All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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30 06, 2020

Mojo Prehistoric Mammals – “Turntable Tuesday”

By | June 30th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

“Turntable Tuesday” – Mojo Prehistoric Mammals

For Everything Dinosaur’s weekly video feature “Turntable Tuesday”, we wanted to do things a little differently.  Usually, we showcase a single prehistoric animal figure in a short video review.  However, with the addition of a whopping sixteen new Mojo dinosaurs into the “Prehistoric and Extinct” range, team members were concerned that some of the excellent prehistoric mammal models made by Mojo might get overlooked.  Rather than highlighting a single figure, the “Turntable Tuesday” feature was extended so that we could display the Cenozoic mammals produced by Mojo.

Prehistoric Mammal Models Take a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase Mojo prehistoric animal models (dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures): Mojo Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

Often Overlooked Elements from a Range

Prehistoric mammal models, Smilodon, Woolly Mammoths, Brontotheres and such like are not going to sell as well as models of Triceratops, Stegosaurus and T. rex.  Manufacturers have to make commercial decisions as to which models they continue to make as their range expands.  For collectors, the addition of a lot of new models in a particular product range can sometimes be bad news, as figures of less high profile animals are retired and taken out of production to make room.

The Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” Range Contains Some Excellent Prehistoric Mammal Figures

Prehistoric mammal models from Mojo.

A selection of prehistoric animal models from the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range.  From left to right – Brontotherium, Daeodon, Hyaenodon gigas and the baby Woolly Mammoth model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

“Turntable Tuesday” – Mojo Prehistoric Mammals

The “Turntable Tuesday” video lasts for four and a half minutes.  Following a brief introduction in which we outline some of the problems that can occur when a model range is expanded dramatically, the Mojo Brontotherium model is discussed.  The video swiftly moves on introducing the baby Woolly Mammoth model and the Hyaenodon gigas.  Rare, out of production figures are also discussed such as the excellent Mojo Quagga and the recently retired Thylacine replica.

The Mojo Quagga Figure

Mojo Quagga replica.

The Mojo Quagga model.  This model has been retired and it is now out of production.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s video concludes with a look at the Mojo Smilodon, the entelodont (Daeodon) and provides further information on the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range.

The Mojo Smilodon Model is also Featured in the Video

A selection of prehistoric mammal models from Mojo.

The Mojo Smilodon also features in Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube video.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Focus on the Mojo Smilodon Model

Views of the Mojo Smilodon.

Various views of the Mojo Smilodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal related reviews and features: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

28 06, 2020

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

By | June 28th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

Everything Dinosaur team members made a commitment in 2020 to post up at least fifty new videos on the company’s YouTube channel.  This is quite a challenge considering all our other activities on social media, such as this blog site for example.  However, Everything Dinosaur is on track to achieve this and recently the company posted up a new YouTube channel trailer to help promote Everything Dinosaur on the YouTube platform.

Everything Dinosaur’s New YouTube Channel Trailer

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

YouTube Channel Trailer

Our YouTube promotional trailer explains what we do and why we do it!  The video lasts a fraction over 2 minutes and it attempts to explain our passion for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model collecting.  If you want to learn some of the science behind the prehistoric animal models and figures in your own collection, then watch the trailer through as it packed with examples of our work and highlights of our videos.

Everything Dinosaur’s Trailer Showcases the Variety of Videos the Company has Produced

Showcasing Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel hosts a wide variety of dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos.  The channel has over 170 prehistoric animal themed videos posted on it.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Award-winning Dinosaur Company

Everything Dinosaur is a multi-award-winning mail order company, with thousands of customers all over the world.  We have customers in something like 160 countries and as our trailer video points out, we have even sent dinosaur models to the North Pole!  We really enjoy talking about life in the past, deep time and the amazing creatures that inhabited prehistory.  It’s great to be able to share ideas and explore the fascinating hobby of model collecting with fellow dinosaur fans and enthusiasts, so we developed a YouTube channel as a natural extension of our social media outreach.

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Channel

Everything Dinosaur's YouTube Channel.

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos are now on-line.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has a Large Social Media Presence

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We get lots and lots of emails, our Facebook and social media pages are very active and the Everything Dinosaur blog has over 4,800 articles and features.  We have had a YouTube channel for some years, but it has recently been revamped and we are on course to post up at least fifty new videos this year.”

Lots of Videos on the YouTube Channel of Everything Dinosaur

Lots of videos to view on Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

Some of the videos on the YouTube channel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

27 06, 2020

Rebor and New Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

By | June 27th, 2020|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

Rebor Models and Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Newsletter

The latest edition of Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter was sent out earlier this week.  Subscribers were amongst the very first in the world to be informed that the spectacular Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis” were back in stock.  In addition, the newsletter highlighted the return of the Rebor 1:35 scale “Killer Queen” replica in the jungle colour scheme.  The new range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs, all sixteen of them were featured too!

