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16 05, 2021

Wyatt the PNSO Parasaurolophus

By | May 16th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Whilst working in one of Everything Dinosaur’s packing rooms a PNSO Parasaurolophus model was spotted. This gave team members the opportunity to take some photographs of this superb, duck-billed dinosaur model. The Parasaurolophus figure (Wyatt the Parasaurolophus), is a recent introduction into the PNSO mid-size model range and it is the third hadrosaur to be added after the Corythosaurus and Lambeosaurus that came out last year.

PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus dinosaur model in lateral view.
PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus dinosaur model in lateral view, a stunning replica of a Late Cretaceous duck-billed dinosaur.

A Blue-eyed Ornithopod

PNSO have built up a strong reputation in the last few years or so for the quality of their dinosaur models and figures. The Parasaurolophus has been beautifully painted with fantastic countershading, a spectacular, brightly coloured head crest and this ornithopod has been given a blue eye. The details on the skin are praiseworthy with lots of skin folds and texture giving the impression of bulk and movement. Stripes descending down the flanks and running along to the end of the tail would have helped to break-up the outline of this large herbivore and helped to camouflage it from marauding tyrannosaurs.

PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus dinosaur model
A PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus spotted going for a wander in one of Everything Dinosaur’s packing rooms.

Rave Reviews from Dinosaur Fans and Model Collectors

Although this dinosaur model has not been out for long, it has already received rave reviews from dinosaur fans and model collectors.

For example, in a 5-star Feefo review posted on Everything Dinosaur’s website the reviewer described Wyatt the Parasaurolophus as “Perfect!”

Another reviewer who commented on their purchase on our website referred to this Parasaurolophus model as:

“very scientifically accurate, beautiful colour scheme and natural relaxed pose”.

The Parasaurolophus model measures a fraction under 28 centimetres in length and that magnificent head crest is around 11 cm off the ground.

PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus
PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus dinosaur model. Part of a range of beautifully designed prehistoric animal figures made by PNSO. It joins a Corythosaurus (Caroline the Corythosaurus) and a Lambeosaurus (Audrey the Lambeosaurus) that were introduced into this range in 2020.

To purchase the PNSO Wyatt the Parasaurolophus and to see the rest of the amazing PNSO prehistoric animals available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

14 05, 2021

Tlatolophus galorum new Lambeosaurine from Mexico

By | May 14th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

A new species of lambeosaurine hadrosaurid has been named and described this week from fossil material excavated from a site close to the town of Presa de San Antonio in northern Mexico. The dinosaur has been named (Tlatolophus galorum) and it represents the most complete lambeosaurine known to date from Mexico. A phylogenetic assessment of the extensive fossil material suggests that this dinosaur was more closely related to Parasaurolophus which is known from roughly contemporaneous strata further north than it was to the lambeosaur Velafrons coahuilensis, the first duck-billed dinosaur from Mexico to be scientifically described.

Life Reconstruction of Tlatolophus galorum.
Tlatolophus galorum life reconstruction. Picture credit: Marco Pineda.

The Tail of a Hadrosaur’s Tail

In 2013, Everything Dinosaur reported on the discovery of an articulated dinosaur tail in upper Campanian deposits of the Cerro del Pueblo Formation that had been putatively assigned to a hadrosaur. Field team members from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), an institution of the Ministry of Culture and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) were despatched to excavate the specimen. The fossils had been spotted weathering on the surface in 2005, but serious field work did not commence until 2013.

The Tlatolophus galorum dig site
Tlatolophus galorum – the quarry. Field team members at the dig site, elements of the tail and hips can be seen exposed on the surface. Picture credit: INAH

Exposing More of the Specimen

The first aim was to collect and stabilise the material exposed to the elements on the surface. Once this had been taken care of further excavation work revealed that almost the entire tail was present (just the most distal elements were missing). As more of the specimen was revealed the field team slowly began to realise that the anterior portion of the dinosaur might be present too.

Co-author of the scientific paper, published this week in Cretaceous Research Ramírez Velasco (UNAM) commented:

“Although we had given up hope of finding the upper part of the specimen, once we recovered the tail, we continued excavating underneath where it was located. The surprise was that we began to find bones such as the femur, the scapula and other elements”.

The Excavation of Tlatolophus galorum
Field team members at an early stage of the excavation project, the tail of the hadrosaur has been exposed. Picture credit: INAH

An Elongated Drop-shaped Bone

As more of the front half of the dinosaur was exposed, a drop-shaped bone was found. At first, this was interpreted as part of the pelvis, but researcher José López Espinoza suggested that this was a bone from the skull. It was only after careful cleaning, preparation and analysis in the laboratory that the scientists realised that they had 34 bone fragments that formed a considerable portion of the skull and jaws.

