All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings

Drawings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals either done by team members or sent into Everything Dinosaur.

17 07, 2021

Did Baby Tyrannosaurs Gnaw Bones?

By | July 17th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists have reported the discovery of a hadrosaur pedal ungual (the bone on the end of a toe that supported the keratin claw or hoof), that shows a series of small bite marks made by a theropod dinosaur. The toe claw seems to have been bitten repeatedly and although scrapes and scratches on fossil bones that are incidental feeding traces left by meat-eating dinosaurs have been well documented, these bite marks might represent something very different.

Did a baby tyrannosaur or possibly a dromaeosaurid gnaw on the toe bone of a dead duck-billed dinosaur?

A young tyrannosaur gnaws on a hadrosaur toe bone
A life reconstruction of a juvenile tyrannosaur biting down on the hadrosaur pedal ungual causing the bite marks that have been preserved in the fossil (TMP 2018.012.0123). Picture credit: Joshua Doyon.

Gnawing Behaviour

Gnawing behaviour is synonymous with many types of mammals, specifically members of the Carnivora and rodents (Rodentia), but it is not commonly associated with the Dinosauria. Coprolites thought to have come from tyrannosaurs contain a lot of bone fragments, tests demonstrate that large tyrannosaurids were capable of crushing bone and it had been thought that coprolite bone content came about as bones were ingested through general consumption.

However, a trio of scientists – Caleb Brown and Darren Tanke from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (Alberta) in collaboration with Dr David Hone, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of London, have recently published a paper in PeerJ, that suggests that the unusual bite marks on the hadrosaur pedal ungual might represent dinosaur gnawing behaviour.

A hadrosaur pedal ungual with gnaw marks
Ammonium chloride powder coated photographs of the hadrosaurid pedal showing bite marks (viewed from the bottom – ventral/plantar view). (A) View of TMP 2018.012.0123 (A), with marks highlighted in blue (A’). Close-up of the bitten region (B), with marks highlighted in blue and numbered in Arabic numerals (B’). Note scale bars = 1 cm.

Documenting Unusual Dinosaur Behaviour

The fossil toe claw bone (specimen number TMP 2018.012.0123), comes from a bonebed (bonebed 50) that contains the disarticulated remains of several different types of duck-billed dinosaur including Corythosaurus. Although the bone came from an adult, it is not possible to confirm the dinosaur species. Thirteen, distinct and highly localised tooth marks have been identified. Their pattern suggests that a small, meat-eating dinosaur delivered up to six repeated, powerful bites to the claw bone. There would have been very little meat on this part of the hadrosaur’s body, gnawing on the pedal ungual represents an unusual and rare form of behaviour.

The researchers reviewed pedal unguals of duck-billed dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation. They identified tooth marks and feeding traces on four other toe claw bones, but this represents less than 1% of all the hadrosaur toe bones found and feeding traces were much more common on other bones.

Evidence of late stage carcase consumption by a dromaeosaur or young tyrannosaur on a pedal ungual of a hadrosaur.
Right articulated hadrosaurid pes in dorsal view (A), with ungual of digit three highlighted (white) and the position of the tooth marks (ventral side) indicated in black. Shaded line drawing of the ventral view of the ungual (B), showing the position of the bite marks (black). Close-up view of bite mark size (C) and (D) Close-up view of bite marks showing potential alignment of tooth row parallel with the long axes of the tooth marks. Hollow fills in C indicate potential bite marks missing from rows/columns. Note scale bars = 1 cm.

Dromaeosaur or Tyrannosaur?

The tracemaker cannot be definitively identified but the researchers rule out crocodilians, small mammal feeding traces and snake bites, leaving a theropod dinosaur as the likely tracemaker whose unusual behaviour has been recorded in the fossil. The number of theropods capable of causing such marks and known from the Dinosaur Park Formation is relatively small. The scientists considered dromaeosaurids and their close relatives the Troodontidae, as the tooth marks could have been made by a large troodontid such as Latenivenatrix. The team also considered whether the tracemaker was a young tyrannosaurid.

Given the lack of evidence of denticle spacing present on the bite marks, and that both Tyrannosauridae and Dromaeosauridae were capable of delivering bites resulting in deep furrows and pits to the bone surface, the team speculated that either a dromaeosaur (such as Dromaeosaurus or Saurornitholestes), caused the damage or perhaps the marks were made by a very young tyrannosaurid. Two genera of tyrannosaur are known from the Dinosaur Park Formation, namely Gorgosaurus and Daspletosaurus.

