All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
10 06, 2021

Everything Dinosaur Earns 100 Google 5-star Reviews

By | June 10th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur moved into new and larger premises in April (2021), our contact details for our customers remain the same but the business has relocated so that we can have all our dinosaur and prehistoric animal models in one place. Having moved, it was an opportunity to build up our profile on Google Maps. Reviews and feedback from our customers mean a great deal to us and this week we saw our 100th Google Review posted up on-line. All these reviews are 5-star ratings, every one of them genuine feedback from customers.

Everything Dinosaur has 100 5-star Google Reviews
Since Everything Dinosaur moved into new, bigger premises in April we have set about building up our presence on Google. In the last 8 weeks or so we have been able to gain 100 Google reviews all of them 5-star reviews.

Feedback and Customer Reviews

Feedback and customer reviews are very important to a little, dinosaur-themed company such as ourselves. After all, in these uncertain and challenging times nobody wants to become extinct. Ever since Everything Dinosaur was formed, we have always welcomed feedback from our customers. Our website has over 1,670 customer reviews and comments on it, many thousands more are archived on our previous website manifestations. We continue to work with the independent ratings company Feefo and we have received thousands of Feefo feedback reports too. Our website currently displays around 600 customer reviews and we have received Feefo’s highest award for customer service (Platinum) every year since this accolade was introduced.

Top customer service award for Everything Dinosaur
Everything Dinosaur has been awarded the Platinum Trusted Service accolade from Feefo. The company has been awarded this top honour by the independent ratings company Feefo, ever since the Platinum Trusted Service award was first created.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are immensely proud of our Google achievement. To be able to pick up 100 customer reviewers in such a short time for a business our size is quite remarkable. In addition, every single one of these 100 customers gave us 5-stars, that’s top marks and we are truly humbled and honoured.”

Thank You

Everything Dinosaur would like to thank all those customers who have taken time out of their busy lives to leave feedback and to provide a review. These comments and testimonials mean a great deal to the company and every single review, blog post feedback and social media post is read and reviewed by team members.

On behalf of everyone at Everything Dinosaur – thank you.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

9 06, 2021

Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast

By | June 9th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The third and final part of a series of guides to fossil hunting on the Dorset coast has been published by Siri Scientific Press. A guide to “Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast” by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers, provides an up to date and very informative guide to fossil collecting from the beautiful coast near Durdle Door eastwards ending at the Eocene-aged deposits to be found at Hengistbury Head.

The front cover of a Guide to Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast
The front cover “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast” by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers published by Siri Scientific Press.

A Highly Acclaimed Guidebook

“Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast” is aimed at amateur as well as the more serious fossil hunter and it is required reading if you want to visit some of the more remote parts of the Dorset coast. Access to some of the locations can be tricky and the authors have ensured that plenty of useful information has been included such as advice about tide times, avoiding the dangers of rock falls (which can be frequent along this stretch of the coastline), along with details about accessing quarries and which ones require visitor permission.

This highly acclaimed guidebook is beautifully illustrated with lots of colour photographs not only showing fossil finds but also highlighting the stunning landscape and geology of this part of the southern coast of England.

Fossil collecting on the East Dorset Coast
The book is packed with beautiful photographs showing typical fossil finds at each location as well as stunning shots of the Dorset coast. Often typical fossil finds are shown against a backdrop of the magnificent scenery of this part of England’s southern coast.

Stunning Images of Fossils

The authors provide an introduction to the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the “Jurassic Coast” before outlining the Dorset fossil collecting code of conduct and focusing on the unique geology of east Dorset. The book is then sub-divided into different sections taking the reader on fossil hunting excursions starting at the majestic Bat’s Head and St. Oswald’s Bay in an easterly direction to Worbarrow Bay and Gad Cliff through to Peveril Point and Swanage. The final excursion visits the Studland Bay and the Hengistbury Head area. Each part of the book contains stunning images of the fossils associated with each location.

A block containing bones and scales of a fish (Lepidotes)
A block containing the fossilised remains of a prehistoric fish found on the east Dorset coast. Fossil found by Nicola Parslow. A “Guide to Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast” contains full colour images highlighting fossils that can be found at the various locations.

