PNSO have announced that they will be producing fifteen bronze statues of the pterosaur Thalassodromeus. Everything Dinosaur customers are being offered these once in a lifetime, 1:6 scale, bronze sculptures at £2,550.00 GBP ($3,500.00 USD) the price includes delivery.
Limited Edition Pterosaur Bronze Statue
Just a handful of these fantastic figures will be available outside of China. Once fifteen have been cast in solid bronze, no more will be made.
A Very Special Limited Edition Bronze Figure
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“This is a stunning bronze figure, superbly detailed and a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a truly remarkable statue. With only a handful being offered to customers outside China, this is a rare chance to purchase a pterosaur cast in bronze.”
As these figures are so rare, sales will be made to customers and on first come, first served basis.
Today, the clocks have gone forward in the UK, this means that this is the official start of British Summer Time (BST). Whilst it might be pouring with rain outside and chilly, better weather and better times are hopefully on the way.
Tomorrow, some of the lockdown restrictions in England are being lifted. Restrictions have been lifted elsewhere within the UK, as the country begins to move cautiously out of the COVID-19 lockdown. We have noticed a small change in our customer’s buying habits over the last week. The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape has been selling really well.
A Sturdy Backpack with Dinosaurs Too!
This sturdy backpack which folds out to reveal a stunning prehistoric playscape is supplied with two dinosaur models. It can be used for carrying bits and bobs and yet, when unzipped the backpack transforms into a prehistoric play scape.
An Ideal Travel Companion
The bright and colourful front panel features two Mojo dinosaur models, the Mojo Fun Allosaurus and a fearsome Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex. The panel itself is embossed and raised slightly providing a stylish three-dimensional effect.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“We do understand how desperate families have been to get out for the day and to visit relatives. The increase in sales of the Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape has coincided with an easing of restrictions that had been imposed due to COVID-19. Perhaps this is merely a coincidence, but we like to think that for young dinosaur fans they will soon be going on some more dinosaur adventures.”
Whilst stressing the need to stay safe and to obey those restrictions that remain, the spokesperson added that team members at Everything Dinosaur were happy at the thought that this backpack would be used by lots of young people on their travels this year.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur as fans of prehistoric animals themselves don’t mind helping out fellow collectors. For example, we often receive emails from prehistoric animal model enthusiasts asking us to select a particular replica for them. We are happy to take some photographs of the figure that we have chosen and then email the images to the potential buyer for their approval.
Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Model
Recently, we received a request from one of our customers based in Europe to select a Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex dinosaur model. These vinyl figures are very popular and the first two versions of the Tyrannosaurus rex (02 and 03) have been retired and production has been discontinued. Our customer was keen to obtain the figure and asked us to check over the seams and the paintwork.
We were happy to take photographs of a Rebor T. rex model in one of our packing rooms. We made sure that we emailed over several images, each showing the dinosaur figure from a different angle. It was just like photographing a fossil specimen for a collection. When documenting a fossil, a number of photographs are taken, each one is carefully labelled identifying the specimen number and the angle of view.
When taking photos of dinosaur models, we tend to provide several shots of the head of the model, so that the potential customer can see the detailing around the mouth and any seams between the head and the body.
The customer was happy with the figure we had selected for them. This particular Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex dinosaur model is now safely stored on our reserve shelf in our warehouse so that when the customer places their order, the figure we chose can be despatched to them.
Researchers from the University of Bonn (Germany), in collaboration with colleagues from Liverpool John Moores University examined cranial material of the Plateosaurus species – P. trossingensis and discovered that the skulls of these dinosaurs demonstrated a high degree of variation. Just like people, this Plateosaurus species demonstrates a high degree of individual variation within a species.
Not All Dinosaurs of the Same Species Looked Alike
Plateosaurus from the Late Triassic of Europe is one of the most extensively studied of all the dinosaurs, thanks mainly to the huge bonebeds containing thousands of fossilised bones that have been found. It is by studying the fossilised remains that palaeontologists can put forward evidence to suggest the erection of a new species. However, this new study published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, suggests that the anatomy of Plateosaurus was significantly more variable than previously thought.
The researchers examined the complete skulls of fourteen individual Plateosaurus trossingensis specimens, eight of which had not been studied before, along with numerous other skull bones and discovered that there was considerable variation in the skulls. Such variation had been noted before and it had been suggested that the extensive bonebeds at Frick (northern Switzerland), Trossingen (south-western Germany) and Halberstadt (central Germany) might contain the fossilised remains of more than one species. However, the researchers which included PhD student Jens Lallensack (University of Bonn), could not group these variations according to specific anatomical traits, locality or their stratigraphy. The team concluded that there was no evidence to indicate the presence of more than one species, but these types of dinosaurs showed considerable variation within their species (intraspecific variability).
