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19 11, 2018

JurassicCollectables Reviews Rebor “Vanilla Ice”

By | November 19th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Tyrannosaurs – Mountain and Jungle

At the end of October, Everything Dinosaur introduced the two “Vanilla Ice” 1/35 scale Tyrannosaurs from Rebor – Mountain and Jungle colour variants.  Those talented people at JurassicCollectables have created a video review, of not just one, but both replicas so that dinosaur model fans can see these two excellent models in all their glory.

The Video Review of “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain and Jungle by JurassicCollectables

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain and Jungle

In this video review, which lasts a fraction over eleven minutes, the narrator takes us through the unboxing of a Mountain colour variant and concludes by taking a look at the Jungle colour scheme model.  At JurassicCollectables, the two colour schemes are regarded as depicting the animal during daylight, out in the open (the Mountain colour variant) and within the dappled shade of a forest canopy (the Jungle colour variant).  The video is shot in such a way so as to bring out the subtle variations between the two figures such as the different coloured tongues and the variation in the painting of the teeth.

The Two Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Figures are Compared in the JurassicCollectables Video Review

The two Rebor "Vanilla Ice" tyrannosaurid figures.

“Vanilla Ice” Jungle (left) and the “Vanilla Ice” Mountain (right).

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Most Impressive 1:35 Scale Figures

As well as providing a guided tour of each of the figures, the video review also permits people to see the “Vanilla Ice” box compared to the box of the Rebor King T. rex figure.  These two models are later compared in the video too.  Rebor has taken great care to make both these figures and the other large Theropods in their range such as the King T. rex and the Acrocanthosaurus “Hercules”, in 1:35 scale, so all the figures can be displayed together.

Comparing Rebor Figures (King T. rex and the “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain Colour Scheme)

Comparing Rebor replicas.

The Rebor King T. rex (left) is compared with the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Mountain tyrannosaurid replica.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Everything Dinosaur stocks the entire range of Rebor replicas including the two “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurid figures.  We even offer these two models together at a special discount (subject to stocks).

To view the Rebor range available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Beautifully Detailed Figures

The video narrator is most impressed with the two Rebor replicas.  The articulated jaws and the poseable tails are admired and the camerawork permits viewers to get a really close-up view of all the superb texturing and osteoderm placement on the two figures.  The size dimensions are reported and size comparisons made with the classic Papo standing T. rex figure.  Particular attention is paid to the fantastic paintwork on the inside of the mouth.  Both figures have beautifully painted mouths and the inside of the jaws and teeth glisten in the light to give the impression that they are wet.

Care is Taken in the Video Review to Show the Head of the Model in Close Detail

A view of the head of the Rebor "Vanilla Ice" Mountain Tyrannosaur.

A close-up view of the head of the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Mountain colour variant.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

This is a great video review of two great Rebor replicas.

Check out the stunning YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables, it is packed full of beautiful video reviews and other fantastic material for the dinosaur model enthusiast, including lots of reviews of Rebor replicas.

JurassicCollectables: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube.

18 11, 2018

Very Rare Dinosaur Fossil Find in Oregon

By | November 18th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

An Oregon Ornithopod

There may be many famous dinosaurs known from the United States of America, after all, when it comes to naming dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus and Triceratops tend to trip off the tongue, but America’s dinosaur fossil heritage is not uniform across the whole country.  Several parts of the U.S. have no record of dinosaur discoveries, and numerous others have a very fragmentary record when it comes to the preserved remains of Dinosauria.  Oregon, the ninth largest State in terms of area, has a very poor dinosaur fossil record, however, a newly described fossil discovery made in the eastern part of the “Beaver State”, has got palaeontologists quite excited about the prospect of more dinosaur fossil finds being made.

The Toe Bone from a Dinosaur (Ornithopoda)

Writing in the “Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology”, scientists from the University of Oregon in collaboration with the University of Calgary (Canada), have published a paper on the discovery of a single toe bone from a plant-eating dinosaur – an extremely rare find considering that this part of north-western North America was underwater throughout most of the Mesozoic Era.

Various Views of the Single Dinosaur Toe Bone (Pedal Phalanx)

Indeterminate pedal phalanx (Oregon dinosaur).

Views of the single dinosaur toe bone discovered in eastern Oregon.

Picture Credit: University of Oregon

The fossil bone was found by University of Oregon Earth Sciences Professor Greg Retallack during field work in 2015, near the town of Mitchell (Wheeler County, eastern Oregon).  The single bone was spotted amongst mollusc fossils exposed on a slope consisting of marine shale.  The fossil dates from the Albian fauna stage of the Cretaceous and is the first ever Oregon dinosaur fossil to be the subject of a paper in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.  Furthermore, it represents the first dinosaur fossil find from Oregon from strata not regarded as Upper Cretaceous.

