With all the problems occurring in global logistics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Everything Dinosaur team members were delighted to receive a large shipment of Papo prehistoric animal models. Dozens of different types of Papo prehistoric animal model including the Giganotosaurus, Pentaceratops and the Chilesaurus model were carefully unpacked and put into the various product bays at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.
A Craving for Cryolophosaurus
Team members have been busy updating waitlists and emailing customer who had requested Papo models to be reserved for them. Dinosaur model collectors have been craving for the return of the Papo Cryolophosaurus, waiting patiently for Parasaurolophus and queuing for Quetzalcoatlus. Staff have spent much of the afternoon contacting customers to let them know about the stock updates.
Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models
The Papo “Les Dinosaures” model range is very popular with collectors, but like many companies, Papo have encountered problems moving stock from the factory into markets. The Everything Dinosaur shipment contains all the 2019 and 2020 additions to this range plus some of the more difficult to obtain figures such as the Papo Cryolophosaurus and the popular Brachiosaurus figure.
Make Room for Megaloceros
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur confirmed that this shipment contained prehistoric mammal models as well as dinosaur figures. They were able to reassure collectors that the magnificent Papo Megaloceros, an introduction to the Papo range in 2020, was back in stock.
When asked to name an armoured dinosaur, we suspect that most readers would quickly reply with “Stegosaurus” or possibly “Ankylosaurus”. True, some armoured dinosaurs are very famous, having seeped into the public consciousness thanks to countless appearances in the media, dinosaur documentaries and films. However, very little is known about the origins of this diverse and highly successful ornithischian clade. Newly, published research on the labrador-sized early thyreophoran Scutellosaurus (S. lawleri) is helping scientists to better understand the evolutionary origin of these dinosaurs.
A Palaeontological Project Lasting Sixteen Years
The scientific paper, the first detailed anatomical assessment of Scutellosaurus covering its entire skeleton, has been published in the on-line, open access journal Royal Society Publishing. The dedicated research team consisted of PhD student Benjamin Breeden (University of Utah), Professor Richard Butler (University of Birmingham), Professor Timothy Rowe (University of Texas at Austin) along with PhD student Tom Raven and Dr Susannah Maidment (Natural History Museum, London).
This research project was first proposed back in 2005. Sixteen years after the project’s inception, the paper has been published providing a new perspective on the evolution of the armoured dinosaurs.
Named and described in 1981, from material discovered ten years earlier. Scutellosaurus lawleri fossils come from the Kayenta Formation of Arizona, more specifically mudstones associated with the “middle third” of this Formation (Lower Jurassic). It has been estimated that the Scutellosaurus fossils are around 181 to 186 million years old (Pliensbachian and Toarcian stages).
More than seventy Scutellosaurus specimens are known, representing all parts of the skeleton. As such, Scutellosaurus fossil material is much more abundant than that of other early armoured dinosaurs such as Scelidosaurus (S. harrisoni), which was named and described by the famous Victorian anatomist Richard Owen. This relative abundance of fossil material in comparison with other early armoured dinosaurs makes Scutellosaurus an ideal candidate to help palaeontologists to better understand the evolution of this important group of plant-eating dinosaurs.
Scutellosaurus was a Biped
One of the key findings of this research is that based on limb proportions and postcranial skeletal assessments, Scutellosaurus was bipedal. As such, it is the only bipedal thyreophoran known to science. It had been suggested that as thyreophorans evolved into larger and more heavily armoured forms they lost this ability to adopt a bipedal posture.
Although the exact layout of the dermal armour of Scutellosaurus is not known, the researchers tested the hypothesis that heavier armour led these dinosaurs to adopt a quadrupedal stance. The research team calculated the centre of mass of Scutellosaurus with its armour, without armour, with the armour of Stegosaurus and with the armour of the Late Cretaceous ankylosaurid Euoplocephalus. They found that the addition of armour did cause the centre of mass to move slightly further back in the body in all the tests. However, the team concluded that the evolution of armour probably was not the reason to cause early armoured dinosaurs to adopt quadrupedal locomotion. More derived taxa of armoured dinosaurs required forelimb support for their body weight for other, as yet not understood reasons.
