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Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

14 05, 2020

Wild Past Protoceratops Model on Display

By | May 14th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The Photogenic Wild Past Protoceratops

Our thanks to model collector Elizabeth who sent into Everything Dinosaur a photograph of her recently acquired Wild Past Protoceratops dinosaur model on display.  Enthusiastic collector Elizabeth had combined her Protoceratops andrewsi figure with the base from the Paleo-Creatures Moschops replica.  The result is a very effective composition, highlighting the attention to detail that can be found in both these ranges, Wild Past and Paleo-Creatures.

The Wild Past 1:35 Scale Protoceratops andrewsi Displayed on the Paleo-Creatures Moschops Base

Wild Past Protoceratops model combined with the Paleo-Creatures Moschops display base.

The Wild Past Protoceratops andrewsi combined with the base from the Paleo-Creatures Moschops figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Depicting An Ancient Environment

Elizabeth’s choice of display base for her model is very appropriate.  Protoceratops fossil remains are associated with two geological formations, the Djadochta Formation epitomised by the astonishing beauty and desolation of the Flaming Cliffs site, the type locality for this formation, from which the fossil remains of Protoceratops andrewsi have been recovered.  Secondly, the larger species Protoceratops hellenikorhinus, is known from the Bayan Mandahu Formation which outcrops some 450 km (280 miles) to the south-east of the Flaming Cliffs location.  Both formations are dominated by sandstones and remarkably, the climate in these areas today is roughly comparable to the palaeo-climate of the Late Cretaceous.  Displaying the Wild Past Protoceratops andrewsi on a sandy base is an accurate reconstruction of the habitat of this neoceratopsian.

The biota associated with the Upper Cretaceous deposits of the Djadochta and Bayan Mandahu formations occupied a harsh, arid scrubland with little permanent water.  Biologists refer to such difficult habitats as “stressed environments”, the absence of large vertebrates, such as the fossils of much bigger dinosaurs, supports the hypothesis that Protoceratops and the other Late Cretaceous residents had to endure a harsh climate.

The Paleo-Creatures Moschops Model with the Sandy Display Base

Paleo-Creatures Moschops replica.

The Paleo-Creatures Moschops figure is in 1:20 scale.  Model collector Elizabeth has used the display base for her Wild Past Protoceratops figure.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Exciting Start for a New Model Range

The 1:35 scale Protoceratops is the first in a new range of models (Wild Past), Elizabeth emailed to say:

“Here’s another photo for you to use if you wish.  It’s the Wild Past Protoceratops – I think this is such an exciting start to a new line.”

Ironically, both the Wild Past Protoceratops and the Paleo-Creatures Moschops have featured on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel, in a series of short videos we have entitled “turntable Tuesday”.

The Moschops and the Protoceratops andrewsi videos can be found on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

The Wild Past Protoceratops Dinosaur Model Showcased by Everything Dinosaur for “Turntable Tuesday”

Wild Past Protoceratops "turntable Tuesday" at Everything Dinosaur

The Wild Past Protoceratops ready for “turntable Tuesday” at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Commenting upon her photograph, Elizabeth added:

“She [the Protoceratops] is gate-crashing the base of the Paleo-Creatures Moschops.  She seems intent on checking out the sizeable footprint of the animal that walked over the sand previously, perhaps while she was away foraging for her minute hatchlings in the nest!”

In our correspondence with the photographer, we highlighted a research paper published back in 2011, that examined an extremely rare event preserved in the fossil record.  A footprint of a protoceratopsid dinosaur had been found in association with the fossilised remains of a Protoceratops.  As Elizabeth’s photograph depicts a Protoceratops investigating a footprint, it could be argued that is an example of art imitating science.

Link to our blog article about the 2011 protoceratopsid body and trace fossil study: Stopping a Dinosaur Dead in its Tracks.

Our thanks to Elizabeth for sending into Everything Dinosaur such a well-composed photograph.

The Wild Past Protoceratops model can be found here: Wild Past Models.

13 05, 2020

Depicting the Western Interior Seaway

By | May 13th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Feeding Time for a Tylosaurus

Our thanks to Mark for emailing Everything Dinosaur an illustration depicting life in the Western Interior Seaway around 75 million years ago.  Lots of Everything Dinosaur customers all over the world are in lockdown and we have been receiving more prehistoric animal drawings and other artworks than we usually do over the last few weeks.  Mark’s illustration depicts one of the apex predators of marine environments in the Late Cretaceous, a Tylosaurus (T. proriger) grabbing a marine turtle.  The turtle is described as a protostegid turtle (Protostegidae), a representative of an extinct family of marine turtles whose taxonomic position within the Order Testudines remains uncertain.  One thing known about this group, which seem to be confined to the Cretaceous, is that some of these protostegids evolved into giants!  For example, the largest turtle known to science Archelon (A. ischyros), has been assigned to the Protostegidae.  At nearly five metres in length with a flipper span of four metres, Archelon inhabited the northern sector of the Western Interior Seaway during the Late Campanian of the Cretaceous.

