All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
/Dinosaur Fans

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

28 05, 2019

Everything Dinosaur and the Rebor Dinosaur Foetuses

By | May 28th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor Foetus Replicas

Everything Dinosaur will be stocking the pair of Rebor Oddities dinosaur foetus replicas (Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor).  These highly unusual dinosaur figures are expected to arrive in stock at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse in July and today, the UK-based mail-order company has formally announced that it will be stocking them.

Coming into Stock at Everything Dinosaur the Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus Foetus

The Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus foetus.

Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus foetus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Wet Specimens

Ever since Michael Crichton’s highly influential novel “Jurassic Park” was first published (1990), subsequently made into a film three years later, fans of dinosaurs have been trying to get hold of replicas of pre-hatched dinosaurs as envisaged by the scientists at the bioengineering company InGen run by industrialist and billionaire John Hammond.  The clever design team at Rebor have come up with their own take on this concept, portraying the foetuses of two iconic Late Cretaceous theropods Velociraptor and a representative of the Tyrannosaurus genus.

The Rebor Oddities Velociraptor Foetus Model

The Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus.

Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Each skilfully crafted model is displayed in its own storage jar.  The purchaser can add water to represent the fluid in which the specimen would have been kept in.  Both models reflect what is known about dinosaur embryos and show distal growth, although neither Velociraptor or any member of the Tyrannosaurus genus is represented in the fossil record by material representing a pre-hatched or recently hatched individual.

Priority Reservation Lists are Open

Priority reservation lists have been opened for both of these new Rebor Oddities replicas.  Dinosaur fans who had already requested to join the Rebor Dilophosaurus model reserve list “Green Day” and “Oasis”, that are due to be introduced prior to these two foetus models, have already been offered the chance to join Everything Dinosaur’s priority reserve lists.

A spokesperson for the company commented:

“These two foetus replicas from Rebor are likely to sell out fast, so we thought it fair to offer the chance to join our VIP reserve list for these two models, to those collectors who had already contacted us about the new Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur replicas.”

To join Everything Dinosaur’s priority reserve list for the Rebor Oddities Foetus figures: Email Everything Dinosaur to join our Reserve List for the Rebor Oddities – don’t forget to let us know which model(s) you want.

To read about the two new Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models coming into stock shortly: Rebor Announces New Dilophosaurus Models.

Tale of the Tape

The Rebor Oddities range provides collectors with the opportunity to acquire more unusual prehistoric animal figures and replicas.  These types of models tend to sell out quickly and can rapidly become difficult to obtain.  Everything Dinosaur will be bringing into stock a limited number of these new Rebor Oddities.  As for their sizes, the Tyrannosaurus figure is slightly larger than the Velociraptor replica, a probable true reflection on the size of these dinosaur embryos from back in the Late Cretaceous.

  • Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus foetus replica measuring  22.5 cm x 9 cm from the top of the jar to the base.
  • Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus replica measuring 18 cm x 7. 5 cm from the top of the jar to the base.

These figures are likely to be highly sought after, demand for them could outstrip supply and at the moment, based on current estimates, a July delivery date at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse is forecast.

The Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus Foetus Replica is the Slightly Bigger of the Two Figures

Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus foetus.

The Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus foetus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

All Lit Up and Ready to Hatch – The Rebor Oddities Velociraptor Figure

Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus

The Rebor Oddities Velociraptor foetus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Simply email Everything Dinosaur to join our reserve list for these exciting new Rebor figures, to see the current range of Rebor replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Replicas and Figures.

27 05, 2019

Postcards of Ichthyosaurs

By | May 27th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Postcards of Ichthyosaurs

A team member at Everything Dinosaur found some beautiful postcards that feature spectacular British fossils, in this case Ichthyosaurs, in one of our offices the other day.  We thought we would share a picture of the prehistoric themed postcards on our blog.

A Pair of Prehistoric Postcards Featuring Different Species of Ichthyosaur

Postcards showing Ichthyosaurs.

Postcards that illustrate spectacular British fossils – Ichthyosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The postcards come from a range of “natural selection prints”, illustrations of spectacular fossils from the UK.  They depict scientific illustrations that we think accompanied the description of the species when it was erected.

