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19 11, 2019

Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

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

Eofauna Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

The latest model in the Eofauna Scientific Research range, a replica of the bizarre sauropod Atlasaurus is available to purchase at Everything Dinosaur.  This is the fifth model in the prehistoric animal range and the second dinosaur following the introduction of a Giganotosaurus replica earlier this year.

The Eofauna Atlasaurus Model Available from Everything Dinosaur

The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.

Atlasaurus (Eofauna Scientific Research).  A beautiful model of a very strange, long-necked dinosaur available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Eofauna Scientific Research Models

Since the first figure in this range was introduced, a replica of a Steppe Mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) in the autumn of 2017, model collectors and devotees of prehistoric animal figures have become firm fans of the Eofauna range.  There are now five prehistoric animal models in this range, all of them available from Everything Dinosaur.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Prehistoric Animal Model Range (November 2019)

Five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.

The five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.  Can you name them all?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture (above) shows all the five Eofauna Scientific Research models that are currently available (as of November 2019).

From left to right:

  • Straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) launched summer 2018.
  • Steppe Mammoth model (Mammuthus trogontherii) launched autumn 2017.
  • Atlasaurus dinosaur model (Atlasaurus imelakei) launched November 2019.
  • Deinotherium (Deinotherium giganteum) launched October 2019.
  • Giganotosaurus (Giganotosaurus carolinii) launched January 2019.

The Atlasaurus figure is certainly the tallest model in this range that Eofauna have produced.  It stands a little under 23 cm high, but it is not the longest, for the moment the 39 cm long Giganotosaurus holds that particular record.

As with the vast majority of all the named prehistoric animal figures that Everything Dinosaur supplies, a dinosaur fact sheet has been researched and produced.  The fact sheet will be sent out with purchases of the Atlasaurus dinosaur.

A Fact Sheet Providing Information About Atlasaurus imelakei Has Been Prepared

Everything Dinosaur Atlasaurus fact sheet.

Part of the Atlasaurus dinosaur fact sheet prepared by Everything Dinosaur team members.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Atlasaurus imelakei

When first described around twenty years ago, this strange dinosaur was thought to be a member of the primitive sauropod family, the Cetiosauridae.  Affinities with the brachiosaurids were proposed, but a review of the African fossil material previously ascribed to the genus Brachiosaurus but now assigned to Giraffatitan changed the taxonomic picture somewhat for Atlasaurus.  Many palaeontologists think that Atlasaurus should be classified as a member of the unranked clade Turiasauria.  The Turiasauria consists of an assortment of Sauropods, most of which are known from European fossil material.  Turiasaurians were once thought to have been restricted to Europe but Moabosaurus (Utah), which was scientifically described in 2017, has extended the geographical range into North America and there have been some fossils from Tanzania also placed within the Turiasauria clade (Tendaguria).  Scientists continue to debate the constituents of the Turiasauria and where this unranked clade should be placed within the Sauropodomorpha.  After all, if Atlasaurus is anything to go by, these types of dinosaurs were quite unusual.  For example, Atlasaurus had a disproportionately large skull, a relatively short neck for its size and proportionately long limbs.

The Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model (Eofauna Scientific Research)

Close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.

A close-up view of the beautifully painted head of the Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the range of Eofauna models available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Models

18 11, 2019

Surprise Unboxing – Everything Dinosaur

By | November 18th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Surprise Unboxing – Everything Dinosaur

With the advent of the new Rebor GrabNGo range, team members at Everything Dinosaur thought it would be appropriate to send out some Komodo dragon models, the first model to be introduced into this range, to customers so that they could see for themselves the attention to detail and quality of manufacture.

Several unboxing videos and reviews are in the process of being posted up on social media, so today we thought we would feature one such unboxing video from the “Plastic Prehistorica” YouTube channel.

Plastic Prehistorica – Surprise Unboxing Everything Dinosaur

Video Credit: Plastic Prehistorica

The video itself lasts for a little under six and half minutes and it documents the unboxing of the new Rebor 1:6 scale GrabNGo Komodo dragon model.