Armoured Dinosaurs Grew Slowly
Detailed analysis of Scutellosaurus bones indicate that this dinosaur grew very slowly throughout its life. This supports other studies that suggest that thyreophorans had lower metabolic rates when compared to other dinosaurs, even closely related ornithischians.
Lots of Variety in Early Jurassic Dinosaur Faunas
The supercontinent Pangaea did begin to break-up during the Jurassic, but at the time Scutellosaurus roamed what was to become the western United States, this landmass was largely intact, which in theory would have helped homologous populations of dinosaurs to evolve. That is to say, that given the absence of any geographical barriers preventing movement, similar dinosaur faunas would have existed across Pangaea. When this study of Scutellosaurus is looked at from the wider perspective of dinosaur evolution and radiation, a different picture emerges.
The ornithischian dinosaurs from the Kayenta Formation are represented by Scutellosaurus lawleri, a larger unnamed thyreophoran known from isolated bones and an undescribed hetrodontosaurid. Scutellosaurus fossils are the most abundant dinosaur fossils associated with the Kayenta Formation, they are much more common than theropod or sauropodomorph fossils. In contrast, the roughly contemporaneous upper Elliot Formation of South Africa has many more sauropodomorphs than ornithischians and the dinosaur biota of the Lufeng Formation of China is dominated by sauropodomorphs with ornithischian material exceptionally rare.
This suggests that there was considerable variation in the composition of dinosaur biotas during the Early Jurassic.
The scientific paper: The anatomy and palaeobiology of the early armoured dinosaur Scutellosaurus lawleri (Ornithischia: Thyreophora) from the Kayenta Formation (Lower Jurassic) of Arizona by Benjamin T. Breeden, Thomas J. Raven, Richard J. Butler, Timothy B. Rowe and Susannah C. R. Maidment published by Royal Society Publishing.
PNSO will be adding a 1:35 scale replica of a female Tyrannosaurus rex in a resting pose to their 1:35 Scientific Art model series. This exciting new for 2021 dinosaur model will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur later in summer.
A Prone Tyrannosaur
PNSO has received praise for the number of tyrannosauroid models that they have introduced. In the last few weeks Everything Dinosaur has announced Tarbosaurus and Nanotyrannus replicas that are being added to the company’s mid-size model range. These figures will join a Yutyrannus replica and the Qianzhousaurus dinosaur model. The PNSO Andrea the female T. rex is the first to show a tyrannosaur in resting pose and the first, definitive indication of a female dinosaur being reflected in a PNSO model sculpt.
A 1:35 Scale T. rex Replica
Andrea the female T. rex has been designed to accompany the recently introduced new version of Wilson the T. rex. This implies that the two 1:35 scale replica rexes represent a pair, the larger, more robust female resting whilst the male (Wilson) stands nearby. In one of the promotional shots to illustrate Wilson, an illustration of a skeletal reconstruction of a resting Tyrannosaurus rex was included, a hint from the manufacturer about a future model release (Andrea).
The resting Tyrannosaurus rex model measures 19.7 cm long, accounting for the curve of the tail. The model is 13.8 cm wide. Wilson the standing T. rex figure measures just over 34 cm in length and stands a fraction under 12 cm tall. Both figures have a declared scale of 1:35 and each model has an articulated lower jaw.
An Eagerly Awaited Dinosaur Model
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that dinosaur model fans and collectors had been requesting a theropod dinosaur in a resting pose. The spokesperson also confirmed that they receive lots of emails asking questions about sexual dimorphism in the Dinosauria. Collectors have the chance to display a male and female T. rex together with the female representing a robust form.
The first image of Andrea the female T. rex to be released by PNSO revealed just the head of the dinosaur model. Collectors remained unaware of the innovative pose that the design team had chosen for their female T. rex.
Whilst there has been some debate about the positioning of the rear legs of the figure, the introduction of a theropod dinosaur model in a recumbent position has attracted lots of positive comments from fans of dinosaur models who are looking forward to adding this attractive replica to their collections.
Andrea the resting T. rex will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur later in the summer.
