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Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

7 10, 2020

Little Juravenator Had Sensory Scales on its Tail

By | October 7th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Juravenator and a “Tale” of Sensory Scales

Researchers writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, have revealed how dinosaurs may have made sense of their surroundings using special sensory nodes embedded in the scales on their skin.  A new paper focusing on the small, theropod Juravenator starki from the Torleite Formation (upper Kimmeridgian), Solnhofen, Bavaria, (Germany), reports on the discovery of dermal structures along the side of the dinosaur’s tail resembling the integumentary sense organs found in extant crocodiles.

Getting a Sense of Dinosaur Senses

Identifying integumentary sense organs in the Juravenator holotype specimen.

Integumentary sense organs identified in the Juravenator starki holotype.  The black arrow points to the sensory organ, which are found on polygonal scales covering the lower part of the tail

Picture Credit: Bell et al Current Biology with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

Juravenator starki

Once thought to be a close relative of the contemporary Compsognathus longipes, Juravenator is known from a single, beautifully preserved fossil specimen (JME Sch 200), found in a limestone quarry in 1998.  Although squashed flat, the specimen is mostly articulated and complete with only some caudal vertebrae missing.  It is a juvenile and as such, placing it within the Theropoda has proved problematic.  The taxonomic position is uncertain, but it has been suggested that it could represent a basal member of the Coelurosauria or perhaps a primitive member of the Maniraptora.

The genus name is derived from the Bavarian Jura mountains and “venator” – Latin for “hunter”.  The species (trivial) name honours the Stark family who owned the quarry where the sixty-centimetre-long dinosaur fossil was discovered.

Soft tissue representing body scales have been identified associated with the lower leg bones and between the 8th and 22nd caudal vertebrae.  Other soft tissue structures have been found probably representing preserved tendons and ligaments.  It is these dermal structures that have been the centre of this new study.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Jurassic Theropod Juravenator starki

Juravenator starki illustrated.

An illustration of the theropod Juravenator starki.

Picture Credit: Jake Baardse

Specialised Scales

Scientists are aware that early in the evolution of the first truly terrestrial tetrapods epidermal scales evolved to provide an effective barrier against ultraviolet radiation and to prevent excessive water loss.  This evolutionary development meant that stem reptiles were no longer constrained by having to stay close to freshwater like their amphibian ancestors.  Epidermal scales in extant reptiles are not simple, inert structures but can perform a suite of functions and assist in how the animal senses its environment.

Researchers Dr Phil Bell (University of New England) in Armidale, Australia along with his colleague Dr Christophe Hendrickx, from the Unidad Ejecutora Lillo in San Miguel de Tucumán, (Argentina), both specialists in dinosaur dermatology, identified a unique scale type with distinctive, prominent circular nodes on the preserved integumentary covering on the tail of Juravenator. They interpret these raised nodes as integumentary sense organs, analogous to those found today in living crocodilians.

Dr Bell commented:

“Few people pay much attention to dinosaur skin, because it is assumed that they are just big, scaly reptiles.  But when I looked closely at the scales on the side of the tail, I kept finding these little ring-like features that didn’t make sense; they were certainly unlike other dinosaur scales.”

Integumentary Sense Organs Identified in a Dinosaur

Crocodilian integumentary sense organs.

Crocodilian integumentary sense organs, circular objects visible on the dermal scales.

Picture Credit: Bell et al Current Biology

The surprising presence of such structures suggests the tail of Juravenator played a role in how this dinosaur sensed the world around it.  This is the first direct evidence of such structures being present on the skin of a dinosaur.

The shape and the orientation of the teeth, especially those in the upper jaw suggest Juravenator ate fish (piscivore).  During the Late Jurassic, this part of Europe was covered by a warm, tropical, shallow sea with numerous small islands.  This archipelago was home to a number of dinosaurs including the famous “urvogel” Archaeopteryx.  As crocodiles are aquatic predators, the research team speculate that Juravenator may have been an aquatic hunter too.  Alligators have integumentary sense organs on their snout, whereas crocodiles have these special scales all over their body including the tail.  These sensory nodes help these reptiles to detect temperature changes, chemical signals in the water as well as having tactile properties.  Although the entire integumentary covering of Juravenator is unknown, this lithe dinosaur could have submerged its tail to help it detect the movement of prey underwater.