The Pair of Rebor Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis” Feature in the Newsletter

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Oasis" and "Green Day".

Buy the Pair! Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Special Offer from Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Dilophosaurus male “Green Day” and the female “Oasis” are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Buy the pair at a special price!  Just £49.99 (including tax if applicable) plus shipping (price as of June 2020).  Two fantastic Rebor figures – snap up a double of “double crested lizard” to add to your collection.

The Male and Female Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models from Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

The Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor range of replicas and figures: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Models Are Available Separately

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Green Day" and "Oasis".

Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis” Dilophosaurus models. These models are available separately and as a pair whilst stocks last.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Killer Queen” – Jungle and Sixteen New Dinosaurs from Mojo Fun

One of the top-selling figures over the last year or so has been the Rebor Tyrannosaurus rex replica called “Killer Queen”.  A small number of these excellent T. rex figures have arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse and our team members have been quick to inform collectors and newsletter fans of their arrival.  This display piece, complete with an articulated jaw measures over 40 centimetres in length, as the song says: “guaranteed to blow your mind”.

Mojo Fun has introduced a total of sixteen new dinosaur models representing dinosaurs from the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.  Our newsletter featured these new releases from Mojo too.

Rebor “Killer Queen” in the Jungle Colour Variant and New Dinosaurs from Mojo

Rebor jungle colour variant "Killer Queen" and new Mojo models.

Rebor “Killer Queen” jungle colour variant and sixteen brand new Mojo dinosaur models in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of the Rebor “Killer Queen” – plain colour variant don’t have long to wait for this model to be back in stock either.  This figure will be back in stock at Everything Dinosaur in July (2020).

Highlighting Mojo Brachiosaurus Deluxe and the Troodontid Model

In the popular Mojo Fun range, collectors are rather spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which models to acquire.  There are lots of new theropods, two Baryonyx figures, a new T. rex plus Spinosaurus, Velociraptors, Allosaurus and one of our personal favourites – a replica of a feathered troodontid dinosaur complete with an articulated jaw.  Herbivorous dinosaurs are well-represented in the new Mojo Fun range as well.  For example, the range includes new models of Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Triceratops plus Mamenchisaurus, Mandschurosaurus, Brontosaurus and a beautiful Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur model.

Highlighting Mojo Dinosaur Models (Troodontid and the Brachiosaurus Deluxe)

Mojo Brachiosaurus deluxe and the troodontid dinosaur model.

New for 2020 Mojo Troodontid and Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the amazing range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models.

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter

Subscribing to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletters is easy, to get updates, information about new releases, dinosaur discoveries and fossil news, just drop us an email.

To request to join the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list just send us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

25 06, 2020

Is this the Demise of a Duck-billed Dinosaur?

By | June 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Taxonomic status of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Five years ago, Everything Dinosaur reported the naming of a new species of duck-billed dinosaur that lived well inside the Arctic circle during the Late Cretaceous.  The dinosaur was named Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (pronounced 00-grew-na-luck kook-pik-en-sis).  At the time of publication, Ugrunaaluk was thought to be closely related to Edmontosaurus.  Since then, there has been quite a debate regarding the taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk.  In the latest twist of a tale set in prehistoric polar latitudes, researchers writing in PLOS One conclude that this Arctic dinosaur is most probably a species of Edmontosaurus.

The Taxonomic Validity of the Arctic Hadrosaur Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Ugrunaaluk illustrated.

The taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is controversial as this species was erected based on the study of the bones of immature, not fully adult individuals.

Picture Credit: James Havens

The Prince Creek Formation Specimens

Duck-billed dinosaur fossils from the Liscomb Bonebed (Prince Creek Formation, North Slope, Alaska), were the first dinosaur bones discovered from the Arctic.  When originally assessed, it was proposed that these hadrosaurids were Edmontosaurus, members of the sub-clade Hadrosaurinae.  In 2015, a scientific paper was published that proposed the closely related species Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.  However, the taxonomic status of this material is problematical.  The fossils associated with the Liscomb Bonebed site represent immature, sub-adults and as such many of the anatomical traits used to characterise U. kuukpikensis, may reflect the developmental age of the individual and the shape of the bones may have altered as the dinosaur grew and matured.

A Model of an Adult Edmontosaurus

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Emontosaurus model.

The new for 2020 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Edmontosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Looking at the Evidence

In this newly published paper, researchers from Okayama University of Science (Japan), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Texas) and Hokkaido University Museum (Japan), re-examined the skull bones from the Liscomb Bonebed and determined that the traits used to distinguish these Arctic fossils from those ascribed to Edmontosaurus were questionable.  In 2015, the scientific paper describing Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (Mori et al), proposed eight diagnostic characters for this new species.  Among the eight characters identified, three were proposed to distinguish Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis from the Edmontosaurus genus.  Four of these eight characters distinguished Ugrunaaluk from Edmontosaurus annectens, which is known from Maastrichtian aged deposits from Montana and one character to distinguish Ugrunaaluk from the geologically older Edmontosaurus regalis, fossils of which are found in Canada.