The test report commissioned by Everything Dinosaur into the Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri dinosaur model has been received. Before a dinosaur model can be legally sold, an importer such as Everything Dinosaur has to ensure that it meets defined safety standards.
Team members have produced a short video and posted it up on the company’s YouTube channel explaining why product safety tests are conducted and revealing the result of the report by Eurofins into the Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri 1:20 scale figure.
The Importance of Product Safety
Product safety is very important. Customer safety is paramount and if Everything Dinosaur is going to bring a new model into stock, it is vital to make sure that it is safe and fit for purpose. Indeed, as a company that sources products from all over the world, we are obliged under international law to undertake certain actions to ensure that what we purchase and intend to “place on the market” is safe.
As such, when offered the opportunity to bring in the Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri figure, one of the first things we must do is to establish what product safety tests, if any, have been undertaken. Hence our decision to get a sample sent into us and to ask the independent testing company Eurofins to conduct tests under the General Product Safety Directive.
The Regulatory Manager at Eurofins responsible for the tests concluded:
“I am of the opinion that the product was reasonably safe under normal conditions of use and is fit for its intended purpose”
In order for this dinosaur model to receive a favourable report, Everything Dinosaur team members had to make changes to the product packaging, the labelling and the customer information that is provided with this figure. As far as we are aware, no other product safety tests have been carried out and as such, Everything Dinosaur is the only company to have commissioned tests and taken sensible steps to modify the product offering to help it to get a favourable report from an independent testing company.
After concluding successful negotiations with the manufacturer the Irritator challengeri 1:20 scale dinosaur model is expected in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the late summer of 2021.
Scientists have reported the discovery of a hadrosaur pedal ungual (the bone on the end of a toe that supported the keratin claw or hoof), that shows a series of small bite marks made by a theropod dinosaur. The toe claw seems to have been bitten repeatedly and although scrapes and scratches on fossil bones that are incidental feeding traces left by meat-eating dinosaurs have been well documented, these bite marks might represent something very different.
Did a baby tyrannosaur or possibly a dromaeosaurid gnaw on the toe bone of a dead duck-billed dinosaur?
Gnawing behaviour is synonymous with many types of mammals, specifically members of the Carnivora and rodents (Rodentia), but it is not commonly associated with the Dinosauria. Coprolites thought to have come from tyrannosaurs contain a lot of bone fragments, tests demonstrate that large tyrannosaurids were capable of crushing bone and it had been thought that coprolite bone content came about as bones were ingested through general consumption.
However, a trio of scientists – Caleb Brown and Darren Tanke from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (Alberta) in collaboration with Dr David Hone, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of London, have recently published a paper in PeerJ, that suggests that the unusual bite marks on the hadrosaur pedal ungual might represent dinosaur gnawing behaviour.
Documenting Unusual Dinosaur Behaviour
The fossil toe claw bone (specimen number TMP 2018.012.0123), comes from a bonebed (bonebed 50) that contains the disarticulated remains of several different types of duck-billed dinosaur including Corythosaurus. Although the bone came from an adult, it is not possible to confirm the dinosaur species. Thirteen, distinct and highly localised tooth marks have been identified. Their pattern suggests that a small, meat-eating dinosaur delivered up to six repeated, powerful bites to the claw bone. There would have been very little meat on this part of the hadrosaur’s body, gnawing on the pedal ungual represents an unusual and rare form of behaviour.
The researchers reviewed pedal unguals of duck-billed dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation. They identified tooth marks and feeding traces on four other toe claw bones, but this represents less than 1% of all the hadrosaur toe bones found and feeding traces were much more common on other bones.
Dromaeosaur or Tyrannosaur?
The tracemaker cannot be definitively identified but the researchers rule out crocodilians, small mammal feeding traces and snake bites, leaving a theropod dinosaur as the likely tracemaker whose unusual behaviour has been recorded in the fossil. The number of theropods capable of causing such marks and known from the Dinosaur Park Formation is relatively small. The scientists considered dromaeosaurids and their close relatives the Troodontidae, as the tooth marks could have been made by a large troodontid such as Latenivenatrix. The team also considered whether the tracemaker was a young tyrannosaurid.