To read an article about the sense of smell in the Dinosauria: Don’t Get Sniffy About Dinosaur Sense of Smell.

The scientific paper: “Crocodile-like sensory scales in a Late Jurassic theropod dinosaur” by Phil R. Bell and Christophe Hendrickx published in Current Biology.

6 10, 2020

Rebor T. rex Carcass “Bites the Dust” Reviewed

By | October 6th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

A Video Review of the Rebor T. rex Carcass Models “Bites the Dust”

With the recent arrival of the excellent Rebor Tyrannosaurus rex carcass models “Bites the Dust”, team members at Everything Dinosaur set about producing a video review of these 1:35 scale replicas and providing a guide to some of the science behind cannibalism in tyrannosaurs.  The YouTube video we subsequently created reviews both “plain” and “jungle” colour variants as well as discussing intraspecific competition, pathology on tyrannosaur fossils and examines the injuries preserved on two famous T. rex fossil specimens.

Everything Dinosaur’s Review of the Rebor T. rex Carcass Models “Bites the Dust”

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor replica range including the Rebor Tyrannosaurus rex models: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

Pointing out the Pathology

As well as providing potential purchasers of a figure the opportunity to have a really good look at the model, at Everything Dinosaur, we try and build in a little bit of the science behind the study of prehistoric animals into our YouTube video reviews.  For example, in this video review we examine the evidence which suggests that tyrannosaurs engaged in face biting and that they would have competed with each other for finite resources such as hunting grounds, access to water and territory.  Our video review provides details of the injuries identified on two famous T. rex fossil specimens, interpreted as evidence of fights between members of this species.  We use our video review of the two “Bites the Dust” carcasses to point out some of the pathology associated with Tyrannosaurus rex fossil bones.

Pointing Out the Pathology on a Tyrannosaurus rex Carcass

The pathology on a T. rex carcass (Rebor "Bites the Dust").

Pointing out the pathology on a T. rex carcass.  The Rebor T. rex carcass “Bites the Dust” in the plain colour scheme is used to highlight the injuries depicted on the corpse.  Evidence of a brutal fight between two apex predators.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Using Rebor T. rex Models to Explain Intraspecific Competition

Building upon our objective of making videos that inform and educate, competition between members of the same species is examined and we look at the evidence that suggests that intraspecific competition, occurred in tyrannosaurs.  We utilise Rebor dinosaur models to illustrate how animals of the same species might come into conflict with each other.  The Rebor T. rex models, known as the “Killer Queen” figures make an appearance in the video review and the narrator comments on the similarity in the colour schemes between the “Bites the Dust” tyrannosaurs and the “Killer Queen” models.

Using Rebor Replicas to Illustrate Intraspecific Competition

Rebor T. rex models helping to illustrate intraspecific competition.

Using Rebor T. rex replicas to discuss the biological concept of intraspecific competition. Animals of the same species competing with each other for finite resources such as food and territory.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Find Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube video channel here: Our YouTube Channel (we recommend that you subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube).

5 10, 2020

Papo Stygimoloch Dinosaur Model

By | October 5th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The Papo Stygimoloch Dinosaur Model

In stock at Everything Dinosaur is the last dinosaur model to be introduced by the French figure and replica manufacturer Papo for 2020, the Papo Stygimoloch.  This model represents a genus of bone-headed dinosaur that was formally named and described back in 1983 (Galton and Sues), from very fragmentary fossils associated with the Hell Creek Formation of North America.

The New for 2020 Papo Stygimoloch Dinosaur Model

New for 2020 Papo Stygimoloch model.

The new for 2020 Papo Stygimoloch dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Stygimoloch spiniferNomen dubium

The fragmentary remains that led to the erection of this genus included an unusual, piece of a left squamosal (bone from the top part of the back of the skull).  This partial squamosal was ornamented by “three or four massive horn cores”.  In their scientific paper describing S. spinifer, Galton and Sues referred other fragmentary pieces to this new genus including a skull bone that had previously thought to have come from a Triceratops.

As many pachycephalosaurs have been described based on very poorly preserved and extremely fragmentary remains this has led to the original interpretations being challenged by other academics.  When dealing with small pieces of bone, a more cautious approach is usually taken, palaeontologists being all too aware of founding a new genus on a paucity of fossil remains.