Tlatolophus galorum - preparing fossil material
Air scribes being used to remove the matrix close to the bone (Tlatolophus galorum fossil preparation). Thirty-four bone fragments when pieced together formed the skull of the hadrosaur. Picture credit: INAH.

Identifying the Crest

The team were excited to discovery that about 80% of the skull had been recovered including the premaxillae that formed the top part of this duck-billed dinosaur’s head crest. The crest measures an impressive 1.32 metres in length, as well as being able to determine the shape of the crest the scientists could also reconstruct the neurocranium, that part of the skull that housed the brain.

The fossilised skull of Tlatolophus galorum.
The skull of Tlatolophus galorum. Picture credit: Juan Miguel Contreras Fotógrafo (técnico del Instituto de Geología).

Comparison with Velafrons coahuilensis

With so much of the skull material preserved, the research team was able to compare these fossils to other lambeosaurines, including the contemporaneous Velafrons coahuilensis which is also known from the Cerro del Pueblo Formation. Taxonomic and phylogenetic assessments consigned Tlatolophus to the Parasaurolophini tribe, suggesting that it was more closely related to hadrosaurs found further north than it was to Velafrons.

Tlatolophus galorum - Examining the Bones
Careful assessment of the fossil bones to establish a new genus and to place Tlatolophus within the Parasaurolophini tribe. This Mexican dinosaur was closely related to the famous Parasaurolophus crested dinosaur. Picture credit: INAH.

Tlatolophus – What’s in a Name?

The etymology of this dinosaur’s name reflects the shape of the distinctive head crest. The genus name derives from the local Náhuatl dialect for the word “tlahtolli” which translates as “word” as the crest shape resembles a symbol used by native people to demonstrate communication. The Latin “lophus” means “crest” and therefore the genus name translates as “word crest”. The species or trivial name honours the philanthropist Jesús Garza Arocha and recognises the assistance of the López family, who helped the palaeontologists by providing accommodation, food and other facilities during the field seasons.

Cleaning and preparing Tlatolophus galorum fossils
Many hours of work in the preparation laboratory were required in order to clean and preserve the fossil material. The trivial name of this new dinosaur honours the philanthropist Jesús Garza Arocha without whose support much of the extensive preparation work would not have been undertaken. Picture credit: INAH

Tail Bones on Display

The articulated tail of Tlatolophus galorum is on display in the municipal capital of General Cepeda, where, with the support of the city council, a special area was set aside to highlight the dinosaur fossils that have been found in this region of northern Mexico.

Tlatolophus galorum life reconstruction
A life reconstruction of the newly described hadrosaur Tlatolophus galorum (assigned to the Parasaurolophini tribe). Picture credit: Luis Rey.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release and scientific notes provided by the INAH in the compilation of this article.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s 2013 blog post about the excavation work to uncover and remove the articulated tail of the specimen: The Tail of a Hadrosaur’s Tail.

To read about the discovery of Mexico’s first duck-billed dinosaur: Viva Mexico – New Duck Billed Dinosaur Discovered “South of the Border”

The scientific paper: “Tlatolophus galorum, gen. et sp. nov., a parasaurolophini dinosaur from the upper Campanian of the Cerro del Pueblo Formation, Coahuila, northern Mexico” by Ángel A. Ramírez-Velasco, Felisa J. Aguilar, René Hernández-Rivera, José Luis Gudiño Maussán, Marisol Lara Rodríguez and Jesús Alvarado-Ortega published in Cretaceous Research.

12 05, 2021

Menefeeceratops – The Oldest Centrosaurine?

By | May 12th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossilised dinosaur remains found over twenty years ago have been re-examined and determined to represent a new species of horned dinosaur. Menefeeceratops (M. sealeyi) from the early Campanian of New Mexico, might just be the oldest centrosaurine described to date.

