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28 11, 2019

Extra-terrestrial Objects Targeted in Bid to Prevent Asteroid Impacts

By | November 28th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Researcher Calls for Assistance to Help Earth Avoid Asteroid Impacts

Most scientists believe that Earth was subjected to a huge extra-terrestrial impact event around sixty-six million years ago.  This event referred to as the Chicxulub impactor, as the centre of the impact crater is close to the town of Chicxulub on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, probably played a significant role in the mass extinction event that marked the end of the Mesozoic.  In a bid to avoid our own species going the way of the Dinosauria, a Queen’s University Belfast researcher is calling on amateur astronomers to help with a European-wide mission helping to limit the possibility of future asteroid impacts.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons (Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s), is a senior mission advisor for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hera spacecraft.  Hera is part of humanity’s first deep space test of planetary defence against asteroids.  What was once the stuff of science-fiction is now fast becoming a reality with scientists wanting to learn more about the enormous quantity of vagrant material associated with our solar system and the potential threat we face from extra-terrestrial impacts.

Hera will also mark our first attempt to rendezvous a spacecraft with a binary asteroid system.  This is a little understood class of rocks and ice which makes up around fifteen per cent of all known near-Earth asteroids.  The spacecraft was presented to ESA’s Space19+ meeting in Seville (Spain), this week as part of the Agency’s Space Safety programme, where Europe’s space ministers made the decision to fly the mission.  Hera has in effect, the green for go light.

A Simulation Showing Hera Analysing an Asteroid

The spacecraft Hera at work.

A simulation showing the desk-sized Hera studying a binary asteroid.

Picture Credit: European Space Agency

A Collaboration with NASA

The mission is the European contribution to an international double-spacecraft collaboration.  NASA will first hit the moon of the asteroid with its own spacecraft and Hera will then follow-up with a detailed post-impact survey.  As well as exploring its final destination, the Didymos binary asteroid system, the Hera spacecraft could potentially fly past one or more bodies on the way.  But the mission team require additional observations to help select their targets.

Professor Fitzsimmons commented:

“Asteroid research is one area of astronomy where amateur observers continue to make an essential contribution.  The flyby candidates we have identified so far are little more than tiny dots of light in the sky, so faint they are invisible to the naked eye.  We need as much help as possible to refine their orbits and measure their properties, which could give clues to their characteristics in advance of Hera’s launch in October 2024.”

Help Wanted

The flyby opportunity arises because Hera will head out to match Didymos’s 770-day orbit around the Sun, which circles from less than 10 million kilometres from Earth to out beyond Mars, at more than double Earth’s Sunward distance.  In the process Hera will pass multiple asteroids and squeeze past the inner edge of the main Asteroid Belt located between Mars and Jupiter.

ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), has come up with a flyby shortlist.

ESA’s Hera project scientist Michael Küppers stated:

“For a 2-5 km asteroid employing Hera’s main Asteroid Framing Camera, we would aim for a flyby distance of 500 kilometres, but close approaches without real flybys are still useful, as they allow asteroid observations from angles unachievable from Earth.”

The precise targeting will come right down to the day of launch, how much fuel remains after fine-tuning Hera’s trajectory to Didymos and how accurately it will be possible to refine the potential flyby targets’ orbits.  The amount of fine-tuning will also be dependent on the Ariane 6 launcher which will place Hera onto its interplanetary trajectory.

From ESOC’s full set of flyby possibilities Professor Fitzsimmons and the Hera investigation team have come up with an initial list of seven candidate asteroids they would like amateur astronomers to try to observe.

Professor Fitzsimmons explained:

“Only three of these bodies have known diameters and albedos, or surface brightness.  None of them have known rotation periods, this is something experienced amateurs could try and measure for us, especially for the brighter objects.”

ESA’s first experience with asteroid flybys came during Europe’s Rosetta mission, when the comet chaser passed two Main Belt asteroids in 2008 and 2010, giving the spacecraft an early opportunity to try out its suite of scientific instruments ahead of reaching comet 67P Churyumov–Gerasimenko in 2014.  However, Rosetta was a bus-sized spacecraft on a ten-year cruise phase with multiple planetary flybys, while Hera will be only the size of a small desk, headed on a more straightforward route through deep space for a little over twenty-four months.

So, any additional asteroid encounter cannot be taken for granted but would be a scientifically valuable extra.  Hence the rallying call to the amateur astronomer community to help select flyby targets.

After all, we don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs do we.

Asteroid Impact – Assistance Required to Help Avoid Extra-terrestrial Impacts

Asteroid strikes the Earth.

