All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

23 01, 2019

Prehistoric Shark Named after Video Game

By | January 23rd, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Galagadon nordquistae – Shark Resident of Hell Creek

Perhaps the most famous exhibit at the Field Museum (Chicago), is the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen named “Sue”, the most complete T. rex fossil discovered to date.  A great deal of research has been carried out on the 66 million-year-old fossilised bones of this giant, meat-eating Theropod that measures over twelve metres in length.  However, the matrix that surrounded the fossil material has helped to shed light on another resident of the famous Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota.  Fossil teeth found in the matrix surrounding the bones of the most famous T. rex in the world has led to the naming and description of a prehistoric shark that lived in freshwater, say hello to Galagadon nordquistae.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous Shark G. nordquistae

Galagadon nordquistae life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the Late Cretaceous shark Galagadon nordquistae.

Picture Credit: Velizar Simeonovski (Field Museum)

A Small, Freshwater Predator

Ever since the preparation work on “Sue” began in the 1990’s, the leftover sediment (matrix), was carefully stored at the Field Museum.  Researchers examined this material searching for micro-fossils in a bid to build up a picture of what life was like in this part of Laramidia towards the end of the age of dinosaurs.  Teeth were found from a shark which would have measured around half a metre in length.

Peter Makovicky (Curator of Dinosaurs at the Field Museum) commented:

“This shark lived at the same as Sue the T. rex, it was part of the same world.  Most of its body wasn’t preserved, because sharks’ skeletons are made of cartilage, but we were able to find its tiny fossilised teeth.”

The shark, named Galagadon nordquistae, is described in a scientific paper published in the “Journal of Palaeontology”.

Named After a 1980s Video Game

Lead author of the research, Terry Gates (North Carolina State University), explained that the shark’s name was inspired by the stepped, triangular shape of the teeth that reminded the research team of the spaceships in the 1980s video game Galaga.  The species epithet honours Field Museum volunteer Karen Nordquist who discovered the fossilised teeth in the matrix material.

Fossil Teeth Reminded the Scientists of Video Game Spaceships

Galagadon fossil teeth.

Specimens of shark teeth (lingual view) assigned to Galagadon.  Scale bars = 1 mm.

Picture Credit: Terry Gates (North Carolina State University)/Journal of Paleontology

Commentating on her fossil find, Nordquist stated:

“It [a tooth] was so tiny, you could miss it if you weren’t looking really carefully.  To the naked eye, it just looks like a little bump, you have to have a microscope to get a good view of it.”

Tiny Teeth Change our View of the Prehistoric Environment

The tiny teeth are only about a millimetre wide, about the size of a pinhead.  Galagadon was small too, estimated at around thirty to sixty centimetres in length.

Dr Makovicky added:

“Galagadon was less than two feet long, it’s not exactly Jaws.  It’s comparable to bamboo sharks living today.  It probably had a flat face and was very likely camouflage-coloured, since its relatives today have a camouflage pattern.  It would have eaten small invertebrates and probably spent a fair amount of time lying on the bottom of the riverbed.”

Galagadon may not have been huge, but its discovery has forced scientists into a re-think over what they thought they knew about the area where the T. rex named “Sue” was found.  It had been thought that the fossil locality represented a lake formed from a partially dried-up river, the presence of a shark suggests there must have been at least some connection to the sea.

The shark has been classified as a member of the Orectolobiformes Order of sharks, making it distantly related to extant carpet sharks including bamboo sharks.  These types of shark are believed to have originated in the Jurassic and had a global distribution, today they are mostly restricted to waters in southeast Asia and Australia.

Co-author of the study, Eric Gorscak (Field Museum) explained:

“It’s surprising to find their fossils at the Sue locality.  During the Late Cretaceous, the continents continued to drift apart, further isolating dinosaurs and other land animals, and at the same time created the Atlantic and Indian oceans.  With occasional seaways connecting these young oceans, we have found fossils of marine life flourishing globally, including Galagadon and its relatives.”

Various Views of the Galagadon Teeth

Views of Galagadon teeth.

Galagadon teeth. Specimens in lingual view (1–4), labial view (5–8), lateral view (9–12), basal view (13–16), and occlusal view (17–20). Scale bars = 1 mm.

Picture Credit: Terry Gates (North Carolina State University)/Journal of Paleontology

Hell Creek – More than Flashy Dinosaurs

The study also reflects the importance of learning about fossils beyond big, flashy dinosaurs.  Each species discovered helps to build up a picture of the ecosystem in which the dinosaurs and other megafauna existed.

