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

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

11 07, 2020

New PNSO Models Feature in Newsletter

By | July 11th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|1 Comment

Wilson, Aaron and A-Qi Make Their Debuts in Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

The first Everything Dinosaur newsletter for July featured some old and new friends.  Our shipment of PNSO prehistoric animal figures had arrived so we were able to feature the new Tyrannosaurus rex colour variant “Wilson” along with the new pair of young dinosaur figures – Aaron and A-Qi.  In addition, the shipment contained several lines that had been out of stock, including the Giganotosaurus, the Amargasaurus and the Eurhinosaurus models.

A Headline Act – “Wilson” the New Colour Variant T. rex Model Features in the Everything Dinosaur July Newsletter

PNSO Wilson in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

The new Wilson T. rex dinosaur model from PNSO is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two Young Dinosaur Models

Our newsletter also trumpeted the arrival of two new figures from PNSO.  Aaron the young T. rex and A-Qi the adorable young Sinoceratops.  These two figures are the only new models to be released by PNSO this year, as far as we at Everything Dinosaur are aware.  In our regular conversations with PNSO, we have been informed that although the company has plans to release more new models in the future, it is unlikely that they will be bringing out anything else until after Christmas.  Naturally, should the position at PNSO change, we shall make sure that we inform all our fans and followers.

Two New PNSO Models in Stock Aaron the Young T. rex and A-Qi the Young Sinoceratops

Aaron the young T. rex and A-Qi the young Sinoceratops.

Two young dinosaurs from Everything Dinosaur.  Aaron the young T. rex (left) and the very cute A-Qi the young Sinoceratops (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the new PNSO prehistoric animal figures and to check out what else has arrived at Everything Dinosaur from PNSO: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

The Return of Some Favourites

Lots of old PNSO favourites are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur too.  All the waitlists have been activated for the PNSO products.  Customers wanting to know about the arrival of “Lucas” the Giganotosaurus, “Er-ma” the Mamenchisaurus and “Nick” the Ceratosaurus have received priority emails to help them keep informed of product developments.  Customers on our newsletter subscription database were also informed swiftly.

The 1:35 scale Giganotosaurus and “Duke” the Stunning Spinops are in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

 

"Lucas" and "Duke" from PNSO.

“Lucas” the Giganotosaurus and “Duke” the Spinops.  Both these PNSO models are now back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

 

“Levy” the PNSO Eurhinosaurus and Lots of Other Models Available

Prehistoric animal models from PNSO.

PNSO prehistoric animal models.  Lots of PNSO products are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eurhinosaurus Swims into View

The amazing “Levy” a beautiful model of a marine reptile (ichthyosaur), is also available along with both C. megalodon figures and “Sede” the Ankylosaurus.  There is also a limited supply of “Essien” the 1:35 scale Spinosaurus available too.

The Magnificent PNSO Spinosaurus Figure – “Essien”

PNSO Spinosaurus model "Essien".

The PNSO Spinosaurus measures around 49 cm long.  It’s a fantastic model of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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Subscribing to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletters is really easy, to get updates, information about new releases, dinosaur discoveries and fossil news, just drop us an email.

To request to join the Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers list just email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

10 07, 2020

Aratasaurus museunacionali “Lizard Born of Fire”

By | July 10th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Aratasaurus museunacionali Newly Described Basal Coelurosaur

This month a new basal member of the Coelurosauria has been named and described from limb bones sourced from the Romualdo Formation in north-eastern Brazil.  The dinosaur has been named Aratasaurus museunacionali, the genus name translates as “lizard born of fire” a reference to the fact, the fossil had been in the National Museum of Brazil (Museu Nacional), when a fire ripped through the building.  Fortunately, the fossil material was not damaged and the research could be successfully concluded and a new genus of Early Cretaceous dinosaur described.

Aratasaurus museunacionali Life Reconstruction

Aratasaurus museonacionali illustration.

Aratasaurus museunacionali life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

The species name honours the Museu Nacional in recognition of the tragic fire that took place in September 2018.  To read more about the fire: Devastating Fire at Brazil’s National Museum.

