All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Mike

About Mike

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Mike has created 4371 blog entries.
27 01, 2019

Prehistoric Times Issue 128 Reviewed

By | January 27th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Prehistoric Times Issue 128 Reviewed

The latest edition of “Prehistoric Times”, the quarterly magazine for fans of dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures has arrived at Everything Dinosaur.  Issue 128 is jam-packed with features, articles and stories, there’s even a summary of recent dinosaur fossil discoveries and research.  This provides an opportunity to catch up with Saltriovenator, Tratayenia and Crittendenceratops – all new species of dinosaur.  In the winter 2018 edition, the focus is on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the trilogy of prehistoric animal themed novels by the acclaimed American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (The Caspak Trilogy).

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times Pays Tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs

Prehistoric Times magazine issue 128.

The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine issue 128 (winter 2019), marks the 100th anniversary of the book “The Land that Time Forgot”.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

The Caspak Trilogy

The three titles “The Land that Time Forgot”, “The People that Time Forgot” and “Out of Time’s Abyss”, collectively referred to as the Caspak Trilogy, after the prehistoric island where much of the action was set, are celebrated in the magazine.  Lots of readers have provided illustrations and artwork to celebrate the centenary.  The front cover artwork was created by Joshua Ballze and Phil Hore’s excellent article includes numerous illustrations, of which, for us, the contributions of Mike Landry really stand out.  Renowned Canadian palaeontologist, Phil Currie provides a perspective on the prehistoric animals within the novels and Allen Debus continues the science-fiction author theme with an article that compares and contrasts the work of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

Beautiful Trilobite Fossils

It might be cold and dark outside, but readers are transported to the high Atlas mountains of Morocco in a well-penned feature by Sergio Luis Fica Biston that showcases the stunning Trilobite fossils that can be found in the ancient rocks that surround the small town of Elnif.  Finding the fossil is the start of a painstaking and long process of fossil preparation.  Some individual specimens can take upwards of thirty hours to prepare before they are ready to be put on display.

A Stunning Moroccan Trilobite Fossil

The art of Trilobite fossil preparation.

A beautifully prepared Trilobite specimen from Morocco.

Picture Credit: Sergio Luiz Fica Biston

“T” is for Triceratops

Tracy Lee Ford discusses the anatomy of Triceratops and provides a guide to scientific illustration.  Torosaurus is covered too, along with a helpful illustration of the fused cervical vertebrae, a characteristic shared by all Ceratopsians and an explanation of the differences between the hand (manus) and feet (pes) of these horned dinosaurs.  The article concludes with an updated life restoration of “three horned face”.  Cress Kearny introduces part two of the article demonstrating the beauty and wonder of agatised dinosaur bones and stamp collecting fans have the chance to brush-up on their prehistoric animal themed stamp knowledge with a well-crafted feature on dinosaur stamps of the 1970’s.

The Golden Age of Palaeo-art – Burian

Issue 128 also includes part eleven of the comprehensive overview of the work of the Czech illustrator Zdeněk Burian by John Lavas.  In the previous issue of “Prehistoric Times” how the Plesiosauria were portrayed was covered, this edition focuses on the Mosasauridae.

A Vibrant Dynamic Depiction of the Western Interior Seaway

The Western Interior Seaway (Late Cretaceous)

Dramatic scene from the Western Interior Seaway painted by Burian.

Picture Credit: Zdeněk Burian

Purchasers of the magazine will also have the chance to see pictures of new prehistoric animal model releases as well as to read an article all about Sabre-toothed cats including the Nimravidae by John Tuttle and there are lots and lots of reader submitted artworks to admire.

For further information about “Prehistoric Times” and to subscribe: Subscribe to Prehistoric Times Magazine

26 01, 2019

Rebor Hatching Baryonyx Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

By | January 26th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Limited Edition Club Selection Rebor Hatching Baryonyx Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

The limited edition Club Selection hatching Baryonyx figure by Rebor has been given the video review treatment by those talented people at JurassicCollectables.  Following on from their very informative and helpful video review of the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model, JurassicCollectables have focused their camera lenses on this limited edition hatching dinosaur from Rebor.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Rebor Club Selection Limited Edition Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

“Hurricane” – Hatching Baryonyx

There have only been a 1,000 of these models made and the narrator begins the video by highlighting the box and the packaging.  Comments are made about taking care when it comes to removing the model out of the protective foam.  Those beautifully sculpted claws on this substantial figure might catch and get damaged, so the narrator emphasises the need to take care when opening the box and taking out the model and its accessories for the first time.