Commissioning Cardboard

The narrator points out the Everything Dinosaur had to commission special cardboard packaging to accommodate this new figure.  The model measures nearly half a metre in length, so we worked with our packaging suppliers to create a bespoke box, one that was double-walled so that this beautiful varanid could be protected in transit.  After all, we don’t want our customers receiving a Komodo dragon that has been damaged in the post.  We do all we can to ensure that our customers receive parcels that are well packed and that the figures inside have plenty of protection.

As part of our environmental policy, all the cardboard boxes that we commission are made from 60-70% recycled material.  Only the outer face of our cardboard boxes is made from new wood pulp, this in turn is sourced from sustainable managed forests.  In the unboxing video, the narrator highlights the point that producing models of endangered animals helps to raise awareness about their plight.  Everything Dinosaur has ensured that the current conservation status of the Komodo dragon has been highlighted in the company’s promotional materials.  On the subject of materials, Everything Dinosaur is currently working towards 100% recycling of all waste paper and cardboard at the company.

The Komodo Dragon Model (1:6 Scale Replica)

Unboxing the Rebor Komodo dragon model.

A still from the video showing a close-up view of the Komodo dragon model.  The hand provides a scale.

Picture Credit: Plastic Prehistorica

A Megalania Model

In this informative video, the narrator comments that this figure could also represent Megalania, a giant, extinct varanid known from the Pleistocene of southern Australia.  The actual size of Megalania is disputed, however, size estimates based on fossilised vertebrae suggest a length of between five and seven metres for this lizard.  If this is the case, then the Rebor replica would represent a 1:12 scale model or thereabouts of Megalania.

A Close-up View Highlighting the Detailing on the Komodo Dragon Figure

Rebor GrabNGo 1:6 scale replica.

Holding the new Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon replica, the hand provides a scale.

Picture Credit: Plastic Prehistorica

The Plastic Prehistorica YouTube channel is full of informative and helpful prehistoric animal and dinosaur model reviews, to visit the channel: Plastic Prehistorica on YouTube.

To view the Rebor 1:6 scale Komodo dragon model and the rest of the figures in the Rebor range: Rebor Models and Replicas.

17 11, 2019

The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries

By | November 17th, 2019|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Press Releases|1 Comment

The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries

Everything Dinosaur received a little present from Columbia University Press yesterday, an inspection copy of the new dinosaur book written by Donald R. Prothero.  Professor Prothero is a research fellow of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and adjunct professor of geological sciences at the California State Polytechnic University (Pomona, Los Angeles County).  He is also a prolific author having written numerous texts, papers and books on the fossil record.

The Front Cover of “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”

"The Story of the Dinosaursin 25 Discoveries".

Front cover of the new book by Professor Donald R. Prothero “The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A skeleton of Triceratops might feature on the front cover, but this iconic dinosaur is actually covered in the 25th and final chapter.  The book is split into four main sections starting with “In the Beginning” which covers some of the first dinosaurs to be scientifically described.  Megalosaurus and Iguanodon are covered as you would expect but also look out for chapters on lesser known dinosaurs such as Cetiosaurus and Eoraptor.  The second section deals with the Sauropodomorpha from Plateosaurus to Patagotitan.  Ground-breaking theropod discoveries are featured in part 3, whilst the diverse Ornithischians such as Triceratops as well as Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus and Corythosaurus are covered in the fourth and final part.

You can find out more about the books written by Professor Prothero at the Columbia University Press website: Columbia University Press.

We will post up a full review once we have read this book, it could be a while it consists of nearly 500 pages.

16 11, 2019

A Quick Guide to the New CollectA Models (Part 3)

By | November 16th, 2019|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

New CollectA Models for 2020 (Part 3)

Yesterday, Everything Dinosaur published details of three more, new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animal models.  As part of our on-going commitment to help educate and inform our customers about new figures and replicas, we have also produced a short video that provides more details on these three models (Megalodon shark, Allosaurus and the huge dicynodont Lisowicia bojani).  In this short video, it lasts a fraction under four and half minutes, we show the three new figures and provide some background as to how these new additions have come about.