Stygimoloch in Everything Dinosaur’s Studio

The Papo Stygimoloch dinosaur model.

Displaying those prominent spikes on the back of the skull – Stygimoloch spinifer.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A number of reviews of the taxonomy and phylogeny of the pachycephalosaurs have taken place.  Confusion has arisen as it is thought that these dinosaurs changed radically in appearance as they grew up and matured.  Many palaeontologists regard Stygimoloch as a Nomen dubium, a genus of dinosaur whose validity is doubted.  It is thought that the fossils associated with S. spinifer represent material from juvenile Pachycephalosaurus specimens (Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis).

The Papo Stygimoloch figure measures approximately thirteen centimetres long and it stands a little over eight centimetres high.

Popular Due to the Film “Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom”

With such spectacular head gear, Stygimoloch continues to be a firm favourite amongst model collectors and fans of the Dinosauria.  Stygimoloch found a whole generation of new admirers when a pachycephalosaur resembling it made a dramatic appearance in the 2018 film release “Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom”.  This highly successful film grossed more than $1.3 billion USD in cinema ticket sales worldwide.  The film features a short scene in which a pachycephalosaur breaks down a wall, thus permitting the main protagonists of the film, Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), to escape their captors.

To purchase the Papo Stygimoloch dinosaur model and the rest of the Papo model range: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

4 10, 2020

Predatory Tactics of Prehistoric Felids

By | October 4th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Predatory Tactics of Prehistoric Felids

In the summer, Everything Dinosaur was contacted by Kate from Nottingham University who was conducting research into the predatory habits of extinct felids.  Our team members are contacted quite frequently by academics, museum staff and students requesting our advice and guidance.  Kate wanted to know whether there were any replicas available that could represent Pseudaelurus, a genus of prehistoric cat that was both geographically and temporally widely distributed.  In addition, our advice was sought over finding suitable models of Smilodon species, specifically S. fatalis, S. gracilis and S. populator.

Smilodon Ambush – Creeping Up on a Young Mammoth

Smilodon ambushes a Woolly Mammoth calf.

Everything Dinosaur was asked about potential predator/prey interactions with specific reference to Smilodon.  A beautifully composed diorama depicting a hunting strategy of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon.

Picture Credit: Kate/Nottingham University

Everything Dinosaur has been involved in a number of prehistoric mammal themed projects recently.  Many museums around the world may have been closed due to the current pandemic but this has permitted exhibition organisers and curators the opportunity to review and revamp some of their public displays.  For example, Everything Dinosaur was asked to supply replicas of several prehistoric elephants including Deinotherium and Palaeoloxodon antiquus (Straight-tusked elephant), to a German natural history museum as part of a display featuring the teeth of extinct members of the Proboscidae.

Our work is certainly diverse, no two days are the same.

Having worked with several academics previously on enigmatic sabre-toothed predators, including gorgonopsids, we were able to advise Kate on which prehistoric animal models could be used to differentiate between the various species and sub-species of Smilodon.

As part of her project work, Kate created some beautiful dioramas using these figures in a bid to replicate hunting behaviours.

A Pair of Smilodon Tackle a Prehistoric Horse

A Smilodon diorama.

Smilodon hunting.  As apex predators these powerful animals would have preyed on a variety of animals including prehistoric horses, if they could get close enough to ambush them.

Picture Credit: Kate Nottingham University

Commenting upon the assistance received from Everything Dinosaur, Kate stated:

“Thank you for your help and advice with the Smilodon models and prey species.  I had a lot of fun using them in my final project.”

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We get asked to work on all kinds of prehistoric animal related activities supplying models and figures to museums and other educational bodies all over the world.  The replicas that we supply have proved extremely useful in helping to visualise ancient, prehistoric landscapes and to inform and educate visitors.”

3 10, 2020

Naked Pterosaurs – No Protofeathers on Pterosaurs

By | October 3rd, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

New Study Refutes the Idea of Protofeathers in the Pterosauria

A newly published study casts doubt on the idea that members of the Pterosauria had an integumentary covering of insulating protofeathers.  Professor David Martill (University of Portsmouth), in collaboration with fellow flying reptile expert Dr David Unwin (University of Leicester), have reviewed the evidence and they propose that these vertebrates essentially lacked a feathery covering or indeed pycnofibres.

This research contradicts and refutes an earlier study published in the academic journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution” in 2018.