The New for 2019 Limited Edition Club Selection Rebor Hatching Baryonyx

Hatching Baryonyx by Rebor.

The Rebor limited edition Club Selection hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Hurricane?

At Everything Dinosaur, we have been asked why does this dinosaur figure have the nickname “Hurricane”?  Baryonyx (B. walkeri) is known from sediments that were deposited in a low-lying, flood plain environment.  When Baryonyx roamed that part of the world that we now know as the Isle of Wight, for example, large rivers meandered slowly eastwards to the sea.  This location would have been subjected to tropical storms and hurricanes from time to time and such events would have had a devastating effect on the environment.  Dinosaurs like Baryonyx would have had to endure such violent weather, so the term “Hurricane” is appropriate.  However, there is another reason for this Rebor figure’s nickname…

Unpacked and Set Up the Rebor Limited Edition Club Selection Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”

Ready for display, the Rebor hatching Baryonyx figure "Hurricane".

The Rebor Hatching Baryonyx dinosaur model ready for display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaurs and a Famous English Football Captain

“Hurricane” honours Harry Kane, the Tottenham Hotspur and England forward.  Harry Kane is the current captain of the England football team and he helped England reach two semi-finals in 2018.  Hence this football themed dinosaur replica from Rebor, it celebrates England reaching the World Cup semi-final as well as their qualification for the semi-finals of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

In the Video, JurassicCollectables Showcase Many Features of the Model Including the Very Life-like Eyes

He head of the Rebor hatching Baryonyx "Hurricane".

A close-up view of the glossy eye of the Rebor hatching Baryonyx figure.  In the video review, the narrator talks about the details on the head and paint scheme to be found on the inside of the mouth.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

JurassicCollectables have a fascinating YouTube channel.  It has attracted nearly 80,000 subscribers.  For video reviews of Rebor figures and lots of other prehistoric animal models, Everything Dinosaur recommends subscribing to JurassicCollectables: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables on YouTube

A Detailed Video Review

In the detailed video review, the narrator comments over the subtle use of a wash that gives the replica a wet look, just like a newly hatched animal.  The shape of the egg is discussed and how to position it on its base is demonstrated and JurassicCollectables comment on the delicately shaped and realistic looking vegetation that is included with the figure.  Off-colour Alan makes his customary appearance and the recently reviewed Schleich 2019 Spinosaurus is included so that viewers can gain an appreciation as to just how big this hatching Baryonyx actually is.

The Rebor Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane” Compared in Size to the Schleich Spinosaurus Model (2019)

Comparing the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus to the Rebor Club Selection hatching Baryonyx.

The Schleich Spinosaurus (2019) compared with the Rebor Club Selection hatching Baryonyx.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Rebor figures and replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur including limited edition Club Selection figures: Rebor Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Figures

25 01, 2019

Link Between Bird Beak Shape and Feeding Ecology Not That Strong

By | January 25th, 2019|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Bird Beak Shape Did Not Evolve to Help Process Different Types of Food

A team of international researchers, including scientists from Bristol University, have published a new scientific paper that provides a new perspective on how the beaks of birds adapted over time. It seems that the “strong relationship” between bird beak shape and what the bird eats might not be that strong a relationship after all.

New Research Shows a Link Between Beak Shape and Feeding Ecology but it is not as Strong as Previously Suggested

The highly modified mandible of the Black Skimmer.

The highly modified mandible of the Black Skimmer indicates a strong link between feeding ecology and beak shape, but this relationship might not be as strong as previously thought.

Picture Credit: hoganphoto.com

Darwin and the Galapagos Finches

Charles Darwin famously observed that finches on different islands of the Galapagos possessed distinctive beak shapes.  He postulated that the beak shapes had come about due to natural selection as the birds adapted to fill unique niches within the ecosystem.  It had been assumed that this form-function relationship holds true across all species of bird.  In a new study looking at a total of 176 extant avian species and published in the academic journal “Evolution”, it is suggested that the beaks of birds are not as adapted to the food types they feed upon as it is generally believed.  After all, birds use their beaks for a variety of functions not just for feeding.

