All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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20 01, 2018

School Prepares for Dinosaur Workshops

By | January 20th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Hanging Heaton Primary Prepares for Dinosaur Term Topic

Pupils and staff at Hanging Heaton CE (VC) Junior and Infant School (near Dewsbury, West Yorkshire), have been busy preparing their classrooms for the start of the special Spring Term topic – dinosaurs.  Children in class 1 and class 2, comprising the Reception and Key Stage 1 cohorts at the school, will be learning all about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals for the rest of this term.  To help kick-start the topic, Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to provide a provocation in the form of a dinosaur workshop to help enthuse the children.

Class 1 (Reception and Year 1) Have Prepared a Palaeontology Lab Display

The FS2/Year 1 class have a palaeontology lab.

The FS2/Year 1 class have a palaeontology laboratory.

Picture Credit: Hanging Heaton CE (VC) Junior and Infant School/Everything Dinosaur

Tidy and Spacious Classrooms

Our dinosaur expert had the opportunity to see the classrooms prior to starting the morning of dinosaur and fossil themed workshops.  The classrooms were tidy and spacious and the dedicated teachers, with the support of the learning support assistants had prepared a number of display boards to showcase the children’s work as they study dinosaurs.  The children in the mixed class of Reception and Year 1 are going to have a palaeontology laboratory in the corner of their classroom.  Perhaps, some of the extension activities we proposed, such as creating a prehistoric animal might end up being put up on the display board.

Class 2 (A Mixed Year 1 and Year 2 Class) Ready for the Dinosaurs Term Topic

A Key Stage 1 term topic display board - Dinosaurs!

Year 1/2 classroom ready for the dinosaurs term topic.

Picture Credit: Hanging Heaton CE (VC) Junior and Infant School/Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and to request a quotation: Contact Everything Dinosaur, Request a Quotation

Questions about Dinosaurs

The children demonstrated some amazing pre-knowledge, confidently talking about the largest dinosaurs and explaining the differences between meat-eaters and plant-eaters.  They also asked lots of questions about different types of prehistoric animals.  One little boy (George), wanted to know what sort of dinosaurs hunted Styracosaurus.  Our dinosaur expert was able to explain that when Styracosaurus (a horned dinosaur), roamed North America in the Late Cretaceous, there were several types of Tyrannosaur and other predators that might have considered this very spiky reptile as dinner.

A Drawing of the Horned Dinosaur Styracosaurus (S.albertensis)

Styracosaurus illustrated.

A drawing of the horned dinosaur Styracosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Additional Resources and Activities

Prior to the two workshops, our dinosaur expert had a short meeting with the teaching lead for the term topic to ensure that learning objectives would be incorporated into the sessions.  In addition, the Everything Dinosaur team member was able to provide a number of additional teaching resources to support the school’s scheme of work, including a dinosaur footprint measuring exercise, a motor skills test linked to writing for the Reception children and a dinosaur themed geography exercise to help the Key Stage 1 children learn about the continents.

We look forward to seeing pictures of the classroom display boards filled up with examples of the children’s dinosaur and fossil themed learning.

13 01, 2018

Downsizing DNA Brings Success to Flowering Plants

By | January 13th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Angiosperms Downsized Their Genomes

Recently, Everything Dinosaur published an article on the remarkable discovery of Lepidoptera wing scales in Upper Triassic/Early Jurassic drill cores from Germany.  This fossil evidence suggested that butterflies and moths were around some 200 million years ago.  This raised the question, what did the adult insects feed on?  Butterflies and moths are closely associated with feeding on the nectar produced by flowering plants (Angiosperms), this led to speculation that, as some scientists have already suggested, flowering plants evolved much earlier than previously thought.

A Water Lily in Flower (Angiosperm)

A water lily in flower.

From the time of the dinosaurs – a water lily, an Angiosperm (flowering plant).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Whenever the flowering plants (Angiosperms) evolved, they seem to have out-competed other types of plants such as Gymnosperms, Pteridosperms and the very ancient Lycopodiophyta, for example.  How did they do this?  After all, they are the most diverse of all the land plants with something like 300,000 species.  Scientists from San Francisco State University and Yale, writing in the academic journal PLoS – Biology, propose that a downsizing in the plant’s genome is the key to their success.

