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19 09, 2021

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus Reviewed

By | September 19th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Our thanks to model collector William who sent into Everything Dinosaur his review of the recently introduced PNSO Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model.

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus
PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model.

Carcharodontosaurus Reviewed

Dinosaur fan William has been building up his collection of PNSO figures and replicas, here is his review of his latest acquisition, the PNSO “Gamba” the Carcharodontosaurus.

PNSO 2021 Carcharodontosaurus saharicus “Gamba”.
1/45 scale model.
Length: 12 inches.
Height: 3.5 inches.
Box: Standard white PNSO issue with the acrylic stand and a beautiful booklet.

Examining the Head and Jaws

William begins his review by examining the head and jaws. He comments that “Gamba” has a fantastic Carcharodontosaurinae head with detailed scaling and the head shows no signs of model shrink wrapping. The colouration of the eyes is mentioned, it is a bold choice of paint, the eyes are a dark orange in appearance.

The jaw is fully articulated and it reflects the high build standards that collectors have come to expect from PNSO. The shape and painting of the mouth is praised along with the accurate nasal passages and the white, shark-like teeth that were the inspiration behind this dinosaur’s name.

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model
The PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model. William praises the head and the jaws in his model review.

Concluding his review of the head and the jaws William states:

“The PNSO “Gamba” is your go to Carcharodontosaurinae and I suggest you go get him, this quality only comes this way in a lifetime”.

Looking at the Dinosaur’s Limbs

The reviewer extolls the virtues of the front limbs stating that they are small but powerful and each finger is tipped with an excellent claw. The robust, typical Carcharodontosaurinae legs are discussed and William highlights the blunted toe claws, which reflect the way the toe claws probably looked as the keratin sheaths would have been worn down as the dinosaur walked.

PNSO Carcharodontosaurus model and skeletal scale drawing
A skeletal reconstruction showing known fossil material associated with Carcharodontosaurus saharicus and the PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus model. The reviewer comments on the limbs of this large theropod.

The Body of “Gamba” Scrutinised

Continuing his review William explained that “Gamba” has a classical Carcharodontosaurinae body as shared by all the known members of this superfamily. The texture and detailing of the skin was praised and regarded as “top-notch”.

Skin folds and the texture of the model were complimented with particular reverence afforded to the detail depicted on the lower portion of the ribs. The Carcharodontosaurus model reflects this dinosaur’s status as an apex predator.

Commenting on the Paint Scheme

William reflects on the similar colour schemes of “Gamba” the Carcharodontosaurus and the related Allosaurus in the PNSO mid-size model range known as “Paul”. The Carcharodontosaurus is described as having dark, dun tiger stripes which run down the length of the body. The outside of the legs are a mustard-brown colour and the claws are black. The main body area is described as having a mixture of greens which descend into creams and beige, with a hint of pink on the underside of the figure.

PNSO Allosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur models
New for 2021 PNSO theropod models (top) Paul the Allosaurus and (bottom) Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus.

Discovery and History

As with William’s earlier PNSO model reviews, he concludes his review by providing some information on the dinosaur.

Temporal Period: Late Cretaceous Albian to Cenomanian: 113~90 million years ago.
Carcharodontosaurus saharicus “Shark toothed lizard of the Sahara”.
Estimates of 39~44 ft in length and weighing 6.2~15.1 tons (we are in the realms of large theropods here).

William was quick to point out the hugely significant contribution made by Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach (1871-1952), who named and described Carcharodontosaurus (C. saharicus) in 1931. Stromer’s name is synonymous with dinosaur research, the German palaeontologist made some very important fossil discoveries in the early part of the 20th century.

William also commented upon the profusion of large, predatory dinosaurs associated with the Cretaceous of North Africa – dinosaurs such as Rugops, Deltradromeus, Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus.

Summarising his thoughts on the Carcharodontosaurinae, William exclaimed:

“The Carcharodontosaurinae superfamily fielded some of the Earth’s largest land predators as they never stopped growing throughout their 50 to 60 years. It is only a matter of time until a true “Tyrant Slayer” is unearthed either in North Africa or in South America.”

Our thanks to William for providing Everything Dinosaur with such a detailed review of “Gamba” the PNSO Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

18 09, 2021

PNSO to Add a Tylosaurus

By | September 18th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

PNSO will add a Tylosaurus marine reptile model to their popular mid-size model range. Evan the Tylosaurus will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur before Christmas (2021). The Tylosaurus figure is number 57 in the PNSO mid-size model range.

PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus (Anterior View)
PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus, Everything Dinosaur customers can expect this marine reptile figure to be in stock before Christmas (2021).

Whilst other manufacturers have struggled to produce prehistoric animal figures this year, PNSO have gone from strength-to-strength introducing more than fifteen prehistoric animals in their mid-size range in 2021, including a Kronosaurus model (Jeff the Kronosaurus). A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur confirmed that both these marine reptile figures (Jeff the Kronosaurus and Evan the Tylosaurus), will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur very soon.

PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus (Dorsal View)
The PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus marine reptile model (dorsal view).

Tylosaurus Marine Reptile Model

Several species have been assigned to the Tylosaurus genus. The first species to formally named and described was Tylosaurus proriger, which was named by the famous American palaeontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1869. The most recent addition to the Tylosaurus genus is T. saskatchewanensis which was described in 2018 (Jiménez-Huidobro et al). The fossils come from the Bearpaw Formation of southern Sasktachewan (Canada) and demonstrate that tylosaurs were present in the northern Western Interior Seaway during the late Campanian. Tylosaurus saskatchewanensis represents the most northerly occurrence of this genus.

Although the PNSO models do not have a declared scale, at around 31 cm in length, this is a very good size for a marine reptile figure.

Tylosaurus is a member of the Mosasauridae family. Mosasaurus is the type genus of the Mosasauridae, an extinct family of marine reptiles related to modern lizards and snakes. Several species have been named and Mosasaurus hoffmannii (which was named in 1829), with an estimated length in excess of 17 metres is one of the largest marine reptiles known from the Cretaceous. Tylosaurus proriger was slightly smaller with an estimated length of around 13-14 metres. Some palaeontologists have estimated that Tylosaurus could have weighed more than two tonnes.

PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus model measurements
PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus measures 31 cm in length.

Flippers and Tail

The PNSO Tylosaurus model has been given an asymmetrical tail fluke, which reflects soft tissue evidence from fossil remains. The model has a deep chest which is typical of the Mosasauridae and short but powerful flippers.

The stunning PNSO Tylosaurus model.
The stunning PNSO Tylosaurus marine reptile model (dorsal view). The model has been given a deep chest which is very typical of the Mosasauridae. The figure has a powerful tail fluke and broad flippers.

Pterygoid Teeth

The model has been provided with two rows of teeth in its upper jaws. The second set located towards the back of the mouth are called pterygoid teeth. The pterygoid teeth helped the animal to grip its prey and to aid in the movement of prey down the gullet.

The box for the PNSO Tylosaurus model.
The packaging for the PNSO Tylosaurus model.

Transparent Support Stands

PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus is supplied with two transparent support stands. These stands permit collectors to display their figure, the substantial lower tail fluke would cause the figure to topple over if it were simply placed on a table.

PNSO Evan the Tylosaurus product packaging
The PNSO Tylosaurus is supplied with two transparent display stands.

The spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained that Evan the Tylosaurus was just the latest prehistoric animal model to be announced by PNSO and they expected more exciting figures to be released before the end of the year.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

17 09, 2021

PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus Reviewed

By | September 17th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Our thanks to William who sent into Everything Dinosaur a detailed review of the PNSO “Yinqi” the Yutyrannus dinosaur model. William has been busy writing reviews on his recent PNSO prehistoric animal acquisitions. He is becoming an avid fan of the PNSO mid-size model range.

The Yutyrannus (Y. huali), is just one of several theropod models that have been introduced by PNSO this year.

PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus dinosaur model
PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus (lateral view).

Dinosaur Model Review

Here is William’s review of his latest PNSO acquisition:

PNSO 2021 Yutyrannus huali “Yinqi”.
1/30-1/35 scale model.
Length: 10 inches.
Height: 4.1 inches.
Box: Standard white PNSO issue with the acrylic stand and a beautiful booklet.

PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus product packaging
The PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus is supplied with a small transparent stand that when placed in the middle of the replica’s chest helps to support this dinosaur figure.

Looking at the Head and the Articulated Jaws

William starts his review by looking at the head and the jaws of the Yutyrannus figure. He comments on the bare snout and highlights the fine detail of the scales and the well-defined nostrils, before declaring the orange nasal crest as “a stunner”. The lacrimal horns are praised and he states:

“What a fantastic, feathered head sculpt, you will not find anywhere else, kudos to PNSO we have a Yutyrannus finally.”

William also commented on the eye colouration and the black skin folds encircling the orbits. Turning his attention to the jaw, he stated that the jaw of the dinosaur model is fully articulated and opens quite wide to show off wonderful white teeth which are displayed in a lipless mouth. The painting of the interior of the mouth was extolled and he exclaimed:

“The tongue sits flat to the bottom of the mouth and looks great with detailed nasal passages in the roof of the skull.”

PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus huali Dinosaur Model
PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus with an articulated jaw.

Reviewing the Limbs of “Yinqi” the Yutyrannus

When compared to the reduced forelimbs of T. rex or Tarbosaurus, the arms of the tyrannosauroid Yutyrannus look powerful, each hand is armed with three robust claws and William suggests that these claws were used to hold onto or despatch prey. Even though the arms are feathered, the sculpting team at PNSO have taken care to give the impression of powerful muscles under the plumage, a point that William remarks upon. He also comments on the strong, muscular legs of the model with their large dewclaws and the padded soles of the feet.

