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

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

28 09, 2021

Caldey’s Horned Dinosaur Illustration

By | September 28th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Our thanks to dinosaur model fan and artist Caldey who sent into Everything Dinosaur a very colourful and striking illustration of a horned dinosaur. Caldey has been inspired by the paint schemes of several of the Beasts of the Mesozoic ceratopsians and we think that Caldey’s most recent artwork has been influenced by the Styracosaurus albertensis in this range.

Caldey's horned dinosaur drawing.
The very colourful horned dinosaur illustration produced by Caldey. Team members at Everything Dinosaur think that the centrosaurine illustrated is Styracosaurus. Picture credit: Caldey.

The skin covering the fenestrae in the fill have been coloured crimson and their colour almost matches the vivid tree depicted in the background.

An Impressive Horned Dinosaur Drawing

As crocodilians and birds which are the closest living relatives to the Dinosauria, have colour vision, most scientists are confident in the assertion that dinosaurs had colour vision too. The bold patterns and colours chosen by the illustrator would certainly make this horned dinosaur conspicuous, but if you want to attract a mate, or to obtain high social status within a herd, having a striking appearance is one way to go about it. Caldey’s colour scheme is bold with the white flashes on the flanks in stark contrast to the russet tones and greys of the rest of the body. The dinosaur also sports a tuft of bristles from the end of the ribs running towards the base of the tail, a nod to the integumentary covering associated with the distantly related Psittacosaurus which Caldey has also illustrated (see below).

A drrawing of Psittacosaurus.
Caldey’s illustration of the early member of the Ceratopsia – Psittacosaurus. Picture credit: Caldey.

When commenting upon Caldey’s latest, colourful ceratopsian a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“It is always a pleasure to receive illustrations and drawings from dinosaur fans. We have been very impressed with the artwork that we have been sent by Caldey. We have received artwork featuring several horned dinosaurs including Triceratops and Diabloceratops. We know that she has been inspired previously by the Beasts of the Mesozoic models, so we think her latest drawing was influenced by the Beasts of the Mesozoic Styracosaurus figure”

Beasts of the Mesozoic Styracosaurus model illustration
The back cover illustration of the Beasts of the Mesozoic Styracosaurus dinosaur model (S. albertensis). Did this colour scheme inspire the young artist?

Our thanks once again to Caldey for sending into Everything Dinosaur her prehistoric animal drawing.

27 09, 2021

Volcanoes Helped to Power the Rise of the Dinosaurs

By | September 27th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The rise of the Dinosauria which led them to dominate terrestrial ecosystems for more than 150 million years was driven by environmental change caused by intense volcanism over 230 million years ago. That is the conclusion in a new study published today in the ” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

The Late Triassic Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE) led to a huge rise in global temperature and humidity. This dramatic change had a significant impact on the development of animal and plant life, which was still recovering from the greatest mass extinction event known in the fossil record which had occurred at the end of the Permian, some 20 million years earlier.

The rise of the dinosaurs was powered by intense volcanic activity.
Ecological changes following intense volcanic activity during the Carnian Pluvial Episode 230 million years ago paved the way for dinosaurs to become the dominant terrestrial fauna. Picture credit: University of Birmingham.

The Evolution of Modern Conifers

The researchers, including experts from the University of Birmingham, discovered four distinct pulses of volcanic activity during this time in the Late Triassic. The most likely source of this volcanism being the Wrangellia Large Igneous Province, remnants of which can still be seen in Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon (western North America).

Jason Hilton (Professor of Palaeobotany and Palaeoenvironments at the University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences), a co-author of the study, explained:

“Within the space of two million years the world’s animal and plant life underwent major changes including selective extinctions in the marine realm and diversification of plant and animal groups on land. These events coincide with a remarkable interval of intense rainfall known as the Carnian Pluvial Episode.”

One of the major groups of plants to benefit from the dramatic climate change were cone-bearing seed plants (conifers). Ferns also benefitted and show an increase in numbers, range and species. Other archosaurs such as crocodyliforms show an increase in diversity and mammaliaforms, insects and turtles seem to have thrived as a result of this climate change.

Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Driving Climate Change

Professor Hilton added:

“Our research shows, in a detailed record from a lake in North China, that this period can actually be resolved into four distinct events, each one driven by discrete pulses of powerful volcanic activity associated with enormous releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These triggered an increase in global temperature and humidity.”

The scientists discovered that each phase of volcanic activity coincided with widescale disruption to the global carbon cycle. The higher levels of carbon dioxide produced led to major climate changes with a hotter, wetter climates predominating. The ancient lake deposits reveal that it became deeper but oxygen levels in the lake reduced and stifled animal life.

Geological events from a similar timeframe in Europe, Argentina, eastern Greenland, Morocco and North America, among other locations indicate that increased rainfall resulted in widespread expansion of drainage basins converging into lakes or swamps, rather than rivers or oceans.

Co-author of the paper, Dr Sarah Greene (Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham) added:

“Our results show that large volcanic eruptions can occur in multiple, discrete pulses demonstrating their powerful ability to alter the global carbon cycle, cause climate and hydrological disruption and drive evolutionary processes.”

Pollen spores and algae from the Carnian Pluvial Episode (China)
Example pollen, spores and algae from the Carnian Pluvial Episode in China that record climate and environmental change following massive volcanism. Individual specimens range from 20 to 120 μm in size. Picture credit: University of Birmingham.

The research team investigated terrestrial sediments from the ZJ-1 borehole in the Jiyuan Basin of North China. They used uranium-lead zircon dating, high-resolution chemostratigraphy, palynological and sedimentological data to correlate terrestrial conditions in the region with synchronous large-scale volcanic activity in North America.

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

The scientific paper: “Volcanically-driven lacustrine ecosystem changes during the Carnian Pluvial Episode (Late Triassic)” by Jing Lu, Peixin Zhang, Jacopo Dal Corso, Minfang Yang, Paul B. Wignall, Sarah E. Greene, Longyi Shao, Dan Lyu and Jason Hilton published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

26 09, 2021

William Updates his Allosaurus Review

By | September 26th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Earlier on this year (summer 2021), knowledgeable dinosaur model fan and collector William sent into Everything Dinosaur his review of the recently introduced PNSO Allosaurus dinosaur replica (Paul the Allosaurus). William emailed to let us know that he wanted to add some additional comments about this new for 2021 theropod figure.

As always, Everything Dinosaur team members do their best to help and support their customers so we have published his Allosaurus themed comments on our blog.

PNSO Paul the Allosaurus dinosaur model
The stunning PNSO Paul the Allosaurus (anterior view). This PNSO theropod figure has proved to be very popular with dinosaur fans and model collectors and it has attracted rave reviews.

William’s PNSO Allosaurus Comments

William wanted to add:

“Paul’s head crest is the best of the best of any present-day Allosaurus model. Paul’s articulated jaw opens into a nice wide maw displaying his highly detailed mouth with tongue, teeth and nasal passages. The texture and execution of the skin folds around each of his glacier blue eyes makes each stand out even more in a great way.”

PNSO Allosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur models
PNSO theropod models (top) Paul the Allosaurus and (bottom) Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus. William has reviewed a number of recent PNSO model introductions including Paul the Allosaurus and Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus.

To read William’s earlier review of the PNSO Allosaurus model: PNSO Paul the Allosaurus Reviewed.

Dinosaur Replica Attracts Rave Reviews

William is not the only Everything Dinosaur customer to have raved about the PNSO Allosaurus figure. For example, collectors @carlandhelen51 praised this figure commenting:

“I`ve been waiting for an accurate Allosaurus to compliment my 1/35th scale dinosaurs for a few years now, and wow, does this PSNO Allosaurus tick all the boxes! It is exceptional. I am so pleased with this model I can`t tell you! This is my eighth PSNO model and certainly won`t be my last. PSNO are definitely leading the way in creating accurate scale models so far.”

Everything Dinosaur has received several reviews from customers, all logged and verified by the independent ratings company Feefo.

PNSO the Allosaurus dinosaur model Feefo reviews
The PNSO Paul the Allosaurus dinosaur model has received 5-star customer reviews.

Full of praise for the PNSO figure, collector William added:

“In truth, this the first Allosaurus model that I really wished to add to my little collection, yes Paul is that great example of the Allosaurus family.”