Menefeeceratops sealeyi life reconstruction.
Menefeeceratops sealeyi life reconstruction. Picture Credit: Sergey Krasovskiy. This horned dinosaur was contemporaneous with the tyrannosaur Dynamoterror (D. dynastes). This theropod can be seen in the background (right). Recent fossil discoveries are helping scientists to better understand the dinosaur dominated biota of southern Laramidia during the Campanian. The picture (above) also depicts a hadrosaur in the background (left), team members at Everything Dinosaur consider this to be a depiction of the saurolophine hadrosaur Ornatops (O. incantatus)

From the Menefee Formation of New Mexico

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in collaboration with a colleague from the State Museum of Pennsylvania, writing in the academic journal Paläontologische Zeitschrift, report on the reassessment of ceratopsian bones originally collected at a site near to Cuba, in New Mexico. The fossils, representing a partial skeleton of a single dinosaur were found by Paul Sealey, a research associate at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, whilst exploring the Allison Member of the Menefee Formation in 1996 and discussed in academic literature a year later but no genus name was proposed or other research conducted.

The fossils which consist of cranial and postcranial material remained within the collection of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, however, with dinosaurs being named and described from the Menefee Formation such as the tyrannosaur Dynamoterror dynastes and the nodosaurid Invictarx zephyri, both of which were named and described in 2018, interest in this specimen was reawakened. Further preparation revealed unique traits associated with the skull material that permitted the establishment of a new genus.

A skeletal reconstruction of Menefeeceratops showing known bones in blue.
Skeletal reconstruction of Menefeeceratops showing known bones in blue. Picture credit: Dalman et al.

Menefeeceratops sealeyi

Classified as a basal member of the Centrosaurinae, Menefeeceratops sealeyi helps palaeontologists to piece together the evolutionary history of the Ceratopsia. Estimated to have lived around 82 million years ago (Early Campanian), the authors of the scientific paper Sebastian Dalman, Spencer G. Lucas and Asher Lichtig (New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science), Steven Jasinski (State Museum of Pennsylvania) and Peter Dodson (University of Pennsylvania) postulate that Menefeeceratops represents the earliest member of the centrosaurine subfamily of horned dinosaurs known to science.

The distinctive shape of the squamosal (skull bone that formed part of the neck frill), permitted the scientists to erect a new genus. The name honours the Menefee Formation, whilst the trivial name recognises the work of Paul Sealey, not only for the original discovery but for his contribution to the study of the dinosaurs of New Mexico.

Views of the left squamosal bone of Menefeeceratops,
Views of the left squamosal bone of Menefeeceratops sealeyi (left lateral and right lateral views). Picture credit: Dalman et al. The squamosal, whilst less ornate than other ceratopsids has a distinctive shape which helped permit the erection of a new genus.

How Big was Menefeeceratops?

By comparing the bones of Menefeeceratops to more complete centrosaurine specimens, the research team were able to estimate the size of this dinosaur. They conclude that it was relatively small, when compared to later members of the Centrosaurinae such as Pachyrhinosaurus and Styracosaurus, at around 3.9 to 4.4 metres in length.

Commenting on the significance of the reassessment of the fossil material that led to the naming of Menefeeceratops, co-author of the scientific paper Spencer G. Lucas stated:

“Menefeeceratops shows us just how much we still have to learn about the horned dinosaurs of western North America. The oldest centrosaur, Menefeeceratops indicates that the southwest region of the United States was an important place in the evolution of the centrosaurs. The recognition of this new centrosaur adds to a growing diversity of centrosaurs, and thus provides impetus to further efforts to discover fossils of these kinds of dinosaurs.”

Authors involved in this study, also named and described the related but geologically much younger centrosaurine Crittendenceratops. To read about Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii: A New Horned Dinosaur from Arizona.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Pennsylvania in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The oldest centrosaurine: a new ceratopsid dinosaur (Dinosauria: Ceratopsidae) from the Allison Member of the Menefee Formation (Upper Cretaceous, early Campanian), north-western New Mexico, USA” by Sebastian G. Dalman, Spencer G. Lucas, Steven E. Jasinski, Asher J. Lichtig & Peter Dodson published in Paläontologische Zeitschrift.

11 05, 2021

PNSO to Add a Helicoprion Model

By | May 11th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Those talented model makers at PNSO are to add a Helicoprion model to their mid-sized range of prehistoric animal figures. Later this year, the PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur. Team members at Everything Dinosaur are delighted to announce the addition of a replica of a shark-like marine predator from the Permian.

This figure is likely to be available later in the summer (2021).

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion
PNSO have added a replica of the Permian marine predator Helicoprion to their mid-size model range.

Haylee the Helicoprion

This PNSO prehistoric fish is number 43 in their mid-size model range and what a spectacular figure it is. Almost all we know about this large, marine predator are from the remarkable fossilised “tooth whorls”. These fish are members of the Eugeneodontida, an Order of cartilaginous fish, a poorly known group of extinct fish that are very distantly related to the Chimaeriformes, which themselves evolved around 400 million years ago, but these days are largely confined to deep water.

