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

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

12 11, 2018

A Colourful Compsognathus

By | November 12th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Colourful Compsognathus

A fan of Everything Dinosaur very kindly sent into us a beautiful illustration of the small, Jurassic Theropod Compsognathus.  Our thanks to Maurizio from Italy for producing such a fantastic piece of artwork and sharing it with us.

A Very Colourful Compsognathus

Compsognathus illustrated.

A beautiful illustration of the Late Jurassic Theropod dinosaur Compsognathus.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

An Elegant Illustration of “Elegant Jaw”

The fast-running Compsognathus was about the size of a small goose and for a time it was regarded as the smallest dinosaur known to science.  The scientific name for this European dinosaur is Compsognathus longipes, the genus name comes from the Latin for “elegant jaw”, a reference to the delicate, slender jaws of this little predator, which probably fed on insects and small vertebrates.

Commenting on the drawing, illustrator Maurizio said:

“I just wanted to send  you [Everything Dinosaur] this illustration.  The illustration features a Compsognathus inspired by the ones seen in “Jurassic Park” and the “Lost World” movies.  My Compsognathus is hiding inside some prehistoric plants.”

Maurizio Has Skilfully Drawn the “Elegant Jaw” of Compsognathus

A close-up view of the elegant jaw of Compsognathus.

A close-up view of the head of the Compsognathus longipes that had been drawn by Everything Dinosaur fan Maurizio.

Picture Credit: Maurizio

Always Happy to Receive Prehistoric Animal Drawings

A spokesperson from the UK-based dinosaur company stated that team members were always happy to receive prehistoric animal drawings from fans of dinosaurs and this person went onto state:

“We get sent a lot of illustrations and examples of prehistoric animal themed artwork and we are always happy to post up the pictures onto the walls of our office or within the company warehouse.  These drawings make a very attractive display.”

Our thanks once again to Maurizio for taking the time and the trouble to send into Everything Dinosaur an example of his artwork.

9 11, 2018

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 2)

By | November 9th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|11 Comments

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 2)

Here is the second part of our series of articles introducing the new for 2019 prehistoric animal models from CollectA and fittingly, part two features two new figures to be added to the range.

The two new prehistoric animal figures are:

  • A 1:20 scale replica of the sail-backed reptile Edaphosaurus (available first quarter 2019).
  • A 1:40 scale replica of the “meat-eating bull” Carnotaurus (available first quarter 2019).

The New for 2019 CollectA 1:20 Scale Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA Edaphosaurus model.

The CollectA 1:20 scale Edaphosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA have expressed a wish to increase the number of Palaeozoic creatures represented in their range, hence the introduction of the Permian pelycosaur Edaphosaurus.  This beautiful figure is a great accompaniment to the Dimetrodon model that came out last year.  It is great to see another synapsid introduced into the CollectA range, especially a herbivore.

Commenting upon the 1:20 scale Deluxe Edaphosaurus model, designer Anthony Beeson stated:

“I have tried to make the Deluxe Edaphosaurus a more active animal than generally portrayed and again less sprawling.  My version of the sail is quite thickly fleshed, unlike the sails of Dimetrodons and you will see that only the knobs of the cross-pieces protrude from the sides.  I have always liked Edaphosaurus and never really understood why there are so few toy versions around.  The shape of the sail is very pleasing.”

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Carnotaurus

2019 will see CollectA add to their collection of abelisaurid dinosaurs.  Joining the Rugops, Rajasaurus and the Majungasaurus will be a spectacular Carnotaurus figure.  Unlike the existing members of the Abelisauridae within the CollectA portfolio, this will be a scale model (1/40th), the first of this type of dinosaur to be added to CollectA’s Deluxe range.

The New for 2019 CollectA 1:40 Scale Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Deluxe Carnotaurus.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs 1:40 scale Deluxe Carnotaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans Requesting Carnotaurus

Fans of the CollectA dinosaurs have been requesting a Carnotaurus for quite a while.  It is wonderful to see a replica of this Argentinian giant from the Late Cretaceous added to the scale model range.  Dinosaur enthusiasts will probably know that skin impressions have been found in association with the fossils of this dinosaur.  A considerable portion of the right side of the dinosaur left a skin impression which was preserved in the rock.  The design team at CollectA have taken great care to ensure that the texture of their Carnotaurus reflects what is known about the skin of this carnivore, although, the striking flashes of colour on the head and neck are purely speculative.