Puffins on the Island of Skomer – Beaks Perform a Variety of Tasks

Bird beaks used for various tasks not just feeding.

The beak on a bird is used for various tasks.  Functions of the beak include visual display, preening and feeding.

Picture Credit: Sergio Martínez-Nebreda and Paula Medina-García

The research team, consisting of scientists from the UK, the United States and Spain, used mathematical and computational statistical techniques to map the connection between beak shapes and functions in birds.  By measuring the beak shape in a wide range of modern bird species from museum collections and looking at information about how the beak is used by different species to consume different foods, the scientists were able to examine the link between beak shape and feeding behaviour.  Did feeding behaviour influence beak shape evolution?  If it did, how strong a link was this?

Co-author of the study, Professor Emily Rayfield (Bristol University), commented:

“This is, to our knowledge, the first approach to test a long-standing principle in biology: that the beak shape and function of birds is tightly linked to their feeding ecologies.”

Lead author of the research, Guillermo Navalón, a PhD student at Bristol University’s School of Earth Sciences added:

“The connection between beak shapes and feeding ecology in birds was much weaker and more complex than we expected and that while there is definitely a relationship there, many species with similarly shaped beaks forage in entirely different ways and on entirely different kinds of food.  This is something that has been shown in other animal groups, but in birds this relationship was always assumed to be stronger.”

Research co-author, Dr Jesús Marugán-Lobón from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, explained:

“These results only made sense when you realise birds use the beak for literally everything!  Therefore, it also makes sense they evolved a versatile tool not just for getting food, but also to accomplish many other tasks.”

Important Implications for the Study of Fossil Birds

The study is part of a larger research programme by the team in collaboration with academics from other universities across Europe and the USA to better understand the main drivers of the evolution of the skull in birds, the only living members of the Theropoda.  Similar results were identified in a study of birds of prey, but this is the first time that the link between beak shape and ecology has been examined across a wide variety of bird families.

Guillermo Navalón added:

“These results have important implications for the study of fossil birds.  We have to be careful about inferring ecology in ancient birds, which we often assume based solely on the shape of the beak.”

A Fossil Bird – Eoconfuciusornis

Eoconfuciusornis fossil bird.

The fossilised remains of a Lower Cretaceous bird from China (Eoconfuciusornis).  This new study has implications for how the beaks of fossil birds are interpreted.

Picture Credit: Dr Xiaoli Wang (Linyi University)

What About the Pterosauria?

This study may also have implications for the Pterosauria.  Pterosaurs are extinct and they have no living close relatives, so what we know about these volant animals has to be deduced from their fossils.  There are many different types of beak associated with these flying reptiles and the link between shape and feeding ecology may not be as strong as previously thought.  The beaks of pterosaurs may not be as adapted to the food types they are thought to have fed upon.

A Wide Range of Different Beak Types Demonstrated in the Pterosauria

Examples of pterosaurs from the Museum Nacional collection.

The Pterosauria exhibit a wide variety of different types of mandible.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If the mandibles of pterosaurs were employed in a variety of functions such as display, preening and visual signalling as well as feeding could their beaks be not as well adapted to the food types they fed on as is generally believed?  These reptiles had more manipulative function in their hands and fingers than extant birds, but the function of the hand would have been limited by the animal’s wing membranes.

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

The scientific paper: “The Evolutionary Relationship between Beak Shape, Mechanical Advantage and Feeding Ecology in Modern Birds” by G. Navalón, J. A. Bright, J. Marugán‐Lobón and E.J. Rayfield published in the journal Evolution.

24 01, 2019

New Papo Gorgosaurus (Sneaky Peek)

By | January 24th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

New Papo Gorgosaurus Previewed

Everything Dinosaur team members had the opportunity this week to view the new for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur figure.  As well as taking plenty of photographs, we were able to shoot a short video demonstrating that this dinosaur model stands on its hind legs and it does not need to balance on its tail in order to stand.

