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28 06, 2020

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

By | June 28th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Trailer

Everything Dinosaur team members made a commitment in 2020 to post up at least fifty new videos on the company’s YouTube channel.  This is quite a challenge considering all our other activities on social media, such as this blog site for example.  However, Everything Dinosaur is on track to achieve this and recently the company posted up a new YouTube channel trailer to help promote Everything Dinosaur on the YouTube platform.

Everything Dinosaur’s New YouTube Channel Trailer

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

YouTube Channel Trailer

Our YouTube promotional trailer explains what we do and why we do it!  The video lasts a fraction over 2 minutes and it attempts to explain our passion for dinosaur and prehistoric animal model collecting.  If you want to learn some of the science behind the prehistoric animal models and figures in your own collection, then watch the trailer through as it packed with examples of our work and highlights of our videos.

Everything Dinosaur’s Trailer Showcases the Variety of Videos the Company has Produced

Showcasing Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

The YouTube channel hosts a wide variety of dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos.  The channel has over 170 prehistoric animal themed videos posted on it.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An Award-winning Dinosaur Company

Everything Dinosaur is a multi-award-winning mail order company, with thousands of customers all over the world.  We have customers in something like 160 countries and as our trailer video points out, we have even sent dinosaur models to the North Pole!  We really enjoy talking about life in the past, deep time and the amazing creatures that inhabited prehistory.  It’s great to be able to share ideas and explore the fascinating hobby of model collecting with fellow dinosaur fans and enthusiasts, so we developed a YouTube channel as a natural extension of our social media outreach.

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube Channel

Everything Dinosaur's YouTube Channel.

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos are now on-line.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur has a Large Social Media Presence

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We get lots and lots of emails, our Facebook and social media pages are very active and the Everything Dinosaur blog has over 4,800 articles and features.  We have had a YouTube channel for some years, but it has recently been revamped and we are on course to post up at least fifty new videos this year.”

Lots of Videos on the YouTube Channel of Everything Dinosaur

Lots of videos to view on Everything Dinosaur's YouTube channel.

Some of the videos on the YouTube channel.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

27 06, 2020

Rebor and New Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Everything Dinosaur Newsletter

By | June 27th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Rebor Models and Mojo Dinosaurs Feature in Newsletter

The latest edition of Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter was sent out earlier this week.  Subscribers were amongst the very first in the world to be informed that the spectacular Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis” were back in stock.  In addition, the newsletter highlighted the return of the Rebor 1:35 scale “Killer Queen” replica in the jungle colour scheme.  The new range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs, all sixteen of them were featured too!

The Pair of Rebor Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis” Feature in the Newsletter

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Oasis" and "Green Day".

Buy the Pair! Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models “Green Day” and “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Special Offer from Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Dilophosaurus male “Green Day” and the female “Oasis” are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  Buy the pair at a special price!  Just £49.99 (including tax if applicable) plus shipping (price as of June 2020).  Two fantastic Rebor figures – snap up a double of “double crested lizard” to add to your collection.

The Male and Female Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models from Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

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

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the Rebor range of replicas and figures: Rebor Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Models Are Available Separately

Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models "Green Day" and "Oasis".

Rebor “Green Day” and “Oasis” Dilophosaurus models. These models are available separately and as a pair whilst stocks last.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor “Killer Queen” – Jungle and Sixteen New Dinosaurs from Mojo Fun

One of the top-selling figures over the last year or so has been the Rebor Tyrannosaurus rex replica called “Killer Queen”.  A small number of these excellent T. rex figures have arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse and our team members have been quick to inform collectors and newsletter fans of their arrival.  This display piece, complete with an articulated jaw measures over 40 centimetres in length, as the song says: “guaranteed to blow your mind”.

Mojo Fun has introduced a total of sixteen new dinosaur models representing dinosaurs from the Jurassic and the Cretaceous.  Our newsletter featured these new releases from Mojo too.