Tylosaurus Attacks a Protostegid Turtle (Western Interior Seaway – Late Cretaceous)

A Tylosaurus attacks a protostegid turtle.

An illustration of the Western Interior Seaway in the Late Cretaceous.  Surrounded by invertebrates and small fish, the Tylosaurus lunges and grabs the unfortunate turtle, whilst hesperornithiform seabirds go about their business catching squid.

Picture Credit: Mark Massion

In Mark’s email he explained:

“Please find enclosed a drawing of the mosasaur, Tylosaurus proriger, attacking a protostegid turtle.  This incident is taking place in the Late Cretaceous, Western Interior Sea, in what we now identify as the State of Kansas.  Kansas is located in America’s Midwest.”

The artwork shows a dorsal view (top down) of the scene.  The powerful jaws of the mosasaur have grabbed the turtle whilst hesperornithiform seabirds go about their business of catching squid.  Our thanks to Mark for sending us this illustration.

Inspired by the “Oceans of Kansas”

Mark went onto explain the inspiration behind his artwork:

“An illustration in Michael J. Everhart’s Oceans of Kansas, caught my attention and became the impetus for this drawing.  I would like to acknowledge his help and suggestions on how to correctly depict Tylosaurus.  In addition, Russell Hawley’s superb drawings in Oceans of Kansas also need to be recognised.”

Many Artists Have Been Inspired by the Fossil Discoveries from the Marine Sediments of North America

The Western Interior Seaway (Late Cretaceous)

A dramatic scene from the Western Interior Seaway painted by Zdeněk Burian (1905-1981), the Czech artist and illustrator who is credited for playing a pivotal role in the development of prehistoric animal illustration.

Picture Credit: Zdeněk Burian

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We are always delighted to receive drawings, illustrations and other artworks from fans of prehistory and prehistoric animals.  In these uncertain times, with many of our customers in lockdown, doing something creative such as drawing or model making can be very therapeutic and helpful.  We have seen a rise in the number of emails we have received which contain the results of these endeavours, we hope that indulging in these creative activities helps to keep people safe and well.”

Our thanks once again to Mark for sending in his illustration.

12 05, 2020

Bullyland Ammonite Model “Turntable Tuesday”

By | May 12th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

“Turntable Tuesday” Bullyland Ammonite Model

It’s “Turntable” Tuesday at Everything Dinosaur!  The time of the week when we put another prehistoric animal model on our turntable and give it a spin.  Today, it is the turn of the Bullyland ammonite model, the first invertebrate to feature in this series and an ammonite replica that it is used by museums all over the world to illustrate the Ammonoidea.

The Bullyland Ammonite Model “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ammonite Replicas

The Bullyland ammonite is one of the most popular figures in the German company’s “Dinosaur Park” range.  It depicts a typical ammonite, with large eyes, a hypernome and a beautifully detailed beak (mouth).  The shell has an inverted keel and it is strongly ribbed, characteristics associated with a number of known genera from both the Jurassic and Cretaceous geological periods.

The Bullyland Ammonite Model

Bullyland ammonite model.

The Bullyland replica ammonite model.  The strongly ribbed shell, large eyes and the presence of a hypernome (siphon).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Ubiquitous and Important Extinct Group of Cephalopods

Although extinct, animals in the Subclass Ammonoidea are extremely important to scientists.  Ammonites are members of the Mollusca Phylum that lived in chambered shells and were entirely marine.  Many hundreds of different genera are known.  The ability to evolve rapidly, to leave abundant fossil material in the form of their fossilised shells (comprised of aragonite, a naturally occurring crystalline form of calcium carbonate), has made these molluscs ideal candidates for zonal fossils.  Outcrops of rock, although in some cases, separated by thousands of miles and composed of different constituents, limestone and sandstone for example, can be correlated due to the fact that they contain similar ammonite fossils.  The technique of using fossils to identify the relative age of sediments is called biostratigraphy.  Rock layers are divided into distinct and easily identifiable zones as they are characterised by one or more particular fossil species.  Ammonites make ideal zone fossils.

The Bullyland Ammonite Model is Often Used in Museum Exhibits

The Bullyland ammonite model next to a polished section of an ammonite fossil.

The Bullyland ammonite model is often used in museum displays to depict the living animal next to fossil material.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Used in Museum Displays and Exhibits

In the short video, the ammonite model is shown next to a fossil specimen.  Many museums use the Bullyland ammonite replica in display cases so that visitors can get an idea of what the living animal was like whilst they view the fossilised remains of the ammonite aragonite shells.

The Posterior Portion of the Bullyland Ammonite Model

Ammonite model next to a fossil specimen.

The strongly ribbed shell and the obvious keel of the ammonite replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The “turntable Tuesday” ammonite model video, lasts a little over two minutes, it is one of a series of videos posted on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel showcasing different replicas.  To view these videos check out our YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

We recommend that readers subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To view the Bullyland ammonite model and to see the rest of the Bullyland prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Bullyland Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

11 05, 2020

Sarcosuchus Goes for a Swim

By | May 11th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus

Our thanks to Amy who sent into Everything Dinosaur some beautiful photographs of her recently acquired Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model.  It looks like the recent good weather was taken advantage of so that the Sarcosuchus could patrol outside.  These are wonderful well-composed photographs, especially the ones of the Sarcosuchus in the water.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus Ready to Ambush

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus replica.