An extra-terrestrial object approaches Earth.  A Joint NASA and ESA space project sets out to help avoid future Earth impact events.

Picture Credit: Deposit Photos/Paul Paladin

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Queen’s University Belfast in the compilation of this article.

27 11, 2019

Targaryendraco – Unravelling the Ornithocheiridae

By | November 27th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Targaryendraco – When the Pterosauria and “Game of Thrones” Meet

The Ornithocheiridae is one of the most extensively researched of all the pterosaur families.  However, this family of flying reptiles has a reputation amongst researchers for being one of the most difficult when it comes to mapping out their taxonomy.  The fragmentary fossils (usually jaw tips), first studied in the middle of the 19th century, has led to the erection of all kinds of genera and species.  Many palaeontologists are trying to make sense of this complicated and confused taxonomy, trying to unpick and unravel all those dubious pterosaurs assigned from the Cambridge Greensand of southern England and from the Lower Cretaceous deposits of central Germany as well as elsewhere in the world.

A team of researchers writing in the academic journal “Historical Biology”, have reassessed a specimen housed at the State Museum of Natural History – Stuttgart (Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde).  This specimen, the most complete pterosaur fossil known from Lower Cretaceous deposits in Germany, consists of material from the lower jaws, (including the jaw tips), a partial rib as well as elements from the forelimbs, hand and fingers.  Originally assigned to the Ornithocheirus genus and named Ornithocheirus wiedenrothi, the authors build on previous studies that questioned whether this specimen represented a species of Ornithocheirus, redescribe it and assign this pterosaur to its own genus – Targaryendraco.  The trivial name is still retained, honouring amateur palaeontologist Kurt Wiedenroth who discovered the fossil material back in 1984.

A Life Reconstruction of Targaryendraco wiedenrothi

A life reconstruction of the pterosaur Targaryendraco.

Targaryendraco life reconstruction.  The single specimen known probably represents a sub-adult, so the size of this flying reptile is uncertain, some estimates have suggested a wingspan of between 3-4 metres.  Ironically the fossil specimen demonstrates a narrow mandible, a characteristic of the Ornithocheiridae.

Picture Credit: Vitor Silva

The “Game of Thrones” Connection

The genus name is a combination of Targaryen and “draco” from the Latin for dragon.  Targaryen is one of the Houses in the fictional chronicles “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, upon which the television series “Game of Thrones” is based.  The dragons of the popular saga have dark coloured bones, the type specimen of Targaryendraco wiedenrothi is a dark grey colour, caused by mineralisation from the surrounding matrix.  The name also references the connection between pterosaurs and dragons, a link cited almost since the first fossils of these flying reptiles came to be known by western science.

The Holotype Lower Jaw with Line Drawings (Targaryendraco wiedenrothi)

Views of the holotype lower jaw of Targaryendraco wiedenrothi.

Holotype lower jaw of Targaryendraco wiedenrothi with line drawings.  The holotype fossil (SMNS 56628) dorsal view (A) with line drawing (B) and a lateral view (C) with accompanying line drawing (D).

Picture Credit: Alexander Kellner and Taissa Rodrigues

A New Clade of Pterosaurs – the Targaryendraconia

The researchers, Rodrigo V. Pêgas, Borja Holgado and Maria Eduarda C. Leal undertook a phylogenetic analysis based on the three-dimensional German fossils and subsequently erected a new clade of pterosaurs – the Targaryendraconia which consists of six genera (see below).  This new clade is both geographically and temporally widespread and demonstrates that the diversity of Lower Cretaceous toothy pterosaurs was higher than previously thought.

The six genera assigned to the clade Targaryendraconia:

  • Targaryendraco – described in 2019 from fossil material found in near Hannover in Germany.
  • Aussiedraco – described in 2011 from fossils found in Queensland, Australia.
  • Barbosania – described in 2011 (Santana Formation of north-eastern Brazil).
  • Camposipterus – redescribed in 2013 and known from the Cambridge Greensand formation.
  • Aetodactylus – described in 2010 and known from Texas (USA).
  • Cimoliopterus – redescribed in 2013 and known from fragmentary fossils from Texas and Kent in south-eastern England.

Studying the ornithocheirids might be like trying to untie the Gordian Knot of ancient mythology, but at least with this new assessment, a small part of this complicated fossil collection has been unravelled.