New for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models (Part 3)

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Megalodon (1:40 Scale)

The first model to be discussed is the CollectA Megalodon shark model, a replica based on the extinct, marine predator C. megalodon.  Fans of the CollectA range and model collectors have been requesting a Megalodon figure for some time.  Always, willing to listen to knowledgeable collectors, CollectA intend to make the new Megalodon model available by the middle of 2020 or thereabouts.  This shark replica has been introduced instead of a large mammal figure in the CollectA “other prehistoric animals” collection.

CollectA Allosaurus – Popular Size

The second model discussed in Everything Dinosaur’s video review is the new for 2020 Allosaurus model in “The Age of Dinosaurs – Popular” range.  It will replace the original Allosaurus replica that was introduced by this company some ten years ago.

Comparing the Two Versions of Allosaurus (CollectA Model Range)

CollectA Allosaurus models compared.

Comparing the two CollectA Allosaurus models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of the CollectA range can therefore conclude that the earlier Allosaurus replica will be retired in 2020.  It may appear in the CollectA catalogue but no further production of this figure can be expected and therefore it will become increasingly difficult to find.  Everything Dinosaur still has stocks of this model.

To view the Allosaurus and the rest of the CollectA Prehistoric Life model range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

CollectA Lisowicia bojani

The last model to be featured in our short video is the giant, Late Triassic dicynodont Lisowicia bojani.  It was only named and formally described about twelve months ago, so congratulations to CollectA for being so quick off the mark.  The dicynodonts have largely been ignored by model manufacturers, it is great to see CollectA opting to add such a figure to their range.  CollectA had promised to provide more models of animals from the Palaeozoic, Lisowicia might not fit the bill in that respect, but it is one of the more unusual prehistoric animals from the Norian stage of the Triassic to have been described in recent years.  To read about Lisowicia: Newly Described Giant Dicynodont.

CollectA Have Introduced Four Ancient Synapsids including Two Therapsids

Four CollectA synapsids.

CollectA have introduced a number of synapsid replicas in recent years.  Within this grouping CollectA have added two therapsids (Estemmenosuchus and Lisowicia).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

15 11, 2019

New CollectA Models 2020 (Part 3)

By | November 15th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New CollectA Models 2020 (Part 3)

Today, Everything Dinosaur in collaboration with our chums at CollectA, announce a further three new prehistoric animal figures for 2020.  We have one new dinosaur, one prehistoric shark, and one new, giant member of the Dicynodontia, in fact, the biggest dicynodont known to science!

The three new CollectA prehistoric animal models are:

  • CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Megalodon shark (C. megalodon).
  • CollectA “Roaring Allosaurus in “The Age of Dinosaurs” – popular size range.
  • CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Lisowicia bojani – that giant dicynodont we promised.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Megalodon Shark Model

CollectA Deluxe Megalodon shark model.

The CollectA 1:40 scale Megalodon shark model.  The CollectA Megalodon model has an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Megalodon Model

Model collectors have been asking for a Megalodon shark to be added to this range for some time.  This giant, prehistoric shark, once again came to prominence with the release of “The Meg” last year, a film that grossed more than $500 million USD at the box office.  A sequel is in development, but good news for model collectors, the CollectA Megalodon model will be here much sooner, it can be expected mid-2020.

Designer Anthony Beeson commented that producing a shark figure with an articulated jaw was a real challenge, after all, large “mackerel sharks”, such as the living Great White (Carcharodon carcharias), unhinge their top jaws from the skull when they bite.  The teeth in the upper jaw shoot forward as the upper jaw moves, the team at CollectA worked hard to recreate an accurate model of one of the largest carnivores known to science.  The carefully proportioned figure, certainly gives the impression of a lithe but powerful animal.