Taking into Account Bone Deformation
The careful documentation of the skull variation will assist other palaeontologists when it comes to understanding the distinct individuality of dinosaurs within a given population. The team were able to distinguish these differences from those characteristics of the bones that are deformed and altered as a result of their fossilisation. Being able to attribute bone deformation due to taphonomy (the fossilisation process), is extremely useful in helping to determine unique anatomical traits that could lead to the identification of a new species.
The scientific paper: “New skulls of the basal sauropodomorph Plateosaurus trossingensis from Frick, Switzerland: Is there more than one species?” by Jens N. Lallensack, Elżbieta M. Teschner, Ben Pabst and P. Martin Sander published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
Cephalopods those advanced sophisticated molluscs such as octopi, squid and cuttlefish evolved some thirty million years earlier than previously thought according to some new research published this week.
Cephalopods belong to the phylum Mollusca. Animals such as the octopus are regarded as highly intelligent, capable of complex behaviours and are regarded by many scientists as being as sophisticated, if not more so, than many vertebrates. The ancestors of the extant cephalopods around today originally possessed a chambered shell, indeed, the pearly nautilus still retains this feature (see above for a nautilus illustration). Researchers from Heidelberg University in collaboration with colleagues from the Bavarian Natural History Collections examined a 522 million-year-old outcrop from the Lower Cambrian Bonavista Formation exposed at Bacon Cove (south-eastern Newfoundland, Canada). Slices of the red sandstone which represent a shallow, marine depositional environment revealed tantalising glimpses of ancient Cambrian animals.
The Oldest Known Cephalopods
Tiny calcareous shells measuring no more than 14 mm high and around 3 mm wide discovered in cross-sections of the red sandstone rock are interpreted as representing phragmocones, part of the internal skeleton of a marine invertebrate. The researchers postulate that as similar structures are found in cephalopods, then these fossils represent the earliest evidence of the Cephalopoda.
An Extraordinary Find
Co-author of the research, Dr Gregor Austermann (Institute for Earth Sciences at Heidelberg University), commented:
“This find is extraordinary. In scientific circles it was long suspected that the evolution of these highly developed organisms had begun much earlier than hitherto assumed. But there was a lack of fossil evidence to back up this theory.”
Although molecular studies had suggested that cephalopods evolved earlier than indicated by the fossil record, there was very little physical evidence to back this up. Many palaeontologists regard Plectronoceras cambria, fossils of which come from Texas limestones and date from the Middle/Late Cambrian as the earliest cephalopod. These Canadian fossils, if proved to represent the body fossils of cephalopods, push back the evolutionary origins of this important group by at least 30 million years.
The specimens described here may represent the earliest cephalopods capable of regulating the buoyancy of their shell through a siphuncle. This view supports the molecular studies that suggest that cephalopods originated in the Early Cambrian. These animals may have been the first to actively control their buoyancy and therefore to be capable of moving up and down the water column. It could be speculated that these fossils which are around 522 million years old, represent the remains of some of the first animals living above the sea floor (pelagic animals) and able to swim (nektonic).
The scientific paper: “A potential cephalopod from the early Cambrian of eastern Newfoundland, Canada” by Anne Hildenbrand, Gregor Austermann, Dirk Fuchs, Peter Bengtson and Wolfgang Stinnesbeck published in Communications Biology.
A study of the fossilised remains of an as yet unnamed species of ankylosaurid suggests that these dinosaurs were adapted for digging. Whilst it seems unlikely that these large herbivores could have lived in burrows, they may have been able to dig for roots and tubers, excavate wells in dried up rivers to reach subsurface water and dig into sediments to obtain supplementary minerals in a similar way that extant elephants do today.
Digging Pits to Protect Their Undersides
Furthermore, many palaeontologists have postulated that these armoured herbivores might have been able to hunker down to defend their limbs and undersides from theropod predators. If these animals dug shallow pits they might have been able to protect themselves from attack and make it difficult for carnivorous dinosaurs to spot them when they were partially buried. Horned lizards (Phrynosoma) have a similar flat body and lateral fringe scales as seen in some types of ankylosaurid, these extant reptiles adopt these types of defensive strategies.