Highlights include information and photographs showcasing the remarkable Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life at Kimmeridge and the contribution made by Steve Etches, extensive information on the types of ammonites to be found and details on the different types of vertebrate fossils including trace fossils such as dinosaur footprints along with body fossils such as the bones from ancient crocodiles.

Crocodile vertebra found at Durlston Bay (Dorset)
A crocodile vertebra found on the east Dorset coast (Durlston Bay) found by Julian and Vicky Sawyer.

Highly Recommended

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This book has over 200 colour photographs and illustrations including wonderful prehistoric scenes created by the very talented Andreas Kurpisz, it is an extremely informative and invaluable guide to fossil hunting on this part of the beautiful Dorset coast. The detailed descriptions of the fossil locations provided by the authors are a testament to their in-depth knowledge and passion for their hobby. It completes the trilogy of books dedicated to fossil hunting on the Dorset Coast and it is essential reading for amateur fossil collectors, students as well as seasoned professionals. Highly recommended.”

Fossil Collecting on the Dorset Coast
Three excellent guides have been published about fossil hunting on the Dorset coast by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers. All three publications are available from Siri Scientific Press whilst stocks last.

To purchase the “Guide to Fossil Collecting on the East Dorset Coast” visit the website of the publisher Siri Scientific Press: Siri Scientific Press.

8 06, 2021

Everything Dinosaur’s New Premises

By | June 8th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

The UK-based Everything Dinosaur, a dedicated team that specialises in the supply of museum quality dinosaur and prehistoric animal models has moved into new, bigger premises. The new premises were acquired at the beginning of the year, but COVID-19 restrictions delayed the building of the offices and the bespoke packing rooms as well as the laying out of the racking system and storage facilities for all the various dinosaurs that the company stocks.

Everything Dinosaur's Offices and Warehousing
The new Everything Dinosaur offices and warehousing. In 2021, Everything Dinosaur moved into bigger premises.

Award-winning Dinosaur Company

The award-winning dinosaur company, famed for its customer service, aims to increase the number of different ranges of models that it offers. It already supplies one of the widest ranges of museum quality, prehistoric animal figures and although the warehouse is already very busy, the company does intend to add even more models to its portfolio in the near future.

Everything Dinosaur Signage - New Premises
The signage over the new premises for Everything Dinosaur (warehousing and offices).

Customer Contact Details

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented that they were determined to retain the customer contact details so that nobody would be inconvenienced by the move. The contact emails and telephone numbers for the company are the same as previously.

The spokesperson also confirmed that they were actively engaged in negotiations with a number of suppliers with a view to exporting more prehistoric animal models and figures from China and elsewhere in the world.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website and on-line store: Everything Dinosaur.

7 06, 2021

Aussie Dinosaur “Cooper” Officially Named

By | June 7th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

“Cooper” the giant Australian dinosaur, whose bones were found back in 2007 has been officially named. The largest animal ever to walk on the “land down under” has been named Australotitan (Australotitan cooperensis), this Cretaceous giant is estimated to have been around 30 metres in length, so Australotitan rivalled some of the giant South American titanosaurs, (to which it was distantly related), in size.

Australotitan cooperensis life reconstruction
A life reconstruction of the newly named Australotitan cooperensis, the largest known animal to have ever lived in Australia. Picture credit: Queensland Museum.

“Southern Titan”

Writing in the academic journal “PeerJ”, the researchers who include corresponding author Scott Hocknull of the Queensland Museum and Robyn and Scott Mackenzie from the Eromanga Natural History Museum (Queensland), used limb bone comparisons to estimate the size of Australotitan. A sophisticated computer programme provided detailed 3-D surface scans of the fossil bones to permit autapomorphies to be identified that led to the erection of this new taxon. The huge dinosaur, with a shoulder height of around 6 metres was named “Southern Titan”, the trivial (species name), honours the site of the fossil discovery – the Cooper-Eromanga Basin, Cooper Creek system and the common vernacular for this part of south-western Queensland “Cooper Country”.

Back in 2015, Everything Dinosaur reported on the on-going research being conducted on this titanosaur when final preparations were being made for the opening of the Eromanga Natural History Museum which was being built to house this specimen along with other dinosaur and marine reptile remains that had been found in Queensland.

To read our article about “Cooper”: Super-Duper Dinosaur Nicknamed “Cooper”.

