There are so many clever and creative people on the worldwide web. Take for example Joe Dolan a retired welder who spends his time creating metal prehistoric monsters in his workshop. Each hand-crafted sculpture takes dozens of hours to produce, each one is a labour of love, honed by the skills developed over a lifetime as a welder/fabricator.
Joe very kindly contacted Everything Dinosaur and sent us some pictures of his latest creations.
Making Figures from Metal
With over forty years experience Joe’s skilfully constructed animal figures are a great conversation starter and certainly are statement pieces. All the joints are fully welded, cleaned, deburred and polished. It is great to see Joe still using his engineering and design skills to create such novel, metallic sculptures.
The “Detail is Everything”
Joe explains that his hobby has grown into a small business. The figures are made for indoor display as the steel used in the construction would rust if left outside. At first Joe created sculptures for friends and family but soon word of his talent for creating unusual sculptures spread and he began to attract commercial interest from farther afield.
Joe has not restricted himself to dinosaurs, he builds lots of amazing sculptures of other animals too.
He explained how his unusual business started commenting:
“I started some years back, making things for myself and family. Other people started showing interest in my work so I made more, and to me “detail is everything”, plus the figurines are robust and if cared for they will last for years and years.”
Traditional Skills Given a New Twist
Traditional skills such as metal working are under threat, the models and figures that Joe has created enable him to keep using the techniques that he has honed over a lifetime, bringing pleasure and delight to others.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“We are always amazed at how creative and clever people can be. Joe has turned his talents to making some amazing metallic monsters including models of dinosaurs like T. rex and Velociraptors. He also has a flair for fish models and we love the eyes on the metallic crab figure.”
The latest issue of “Prehistoric Times” magazine has arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s offices and team members have been admiring all the reader submitted artwork, articles and features contained therein.
The front cover illustration has been provided by British palaeoartist John Sibbick, who must hold the record for the number of “Prehistoric Times” front covers produced by a single artist. The stunning illustration depicts typical Jehol Biota members Microraptor and Jeholornis and there are plenty of feathers on show which is appropriate as inside the magazine regular contributor Tracy Lee Ford provides part three of his excellent series on integumentary coverings.
Bajadasaurus and the Fearsome Thalattoarchon
Phil Hore provides information on the bizarre sauropod Bajadasaurus and the ferocious Triassic ichthyosaur Thalattoarchon and there are plenty of reader submitted examples of artwork to admire too. Palaeontologist Gregory S. Paul co-authored a scientific paper published recently that proposes that there were three species of Tyrannosaurus in the Late Cretaceous of North America. The magazine includes an in-depth explanation of the paper’s conclusions and reviews the evidence.
Randy Knol updates collectors with the latest model news and editor Mike Fredericks reviews the latest book releases and there is a comprehensive section providing details of recent fossil discoveries and research.
Burian and the Marginocephalians
John R. Lavas continues his long-running series highlighting the astonishing artwork of the Czech artist Zdeněk Burian. Issue 141 of “Prehistoric Times” sees him focusing on the Burian’s interpretation of ceratopsids and their close relatives.
Jon Noad tells the story of one of Calgary Zoo’s oldest residents Dinny the dinosaur and Sean Kotz explains how to create a model of a Pachyrhinosaurus. Brian Novak provides part two of his series on prehistoric coins, not currency from the Cretaceous, but an illustrated guide to the types of coins and currency with a prehistoric animal theme.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur have posted up their product showcase video of the Rebor Saurophaganax maximus dinosaur model in the “Volcanic Cavern” colour scheme. This is the third video in this trilogy, with team members having produced product showcase videos of the other two colour variants “Jungle” and “Badlands”.
Rebor Saurophaganax maximus “Volcanic Cavern”
The striking colouration of the Rebor Saurophaganax maximus 1:35 scale replica is highlighted in the company’s short video presentation. The actual size of the model is demonstrated along with the articulated lower jaw. The packaging for this prehistoric animal model is also briefly featured.