The short, deep skull and those amazing horns that give this dinosaur its name have been beautifully crafted.  Note the use of a base to support the figure, this has permitted the sculpting team to give the Carnotaurus appropriately sized feet, after all, this dinosaur was nicknamed by palaeontologists studying the locomotion of this Theropod, the “Dinosaur Speed Demon” .

Commenting on the introduction of a Carnotaurus, designer Anthony Beeson remarked:

“The Deluxe Carnotaurus is the result of repeated requests from fans for a CollectA version of this creature.  I was never very keen to do it in the past as, when we started, almost every firm was producing models in the wake of the Disney dinosaur film and Jurassic Park.  I am glad that we waited.  I have tried to emphasise in the tail the shape proposed in the work of Currie and Persons and the fact that the caudofemoralis muscle in Carnotaurus was very large enabling great speed to be maintained.”

It was W. Scott Persons IV and Phil Currie who looked at the tail muscle structure in Carnotaurus sastrei and published a paper in 2011, suggesting that this dinosaur had a larger caudofemoralis muscle than any other Theropod described at the time – hence the “Dinosaur Speed Demon” nickname.  This muscle provides the power to help move the dinosaur forward and such a huge muscle indicated that Carnotaurus was capable of great bursts of speed.  Ironically, straight line running was its speciality, the shape of the muscle and the tail bones supporting it suggested that Carnotaurus was not so good at making tight turns.

We suspect that both the new 1:40 scale Deluxe Carnotaurus and the 1:20 Deluxe Edaphosaurus will be flying off our shelves in the warehouse when they come into stock in early 2019.

Model Measurements

Here are those all-important model measurements:

  • CollectA Edaphosaurus 1:20 scale – length 20 cm, height of sail just under 8 cm.
  • Carnotaurus Deluxe 1:40 scale The Age of Dinosaurs – length 28 cm, height 10.5 cm.

To view the current range of CollectA Deluxe scale prehistoric animal models including that superb Dimetrodon: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life

To read about the first of the 2019 models to be introduced: New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

7 11, 2018

Preparing for Prestosuchus

By | November 7th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Maintenance on Website, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing for Prestosuchus

Everything Dinosaur team members are preparing for the arrival of some of the new for 2019 Wild Safari Prehistoric World models including the Prestosuchus replica.  The beautiful Prestosuchus figure is just one of a number of new Wild Safari Prehistoric World figures that Everything Dinosaur hopes to stock before Christmas.

Coming Soon – The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

Prestosuchus model.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Formidable Predator of the Middle Triassic of Brazil

Prestosuchus (P. chiniquensis) was not a dinosaur, but a member of the Archosauria, just like the dinosaurs, but from a lineage that is more closely related to modern crocodilians than to living birds and extinct dinosaurs.  Fossils of this large predator have been found in south-eastern Brazil from strata that date from the Middle Triassic.  Prestosuchus was named by the German palaeontologist Friedrich von Huene in 1942, the genus name honours Brazilian self-taught palaeontologist Vicentino Prestes de Almeida and the trivial name honours the town where Vicentino Prestes de Almeida was born (Chiniquá, Rio Grande do Sul).

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

New for 2019 the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus model.   A close-up view of the new for 2019 P. chiniquensis model from Safari Ltd.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Producing a Scale Drawing

It had been thought that this animal measured around 5 metres in length, about the size of a Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), however, a specimen described in 2010 indicated that this quadruped may have reached lengths of around 7 metres and it might have weighed 1,000 kilograms or more.  Everything Dinosaur team members have had to examine a number of scientific papers in order to produce a scale drawing for use in their Prestosuchus fact sheet.  This fact sheet will be sent out with purchases of the Prestosuchus model.

Everything Dinosaur Prepares a Fact Sheet for the Arrival of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

Prestosuchus chiniquensis scale drawing.