Discovered in the Early 1970s
Remains of an armoured dinosaur was first reported by a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the southern Gobi Desert of Mongolia in the early 1970s. The skeleton consisting of dorsal vertebrae, elements from the limbs, ribs parts of the pelvis and the pectoral girdle along with several armoured scutes, was partially prepared for removal, but the excavation was not completed. The fossil specimen remained uncollected but crated up until 2008 when it was taken away for preparation by members of a Korean/Mongolian research team.
Probably a New Species of Armoured Dinosaur
The sandstone sediments of the Upper Cretaceous (Middle to Late Campanian stage), Baruungoyot Formation have yielded the remains of three ankylosaurid taxa, namely Saichania chulsanensis, Tarchia kielanae and Zaraapelta nomadis. Writing in the journal “Scientific Reports” the researchers which include such luminaries as Phil Currie and Eva Koppelhus (University of Alberta), Michael Ryan (Canadian Museum of Nature) and corresponding author Yuong-Nam Lee (Seoul National University, South Korea), state the unnamed ankylosaurid has some similarities to S. chulsanensis, but there are anatomical differences. Unfortunately, very little postcranial fossils of Tarchia kielanae and Zaraapelta nomadis have been found making it impossible to undertake a direct comparison with this specimen (MPC-D 100/1359).
Adapted for Digging
The scientists speculate that several anatomical features identified in MPC-D 100/1359 could indicate that this ankylosaurid was adapted for digging. The bones in its front feet are arranged in a shallow arc, which could have enabled it to dig soft earth. The fused vertebrae and the reduced number of bones in its hind feet, compared to other dinosaurs, may have helped anchor the ankylosaurid when digging or moving its tail. The body shape of MPC-D 100/1359, which is wider in the middle and narrower at the front and rear, may have helped its body to remain straight when digging. These traits such as the narrow-wide-narrow body shape and the manus (hand) and pes (foot) bone configuration are also known in other ankylosaurids. Digging for resources out of reach from other animals and excavating shallow pits as part of a defensive strategy might have been prevalent amongst these armoured dinosaurs.
The scientific paper: “A new ankylosaurid skeleton from the Upper Cretaceous Baruungoyot Formation of Mongolia: its implications for ankylosaurid postcranial evolution” by Jin-Young Park, Yuong-Nam Lee, Philip J. Currie, Michael J. Ryan, Phil Bell, Robin Sissons, Eva B. Koppelhus, Rinchen Barsbold, Sungjin Lee and Su-Hwan Kim published in Scientific Reports.
New research published this week shows that smaller amphibians may be more vulnerable to extinction than larger amphibian species.
A study led by Queen’s University Belfast has found that the risk of extinction among amphibians, the most endangered vertebrates on the planet, increases for species of smaller body size as their females produce fewer babies per birth.
Scientists had thought that animals of larger body size, be they hypercarnivores, or megaherbivores were more vulnerable to extinction. In popular culture, most people are aware of the threat of extinction to animals such as whales, pandas, big cats and polar bears. These large-bodied animals are certainly in danger. It has been postulated that we are currently experiencing a mass extinction event, brought on mainly due to the behaviour of Homo sapiens.
This newly published research in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, which represents a collaboration between Tel Aviv University, the University of Lincoln, Exeter University, Queen’s University (Belfast) and Nottingham Trent University, is the first to suggest amending the theory to focus on reproduction levels of animals rather than on body size when assessing extinction risk.
A Global Challenge
Regarded as one of the most pressing challenges facing our world, scientists are determined to better understand the factors that drive extinction.
Amphibians, such as frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, in particular, have become the iconic example of human-induced extinctions. Amphibian species are dying out faster than any other group of vertebrates on Earth. It has been calculated that something like forty per cent of all known species of amphibians currently face the threat of extinction.
Not Focusing Just on Mammals
One of the most accepted theories regarding extinction risk is that larger body size significantly increases the extinction threat. This hypothesis has been mainly driven via research into the Mammalia. This research is the first to investigate the causes behind extinction in amphibians based on the theory that it is not body size, but the number of babies a female produces per clutch that determines extinction risk.
Thousands of species from around the world were studied, irrespective of their conservation status. The researchers then mapped their level of endangerment against body size and their number of babies produced per batch of eggs.
The Fewer the Offspring the Greater the Risk
Strong evidence was found indicating that extinction risk increases towards species that produce fewer offspring, such as the “rain frogs” (Eleutherodactylus), whereas extinction risk decreases towards species that produce more, such as different species of American water frogs (Lithobates) or the large-bodied ‘bufonid’ toads.
Lead author, Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso (Queen’s University), explained:
“More babies per clutch or birth means more variety among the babies. To some extent, it is like playing the lottery, the more tickets you play the higher your chances to win. In this case, more numerous and diverse babies increase the chances that at least some can survive the stress of environmental alterations, such as progressive climatic changes.”