The product showcase video provides further information, model measurements are given and the flexible tail and articulated arms are accentuated. The Rebor Saurophaganax maximus Notorious Big “Volcanic Cavern” product showcase video lasts around 45 seconds.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“This is the third Rebor Saurophaganax model we have created a product showcase video for. The videos featuring the other two colour variants “Badlands” and “Jungle” have already been posted on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel. We hope these short videos help and inform our customers.”
The Rebor range of models and figures features a wide variety of prehistoric animals. There have been several different types of theropod dinosaur included in the Rebor portfolio, allosaurids such as Saurophaganax, but also tyrannosaurs such as Yutyrannus huali and T. rex along with ceratosaurs (Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus) and abelisaurids – Carnotaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus.
The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has thousands of subscribers and features hundreds of informative and helpful prehistoric animal themed videos.
Our thanks to young dinosaur fan and artist Caldey who sent into Everything Dinosaur a wonderful illustration of the South American abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei). Caldey’s pencil drawing captures this large predator and shows plenty of fine detailing and different sized scales on the animal’s skin. If you look carefully, one of the bony horns on top of this dinosaur’s head, from which this animal was named (meat-eating bull), has been damaged. Scientists remain uncertain as to the function of these small horns, although they may have played a role in species recognition, asserted dominance or perhaps were involved in visual communication.
“Jurassic World Dominion”
Caldey was inspired to produce a Carnotaurus drawing by the forthcoming film “Jurassic World Dominion”, which is thought to be the last film in the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” movie franchise. The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the release date for this eagerly anticipated film, it is now scheduled for global cinema release on June 10th (2022). The trailer for the film was released eight weeks ago and has already received over fifty million views on YouTube.
When viewing the image that Caldey had sent into us, it reminded team members of the recently introduced PNSO Carnotaurus figure “Domingo”.
We compared Caldey’s excellent drawing with one of the images we have in our database for the PNSO Domingo the Carnotaurus model.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“It is always a pleasure to receive artwork from dinosaur fans. We have received lots of illustrations from Caldey and we are very impressed with her work and her attention to detail. Keep up the good work Caldey!”
A remarkably well-preserved cranial crest from a pterosaur has provided more evidence that pterosaurs were feathered. Furthermore, analysis of the Tupandactylus specimen (MCT.R.1884), indicates that their bodies were covered with different types of feathers, including branching feathers. The researchers report the presence of different shaped melanosomes associated with the skin and the flying reptile’s feathers. This suggests that pterosaur feathers were not just for thermoregulation, that colouration could be manipulated genetically.
In simple terms, pterosaur feathers probably played a role in visual communication and therefore, visual signalling.
Perhaps feathers evolved independently in the Theropoda and Pterosauria (convergent evolution), if this is not the case, then integumentary coverings originated in the avemetatarsalian ancestor of the pterosaurs and dinosaurs.
Writing in the academic journal “Nature”, the researchers that include University College Cork palaeontologists Dr Aude Cincotta, Professor Maria McNamara and Dr Pascal Godefroit from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, conclude that pterosaurs were able to control the colour of their feathers using melanin pigments.
A partial cranium from a Tupandactylus imperator preserved on five limestone slabs from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation (Brazil), estimated to be around 115 million years old, was analysed in detail. The scientists discovered that the bottom of the spectacular head crest had a rim of fuzzy feathers, with short wiry hair-like feathers and fluffy branched feathers.
Pterosaur Feather Controversies
Several papers have been published examining integumentary coverings in members of the Pterosauria. It had been established (Yang et al 2018), that flying reptiles had feathery, branched feathers: Are the Feathers About to Fly in the Pterosauria? However, the debate regarding integumentary coverings in pterosaurs is not without controversy.
In 2020, a paper was published that challenged these findings casting doubt on the idea that pterosaurs had an integumentary covering of insulating protofeathers: Naked Pterosaurs – No Feathers Here (Unwin and Martill).
Scanning Electron Microscopes
Soft tissue samples from the cranial crest, simple feathers (monofilaments) and the branching feathers were taken and subjected to scanning electron microscopy. All the samples were found to contain abundant oval-shaped or elongate structures that were interpreted to represent melanosomes. Unexpectedly, the new study shows that the melanosomes in different feather types have different shapes.