A Sarcosuchus takes to the water.  Our thanks to Amy for sending into Everything Dinosaur some wonderful photographs of her recently acquired Sarcosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Amy

The Sarcosuchus certainly looks very much at home in the water.  It looks like it is ready to ambush any unwary dinosaur that decides to take a drink.  Only distantly related to extant crocodylians, very little was known about this giant predator until an almost complete skull was unearthed in Niger by a French research team (1964).  A series of expeditions to the same region of Africa led by the famous American palaeontologist Paul Sereno in the mid 1990’s resulted in the discovery of six new specimens and it was from these remains that the body plan of this crocodyliform was reconstructed.

It is Likely that Sarcosuchus was an Ambusher of Animals that Ventured to Close to the Water

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus.

Ready to ambush!  The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Amy

Sarcosuchus Going for a Swim

The Sarcosuchus model looks quite at home in Amy’s garden pond.  The model of “flesh crocodile” measures an impressive 26.5 centimetres long and it is one of the largest prehistoric animal models introduced this year by Safari Ltd.  Only the Edmontosaurus replica surpasses it in size.  In keeping with the scientific paper published in 2001 by Sereno et al when the fossilised specimens found during the 1990’s were formally described, Amy has chosen to depict her Sarcosuchus as a semi-aquatic animal.  It would have basked on the riverbank and occasionally moved around on land, but it probably did not stray too far from water.

Sarcosuchus Probably Did Not Stray Far from Water

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model takes a stroll in the sunshine.

Picture Credit: Amy

A Beautifully Painted Crocodyliform

The design team at Safari Ltd studied the scales and markings on living crocodiles in order to create their detailed prehistoric crocodile model.  The photograph (above), shows the different sized scales on the replica, smaller rounded scales on the flanks with larger, rectangular scales on the legs and the underside of the animal.  The parallel rows of osteoderms that run down from the neck to the tail have been skilfully recreated and the model demonstrates the bulbous upper jaw tip first identified in that almost complete fossil skull found in the Gadoufaoua region of northern Niger in 1964.

A Close View of the Head of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus Model

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model.

A close view of the beautifully painted head and jaws of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Amy

Fossils from Africa and also from Brazil

Two species of Sarcosuchus have been scientifically described.  Fossils from Africa associated with Lower Cretaceous outcrops of the Elrhaz Formation have been ascribed to S. imperator, whereas, the much older strata from the Ihas Group outcropping in north-eastern Brazil have yielded specimens that have been ascribed to the species S. hartti.  The holotype material associated with S. hartti resides at the London Natural History Museum, but given the huge temporal range which spans the African and Brazilian material, it is very likely that other Sarcosuchus species and closely related genera will be identified.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus

Sarcosuchus on the prowl.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Sarcosuchus on the prowl.  A carefully composed shot with an effective use of perspective to give the impression of a sizeable animal walking by.

Picture Credit: Amy

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our thanks to Amy for sending into us some splendid and carefully composed photographs of her Sarcosuchus model.”

To view the Sarcosuchus replica and the rest of the models in the Safari Ltd range: Wild Safari Prehistoric World models and figures.

10 05, 2020

Papo Tyrannosaurids

By | May 10th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Papo Tyrannosaurids – A Pair of Papo Tyrannosaurs

At Everything Dinosaur, we like to do our best when it comes to assisting our customers.  Take for example, a fan of Papo prehistoric animal models who asked us to photograph a Papo brown Tyrannosaurus rex model and the Papo Gorgosaurus replica prior to making a potential purchase.  Our team members were happy to oblige and emailed over several photographs from the company’s own studio of the two tyrannosaurids including a picture of the two prehistoric animals together on one of the turntables we use for our YouTube videos.

The Papo Brown Tyrannosaurus rex Model and the Papo Gorgosaurus

Papo Brown standing T. rex and the Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur models.

The Papo brown T. rex model (introduced in 2012) on the left with the 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus adjacent.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

These two tyrannosaurs make an attractive pair.  The Papo brown T. rex model was introduced in 2012 replacing the “classic” green version of this dinosaur.  The Papo Gorgosaurus is a much more recent addition to the Papo “Les Dinosaures” range.  This figure was introduced in 2019.

With the current COVID-19 difficulties, Everything Dinosaur has been able to put in place a series of contingency measures to help the company to continue operating its mail order business.  For example, making commitments to stock figures earlier than normal and putting in place plans to hold various products in readiness to bring them into the company’s warehouse.  These measures and the other steps that Everything Dinosaur have taken have enabled the company to maintain the availability of a number of product lines, including the popular Papo prehistoric animals.