The Benefits of the 3-D Bone Scans

Several of the bones although almost complete show distortion. The bones of this particular titanosaur seem to have been trampled and partly crushed by the movements of another titanosaur that “walked over the grave” of Australotitan. The use of the 3-D bone scans permitted the researchers to correctly reconstruct bone morphology and a subsequent phylogenetic assessment revealed that A. cooperensis was related to three other, roughly contemporaneous sauropod taxa known from Queensland – Wintonotitan, Diamantinasaurus and Savannasaurus.

Examples of sauropod bone preservation and taphonomic alteration (A. cooperensis).
The right femur (specimen number EMF102) seems to have been trampled and crushed as another sauropod walked over it. Sophisticated 3-D scans were used to reconstruct the original shape of the bones and permit taxonomic study. Note scale bars = 20 cm. Picture credit: Hocknull et al

The scientific paper: “A new giant sauropod, Australotitan cooperensis gen. et sp. nov., from the mid-Cretaceous of Australia” by Scott A. Hocknull, Melville Wilkinson, Rochelle A. Lawrence, Vladislav Konstantinov, Stuart Mackenzie and Robyn Mackenzie published in PeerJ.

6 06, 2021

Studying Stegosaurs from the Arctic Circle

By | June 6th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Earlier this spring, a team of researchers led by Pavel Skutschas (St Petersburg University, Russia), published a paper reporting on the study of 63 stegosaur teeth that had been found in Lower Cretaceous deposits in south-western Yakutia, located in eastern Siberia. Just like today, during the Early Cretaceous this part of Siberia was at a high latitude (palaeolatitude estimate of N 62°- 66.5°) and within the Arctic circle. The scientists conclude that these stegosaurs may have had some special adaptations to help them survive their harsh environment, such as a rapid tooth replacement rate to permit them to cope with a diet mainly consisting of conifer needles and branches.

Examples of very worn stegosaur teeth from the Teete locality (Siberia).
Maxillary teeth with two (A-D), and with three wear facets (E-H) of Stegosauria indet. from the Teete locality, Yakutia, Russia; Batylykh Formation (Lower Cretaceous). Specimens ZIN PH 80/246 (A-D), ZIN PH 57/246 (E-H) in labial (A, E), lingual (B, F), occlusal (C, G) views, and interpretive drawings (D, H) in occlusal views showing the wear facets with scratches. Picture credit: Skutschas et al.

Stegosaurs Probably Present All Year

There has been much debate amongst palaeontologists as to whether large herbivorous dinosaurs such as stegosaurs were permanent residents of high latitude palaeoenvironments, or whether they migrated up to these latitudes in the summer to take advantage of the long periods of daylight. In the height of summer, there would have been around twenty-two hours of daylight at this latitude presumably providing very favourable conditions for plant growth.

The researchers, writing in the on-line, academic journal PLOS One report the discovery of smaller stegosaur teeth in the excavations, which took place in 2012 and then in the summer months from 2017-2019. As it is thought that the teeth represent a single species of stegosaur, this indicates that both adults and juveniles were present at this site.

Lead author Pavel Skutschas an Associate Professor in the Department of Vertebrate Zoology at St Petersburg University commented:

“We have found teeth of animals of different ages. This suggests that the polar stegosaurs are most likely to have been sedentary that they reproduced and raised offspring on the same territory all year round”.

Small stegosaur tooth from the dentary.
Small, relatively unworn tooth of an indeterminate stegosaur from the Teete locality in (A) occlusal, (B) labial and (C) lingual views. This suggests that both adult and juvenile stegosaurs were present. Picture credit: Skutschas et al.

A Diverse Prehistoric Fauna

The researchers from St Petersburg University worked together with colleagues from the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Borissiak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the University of Bonn (Germany) and the Diamond and Precious Metal Geology Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences to examine, excavate and sieve material from the Batylykh Formation, Sangar Series (Lower Cretaceous, Berriasian–Barremian faunal stage) along the banks of the Teete River in Suntar Ulus, Yakutia, Eastern Siberia. This location has yielded dinosaur fossils (including theropods as well as ornithischian dinosaurs), turtles, salamanders and early mammals.

The stegosaur teeth excavation site
Researchers working at the excavation site. Picture credit: University of St Petersburg.