The rough, shaggy integumentary covering providing excellent insulation for this large dinosaur in its harsh, temperate climate.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2012 blog post about the discovery and scientific description of Yutyrannus: One Tonne Basal Tyrannosauroid.

A Hunter Sniffing Out Prey

The review looks at the torso of the figure and the feather impressions covering the body are discussed.

William praises the pose of the figure remarking:

“The pose is that of a hunter sniffing out prey in a forward motion with the head posed to spot movement. Truly this figure is a wonder to behold.”

PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus
The PNSO Yinqi the Yutyrannus (anterior view). Reviewer William praises the figure stating that it is a “wonder to behold”.

Painting a Prehistoric Animal

The choice of colour scheme is lauded in William’s review. He states that the tips of the jaws are black, but this colour gradually softens and lightens towards the posterior end of the jawbones. He praises the contrasting white of the jowls and the chest area of the model. The main body colour is described as “a rich golden wheat of varied shades from dark to light”.

William also highlights the dark wash that runs over the back along the spine to the end of the tail, which is painted a dun colour.

As with previous reviews, William concludes by providing some further information on the dinosaur.

Discovery and History

Temporal Period: Early Cretaceous of the Liaoning Province: 125 million years ago.
Yutyrannus huali “Beautiful Feathered Tyrant”.
The adult was 29.5 ft with a weight of 1.1 tonnes around the weight of Megalosaurus.

First described and named in 2012 by Xu Xing from a trio of nearly complete fossil remains representing an adult with a subadult and a juvenile tagging along on maybe its first hunt. All three have been captured for all time.

A great pity those that had discovered the specimens cut them into square sections for ease of transport to a dealer from the Batu Yingzi quarry. Imagine what more could have been learned from where they were unearthed.

The palaeoenvironment that Yutyrannus inhabited would have been similar to the temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest of the USA/Canada – warm and wet in summer and harsh in the winter but Yutyrannus was well-insulated thanks to its thick, saggy coat.

In concluding his review William stated:

“PNSO 2021 Yutyrannus huali “Yinqi” another great addition to their ever-expanding theropod line but a unique edition to own a fully feathered natural looking Tyrannosauroidea and presently the world largest feathered dinosaur”.

To view the range of PNSO models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

15 09, 2021

PNSO Connor the Torvosaurus Reviewed

By | September 15th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Our thanks to dinosaur fan and model collector William who sent in his detailed review of the PNSO “Connor” the Torvosaurus dinosaur model after his recent purchase from Everything Dinosaur.

PNSO Connor the Torvosaurus (product packaging).
The Torvosaurus product packaging, there is English writing on the reserve side. Dinosaur model fan William sent a detailed review of his model to Everything Dinosaur.

Reviewing a Torvosaurus Dinosaur Model

Here is William’s review of the PNSO Torvosaurus:

PNSO 2021 Torvosaurus tanneri “Connor”.
1/35-1/38 scale model.
Length: 11.5 inches.
Height: 3.1 inches.
Box: Standard white PNSO issue with the plastic stand and beautiful booklet.

Looking at the Head and Jaws

William states that the head of the model is based upon Professor Scott Hartman’s reconstruction which gives the head a longer snout – a wonderful Megalosauridae head. PNSO have given “Connor” a pair of lacrimal crests these are only seen in an as yet undescribed German specimen, but they are an attractive feature of this model.

The figure has a fully articulated jaw with fantastic white teeth as is the norm no lips and the teeth indicate that this dinosaur had an overbite. Great to see a dewlap under the jaw – the head looks very natural. The pink tongue and very detailed nasal passage finish off the business end of this Megalosauridae head.

PNSO Connor the Torvosaurus dinosaur model
A close view of the detailed and beautifully crafted head of Connor the Torvosaurus dinosaur model from PNSO.

William went on to comment that the nasal ridges run from the top of the snout to the lacrimal crests and below a pair of pale-yellow eyes with eyelids and skin folds around the eye sockets. William also praised the detail associated with the ear opening. He noted no shrink wrapping on the model.

Commenting on the Limbs

As a dinosaur model fan and collector, William was able to comment that the Torvosaurus possessed a pair of powerful forelimbs, a stark contrast to tyrannosaurs. He remarked that the forelimbs on the model ended in three-fingered hands with a strong, robust grappling-hook-like thumb claw. William speculated that this large claw could have been used for holding or despatching prey.

The hind legs are commented upon, they are described as robust and anchored to an equally robust pelvis. The powerful, muscular legs would have been ideally suited for chasing herbivorous dinosaurs. William pointed out that the feet had padded soles and large dewclaws with blunted toe claws – a detail praised as in life toe claws would not have been razor-sharp, but somewhat blunted.