Customers praise the PNSO Allosaurus dinosaur model
Some of the typical Feefo customer reviews for the PNSO Allosaurus dinosaur model. This new for 2021 theropod model has attracted high praise.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur thanked William and all the Allosaurus review contributors and exclaimed:

“PNSO have produced lots of exciting new models and figures this year. The great news for collectors is that we have still to announce all the new PNSO figures for 2021. We hope to update fans of the PNSO prehistoric animal model range in the very near future.”

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

25 09, 2021

Prehistoric Times Magazine Issue 139

By | September 25th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Time to take a sneak peek at the front cover of the forthcoming edition of the quarterly magazine “Prehistoric Times”. It features a close-up view of the head of the African spinosaurid Suchomimus on the front cover.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are grateful to magazine editor Mike Fredericks for sending us an image of the front cover of the next edition (issue 139) of this popular magazine.

Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 139)
The front cover of the next issue of “Prehistoric Times” magazine (issue 139) features a close-up view of the head of the spinosaurid Suchomimus. Picture credit: Mike Fredericks.

Issue 139 (Fall/Autumn 2021)

As well as Phil Hore’s articles on Suchomimus and placodonts (Henodus), we can look forward to the next instalment of Jon Lavas’s long-running series highlighting the work of the influential Czech artist Zdeněk Burian. In issue 139, the focus will be on Burian’s illustrations of Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurus stenops threatened by a pair of Antrodemus valens.
The classic depiction of a Late Jurassic scene by Burian (1950). Everything Dinosaur team members wonder whether this iconic image of the armoured dinosaur Stegosaurus will feature in issue 139 (fall/autumn 2021)? Picture credit: Zdeněk Burian.

The front cover text hints at an article by the talented polymath Tracy Lee Ford on dinosaur feathers. At this time, team members at Everything Dinosaur do not know whether dinosaur feathers are the subject of his regular “how to draw dinosaurs” feature of if this is an especially commissioned piece focusing on the various integumentary coverings associated with the Dinosauria. The article is bound to be most informative and we look forward to issue 139 dropping through our letter box sometime in the next few weeks.

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

24 09, 2021

The Earliest Ankylosaur and Africa’s First

By | September 24th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Scientists including researchers from the Natural History Museum in London, have published a scientific paper announcing the discovery of the first fossils assigned to the Ankylosauria from Africa. This is the first ankylosaur to have been named from fossil material found in Africa and also the oldest known member of this group of armoured dinosaurs described to date. The dinosaur has been named Spicomellus afer. The scientific name translates from the Latin as “spiked collar from Africa”.

The holotype fossil of Spicomellus afer
The holotype fossil (NHMUK PV R37412). The protective, bony spikes are actually fused to the rib, this anatomical feature has not been seen in a vertebrate before. Picture credit: London Natural History Museum.

Acquired from a Fossil Dealer

The fossil was acquired from a UK-based commercial fossil dealer by the London Natural History Museum in 2019. At first the strange fossil, a rib bone with four bony spikes directly attached to it, was thought to be a forgery, but CT analysis proved the fossil to be genuine. It comes from the third subunit of the El Mers Group from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The fossil is estimated to be between 168 and 163 million years old (Bathonian to Callovian stages of the Middle Jurassic).

In recent times, Morocco has provided some tantalising glimpses into the potential wealth of armoured dinosaurs that await discovery. The Ankylosauria and Stegosauria form a clade within the bird-hipped dinosaurs (Ornithischia), the Eurypoda, which has been defined to include famous armoured dinosaurs Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus and their most recent, common ancestor and all its descendants. Eurypoda fossils are mostly confined to Laurasia, fossils from the continents that made up Gondwana (essentially Africa, South America, Antarctica, India, Madagascar and Australia), are rare.

In 2019, Everything Dinosaur reported upon the discovery of the oldest stegosaur known from northern Africa, the dinosaur named Adratiklit boulahfa is also the oldest stegosaur described to date and it was roughly contemporaneous with Spicomellus.

To read our blog post on Adratiklit boulahfa: North Africa’s First Stegosaur.