Stegosaurian remains are the most abundant and consist of numerous isolated teeth, vertebrae, ribs, pelvic elements and occasional cranial material. The stegosaur teeth were all retrieved by screen washing and sieving samples. Most exhibit a high degree of wear and indicate that these animals fed on very abrasive plant material. In addition, study of the tiny scratches on the teeth suggest tooth on tooth contact and precise dental occlusion in the Teete stegosaurs. The microwear examined suggests that these animals had a more complex jaw movement to help them process food in their mouths, the tooth wear observed could not have occurred if these dinosaurs were only capable of moving their jaws up and down in a simple scissor-like action.

Examples of the very worn stegosaur teeth from the Teete locality
Maxillary teeth with a single apical facet of Stegosauria indet. from the Teete locality, Yakutia, Russia; Batylykh Formation (Lower Cretaceous). Specimens ZIN PH 7/246 (A–D), ZIN PH 11/246 (E–H), ZIN PH 20/246 (I–L), ZIN PH 6/246 (M–P) in labial (A, E, I, M), lingual (B, F, J, N), occlusal (C, G, K, P) views, and interpretive drawings in occlusal (D, H, L) and lingual (O) views showing the wear facets with scratches. Picture credit: Skutschas et al.

Rapid Tooth Replacement

Under the microscope, the researchers made another surprising discovery. The Teete stegosaurs are characterised by their relatively short tooth formation time. The teeth were rapidly replaced and the replacement teeth were formed in a relatively short time (95 days). This might have been an adaptation to the particularly abrasive diet of these herbivores which probably fed on conifers. Furthermore, the scientists identified the presence of a “wavy enamel pattern” on the teeth. This type of enamel has also been found on the teeth of Psittacosaurus, a basal member of the horned dinosaurs (Ceratopsia) and within the Ornithopoda. The researchers conclude that this feature of teeth is a shared trait amongst bird-hipped dinosaurs. Whether it was present in the ancestor of the ornithischian dinosaurs or whether this histological feature is an example of convergent evolution in different types of plant-eating dinosaur is not known.

The scientific paper: “Wear patterns and dental functioning in an Early Cretaceous stegosaur from Yakutia, Eastern Russia” by Pavel P. Skutschas, Vera A. Gvozdkova, Alexander O. Averianov, Alexey V. Lopatin, Thomas Martin, Rico Schellhorn, Petr N. Kolosov, Valentina D. Markova, Veniamin V. Kolchanov, Dmitry V. Grigoriev, Ivan T. Kuzmin and Dmitry D. Vitenko published in PLOS One.

5 06, 2021

Helicoprion Scale Drawing

By | June 5th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

As Everything Dinosaur team members prepare for the arrival of the new for 2021 PNSO Helicoprion model a scale drawing of this strange fish from the Permian has been commissioned. Haylee the Helicoprion model is due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur later in the summer (2021).

Helicoprion scale drawing
As Everything Dinosaur prepares for the arrival of Haylee the Helicoprion model from PNSO a scale drawing of this Permian fish has been commissioned.

Helicoprion bessonowi

Three species in the Helicoprion genus are currently assigned, each one being distinguished from the others by variations identified in the distinctive tooth whorl. The size of this predator remains uncertain, although based on the morphology of other smaller related fish, Helicoprion has been estimated to have been around 5 to 8 metres in length. In the Everything Dinosaur scale drawing that we have prepared, our image indicates that this strange fish grew to lengths of around 7.5 to 8 metres.

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion anterior view
PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion replica. The stunning emerald eye on the model is reminiscent of the eye of a Chimaera such as the deep water Rabbit Fish (Chimaera monstrosa) to which Helicoprion is distantly related.

Haylee the Helicoprion

As with the other mid-size PNSO replicas, this stunning model has been given a nickname. The figure is called Haylee the Helicoprion, Everything Dinosaur team members are not sure why Haylee was chosen; however, it is certainly a welcome addition to the PNSO product portfolio and we are looking forward to stocking it later on this year (2021).

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion model measurements
The model measures 21 cm in length and from the base of the tail fluke to the top of the dorsal fin of the Helicoprion is 7.5cm

Model Measurements

The model measures around 21 cm in length and although PNSO do not declare a scale for this range of prehistoric animal figures, team members estimate that if Helicoprion was around 8 metres in length then this model would be in approximately 1:38 scale or thereabouts.

