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

Dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed articles, features and stories.

20 07, 2019

Mojo Fun Tropeognathus

By | July 20th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Mojo Fun Tropeognathus?

Pterosaur taxonomy is a tricky business.  Although, something like 11o different genera have been named and described at the time of writing (July 2019), the history of pterosaur research is littered with problems relating to taxonomic placement and phylogeny.  The Ornithocheiridae is one of the most notorious of groups when it comes to classification.  In the picture (below), there is the Mojo Fun Tropeognathus (T. mesembrinus), actually a pair of these flying reptiles taking to the skies.  Unfortunately, this genus has been subject to a lot of taxonomic revision too.

Illustrating an Ornithocheirid – Tropeognathus mesembrinus)

Mojo Fun Tropeognathus.

A pair of Mojo Fun Tropeognathus pterosaurs.  The Mojo Fun Tropeognathus is a very colourful and skilfully crafted flying reptile model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Problem Stems from the Middle of the 19th Century

In the middle of the 19th century, fragmentary and very worn pterosaur fossils began to be reported from the Cambridge Greensand deposits.  These marine deposits preserved pterosaur fossil material in three-dimensions, at least the specimens were not crushed as flat as a pancake, but this is probably their only redeeming feature.  These flying reptile fossils represent animals that died a long way out at sea (possibly drift deposits too).  The bones were subjected to attack from boring invertebrates and general decay until they were finally buried, only for these remains to be disinterred by ancient storms and subsequently buried again.  In the early days of the science of palaeontology, such luminaries as Richard Owen and Harry Govier Seeley strived to understand these enigmatic reptiles by studying these fragmentary fossils.  Many species were erected based on the most flimsy and scrappy fossil evidence.  Pterosaur researchers are still struggling to resolve some of these taxonomic issues today.

The Mojo Fun Tropeognathus Model – Or is it Ornithocheirus or Perhaps Criorhynchus?

Mojo Fun Tropeognathus.

The Mojo Fun Tropeognathus pterosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Criorhynchus, Tropeognathus or Ornithocheirus?

Initially named from a nearly complete skull acquired from Brazilian fossil dealers, all went well for two years and then the skull material was suggested to represent a type of anhanguerid pterosaur.  Subsequently, this skull was assigned to Coloborhynchus and then Criorhynchus before a reassessment undertaken in 2013 (Taissa, Rodrigues and Kellner), led to the conclusion that Tropeognathus mesembrinus was indeed, a valid taxon.

Perhaps, this pterosaur is best-known for its appearance in the ground-breaking BBC television documentary series “Walking with Dinosaurs”.  Episode 4, “Beneath a Giant’s Wings”, told the story of an Ornithocheirus as it made its journey to its traditional breeding grounds across the nascent Atlantic Ocean.  As if to reinforce the concerns over taxonomy, the pterosaur was described as an Ornithocheirus and the imaginary tale was set some 127 million years ago, some fifteen million years or so before, the pterosaur whose skull now comprises the holotype material for T. mesembrinus took to the skies.

The Ornithocheirus as Featured in the BBC Television Documentary.

Ornithocheirus from the BBC television documentary series.

The “Walking with Dinosaurs” Ornithocheirus.

Picture Credit: BBC World

To view the Mojo Fun Tropeognathus and the other prehistoric animals in the Mojo Fun dinosaurs range: Mojo Fun Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

19 07, 2019

PNSO Prehistoric Animals Now in Stock

By | July 19th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

PNSO Prehistoric Animal Scale Models and Figures

New PNSO prehistoric animal scale models and figures are in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  A shipment of PNSO dinosaur and prehistoric animal models arrived at the company’s warehouse earlier this week and over the last few days Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy contacting all those customers who requested placement on reserve lists so that they could be notified when these figures arrived.

New PNSO Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

New PNSO prehistoric animal models in stock.

In stock at Everything Dinosaur – new PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The list of new PNSO models joining the dozens of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur is as follows:

  • Ron the Mosasaurus 1:35 scale scientific art model
  • Patton the Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon) with an articulated jaw
  • Lucas the Giganotosaurus 1:35 scale scientific art model
  • Essien the Spinosaurus 1:35 scale scientific art model
  • Lucio the Amargasaurus 1:35 scale scientific art model
  • Dayong and Xiaobei Diorama – Dayong the Yangchuanosaurus and Xiaobei the Chungkingosaurus 1:35 scale scientific art models
  • Sede the Ankylosaurus
  • The special edition gift box containing all 48 of the PNSO “Toys that Accompany your Growth” model series

In Stock at Everything Dinosaur – PNSO Figures and Prehistoric Animal Models

Prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur.