Ichthyosaurus moorei (Leptonectes moorei)

The postcard (top) shows a plate from the scientific paper that led to the erection of the species Ichthyosaurus moorei.  The holotype material associated with this animal comes from Seatown on the Dorset coast (Jurassic Coast).  However, as our knowledge of the Ichthyosauria as improved, so fossils associated with I. moorei have been reassigned and placed outside the Ichthyosaurus genus.  There are enough distinctive characteristics (autapomorphies), to permit an erection of a separate genus.  The genus Leptonectes moorei was established in 1999.

Ichthyosaurus breviceps

I. breviceps is another species of marine reptile, despite being named a long time ago, in 1881 by Richard Owen (later Sir Richard Owen), it has remained a member of the Ichthyosaurus genus.  This type of Ichthyosaurus is also associated with the Jurassic Coast of Dorset.  Its fossils are relatively rare when compared to the contemporaneous I. communis.  It is characterised by its relatively short, but robust snout.  The shape of the jaw suggests that this marine reptile may have fed on different kinds of food compared to other “fish lizards”, it may have been more of a generalist eating a wider variety of prey, an example of niche partitioning within the biota associated with the Lower Jurassic.

An Illustration of a Typical Ichthyosaur – W. massarae

Wahlisaurus massarae illustrated

An illustration of the Ichthyosaur known as Wahlisaurus massarae, which was named and described back in 2016.  Research into the Ichthyosauria is on-going and existing specimens can be reassigned to different species or even different genera as more data becomes available.

Picture Credit: James McKay

26 05, 2019

Some Baby Dinosaurs Crawled Before Learning to Walk on Two Legs

By | May 26th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Mussaurus Switched from Four Legs to Two

A team of scientists, including researchers from the Royal Veterinary College based in London and Museo de La Plata and National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) located in Argentina, have collaborated to produce a report on how a Late Triassic sauropodomorph changed as it grew up.  The dinosaur in question Mussaurus patagonicus is an ideal candidate for dinosaur growth studies as it is known from numerous partial to nearly complete skeletons from hatchlings to fully grown adults.  Writing in the academic journal the researchers conclude that Mussaurus could only move on four limbs once born but switched to two legs as it grew up, just as our species switches from all fours to bipedal walking as we grow.

Scientists Looked at How the Centre of Mass Changed in the Body of Mussaurus to Work Out How it Walked

Plotting changes in Mussaurus as it grew.

Mussaurus specimens. (a, b) hatchling, (c) yearling and (bottom) adult.  Scale bars represent 5 cm (a), (b) 15 cm (c) and 100 cm in the adult animal representation.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

An Argentinian Sauropodomorph

Fossils of Mussaurus come from southern Argentina, at birth this dinosaur was only a few centimetres in length, but it reached its adult size in around eight years.  Essentially, this dinosaur went from weighing about 60 grams to weighing an estimated 1,300 kilograms with a body length of approximately 8 metres.  The research team conclude that it might have barely been able to walk or run on two legs at the age of one, but would have only committed to being bipedal once it reached adulthood.  This study has implications for the largest terrestrial vertebrates that ever lived as Mussaurus is regarded as an ancestral form of the later sauropods, giants like Apatosaurus, Mamenchisaurus and Giraffatitan, that were to evolve in the Jurassic.

The team scanned key fossils of Mussaurus into three-dimensional models, connected the bones into digital skeletons, and added soft tissue to estimate the shape of the body and its major segments such as head, neck, torso, tail and limbs.  These computer models were then used to estimate the location of the animal’s centre of mass, the point at which all weight can be assumed to act through.  This estimate enabled the scientists to then test whether different models representing different growth stages of Mussaurus patagonicus could have stood on two legs or not, because the centre of mass must be placed under the feet in such poses.

Identifying the Centre of Mass as Mussaurus Grew Up

Mussaurus Locomotion Study

Plotting the ontogeny of Mussaurus (a) hatchling, (b) yearling and (c) adult animal and the subsequent effect on centre of mass and locomotion.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports

From Four Legs to Two

One of the authors of the scientific paper, Dr Alejandro Otero (CONICET) stated:

“Mussaurus switched from four legs as a baby to two legs by adulthood, much as humans do.  It is important to notice that such locomotor switching is rare in nature and the fact that we were able to recognise it in extinct forms like dinosaurs highlights the importance of our exciting findings.”