Perhaps, a very young Gorgosaurus, the lowest ranked animal in the pack was left to pull at and gnaw on the toe of the hadrosaur, whilst the rest pack gorged themselves on the more attractive, nutrient rich parts of the carcase.

Can Dogs Provide an Answer?

Anyone who has kept horses and dogs will tell you that when the horse’s hooves are trimmed dogs love to eat the trimmings. The hooves are made from keratin, the same protein responsible for the toe claw on the hadrosaur. Dogs can get very excited when the farrier starts to tidy up the hooves, they seem to crave the soft, recently trimmed parts of the hoof.

Many dog treats are made from horse’s hooves. Could your pet dog provide an insight into dinosaur feeding behaviour?

A trio of Japanese hunting dogs.
Most dogs like to consume hoof trimmings. The hooves of horses and duck-billed dinosaurs are made of the same material (keratin), could a young tyrannosaur have craved the taste of the toe claws of hadrosaurs?

Could a tyrannosaur similarly have craved the taste of the toe claw of a duck-billed dinosaur?

The scientific paper: “Rare evidence for ‘gnawing-like’ behavior in a small-bodied theropod dinosaur” by Caleb M. Brown, Darren H. Tanke and David W. E. Hone published in PeerJ.

11 07, 2021

Heterodontosaurus Breathes Life into Dinosauria Respiratory Studies

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

A beautifully preserved and almost complete fossil specimen of the early ornithischian Heterodontosaurus (H. tucki) has provided palaeontologists with a fresh perspective on how bird-hipped dinosaurs breathed.

An international team of scientists including Richard Butler, a professor of palaeobiology at the University of Birmingham, Jonah Choiniere, a professor of comparative palaeobiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Kimberley Chapelle, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History (New York), subjected the 200-million-year-old fossil to a series of extremely powerful X-rays courtesy of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, (France). The data from these scans permitted the researchers to construct computer models reassembling the skeleton in unprecedented detail and to learn how this dinosaur breathed.

Heterodontosaurus breathing study.
A life reconstruction of the early ornithischian Heterodontosaurus – its breath shows as a vapour trail in the early morning light. Picture credit: University of Witwatersrand.

Getting to Understand the Unique Ornithischian Dinosaurs

Vertebrates like reptiles, birds and mammals all move air through their lungs in different ways. Mammals like us have a diaphragm, whilst lizards use rib movements to help them move air through their lungs. Birds have another, very different respiratory system which is more efficient than our own. Birds have thin-walled air sacs connected to their lungs. These air sacs fill a considerable portion of the body cavity. They are not involved directly in gas exchange but function as bellows to direct airflow through the lungs in one direction, from back to front. This increases lung efficiency. To read an article from 2007 that examines how non-avian dinosaurs might have breathed: Dinosaur Breathing Study.

This study showed that Heterodontosaurus was using its oddly shaped ribs connected to its sternum to breathe, but that it also showed the first steps towards a muscle attached to the hips that would inflate the lung – similar to how crocodiles breathe.

Heterodontosaurus respiration study
Each of the blocks making up the Heterodontosaurus fossil material (AM 4766) were scanned by the synchrotron and then the skeleton was digitally recreated with a focus on the trunk. Gastralia ribs are shown in blue. Picture credit: Viktor Radermacher.

Lead author of the scientific study published in the journal eLife, Viktor Radermacher (PhD student in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences), commented:

“This specimen represents a turning point in understanding how dinosaurs evolved”.

Fossil Discovered in 2009

The specimen, representing a sub-adult Heterodontosaurus was discovered in 2009, eroding out of a riverbed. It is the most complete Heterodontosaurus fossil known to science. The surrounding matrix is very hard, so removal of the individual bones was not possible, but employing extremely powerful X-rays allows the scientists to peer inside the matrix and reconstruct the anatomy of this dinosaur.

In 2016, the fossil of the turkey-sized dinosaur was transported to the ESRF for a week-long study. Huge amounts of data on this early member of the Ornithischia were compiled: Heterodontosaurus visits the European Synchrotron.