Rebor “Killer Queen” in the Jungle Colour Variant and New Dinosaurs from Mojo

Rebor jungle colour variant "Killer Queen" and new Mojo models.

Rebor “Killer Queen” jungle colour variant and sixteen brand new Mojo dinosaur models in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans of the Rebor “Killer Queen” – plain colour variant don’t have long to wait for this model to be back in stock either.  This figure will be back in stock at Everything Dinosaur in July (2020).

Highlighting Mojo Brachiosaurus Deluxe and the Troodontid Model

In the popular Mojo Fun range, collectors are rather spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which models to acquire.  There are lots of new theropods, two Baryonyx figures, a new T. rex plus Spinosaurus, Velociraptors, Allosaurus and one of our personal favourites – a replica of a feathered troodontid dinosaur complete with an articulated jaw.  Herbivorous dinosaurs are well-represented in the new Mojo Fun range as well.  For example, the range includes new models of Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Triceratops plus Mamenchisaurus, Mandschurosaurus, Brontosaurus and a beautiful Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur model.

Highlighting Mojo Dinosaur Models (Troodontid and the Brachiosaurus Deluxe)

Mojo Brachiosaurus deluxe and the troodontid dinosaur model.

New for 2020 Mojo Troodontid and Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur models.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the amazing range of Mojo Fun dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models.

Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s Newsletter

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

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

26 06, 2020

New Study Suggests “Marsupial Sabre-tooth” Was a Scavenger

By | June 26th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Thylacosmilus atrox – A Specialist Scavenger of Large Carcases

Huge canines in predatory mammals has developed on several occasions within the Class Mammalia.  Indeed, enormous sabre-like teeth can be found in the fossil record long before placentals and marsupials evolved, a case in point being the gorgonopsids of the Late Permian.  However, when the various types of mammal that developed such over-sized front teeth in their upper jaws are compared, it seems that not all sabre-toothed mammals were the ferocious predators that palaeontologists thought them to be.

Writing in the open access, on-line journal “PeerJ” researchers from the University of Birmingham, Bristol University and the Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee), conclude that the South American “marsupial sabre-tooth”, Thylacosmilus atrox may have been a scavenger, using its huge upper canines to eviscerate carcases before removing internal organs with a large tongue.

The South American Marsupial Thylacosmilus may not have been an Active Predator

Comparing the skulls of Thylacosmilus and Smilodon.

Skulls and life reconstructions of the marsupial sabre-tooth Thylacosmilus atrox (left) and the sabre-tooth cat Smilodon fatalis (right).  Examples of convergent evolution in unrelated animals, but a new study suggests that T. atrox may have behaved very differently, preferring to consume carcases rather than to actively hunt.

Picture Credit: Stephan Lautenschlager/University of Birmingham

Thylacosmilus atrox – A Very Peculiar Carnivore

Thylacosmilus (pronounced Thy-lak-o-smile-us), is a member of the extinct Order Sparassodonta and only distantly related to the marsupials of Australia.  Its fossils come mostly from northern Argentina, and it lived during the Late Miocene and Pliocene Epochs.  Described as a jaguar-sized marsupial with huge maxillary canines, bite force studies had indicated that, for its size, it had a relatively weak bite, much lower than modern, large felids.

Whilst most palaeontologists would agree that the placental genus Smilodon was an active predator, albeit with a different method of dispatching victims when compared to extant “big cats”.  This new research proposes that Thylacosmilus, in contrast, was not a fearsome hunter.  Skull comparisons and an analysis of fossil teeth indicate that, Thylacosmilus, with its generally longer and more slender upper canines, was not able to stab prey that effectively when compared to the likes of Smilodon fatalis.  What it lacked in penetration it made up for in pulling power, with a strong “pull-back” action using its jaws to rip apart the bodies of dead animals.