Everything Dinosaur Previews the New for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Beautiful Model that is Beautifully Balanced

In this short video, we demonstrate that the Papo Gorgosaurus does not need to rest on its tail in order to balance.  This figure is one of five new for 2019 Papo prehistoric animal models, it should be available in quarter three of this year, perhaps around June/July .  It could arrive a little sooner, it could be in stock at Everything Dinosaur a little later.  At least our customers and dinosaur model fans have had the chance of a sneak peek of this new tyrannosaurid dinosaur figure from the French manufacturer..

The Papo Gorgosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

New Papo Models for 2019

In total, five new figures are being introduced by Papo this year, there will (most likely), be a box set released in the autumn and we are already working on new for 2020 and 2021 production ideas.

The five new Papo models are:

  • Brown Running T. rex due into stock in a few days at Everything Dinosaur.
  • Papo Allosaurus (new colour variant), also due to arrive at Everything Dinosaur, in just a few days.
  • Papo Gorgosaurus (see images and video), which is scheduled to be available sometime in quarter 3.
  • Papo Pentaceratops – also due to be in stock sometime in quarter 3 of 2019.
  • Stegosaurus, (new colour variant), this figure is also planned for launch in quarter 3 of this year.

Everything Dinosaur has also been made aware of a number of model retirements from the Papo “Les Dinosaures” range of figures.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article about forthcoming Papo prehistoric animal model retirements: News of Papo Model Retirements

Coming Soon a New Gorgosaurus Figure from Papo

Papo Gorgosaurus.

The Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur model.  This dinosaur model will have an articulated lower jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the current range of Papo dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures, including some of the increasingly rare retired figures: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Figures

Everything Dinosaur customers will also be able to get their hands on the new for 2019 Papo consumer booklet, it’s up there on our website.

23 01, 2019

Prehistoric Shark Named after Video Game

By | January 23rd, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Galagadon nordquistae – Shark Resident of Hell Creek

Perhaps the most famous exhibit at the Field Museum (Chicago), is the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen named “Sue”, the most complete T. rex fossil discovered to date.  A great deal of research has been carried out on the 66 million-year-old fossilised bones of this giant, meat-eating Theropod that measures over twelve metres in length.  However, the matrix that surrounded the fossil material has helped to shed light on another resident of the famous Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota.  Fossil teeth found in the matrix surrounding the bones of the most famous T. rex in the world has led to the naming and description of a prehistoric shark that lived in freshwater, say hello to Galagadon nordquistae.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous Shark G. nordquistae

Galagadon nordquistae life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous shark Galagadon nordquistae.

Picture Credit: Velizar Simeonovski (Field Museum)

A Small, Freshwater Predator

Ever since the preparation work on “Sue” began in the 1990’s, the leftover sediment (matrix), was carefully stored at the Field Museum.  Researchers examined this material searching for micro-fossils in a bid to build up a picture of what life was like in this part of Laramidia towards the end of the age of dinosaurs.  Teeth were found from a shark which would have measured around half a metre in length.

Peter Makovicky (Curator of Dinosaurs at the Field Museum) commented:

“This shark lived at the same as Sue the T. rex, it was part of the same world.  Most of its body wasn’t preserved, because sharks’ skeletons are made of cartilage, but we were able to find its tiny fossilised teeth.”

The shark, named Galagadon nordquistae, is described in a scientific paper published in the “Journal of Palaeontology”.

Named After a 1980s Video Game

Lead author of the research, Terry Gates (North Carolina State University), explained that the shark’s name was inspired by the stepped, triangular shape of the teeth that reminded the research team of the spaceships in the 1980s video game Galaga.  The species epithet honours Field Museum volunteer Karen Nordquist who discovered the fossilised teeth in the matrix material.

Fossil Teeth Reminded the Scientists of Video Game Spaceships

Galagadon fossil teeth.

Specimens of shark teeth (lingual view) assigned to Galagadon.  Scale bars = 1 mm.

Picture Credit: Terry Gates (North Carolina State University)/Journal of Paleontology

Commentating on her fossil find, Nordquist stated:

“It [a tooth] was so tiny, you could miss it if you weren’t looking really carefully.  To the naked eye, it just looks like a little bump, you have to have a microscope to get a good view of it.”

Tiny Teeth Change our View of the Prehistoric Environment

The tiny teeth are only about a millimetre wide, about the size of a pinhead.  Galagadon was small too, estimated at around thirty to sixty centimetres in length.