To read our article about the 2018 paper: Are the Feathers About to Fly in the Pterosauria?

Pterosaurs Uncovered – Lacking an Integumentary Covering

No protofeathers in the Pterosauria.

Naked pterosaurs – British researchers refute the idea of protofeathers in the Pterosauria.

Picture Credit: Megan Jacobs (University of Portsmouth)

Feather-like Branching Filaments

Dr Unwin and Professor Martill have challenged the findings of a research paper that examined the fossilised remains of two anurognathid pterosaurs which concluded that some of the structures preserved in association with the fossil bones were pycnofibres with characteristic features of feathers including non-vaned grouped filaments and bilaterally branched filaments.  The 2018 paper implied that if pterosaurs as well as dinosaurs had feather-like body coverings, then this type of integumentary covering was deeply rooted in the Archosauria.  This would suggest that the common ancestor of both the Pterosauria and the Dinosauria evolved this type of body covering.

If this interpretation of the fossil evidence is correct, then the very first feather-like elements evolved at least eighty million years earlier than currently thought.  It would also suggest that all dinosaurs started out with feathers, or protofeathers but some groups, such as the Sauropoda, subsequently lost them again, the complete opposite of currently accepted theory.

Unwin and Martill challenge the interpretation of the material that featured in the 2018 paper.  The propose that tiny, hair-like filaments reported by Yang et al (2018), are not protofeathers at all but tough fibres which form part of the internal structure of the pterosaur’s wing membrane, and that the “branching” effect may simply be the result of these fibres decaying and unravelling.

Dr Unwin from the University of Leicester’s Centre for Palaeobiology Research commented:

“The idea of feathered pterosaurs goes back to the nineteenth century but the fossil evidence was then and still is, very weak.  Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence – we have the former, not the latter.”

Feather-like Filaments in Pterosaur Fossils

Different types of filaments associated with pterosaur fossils.

Close-up views of different types of feather-like filaments identified in pterosaur fossils.

Picture Credit: Yang, Jiang, McNamara et al

Highlighting the difficulties of interpretating filament-like structures, Professor Martill commented that either way, palaeontologists have to take care when considering theories related to the Pterosauria, they have no extant equivalents so the reliance of fossil material is perhaps greater when compared to the Dinosauria with their close relatives the birds still very much with us.

Professor Martill observed:

“If they really did have feathers, how did that make them look and did they exhibit the same fantastic variety of colours exhibited by birds.  And if they didn’t have feathers, then how did they keep warm at night, what limits did this have on their geographic range, did they stay away from colder northern climes as most reptiles do today.  And how did they thermoregulate?  The clues are so cryptic, that we are still a long way from working out just how these amazing animals worked”.

The scientific paper: “No protofeathers on pterosaurs” by David M. Unwin and David M. Martill published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

2 10, 2020

That Famous Single Feather Fossil – Probably Archaeopteryx

By | October 2nd, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Famous Feather Fossil – Probably Represents a Feather from Archaeopteryx

The feathers are flying when it comes to an iconic fossil, arguably one of the most significant in any vertebrate palaeontology collection – a single, carbonised feather from the Solnhofen area of southern Germany.

Described in 1861, this isolated feather specimen is regarded as the first fossil feather known to science.  Having been scientifically studied just two years after the publication of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species”, the “Urfeder” – first feather in German, a modern-looking bird feather preserved in lagoonal sediments laid down around 150 million years ago, sent shock waves around the scientific community when it was first described.

The Iconic Feather Fossil – Is this from the “Urvogel” (Archaeopteryx lithographica)?

The Berlin feather - preserved as a carbonised film.

The slab from the Berlin museum showing the iconic feather, so long associated with Archaeopteryx and recently thought to have come from a dinosaur.  New research suggests this is a feather from Archaeopteryx.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Application of Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence

Ever since its discovery, scientists have debated what sort of creature this single feather came from.  In February 2019, Everything Dinosaur reported on research conducted by a team of international scientists that applied a sophisticated imaging method called Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) to reveal previously unseen details in a forensic examination of both the slab and the counter slab of the fossil feather.  The team, which included Dr Michael Pittman (University of Hong Kong), proposed that the feather did not come from the famous “first bird”, but instead from an unknown species of dinosaur that co-existed with Archaeopteryx.