Given the lack of evidence of denticle spacing present on the bite marks, and that both Tyrannosauridae and Dromaeosauridae were capable of delivering bites resulting in deep furrows and pits to the bone surface, the team speculated that either a dromaeosaur (such as Dromaeosaurus or Saurornitholestes), caused the damage or perhaps the marks were made by a very young tyrannosaurid. Two genera of tyrannosaur are known from the Dinosaur Park Formation, namely Gorgosaurus and Daspletosaurus.
Perhaps, a very young Gorgosaurus, the lowest ranked animal in the pack was left to pull at and gnaw on the toe of the hadrosaur, whilst the rest pack gorged themselves on the more attractive, nutrient rich parts of the carcase.
Can Dogs Provide an Answer?
Anyone who has kept horses and dogs will tell you that when the horse’s hooves are trimmed dogs love to eat the trimmings. The hooves are made from keratin, the same protein responsible for the toe claw on the hadrosaur. Dogs can get very excited when the farrier starts to tidy up the hooves, they seem to crave the soft, recently trimmed parts of the hoof.
Many dog treats are made from horse’s hooves. Could your pet dog provide an insight into dinosaur feeding behaviour?
Could a tyrannosaur similarly have craved the taste of the toe claw of a duck-billed dinosaur?
The scientific paper: “Rare evidence for ‘gnawing-like’ behavior in a small-bodied theropod dinosaur” by Caleb M. Brown, Darren H. Tanke and David W. E. Hone published in PeerJ.
Today, July 16th 2021, new EU regulations come into force which will have a profound effect on sales of dinosaur and prehistoric animal figures. These new regulations are entitled (EU) 2019/1020 – if you are in the European Union, if you buy dinosaur models from websites be warned, unless the seller or someone else in the distribution chain has taken steps to ensure compliance, that dinosaur model you purchased – you may never see it!
Market Surveillance Regulations (EU) 2019/1020
It’s not just sales of dinosaur models that will be affected. These new regulations cover about 70 EU directives including the EU Toy Safety Directive – 2009/48/EC. Most dinosaur models are tested under this directive and therefore come within the scope of these new rules. Also, collectable figures such as Nanmu Studio, Rebor, W-Dragon, ITOY Studio models – they too come under these regulations.
Why (EU) 2009/1020?
Ecommerce has boomed, you can buy virtually anything from anyone from anywhere. This has led to new product safety challenges and issues in this global market. As a result, pressure has increased to strengthen enforcement measures.
The increasing number of illegal and non-compliant products from on-line shops has created a number of problems in the European market, disrupting competition among traditional businesses and potentially putting consumers at risk.
Put simply – these new regulations are about making sure that whatever you purchase, the product conforms to the relevant tests, certificates and safety standards.
What This Means
This regulation aims to protect customers’ health and safety, the environment and other public interests by improving and modernising market surveillance.
It establishes controls on products imported into the EU. So, if you are buying a dinosaur model and you are based in the EU, then these new rules will apply to your purchases.
Products may not be offered for sale to EU consumers without an Economic Operator established in the EU. This element will have a significant impact on on-line marketplaces and e-commerce sites located outside the EU. Unless these non-EU third-party retail companies have economic operators within the EU, they will not be eligible to sell their products in the region.
Until now, economic operators have been divided into four groups: manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors. The new regulation introduces a new role in the value chain, the Fulfilment Service Provider. The Fulfilment Service Provider is an economic operator, or any natural or legal person performing, in the course of commercial activity, at least two of the following services: warehousing, packaging, addressing and dispatching, without having ownership of the products involved. By outlining this new economic operator role, owners and operators of ecommerce sites will likely bear some of the liability in relation to product compliance and conformity, in the same way as the four existing roles currently do. This means Amazon and eBay sales platforms are covered by these new regulations too!
The Fulfilment Service Provider will be required to take on some of the responsibilities with regards to ensuring that products comply to safety regulations.
How Does this Affect Dinosaur Model Sales?
