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17 12, 2018

Are the Feathers About to Fly in the Pterosauria?

By | December 17th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Study Finds Four Types of Feather-like Structures in Pterosaur Fossils

Most palaeontologists have accepted that it is likely that pterosaurs (flying reptiles), were covered in a sort of hairy fuzz, technically referred to as pycnofibres, that helped insulate their bodies and keep them warm.  However, an international team of scientists from Hong Kong University, Nanjing University (China), University College Cork, University College Dublin (Ireland), the Foundation for Scientific Advancement, (Arizona, USA), the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Bristol University (UK) have published a scientific paper that describes four kinds of feather-like structures associated with the fossilised remains pterosaurs.  If these structures are feathers, then this suggests that either the Pterosauria evolved feathers as a form of convergent evolution, or, that feathers evolved many millions of years earlier than previously thought – in a common ancestor of the Dinosauria and the Pterosauria.

A Life Reconstruction of the Chinese Anurognathid Pterosaur

A life reconstruction of a "feathered" anurognathid pterosaur.

Daohugou pterosaur life reconstruction.  Fossil evidence indicates that pterosaurs may have had at least four types of feathers.

Picture Credit: Yuan Zhang

Two Anurognathid Pterosaur Specimens Studied

Writing in the academic journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution”, the scientists report how high-resolution microscopy revealed evidence of different kinds of pycnofibres on two pterosaur fossils  (representing anurognathids), from the Daohugou Formation in Inner Mongolia.  Although, when the rocks that make up the Daohugou Formation were deposited has been debated and the relative dating of these sediments in relation to other Chinese Jurassic/Early Cretaceous formations has proved controversial, it is suggested that the pterosaurs, one of which represents a new species, lived approximately 160 million years ago.

Four feather-like structures were identified:

  • simple filaments (hairs)
  • bundles of filaments
  • filaments with a tuft halfway down the shaft
  • down feathers

The Scientists Identified Four Types of Feather-like Structures in the Fossils

Different types of filaments associated with pterosaur fossils.

Close-up views of different types of feather-like filaments identified in pterosaur fossils.

Picture Credit: Yang, Jiang, McNamara et al

An Amazing Discovery

One of the paper’s authors, Dr Maria McNamara (University College Cork), stated that some critics have suggested that there is only one simple hair-like type of pycnofibre, but this study shows different structures that we also see in dinosaurs, in essence real feathers.  Furthermore, the team identified melanosomes that indicate that some flying reptiles may have been coloured a sort of reddish brown.

Dr McNamara explained:

“We focused on areas where the feathers did not overlap and where we could see their structure more clearly.  They even show fine details of pigment granules, which may have given the fluffy feathers a ginger colour.  This discovery has amazing implications for our understanding of the origin of feathers, but also for a major time of revolution of life on land.  When feathers arose, about 250 million years ago, life was recovering from the devastating end-Permian mass extinction.”

The Enigmatic Anurognathidae

Only a handful of anurognathid fossils are known and only a few species have been assigned to this pterosaur family.  Although, the first anurognathids were described from Upper Jurassic deposits of Bavaria (Solnhofen limestone), the best preserved and most complete specimens came from the Daohugou Beds of Inner Mongolia.  Since these types of small, short-faced flying reptiles are known from Europe, South Korea, China and potentially North America, they seem to have been geographically widespread.  Although very rare, the Daohugou Bed fossil specimens have some soft tissue and muscle outline preservation and have provided palaeontologists with a lot of information on pterosaur anatomy.

An Anurognathid Pterosaur from the Daohugou Beds – Jeholopterus ninchengensis 

Jeholopterus pterosaur fossil.

Pterosaur material from the Daohugou Beds.  This is a fossil specimen of the anurognathid pterosaur Jeholopterus ninchengensis.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology

Re-writing the History of the Evolution of Feathers

Feathers are essentially highly modified scales; this new research could potentially re-write the evolutionary history of feathers.  One of the authors, Professor Mike Benton (Bristol University), explained:

“We ran some evolutionary analyses and they showed clearly that the pterosaur pycnofibres are feathers, just like those seen in modern birds and across various dinosaur groups.  Despite careful searching, we couldn’t find any anatomical evidence that the four pycnofibre types are in any way different from the feathers of birds and dinosaurs.  Therefore, because they are the same, they must share an evolutionary origin, and that was about 250 million years ago, long before the origin of birds.”