Professor John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College, an expert in animal locomotion and co-author of the paper commented:

“We created the first 3-D representation of the major changes of body form and function across the growth of a dinosaur.  And we were surprised to learn that enlargement of the tail and reduction of the neck had more of an effect on how Mussaurus stood than how long its forelimbs were, which is what people used to think.”

Implications for Giant Dinosaurs

At around eight metres in length, Mussaurus was one of the largest dinosaurs in southern South America during the Late Triassic (estimated to be Norian faunal stage), however, during the Jurassic and Cretaceous much larger lizard-hipped dinosaurs would evolve from this lineage.  By improving our understanding about how some of the sauropodomorphs moved this type of research can provide insights into how much bigger plant-eating, long-necked giants walked.  When adult, dinosaurs such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus were very much quadrupedal, although it has been suggested that when very young some of these dinosaurs might have been able to rear up onto their hind legs to escape danger.*

Mussaurus Scale Comparison

Mussasaurus scale comparison.

Mussaurus scale drawing compared to an adult human and the skeleton of a typical Late Jurassic sauropod.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports with additional annotation and information from Everything Dinosaur

* To read an article from 2011 that looked at the research into trace fossils from the western United States that hinted that some very young sauropods may have been able to run on just their hind legs: Facultative Bipedalism in Sauropods

The research team hope to build on this work as they plan to use computer models to replicate in greater detail how Mussaurus may have actually moved, such as how fast it could walk or run.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the Royal Veterinary College (London) in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Ontogenetic changes in the body plan of the sauropodomorph dinosaur Mussaurus patagonicus reveal shifts of locomotor stance during growth” by Alejandro Otero, Andrew R. Cuff, Vivian Allen, Lauren Sumner-Rooney, Diego Pol and John R. Hutchinson published in Scientific Reports.

25 05, 2019

Drawing a Triceratops

By | May 25th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

A Dinosaur Fan’s Drawing of Triceratops

We are always delighted to receive pictures, illustrations and other artwork relating to prehistoric animals from our customers.  We are grateful to every person who takes the time and trouble to send us in drawings of dinosaurs and other long extinct creatures.  Unfortunately, we cannot publish all that we receive, but we do look at every one that gets sent into us, emailed or posted up onto one of the many social media platforms that Everything Dinosaur is involved with.

Today, we feature a beautiful illustration of one of the most famous dinosaurs of all – Triceratops.  Our thanks to Ian, who took the time and trouble to produce the drawing and to send it into our offices.  Ian has very kindly sent a number of drawings to us, each one features a different prehistoric animal and the artwork was inspired by a recent model purchase.

A Stunning Interpretation of Triceratops

A pencil illustration of Triceratops.

A beautiful illustration of “three-horned face” – Triceratops.

Picture Credit: Ian

Therizinosaurus and Triceratops

A little while ago, we posted up an illustration of the bizarre Late Cretaceous theropod that Ian had created.  That illustration had been inspired by the recently introduced Papo Therizinosaurus model.  We think that in the case of this beautiful Triceratops drawing, it has been based upon the 2018 Schleich Triceratops, but of course, we could be wrong.

To view the Therizinosaurus dinosaur illustration: Illustrating a Therizinosaurus

The Schleich 2018 Triceratops Dinosaur Model

Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model (2018).

The new for 2018 Schleich Triceratops dinosaur model.  Was it the inspiration behind Ian’s Triceratops illustration?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are delighted to receive artwork from our customers, it is always a pleasure and we marvel at just how talented our customers are!  It is great to able to help people to indulge their passion for prehistoric animals.  We never know quite what we will get emailed, or what fantastic prehistoric animal themed artwork might turn up in our mail.”