If you make a purchase from China, USA, the UK or any other country outside the EU for delivery into the EU, than unless someone in the supply chain has taken steps to ensure compliance to (EU) 2019/1020 it is likely that you will not receive your parcel. Getting your money back from the seller is likely to be a challenge too.
Everything Dinosaur Ensuring Compliance
Customers of Everything Dinosaur can be assured that the prehistoric animal models and figures supplied by them are compliant with the new regulations. Our parcels will carry the appropriate information to ensure that they are delivered to customers.
Parcels containing products that we have taken responsible for under these new regulations will carry the contact details of our economic operator within the EU.
Everything Dinosaur has registered:
YvY Figures (Dino Hazard)
Beasts of the Mesozoic
Customers can still continue to purchase from Everything Dinosaur – the products Everything Dinosaur sells including those listed above are covered. We are not able to comment on what steps if any, other suppliers have made.
Whilst the UK has not adopted (EU) 2019/1020 this market is governed by the Regulation on Accreditation and Market Surveillance (765/2008) or GB RAMS for short. This regulation comes under the jurisdiction of the UK Govt Office for Product Safety & Standards and it sets out to ensure that any product placed on the market is compliant with safety provisions.
Greater emphasis is being placed on the monitoring of ecommerce sites and more regulations are in place to help protect consumers. When purchasing prehistoric animal models from other companies – be warned. Unless steps have been taken to ensure compliance you may well end up not receiving your model and losing your money.
New research examining the number of different types of non-avian dinosaur roaming the planet 66 million years ago, suggests that these dinosaurs were in decline long before the extra-terrestrial impact that led to their ultimate extinction.
Researchers including Professor Michael Benton (Bristol University), Fabien Condamine and Guillaume Guinot (Université de Montpellier) along with Phil Currie (University of Alberta), compiled an extensive list of dinosaur fossils associated with the last few million years of the Mesozoic. They then subjected the data to sophisticated statistical analysis and concluded that across the six main types of dinosaur studied (three herbivorous groups and three carnivorous groups), the non-avian dinosaurs were in general decline.
The six different types of non-avian dinosaur studied were:
Tyrannosauridae (big meat-eaters such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Gorgosaurus and Daspletosaurus.
Dromaeosauridae – swift predators such as Velociraptor, Zhenyuanlong and Dromaeosaurus.
Troodontidae closely related to the dromaeosaurs – dinosaurs such as Stenonychosaurus and Latenivenatrix.
Ceratopsidae horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Pachyrhinosaurus.
Ankylosauridae the club-tailed, armoured dinosaurs such as Euoplocephalus, Scolosaurus and Ankylosaurus.
Hadrosauridae the duck-billed dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus, Hadrosaurus and Corythosaurus.
The statistical analysis comparing speciation rates to extinction rates revealed that the number of dinosaur species was in steep decline from around 10 million years before the extra-terrestrial impact event.
Global Climate Cooling and the Success of the Hadrosaurs
The sophisticated Bayesian analysis indicates that both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs declined and that this was a world-wide phenomenon. Some types of dinosaur declined sharply towards the end of the Cretaceous, for example the Ankylosauridae and the horned dinosaurs (Ceratopsidae). Of the six families studied, only one family, the Troodontidae shows a very small decline. This decline took place in the last five million years of the Cretaceous.
The team also found a link between the decline of herbivores and the decline of the carnivores. Plant-eaters declined first and this led shortly afterwards to a decline in the genera of meat-eating dinosaurs. It is presumed that the reduction in prey led to the demise of carnivorous dinosaurs.
The reduction in the number of armoured and horned dinosaurs might be linked to the number of hadrosaur species identified. Duck-billed dinosaurs could have outcompeted other herbivores leading to a decline in the total number of herbivore types present in an ecosystem.
The research team continued conducting a statistical analysis to test theories as to why this decline occurred. They concluded that global cooling could have been a major factor in the extinction of many different types of dinosaur and the reduction in the number of new species evolving to re-populate ecosystems. The Earth cooled by around 7-8 degrees Celsius at the end of the Cretaceous. In contrast, periods of sustained global warming in the Early Cretaceous led to a rise in the diversity of the Dinosauria.