26 11, 2019

Styracosaurus Skull Provides a Head’s Up When it Comes to Naming New Dinosaurs

By | November 26th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Asymmetrical Styracosaurus Skull Could Change the Way in Which Dinosaur Species are Erected

A team of researchers based at the University of Alberta have published a scientific paper that might just turn some assumptions when it comes to naming a new dinosaur species on their head. Cranial fossil material can provide palaeontologists with important indicators that can help them establish that a newly found fossil represents a new species.  Often it is the skull and jaws that provide the important morphological evidence to help palaeontologist establish taxonomic relationships between genera.  However, the mainly University of Alberta-based team challenge some of these assumptions, all thanks to “Hannah” a Styracosaurus skull named after one of the researcher’s dogs.

Palaeontologist Scott Persons with “Hannah” the Styracosaurus and his Dog Hannah

Scott Persons with dog and "Hannah" the Styracosaurus.

Scott Persons with “Hannah” the Styracosaurus and his dog.

Picture Credit: Scott Persons/University of Alberta

In 2015, a field team working in the Dinosaur Provincial Park of southern Alberta uncovered the skull of a five-metre-long horned dinosaur (Styracosaurus).  Nothing too unusual so far, after all this spiky-frilled horned dinosaur was scientifically described based on an almost complete skull (the type specimen), found in the Dinosaur Provincial Park, but Hannah’s skull was different – very different!  It is not symmetrical, the left half of the skull looks different from the right half – cue concerns being raised over how dinosaur genera and species are erected.

Co-author of the scientific paper published this week in the journal “Cretaceous Research” Scott Persons commented:

“When parts of one side of the skull were missing, palaeontologists have assumed that the missing side was symmetrical to the one that was preserved.  Turns out, it isn’t necessarily.  Today, deer often have left and right antlers that are different in terms of their branching patterns.  This fossil shows dramatically that dinosaurs could be the same way.”

An Asymmetrical Dinosaur Skull

The well-preserved Styracosaurus skull (UALVP55900), has cranial imperfections that could change how palaeontologists identify new species of dinosaurs.  Differences in the shape of horned dinosaur’s skulls and their bony frills have been noted before, after all, there is variability recorded in fossils assigned to a species due to differences in age, in growth stages and from the effects of pathology.  In this case, the Styracosaurus called “Hannah” demonstrates previously unrecorded differences between the left side and the right side of the skull.  As with the type specimen collected by the famous scientist C H. Sternberg, the right lateral parietal bar (the right side of the skull frill) has seven bony projections (epiossifications), but the left parietal bar is not symmetrical it has eight epiossifications!

A Computer Rendered Image Showing the Skull of the Styracosaurus

Asymmetrical Styracosaurus skull.

Asymmetrical Styracosaurus albertensis skull.

Picture Credit: Scott Persons/University of Alberta

The skull (UALVP55900) is shown in right lateral view (top) and left lateral view (middle).  The dorsal view (bottom) shows the clear differences in the shape of the left and right sides of the skull (asymmetry).

The differences are so marked, that if the scientists had found only isolated halves, they could have concluded that each half represented a different horned dinosaur species.

Lead author of the study, Robert Holmes (University of Alberta), explained that “Hannah” shows that the pattern of a dinosaur’s horns could vary so much from one side of the skull to the other.  This raises doubts over the validity of some species such as Rubeosaurus ovatus.  Rubeosaurus was originally described as a species of Styracosaurus (1930), based on a single parietal bone (part of the skull frill), collected in the Two Medicine Formation of Montana.  This fossil and a second more complete skull fossil found in 1986, were subsequently reviewed and the genus Rubeosaurus (R. ovatus) erected in 2010.

Thanks to Hannah, it looks like the research undertaken in 1930 was right, the authors of the newly published paper suggest that Rubeosaurus ovatus is a junior synonym of Styracosaurus.

What are the Implications for the Naming of Dinosaur Species?

Styracosaurus with an asymmetrical skull.

A drawing of an asymmetrical skull (Styracosaurus albertensis).  In our illustration the epiossifications associated with the skull frill are asymmetrical.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Since working on the paper, Scott Persons has moved on, becoming a professor and museum curator at the College of Charleston.  He may have had to leave “Hannah” the Styracosaurus behind but we presume Hannah the dog is still with him.

Persons commented:

“Hannah the dinosaur is named after my dog.  She’s a good dog, and I knew she was home missing me while I was away on the expedition.”

Despite the nickname, palaeontologists are not able to determine whether specimen number UALVP55900 represents a male or a female Styracosaurus.

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

The scientific paper: “Morphological variation and asymmetrical development in the skull of Styracosaurus albertensis” by Robert B. Holmes, Walter Scott Persons, Baltej Singh Rupal, Ahmed Jawad Qureshi and Philip J. Currie published in Cretaceous Research.