Dr Makovicky added:

“Galagadon was less than two feet long, it’s not exactly Jaws.  It’s comparable to bamboo sharks living today.  It probably had a flat face and was very likely camouflage-coloured, since its relatives today have a camouflage pattern.  It would have eaten small invertebrates and probably spent a fair amount of time lying on the bottom of the riverbed.”

Galagadon may not have been huge, but its discovery has forced scientists into a re-think over what they thought they knew about the area where the T. rex named “Sue” was found.  It had been thought that the fossil locality represented a lake formed from a partially dried-up river, the presence of a shark suggests there must have been at least some connection to the sea.

The shark has been classified as a member of the Orectolobiformes Order of sharks, making it distantly related to extant carpet sharks including bamboo sharks.  These types of shark are believed to have originated in the Jurassic and had a global distribution, today they are mostly restricted to waters in southeast Asia and Australia.

Co-author of the study, Eric Gorscak (Field Museum) explained:

“It’s surprising to find their fossils at the Sue locality.  During the Late Cretaceous, the continents continued to drift apart, further isolating dinosaurs and other land animals, and at the same time created the Atlantic and Indian oceans.  With occasional seaways connecting these young oceans, we have found fossils of marine life flourishing globally, including Galagadon and its relatives.”

Various Views of the Galagadon Teeth

Views of Galagadon teeth.

Galagadon teeth. Specimens in lingual view (1–4), labial view (5–8), lateral view (9–12), basal view (13–16), and occlusal view (17–20). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Picture Credit: Terry Gates (North Carolina State University)/Journal of Paleontology

Hell Creek – More than Flashy Dinosaurs

The study also reflects the importance of learning about fossils beyond big, flashy dinosaurs.  Each species discovered helps to build up a picture of the ecosystem in which the dinosaurs and other megafauna existed.

Karen Nordquist added:

“Most people, when they think of fossils, think of big huge dinosaur bones, but in the dirt, there are the bones of tiny animals.  When you get those bones and identify them, you get an idea of the whole environment, everything that lived with the big dinosaurs.  You learn so much from micro-sorting.”

The scientific paper: “New Sharks and Other Chondrichthyans from the Latest Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) of North America” by Terry A. Gates, Eric Gorscak and Peter J. Makovicky published in the Journal of Paleontology.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of a press release from the Field Museum (Chicago), in the compilation of this article.

22 01, 2019

Dinosaurs with Foundation Stage Children

By | January 22nd, 2019|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Dinosaurs with Foundation Stage Children

Over the last few days, the teaching team at Everything Dinosaur have been out and about visiting lots of schools to work with Foundation Stage children.  We have met some very enthusiastic and eager young palaeontologists and conducted several workshops with Reception and Nursery classes.  We have seen fossils, dinosaur drawings, prehistoric animal skeletons made from pasta shapes and even a few flying reptiles dangling from a classroom ceiling.  One class of Nursery children (Foundation Stage 1), have been helping “Trudy the Triceratops” build a nest and each weekend one of the children gets to take “Trudy” home and to look after the dinosaur for a couple of days.

“Trudy the Triceratops” – Helping with a Dinosaur Term Topic with a Nursery Class

Triceratops soft toy.

A soft toy Triceratops like “Trudy the Triceratops”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Trudy loves adventures and she will have a diary with her so that parents and children can record what Trudy gets up to whilst she is away from the school.  On the Monday, following Trudy’s visit, the child will be given the opportunity to tell the class what Trudy has been up to over the weekend.

Explaining about Trudy’s adventures will help improve the children’s communication skills and help develop confidence.

Labelling a Triceratops

To help support the teaching team’s scheme of work we provide extra resources and teaching materials.  At one school we learned that the Nursery class teacher had a favourite dinosaur.  It was Triceratops, so we sent an illustration of what palaeontologists think Triceratops actually looked like.  We suggested that if the teacher blanked out our labels, then the children could write in their own labels and name the various parts of the body.

Can You Label a Dinosaur?

Labelling a Triceratops.

Can you label a dinosaur?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Can the children label the dinosaur?  A good exercise in helping with vocabulary development and writing, some words might be spelt correctly whilst others could be phonetically plausible.