24 05, 2019

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus Model in Stock

By | May 24th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus Model in Stock

The new for 2019 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus dinosaur model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  This model is the last of the scheduled new model introductions from Safari Ltd for 2019, team members at Everything Dinosaur calculate that Safari Ltd have added eleven new figures to their Wild Safari Prehistoric World range, this new Allosaurus makes a fitting finale to the new products added to this exciting model range this year.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus Dinosaur Model

Allosaurus dinosaur model.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Allosaurus and the rest of the prehistoric animal models in the Wild Safari Prehistoric World portfolio available from Everything Dinosaur: Safari Ltd – Wild Safari Prehistoric World Figures

Iconic American Dinosaur

Allosaurus (A. fragilis) has been described as an iconic American dinosaur.  This large theropod is known from dozens of fossil specimens, all associated with the famous Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the western United States.  A fearsome predator, Allosaurus has also been called “the lion of the Jurassic”.  Several species have been named and most natural history museums have some Allosaurus spp. fossils amongst their dinosaur fossil collections.  Allosaurus is also one of the most extensively studied of all the large theropods known to science.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur, got to see prototypes of this new for 2019 model some months ago, it is great to see this figure actually in stock.

A Photograph Showing the Beautiful Paintwork and Detailing on the Skin of the New Allosaurus Figure

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus dinosaur figure.

The new for 2019 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Beautiful Paintwork and Fantastic Detailing

As with all Safari Ltd prehistoric animal models, there is much to be admired in this new Allosaurus figure.  The model has been well-crafted and is stable on its two hind legs.  The eye crests are highlighted in blood red and the model has beautiful paintwork and fantastic detailing of the scales on the skin.  Safari Ltd have produced a number of Allosaurus figures over their long history of production.  This is perhaps, the most anatomically accurate of all the Allosaurus figures that they have made.

Don’t Let the Allosaurus Figure Get Away!

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus dinosaur model.

Don’t let the new Allosaurus figure get away.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Team members have been busy contacting all those customers and fans of dinosaurs that asked for one of these figures to be reserved for them.  This task is now complete and staff will be focusing on packing and despatching orders as quickly as they can.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Over the next six weeks or so, a lot of new prehistoric animal figures are coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur.  We are delighted to have kicked-off what will be an incredibly busy summer by being able to bring the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Allosaurus model into our warehouse.  Fans of this range can now update their collection and include all the new prehistoric animal models that have been introduced by Safari Ltd this year.  We look forward to announcing new figures in this range in the autumn.”

22 05, 2019

Fossilised Mouse Reveals Evolutionary Secrets of Colour

By | May 22nd, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ancient Mouse Reveals a Colourful Mammalian Heritage

Many mammals are brightly coloured, we have golden marmosets, red pandas and of course, black and white zebras.  The evolutionary use of colour within the Kingdom Animalia has long held the fascination of scientists, academics and philosophers.  This week, an international team of researchers led by members of The University of Manchester have published a new study revealing the evidence of colourful pigments in the remains of a prehistoric mouse.

The Fossilised Remains of a Prehistoric Mouse

The fossilised remains of a mouse.

The well-preserved remains of a Pliocene mouse used in the study.

Picture Credit: The University of Manchester

Writing in the journal “Nature Communications”, this work marks a major breakthrough in our ability to define colour pigments within the fossilised remains of long extinct animals and emphasises the role colour plays in the evolution of life on our planet.  The paper entitled “Pheomelanin pigment remnants mapped in fossils of an extinct mammal”, outlines the use of X-ray imaging on the 3 million-year-old fossils in order to unravel the story of key pigments in ancient creatures and demonstrates how we might recognise the chemical signatures of specific red pigments in extinct animals to determine how they evolved.

Professor Phil Manning, (University of Manchester), the lead palaeontologist involved in this study explained:

“The fossils we have studied have the vast potential to unlock many secrets of the original organism.  We can reconstruct key facets from life, death and the subsequent events impacting preservation before and after burial.  To unpick this complicated fossil chemical archive requires an interdisciplinary team to combine their efforts to crack this problem.  In doing this, we unlock much more than just palaeontological information.”

Co-author, Professor Roy Wogelius, from the University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, added:

“This was a painstaking effort involving physics, palaeontology, organic chemistry, and geochemistry.  By working as a team, we were able, for the first time, to discover chemical traces of red pigment in fossil animal material.  We understand now what to look for in the future and our hope is that these results will mean that we can become more confident in reconstructing extinct animals and thereby add another dimension to the study of evolution.”