Oregon might be bigger than the whole of the United Kingdom, but the Mesozoic-aged exposures represent marine sediments, that harbour very few remains of ancient terrestrial animals.

Greg Retallack stated:

“Oregon landscapes are rich with Cretaceous rocks, but they rarely contain the kinds of dinosaur remains we see elsewhere in the United States.  The rocks here are the right age but are mostly from under the sea where dinosaurs did not live or from swamps where dinosaur bones are seldom preserved.”

Not Able to Assign a Genus

Although, identified as a dinosaur bone (pedal phalanx), it is not possible to assign it to a specific species or genus, although the research team are confident that it came from a plant-eating Ornithopod dinosaur.

An Illustration of a Typical Ornithopod Dinosaur

Burianosaurus augustai illustrated.

An illustration of a typical member of the Ornithopoda – the basal Ornithopod from the Czech Republic – Burianosaurus augustai.

Picture Credit: Edyta Felcyn

Co-author of the paper, Edward Davis (University of Oregon), explained that the remains of a terrestrial animal ended up in the mollusc bed, after having been swept out to sea.

He explained:

“It’s a phenomenon we sometimes call “bloat and float”.  That is, the animal died on shore in its terrestrial habitat, then was washed out to sea, where it floated while bloated with decomposition gasses.  Eventually it burst, and only this toe bone was entombed and became a fossil.”

A Sizeable Plant-eating Dinosaur

Although very little taxonomic information can be gained from a single, isolated toe bone, a size comparison with much more complete and better known Cretaceous Ornithopods such as Tenontosaurus, suggests that this dinosaur may have been about six to seven metres long and weighed around a tonne.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Although such a fossil find in marine sediments is exceptionally rare, it just goes to show that dinosaurs fossils can be found and if there is one, then there may be more. Many of the Mesozoic-aged rocks in this part of Oregon represent near coastal marine deposits.  Given that dinosaurs would have roamed the land close to the sea for millions of years it is possible that more dinosaur remains might be found.”

To read an article published by Everything Dinosaur in 2015, which looks at which part of the United States are not associated with dinosaur fossils: Washington State the 37th U.S. State with a Dinosaur.

17 11, 2018

A Fantastic Rebor Model Collection

By | November 17th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Fantastic Rebor Model Collection

Having received the latest Rebor prehistoric animal replicas, the pair of tyrannosaurids “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle and Mountain, dinosaur fan and model collector, Maurizio kindly sent in some pictures of his dinosaur models to Everything Dinosaur.  The collection includes a large number of Rebor prehistoric animal models, the Rebor range has certainly grown in the last three years or so and Maurizio’s display cabinet is very impressive.

A Rebor Inspired Prehistoric Animal Collection on Display

An amazing collection of Rebor prehistoric animal replicas.

A fantastic collection of Rebor replicas.  Various views of the comprehensive collection of Rebor figures.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

An Amazing Prehistoric Animal Model Collection

With the introduction of the two “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurid figures in October, the Rebor range of figures has increased to over forty and when displayed all together they make an awesome sight.  A number of figures in the collection are no longer available, so it is pleasing to see that a collector has been able to acquire from Everything Dinosaur, some of the rarer and more difficult to obtain figures.

Foreground – “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain and Background The Rebor King T. rex

Rebor Vanilla Ice Mountain tyrannosaur model.

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain colour variation (foreground) with the second figure to be introduced by Rebor the spectacular King T. rex (background).

Picture Credit: Maurizio

A Variety of Theropod Figures

The Rebor range contains a variety of Theropod figures, including a number of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs.  There are other Theropods including a number of dromaeosaurids – the “raptors”, within the range plus an Acrocanthosaurus, Carnotaurus and a Ceratosaurus to.

A Fine Collection of Rebor “Raptors”

Rebor "raptors" figure collection.

A fantastic collection of Rebor “raptors”.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

A set of elongated, Theropod dinosaur eggs can be seen in the foreground.  It is likely that dromaeosaurids such as Velociraptor laid eggs very similar to these.  The various Rebor “raptors” in the cabinet include “Sweeney”, “Winston”, “Gunn”, “Rose”, “Pete”, “Alex Delarge”, the scout series juvenile Velociraptor “Stan” and a leaping “Spring-heeled Jack”, it certainly is a most impressive collection and this dinosaur fan has built up his very own “raptor” pack, which is highly appropriate, as most palaeontologists believe that these fast-running predators were pack hunters and quite social animals.

A Close-up View of the Recently Introduced Rebor Tyrannosaurid “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle Colour Variant

Rebor Vanilla Ice Jungle tyrannosaur model.