The fossilised teeth of Helicoprion
Fossilised teeth whorl from a cartilaginous fish. The famous tooth whorl associated with the Permian fish genus Helicoprion.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that they were looking forward to bringing this model into stock and they were also excited about making more new product announcements about PNSO models in the very near future.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

4 06, 2021

A Pterosaur Dance Floor from China

By | June 4th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Scientists writing in the academic journal “PeerJ” have reported the discovery of an extensive pterosaur trackway from the Lower Cretaceous Shengjinkou Formation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in north-western China. The trackway consists of 114 small pterosaur tracks (57 handprints and 57 footprints). Analysis of these trace fossils has led to the erection of a new pterosaur ichnospecies – Pteraichnus wuerhoensis, although the researchers speculate that these tracks could have been made by the dsungaripterid pterosaur Noripterus complicidens.

Pteraichnus pterosaur tracksite
A photograph of the tracksite with an interpretative line drawing. The tracks have been assigned to the new pterosaur ichnospecies Pteraichnus wuerhoensis. Picture credit Wei Gao.

A Complicated Trackway to Interpret

As 57 handprints (manus) and 57 footprints (pes) have been preserved on the same slab of finely-grained sandstone, the researchers confidently assert that the trackmaker was quadrupedal, but they can’t say for certain whether these prints were all produced at the same time. It is presumed that they would have been made over a short period of time on a muddy shoreline close to a large lake, as they would have needed to be covered by sediment quite quickly to permit their preservation. The lack of ripple marks or invertebrate trace fossils in the slab suggest that this surface was rapidly buried after only being exposed for a short period.

The handprints range in size from 1.9 cm long to 5.15 cm, whilst the feet impressions range in size from 2.68 cm to 5.71 cm. This suggests that the tracks were made by pterosaurs of different ages. This indicates that both adult and juvenile forms may have congregated at this location.

Gregarious Pterosaurs

The density of the Wuerho small pterosaur tracks was also remarked upon. The density is high, the assemblage would represent a density of tracks of around 365 per square metre. Generally, high densities of tracks (in excess of 100 per square metre), have often been cited as evidence of gregarious behaviour or high activity levels.

A detailed comparison with other pterosaur tracks suggests that these prints belong to the ichnogenus Pteraichnus, this is the tenth ichnospecies to be assigned to this ichnogenus. It being distinguished from the others by several traits, for example in these tracks the length of the toes on the foot are equal to the length of the metatarsal part of the foot. The ratio between the length of the toes and the rest of the foot is 1:1, this ratio is different from other reported pterosaur tracks assigned to the ichnogenus Pteraichnus.

Pteraichnus ichnospecies could be Noripterus complicidens
The foot of the dsungaripterid pterosaur Noripterus complicidens (left) with outline drawing of N. complicidens foot (middle) and interpretative drawing of a track made by a foot (right). The researchers infer that these tracks were probably made by N. complicidens. The length of the digital part of the foot (Di) is equal to the length of the metatarsal part of foot (Me). The ratio between the length of the toes and the rest of the foot is 1:1 this ratio is different from other reported pterosaur tracks assigned to the ichnogenus Pteraichnus and therefore supports the theory that these tracks represent a new ichnospecies. Picture credit: Li et al with additional notation by Everything Dinosaur.

Tracks Possibly Made by Noripterus complicidens

The researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Centre for Excellence in Life and Palaeoenvironment), postulate that the tracks may have been made by the dsungaripterid pterosaur Noripterus complicidens. To date only two genera of pterosaur have been identified from fossils found in the Shengjinkou Formation in north-western China. They are both members of the Dsungaripteridae family, a group of advanced pterodactyloid pterosaurs with robust, stout skulls and strong limbs. The two genera are Dsungaripterus (D. weii) and the slightly smaller Noripterus (N. complicidens). By comparing the tracks to the foot bone of Noripterus, the researchers concluded that these tracks were made by Noripterus, a pterosaur with a wingspan of approximately 2 metres that probably fed on shellfish, hence the congregation of pterosaur tracks at this site, although no feeding traces could be identified.