This exciting, collaborative effort from numerous scientific disciplines reveals that within fossils with exceptionally preserved soft tissues, evidence of black pigmentation can be identified, but furthermore, traces of the much more elusive red animal pigment may be found.  The chemical residue of black pigment, which colours such animals as crows, was first resolved by this team in a previous study nearly ten years ago.  However, the red pigment, characteristic of animals such as foxes and red pandas, is far less stable over geological time and proved much more difficult to detect.

Apodemus atavus Life Reconstruction

Apodemus atavus - mouse from the Pliocene helps reveal the evolution of pigmentation.

A life reconstruction of the mouse from the Pliocene – Apodemus atavus.

Picture Credit: The University of Manchester

Professor Wogelius went on to say:

“We had data which suggested red pigment residue was present in several fossils, but there was no useful data available to compare this to pigmentation in modern organisms.  So, we needed to devote several years to analysing modern tissue before we could go back and review our results from some amazing fossil specimens.  In the end, we were able to prove that detailed chemical analysis can resolve such pigment residue, but along the way we learned so much more about the chemistry of pigmentation throughout the animal kingdom.”

Shining a Light on Pigmentation Thanks to the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource

To unlock the hidden data within the fossil material, the Manchester-based scientists collaborated with researchers at some of the brightest sources of light on the planet, using synchrotron radiation at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (USA), and also at the Diamond Light Source (located in Oxfordshire), to bombard the fossils with intense X-rays.  It is the interaction of these X-rays with the chemistry of these fossils that enabled the team to be the first to recognise the chemistry of red pigmentation (pheomelanin), in fur from the exceptionally well-preserved remains of a mouse that scuttled about in the Pliocene Epoch (Apodemus atavus).

The key to the study was identifying trace metals incorporated by ancient organisms into their soft tissues and comparing these to the modes of incorporation into living species.  The chemistry shows that the trace metals in the mouse fur are bonded to organic chemicals in exactly the same way that these metals are bonded to organic pigments in animals with high concentrations of red pigment in their tissue.

In order to confirm the team’s findings, modern comparison standards were analysed by synchrotron radiation and by specialists in pigment chemistry based at the Fujita Health University in Japan.

A False Colour Image of the Fossilised Mouse

A false colour image of the fossil mouse.

A false colour image of the 3 million-year-old fossil mouse used in the red pigment study.

Picture Credit: The University of Manchester

Summarising the significance of this research Professor Manning stated:

“Palaeontology offers research that is more than relevant to our everyday life.  Information gleaned from the fossil record is influencing multiple fields, including; climate research, the burial of biowaste and radwaste, the measure of environmental impact of oil spills on living species with techniques developed on fossil organisms.  Whilst our research is firmly anchored in the past, we set our sights on its application to the future.”

The scientific paper: “Pheomelanin pigment remnants mapped in fossils of an extinct mammal” by Phillip L. Manning, Nicholas P. Edwards, Uwe Bergmann, Jennifer Anné, William I. Sellers, Arjen van Veelen, Dimosthenis Sokaras, Victoria M. Egerton, Roberto Alonso-Mori, Konstantin Ignatyev, Bart E. van Dongen, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Shosuke Ito, Fabien Knoll & Roy A. Wogelius and published in Nature Communications

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Manchester University in the compilation of this article.

21 05, 2019

5-Star Feefo Reviews Keep Coming In

By | May 21st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur and 5-Star Feefo Reviews

This month has seen even more top reviews for Everything Dinosaur.  Over the past three weeks or so, Everything Dinosaur received fifty-two service reviews and a whopping eighty-five product reviews.  Good going, especially when the impact of the early May holiday period is taken into account.  The UK-based company continues to achieve top marks from customers and continues to qualify for Feefo’s highest customer service rating award, the coveted “Gold Trusted Service Award”

Everything Dinosaur is Earning Top Marks for Customer Service

Feefo certificate of excellence (2019).

Everything Dinosaur has won for the second year in a row the top award from Feefo.  The UK-based dinosaur company continues to meet the highest standards for products and customer service.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Genuine Comments from Customers

The Everything Dinosaur website currently shows more than six hundred customer reviews and the Feefo page all about Everything Dinosaur can be found here: Feefo Review Page for Everything Dinosaur.  The Feefo review page has also posted up some of the many product photographs taken by Everything Dinosaur fans and customers.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are very honoured to receive such lovely feedback from our many customers from all over the world.  We do our best to provide top quality service and to ensure we have the widest range of prehistoric animal models available.  The comments we receive are greatly appreciated.”