Karen Nordquist added:

“Most people, when they think of fossils, think of big huge dinosaur bones, but in the dirt, there are the bones of tiny animals.  When you get those bones and identify them, you get an idea of the whole environment, everything that lived with the big dinosaurs.  You learn so much from micro-sorting.”

The scientific paper: “New Sharks and Other Chondrichthyans from the Latest Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) of North America” by Terry A. Gates, Eric Gorscak and Peter J. Makovicky published in the Journal of Paleontology.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of a press release from the Field Museum (Chicago), in the compilation of this article.

21 01, 2019

100 million-year-old Cretaceous Hagfish Shakes Our Family Tree

By | January 21st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Research Changes Views over Evolution of Jawed Vertebrates

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Manchester University, have helped unravel the secrets hidden in the fossilised remains of an ancient hagfish, a slimy, eel-like fish whose descendants still swim the oceans of the world today.

Working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA), the Manchester University team have identified the first detailed fossil of a hagfish.  The Manchester team were led by Professors Phil Manning and Roy Wogelius, powerful X-rays were used to provide a detailed examination of the fossil specimen, providing a fresh perspective on the evolution of jaws in animals with back bones (vertebrates).

The Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil Specimen Being Prepared for Synchrotron Analysis

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil.

Tethymyxine tapirostrum fossil being prepared for synchrotron X-ray analysis.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

The X-rays were produced using the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), a cyclic particle accelerator at Stanford University (California).  Once the fossil had been scanned, the data produced helped answer the question as to when these ancient jawless fish branched-off the vertebrate evolutionary tree.

An Important Discovery

The discovery is incredibly important as it changes our view of the evolutionary lineage that gave rise to modern-day jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), from bony fish to humans.  The scientific paper is being published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.  The fossil, a specimen of a hagfish from the Late Cretaceous comes from Lebanon and it measures just over thirty centimetres long.  The fossil represents a species named Tethymyxine tapirostrum.

Commenting on the importance of this research, Professor Phil Manning (Chair of Natural History at the University of Manchester) stated:

“This is an extremely significant discovery as it recalibrates our understanding of the evolutionary history of all early vertebrates, an ancestral line that leads to all jawed beasties including us. Humans!”

Professor Manning added:

“This wonderful fossil plugs a 100-million-year gap in the fossil record and shows that hagfish are more closely related to the lamprey than to other fishes.  The chemical maps produced at SSRL enabled our team to see for the first time the anatomical features so crucial to the interpretation of this very distant relative.”

Lampreys are another form of ancient, blood-sucking, jawless fish also still in existence today.  These findings show that both the hagfish and lamprey evolved their eel-like body form and strange feeding systems after they branched off from the rest of the vertebrate line of ancestry about 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian geological period.

Professor Manning at the SSRL (Stanford University)

Professor Phil Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Professor Manning at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

Picture Credit: University of Manchester

Dr Tetsuto Miyashita, (Fellow in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at Chicago University), who led the research, explained:

“This is a major reorganisation of the family tree of all fish and their descendants.  This allows us to put an evolutionary date on unique traits that set hagfish apart from all other animals.”

The Bizarre Hagfish

The bizarre hagfish are entirely marine and are the only known living animals that possess a rudimentary skull but no vertebral column.  They do have very primitive vertebrae but instead of a back bone like other vertebrates they just have a modified notochord.  They have a unique defence mechanism to help them ward off ocean predators such as sharks.  They can produce copious amounts of slime, clouding the water in their proximity and clogging the gills of would-be attackers.  In some parts of Asia, such as South Korea, this slime is prized and used in cooking.

It was this ability to produce slime that made the Tethymyxine fossil all the more important and rare.  The discrete chemistry locked within the fossil could only be mapped using synchrotron-based imaging techniques developed by the Manchester/SSRL team.  Manchester University  is an established world leader in the synchrotron-based imaging of fossil remains.  This technique has permitted the team to identify the “chemical ghost” of the preserved soft tissue and slime glands of the fossil.  Soft tissues are rarely preserved as fossils, which is why there are so few examples of prehistoric hagfish for palaeontologists to study.

The detailed scans picked up the chemical signal for keratin, the same material that makes up your hair and nails.  Keratin is a crucial part of what makes the hagfish slime defence so effective.

Professor Wogelius, (Chair of Geochemistry at The University of Manchester), commented:

“Our team at Manchester has been using these increasingly sophisticated imaging techniques to help us better understand ancient fossils and resolve chemistry derived from both the organism and the environment in which they were preserved.”