Juliana Sayão, a palaeontologist from the Federal University of Pernambuco and lead author of the scientific paper, commented that this new theropod will help scientists to better understand the evolutionary history of the Coelurosauria, an extensive clade of dinosaurs that consists of the tyrannosaurids, compsognathids, the ornithomimosaurs and the Maniraptora which includes birds.  A phylogenetic assessment suggests that Aratasaurus is closely related to Zuolong (Z. salleei), from the Late Jurassic of China, although it lived much more recently, the sediments from which the limb elements were excavated have been dated to approximately 110-115 million years ago (Albian faunal stage of the Cretaceous).

The Right Pes of Aratasaurus museunacionali after Preparation

Fossils associated with Aratasaurus museonacionali.

Aratasaurus museunacionali fossils.  The fossils although fragmentary and fragile were preserved in a partially articulated state.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

Evidence of Seasonal Fires

The genus name might reflect the ordeal of the fire at the Museu Nacional but tiny pieces of fossilised wood found in association with the dinosaur bones suggest that Aratasaurus had to contend with forest fires within its ecosystem when it roamed this part of Gondwana more than 100 million years ago.

Highlighting the significance of this fossil discovery Juliana Sayão commented:

“Every discovery of a fossil is important because we obtain records that help to reconstruct the history of the planet and remake the path of evolution of the organisms that lived here millions of years ago.  Many times the fossil is unique and provides all the information about that species or group of animals”.

A model of the Brazil’s newest carnivorous dinosaur from the Araripe Basin has been commissioned.  Careful examination of the bone structure (histology), suggests that the individual was approximately four years old when it died.  Based on the growth rates of other, better known coelurosaurs, the researchers propose that the fossils represent a sub-adult specimen.  As such, the size estimate of around three metres in length probably does not represent the maximum size for this dinosaur species.

The Model of Aratasaurus museunacionali

Aratasaurus museonacionali model on display at the museum.

A detailed model of the newly described Aratasaurus museunacionali.

Picture Credit: Museu Nacional

The fossils, consisting of a partial femur, a tibia and foot bones representing an incomplete right limb were discovered in 2008 and first taken to the Museum of Palaeontology Plácido Cidade Nuvens, in Santana do Cariri but transferred to the Laboratory of Paleobiology and Microstructures, at the Academic Centre of Vitória, (Federal University of Pernambuco), for further preparation and study.  As part of the research project, the fossil material was taken in 2016 to the Museu Nacional for further analysis.  Although caught up in the conflagration that destroyed much of the museum in 2018, the specimen survived and the analysis was able to be completed.

Photograph and Line Drawing Showing the Right Pes (Foot)

Fossil and line drawing of Aratasaurus pes.

Part of the holotype material for Aratasaurus with an accompanying line drawing showing metatarsals and pedal digits.  Scale bar equals 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Manso Sayão et al (Scientific Reports)

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The specimen might be fragmentary, but it’s discovery underpins the significance of the Romualdo Formation and helps to extend our knowledge of the dinosaur biota inhabiting this part of Gondwana in the later stages of the Early Cretaceous.  As this genus has been classified as the sister taxon of the Chinese Zuolong, it suggests that basal Coelurosaurs may have been more widely distributed and had a greater temporal range than previously thought.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Museu Nacional in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The first theropod dinosaur (Coelurosauria, Theropoda) from the base of the Romualdo Formation (Albian), Araripe Basin, Northeast Brazil” by Juliana Manso Sayão, Antônio Álamo Feitosa Saraiva, Arthur Souza Brum, Renan Alfredo Machado Bantim, Rafael Cesar Lima Pedroso de Andrade, Xin Cheng, Flaviana Jorge de Lima, Helder de Paula Silva and Alexander W. A. Kellner published in Scientific Reports.

9 07, 2020

Voracious Xiphactinus was More Widespread than Previously Thought

By | July 9th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The Voracious Xiphactinus was More Widespread than Previously Thought

Xiphactinus (pronounced zee-fak-tin-us), was a fast swimming voracious predator of Cretaceous seas.  With a body length of up to six metres, this bony fish was one of the top predators associated with the Western Interior Seaway of North America.  It has a formidable reputation amongst palaeontologists, as several fossils have been found which show the undigested body parts of prey, preserved inside the stomach cavity.  Perhaps, the most famous specimen that documents predatory behaviour is the Xiphactinus (X. audax), with the complete skeleton of a 1.8 metre-long fish preserved inside its skeleton which is on display at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History (Kansas).