Dr Stephan Lautenschlager (University of Birmingham) explained:

“We found there was a difference in behaviour between the two species: Thylacosmilus’ skull and canines are weaker in a stabbing action than those of Smilodon but stronger in a ‘pull-back’ type of action.  This suggests Thylacosmilus was not using its canines to kill with, but to open carcasses.  We suspect it was some sort of specialised scavenger, using those canines to open carcasses and perhaps using a big tongue to help extract the innards.”

Convergent Evolution of a Sabre-toothed Skull

Convergent evolution of the sabre-toothed skull shape.

Convergent evolution.  A sabre-toothed skull has developed on several occasions in different types of tetrapod.  Note the presence of incisors in B, C and D but they are absent in the Thylacosmilus skull (A).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/C. R. Prothero/D. R. Prothero

The image (above), shows (A) the skull of Thylacosmilus, (B) the creodont Machaeroides, (C) Hoplophoneus, a member of the Nimravidae from North America and (D) the skull of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon.  This is an example of convergent evolution – the similar body plan has evolved independently in several not closely related species.

The scientists discovered that the maxillary canines of Thylacosmilus were different from the teeth of other sabre-toothed mammals.  They were more triangular in shape, like a claw rather than flat like the blade of a knife.

Co-author, Dr Christine Janis (University of Bristol) added:

“The animal has impressive canines, but if you look at the whole picture of its anatomy, lots of things simply don’t add up.  It lacks incisors, which big cats today use to get meat off the bone and its lower jaws were not fused together.”

A Life Reconstruction of Thylacosmilus atrox

Thylacosmilus life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of Thylacosmilus atrox from the Late Miocene/Pliocene of South America.  Note scale bar equals 10 cm.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Puzzling Combination of Anatomical Traits

As well as lacking incisors, the researchers found that the molars of Thylacosmilus were proportionately small and not worn along their sides as expected in an animal that fed on meat.

Explaining the significance of this finding, Dr Larisa DeSantis (Vanderbilt University) commented:

“The molars tend to wear flat from the top, rather like you see in a bone crusher.  But if you examine the detailed microwear on tooth surfaces, it’s clear that it was eating soft food.  Its wear is most similar to that of cheetahs which eat from fresh carcasses and suggests an even softer diet than fed to captive lions.  Thylacosmilus was not a bone-crusher and may have instead specialised on internal organs.”

Far from being a sparassodont version of Smilodon, Thylacosmilus probably filled a very different niche in the ecosystem.  In addition, to the differences in the skull and the teeth, Thylacosmilus was relatively short-legged and lacked a very flexible spine.  These characteristics along with an absence of retractile claws suggests that Thylacosmilus would have struggled to pursue all but the slowest of prey and would have had difficulty pouncing and holding on to victims.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Birmingham in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Thylacosmilus was not a marsupial “saber-tooth predator’ ” by Christine Janis, Borja Figueirido, Larisa DeSantis and Stephan Lautenschlager published in PeerJ.

25 06, 2020

Is this the Demise of a Duck-billed Dinosaur?

By | June 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Taxonomic status of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Five years ago, Everything Dinosaur reported the naming of a new species of duck-billed dinosaur that lived well inside the Arctic circle during the Late Cretaceous.  The dinosaur was named Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (pronounced 00-grew-na-luck kook-pik-en-sis).  At the time of publication, Ugrunaaluk was thought to be closely related to Edmontosaurus.  Since then, there has been quite a debate regarding the taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk.  In the latest twist of a tale set in prehistoric polar latitudes, researchers writing in PLOS One conclude that this Arctic dinosaur is most probably a species of Edmontosaurus.

The Taxonomic Validity of the Arctic Hadrosaur Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is Challenged

Ugrunaaluk illustrated.

The taxonomic validity of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is controversial as this species was erected based on the study of the bones of immature, not fully adult individuals.