To view the range of Papo prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

9 05, 2020

Reconstructing a Late Cretaceous Ecosystem

By | May 9th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Reconstructing a Dinosaur Dominated Ecosystem

A team of international researchers including scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Canada), have provided a new perspective on the palaeoenvironment of western North America during the Late Cretaceous.  An extensive study mapping stable isotopes identified in fossilised teeth has provided the research team with detailed information on how some dinosaurs co-existed in a floodplain environment on the landmass of Laramidia around 75 million years ago.

Many Different Types of Dinosaur are Associated with the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia

Dinosaur dominated ecosystem of Laramidia.

A large variety of different types of dinosaur co-existed on Laramidia.  Ornithischian dinosaurs such as ankylosaurs, ceratopsians, hadrosaurs as well as Saurischian dinosaurs such as dromaeosaurs, ornithomimids and tyrannosaurs.  They shared their tropical environment with turtles and numerous types of crocodilian.

Picture Credit: Danielle Dufault (Royal Ontario Museum)

Niche Partitioning in the Dinosauria

Palaeontologists had puzzled over how so many different types of large tetrapod could co-exist together and it had been thought that extensive niche partitioning between species must have been taking place.  Niche partitioning describes the natural selection process whereby different species reduce competition amongst themselves by becoming more specialised and adopting specific roles within an ecosystem.  They become adapted to a particular niche and by doing this competition between species is reduced.

Niche Partitioning Between Ceratopsids and Hadrosaurids

The fauna and flora of Alberta 75 million years ago

Alberta around 75 million years ago (Dinosaur Park Formation).  This part of the western North American landmass (Laramidia), was home to a large number of different types of dinosaur including a number of ceratopsians and duck-billed dinosaurs.  It had been suggested that niche partitioning permitted these mega-herbivores to co-exist with each type of plant-eating dinosaur specialising on feeding upon different types of vegetation.

Picture Credit: Julius Csotonyi

Stable Isotope Analysis

Researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum in collaboration with colleagues from the Field Museum in Chicago (USA), compared the compositions of stable isotopes identified in the fossilised teeth of different dinosaur taxa.  Stable isotopes are naturally occurring varieties of chemical elements such as oxygen and carbon that don’t alter and change into other elements over time. When water and food is consumed the stable isotopes of the elements that make up these resources (for example, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen), are passed on to the animal’s tissues including their teeth enamel.

Lead author of the research paper, published by the Geological Society of America, Dr Thomas Cullen (University of Toronto/Royal Ontario Museum), stated:

“Differences in the sources of water and types of food being consumed, as well as the physiology of the animal itself and the habitats they live in, will all result in small differences in the relative amounts of the stable isotopes of a given element, for example, carbon-13 versus carbon-12, present in their body tissues.  Measuring the ratios of the different isotopes of elements such as carbon or oxygen in tissues like tooth enamel gives us a unique window into the diet and habitat of an animal which has been extinct for millions of years.”

One of the Largest Studies of its Type Conducted

This research is one of the largest studies of its kind conducted on a dinosaur dominated ecosystem.  Over 350 isotopic measurements from 17 different taxa from fossils representing the Campanian fauna of Alberta.  Uniquely, this ancient data set was then compared and contrasted with measurements from 16 living species sampled from a modern coastal wetland in Louisiana, which closely resembles the climate conditions with northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous.

One of the co-authors of the study, Dr David Evans (Royal Ontario Museum), commented:

“Most of the time when these types of studies are done, the size of the dataset is much smaller and doesn’t take into consideration how dinosaur ecosystems compared to modern ones.  Louisiana was the perfect place to use as a comparison with the dinosaur communities we studied.  The environmental conditions were probably quite similar, and a number of the animals there probably had similar lifestyles to those found in dinosaur ecosystems.  That gives us a great deal of control when exploring our data.”

Typical Dinosaur Biota from the Campanian Faunal Stage of Northern Laramidia

Dinosaur Park Formation dinosaurs.

Typical dinosaur fauna of the Dinosaur Park Formation (Alberta, Canada).  A typical dinosaur dominated fauna associated with the study.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Challenges Existing Theories

The team’s results challenge existing theories about niche partitioning and habitat exploitation.  For example, it had been suggested that the horned dinosaurs tended to congregate in coastal areas, whereas hadrosaurids preferred inland habitats.  The stable carbon and oxygen isotope ranges for these large herbivores were found to strongly overlap, providing direct evidence against different types of mega-herbivore segregating.

Large herbivores did not appear to be separating across different habitats.  The researchers conclude that these animals may have been doing something different to avoid interspecific competition.  Perhaps herds of horned dinosaurs moved around the region in a different pattern compared to the herds of duck-billed dinosaurs.  In this way, they may have avoided being in the same part of the habitat at the same time, or perhaps they were feeding on different parts of the same plants.  With the high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the high average temperatures of 16-20 degrees Celsius and the extended daylength at certain times of the year due to the high latitude, competition for food might have been somewhat less intense than it is in modern ecosystems.

Extensive Vertebrate Fossil Deposits Have Helped to Inform Scientists About Ancient Ecosystems

Excavating an Edmontosaurus.

Extensive bonebeds and other fossil deposits have helped to inform scientists about the ancient ecosystem.