A Bony Fish with a Fearsome Reputation

Xiphactinus with its last meal preserved inside it.

A fossil fish within a fish.  The Xiphactinus audax specimen collected by George F. Sternberg (son of the famous American palaeontologist Charles H. Sternberg).  Inside the body cavity, a nearly complete specimen of the related ichthyodectid Gillicus arcuatus can be seen.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A team of scientists have reported this week the first occurrence of Xiphactinus from southern South America.  Writing in the academic journal “Alcheringa”, researchers from the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” in collaboration with a colleague from Universidad Maimónides, both located in Buenos Aires, report the discovery of fragments of upper jaw bone (maxilla), as well as vertebrae from the Salamanca Formation (Chubut Province, Argentina).  It is estimated that this fish lived around 70 million years ago (Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous).

Xiphactinus Geographically and Temporally Widespread

Xiphactinus has been widely reported from Upper Cretaceous strata throughout the Northern Hemisphere, although to date, equivalent discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere have been limited to a single fossil specimen consisting of elements from the skull and the spine from the Cenomanian aged limestones of the La Aguada Member, La Luna Formation, near Monay, Candelaria Municipality in western Venezuela.

A Life Reconstruction Xiphactinus

Xiphactinus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the fearsome teleost Xiphactinus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This discovery extends the known geographical range for this genus and suggests that this teleost was widespread during the Cretaceous (Albian to Maastrichtian faunal stages).  It is related to the majority of fish species alive today, although the entire family of these types of predatory fish (Ichthyodectidae), became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.

A Bony Fish with a Formidable Reputation

Xiphactinus attacks.

A bony fish with a very formidable reputation – Xiphactinus audax.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “First record of the ichthyodectiform fish Xiphactinus (Teleostei) from Patagonia, Argentina” by Julieta J. De Pasqua, Federico L. Agnolin and Sergio Bogan published in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.

8 07, 2020

Lower Jaw Suggests Dromaeosaurids Endemic to Alaska

By | July 8th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The First Juvenile Dromaeosaurid from Alaska

This blog has covered a lot of news stories about dinosaur fossil discoveries from Alaska, principally the remarkable Prince Creek Formation with its abundance of juvenile hadrosaurid remains.  A tiny partial lower jaw recovered from sediment screen washings indicates that dromaeosaurid dinosaurs were also present and from the size of the bone, complete with its two tiny teeth, it is likely that some dinosaurs were year-round residents and that they bred in the Arctic Circle.

A Flock of Dromaeosaurids Pursue Prey Under the Noses of Pachyrhinosaurs

The "Alaskan Raptor".

A flock of dromaeosaurids chase small mammals whilst a herd of Pachyrhinosaurs are oblivious to the hunt going on underneath their feet.  Although isolated teeth have been tentatively assigned to the dromaeosaurids, this is the first incidence of fossil bone being found that indicates the presence of members of the Dromaeosauridae within the polar ecosystem.

Picture Credit: Andrey Atuchin

Writing in the on-line academic journal PLOS One, researchers including Alfio Alessandro Chiarenza (Imperial College London) and Anthony R. Fiorillo (Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas), report upon the discovery of the tiny jaw fragment that adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests Cretaceous Arctic dinosaurs of Alaska did not undergo long-distance migration, but rather they were year-round residents of these northern latitudes.

The fossil, which measures less than 1.5 cm in length, was collected from the Pediomys Point locality along the Colville River, some five miles (eight kilometres), upstream from the Liscomb bonebed with its abundant hadrosaurid remains.  Field team members had collected a large amount of bulk sediment over several field seasons and the specimen (specimen number DMNH21183), was recovered after screen washing and sorting of material conducted back at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Texas).

The Tiny Fossil Specimen (Assigned to a Saurornitholestinae Dromaeosaurid)

The tiny Arctic dromaeosaurid fossil jaw.

The tiny fossil dromaeosaurid jaw with one tooth erupted and one unerupted tooth present in the bone.

Picture Credit: A. A. Chiarenza

Anatomical features such as the fibrous bone surface coupled with the small size of the fossil suggest a juvenile.