Picture Credit: James Havens

The Prince Creek Formation Specimens

Duck-billed dinosaur fossils from the Liscomb Bonebed (Prince Creek Formation, North Slope, Alaska), were the first dinosaur bones discovered from the Arctic.  When originally assessed, it was proposed that these hadrosaurids were Edmontosaurus, members of the sub-clade Hadrosaurinae.  In 2015, a scientific paper was published that proposed the closely related species Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.  However, the taxonomic status of this material is problematical.  The fossils associated with the Liscomb Bonebed site represent immature, sub-adults and as such many of the anatomical traits used to characterise U. kuukpikensis, may reflect the developmental age of the individual and the shape of the bones may have altered as the dinosaur grew and matured.

A Model of an Adult Edmontosaurus

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Emontosaurus model.

The new for 2020 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Edmontosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Looking at the Evidence

In this newly published paper, researchers from Okayama University of Science (Japan), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Texas) and Hokkaido University Museum (Japan), re-examined the skull bones from the Liscomb Bonebed and determined that the traits used to distinguish these Arctic fossils from those ascribed to Edmontosaurus were questionable.  In 2015, the scientific paper describing Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (Mori et al), proposed eight diagnostic characters for this new species.  Among the eight characters identified, three were proposed to distinguish Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis from the Edmontosaurus genus.  Four of these eight characters distinguished Ugrunaaluk from Edmontosaurus annectens, which is known from Maastrichtian aged deposits from Montana and one character to distinguish Ugrunaaluk from the geologically older Edmontosaurus regalis, fossils of which are found in Canada.

It is likely that the shape of the skull of Edmontosaurus changed as it grew.  The bones forming the skull would also undergo change in shape and size, because of this, any taxon erected solely based on the shape of skull bones from young animals is questionable.  In this newly published paper, the researchers, which include Ryuji Takasaki, a researcher at the Okayama University of Science and Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (Hokkaido University Museum), conclude that the Liscomb Bonebed hadrosaurid material should be ascribed to Edmontosaurus.

Comparing the Liscomb Bonebed Fossil Material with Known Edmontosaurus Skull Bones

Determining the identify of Alaskan duck-bills at the genus level.

A study of skull bones from the Prince Creek Formation (Alaska), suggests that the immature individual duck-billed dinosaurs found at this site are from the Edmontosaurus genus and that Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis should be regarded as nomen dubium.

Picture Credit: PLOS One (Takasaki et al)

If the Arctic fossils are ascribed to Edmontosaurus, then this suggests that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread during the Late Cretaceous with fossils associated with this genus found in the northern states of the USA, Canada and Alaska.  The scientists consider that the Prince Creek Formation Edmontosaurus should be regarded as Edmontosaurus sp. until further discoveries of mature hadrosaurines from the Prince Creek Formation Bonebed and/or equivalently juvenile Edmontosaurus specimens from the lower latitudes allow direct comparisons.

Furthermore, if Edmontosaurus is associated with the very far north of Laramidia, this has implications for the ancestry of Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurids.  A number of duck-billed dinosaurs found in Asia may represent descendants of the Edmontosaurini lineage that migrated from Laramidia into Asia.

The Distribution of Edmontosaurus sp.

The distribution of Edmontosaurus.

The researchers suggest that Edmontosaurus was geographically very widespread occupying much of northern Laramidia and many of the Late Cretaceous Asian hadrosaurs may have been descended from the Edmontosaurus lineage.

Picture Credit: Scientific Reports with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

The map (above), illustrates the distribution of Edmontosaurus as proposed by the research paper.  There is some evidence to suggest that Edmontosaurus preferred coastal environments and that this genus was widely distributed across northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous.  If this assessment proves to be correct, Edmontosaurus had a geographical distribution spanning about 4,000 kilometres from north to south in North America.

The scientists speculate that the ancestor of Asian hadrosaurids such as Kamuysaurus migrated from North America.

Japanese Hadrosaurs Had North American Roots

Professor Kobayashi commented:

“It is possible that the ancestor of Kamuysaurus that adapted to the environment at the northern limit of the species’ habitat crossed from North America to Asia and eventually evolved to Kamuysaurus.”