PNSO Torvosaurus dinosaur model
The powerful limbs of the PNSO Torvosaurus dinosaur model.

Admiring the Torvosaurus Trunk

When discussing the body of the Torvosaurus model William declared:

“The classical long Megalosauridae body, oh we have wait for this for a lifetime…”

The scales, textures and other details such as the skin folds are praised and described as very lifelike. The osteoderms which run from the back of the skull down to the tail are also highlighted in William’s review.

When describing the row of osteoderms that run down the model’s back, William said:

“The spinal osteoderms are not to small nor too big, just correct running from the base of skull to the tip of the tail growing slightly smaller.”

When concluding his review of the body of the Torvosaurus William exclaimed that such an eye for detail in skin and scales was rarely matched by other manufacturers.

Paint Application and Colour Scheme

William ended his review of the PNSO Torvosaurus figure by commenting on the colour scheme. He explained that the design team at PNSO had chosen a good, well-defined grey paint scheme which was broken up by broad, mottled stripes, with a delicate pinkish underside that was “very pleasing to the eye.”

The russet orange depicted on the antorbital fenestra of the model suggested to William that this was a replica of a male Torvosaurus in his prime ready to battle for territory and hunting grounds.

PNSO Connor the Torvosaurus
The new for 2021 PNSO Connor the Torvosaurus dinosaur model, a stunning replica of a Late Cretaceous apex predator.

Discovery and History

Keen to demonstrate his knowledge of dinosaurs, William provided a brief summary of the Torvosaurus genus:

Torvosaurus tanneri “Tanner’s Savage Lizard”.

Temporal Period: Middle to Late Jurassic “Morrison Formation”
165–148 million years ago.

The year was 1979 Peter Malcolm Galton and James Alvin Jensen named and described the new type species Torvosaurus tanneri.

A second species was named and described in 2014 (Torvosaurus gurneyi), based on fossil material discovered in Portugal (Lourinhã Formation). The trivial name for this species honoured James Gurney, a world-renowned artist and creator of the “Dinotopia” book series.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog post about the naming of T. gurneyi: The Largest Meat-eating Dinosaur Known from Europe.

William added:

“2021 has been a very busy year for the entire team of Everything Dinosaur from the lockdowns to the move to the new premises but not for one moment have they faltered their service and stocks only grow and we you friends and loyal customers salute you all and look forward to marvels and surprises of 2022.”

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

13 09, 2021

A Quartet of Nanmu Studio Theropods

By | September 13th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

One of the benefits of working in the packing rooms at Everything Dinosaur sorting orders for customers and preparing parcels so that they can be sent out is that you get the opportunity to admire product packaging. Take for example, the clean lines of the Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series models, the artwork on the front of the boxes is most impressive. It also permits the size of the packaging and the size of the models contained therein to be compared.

Nanmu Studio theropod models
Four of the Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series theropods in stock at Everything Dinosaur. Spinosaurus Supplanter limited edition model (top), Giganotosaurus Behemoth tiger stripe (second top), Tyrannosaurus rex Alpha Green (bottom). Ceratosaurus Scavenger (right).

Comparing Product Packaging

The picture (above) shows four different Nanmu Studio theropod models. The limited edition Spinosaurus (Supplanter) is at the top, the Giganotosaurus Behemoth in the tiger stripe version is in the middle and the Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series Tyrannosaurus rex (Alpha Green) is closest to the camera. Model collectors do not often get the chance to see product packaging displayed in this way. The product on the right of the photograph is the Nanmu Studio Ceratosaurus (Scavenger), it is dwarfed by the other three boxes, but the Ceratosaurus packaging is over 33 cm long and the model inside measures over 30 cm in length and represents a 1/35th scale replica.

Nanmu Studio dinosaur model.
The Nanmu Studio Ceratosaurus (Scavenger) dinosaur model. The product packaging might be dwarfed by other Nanmu Studio theropod boxes, but the Ceratosaurus model is more than 30 cm in length and represents a dinosaur in 1:35 scale.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Dinosaur fans and model collectors see lots of images of the actual products, but they do not see many pictures of the product packaging. Some of the designs and illustrations on the front of the box are a work of art in themselves. The detailed dinosaur illustrations on the Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series boxes are a lovely example of product packaging art.”

Everything Dinosaur is a legal importer of Nanmu Studio models for the UK. The company has also registered all the Nanmu Studio models that it stocks under the EU 2019/1020 market surveillance regulations so it can legally sell these figures in the European Economic Area.

To view the range of Nanmu Studio prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series Models.