A scale drawing of Prestosuchus chiniquensis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read an article from Everything Dinosaur published in 2010 that describes the discovery of this new, larger fossil specimen of Prestosuchus chiniquensisThe Most Complete Fossil of a Crocodylotarsian found in Brazil

6 11, 2018

Red Plates on a Stegosaurus

By | November 6th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Red Plates on a Stegosaurus

This morning, we feature a superb illustration of the Late Jurassic armoured dinosaur Stegosaurus by the renowned palaeoartist from China, Zhao Chuang.  Enormous diamond-shaped plates were located on the neck, back and tail of Stegosaurus.   These plates were not just made of bone, they also had a horny, keratin covering.  This covering has not been preserved in the known fossil record so palaeontologists don’t know how big the plates were or indeed, what shape they were in life.

A Life Reconstruction of the Armoured Dinosaur Stegosaurus

A life reconstruction of the armoured dinosaur Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurus illustration by Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

What Colour were the Plates on Stegosaurus?

When first described by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1877, the bizarre plates of Stegosaurus were thought to provide protection against attack.  They were regarded as armour, however, it was soon noted that although their exact position in life was difficult to determine (the plates are embedded in the skin and not attached to the bone), it was likely that these structures were too high on the back to be effective armour-plating for this plant-eating dinosaur.  As palaeontologists employed more sophisticated techniques to study these plates, it was revealed that they were quite thin with lots of blood vessels running through them.  The theory that these plates played a role in thermoregulation was postulated.  On cold mornings a Stegosaurus could face towards the sunrise and warm its plates.  The blood running through the vessels close to the surface of the plates would then be warmed up, helping the dinosaur to raise its body temperature.  Furthermore, in order to cool down, the Stegosaurus could face the sun in such a way that only a small surface area of the plates was exposed, thus permitting the body to cool down.  As the largest plates were high on the animal’s back, their position several metres in the air, would permit cooler air away from the ground surface to circulate around them, thus cooling the dinosaur still further.

It was the scientist Kenneth Carpenter who first proposed that the plates could be flushed with blood at will and this led to the idea that these adornments could be used to display or to intimidate predatory dinosaurs.  As a result, numerous Stegosaurus illustrations and indeed models, have tended to give Stegosaurus some reddish colour plates.

A Model of a Stegosaurus (Bullyland Stegosaurus) with Red Coloured Plates

Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

The Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As for the colour of Stegosaurus plates, when they were not being flushed with blood, nobody knows.

5 11, 2018

Super Efficient Lungs Powered Dinosaur Success

By | November 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Bird-like Lungs Could Have Helped Dinosaurs to Dominate

There has been a great deal of debate regarding the rise of the Dinosauria.  How and when did these relatively unassuming members of the Dinosauria, which only made up a small proportion of terrestrial biota during the Middle Triassic, rise to dominance, out-competing a host of other reptilian groups?  The respiratory system of dinosaurs could provide a clue.  In a new study publised in the open access journal of the Royal Society (Royal Society Open Science), a team of researchers postulate that the lung-air sac system could have helped dinosaurs thrive in Earth’s oxygen-depleted atmosphere.

Did a Super-efficient Pumonary System Help the Dinosaurs to Thrive?

Dinosaurs probably had a super-efficient respiratory system.

New research suggests super-efficient dinosaur lungs assisted the rise of the Dinosauria.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Studying the Breathing Systems of Modern Birds and Alligators

Birds have a super-efficient respiratory system that is unique amongst the vertebrates.  However, palaeontologists remain uncertain as to when the avian-style lung evolved.  Did it evolve in dinosaurian ancestors or is it restricted to birds?  After all, if you are going to fly, then you need a very efficient and powerful set of lungs to get enough oxygen to your flight muscles.

This area of anatomy has attracted a great deal of debate.  Recently, Everything Dinosaur reported on a study conducted on a specimen of Archaeorhynchus spathula, a primitive bird (basal member of the Ornithuromorpha), from the Lower Cretaceous of China, that may show preservation of an advanced avian lung.  To read more about this research: Breathing Life into the Bird Lungs Debate

The scientists, including researchers from the University of Manchester, compared dinosaur lungs to those of living crocodilians and the lungs of extant birds.  Lead researcher, PhD student Robert Brocklehurst (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Manchester University), stated:

“The respiratory system of non-avian dinosaurs has been the topic of considerable study over the years, both in an attempt to shed light on the biology of now extinct members of the dinosaur family, and in order to understand the origins and evolution of modern birds and reptiles.”