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle colour variation.  A close-up view of the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” figure in the jungle green colour scheme.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

The stunning details on the Rebor figures, including the beautiful articulated jaws on many of the figures can be clearly seen on these well-composed photographs.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is always a pleasure to see how the models and figures we supply are displayed by collectors.  We enjoy receiving photographs that showcase model collections and we are most impressed with this collection of Rebor replicas.”

To view the Rebor range of prehistoric animal models, including the two “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurids, available from Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain

Rebor "Vanilla Ice" - Mountain.

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain colour variation, close-up view.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

Our thanks to Maurizio for sending in these pictures of his prehistoric animal model collection.

16 11, 2018

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 3)

By | November 16th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|5 Comments

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 3)

Today, we post up the third part of our series of articles showcasing the new for 2019 prehistoric animal models from CollectA and part three introduces a pair of Theropod dinosaurs from very different parts of the world.

The two new dinosaur figures are:

  • A CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Baryonyx (available mid 2019).
  • A CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range Fukuiraptor (available mid 2019).

The New for 2019 CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Baryonyx Model

CollectA Deluxe Baryonyx dinosaur model.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Baryonyx dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Deluxe Baryonyx with an Articulated Jaw

The CollectA Deluxe 1/40th scale Baryonyx has an articulated jaw and model collectors will note that the back has a considerable “humped” appearance.  This is because this model has been created with a view to supporting the idea that this dinosaur had elongated neural spines on its dorsal vertebrae.  The holotype Baryonyx walkeri fossil material collected from a clay pit in Surrey, represents one of the most complete Theropod dinosaur skeletons ever found in Europe, even so, many of the back bones were incomplete and broken.  On a visit to the Isle of Wight, model designer Anthony Beeson had a conversation about Baryonyx with Steve Hutt, formerly with the Isle of Wight County Museums Service and a leading advocate for the establishment of a palaeontology museum on the Isle of Wight.  Steve was working on some recently discovered large Theropod vertebra that had been assigned to the Baryonchidae family.  So, as a result, this figure and the other Baryonyx figures including the 1:40 scale model introduced in 2009, have a distinctive hump.

A Close-up View of the Skull and Jaws of the CollectA Deluxe Baryonyx

The head and jaws of the new for 2019 CollectA Deluxe Baryonyx.

A close-up view of the skull and the jaws of the new for 2019 CollectA Deluxe Baryonyx model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

That articulated jaw has been designed to reflect the distinctive jaw-line and dentition associated with this large predator from the Lower Cretaceous of Europe.  As a dinosaur associated with aquatic environments, Anthony in collaboration with his colleague Matthias has given the Baryonyx model webbing between the toes, as befits a semi-aquatic animal.

Commenting on the hump-backed Baryonyx reconstruction, model designer Anthony Beeson explained:

“Because this new idea [elongated neural spines] did not appear in general reconstructions of Baryonyx, in 2006 I commissioned John Sibbick, who then lived nearby in Bath and was a friend of one of my close friends, to paint me a reconstruction of everyday life on the Isle of Wight in the Lower Cretaceous.  I wanted him to show a Baryonyx attending to a dead Iguanodon whilst about to be menaced by the recently discovered Neovenator, while other known Isle of Wight species went about their business in the background.”

The Artwork Commissioned Depicting the Isle of Wight in the Lower Cretaceous

A reconstruction of the Isle of Wight in the Lower Cretaceous

The prehistoric animals associated with the Wealden Group (Isle of Wight).  Note, Baryonyx is depicted with elongated neural spines providing the back with a distinctive hump.

Picture Credit: John Sibbick with permission from Anthony Beeson

Fukuiraptor – The “Thief of Fukui”

The second carnivorous dinosaur to be announced this week comes from a very different part of the world, the fossils of Fukuiraptor (pronounced Foo-kwee-rap-tor), come from Honshu Island, the largest island in Japan.  Ironically, although Baryonyx and Fukuiraptor lived thousands of miles apart, they lived at roughly the same time during the Early Cretaceous.  The CollectA Fukuiraptor will be a new addition to the “Dinosaurs Popular” range.

New for 2019 the CollectA Fukuiraptor Dinosaur Model

CollectA Fukuiraptor dinosaur model.

CollectA Fukuiraptor model.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Mistaken for a Dromaeosaur

When first discovered the heavy hand claws were thought to have come from the foot and, as the genus name indicates, it was considered to be a dromaeosaurid.  However, although its exact taxonomic affinity is debated, most palaeontologists consider this Theropod to be a member of the Megaraptora clade.  The design team at CollectA have based their replica on the holotype material and the restored skeleton on display at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (Japan).  This dinosaur was named and described 2000 AD, its binomial name reflects the location of the fossil site and the geological formation where the fossils were found – Fukuiraptor kitadaniensis (from Fukui Prefecture and the Kitadani Formation).