The CollectA “The Age of Dinosaurs” Popular Size Roaring Allosaurus Model

CollectA "Roaring" Allosaurus model.

The CollectA “Roaring” Allosaurus dinosaur model.  This interpretation of Allosaurus will also have lips – a reflection on some of the latest scientific thinking concerning the Dinosauria.

Picture Credit: CollectA

The CollectA Roaring Allosaurus

CollectA have updated their interpretation of Allosaurus by adding a model of this famous theropod in a roaring pose.  Allosaurus (A. fragilis) is one of the most intensively studied and best-known of all the carnivorous dinosaurs and it is great to see CollectA scheduling an update of this famous Late Jurassic dinosaur.  The model has prominent eye crests, anatomically correct digits and it even has lips, in line with a recent theory.

The introduction of this new figure, probably spells the end for the existing CollectA Allosaurus model in this series.  However, despite all the research centred around Allosaurus specimens from the Morrison Formation, palaeontologists remain unsure as to the taxonomy of this genus.  The fossil material classified as A. fragilis shows a wide diversity, especially when considering skull length to height ratios that cannot be explained by ontogeny.  The Morrison Formation fossil material currently assigned to Allosaurus fragilis may actually represent more than one species.  That is a good excuse to retain both CollectA Allosaurus figures in your model collection!

The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Lisowicia bojani

CollectA Deluxe Lisowicia bojani model.

The CollectA 1:20 scale Lisowicia bojani model.  This beautiful model of a giant, Late Triassic synapsid has an articulated lower jaw.

Picture Credit: CollectA

CollectA Deluxe Lisowicia bojani (1:20 Scale)

Last but by no means least this week, comes a 1:20 scale replica of the giant dicynodont from southern Poland Lisowicia bojani (pronounced: Les-wick-ee-ah bow-jan-eye).  Described in November 2018 (although the fossil remains had been found ten years earlier), Lisowicia was a giant herbivore that measured around 4.5 metres in length and it probably weighed more than a bull Asian elephant.  It was at least 40% bigger than any known dicynodont and one of the very last of its kind, living around 210-205 million years ago.  This animal, distantly related to modern mammals, co-existed with the dinosaurs, in truth, it dwarfed most of contemporaries, although the fragmentary bones of a five-metre long theropod dinosaur were also found at the same site.

Anthony Beeson explained that this was a very unusual member of the dicynodont group, not only was it huge, but unlike most other dicynodonts, its limbs were held directly under the body.  Lisowicia had a powerful beak and large tusks although the rest of the jaw lacked teeth.  The CollectA model has an articulated jaw.

The Tale of the Tape

  • CollectA Deluxe Megalodon shark model (1:40 scale)  measures 27.5 cm in length – available mid 2020.
  • CollectA Allosaurus length 17.5 cm with a head height of around 8 cm – available mid 2020.
  • CollectA Deluxe Lisowicia bojani (1:20 scale) measures 19.5 cm long and over the hips it is approximately 11 cm high – available mid 2020.

To view the first of the 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals to be announced: New CollectA Prehistoric Animals (Part 1).

To read about the second set of new for 2020 CollectA prehistoric animals: New CollectA Prehistoric Animals (Part 2).

To view the current CollectA prehistoric life range models: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

The CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Models.

14 11, 2019

We Have Dragons! Komodo Dragon Model in Stock

By | November 14th, 2019|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Komodo Dragon Model in Stock

The Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon model is now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Yes, we have dragons!  Team members have been busy contacting all those customers on our reserve lists who asked us to set aside one (sometimes two), of these amazing replicas for them.  Model collectors have been excited about the Rebor GrabNGo range ever since this exciting development was announced and now they can get their hands on the first of the figures in this new range, a 1:6 scale replica of the largest living lizard.

Behold!  We have Dragons!  The Rebor GrabNGo Komodo Dragon Replica is in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Komodo dragon 1:6 scale replica.

Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To see the Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon and the rest of the Rebor replicas at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Replicas and Figures.