Birds have two types of advanced feathers used in flight and for body smoothing, the contour feathers with a hollow quill and barbs down both sides.  These types of feathers are found only in birds and the Theropod dinosaurs close to the evolutionary origins of the Aves (birds).  However, the other feather types of modern birds include monofilaments and down feathers, and these are seen much more widely across dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The armoured dinosaurs and the giant Sauropods probably did not have feathers, but they were likely suppressed, meaning they were prevented from growing, at least in the adults, just as hair is suppressed in large-bodied animals today such as cetaceans, hippos and elephants.

High Resolution Microscopy Revealed Different Types of Feather-like Structures

High resolution microscopy identified different types of integumentary filamentous structures in pterosaur fossils.

Different types of integumentary filamentous structures identified in specimen number CAGS-Z070.

Picture Credit: Yang, Jiang, McNamara et al

Professor Benton added:

“This discovery has amazing implications for our understanding of the origin of feathers, but also for a major time of revolution of life on land.  When feathers arose, about 250 million years ago, life was recovering from the devasting end-Permian mass extinction.  Independent evidence shows that land vertebrates, including the ancestors of mammals and dinosaurs, had switched gait from sprawling to upright, had acquired different degrees of warm-bloodedness, and were generally living life at a faster pace.  The mammal ancestors by then had hair, so likely the pterosaurs, dinosaurs and relatives had also acquired feathers to help insulate them.  The hunt for feathers in fossils is heating up and finding their functions in such early forms is imperative.  It can rewrite our understanding of a major revolution in life on Earth during the Triassic, and also our understanding of the genomic regulation of feathers, scales, and hairs in the skin.”

Different Kinds of Pycnofibres – Different Functions?

Pterosaurs were the first back-boned animals to evolve powered flight.  However, following their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, they left no living close relatives, nor indeed any near related analogues for scientists to study.  Whilst the presence of pycnofibres on the bodies of these flying reptiles is quite well accepted by the scientific community, their functions are not fully understood.  If different types of feather-like structures have been identified in two anurognathid pterosaur specimens, it is likely that other types of pterosaur had them too.

These different feather-like structures probably served a variety of functions, perhaps the first “pterosaur fuzz” evolved to provide insulation and then other types evolved perhaps to aid tactile sensing, visual communication and to assist with flight.

The scientific paper: “Pterosaur Integumentary Structures with Complex Feather-like Branching” by Z. Yang, B. Jiang, M. McNamara, S. Kearns, M. Pittman, T. Kaye, P. Orr, X. Xu and M. Benton and published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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

16 12, 2018

Everything Dinosaur Maintains its 5-star Feefo Rating

By | December 16th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

5-star Feefo Rating For Everything Dinosaur

It might be an extremely busy time of year for Everything Dinosaur, but our focus on customer service has not been diminished, as demonstrated by the UK-based company continuing to achieve a 5-star Feefo rating.  Feefo is an independent customer service and product rating organisation.  This business is working hard to become the world’s most trusted supplier of reviews and feedback about purchases and service.  Each review is genuine and comes from a bona fide Everything Dinosaur customer.  This is genuine feedback that other customers and site visitors can trust and rely upon.

Everything Dinosaur Maintains Top Marks – Feefo Independent Rating

Everything Dinosaur's 5-star Feefo rating (December 2018).

Everything Dinosaur Feefo rating December 2018.  Over six hundred customer reviews are currently on-line and Everything Dinosaur continues to maintain top marks.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

5-star Customer Service

Currently, there are over six hundred customer reviews on-line.  Everything Dinosaur continues to maintain a top rating of 5-stars for its customer service.  The company’s average product rating is very high too, standing at 4.8 out of a maximum of 5, not bad at all when you consider that Everything Dinosaur has some of the lowest prices around for dinosaur themed merchandise and models.

A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:

“At this time of year, we tend to get extremely busy and it is all hands to the pump, however, we continue to maintain our reputation for top-class customer service.  We are doing all we can to ensure that orders are despatched promptly, this gives these parcels every chance of being able to reach their destinations in time for Christmas.”

15 12, 2018

News of Papo Prehistoric Animal Model Retirements

By | December 15th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Papo Prehistoric Animal Model Retirements

Everything Dinosaur has teamed up with their chums over at the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables to bring dinosaur model fans news about which models from the Papo “dinosaurs” range are being retired.

News may have already leaked out about which models Papo intends to release in 2019, Everything Dinosaur will make an official announcement soon about the new for 2019 models.  However, in the meantime, here is a special press release in association with JurassicCollectables that provides information about which figures from the popular Papo range are being withdrawn.