An incomplete specimen of the dsungaripterid pterosaur Noripterus compliciden
An incomplete specimen of the dsungaripterid pterosaur Noripterus complicidens. Picture credit: Junchang Lü.

The scientific paper: “A new pterosaur tracksite from the Lower Cretaceous of Wuerho, Junggar Basin, China: inferring the first putative pterosaur trackmaker” by Yang Li, Xiaolin Wang and Shunxing Jiang published in PeerJ.

3 06, 2021

A Juvenile T. rex Could Puncture Bone

By | June 3rd, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos|0 Comments

New research published in the on-line academic journal “PeerJ” suggests that the bite of a juvenile T. rex was strong enough to puncture bone.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh palaeontologist Joseph Peterson in collaboration with Shannon Brink, formerly at Wisconsin but now a student at East Carolina University along with Jack Tseng (University of Berkeley, California), tested the bite force that can be generated on the tip of a tooth from a teenage T. rex. They discovered that even though the tyrannosaur was far from fully grown, it could generate a bite force of up to 5,641 newtons, that’s much higher than an adult male lion (Panthera leo) and more than has been estimated for the giant abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei). In fact, this bite force estimate for a T. rex believed to have been around thirteen years of age is comparable to the calculated bite forces of many adult meat-eating dinosaurs such as Allosaurus fragilis.

The bite force of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh palaeontologist Joseph Peterson demonstrating the bone penetrating bite of a tyrannosaur. Picture credit: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Where did Juvenile Tyrannosaurs Fit in Late Cretaceous Ecosystems

Whilst there has been quite a lot of research on the bite force potential of adult meat-eating dinosaurs, particularly tyrannosaurs, much less work has been undertaken to assess the bite forces generated by juveniles. By gaining a better understanding of the power of the jaws of these sub-adult predators, then palaeontologists can infer important information about their behaviour such as hunting strategies and preferred prey.

Schleich Tyrannosaurs (2017-2018).
The Schleich juvenile T. rex and the 2017 Schleich T. rex model. Juvenile tyrannosaurs had a bone crunching bite. New research into the bite force generated by juvenile T. rex dinosaurs suggest that they could penetrate bone.

Crunching Cow Bones

In order to test the bite force, a replica of a tooth from a juvenile T. rex was mounted onto a mechanical testing frame used in the University’s engineering and science block. Numerous experiments were then carried out to see if the tooth could penetrate and crack the leg bone of a cow. Based on seventeen successful attempts to match the depth and shape of penetration marks identified in the fossil record, the researchers determined that a thirteen-year-old T. rex could have exerted up to 5,641 newtons of force, that’s somewhere between the bite force exerted by a modern-day hyena and a crocodile.

Impressive as it is, after all, we humans can muster a bite force across our incisors of around 300 newtons, the juvenile T. rex had a much weaker bite than that estimated for an adult. Some scientists have calculated that an adult T. rex could generate a bite force in excess of 35,000 newtons, easily enough pressure to shatter the bones of a hadrosaur or a Triceratops.

Assessing the bite force of a T. rex
Bite down hard! Assessing the bite force of Tyrannosaurus rex. Picture credit: Biology Letters.

The study reveals that juvenile T. rexes were developing their biting techniques and strengthening their jaw muscles to be able crush bone once their adult teeth came in.

Commenting on the significance of this study, Joseph Peterson stated:

“This actually gives us a little bit of a metric to help us gauge how quickly the bite force is changing from juvenile to adulthood, and something to compare with how the body is changing during that same period of time. Are they already crushing bone? No, but they are puncturing it. It allows us to get a better idea of how they are feeding, what they are eating. It is just adding more to that full picture of how animals like tyrannosaurs lived and grew and the roles that they played in that ecosystem.”

To read an earlier article that examined the bite force of tyrannosaurs: New Research into T. rex Bite Force.

The scientific paper: “Bite force estimates in juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex based on simulated puncture marks” by Joseph E. Peterson, Z. Jack Tseng and Shannon Brink published in PeerJ.

2 06, 2021

Reinterpreting the Burgess Shale Deposits

By | June 2nd, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

New research suggests that the remarkable Burgess Shale deposits may not preserve the remains of a single, complex Cambrian marine ecosystem but the animals that were to become preserved as fossils may have been transported to this location from much further away.