Thinking Smaller

Current thinking is that the Angiosperms, radiated and diversified very rapidly, becoming the dominant terrestrial vegetation by the Late Cretaceous.  Flowering plants took over the world, leading to the astonishing variety of plants we find today.  The scientists conclude that at a critical point in the evolution of the Angiosperms, they downsized their genomes.  Flowering plants reduced the amount of DNA held within the nucleus of each cell, this permitted these plants to make smaller cells and to build leaves with more sophisticated and complicated structures, of great assistance when it comes to improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, along with the use of energy and the management of each cell body.  This reduction in the genome, is likely to have given Angiosperms a competitive advantage over other types of plants.

Co-author of the study, Assistant Professor of Biology (San Francisco State University), Kevin Simonin explained:

“Flowering plants are the most important group of plants on Earth, and now we finally know why they’ve been so successful.”

The Rise of Flowers Puzzles Darwin

Prior to the evolution of the Angiosperms, terrestrial vegetation was dominated by ferns, horsetails, clubmosses, cycads and their relatives along with conifers.  Flowering plants took over and make up more than 90 percent of all the land plant species around today.  Even Charles Darwin was perplexed by the success of the Angiosperms and scientists ever since have been offering potential reasons for it, ranging from the influence of pollinators (such as those ancient butterflies and moths referred to earlier), to a reshuffling of genes.  What has been missing is an explanation of just how flowering plants became so successful in the first place.

Flowering Plants in the Cretaceous

Artwork illustrates new book on fossil insects.

A mayfly rests on a primitive flowering plant – a Cretaceous scene.

Picture Credit: Richard Bizley

Working in collaboration with Adam Roddy (Yale University), Assistant Professor Simonin, undertook a review of the current literature and demonstrated that flowering plants went through a dramatic genome downsizing as they evolved.  In comparison, the genomes of other plants, competing with flowers remain relatively unchanged.  Smaller genomes means the option to make smaller cells, with those smaller building blocks, the team showed, flowering plants can construct more complicated networks of veins to keep their cells hydrated and more pores (stomata) in their leaves to draw in the carbon dioxide they need to make food.  More stomata, permitted more efficient gaseous exchange, both oxygen and CO2.

Finer Genomes Make Finer Flowers

The researchers mapped the genome downsizing patterns they had identified and applied a phylogenetic assessment to their data.  They discovered that flowering plants began to downsize their genomes at around the time they were beginning to dominate terrestrial flora.  According to this study, having a greater variety of cellular building blocks apparently gave flowering plants an edge over conifers and other types of plant.  It is not only the flowering plants that have benefited, pollinators have also become more successful and much of the food that we consume and that we feed to domestic animals comes from Angiosperms.

The idea to investigate the size of the genome of flowering plants, came indirectly from one of Assistant Professor Simonin’s students.  During a lecture, the student enquired whether whales had big genomes?  Simonin began to think more about the size of cellular genetic material and its impact on plant physiology.

An Illustration of Prehistoric Flowers – Archaefructus

Archaefructus prehistoric flowers.

Prehistoric Flowers (Archaefructus).

Picture Credit: Associated Press

He explained:

“It sent me down this whole path of genome-size research.  It reinvented the research in my lab in many ways.”

On-going Research

Research is continuing in this field of botany.  San Francisco State University scientists in conjunction with colleagues from other academic bodies are currently exploring some groups of flowering plants that don’t seem to have reduced their genomes.  In certain environments, perhaps where photosynthesis is more difficult, there might not be a competitive advantage to be gained.  There might be no evolutionary pressure for plants to create smaller cells.  This new study, has shed some much needed light on a puzzle that Charles Darwin referred to as “an abominable mystery”

To read about the research into Late Triassic/Early Jurassic Lepidoptera: Ancient Butterflies Flutter By

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of the San Francisco State University in the compilation of this article.

12 01, 2018

The Schleich Tawa Dinosaur Model is in Stock

By | January 12th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Stocks the Schleich Tawa Dinosaur Model

The new for 2018 Schleich Tawa dinosaur model has arrived and is now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  The Schleich Tawa is one of three Theropod replicas introduced by the German-based figure manufacturer in 2018, but the only one that represents a hypercarnivore.  The other two Theropods are the Schleich Oviraptor and the new colour variant of the Schleich Therizinosaurus.

The Schleich Tawa (Tawa hallae) Model is the Only Hypercarnivore Theropod to be Added to Date (2018)

The Schleich Tawa hallae dinosaur model.