The research team behind the paper on Adratiklit boulahfa were also responsible for much of the work behind the analysis of the rib bone fossil (specimen number NHMUK PV R37412), that led to the naming and scientific description of Spicomellus.

Identifying a Fossil as an Ankylosaur Fossil

Once the fossil had been established as genuine, the research team including Dr Susannah Maidment (London Natural History Museum), who specialises in studying ornithischian dinosaurs, were able to confirm that the specimen represented a rib bone from a stegosaur or an ankylosaur. Rib bones in most armoured dinosaurs tend to show a distinctive “t-shape” in cross section. Histological analysis of the composition of the bone matrix of the spikes demonstrated that their structure was reminiscent of an ankylosaur and therefore the scientists were able to confidently assign this specimen to the Ankylosauria.

"T-shaped" Rib of Spicomellus
The rib bone in cross-section shows a “t-shape” which is distinctive to the Stegosauria and the Ankylosauria. Histological study of the bone structure in the spikes identified that this bone was typical of an ankylosaur, allowing the research team to confidently assign the fossil to an ankylosaur. Picture credit: London Natural History Museum.

As for what Spicomellus might have looked like, any life reconstructions will have to be highly speculative, although based on comparisons with the ribs of more complete ankylosaur specimens the research team estimate that this individual Spicomellus was around three metres in length.

No Fossil Like This Ever Found Before

The rib with spiked, dermal armour fused to its top surface is unique. Nothing like this has ever been found before. This anatomical trait is not found in living or extinct vertebrates. Ankylosaurs tend to have their armour embedded into their skin and not directly attached to their bones. Spicomellus would have been less mobile and flexible as a result of its unique anatomy. Palaeontologists hope to return to northern Morocco and find more fossils to help them build up a better picture of this bizarre, armoured dinosaur.

Described as a basal ankylosaur, Spicomellus may represent an evolutionary experiment as armoured dinosaurs evolved probably as a result of predation pressure (megalosaurids are also known from the El Mers Group). How long these armour-attached-to-bone ankylosaurs persisted and how successful this group was remains unknown.

Implications for Armoured Dinosaur Evolution and Stegosaur Extinction

The discovery of Spicomellus suggests that we have a lot more to learn about the Eurypoda and that there probably are many more important but unknown fossil specimens of armoured dinosaurs awaiting discovery in the continents that made up Gondwana.

Spicomellus helps to fill a gap in the evolution of the Ankylosauria (Nodosauridae and Ankylosauridae). In addition, its discovery challenges current thinking about the demise of the Stegosauria. Stegosaur fossils are more common in Jurassic rocks than ankylosaur fossils are. In Cretaceous sediments, stegosaur specimens become increasingly rare. It had been thought that the rise of the Ankylosauria played a role in the eventual demise and extinction of the Stegosauria. However, with the discovery of Spicomellus, palaeontologists now know that stegosaurs and ankylosaurs co-existed for around 20 million years. The extinction of the Stegosauria remains a mystery, Spicomellus suggests that the evolution of different types of armoured dinosaur may only have played a limited role in their extinction.

The basal ankylosaur Spicomellus changes views on the evolutionary history of the Ankylosauria
The discovery of Spicomellus afer changes dramatically the temporal phylogeny of the Ankylosauria. Picture credit: Zheng et al with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur.

The scientific paper: “Bizarre dermal armour suggests the first African ankylosaur” by Susannah C. R. Maidment, Sarah J. Strachan, Driss Ouarhache, Torsten M. Scheyer, Emily E. Brown, Vincent Fernandez, Zerina Johanson, Thomas J. Raven and Paul M. Barrett published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

23 09, 2021

PNSO Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus Reviewed

By | September 23rd, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Dinosaur model fan and collector William sent into Everything Dinosaur his review of the PNSO “Chuanzi” the Tarbosaurus dinosaur model that he had recently purchased.

PNSO Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus product packaging
The product packaging for the new PNSO Tarbosaurus dinosaur replica.

PNSO Tarbosaurus Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Our thanks to William for providing us with such a detailed and comprehensive dinosaur model review.