Hatching Dinosaur Eggs

During our visits we saw lots of dinosaur eggs and nests.  We suggested that an extension activity to accompany the discovery of a dinosaur egg in the classroom would be to challenge the children to think of materials that might help to keep the egg safe and warm.  What sort of materials should we use to make a nest for a dinosaur?  This activity supports the concept of learning through play and exploration.  The children can look at the properties of materials and think through their own ideas, making links between ideas and developing strategies for achieving outcomes.

A Dinosaur Egg About to Hatch in a Reception Classroom

A dinosaur egg is about to hatch.

A hatching dinosaur egg spotted in a Foundation Stage (Reception) classroom.

Picture Credit: Lum Head Primary/Everything Dinosaur

The children in the Reception class at Lum Head Primary had decided to wrap their dinosaur egg in a blanket to help keep the egg safe and warm.  A dinosaur had been added by the children to help keep the baby dinosaur company when it hatched.

For information about Everything Dinosaur’s work in schools: Email us to find out more about our dinosaur workshops

21 01, 2019

100 million-year-old Cretaceous Hagfish Shakes Our Family Tree

By | January 21st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Research Changes Views over Evolution of Jawed Vertebrates

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Manchester University, have helped unravel the secrets hidden in the fossilised remains of an ancient hagfish, a slimy, eel-like fish whose descendants still swim the oceans of the world today.

Working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA), the Manchester University team have identified the first detailed fossil of a hagfish.  The Manchester team were led by Professors Phil Manning and Roy Wogelius, powerful X-rays were used to provide a detailed examination of the fossil specimen, providing a fresh perspective on the evolution of jaws in animals with back bones (vertebrates).

The Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil Specimen Being Prepared for Synchrotron Analysis

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil.

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil being prepared for synchrotron X-ray analysis.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

The X-rays were produced using the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), a cyclic particle accelerator at Stanford University (California).  Once the fossil had been scanned, the data produced helped answer the question as to when these ancient jawless fish branched-off the vertebrate evolutionary tree.

An Important Discovery

The discovery is incredibly important as it changes our view of the evolutionary lineage that gave rise to modern-day jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), from bony fish to humans.  The scientific paper is being published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.  The fossil, a specimen of a hagfish from the Late Cretaceous comes from Lebanon and it measures just over thirty centimetres long.  The fossil represents a species named Tethymyxine tapirostrum.

Commenting on the importance of this research, Professor Phil Manning (Chair of Natural History at the University of Manchester) stated:

“This is an extremely significant discovery as it recalibrates our understanding of the evolutionary history of all early vertebrates, an ancestral line that leads to all jawed beasties including us. Humans!”

Professor Manning added:

“This wonderful fossil plugs a 100-million-year gap in the fossil record and shows that hagfish are more closely related to the lamprey than to other fishes.  The chemical maps produced at SSRL enabled our team to see for the first time the anatomical features so crucial to the interpretation of this very distant relative.”

Lampreys are another form of ancient, blood-sucking, jawless fish also still in existence today.  These findings show that both the hagfish and lamprey evolved their eel-like body form and strange feeding systems after they branched off from the rest of the vertebrate line of ancestry about 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian geological period.

Professor Manning at the SSRL (Stanford University)

Professor Phil Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Professor Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

Dr Tetsuto Miyashita, (Fellow in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at Chicago University), who led the research, explained:

“This is a major reorganisation of the family tree of all fish and their descendants.  This allows us to put an evolutionary date on unique traits that set hagfish apart from all other animals.”

The Bizarre Hagfish

The bizarre hagfish are entirely marine and are the only known living animals that possess a rudimentary skull but no vertebral column.  They do have very primitive vertebrae but instead of a back bone like other vertebrates they just have a modified notochord.  They have a unique defence mechanism to help them ward off ocean predators such as sharks.  They can produce copious amounts of slime, clouding the water in their proximity and clogging the gills of would-be attackers.  In some parts of Asia, such as South Korea, this slime is prized and used in cooking.

It was this ability to produce slime that made the Tethymyxine fossil all the more important and rare.  The discrete chemistry locked within the fossil could only be mapped using synchrotron-based imaging techniques developed by the Manchester/SSRL team.  Manchester University  is an established world leader in the synchrotron-based imaging of fossil remains.  This technique has permitted the team to identify the “chemical ghost” of the preserved soft tissue and slime glands of the fossil.  Soft tissues are rarely preserved as fossils, which is why there are so few examples of prehistoric hagfish for palaeontologists to study.