To read our blog post from February 2019, that disputed the claim that this specimen represented a feather from an Archaeopteryx: Iconic Feather Did Not Belong to Archaeopteryx.

New Study Re-affirms the Archaeopteryx Link

This new research utilised images generated from an electron microscope of the single feather specimen along with detailed examinations of known Archaeopteryx fossils that displayed feather impressions.  The study published in “Scientific Reports” was led by Ryan Carney, an assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of South Florida.  The researchers analysed nine characteristics of the feather, particularly the long quill, which runs up the centre of the specimen (centreline).  This centreline is composed of two parts:

  • Calamus – centreline below the skin (shown in red in the diagram below)
  • Rachis – tubular extension of the calamus above the skin (shown in blue in the diagram below)

The New Study Suggests The Single Feather Fossil is Congruent with Archaeopteryx Feathers

Correcting the centre line from the 2019 scientific paper.

The centre line of the feather has been recalculated to show that the 2019 paper was inaccurate in this regard. The placement of the centreline now falls within the range of selected modern Aves species.

Picture Credit: Carney et al (Scientific Reports)

The photograph (above), shows (a) centrelines of the isolated fossil feather modified from Hermann von Meyer’s original 1861 description and (b) Laser-stimulated fluorescence image modified from the 2019 scientific paper.  In (a) and (b), the centerline comprises the calamus (red) and rachis (blue).  An alignment error made in the earlier (2019) research led to the orientation of the centreline of the fossil feather to be out of the expected range found in extant birds (c).  The final figure (d) has been modified from (c) and shows a more representative range of centreline morphologies associated with modern birds (areas shaded yellow in (c) and (d).

Based on this new research, the scientists conclude that the single feather represents a feather from the left wing called a primary covert.  Primary coverts are small contour feathers that overlay the main wing feathers.  As similar feather characteristics were identified in other Archaeopteryx fossil feathers Carney et al conclude that the 1861 specimen probably does represent a feather lost by the famous “Urvogel” (Archaeopteryx lithographica).

Ryan Carney commented:

“There’s been debate for the past 159 years as to whether or not this feather belongs to the same species as the Archaeopteryx skeletons, as well as where on the body it came from and its original colour.  Through scientific detective work that combined new techniques with old fossils and literature, we were able to finally solve these centuries-old mysteries.”

The Location of the Fossil Finds

In addition, the research team looked at the provenance of the single feather, where it was found in relation to known discoveries of Archaeopteryx remains.  Four Archaeopteryx specimens, including the London specimen which is now the holotype for A. lithographica were found within 2.2 kilometres of the site where the single feather was discovered.  All of these specimens are coeval (having the same age and origin), from the same horizon in the limestone, all linked by biostratigraphy.  The Archaeopteryx material being associated with the same zonal ammonite fossils (Subplanites rueppellianus).

The Provenance of the Single Feather Fossil in Relation to Other Archaeopteryx Specimens

Supporting evidence for the single feather specimen coming from Archaeopteryx.

Map of the Solnhofen-Langenaltheim quarry district, illustrating locations of the isolated feather and the London (type), Maxberg, Munich, and Ottmann & Steil (9th) specimens of Archaeopteryx.

Picture Credit: Carney et al (Scientific Reports)

Detecting and Interpreting Melanosomes on the Feather

The electron microscopy employed permitted the scientists to identify melanosomes (microscopic pigment structures).  They determined that this primary covert feather was coloured matte black.  Other studies have also shown the Archaeopteryx may have been black in colour, with some feathers showing iridescence.

The scientific paper: “Evidence corroborates identity of isolated fossil feather as a wing covert of Archaeopteryx” by Ryan M. Carney, Helmut Tischlinger and Matthew D. Shawkey published in Scientific Reports.

1 10, 2020

“Prehistoric Pets” Puts Palaeontology into Perspective

By | October 1st, 2020|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Pick Up “Prehistoric Pets” for Christmas

One of the problems we encounter when visiting schools to explain to young people about fossils and ancient life, is that children struggle to grasp the concept of deep time.  The idea that Diplodocus roamed the Earth 150 million years ago can be a challenge when you think that the summer holiday seems to last forever.  In addition, it’s tricky trying to convince an eight-year-old that the beautiful, shiny ammonite fossil that they are holding represents the shell of an animal that once swam in the sea.  If only there was a simple way in which we could get the children to see a link between animals alive today and what occurred in past.  A new book entitled “Prehistoric Pets” written by the talented palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax, provides a fresh perspective, bridging the gap between living animals and their ancient ancestors.