Details of Papo Model Retirements for 2019 – JurassicCollectables Video Announcement

Video Credit: JurassicCollectables

Papo Model Retirements

Everything Dinosaur has already released information about two Papo model retirements – the Papo Archaeopteryx and the Papo Tupuxuara pterosaur figure, back in October.  In total, a further three models are being dropped, namely:

  • Papo Allosaurus
  • Papo running T. rex colour variant
  • Papo Dimorphodon

Models Being Withdrawn by Papo in 2019

Papo prehistoric animal model retirements in 2019.

Papo model retirements in 2019.  The Papo Allosaurus figure, along with the Papo running T. rex colour variant, Archaeopteryx, Tupuxuara and Dimorphodon are being withdrawn.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Further Details

The Papo Archaeopteryx, first introduced in 2014, is being retired, it has been left out of the 2019 catalogue.  The Papo Tupuxuara, which came out in 2015, is also being retired, but it will feature in the new for 2019 Papo catalogue which will be sent out to distributors in January.  It has officially been retired but has been included in the catalogue print run to permit what limited stocks that are left to be sold.

The Papo Allosaurus model (55016), a stalwart of the range for many years is also being withdrawn.  This figure is not in the 2019 Papo catalogue, it is being replaced by a new colour variant Allosaurus model.  The Papo running T. rex colour variant (55057), which was introduced in 2016, has been retired.  It too, is out of the new for 2019 catalogue, the idea is that whilst the green running T. rex will remain (55027), the first widely available colour variant will be superseded by the new, brown running T. rex model (55075).

Furthermore, the Papo Dimorphodon model  (55063) is being dropped.  This flying reptile was added in 2017, but it is not included in the new catalogue and it has been withdrawn.

Some further news for fans of the Papo range, despite the introduction of a new colour variant Stegosaurus model (55079), the original Stegosaurus figure (55007), is still in the 2019 catalogue.  Everything Dinosaur team members have speculated that it has been included for the time being, but it will most likely be withdrawn in the future.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article about the retirement of the Papo Archaeopteryx and Tupuxuara models: Two Papo Prehistoric Animal Model Retirements

The Papo Green Running T. rex Figure and the Original Version of the Stegosaurus Remain

Staying for now, the green running T. rex and the original Papo Stegosaurus models.

Papo Stegosaurus (original) and the green running T. rex.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For model reviews, updates on dinosaur figures and other fantastic prehistoric animal themed videos take a look at the amazing YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables: Subscribe to JurassicCollectables

To view the Papo range of prehistoric animal models available from Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models

14 12, 2018

A New Horned Dinosaur Species from Late Cretaceous Arizona

By | December 14th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii – A New Horned Dinosaur from Arizona

Many scientists and observers have described the last two decades as the “Golden Age” of dinosaur discoveries.  Since the turn of the century, there have been some astonishing fossil finds and many new species of dinosaur have been discovered and described.  None more so than with the horned dinosaurs and their relatives (Marginocephalia).  Over the last few years, we have reported on numerous new types of Ceratopsian, many of these new horned dinosaurs having been discovered in strata laid down in the United States, for example, Medusaceratops, Aquilops, Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops.  Surprisingly, there had been no new horned dinosaurs named in 2018, that is no longer the case with a scientific paper published describing a new Centrosaurine dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Arizona – Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Ceratopsian Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii

Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii illustrated.

A life reconstruction of the newly described Ceratopsian Crittendenceratops (2018).

Picture Credit: Sergey Krasovskiy

Only a Few Dinosaurs Named from Arizona

Writing in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, the researchers, Sebastian G. Dalman and Asher Lichtig, both Research Associates at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in collaboration with John-Paul Hodnett from the Maryland-National Capital Parks Commission and Spencer G. Lucas (a curator at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science), describe Crittendenceratops and assign it the Centrosaurinae subfamily of horned dinosaurs and specifically to the Nasutoceratopsini tribe.

There have been so many new horned dinosaurs from North America named and described in the last twenty years or so, that this has led to a revision of Ceratopsian taxonomy.  For example, the Nasutoceratopsini was erected recently (2016).

To read an article that summarises this revision: Redefining the Horned Dinosaurs

Despite the wealth of dinosaur fossil material associated with the western United States, Crittendenceratops is one of only a handful of dinosaurs named from Arizona.

A Reconstruction of the Parietosquamosal Frill of C. krzyzanowskii

A reconstruction of the parietal frill of Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii.