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the naming of Kamuysaurus: Famous Fossils from Japan are Named.

If the Prince Creek Formation hadrosaurs are established as members of the Edmontosaurus genus, then they could represent a new species of Edmontosaurus.  The large latitudinal distribution of this taxon could be re-established, the latitudinal range for Edmontosaurus would extend from about 40 degrees north to at least 70 degrees north.  The researchers conclude that despite the extensive geographical and temporal range of this taxon, the morphological disparity within different species associated with this genus is relatively small when compared to other members of the Hadrosaurinae.  The lack of any substantial anatomical differences between widely distributed species could reflect the relatively low latitudinal temperature gradient during the Late Cretaceous compared to today.  A relatively benign and unchanging environment would not have imposed significant pressure on species to evolve in order to adapt to new conditions.

To read our original article on the naming of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis: The Latest Dinosaur from Polar Latitudes.

Our article published in 2017, following a study of Edmontosaurus cranial material that also cast doubt on the taxonomic validity of U. kuukpikensisStudying the Skulls – Getting our Heads Around Edmontosaurus.

The scientific paper: “Re-examination of the cranial osteology of the Arctic Alaskan hadrosaurine with implications for its taxonomic status” by Ryuji Takasaki, Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ronald S. Tykoski and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi published in PLOS One.

24 06, 2020

Maintenance Scheduled on Everything Dinosaur’s Websites

By | June 24th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Maintenance on Website, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Website Routine Maintenance

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for routine maintenance and upgrades this weekend (Friday/Saturday 26th/27th June 2020).  As a result of this work, some visitors to our sites might experience a slight slowing down in our website performance and speed.  The work has been scheduled for a time when traffic to our three websites is at its lowest, Everything Dinosaur doing all it can to minimise any inconvenience to our customers.

Everything Dinosaur’s Websites Scheduled for Routine Maintenance

T. rex and Stegosaurus helping Everything Dinosaur with their website maintenance.

Everything Dinosaur’s websites are scheduled for essential maintenance.  Our friendly Tyrannosaurus rex and our ever so helpful Stegosaurus will be on hand to oversee the work and to ensure that Everything Dinosaur’s customers are not inconvenienced too much.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Late this Friday or in the early hours of Saturday morning (BST), [June 26th/27th 2020] the servers that host Everything Dinosaur’s websites are undergoing some essential maintenance and updates.  During this time visitors to our websites, might experience a slowing down in the speed of our sites.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.”

23 06, 2020

“Turntable Tuesday” Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day”

By | June 23rd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day” – Turntable Tuesday

It’s “Turntable Tuesday” and it is time to give another prehistoric animal model a spin on the turntable in Everything Dinosaur’s film and photography studio.  Today, it is the turn of the “Green Day” male Dilophosaurus dinosaur model from Rebor.  This replica of the Early Jurassic theropod was introduced in 2019, stock of this figure, along with its counterpart, the female Dilophosaurus “Oasis” has just come into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.

The Rebor Dilophosaurus Model “Green Day” Takes a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Double Crested Lizard

Fossils discovered in Arizona in the 1940s and originally attributed to the taxonomic wastebasket taxon Megalosaurus were formally assigned their own genus in 1970 when this dinosaur was scientifically described – Dilophosaurus (D. wetherilli).  The famous crests of Dilophosaurus, after which this large carnivore is named, have never been found attached to the skull.  However, the standard restoration as seen in the Rebor model seems to be the most convincing and plausible anatomical configuration.

In Everything Dinosaur’s “Turntable Video” review we provide a close-up view of the skull and those crests as we demonstrate the articulated jaw.  In addition, we utilise a split screen effect to show the poseable tail and the articulated front limbs.

Everything Dinosaur Used a “Split Screen” Effect to Highlight All the Articulated Parts on the Rebor Dilophosaurus “Green Day”

The articulated and poseable Rebor Dilophosaurus "Green Day".