The Front Cover of “Prehistoric Pets” by Dr Dean Lomax and Illustrated by Mike Love

The front cover of "Prehistoric Pets".

This colourful and well-written book takes the reader on a journey back in time, linking common household pets with their prehistoric ancestors.

Picture Credit: Templar Books/Everything Dinosaur

Palaeontology Meets Pets

The premise is simple, “Prehistoric Pets” takes the reader on a journey back in time, linking familiar animals with their prehistoric ancestors.  Dr Lomax examines seven of our nation’s favourite pets and uses fossil clues and other evidence to reveal who their animal ancestors were.  Palaeontology meets pets when the evolutionary history of the goldfish is summarised succinctly and with a liberal sprinkling of fishy-themed facts.  The gauntlet is thrown down with readers invited answer to the question “Which prehistoric fish was a Jurassic giant longer than a T. rex?”  The solution presents itself in pop-up form, turn the page and the reader encounters a trio of prehistoric monsters including a huge Leedsichthys (leeds-ick-thus), a fish as long as a humpback whale.

Say Hello to Bubbles the Goldfish and Learn About her Ray-finned Ancestors

A goldfish from the book "Prehistoric Pets".

Did you know that goldfish are social creatures?  The evolutionary history of fish dates back more than 500 million years.

Picture Credit: Templar Books/Everything Dinosaur

Incorporating Scientific Terms to Expand the Vocabulary of Young Readers

The beautiful illustrations by Mike Love compliment the copious detail that has been incorporated into this publication.  The text has been laid out in an easy-to-follow and appealing style and we heartily approve of the mix of vocabulary chosen.   Dean Lomax has balanced the need to keep the text easy to comprehend but also slipped in some scientific terms which children will relish.  For example, Jasper the Corn snake is ectothermic and when the weather turns cold in the southern and east-central USA, where these snakes can be found in the wild, these reptiles brumate!  No need to worry, Dr Lomax has made sure that simple explanations of these scientific terms have been provided.

Learning Fun Facts About Jasper the Corn Snake

Jasper the corn snake features in the book "Prehistoric Pets"

Scientists think that the first snakes evolved in the Jurassic!

 Picture Credit: Templar Books/Everything Dinosaur

Birds and Dinosaurs

Budding young palaeontologists will relish the prospect of learning about Josephoartigasia monesi, (pronounced joseff-oh-arty-ga-see-ah mon-es-ee), a one tonne, giant rodent distantly related to a guinea pig, as well as making the connection between a budgerigar and famous, meat-eating dinosaur Velociraptor.  This is a cleverly constructed publication that will enthral and entertain both young and old readers alike.

A Velociraptor Pops Up!  Velociraptor Demonstrates that Budgerigars are Dinosaurs!

The book "Prehistoric Pets" demonstrates the link between a budgie and a dinosaur!

A non-bird dinosaur Velociraptor.   The book “Prehistoric Pets” demonstrates the link between a budgie and a dinosaur!

Picture Credit: Templar Books/Everything Dinosaur

Published by Templar Books and available in a hardcopy format, this eye-catching and humorous book makes an ideal Christmas gift.

“Prehistoric Pets” by Dr Dean Lomax and illustrated by Mike Love can be purchased here: ADD LINK

Highly recommended!

29 09, 2020

Newly Described Species of Trilobite Named After Doctor Who Actor

By | September 29th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Gravicalymene bakeri – Trilobite Named After Actor Tom Baker

Two Australian scientists have named a new species of trilobite in honour of Tom Baker, the English actor, perhaps most famous for portraying the fourth incarnation of the long-running BBC television series Doctor Who.  The trilobite fossils, preserved in mudstone, come from Ordovician-aged strata in the Gunns Plains area of northern Tasmania.  The new species has been named Gravicalymene bakeri.  This genus had never been found in Australia before, it is known from Europe and North America, so this discovery significantly raises the distribution of this genus.  The discovery reported in the “Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology”, raises the intriguing possibility that around 450 million years ago, oceanic currents could have somehow linked eastern and western hemispheres.