It is likely that the shape of the skull of Edmontosaurus changed as it grew.  The bones forming the skull would also undergo change in shape and size, because of this, any taxon erected solely based on the shape of skull bones from young animals is questionable.  In this newly published paper, the researchers, which include Ryuji Takasaki, a researcher at the Okayama University of Science and Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (Hokkaido University Museum), conclude that the Liscomb Bonebed hadrosaurid material should be ascribed to Edmontosaurus.

Comparing the Liscomb Bonebed Fossil Material with Known Edmontosaurus Skull Bones

Determining the identify of Alaskan duck-bills at the genus level.

A study of skull bones from the Prince Creek Formation (Alaska), suggests that the immature individual duck-billed dinosaurs found at this site are from the Edmontosaurus genus and that Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis should be regarded as nomen dubium.

Picture Credit: PLOS One (Takasaki et al)

If the Arctic fossils are ascribed to Edmontosaurus, then this suggests that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread during the Late Cretaceous with fossils associated with this genus found in the northern states of the USA, Canada and Alaska.  The scientists consider that the Prince Creek Formation Edmontosaurus should be regarded as Edmontosaurus sp. until further discoveries of mature hadrosaurines from the Prince Creek Formation Bonebed and/or equivalently juvenile Edmontosaurus specimens from the lower latitudes allow direct comparisons.

Furthermore, if Edmontosaurus is associated with the very far north of Laramidia, this has implications for the ancestry of Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurids.  A number of duck-billed dinosaurs found in Asia may represent descendants of the Edmontosaurini lineage that migrated from Laramidia into Asia.

The Distribution of Edmontosaurus sp.

The distribution of Edmontosaurus.

The researchers suggest that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread occupying much of northern Laramidia and many of the Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurs may have been descended from the Edmontosaurus lineage.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The map (above), illustrates the distribution of Edmontosaurus as proposed by the research paper.  There is some evidence to suggest that Edmontosaurus preferred coastal environments and that this genus was widely distributed across northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous.  If this assessment proves to be correct, Edmontosaurus had a geographical distribution spanning about 4,000 kilometres from north to south in North America.

The scientists speculate that the ancestor of Asian hadrosaurids such as Kamuysaurus migrated from North America.

Japanese Hadrosaurs Had North American Roots

Professor Kobayashi commented:

“It is possible that the ancestor of Kamuysaurus that adapted to the environment at the northern limit of the species’ habitat crossed from North America to Asia and eventually evolved to Kamuysaurus.”

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the naming of Kamuysaurus: Famous Fossils from Japan are Named.

If the Prince Creek Formation hadrosaurs are established as members of the Edmontosaurus genus, then they could represent a new species of Edmontosaurus.  The large latitudinal distribution of this taxon could be re-established, the latitudinal range for Edmontosaurus would extend from about 40 degrees north to at least 70 degrees north.  The researchers conclude that despite the extensive geographical and temporal range of this taxon, the morphological disparity within different species associated with this genus is relatively small when compared to other members of the Hadrosaurinae.  The lack of any substantial anatomical differences between widely distributed species could reflect the relatively low latitudinal temperature gradient during the Late Cretaceous compared to today.  A relatively benign and unchanging environment would not have imposed significant pressure on species to evolve in order to adapt to new conditions.

To read our original article on the naming of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis: The Latest Dinosaur from Polar Latitudes.

Our article published in 2017, following a study of Edmontosaurus cranial material that also cast doubt on the taxonomic validity of U. kuukpikensisStudying the Skulls – Getting our Heads Around Edmontosaurus.

The scientific paper: “Re-examination of the cranial osteology of the Arctic Alaskan hadrosaurine with implications for its taxonomic status” by Ryuji Takasaki, Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ronald S. Tykoski and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi published in PLOS One.

24 06, 2020

Maintenance Scheduled on Everything Dinosaur’s Websites

By | June 24th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Maintenance on Website, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Website Routine Maintenance

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for routine maintenance and upgrades this weekend (Friday/Saturday 26th/27th June 2020).  As a result of this work, some visitors to our sites might experience a slight slowing down in our website performance and speed.  The work has been scheduled for a time when traffic to our three websites is at its lowest, Everything Dinosaur doing all it can to minimise any inconvenience to our customers.