Picture Credit: Victoria Arbour

Results Helping to Understand the Implication of Global Warming

The isotope analysis enabled the scientists to accurately estimate the climate in this northern Laramidian palaeoenvironment.  By using an approach that combined average oxygen isotope compositions from the sampled species, new estimates of mean annual temperatures for the region could be made.  The team found that 75-million years ago, this area of southern Alberta to northern Montana had a mean annual temperature of about 16-20 °Celsius, a stark contrast to the current range of about 5-7 °Celsius that is experienced today.

Dr Cullen explained:

“Dinosaurs lived in a weird world: broad-leafed and flowering plants were much less common, it was warm enough in high latitudes to support crocodilians, CO2 in the atmosphere was higher than it is today, and there was little to no ice at the poles.  It’s not like anything we as humans have any direct experience with, but it may be the direction we are headed, so it’s critical that we understand how ecosystems and environments function under those sorts of conditions so we can better prepare ourselves for the future.”

The scientists conclude that that this approach is a simple and effective method that enables accurate palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.  These results indicate that dinosaur niche partitioning was much more complex than previously thought.  This study can provide a framework for future research on dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic floodplain communities.

The scientific paper: “Large-scale stable isotope characterization of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur-dominated ecosystem” by T.M. Cullen, F.J. Longstaffe, U.G. Wortmann, L. Huang, F. Fanti, M.B. Goodwin, M.J. Ryan and D.C. Evans published by the Geological Society of America.

6 05, 2020

“Raptors” Did Not Hunt in Packs

By | May 6th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

New Study Challenges Dromaeosaurids Hunting in Packs

The “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” movie franchise certainly spawned new generations of dinosaur fans.  It could be argued that these extremely successful films, may have influenced the career choices of would-be scientists.  All very well and good, but one of the problems associated with the films and with the original book “Jurassic Park” written by Michael Crichton, concerns the “raptors”, those fast running, social pack hunters the size of Deinonychus but in this franchise referred to as Velociraptors.

Popular media has depicted these “raptors” as highly social, intelligent animals capable of working together to attack and bring down prey, but what scientific evidence is there to back-up the on-screen abilities of these dinosaurs?

Since it is very rare for the fossil record to preserve behaviour, scientists have had to employ some ingenious lines of research in order to gain an insight into the behaviour of dinosaurs.  For example, researchers from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Oklahoma and the Sam Noble Museum (Oklahoma), set about analysing differences in stable carbon isotopes within Deinonychus teeth.  Differences in the composition of these stable isotopes in teeth from young dinosaurs when compared to the isotopes found in the teeth of adults, would indicate a different diet.

If the adults had a different diet compared to the younger animals then this would contradict the idea of these dinosaurs being social and hunting in packs.

They conclude that Deinonychus probably did not hunt in a co-operative, co-ordinated manner.  These “raptors” were probably not complex, social hunters.

Actor Chris Pratt the “Alpha Male” with one of his “Pack” Members

A Velociraptor from the movie.

A stalwart of the “Jurassic Park” franchise – the “raptor” but what scientific evidence is there to suggest that these theropods were pack hunters?

Picture Credit: Universal Studios

Laying a Ghost – Highly Intelligent, Pack Hunting “Raptors”

The idea of pack hunting in dromaeosaurids pre-dates “Jurassic Park”, it was first proposed to explain the co-occurrence of Deinonychus (D. antirrhopus) and the iguanodontian Tenontosaurus (T. tilletti).  Around a fifth of all Tenontosaurus remains are found in association with D. antirrhopus.  It has been proposed that Deinonychus hunted the larger Tenontosaurus and as numerous fossil specimens of Deinonychus have been found with Tenontosaurus remains it was suggested that this was evidence of pack hunting behaviour amongst members of the Dromaeosauridae.

A Pack of “Raptors” (Deinonychus) Attack a Tenontosaurus

Deinonychus attacking Tenontosaurus.

A pack of Deinonychus attacking the herbivore Tenontosaurus.  Pack hunting behaviour inferred from fossil evidence.

Picture Credit: John Sibbick

The depiction of dromaeosaurs as pack hunters is problematic as sophisticated hunting strategies are rarely observed in living archosaurs such as crocodiles and birds.   Palaeontologists have considered that perhaps Deinonychus was more analogous to extant reptilian predators such as the Komodo dragon (V. komodoensis), where there seems to be no co-ordinated attack strategy, instead an attack by an individual may instigate mobbing behaviour which would bring down the prey.

Lead author of the study, published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Dr Joseph Frederickson (University of Wisconsin), explained:

“The evidence for this behaviour [pack hunting], however, is not altogether convincing.  Since we can’t watch these dinosaurs hunt in person, we must use indirect methods to determine their behaviour in life.  Though widely accepted, evidence for the pack-hunting dinosaur proposed by Yale University palaeontologist John Ostrom is relatively weak.  The problem with this idea is that living dinosaurs (birds) and their relatives (crocodilians) do not usually hunt in groups and rarely ever hunt prey larger than themselves.  Further, behaviour like pack hunting does not fossilise so we can’t directly test whether the animals actually worked together to hunt prey.”