Commenting on the model, Anthony Beeson stated:

“In our reconstruction I have followed the idea that megoraptorans are allosauroids.  I wanted to convey that it is a lively and lightly built carnivore.  The holotype is of an immature example and so I have scaled it up to presumed adult size.”

Is the CollectA Fukuiraptor a Scale Model?

In some of the documentation and technical files we have received from CollectA, the Age of Dinosaurs Fukuiraptor is described as being a 1:40 scale replica.  The adult size of Fukuiraptor is not known, but it is estimated that adults could have reached lengths of around five to six metres, so at a fraction under fifteen centimetres long, it could be argued that the CollectA Fukuiraptor is a 1/40th scale model.

Model Measurements

  • CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Baryonyx length = 26 cm, height = 8.2 cm.
  • CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Fukuiraptor length = 14.7 cm and height 6.8 cm.

To view the range of CollectA Deluxe models: CollectA Deluxe Models

To view the range of CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular: CollectA Prehistoric Life

For part 1 of our new for 2019 CollectA series: CollectA New Models for 2019 – Part 1

For part 2 of our new for 2019 CollectA series: CollectA New Models for 2019 – Part 2

15 11, 2018

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino Arrives

By | November 15th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  This superb figure of an Ice Age rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), arrived yesterday, it is the first of the new for 2019 figures and replicas from Safari Ltd that Everything Dinosaur will be stocking.

The New for 2019 Woolly Rhinoceros Model (C. antiquitatis)

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhinoceros model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

“Ancient Hollow Tooth” – Brought Bang Up to Date

The Woolly Rhinoceros, known by palaeontologists as Coelodonta antiquitatis (the name means ancient hollow tooth), has been brought bang up to date by the design team at Safari Ltd.  The model has stocky and short limbs and the figure has been painted to give the impression of a thick coat of fur covering the body.  The nostrils are large and have been given a varnish on the inside to give the impression that they are moist.  Like most rhinos, the eyesight of Coelodonta antiquitatis was quite poor but it did have an excellent sense of smell.  Large nasals also probably served to help warm air before it entered the lungs, an adaptation to living on the tundra and frozen steppe.  The large anterior horn is somewhat flattened and spatulate in shape, again, this is an accurate depiction of the horn, as it was used to help sweep snow away so that ground dwelling vegetation could be exposed permitting this large mammal to feed.

A Close-up View of that Flattened Anatomically Accurate Nose Horn

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhinoceros model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino model.  The anterior nose horn is somewhat flattened, this horn, along with the enlarged nostrils and the small ears accurately reflect what is known about this extinct rhinoceros.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Some of our customers have expressed their surprise at how quickly we were able to get this animal into stock.  At Everything Dinosaur, we do appreciate how keen model fans and collectors are when it comes to getting their hands on the latest additions to the Wild Safari Prehistoric World range and we did all we could to ensure that the Woolly Rhino model was available to them as fast as possible.  It really is a super replica of this extinct member of the Rhinocerotidae.”

More Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models To Come

One of the reasons why the agreement that Safari Ltd had with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History came to an end was that with the termination of the agreement, the Florida based figure company could focus on producing more models and increasing its range.  A further ten prehistoric animal figures are due to be introduced in the next few months or so.  Everything Dinosaur is optimistic that more new for 2019 figures will be coming into stock before the end of the year.  The last of the 2019 model introductions should be available in the spring.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Figures 2019 (Archosauria)

Wild Safari Prehistoric World - reptiles 2019.

The remaining new for 2019 prehistoric animal figures from the Wild Safari Prehistoric World range.  Top Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Prestosuchus, Camarasaurus, Pteranodon, Styracosaurus, Swimming Spinosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Carnotaurus and Citipati.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see the full range of Wild Safari Prehistoric World figures, including the new for 2017 Woolly Rhino figure: Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models

Stepping into the Limelight the Woolly Rhinoceros Figure

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhinoceros model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Woolly Rhino model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

14 11, 2018

Fossil Bird from Late Cretaceous Utah – Deepens a Mystery

By | November 14th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Mirarce eatoni – Deepens the Mystery Over Late Cretaceous Avian Extinctions

All living birds from Albatrosses to Zebra finches belong to one group of avians – the Neornithes.  Our feathered friends share a number of key anatomical traits that defines them as a group from the smallest such as the Bee Hummingbird to the largest living bird, the Ostrich.  However, back in the Cretaceous, things were very different.  There were several different taxa of birds including the very diverse and highly successful Enantiornithines that shared the skies with early members of the Neornithines, but only the ancestors of today’s extant birds survived the end-Cretaceous extinction event and that’s a puzzle for palaeontologists.