Website Reviews

In addition, customers can leave feedback and comments on Everything Dinosaur’s own website.  To date, the company has received over 1,800 product reviews since its new site was set up.  All these reviews can be seen on the appropriate product pages.

Customer Reviews on the Everything Dinosaur Product Pages

Lots of reviews on the Rebor Killer Queen T. rex product page.

New models such as the Rebor Killer Queen model are quickly reviewed by Everything Dinosaur customers.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The reviews help to provide additional information about Everything Dinosaur products as well as helping to assure potential new customers as to our reliability and commitment.  The company is working on a number of new, exciting projects, details of which will be posted up on its various social media pages including this blog site.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website

20 05, 2019

Sorting out Tiny Fossil Flies

By | May 20th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Phylogeny of Fungi-loving Flies Being Sorted

The fossils of dinosaurs and other huge vertebrates might grab the headlines but there is an enormous volume of research dedicated to examining the fossil record of some of the less high profile, but arguably more significant prehistoric creatures.  Take for example, the recent paper put together by researchers from the National Museums of Scotland and the Smithsonian Institution that helped resolve part of the family tree of the Diptera, essentially this is the Order of flies, part of a group of winged insects that could lay claim to being amongst the most successful animals to have ever existed.

The research focused on the fossils associated with one family of flies, the Bolitophilidae.  They are tiny and common in temperate forests across the Northern hemisphere and their larvae feed almost exclusively on mushrooms.  These little flies may not be very big, but the play a huge role in ensuring a balanced, healthy ecosystem.

A New Species of Eocene Fly Has Been Identified from Baltic Amber (Bolitophila rohdendorfi)

Eocene gnat fly preserved in Baltic amber (Bolitophila rohdendorfi)

Bolitophila rohdendorfi – new species of gnat fly identified from Baltic amber.

Picture Credit: National Museums of Scotland

The earliest fossil material associated with bolitophilids comes from Baltic amber and from contemporaneous amber found in Montana (Kishenehn Formation).  The fossilised tree resin has preserved the remains of individuals that had become trapped in sticky tree resin.  These fossils date from approximately 46 million years ago (Lutetian stage of the Eocene Epoch).  The fossilised flies look remarkably like their extant relatives, they look like small crane flies but they are, in truth a form of gnat.  The remarkable specimens entombed in the amber have allowed the scientists to make detailed observations helping to clarify the taxonomy and evolutionary history of this fly family.

Two New Species of Bolitophilid Fly Erected

These well-preserved fossils have allowed the scientists to erect two new species within the Bolitophilidae family.  The specimens from Montana have been named Bolitophila warreni and the Baltic amber fossils represent Bolitophila rohdendorfi.  Perhaps more significantly, these Eocene gnats have permitted scientists to revise the phylogeny of other ancient flies.  Fossils from the Lower Cretaceous of Mongolia and Transbaikalia had been placed in the Bolitophilidae family (subfamily Mangasinae) but their taxonomic position was controversial.  Thanks to this new research, the affinity of the Mangasinae within the Bolitophilidae has been confirmed.  In addition, a review of the fossil material has enabled a further two species of the fly genus Mangas to be erected, namely Mangas kovalevi and Mangas brevisubcosta both of which originate from the Lower Cretaceous of Khasurty in Western Transbaikalia.

Beautifully Preserved Lower Cretaceous Fly (Mangas kovalevi)

Mangas kovalevi fossils.

Mangas kovalevi, new species of gnat fly from Cretaceous of Transbaikalia.