The Rebor Dilophosaurus dinosaur models have articulated lower jaws, articulated arms and poseable tails.  Note the red flash over the eye of the “Green Day” model.  Rebor added this colouration to help distinguish the “male” model from the “female” Dilophosaurus – “Oasis”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Calculating the Scale

In the Everything Dinosaur “Turntable Tuesday” video review (which is just over one minute fifty seconds long), we provide measurements for the “Green Day” figure.  The actual length of the dinosaur model is difficult to quantify as the tail is flexible but if the model is put into a natural pose with the tail not necessarily straightened out as much as it could be, the figure measures approximately 23.5 cm long.

If we consider that an adult Dilophosaurus wetherilli was about 6 metres in length, then this makes the Rebor figures approximately 1:25 scale models.

A Perfect Pair – The Rebor Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models “Green Day” and “Oasis”

Rebor Dilophosaurus models (Green Day and Oasis).

The Rebor Dilophosaurus pair “Green Day” and “Oasis” (Green Day – the male is on the right).  Everything Dinosaur team members estimate that these two dinosaur models are in 1:25 scale approximately.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rebor Range of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

The Rebor range of dinosaurs and prehistoric animal models is available from Everything Dinosaur.  To view the Rebor range: Rebor Models and Figures.

Rebor “Oasis” and “Green Day” Dilophosaurus Dinosaur Models

Rebor Dilophosaurus models "Green Day" and "Oasis"

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

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel contains over 170 dinosaur and prehistoric animal videos, including model reviews, tips and hints about prehistoric animal model collecting, new releases, updates and insider information.

Find Everything Dinosaur on YouTube here: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.  We recommend that you subscribe to our YouTube channel.

22 06, 2020

Getting To Grips with the Jaws of Clevosaurus

By | June 22nd, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos|0 Comments

Did the Ancient Rhynchocephalians Out Compete Early Mammaliaforms?

Had you been around south Wales or south-western England some 200 million years ago, you would most probably have required a boat to get about.  The area around the Bristol channel today (where you still need a boat), during the Early Jurassic, consisted of a series of small islands surrounded by a warm, shallow tropical sea.  This archipelago (referred to as the Mendip Archipelago), was home to small dinosaurs and also to a variety of other reptiles including five species of Clevosaurus.  Clevosaurs are members of an ancient Order of reptiles called the Rhynchocephalia.  A new study published in the journal of the Palaeontological Association, suggests that these hardy reptiles may have filled the roles performed by early mammaliaforms on some of these small islands.

In addition, where Clevosaurus fossils are found, mammaliaform fossils tend to be lacking, so did these two types of tetrapod compete with each other for the same food resources?  This new research carried out by members of the School of Earth Sciences (University of Bristol), indicates that this could have been the case.  The scientists examined the biomechanics of the skulls of these lizard-like reptiles in a bid to gain an understanding of the likely diets of the species studied.  Different species of Clevosaur had different bite forces, which hints at a degree of niche partitioning within this genus.  This may explain why five different species were able to exist within a relatively small area.

Different Species of Clevosaurus may have had Slightly Different Diets

Niche partitioning within the Cleovosaurus genus.

Clevosaurus feeding habits – niche partitioning in Early Jurassic Clevosaurs.  The illustration shows two species of Clevosaurus associated with the Mendip Archipelago feeding on different types of insect prey.  Clevosaurus hudsoni feeding on a hard-shelled beetle, whilst (bottom), Clevosaurus cambrica consumes a softer insect without a carapace.

Picture Credit: Sofia Chambi-Trowell (University of Bristol)

Computerised Tomography Used to Analyse Skull Biomechanics

PhD student, Sofia Chambi-Trowell, from Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, worked on CT scanned skulls of ancient rhynchocephalians and found differences in their jaws and teeth.