A Photograph of the Newly Described Gravicalymene bakeri with an Explanatory Line Drawing

Gravicalymene bakeri trilobite fossil.

Gravicalymene bakeri trilobite fossil with line drawing.  Note scale bar equals 1 cm.

Picture Credit: Australian Museum

A Serendipitous Discovery

Co-author of the scientific paper Dr Malte Ebach of the University of New South Wales, explained that the first evidence of a new species of trilobite was found by chance.  Whilst driving through the Gunns Plains area, a “call of nature” break was required.  It was whilst on this “call of nature”, that a boulder was spotted that was covered in the remains of these ancient, marine invertebrates.

As for the species name, fellow co-author Dr Patrick Smith, (Australian Museum, Sydney, New South Wales), stated that both he and Dr Ebach wanted to honour Tom Baker as his stint as the fourth doctor had inspired them both to pursue a career in the sciences.

Dr Smith commented:

“I’m not old enough to remember Tom Baker’s episodes which were originally aired in 1974-81.  However, growing up as a teenager when the series re-aired in the early 2000’s, I followed the show religiously and became convinced that a career in science was guaranteed to improve the world.”

Actor Tom Baker (AKA Doctor Who from 1974-1981)

Actor Tom Baker as the Doctor.

Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor Who.  Tom Baker played the Doctor for a total of 172 episodes.

Picture Credit: Archive/Sydney Morning Herald

Actor Tom Baker expressed his delight when he was told the news that he had been honoured by having a Tasmanian trilobite name after him.

The actor who has enjoyed a long career in film, television and radio commented:

“I am delighted to be entitled at last.  I hope the Who World will share my joy.  Will I be allowed to tack “Fossil” on official correspondence?  I hope the Who World will celebrate this fresh honour and will spread the news to those who live in remote places.  Happy days to all the Who fans everywhere.”

The Gravicalymene genus  is known from marine deposits associated with Avalonia, Baltica and Laurentia (Europe and North America) but this is the first time this genus has been reported from eastern Gondwana (Australasia).

The scientific paper: “A new Ordovician (Katian) calymenid, Gravicalymene bakeri sp. nov., from the Gordon Group, Tasmania, Australia” by Patrick M. Smith and Malte C. Ebach published in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.

26 09, 2020

Rebor “Bites the Dust” and New Fossil Skulls

By | September 26th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor “Bites the Dust” and Oddities Fossil Studies Skulls

Everything Dinosaur despatched a special newsletter to its subscribers earlier this month announcing the arrival of the two T. rex carcasses in the Rebor “Bites the Dust” model line.  In addition, the newsletter announced that pre-orders were being taken for the exciting Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies Skulls (Wave 1).  All three, beautiful theropod skulls, Yutyrannus huali, Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus and Carnotaurus sastrei were available to pre-order from Everything Dinosaur at very special prices.

The offers don’t just stop there, the newsletter included a special offer on the duo of dead dinosaurs too!

The Rebor “Bites the Dust” Tyrannosaur Carcasses (Plain and Jungle)

Rebor T. rex carcasses "Bites the Dust" plain and jungle colour variants.

The Rebor T. rex carcasses “Bites the Dust” provide the headlines for the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter.  Buy the pair at a special discounted price courtesy of Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

T. rex Didn’t Always Win!

The Rebor “Bites the Dust” figures are available in two colour schemes.  Firstly, there is a brown dominated model called “plain”, there is a second model “jungle” with more of a greenish hue.  These carefully constructed carcasses are in 1:35 scale and reflect the fact that tyrannosaurs like most predatory dinosaurs had very tough, short lives.  Most dinosaurs did not make it to adulthood and for tyrannosaurs such as T. rex, life at the top of the food chain was particularly hard.  It was a question of kill or be killed, not only did these theropods have to battle horned dinosaurs and hadrosaurs, they also had to contend with attacks from their own kind as well.  The fossil record provides evidence of tyrannosaurs biting other tyrannosaurs, for example, in 2010, a paper was published in PLOS One entitled “Cannibalism in Tyrannosaurus rex”.  The eminent authors, Longrich, Horner, Erickson and Currie identified four T. rex specimens that preserved potential T. rex bites on their bones.

The Two T. rex Bites the Dust Carcass Models (Plain and Jungle)

The two Rebor "Bites the Dust" T. rex carcasses.