Commenting on the significance of the fossil find, Anthony Fiorillo stated:

“Years ago, when dinosaurs were first found in the far north, the idea challenged what we think we know about dinosaurs.  For some time afterwards, there was a great debate as to whether or not those Arctic dinosaurs migrated or lived in the north year round.  All of those arguments were somewhat speculative in nature.  This study of a predatory dinosaur jaw from a baby provides the first physical proof that at least some dinosaurs not only lived in the far north, but they thrived there.  One might even say our study shows that the ancient north was a great place to raise a family and now we have to figure out why.”

What Type of Dromaeosaurid?

At least four different subclades of dromaeosaurid are known from the Late Cretaceous of North America (Dromaeosaurinae, Microraptorinae, Saurornitholestinae, and Velociraptorinae).  A phylogenetic assessment of the specimen suggests that this fossil represents a member of the Saurornitholestinae.  This subfamily consists of two species of Saurornitholestes and Atrociraptor, between them these dromaeosaurs, although restricted to the Late Cretaceous, do have a widespread palaeo-geographical range, with fossils found as far north as Alberta (Canada) and as far south as New Mexico in the USA.

The scientific paper: “The first juvenile dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from Arctic Alaska” by Alfio Alessandro Chiarenza , Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ronald S. Tykoski, Paul J. McCarthy, Peter P. Flaig and Dori L. Contreras published in the academic journal PLOS One.

To read our recent blog article about the hadrosaurids associated with the Prince Creek Formation: Is this the demise of a duck-billed dinosaur?

7 07, 2020

Ancestor of the Dinosauria/Pterosauria

By | July 7th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

The Big Difference that Tiny Kongonaphon kely Made

This month, we have seen the publication of a scientific paper that details the discovery and scientific description of a black-bird-sized ancestor of the dinosaurs and pterosaurs that suggests these two great Orders of reptiles had very humble beginnings.  Standing less than ten centimetres high, Kongonaphon kely, along with the ever so slightly larger, probable ornithodiran Scleromochlus (from Scotland), indicate that there was a pronounced miniaturisation event close to the common ancestor of the Pterosauria and the Dinosauria.

Being small, means that you have a high surface area to volume ratio, so retaining body heat is a real problem.  It can be speculated that fuzzy, downy coats first evolved in the Ornithodira to provide thermal insulation.  There is some fossil evidence to suggest that the common ancestor of both dinosaurs and pterosaurs had a fuzzy integument.  In addition, small size could have been a key driver for the evolution of flight within the Pterosauria.

A Feathery Lagerpetid?  A Life Reconstruction of Kongonaphon kely

An illustration of Kongonaphon.

Kongonaphon life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: Kammerer et al (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

Assigned to the Lagerpetidae

The origins of the Ornithodira, the clade that contains the last known common ancestor of the dinosaurs and pterosaurs plus all its descendants, is poorly understood.  If these animals were small and light, then this might explain their lack of presence in the fossil record. Kongonaphon comes from south-western Madagascar, its fragmentary remains were discovered by a field team in 1998.  Significantly, the fossil material includes elements from the skull and the upper jaw (maxilla), with several teeth preserved in situ.  Analysis of the wear on the teeth suggests that this little animal fed on hard-shelled insects such as beetles, hence the insect illustrated in the top right of the Kongonaphon life reconstruction.

Phylogenetic analysis places Kongonaphon within the Lagerpetidae and as such it is the first lagerpetid known from Africa and the first to provide skull and jaw bones to extend our knowledge of this family.  Analysis of the tiny bones suggest that Kongonaphon was at least two years old when it died, so the fossils are likely to represent a mature or semi-mature animal and not a juvenile.

You Say Ornithodira, I Say Avemetatarsalia

Within the Archosauria, there are two distinct clades, essentially classified by the shape and position of their ankle bones.  The Crurotarsi lineage – essentially the crocodilians and their extinct relatives and the Avemetatarsalia, the “bird-line archosaurs” such as dinosaurs, Aves and pterosaurs.  Ornithodira is another term sometimes used to describe the Avemetatarsalia.

In other words: Ornithodira = Avemetatarsalia.

Plotting the Taxonomic Relationship of Kongonaphon within the Avemetatarsalia

Kongonaphon as a member of the Avemetatarsalia.