A line drawing showing a reconstruction of the parietosquamosal frill of Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii.

Picture Credit: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

From the Fort Crittenden Formation

This new herbivore has been described from fragmentary fossil material, including skull elements from the shale member of the Fort Crittenden Formation.  Two individual animals are represented by the fossils.  Crittendenceratops is estimated to have been around 3.5 metres in length and would have weighed about 750 kilograms.  It lived 73 million years ago (Campanian stage of the Cretaceous) and the rocks that yielded the bones were deposited along the margins of a large lake that was present in an area southeast of Tucson, Arizona.

The Nearly Complete Left Squamosal (Skull Bone) of Crittendenceratops

Near complete left squamosal bone of Crittendenceratops (NMMNH P-34906) dorsal view.

Left squamosal bone of Crittendenceratops (NMMNH P-34906) dorsal view.

Picture Credit: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Honouring Stan Krzyzanowski

The new species was named by Sebastian G. Dalman, John-Paul Hodnett, Asher Lichtig and Spencer G. Lucas.  The genus name reflects the rock formation where the fossils were found (Fort Crittenden Formation), whereas the trivial name honours the late Stan Krzyzanowski, a Research Associate from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, who discovered the first bones to be ascribed to this new dinosaur in the Adobe Canyon area eighteen years ago.  Crittendenceratops can be distinguished from other members of the Centrosaurinae subfamily by the unique shape of the bones in its frill.

The scientific paper: “A New Ceratopsid Dinosaur (Centrosaurinae Nasutoceratopsini) from the Fort Crittenden Formation Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) of Arizona” by Spencer G. Lucas, Sebastian Dalman, Asher Lichtig and John-Paul Michael Hodnett published in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in the compilation of this article.

13 12, 2018

December Newsletter from Everything Dinosaur

By | December 13th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

December Newsletter from Everything Dinosaur

Subscribers to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter have been kept up to date with all our special offers for Christmas.  In addition, newsletter readers have had the chance to reserve the new for January 2019, Rebor limited edition “Club Selection” Hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane” as well as to ensure they are amongst the first in the world to receive the forthcoming Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus scale model.

Countdown to Christmas – Special Offers from Everything Dinosaur

Buy a pair of Rebor tyrannosaurid figures.

Countdown to Christmas! Everything Dinosaur offers the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” tyrannosaurid figures Mountain and Jungle as a pair.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Beasts of the Mesozoic “Raptors”

Everything Dinosaur stocks the full range of these amazing 1/6th scale, Beasts of the Mesozoic articulated dinosaur figures, including the difficult to acquire accessory sets and the build-a-raptor kits.  The Beasts of the Mesozoic dinosaur figures are targeted at discerning replica and figure collectors.  All the figures are hand-painted and articulated and these prehistoric animal models are great to display.  Everything Dinosaur is the exclusive European distributor for the Beasts of the Mesozoic range of models.

To see the amazing Beasts of the Mesozoic “raptors” available from Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic Prehistoric Animal Figures

Beasts of the Mesozoic Models Flocking Your Way

Beasts of the Mesozoic figures from Everything Dinosaur

Beasts of Mesozoic figures available from Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box T. rex Models and Trilobite Soft Toys

The Everything Dinosaur December newsletter also featured an update on the articulated, very rare, Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurus rex figures from Japan.   All three colour variations including “smoke green” and the “classic” colouration are still available, but stocks are getting low.  Safely arrived at our warehouse is a new soft toy, a wonderful example of Palaeozoic plush!  We have a cute and cuddly Trilobite soft toy in stock.  The soft toy Trilobite measures a fraction over 16 centimetres in length and we know the eyes are wrong (Trilobita had compound eyes), however, the soft toy is so wonderful we had to add it to our soft toy range.

A Perfect Pair – Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box Tyrannosaurs and a Soft and Cuddly Trilobite

Rare Kaiyodo T. rex figures and a soft toy Trilobite.

Kaiyodo Tyrannosaurus rex figures and a soft toy trilobite.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Priority Reserve Lists for January Releases are Now Open

Our newsletter also featured an update on what is coming out early in 2019.  Our reserve list for the forthcoming (January release), Rebor Club Selection limited edition hatching Baryonyx “Hurricane” has now opened and subscribers have been given VIP access to this figure, after all, only 1,000 “Hurricanes” have been made.  Team members promise to set aside figures for list members and then email them to let them know that their hatching Baryonyx is available to purchase.

Priority Reserve Lists Open for New Rebor and Eofauna Scientific Research Figures

Priority reserve lists for new for 2019 dinosaur models.