Social Pack Hunters versus Mob Hunters

In order to test the likelihood of Deinonychus being a social pack hunter or whether these dinosaurs simply mobbed victims in an uncoordinated manner, the researchers looked at evidence for dietary changes preserved in the stable carbon isotopes found in fossilised Deinonychus teeth of various sizes.  The team analysed tooth carbonate from teeth less than 4.5 mm tall (crown height less than 4.5 mm) and compared the carbon isotopes found to those from much larger teeth (crown height greater than 9 mm).  The smallest teeth studied were the relatively most enriched with carbon-13 isotope, whilst the largest teeth used in the study had depleted levels.  These results suggest that juvenile Deinonychus consumed different prey than older members of this species.

Analysis of Stable Isotope Carbon-13 in the Teeth of Deinonychus Sheds Doubt on the Social Hunter Hypothesis

Isotope analysis of dinosaur teeth.

Deinonychus teeth – carbon-13 isotope analysis.  Tooth samples collected from the Lower Cretaceous Cloverly (Montana) and Antlers (Oklahoma) formations when analysed for carbon-13 levels suggest a dietary shift as Deinonychus matured.  This challenges the social, pack hunter hypothesis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Teeth from goniopholidid crocodilians as well as the teeth of Tenontosaurus tilletti were also tested.  The crocodilian results mirrored those found for Deinonychus.  If goniopholidid had the same behaviours of extant crocodilians then, just like their modern counterparts, these reptiles went through a distinct dietary transition as they grew.  If the teeth of Deinonychus show very similar results to the crocodilians, then, the implication is that just like crocodiles today, this “raptor” was probably not a complex social hunter it is unlikely that its hunting behaviour was comparable to the pack hunting behaviour of wolves or lions.

Still, the prospect of being mobbed by a gang of agile, three-metre-long, predatory dinosaurs remains unappealing.

A Model of a Deinonychus Dinosaur (D. antirrhopus)

The new for 2020 the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Deinonychus dinosaur model.

New for 2020 the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Deinonychus dinosaur model.  Evidence suggests that Deinonychus was not a social, sophisticated pack hunter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “Ontogenetic dietary shifts in Deinonychus antirrhopus (Theropoda; Dromaeosauridae): Insights into the ecology and social behavior of raptorial dinosaurs through stable isotope analysis” by J.A. Frederickson, M. H. Engel, R.L. Cifelli published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

5 05, 2020

CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth “Turntable Tuesday”

By | May 5th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

“Turntable Tuesday” CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth

It’s “Turntable Tuesday” at Everything Dinosaur and time to give another prehistoric animal figure in our extensive range, a spin.  Today, we have selected one of the most underrated models in the CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life model range – the 1:20 scale Woolly Mammoth.  It is time this fabulous figure of an iconic Ice Age animal got put into the spotlight.

“Turntable Tuesday” – The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Woolly Mammoth

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)

Lots of prehistoric animal ranges include a Woolly Mammoth figure (M. primigenius).  It seems that as soon as a manufacturer starts to extend a range beyond the Dinosauria, the Woolly Mammoth comes into consideration.  The CollectA 1:20 scale replica was introduced back in 2009 along with the Woolly Mammoth calf, which coincidentally, makes a short appearance in our video.  Interestingly, although no scale declaration was ever made for the calf model, these models were originally given sequential catalogue and production numbers.  They do work very well together in terms of scale.

CollectA Woolly Mammoth Models

CollectA Woolly Mammoth models.

The CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth model in 1:20 scale and the CollectA Prehistoric Life Woolly Mammoth calf.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Woolly Mammoth on the Turntable

Our short video showcasing these excellent replicas lasts around one minute fifty seconds.  Using a turntable to display the models we can permit viewers an all-round view of the figure.  We did have to place the adult Mammoth on its back so that we could show the beautifully sculpted teeth in the upper jaw.  Those tusks (upper incisors), are beautifully weathered too.

The Everything Dinosaur Video Highlights Some of the Details on the Ice Age Models

Highlighting details on the CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth model.

The Everything Dinosaur video highlights the details in the upper jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Model Measurements – Are They 1:20 Scale?

The CollectA Deluxe adult Woolly Mammoth measures around 20 cm long and that magnificent head is approximately 15 cm off the ground.  Different species were different sizes and as with extant elephants today, the males were much larger than the females.  Scientific measurements based on Mammuthus primigenius suggest an adult body size of around 3.5 metres to 4 metres in length, so this figure is indeed in approximately 1:20 scale.

The CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth Replica

The CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth replica.

CollectA Deluxe Woolly Mammoth replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Woolly Mammoth Calf

CollectA Woolly Mammoth calf.

CollectA Prehistoric Life Woolly Mammoth calf model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Woolly Mammoth video can be found on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel, please subscribe, you can find the channel here: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

To view the CollectA Deluxe range of prehistoric animals: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life Models.