The new for 2018 Schleich Tawa dinosaur model (T. hallae).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Tawa hallae – A Triassic Hypercarnivore

A hypercarnivore is an animal that has a diet of more than 70% meat, the diet of Oviraptor and Therizinosaurus is not that well understood, but Oviraptor may well have been omnivorous and Therizinosaurus could have been a relatively sedentary browser.  However, Tawa, a Theropod that lived more than a hundred million years earlier, was most certainly carnivorous and perhaps a hunter of other dinosaurs such as Coelophysis.  The jaw may be slender, but it is lined with sharp and curved teeth, ideal for slicing through meat.  Tawa had strong grasping hands with each finger ending in a sharp claw, these hands were probably used to grasp and subdue small prey.

The Sharp Teeth and Grasping Hands of Tawa hallae

Schleich Tawa dinosaur model.

A close-view of the Schleich Tawa dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ghost Ranch Location

This lithe dinosaur is known from the fossilised remains of several individuals recovered from sediments that make up part of the Petrified Forest Member of the famous Chinle Formation exposed at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.  All the fossils found to date represent immature individuals or juveniles which measure between two to three metres in length.  However, a single femur (thigh bone) found in association with the other remains provides tantalising evidence that these fast-running dinosaurs could grow much larger, perhaps more than four metres in length.  The Ghost Ranch location has provided palaeontologists with a fantastic insight into a Late Triassic palaeoenvironment, a time when the Dinosauria was beginning to dominate terrestrial environments, but they shared this seasonal world with other reptiles and mammal-like reptiles too.

Tawa hallae was named and scientifically described in 2009, to read an article about this dinosaur’s discovery: New Theropod Fossil Provides Evidence of Dinosaur Diversity

The Theropods of Ghost Ranch

Discovered by Edwin Colbert in 1947, the Coelophysis beds have produced more than 1,000 skeletons of Coelophysis, making this little Triassic Theropod one of the best known of all the Dinosauria.  In truth, the first evidence of dinosaur fossils from this location was recorded in 1885, but the native American people would have been aware of the strange bones eroding out of the ground for hundreds of years before western scientists.  The genus name for Tawa comes from the local Hopi people’s language.  It is their word for the Puebloan sun god.  It is fitting that a dinosaur from a part of New Mexico which would have been familiar to native peoples, has been given a name honouring the language and customs of these people.

To view the Schleich Tawa model and all the other figures in the Schleich prehistoric animal model range: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals

11 01, 2018

Ancient Butterflies, Flutter By

By | January 11th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossilised Wing Scales Provide Evidence of Triassic Moths and Butterflies

Butterflies and moths might be regarded as delicate creatures, what with the diaphanous wings and light-weight bodies, but a new study published in the journal “Science Advances” suggests that the Lepidoptera have been around for many millions of years longer than previously thought.  The new fossil discoveries, made by an international team of scientists led by Timo van Eldijk and Bas van de Schootbrugge (Utrecht University), have also challenged the presumed co-evolution between flowering plants (Angiosperms) and pollinating insects.

Fossil Evidence for Ancient Moths and Butterflies

Fossil scales of moths and butterflies.

Fossil scales of moths and butterflies as found in the drill cores from Schandelah, Lower Saxony (Germany).

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht

A core drilled into sediments in Schandelah, Lower Saxony (northern Germany), revealed microscopic wing scales some 70 million years older than the oldest, confirmed fossils of flowering plants.  The team’s findings suggest that wing and body scales found in rocks some 201 million years old, provide evidence that the Lepidoptera survived the end-Triassic mass extinction event.  Indeed, like the Dinosauria, moths and butterflies may have benefited from the extinction event, being able to exploit environmental niches vacated by extinct species.

Drilling into Ancient Rocks Triassic/Jurassic Strata

Drill cores reveal evidence of prehistoric moths and butterflies.

Drilling to produce the cores (northern Germany).

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht/Dr Bas van de Schootbrugge

Commenting on the significance of the core drill study, Utrecht University student Timo van Eldijk explained:

“The mass extinction event occurred at the end of the Triassic and was associated with massive volcanism as the super continent Pangaea started to break apart.  As a result, biodiversity on land and in the oceans suffered a setback with many key Triassic species going extinct, including many primitive reptiles.  However, one major group of insects, the Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies, appeared unaffected.  Instead, this group diversified during a period of ecological turnover.”

The Moth and Butterfly “Tongue”

Extant butterflies and moths have a well-known association with flowering plants.  As they feed on the nectar with their long proboscis (an elongated, sucking mouthpart), they pick up pollen and therefore play an important role in Angiosperm reproduction.

Dr Bas van de Schootbrugge (Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University) stated:

“The fossil remains contain distinctive hollow scales and provide clear evidence for a group of moths with sucking mouthparts, which is related to the vast majority of living moths and butterflies.”