Picture Credit: National Museums of Scotland

Linking Lower Cretaceous Flies to Upper Cretaceous Dromaeosaurs

Dinosaurs were plagued by flies, just like animals today, although members of the Bolitophilidae family would have been more interested in fungi than flesh.  However, there is a further link between these flies and a member of the Dinosauria.  The dromaeosaurid named Tsaagan mangas, which was scientifically described in 2006, its trivial name was also inspired by a legendary Mongolian monster, the same legendary beast that was the inspiration behind the name of the bolitophilid subfamily, the Mangasinae and the erection of the Mangas genus.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the National Museums of Scotland in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Review of the Fossil Record of Bolitophilidae, with Description of new Taxa and Discussion of Position of Mangas kovalev (Diptera: Sciaroidea)” by Dale E. Greenwalt and Vladimir A. Blagoderov published in the journal Zoo Taxa.

19 05, 2019

Rebor Announces New Dilophosaur Models

By | May 19th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis” Dilophosaur Models

The latest additions to the popular range of Rebor prehistoric animal models have been announced.  A pair of Dilophosaurus dinosaurs entitled “Green Day” and “Oasis” are due to be in stock in about six to eight weeks’ time (June/July 2019).

The New for Summer 2019 Rebor Dilophosaurus Models “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

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

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Reserve List is Open

Our reserve list for these fine dinosaur models is now open.  To join our priority reserve list for these new Rebor replicas, simply drop us an email and when the models are in stock (estimated around June/July), then we will set the model(s) that you want aside and drop you an email letting you know that the Rebor Dilophosaurus is available to purchase.

To join our priority reserve list: Email Everything Dinosaur to Reserve Your Rebor Dilophosaurus Model(s)

Dilophosaurus wetherilli

The Rebor replicas are representations of the Early Jurassic theropod Dilophosaurus wetherilli, that was formally named and described in 1954.  Since its discovery, (the first fossils were found in 1942), D. wetherilli has become one of the most extensively studied Jurassic carnivorous dinosaurs.  It is apt that Rebor have created two models, as the first set of fossils discovered represented more than one individual dinosaur.

The Female Dilophosaurus “Oasis”

Rebor replica Dilophosaurus "Oasis" model.

Rebor Dilophosaurus replica “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Articulated and Poseable Dinosaur Models

These superb Rebor replicas represent a male and female Dilophosaur.  “Green Day” is the male figure, whilst “Oasis”, pictured above, represents a female.  The models are approximately the same size, the models represent 1:35 scale figures (adult animals), but if required as juveniles reflecting their size in the famous “Jurassic Park” movie, they are in approximately 1:11 scale.  The paint schemes are subtly different, sharp-eyed readers will note for example, that the male figure “Green Day” has a small flash of red painted over the eye, an artful and very shrewd nod in the direction of current palaeontological thinking on behalf of the Rebor design team.

Can You Spot the Flash of Red over the Eye of the Male Dilophosaur?

Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas compared.

Comparing the Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”.  Dinosaurs are thought to have had colour vision and splashes of colour on their facial crests and other ornamentation could have signalled maturity and fitness for breeding.  Nicely done Rebor!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Articulated and Poseable Dilophosaurus Models

Both the male Dilophosaur “Green Day” and the female “Oasis” have articulated lower jaws.  Each figure also has a flexible neck and tail allowing model collectors to depict their dinosaurs in a variety of poses.  The forelimbs on both models are articulated too.

The models can be purchased separately and Everything Dinosaur will also offer them as a pair.  Each Rebor Dilophosaurus comes with its own detailed base but they can be combined together to make a bigger, twin set diorama.

The Male Dilophosaurus “Green Day”

"Green Day" Dilophosaur model by Rebor

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur model “Green Day”

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The models are due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in just a few weeks’ time (expected June/July 2019).  To join our priority reserve list for these Rebor replicas: Reserve Your Dilophosaurus Models by Emailing Everything Dinosaur.

To view the rest of the Rebor range of prehistoric animal models in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

18 05, 2019

Walking with Dinosaurs – How?

By | May 18th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Sauropods Had Fleshy Pads on Their Feet

A team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Queensland have concluded that giant, long-necked dinosaurs (Sauropoda), probably walked in a “high-heeled fashion”.  Their great weight was supported by a fleshy pad at the base of the foot, effectively cushioning the heel and helping to support their enormous weight.  Elephants also have a fleshy pad on their feet, it seems that these two types of terrestrial, giant tetrapods, although not closely related, evolved the same type of soft tissue pad supporting the elevated metatarsus, an example of convergent evolution.

