Editor Mike Fredericks kindly sent Everything Dinosaur a preview image of the forthcoming summer edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine. This quarterly magazine is aimed at prehistoric animal enthusiasts and collectors of dinosaur models. Each edition is packed with amazing articles, reviews of the latest models and interviews with leading artists and Earth scientists.
Issue 138 (summer 2021), features the stunning artwork of renowned American palaeoartist Mark Hallett.
Oregon-based Mark was working on a book describing the evolution of the horse, to be published by Columbia University Press. He had been busy preparing illustrations for “The Horse: A Natural History”, however, he has found time to produce some stunning artwork reflecting current thinking about our close cousins the Neanderthals.
Our views of the hominin Homo neanderthalensis have changed dramatically over the last three decades or so. Early perceptions about Neanderthals being brutish ape-like creatures have largely been replaced with a very different view. They made a variety of sophisticated tools, cooked using fire, lived in shelters and made and wore clothing. Neanderthals were very capable hunters of large game, hence the herd of mammoths in the background of Mark Hallett’s front cover art as a wooden spear wielding female Neanderthal looks on.
Neanderthals Made Jewellery
Evidence has emerged that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and in some instances marked the graves and provided grave goods and offerings such as shells and flowers. They probably had language skills and they made jewellery. Artefacts found in the Iberian Peninsula and dated to around 40,000 years ago prove that Neanderthals used eagle talons as necklace pendants. The female in the Mark Hallett illustration is wearing a shell necklace and has a very fetching eagle talon earring. Only two species of hominins are known to have demonstrated such sophisticated behaviour, the Neanderthals and our own species Homo sapiens.
We look forward to reading the article about Mark Hallett’s work in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.
We are expecting the rest of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models to be in stock in a few weeks’ time. As team members at Everything Dinosaur prepare for their arrival, we have been updating our illustration of Elasmosaurus on our Elasmosaurus fact sheet.
Everything Dinosaur commissions illustrations of prehistoric animals – just one of the many ways in which we support the palaeoart community.
A Change in the Tail
Observant readers will spot that the tail of our Elasmosaurus has been given a fin. This reflects some of the latest research into this Late Cretaceous, long-necked member of the Plesiosauria. The CollectA Elasmosaurus has also been given a tail fluke. Back in November 2020, when we announced the new for 2021 CollectA figures we created a short video highlighting the fossil evidence that supports the presence of a caudal fluke in members of the Plesiosauria.
For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we supply, Everything Dinosaur researches and writes a fact sheet on that creature. These fact sheets are then sent out free to our customers with their model purchases. This is one of the ways in which team members help to inform and educate the public about the amazing animals that once existed on our planet.
CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Model Range
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs model range contains a wide variety of prehistoric creatures including lots of marine reptile models including the elasmosaurid Hydrotherosaurus. Team members are looking forward to the arrival of the new CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Elasmosaurus replica and sending out free fact sheets with purchases.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur do all they can to respond to customer queries and questions. We appreciate how busy all our lives are and our hard-working staff are on standby to answer emails and to do all they can to help customers.
Take for example, an email we received from Sammy, who wanted to know about the dinosaur themed water bottle that we sell. Sammy asked:
“Is this dinosaur water bottle BPA free?”
BPA Free Dinosaur Water Bottle
This colourful dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed water bottle is indeed BPA free.
BPA (Bisphenol A), is a chemical used to make some plastics, including food storage containers and refillable drinks bottles. Microscopic amounts of this chemical can be transferred from packaging into the food and drinks that we consume, however the level of BPA found in food is not considered to be harmful.
BPA (Bisphenol A) Safety Assessments
Some people are concerned about BPA because it’s one of a large number of substances that could possibly interfere with human hormone systems. Extensive assessments have been carried out on BPA by the UK Food Standards Agency. Their current full assessment has found that dietary exposure to BPA is not a health concern for any age group.
However, Everything Dinosaur are pleased to confirm that this water bottle that we supply is BPA free.