Reservation lists open for new dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Furthermore, our December newsletter featured an update on the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research 1:35 scale Giganotosaurus model.  This beautifully crafted model is also due to arrive in January.  A reserve list has been opened and Everything Dinosaur customers have been urged to let us know their requirements to avoid disappointment when this figure is released.

To request a subscription to Everything Dinosaur’s regular newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

10 12, 2018

Please Order Early for Christmas

By | December 10th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Please Order Early for Christmas

There are only eleven more shopping days to Christmas, but with Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, this means that there will be little movement in the international and domestic mail network from the 22nd December onwards.  Customers are advised to order early to avoid any potential disappointment on the big day.

Confirmation of the Last Recommended Posting Dates for Christmas Delivery

Last posting dates for Christmas.

Last recommended posting dates for Christmas (Royal Mail) in 2018.

Table Credit: Royal Mail

Recommended Last Posting Dates

The table above has been put together using information from Royal Mail.  Whilst staff at Everything Dinosaur do all they can to send out goods promptly and to provide accurate information on posting dates, it is certainly worthwhile checking with Royal Mail and other national carriers to obtain the latest postal information and updates.  Please note, the dates highlighted in the table above, are the last recommended dates for posting.  It is always sensible to send out gifts as early as possible in order to avoid disappointment.  Postal services get very busy in the run up to Christmas, posting early is always prudent and rest assured, our staff will be on hand to help customers with any queries or questions that they might have.

Everything Dinosaur Team Members Working Hard to Ensure a Rapid Despatch of Parcels

Team members working hard to despatch parcels.

Everything Dinosaur working hard to manage Christmas deliveries.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Working Hard to Ensure a Rapid Turnaround and Despatch of Orders

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been working all weekend to ensure that orders placed for Christmas delivery get packed and sent out as rapidly as possible.  Extra collections have been organised to cope with the large volume of orders the UK-based company receives at this time of year.  Orders placed before 2.30pm each afternoon will normally be despatched by 5.30pm the same afternoon (5.30pm is the last scheduled collection of the day).

Everything Dinosaur personnel have also been organising a special collection service to make sure that any last minute gifts get sent on their way as quickly as possible.  Royal Mail have stated the last recommended posting dates for UK parcels (see table above), however, if you are waiting for a gift to arrive, it is worth remembering that there are a number of areas in the UK where extra deliveries are taking place and Royal Mail has also organised Sunday deliveries in many parts of the country, especially in cities.

Please Check Your Delivery Address and Remember the Postcode

There are lots of things that customers can do to help ensure that parcels are delivered promptly.  For example, prior to finally hitting the “submit” button, it would be very sensible just to check the zip/post code and to ensure that the house name or house number has been included in the delivery address information.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Team workers are doing all they can to despatch parcels as quickly as possible, please help us to help you by ensuring that delivery addresses are correct and please place orders as early as possible.  Placing orders early can make a huge difference at this time of year.”

If you have a query about Christmas deliveries, or indeed any aspect of Everything Dinosaur’s delivery service please email: Email Everything Dinosaur

To view Everything Dinosaur’s website: Visit Everything Dinosaur’s Website

9 12, 2018

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

By | December 9th, 2018|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast” – Book Review

At a conference in a rather chilly Helsinki held seventeen years ago this week, delegates of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), confirmed that World Heritage Site status would be conferred upon a 95-mile stretch of the coastline of southern England covering the east Devon and Dorset coast.

In the minutes of the conference, the reason for this award was recorded:

“The Dorset and East Devon Coast provides an almost continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting approximately 185 million years of Earth history.  It also includes a range of internationally important fossil localities – vertebrate and invertebrate, marine and terrestrial – which have produced well-preserved and diverse evidence of life during Mesozoic times.”

However, this description does not convey the true majesty of this location, nor does it provide a sense of awe that this part of the British Isles inspires in so many people.  Neither does it do justice to the simple pleasure of finding a fossil, gazing at it and realising that you are the first living creature in 180 million years to set eyes upon the petrified remains of what was once another inhabitant of our planet.

Then a book is published, a book that provides a sense of the stunning natural landscape, a book that transports the reader back in time, a book that conveys the sense of excitement and achievement associated with fossil collecting – “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast” – does all this and more.