Researchers led by Dr Nicholas Minter and Dr Orla Bath Enright (University of Portsmouth), writing in the academic journal “Communications Earth & Environment” postulate that the amazing biota associated with the Walcott Quarry could have undergone substantial transport prior to deposition. They suggest that this aggregation of fossils of primitive marine creatures might not represent the remains of a single, rich and diverse ecosystem but the accumulated remains of several prehistoric communities.

The Burgess Shale Marine community
The rich and diverse Cambrian biota associated with the Walcott Quarry (British Columbia). Picture credit: Phlesch Bubble/Royal Ontario Museum.

Ancient Lifeforms Moved by Mudflows

In late August 1909, American palaeontologist Charles Walcott was exploring an area of shale deposits exposed in the mountains of British Columbia close to Mount Burgess. He discovered a profusion of fossils in the shales, many of which had their soft parts preserved. The strata consist of fine mud which were laid down between 510 and 505 million years ago and the location, now known as Walcott Quarry, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. More than 65,000 fossil specimens have been collected representing more than 120 species. This fossil assemblage helped to support the theory of the “Cambrian explosion”, that towards the middle of the Cambrian there was a sudden burst of evolutionary activity leading to the evolution of the Phyla we have today. It had been thought that this Lagerstätte had been formed when catastrophic mudflows buried the ecosystem but the researchers, using flume experiments were able to demonstrate that the remains of delicate animals were capable of being transported tens of kilometres.

Mudflows Transporting Specimens Leading to the Burgess Shale Lagerstätte
The research team were able to plot the movement of delicate animal remains in mudflows and they concluded that they would not have deteriorated further despite significant transport. Picture credit: Orla Bath Enright et al.

Taphonomic Assessment and Analysis of the Shale Deposits

The researchers used a combination of measurements and assessments at the Walcott Quarry site with flume tank laboratory tests to mimic the mudflows and the deposition. They concluded that the delicate bodies of certain creatures could have been moved over tens of kilometres without damage, creating the illusion of this Lagerstätte representing a single prehistoric community.

Field work at the Walcott Quarry (Burgess Shale).
Field work being carried out at the Walcott Quarry located in the Burgess Shale of British Columbia. Picture credit: Orla Bath Enright.

The Deterioration of the Remains of Polychaete Worms

The University of Portsmouth was assisted in this research by scientists from University of Saskatchewan and Southampton University. They looked at one particular species of polychaete worm (Alitta virens) present in the shales, classified the degree of preservation for fossil specimens from entire/complete to degraded with just jaws and setae (bristle-like structures) left. They concluded that transport of the carcasses of these delicate animals did not significantly damage the remains further beyond what has already occurred due to normal decay processes.

Increasing states of polychaete degradation (Alitta virens)
Increasing states of polychaete degradation (Alitta virens). The researchers examined the fossilised remains of one species of polychaete worm and grouped the remains into categories related to the pristine state of the fossil material. It was concluded that the remains of soft-bodied, delicate animals could have been transported considerable distances and thus the Burgess Shale Lagerstätte might represent the preserved remains of more than one marine community. Picture credit: Orla Bath Enright et al.

Commenting on the implications this study might have Dr Bath Enright stated:

“We don’t know over what kind of overall time frame these many flows happened, but we know each one produced an ‘event bed’ that we see today stacked up on top of one another. These flows could pick up animals from multiple places as they moved across the seafloor and then dropped them all together in one place”.

Stratigraphy and interpretative line drawings from sediments associated with the Walcott Quarry
Stratigraphy and interpretative line drawings from sediments associated with the Walcott Quarry. The image (B) shows Bed A from the Greater Phyllopod Bed of the Walcott Quarry, whilst (C) shows a line drawing of the sedimentation of Bed A. Soft-bodied organisms (1, 2, and 3) from the proposed mud flows will become mixed in the deposit. Picture (D) shows a thin-section scan from Bed A showing parallel laminae, erosive, scoured bases, and “floating” quartz grains (Q). White arrows indicate transitional cohesive flow deposits. Picture credit: Orla Bath Enright et al.