Kongonaphon placed on the Avemetatarsalia branch of the Archosauria.

Picture Credit: Sterling Nesbitt of Virginia Tech with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “A tiny ornithodiran archosaur from the Triassic of Madagascar and the role of miniaturization in dinosaur and pterosaur ancestry” by Christian F. Kammerer, Sterling J. Nesbitt, John J. Flynn, Lovasoa Ranivoharimanana, and André R. Wyssand published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

6 07, 2020

“Dinosaurs How they lived and evolved” Book Review

By | July 6th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A Review of “Dinosaurs How they lived and evolved”

Time to sink our teeth into “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”, the second edition of this comprehensive account of the Dinosauria written by Darren Naish and Paul  M. Barrett.  This book was first published four years ago but this is a much revised edition with a soft cover.  Conveniently split into six broad chapters, it is aimed at the general reader as well as the dedicated dinosaur enthusiast and student of the Earth Sciences.  The authors possess a rare gift, sadly often lacking in other science communicators, that is, the ability to convey complex ideas and information in an entertaining and coherent manner.

The text is supported by a small glossary, a section directing the reader to further sources of information and a comprehensive index.  In addition, the carefully selected illustrations, diagrams, stunning photographs and artwork help to acquaint the reader with new ideas and developments in vertebrate palaeontology.

The Front Cover of “Dinosaurs How They Lived and Evolved”

The front cover of the dinosaur book.

The front cover of the revised and updated second edition of “Dinosaurs How they lived and evolved” by Darren Naish and Paul. M. Barrett.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

What’s New in this Edition?

Originally published in 2016, this second edition is described by the publishers as a “fully revised and updated version”, suffice to say this expression probably undersells this new edition somewhat.  Such is the nature of palaeontology that our knowledge of the Dinosauria is constantly changing, new ideas are being put forward and long established mindsets challenged.  This publication updates the general reader and incorporates some substantial changes.  There’s much more to this book than just a new cover!  Although we have to congratulate the authors for selecting renowned palaeoartist Bob Nicholls and his interpretation of the Chinese heterodontosaurid Tianyulong, it is an inspired choice (see above).  This stunning artwork dramatically sums up how what we know about dinosaurs has changed and the way in which these “fearfully great lizards” are depicted.

In the second edition a number of images have been changed and several of the simplified cladograms have been revised to incorporate new research.

For example, in Chapter 2 “The Dinosaur Family Tree” this chapter has been rewritten and includes the controversial reassessment of the Dinosauria by Baron et al that was published in 2017.

To read more about the scientific paper: Root and Branch Reform of the Dinosaur Family Tree.

Many new taxa are included with illustrations and the sections covering the origin of birds and their relationships within the Maniraptora have been revised and updated.

Simple, Easy to Understand Diagrams

Ornithopoda cladogram.

Simplified cladograms provide information and many have been updated to reflect new research.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Beautiful Photographs of Famous Museum Exhibits

Throughout this beautifully illustrated publication there are lots of full colour photographs of famous dinosaur fossils and museum exhibits to enjoy.  Credit to the authors for concluding this excellent book with a final chapter that not only details the mass extinction event that marks the end of the Mesozoic but looks at how the Aves faired during this period of dramatic turmoil and their continuance of the theropod line into modern times.

The Book Features Detailed Images of Iconic Dinosaur Fossils and Museum Exhibits

Coelophysis dinosaur fossil.

The book contains beautiful photographs of some of the most iconic dinosaur fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This dinosaur book is highly recommended.

5 07, 2020

Preparing for Chilesaurus

By | July 5th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Preparing for Chilesaurus

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy making plans for the arrival of the Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model.  The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the production plans of Papo and Chilesaurus, although not planned to be one of the first new for 2020 model releases, it now looks like Chilesaurus will be coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur before the Stygimoloch and the Megaloceros figures.

The Chilesaurus Scale Drawing Commissioned by Everything Dinosaur

Chilesaurus scale drawing.

A scale drawing of the bizarre Late Jurassic dinosaur Chilesaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Chilesaurus and the controversial Giganotosaurus are due to arrive first, with the Stygimoloch following a few weeks later. The new Papo Parasaurolophus and feathered Velociraptor colour variants are now scheduled for an early autumn release, although we do stress, that this itinerary is liable to change.