The Distinctive and Successful Ornithischia

Described in 1962, Heterodontosaurus is thought to one of the most primitive members of the Ornithischia (bird-hipped dinosaurs), although the exact taxonomic placement of the Heterodontosauridae is still debated and their early evolution remains obscure. Ornithischian dinosaurs include the armoured dinosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, ceratopsians and the ornithopods – which encompasses such well-known dinosaurs as Iguanodon and the duck-billed dinosaurs.

Research team member Richard Butler (Birmingham University), explained the importance of this study:

“We’ve long known that the skeletons of ornithischian dinosaurs were radically different from those of other dinosaurs. This amazing new fossil helps us understand why ornithischians were so distinctive and successful”.

Not All Dinosaurs Breathed in the Same Way

The research revealed that Heterodontosaurus possessed numerous gastralia (belly ribs), the first time this anatomical feature has been found in an ornithischian and several other, unique autapomorphies (characteristics), that are unknown in other bird-hipped dinosaurs. For example, it had paddle-shaped sternal ribs and a forward projecting sternum. The team concluded that this suite of anatomical features enabled Heterodontosaurus to breathe in a different way when compared to other members of the Dinosauria. Heterodontosaurus forced air into its lungs by expanding both its belly and chest.

Lead author Viktor Radermacher stated:

“We have actually never known how these ornithischians breathed. The interesting thing is that Heterodontosaurus is the ancestor of this group and it has these [newly discovered] pieces of anatomy, but its descendants don’t. What that means is that Heterodontosaurus is a missing link between the ancestors of dinosaurs and the bigger, charismatic species we know. This gives us a whole bunch of information and fills in some pretty glaring gaps in our knowledge of the biology of these dinosaurs.”

Lead author of the research, University of Minnesota PhD student Viktor Radermacher
Lead author of the research, University of Minnesota PhD student Viktor Radermacher, poses next to some skull casts and dinosaur models that represent suborders of the Ornithischia. Picture credit: Sebastian Alfonzo.

Different Solutions to the Need to Breathe

Viktor Radermacher explained that this research demonstrates that there is still a lot to learn about the Dinosauria and that many different types of tetrapod evolved different solutions when it came to getting oxygen to their muscles.

He added:

“The takeaway message is that there are many ways to breathe. The really interesting thing about life on Earth is that we all have different strategies to do the same thing, and we’ve just identified a new strategy of breathing. This shows that utilising dinosaurs and palaeontology, we can learn more about the diversity of animals on Earth and how they breathe.”

The scientific paper: “A new Heterodontosaurus specimen elucidates the unique ventilatory macroevolution of ornithischian dinosaurs” by Viktor J Radermacher, Vincent Fernandez, Emma R Schachner, Richard J Butler, Emese M Bordy, Michael Naylor Hudgins, William J de Klerk, Kimberley E J Chapelle and Jonah N Choiniere published in eLife.

10 07, 2021

Drawing Prehistoric Fish

By | July 10th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

A few days ago, Everything Dinosaur published a drawing of the marine reptile Elasmosaurus that we had commissioned. Today, we publish an illustration of the monstrous fish that was a contemporary of Elasmosaurus, another resident of “Hell’s Aquarium” otherwise known as the Western Interior Seaway. The fish is Xiphactinus and we have commissioned an illustration of this predator as we prepare for the arrival of the 1:40 scale CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus replica in a few weeks’ time.

Xiphactinus drawing
The Xiphactinus drawing that was commissioned by Everything Dinosaur as the company prepares for the arrival of the CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus 1:40 scale replica.

Xiphactinus “Sword Ray”

Xiphactinus was a large, bony fish that was both geographically and temporally widespread. The genus name is from the Latin and Greek and translates as “sword ray”, with some specimens over six metres in length, this was one very voracious predator and prehistoric animal model collectors have been keen to get a figure of Xiphactinus introduced into a mainstream model series.

CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus model.
The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Xiphactinus prehistoric fish model. A fantastic replica of a very formidable marine predator.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that this figure, along with the other remaining new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal figures should be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in August or thereabouts.

The spokesperson went onto explain that the Xiphactinus (pronounced Zee-fak-tin-us), drawing would be used in a fact sheet that would be sent out with purchases of this CollectA model.

Fact sheets prepared for the Beasts of the Mesozoic range of models.
A collection of fact sheets created by Everything Dinosaur. These fact sheets are sent out free of charge to accompany sales of prehistoric animal models and figures.