Here is William’s review of “Chuanzi” the Tarbosaurus:

PNSO 2021 Tarbosaurus bataar “Chuanzi”.
1/32 -1/38 Scale Model.
Length: 12 inches.
Height: 3.5 inches.
Box: Standard white PNSO issue with the acrylic stand and a beautiful booklet.

PNSO Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus dinosaur model (view of the head)
A close-up view of the head of the new for 2021 PNSO “Chuanzi” the Tarbosaurus dinosaur model.

Examining the Head and Jaws of the Tarbosaurus Figure

William begins his review by focusing on the head and the articulated jaws. He comments that although the model sports a typical Tyrannosaurinae head, the sculpt is no clone of a Tyrannosaurus rex model. Instead, the Tarbosaurus has a longer snout and the skull is more elongated. William approves of this commenting:

“He’s his own Tarbo not a Rexy and I like him.”

The detailed scaling on the head especially around the orbital fenestrae and the nasal ridge is praised. The reviewer states that no shrink wrapping of the skull is to be found and the articulated jaws have been sculpted to the high standards expected of the manufacturer (PNSO). William explains that the inside of the mouth has been well-painted and compliments the near white teeth for showing some staining on their lower portions, speculating that this represents dried blood.

PNSO Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus dinosaur model
The PNSO “Chuanzi” the Tarbosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated lower jaw.

Leading on to the Limbs

William comments that “Chuanzi” has the smallest forelimbs of all the Tyrannosaurinae and postulates that they may have played a role in courtship and bonding between individuals. The perfectly sculpted shoulder muscles are highlighted and the fine detail of the two-fingered hands commented upon.

William stated:

“High hips with very powerful hip muscles – just marvellous.”

Model collectors and other reviewers have commented upon the robust and heavy-set appearance of this model, perhaps a nod towards the Asian affinity of this super-sized theropod from a Chinese manufacturer, but for William, whilst he comments on the heft and girth of the figure he saves his highest praise for the limbs, stating:

“In my humble opinion, the greatest set of upper and lower limbs that I have ever seen on any model.”

That Big, Bold Body

The bulky appearance of the Tarbosaurus replica is praised. William exclaims that this was one carnivorous dinosaur that did not diet. He suggests the figure gives the impression that this theropod has had a very good meal, perhaps it has recently dined upon a Nemegtosaurus, a titanosaur which was contemporaneous with Tarbosaurus.

PNSO Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus in anterior view
PNSO Prehistoric Dinosaur Models: 51 “Chuanzi” the Tarbosaurus

Commenting on the Paint Scheme and Colouration

William begins his review of the paint scheme by pointing out the black wash that runs from the tip of the snout and along both the upper and lower jaws. It contrasts with the yellow nasal crests and the pale-yellow sclera of the eyes. The upper portions of the body are painted grey, reminiscent of today’s large terrestrial land mammals such as elephants and rhinos. The underside of the body and the throat area are more muted with faded browns and dun colours whilst the claws are black.

William added:

“He [Tarbosaurus] may not be striped or dappled but his paint app gives him the air of a true apex predator.”

Discovery and History

In common with earlier reviews, William concludes his comments on the PNSO figure by providing some information about Tarbosaurus.

Temporal range: Late Cretaceous (Campanian-Maastrichtian) 70 million years ago.
Tarbosaurus bataar “Awesome Lizard”
Estimates of 33 to 39 feet in length and weighing 4 to 5 tons.

A combined Soviet-Mongolian expedition in 1946 was mounted into the Gobi Desert in the Province of Ömnögovi. Skull material and some vertebrae were recovered. It was not until 1955 that Russian palaeontologist Evgeny Maleev first described and named the holotype of Tyrannosaurus bataar believing this Asian theropod to be closely related to Tyrannosaurus rex. Fossils from the Nemegt Formation were assigned to a number of theropods by Maleev, for example Tarbosaurus efremovi, Gorgosaurus lancinator and Gorgosaurus novojilovi, although these are now thought to represent different growth stages of T. bataar (from A. K. Rozhdestvensky, 1965).

William explained that “Chuanzi” would have stalked and hunted a varied array of herbivorous dinosaurs. Palaeontologists have speculated that this large theropod would have also scavenged carcases.