Commenting on the significance of this discovery, co-author of the paper, Professor McNamara stated:
“In birds today, feather colour is strongly linked to melanosome shape. Since the pterosaur feather types had different melanosome shapes, these animals must have had the genetic machinery to control the colours of their feathers. This feature is essential for colour patterning and shows that colouration was a critical feature of even the very earliest feathers”.
Feathers Use in Visual Signalling has Deep Evolutionary Origins
The Pterosauria and the Dinosauria are members of the Avemetatarsalia, a branch of the Archosauria that includes all archosaurs more closely related to birds than to crocodilians. However, the lineage that led to the flying reptiles diverged from the dinosaurs millions of years before birds and feathered dinosaurs evolved. This study also suggests that the function of feathers in visual communication has deep evolutionary origins.
Fossil Repatriated to Brazil
It is also pleasing to note, that thanks to the efforts of the research team, the authorities and other collaborators, this amazing pterosaur fossil that had been in private ownership has been repatriated to Brazil.
Dr Pascal Godefroit (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences), explained:
“It is so important that scientifically important fossils such as this are returned to their countries of origin and safely conserved for posterity. These fossils can then be made available to scientists for further study and can inspire future generations of scientists through public exhibitions that celebrate our natural heritage”.
Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the University College Cork in the compilation of this article.
The scientific paper: “Pterosaur melanosomes support signalling functions for early feathers” by Aude Cincotta, Michaël Nicolaï, Hebert Bruno Nascimento Campos, Maria McNamara, Liliana D’Alba, Matthew D. Shawkey, Edio-Ernst Kischlat, Johan Yans, Robert Carleer, François Escuillié and Pascal Godefroit published in the journal Nature.
At Everything Dinosaur, we are always amazed by the variety of prehistoric animal themed products that are available to fans of prehistoric life. Take for example, a new board game in development that has been inspired by palaeontology. We were contacted by Brett, one of the developers of “Holotype”, a fast-paced, worker placement game designed for 2-5 participants. Players get the chance to role play the life and work of a vertebrate palaeontologist.
A Kickstarter Project
This innovative, light-strategy board game has its own kickstarter funding page and the project has already received hundreds of backers.
Brett very kindly provided more details to Everything Dinosaur, commenting that the object of the game was to further the field of palaeontology by collecting specimens, undertaking research and getting findings published in scientific journals. “Holotype” focuses on the major fossil formations and prehistoric animals associated with North America, but other regional variations of this game, such as a version exploring the prehistoric animals of Europe, have been proposed.
Throughout the gameplay, players deploy their palaeontologist, graduate student and field assistant workers to perform various actions. Players can search for fossils by rolling fossil dice on field expeditions, conduct research at the university library and access museum collections to exchange fossils and to further their ambitions.
By making discoveries and expanding scientific knowledge, players ultimately aim to have their research on holotypes published in prestigious scientific journals. Victory points are awarded as the player’s career in palaeontology advances.
As the game progresses, special milestones are unlocked to make each player’s gameplay unique. Semi-collaborative global objectives and private personal objectives ensure that every game will be different.
With a playing time estimated at around 1-2 hours, the winner is the person who has gained the most points through their research which resulted in published holotypes and the achievement of personal and global objectives.
The media release sent to Everything Dinosaur states:
“The goal of the developers was to create a game that would appeal to avid board gamers and palaeontology fans alike. The game features 60 unique dinosaurs and marine reptiles from the Mesozoic Era across North America, fossil-bearing geologic formations, and objectives referencing modern palaeontology concepts such as cladistics and taxonomy.”
Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series prehistoric animal models feature in the latest customer newsletter despatched by Everything Dinosaur. The newsletter included details of seven, newly arrived Nanmu Studio models including the marine reptile “Lord of the Abyss”, Brachiosaurus, the sick Triceratops replica and the Calypso/Santiago Baryonyx figures. The beautiful fallen Triceratops model was given top billing.
Nanmu Studio Sick Triceratops
The Nanmu Studio sick Triceratops dinosaur model features a fallen Triceratops on a stunning display base. Everything Dinosaur had stocked other Nanmu Studio Triceratops figures in 2021, but this is the first time that this particular horned dinosaur figure has come into stock at the UK-based mail order company.
The Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series sick Triceratops (Heavy Lance) is a 1:35 scale replica.
Brachiosaurus Comes into View
The Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter also features the recently arrived Brachiosaurus figures (Watchman Brachiosaurus). Two colour variants are offered, a grey and a brown version. These sauropod models are huge measuring over forty-two centimetres high.
Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series Baryonyx Dinosaur Models
A shipment of Nanmu Studio figures arrived last week at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse. As well as more stock of models already sold by the company, the shipment also contained a quantity of Baryonyx figures (Santiago and Calypso standing Baryonyx models). The shipment also contained the resting Santiago Baryonyx model and the Nanmu Studio Jurassic Series “Lord of the Abyss” Mosasaurus replica.
The Everything Dinosaur newsletter is emailed to subscribers. It is a free newsletter containing information on new products, competitions, product updates and so forth. To request to be added to our database, simply send Everything Dinosaur an email: Send an Email to Everything Dinosaur.
A scientific paper has just been published describing the fossilised remains of a juvenile titanosaur from the Winton Formation of Queensland, Australia. The specimen has been assigned to the Diamantinasaurus taxon (D. matildae) and it represents the smallest sauropod described from fossils found in Australia to date.
About Ten Percent of the Skeleton Recovered
The fossils were discovered on Elderslie Station land which lies some 35 miles northwest of the town of Winton (Queensland). The landowners noticed fragments of a femur and dorsal ribs exposed on the surface (2012). Staff from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum along with volunteers excavated the site and found the remainder of the fossil material representing about 10% of the total skeleton about a metre below the surface.
The postcranial material consists of cervical ribs, three incomplete dorsal vertebrae, sacral vertebrae and limb bones.
A Young Titanosaur from the Late Cretaceous
Although age estimates for the Winton Formation vary, it has been informally divided into lower and upper members, with the Diamantinasaurus material coming from the “upper” portion which is regarded as Cenomanian to potentially the lowermost Turonian stages of the Late Cretaceous (approximately 95-89 million years ago).
The study of the juvenile titanosaur was led by Museum Research Associate Samantha Rigby who is undertaking a Master of Science (Research) at Swinburne University of Technology (Victoria, Australia), under the supervision of Dr Stephen Poropat who was one of the co-authors of the scientific paper published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology. Each bone from the specimen was scanned to create three-dimensional models to digitally compare them with other sauropod remains. This comparison suggests the small specimen belongs to the Diamantinasaurus taxon though with juvenile characteristics, vertebrae which are unfused, minimal muscle scarring on the bones, smooth bone texture and marked proportional bone size differences when compared to adult titanosaur material.
The fossil specimen (AODF 663) nicknamed “Oliver” is only the third specimen to be referred to the taxon Diamantinasaurus matildae. D. matildae was formally named and described in 2009: A Trio of New Dinosaurs from Down Under. The research team found that the bones of this small titanosaur grew allometrically, meaning that its bones changed shape and different parts of its body grew at different rates.
The limb bones are also narrower in width when compared to other Diamantinasaurus limb bones from older individuals. This suggests that as this titanosaur grew its limb bones became thicker and more robust to help support its enormous bulk.
Fossils of juvenile titanosaurs are rare and it is hoped that “Oliver” will provide important insights into the ontogeny of titanosaurs.
Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in the compilation of this article.
The scientific paper: “A juvenile Diamantinasaurus matildae (Dinosauria: Titanosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Winton Formation of Queensland, Australia, with implications for sauropod ontogeny” by Samantha L. Rigby, Stephen F. Poropat, Philip D. Mannion, Adele H. Pentland, Trish Sloan, Steven J. Rumbold, Carlin B. Webster and David A. Elliott published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Researchers have described two beautifully preserved skulls of juvenile Gorgosaurus dinosaurs (G. libratus). The articulated specimens have enabled the scientists to build up a comprehensive picture of how these tyrannosaurids changed as they grew. Gorgosaurus and the much bigger, later tyrannosaurid T. rex exhibit similar changes in their skulls as they grow. This study will help palaeontologists to decipher tyrannosaur material and to determine the identity of previously misidentified specimens. It should also provide more evidence to help resolve the Nanotyrannus/T. rex debate.