Available from Everything Dinosaur PNSO models and figures. One of our packing rooms with a selection of the new for 2019 PNSO prehistoric animal figures and replicas.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase any item from this exciting prehistoric animal model range: PNSO Prehistoric Animals

Big and Small PNSO Megalodon Shark Models

As well as some new arrivals, the shipment enabled team members to replenish stocks of some PNSO lines that had already sold out.  For example, as well as “Patton” the new Carcharocles megalodon model with its articulated jaw, the larger PNSO “Patton” Megalodon figure is also now available.

Big or Small PNSO Megalodon Models – Which do you Prefer?

PNSO Megalodon shark models.

Which of the PNSO Megalodon models “Patton” do you prefer?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from the UK-based company Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are delighted to receive our latest shipment of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures.  We have been involved in this exciting model range for some years now and we are most impressed with these new replicas.  We have even managed to source some of the rare special edition gift boxes.  These gift boxes contain all forty-eight of the PNSO Toys that Accompany Your Growth model series.  They are a fantastic collector’s item.”

The PNSO Special Edition Gift Box – Toys that Accompany Your Growth

Forty-eight models in the PNSO gift box.

PNSO special edition gift box.  All forty-eight of the PNSO small prehistoric animal figures are inside.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

17 07, 2019

The Etymology of Aquilarhinus and Mystery Fossil Material

By | July 17th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|2 Comments

How Did Aquilarhinus Get its Name?  Mystery Fossils from Rattlesnake Mountain

Recently, team members at Everything Dinosaur wrote a blog article announcing the discovery of a primitive, “shovel-billed” hadrosaurid from the Big Bend National Park in south-western Texas.  We received an email asking us how this dinosaur got its name, here is a quick explanation of the etymology.

Aquilarhinus palimentus – What’s in a Name?

A life reconstruction of the head of Aquilarhinus.

An illustration of Aquilarhinus with a crest along its snout and its unusual beak that may have been used to shovel up soft plants.  Anatomical features related to the skull and jaws gave this dinosaur its name.

Picture Credit: ICRA Art

Aquilarhinus palimentus

The genus name is derived from the Latin “aquila” which means eagle and the from the Greek “rhinos” meaning nose.  The combination of these two words – “eagle nose” describes the shape of the rostrum of this newly described dinosaur.  It had a bony crest on its snout.  The species or trivial epithet is derived from a combination of Latin words – “pala” meaning shovel and “mentus” which is translated as chin.  The species name has therefore been erected to describe the assumed front portion of the lower jaw (predentary), that resembled a shovel.  It is thought that this broad-skulled, shovel-mouthed dinosaur fed by scooping up marsh plants.

Could the Scientists Have Found Another Hadrosaurid in the Big Bend National Park?

In addition to the fossil material found and ascribed to Aquilarhinus palimentus, researchers have also found additional fossils which are from a hadrosaurid, but they remain unsure whether these fragments of bone from the skull represent A. palimentus or another type of duck-billed dinosaur.  All the fossils ascribed to Aquilarhinus palimentus were found within four square metres, but these other bones were found just a short distance from the Aquilarhinus remains.  The researchers writing in the “Journal of Systematic Palaeontology”, state that this material might pertain to A. palimentus but none of these isolated bones exhibit diagnostic features that would allow for certain attribution.  For this reason, the research team describes this material separately and refrain from referring it to as A. palimentus, instead it is regarded as Hadrosauridae incertae sedis.  The term “incertae sedis” is from the Latin, it means “uncertain placement”, the palaeontologists are unsure which type of dinosaur the fossils represent.

Hadrosaurid Skull Elements from Rattlesnake Mountain (Big Bend National Park)

Hadrosauridae incertae sedis fossil material.

Hadrosaurid facial and cranial material from Rattlesnake Mountain (south-western Texas). Hadrosauridae incertae sedis.  The fossils from the skull are not diagnostic of a species, therefore the material is incertae sedis.