Professor Manning added:

“This ‘chemical’ fossil has offered new and exciting evidence that has enabled a more robust reconstruction of the vertebrate family tree.  However, it was only made possible through the collaboration of an international team, as Darwin once said, ‘In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed’”.

20 01, 2019

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Articulated Jaw

By | January 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Eofauna Giganotosaurus with an Articulated Jaw

One of the great things about supplying dinosaur models and prehistoric animal figures to collectors all around the world, is that we get to examine the models in our warehouse before they get allocated space on the shelves in readiness for being purchased and dispatched.  When a shipment of new models arrives, there is a lot of excitement around the office and whilst unpacking all the cases, we have the opportunity to examine up close and in detail the latest editions to Everything Dinosaur’s product portfolio.

This week has seen the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus model in 1:35 scale.  The model is beautifully detailed and we thought it fitting to make a short video of the articulated jaw, after all, the size estimate for this meat-eating dinosaur of around 13-14 metres in length was based on the discovery of some super-sized Giganotosaurus teeth.

Admiring the Articulated Jaw on the 1/35th Scale Giganotosaurus carolinii Dinosaur Model by Eofauna Scientific Research

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fifty New Prehistoric Animal Models Coming to Everything Dinosaur in 2019

At the beginning of the year, we predicted that we would be adding approximately fifty new models to our already extensive range.  That’s just about one new model every week.  To read about our palaeontology crystal ball gazing and other predictions for 2019: Our Predictions for the Forthcoming Year.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus is the first dinosaur model to be created by this talented company.  We knew about the introduction of this Theropod many months ago, when we met up with the senior management team of Eofauna Scientific Research, we even helped with the production of the text that accompanies this beautifully-crafted dinosaur model.

We have added this figure to our own prehistoric animal model collection (we already have the two prehistoric elephants – the Steppe Mammoth and the Straight-tusked Elephant), we chose to create a short video just to demonstrate the skilfully sculpted skull and to highlight the model’s articulated jaw.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Over the last few days we have been busy emailing all those people who had contacted us so that they could reserve a model.  We have already received lots of amazing feedback and even seen some of video reviews posted up by our customers.  We are already looking forward to the fourth model to come out from Eofauna Scientific Research.  No doubt, details about this will be posted up on this blog site and on Everything Dinosaur’s social media sites in the near future.

A Plastic Cradle Helps Protect the Model in Transit and Also Prevents any Issues with Legs Warping

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.  The third prehistoric animal model to be created in this exciting replica range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Three of a Kind – The Current Eofauna Model Range

Three Eofauna replicas illustrated.

Illustrations based on the three Eofauna replicas (left to right), Palaeoloxodon antiquus, Mammuthus trogontherii and Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Eofauna Scientific Research

To view all the models in the Eofauna Scientific Research range available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Prehistoric Animal Models

19 01, 2019

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Schleich Spinosaurus

By | January 19th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Schleich Spinosaurus Review by JurassicCollectables

Those clever and talented film-makers at JurassicCollectables have produced a review of the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus, a figure that has received a lot of praise from dinosaur enthusiasts and model collectors.  Schleich, the German model and figure manufacturer, have produced several Spinosaurus figures over the years.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have considered writing an article highlighting how changes in these models have reflected scientific understanding, but for the time being we have this wonderful video review of the Spinosaurus to watch.

JurassicCollectables Reviews the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

The Schleich Spinosaurus (2019)

This is the first Spinosaurus model produced by Schleich that portrays this dinosaur as a quadruped.  In this well-crafted and highly informative video the narrator takes viewers on a guided tour of this excellent addition to the Schleich model range.  The video itself is just a little over seven minutes in length and a video review such as this, really helps dinosaur model fans to get a good look at a figure, helping them to decide whether or not to add it to their collection.

An Impressive and Highly Praised Schleich Spinosaurus is Reviewed by JurassicCollectables

A video review of the Schleich Spinosaurus by JurassicCollectables

JurassicCollectables have produced a video review of the 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables provides a comprehensive resource for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model reviews.  The videos are skilfully produced and provide viewers with the opportunity to examine prehistoric animal figures and dinosaur models in detail.

Visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube , Everything Dinosaur recommends that dinosaur enthusiasts and prehistoric animal model fans subscribe to JurassicCollectables.

The New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus Dinosaur Model

New for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model.