To view the range of Papo dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

The First Jurassic Body Fossils Known from Chile

Although several dinosaur tracks and footprints that date from the Jurassic have been found in Chile, when the first fossils of Chilesaurus were discovered by a seven-year-old boy on the 4th of February 2004, these were the first dinosaur body fossils to have been found in Chile.

A Fossilised Jaw with Strange Square-shaped Tooth Tips

The fossilised jaw of Chilesaurus.

Teeth adapted for cropping plants.  A partial jawbone attributed to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi.

Picture Credit: Dr Fernando Novas (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

This bizarre dinosaur, when first formally named and described (2015), was regarded as a tetanuran theropod.  The tetanurans are the largest clade of theropod dinosaurs and include all members of the Theropoda more closely related to modern birds than they are to Ceratosaurus.  Chilesaurus demonstrated a highly unusual combination of anatomical characteristics that could be interpreted within phylogenetic studies in numerous ways, depending on the data set used.  Following a controversial scientific paper published in 2017 entitled  “A New Hypothesis of Dinosaur Relationships and Early Dinosaur Evolution”, written by Matthew Baron and David Norman (Cambridge University) along with Paul M. Barrett (London Natural History Museum), this little biped has taken up a prominent position within Dinosauria research.

A paper published a few months after the controversial publication that challenged the traditional view of dinosaur classification, suggested that Chilesaurus with its strange suite of features, was not a theropod at all.  It was suggested that it was the earliest diverging member of the Ornithischia.  It was proposed that Chilesaurus was a “transitional taxon”, bridging the morphological gap between the Theropoda and the Ornithischia.

This little, unassuming dinosaur might just prove to be one of the most significant dinosaur discoveries of the 21st Century.

The Papo Chilesaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model.

The Papo Chilesaurus dinosaur model (available in the next few weeks from Everything Dinosaur).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

4 07, 2020

Looking at Scale Model Dinosaurs

By | July 4th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Looking at the Declared Scale for Prehistoric Animal Models

As collectors, we may be very familiar with many different product lines having a declared scale of 1:40 for dinosaur figures and a scale of 1:20 for prehistoric mammals such as Woolly Mammoths and Sabre-toothed cats, but not all manufacturers use these scales.  Even if two dinosaur models from two different manufacturers are in 1:40 scale, this does not necessarily mean that these models are going to be the same size.

The Manufacturer CollectA Declares a Variety of Scale Sizes for its Prehistoric Animal Models

CollectA scale models of prehistoric animals.

Many model manufacturers declare a scale for their prehistoric animal figures.  What do these scales mean?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

What Do These Declared Scales Mean?

Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy working on a short YouTube video that looks at how model manufacturers use varies scales in relation to their prehistoric animal replicas.  In this video, we intend to explain how scale sizes are calculated and we urge caution when looking at any declared scale for a given prehistoric animal figure.  A myriad of declared scales are used.  For example, the Bullyland “Museum Line” range has a declared scale of 1:30, whereas Rebor and PNSO tend to use 1:35 scale, especially for some of their larger models.  Papo in contrast, tend not to declare a scale for their “Les Dinosaures” at all.

Even when manufacturers claim the same scale for their figures, the actual models within those ranges can be very different sizes.

In our informative video, scheduled to be around twelve minutes long, we explore this theme and compare the 1:40 scale Natural History Museum Tyrannosaurus rex model with the CollectA Deluxe roaring, feathered T. rex which also has a declared scale of 1:40.

The London Natural History Museum T. rex Figure is Compared to the CollectA Roaring, Feathered T. rex Model

Comparing dinosaur models.

Comparing T. rex dinosaur models.  Although both the CollectA roaring, feathered T. rex and the Natural History Museum T. rex are in 1:40 scale, these models are different sizes.  The Natural History Museum T. rex figure is on the left, whilst the CollectA model is shown on the right.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our YouTube video looking at how the scale for dinosaur and prehistoric animal models is calculated, aims to help collectors to appreciate some of the difficulties behind working out just how big some dinosaurs were.  If palaeontologists are uncertain as to just how big a dinosaur could grow, then it is very challenging for a model manufacturer to accurately scale a figure.  The manufacturer has to consider other factors too and we outline some of the issues that need to be considered before deciding how big to make a prehistoric animal model.”