The student commented:

“I looked at skulls of two closely related species of Clevosaurus, Clevosaurus hudsoni and the slightly smaller Clevosaurus cambrica – the first one came from a limestone quarry near Bristol and the other one from South Wales.  Clevosaurus was a lizard-like reptile, but its teeth occluded precisely, meaning they fit together perfectly when it was feeding.  But what was it eating?”

Rhynochocephalians (beak heads), were a very successful, globally distributed group of diapsid reptiles that flourished during the Mesozoic.  The Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), is the only living member of this order, the Tuatara is confined to small islands off the coast of New Zealand and some specially designated and protected release sites on North Island.

Whilst studying the extant Tuatara is of great assistance to palaeontologists, expanding any findings to extinct members of this group is challenging.  Likewise, identifying the feeding habits of long extinct species is equally difficult.  However, finite element analysis conducted on two, near complete, three-dimensionally preserved skulls (Clevosaurus hudsoni and Clevosaurus cambrica respectively), provided bite force data and an assessment of jaw biometrics.  From this information, the potential feeding preferences of these two closely related reptiles could be inferred.

The Last of the Rhynochocephalians – A Tuatara

Tuatara.

A Tuatara.  It may resemble a lizard but the Tuatara is the last living example of the Order Rhynchocephalia.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The researchers found that Clevosaurus had bite forces and pressures sufficient to break down beetles, and even small vertebrates easily, suggesting they could have taken the same prey items as the early mammals on the islands.  Calculations of muscle forces show that Clevosaurus hudsoni could take larger and tougher prey than the more slender jaws of Clevosaurus cambrica.

Co-author of the scientific paper and the project supervisor, Professor Emily Rayfield (University of Bristol) stated:

“We wanted to know how Clevosaurus interacted with the world’s first mammals, which lived on the Bristol islands at the same time.  I had studied their jaw mechanics a few years ago and found they had similar diets and that some fed on tough insects, others on softer insects.”

This study, having identified difference in jaw mechanics between different species of Clevosaurus provides a hypothesis as to why several species of Clevosaurus could co-exist in the same habitat.  Niche partitioning could have been taking place with each species avoiding competition by specialising in hunting and eating different types of prey.  As the data generated in this study is roughly comparable to what is known about the jaws of early mammaliaforms, it raises the intriguing prospect that the jaws may have been functionally similar and thus rhynochocephalians and early mammaliaforms were in direct competition with each other for food resources.

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

The scientific paper: “Biomechanical properties of the jaws of two species of Clevosaurus and a reanalysis of rhynchocephalian dentary morphospace” by Sofia A. V. Chambi‐Trowell, David I. Whiteside, Michael J. Benton and Emily J. Rayfield published in Palaeontology.

21 06, 2020

A Trip Down Memory Lane to the Late Jurassic

By | June 21st, 2020|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

The Solnhofen Lagerstätte

Whilst looking for some information related to Triassic archosaurs, we came across a copy of a dinosaur book that was published forty-four years ago (1976).  Entitled “The evolution and ecology of the Dinosaurs”, this publication and the way it depicts the Dinosauria and their relatives might be very much out of date these days, but perusing the pages with their beautiful illustrations is still a very worthwhile activity.

The Front Cover of “The evolution and ecology of the Dinosaurs”

"The evolution and ecology of the Dinosaurs" by L. B. Halstead.

The front cover of “The evolution and ecology of the dinosaurs” by L. B. Halstead.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Written by L. B. Halstead and illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, this dinosaur book was part of the Eurobook Ltd stable and was published by Book Club Associates.  We suspect that further editions were published but this is the only copy that we have in Everything Dinosaur’s library.

Five Chapters

Following a brief introduction, the book takes the reader through the evolution of the dinosaurs with one chapter dedicated to the origin of the Reptilia and the conquest of terrestrial environments.  A second chapter defines dinosaurs and sets out the “classical” view of the dinosaur family tree complete with a skilfully designed chronology of the main types of dinosaur and how they fit into the Reptilia and in broader terms, the evolution of the subphylum Vertebrata (the vertebrates).  The other three chapters are dedicated to the Triassic, Jurassic and the Cretaceous respectively.