The new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus model, depicting Spinosaurus as a quadruped.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Crocodilian Features

In the video, the quadrupedal stance is commented upon.  The influence of crocodilan anatomy on the model is also stated, many palaeontologists believe that Spinosaurus was semi-aquatic and took up an ecological niche similar to large crocodilians today – that of an aquatic predator.  The narrator takes care to point out the long tail with its crocodilan scutes.  The skull is also shown in detail and there are plenty of close-up shots of those long, narrow crocodile-like jaws.

The Spinosaurus Model is Carefully Measured in the Video Review

The Schleich Spinosaurus model is measured.

Measuring the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: JurassicCollectables

Measuring the Model

JurassicCollectables include a video segment in which the model is carefully measured.  At Everything Dinosaur, we also measure the models in our inventory.  The length of the Schleich Spinosaurus is approximately 29 centimetres.  Later on in the video, the Spinosaurus is compared with the classic Papo green Tyrannosaurus rex figure, off-colour Alan also makes a welcome return and helps to demonstrate just how large this new Schleich figure is.

This Spinosaurus is one of five new prehistoric animal models introduced by Schleich in early 2019.  The other models are:

  • Dimorphodon
  • Dimetrodon
  • A new colour version of their Giganotosaurus model
  • Animantarx (armoured dinosaur model)

To view the new for 2019 Schleich Spinosaurus and the other models in the Schleich prehistoric animal model range: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

17 01, 2019

The Eofauna 1:35 Scale Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

By | January 17th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Eofauna 1:35 Scale Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

The Eofauna 1:35 scale replica of the huge Theropod Giganotosaurus (G. carolinii), is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  This is the third replica in the Eofauna Scientific Research series and the first representative of the Dinosauria to be introduced to this highly-respected model range.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model (1/35th Scale)

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Accurate Representation of a Member of the Carcharodontosauridae

Remarkably, when the fossilised remains of a leg bone from a large, meat-eating dinosaur was found by car mechanic Ruben Carolini whilst prospecting for fossils in Neuquén Province (Argentina), the field team that was dispatched to explore the site went onto excavate nearly seventy percent of the skeleton of an individual dinosaur.  To find so many elements of the skeleton of a large Theropod in close proximity is exceptionally rare.  From this material, palaeontologists were able to build up an accurate picture of this hypercarnivore.  Ironically, it was some years after the announcement of the discovery of Giganotosaurus (1994), that a more complete study of the anatomy of this Late Cretaceous dinosaur was undertaken.

The scientists at Eofauna Scientific Research have used their expertise to create an accurate representation of a member of the Carcharodontosauridae family.  Giganotosaurus carolinii may have been bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, although estimates of a body length in excess of 14 metres are based on fossilised teeth not more conventional size estimates such as femora measurements.

A Close-up of the Beautifully Detailed Skull of the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

The Eofauna 1:35 scale Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Museum Quality Model

Measuring approximately thirty-nine centimetres in length and with a head height of eleven centimetres, this is a most impressive model and much larger than most other replicas of Giganotosaurus that have been produced in the last few years.  The attention to detail on this figure is superb and the muted colours and patterns help to emphasis the figure’s quality.  The lower jaw is articulated and when the mouth is opened a glossy, red coloured mouth and tongue are revealed.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model has an Articulated Lower Jaw

Giganotosaurus carolinii dinosaur model.

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the Eofauna Giganotosaurus and the rest of the prehistoric animal models within the Eofauna Scientific Research range: Eofauna Scientific Research Figures

There are life-size skeletal reconstructions of Giganotosaurus on display in several natural history museums around the world, however, we think collectors and dinosaur fans are going to be more than happy with this 1:35 scale, museum quality replica.  Although this figure has been available for just a few days, reviews and feedback has already come in from Everything Dinosaur customers.

William wrote to tell us:

“The Giganotosaur’s beautifully robust head is masterfully captured with clean lines, smoothly closing jaws an all-round superb job.”

Our thanks to William and all the other model collectors who have contacted us to let us know their delight at acquiring this fine piece.

A Lateral View of the Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus Model

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus model.

Eofauna Giganotosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

14 01, 2019

Borealopelta Scale Drawing

By | January 14th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Borealopelta markmitchelli Fact Sheet Preparations

In a few weeks’ time, the first of the 2019 CollectA prehistoric animal models will be coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur.  One of the first figures expected to arrive is the Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta figure, a fifteen centimetre long replica of a nodosaurid that roamed north-western Alberta around 112 million years ago.  The fact sheet for this new dinosaur model is being prepared and a scale drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) has been produced.