25 11, 2019

Important News – Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus

By | November 25th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

Important News – Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus

The limited edition Papo Spinosaurus dinosaur model is one of the most eagerly anticipated dinosaur models for years.  Collectors and dinosaur model fans do not have much longer to wait as Everything Dinosaur expects to have this exciting, limited edition model in stock by around December 10th or thereabouts.

The Limited Edition Papo Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

The limited edition Papo Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

The limited edition Papo Spinosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The box that this 42 cm long model comes in is huge!  This box is far too large to be sent by airmail, signed or tracked and signed conventional international mail services.  So, to help Everything Dinosaur’s customers overseas we are offering TWO purchase options:

  1. Buy the model in its special edition gift box (fine for UK-based customers, but for customers overseas this would mean expensive postage).
  2. Buy the model without the box, sending the model without the big, cumbersome box drastically reduces postage charges for our customers.

All is explained in this short, five minute video:

Papo Spinosaurus Purchase Options

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two Purchase Options

At Everything Dinosaur, we appreciate this postage dilemma, so team members are prepared to unpack the model for those customers who what to purchase it without the box.  The model can then be sent out at a much reduced postage cost.  It can be despatched by airmail and other postal services, such as the tracked and signed option (which we would recommend for this limited edition figure).  The model, although large, (that beautiful sail on the back stands some nineteen centimetres off the ground at its highest point), can be sent out on its own without the packaging using conventional international mail with Everything Dinosaur.  If the model is taken out of its box and despatched, the overseas postage costs are very much reduced.

Summarising the Purchase Options Available at Everything Dinosaur

Papo Spinosaurus purchase options.

Papo Spinosaurus – two purchase options.  Option 1 purchase the model in the box, or option 2 purchase the model without the box.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If the model is sent without the presentation box, it will be packed by Everything Dinosaur to ensure that the figure is protected and it will not have a product tag, this boxed model has no product tag associated with it.

With the mail services getting increasingly busy as we head towards the 25th December, customers can even message Everything Dinosaur when placing an order and let them know to delay sending out their parcel in order to avoid the risk of their purchase getting mislaid by the mail network in the Christmas rush.

Ensuring all the Cardboard and Plastic in the Presentation Box is Recycled

Everything Dinosaur is currently working towards 100% recycling of all wastepaper and cardboard at the company.  This is a key component of our environmental policy.  There is a lot of cardboard and plastic packaging associated with the Papo Spinosaurus presentation box.  Customers can be assured that we have put in place plans to ensure that all the cardboard and plastic from any boxes that have had the model removed will be recycled.  We have had to commission a special box to accommodate all those customers who want to purchase the model within its presentation box (we show this new packaging in the video), as part of our environmental policy we have sourced this box from a supplier that has used 70% recycled cardboard in its construction.  Only the facia elements are not made from recycled card, these in turn, have been produced from wood pulp from sustainable forests.

To see more Everything Dinosaur videos, model reviews along with helpful advice and tips we recommend that readers subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube here: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

If you have any further questions about the Papo Spinosaurus model: Email Everything Dinosaur.

24 11, 2019

Rebor and Eofauna Models Feature in Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

By | November 24th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

New Rebor and Eofauna Models Feature in Newsletter

The latest newsletter to be despatched by Everything Dinosaur features new figures from Rebor and Eofauna Scientific Research.  Grabbing the headlines is the recently introduced 1:40 scale replica of Atlasaurus (A. imelakei) by Eofauna.  This is a fabulous model of Atlasaurus, a strange sauropod known from the Jurassic of north Africa.

Making the Headlines – The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Atlasaurus dinosaur model features in newsletter.

The new for November 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus headlines the Everything Dinosaur newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As far as team members at Everything Dinosaur are aware, this is the first replica of an Atlasaurus to be made by a mainstream model manufacturer.  Atlasaurus is the fifth figure to be produced in the Eofauna Scientific Research range and the second dinosaur.

Rebor GrabNGo Komodo Dragon and the Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium Replica

Also just arrived at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse are the Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon in 1/6th scale and the 1/35 scale Eofauna Deinotherium.  Both these models have earned praise for their realism and the quality of detail.  Staff have been kept busy contacting all those customers who requested one of these models to be reserved.

The Rebor GrabNGo Komodo Dragon and the Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium

Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon and Eofauna Deinotherium.

Rebor Komodo dragon model (left) and the Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium replica (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon is the first in a new line of figures from Rebor.  Customers now have the opportunity to check-out the detail and build quality associated with this exciting new range.

To view the Eofauna Atlasaurus, the Deinotherium and the other three models in this range: Eofauna Scientific Research Models and Replicas.