A Very Realistic Model

The Komodo dragon figure is very realistic.  Team members have taken a number of photographs of this large model outside in various locations, when these images were shown to laypeople as well as herpetologists and other scientists, a few eyebrows were raised.  At first glance it looked like we had a live lizard wandering close to the warehouse!

The Rebor 1:6 Scale GrabNGo Komodo Dragon Model

Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon.

The new for 2019 Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon replica (1:6 scale model).  This picture provides an idea of the size of the figure, it measures nearly half a metre in length.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The Komodo dragon model is the first figure in the GrabNGo range from Rebor.  Collectors have the chance to judge for themselves the quality of production and the attention to detail.  This really is a super replica of Varanus komodoensis, or perhaps we should refer to it as “biawak raksasa”, which we believe is one of the names for this lizard used on the Island of Komodo.”

The New Komodo Dragon Model Has Won Praise for its Attention to Detail

Rebor GrabNGo Komodo dragon model.

Rebor Komodo dragon 1:6 scale replica.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The first orders for this exciting new figure will be despatched later today.  Such is the size of this new Rebor model, that Everything Dinosaur has had to invest in bespoke cardboard packaging to accommodate it and to ensure it arrives at our customers safe and sound.  As in line with our environmental policy, these new boxes are constructed from recycled card.  Everything Dinosaur hopes to achieve 100% utilisation of recycled card and paper packaging materials in the very near future.  For the time being, we have been using this new Rebor replica to help raise awareness regarding the plight of the Komodo dragon, an animal which is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) database.

Quite an unusual conversation with our packaging suppliers – “hello, we need recycled, double-ply boxes so that we can post out a half-metre-long lizard”!

13 11, 2019

The Great Lizard – Megalosaurus

By | November 13th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Megalosaurus bucklandii

Recalling a recent visit to the Oxford Museum of Natural History which houses the fossilised remains of the first dinosaur to be described by scientists – Megalosaurus (M. bucklandii).  The display case features actual fossil material and casts of this nine-metre-long giant theropod from the Jurassic of Oxfordshire.  The specimens on show include most of the fossil material that William Buckland, in collaboration with the renowned French anatomist Georges Cuvier, used to confirm that these were the remains of a giant reptile.

The Megalosaurus Display Case – Centre Court Area of the Oxford Museum of Natural History

Megalosaurus fossil material on display.

The Megalosaurus display case (Oxford Museum of Natural History).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In the bottom left corner of the photograph that iconic lower jawbone can be seen, the display case contains the majority of the fossil material officially ascribed to the Megalosaurus genus.  In the lower centre is a drawing of the partial portion of a thighbone (distal end of the femur), that was illustrated in Robert Plot’s book “Natural History of Oxfordshire”, that was originally published back in 1677.  This fossil, sadly lost, had been found in a limestone quarry north of the city of Oxford (Middle Jurassic Taynton Limestone).  The concept of animals becoming extinct was not accepted thinking in the 17th Century so Plot, aware that the bone could not belong to any animal living in Oxfordshire, claimed that this partial thigh bone came from an elephant that had been brought to Britain by the Romans.

Later this illustration was used by the author Ricard Brookes (1763), he coined the phrase “scrotum humanum” and considered this fossil to represent the remains of a giant man.  It was not until 1824 that Megalosaurus was formally described, the first dinosaur to be so, although the Dinosauria was not erected until the early 1840’s.

A Close-up View of the Skull and Jaw Material on Display

Megalosaurus bucklandii fossils.

A view of the skull and jaw material associated with the first dinosaur to be scientifically described (Megalosaurus).  The left premaxilla is a cast.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A sequence of Megalosaurus footprints can be seen on the lawn in front of the Museum. Visitors can literally “walk in the footsteps of a dinosaur”.  This sixty-metre long trackway is comprised of tridactyl print casts, copies of the dinosaur tracks discovered at the Ardley Quarry site (Oxfordshire), in 1997.