The Scale Drawing of Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Borealopelta scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the armoured dinosaur Borealopelta from north-eastern Alberta (Canada).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Heavily Armoured with Countershading

The exquisite state of preservation has permitted palaeontologists to gain a great deal of information about the position of the osteoderms and scutes that covered the dinosaur’s body.  When the scientific paper providing the formal description of Borealopelta was published in 2017, the research team described how chemical analysis of organic compounds in the armour and skin permitted the research team to infer the armoured dinosaur’s pigmentation.  It was discovered that Borealopelta possessed countershading, with a reddish-brown top half contrasting with a much paler underside.  In extant animals, countershading helps to provide camouflage against predators, but most large animals today, such as rhinos, elephants and hippos, don’t have countershading.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta Dinosaur Model

CollectA Borealopelta dinosaur model.

The Age of Dinosaurs Popular – CollectA Borealopelta.  Note the paler underside of the animal – an example of countershading.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

At more than five metres long and with such strong armour, it seems surprising that this armoured dinosaur would evolve countershading to help it avoid detection.  Such a large and powerfully built dinosaur would have presented a formidable opponent for most Theropod dinosaurs, but apparently it paid Borealopelta to try to maintain a low profile.

It is not known what sort of meat-eating dinosaurs Borealopelta tried to hide from but three-toed prints, some measuring in excess of 90 cm long and ascribed to the ichnogenus Irenesauripis indicate that they may have been some 12-metre-plus carnivores in the ecosystem that were best avoided.

Everything Dinosaur’s original blog post announcing the discovery of the fossilised remains but before a formal scientific description was published can be found here: Extremely Rare Ankylosaur Fossil Turns Up in Alberta’s Oil Sands

To read an article about the dermal armour of Borealopelta markmitchelli: The Remarkable Armour of Borealopelta

What Sort of Giant Theropods?

As to what sort of Theropods could have predated Borealopelta, we can only speculate.  However, it has been postulated that the super-sized carnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid were probably carcharodontosaurids or allosaurids.  This armoured dinosaur is estimated to have weighed more than 1.3 Tonnes, it is much larger than animals alive today that have evolved countershading, therefore, the assumption is that there must have been super-sized, hypercarnivores that Borealopelta was trying to avoid.

Summarising the Research into the Armoured Dinosaur Borealopelta

The research into Borealopelta.

Summarising the research into Borealopelta.

Picture Credit: Brown et al, published in Current Biology with additional annotation from Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of  CollectA  prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models

The scientific paper: “An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics” by Caleb M. Brown, Donald M. Henderson, Jakob Vinther, Ian Fletcher, Ainara Sistiaga, Jorsua Herrera and Roger E. Summons published in Current Biology.

12 01, 2019

Prehistoric Times Winter Edition 2019

By | January 12th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Prehistoric Times Issue 128 Is Coming!

The next edition of the quarterly magazine for dinosaur fans and prehistoric animal model collectors “Prehistoric Times”, is due to arrive very soon.  Issue 128 (winter 2019), celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel “The Land that Time Forgot”, hence the intriguing front cover where a tyrannosaurid is in combat with a Woolly Mammoth.  Mammoths and members of the Tyrannosauridae family have featured on the front cover of this popular magazine before, but we can’t remember an edition of “Prehistoric Times”, where these two iconic but temporally distant creatures have appeared on the cover together.

The Front Cover of Prehistoric Times Magazine – Issue 128

Prehistoric Times magazine issue 128.

The front cover of “Prehistoric Times” magazine issue 128 (winter 2019.

Picture Credit: Mike Fredericks

“The Land that Time Forgot”

American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, set the story at the height of World War I.  A ship carrying the main protagonist of the book, Bowen Tyler, is sunk by a German U-boat U-33, the submarine also attacks the British vessel that attempts to pick up survivors of the first attack.  A fierce struggle takes place between the British sailors and the German submariners and the U-boat is captured. The survivors board the submarine and attempt to take it to an Allied port, but this proves too dangerous as all Allied shipping treats the U-boat as a potential target.  Meanwhile, a saboteur disrupts the navigation and the vessel ends up in Antarctic waters.  Low on food and fuel, the submariners find a huge island, surrounded by gigantic cliffs and when this landmass is explored, the German and Allied sailors discover it is populated by a pot-pourri of prehistoric animals.

The plot may sound familiar, as the story has featured in many publications, since its first inception a hundred years ago.  In the mid 1970’s a film with the same title as the novel came out with American actor Doug McClure playing the lead role of Bowen Tyler.