Everything Dinosaur’s Websites Scheduled for Routine Maintenance

T. rex and Stegosaurus helping Everything Dinosaur with their website maintenance.

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for essential maintenance.  Our friendly Tyrannosaurus rex and our ever so helpful Stegosaurus will be on hand to oversee the work and to ensure that Everything Dinosaur’s customers are not inconvenienced too much.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Late this Friday or in the early hours of Saturday morning (BST), [June 26th/27th 2020] the servers that host Everything Dinosaur’s websites are undergoing some essential maintenance and updates.  During this time visitors to our websites, might experience a slowing down in the speed of our sites.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.”

23 06, 2020

“Turntable Tuesday” Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day”

By | June 23rd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day” – Turntable Tuesday

It’s “Turntable Tuesday” and it is time to give another prehistoric animal model a spin on the turntable in Everything Dinosaur’s film and photography studio.  Today, it is the turn of the “Green Day” male Dilophosaurus dinosaur model from Rebor.  This replica of the Early Jurassic theropod was introduced in 2019, stock of this figure, along with its counterpart, the female Dilophosaurus “Oasis” has just come into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Model “Green Day” Takes a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Double Crested Lizard

Fossils discovered in Arizona in the 1940s and originally attributed to the taxonomic wastebasket taxon Megalosaurus were formally assigned their own genus in 1970 when this dinosaur was scientifically described – Dilophosaurus (D. wetherilli).  The famous crests of Dilophosaurus, after which this large carnivore is named, have never been found attached to the skull.  However, the standard restoration as seen in the Rebor model seems to be the most convincing and plausible anatomical configuration.

In Everything Dinosaur’s “Turntable Video” review we provide a close-up view of the skull and those crests as we demonstrate the articulated jaw.  In addition, we utilise a split screen effect to show the poseable tail and the articulated front limbs.

Everything Dinosaur Used a “Split Screen” Effect to Highlight All the Articulated Parts on the Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day”

The articulated and poseable Rebor Dilophosaurus "Green Day".

The Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models have articulated lower jaws, articulated arms and poseable tails.  Note the red flash over the eye of the “Green Day” model.  Rebor added this colouration to help distinguish the “male” model from the “female” Dilophosaurus – “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Calculating the Scale

In the Everything Dinosaur “Turntable Tuesday” video review (which is just over one minute fifty seconds long), we provide measurements for the “Green Day” figure.  The actual length of the dinosaur model is difficult to quantify as the tail is flexible but if the model is put into a natural pose with the tail not necessarily straightened out as much as it could be, the figure measures approximately 23.5 cm long.

If we consider that an adult Dilophosaurus wetherilli was about 6 metres in length, then this makes the Rebor figures approximately 1:25 scale models.

A Perfect Pair – The Rebor Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models (Green Day and Oasis).

The Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis” (Green Day – the male is on the right).  Everything Dinosaur team members estimate that these two dinosaur models are in 1:25 scale approximately.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Range of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

The Rebor range of dinosaurs and prehistoric animal models is available from Everything Dinosaur.  To view the Rebor range: Rebor Models and Figures.

Rebor “Oasis” and “Green Day” Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

The Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel contains over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos, including model reviews, tips and hints about prehistoric animal model collecting, new releases, updates and insider information.

Find Everything Dinosaur on YouTube here: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.  We recommend that you subscribe to our YouTube channel.

19 06, 2020

The First Dinosaur Eggs were Soft

By | June 19th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The First Dinosaur Eggs were Soft like a Turtle’s

The scientific paper has a succinct title, but the repercussions for vertebrate palaeontologists are seismic.  This week has seen the publication in the journal Nature of a paper entitled “The first dinosaur egg was soft”.  Palaeontologists have inferred and implied a great deal about dinosaur reproduction, but the assumption had been that, just like living archosaurs today, the crocodiles and birds, dinosaurs laid hard-shelled eggs.  Dr Mark Norell (American Museum of Natural History) and his co-authors propose that calcified, hard eggshells were not the “default setting” for the Dinosauria, the first dinosaur eggs were soft-shelled like those of a turtle or a snake.  In addition, the researchers conclude that hard-shelled, calcified eggs evolved at least three times independently within the Dinosauria.

Protoceratops Protects a Nest from a Marauding Oviraptorosaur

Protoceratops defends its nest from Oviraptor.

Protoceratops confronts Oviraptor- the egg thief.  An inaccurate portrayal of both the Oviraptorosaur and Protoceratops, but until now, not many had questioned the accuracy of those hard-shelled eggs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur (from Zalinger)

Unscrambling Dinosaur Eggs

The research led by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with colleagues from Yale University, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montana State University, University of Calgary (Canada) and the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, (Argentina), applied a series of sophisticated geochemical techniques to analyse the eggs of two different non-avian dinosaurs.  They discovered that the eggs resembled those of extant turtles in their composition, microstructure and mechanical properties.