Summarising his review William added:

“Chuanzi is the only Tarbosaurus out there that is not just a standard T. rex renamed. Regarding purchasing him, I never thought twice about buying the “Incredible Bulk”, he is more than great, he’s awesome. If you miss out on him you know you will regret it later, so strengthen your shelves and own him.”

Everything Dinosaur would like to thank William for his PNSO model reviews.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animals in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

21 09, 2021

The First Record of a Rhamphorhynchid Pterosaur from Gondwana

By | September 21st, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fragmentary fossils collected from a location in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile have been assigned to a long-tailed pterosaur, specifically a rhamphorhynchid, this is the first time that evidence for this type of flying reptile has been found in Gondwana and the fossils, which are around 160 million years old, makes this specimen the oldest known pterosaur from Chile.

Rhamphorhynchid from Chile
A life reconstruction of the rhamphorhynchid pterosaur from northern Chile. Several types of marine reptile have also been recorded from these deposits. Picture credit: Universidad de Chile.

The Cerro Campamento Formation

The fossil material, consisting of a left humerus (thigh bone), parts of the wing finger and a possible dorsal vertebra, was collected in 2009 from the fossil-bearing Cerro Campamento Formation near the locality of Cerritos Bayos in northern Chile. The bones were all found in the same block and their relative size has led the researchers to believe that all the bones came from a single individual.

The strata in this area have yielded abundant ammonite remains as well as the fossils of numerous marine reptiles and prehistoric fish. Based on the associated ammonite specimens found at this location, the research team are confident that that the pterosaur remains date from the middle Oxfordian age of the Jurassic.

Rhamphorhynchid left humerus and line drawings
Views of the left humerus (MUHNCAL.20165) identified as a fossil bone from a rhamphorhynchid pterosaur with accompanying line drawings. Picture credit: Universidad de Chile.

Assigning the Fossils to the Rhamphorhynchidae

Although the remains represent a small proportion of the total skeleton their three-dimensional preservation permitted the research team to confidently assign the material to the Rhamphorhynchidae.

The humerus has a hatchet-shaped deltopectoral crest, proximally positioned, and its shaft is markedly anteriorly curved, which are characteristic features of the Rhamphorhynchidae. Furthermore, the presence of a groove that runs along the caudal surface of the phalanx, being flanked by two asymmetric crests, is a distinctive feature of the clade Rhamphorhynchinae. These traits provide evidence for an affinity to the Rhamphorhynchidae family and as such this reinforces the idea that these types of long-tailed pterosaurs were the first pterosaurs to achieve a relatively global distribution. Writing in the academic journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, the researchers who included Jhonatan Alarcón-Muñoz from the Universidad de Chile, assert that the specimen (MUHNCAL.20165), represents the first evidence of this group found to date in Gondwana. They are also the oldest pterosaur fossils to have been described from Chile.

Although it is difficult to estimate the size of the animal, comparisons with the well-known Rhamphorhynchus, most closely associated with the Solnhofen limestone deposits of Bavaria, (southern Germany), indicate that the Chilean pterosaur was large for a rhamphorhynchid. A wingspan in excess of 1.5 to 2 metres has been suggested.

Rhamphorhynchid pterosaur ife reconstruction.
A life reconstruction of a typical rhamphorhynchid pterosaur. The fossil remains from Chile are the first, definitive evidence for this type of pterosaur in Gondwana. Picture credit: Universidad de Chile.

The Caribbean Corridor

Rhamphorhynchid fossils are relatively rare from the Middle Jurassic, but they have been widely reported from Upper Jurassic strata associated with Laurasia. The Chile specimen was found in marine sediments that were deposited at the bottom of a shallow sea, most other rhamphorhynchid fossils are also found in rocks that represent shallow sea, near coastal environments. Some Rhamphorhynchus fossils (R. muensteri) from Solnhofen preserve fish remains as stomach contents and this supports the idea that these pterosaurs were piscivores and lived in coastal habitats.

During the Oxfordian, internal seaways such as the Caribbean corridor and the Trans-Erythrean corridor provided similar coastal environments running down and between Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south. The researchers propose that the Caribbean corridor acted as a dispersal route permitting the spread of flying reptiles such as rhamphorhynchids. They postulate that this corridor helps to explain the faunal similarities amongst marine vertebrates found in Germany, the UK, Cuba and South America during the Oxfordian faunal stage.