Trilobites, Triceratops and a famous Canadian Palaeontologist

The forthcoming edition of “Prehistoric Times” will feature a profile of one of the most famous dinosaurs of all, “three-horned face” – Triceratops.  There is the latest instalment in the long running feature on the influential artwork of the Czech artist Zdeněk Burian by John Lavas, this time it is the Mosasauridae that are put into the spotlight.   One of the most successful types of arthropod in evolutionary history, the Trilobita are given top billing.  Team members are looking forward to reading more about this biostratigraphically important Class.

Last but not least, Professor Phil Currie is interviewed.  This internationally renowned palaeontologist needs no introduction.  Professor Currie’s scientific accomplishments have led to a greater understanding of dinosaurs and their historic significance and he was instrumental in helping to set up with the University of Alberta the first free-to-access on-line course on the Dinosauria – Dino 101.

Trilobites, Triceratops and Top Palaeontologist Phil Currie Share Top Billing

In "Prehistoric Times" winter 2019.

Triceratops, palaeontologist Phil Currie and the Trilobita all feature in issue 128 of “Prehistoric Times”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur, University of Alberta and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

11 01, 2019

On the Trail of the “Hand Beast”

By | January 11th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Geology, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New “Hand Beast” Chirotherium Exhibition

The county of Cheshire in north-west England has some fascinating geology, but from a palaeontological point of view, fossils are few and far between.  However, there are some notable exceptions, the sandstone quarries that once operated around the picturesque village of Lymm have provided evidence that before the dinosaurs evolved, this part of rural Cheshire was stalked by a powerful, three-metre-long predator – Chirotherium.

A new exhibition at the Lymm Heritage Centre, tells the story of Chirotherium and highlights the scientific importance of the trackways that revealed its existence.  Visitors will be able to get up close to this distant relative of today’s crocodiles, meeting “Kerry”, Lymm Heritage Centre’s resident Archosaur (ruling reptile) as well as embarking on the trail of the “Hand Beast”.

On the Trail of the “Hand Beast” – Chirotherium

Lymm Heritage Centre - Chirotherium leaflet.

On the trail of the “Hand Beast” – Chirotherium (Lymm Heritage Centre).

Picture Credit: Lymm Heritage Centre/Everything Dinosaur

Triassic Lymm – Deserts, Dunes and Salt Lakes

Strange, five-fingered tracks had been discovered in Triassic sandstones in Germany in the early 1830’s.  More tracks were uncovered at Storeton on the Wirral in 1836.  As the demand for building materials grew, a number of sandstone quarries in the Lymm area were opened up and more footprints were found.  These trace fossils are preserved in the Tarporley Siltstones Formation, which was deposited in the early Middle Triassic.  Lymm was located on the super-continent of Pangaea and the rocks deposited in this region portray a dry, arid Triassic landscape, dominated by sand dunes and salt lakes which were close to the sea.  In areas, where freshwater was present, such as river valleys and oases, there was abundant life, but the animals and plants would have been very unfamiliar to us. The land was ruled by reptiles and one of the biggest and most dangerous was Chirotherium.

Tracks Assigned to the Ichnogenus Chirotherium on Display at Oxford University Natural History Museum

A Chirotheriuim trackway.

Chirotherium tracks on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  Note the five-fingered tracks (pentadactyle).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Face to Face with Chirotherium

This new exhibition at the Lymm Heritage Centre brings you face to face with the “Hand Beast” and the hard-working, dedicated team behind this informative, interactive exhibition have created lots of family-orientated activities to support learning.  You can go on your own fossil hunt, make prehistoric footprints and follow Lymm’s bespoke geology trail.

Further information about this new attraction, which officially opens tomorrow (January 12th), can be found here: On the Trail of the “Hand Beast”.

The exhibition is open from from 12 noon until 4pm Thursday to Sunday.

Everything Dinosaur team members have been involved in this project, many of the fossils have been supplied by our team members and visitors will be able to pick up a model of a Prestosuchus, a prehistoric animal that closely resembles the Chirotherium ichnogenus.

The Prestosuchus Model is Available at the Trail of the “Hand Beast” Exhibition at Lymm Heritage Centre

Prestosuchus prehistoric animal model.

The Prestosuchus model takes an interest in the trail of the “Hand Beast” leaflet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

10 01, 2019

Unpacking and Displaying the Rebor Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”

By | January 10th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Unpacking and Displaying the Limited Edition Rebor Club Selection Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”

This week has seen the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Rebor Club Selection hatching Baryonyx figure “Hurricane”.  Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy contacting all those customers who took advantage of our offer to reserve one of these limited edition dinosaur replicas.  The first of these highly collectable prehistoric animal models have already been despatched, however, we did take time away from our packing duties to post up a quick guide to unpacking and displaying this beautiful dinosaur model.