Picture Credit: Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

To read our previous blog post about the discovery of Aquilarhinus palimentusAn Unusual Shovel-billed Hadrosaurid

16 07, 2019

An unusual “shovel-billed” Hadrosaurid

By | July 16th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Aquilarhinus palimentus from the Early Campanian of Texas

Researchers writing in the “Journal of Systematic Palaeontology” have announced the discovery of a new species of duck-billed dinosaur (hadrosaurid), although this dinosaur possessed a very peculiar “duck-bill”.  The dinosaur named Aquilarhinus palimentus, seems to have had a shovel-shaped beak, suggesting that it had a unique way of feeding.   The front of the jaws of duck-billed dinosaurs meet in a U-shape to support a cupped beak used for cropping vegetation.  Aquilarhinus was different, analysis of the front of the lower jaw (anterior portion of the dentary), indicate that the jaws of this plant-eater met in a strange W-shape, creating a wide, flattened shovel.

A Life Reconstruction the Newly Described Late Cretaceous Hadrosaurid Aquilarhinus palimentus

Life reconstruction of Aquilarhinus palimentus

Aquilarhinus palimentus life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: ICRA Art

From the Lower Shale Member of the Aguja Formation of Big Bend National Park (Texas)

In 1985, Tom Lehman, then a geology master’s student at the University of Texas was exploring Upper Cretaceous-aged outcrops in south-western Texas.  Whilst working on the western side of Rattlesnake Mountain, which is in the Big Bend National Park, he and his fellow field team members came across some badly weathered dinosaur fossil bones cemented together in an ironstone nodule.  For some years, the material remained in storage, a preliminary study of the skull material back in the 1990s identified a broad nasal crest and it was thought that this dinosaur was related to Gryposaurus.  This new research has identified a number of unique anatomical characteristics that merit these fossil bones being placed in their own genus.  Furthermore, Aquilarhinus was a more primitive hadrosaurid then Gryposaurus and as such, these fossils can perhaps help palaeontologists to understand how the huge variety of different duck-billed dinosaurs evolved.

Line Drawings Showing Views of the Skull and Jaws of Aquilarhinus palimentus

Views of the skull and jaws of Aquilarhinus.

Line drawing showing various views of the skull and jaws of Aquilarhinus palimentus.

Picture Credit: Journal of Systematic Palaeontology with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above), shows line drawings that reconstruct the skull and jaws of A. palimentus.  The areas coloured brown indicate bones belonging to the holotype specimen.  Note (B), showing the skull viewed from the front, Everything Dinosaur has added an illustration of the symphyseal processes of the dentary indicating the unique “W-shaped” component to the lower jaw.  These bony struts are elongated and pushed upwards, causing the dentaries to meet with a “W-shaped” anterior profile.

The shales from which the fossil bearing nodules were recovered (Aguja Formation), date from the lower Campanian (about 80 million years old) and suggest that Aquilarhinus roamed a tidal marshland.  It may have been semi-aquatic using its “shovel-like” jaws to scoop vegetation out of the silt and mud.

The Lower Jaw of Aquilarhinus

The dentary of Aquilarhinus (lower jaw.

The lower jaw of Aquilarhinus palimentus (left lateral view).  Note, the white material is filler.

Picture Credit: Albert Prieto-Marquez

Much Smaller than Gryposaurus

Comparisons with the skull bones of Gryposaurus suggest that Aquilarhinus was probably about half the size of Gryposaurus, indicating an animal around five metres in length, although the size of Aquilarhinus is only conjecture.  More fossil material is required in order to make a more certain diagnosis.

Corresponding author of the scientific paper, Dr Albert Prieto-Márquez from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (Spain) commented:

“This new animal is one of the more primitive hadrosaurids known and can therefore help us to understand how and why the ornamentation on their heads evolved, as well as where the group initially evolved and migrated from.  Its existence adds another piece of evidence to the growing hypothesis, still up in the air, that the group began in the south-eastern area of the United States.”

A Life Reconstruction of the Head of Aquilarhinus palimentus

A life reconstruction of the head of Aquilarhinus.

An illustration of Aquilarhinus with a crest along its snout and its unusual beak that may have been used to shovel up soft plants.

Picture Credit: ICRA Art

A Non-saurolophid Hadrosaurid

Phylogenetic analysis undertaken by the research team reveals Aquilarhinus to be superficially similar to dinosaurs like Kritosaurus and Gryposaurus but more likely to be more closely related to Latirhinus from the Late Campanian of Mexico.  As such, Aquilarhinus does not fit with the main group of duck-billed dinosaurs known as Saurolophidae.  It is more primitive than this group, suggesting there might have been a greater number of lineages than previously recognised that evolved before the great radiation that gave rise to the bewildering array of unadorned, solid and hollow-crested forms of duck-billed dinosaurs that thrived in northern latitudes during the Late Cretaceous.