12 11, 2019

Mojo Fun Triceratops Scene

By | November 12th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Prehistoric Scene Featuring the Mojo Fun Triceratops Model (2019)

Our congratulations to those clever people at Mojo Fun for coming up with some fascinating prehistoric scenes to help promote the Mojo Fun model range featuring prehistoric and recently extinct animals.  The  prehistoric scene (below), features a pair of adult Triceratops (the Mojo Fun 2019 Triceratops model), facing off against each other.  Such intraspecific combats were probably commonplace amongst herds of ceratopsid dinosaurs.

The Mojo Fun Triceratops Scene – Two Horned Dinosaurs Confront Each Other

Mojo Fun Triceratops and the pterosaur Tropeognathus.

Mojo Fun Triceratops – a pair of evenly matched dinosaurs face off against each other whilst pterosaurs fly past.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Such large animals would need a lot of vegetable matter each day and from the backdrop to the conflict it looks like there is not that much for these dinosaurs to eat, so the fight might have broken out over competition for limited resources, in this case food.  It is always a pleasure to see how model manufacturers set about promoting their wares.

The New for 2019 Mojo Fun Triceratops Dinosaur Model

Mojo Fun Triceratops dinosaur model (2019).

The Mojo Fun Triceratops dinosaur model (2019).  A beautifully modelled and skilfully painted replica of Triceratops, part of the Mojo Fun prehistoric life model range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Mojo Fun Triceratops and the rest of the figures in the Mojo Fun range: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct.

Pterosaurs Flying Overhead

The quartet of pterosaurs flying serenely over the pair of Triceratops are representatives of the Ornithocheiridae family of flying reptiles.  The pterosaur is Tropeognathus, although the validity of this genus has been questioned by a number of academics.  The prehistoric scene, although carefully choreographed by Mojo Fun, is very unlikely to have actually occurred.  The Ornithocheiridae do have an extensive temporal range but this covers the Lower Cretaceous and the very first stage of the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian), a time range of some 140 to 93 million years ago.  In contrast, the Triceratops genus is confined to the very end of the Cretaceous.  It is likely that the very last of the ornithocheirid pterosaurs died out some at least 25 million years before Triceratops evolved.

11 11, 2019

The First Unique Dinosaur Species from British Columbia

By | November 11th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ferrisaurus sustutensis – Newest Member of the Leptoceratopsidae

This week has seen the announcement of a new species of horned dinosaur, a member of the Leptoceratopsidae and the first unique dinosaur species to be reported from the Canadian province of British Columbia.  The little dinosaur (estimated to be about 1.75 metres long and to have weighed around 150 kilograms), has been named Ferrisaurus sustutensis and it hints of an intriguing prehistoric fauna that roamed the more northerly and western portions of Laramidia around 67 million years ago.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Leptoceratopsid Ferrisaurus sustutensis 

Ferrisaurus sustutensis life reconstruction.

Ferrisaurus sustutensis illustrated.

Picture Credit: Raven Amos and courtesy of the Royal British Columbia Museum

First an Indeterminate Neornithischian

In 1971, construction workers building the now abandoned British Columbia Rail line close to the confluence of Birdflat Creek and the Sustut River in the Sustut Basin, discovered fragmentary bones in loose rubble.  At first the bones were thought to represent an indeterminate neornithischian dinosaur, but in this study undertaken by Dr Victoria Arbour (Royal BC Museum) and Dr David Evans (Royal Ontario Museum/University of Toronto), they have been assigned to the Leptoceratopsidae.  Leptoceratopsids were a family of hornless, parrot-beaked herbivores related to the Ceratopsidae, dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Styracosaurus.  These dinosaurs were restricted to the Late Cretaceous of the northern hemisphere, but there is some disputed fossil evidence to suggest a presence in Australia and in Europe too.

Dr Arbour Examining the Fossilised Remains of  Ferrisaurus sustutensis

Dr Arbour with the fossils of Ferrisaurus sustutensis.