The detailed scans picked up the chemical signal for keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and nails.  Keratin is a crucial part of what makes the hagfish slime defence so effective.

Professor Wogelius, (Chair of Geochemistry at The University of Manchester), commented:

“Our team at Manchester has been using these increasingly sophisticated imaging techniques to help us better understand ancient fossils and resolve chemistry derived from both the organism and the environment in which they were preserved.”

Professor Manning added:

“This ‘chemical’ fossil has offered new and exciting evidence that has enabled a more robust reconstruction of the vertebrate family tree.  However, it was only made possible through the collaboration of an international team, as Darwin once said, ‘In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed’”.

20 01, 2019

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Articulated Jaw

By | January 20th, 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|0 Comments

Eofauna Giganotosaurus with an Articulated Jaw

One of the great things about supplying dinosaur models and prehistoric animal figures to collectors all around the world, is that we get to examine the models in our warehouse before they get allocated space on the shelves in readiness for being purchased and dispatched.  When a shipment of new models arrives, there is a lot of excitement around the office and whilst unpacking all the cases, we have the opportunity to examine up close and in detail the latest editions to Everything Dinosaur’s product portfolio.

This week has seen the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus model in 1:35 scale.  The model is beautifully detailed and we thought it fitting to make a short video of the articulated jaw, after all, the size estimate for this meat-eating dinosaur of around 13-14 metres in length was based on the discovery of some super-sized Giganotosaurus teeth.

Admiring the Articulated Jaw on the 1/35th Scale Giganotosaurus carolinii Dinosaur Model by Eofauna Scientific Research

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fifty New Prehistoric Animal Models Coming to Everything Dinosaur in 2019

At the beginning of the year, we predicted that we would be adding approximately fifty new models to our already extensive range.  That’s just about one new model every week.  To read about our palaeontology crystal ball gazing and other predictions for 2019: Our Predictions for the Forthcoming Year.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus is the first dinosaur model to be created by this talented company.  We knew about the introduction of this Theropod many months ago, when we met up with the senior management team of Eofauna Scientific Research, we even helped with the production of the text that accompanies this beautifully-crafted dinosaur model.

We have added this figure to our own prehistoric animal model collection (we already have the two prehistoric elephants – the Steppe Mammoth and the Straight-tusked Elephant), we chose to create a short video just to demonstrate the skilfully sculpted skull and to highlight the model’s articulated jaw.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Over the last few days we have been busy emailing all those people who had contacted us so that they could reserve a model.  We have already received lots of amazing feedback and even seen some of video reviews posted up by our customers.  We are already looking forward to the fourth model to come out from Eofauna Scientific Research.  No doubt, details about this will be posted up on this blog site and on Everything Dinosaur’s social media sites in the near future.

A Plastic Cradle Helps Protect the Model in Transit and Also Prevents any Issues with Legs Warping

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.  The third prehistoric animal model to be created in this exciting replica range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three of a Kind – The Current Eofauna Model Range

Three Eofauna replicas illustrated.

Illustrations based on the three Eofauna replicas (left to right), Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Mammuthus trogontherii and Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Eofauna Scientific Research

To view all the models in the Eofauna Scientific Research range available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Prehistoric Animal Models

19 01, 2019

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Schleich Spinosaurus

By | January 19th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Schleich Spinosaurus Review by JurassicCollectables

Those clever and talented film-makers at JurassicCollectables have produced a review of the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus, a figure that has received a lot of praise from dinosaur enthusiasts and model collectors.  Schleich, the German model and figure manufacturer, have produced several Spinosaurus figures over the years.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have considered writing an article highlighting how changes in these models have reflected scientific understanding, but for the time being we have this wonderful video review of the Spinosaurus to watch.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

The Schleich Spinosaurus (2019)

This is the first Spinosaurus model produced by Schleich that portrays this dinosaur as a quadruped.  In this well-crafted and highly informative video the narrator takes viewers on a guided tour of this excellent addition to the Schleich model range.  The video itself is just a little over seven minutes in length and a video review such as this, really helps dinosaur model fans to get a good look at a figure, helping them to decide whether or not to add it to their collection.