Commenting on the significance of this research, corresponding author Mark Norrell stated:

“The assumption has always been that the ancestral dinosaur egg was hard-shelled.  Over the last 20 years, we’ve found dinosaur eggs around the world.  But for the most part, they only represent three groups – theropod dinosaurs, which includes modern birds, advanced hadrosaurs like the duck-billed dinosaurs and advanced sauropods, the long-necked dinosaurs.  At the same time, we’ve found thousands of skeletal remains of ceratopsian dinosaurs, but almost none of their eggs.  So why weren’t their eggs preserved?  My guess – and what we ended up proving through this study, is that they were soft-shelled.”

Ceratopsian Eggs Were Probably Soft-shelled and This Explains their Rarity in the Fossil Record

The leathery, soft shells of turtle eggs.

The leathery, soft shell of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). The eggs of the first dinosaurs were probably very similar.

Picture Credit: Jasmina Wiemann (Yale University)

Calcified Eggshells – An Evolutionary Hedge Against Environmental Stress

The amniotes, a group of tetrapods that includes the mammals, birds and the reptiles all produce eggs with an inner membrane, known as the amnion.  This inner membrane helps to prevent the embryo from drying out.  Some amniotes such as many turtles and squamates (lizards and snakes), lay soft-shelled, leathery eggs, whilst others such as birds and crocodilians produce eggs with a heavily calcified shell.  It is thought that these calcified eggs help to protect the developing embryos inside the eggs from environmental stresses, thus giving the calcified egg layers an evolutionary advantage.  The evolution of the hard-shelled egg is seen as a major step in the global dominance of the amniotes, it leading to greater reproductive success for those members of this group that developed this trait.

The Eggs from a Member of the Theropoda (Domestic Chicken)

Chicken eggs (theropod dinosaur eggs).

Calcified, hard-shelled eggs such as these from a theropod (domestic chicken) were thought to be representative of all Dinosauria eggs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Fossil Record Shows Bias in Favour of Calcified Eggs

Soft-shelled eggs rarely preserve in the fossil record.  It is very likely that ancient turtles laid soft-shelled eggs, just like their modern counterparts, but such evidence is hard to find in the fossil record.  The same could be inferred for other amniotes, they too might have laid soft-shelled eggs but such evidence would be very difficult to find.  Therefore, studying the transition from soft-shelled eggs to biomineralised, calcified eggs is a substantial challenge for palaeontologists.  As birds and extant crocodilians lay hard-shelled eggs, this type of eggshell has been inferred for all the non-avian dinosaurs.

Protoceratops and Mussaurus

The research team undertook an intensive study of two fossil egg specimens appertaining to two very different dinosaurs – the neoceratopsian Protoceratops (P. andrewsi), known from the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation exposed in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and Mussaurus (M. patagonicus) from the Upper Triassic-aged El Tranquilo Formation located in southern Argentina.   The beautifully preserved Protoceratops fossils include a clutch of at least a dozen eggs with embryos, half of which preserve nearly complete skeletons.  Most of the Protoceratops embryos are preserved in a posture in which their vertebrae and limbs are flexed, synonymous with a posture adopted by animals still inside their eggs.

The Protoceratops (P. andrewsi) Nest Fossil

Protoceratops Fossil Nest

The beautifully preserved nest with embryos of Protoceratops andrewsi.

Picture Credit: M. Ellison (American Museum of Natural History)

Some of the skeletal material is obscured by a black and white egg-shaped halo.  In contrast, two potentially recently hatched Protoceratops in the fossil specimen are largely free of this mineral halo.  The research team analysed tiny slices of this halo material using a petrographic microscope.  Further analysis was undertaken using Raman microspectroscopy, where light scattered by a high powered laser provides information on the molecular composition of a sample.  The scientists discovered chemically altered trace residues of the proteinaceous eggshell membrane that makes up the innermost layer of the eggshell of extant archosaurs.  Almost identical results were observed when the Mussaurus specimen was examined.

The Fossilised Remains of the Mussaurus Egg

Mussaurus fossil egg.

The fossilised remains of a Mussaurus.

Picture Credit: Diego Pol (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, CONICET)

Comparing Biomineralisation Residue Signatures

The research team which included Diego Pol (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio CONICET), Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary) and Jasmina Wiemann (Yale University) then compared the data from the fossil material to eggshell data from other living amniotes such as turtles, birds, lizards and crocodiles.  They determined that the Mussaurus and the Protoceratops eggs were non-biomineralised and therefore they would have resembled the leathery, soft-shelled eggs of living turtles.

Graduate student Jasmina Wiemann explained:

“It’s an exceptional claim, so we need exceptional data.  We had to come up with a brand-new proxy to be sure that what we were seeing was how the eggs were in life and not just the result of some strange fossilisation effect.  We now have a new method that can be applied to all other sorts of questions, as well as unambiguous evidence that compliments the morphological and histological case for soft-shelled eggs in these animals.”