To view the CollectA Woolly Mammoth calf and the rest of the figures in the Prehistoric Life range: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

4 05, 2020

Stellasaurus – “Star Lizard”

By | May 4th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Stellasaurus ancellae – Missing Link from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana

A new species of horned dinosaur has been described based on fossil material from the famous Two Medicine Formation of north-western Montana.  The new species named Stellasaurus ancellae is a possible missing link in the evolutionary transition of Centrosaurinae dinosaurs from Styracosaurus to one of the last of the horned dinosaurs known to science – Pachyrhinosaurus.  Stellasaurus means “star lizard”, reflecting the ornate star-shaped head crest and in honour of British rock/pop star David Bowie, famous for his flamboyant appearance and his hit single “Starman” which was released on April 28th 1972, almost 48 years to the day that the Stellasaurus scientific paper was published in Royal Society Open Science.

United by a Flamboyant Appearance David Jones AKA David Bowie and “Star Lizard” AKA Stellasaurus

Two flamboyant characters David Bowie and Stellasaurus.

David Bowie (left) and Stellasaurus ancellae (right).

Picture Credit: Getty Images and Andrey Atuchin

Stellasaurus ancellae

Just like the career of David Bowie, Stellasaurus has had to wait a while before becoming famous.  The fossil material now assigned to Stellasaurus was discovered in 1986, near the town of Cut Bank in Montana, close to the USA/Canadian border.  The discovery was made by Carrie Ancell.  It remained catalogued but not studied in the Museum of the Rockies (Montana), vertebrate fossil collection.  The contribution of Carrie Ancell, now a senior preparator at the Museum of the Rockies, has been recognised as the species name honours her.  Carrie Ancell has played a significant role in developing our understanding of northern Laramidian centrosaurines.  She discovered and prepared MOR 492, the holotype specimen of Stellasaurus ancellae, as well as the holotype of Achelousaurus horneri, and co-discovered the holotype of Einiosaurus procurvicornis.

Views of the Holotype Fossil Material of Stellasaurus ancellae

Holotype fossil material for Stellasaurus ancellae

Left lateral parietal bar of Stellasaurus ancellae holotype MOR 492 in dorsal and ventral views.   The line drawing has been reproduced from a PLOS One article (Evans and Ryan).  Note scale bar on left equals 10 cm.

Picture Credit: Wilson et al/Royal Society Open Science

Reviewing the Centrosaurinae Fossil Material from the Two Medicine Formation

A review of cranial material, specifically the ornamentation associated with the neck frill (parietal processes), previously assigned to the centrosaurine Rubeosaurus ovatus resulted in the identification of this new taxon.  However, this assessment could mark the demise of R. ovatus as the researchers, which include John Wilson of Montana State University, conclude that only what was the holotype fossil, a partial parietal specimen number USNM 11869, can be attributed Rubeosaurus.  This could spell the end for Rubeosaurus.  When USNM 11869 was first described it was assigned to a new species of Styracosaurus (S. ovatus).  Thus, this new paper proposes that the genus Rubeosaurus is now no longer valid and that Styracosaurus ovatus is the sister taxon to Styracosaurus albertensis and Stellasaurus marks a missing link in centrosaurine evolution between Styracosaurus and Einiosaurus procurvicornis.

A Stratigraphical and Temporal Assessment of Late Cretaceous Centrosaurines Based on Two Medicine Formation Fossil Material *

The centrosaurine lineage from Styracosaurus to Pachyrhinosaurus.

Stratigraphic and temporal relationship between Two Medicine Formation centrosaurine taxa. * Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai fossil material is not from the Two Medicine Formation but from the younger unit 4 sediments of the Wapiti Formation of Canada.

Picture Credit: Wilson et al/Royal Society Open Science

A Missing Link Amongst the Centrosaurinae

The researchers postulate that Stellasaurus represents a missing link in the centrosaurine family tree.  The fossils of Stellasaurus are believed to be around 75 million years old.  From a stratigraphical perspective, they are younger than Styracosaurus albertensis fossils, but older than fossils assigned to Einiosaurus.  That flamboyant head shield with its various lumps and bumps could reflect a transitional stage between the headshield morphology of Styracosaurus and that of Einiosaurus.  It is suggested that Stellasaurus was preceded by Styracosaurus and that Styracosaurus evolved into Stellasaurus.  In addition, Einiosaurus evolved from Stellasaurus.

A Transitional Process – One Horned Dinosaur Leading Directly to Another Species of Horned Dinosaur

Anagenesis amongst centrosaurines.

Anagenesis within centrosaurine dinosaurs.  Stellasaurus evolved from Styracosaurus and Einiosaurus evolved from Stellasaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Andrey Atuchin

Anagenesis in the Centrosaurinae

Commenting upon the importance of this new research, lead author John Wilson stated:

“The ornamental horns and spiky frills on the skulls of these animals are what changed the most through evolution.  The new species has skull ornamentation which is intermediate.  This gives us evidence these species are members of a single, evolving lineage – this type of evolution is called anagenesis.”

The Phylogeny of the Centrosaurinae from Statistical Analysis Undertaken by the Research Team

Phylogeny of the Centrosaurinae based on Bayesian analysis.