12 09, 2021

The Peculiar Pravitoceras

By | September 12th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

Ask someone to draw an ammonite and it is very likely that they will sketch a coiled shell. Such fossils are ubiquitous and a mainstay of most people’s fossil collections. However, not all ammonites had a coiled shell, some of the members of the Order Ammonitida (more derived ammonites), especially some families that evolved during the Late Cretaceous, had very bizarre shell shapes, far removed from the tightly coiled planispiral shape that most people associate with these highly successful cephalopods.

Ammonite fossils (Dactylioceras).
A selection of ammonite fossils to be used in an exercise exploring the role of index fossils with science students. These ammonites (Dactylioceras), possess tightly coiled, planispiral shells. However, not all ammonites had shells like these, some genera evolved bizarre shells and these are referred to as heteromorphic ammonites.

Preparing for Pravitoceras

As team members at Everything Dinosaur prepare for the arrival of the last of the new for 2021 CollectA Age of Dinosaur models they have been busy checking over their fact sheet for Pravitoceras. The CollectA Pravitoceras is a replica of one of those ammonite genera with a very peculiar shell.

CollectA Pravitoceras model.
The colourful heteromorph ammonoid model – CollectA Pravitoceras.

Heteromorphic Ammonites

The attractive Pravitoceras model increases the number of invertebrates featured in the CollectA range following the recent introduction (2020) of a horseshoe crab, a trilobite, Orthoceras, a belemnite, the nautilus (N. pompilius) and an ammonite with a regularly coiled shell (homomorph) – Pleuroceras.

Members of the public might be quite familiar with those types of ammonites with tightly coiled shells, as epitomised by the CollectA Pleuroceras (an example of a homomorph shell). In the Late Jurassic a number of new types of marine cephalopod began to appear in the fossil record with different shell morphotypes – the ammonite shell began to diverge from the standard planispiral shape. These ammonites became increasingly abundant and diverse during the Cretaceous and by the Late Cretaceous they were geographically widespread. The heteromorphic ammonites were so abundant, that just like their coiled relatives, many genera have become important zonal fossils assisting with the relative dating of strata (biostratigraphy).

Pravitoceras scale drawing
A scale drawing of the bizarre heteromorphic ammonite from the Late Cretaceous of Japan (Pravitoceras). This scale drawing will be used in the Everything Dinosaur Pravitoceras fact sheet.

The final shell coil of Pravitoceras helps to form a distinctive “S” shape and the body chamber is folded back on itself to form a retroversal hook. Palaeontologists have speculated that these types of ammonites were either entirely epifaunal (dwelling on the sea floor), perhaps scavenging or hunting slow moving animals such as bivalves or snails, or they floated passively in the water column, like many types of extant jellyfish, feeding on zooplankton. Research using wax replicas and computer models has demonstrated that no matter how complex the shell shape, these creatures would have had no trouble maintaining their buoyancy in the water column. Palaeontologists debate what role in the food web ammonites like Pravitoceras occupied. Many scientists have postulated that Pravitoceras floated passively in the water column feeding on zooplankton.

To view the range of CollectA prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

11 09, 2021

Carnotaurus Skin Study

By | September 11th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

In 1984, a field team led by the renowned Argentinian palaeontologist José Bonaparte uncovered the fossilised remains of a theropod dinosaur in Chubut Province (Patagonia). The articulated fossil remains included most of the front-portion of the skeleton and although some of the bones had been deformed and distorted due to taphonomic processes, skin impressions of parts of the right side of the animal had been preserved. Skin impressions associated with the head of this dinosaur were also present, but these were not recognised during laboratory preparation and sadly they were lost as the skull fossils were cleaned and prepared.

A year later, Carnotaurus (C. sastrei) was formally named and described. Remarkably, despite the Carnotaurus skin impressions being the most completely preserved of any theropod, no detailed study of the skin had been undertaken.

All that changed this week with the publication of a scientific paper in the journal “Cretaceous Research”.

Carnotaurus Life Reconstruction
Researchers have described in detail the scaly skin of the abelisaurid Carnotaurus sastrei. The image shows a life reconstruction of Carnotaurus. Picture credit: Jake Baardse.

Not a Feather to be Found

Palaeontologist Dr Christophe Hendrickx from the Unidad Ejecutora Lillo in San Miguel de Tucumán (Argentina), worked with Dr Phil Bell from the University of New England (New South Wales, Australia), an expert in dinosaur integumentary coverings. Whilst the skin impressions only cover part of the body, (the largest skin impression is associated from the base of the tail), the scientists were able to determine that the skin covering consisted of a diverse range of scales and bumps of different shapes and sizes.

No evidence for any bristle-like structures or feathers could be found.

Carnotaurus skin study
The skin is preserved in the shoulder, flank, tail and, possibly, neck regions and consists of medium to large (20–65 mm in diameter) conical feature scales surrounded by a network of low and small (<14 mm) non-imbricating basement scales separated by narrow interstitial tissue. Picture credit: Christophe Hendrickx.