To see the Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon model and the rest of the Rebor range: Rebor Replicas, Models and Figures.

Rebor Oddities – Dinosaur Foetuses

A large waitlist for the two Rebor Oddities figures (T. rex foetus and the Velociraptor foetus) had been built up since our first stock of these figures sold out.  With the arrival of a second shipment team members have been busy sorting out orders for these two, highly collectable and very unusual dinosaur figures.  It seemed appropriate to feature the return of these two popular models in our latest newsletter.

The Two Rebor Oddities Foetus Wet Specimens

Rebor Oddities T. rex foetus and Velociraptor foetus.

The two Rebor Oddities dinosaur foetuses.  The Velociraptor foetus (left) and the slightly larger T. rex foetus specimen (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” movie franchise can have the opportunity to purchase their very own dinosaur foetus.  Each specimen jar has a light up base, just add water to create a stunning display piece.

Everything Dinosaur has published a short video guide to these two Rebor replicas on the company’s YouTube channel: How to Unpack and Set Up the Rebor Oddities Foetus Specimens.

Newsletter subscribers can find out about new additions to model ranges, discontinued lines, receive special offers and have the opportunity to join priority reserve lists for forthcoming releases.  To join Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter subscriber database, simply: Email Us or fill in the newsletter request form to be found at the bottom of our Everything Dinosaur website home page.

23 11, 2019

A Quick Guide to the New CollectA Models (Part 4)

By | November 23rd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Geology, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

A Short Video Highlighting New for 2020 CollectA Models (Part 4)

Yesterday, Everything Dinosaur in collaboration with our chums at CollectA, revealed the latest collection of prehistoric animal models for 2020*.  Naturally, we put up a blog post providing a little more information about each replica, specifically the new hunting Mapusaurus dinosaur model, the Pleuroceras ammonite, the belemnite and the beautiful horseshoe crab model.  Team members are committed to helping to inform and educate our customers, so in this spirit, we have produced a short video providing a little more information about each of these exciting new figures.

A Quick Video Guide to the New CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models (Part 4)

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs – Popular Size Hunting Mapusaurus

The first model to be featured in this short video (it lasts a little over five minutes in length), is the only dinosaur figure announced in this batch, a replica of a hunting Mapusaurus.  CollectA originally introduced a model of this giant, South American member of the Carcharodontosauridae (Giganotosaurini tribe), back in 2012.  This model was subsequently modified and a base added. Already represented in the CollectA Deluxe range (a 1:40 scale Mapusaurus was added in 2018), the new hunting Mapusaurus model, which measures a fraction under 23.5 cm long, will be available from Everything Dinosaur in the middle of 2020.

The Evolution of CollectA Mapusaurus Models

Evolution of Mapusaurus replicas within the CollectA model range.

The changing Mapusaurus models 2012 – 2020 (CollectA).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Ammonite (Pleuroceras) and the CollectA Belemnite Model

Fossil collectors have two new models for 2020 to get particularly excited about.  CollectA will be adding an ammonite model and a belemnite to their Age of Dinosaurs range.  These two superb cephalopods help to demonstrate what the actual living animal looked like.

New for 2020 the CollectA Ammonite and Belemnite Models

CollectA ammonite and belemnite.

The CollectA ammonite and belemnite 2020 models next to examples of fossils.  Everything Dinosaur team members know that a number of geologists and palaeontologists will be keen to get their hands on these realistic CollectA replicas.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Horseshoe Crab Model

The fourth replica that we discuss in our short video is the horseshoe crab replica.  Everything Dinosaur will be stocking this fifteen centimetre long model of an ancient arthropod, often described as a “living fossil”.   Horseshoe crabs are fascinating creatures, despite their name they are not closely related to crabs, as members of the Arthropoda phylum they are more closely related to spiders and the extinct sea scorpions (eurypterids).  All four living species are vulnerable to extinction due to loss of habitat, overfishing (they are caught and used as bait) and from the harvest of their blue-coloured blood which has medical applications.  It is great to see a horseshoe crab model added to the CollectA range.

New for 2020 The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Horseshoe Crab Model

CollectA Horseshoe Crab model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Horseshoe Crab.

Picture Credit: CollectA

2020* To read our blog post from yesterday about these four new CollectA Age of Dinosaurs – popular size models: New CollectA Models for 2020 (Part 4).

To view the range of not-to-scale CollectA prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

22 11, 2019

New CollectA Models (Part 4)

By | November 22nd, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|3 Comments

New CollectA Models (Part 4)

It’s that time of the week when we can reveal the next set of CollectA prehistoric animal figures that are to be introduced next year.  Today, we announce four new models in total, one dinosaur and three invertebrates.  One of the invertebrates could be described as a “living fossil”.