An Anatomical Reconstruction of the Right Hind Foot of a Sauropod (Rhoetosaurus brownei)

The right hind foot of Rhoetosaurus brownei.

The right hind foot of Rhoetosaurus brownei in dorsal view.  The first four digits have been preserved although the fifth is missing (replaced by a cast).

Picture Credit: Jay P. Nair and Andréas Jannel (University of Queensland)

Sauropod Locomotion – The Biomechanics

How the sauropod foot worked is very poorly understood.  This is partly because there are not that many complete foot fossils to study (manus and pes in these quadrupeds), especially amongst early members of the group and there is no living equivalent of these long-necked giants around today, to provide scientists with anatomical comparisons.  The researchers from the University of Queensland in collaboration with colleagues from Monash University (Victoria), examined the foot and toe bones of Rhoetosaurus brownei in a bid to plot the biomechanics of sauropod locomotion.

At around twenty tonnes and with a body length in excess of fourteen metres, Rhoetosaurus was a very sizeable animal, but certainly not the biggest of the Sauropoda.  However, it is known from eastern Australia so its fossils were easy to access for the researchers and it is the earliest representative of sauropods known from Australia.  In fact, according to the press release from the University of Queensland, it is the only named Australian sauropod that dates from the Jurassic.  Conveniently, it is the only one from the Gondwanan Middle Jurassic that preserves an articulated foot.

A Model of Rhoetosaurus (R. brownei)

CollectA Rhoetosaurus model.

A model of the Middle Jurassic sauropod Rhoetosaurus brownei.  Whether this dinosaur could rear up onto its hind legs is speculative.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three-dimensional Modelling of a Dinosaur’s Foot

The scientists carefully analysed the foot bones and compared them to the foot bones of an African elephant (Loxodonta).   Lead author of the research, PhD student Andréas Jannel (University of Queensland), explained:

“Looking at the bones of the foot, it was clear that Rhoetosaurus walked with an elevated heel, raising the question: how was its foot able to support the immense mass of this animal, up to 40 tonnes?  Our research suggests that even though Rhoetosaurus stood on its tiptoes, the heel was cushioned by a fleshy pad.  We see a similar thing in elephant feet, but this dinosaur was at least five times as heavy as an elephant, so the forces involved are much greater.”

The researchers used physical models and computer simulations to map the posture and the range of motion of the foot bones.  The results generated permitted the team to model all the foot bone postures and from this it was deduced that some of these movements would have been restricted by soft tissue in life, but this soft tissue would have helped to support the animal’s great weight.

The team concluded that the in‐life plantar surface of the sauropod pes is inferred to extend caudally from the digits, with a soft tissue pad supporting the elevated foot bones, in essence, these terrestrial giants walked in a “high-heeled fashion”.  Furthermore, the plantar pad is inferred to play a role in the reduction of biomechanical stresses, and to aid in support and locomotion.  A foot pad may have been a key biomechanical innovation in early sauropods, ultimately resulting in a functionally plantigrade foot, which may have arisen during the Early to Middle Jurassic.  Although, these dinosaurs, like all other dinosaurs had a digitigrade or semi-digitigrade stance, the soft tissue pad changed their feet morphologically, so, these dinosaurs had a more plantigrade stance (not just walking on their toes).

This research into the locomotion of the biggest land vertebrates that ever lived has provided some intriguing insights, but the authors of the scientific paper admit that further mechanical studies are ultimately required to permit a more complete understanding of how these giants moved about.

Studies of Sauropod Tracks and Trackways Lend Support to Idea that these Animals Walked on Pads of Soft Tissue

The fossilised footprint of a Late Cretaceous Titanosaur.

Professor Shinobu Ishigaki (Okayama University of Science) provides the scale for the dinosaur print.  The track of a Titanosaur (Sauropoda).

Picture Credit: Okayama University of Science

The scientific paper: “Keep your Feet on the Ground”: Simulated Range of Motion and Hind Foot Posture of the Middle Jurassic Sauropod Rhoetosaurus brownei and its Implications for Sauropod Biology by Andréas Jannel, Jay P. Nair, Olga Panagiotopoulou, Anthony Romilio and Steven W. Salisbury published in the Journal of Morphology.

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