Dr Hendrickx remarked:

“By looking at the skin from the shoulders, belly and tail regions, we discovered that the skin of this dinosaur was more diverse than previously thought, consisting of large and randomly distributed conical studs surrounded by a network of small elongated, diamond-shaped or sub-circular scales.”

Have Carnotaurus Model Makers Got it All Wrong?

Contrary to previous interpretations and the attempts of model makers to depict Carnotaurus, the feature scales are randomly distributed and neither form discrete rows nor show progressive variations in their size along parts of the body. All those illustrations and replicas of Carnotaurus with a neat row of spines running down its back are not accurate according to the conclusions drawn from this research.

Nanmu Studio Carnotaurus (Ranger) dinosaur model
The Nanmu Studio Carnotaurus (Ranger), the distinct rows of prominent scales may not reflect the actual integument of this abelisaurid, but their random size fits the assessment of the skin composition as proposed by the researchers.

Reminiscent of a Thorny Devil

The composition of the skin and the morphology of the scales reminded the researchers of the integument of the Australian lizard the Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus). This small, spiny lizard which is relatively common in the deserts of western and central Australia, uses its spines primarily for defence. It would be difficult for any would-be predator to swallow it. Grooves between the spines allow the lizard to channel water to its mouth, a useful adaptation when living in an environment with infrequent rain.

Detailed view of the skin of Carnotaurus (base of the tail).
A close-up view of the scales from the base of the tail. The variety of bumps and scales are reminiscent of those found in the extant lizard the Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus). It has been suggested that the skin texture of Carnotaurus played a role in thermoregulation. Picture credit: Christophe Hendrickx.

At around 8 metres in length and since Carnotaurus is regarded as the apex predator in its environment, it is unlikely that the lumps and bumps on the skin were primarily for self-defence, but protection from intraspecific combat cannot be ruled out. However, recent studies have shown that Carnotaurus was a strong runner. If this large dinosaur had a very active lifestyle, then helping to regulate body temperature and permit heat-loss would have been very important.

The researchers speculate that the skin may have played a vital role in thermoregulation, a role consistent with integument function in living mammals and reptiles.

Detailed view of the skin of Carnotaurus
No evidence for feathers on the skin of Carnotaurus was found in this study. Scientists conclude that the lumps, bumps and large scales on the skin could have played a role in thermoregulation. Picture credit: Christophe Hendrickx

The scientific paper: “The scaly skin of the abelisaurid Carnotaurus sastrei (Theropoda: Ceratosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia” by Christophe Hendrickx and Phil R. Bell published in Cretaceous Research.

10 09, 2021

Ulughbegsaurus – Bossing Tyrannosauroids

By | September 10th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A new species of carcharodontosaurid has been named from a single fragment of upper jawbone found in Uzbekistan. The dinosaur has been named Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis and it was probably the apex predator in the ecosystem suggesting that carcharodontosaurids remained the dominant predators relative to tyrannosauroids, at least in Asia until around 90 million years ago.

Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis fossil material (various views)
Left maxilla of Ulughbegsaurus (fossil specimen UzSGM 11-01-02) in (a) lateral, (b) medial, (c) ventral, (d) anterior and (e) posterior views. Reconstruction of skull in lateral view (e) – grey missing bones are based on Neovenator, modified from Naish et al. Picture credit: Tanaka et al.

The First Late Cretaceous Carcharodontosaurian from Central Asia

Ulughbegsaurus has been named based on partial maxilla found in strata associated with the Bissekty Formation of the Kyzylkum Desert (Uzbekistan). Several other predatory theropods have been described from fossils found in this formation, but all of them are considerably smaller. The tyrannosauroid Timurlengia euotica was coeval, but much smaller than Ulughbegsaurus providing further support for the idea that carcharodontosaurians were the dominant, apex predators in Laurasia until their extinction some 20 million years prior to the end of the Cretaceous, from which point onwards it was the tyrannosauroids that took over this niche in most Laurasian ecosystems.

Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis and Timurlengia euotica life reconstruction
A life reconstruction of Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis (top) compared in size with the coeval tyrannosauroid Timurlengia euotica which was named and described in 2016. Picture credit: Julius Csotonyi.

Estimating Size from a Single Fragment of Bone

Palaeontologists can use the size of the tooth row in the maxilla to help them estimate the body size of theropod dinosaurs. Studies of carcharodontosaurids and tyrannosaurids have demonstrated that the length of the tooth row in the maxilla is isometrically correlated with femur length, which is very helpful, as the length of the thigh bone is widely used to help calculate body mass. Based on this data, the authors of this paper, calculate that the Ulughbegsaurus specimen was at least 7 metres long and over a tonne in weight. The researchers, which included corresponding author Kohei Tanaka (University of Tsukuba, Japan) and Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary, Canada), conclude that the individual represented by the single bone was probably 7.5 to 8 metres in length.

Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis was much bigger than any other theropod known from this region. The tyrannosauroid Timurlengia was approximately 3-4 metres long and around 8 times lighter. This suggests that Timurlengia was a secondary predator along with an as yet, unnamed large dromaeosaurid, whilst Ulughbegsaurus occupied the niche of apex predator. The discovery of Ulughbegsaurus records the geologically latest stratigraphic co-occurrence of carcharodontosaurid and tyrannosauroid dinosaurs from Laurasia and evidence indicates carcharodontosaurians remained the dominant predators relative to tyrannosauroids, at least in Asia, as late as the Turonian faunal stage of the Cretaceous.

Tyrannosauroids Kept in Check by Carcharodontosaurians

For much of the Cretaceous allosauroids (part of the Carnosauria clade), including carcharodontosaurians were the largest terrestrial predators on Earth. It was only after their extinction that tyrannosauroids (members of another theropod clade, the Coelurosauria), became much larger and occupied the role of apex predators in most ecosystems across Laurasia.

Evidence of larger tyrannosauroids is not known until the Campanian of North America, some 7 million years after Ulughbegsaurus and Timurlengia lived. Palaeontologists remain uncertain as to the dynamics of apex predator evolution amongst the Theropoda as the fossil record from 90 to 83 million years ago (Coniacian-Santonian) is extremely poor.

Relationship between coeval small tyrannosauroids and non-tyrannosauroid predatory dinosaurs
Comparisons between small tyrannosauroid and large non-tyrannosauroid predatory theropods. Phylogenetic tree (a) comparing Tyrannosauroidea with sympatric allosauroid taxa. Guanlong with sympatric Sinraptor from the Late Jurassic Shishugou Formation of China (1); Tanycolagreus and Stokesosaurus with sympatric Allosaurus and Saurophaganax from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of the United States (2); Eotyrannus and sympatric Neovenator from the Early Cretaceous Wessex Formation of the United Kingdom (3); Moros and sympatric Siats from the early Late Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation of the United States (4) and (5) Timurlengia and sympatric Ulughbegsaurus from the Turonian Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan indicating that sympatric large allosauroid taxa are found at least until the Turonian faunal stage of the Cretaceous. Bivariate plot of body mass between tyrannosauroids and non-tyrannosauroid predatory theropods that stratigraphically co-occur (b). The analysis indicates that tyrannosauroids were small when other large predatory theropods were present. The grey shadow is where tyrannosauroids are larger than non-tyrannosauroid theropods and demonstrates the tyrannosauroid apex predatory dominance during the Late Cretaceous. Picture credit: Tanaka et al.

Honouring a Sultan of the Timurid Empire

Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis (pronounced Ul-lug-bey-sore-us uz-bek-ee-stan-en-sis), was named in honour of Ulugh Beg, a sultan and polymath of the Timurid Empire in the fifteenth-century. The species or trivial name honours the country of Uzbekistan.

A Significant Fossil Discovery

Although Ulughbegsaurus has been described from a single bone, its discovery is very significant. U. uzbekistanensis represents the first definitive fossil evidence of carcharodontosaurians from Central Asia. It fills a geographic gap in the clade between Europe and East Asia and shows that carcharodontosaurians were widespread across Asia.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2016 article about the discovery of Timulengia euotica: Fossil Study Shows How Tyrannosaurs Got Big.

To read about the diminutive tyrannosauroid Moros intrepidus that co-existed with the much larger allosauroid Siats meekerorum: Fleet-footed Tyrannosaur Leaps 70 million-year Gap.

The scientific paper: “A new carcharodontosaurian theropod dinosaur occupies apex predator niche in the early Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan” by Kohei Tanaka, Otabek Ulugbek Ogli Anvarov, Darla K. Zelenitsky, Akhmadjon Shayakubovich Ahmedshaev and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi published in Royal Society Open Science.

9 09, 2021

Titanokorys gainesi – Giant Cambrian Radiodont

By | September 9th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada), have announced the discovery of a new species of armoured arthropod from the Burgess Shale of British Columbia. A study looking at 12 fossil specimens collected from Marble Canyon and Tokumm Creek in the Kootenay National Park (British Columbia), has been published this week by Royal Society Open Science. The arthropod has been named Titanokorys gainesi and at around 50 cm in length, it is a giant by Cambrian biota standards.

Titanokorys gainesi life reconstruction.
A life reconstruction of Titanokorys gainesi. Picture credit: Royal Ontario Museum.

The authors of the scientific paper, Dr Jean-Barnard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum, an expert on Burgess Shale fauna and PhD student Joe Moysiuk, classify Titanokorys as a member of the Radiodonta, a stem group of the Arthropoda. Radiodonts were extremely diverse and geographically widespread during the Late Cambrian and many of them were giants when compared to other animals alive during this time in Earth’s history. Perhaps the most famous radiodont is the taxon Anomalocaris, regarded by many palaeontologists as the world’s first super-predator.