Analysis of sediments taken from the famous Prince Creek Formation of northern Alaska has revealed tiny, fossilised bones and teeth representing perinatal dinosaurs – either embryonic (just about to hatch) or dinosaurs that have recently hatched. Several different types of dinosaurs are represented, which means that high latitudes in the northern hemisphere were probably the dinosaur’s permanent home and that they nested there.
A Dinosaur Nursery
Researchers from the University of Alaska Museum, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Florida State University and the University of Colorado writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, report the discovery of tiny teeth — some less than 2 mm in length along with bones from seven species of perinatal dinosaurs. These tiny fossils were found after conducting a microscopic analysis of sediments from the bluffs that can be found along the shores of the Coleville River. These sediments are from the Prince Creek Formation and represent deposition that took place around 70 million years ago,
The field season is very short at such a high latitude. In the three weeks of field work that are possible, the team removed hundreds of kilograms of sediment from the face of the bluffs. The buckets of sediment are hauled down to the river’s edge, where team members wash the material through smaller and smaller screens until they have removed any large rocks and soil.
Once back at the lab, researchers run the material through more screens to remove all the clay, until all that’s left is sandy particles. Then, teaspoon by teaspoon, the team, including graduate and undergraduate students examine the sand under microscopes to find the tiny bones and teeth. This work has revealed tiny teeth of mammals, but in addition, tiny teeth and bones of dinosaurs have been discovered.
Although not as cold as today, conditions in this part of northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous were extremely challenging. For around 120 days each year there was total darkness and it has been calculated that the mean average temperature was just 6.3°C ± 2.2°C (43.3°F ± 4.0°F). The Eumeralla and Wonthaggi Formations of Australia at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south, have also provided evidence of recently hatched dinosaurs and yearlings. However, the Prince Creek Formation at a latitude of 80°– 85° north represents the most extreme environment yet described for the Dinosauria. Intriguingly, whilst dinosaurs living in southern Gondwana (Eumeralla and Wonthaggi Formation fossil remains), would have experienced around 45 days of total darkness each year, this palaeoenvironment was still warm enough for ectothermic animals such as crocodilians and amphibians to thrive. However, no such “cold-blooded” animals are found in association with Prince Creek Formation sediments.
To survive such harsh conditions, the researchers conclude that the dinosaurs of Prince Creek Formation were endothermic, just like modern mammals and birds.
Lead author of the research Patrick Druckenmiller (University of Alaska Museum) commented:
“Recovering these tiny fossils is like panning for gold. It requires a great amount of time and effort to sort through tonnes of sediment grain-by-grain under a microscope. The fossils we found are rare but are scientifically rich in information”.
Dinosaurs were Year-round Residents of Northern Alaska
The presence of such young dinosaurs, who were not capable of making long, seasonal migrations is strong evidence to suggest that the dinosaur biota was present all year. The palaeoenvironment was extreme but numerous different types of dinosaur were able to thrive in this harsh habitat.
This discovery demonstrates just how adaptable members of the Dinosauria were and hints at a diverse and rich dinosaur dominated ecosystem hundreds of miles inside the Palaeo-Arctic Circle.
The scientific paper: “Nesting at extreme polar latitudes by non-avian dinosaurs” by Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Gregory M. Erickson, Donald Brinkman, Caleb M. Brown and Jaelyn J. Eberle published in Current Biology.
A new species of ancient beetle has been named and described based on preserved remains found in the poo (coprolite) of an ancestor of the dinosaurs. The beetle named Triamyxa coprolithica, is the first insect to be scientifically described from coprolite and this research, suggests that coprolite remains could become as important as insects preserved in amber when it comes to identifying new species.
Published in Current Biology
The researchers from Uppsala University (Sweden), in collaboration with entomologists from Sun Yat-sen National University (Taiwan), Jena University (Germany) and Guadalajara University in Mexico used synchrotron microtomography to examine the coprolite’s contents and sophisticated computer software to rebuild the tiny insects so that they could be studied. The coprolite contained numerous insect remains preserved in three-dimensions. Most insect fossils are squashed so flat that deciphering them is extremely difficult.
The researchers conclude that coprolites may prove to be an important source of information for exploring insect evolution. Their paper is published this week in “Current Biology”.