Most saurolophids had bony head crests of many different shapes and sizes.  Aquilarhinus also sported a bony crest, albeit a simple one shaped like a humped nose.  The discovery of a solid crest outside the major radiation of hadrosaurids supports the hypothesis that all crests derived from a common ancestor that had a simple humped nose.

The scientific paper: “An unusual “shovel-billed” dinosaur with trophic specialisations from the Early Campanian of Trans-Pecos Texas, and the ancestral hadrosaurian crest” by Albert Prieto-Márquez, Jonathan R. Wagner and Thomas Lehman published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Texas Tech University in the compilation of this article.

15 07, 2019

Celebrating the Arrival of Rebor Dilophosaurus Models

By | July 15th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|1 Comment

Rebor Green Day and Oasis Models Get Their Portraits Painted

Our thanks to the young and talented Caldey who sent into us a wonderful illustration of two of her latest prehistoric animal acquisitions – the Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis”. The Rebor models represent a male and female Dilophosaurus (D. wetherilli), from the Early Jurassic of the western United States.  These carnivores have a significant, distinguishing feature, a pair of thin, bony, semi-circular crests the run the length of the skull.  Caldey has captured this anatomical detail exceptionally well in her drawing.

An Illustration of the Pair of Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models illustrated.

An illustration of the Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models “Green Day” and “Oasis” by young artist Caldey.

Picture Credit: Caldey

The Rebor models have lots of amazing detail and Caldey’s illustration demonstrates the subtle variations between the two models and their different paint schemes.  Her depiction of the fine scales on the figures is exquisite.  It took many hours to produce this drawing, we congratulate Caldey on her efforts.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

The Rebor Dilophosaurus replicas “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Illustrating Rebor Figures

Caldey has sent in several illustrations to Everything Dinosaur.  A number of these drawings are based on other Rebor models and figures.  For example, in the autumn of last year (2018), Caldey kindly sent in an illustration of the recently introduced Rebor Ankylosaurus “War Pig”.  We have included a picture of this rare Rebor figure below, so that readers can compare Caldey’s interpretation to the actual Rebor figure.

An Illustration of the Rebor Ankylosaurus Model “War Pig” – Colour Variant = Plain

An illustration of an Ankylosaurus.

A drawing of the Rebor Ankylosaurus model “War Pig” – colour variant – “plain”.

Picture Credit: Caldey

The Rebor Ankylosaurus “War Pig” – Plain Colour Variation

Rebor Ankylosaurus "War Pig" model.

A photograph of the Rebor Ankylosaurus magniventris model (1:35 scale replica) – Rebor “War Pig” in the “plain” colour scheme.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are always delighted to receive illustrations of prehistoric animals from our customers.  We know what a talented group our customers are and we get sent lots of artwork as well as examples of customised models, prehistoric animal dioramas and even pictures of models that our customers have built.  We enjoy looking at them all.  Our thanks to Caldey for sending into us a super illustration of the two Rebor Dilophosaurus models Green Day and Oasis.”

To view the Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis” Dilophosaurus models, along with the rest of the impressive Rebor range of prehistoric animals in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

14 07, 2019

Customising a Pegasus Hobbies Spinosaurus

By | July 14th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Pegasus Hobbies Spinosaurus Made Ready for Warhammer

At Everything Dinosaur, we are always amazed at how talented and creative some of our customers can be.  For example, we were sent some photographs recently from model maker ANTi GRAV who had been busy customising a Pegasus Hobbies Spinosaurus in readiness for participation in Warhammer games.  We are aware that a number of the prehistoric animal models that we supply get modified for use in various wargaming activities, however, we congratulate ANTi GRAV for such a splendid piece of creative model making.

Work in Progress – Pegasus Spinosaurus Getting Customised

A fearsome modified Pegasus Spinosaurus kit.

The modified Pegasus Spinosaurus kit ready for Warhammer.

Picture Credit: ANTi GRAV/Everything Dinosaur

Spinosaurus and Warhammer

For the uninitiated, Warhammer is a table top battle game that involves players taking control of armies comprised of an amazing array of fantasy creatures and figures.  Participants build up their forces of miniature, skilfully crafted models, all with different powers and specialities when it comes to combat.  These figures are then sent to battle it out on behalf of their human masters in what is a highly complex and addictive strategy game.  Generals can move their forces and the fate of the pieces are decided by dice rolls.  The Pegasus Spinosaurus kit has been customised and is being prepared to do battle.