Hints and Tips when Unpacking and Displaying the Rebor Club Selection Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Only 1,000 Figures Made

The total production run is only 1,000 figures.  Each figure has a unique number on the base, so this Rebor hatching Baryonyx is a real piece for collectors.  In our short video, (just over a minute in length), we show how to unpack the model from its protective foam packaging.  We also provide some advice on how to secure the dinosaur egg to the special display stand, after all, with such a limited edition Rebor replica, you don’t want the dinosaur model falling over and potentially getting damaged.

The Limited Edition Rebor Club Selection Hatching Baryonyx Figure

Rebor Hatching Baryonyx "Hurricane".

The limited edition hatching Baryonyx figure “Hurricane” by Rebor.  Everything Dinosaur has produced a short, helpful video to help customers display their figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor Club Selection Baryonyx figure and the rest of the prehistoric animals in the Rebor range: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Famous Thumb Claws

Baryonyx (B. walkeri), is famous for its super-sized thumb claws. We are advising customers to take great care when first removing the figure from the protective foam packaging.  The claws can be broken off, if care is not taken to remove the figure from the foam.  In addition, Rebor has modelled an elongate-shaped egg for their Theropod dinosaur.  This is entirely in keeping with the shape of Theropod dinosaur eggs.  Lots of different dinosaur eggs have been classified (classified by shape, pore structure and size), there is actually an oogenus (the term used when classifying an organism from eggs), called Elongatoolithus – ee-long-gah-two-lith-us which describes Theropod eggs.  The elongate egg needs to be carefully placed on its display base.  If customers are not careful then the egg could topple over and there is a danger that the figure might be damaged.

Hopefully, a short, instructional video will help.  Everything Dinosaur recommends that customers use double-sided tabs to secure their model when on display.  Alternatively, something like reusable, sticky putty can be utilised just to help the elongate egg sit securely on its display base.

8 01, 2019

Computer Modelling Reveals a Marine Reptile Braincase

By | January 8th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

CT Scanner Helps Palaeontologists to Map the Braincase of a Marine Reptile

A farmer’s field in Warwickshire was the site of a remarkable fossil discovery more than sixty years ago.  Thanks to the application of advanced medical science and computer modelling, a team of researchers including scientists from Manchester University, have been able to unlock secrets from inside the skull of a giant, Early Jurassic marine reptile.  The almost 200 million-year-old fossil, was found at Fell Mill Farm (Warwickshire, England), in 1955.  The material included a nearly one-metre-long skull of an ichthyosaur, it had been preserved in three-dimensions permitting scientists a rare glimpse into the internal workings of a prehistoric animal’s skull.

The Beautifully Preserved and Now Fully Restored Skull Specimen

Reconstructed Protoichthyosaurus skull.

The reconstructed, three-dimensional ichthyosaur skull (Protoichthyosaurus).

Picture Credit: Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum

Revealing New Information About the Rarely Preserved Braincase

Most ichthyosaur cranial material is crushed, flattened and distorted during the fossilisation process.  This specimen permitted the research team which included Dean Lomax (Manchester University), skilled fossil preparator Nigel Larkin and Laura Porro (University College London), to study a near complete and undistorted three-dimensional skull providing new insights into ichthyosaur cranial anatomy and the morphology of the braincase.  Despite the fossil specimen’s excellent preservation, it had never been formally studied prior to this research.

Co-author of the paper, Nigel Larkin explained:

“Initially, the aim of the project was to clean and conserve the skull and partially dismantle it to rebuild it more accurately, ready for redisplay at the Thinktank Museum [Birmingham].  But we soon realised that the individual bones of the skull were exceptionally well preserved in three dimensions, better than in any other ichthyosaur skull we’d seen.  Furthermore, that they would respond well to CT scanning, enabling us to capture their shape digitally and to see their internal details.  This presented an opportunity that couldn’t be missed.”

Computed Tomography (CT) Scans

To help unlock the information contained inside the skull, the specimen was subjected to computed tomography (CT) scans using a large medical scanner located at the Royal Veterinary College (London).  The powerful X-rays in conjunction with computer modelling allowed a three-dimensional and highly accurate digital reconstruction of the fossil to be made.  This is the first time a digital reconstruction of a skull and mandible of a large marine reptile has ever been made available for research purposes and to the public.