Although the scientists cannot be certain, they speculate that the coprolite represents the scat from a relative of the dinosaurs called Silesaurus opolensis, which is known from the same Polish deposits associated with the coprolite. An animal (probably S. opolensis), swallowed a large number of these tiny insects 230 million years ago, the greedy reptile inadvertently giving palaeontologists a rare opportunity to study a beetle, at a time (the Triassic), when many different types of insect were evolving and diversifying.
Phylogenetic analysis suggests that T. coprolithica is a member of Myxophaga (fungal beetles), a small suborder of beetles with a sparse fossil record whose extant representatives are small and often associated with wet environments.
Complete Specimens Preserved
Some of the beetles were almost complete with even their antennae and thin legs intact and attached to the body.
Commenting on the significance of this research, lead author of the scientific paper, Martin Qvarnström, (Uppsala University), remarked:
“We were very positively surprised by how many beetle remains there were in the coprolite and above all how well preserved they were. We really have to thank Silesaurus, who was probably the animal that helped us collect and preserve the beetles”.
The labrador-sized Silesaurus did not usually dine on such small insects, it probably was a generalist eating a wide variety of prey. It had a beak that was possibly used to bite insects just like today’s living dinosaurs – the birds. Despite the fact that Silesaurus ingested lots of individuals of Triamyxa coprolithica, these small beetles probably did not constitute its main food. Triamyxa lived in the same environments as larger insects and it was these insects as well as small vertebrates that probably made up the majority of the diet of this fast running, agile reptile.
The beetle fossils are reminiscent of other beetle remains associated with amber. Both coprolites and amber are capable of preserving insects in three-dimensions and this study suggests coprolites can be extremely valuable for studying early insect evolution and extinct animal food chains at the same time.
The scientific paper: “Exceptionally preserved beetles in a Triassic coprolite of putative dinosauriform origin” by Martin Qvarnström, Martin Fikáček, Joel Vikberg Wernström, Emmanuel Arriaga-Varela, Per E. Ahlberg and Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki published in Current Biology.
Team members from Everything Dinosaur were lucky enough to get a preview of the new “Titus T. rex is King” exhibition at Wollaton Hall (Nottinghamshire), the first time that actual Tyrannosaurus rex fossils have been exhibited in England for more than a century.
The exhibition entitled “Titus: T. rex is King” opens on Sunday 4th July 2021 and will run until August 2022, giving visitors the opportunity to view a real Tyrannosaurus rex specimen, the actual fossilised bones and teeth of arguably, the most famous dinosaur of all. The stunning T. rex mount has been created by talented conservator Nigel Larkin who has over 30 years’ experience of conservation and curation. His expertise in skeletal reconstruction enabled this Late Cretaceous apex predator to be exhibited, the actual fossil bones of a T. rex combined with casts from a second specimen and then skilfully painted and mounted to provide a stunning display.
A Titan from the Hell Creek Formation
This T. rex specimen comes from Montana (Hell Creek Formation). In September 2014 palaeontologist Craig Pfister found a handful of fragmentary T. rex bones. Working in the extremely harsh conditions of the “Badlands”, Craig was able to recover around 20% of the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Skilled conservator Nigel Larkin was given the task of combining these real fossil bones with casts from another similar sized T. rex specimen to create this spectacular display which is over 12 metres in length.
When entering the room in which this dinosaur is exhibited, visitors immediately get a sense of just how big and powerful this dinosaur was. The jaws of this huge predator loom over you as if you are about to become a snack for this formidable monster. Nigel Larkin was able to utilise his three decades of experience of working with dinosaur fossils to design and build the metal armature that enables Titus to be shown in such a dynamic pose.
Interactive Virtual Media Displays
Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the life and habitat of Tyrannosaurus rex using digital and interactive virtual media displays that tell the tale of the dinosaur’s discovery, the excavation work, the painstaking and time-consuming process of piecing together the life story of an enormous predator.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur were fortunate to meet Simon Wallett of Hot Knife Digital Media, who was responsible for creating the interactive digital displays. Those lucky enough to get tickets for the exhibition will be able to excavate key bones from the dig site, identify where they fit on the skeleton and to discover some of the secrets that the bones reveal. In addition, visitors will be able to reconstruct their own Tyrannosaurus rex decide whether to add feathers or scales and to transport their digital creation back to a Cretaceous landscape.