Commenting on his partially completed work, ANTi GRAV stated:

“Here is some work in progress after I’ve primed it, all of the elongated teeth and decoration are custom made.”

Spinosaurus Being Prepared for Battle

Customising a Pegasus Kit Spinosaurus

Modified Pegasus Spinosaurus kit ready for Warhammer.

Picture Credit: ANTi GRAV/Everything Dinosaur

Combat with a Spinosaurus

Many palaeontologists consider Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus), to be largest carnivorous dinosaur known to science.  Its exact size remains controversial, a lack of fossils of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus keeps palaeontologists speculating, but Spinosaurus has been estimated at around sixteen metres in length with a body mass in excess of seven tonnes.

A Completed Pegasus Spinosaurus Model Kit

The finished Pegasus Spinosaurus model kit.

The completed Pegasus Spinosaurus model kit.  It depicts Spinosaurus as a dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Martin

The Warhammer series of games has been around for several decades, it is extremely popular.  We are aware that many of the different types of dinosaur model we supply have been customised for use in fantasy battles and dioramas, this is a superb custom-made Spinosaurus, our congratulations to the model maker.  Just like the Dinosauria, Warhammer evolves, it has gone through numerous editions and we think this fearsome, feisty Spinosaurus will fit right in when table top battle commences.

Our thanks to ANTi GRAV for sending in these photographs of the work in progress.  He has promised to send in some more pictures once the model has been completed – we can’t wait!

To view the range of dinosaur models in the Pegasus Hobbies series available from Everything Dinosaur: Pegasus Hobbies Dinosaur Model Kits

13 07, 2019

Microraptor Ate Lizards

By | July 13th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Stomach Contents Reveal New Species of Early Cretaceous Lizard

Scientists writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, have described a new specimen of Microraptor (M. zhaoianus) from Liaoning Province (north-eastern China), that preserves the remains of a small lizard in its body cavity.  The remains of the lizard, inside what would have been the stomach of this little feathered dinosaur, are largely intact and articulated.  This indicates that the unfortunate lizard was swallowed head first, a feeding behaviour seen in extant carnivorous birds and many small reptiles.  The fossilised bones of the lizard represent a new species, it has been named Indrasaurus wangi.

Microraptor is now known to have fed on a variety of small vertebrates, supporting the interpretation that it was an opportunistic predator.

Microraptor About to Swallow the Unfortunate Indrasaurus

Microraptor feeds on Indrasaurus.

A life reconstruction of a Microraptor consuming the lizard Indrasaurus.  The position of the lizard’s remains inside the body cavity of Microraptor indicate that the lizard was swallowed head first.

Picture Credit: Doyle Trankina

Direct Evidence of Predator-Prey Interactions from the Jehol Biota

Direct evidence of diet and predator-prey relationships are extremely rare in the fossil record.  However, the exceptional preservation conditions associated with the Liaoning deposits have resulted in four examples of stomach contents in Microraptor specimens having been identified.  Microraptor is now known to have been a generalist, eating a variety of small vertebrates including  mammals, birds, fish, and with this new discovery, lizards.

Photograph of the Microraptor Specimen (STM5-32) Preserving the Lizard Indrasaurus wangi in the Body Cavity

Microraptor ate lizards.

The Microraptor fossil specimen (STM5-32) the white box indicates location of lizard remains.

Picture Credit: O’Connor et al (Current Biology)

The white lines in the photograph indicate the body cavity area of the Microraptor and show the location of the lizard fossil remains.  The genus name Indrasaurus comes from Hindu scriptures in which the deity Indra was swallowed by the dragon Vritra during their battle.  The species (trivial name), honours Yuan Wang, for his extensive work on the Jehol Biota and his assistance in helping to promote Chinese fossils through museum events and exhibitions.

An Interpretative Line Drawing Showing the Remains of Indrasaurus (I. wangi) in the Abdominal Cavity

The remains of the lizard inside the Microraptor.

A line drawing showing the remains of the lizard Indrasaurus wangi within the stomach cavity of a Microraptor (M. zhaoianus).

Picture Credit: O’Connor et al (Current Biology)

The interpretative drawing (above), shows the contents within the white box outlined in the specimen (STM5-32).  Analysis of the lizard’s bones indicate that it was probably a sub-adult when it met its doom.  Ironically, the Microraptor itself died shortly after eating the lizard, although this would probably have not been much comfort to Indrasaurus had it known this at the time.