Going Through the CT Scanner

Scanning the skull of a marine reptile.

A large marine reptile skull is placed in a CT scanner.

Picture Credit: Nigel Larkin photograph taken at Royal Veterinary College, London

Further computed tomography analysis (micro-CT scanning) took place at the University of Cambridge.

Study Clears Up Fossil Identification

When originally labelled several decades ago, the ichthyosaur was classified as an example of the species Ichthyosaurus communis.  Indeed, when Everything Dinosaur wrote an article about this remarkably well-preserved skull back in 2016, the specimen was still being described as Ichthyosaurus.  However, lead-author and ichthyosaur expert, Dean Lomax became convinced as the research progressed, that this specimen represented a much rarer species.  He identified it as an example of an ichthyosaur called Protoichthyosaurus prostaxalis, the type species of this genus had originally been named in 1979.

To read the 2016 article that describes the skull and shows the post cranial material associated with this specimen: One of Britain’s Largest Ichthyosaurs Goes on Display.

With a skull almost twice as long as any other specimen of Protoichthyosaurus, this is the largest specimen known to science.

Research Team Members View the Results of the CT Scans

Viewing three-dimensional images of the fossil skull.

Dean Lomax (left), Laura Porro (centre) and Nigel Larkin (right) view 3-D images of the skull.

Picture Credit:  Nigel Larkin, taken at the University of Cambridge

Lead-author Dean Lomax stated:

“The first time I saw this specimen I was puzzled by its excellent preservation.  Ichthyosaurs of this age (Early Jurassic), are usually ‘pancaked’, meaning that they are squished so that the original structure of the skull is either not preserved or is distorted or damaged.  So, to have a skull and portions of the skeleton of an ichthyosaur of this age preserved in three dimensions, and without any surrounding rock obscuring it, is something quite special.”

Protoichthyosaurus prostaxalis

Protoichthyosaurus was first erected by the British palaeontologist Robert Appleby forty years ago.  Prior to his research, the fossil material that Dr Appleby assigned to the new genus had been placed in the Ichthyosaurus genus.  Indeed, subsequent research challenged this assessment and for some time, the validity of the Protoichthyosaurus genus remained in doubt.  In 2017, Dean Lomax along with colleagues Professor Judy Massare (State University of New York) and Rashmi Mistry (Reading University), conducted a re-examination of the fossil material and carried out extensive comparisons between Ichthyosaur and suspected Protoichthyosaurus specimens.  The researchers concluded that Protoichthyosaurus was indeed, a valid genus: Reaffirming Protoichthyosaurus as a Valid Genus.

A Life Reconstruction of the Ichthyosaur Protoichthyosaurus prostaxalis

Protoichthyosaurus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the Ichthyosaur Protoichthyosaurus (P. prostaxalis).

Picture Credit: Bob Nicholls @Paleocreations

Back to the Braincase

The skull is not quite complete, but several bones that make up the braincase, which are very rarely preserved in the Ichthyosauridae, are present.  The micro-CT scanning conducted at Cambridge University provided crucial data to help reconstruct the internal anatomy of the animal’s skull and brain.  The fossil only preserved bones from the left side of the braincase, however, using CT scans these elements were digitally mirrored and 3-D printed at life size to provide a complete braincase.

Commenting on how the use of modern technologies, such as medical scanners, have revolutionised the way in which palaeontologists are able to study and describe fossils, Dr Laura Porro stated:

“CT scanning allows us to look inside fossils – in this case, we could see long canals within the skull bones that originally contained blood vessels and nerves.  Scans also revealed the curation history of the specimen since its discovery in the ‘50s.  There were several areas reconstructed in plaster and clay, and one bone was so expertly modelled that only the scans revealed part of it was a fake.  Finally, there is the potential to digitally reconstruct the skull in 3-D.  This is hard (and risky) to do with the original, fragile and very heavy fossil bones; plus, we can now make the 3-D reconstruction freely available to other scientists and for education.”

An Image of the Three-Dimensional Scan of the Protoichthyosaurus Skull Material

Three-dimensional scan of a Protoichthyosaurus skull.

A three-dimensional image from the scan of the Protoichthyosaurus skull.  Individual elements and bones are highlighted in different colours.

Picture Credit: University of Manchester/Thinktank

Dean Lomax added:

“It’s taken more than half a century for this ichthyosaur to be studied and described, but it has been worth the wait.  Not only has our study revealed exciting information about the internal anatomy of the skull of this animal, but our findings will aid other palaeontologists in exploring its evolutionary relationship with other ichthyosaurs.”

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