The actual body shape of Helicoprion is not known. PNSO have chosen to give their model the appearance of a sleek, fast swimming predator with a body shape and fin proportions similar to that seen in extant Porbeagle sharks (Lamna genus).

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion model measurements
The model measures 21 cm in length and from the base of the tail fluke to the top of the dorsal fin of the Helicoprion is 7.5 cm.

Measuring 21 cm in Length

The prehistoric fish model measures approximately 21 cm in length. PNSO do not provide a scale for their mid-size figures and Everything Dinosaur team members are a little stumped themselves as to what scale to suggest. With only the tooth whorls to study, the body shape and the size of these extinct hunters can only be inferred. As the largest tooth whorls known to science are around 40 cm in diameter, the body length of Helicoprion has been estimated to have been anywhere between 5 to 8 metres in length. The fact sheet that we will supply with sales of this figure will provide more information.

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion anterior view
PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion replica. The stunning emerald eye on the model is reminiscent of the eye of a Chimaera such as the deep water Rabbit Fish (Chimaera monstrosa) to which Helicoprion is distantly related.

An Articulated Jaw and Stunning Green Eyes

That famous tooth whorl has been skilfully recreated in the PNSO Helicoprion figure and it is articulated. The stunning green eyes are similar to those of the deep sea Rabbit Fish (Chimaera monstrosa) to which Helicoprion was very distantly related.

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion model
A close-up view of the articulated jaw of the PNSO Helicoprion model. The design team at PNSO have given their prehistoric fish model an articulated jaw.
PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion product packaging
The PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion product packaging.

Haylee the Helicoprion and Patton the Megalodon

The PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion joins the Megalodon model in the PNSO mid-size model range. The Megalodon model was introduced back in 2019, if these images are anything to go by the Helicoprion figure has been worth the wait.

PNSO Haylee the Helicoprion and PNSO Patton the Megalodon
Haylee the Helicoprion and Patton the Megalodon – models from PNSO. Helicoprion was only very distantly related to Lamniformes such as C. megalodon.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures currently in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Models and Figures.

9 05, 2021

Rare Rebor Models in Stock

By | May 9th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s customer newsletter were tipped off about stock of rare Rebor prehistoric animal figures and replicas. Limited edition and special production runs of several Rebor figures had been organised and once the current stock had sold, many of these items would not be available again.

For example, the science fiction/fantasy Rebor Oddities Specimen: G-2016 embryo in resinite has been limited to a single production run and only 500 of these amazing replicas have been made.

The special edition Rebor Oddities Specimen: G-2016 embryo specimen in resinite
The special edition Rebor Oddities Specimen: G-2016 embryo specimen in resinite makes headlines in the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter.

Rebor Oddities Specimen: G-2016 Embryos

The Everything Dinosaur newsletter also featured the G-2016 Embryo in epoxide and the G-2016 Embryo in bakelite. Like the resinite figure, only 500 of each of these replicas have been produced and newsletter subscribers were given the opportunity to snap up a figure before they sold out.

Rebor Oddities Specimen Embryos
Only 500 Rebor Oddities Specimen G-2016 embryos (bakelite and epoxide) have been produced. There are no plans to make any more once the current stock has been sold.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“These Rebor G-2016 figures are beautifully crafted science fiction replicas with engraved text and science fiction symbols and they would be a highlight in any model collection. We have had lots of sales in Asia, but we wanted to hold a few back so we could offer these limited edition figures to our newsletter subscribers.”

Compsognathus longipes Dissection Figures

Rebor has built a deserved reputation for their innovative and unusual figures. As well as introducing the embryos, Rebor commissioned a special production run of life-size Compsognathus dissection specimens. Two versions were produced, one of them being the limited edition, highly stylised “Victorian Goth” specimen. Only 500 of these figures have been made, the vast majority of these were pre-sold, however, Everything Dinosaur has held a small number in reserve so we could offer these figures to our subscribers.

Rebor Compsognathus Dissection Replicas
The Rebor Compsognathus longipes dissection replicas including the limited edition Victorian Goth version make an appearance in the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter.