Most scientists believe that Microraptor could fly, it is not known whether this little lizard was caught in a tree or captured on the ground after a terrestrial pursuit.  Perhaps Microraptor swooped down onto its prey from a lofty vantage point, a tactic common to many carnivorous birds today.  The probable troodontid Anchiornis from the older Late Jurassic Yanliao Biota is roughly the same size as Microraptor and fossils of Anchiornis reveal that this dinosaur ate lizards too.  However, comparison of the fossilised remains of prey suggests that dromaeosaurids such as Microraptor ingested prey that were fully digested, whereas, Anchiornis may have regurgitated undigested body parts, bringing up a pellet as demonstrated in many bird species alive today.  This feeding behaviour supports a closer relationship between true birds and Anchiornis and suggests that powered flight did not precipitate the evolution of pellet regurgitation (egestion), in these reptiles.

The scientific paper: “Microraptor with Ingested Lizard Suggests Non-specialized Digestive Function by Microraptor with Ingested Lizard Suggests Non-specialized Digestive Function” by Jingmai O’Connor, Xiaoting Zheng, Liping Dong, Yan Wang, Xiaomei Zhang and Zhonghe Zhou published in the journal “Current Biology”.

12 07, 2019

New Theropod Dinosaur from the Late Triassic of Switzerland

By | July 12th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Notatesseraeraptor frickensis – A Mixture of Coelophysid and Dilophosaurid Characteristics

A new European theropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic of Switzerland has been named and described this week.  This is big news, as very little is known about Late Triassic theropods that roamed Europe more than 200 million years ago, only a handful have been described to date, just four species.  The dinosaur has been named Notatesseraeraptor frickensis (No-tah-tess-er-ray-rap-tor frick-ensis), the genus name derives from the Latin “nota” meaning feature and “tesserae”, a Latin term to describe tiles used to create a mosaic, a reference to the mixture of anatomical features (dilophosaurid and coelophysoid) identified in the fossil bones. The trivial name honours the Swiss town of Frick, where the fossils were found.

The Body Plan, Known Fossil Material and a Skeletal Reconstruction of N. frickensis

Skeletal anatomy of Notatesseraeraptor frickensis

The silhouette shows the body plan of Notatesseraeraptor, known fossil material and pictures of the blocks that make up the holotype specimen.

Picture Credit: Nature: Ecology and Evolution

Lizard-eating Dinosaur

The partially articulated specimen was collected in 2006 from the famous Gruhalde clay pit in the town of Frick (Aargau Canton, northern Switzerland).  This clay pit has yielded large numbers of Plateosaurus fossils, although Notatesseraeraptor layer is located above the classic Plateosaurus bone beds.  The strata are from the middle part of the Gruhalde Member of the Klettgau Formation and represents Late Triassic (end-Norian) sediments.  The fossils associated with N. frickensis include a nearly complete skull, articulated forelimbs, vertebrae, hip bones and ribs.  The body cavity revealed the remains of a Clevosaurus, a lizard-like rhynchocephalian, distantly related to the extant Tuatara of New Zealand.  It is likely that the Clevosaurus remains represent this dinosaur’s last meal.

The Skull of Notatesseraeraptor frickensis

Notatesseraeraptor frickensis cranial material.

A view of the skull and upper jaw (Notatesseraeraptor frickensis).  Around 90% of the cranial fossil material was recovered.

A Carnivorous Dinosaur Reported from Switzerland

Around 90% of the skull material was excavated, giving Notatesseraeraptor one of the most complete carnivorous dinosaur skulls known from before the Late Jurassic.   Although, our knowledge of early theropod dinosaurs has improved greatly since the turn of the century, thanks mainly to fossil discoveries from North and South America, very little is known about the evolution and radiation of Late Triassic/Early Jurassic European theropods, their fossil record is notably sparse.  This new theropod species is the first meat-eating dinosaur to be described from Switzerland.

Notatesseraeraptor displays a mix of characteristics typically seen either in coelophysids or in dilophosaurids.  A phylogenetic analysis suggests that it is a member of the Neotheropoda clade with affinities to Dilophosaurus of the Early Jurassic and that Notatesseraeraptor is a basal member of that line of theropods that led to the Averostra (a group, of carnivorous dinosaurs that includes the Ceratosaurs).