The puzzle has just become a little more complex with the publication of a scientific paper in the on-line, open access journal “PeerJ”.  This paper describes the fossilised remains of an Enantiornithine that lived around 75 million years ago, in Utah (USA).  This prehistoric bird, about the size of a Raven, has been named Mirarce eatoni and its fossils show that it was probably a match for most modern birds in terms of its aerial abilities.

Perched on the Horns of a Utahceratops (Mirarce eatoni)

Mirarce eatoni - life reconstruction.

An illustration of the Late Cretaceous enantiornithine Mirarce eatoni.

Picture Credit: Brian Engh

This leads to one very intriguing question, if Enantiornithines like Mirarce were so advanced, then why after the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction event did only one group of birds survive?

A Complete Anatomical Description

The fossil material consists of several neck bones (cervical vertebrae), back bones (dorsal vertebrae), the fused caudal vertebrae making up the pygostyle, elements from the limbs, parts of the hips, a partial scapula, coracoid, the furcula (wishbone) and several other fragmentary elements including the radius and ulna.  This represents a veritable treasure trove of North American Enantiornithine fossils for palaeontologists to study, most North American members of this taxon are known from very scrappy fossil remains, mostly consisting of isolated fused leg bones and toes.  All in all, about 30% of the total skeleton is known and crucially, unlike most of the more complete Enantiornithine specimens from the Lower Cretaceous deposits of China, this specimen, is preserved in three-dimensions, it has not been crushed as flat as a pancake.  The excellent state of preservation and the number of fossil bones has permitted the researchers to undertake a complete anatomical description.

A Skeletal Reconstruction of the Newly Described North American Enantiornithine Mirarce eatoni

Mirarce eatoni skeletal reconstruction.

A skeletal reconstruction of the Enantiornithine Mirarce eatoni from Late Cretaceous Utah.  The bones shaded white represent known fossil material.  Note, cranial material is not known.

Picture Credit: Scott Hartman

The “Kaiparowits Avisaurid”

The specimen was originally discovered back in 1992, by University of California, Berkeley palaeontologist Howard Hutchinson, whilst he was exploring Kaiparowits Formation deposits for evidence of turtles.  It was quickly identified as an Enantiornithine and ascribed to the Avisauridae family, a family of prehistoric birds known from South America, North America, parts of Europe, Siberia and the Middle East (Lebanon).  The partial skeleton (UCMP 139500), was nicknamed the “Kaiparowits avisaurid”.   Although, its significance was noted, after all, the fossils represent the most complete example of an Enantiornithine ever found in North America, it remained undescribed.  All that changed when PhD student Jessie Atterholt (University of California, Berkeley), was given the opportunity to provide a formal scientific description.

Research Suggests that Mirarce eatoni was a Strong Flier and Well-Adapted to Life in the Late Cretaceous

Mirarce eatoni - life reconstruction.

A close-up view of the newly described Late Cretaceous bird Mirarce eatoni (colouration and plumage speculative).

Picture Credit: Brian Engh

A Strong and Capable Flier

In collaboration with her colleague Howard Hutchinson and with the support of Jingmai O’Connor, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and an authority on Cretaceous fossil birds, a complete analysis of the fossil bones was undertaken.  This study revealed that M. eatoni possessed several of the same physical adaptations for highly refined powered flight that modern birds (Neornithines) have.

Fossils of Enantiornithines from the Lower Cretaceous of China, birds such as Confuciusornis sanctus show a mix of basal and more advanced anatomical traits.  For example, the breast bone (sternum), of C. sanctus, is relatively small.  Modern birds have a deeply keeled sternum, this allows the attachment of large muscles to aid powered flight.  The wishbone (furcula) of Confuciusornis and most other Early Cretaceous Enantiornithines, is little more than a curved bar.  However, the furcula of M. eatoni is shaped much more like the “V-shaped” wishbones of modern birds.  The furcula of Mirarce would have been able to flex and to store energy released during the flapping of the wings.

Commenting on the significance of these anatomical characteristics, Atterholt stated:

“We know that birds in the early Cretaceous, about 115 to 130 million years ago, were capable of flight but probably not as well adapted for it as modern birds.  What this new fossil shows is that Enantiornithines, though totally separate from modern birds, evolved some of the same adaptations for highly refined, advanced flight styles.”

The Furcula (Wishbone) of Mirarce eatoni

The furcula of Mirarce eatoni.

Two views of the wishbone (furcula) of Mirarce eatoni (A) dorsal and (B) ventral with line drawings.  Scale bar = 1 cm.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Quill Knobs?

A close examination of the right ulna (lower arm bone), revealed evidence of two roughened patches preserved on the shaft of the bone.  These rough patches were interpreted as being attachment sites for quill knobs, that anchor the wing feathers to the skeleton and to help strengthen the wings for use in active, prolonged, powered flight.  Quill knobs are found in living birds.  This is the first time that such a feature has been seen in an Enantiornithine and indicates that Mirarce was, very probably, a strong flier.