Creating a “Supertree” to Track Eggshell Evolution

In total, data from 112 extinct and living amniotes was analysed by the research team.  This enabled them to build a “supertree” to track the phylogeny of egg-shell evolution over geological time.  They concluded that the ancestors of the Dinosauria probably produced an egg that lacked a calcified layer, that these animals laid soft-shelled eggs and that the first, true dinosaurs had the same type of egg.  This element of the research suggests that calcified, hard-shelled eggs evolved independently at least three times throughout the Mesozoic era in the Dinosauria, explaining the bias towards eggshells of derived dinosaurs in the fossil record.  The calcified layer of eggshell evolved independently in ornithischian, sauropodomorph and theropod dinosaurs.

Co-author Matteo Fabbri (Yale University) added:

“From an evolutionary perspective this makes much more sense than previous hypotheses, since we’ve known for a while that the ancestral egg of all amniotes was soft.  From our study, we can also now say that the earliest archosaurs, the group that includes dinosaurs, crocodiles and pterosaurs had soft eggs.  Up to this point, people just got stuck using the extant archosaurs – crocodiles and birds to understand dinosaurs.”

Implications for the Pterosauria

This research has implications for the Pterosauria clade.  Pterosaur eggs are exceptionally rare, a fossil of the wukongopterid (Darwinopterus modularis), reveals the outline of a single egg inside the body cavity. The egg confirms that the pterosaur fossil represents a female that was gravid when she died.  More significantly, scientific papers detailing extensive fossil remains associated with the debris from a nesting colony of the pterosaur Hamipterus tianshanensis have been published and the three-dimensionally preserved eggs do resemble the leathery soft-shelled eggs now associated with members of the Dinosauria.

Fossilised Eggs of Hamipterus tianshanensis – Could They have the Same Biomineralisation Profile of Soft-shelled Dinosaur Eggs?

Egg fossils (Pterosaur).

Pterosaur egg fossils (Hamipterus tianshanensis).

Picture Credit: Xinhua/Wang Xiaolin

To read our 2017 blog post about the Hamipterus colony: Hamipterus Nesting Ground Discovery.

To read our recent article about the discovery of a giant soft-shelled egg associated with a marine reptile: It’s Not a Deflated Football, it’s Probably an Egg from a Mosasaur.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the American Museum of Natural History in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The first dinosaur egg was soft” by Mark A. Norell, Jasmina Wiemann, Matteo Fabbri, Congyu Yu, Claudia A. Marsicano, Anita Moore-Nall, David J. Varricchio, Diego Pol and Darla K. Zelenitsky published in the journal Nature.

18 06, 2020

Tracking Down Australia’s Big Carnivorous Dinosaurs

By | June 18th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Tracking Down Australia’s Largest Ever Terrestrial Predator

Scientists from the University of Queensland have conducted a review of the data associated with a series of Jurassic-aged theropod dinosaur prints preserved on the ceilings of coal mine galleries deep underground.  They conclude that some of these prints represent predatory dinosaurs around ten metres in length, making these trace fossils evidence of the largest terrestrial carnivores ever to have lived in Australia.

A Life Reconstruction of a Large Carnosaur Compared to a Person and a Silhouette of Tyrannosaurus rex

Calculating the size of a theropod dinosaur from its tracks.

By measuring the length of a print the approximate hip height of the track-maker can be calculated.  In this case, the largest theropod tracks indicate a hip height of 3 metres.  This suggests an overall length of around 10 metres.

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

Australia’s Big Carnivorous Dinosaurs

Dinosaur tracks from the coal-mines from Rosewood near Ipswich, and Oakey just north of Toowoomba in southern Queensland have been known about for decades.  The prints and trackways are located in sediments directly above coal seams and give the impression of dinosaurs defying gravity by walking on the ceiling.  The explanation for the trace fossils is rather more mundane but still quite remarkable when the age of these tracks (estimated at around 151 to 161 million years old) is considered.

Large Theropods (Carnosauria) Left the Prints When Walking Across Swampy Ground

T. gurneyi.

Trace fossils from theropod dinosaurs indicate that giant carnosaurs roamed southern Queensland during the Middle to Late Jurassic (Callovian to Tithonian).

Picture Credit:  Sergey Krasovskiy

How Were These Trace Fossils Formed?

Tridactyl prints made by theropod dinosaurs onto mats of compressed swamp-vegetation became covered with silt, mud and sand from flood-water.  Over millions of years the remains of the swamp vegetation became compressed and turned into coal, which was then excavated by Australian miners deep underground during the 19th and 20th centuries.  As the coal seams were removed, these left exposed on the ceiling of the mine galleries, the inlaid 160 million-year-old dinosaur tracks.  Many of the mines exploiting the Walloon Coal Measures from the Clarence-Morton Basin have been closed, with their access shafts filled in.  Access to many of these prints in the mines is no longer possible, so the researchers relied on previous research and unpublished archival photographs from which they were able to create three-dimensional images of some of the individual prints.