Low Oxygen Levels in the Triassic and Early Jurassic

Today, our atmosphere contains approximately 21 percent oxygen, however, things have not always been like that.  During the Middle Triassic, through to the Early Jurassic, a time that saw the evolution and the radiation of the Dinosauria, the atmospheric oxygen percentage of our planet fell to around 15-17%.   With less oxygen in the air, a group of vertebrates with more efficient lungs would have had a definite evolutionary advantage over other terrestrial animals.

During the Triassic A Wide Variety of Terrestrial Reptilian Vertebrates Co-existed

The flora and fauna of the Late Triassic.

Dinosaurs, Aetosaurs, Phytosaurs and and Rauisuchians co-existed in the Triassic, but did super-efficient lungs help the Dinosauria to become dominant.

Picture Credit: Victor Leshyk

To investigate the different kinds of respiratory systems the team used Computerised Tomography (CT) scans to look at the lung cavities of four modern crocodilians and twenty-nine modern birds, including the largest living bird today, the ostrich and compared their structure with those of sixteen different dinosaur species.  The detailed scans revealed that all the dinosaurs had vertebrae more similar in shape to those of birds than those of crocodilians.  In addition, the scientists discovered that the dinosaur vertebrae jutted into the lung cavity, the same as found in living birds.

Robert explained:

“We thought some of the dinosaurs would have lungs more like birds, and others would be similar to reptiles, but this wasn’t the case at all.  Every dinosaur sample we scanned just looked like the birds we scanned.”

Dissection Used in this Study

As well as using CT scans, the team removed the lungs of an alligator and an ostrich, and found the skeletal support structures surrounding the lungs were very different in each animal.  The alligator’s lung cavity was smooth and allowed the lungs and other internal organs to glide as they move to pump air in and out while the animal swims.  However, the ostrich lung cavity was found to be furrowed, similar to the anatomical condition found in the dinosaurs.

The scientists concluded that having more efficient bird-like lungs permitted the dinosaurs to adapt and thrive in an oxygen depleted environment, whereas other groups including the the Crurotarsi clade of Archosaurs that gave rise to modern crocodiles, struggled.

Commenting on the research, co-author Professor Bill Sellers (Manchester University) added:

“If even the very first dinosaurs to evolve had bird-like lungs, this goes some way to explaining why dinosaurs became the dominant animal species of their time.  Other animal groups simply may not have had lungs as well suited to extracting oxygen from the air.  That simple evolutionary difference may have let dinosaurs rule world.”

The scientists concluded that respiratory and pulmonary modifications would have provided dinosaurs with more efficient means of oxygen uptake relative to other vertebrates during the environmentally hypoxic conditions which pervaded much of the early part of the Mesozoic.  This anatomical advantage enjoyed by the Dinosauria could thus potentially have contributed to their radiation and dominance over terrestrial ecosystems, which was to last for around 150 million years.

The Lungs of Dinosaurs Helped to Power Their Evolutionary Success

The sophisticated respiratory system of Ingentia prima.

The air sacs of Ingentia prima (green) the lungs shown in brown.  This large, Early Jurassic Sauropod had a super-efficient respiratory system.

Picture Credit: Jorge A. González

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

The scientific paper: “Vertebral Morphometrics and Lung Structure in Non-avian Dinosaurs” by Robert J. Brocklehurst, Emma R. Schachner and William I. Sellers published in Royal Society Open Science.

4 11, 2018

A New Species of Rebbachisaurid is Named

By | November 4th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|2 Comments

Lavocatisaurus agrioensis – A New Long-Necked Dinosaur from Argentina

A team of palaeontologists from Argentina and Spain have announced the discovery of a new species of long-necked dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Argentina.  The dinosaur, represented by a set of bones that indicate the remains of at least three individuals, has been named Lavocatisaurus agrioensis and it will help to shed more light on a rare and enigmatic group of Sauropods known as the rebbachisaurids.

A Skeletal Reconstruction and Photographs of Key Fossils from L. agrioensis

Skeletal reconstruction and fossil bones attributed to Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.

Skeletal reconstruction based on the holotype and paratype specimens of Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.  Scale bars = 10 cm.

Picture Credit: AFP/Agencia CTYS

The picture above shows the skeletal drawing of the adult dinosaur with illustrations of key bones from the excavation.  Most of the neck and the skull has been recovered.  Cranial fossils associated with the Rebbachisauridae are rare, the discovery of these specimens from Agrio del Medio (Neuquén Province, Argentina) will help scientists to better understand taxonomic relationships amongst members of this Sauropod family, largely associated with Gondwanaland fossil deposits.