Remarkably, all the displays designed by Hot Knife Digital Media operate without the need to be touched. Clever software interprets the movements of your fingers enabling you to try your hand at palaeontology without the need to touch anything. A very smart solution, permitting participation at an event where COVID-19 safety precautions are meticulously complied with.
Telling the Tale of a Tyrant
Prominent and informative display panels help visitors to understand what these fossilised bones of T. rex have revealed. They help to tell the tale of a tyrant that had a tough life. For example, disease identified in a toe bone represents the first time this specific pathology has been found in a dinosaur.
A deep puncture in the underside of a bone in the tail, suggests that Titus battled other tyrannosaurs. The wound in the tail shows signs of healing, so this traumatic injury is unlikely to have been the cause of this titan’s ultimate demise.
Sue Judd from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“Visitors to the Titus T. rex is King exhibition will be able to view real Tyrannosaurus rex fossils, the first time in more than a century fossils like these have been on display in England. We are sure this magnificent dinosaur will feel very much at home at the majestic Wollaton Hall. This wonderful building surrounded by fantastic parkland houses an amazing natural history collection – a fitting home for the king of the tyrant lizards.”
On Thursday, July 1st new VAT rules for sales into the European Union come into force. Everything Dinosaur has registered for Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) enabling this UK-based company to comply with their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.
What is Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)?
IOSS facilitates the collection, declaration and payment of VAT for sellers that are making distance sales of imported goods to buyers in the 27 countries that make up the European Union. Everything Dinosaur customers based in the European Union will find very little change in the way that Everything Dinosaur handles their purchase, team members had already ensured that parcels could be despatched delivery duty paid (DDP) from the beginning of 2021 and they will continue to do so.
The subsidised fully tracked parcel delivery service to customers in the European Union will continue as before.
Benefits for the Buyer
Import One Stop Shop makes the process of placing an order even easier for the buyer. Everything Dinosaur will only charge the customer at the time of purchase. There are no hidden or surprise fees when the goods are delivered to the customer in Europe.
If the retailer is not registered under IOSS, then the buyer will have to pay VAT and usually an administration/customs clearance fee charged by the delivery company.
Such fees and payments will have to be made in full before the parcel can be handed over.
What Parcels Does IOSS Cover?
The Import One Stop Shop covers the sale of goods from a distance that are:
dispatched or transported from outside of the EU at the time they are sold – so parcels sent from Everything Dinosaur’s UK warehouse need to comply (UK designated a third country).
dispatched or transported in consignments with a value not exceeding a total of 150 euros even if the order contains several items.
not subject to excise duties (typically applied to tobacco or alcohol products).
The End of the VAT Exemption for Parcels under 22 Euros in Value
From July 1st 2021, the VAT exemption for the importation of goods with a value less than or equal to 22 euros will be removed. As a result, all Everything Dinosaur sales to the European Union that are less than 150 euros in value will be subject to VAT. The amount of VAT for each transaction will be clearly stated at the checkout and shown on the invoice – all part of Everything Dinosaur’s policy on being transparent with its pricing.
If the retailer is not registered in the IOSS, the buyer has to pay the VAT and usually a customs clearance fee charged by the transporter.
Some Temporary Disruption to European Deliveries
As these new procedures are implemented, customers in the European Union might experience a short delay in the delivery of their parcel. Delays can be expected as couriers and national postal companies get used to these new regulations.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“Team members have done all they can to prepare for the beginning of IOSS. We have been registered and we are ready to operate under these new VAT simplification rules. However, we do anticipate that there will be some delays in the system. These delays will in part be caused by other companies not recognising what they must do in order to meet these new requirements. We apologise to our customers in the EU for any inconvenience caused.”
The address details for Everything Dinosaur have been updated in the footer section of the Everything Dinosaur blog. Everything Dinosaur relocated to new, bigger premises in April 2020 and team members have been busy updating all the contact details on their various websites on social media platforms.