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

The YouTube channel of Everything Dinosaur was started nearly ten years ago.  It aims to provide product reviews, hints and tips as well as useful and informative videos to help model collectors make the most of their prehistoric animal collections.

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel has over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal related videos and reviews: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

3 07, 2020

Preparing for Sinoceratops

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

Preparing for Sinoceratops

Everything Dinosaur is expecting its latest shipment of PNSO products to arrive at the company’s warehouse in the next few days.  The products have cleared customs and inspection and team members are awaiting to hear the scheduled time of delivery from the transport company.  The two new for 2020 baby dinosaur figures (young T. rex and the young Sinoceratops), will be in stock very soon at Everything Dinosaur.

A-Qi the Baby Sinoceratops Figure from PNSO

PNSO baby Sinoceratops dinosaur model.

A-Qi the baby Sinoceratops model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

PNSO Aaron the Baby T. rex Dinosaur Model

Aaron the baby T. rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Aaron the baby Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Sinoceratops Fact Sheet

Just like the vast majority of prehistoric animal models that Everything Dinosaur supplies, we intend to provide a free Sinoceratops fact sheet with the PNSO A-Qi Sinoceratops figure.  Our team members have been busy preparing for the arrival of the PNSO figures by researching and writing a fact sheet on the only undisputed ceratopsid known from Asia – Sinoceratops zhuchengensis.  Just where within the Ceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs does Sinoceratops fit remains uncertain.  Although classified as a member of the Centrosaurinae, it shares a number of anatomical traits with the chasmosaurs too.  At around six metres in length and weighing two tonnes, it is much larger than other basal centrosaurines, more the size of some of the earliest members of the Chasmosaurinae such as Utahceratops (U. gettyi) from Utah and the geologically older Judiceratops (J. tigris) from Montana.

The Scale Drawing of Sinoceratops (S. zhuchengensis) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Sinoceratops scale drawing.

Sinoceratops scale drawing prepared for the Everything Dinosaur fact sheet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Splitting the Ceratopsidae – Chasmosaurs and Centrosaurs

The Ceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs is further divided into two broad sub-families, the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae.  In general terms, chasmosaurs are distinguished by their long brow horns with reduced nose horns and tall neck frills.  The centrosaurs, in contrast, have large nose horns, reduced brow horns and smaller neck frills.  As more and more horned dinosaurs have been discovered and described including basal members of each sub-family, this rather simplified approach has fallen out of favour, the anatomical traits between the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae becoming somewhat blurred.

Simplified Illustration Defining Ceratopsid Sub-families

Chamosaurine compared to centrosaurine.

A simplified comparison between the Chasmosaurinae and the Centrosaurinae.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the scientific paper describing Sinoceratops (Xu Xing et al 2010), the authors commented that the Sinoceratops taxon was considerably larger than most other centrosaurines but similar in size to basal chasmosaurines.  In addition, the researchers stated that Sinoceratops is more similar to chasmosaurines than to other centrosaurines in several features, thus blurring the distinction of the two ceratopsid subgroups.

The discovery of the first member of the ceratopsids known from outside North America provided significant information on the morphological transition from non-ceratopsid to ceratopsid dinosaurs, but also complicated the biogeography of the Ceratopsidae family as a whole.

2 07, 2020

Tiny Dinosaur Eggs from Japan Reveal Small Theropods

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

Dinosaur Eggs Provide a View on a “Hidden Ecosystem”

Not all the dinosaurs that ever existed are likely to be named and described by scientists.  Identifying these long extinct creatures relies on there being a fossil record of some sort to study.  A team of researchers writing in the journal “Cretaceous Research”, report on a new Lower Cretaceous fossil egg locality in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, that provides a tantalising glimpse into a hidden dinosaur dominated ecosystem.

The researchers, which include Kohei Tanaka (University of Tsukuba, Japan) and Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary, Canada), describe eggs and eggshell fragments associated with four ootaxa, two of which are new to science.  The site reveals a hidden diversity of small dinosaurs, particularly non-avian theropods, in the Hyogo region and indicates the area was utilised for nesting by various small dinosaur species in the Early Cretaceous.