Named and described in 1914 (Lambe), Gorgosaurus is known from dozens of fossil specimens found in the upper Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta and Judith River Formation of Montana. It is one of the best sampled and researched of all the Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurs, but juvenile material is rare. The recent discovery of additional juvenile Gorgosaurus libratus specimens from the Dinosaur Park Formation, including two well-preserved skeletons with articulated skulls, provided researchers which include Jared Voris and Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary), along with collaborators from the University of Ohio, the University of Alberta and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, an opportunity to develop a map outlining how this dinosaur changed as it grew and matured.
Sorting out Daspletosaurus Specimens
The research team, which also included Professor Phil Currie (University of Alberta), found that although the skulls of tyrannosaurs changed dramatically as they grew, several taxonomically informative traits remain present regardless of the age of the animal. This means that palaeontologists can use this information to determine which taxon is represented by juvenile fossil material.
Thanks to this research, two specimens previously identified as examples of immature Daspletosaurus individuals (coeval with Gorgosaurus) are instead confirmed as Gorgosaurus.
Comparisons with Tyrannosaurus rex
The team also found that both Gorgosaurus and T. rex underwent similar anatomical changes over their lifespans, but at different times. The changes started later in Tyrannosaurus rex and occurred over a longer time interval, resulting in a larger size and longer lifespan for T. rex when compared to Gorgosaurus.
Implications for Nanotyrannus
Having identified a series of anatomical traits that can be relied upon to permit palaeontologists to confidently assign juvenile tyrannosaur skull fossils to a specific taxon, this allows some specimens considered small or “dwarf” forms such as Nanotyrannus (N. lancensis) to be revisited. Some of these specimens may have been misidentified, since key characteristics may not have developed in young individuals before death, but this new data set would allow closer scrutiny of the fossil material.
The scientific paper: “Two exceptionally preserved juvenile specimens of Gorgosaurus libratus (Tyrannosauridae, Albertosaurinae) provide new insight into the timing of ontogenetic changes in tyrannosaurids” by Jared T. Voris, Darla K. Zelenitsky, François Therrien, Ryan C. Ridgely, Philip J. Currie and Lawrence M. Witmer published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
An assessment of the Mill Canyon dinosaur tracksite north of Moab in Grand County, Utah by Bureau of Land Management regional palaeontologist Brent Breithaupt confirms that damage was caused to the Early Cretaceous tracks and trace fossils by a construction crew, but the damage is described as “minor”.
Essential Repairs and Maintenance at an Important Fossil Site
The site, which covers approximately 2.3 acres contains over 200 tracks and other trace fossils recording activity around a body of water at an Early Cretaceous lake (approximately 112 million years ago). A construction crew had been employed to undertake repairs and improvements to the site including the replacement of boardwalks. Members of the public became aware of the maintenance work and reported possible damage to the fossils caused by the construction crew.
Everything Dinosaur published a blog article on reports of the damage caused by Bureau of Land Management contractors: Dinosaur Tracksite Damaged and having had concerns raised about damage to the site, it was decided to conduct an assessment of the area in order to find the best way to protect the fossils whilst still permitting public access.
“This Damage Should Not Have Occurred”
The assessment concluded that the overall damage was minor. Even so, Brent Breithaupt wrote in the report that:
“This damage should not have occurred”.
The regional palaeontologist added, that if the project had not been stopped:
“It is likely that much greater damage would have occurred with increased construction activities”.
As the Bureau of Land Management failed to consult palaeontologists on the maintenance plans, crews did not know which areas of the site to avoid. The incident was described in the report as “unfortunate” and the damage “could have been avoided”.
After the report was released, the Bureau of Land Management has confirmed that an additional environmental assessment would be undertaken, the public would be consulted and palaeontologists involved in future work at the location to supervise activities. The Bureau of Land Management reported that it “remains committed to protecting plant and animal fossils on our public lands”.