Photograph and False-Colour 3-D Map of a Tridactyl Print from the Oakey Coal Mine

Photograph and false-colour image of a theropod print.

One of the dinosaur footprints from the Oakey mine (photograph on the right and corresponding false-colour deep map on the left).

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

The three-toed (tridactyl), prints with claw marks, typical of theropod dinosaurs, dominate the tracksites.  The size of the prints varies, most of the prints measure between 30 to 50 cm long.  However, a number of trace fossils from the eleven track-bearing sites analysed in this study, are much bigger.  The largest measures 79 cm in length, the biggest carnivorous dinosaur footprint discovered to date in Australia.

Footprint size can be used to calculate an approximate hip-height of the theropod dinosaur that made the track.  Once a hip-height has been estimated, then palaeontologists can quickly work out just how big that dinosaur actually was.

Lead author of the research, published in Historical Biology, Dr Dr Anthony Romilio explained:

“Most of these footprints are around 50 to 60 centimetres in length, with some of the really huge tracks measuring nearly 80 centimetres.  We estimate these tracks were made by large-bodied carnivorous dinosaurs, some of which were up to three metres high at the hips and probably around 10 metres long.  To put that into perspective, T. rex got to about 3.25 metres at the hips and attained lengths of 12 to 13 metres long, but it didn’t appear until 90 million years after our Queensland giants.”

Examining the Theropod Prints from the Walloon Coal Measures

False colour images and an assessment of theropod size

A variety of different sized theropod tracks were identified with the largest 79 cm long.

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

Intriguingly, all the tracksites studied are dominated by the three-toed prints of theropods.  These theropod dominated trace fossil assemblages are unique among Australian dinosaur tracksites.  In the absence of any contemporaneous dinosaur body-fossils, these prints and tracks preserved on the ceilings of the coal mines provide palaeontologists with important data helping them to fill in gaps about the composition of Middle and Late Jurassic Australian dinosaur fauna.

What Type of Meat-eating Dinosaur Made the Tracks?

The strata in which the tracks are preserved span around ten million years or so (Callovian to Tithonian faunal stages of the Jurassic).  Palaeontologists are aware that during this time there was a change in the types of large, carnivorous dinosaurs that dominated terrestrial ecosystems.  The fossil record, although far from complete, suggests a decline in the Megalosauroidea during the Middle Jurassic and the rise to prominence of the Avetheropoda clade consisting of the Allosauroidea and the Coelurosauria.

A Faunal Turnover in Theropod Dinosaurs During the Jurassic

Theropod faunal turnover in the Jurassic.

Theropod faunal turnover (taxa estimated to be <250 kgs) the rise of the Allosauroidea.  It is likely that the type of dinosaur(s) that made the Queensland ceiling prints will never be known.

Picture Credit: Palaeontologica Electronica

However, the taxonomy of the Theropoda, even at the superfamily level is controversial and open to debate.  For example, the Carnosauria clade had been redefined, constraining it to the allosaurs and their closest relatives.  In 2019, a new basal allosauroid from the Middle Jurassic of Argentina was described Asfaltovenator (A. vialidadi).  Asfaltovenator had a combination of primitive and more derived anatomical features.  As a result, a new phylogenetic analysis extended the Carnosauria clade to once again include the Megalosauroidea.

A Life Reconstruction of Asfaltovenator from the Middle Jurassic of Argentina

Asfaltovenator illustration.

Asfaltovenator life reconstruction.  The scientific description of this carnivorous dinosaur led to a reassessment of the components of the Carnosauria clade.

Picture Credit: Gabriel Lio/Conicet

In short, the researchers are uncertain as to what types of meat-eating dinosaur left the prints.  In the absence of any other fossil evidence, we shall probably never know.

To read a related article examining three-toed tracks from the ceiling of the Australian Mount Morgan caves complex preserved in Lower Jurassic deposits: Mystery of Dinosaur Prints on Cave Ceiling Solved.

The scientific paper: “Footprints of large theropod dinosaurs in the Middle–Upper Jurassic (lower Callovian–lower Tithonian) Walloon Coal Measures of southern Queensland, Australia” by Anthony Romilio, Steven W. Salisbury and Andréas Jannel published in Historical Biology.