Potential Quill Knobs Identified in an Enantiornithine (M. eatoni)

Quill knobs on an Enantiornithine.

Roughed structures on the ulna of Mirarce compared to the quill knobs found on the ulna of a Pelican.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

If these structures are quill knobs, then this suggests that this anatomical trait evolved in parallel with members of the Dinosauria (dromaeosaurids and other maniraptorans along with the ornithomimids) and in parallel with a number of types of prehistoric bird.

How Did Mirarce Get Its Name?

The genus name reflects that fantastic state of preservation of the fossil material (Latin “mirus” for wonderful) and after Arce, the winged messenger of the Titans in Greek mythology.  The trivial name honours Dr Jeffrey Eaton, in recognition of his work studying the vertebrates of the Kaiparowits Formation.  A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that this prehistoric bird’s name was pronounced “mere-ark-ee ee-tow-eye”.

But Why Did These Advanced Enantiornithines Die Out?

If Late Cretaceous Enantiornithines were just as advanced as modern birds, then, why did they die out with the non-avian dinosaurs while the ancestors of modern birds survived the extinction event?

Atterholt, who has moved onto a position of Assistant Professor and human anatomy instructor at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona (California), added:

“This particular bird is about 75 million years old, about 10 million years before the die-off.  One of the really interesting and mysterious things about Enantiornithines is that we find them throughout the Cretaceous, for roughly 100 million years of existence and they were very successful.  We find their fossils on every continent, all over the world, and their fossils are very, very common, in a lot of areas more common than the group that led to modern birds.  Yet modern birds survived the extinction while Enantiornithines go extinct.”

Forest Dwellers Versus Seed Eaters

A number of ideas have been put forward to help explain why some types of birds survived the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event whilst others did not.  For example, one hypothesis proposes that Enantiornithines were forest dwellers and when the asteroid strike/volcanism resulted in a dramatic loss of woodland habitats, these types of birds suffered more than other birds that lived in different environments.

The absence of cranial material prevents the researchers from investigating what Mirarce might have eaten.  Most known members of the Enantiornithes had teeth in their beaks and Mirarce supports the idea that these types of birds gradually got larger over time, but what this bird ate remains a mystery.  If it had been a predator of small vertebrates and insects, any major disruption to the food chain could have led to extinction.  However, a paper published in 2016 proposed that birds with toothless beaks such as the early Neornithines could have survived the extinction event by eating seeds that persisted in the soil.

To read more about this paper: Seed Eating May Have Helped the Birds Survive

The scientific paper: “The Most Complete Enantiornithine from North America and a Phylogenetic Analysis of the Avisauridae” by Jessie Atterholt, J. Howard Hutchinson and Jingmai K. O’Connor published in PeerJ.

13 11, 2018

Getting to the Bottom of Ornithischian Teeth

By | November 13th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Scientists Sink Their Teeth into Toothy Dinosaur Problem

Two of the most successful lineages of Ornithischian dinosaurs are the Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) and the Hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs).  These herbivores dominated the megafauna of many Late Cretaceous environments and one of the reasons for their success was their remarkable dental batteries.  Although horned dinosaurs and duck-bills processed plant food in their mouths differently, (they had different chewing and grinding actions), the rows of teeth permitted these types of plant-eaters to process the toughest vegetation extremely efficiently

The Dental Battery of a Typical Hadrosaurid

Typical Hadrosaur dental battery.

These teeth were made for grinding. The rows and rows of tough teeth in the jaw of a hadrosaurid – the dental battery.

Picture Credit: Dr Gregory Erickson

However, the evolution of these dental batteries is poorly understood, so a team of Canadian and Chinese scientists set out to examine how this dentition may have come about.  To do this they examined the teeth morphology and jaws of a little Ornithopod from north-eastern China called Changchunsaurus parvus.  This light-weight dinosaur that measured around 1.5 metres in length, is known from several skulls and other postcranial material from Jilin Province (China).

A Life Reconstruction of the Ornithopod Changchunsaurus (C. parvus)

Changchunsaurus Life Reconstruction

An illustration of the Chinese Ornithopod Changchunsaurus. Note scale bar = 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

How Did “Typical” Ornithischian Dentition Develop?

Writing in the academic, on-line journal “PeerJ”, the researchers from Jilin University and the University of Alberta, describe how thin slices were taken from five jaw bones of this dinosaur so that teeth in the jaw could be studied.  In addition, the slices once polished to show their internal structure, would help the researchers determine tooth composition and to see how the teeth are maintained throughout the life of this little dinosaur.  Changchunsaurus makes a good candidate for this type of work, as it is known from numerous skulls (albeit, some of them are quite distorted), and it is regarded taxonomically as being close to origins of the Ornithopoda.