A spokesperson for the UK-based company commented that they had moved into larger premises and have created purpose-built packing rooms and offices. One of the main reasons for the move into a bigger warehouse was that the company intended to offer even more dinosaur and prehistoric animal models in the future.
One of the last things to do was to ensure that the contact details on the Everything Dinosaur blog were updated.
Our thanks to dinosaur and prehistoric animal model and figure collector Anne who sent into Everything Dinosaur some pictures of the stunning, limited edition PNSO bronze Sinosauropteryx figure that she had recently purchased from us. Marketed as the “Galley Series”, only 300 of these remarkable sculptures have been produced.
Limited Edition Bronze Dinosaur Statues
Of the 300 sculptures only a handful have been made available for sale outside of China. As Everything Dinosaur has the longest relationship with PNSO of any company based outside China, we were given special permission to bring some of these fantastic figures out of China and to our warehouse in the UK.
The PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx bronze statue is in 1:3 scale and comes in a beautiful presentation box complete with a certificate of authenticity, a Zhao Chuang Sinosauropteryx illustration and notes from Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang.
Views of the PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx Bronze Sculpture
This beautiful figure will take pride of place in the family home and it was very kind of Anne to send some pictures to Everything Dinosaur of her latest acquisition.
The model measures a fraction under 17.5 cm high and the figure is 17 cm long.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“The bronze 1:3 scale Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx was created to celebrate 10th anniversary of PNSO. It is wonderful to be able to supply these exceptionally rare and beautiful figures to our customers.”
To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.
No sooner have we praised the remarkable artist Zhao Chuang for his work illustrating the mammaliamorph biota associated with Early Cretaceous China, then he produces another stunning piece of palaeoart – this time illustrating the newly described “Dragon Man” or to give the proposed formal scientific name Homo longi.
A Completely New Species of Human
Researchers including Professor Chris Stringer from the London Natural History Museum have published a paper in the journal “Innovation” that describes and dates a remarkable and very complete fossil skull from Heilongjiang Province. The team have concluded that the ancient skull believed to be at least 146,000 years old represents a completely new species of human. They postulate that the skull could be from our closest evolutionary relative among known species of hominin such as Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.
The skull was reportedly discovered in 1933 by a construction worker helping to build a bridge over the Songhua river running through the city of Harbin. The river means “Black Dragon River” in the local language which explains why this skull representing a male was nicknamed “Dragon Man”.
The province was occupied by imperial Japanese forces at the time, so the construction worker hid the skull at the bottom of his family’s well to prevent it falling into the hands of the Japanese. According to media reports he only told relatives about the fossil find shortly before his death. The specimen was handed over to scientists so that a full examination of this extraordinary fossil could be carried out.
Where the fossil was found remains a mystery, but geochemical analysis suggests it came from lakebed sediments (lacustrine sediments). The research which involved non-destructive X-ray fluorescence, the analysis of rare earth elements and strontium isotope degradation, placed the date of this fossil between 138 to 309 thousand years old.
Uranium isotope analysis indicated that the fossil was at least 146,000 years old.
Commenting on the significance of this discovery, Professor Chris Stringer stated:
“The skull has a large brain capacity, fully within the range of modern humans and Neanderthals. It also shows features resembling our species, including flat and low cheekbones with a shallow canine fossa, and the face looks reduced and tucked under the braincase. It’s widely believed that the Neanderthals form the sister group of the Homo sapiens lineage. But our analyses suggest that this skull, and some other Middle Pleistocene human fossils from China, form a third East Asian lineage, which is actually closer to sapiens than the Neanderthals are”.
Other researchers have suggested that the skull might represent an example of the ancient human known as a Denisovan. Where “Dragon Man” fits on the human family tree remains uncertain, but it is true that the evolution of hominins during the Pleistocene Epoch has yet to be fully explained. There may have been a number of human lineages inhabiting our planet and the exact taxonomic relationships between them will continue to attract controversy and lively debate.
The scientific paper: “Geochemical provenancing and direct dating of the Harbin archaic human cranium” by Qinqfeng Shao, Junyi Ge, Qiang Ji, Rainer Grün and Chris Stringer published in the journal Innovation.