A Cautionary Note

This research indicates that the transportation of the remains of soft-bodied creatures does not unduly affect their degradation. Fossils found in a single layer of sediment and assumed to represent animals living together in a single ecosystem, could actually represent the accumulation of remains that have been gathered together and that these animals may have lived far apart. The study provides a cautionary note on how palaeontologists develop views on ancient ecosystems based on the fossilised remains of the creatures they study.

Intriguingly, for what appears to be such a rich and specious community, dominated by benthic organisms (living on the seafloor), there is very little evidence of trackways, burrows or bioturbation associated with this famous fossil site. The lack of these trace fossils suggests a predominantly low oxygen or anoxic habitat and this lends weight to the idea that the sediments in which the fossils were found do not represent the habitat of these creatures.

An Ottoia fossil from the famous Burgess Shale.
An Ottoia fossil (Burgess Shale). Many different types of worm are associated with the Burgess Shale deposits but very few trace fossils such as burrows have been preserved. This lends weight to the idea that the remains of these animals were transported to the site from elsewhere.

It is not known precisely what caused the mudflows which buried and transported the animals which became fossilised, but the area was subject to multiple flows, causing well-preserved fossils to be found at numerous different levels in the shale.

Dr Bath Enright added:

“When we see multiple species accumulated together it can give the illusion we are seeing a single community. But we argue that an individual ‘event bed’ could be the product of several communities of animals being picked up from multiple places by a mudflow and then deposited together to give what looks like a much more complicated single community of animals”.

The scientific paper: “Flume experiments reveal flows in the Burgess Shale can sample and transport organisms across substantial distances” by Orla G. Bath Enright, Nicholas J. Minter, Esther J. Sumner, M. Gabriela Mángano and Luis A. Buatois published in Communications Earth & Environment.

1 06, 2021

“Locked in Time” Book Competition

By | June 1st, 2021|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|3 Comments

To celebrate the publication of the amazing book “Locked in Time” by award-winning palaeontologist Dean Lomax with illustrations by renowned palaeoartist Bob Nicholls, Everything Dinosaur is giving you the chance to win a copy in our free to enter Facebook competition.

Please note this competition has now closed.

We even created a short YouTube video briefly reviewing the book and explaining how you can enter our contest.

Win a Copy of “Locked in Time” thanks to Everything Dinosaur (Please note this competition closes at midnight (BST) on June 17th 2021).

A Fabulous New Book Describing Behaviour Inferred from Fossils

Let’s give the book its full title – “Locked in Time – Animal Behaviour Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils”, it has taken Dr Dean Lomax ten years to research and write. He has teamed up with Bob Nicholls a well-known, British palaeoartist who has used his extensive knowledge of the living world to vividly reproduce moments captured in deep, geological time by the fossil discoveries.

The book "Locked in Time"
The front cover of the book “Locked in Time – Animal Behaviour Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils” by Dean Lomax with illustrations by Bob Nicholls.

Win a Copy of the Book

The Everything Dinosaur “Locked in Time” book competition is free to enter. All you have to do is visit Everything Dinosaur on Facebook: Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook Page and on the “Locked in Time” competition post at the top of the page, name the two fighting dinosaurs that feature on the front cover, leaving your answer in the comments section below the post.

At midnight (BST) June 17th (2021), the competition closes and shortly afterwards Everything Dinosaur will randomly select a commentator from the list and that lucky person will be sent a copy of this fantastic book.

Please note this competition has now closed.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could give the Everything Dinosaur Facebook page a “like”.

Hurry, the competition closes at midnight (British Summer Time on Thursday 17th June 2021).

Win a copy of the fantastic book "Locked in time"
Your chance to win a copy of “Locked in Time” by Dean Lomax illustrated by Bob Nicholls. Simply, like our Facebook page and leave a comment naming the two dinosaurs featured on the front cover.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur praised the publication, commenting that this book provided some remarkable insights into modern palaeontology and highlighted some incredible fossil discoveries.

Please note this competition has now closed.

Buy this Book!

You are most welcome to enter the Everything Dinosaur Facebook competition. One lucky entrant is going to win a copy of “Locked in Time”, however, if you can’t wait, then you can pick up this exciting publication at Columbia University Press here: Buy “Locked in Time” here just type the word “Lomax” into the website search box and you will be taken to the area of the site that features the books written by Dr Lomax.

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