One of the Skulls of Changchunsaurus parvus Used in the Study

The holotype of Changchunsaurus parvus.

Image of the skull of the holotype specimen of C. parvus (JLUM L0304-j-Zn2).  The skull is shown in lateral view and the yellow shaded area indicates the area of the jaw from which the samples were taken.  Scale bar = 2 cm.

Picture Credit: Chen et al (PeerJ)

A Unique Method of Tooth Replacement

Among the notable features of Changchunsaurus parvus dentition is a unique method of tooth replacement that allowed this herbivore to recycle teeth without disrupting the continuous shearing surface formed by its tooth rows.  This permitted Changchunsaurus to have an efficient tooth-grinding surface all the time, thus helping it to process tough plant material.  The scientists also discovered that the teeth feature wavy enamel, a tissue type formerly thought to have evolved only in more derived members of the Ornithopoda.  The wavy enamel of Changchunsaurus is the phylogenetically earliest occurrence of this type of tissue known.

A Section of Dentary (Lower Jaw) Sample Along with Cross-sections of Teeth Showing Morphology

Changchunsaurus tooth morphology.

(B) a partial dentary showing the area cross-sectioned and magnified cross-sections of teeth (C to F) identifying teeth replacement and tooth morphology.

Picture Credit: Chen et al (PeerJ)

The picture above shows (B), an image of one of the partial lower jaws used in this research.  The purple line shows the plane of sectioning.  A whole view image of one of the thin sections through the lower jaw is shown (C) and (D) shows a magnified view of the process of tooth replacement.  Images (E) and (F) show highly magnified views of identified wavy enamel on the crown of replacement teeth (labial and lingual margins).

Commenting on the significance of this study, lead author Professor Chen Jun stated:

“These tissue-level details of the teeth of Changchunsaurus tell us that their teeth were well-adapted to their abrasive, plant-based diets.  Most surprisingly, the wavy enamel described here, presumably to make it more resistant to wear, was previously thought to be exclusive to their giant descendants, the duckbilled dinosaurs.”

This research contradicts previous interpretations that this type of wavy enamel arose in association with more complex hadrosauroid dentitions.  In view of its early appearance, the research team suggests that wavy enamel may have evolved in association with a shearing-type dentition in a roughly symmetrically-enamelled crown, although its precise function still remains somewhat of a mystery.

The authors suspect these features may have arisen early on in the Ornithopoda as they became adapted to herbivory, having to process tough vegetation.

The scientific paper:

“Tooth Development, Histology, and Enamel Microstructure in Changchunsaurus parvus: Implications for Dental Evolution in Ornithopod Dinosaurs” by Jun Chen , Aaron R. H. LeBlanc , Liyong Jin, Timothy Huang and Robert R. Reisz published in PeerJ.

12 11, 2018

A Colourful Compsognathus

By | November 12th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Colourful Compsognathus

A fan of Everything Dinosaur very kindly sent into us a beautiful illustration of the small, Jurassic Theropod Compsognathus.  Our thanks to Maurizio from Italy for producing such a fantastic piece of artwork and sharing it with us.

A Very Colourful Compsognathus

Compsognathus illustrated.

A beautiful illustration of the Late Jurassic Theropod dinosaur Compsognathus.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

An Elegant Illustration of “Elegant Jaw”

The fast-running Compsognathus was about the size of a small goose and for a time it was regarded as the smallest dinosaur known to science.  The scientific name for this European dinosaur is Compsognathus longipes, the genus name comes from the Latin for “elegant jaw”, a reference to the delicate, slender jaws of this little predator, which probably fed on insects and small vertebrates.

Commenting on the drawing, illustrator Maurizio said:

“I just wanted to send  you [Everything Dinosaur] this illustration.  The illustration features a Compsognathus inspired by the ones seen in “Jurassic Park” and the “Lost World” movies.  My Compsognathus is hiding inside some prehistoric plants.”

Maurizio Has Skilfully Drawn the “Elegant Jaw” of Compsognathus

A close-up view of the elegant jaw of Compsognathus.

A close-up view of the head of the Compsognathus longipes that had been drawn by Everything Dinosaur fan Maurizio.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

Always Happy to Receive Prehistoric Animal Drawings

A spokesperson from the UK-based dinosaur company stated that team members were always happy to receive prehistoric animal drawings from fans of dinosaurs and this person went onto state:

“We get sent a lot of illustrations and examples of prehistoric animal themed artwork and we are always happy to post up the pictures onto the walls of our office or within the company warehouse.  These drawings make a very attractive display.”