A Scanning Electron Microscope Image of the Wing Scales on an Extant Moth Species

A scanning electron microscope image of Glossata wing scales.

A scanning electron microscope image showing the wing scales on a modern-day Glossata moth.

Picture Credit: University of Utrecht

What Did the Triassic Lepidoptera Feed On?

If there were moths and butterflies about some 201 million years ago, some 70 million years before the first flowering plants, then what were the adult animal’s feeding on?  The researchers conclude that the first Lepidopterans were feeding on non-flowering seed plants (Gymnosperms), one of the most successful plant groups of the early Mesozoic.  The earliest proboscid moths (Glossata), likely used their long, sucking mouthparts to feast on the sugary pollination beads secreted by several groups of Gymnosperms.

There is another tantalising and very controversial aspect that is worth considering.  What if the flowering plants evolved much earlier than previously thought?

In 2013, Everything Dinosaur published an article providing information on some intriguing research that suggested flowering plants originated more than 240 million years ago, in the Early Triassic.  If flowering plants were around over 100 million years earlier than previously thought than a symbiotic relationship between early Lepidoptera and early Angiosperms could have already been in place.

To read the article about evidence for Lower Triassic flowering plant fossils: Saying it with Flowers 100 Million Years Before Anyone Expected

On the basis of the fossilised wing and body scales recovered from Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic sediments, the scientists have provided the earliest evidence to date for moths and butterflies.  The diversity of the scales found confirm a Late Triassic radiation of lepidopteran forms, including the divergence of the Glossata, a clade that consists of the living butterflies and moths with a sucking proboscis.   The team conclude that the early evolution of the Lepidoptera was probably not severely interrupted by the end-Triassic mass extinction event.

Providing an Insight into Today’s Climate Change

MSc student Timo Van Eldijk stated:

“This evidence has transformed our understanding of the evolutionary history of moths and butterflies as well as their resilience to extinction.  By studying how insects and their evolution was affected by dramatic greenhouse warming at the start of the Jurassic, we hope to provide insight into how insects might respond to the human-induced climate change challenges we face today.”

An Example of an Extant Member of the Glossata Clade

A living member of the Glossata clade.

An extant Glossata moth with similar wing scales to those found in the Upper Triassic/Lower Jurassic drill cores.

Picture Credit: Hossein Rajaei/Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany)

The scientific paper: “A Triassic-Jurassic Window into the Evolution of Lepidoptera” by Timo van Eldijk, Torsten Wappler, Paul Strother, Carolien van der Weijst, Hossein Rajaei, Henk Visscher and Bas van de Schootbrugge, published in the journal “Science Advances”.

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

10 01, 2018

Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland

By | January 10th, 2018|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

A Review of the Fossils of Folkestone, Kent

Fossil collecting is a popular hobby and there are a number of excellent general guide books available.  However, the newly published “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” by geologist and museum curator Philip Hadland, takes a slightly different perspective.  Instead of focusing on lots of fossil collecting locations, Philip provides a comprehensive overview of just one area of the Kent coast, the beaches and cliffs surrounding the port of Folkestone.  Here is a book that delivers what its title implies, if you want to explore the Gault Clay, Lower Greensand and Chalks around Folkestone then this is the book for you.

The Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland – A Comprehensive Guide

Fossil collecting guide to the Folkestone area.

Fossils of Folkestone, Kent by Philip Hadland and published by Siri Scientific Press and priced at £12.99 plus postage.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

A Comprehensive Overview of the Geology and the Palaeoenvironment of the Folkestone Area

The author clearly has a tremendous affection for this part of the Kent coast.  His enthusiasm is infectious and the reader is soon dipping into the various chapters, dedicated to the rock formations exposed along the cliffs and the fossil delights to be found within them.  Folkestone is probably most famous for its beautiful Gault Clay ammonites, the clay being deposited around 100 million years ago and a wide variety of these cephalopods can be found preserved in the rocks.  The book contains more than 100 full colour plates, so even the beginner fossil hunter can have a go at identifying their fossil discoveries.

Clear Colour Photographs Help with Fossil Identification

Ammonite fossils from Folkestone (Anahoplites praecox).

Anahoplites praecox fossil from Folkestone.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Surprises on the Shoreline

The book begins by explaining some of the pleasures of fossil hunting, before briefly outlining a history of fossil collecting in the Folkestone area and introducing some of the colourful characters who were prominent fossil collectors in their day.  The geology of the area is explored using terminology that the general reader can understand and follow, but academics too, will no doubt gain a lot from this publication.  Intriguingly, the Cretaceous-aged sediments were thought to have been deposited in a marine environment, however, the Lower Greensand beds have produced evidence of dinosaur footprints.  The palaeoenvironment seems to have been somewhat more complex than previously thought, the Lower Greensand preserving evidence of inter-tidal mudflats, that were once crossed by dinosaurs.  Isolated dinosaur bones have also been found in the area and the book contains some fantastic photographs of these exceptionally rare fossil discoveries.