Rhamphorhynchid dispersal during the Late Jurassic.
The shape of the world’s landmasses during the Oxfordian of the Jurassic. The dashed line represents the hypothetical route that would have allowed the dispersal of marine vertebrates and invertebrates between Tethys and South America during the Late Jurassic. Picture credit: Universidad de Chile.

Map Key

The circle represents the Chile rhamphorhynchid, whilst the square indicates the location of two rhamphorhynchids from Cuba (Cacibupteryx caribensis and Nesodactylus hesperius), the star shape highlights these types of pterosaur discoveries associated with southern England whilst the triangle shows the location of Qinglongopterus guoi from the Tiaojishan Formation of China.

It is likely that more pterosaur fossils will be found in northern Chile. The prospect of further fossil discoveries will hopefully permit palaeontologists to erect a new genus to describe this South American rhamphorhynchid material.

The scientific paper: “First record of a Late Jurassic rhamphorhynchine pterosaur from Gondwana” by J. Alarcón-Muñoz, R. A. Otero, S. Soto-Acuña, A. O. Vargas, J. Rojas and O. Rojas published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

20 09, 2021

Plotting the Fauna of Late Cretaceous Patagonia

By | September 20th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Scientists now know that during the Late Cretaceous (Campanian to Maastrichtian), southern Patagonia was home to ankylosaurs and that predatory abelisaurids competed with terrestrial crocodyliforms when it came to scavenging the carcases of giant Titanosaurs.

Researcher have examined fossilised teeth and osteoderms (bony plates and scales embedded in skin) collected from a small area of Upper Cretaceous deposits from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation in Santa Cruz province and used these fossils to piece together an archosaur dominated palaeocommunity.

Cerra Fortaleza Formation dinosaurs and peirosaurids.
The peirosaurid and dinosaur dominated ecosystem as indicated by fossils from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation (Late Cretaceous of Patagonia). Picture credit: J. González.

Teeth from Abelisaurids, Titanosaurs and Ankylosaurs

The dinosaur fauna of the Cerro Fortaleza Formation is very poorly known with only a few dinosaurs named and described, such as the giant titanosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani. However, researchers who included scientists affiliated to CONICET as well as a researcher from Seoul National University (South Korea), have published a paper in the on-line, open access journal PLOS One reporting on the discovery of several very worn and broken teeth that along with fossil osteoderms have enabled the research team to reconstruct the fauna that once roamed this ancient landscape.

Location map showing the provenance of the teeth and osteoderms (Cerro Fortaleza Formation).
Location map (A) showing the provenance of the teeth and osteoderms (Cerro Fortaleza Formation). Region between Viedma and Argentino lakes showing the Cerro Fortaleza Formation (red colour) outcropping at both sides of La Leona river. The dinosaur-fossil-bearing Chorrillo Formation is indicated in green (B). Photograph of the dig site (C) the red arrow marks the level from where the osteoderms and teeth were collected. Picture credit: Paulina-Carabajal.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog post about the discovery of the huge titanosaur Dreadnoughtus: A Little Detail on a Big Dinosaur – Dreadnoughtus.

The Cerro Fortaleza and Chorrillo Formations

Lying some 100 miles (160 kilometres) to the south of the Cerro Fortaleza Formation exposures that yielded the teeth and osteoderm fossils, the Chorrillo Formation is also regarded as an important source of dinosaur fossils. Palaeontologists are not sure of the temporal relationship between these dinosaur-fossil-bearing units, although it has been postulated that the Chorrillo Formation is slightly older. Both units have provided evidence of titanosaurs, theropods and ornithopods, but up to now only the Chorrillo Formation had provided evidence of ankylosaurs. Whilst working at the Cerro Fortaleza locality in December 2016, field team members discovered several isolated osteoderms and a single, very worn tooth thus confirming the presence of armoured dinosaurs in the Cerro Fortaleza Formation too.

Whilst it is difficult to identify a specific type of ankylosaur from just skin scales and a single tooth, the researchers postulate that these fossils represent a nodosaurid.