Xiphactinus and Elasmosaurus

As well as being contemporaries in the marine biota of the Western Interior Seaway, Everything Dinosaur expects these two models to arrive at their UK warehouse at the same time. These figures will no doubt provide double delight for fans of marine monsters.

To view the range of not to scale prehistoric animal models in the CollectA Age of Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Life Series: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Life.

To view the range of scale prehistoric animal models produced by CollectA and available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe and Supreme Models.

6 07, 2021

“Prehistoric Times” Magazine Summer 2021

By | July 6th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Main Page, Prehistoric Times|0 Comments

Editor Mike Fredericks kindly sent Everything Dinosaur a preview image of the forthcoming summer edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine. This quarterly magazine is aimed at prehistoric animal enthusiasts and collectors of dinosaur models. Each edition is packed with amazing articles, reviews of the latest models and interviews with leading artists and Earth scientists.

Issue 138 (summer 2021), features the stunning artwork of renowned American palaeoartist Mark Hallett.

Oregon-based Mark was working on a book describing the evolution of the horse, to be published by Columbia University Press. He had been busy preparing illustrations for “The Horse: A Natural History”, however, he has found time to produce some stunning artwork reflecting current thinking about our close cousins the Neanderthals.

"Prehistoric Times" magazine - summer 2021
The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine edition 138 (summer 2021).

Neanderthals Revisited

Our views of the hominin Homo neanderthalensis have changed dramatically over the last three decades or so. Early perceptions about Neanderthals being brutish ape-like creatures have largely been replaced with a very different view. They made a variety of sophisticated tools, cooked using fire, lived in shelters and made and wore clothing. Neanderthals were very capable hunters of large game, hence the herd of mammoths in the background of Mark Hallett’s front cover art as a wooden spear wielding female Neanderthal looks on.

Ancient hominins by Zdenek Burian.
Neanderthals depicted as quite primitive “ape-men”. A 20th Century illustration of Neanderthals by Zdenek Burian.

Neanderthals Made Jewellery

Evidence has emerged that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and in some instances marked the graves and provided grave goods and offerings such as shells and flowers. They probably had language skills and they made jewellery. Artefacts found in the Iberian Peninsula and dated to around 40,000 years ago prove that Neanderthals used eagle talons as necklace pendants. The female in the Mark Hallett illustration is wearing a shell necklace and has a very fetching eagle talon earring. Only two species of hominins are known to have demonstrated such sophisticated behaviour, the Neanderthals and our own species Homo sapiens.

We look forward to reading the article about Mark Hallett’s work in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.

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

5 07, 2021

Preparing for Elasmosaurus

By | July 5th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

We are expecting the rest of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models to be in stock in a few weeks’ time. As team members at Everything Dinosaur prepare for their arrival, we have been updating our illustration of Elasmosaurus on our Elasmosaurus fact sheet.

Everything Dinosaur commissions illustrations of prehistoric animals – just one of the many ways in which we support the palaeoart community.

Elasmosaurus scale drawing
The Elasmosaurus scale drawing commissioned by Everything Dinosaur as the company’s fact sheet is updated.

A Change in the Tail

Observant readers will spot that the tail of our Elasmosaurus has been given a fin. This reflects some of the latest research into this Late Cretaceous, long-necked member of the Plesiosauria. The CollectA Elasmosaurus has also been given a tail fluke. Back in November 2020, when we announced the new for 2021 CollectA figures we created a short video highlighting the fossil evidence that supports the presence of a caudal fluke in members of the Plesiosauria.

To read more about this: New Prehistoric Animal Models for 2021 from CollectA (Part 3).

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Popular Elasmosaurus model.
CollectA Elasmosaurus marine reptile model. A new for 2021 marine reptile model from CollectA.

Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheets

For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we supply, Everything Dinosaur researches and writes a fact sheet on that creature. These fact sheets are then sent out free to our customers with their model purchases. This is one of the ways in which team members help to inform and educate the public about the amazing animals that once existed on our planet.

Everything Dinosaur fact sheets, supplied with prehistoric animal models.
The unboxing video features some Everything Dinosaur fact sheets. Dinosaur fans and model collectors appreciate the free fact sheets that we supply. Picture credit: JurassicCollectables.

CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Model Range

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs model range contains a wide variety of prehistoric creatures including lots of marine reptile models including the elasmosaurid Hydrotherosaurus. Team members are looking forward to the arrival of the new CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Elasmosaurus replica and sending out free fact sheets with purchases.

To view the range of CollectA Age of Dinosaur figures in stock: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

27 06, 2021

“Dragon Man” from North-eastern China

By | June 27th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

No sooner have we praised the remarkable artist Zhao Chuang for his work illustrating the mammaliamorph biota associated with Early Cretaceous China, then he produces another stunning piece of palaeoart – this time illustrating the newly described “Dragon Man” or to give the proposed formal scientific name Homo longi.

Dragon Man life reconstruction.
A life reconstruction of “Dragon Man”. Picture credit: Zhao Chuang.

A Completely New Species of Human

Researchers including Professor Chris Stringer from the London Natural History Museum have published a paper in the journal “Innovation” that describes and dates a remarkable and very complete fossil skull from Heilongjiang Province. The team have concluded that the ancient skull believed to be at least 146,000 years old represents a completely new species of human. They postulate that the skull could be from our closest evolutionary relative among known species of hominin such as Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.

Harbin hominin skull.
The skull of the archaic hominin from the Harbin region of China. It could represent a new species of human. Picture credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Dragon Man”

The skull was reportedly discovered in 1933 by a construction worker helping to build a bridge over the Songhua river running through the city of Harbin. The river means “Black Dragon River” in the local language which explains why this skull representing a male was nicknamed “Dragon Man”.

The province was occupied by imperial Japanese forces at the time, so the construction worker hid the skull at the bottom of his family’s well to prevent it falling into the hands of the Japanese. According to media reports he only told relatives about the fossil find shortly before his death. The specimen was handed over to scientists so that a full examination of this extraordinary fossil could be carried out.

Where the fossil was found remains a mystery, but geochemical analysis suggests it came from lakebed sediments (lacustrine sediments). The research which involved non-destructive X-ray fluorescence, the analysis of rare earth elements and strontium isotope degradation, placed the date of this fossil between 138 to 309 thousand years old.

Uranium isotope analysis indicated that the fossil was at least 146,000 years old.

The face of "Dragon Man"
Views of the face of “Dragon Man”. Picture credit: Kai Geng

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, Professor Chris Stringer stated:

“The skull has a large brain capacity, fully within the range of modern humans and Neanderthals. It also shows features resembling our species, including flat and low cheekbones with a shallow canine fossa, and the face looks reduced and tucked under the braincase. It’s widely believed that the Neanderthals form the sister group of the Homo sapiens lineage. But our analyses suggest that this skull, and some other Middle Pleistocene human fossils from China, form a third East Asian lineage, which is actually closer to sapiens than the Neanderthals are”.

Other researchers have suggested that the skull might represent an example of the ancient human known as a Denisovan. Where “Dragon Man” fits on the human family tree remains uncertain, but it is true that the evolution of hominins during the Pleistocene Epoch has yet to be fully explained. There may have been a number of human lineages inhabiting our planet and the exact taxonomic relationships between them will continue to attract controversy and lively debate.

The scientific paper: “Geochemical provenancing and direct dating of the Harbin archaic human cranium” by Qinqfeng Shao, Junyi Ge, Qiang Ji, Rainer Grün and Chris Stringer published in the journal Innovation.

For the article featuring the mammaliamorph illustration by Zhao Chuang: The Jehol Biota and a Wonderful Illustration.

23 06, 2021

The Jehol Biota – Zhao Chuang

By | June 23rd, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Whilst looking at a scientific paper published earlier this year which featured the description of two new species of burrowing mammals from the Early Cretaceous of north-eastern China, team members came across a superb illustration of the types of mammals and mammaliamorphs associated with the famous Jehol biota. The artwork had been created by world-renowned palaeoartist Zhao Chuang and it depicts the biota associated with the Lower Cretaceous deposits associated with the Yixian Formation and Jiufotang Formation. What a stunning piece of art.

The Early Cretaceous Jehol biota with emphasis on mammaliamorphs.
The Early Cretaceous Jehol biota with emphasis on mammaliamorphs. Picture credit: Zhao Chuang.