Helping to Identify Fossil Finds

Folkestone fossils - ammonites.

Folkestone fossils – ammonites.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Prehistoric Mammals

To help with identification, the colour plates and accompanying text are organised by main animal groups.  There are detailed sections on bivalves, brachiopods, corals, crustaceans, gastropods, belemnites and ammonites.  There are plenty of photographs of vertebrate fossils too and not just fish and reptiles associated with the Mesozoic.  Pleistocene-aged deposits are found in this area and these preserve the remains of numerous exotic prehistoric animals that once called this part of Kent home.

Fossil Teeth from a Hippopotamus Which Lived in the Folkestone Area During a Warmer Inter-glacial Period

Folkestone fossils - Teeth from a Hippopotamus.

Pleistocene mammal fossils from Folkestone (Hippopotamus upper canine and molar).

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

The author comments that the presence of hippos, along with other large mammals such as elephants as proved by fossil finds, demonstrates how very different Folkestone was just 120,000 years ago.  It is likely that humans were present in the area, evidence of hominins have been found elsewhere in England and in nearby France, but as yet, no indications of human activity or a human presence in this area have been found.  Perhaps, an enthusiastic fossil hunter armed with this guide, will one day discover the fossils or archaeology that demonstrates that people were living in the area and exploiting the abundant food resources that existed.

A Partial Femur from a Large Hippopotamus Provides Testament to the Exotic Pleistocene Fauna

Folkestone fossils - partial femur from a Hippopotamus.

A partial femur (thigh bone) from a Hippopotamus.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

With a foreword by renowned palaeontologist Dean Lomax, “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” is an essential read for anyone with aspirations regarding collecting fossils on this part of the English coast.  The book, with its weather-proof cover, fits snugly into a backpack and the excellent photographs and text make fossil identification in the field really easy.

If your New Year’s resolution is to get out more to enjoy the wonders of the British countryside, to start fossil hunting, or to visit more fossil collecting locations, then the “Fossils of Folkestone, Kent” by Philip Hadland would be a worthy addition to your book collection.

For further information on this book and to order a copy: Siri Scientific Press On-line

9 01, 2018

On the Trail of Megalodon Ancestors

By | January 9th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists in Alabama Solve Forty-Year Shark Puzzle

A team of scientists from the University of Alabama and the McWane Science Centre (Birmingham, Alabama), have solved a four-decade-long prehistoric shark mystery, naming a new species of Late Cretaceous marine predator, one that might possibly have been an ancestor of the mighty Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), the largest carnivorous shark known to science.  The new species of shark has been named Cretalamna bryanti, the species name honours the Bryant family, committed supporters of the University of Alabama, the McWane Science Centre and the Alabama Museum of Natural History, institutions that have all been directly involved in the study and subsequent paper publication in the academic journal PeerJ.

Views of the Holotype Tooth Helping to Define a New Species

Cretalamna fossil tooth.

Views of one of the fossil shark teeth helping to define a new Cretaceous shark species.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

The picture shows the holotype fossil tooth (MSC 2984.1) in two views (A) labial view – a view of the tooth showing the side which would have faced the lips (if the fish had them), the side of the tooth facing the outside of the mouth and (B), mesial view, (directed to the middle of the body).  The scientists were able to establish a new species of a Cretalamna shark based on precise measurements of the features of the teeth within the study.

Key

(CH) = crown height.

(CT) = crown thickness.

(CW) = main cusp width.

(TH) = total height.

(TW) = total width

Thirty-Three Teeth Collected

The shark has been described based on thirty-three teeth collected from four locations within Alabama over the best part of forty years.  The teeth all between two and two and three-quarters centimetres high, represent a shark known as an otodontid or “mega-tooth” shark.  As the skeletons of sharks are made from cartilage, they rarely fossilise but their teeth do survive the fossilisation process and as an individual shark may have hundreds or even thousands of teeth in its life, shark tooth fossils are relatively common.

Previously, the teeth had been assigned to the Cretalamna species C. appendiculatai, but these teeth are mostly associated with much older Cretaceous deposits found in Europe.  The Alabama shark teeth were collected from rocks representing two geological formations, the Tombigbee Sand Member and the slightly younger Lower Mooreville Chalk.  The fossils have been dated to 84 million to 82 million years ago, a time when this part of south-eastern America was covered by a shallow sea known as the Late Cretaceous Mississippi Embayment (part of the Western Interior Seaway).

