of a vertebrate with an opposed thumb.

Kunpengopterus life reconstruction
Life reconstruction of K. antipollicatus. The opposed pollex could have been used for grasping food items, as well as clinging and hanging to trees. Picture credit: Zhao Chuang.

Kunpengopterus antipollicatus

The new Jurassic pterosaur has been named Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, it was discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning, China.

It is a small-bodied darwinopteran pterosaur, with an estimated wingspan of 85 cm. Most importantly, the specimen was preserved with an opposed pollex (“thumb”) on both hands. The species name “antipollicatus” means “opposite thumbed” in ancient Greek, in light of the opposed thumb of the new species. This is the first discovery of a pterosaur with an opposed thumb. It also represents the earliest record of a true opposed thumb in the fossil record.

Kunpengopterus antipollicatus fossil and line drawing
Fossil of Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation of China. It is housed in the Beipiao Pterosaur Museum of China. Image credit: Zhou et al., 2021.

“Monkeydactyl”

Kunpengopterus lived in a forested environment approximately 160 million years ago. It was nicknamed “monkeydactyl” as a true opposed thumb (pollex) is extremely rare amongst extant reptiles, only chameleons possess opposed thumbs. They use their thumbs to help them climb, the researchers writing in the academic publication “Current Biology”, also suggest that Kunpengopterus evolved such dexterity to help it to climb.

In order to test the arboreal interpretation, the team analysed K. antipollicatus and other pterosaurs using a set of anatomical characters related to arboreal adaptation. The results support K. antipollicatus as an arboreal species, but not the other pterosaurs from the same ecosystem. This suggests niche-partitioning among these pterosaurs and provides the first quantitative evidence supporting the theory that at least some darwinopteran pterosaurs were arboreal.

Minimising Competition Amongst Pterosaurs

Lead author Xuanyu Zhou (China University of Geosciences) commented:

“Tiaojishan palaeoforest is home to many organisms, including three genera of darwinopteran pterosaurs. Our results show that K. antipollicatus has occupied a different niche from Darwinopterus and Wukongopterus, which has likely minimised competition among these pterosaurs.”

Photo and digital model of the left hand of K. antipollicatus, showing the opposed thumb.
Photo and digital model of the left hand of K. antipollicatus, showing the opposed thumb. Image credit: Zhou et al., 2021.

Micro-CT Imaging Assists in Discovery

Fion Waisum Ma, co-author of the study and PhD researcher (University of Birmingham) explained:

“The fingers of “Monkeydactyl” are tiny and partly embedded in the slab. Thanks to micro-CT scanning, we could see through the rocks, create digital models and tell how the opposed thumb articulates with the other finger bones. This is an interesting discovery. It provides the earliest evidence of a true opposed thumb, and it is from a pterosaur – which wasn’t known for having an opposed thumb”.

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

The scientific paper: “A new darwinopteran pterosaur reveals arborealism and an opposed thumb” by Xuanyu Zhou, Rodrigo V. Pêgas, Waisum Ma, Xuefang Wei, Caizhi Shen and Shu’an Ji published in Current Biology.

11 04, 2021

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck”

By | April 11th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Early Years Foundation Reception, Key Stage 1/2, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Expert on the Plesiosauria, Dr Adam S. Smith (Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire), has teamed up with award-winning children’s author Jonathan Emmett to create a delightful tale explaining how some prehistoric marine reptiles developed long necks.

"The Plesiosaur's Neck"
“The Plesiosaur’s Neck” by Dr Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett with illustrations by Adam Larkum.

Poppy is an Albertonectes, a plesiosaur named after the Canadian province of Alberta, where fossils of this giant with a seven-metre-long neck have been found, but what was that extremely long neck used for?

Poppy the Plesiosaur

Did Poppy use her enormous neck to help keep herself free of parasites? Or was she the equivalent of an electric eel generating electricity to shock any unsuspecting fish that happened to swim too close? In “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”, budding young palaeontologists get the opportunity to explore these entertaining hypotheses in a plesiosaur-themed prehistoric puzzle.

At more than eleven metres long, Albertonectes was a giant. The huge neck made up almost two-thirds of the animal’s entire body length and this delightful book examines some of the ideas that palaeontologists have proposed to explain this peculiar, plesiosaur body plan.

Checking over an exhibit.
Dr Adam Smith examining a cast of dinosaur vertebrae for an exhibition at Wollaton Hall. The talented Curator of Natural Sciences at the Nottingham Natural History Museum has helped to write a children’s book entitled “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

Prehistoric Puns

A mixture of playful, rhyming text and prehistoric puns guides the reader through the story. Members of the Mollusca have a prominent role to play with Alfie the ammonite and Bella the belemnite chiming in with cheeky comments whilst Dr Adam Smith ensures a smorgasbord of facts and information about life in the sea during the time of the dinosaurs. The book will entertain and inform children from 5 years and upwards in equal measure.

Beautifully illustrated by Adam Larkum, a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art, “The Plesiosaur’s Neck” combines colourful characters with a cornucopia of fun facts. It is an entertaining exploration of a genuine palaeontological puzzle focused on a plesiosaur with an astonishing seventy-six bones in its neck.

Published in May 2021

“The Plesiosaurs Neck” ISBN number 9781912979424 is due to be published on the 6th of May (2021), by Uclan Publishing. Priced at £7.99 it can be purchased here: Purchase “The Plesiosaur’s Neck”.

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