Rebor Abelisaurid Dinosaurs

Rebor is best known for their dinosaur models. Team members thought that they could not feature Rebor without at least drawing attention to a couple of dinosaurs and with the arrival this week of the abelisaurid pair Carnotaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus it seemed fitting to include these 1:35 scale replicas in our newsletter offering. The Rebor Carnotaurus rex “Crimson King Requiem” is a reference to the apex predator position held in southern hemisphere Late Cretaceous palaeoenvironments by members of the Abelisauridae, including Carnotaurus sastrei. The 1:35 scale model of Ekrixinatosaurus (E. novasi) represents another South American abelisaurid. Named and described in 2004, palaeontologists are uncertain as to the size of this “bruiser”. The skull was disproportionately large and this dinosaur was particularly robust – very helpful if you coexisted with Giganotosaurus, one of the largest theropod dinosaurs known to science.

Rebor 1:35 scale Carnotaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus
A pair of ferocious abelisaurids! The Rebor Carnotaurus rex “Crimson King Requiem” (right) and the new Rebor Ekrixinatosaurus “Epitaph” model (left).

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter

The Everything Dinosaur email newsletter is sent out periodically, it is free to join, there are no subscription fees to pay. To subscribe to the Everything Dinosaur newsletter simply email us and we will do the rest: Contact Everything Dinosaur.

To view the range of Rebor models and replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals.

8 05, 2021

Crocodile Conservation Success Story at Zoo Miami

By | May 8th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Zoo Miami (Florida), has announced that a clutch of Orinoco crocodile eggs has successfully hatched. The Orinoco crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius), is one of the world’s rarest crocodilians, in the wild, this species is limited to freshwater habitats in Venezuela and Columbia. As such, it is the most southerly of all the American crocodilians.

The female Orinoco crocodile laid a clutch of 45 eggs on February 5th (2021). Zoo staff collected the eggs and placed them in two incubators set at different temperatures. The sex of crocodilians is determined by the temperature that the eggs are incubated at. So, in order to ensure a mix of males and females, the clutch was divided in two and incubated in two batches. Generally, cooler temperatures produce females and warmer temperatures produce males. By incubating the eggs in separate incubators with different temperatures, the curators at the crocodilian enclosure planned to have a mix of both males and females hatching in a bid to maximise the future breeding potential of the progeny.

A quartet of Orinoco crocodiles.
Recently hatched, critically endangered Orinoco crocodiles are shown to the media. Picture credit: Zoo Miami.

Hatching Spread over Several Days

The first eggs began to hatch on May 2nd, the mother of the brood, was herself hatched at Zoo Miami in 1980 and had been sent to various institutions before returning to the zoo two years ago. The father was hatched at the Dallas World Aquarium in the spring of 2004 and arrived at Zoo Miami in November 2006. This is their first clutch together.

A spokesperson for the zoo stated that once the crocodiles were big enough, it was hoped that these rare reptiles could be returned to the wild.

Zoo Miami (also known as The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens), was formed in 1948 and is the largest zoo in Florida and the fifth biggest in the United States. It is home to more than 3,000 animals, many of which such as the Orinoco crocodiles, are critically endangered.

7 05, 2021

Nocturnal Dinosaurs Hunting in the Dark

By | May 7th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Key Stage 3/4, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists have proposed that the bizarre, chicken-sized alvarezsaurid Shuvuuia (S. deserti) had amazing eyesight and owl-like hearing, adaptations for a nocturnal hunter in its Late Cretaceous desert environment.

The Mongolian alvarezsaurid hunting at night
Shuvuuia deserti artist’s life reconstruction. Picture credit: Viktor Radermacher.

A Very Bizarre, Tiny Theropod

Named and described in 1998 from fossil material associated with the famous Djadochta Formation (Campanian faunal stage), Shuvuuia has been assigned to the Alvarezsauridae family of theropods. It may have been small (around 60 cm in length), but its skeleton shows a range of bizarre anatomical adaptations. It had long legs, a long tail, short but powerful forelimbs that ended in hands with greatly reduced, vestigial digits except for the thumb which was massive and had a large claw. The skull was very bird-like with disproportionately large orbits.

Photograph of fossilised Shuvuuia deserti skeleton.
Photograph of fossilised Shuvuuia deserti skeleton. Picture credit: Mick Ellison (American Museum of Natural History).

Writing in the academic journal “Science” a team of scientists led by Professor Jonah Choiniere (University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa), used sophisticated computerised tomography to examine the skull of Shuvuuia and to map this dinosaur’s sensory abilities, as part of a wider study into non-avian dinosaur sensory abilities.

Shuvuuia deserti fossil skull
Photograph of fossilised Shuvuuia deserti skull. Picture credit: Mick Ellison (American Museum of Natural History).