Some of the Individual Teeth Examined in the Study

Cretalamna bryanti shark fossil teeth.

Cretalamna bryanti fossil teeth.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Explaining the postulated ancestry of the Megalodon sharks, lead author of the research Jun Ebersole (McWane Science Centre), stated:

“Over time, the sharks in the Megalodon line acquire [tooth] serrations, lose their cusplets (the little “fangs” on the sides of the main cusp) and grow to enormous sizes.   The newly described shark is an early member of this family, so its teeth are small and unserrated, with up to two pairs of cusplets.”

The establishment of this new species adds to the database regarding megafauna and hypercarnivores within the Western Interior Seaway.   This new otodontid would have co-existed with other large predatory sharks, along with elasmosaurids, huge meat-eating fish and members of the Mosasauridae.  Such was the number of large carnivores, that the Western Interior Seaway has been nicknamed “Hell’s Aquarium”!

Marine Life in the Western Interior Seaway (Late Cretaceous North America)

Western Interior Seaway.

Typical Western Interior Seaway marine life.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

8 01, 2018

New Schleich Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | January 8th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

New Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The first of the 2018 Schleich prehistoric animal figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Five new models are now available, the new for 2018 Schleich Triceratops, the new colour variant Therizinosaurus plus the Psittacosaurus, Oviraptor and the amazing Dinogorgon replica.

New for 2018 Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

New Schleich prehistoric animals (2018).

New Schleich prehistoric animal models (2018).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models for 2018

Four of the five models to have arrived to date, are dinosaurs, the exception is the confusingly named Dinogorgon.  Dinogorgon is a member of the Therapsida and, as such, is more closely related to us humans than it is to any dinosaur.  One group of the therapsids, evolved into large, sabre-toothed predators – the gorgonopsids (named after the Gorgons from Greek myth), Dinogorgon is a gorgonopsid, a member of an African subfamily (the Rubidgeinae), which were the apex predators in southern Africa at the end of the Permian.

The Schleich Dinogorgon Model

Schleich Dinogorgon.

The Schleich Dinogorgon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This beautifully detailed figure measures around thirteen centimetres long and it is great to see Schleich making models of prehistoric animals that predate the Dinosauria.

Schleich Oviraptor Model

Schleich have also introduced a model of an Oviraptor into their dinosaur range.  The Oviraptor continues the trend to introduce feathered dinosaur representations into the company’s portfolio.  The figure is resplendent with its shaggy coat and prominent wing feathers.  The model stands some ten centimetres high, so it works in scale with larger replicas representing larger species.  The detail of the individual feathers on the Schleich Oviraptor has already attracted a number of favourable comments.

The Schleich Oviraptor Dinosaur Model

Schleich Oviraptor Dinosaur Model.

The new for 2018 Schleich Oviraptor dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view all the new Schleich prehistoric animal figures currently in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Schleich Prehistoric Animal Models

Schleich Therizinosaurus

Another Theropod, but like Oviraptor, very probably not a hypercarnivore.  Schleich have introduced a new colour version of their popular Therizinosaurus figure.  Just like its predecessor, this model has an articulated jaw and moveable arms.

The New for 2018 Schleich Therizinosaurus (Colour Variant)

Schleich Therizinosaurus dinosaur model.

Schleich new Therizinosaurus (2018).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich New for 2018 Triceratops Dinosaur Model

An old favourite has been remodelled for 2018 by Schleich.  The German-based company has introduced a large model of Triceratops.  The figure measures a whopping 21 centimetres long and it works well in scale with the Tyrannosaurus rex models introduced by Schleich.  The Schleich Triceratops has been given a vivid red colouration, in stark contrast to the battleship grey that covers the majority of the figure.

The New for 2018 Schleich Triceratops Dinosaur Model is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model (2018).

The new for 2018 Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Schleich Psittacosaurus

The last of the new for 2018 figures to be featured is the splendid Schleich Psittacosaurus.  We know that Schleich will introduce more models in the near future but for the time being, we will conclude this brief overview of new prehistoric animal models by commenting on the Schleich Psittacosaurus.

The Schleich Psittacosaurus (2018)

Schleich Psittacosaurus (2018).