The scientific paper: “Dinosaur biodiversity declined well before the asteroid impact, influenced by ecological and environmental pressures” by Fabien L. Condamine, Guillaume Guinot, Michael J. Benton and Philip J. Currie published in Nature Communications.
Everything Dinosaur can confirm that PNSO will add a replica of the controversial tyrannosaur Nanotyrannus to their mid-size model range. Logan the Nanotyrannus should be available from Everything Dinosaur in the late summer.
The Controversy over Nanotyrannus
Nanotyrannus lancensis is a disputed taxon, attributed to fossil skeletal and skull specimens that overlapped in time and space with Tyrannosaurus rex. The shape of the skull that was constructed based on the disputed Nanotyrannus material is very different from that of T. rex, but palaeontologists now know that the body shape and skull morphology of the “king of the tyrant lizards” changed dramatically as this predator grew and matured.
Named and described in 1988 (Bakker et al), based on a slender skull (CMNH 7541) from Lance Formation exposures in Montana, at the time the researchers concluded that the skull represented an adult animal, but this has been refuted by a number of authors since publication.
Nanotyrannus Model Measurements
The new for 2021 Nanotyrannus is the latest tyrannosauroid to be added to the PNSO mid-size model range following the introduction of the introduction of A-Shu the Qianzhousaurus and the recent announcements concerning Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus and Yinqi the Yutyrannus which are due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur very soon (summer 2021).
The model measures 17 cm long and although PNSO does not propose a scale for their mid-size models, team members speculate that based on the original holotype material associated with Nanotyrannus which suggests an animal around 5.2 metres in length, the figure is in approximately 1:30 scale.
It Could Represent a Model of a Juvenile T. rex
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:
“Whilst this taxon remains is dispute, model collectors and dinosaur fans will be delighted to see a replica of Nanotyrannus come into the PNSO model series. Recently, PNSO has focused on showcasing some of the remarkable fauna associated with the Late Cretaceous of North America and Logan the Nanotyrannus will be a welcome addition. It will no doubt foster a debate about whether Nanotyrannus is a valid genus but after all, this figure could always represent a juvenile T. rex and as such it will work well with the other Tyrannosaurus rex models that PNSO offers”.
Supplied with a Transparent Support Stand
Logan the PNSO Nanotyrannus is supplied with a handy, transparent support stand to aid the replica’s stability when it is on display.
The PNSO Logan the Nanotyrannus dinosaur model is expected to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the late summer (summer 2021), to view the range of PNSO figures in models currently in stock: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.
A new study into those bizarre theropods the alvarezsauroids, indicates that they became much smaller in the Late Cretaceous. Newly published research in “Current Biology” suggests that these dinosaurs reduced in size about 95 million years ago when they became specialised insectivores.
The research team, which included PhD student Zichuan Qin and Professor Michael Benton (Bristol University), along with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, George Washington University (USA) and Jonah N Choiniere from the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), conclude that the miniaturisation of the alvarezsauroids probably coincided with adaptations to feeding on termites and ants. It has been a busy week for Professor Choiniere, as Everything Dinosaur recently published an article summarising a study of Heterodontosaurus that Professor Choiniere had co-authored: Breathing Life into the Dinosauria.
Miniaturisation in the Dinosauria is Very Rare
The research team define sustained miniaturisation within a group of animals as a drop in body size of at least two orders of magnitude from ancestors to descendants. This trait has been recorded many times in terrestrial vertebrates such as dwarf hippos and elephants, diminutive chameleons and tiny frogs. Miniaturisation is often associated with animals living in environments with limited resources such as islands and as such dwarf forms of dinosaurs associated with “island dwarfism” are known. However, in general terms miniaturisation within the Dinosauria is rare.
Miniaturisation is recorded twice within the Dinosauria:
Once in the avialan theropods as powered flight evolved (the lineage leading to birds).
Once in the Alvarezsauroidea -a bizarre group of dinosaurs nested within the Maniraptora.