The Late Triassic/Early Jurassic European Theropods

The nearly complete skull will help palaeontologists to better understand the evolutionary relationships between different types of Late Triassic/Early Jurassic theropod dinosaur.  The fossil specimen suggests a sub-adult with a length of between 2.6 to 3 metres, but this is speculation based on comparative analysis with dinosaurs such as Coelophysis and Tawa as the length of the tail of Notatesseraeraptor is not known.

A Life Reconstruction of a Typical Coelophysid Dinosaur (Coelophysis bauri)

Coelophysis model.

A life reconstruction of Coelophysis bauri.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The three previously described species of Late Triassic European theropod are:

  • Liliensternus liliensterni – named in 1934 (von Huene) from the Middle and Late Norian of Germany
  • Procompsognathus triassicus – named in 1913 (Fraas) also from the Middle to Late Norian of Germany
  • Lophostropheus airelensis named in 1993 known from slightly younger rocks (Late Rhetian to Hettangian – Late Triassic to possibly Early Jurassic)

With the exception of a few scraps of bone associated with Liliensternus skull material and the recently described  Dracoraptor hanigani from south-Wales, no other skull material has been found relating to a neotheropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic/Early Jurassic  in the whole of Europe.

11 07, 2019

Terrestrial Bird-like Dinosaur Oldest Known from North America

By | July 11th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Hesperornithoides miessleri – Helping to Map Out the Bird Family Tree

A joint team of British and American palaeontologists have announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur that roamed the Late Jurassic of Wyoming.  The specimen consisting of both cranial and postcranial material lived around 150 million years ago and it has been tentatively placed within the troodontid branch of the Paraves part of the Theropoda.  It could help scientists to better understand the evolutionary relationships between feathered dinosaurs and true birds and it raises intriguing questions as to when powered flight evolved within the Dinosauria.

The little dinosaur, estimated to have measured less than a metre in length (single known specimen is either an adult or a sub-adult), has been named Hesperornithoides miessleri.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Dinosaur H. miessleri

Hesperornithoides miessleri - life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of Hesperornithoides miessleri.

Picture Credit: Gabriel Ugueto

An Inhabitant of Wetlands

Writing in the academic journal PeerJ, the authors which include scientists from the University of Manchester, report the taphonomy of the fossil material suggests that this dinosaur was an inhabitant of wetland environments for at least a portion of its life history.  The fossil material was actually discovered back in 2001, whilst excavation work was being carried out on the fossil material associated with Supersaurus.  The fossil comes from Converse County (Wyoming), from strata making up the middle portion of the famous Morrison Formation.  The fossil-bearing strata from the “Jimbo Quarry” has been variously dated to the Oxfordian and Tithonian ages of the Jurassic.

Full Skeleton of Hesperornithoides miessleri

Known fossil material associated with Hesperornithoides miessleri.

Hesperornithoides fossil material “left” (A) and “right” (B) sides of the blocks after final preparation (B).  Scale bar = one cm.

Picture Credit: Levi Shinkle

A Resident of the Famous Morrison Formation

The Morrison Formation is famous for its vertebrate fossils, including many examples of dinosaurs, such as Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Diplodocus, Brontosaurus and Camarasaurus.  The carnivorous Hesperornithoides is the smallest dinosaur described to date from Wyoming.

Palaeontologist Bill Wahl  (Wyoming Dinosaur Centre), a co-author of the scientific paper, recalled how excited the field team were when they uncovered the block containing the partially articulated bones.

He stated:

“We were removing a ledge of overburden rock and found, unfortunately with a shovel, some tiny, delicate bones poking out.  We immediately stopped, collected as much of the bones as possible and spent the next few days frantically searching for more.  Only after some of the bones were cleaned did we realise that we had found something spectacular.”

In 2005, the fossil specimen was donated to the Big Horn Basin Foundation, a research and education-based not-for-profit organisation that was merged with the Wyoming Dinosaur Centre back in 2016.  This is how Hesperornithoides miessleri came into the Wyoming Dinosaur Centre’s fossil collection.  The fossil, now known as WYDICE-DML-001, was nicknamed “Lori”  and was examined by Dean Lomax (University of Manchester) and co-author of the study back in 2008, a successful crowdfunding campaign permitted extensive research to be undertaken.

Dean commented:

“I remember the first time I laid my eyes on this little dinosaur.  Even back then, I knew it was a significant discovery.  But, it wasn’t until 2015 when our dino team formed and we began to study ‘Lori’ in much more detail than ever before.”