New for 2018, the Schleich Psittacosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This model shows lots of detail and the skull with its prominent jugals (bony projections) deserves praise.  The painting around the open mouth is particularly well done and it is good to see that Psittacosaurus has been given a set of bristles at the end of its tail, as the fossil record suggests.  The bright green colouration contrasts nicely with the muted, pale undertones of the belly, thus emphasising the idea (as supported by a recent scientific paper), that these types of dinosaurs were countershaded.

To read an article about countershading in Psittacosaurus:Calculating the Colour of Psittacosaurus

All in all, it is a big Iguanodon’s thumb up from Everything Dinosaur for these new Schleich replicas.  We also look forward to commenting on the new for 2018 Tawa (T. hallae) figure when it arrives at our warehouse.

7 01, 2018

Triassic Inspired Prehistoric Animal Diorama

By | January 7th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Triassic Prehistoric Animal Landscape

Our thanks to dinosaur fan and model maker Robert Townsend who has sent in to Everything Dinosaur some pictures of his Triassic inspired prehistoric landscape.  Robert has constructed a large diorama complete with prehistoric vegetation, a waterhole and dinosaur footprints in the substrate.  In the latest set of photographs emailed to Everything Dinosaur, the prehistoric landscape has been populated with a range of prehistoric animal models that represent extinct creatures from the Triassic.

The Triassic Inspired Prehistoric Animal Diorama

A Triassic montage.

The Triassic landscape by Robert Townsend.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

A Terrific Triassic Landscape

The Triassic represents a transitional period in terrestrial faunas associated with the single, giant landmass Pangaea.  A number of reptile families died out towards the end of the Triassic and the Dinosauria emerged as the dominant terrestrial fauna.  Robert’s diorama includes a number of dinosaurs, such as the recently introduced Wild Safari Prehistoric World Coelophysis model and other Theropods such as the larger Liliensternus (CollectA).

A Coelophysis Inspects a Hatching Dinosaur

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Coelophysis model.

A Coelophysis mother and hatching egg.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Coelophysis (C. bauri) is known from the famous Ghost Ranch area of New Mexico, from exposures that represent part of the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation.  More than 1,000 individual skeletons of this meat-eating dinosaur have been excavated and the palaeofauna of the Ghost Ranch location featured in the first episode of the iconic 1999 television series “Walking with Dinosaurs”.  The episode was entitled “New Blood” and highlighted the radiation of the dinosaurs.  Other prehistoric animals to feature in that episode, such as Postosuchus and Plateosaurus are also included in Robert’s excellent diorama.

A CollectA Plateosaurus is Threatened by a Liliensternus (CollectA)

A Liliensternus threatens the larger Plateosaurus.

The CollectA Liliensternus confronts the CollectA Plateosaurus.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

Model maker Robert stated:

“I thought that you might like another selection of my latest prehistoric diorama pictures.  This time it’s from the Late Triassic of North America and Europe.  It is interesting to note that in the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic the continents of North America and Europe/Asia appear to have been so close together that there were plenty of land bridges to connect the two and that land animals could easily pass between them in either direction.”

A Postosuchus (left) Encounters the Extremely Long-necked Tanystropheus

Tanystropheus and Postosuchus at the waterhole.

A Postosuchus and a Tanystropheus at a Triassic waterhole.

Picture Credit: Robert Townsend

It is great to see that model producing companies are prepared to make models of early dinosaurs along with prehistoric animal figures that represent animals from the Triassic.

Our thanks to Robert for sending in these fascinating pictures of his Triassic inspired diorama.

6 01, 2018

JurassicCollectables Reviews Rebor “Rose”

By | January 6th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

A Review of the Rebor “Rose” Velociraptor Figure by JurassicCollectables

Those clever and talented people at JurassicCollectables have posted up another Rebor replica review.  The latest video features the Rebor Velociraptor named “Rose”, a representation of a female “raptor”, one of a pair of figures (one male, one female) introduced by Rebor last month.  These videos are a splendid way for dinosaur fans and model collectors to get a good look at any potential acquisition.  As well as showing the model, the narrator highlights key features and also compares the figure to other similar replicas, so collectors can gain an appreciation of its size and scale.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor Raptor “Rose”

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Rebor “Winston”, Rebor “Pete” and Rebor “Rose”

The narrator praises the figures calling them “lovely sculpts with lovely paint jobs”.  The Rebor female raptor “Rose” is compared with the recently reviewed Velociraptor “Pete” and a third Rebor Velociraptor replica “Winston”.  In the video, the skull shape and eyes of the Rebor “Winston” and the new “Rose” are carefully considered and the viewer is treated to a detailed inspection of the differences between the skulls and the eyes of these two models.