The international team of researchers used CT scanning and detailed measurements to collect data on the relative size of the eyes and inner ears of nearly 100 living bird and extinct dinosaur species. There are more than 10,000 species of bird (avian dinosaurs) alive today, but only a few have evolved sensory abilities that enable them to track and hunt prey at night. Owls are probably the best known, but not all owls are nocturnal. Kiwis hunt at night using their long, sensitive beaks to probe in the leaf litter for worms, whilst another bird endemic to New Zealand, the large, flightless Kakapo (a member of the parrots – Order Psittaciformes), is also nocturnal. Other birds active at night include the globally widespread black-capped night heron and the Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) which is an occasional visitor to East Anglia in the UK.

To measure hearing ability, the team measured the length of the lagena, the organ that processes incoming sound information (known as the cochlea in mammals). The barn owl, which can hunt in complete darkness using hearing alone, has the proportionally longest lagena of any bird.

Barn owl skull CT scan showing lagena
Barn owl skull CT scan showing lagena. Picture credit: Jonah Choiniere/Wits University.

Assessing Vision

To examine vision, the team looked at the scleral ring, a series of bones surrounding the pupil, of each species. Like a camera lens, the larger the pupil can open, the more light can get in, enabling better vision at night. By measuring the diameter of the ring, the scientists could estimate how much light the eye can gather.

The researchers found that many carnivorous theropods such as large tyrannosaurs and the much smaller Dromaeosaurus had vision optimised for the daytime, and better-than-average hearing presumably to help them hunt. However, Shuvuuia, had both extraordinary hearing and night vision. The extremely large lagena of this species is almost identical in relative size to today’s barn owl, suggesting that Shuvuuia could have been a nocturnal hunter. With many predators sharing its Late Cretaceous desert environment, a night-time existence may have proved to be an effective strategy to avoid the attentions of much larger theropods.

Side by side comparison of the lagena of a Barn owl and Shuvuuia deserti
Side by side comparison of the lagena of a Barn owl (left) and Shuvuuia deserti (right). Picture credit: Jonah Choiniere/Wits University.

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, joint first author of the scientific paper, Dr James Neenan exclaimed:

“As I was digitally reconstructing the Shuvuuia skull, I couldn’t believe the lagena size. I called Professor Choiniere to have a look. We both thought it might be a mistake, so I processed the other ear – only then did we realise what a cool discovery we had on our hands!”

Extremely Large Eyes

The eyes of Shuvuuia were also remarkable. Skull measurements suggest that this little dinosaur had some of the proportionally largest pupils yet measured in birds or dinosaurs, suggesting that they could likely see very well at night.

Professor Jonah Choiniere holding a 3D Print of a Shuvuuia lagena
Professor Jonah Choiniere holding a 3D printed model of the lagena of Shuvuuia deserti. Picture credit: Jonah Choiniere/Wits University.

The Alvarezsauridae remain one of the most unusual of all the types of non-avian dinosaur known to science. Their place within the ecosystems of the Late Cretaceous remains controversial. Geographically widespread, a recently described alvarezsaurid from China Qiupanykus zhangi may have been a specialised ovivore (egg-eater), whilst other palaeontologists have postulated that these theropods used their strong forelimbs and large thumb claws to break into termite mounds. Perhaps, these small (most probably feathered), dinosaurs occupied a number of niches within Late Cretaceous ecosystems – including that of a nocturnal hunter of small vertebrates and insects.

Shuvuuia deserti artist's reconstruction.
Shuvuuia deserti artist’s reconstruction. Picture credit: Viktor Radermacher.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog article about Qiupanykus zhangi and the evidence behind the egg-eating theory: Did Alvarezsaurids Eat Eggs?

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Witwatersrand in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Evolution of vision and hearing modalities in theropod dinosaurs” by Jonah N. Choiniere, James M. Neenan, Lars Schmitz, David P. Ford, Kimberley E. J. Chapelle, Amy M. Balanoff, Justin S. Sipla, Justin A. Georgi, Stig A. Walsh, Mark A. Norell, Xing Xu, James M. Clark and Roger B. J. Benson published in the journal Science.

6 05, 2021

CollectA Brontosaurus Prey Reviewed

By | May 6th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

One of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur is the gory Brontosaurus prey figure. Everything Dinosaur takes a look at this fascinating dinosaur model. This replica of a dead Brontosaurus is the fourth carcass model to be introduced by CollectA in their not to scale Age of Dinosaurs Popular range. The Brontosaurus prey follows on from a dead Triceratops, a Stegosaurus carcass and a deceased feathered Tyrannosaurus rex.