Fossiomanus sinensis and Jueconodon cheni

The two new ancient ancestors of modern mammals were both burrowers, with powerful hands, claws to help with digging, compact bodies and short tails. Although they shared similar anatomical traits, – adaptations to life underground – they were not closely related. The slightly smaller Jueconodon cheni has been classified as a eutriconodontan, a distant cousin of modern placental mammals and marsupials, it was around 20 cm in length. Fossiomanus sinensis is a herbivorous mammal-like animal called a tritylodontid and was around 30 long.

One of the co-authors of the scientific paper, published in the journal “Nature”, Dr Jin Meng from the American Museum of Natural History (New York), commented:

The Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota has generated many well-preserved fossils that have furnished a great deal of information on the morphology and evolution of early mammals. The two new species expand the diversity of the mammaliamorph assemblage and increase its morphological disparity, as they show unequivocal evidence of convergent adaptation for a fossorial lifestyle.”

Jehol mammals Fossiomanus sinensis and Jueconodon cheni
Two new species of Early Cretaceous mammals were described from fossils found in north-eastern China. Fossiomanus sinensis (upper right) and Jueconodon cheni in their burrows. Picture credit: Zhao Chuang.

As well as reading about the diverse nature of the mammaliamorph biota associated with the Early Cretaceous Jehol ecosystem, we have the opportunity to admire the stunning artwork of Zhao Chuang. Fossils from north-eastern China have revealed that during the Early Cretaceous, the forests and lakes were home to a wide variety of different mammaliamorphs. The mammaliamorpha is defined as a clade of cynodonts including mammaliaforms and their close relatives. It is therefore a broader definition of early mammals than the mammaliaformes.

16 06, 2021

The Fauna Associated with the Alcântara Formation

By | June 16th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Whilst researching the background to a dinosaur model based on fossils found in Brazil (Irritator challengeri), team members at Everything Dinosaur stumbled upon a superb illustration of the fauna associated with the Alcântara Formation.

Alcantara Formation biota
The fauna associated with the Alcântara Formation. Picture credit: Rodolfo Nogueira.

Illustrating the Ancient Ecosystem (Cretaceous of Brazil)

The stunning artwork created by Rodolfo Nogueira (above), illustrates the biota associated with the Laje do Coringa bone bed found in early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian stage) deposits of the Alcântara Formation of north-eastern South America.

Terrestrial element: sauropod titanosaurids (left) and andesaurids (right), whilst a giant spinosaurid feeds on an Atlanticopristis equatorialis (centre). The other, smaller theropods depicted in the scene represent noasaurids. A pterosaur (member of the Anhangueridae), soars overhead.

Marine element: a coelacanth (Mawsonia gigas) swims close to the surface on the left of the picture. Pycnodontiform (middle) Myliobatis sp. (bottom) and on the right of the picture Tribodus sp. (sharks), Lepidotes sp. can be seen whilst a giant sawfish Onchopristis sp. swims in the background.

The Lungfish and Irritator challengeri

The new Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri model comes with a lungfish (genus Equinoxiodus) which can be held in the claws of the theropod. The lungfish is a replica of Equinoxiodus alcantarensis which was named and described in 2011 from fossilised tooth plates found in deposits associated with the Alcântara Formation.

Dino Hazard Irritator with Prey
The theropod Irritator challengeri is associated with the Romualdo Formation whilst the lungfish (Equinoxiodus alcantarensis) is associated with the geologically younger Alcântara Formation.

Whilst the dating of the Irritator challengeri fossil material has proved to be challenging (no pun intended), most palaeontologists estimate that this spinosaurid roamed north-eastern Brazil around 110 million years ago (Albian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous). The lungfish model (Equinoxiodus alcantarensis) is known from the geologically younger Alcântara Formation (Cenomanian faunal stage).

If Irritator was a piscivore (fish-eater), it may well have hunted lungfish, but E. alcantarensis might be more than ten million years younger than the theropod.

A Unique Record of Cenomanian Fauna of South America

Examination of fossils found in rocks associated with the Alcântara Formation has provided a unique record of the South American Cenomanian continental flora and fauna. Palaeontologists have been able to piece together the ancient ecosystems that existed in this part of the world during the earliest stage of the Late Cretaceous. This has helped scientists to understand the changes in fauna and flora as Gondwana broke apart and the Atlantic Ocean widened. The fossils of the Laje do Coringa bone bed reveal a diverse vertebrate community that lived in the coastal forested areas of the Northern Maranhão state surrounded by a dominantly dry and arid environment.