The female Velociraptor is depicted in a squatting position, as if the animal is resting and the points of articulation are discussed.  This Rebor replica has an articulated lower jaw as well as poseable forearms.  The exquisite colouration and details of the scales on the body are reviewed and commented upon.

The Rebor Velociraptor Figure “Rose”

Rebor "Rose" Velociraptor Model.

Rebor Velociraptor “Rose”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Pack of “Raptors”

In this carefully made video, JurassicCollectables have included a review of the packaging.  The back of the Rebor “Rose” box shows the range of Rebor Velociraptor figures in 1:18 scale that have been made so far.  With Rebor, dinosaur fans and model collectors have a wonderful opportunity to build their own pack of dromaeosaurids, very reminiscent of the Velociraptors seen in the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World film franchises.

It is good to see the various Rebor models and figures shown together.  Viewers can get an appreciation of potential dinosaur dioramas when the likes of Rebor “Winston” and the dynamic leaping Rebor “Spring heeled Jack” are included in the same video.  Rebor is certainly building a strong reputation for its 1:18 scale figures.

To view the range of Rebor models available from Everything Dinosaur including the difficult to obtain Rebor “Winston” and “Spring heeled Jack”: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

In terms of new scale models, collectors are going to have to wait until April before there are more Rebor releases.  However, collectors and model fans have plenty to enjoy in the current range and these excellent video reviews by JurassicCollectables really show these figures in superb detail.  Look out for the cameo appearance of “off-colour Alan” towards the end of this fifteen-minute review.  He appears just after the “tale of the tape” when Rose is measured.  The narrator makes a very good point, the Rebor 1:18 scale raptor range works very well in terms of scale with the original Jurassic Park models and figures.

The Rebor Female Velociraptor Dinosaur Model – “Rose”

Rebor "Rose" a 1:18 scale Velociraptor figure.

The Rebor Velociraptor “Rose”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The narrator concludes the video by stating that for fans of the Velociraptors seen in films such as Jurassic Park III, the models from Rebor are a must-have for the collection.  We shall shortly post up details of the JurassicCollectables review of the partner model to accompany “Rose”, the male Velociraptor appropriately termed “Gunn”.

In the meantime, check out the amazing YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables, it is crammed full of beautiful video reviews and other fantastic material for the dinosaur model enthusiast.

JurassicCollectables: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube.

4 01, 2018

Estemmenosuchus Scale Drawing

By | January 4th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page|0 Comments

Estemmenosuchus Scale Drawing

One of the new 1:20 scale figures from CollectA for 2018 is a model of the Dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus.  We are not expecting this model to arrive in stock until the middle of this year, but we are busy preparing a fact sheet to accompany sales of this Permian herbivore (most scientists state that these animals were plant-eaters).  For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we sell, we include a fact sheet about that animal in with the customer’s order.  Along with the fact sheet, we also provide a handy scale drawing so that readers can see at a glance just how big this prehistoric animal was.

Everything Dinosaur’s Prepared Scale Drawing of Estemmenosuchus (E. mirabilis)

Estemmenosuchus scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the bizarre Dinocephalian Estemmenosuchus (E. mirabilis).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Deciding on Which Species of Estemmenosuchus to Depict

There are currently two species of Estemmenosuchus recognised, Estemmenosuchus mirabilis and the much larger Estemmenosuchus uralensis, but which species does the CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale figure represent?  The CollectA model is over seventeen centimetres long and at 1:20 scale this represents an animal around 3.5 metres long.  This suggests that the model is getting towards the larger E. uralensis, which measured between 3.5 and 4.5 metres in length.  However, the larger Estemmenosuchus uralensis only had one pair of horny projections on the skull, whilst the smaller of the two recognised species E. mirabilis, had two pairs of horns on the top of the skull.

The CollectA Deluxe Estemmenosuchus Model (New for 2018)

Estemmenosuchus model from CollectA.

A Deluxe 1:20 scale Estemmenosuchus model from CollectA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

There are other anatomical differences too.  The skull of the larger species Estemmenosuchus uralensis was up to fifty percent longer.  The muzzle of E. mirabilis is proportionately smaller, but wider towards the front (anterior portion), there are also subtle differences in the morphology of the skulls, although both species show the characteristic thickened bone which is so reminiscent of the estemmenosuchids.  Based on this information, we think that the new for 2018 CollectA Deluxe Estemmenosuchus represents the smaller of the two valid species (E. mirabilis).  Our scale drawing has therefore been prepared based on an animal measuring around three metres in length and weighing an estimated 750 kilograms.

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