16 06, 2020

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe “Turntable Tuesday”

By | June 16th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe “Turntable Tuesday”

It is “Turntable Tuesday” on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel once again and this time, it is the turn of the new for 2020 Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe to go for a spin on our studio turntable.  The Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range of figures is a little T. rex top heavy at the moment, Everything Dinosaur has seven Mojo tyrannosaur figures in stock at the moment, if the baby T. rex figure is included.  However, a number of the older models have been de-listed and are likely to be out of production very soon. All the more reason to focus on some of the sixteen new for 2020 dinosaurs introduced into this line, hence our decision to highlight the Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe dinosaur model.

Taking a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday” – The Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe

This carefully crafted dinosaur figure shows plenty of detail, the bright yellow eye can be easily seen in the close up shots of the model when the articulated lower jaw is demonstrated.  The jaw opens quite well and the tongue has been skilfully painted.

A Close View of the Head and the Articulated Jaw of the T. rex Dinosaur Figure

The Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe figure has an articulated jaw.

A close view of the head and articulated jaw of the Mojo T. rex dinosaur model.  Can you spot the yellow eye?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The head sculpt has been designed to emphasis the stereoscopic vision of this apex predator.  The orbit in the skull of mature T. rex specimens suggest that the actual eye of this carnivorous dinosaur was about the size of a tennis ball.  Many palaeontologists believe, that just like its close relatives the birds, Tyrannosaurus rex had excellent colour vision.

A View of the Front of the Dinosaur Model (Anterior) Showing the Stereoscopic Vision

The Mojo Fun T. rex Deluxe dinosaur model approaches.

The Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe figure demonstrates stereoscopic vision.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review

In our short “Turntable Tuesday” review, (the video lasts 1:45), we compare this new figure to the Papo brown running T. rex figure, that was originally introduced in 2013.  Although the figures are similar and both dinosaurs have articulated lower jaws, the Mojo model is slightly smaller and has a leaner look to it.  The Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe has a darker colour scheme providing emphasis on the countershading.

A Comparison Between Two Excellent Dinosaur Figures

Comparing T. rex dinosaur models.

A comparison between the Mojo T. rex deluxe and the Papo running T. rex dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal related videos and reviews: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To view the Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe model and the rest of the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range: .Mojo Prehistoric Animal Models.

14 06, 2020

A Video Review of “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”

By | June 14th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

“Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved” Video Review

Everything Dinosaur Facebook fans and followers will know that recently we ran a special competition to win one of three signed copies of the new dinosaur book by Darren Naish and Professor Paul Barrett.  The contest may have drawn to a close but for those of you not lucky enough to win one of the “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”, we have produced a short video, providing a brief overview of this excellent publication.

A Whizz Through “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

Completely Revised and Updated

In our short video review, we highlight “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”, a book originally published in 2016, but this edition has been updated and revised.  Conveniently split into six comprehensive chapters, starting with an introduction to the Dinosauria and concluding with the End-Cretaceous mass extinction event that saw the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs.  The final chapter also looks at those theropods that survived the extinction event – the birds.  This well-written book briefly highlights the diversity of the birds but also leaves the reader in no doubt that the Aves suffered extinctions at the end of the Mesozoic.

Beautifully Illustrated Dinosaur Book

Wonderful illustrations in the dinosaur book.

As well insightful writing, the book features the work of famous artists such as John Sibbick, Davide Bonadonna, Bob Nicholls and Mark Witton.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur (from Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved)

Fantastic Dinosaur Illustrations and Artwork

Aimed at the general reader with an interest in the Earth sciences and especially palaeontology, this new publication is eminently suitable for teenagers and above.  It is crammed full of fascinating information and provides a comprehensive overview of dinosaurs, with many detailed illustrations and cladograms provided by Darren Naish (University of Southampton).  Look out for amazing artwork produced by such luminaries as Bob Nicholls, Davide Bonadonna, Mark Witton, John Sibbick and Dr Julius Csotonyi (pronounced Chit-en-Knee).  It was Bob Nicholls who created the fascinating illustration of a ginkgo-chewing heterodontosaurid (Tianyulong confuciusi) that features on the front cover.

Tianyulong confuciusi Features on the Front Cover

The front cover of the dinosaur book.

Artwork by the very talented Bob Nicholls features on the front cover of “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx prima

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx prima.

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx with its countershading and “bandit mask” produced by Bob Nicholls, just one of large number of superb illustrations and examples of palaeoart included in the book.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Facebook Competition

Everything Dinosaur Facebook fans and followers will probably remember that we recently ran a special competition to win one of three signed copies of this brilliant dinosaur book.  Co-author Darren Naish had produced a personalised drawing on the inside front cover of each of the prizes that Everything Dinosaur gave away in their free to enter contest.

A Personalised and Signed Dinosaur Illustration on the Inside Front Cover

A sketch of Caudipteryx.

A sketch of the primitive oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx by Darren Naish.  Lucky Everything Dinosaur competition winners received a personalised and signed copy of this dinosaur book.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel, is packed with lots of amazing videos all about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

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