The bone bed reveals that vertebrate fauna was more similar to the northern African fauna at the time than it was to the fauna associated with rest of South America. This suggests that land bridges permitting faunal interchanges between Africa and north-eastern Brazil may have persisted until the early Cenomanian (about 100 million years ago).

Whilst no Irritator challengeri fossils are known from the Alcântara Formation, fragmentary evidence, mainly in the form of isolated teeth indicate that spinosaurids were present. Teeth found have been ascribed to the roughly coeval Spinosaurus aegyptiacus which is known from Egypt and Morocco.

Discussing the remarkable terrestrial and marine biotas associated with the Alcântara Formation does permit us an opportunity to post up a super illustration by Rodolfo Nogueira.

5 06, 2021

Helicoprion Scale Drawing

By | June 5th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

As Everything Dinosaur team members prepare for the arrival of the new for 2021 PNSO Helicoprion model a scale drawing of this strange fish from the Permian has been commissioned. Haylee the Helicoprion model is due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur later in the summer (2021).

Helicoprion scale drawing
As Everything Dinosaur prepares for the arrival of Haylee the Helicoprion model from PNSO a scale drawing of this Permian fish has been commissioned.

Helicoprion bessonowi

Three species in the Helicoprion genus are currently assigned, each one being distinguished from the others by variations identified in the distinctive tooth whorl. The size of this predator remains uncertain, although based on the morphology of other smaller related fish, Helicoprion has been estimated to have been around 5 to 8 metres in length. In the Everything Dinosaur scale drawing that we have prepared, our image indicates that this strange fish grew to lengths of around 7.5 to 8 metres.

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.

Haylee the Helicoprion

As with the other mid-size PNSO replicas, this stunning model has been given a nickname. The figure is called Haylee the Helicoprion, Everything Dinosaur team members are not sure why Haylee was chosen; however, it is certainly a welcome addition to the PNSO product portfolio and we are looking forward to stocking it later on this year (2021).

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 7.5cm

Model Measurements

The model measures around 21 cm in length and although PNSO do not declare a scale for this range of prehistoric animal figures, team members estimate that if Helicoprion was around 8 metres in length then this model would be in approximately 1:38 scale or thereabouts.

The fossilised teeth of Helicoprion
Fossilised teeth whorl from a cartilaginous fish. The famous tooth whorl associated with the Permian fish genus Helicoprion.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that they were looking forward to bringing this model into stock and they were also excited about making more new product announcements about PNSO models in the very near future.

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

21 04, 2021

Preparing for Avaceratops

By | April 21st, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur team members are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Wave 2 ceratopsian figures. There are going to be another nine articulated, horned dinosaur models added to this exciting range and the shipment of models is already on the water heading to our warehouse. However, unlike other companies, we like to offer a little more with every Beasts of the Mesozoic model that we supply. Everything Dinosaur customers receive a fact sheet to accompany their Beasts of the Mesozoic ceratopsian. As a result, we have been reviewing existing data sheets and preparing three new ones specifically for Spiclypeus (S. shipporum), Wendiceratops (W. pinhornensis) and Avaceratops (A. lammersi).

Our work also involves us commissioning illustrations of dinosaurs so we can include a scale drawing in our fact sheet.

Avaceratops Scale Drawing
A scale drawing of Avaceratops lammersi known from the Judith River Formation of Montana (USA).

Helping to Educate and Inform

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We might have had to stop our school visits due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still have at the very heart of this business the ethos of helping to educate and inform. For all the Beasts of the Mesozoic articulated figures we have a fact sheet available that tells customers something about the science behind the model. We have all the first wave of the Ceratopsia covered and shortly we will have completed our work on the data sheets required for Wave 2.”

Beasts of the Mesozoic Avaceratops lammersi
The Beasts of the Mesozoic Avaceratops lammersi articulated dinosaur model. Part of the second wave of Beasts of the Mesozoic ceratopsians, the Avaceratops has nineteen points of articulation and is supplied with an Everything Dinosaur fact sheet.

The spokesperson added that these new articulated dinosaur models would be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in early May (2021).

To view the range of Beasts of the Mesozoic models and replicas available from Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic “Raptors” and Horned Dinosaurs.

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