Reconstructed Quarry Map of “Lori” (Hesperornithoides miessleri)

A quarry map of the fossil material asociated with Hesperornithoides.

Association of skeletal elements assembled from 3-D scans of specimen blocks prior to final mechanical preparation.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Found on Private Land

The specimen was found on private land owned by the Miessler family.  The trivial name honours their help, support and assistance in bringing this little theropod to the attention of the scientific community.  The genus name is a combination of “Hesper”, referring to its discovery in the American West and “ornis” a nod to its very bird-like anatomy.

A Reconstruction of the Skeleton of Hesperornithoides miessleri

Hesperornithoides miessleri skeleton reconstruction.

Skeletal Reconstruction Hesperornithoides miessleri (scale bar = 25 cm).

Picture Credit: Scott Hartmann

A Key Conclusion of the Study

A key conclusion of the scientific paper relates to the origin of powered flight within the Dinosauria.  Hesperornithoides was very probably entirely terrestrial.  It could not fly, but it has a very bird-like body, suggesting that many features associated with an avian anatomy evolved in dinosaurs that lived out their lives on the ground.  It is the oldest dinosaur of this type, known from more than just teeth fossils from North America.  The terrestrial and flightless lifestyle is consistent with the base of Paraves, and with the base of paravian subclades, suggesting that avian flight evolved within the Avialae, most likely in the Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous.

Lead author of the paper and PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Scott Hartman stated:

“We wanted to expand the dataset used to test dinosaur-bird relationships, so we added hundreds of new species and tens of thousands of new characters.  We found that Lori is a primitive member of a group of dinosaurs that includes Troodon, but perhaps more importantly we discovered that the smaller details of the family tree of bird-like dinosaurs isn’t quite as resolved as some researchers would claim.”

Scott Hartman continued:

“For example, it only takes a few changes in the dataset for Hesperornithoides to be found as a closer relative of Velociraptor than of Troodon.  One robust finding we did come up with is that even as the interrelationships changed, the primitive members of all these groups were non-flying ground dwelling dinosaurs.  That means that some small relatives of Velociraptor such as Microraptor that looks like it could have glided evolved this separately from the modern bird family.”

Hesperornithoides Cranial Material

Fossil material and accompanying line drawings Hesperornithoides.

Hesperornithoides cranial material and interpretative line drawings.

Picture Credit: Levi Shinkle

The scientific paper: “A new paravian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of North America supports a late acquisition of avian flight” by Hartman, S., Mortimer, M., Wahl, W. R., Lomax, D. R., Lippincott, J. and Lovelace, D. M and published in PeerJ.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the help of a media release from the University of Manchester in the compilation of this article.

9 07, 2019

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Parasaurolophus

By | July 9th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Parasaurolophus

Safari Ltd have published a series of images depicting some of the latest introductions in the Wild Safari Prehistoric World model range.  Today, we feature the Parasaurolophus, a dinosaur that has been depicted several times over the history of Safari Ltd models.  The latest incarnation of Parasaurolophus, was introduced in 2017, one of thirteen prehistoric animal models launched by the U.S.-based company that year.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Parasaurolophus Dinosaur Model

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Parasaurolophus dinosaur model.

A pair of Parasaurolophus cooling off in the Late Cretaceous of North America.

Picture Credit: Safari Ltd/Everything Dinosaur

Parasaurolophus walkeri

Known from numerous very nearly complete and partial skeletons, Parasaurolophus was geographically widely distributed (Alberta to New Mexico – possibly), it is known from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian faunal stage), although there are some unverified reports that this dinosaur may have persisted into the Maastrichtian faunal stage of the Cretaceous.  It is easily recognisable for its long, backward pointing head crest.   Despite the amount of fossil material scientists have to study, the exact size of this herbivorous dinosaur remains open to speculation, with some estimates putting this dinosaur’s maximum length at more than ten metres.  Measurements of the femur (thigh bone), indicate that this duck-billed dinosaur may have weighed more than three tonnes.  Several species have been assigned to the Parasaurolophus genus, perhaps the best known of which is P. walkeri, mainly because this Parasaurolophus species had the more spectacular crest compared to other species in this genus.

Parasaurolophus walkeri – Scale Drawing

Scale drawing Parasaurolophus walkeri.

A crested, duck-billed dinosaur.  A scale drawing of the Late Cretaceous lamebeosaurine dinosaur Parasaurolophus walkeri.  Note the thick-set upper legs and the wide tail.  Recent studies indicate that this facultative biped was very robust.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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