New for 2021 the CollectA Brontosaurus prey.
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Brontosaurus prey model. The wounds inflicted on the Brontosaurus reflect attack and feeding strategies that have been postulated for large theropod dinosaurs. The CollectA design team have researched extant carnivore feeding strategies and extrapolated them to apply to a sauropod carcass.

The Demise of a Sauropod

The carefully sculpted Brontosaurus prey figure shows evidence of a theropod dinosaur attack as well as feeding. There are deep wounds obvious on the tail, at the base of the neck and on the throat, which we deduce was probably the fatal bite. The exposed stomach cavity, the defleshed femur and damage immediately behind the left hind leg probably depict feeding traces.

CollectA Brontosaurus prey dinosaur model
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Brontosaurus prey is an ideal figure for use in dinosaur dioramas.

An Ideal Figure for Dinosaur Dioramas

The CollectA Brontosaurus prey would certainly add a degree of visceral realism to any prehistoric animal scene that is being created by a model collector. It is an ideal figure for use in dinosaur dioramas. Team members have been asked to comment on the dislocated right front leg on this particularly gruesome dinosaur model.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“The position of the right forelimb could have come about as a large theropod dinosaur such as an adult Allosaurus fragilis pulled at the limb in order to remove it from the corpse and carry it away so that this carnivore could feed in safety. Alternatively, the limb could have been dislocated as the bulky Brontosaurus collapsed as a result of the theropod attack.”

What Attacked the Brontosaurus?

As the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Brontosaurus prey measures around 25 cm in length, it could represent a sub-adult animal in a dinosaur diorama. If this is the case, then the range of suspects that could have attacked it is enlarged to some degree. As well as an Allosaurus, the attack could have been undertaken by a Ceratosaurus such as C. dentisulcatus or perhaps the unfortunate Brontosaurus was brought down by a megalosaur. The megalosaurid Torvosaurus tanneri is known from the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation, it was one of the largest theropods described to date from the Late Jurassic of western North America.

We shall leave it to the imagination of our readers as to whether the Brontosaurus was brought down by a single animal or as the result of an attack by a hungry pack of theropods.

Whether the Brontosaurus was attacked and killed, or the figure represents dinosaurs scavenging a corpse, this is a fascinating and very welcome addition to the CollectA range of not to scale prehistoric animal models.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Torvosaurus dinosaur model.
The CollectA Deluxe Torvosaurus dinosaur model was introduced in 2016. The Brontosaurus prey model could depict the aftermath of an attack by a Torvosaurus.

To purchase the CollectA Brontosaurus prey and the rest of the prehistoric animal figures in the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Figures.

5 05, 2021

Prehistoric Times Spring 2021 Reviewed

By | May 5th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

The spring 2021 edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine has arrived at Everything Dinosaur and team members have been busy perusing the pages, which as usual are jam-packed with amazing articles, fascinating features and lots of reader-submitted artwork. The front cover for issue 137 was provided by Glen McIntosh, an artist and animator who has worked on the “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” film franchises.

The cover art features a Gorgosaurus battling an Einiosaurus and another awesome tyrannosaur, one that was contemporaneous with G. libratus – Daspletosaurus, is discussed by Phil Hore and palaeontologist Jordan C. Mallon who looks at this Late Cretaceous predator from the viewpoint of the Canadian Museum of Nature. There are some amazing Daspletosaurus drawings, the artwork by Aaron Natera, Cody Zaiser and Marcus Burkhardt are our personal favourites.

Prehistoric Times Front Cover Spring 2021
The front cover image of the latest “Prehistoric Times” magazine was created by Glen McIntosh. It features an Einiosaurus battling a Gorgosaurus.

Superb Sauropods

John Lavas continues to tell the story of the influential Czech artist Zdeněk Burian with the second part of his feature on the Sauropoda. The article includes some stunning Brontosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus illustrations. A Cetiosaurus even makes an appearance.

Burian's famous Brachiosaurus brancai painting.
Giant Dinosaurs Dwelling in Swamps! The famous Burian Brachiosaurus painting which was completed in 1941.

The “Scowl” of Hypsilophodon

Tracy Lee Ford explains how the position of the palpebral (a small bony extension) in relation to the orbit (eye socket) of the ornithopod Hypsilophodon would have given this dinosaur a permanent scowl. He provides detailed drawings of the triangular-shaped skull and suggests how it should be fleshed out when creating a life reconstruction. There is even a mention of the iconic Neave Parker illustration of a tree-living hypsilophodont.

Hypsilophodon in a Tree
Hypsilophodon was once thought to have been arboreal. Tracy Lee Ford’s article provides information on how to illustrate this small ornithopod.