The Front Cover of “A Guide To Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

"A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast" published by Siri Scientific Press

A beautifully illustrated guide to fossil hunting on the West Dorset coast.  RRP of £18.95 – highly recommended.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Conveying a Sense of Beauty, Conveying a Sense of Wonder

Authors Craig Chivers and Steve Snowball focus on one part of the “Jurassic Coast”, that beautiful coastline that runs east from Lyme Regis to the foreboding cliffs of Burton Bradstock.  First the scene is set.  There is a brief description of the geological setting and an outline of the contribution to science of arguably Dorset’s most famous former resident, Mary Anning, and then the reader is taken in Mary’s footsteps through a series of guided walks travelling eastwards along the coast and forwards in time to explore the geology and remarkable fossil heritage of this unique sequence of sedimentary strata.

The Book is Filled with Stunning Photographs of Fossil Discoveries

Prepared specimen of Becheiceras gallicum.

A Lower Jurassic ammonite (Becheiceras gallicum) from the Green Ammonite Member (Seatown, Dorset).

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press (fossil found and prepared by Lizzie Hingley)

A Reference for All Collectors and Fossil Enthusiasts

Drawing on their detailed knowledge of fossil collecting, Craig and Steve describe what to look for and where to find an array of fossil specimens along this part of the “Jurassic Coast”.  The landscape is vividly portrayed and the book provides a handy, rucksack-sized reference for fossil collectors, whether seasoned professionals or first time visitors to Dorset.  We commend the authors for including copious amounts of helpful information on responsible fossil collecting and for publishing in full the West Dorset Fossil Collecting Code.

Breath-taking Views of the Natural Beauty of the Coastline

Fossil hunting around Seatown.

Golden Cap – excursions around Seatown.  Majestic views of the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Recreating Ancient Environments

Talented palaeoartist Andreas Kurpisz provides readers with digital reconstructions of ancient environments and brings to life the fossil specimens, showing them as living creatures interacting with other prehistoric animals in a series of Jurassic landscapes and seascapes.  These reconstructions help to document the changing environments that are now preserved within the imposing cliffs of this remarkable part of the British coastline.

Crinoids (Sea Lilies) from the West Dorset Coast

Crinoids from the "Jurassic Coast".

The book contains stunning photographs of fossils from the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Siri Scientific Press

Spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur, Mike Walley commented:

“This guide manages to capture the beauty and the fascination of this part of the “Jurassic Coast”.  It is a “must have” for all fossil collectors and if ever the delegates at that UNESCO conference needed to reaffirm their decision to grant this stunning part of the British coastline World Heritage Site status, this book provides ample evidence to justify their original decision.”

For further information and to order this exquisite guide book: Order “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”

8 12, 2018

Animantarx Fact Sheet

By | December 8th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Geology, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing a Fact Sheet for the Schleich Animantarx Model

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy preparing for the arrival of the first batch of new for 2019 Schleich prehistoric animal figures.  In this first set of models from the German-based manufacturer, there is a replica of the armoured dinosaur called Animantarx (Animantarx ramaljonesi), a fact sheet providing information about this nodosaurid is being compiled, so that customers of Everything Dinosaur can learn about this enigmatic member of the Thyreophora (shield-bearers).

New for 2019 the Schleich Animantarx Dinosaur Model

The new for 2019 Schleich Animantarx dinosaur model.

The Schleich Animantarx dinosaur model (new for 2019).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Using Ankylosaurs for Biostratigraphical Dating of the Cedar Mountain Formation

The disarticulated and fragmentary fossils representing a single, individual animal were described in 1999 (Carpenter, Kirkland, Burge and Bird) and Animantarx is one of numerous Ankylosaurs known from the Cedar Mountain Formation of the western United States.  The Cedar Mountain Formation has the highest concentration of ankylosaurid species of any Lower Cretaceous formation, it is hoped that further field work will help palaeontologists to build up a better picture of their evolution and subsequent radiation.

The list of armoured dinosaurs is quite long for example:

  • Sauropelta – Poison Strip Sandstone
  • Cedarpelta – Mussentuchit Member
  • Animantarx – Mussentuchit Member
  • Peloroplites – Mussentuchit Member
  • Gastonia – Yellow Cat Member

It has been suggested that given the numbers of armoured dinosaurs present in the strata, ankylosaurids can be used to help with relative dating of rock layers (biostratigraphy).

A Scale Drawing of Animantarx

Animantarx Scale Drawing.