Fossils of a Family Group?

Writing in the journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica”, the scientists report the discovery of one large, presumably adult animal with two smaller sub-adults found in association.  The fossil material come from terrestrial sandstone deposits laid down around 110 million years ago (Aptian to Albian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous), in an arid environment with isolated oasis and other water sources (Rayoso Formation).

One of the authors of the scientific paper, José Luis Carballido, of the Egidio Feruglio Museum (Argentina), stated:

“We found most of the cranial bones: the snout, the jaws, a lot of teeth, also the bones that define the eye sockets for example and in that way, we were able to create an almost complete reconstruction.  Not only is this the discovery of a new species in an area where you wouldn’t expect to find fossils, but the skull is almost complete.”

The fossils represent one large dinosaur estimated to be around twelve metres in length and two smaller animals around six to seven metres in length.  The research team postulate that this could represent a family group that lived together and perished together, perhaps unable to find a water source in a time of drought.

Preparing to Move Some of the Fossil Material (Lavocatisaurus)

Fossils of Lavocatisaurus are prepared for removal.

The jacketed remains of one of the Lavocatisaurus specimens is prepared for transport away from the dig site.

Picture Credit: AFP/Agencia CTYS

Lead author of the paper, José Ignacio Canudo (Zaragoza University, Spain) added:

“This discovery of an adult and two juveniles also signifies the first record of a group displacement among the Rebbachisaurus dinosaurs.”

The Rebbachisauridae Family

The Rebbachisauridae family of Sauropods are a group of basal members of the Diplodocimorpha clade that includes more famous Late Jurassic dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus.  The rebbachisaurids are known from both Lower Cretaceous and Upper Cretaceous strata and had a wide geographical distribution throughout Gondwana and southern Laurasia with fossils reported from north and central Africa as well as South America and Europe (Spain).

An Illustration of a Typical Rebbachisaurid Dinosaur (R. garasbae)

Rebbachisaurus scale drawing.

Scale drawing of Rebbachisaurus (R. garasbae)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

3 11, 2018

Elaborate Plumage in Confuciusornis

By | November 3rd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Patterns on the Feathers of Confuciusornis as Complex as Modern Birds

A team of international scientists, including researchers from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing), the University of Ghent (Belgium) and the University of Texas at Austin (United States), have discovered that the patterns on the feathers of an Early Cretaceous bird may have been very similar to and as complex as the patterns seen on the feathers of extant Aves.  Writing in the academic, on-line journal “PeerJ”, the researchers conclude that the patterning of Confuciusornis feathers probably performed similar functions to the patterning on modern bird’s feathery coats, that is, they provided camouflage and also played a role in display.

Confuciusornis Integumentary Covering – Elaborate Plumage

Study suggests Confuciusornis had elaborate plumage.

Reconstruction of the plumage of Confuciusornis (specimen number CUGB P140).

Picture Credit: Li et al (PeerJ)

Complex Patterning Detected by Sophisticated Chemical Analysis

The specimen studied consists of a slab and counter slab of a single, individual bird from Early Cretaceous deposits in Fengning County, Hebei Province (north-central China).  The fossils are from the vertebrate collection of the China University of Geosciences and represent an example of Confuciusornis sanctus.  The research team identified exceptional feather preservation but poor preservation of the bones, the unusual state of preservation permitted the scientists to identify melanin signals in the fossilised feathers indicating a complex patterning of spots on the wings, throat and on the tuft of feathers at the back of the head forming a small crest.  The shape of the structures that form these patterns in conjunction with chemical analysis confirmed the diagnosis of the pigment melanin.  However, specific colouration associated with the patterns could not be discerned.

The Slab and Counter Slab or a C. sanctus Specimen Reveals Complex Patterning on the Plumage

Evidence of Confuciusornis plumage.

Evidence of plumage diversity in the Confuciusornithidae from the new specimen (CUGB P1401).

Picture Credit: Li et al (PeerJ)

The photograph (above) shows various views of the main slab of the fossil specimen showing details of the plumage.  The dots in (A) indicate places that were subjected to sampling, whereas B and C reveal the crest located on the back of the head.  Parts D and E show elements of the integumentary covering in close detail.