An Impressive and Highly Praised Schleich Spinosaurus is Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

A video review of the Schleich Spinosaurus by JurassicCollectables

JurassicCollectables have produced a video review of the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables provides a comprehensive resource for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model reviews.  The videos are skilfully produced and provide viewers with the opportunity to examine prehistoric animal figures and dinosaur models in detail.

Visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube , Everything Dinosaur recommends that dinosaur enthusiasts and prehistoric animal model fans subscribe to JurassicCollectables.

The New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

The new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model, depicting Spinosaurus as a quadruped.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Crocodilian Features

In the video, the quadrupedal stance is commented upon.  The influence of crocodilan anatomy on the model is also stated, many palaeontologists believe that Spinosaurus was semi-aquatic and took up an ecological niche similar to large crocodilians today – that of an aquatic predator.  The narrator takes care to point out the long tail with its crocodilan scutes.  The skull is also shown in detail and there are plenty of close-up shots of those long, narrow crocodile-like jaws.

The Spinosaurus Model is Carefully Measured in the Video Review

The Schleich Spinosaurus model is measured.

Measuring the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Measuring the Model

JurassicCollectables include a video segment in which the model is carefully measured.  At Everything Dinosaur, we also measure the models in our inventory.  The length of the Schleich Spinosaurus is approximately 29 centimetres.  Later on in the video, the Spinosaurus is compared with the classic Papo green Tyrannosaurus rex figure, off-colour Alan also makes a welcome return and helps to demonstrate just how large this new Schleich figure is.

This Spinosaurus is one of five new prehistoric animal models introduced by Schleich in early 2019.  The other models are:

  • Dimorphodon
  • Dimetrodon
  • A new colour version of their Giganotosaurus model
  • Animantarx (armoured dinosaur model)

To view the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus and the other models in the Schleich prehistoric animal model range: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

18 01, 2019

Supporting Women in Science

By | January 18th, 2019|Educational Activities, Famous Figures, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Supporting Women in Science

Whilst preparing to undertake a dinosaur and fossil workshop with a year 1 class, one of our team members spotted a superb display in the school hall, highlighting the role of women in science.  The concept of working scientifically is one of the key elements of the new national teaching curriculum that has been introduced.  It is wonderful to see the role of women in science being showcased to children at primary schools in this way.

Celebrating the Role of Women in Science

School poster acknowledges the role of women in science.

Celebrating the role of women in science.  A school poster showcases some of the leading female scientists and their contribution to building a better understanding about our world.

Picture Credit: Ilderton Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Chien-Shiung Wu, Hedy Lamarr, Sandra Faber and Rosalind Franklin

The poster explains some of the principles required to be a scientist such as gathering and recording data, making observations and devising experiments.  The work of four women are highlighted on this prominent poster.  Firstly, there is the physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, who worked on the Manhattan Project and become the first female tutor at the prestigious physics department at Princeton University in America.  Hedy Lamarr, perhaps better known for her acting career but also an accomplished mathematician and inventor is also featured.  She helped pave the way for today’s wireless technology.  During World War II, Hedy Lamarr worked on a radio guidance system which was more robust and difficult to jam and distort.  The principles of her work helped to lead to the development of today’s Bluetooth technology.

The poster also features Englishwoman Rosalind Franklin, a biophysicist who pioneered X-ray crystallography (XRC), a method by which the atomic and molecular structure of an object can be determined.  Her work helped to reveal the internal structures of complex minerals and most famously DNA.

A Poster in the Hall of a Primary School Celebrates the Work of Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin

The double helix of DNA.

Rosalind Franklin helped to unravel the structure of the double helix of DNA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Last but least, the display poster features the work of astronomer Sandra Faber.  Sandra Faber has been instrumental in the Hubble Telescope programme helping to provide some of the most detailed images of the universe ever recorded.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is great to see the work of famous women scientists highlighted in this way.  During our dinosaur and fossil themed workshops, we explore the contribution made to palaeontology by Mary Anning, who during her lifetime was given very little credit for her discoveries, but now is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Earth sciences.  Let’s hope the poster helps to inspire girls to think more seriously about a career in the sciences.”

Providing such positive role models to young girls may help encourage them with their own experiments in the school science classes.  It is important to highlight and celebrate diversity, helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists.

Load More Posts