Measuring Alvarezsaurs and Calculating their Age
The scientists measured the fossilised remains of dozens of these dinosaurs and assessed bone histology to separate juvenile, not fully grown specimens from adult fossil remains. They demonstrated that alvarezsaurs ranged in size from about 10 kilograms up to 70 kilograms for most of their evolutionary history, but from about 95 million years ago, very much smaller, chicken-sized forms, weighing less than 5 kilograms evolved. This miniaturisation coincided with these dinosaurs adopting a more specialised diet, that of consuming ants and termites.
Professor Michael Benton commented:
“Perhaps competition with other dinosaurs intensified through the Cretaceous. The Cretaceous was a time of rapidly evolving ecosystems and the biggest change was the gradual takeover by flowering plants. Flowering plants changed the nature of the landscape completely, and yet dinosaurs mostly did not feed on these new plants. But they led to an explosion of new types of insects, including ants and termites”.
The Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution
The rapid evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms), led to a dramatic change in ecosystems with modern-looking woodlands and forests evolving with a diverse flora and fauna, including an enormous increase in insects that specialised on feeding on the leaves, nectar, petals and pollen of the flowering plants. This restructuring of ecosystems has been called the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution.
Whilst most other types of dinosaurs got bigger as they evolved, the alvarezsaurs seem to be the exception. When the first of these bizarre theropods evolved some of them were ostrich-sized, such as Haplocheirus, with sharp teeth and strong, flexible forelimbs suggesting a mixed and varied diet. However, from about 95 million years ago, body size plummeted and claw shapes changed from grabbing and tearing types to more robust forms. Arms became reduced as did the number of digits.
Mononykus (M. olecranus) typifies the Late Cretaceous alvarezsaurids. It roamed southern Mongolia around 70 million years ago and it measured about a metre in length and weighed around 3.5 kilograms. The forelimbs of Mononykus were tiny and they terminated in a hand that had just one digit topped with a very robust probe-like claw. This claw seems ideally suited to punching holes in termite mounds.
The Second Case of Miniaturisation within the Dinosauria
Whilst most scientists accept the link between getting smaller and the evolution of powered flight within the branch of the Dinosauria leading to the evolution of birds, not much research had been undertaken into alvarezsauroid miniaturisation.
Professor Xing Xu (Chinese Academy of Sciences), a co-author of the study added:
“This is a very strange result, but it seems to be true. All other dinosaurs were getting bigger and bigger, but one group of flesh-eaters miniaturised and this was associated with living in trees and flying. They eventually became birds. We’ve identified a second miniaturisation event – but it wasn’t for flight, but to accommodate a completely new diet, switching from flesh to termites.”
The scientific paper: “Growth and miniaturization among alvarezsauroid dinosaurs” by Zichuan Qin, Qi Zhao, Jonah N. Choiniere, James M. Clark, Michael J. Benton and Xing Xu published in Current Biology.
The results of the independent tests undertaken by Eurofins on the YvY Figures Dino Hazard 1:20 scale Irritator challengeri dinosaur model have arrived. In Everything Dinosaur’s next YouTube video, we will announce the results and explain a little more about the steps required in order to allow Everything Dinosaur to bring this replica into the company’s UK warehouse.
Independent Product Tests
Once a sample of the Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri figure had been received, Everything Dinosaur set about commissioning independent product safety tests under the General Product Safety Directive. Eurofins was the testing company that Everything Dinosaur sent this dinosaur model to so that an assessment could be carried out.
Eurofins is one of the largest and most respected testing companies in the world. It employs over 50,000 staff across a network of more than 900 independent companies and it has more than 800 laboratories located in 50 countries. The Eurofins Group is committed to providing the highest quality services, accurate results and expert advice from its highly qualified staff. The reliability and accuracy of their analytical services help customers like Everything Dinosaur make decisions about which dinosaur models to bring into the UK and then sell around the world.
Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube
In a few days, Everything Dinosaur will post up a short video on the company’s YouTube channel discussing the Eurofins assessment and the next steps that the UK-based company needs to take in order to bring this exciting dinosaur model out of China.
The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel is packed with lots of prehistoric animal model reviews, collecting hints and tips and lots of helpful information. There are over 170 videos on the channel, we recommend that you subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.