Using a range of analytical techniques including scanning electron microscopy and ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) the researchers concluded that the elaborate spotting on this specimen exceeds that found in exceptionally-preserved troodontids and compsognathids and rivals that in modern birds, suggesting that plumage patterns evolved greater complexity through avian evolution.

The exact age of the strata is uncertain, although it is believed that the deposits from Fengning County are approximately equivalent in age with the Dawangzhangzi Member of the Yixian Formation, around 122-123 million years old (Aptian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous).  The data from this study suggests that Confuciusornis had more complex patterning than the patterning identified in Achiornis or in the stripes of the compsognathid Sinosauropteryx.  The research team conclude that this specimen of a primitive bird provides evidence to support the idea that complex patterning of feathers evolved at a relatively early stage in avian evolution.

The Link to Barn Owls

Integumentary patterns and colours play a variety of roles in living birds.  Such patterning in fossil specimens probably performed the same sort of functions and in addition, they can help to inform on the habitat in which the extinct creature lived.  In some modern bird groups, barn owls for example (Strigiformes), it has been observed that the size and placement of the spots on the feathers play a role in mate selection.  Male barn owls tend to prefer females with larger spots.  The patterning identified on this C. sanctus specimen leads to the intriguing idea that for confuciusornithids, just like barn owls, the location and the size of the spots on the plumage played a role in choosing a mate.

The scientific paper: “Elaborate Plumage Patterning in a Cretaceous Bird” by Quango Li, Julia A. Clarke, Ke-Qin Gao, Jennifer A. Peteya and Matthew D. Shawkey published in PeerJ.

2 11, 2018

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

By | November 2nd, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|9 Comments

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

At this time of year, our friends at CollectA give Everything Dinosaur official clearance to publish information and pictures on the new for 2019 CollectA prehistoric animal models.  Working closely with this manufacturer, we intend to put up a series of posts over the next few weeks informing dinosaur fans and figure collectors about what they have to look forward to in terms of new model introductions.

The first three we can announce are:

  • A Caiuajara pterosaur model with a moveable jaw (CollectA Supreme Deluxe range) – available first quarter 2019.
  • A Borealopelta armoured dinosaur model (CollectA The Age of Dinosaurs Popular range) – available first quarter 2019.
  • A CollectA box of mini prehistoric animals (prehistoric mammals, a “terror bird” and Estemmenosuchus – available first quarter 2019.

CollectA Borealopelta Model

CollectA will be adding another armoured dinosaur replica to their excellent not-to-scale range of dinosaur figures, a model of the Canadian nodosaurid Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli).

The CollectA Borealopelta Dinosaur Model

CollectA Borealopelta dinosaur model.

The Age of Dinosaurs Popular – CollectA Borealopelta.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Borealopelta was officially named and described only last year, but this remarkable fossil was actually found back in 2011.   It took the team of dedicated preparators more than five and half years to separate this 5.5 metre long giant from its fossil matrix.   The lead preparator and one of the most patient people on the planet, was Mark Mitchell and the species name honours his efforts in the restoration and preparation of one of the most perfectly preserved large dinosaur specimens ever discovered.

The CollectA figure accurately portrays this Early Cretaceous nodosaurid, the reddish/brown colouration and the presence of counter-shading reflects the conclusions drawn from a scientific paper describing the exquisite details of the armour published in August 2017.  The fossil, found at the Suncor Millennium Mine in north-eastern Alberta, was so well-preserved that the armoured scales and plates were in their original position.  Small amounts of keratin that would have covered the spikes and skin was detected.  The CollectA design team have done their own restoration work on this model.  They modelled this figure to match the position of the fossil in situ and restored the missing pelvic area, which was unfortunately destroyed when a digger at the mine first broke into the block of stone that held the specimen.

CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara

Large pterosaur models are becoming a bit of a CollectA speciality.  Joining the large Dimorphodon and Guidraco figures will be a beautiful and very colourful model of a Brazilian flying reptile – Caiuajara.  The genus name is pronounced “Kay-you-ah-jar-rah”.

The New for 2019 CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara Pterosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara with moveable jaw.