All these figures are in the “CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size” range and they are:

  • CollectA Hunting Mapusaurus Dinosaur Model
  • CollectA Pleuroceras (ammonite)
  • CollectA Belemnite
  • CollectA Horseshoe Crab

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Hunting Mapusaurus Dinosaur Model

CollectA hunting Mapusaurus

CollectA Mapusaurus hunting dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Mapusaurus Hunting Model

CollectA will add a model of the giant South American theropod Mapusaurus in a hunting pose.  We suspect that this figure is being brought out to replace the original CollectA Mapusaurus model that was introduced in 2012.  There is a Mapusaurus in the CollectA Deluxe 1:40 model range, this was introduced in 2018.  Designer Anthony Beeson suggests that this Popular series figure can accompany the Deluxe version, perhaps as a representation of a juvenile or a sub-adult.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Pleuroceras Ammonite Model

CollectA Pleuroceras ammonite model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Pleuroceras ammonite model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Pleuroceras Ammonite Model

The first of the three new prehistoric invertebrates is a wonderful model of the Early Jurassic ammonite Pleuroceras and what a beautiful figure it is.  CollectA have been asked to create several marine creatures by a German Museum and Dinosaur Park to help illustrate what the living creatures associated with iconic fossils actually looked like.  Pleuroceras is one of the most distinctive of all the ammonites known from the Pliensbachian stage of the Jurassic, its fossils are associated with famous fossil sites such as Lyme Regis in Dorset and Nuremberg (southern Germany).  This type of ammonite was an active swimmer (nektonic) and a hunter of other animals.  The strongly ribbed shell and the prominent, serrated keel running around the outside of the shell are distinctive features associated with this genus.  CollectA have depicted their ammonite in a dynamic pose as if it is about to grab at prey.  The hypernome (the fleshy tube underneath the head used to propel the cephalopod backwards by shooting jets of water forwards), can clearly be seen.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Belemnite Model

CollectA Belemnite model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size belemnite model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Belemnite Model

Joining the ammonite is another cephalopod, a fantastic figure of a belemnite.  The word “belemnite” comes from the Greek for “dart”, a reflection of the fact that these marine creatures closely related to squid, cuttlefish and ammonites for that matter, are mostly known from the robust guard (scientifically described as a rostrum), a solid piece of calcite that was located at the rear of the animal and formed part of its internal skeleton.

Designer Anthony Beeson explained that he wanted to depict these members of the Mollusca phylum as active animals he commented:

“I have tried to give the cephalopods a sense of movement which is often lacking in toy representations.”

We suspect that both the ammonite and belemnite models are going to prove very popular with UK regional museums, curators can add a representation of the living animal into display cases highlighting the fossils.

The CollectA Horseshoe Crab

CollectA Horseshoe Crab model.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Size Horseshoe Crab.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Horseshoe Crab

The last new model for this week, is an arthropod, a model of an animal geologically much older than either the ammonite or belemnite.  The horseshoe crab (family Limulidae), was around before both ammonites and belemnites evolved, this marine invertebrate, often described as a “living fossil” has not changed much in over 450 million years.  That hard carapace and the eyelets including the primitive eyes (pits at the front of the model), have been beautifully sculpted.  Everything Dinosaur team members are keen to see what the underside of the model looks like with its gills and paired limbs.

Tale of the Tape

All four figures are in the CollectA The Age of Dinosaurs – Popular size model range and therefore they are not to scale.

  • CollectA Hunting Mapusaurus length 23.4 cm, height 8.6 cm – available mid 2020.
  • CollectA Pleuroceras length 11.9 cm, height just over 7 cm – available mid 2020.
  • CollectA Belemnite length 10 cm, height 14.3 cm – available mid 2020.
  • CollectA Horseshoe Crab 15 cm long, width 7.7 cm – available mid 2020.

To view the current range of CollectA Age of Dinosaurs – Popular size figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

To view the first of the 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals to be announced: New CollectA Prehistoric Animals (Part 1).

To read about the second set of new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals: New CollectA Prehistoric Animals (Part 2).

To read the third part in our series introducing new CollectA figures: New CollectA models (Part 3).

21 11, 2019

Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

By | November 21st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Eofauna Atlasaurus Features in Everything Dinosaur Video

Everything Dinosaur team members have been asked to post up some more images of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.  This exquisite figure is the second dinosaur model to have been introduced by Eofauna, it follows the Giganotosaurus figure that came out earlier this year (January 2019).  We have posted up more pictures of this 1:40 scale replica, which is now in stock, both on this blog site and on our other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Facebook.  However, we also shot a short video so that viewers could appreciate the size of the model and see the Atlasaurus data card and our fact sheet that accompanies sales.