Phylogeny of the Centrosaurinae clade of the Ceratopsidae based on Bayesian statistical analysis mapped against a temporal range.  Styracosaurus ovatus (formerly Rubeosaurus ovatus), is placed as the sister taxon to Styracosaurus albertensis, whilst Stellasaurus is mapped between S. albertensis and Einiosaurus procurvicornis.

Picture Credit: Wilson et al/Royal Society Open Science

The scientific paper: “A new, transitional centrosaurine ceratopsid from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana and the evolution of the ‘Styracosaurus-line’ dinosaurs” by John P. Wilson, Michael J. Ryan and David C. Evans published in Royal Society Open Science.

3 05, 2020

Preparing for Caviramus

By | May 3rd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Preparations Underway for the CollectA Caviramus Pterosaur Model

At the end of November last year (2019), Everything Dinosaur revealed that CollectA would be introducing a replica of the bizarre Late Triassic pterosaur Caviramus.  This 1:2 scale model, along with the rest of the remaining new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals, have been delayed (coronavirus outbreak), but team members at Everything Dinosaur have still been busy making preparations for this model’s arrival.

Arriving in 2020 (Later on in the Year) The CollectA Supreme Caviramus Pterosaur Model

CollectA Caviramus model with an articulated jaw.

The bizarre Late Triassic pterosaur Caviramus (CollectA Caviramus model).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Caviramus schesaplanensis

Of all the pterosaurs known to science (there are around 130 genera), arguably the most bizarre but poorly known are those from the Late Triassic and into the latter stages of the Early Jurassic (Toarcian stage), that have been tentatively grouped together as “Campylognathoidids”.  Caviramus is one such member, assigned by several authors, although there is very little agreement amongst pterosaur experts how the various associated genera are related to each other, or indeed, how they fit into the wider Pterosauria.  The grouping consists of around half a dozen or so assorted genera, most of which have been found in Europe.  European members include Austriadactylus, Carniadactylus, Eudimorphodon, Campylognathoides, Caviramus and Raeticodactylus.

Named and described in 2006 (Fröbisch and Fröbisch), from a partial lower jaw found on the western slope of the Schesaplana mountain in Switzerland, Caviramus schesaplanensis was soon joined by another species (C. filisurensis), following the scientific description in 2008 of a much more complete skeleton found in contemporaneous deposits.  As if to highlight the complexities of trying to phylogenetically plot these strange flying reptiles, Caviramus filisurensis was placed in its own genus Raeticodactylus when it was described (Rico Stetcher).  However, other researchers challenged this placement and comparisons with the jawbone of C. schesaplanensis led to claims that the two pterosaur fossils represented the same species or at least they were congeneric (belonging to the same genus).

A more recent study (2014), concluded that these two, closely related pterosaurs should be placed in the Raeticodactylidae family and that Raeticodactylus was the sister genus of Caviramus.  This phylogenetic assessment remains controversial, as indeed does the placement of all the “campylognathoidids” within the Pterosauria.  In our fact sheet that will accompany sales of the CollectA Supreme 1:2 scale Caviramus replica, we hope to provide a little more information about this Triassic flying reptile.

Everything Dinosaur’s Fact Sheet Illustration of Caviramus

Carivramus pterosaur scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the bizarre Pterosaur Caviramus (C. schesaplanensis).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

From the Upper Triassic Kössen Formation

With their complex, multi-cusped teeth, large eyes, down-turned lower jaw tips and proportionately long wing fingers, the “Campylognathoidids” represent one of the earliest radiations of the Pterosauria.  In common with most other early pterosaurs Caviramus was relatively small, with an estimated wingspan of around 1.2 metres, giving it a wingspan roughly comparable to the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo).  However, what Caviramus ate is entirely unknown.  Wear and scratches observed on teeth along with studies of jaw morphology suggest that these flying reptiles were capable of processing their food in their mouths to some degree – chewing, an anatomic trait unique within the Pterosauria.  What Caviramus ate is very much open to speculation.  It probably was a generalist feeding on plant material, invertebrates, small vertebrates and possibly carrion.  Studies of the potential aerial abilities of Caviramus indicate that it may have flown but relied on gliding to an extent.

The fossilised partial lower jaw assigned to C. schesaplanensis comes from the Kössen Formation.  Its age is uncertain due to problems over accurately dating the strata.  The sediments represent a lagoonal environment that overtime, became a more open marine ecosystem but the absence of any obvious zonal fossils such as ammonites or conodonts makes accurate dating very difficult.  The strata are regarded as Late Norian to Early Rhaetian in age.  Based on this, our team members conclude that Caviramus was taking to the air around 210-206 million years ago.

To read our post in which we introduced the new for 2020 CollectA Supreme Caviramus replica: New for 2020 – CollectA Models (Part 5).

Everything Dinosaur’s short video announcing new for 2020 CollectA figures including Caviramus: A Guide to the New CollectA Models (Part 5).

Our team members hope to post up more information about the new for 2020 CollectA figures including when they might be in stock.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s existing range of CollectA scale models: CollectA Deluxe Replicas.

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