Dr Victoria Arbour examines the fossilised remains of Ferrisaurus sustutensis.

Picture Credit: Brandy Yanchyk and courtesy of the Royal British Columbia Museum

Fossil remains include elements from the shoulder girdle, a complete left radius, a partial ulna along with hind limb bones, ankle bones and articulated toes from the right foot.  An as yet, unprepared block may also contain metatarsals from the left foot.  The researchers used the ulna (bone from the forearm) and compared it with other leptoceratopsids such as Leptoceratops (L. gracilis), Cerasinops (C. hodgskissi) and Montanaceratops (M. cerorhynchus).  They also examined the proportions of the toes and concluded, based on this assessment, that the fossilised remains represented a new genus, one that is phylogenetically firmly nested in the Leptoceratopsidae and probably quite closely related to Gryphoceratops morrisoni, which is known from the Dinosaur Provincial Park of southern Alberta.

Ferrisaurus sustutensis -What’s in a Name?

Ferrisaurus sustutensis (pronounced Fair-uh-sore-us suss-tut-en-sis), is the first unique dinosaur species reported from British Columbia and represents a western range extension for Laramidian leptoceratopsids.  The name translates as “the iron lizard from the Sustut River”, a reference to the location of the fossil discovery. When the fossil material was being prepared and studied the specimen was affectionately known as “Buster”.

Scientists are confident that more vertebrate fossil material will be found in the Upper Cretaceous rocks of the Sustut Basin, but there are problems with accessing and exploring this area.  As much of British Columbia is mountainous and forested, finding exposures of sedimentary rock to explore is challenging.  In 2017, Dr Arbour led a field team to the site and found fossilised plants and a fragment of a Cretaceous turtle (Basilemys).

Leptoceratopsid fossil material is quite rare and when these types of dinosaurs are found, they usually only represent a very small part of the dinosaur biota.  It is more usual for Upper Cretaceous, dinosaur fossil bearing strata to be dominated by duck-billed dinosaurs, horned dinosaurs or even tyrannosaurids.  Scientists have documented a preservational bias against small-bodied dinosaurs such as Ferrisaurus.  The first dinosaur to be described from the Sustut Basin might represent a fauna that was relatively unique to that part of Laramidia, or to find a leptoceratopsid dinosaur first, could simply be down to serendipity.

A Diagram Showing the Known Preserved Remains of Ferrisaurus sustutensis

Preserved elements of Ferrisaurus sustutensis.

Preserved elements of Ferrisaurus sustutensis (bones shaded grey represent missing parts of incomplete bones)

Picture Credit: PeerJ/Royal British Columbia Museum

The scientific paper: “A new leptoceratopsid dinosaur from Maastrichtian-aged deposits of the Sustut Basin, northern British Columbia, Canada” by Victoria M. Arbour and David C. Evans published in the journal PeerJ.

10 11, 2019

Superb Dinosaur Fossil Sheds Light on Triassic Terrors

By | November 10th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Gnathovorax cabreirai – Triassic Terror Sheds Light on the Origins of Predatory Dinosaurs

A number of revisions to the Dinosauria have occurred in recent years.  Perhaps most famously, by the 2017 scientific paper published by Baron, Norman and Barrett, that redefined the dinosaurs along the lines of a model proposed by Henry Govier Seeley back in the late 1880’s*.  In this study, the enigmatic and quite poorly known herrerasaurids (Herrerasauridae), with their confusing array of dinosaur and non-dinosaur anatomical traits, were not classified as theropods, instead they are placed on the branch of the family tree associated with the Sauropodomorpha.  This paper, therefore, suggested that meat-eating actually evolved twice, once in the herrerasaurids and then again in the Theropoda.

This scientific paper has certainly opened up the taxonomic debate, however, the discovery of a remarkably-well preserved skeleton of a herrerasaurid from southern Brazil has helped scientists to get a much better idea of the Herrerasauridae and this, in turn, has provided a new insight into how these reptiles fit into the wider Dinosauria picture.