The Newly Erected Ootaxa Himeoolithus murakamii the Most Abundant Ootaxa from the Quarry Site

Himeoolithus murakamii a new ootaxa from Japan.

Himeoolithus murakamii egg fossil, high resolution image, line drawing of egg showing elongated shape and life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture with life reconstruction by Ayaka Nagate

The Kamitaki Locality

The fossil site, known as the Kamitaki locality lies close to the  Sasayama River in Kamitaki, Sannan-cho, Tamba City,  Hyogo Prefecture.  One horizon has yielded a variety of small vertebrate fossils including frogs and lizards, plus a partial tail from a titanosaur that was formally named and described in 2014 (Tambatitanis amicitiae).  Eggshell fragments are also associated with this part of the site.  However, a horizon some 5.5 to 6.75 metres above the bonebed layer has yielded an astonishing quantity of egg fossils, including a nearly complete egg, several partial eggs and hundreds of eggshell fragments.  The researchers conclude that this horizon represents a nesting area in which a variety of small theropods raised their young.

As a result of this research, two new theropod egg taxa have been named – Himeoolithus murakamii and Subtiliolithus hyogoensis.  Although no skeletal remains of these little dinosaurs have been found, the presence of all the egg fossils suggests that there were numerous different types of small theropod co-existing in this ancient ecosystem.

The Location of the Fossil Site within Hyogo Prefecture

Fossil site location.

The location of the Kamitaki fossil site.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture/Cretaceous Research with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The mudstone deposits are thought to have been laid down around 110 million years ago (Albian faunal stage of the Lower Cretaceous) and the palaeoenvironment has been described as floodplain which was subjected to a extremes of seasonality with long periods of very dry conditions punctuated by a very wet season that led to flood events.

The most abundant ootaxon at the quarry, Himeoolithus, is represented by four eggs and over 1300 scattered eggshell fragments. Himeoolithus accounts for over 96% of all the egg fossils associated with this site.  Himeoolithus is the smallest non-avian theropod egg known to date, the scientists estimate that the egg probably weighed about as much as a quail egg (around 9.9 grammes).  It is also a very unusual shape, being elongate with its length 2.25 times its width (length : width ratio 2.25).  The new egg fossil horizon was discovered in 2015 and was mapped and intensively excavated in the winter of 2019.  In total, the egg fossil horizon and the lower Kamitaki Bonebed (Ohyamashimo Formation), have yielded six small theropod ootaxa.

The Stratigraphy of the Kamitaki Locality and Examples of Associated Ootaxa

Stratigraphy of the Kamitaki locality with examples of theropod ootaxa from the site.

The stratigraphy of the Kamitaki locality with examples of theropod ootaxa from the site.  Subtiliolithus hyogoensis is the second of the new ootaxa to be reported in the scientific paper.

Picture Credit: University of Tsukuba and Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo Prefecture/Cretaceous Research

Notable Biodiversity

The ootaxa demonstrate that this ancient habitat was home to a variety of small theropod dinosaurs.  It is likely that many other palaeoenvironments associated with the Lower Cretaceous were also home to a diverse variety of small theropods too, these animals being currently under-represented in the fossil record.

Lead author of the paper, Professor Kohei Tanaka, confirmed that the research team thought that the new egg fossil horizon was a nesting site and the deposit was not the result of a transportation and subsequent burial of egg material from another location:

“Our taphonomic analysis indicated that the nest we found was in situ, not transported and redeposited, because most of the eggshell fragments were positioned concave-up, not concave-down like we see when eggshells are transported.”

The professor added:

“The high diversity of these small theropod eggs makes this one of the most diverse Early Cretaceous egg localities known.  Small theropod skeletal fossils are quite scarce in this area.  Therefore, these fossil eggs provide a useful window into the hidden ecological diversity of dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous of south-western Japan, as well as into the nesting behaviour of small non-avian theropods.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Tsukuba (Japan), in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Exceptionally small theropod eggs from the Lower Cretaceous Ohyamashimo Formation of Tamba, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan” by
Kohei Tanaka, Darla K. Zelenitsky, François Therrien, Tadahiro Ikeda, Katsuhiro Kubota, Haruo Saegusa, Tomonori Tanaka and Kenji Ikuno published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

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