Getting to Grips with the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The video is just under two and a quarter minutes in length, it is not really a review of the figure but we do highlight the paint scheme, discuss the anatomy of this bizarre sauropod and comment upon the beautiful, subtle osteoderms embedded in the back and the base of the tail.  We also show the data card (as promised) and highlight the Atlasaurus fact sheet that we send out to our customers with their purchases.

Lighting Conditions Affect the Appearance of Replicas

An important point to note is that the lighting conditions under which a model is photographed or filmed will affect the way the model appears.  Our film studio has no source of natural light, so if possible, we try and take some photographs of the model outside so that our customers can view the figure in natural light.

The Eofauna Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model Shown in Natural Light

The Eofauna Atlasaurus dinosaur model photographed outdoors.

Photographed outdoors the light conditions can alter the colouration seen on the model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Even so, a photograph taken just minutes apart can provide an image that provides a different impression of the colouration of the model.  For example, take a look at the picture (top) and contrast it with this view of the Atlasaurus model just a few moments later (below).

The New for 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Atlasaurus dinosaur model.  In this photograph the markings on the neck seem more prominent, this is a reflection in a change in lighting conditions not a change in the model’s colouration.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We aim to post up more videos on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel, our next video will feature more new for 2020 prehistoric animal product information from CollectA.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s video of Atlasaurus and the other prehistoric animal model reviews that we have produced, visit our YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To purchase the Eofauna Atlasaurus and the other four models in this exciting model range: Eofauna Scientific Research Models.

20 11, 2019

First Fossil Evidence of Feathered Polar Dinosaurs

By | November 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fossilised Bird and Dinosaur Feathers from Australia

Palaeontologists know that dinosaurs roamed high latitudes, that is to say that fossil finds have demonstrated that dinosaurs once inhabited parts of the world that are now in the Arctic Circle and similar fossil discoveries have been made in the southern hemisphere demonstrating that the Dinosauria also inhabited Antarctica.  Although, the climate during the Mesozoic was much warmer than it is today, in these high latitudes the fauna and flora would still have had to endure challenging conditions, such as freezing temperatures and many months of darkness with the sun not rising above the horizon.  It has been suggested that many dinosaur residents were feathered, their integumentary coverings of protofeathers and down helping to keep them warm.  However, actual evidence of fossilised feathers was lacking, but scientists writing in the journal “Gondwana Research”, describe several feathers from the Lower Cretaceous-aged sediments at the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve located in Victoria (Australia).

A Fossilised Feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

A protofeather likely to have come from a theropod dinosaur.

A fossilised filamentous protofeather associated with the Theropoda from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

Picture Credit: Kundrát et al (Gondwana Research)

Different Types of Feathers Found

Researchers from the Pavol Jozef Safarik University (Slovakia), Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology (both in Australia), Lund University, Uppsala University (Sweden) and from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (USA) in collaboration with other colleagues have identified the first record of avian and non-avian integumentary structures described from Mesozoic polar regions.

In essence, feathered dinosaurs and birds were present at a latitude of around 70 degrees south between 118-115 million years ago.  Finding feathers this far south reinforces the view that feathered dinosaurs were ubiquitous for much of the Mesozoic.

Importantly, the handful of fossilised feathers from this site show a lot of variation.  Some fossils consist of the preserved remains of tufted body feathers, whilst others show asymmetrical bird-like flight feathers.  Fossils of simple, open-vaned contour feathers reminiscent to those of the Liaoning theropod Caudipteryx have also been found.

A Tufted Body Feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

Feather fossil from the A fossilised feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

A fossilised feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

Picture Credit: Kundrát et al (Gondwana Research)

One of the co-authors of the scientific paper, Dr Benjamin Kear (Uppsala University) commented:

“Dinosaur skeletons and even the fragile bones of early birds have been found at ancient high-latitudes before.  Yet, to date, no directly attributable integumentary remains have been discovered to show that dinosaurs used feathers to survive in extreme polar habitats.  These Australian fossil feathers are therefore highly significant because they came from dinosaurs and small birds that were living in a seasonally very cold environment with months of polar darkness every year”.

The Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

The feathers come from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve located in South Gippsland, Victoria.  The sediments represent the fine-grained clay deposits formed in a large, shallow lake. Many different fossils have been found at this location, including a fossilised flower and Ginkgo leaves.  Invertebrates are well represented, the fine grained deposits preserving insects, freshwater mussels, spiders and even the remains of a horseshoe crab.  Apart from the feathers, the only evidence of vertebrates associated with this location are the remains of fish.  The strata consist of alternate light and dark bands indicating an extreme seasonal environment, what you would expect in a part of the polar region where lakes would have frozen over during the extremely long winter.

A Life Reconstruction of a Theropod Dinosaur – A Likely Inhabitant of the Polar Region

Life reconstruction of a polar theropod dinosaur.

A life reconstruction of a polar theropod dinosaur.  Feathers found in Victoria indicate the presence of feathered polar dinosaurs in southern Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous.

Picture Credit: Peter Trusler

Feather fossils from this site were first described in the 1960’s but at the time they were thought to represent bird feathers, thanks to feathered dinosaur discoveries from elsewhere in the world, most notably north-eastern China, this fossil material has been reassessed and the researchers conclude that the variety of feathers at this site augments the limited skeletal evidence for a range of insulted non-avian theropods and birds living at extreme high latitudes in the southern hemisphere.  Analysis of some of the feathers has revealed residual patterning and the preservation of rod-shaped structures at the cellular level suggests the presence of eumelanosomes which in turn could help scientists determine pigments and colouration.

The scientists infer that many of the feathers indicate a dark pigmentation, such a colouration might have provided effective camouflage or permitted the absorption of a greater proportion of the energy from the rays of the sun – very useful if you inhabit a cold, dark world for much of the year.

19 11, 2019

Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

By | November 19th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

Eofauna Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

The latest model in the Eofauna Scientific Research range, a replica of the bizarre sauropod Atlasaurus is available to purchase at Everything Dinosaur.  This is the fifth model in the prehistoric animal range and the second dinosaur following the introduction of a Giganotosaurus replica earlier this year.

The Eofauna Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.

Atlasaurus (Eofauna Scientific Research).  A beautiful model of a very strange, long-necked dinosaur available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eofauna Scientific Research Models

Since the first figure in this range was introduced, a replica of a Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) in the autumn of 2017, model collectors and devotees of prehistoric animal figures have become firm fans of the Eofauna range.  There are now five prehistoric animal models in this range, all of them available from Everything Dinosaur.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Prehistoric Animal Model Range (November 2019)

Five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.

The five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.  Can you name them all?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows all the five Eofauna Scientific Research models that are currently available (as of November 2019).

From left to right:

  • Straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) launched summer 2018.
  • Steppe Mammoth model (Mammuthus trogontherii) launched autumn 2017.
  • Atlasaurus dinosaur model (Atlasaurus imelakei) launched November 2019.
  • Deinotherium (Deinotherium giganteum) launched October 2019.
  • Giganotosaurus (Giganotosaurus carolinii) launched January 2019.

The Atlasaurus figure is certainly the tallest model in this range that Eofauna have produced.  It stands a little under 23 cm high, but it is not the longest, for the moment the 39 cm long Giganotosaurus holds that particular record.

As with the vast majority of all the named prehistoric animal figures that Everything Dinosaur supplies, a dinosaur fact sheet has been researched and produced.  The fact sheet will be sent out with purchases of the Atlasaurus dinosaur.

A Fact Sheet Providing Information About Atlasaurus imelakei Has Been Prepared

Everything Dinosaur Atlasaurus fact sheet.

Part of the Atlasaurus dinosaur fact sheet prepared by Everything Dinosaur team members.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Atlasaurus imelakei

When first described around twenty years ago, this strange dinosaur was thought to be a member of the primitive sauropod family, the Cetiosauridae.  Affinities with the brachiosaurids were proposed, but a review of the African fossil material previously ascribed to the genus Brachiosaurus but now assigned to Giraffatitan changed the taxonomic picture somewhat for Atlasaurus.  Many palaeontologists think that Atlasaurus should be classified as a member of the unranked clade Turiasauria.  The Turiasauria consists of an assortment of Sauropods, most of which are known from European fossil material.  Turiasaurians were once thought to have been restricted to Europe but Moabosaurus (Utah), which was scientifically described in 2017, has extended the geographical range into North America and there have been some fossils from Tanzania also placed within the Turiasauria clade (Tendaguria).  Scientists continue to debate the constituents of the Turiasauria and where this unranked clade should be placed within the Sauropodomorpha.  After all, if Atlasaurus is anything to go by, these types of dinosaurs were quite unusual.  For example, Atlasaurus had a disproportionately large skull, a relatively short neck for its size and proportionately long limbs.

The Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model (Eofauna Scientific Research)

Close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.

A close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Eofauna models available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Models

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