Location Map and Geological Setting Plus Skeletal Drawing of the Newly Described Herrerasaurid Gnathovorax cabreirai

Location map, geological setting and skeletal reconstruction (Gnathovorax).

Location map of fossil find (A), along with geological setting and key to the bones of other vertebrates found in situ (B).  Skeletal reconstruction of Gnathovorax (C), the white bones in the skeletal drawing represent known fossil material.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Hardly Known Herrerasauridae

Fragmentary fossils associated with possible members of the Herrerasauridae have been found in North America and Europe, but the three species of herrerasaurids that most palaeontologists agree upon (Herrerasaurus, Staurikosaurus and Sanjuansaurus) all herald from the Late Triassic of South America.  Trouble is, as a dinosaur family there is not a lot of fossil material to study.  Writing in the academic journal PeerJ, a team of scientists have published a paper on a new and exquisitely-preserved herrerasaurid that has been named Gnathovorax cabreirai.

Preserved in mudstone, this dinosaur roamed southern Brazil some 233 million years ago (Carnian faunal stage of the Triassic), it was found in an almost articulated state, just some bones from the limbs were missing.  It lay alongside rhynchosaur and cynodont fossil remains, animals that this 3-metre-long dinosaur probably hunted.

The new specimen sheds light into poorly understood aspects of the herrerasaurid anatomy, even permitting the researchers, which included scientists from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Santa Maria, (Brazil), to piece together the animal’s brain, inner ear and cranial nerves.

Photographs of the Skull of  Gnathovorax cabreirai and Interpretative Line Drawings

Views of the skull material and interpretative line drawing.

Photographs and a line drawing of the skull of Gnathovorax.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Finding a Place for the Herrerasauridae on the Dinosaur Family Tree

The researchers conclude that Gnathovorax provides enough evidence about the suite of anatomical traits associated with the Herrerasauridae to enable them to be placed with more confidence on the lizard-hipped part of the dinosaur family tree.  Thanks to Gnathovorax, the best-preserved herrerasaurid found to date, palaeontologists can state with more certainty that these early predatory animals were indeed members of the Dinosauria, part of the Saurischia along with the sauropodomorphs and the theropods.  Importantly, the fossil material is not distorted very much, which has permitted the team to conduct a phylogenetic analysis with a great deal of confidence as to the outcome.  Strangely,  Gnathovorax cabreirai is nested more closely to the Argentinean taxa of Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis and Sanjuansaurus gordilloi than it is to the only other herrerasaurid known from Brazil (Staurikosaurus pricei).  It reinforces the idea that herrerasaurids were monophyletic, that is, that all the dinosaurs classified in this family shared a common ancestor.  Therefore, the Herrerasauridae are proposed to be part of the saurischian Order of dinosaurs, along with theropods and sauropodomorphs, but importantly, distinct from both groups.  This new paper supports the idea that meat-eating evolved twice in the Dinosauria (herrerasaurids and theropods), just like the Baron, Norman and Barrett 2017 paper proposed, but it differs from this earlier publication in that it concludes that the Herrerasauridae were indeed true dinosaurs.

What’s in a Name?

The fossil material comes from the Santa Maria Formation (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) and is dated to circa 233.23 +/- 0.73 million years.  The genus name is from the Greek and is translated as “jaw that is inclined to devour”, a reference to the recurved teeth and the bodyplan of Gnathovorax that resembles a theropod dinosaur.  The species name honours Dr. Sérgio Furtado Cabreira, the palaeontologist that found the specimen described in the scientific paper.

The scientific paper: “Gnathovorax cabreirai: a new early dinosaur and the origin and initial radiation of predatory dinosaurs” by Cristian Pacheco, Rodrigo T. Müller​, Max Langer, Flávio A. Pretto, Leonardo Kerber and Sérgio Dias da Silva published in PeerJ.

*For Everything Dinosaur’s article on the Baron, Norman and Barrett paper: Root and Branch Reform for the Dinosaur Family Tree

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