The Age of Dinosaurs Deluxe Caiuajara pterosaur figure with a moveable jaw.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Most pterosaur fossils associated with Brazil come from the north-eastern part of the country, but Caiuajara comes from southern Brazil (Paraná State).  It is a member of the Tapejaridae family and like most tapejarids it had a very flamboyant crest.  Both males and females sported crests, although it is thought that it was the males that tended to have the larger and more spectacular head ornamentation.  The team at CollectA have provided their model with a vivid crest, complete with an eye-spot.  Most palaeontologists believe that these crests were used in displays, so as far as a pterosaur is concerned, the flashier the crest the better.  Like the other CollectA supreme pterosaur models, this figure is depicted on the ground.

Hundreds of fossils of Caiuajara have been discovered, all from the same locality.  The first fossil discoveries were reported in 1971 but a formal analysis and scientific description was only completed in 2014.  The remains are found in a series of sandstone layers that represent an arid area adjacent to a lake.  The majority of the bones come from sub-adults and juveniles, palaeontologists have speculated that this was a colony and that these flying reptiles were highly social.

Model designer Anthony Beeson commented:

“The Brazilian taperjarid Caiuajara has been requested by a number of CollectA fans and we were happy to oblige.  He is in the Supreme range for scale and has a moveable jaw.  I chose to portray a fully grown adult because the head-crest was then at its most extreme.  The head-crest seemed to need a striking decoration if it was to be used for species recognition or mating ritual, so I have given him a false eye decoration.”

Intriguingly, when the scientific paper describing Caiuajara (C. dobruskii) was published, the authors postulated, that the fossil site represented a staging post on a migration route for these pterosaurs.  Expect this excellent CollectA Caiuajara to be migrating into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse in the spring of 2019.

CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animal Models

The third and final item to be announced this week is a box of mini prehistoric animals.

CollectA Mini Prehistoric Animals

The CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animals (2019)

The CollectA box of mini prehistoric animal models which is going to be available in 2019. Twelve prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: CollectA

This skilfully crafted set of mini figures features replicas of prehistoric animals already represented in the CollectA range termed “other prehistoric animals”.  There are twelve figures in the set namely: Moropus, Deinotherium, Woolly Mammoth, Paraceratherium, Kelenken (terror bird), Uintatherium, Estemmenosuchus, Daeodon, Andrewsarchus, Arsinoitherium, Smilodon and Megacerops.  CollectA have built up a strong reputation for the prehistoric mammal figures and it is great to see a mini set of these models introduced.

To view the current range of CollectA “Prehistoric Life” figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life

For the CollectA Deluxe scale models: CollectA Deluxe Scale Models and Figures

To read an article describing the amazing preservation of the Borealopelta fossil: Amazing Armoured Dinosaur Fossil Reveals Camouflage and Shading

For an article outlining the discovery of the tapejarid Caiuajara: New Species of Flying Reptile from a Pterosaur Graveyard

Model Measurements

  • CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara with moveable jaw length = 19 cm, height = 23.5 cm.
  • CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta length = 15 cm, height = 4.5 cm.
  • CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animals – models measure around 3 cm long with some models up to 4.2 cm in height.
31 10, 2018

Happy Halloween

By | October 31st, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Happy Halloween

The “witching hour” is almost upon us, time to wish all our customers and readers a happy Halloween.  “All Hallows Eve” is a time traditionally linked with monsters and demons and the fossil record is crammed full of very scary looking invertebrates and vertebrate specimens that would have been very much at home in the cast of a horror movie.

Take for example, a demonic dinosaur…

In April 2011, a scientific paper was published announcing the formal scientific description of a demonic-looking dinosaur.  A fearsome, little meat-eater that would have terrorised New Mexico in the Late Triassic.  The dinosaur was named Daemonosaurus chauliodus and the name translates as “buck-toothed evil spirit”.

Although small compared to some of its later descendants, (D. chauliodus measured less than two metres long), it had a deep skull and oversized teeth in the front of its jaws which gave this little Theropod a strong and nasty bite.

A Life Reconstruction of Daemonosaurus chauliodus

Daemonosaurus chauliodus life reconstruction.

The vicious-looking Late Triassic Theropod dinosaur Daemonosaurus chauliodus from New Mexico.

Picture Credit: Jeffrey Martz

Happy Halloween!