The Rebor T. rex carcass plain (left) and the Rebor T. rex carcass jungle (right) two beautiful 1:35 scale replicas of a deceased Tyrannosaurus rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientists concluded that Tyrannosaurus rex routinely hunting full-grown members of its own species was unlikely, however, it is possible that intraspecific combat led to casualties, with the dead becoming a convenient source of food for the victorious T. rex.  These figures show bite marks from another very large predator, since T. rex is the only enormous terrestrial carnivore known from the latest Upper Cretaceous deposits of North America, it can be inferred that these two Rebor models show the result of an intraspecific combat.

Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies Skulls

The newsletter also provided subscribers with details of the forthcoming Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies skulls, a set of three amazing theropod skulls, namely, C. sastrei, Y. huali and C. dentisulcatus.  These museum quality replicas are available to pre-order from Everything Dinosaur.

The Rebor Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus and Yutyrannus huali Fossil Skulls

The Rebor Oddities Fossil Skulls (Ceratosaurus and Yutyrannus).

The Rebor Oddities Fossil Skull Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus (left) with the Rebor Oddities Fossil Skull Yutyrannus huali.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Buy All Three at a Discount!

The three fossil skulls, regarded as the first wave in an intended series of skull models are likely to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in November (2020).  Customers have the opportunity to pre-order the replicas and to take advantage of a special offer to purchase all three Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies models.

A Trio of Amazing Fossil Skulls

Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies skulls.

The Rebor Oddities Fossil Studies Carnotaurus sastrei model (left) and the opportunity to pre-order all three skulls at a special discounted price (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor “Bites the Dust” T. rex carcasses and the pre-order options for the fossil skulls can be found here: Rebor Models and Figures.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter, simply email the company and request a subscription: Email Everything Dinosaur to Subscribe to Newsletters.

25 09, 2020

New Rebor Titanoboa Models Ready to Pre-order

By | September 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Rebor Titanoboa Models Ready to Pre-order

The stunning Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent and the Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus are available to pre-order at Everything Dinosaur.  These amazing models of a Titanoboa (T. cerrejonensis) swallowing a crocodilian are going into production in the next few months and both replicas are expected in stock at Everything Dinosaur sometime around quarter two of 2021.

The New for 2021 Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent Figure

Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent.

The Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent.  A stunning replica of the largest snake known to science – Titanoboa cerrejonensis complete with its unfortunate crocodilian victim which is in the process of being swallowed whole.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Hot on the Heels of Monty

This year (2020), saw the release of the limited edition Rebor Titanoboa figure “Monty”, this beautiful replica of the largest snake described to date, sold out very quickly.  Aware of how popular this prehistoric animal is Rebor have plans to introduce two more Titanoboa replicas.  Each one “Monty Resurgent” and “Brian Diccus”, will have a single production run and they are going to be made in a few months’ time.  Customers of Everything Dinosaur have the chance to secure their figures early.

The New for 2021 Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus Replica

Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus.

The Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus.  Each model has a different colour scheme and this extends to the crocodilian prey as well with the “Monty” Titanoboa having a brown crocodilian victim, whilst Brian Diccus has a green crocodilian prey item.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Pre-order Available from Everything Dinosaur

Both colour variants are available for pre-order.  Customers can choose which figure they want and then add it to their shopping cart and go through the checkout process as per usual.  However, with Everything Dinosaur, there are no fees to pay, no upfront costs, no surcharges, no deposit required.

Customers also need to note that due to the complexity of the pre-order checkout process, an order may contain only a single pre-order Titanoboa product, and no other products, pre-order or otherwise.  If a customer adds a pre-order product to a non-empty cart, the cart will be automatically emptied and the pre-order product will be added. This means that if you want both Titanoboa colour variants, customers will have to place two pre-orders (one for each prehistoric snake figure).

The Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus

Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus.

The Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Brian Diccus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“These are two beautifully crafted figures.  Each replica shows the anterior portions of the giant snake emerging out of the water as it gulps down its unfortunate victim.  We look forward to bringing these products into our warehouse sometime around the early summer of 2021.”

Swallowed Whole the Rebor Monty Resurgent Titanoboa Makes Short Work of a Large Crocodile

Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent.

The Rebor Titanoboa Museum Class Maquette Monty Resurgent.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The two Rebor Titanoboa figures can be found on this part of Everything Dinosaur’s website: Rebor Models and Figures.

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