Anomalocaris life reconstruction.
The Terror of the Trilobites – Anomalocaris. Anomalocaris was a member of the Radiodonta stem group of the Arthropoda. At a metre in length, it was a giant compared to most other Late Cambrian animals. Picture credit: BBC Worldwide/Framestore.

Living on the Seabed – A Benthic Existence

Radiodonts are characterised by their compound eyes, disc-shaped mouthparts and paired frontal appendages, which in the case of Titanokorys consist of comb-like structures which may have been used to sift through mud in search of prey. The broad, flattened carapace of Titanokorys supports the idea that it was benthic – living on the seabed.

Views of the Cambrian radiodont Titanokorys gainesi
Life reconstruction of Titanokorys gainesi (a) dorsal view, (b) ventral view, (c) lateral view and (d) anterior view. Picture credit: Lars Fields/Royal Ontario Museum.

Dr Caron stated:

“The sheer size of this animal is absolutely mind-boggling, this is one of the biggest animals from the Cambrian period ever found.”

Coeval with Cambroraster falcatus

The bedding planes that provided the Titanokorys fossil material have also revealed an abundance of the smaller, but closely related Cambroraster falcatus, which was named and described by Caron and Moysiuk in 2019. Cambroraster was named after the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars franchise, as its carapace resembled the shape of this iconic spaceship. The co-occurrence of these two species on the same bedding planes highlights potential competition for benthic resources and the high diversity of large predators sustained by Cambrian communities.

To read about the discovery of Cambroraster falcatus: Prehistoric Predator with a Mouth Shaped Like a Pineapple Ring.

Why some radiodonts evolved such a bewildering array of head carapace shapes and sizes is still poorly understood and was likely driven by a variety of factors.

Titanokorys gainesi fossil material.
Views of the carapace of Titanokorys gainesi (paratype ROMIP 65168).

Dr Caron added:

“These enigmatic animals certainly had a big impact on Cambrian seafloor ecosystems. Their limbs at the front looked like multiple stacked rakes and would have been very efficient at bringing anything they captured in their tiny spines towards the mouth. The huge dorsal carapace might have functioned like a plough.”

Honouring Professor Robert Gaines

The genus name is derived from the Greek Titans, powerful gods of huge size and from the Greek “Korys” for helmet. The species or trivial name honours Professor Robert Gaines who was instrumental in the co-discovery of the Marble Canyon fossil deposit, where some of the Titanokorys specimens were found.

The scientific paper: “A giant nektobenthic radiodont from the Burgess Shale and the significance of hurdiid carapace diversity” by J.B. Caron and J. Moysiuk published by Royal Society Open Science.

8 09, 2021

New PNSO Models Arriving at Everything Dinosaur

By | September 8th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur has received news from our freight forwarders that a shipment of PNSO prehistoric animal models should be delivered to our warehouse tomorrow (September 9th, 2021). The delivery will include six new for 2021 PNSO figures – Haylee the Helicoprion, Connor the Torvosaurus, Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus, Yinqi the Yutyrannus and the 1:35 scale Stegosaurus model set (Biber and Rook).

PNSO prehistoric animal models due in stock at Everything Dinosaur (September 2021
In total six new for 2021 models are due in stock tomorrow (September 2021) at Everything Dinosaur. They are Connor the Torvosaurus, Haylee the Helicoprion, Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus, Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus, Yinqi the Yutyrannus and the 1:35 scale Stegosaurus models Biber and Rook.

PNSO Prehistoric Animal Figures

The delivery should include a total of 31 different PNSO prehistoric animal product lines. This will enable Everything Dinosaur to replenish stock of existing models as well as allowing them to post up the six new figures on the company’s website.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that they did not know exactly when the delivery would arrive, but team members would be at work even earlier than usual and they would do all they could to get the models safely unloaded, stored in the warehouse and then made available on-line as quickly as possible.

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model
The PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model. Due into stock at Everything Dinosaur on September 9th 2021.

The spokesperson added:

“We know how keen dinosaur fans and collectors are to get hold of these wonderful replicas. Team members will be busy emailing all those Everything Dinosaur customers who have asked to have one of these prehistoric animal models reserved for them. Staff will be working late into the night to ensure that everyone is contacted.”

Mid-size Model Range

The majority of the new for 2021 figures coming in are from the PNSO mid-size model range. The exception is the PNSO 1:35 scale Scientific Art Stegosaurus pair Biber and Rook.

PNSO Stegosaurus dinosaur models (Biber and Rook)
The PNSO Stegosaurus dinosaur models (Biber and Rook) in anterior view, these two figures are due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur. This 1:35 scale model set consists of an adult Stegosaurus and a juvenile.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Prehistoric Animals and Dinosaurs.

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