Our thanks once again to Maurizio for taking the time and the trouble to send into Everything Dinosaur an example of his artwork.

11 11, 2018

Foundation Stage 2 Study Dinosaurs

By | November 11th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Foundation Stage 2 Learn All About Dinosaurs

Last week, was a very busy week for the teaching team at Everything Dinosaur.  They have lots of dinosaur and fossil workshops to try to fit in before schools begin preparing for the end of the autumn term.  On Friday, one of our teaching staff visited The Berkeley Academy in Cheshire to work with two Reception classes who had been studying life in the past and prehistoric animals.  Whilst being given a tour of the school by the dedicated teaching staff, our dinosaur expert spotted several examples of the children’s dinosaur themed arts and crafts on display.  One classroom (Class 2), had even constructed a dinosaur den in a part of their classroom.

Class 2 Children (Reception) Had Created a “Dinosaur Den” in their Classroom

A dinosaur den spotted in a Reception classroom.

Children in Class 2 (Berkeley Academy) have a dinosaur den in their classroom.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

There were lots of fiction and non-fiction prehistoric animal themed books for the children to peruse.  The mission statement for the school is “It’s all about doing your best” and some of the Year 5 students had helped with decorating the dinosaur den, creating some very colourful examples of dinosaurs out of pieces of tissue paper.  These had been placed alongside some “Plateosaurs” that the Reception children had made.

Tissue Paper Dinosaurs and “Plateosaurs” Decorate the Dinosaur Den

A Brachiosaurus spotted in the dinosaur den.

Children in Year 5 at Berkeley Academy (Cheshire), helped to decorate the dinosaur den in the Reception class.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

Berkeley Academy aims to create a learning environment in which all the children can thrive.  The eager, young palaeontologists had been developing their knowledge about dinosaurs and during our dinosaur expert’s visit the children were keen to demonstrate their pre-knowledge and they were very confident answering questions and contributing to the workshop.

Year 5 Have Helped to Decorate the Reception Class

A brightly coloured dinosaur made from tissue paper.

A brightly coloured meat-eating dinosaur created with tissue paper by Year 5 children.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

The dinosaur den makes a wonderful safe, secure and stimulating environment for the young children to learn about simple food chains, what animals need to keep them happy and to discover famous fossil hunters like Mary Anning.

To help develop hand-to-eye co-ordination and motor skills, the children had been challenged to write their names inside a silhouette of a dinosaur.  These dinosaurs were posted up onto a “wow wall”, we hope the dinosaur feet we provided will help to further stimulate the children’s writing skills.

Writing and Dinosaurs Combine to Help Reception Children Improve their Motor Skills

Dinosaurs and writing activities (Foundation Stage 2)

The Reception class children wrote their names on a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: The Berkeley Academy/Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools and their dinosaur and fossil workshops: Contact Us/Request a Quotation

10 11, 2018

The Last Quagga in the Wild

By | November 10th, 2018|Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Last Quagga in the Wild

The Quagga (Equus quagga), was a type of zebra (plains zebra), that lived on the savannah and scrublands of southern Africa.  Sadly, with the arrival of European settlers, this animal was hunted as it was thought that it would compete with domestic livestock for grazing.  It was also hunted for its meat and hide.  Within two hundred years of the founding of the first Dutch settlement in what was to become South Africa, the once common and ubiquitous Quagga was a rare sight.  The last population of wild animals lived in Orange Free State, but soon their numbers dwindled and the last known wild Quagga died 140 years ago (1878).

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of a Quagga

Quagga - scale drawing.

A scale drawing of Equus quagga.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Quagga was once thought to be a distinct species of zebra, but genetic research, including a study carried out ten years ago (2008), using the few hides and bones that had been retained by museums and zoological collections, revealed that it was the southern-most sub-species of the geographically widespread plains zebra (Equus quagga).

The Mojo Fun Quagga Model

Mojo Quagga replica.

The Mojo Fun Quagga model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Replicas of this sadly extinct member of the Perissodactyla (odd-toed, hoofed mammals), are few and far between, but fortunately Mojo Fun have produced a figure (see above), it is included within their “Prehistoric and Extinct” range of models.

The Mojo Fun Quagga Model

Measuring around ten centimetres in length and with a head height of nine centimetres (approximately), this figure is a welcome addition to the Mojo Fun model range and joins the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), as representatives of recently extinct animals within the “Prehistoric and Extinct” portfolio.

To view the Mojo Fun replicas, including the Quagga figure which is available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“With so much pressure on megafauna today and with so many iconic, large terrestrial mammals in danger of becoming extinct, it is important to remember animals such as the Quagga, that were driven to extinction due to the behaviour of our own species.  Let us hope that replicas such as the Mojo Fun Quagga can help to educate and to lead to improved conservation policies to help to protect animals endangered today.”

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