Ankylosaur osteoderms from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation
Views of various ankylosaur osteoderms collected from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation. These bony scales along with an ankylosaur tooth confirm the presence of armoured dinosaurs in this locality. Note scale bars equal 1 mm. Picture credit: Paulina-Carabajal et al.

The Dinosaurs of the Cerro Fortaleza Formation

The researchers were able to confirm the presence of a large abelisaurid theropod and an ankylosaur based on the fossil teeth. Very worn and broken titanosaur spp. teeth were also recorded. The types of dinosaurs that lived in the area represented by the Cerro Fortaleza Formation were similar to those reported from the Chorrillo Formation, although the two populations were very probably made up of different genera.

Intriguingly, evidence of hadrosaurs has been reported from the Chorrillo Formation, as yet no fossils that could be assigned to the Hadrosauridae have been reported from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation.

Dinosaur teeth from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation (Argentina)
Dinosaur teeth from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation. Partial tooth assigned to an abelisaurid theropod (A-C). Partial tooth of an unidentified archosaur (D). Titanosauria partial tooth (E-F) and tooth assigned to an Ankylosaur (G-I). Note scale bars equal 1 mm (except A-B equals 5 mm). Picture credit: Paulina-Carabajal et al.

Crocodyliforms Competing with Carnivorous Dinosaurs

In addition to the dinosaur fossils, the researchers found a total of 9 broken teeth which they assigned to the Peirosauridae family. Peirosaurids are an extinct group of terrestrial crocodyliforms, not closely related to modern crocodilians and seemingly confined to Gondwana. Their upright gait and different shaped teeth (heterodont teeth) indicate that these archosaurs may have had a more varied diet than the carnivorous dinosaurs. Most of the fossils found represent peirosaurid teeth (75%) and this suggests that there were more crocodyliforms present in the area than dinosaurs. The peirosaurid teeth represent the most southerly distribution of this type of archosaur recorded to date and since the teeth do not match those of Colhuehuapisuchus lunai which is known from Chubut Province to the north, this suggests at least two taxa of peirosaurids present in southern Patagonia during the Late Cretaceous.

Peirosaurid teeth from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation.
Examples of peirosaurid teeth from the Cerro Fortaleza Formation. Small fossils such as teeth and dermal armour have enabled palaeontologists to piece together the faunal composition of southern Argentina during the Late Cretaceous. Theropod dinosaurs (abelisaurids) would have competed with peirosaurid mesoeucrocodylians over food, but little can be deduced about food chain roles with regards to apex and secondary predators. Picture credit: Paulina-Carabajal et al.

The ankylosaur fossils from Cerro Fortaleza and Chorrillo formations, indicate that armoured dinosaurs lived in the region of southern South America during the Late Cretaceous. These fossils although fragmentary help to fill a gap in the fossil record between Antarctica and central-northern Patagonia. Thanks to this research the Late Cretaceous dinosaur record in southern South America has been improved.

The scientific paper: “A Late Cretaceous dinosaur and crocodyliform faunal association–based on isolate teeth and osteoderms–at Cerro Fortaleza Formation (Campanian-Maastrichtian) type locality, Santa Cruz, Argentina” by Ariana Paulina-Carabajal, Francisco T. Barrios, Ariel H. Méndez, Ignacio A. Cerda and Yuong-Nam Lee published in PLOS One.

19 09, 2021

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus Reviewed

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

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

PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus
PNSO Gamba the Carcharodontosaurus dinosaur model.

Carcharodontosaurus Reviewed

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

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

Examining the Head and Jaws

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

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

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

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

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

Looking at the Dinosaur’s Limbs

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

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

The Body of “Gamba” Scrutinised

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

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

Commenting on the Paint Scheme

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

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

Discovery and History

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

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

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

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

Summarising his thoughts on the Carcharodontosaurinae, William exclaimed:

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

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

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

18 09, 2021

PNSO to Add a Tylosaurus

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

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

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

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

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

Tylosaurus Marine Reptile Model

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

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

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

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

Flippers and Tail

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

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

Pterygoid Teeth

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

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

Transparent Support Stands

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

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

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

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

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