A scale drawing of the armoured dinosaur from Utah – Animantarx ramaljonesi.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Distinct Cretaceous Dinosaur Faunas

Recent research has identified three distinct dinosaur-based faunas represented by the vertebrate fossils from the Cedar Mountain Formation.  Ankylosaurs are the most common dinosaur of the upper part of the Yellowcat Member and Poison Strip Sandstone of the Cedar Mountain Formation but are rare in other members.  This scarcity may be due to insufficient collecting in the middle and upper parts of the Cedar Mountain.  Nevertheless, Ankylosaur dinosaurs indicate a three-fold division of the Cedar Mountain dinosaur faunas.  Intriguingly, Animantarx is known from the youngest member of the Cedar Mountain Formation (Mussentuchit Member).  These rocks hold a mixture of Early and Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils – tyrannosaurids, ceratopsids, iguanodonts, ankylosaurids etc.  The strata might document a migration event whereby Asian dinosaurs moved into North America via an Alaskan land bridge.  This migration may have contributed to the extinction of several types of endemic North American members of the Dinosauria.

To view the range of Schleich prehistoric animal figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Schleich Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

7 12, 2018

Countdown to the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model

By | December 7th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Countdown to the Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model

Not long to wait now before the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  These beautiful 1:35 scale models are due to arrive in January 2019.  Everything Dinosaur customers, who joined our priority reservation list, are guaranteed that they will be offered a figure (some people have reserved two), as soon as the stock arrives at our warehouse, we shall be emailing list members to let them know that we have set aside a personally selected figure and we will be dropping them a line to inform them that it is in stock.

The Eagerly Anticipated Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus Model is Scheduled to Arrive in January 2019

Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur replica.

The Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.  This fantastic figure is due to arrive in January 2019.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Museum Quality Replica of “Giant Southern Lizard”

This Eofauna PVC figure, the third that the company has made, is a superb, museum quality replica of the huge South American carnivore Giganotosaurus.  This fantastic figure has certainly got model collectors and dinosaur fans excited.  It is a wonderful 1:35 scale model of Giganotosaurus carolinii, regarded as one of the largest terrestrial hypercarnivores to have ever existed.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Model (2019)

Eofauna Scientific Research Giganotosaurus carolinii.

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model has an articulated jaw.  It even comes supplied with its own fact card, as well as for Everything Dinosaur customers, a Giganotosaurus fact sheet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It truly is a remarkable figure, the first dinosaur model in this series to be made by Eofauna Scientific Research.  Our customers who joined the priority reserve list are guaranteed to be offered a model, when the stock arrives, team members will personally select figures and email customers to let them know that the Giganotosaurus is now available.”

The Illustration of Giganotosaurus carolinii Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Giganotosaurus scale drawing.

Everything Dinosaur’s commissioned scale drawing of Giganotosaurus carolinii.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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

The Carcharodontosauridae

Giganotosaurus is a member of the Carcharodontosauridae family of Theropod dinosaurs.  This family was erected by the German palaeontologist Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach in 1931.  Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach was also responsible for naming and describing the famous African dinosaur Spinosaurus (S. aegyptiacus).  This family of dinosaurs is now nested within the clade Carnosauria and includes some of the largest predatory animals to have ever lived, giants such as Shaochilong from China, Neovenator from southern England as well as South American monsters such as Giganotosaurus, Tyrannotitan and Mapusaurus.

The Eofauna Giganotosaurus Dinosaur Model

Eofauna Giganotosaurus (1:35 scale replica).

The 1:35 scale Eofauna Giganotosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of dinosaur replicas have not long to wait now before the Eofauna Giganotosaurus 1:35 scale model is in stock.  Next year is going to be a landmark year for Eofauna Scientific Research with the introduction of their first figure representing a member of the Dinosauria.  These are exciting times for dinosaur fans and model collectors.

To enquire about reserving this model or any other model within Everything Dinosaur’s huge range: Email Everything Dinosaur

5 12, 2018

New Dinosaur Named from New South Wales

By | December 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Weewarrasaurus pobeni – Hints at Different Kinds of Dinosaur Communities

The fortuitous discovery of pieces from the lower jaw of a small, plant-eating dinosaur is helping scientists to discover more about the Cretaceous dinosaurs that once roamed Australia.  Writing in the academic journal “PeerJ”, the researchers provide evidence to support the idea that there were numerous small-bodied Ornithopods at high latitudes in south-eastern Australia, whilst further north, in what would have been slightly warmer environments, these types of dinosaurs co-existed with much bigger Ornithopods and Titanosaurs.

The dinosaur has been named Weewarrasaurus pobeni (pronounced wee-whah-rar-sore-us poe-ben-eye) and it is the first new dinosaur to be described from New South Wales for nearly 100 years.