Focusing on the number of offspring rather than looking solely at body size, may permit a more effective approach to amphibian conservation.
Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from Queen’s University Belfast in the compilation of this article.
The scientific paper: “The global macroecology of brood size in amphibians reveals a predisposition of low‐fecundity species to extinction” by Daniel Pincheira‐Donoso, Lilly P. Harvey, Sheena C. Cotter, Gavin Stark, Shai Meiri and Dave J. Hodgson published in Global Ecology and Biogeography.
On Friday (March 19th, 2021), Everything Dinosaur received a telephone call from a worried customer. They had purchased a Beasts of the Mesozoic Zhenyuanlong suni articulated “raptor” figure for their son’s birthday. Unfortunately, we had sent a Beasts of the Mesozoic ceratopsid (Zuniceratops christopheri) instead. Whoops!
The birthday was the following day (Saturday), could Everything Dinosaur sort this out.
Our dedicated team don’t often make mistakes, but with dozens of different Beasts of the Mesozoic models in the range, all of them packed into brightly coloured and illustrated packages, then sometimes confusing one model for another does happen. This is usually spotted and corrected during picking, packing and checking prior to despatch. On this occasion, the error was not found.
Once we had been notified of the mix up, our team members quickly got things resolved. With Velociraptor velocity, a Zhenyuanlong suni was located in our warehouse, packed and despatched. It was on its way to the customer in just a couple of hours.
Thank You Everything Dinosaur
The Beasts of the Mesozoic Z. suni articulated figure duly arrived on Saturday. The parcel was delivered in time for the birthday celebrations.
Our customer emailed this morning to say:
“Can I just say thank you so much for sending the dinosaur the Zhenyuanlong suni, on Friday after the mix up. It managed to get here on Saturday in time for my son’s birthday. He loves it, so thank you so very much for helping make his day. So fast and prompt service. Excellent. Thank you again.”
Everything Dinosaur might not make that many mistakes, but when we do it is reassuring to know that we get them resolved quickly.
We have been asked to update an exhibit featuring the dinosaur Allosaurus. Our work will involve providing information for use on display boards next to a reconstruction of this Late Jurassic theropod. As part of our work to update the text associated with this dinosaur exhibit, we will be adding information about Allosaurus jimmadseni – a new species within this genus named and described in 2020.
First Described in 1877
Allosaurus was named and described by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1877, on the basis of fragmentary remains including a single fossil tooth and a toe bone. The subsequent discovery of many thousands of fossils including nearly complete skeletons, most famously from the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Emery County, Utah, has made Allosaurus one of the best-known of all the big meat-eating dinosaurs. Size estimates vary but it may have grown to more than 12 metres in length and weighed around 2.5 tonnes (depending on species).
The State Fossil of Utah
In 1988, in recognition of the abundance of Allosaurus fossil material excavated from the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, Allosaurus was appointed the state fossil of Utah.
Several species of Allosaurus have been erected since it was first scientifically described, although most palaeontologists recognise just three species, the most recent of which to be named is Allosaurus jimmadseni (2020). This species was named in honour of James H. Madsen Jr. the first state palaeontologist of Utah.
Fossils of the large dromaeosaurid Utahraptor (U. ostrummaysorum) were put on display as legislators and campaigners lobbied for the creation of a state park named after the iconic theropod dinosaur.
A New State Park for Grand County, Utah
A bill has been proposed that would create the Utahraptor State Park, if passed this would be the 45th such park designated within the “Beehive State”. The park would cover an area of Grand County in eastern Utah, close to the town of Moab and it would include the Dalton Wells Quarry where the first fossils of the giant raptor Utahraptor were discovered.
As well as providing camp sites and trails the park would protect and preserve the Dalton Wells Quarry site. Although the park’s current plans do not include provision for a museum, it has been suggested that if funding could be found, then a small museum documenting the extensive Lower Cretaceous strata that are exposed in this area and their contribution to palaeontology could be constructed.
It has been speculated that a 1:1 scale replica of the skeleton of a Utahraptor could be erected within the park’s boundary.
The proposals involve the conversion of approximately 6,500 acres (2,630 hectares), into a park. Responsibility for conservation would be undertaken by either Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands or the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“We do appreciate how tight budgets are right now, but if the funding could be found to establish this new park and to protect the famous Dalton Wells location, that would be fabulous. So much of the world’s open spaces and important scientific sites are under threat it would be wonderful to see this exceptionally important fossil site protected.”