The UK’s Mike Howgate contributes two articles, the first detailing the work of naturalist Edward Kay Robinson to provide three-dimensional images of exhibits on display at the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum), at the beginning of the 20th century. The second, related article, looks at the commissioning of Cenozoic mammal models and the work of Vernon Edwards. These articles provide a sense of how museums have changed and how the exhibits within them have changed also.

Father and son team, Tony and James Pinto have been working on a television documentary entitled “Why Dinosaurs?”, it examines the public’s fascination for the Dinosauria, a challenging project even without the extra problems caused due to the global pandemic. Magazine editor Mike Fredericks provides book reviews including a new biography of Mary Anning “Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Palaeontologist”, a title that emphasises how our fascination with dinosaurs seems to overshadow research into marine reptiles and the Pterosauria.

The “Paleonews” section covers a broad range of topics from how Parasaurolophus evolved fancy headgear, to titanosaur discoveries and agile Permian predators (Anteosaurus).

With new prehistoric animal model information and the ever-reliable Randy Knol providing insight on how gamers use models and replicas within their genre, there is certainly a lot to praise about this latest issue.

To learn more about “Prehistoric Times” magazine and to subscribe: Subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” Magazine.

4 05, 2021

CollectA Neovenator Scenting Prey Reviewed

By | May 4th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur team members have been so impressed with the first batch of new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal figures that they have decided to review them all. Today, it is the turn of the CollectA Neovenator scenting prey dinosaur model. This figure replaces an earlier version of the theropod Neovenator within the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular range.

The CollectA Neovenator scenting prey dinosaur model
The new for 2021 CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Neovenator scenting prey.

Neovenator salerii

The CollectA Neovenator scenting prey has been beautifully painted. The light green tones contrast well with the striking darker green stripes that run from the nape of the neck right down to the model’s long tail. The tail makes up around 50% of the entire figure’s length. The body proportions of the Neovenator model reflect the graceful and lightweight nature of the dinosaur’s skeleton. Neovenator being regarded as relatively lightly built for a large predator with a gracile body plan. The grasping hands have been sculpted extremely well and the claws are skilfully painted. Their battleship grey colour matches the toe claws.

The pale underside provides a sharp contrast to the colouration on the flanks and the CollectA model has been given a row of small wattles that run down the neck. There is a row of similarly coloured spines that extend from the back of the skull to the tip of the tail. These spines are enlarged over the hips and immediately behind the head.

CollectA Neovenator Scenting Prey Dinosaur Model
The CollectA Neovenator scenting prey figure reflects a much more modern interpretation of this theropod dinosaur.

Features of the Skull

The figure is named “scenting prey” as an analysis of Neovenator cranial material published in 2017 revealed a substantial network of neurovascular canals in the upper jaw (premaxilla and maxilla) that were linked to the external surfaces of the bones in the jaw. The scientists concluded that this may have been a specialised tactile organ, enabling Neovenator to sense its environment through its jaw. These canals could have sensed jaw pressure, assisting this dinosaur to avoid bone when feeding, or this sensory organ could have played a role in intraspecies recognition and behaviour, or even assisted Neovenator in locating suitable nesting sites. The large nostrils suggest that this dinosaur had a powerful sense of smell. To read more about this research: The Sensitive Face of Neovenator.

Neovenator scenting prey
The elevated head of the CollectA Neovenator scenting prey model. The posture of the CollectA dinosaur model reflects the 2017 scientific paper that revealed a network of neurovascular canals linked to the premaxilla and the maxilla bones.

Taxonomic Position Uncertain

The taxonomic classification of Neovenator remains uncertain, despite nearly 70% of the fossil skeleton being known to science. When first described in 1996, it was thought to have affinities with the Allosauridae family. Subsequent studies have challenged this suggesting a placement within the carcharodontosaurids.

The elevated head shows lots of amazing detail. The dark green markings that run from the eye socket down to the bottom jaw and then up to the postorbital bone are in stark contrast to the bright yellow jaw tips and the yellow patch that surrounds the eye.

CollectA Neovenator scenting prey and the CollectA Brontosaurus Prey
The CollectA Neovenator dinosaur model has used its sensitive snout to detect a sauropod carcass (CollectA Brontosaurus prey model).

This is an exquisitely created dinosaur model and Everything Dinosaur highly recommends the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Neovenator scenting prey.

To view the CollectA Neovenator scenting prey figure and the rest of the models in the CollectA Prehistoric Life range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Figures.

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