A Life Reconstruction of the Newly Described Gondwanan Ornithopod Weewarrasaurus pobeni

Weewarrasaurus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of the small Ornithopod Weewarrasaurus.

Picture Credit: James Kuether

A Lucky Fossil Find

Adelaide-based opal buyer Mike Poben spotted the fossil pieces in a bucket of opal rubble from the Wee Warra opal field at Lightning Ridge (New South Wales, Australia).  The dinosaur was named in honour of the location and the trivial name recognises the contribution of Mr Poben who donated the specimens for research.

Numerous opalised dinosaur fossils are known from the Lightning Ridge area.  The material, including fragments of bones and isolated teeth come from the Griman Creek Formation.  Recent radiometric dating indicates that these deposits are around 100 to 96 million years old (Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous), making these rocks some 10 million years younger than equivalent exposures containing dinosaur fossils found in northern Queensland.

The Fossil Jaw Fragments (Right Dentary) of Weewarrasaurus pobeni

W. pobeni fossil material (right dentary in medial view).

The right dentary of W. pobeni (medial view). The two pieces are part of the same lower jaw.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

Unfortunately, the underground mining process involves breaking up the rocks, so any specimens found tend to consist of isolated broken pieces, however the presence of a scalloped-shaped tooth in the object immediately caught the attention of Mr Poben, so he was able to quickly appreciate that this was part of a jawbone.  Lightning Ridge is the only place in the world where dinosaur bones and teeth routinely turn to opal.  Corresponding author of the scientific paper, Dr Philip Bell (University of New England), explained that researchers were now looking into acquiring more fossil material from opal mines.

Dr Bell stated:

“Unfortunately, the fossil remnants we see are almost always part of mining spoil… but on another hand, we would never get to see even those fragments if it wasn’t for mining.”

Opal Helps to Identify a Dinosaur

One of the benefits of the presence of opal in the fossil is that the distinctive banding pattern formed helped the scientists to identify that the two fossil pieces belonged to the same jawbone.

Views of the Jawbone Fossil (Weewarrasaurus pobeni)

Weewarrasaurus fossils.

Weewarrasaurus pobeni fossils (right dentary fragments in medial view).

Picture Credit: PeerJ/Dr Bell (University of New England)

The picture above shows three views of the fossils, (A), medial; (B), dorsal; and (C) lateral views.   The dashed black line shows the outline of the missing pieces that would have comprised a more substantial part of the dentary.  The dashed red lines indicate the distinctive banding pattern in the opal used to estimate the extent of the missing area.  Another jawbone fragment (LRF 766), representing a right dentary with teeth in situ from the nearby Three Mile opal field has also been assigned to this new dinosaur species.

Faunal Differences in Different Regions of Prehistoric Australia

The Griman Creek Formation fossils from Lightning Ridge indicate that there were numerous small Ornithopods living in this environment during the Cenomanian stage of the Late Cretaceous.  This research provides further evidence to support previous studies that favour a general abundance of small-bodied basal Ornithopods in high-latitude localities of south-eastern Australia.  These little dinosaurs, most of which were under two metres in length, inhabited a verdant flood plain, but this part of the Gondwana was at approximately 60 degrees south.  Today, Australia is much further north, the city of Sydney (New South Wales), is located at approximately 33.86 degrees south.  During the Cretaceous, the dinosaurs that inhabited the part of Australia we now call New South Wales, would have had to endure periods of darkness in the year when the sun dipped below the horizon, although the presence of ectothermic reptiles such as crocodyliforms and turtles indicate that average minimum temperatures may not have fallen below 5 degrees Celsius.  Even so, the climate may have been too extreme for Sauropods.  Cretaceous deposits in Queensland (Winton Formation), have revealed several Titanosaurs, but the colder temperatures experienced further south may have limited Sauropod distribution.

The researchers conclude that although future dinosaur fossil discoveries have the potential to alter these interpretations, it is suggested that the Griman Creek Formation at Lightning Ridge occupied a “meeting point” between more northern Sauropod-dominated faunas and the Ornithopod-dominated faunas that existed further south.

Computer Generated Images from Fossil Scans Helped to Identify Ornithopod Characteristics

Weewarrasaurus three-dimensional, computer generated images of the fossil material.

Three-dimensional renders of the posterior dentary fragment.

Picture Credit: PeerJ

To read a recent article about an opalised dinosaur toe bone found in South Australia: Lost Dinosaur Toe Bone Turns Up on the Internet

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