30 10, 2018

A New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from France

By | October 30th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Mistralazhdarcho maggii – From the Upper Cretaceous of France

A team of scientists based in France and Belgium have announced the discovery of a new species of pterosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in south-eastern France (Bouches-du-Rhône).  The fragmentary bones have been assigned to the Azhdarchidae family of pterosaurs, one of the last groups of flying reptiles to exist and a family that contains giants such as Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx.  With a wingspan estimated to be around 4.5 metres, the specimen, believed to be a juvenile, provides evidence of a third azhdarchid pterosaur size class from the cluster of islands that represented continental Europe towards the end of the Mesozoic.

The pterosaur has been named Mistralazhdarcho maggii pronounced (miss-tral-ads-dar-cho may-gee).

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described French Azhdarchid Pterosaur – Mistralazhdarcho maggii

Life reconstruction of the pterosaur Mistralazhdarcho maggii.

An illustration of the newly described (2018) azhdarchid pterosaur from France Mistralazhdarcho maggii.

Picture Credit: Pierre Lavaud

One of the Most Complete Pterosaur Fossils Known from Late Cretaceous Europe

Writing in the academic publication the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology”, the researchers describe the finding of part of a lower jaw, a neck bone and several other postcranial bones in 2009.  The bones were found in association with each other and therefore, probably represent the fossilised remains of a single pterosaur.  The material comes from the excavation site of Velaux, near Aix-en-Provence and from strata that dates to the Campanian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous.

Views of the Fossil Material Ascribed to the New Pterosaur Mistralazhdarcho maggii

Mistralazhdarcho maggii fossil material.

Fossil material associated with the newly described French pterosaur Mistralazhdarcho maggii.

Picture Credit: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The photograph (above), shows a part mandible (a) with a distinctive ridge (mandibular symphysis).  A cervical vertebra (b), left humerus (c), left radius (d) and two bones from the hand – metacarpal IV (e) and a finger bone (f).

Although the fossil material is fragmentary, such is the poor fossil record of Late Cretaceous pterosaurs from Europe that these few bones make Mistralazhdarcho one of the most complete European azhdarchids described to date.  In addition, Mistralazhdarcho is the first partial skeleton of a flying reptile excavated from Upper Cretaceous deposits of western Europe.

Related to a North African Pterosaur?

The scientists, which included researchers from the University of Rennes, the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences and Poitiers University, conclude that Mistralazhdarcho was related to an earlier pterosaur called Alanqa (A. saharica), which lived in North Africa around 95 million years ago.  When Alanqa was first described, back in 2010, it was assigned to the Azhdarchidae, but more recent studies incorporating skull material discovered in 2015, have cast doubt on the taxonomic position of Alanqa.

To read about the discovery of Alanqa saharicaDublin Team Announce the Discovery of a New Pterosaur

An Adult Probably Had a Wingspan of Around 5-6 metres

Examination of the fossil bones suggest that they were not fully ossified and that this was a sub-adult.  The researchers speculate that a fully-grown Mistralazhdarcho would have had a wingspan of around 5 to 6 metres, possibly even bigger.  This size estimate is in between the size estimates given for the two azhdarchids from the Maastrichtian of Romania (Hateg Formation), which also represents the European Late Cretaceous archipelago environment.

A Size Comparison of European Azhdarchid Pterosaurs

European azhdarchid pterosaur comparison.

A comparison of European azhdarchid pterosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mistralazhdarcho is estimated to be intermediate in size between the medium-sized genus Eurazhdarcho (wingspan of 3 metres) and the enormous Hatzegopteryx (estimated wingspan of 10 metres or more), the two other azhdarchids associated with the island ecosystem of the latest Cretaceous European archipelago.  The different sized pterosaurs might reflect a form of niche partitioning, whereby, different sized animals did not directly compete with each other for resources.

The flying reptile’s genus name is from the “mistral”, a strong, north-westerly wind associated with southern France.  The species name honours the former mayor of Velaux, Jean-Pierre Maggi, without whom, the excavation of the fossil material would not have been possible.

Field Team Members Working at the Velaux Excavation Site

Looking for pterosaur fossils (south-eastern France).

Fossil excavation work at one of the dig sites at Velaux (south-eastern France).

Picture Credit: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

The scientific paper: “Mistralazhdarcho maggii, gen. et sp. nov., a New Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of south-eastern France” by Romain Vullo, Géraldine Garcia, Pascal Godefroit, Aude Cincotta and Xavier Valentin published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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