One of the Beautiful Illustrations from the Dinosaur Book

A Late Jurassic lagoon.

An illustration from a dinosaur book, depicting the extensive lagoons of what was to become Germany in the Late Jurassic.

Picture Credit: Giovanni Caselli

In the foreground (above), a second species of Compsognathus – C. corallestris is shown.  It was thought that this theropod was adapted to a semi-aquatic existence.  The first fossils associated with Compsognathus were found in southern Germany in the 19th century.  A second, larger specimen associated with this genus was found in a lithographic limestone quarry near Nice in 1971.  This specimen was scientifically described and named in 1972 by Alain Bidar et al.  Although, the French specimen was found in association with lagoonal deposits and at the time it was described it was thought to be a separate species, C. corallestris is now thought to be a junior synonym of Compsognathus longiceps and most palaeontologists think that there is just one species associated with this genus.

The Complete Illustration of a Jurassic Lagoon from the Dinosaur Book

A Late Jurassic scene from Germany.

The full illustration depicting the lagoonal environment associated with the Solnhofen Lagerstätte.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

It was a pleasant experience to take a few minutes out of our busy day to take a trip down memory lane with this book about dinosaurs.

20 06, 2020

Fossil “Stick” Proves to be New Species of Ancient Plant

By | June 20th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Keraphyton mawsoniae – Late Devonian Fern-like Plant

A fossil found more than fifty years ago and described as a “fossilised stick” has proved to be a new species of Late Devonian plant and it is helping scientists to better understand the flora of the landmass of Gondwana.  The specimen measures a little over 9 cm in length, with a width across its ribbed surface of around 2 cm.  It was found by amateur geologist John Irving whilst exploring the banks of the Manilla River in Barraba (New South Wales, Australia), after a period of extensive flooding.  It remained unstudied in the fossil collection of the geological survey of New South Wales for five decades until it was despatched to France as part of a wider study to map plant evolution.

The Fossil and Cross-sectional Slices (K. mawsoniae)

Keraphyton mawsoniae fossil.

The newly described Keraphyton mawsoniae a fern-like land plant from the Late Devonian of Australia.  Scale bar in (B) equals 2 mm and scale bars in C-H equal 500 μm.

Picture Credit: Champreux et al (PeerJ)

The picture (above), shows (A) the fossil specimen before preparation, (B) a general view of the stem system shown in cross-section, with (C-H) highly magnified areas showing the internal structure of the plant.  The fossil is from the Mandowa Mudstone Formation (Upper Devonian) and it is believed to represent a plant stem.

A Very Rare Fossil Discovery

During the Middle to Late Devonian land plants were becoming larger, more complex and diverse.  Major groups of plants that were to dominate the flora of the Mesozoic evolved and the first widespread forests and land-based ecosystems became established.  Well-preserved plant fossils from this time in Earth’s history are exceptionally rare.  Plants related to ferns and other types that produce seeds (Euphyllophytina), became more specious during this time in Earth’s history, fossils of fern-like plants are known from the northern hemisphere but the Gondwanan record is extremely sparse.

The French laboratory of Botany and Modelling of Plant Architecture and Vegetation (AMAP) in Montpellier has been collating data on early plant species from the Devonian/Carboniferous of Australia and Antoine Champreux, studied the fossil specimen as part of his Master’s Degree before completing his research whilst a PhD student at Flinders University in South Australia.

Gondwana During the Late Devonian (Position of Australia)

Map showing the location of the Barraba fossil find in relation to Gondwana.

A map showing the location of Australia in relation to the rest of Gondwana during the Middle to Late Devonian.  The position of the fossil discovery is highlighted.

Picture Credit: University of Witwatersrand with additional annotation from Everything Dinosaur

Antoine commented:

“It’s nothing much to look at – just a fossilised stick – but it’s far more interesting once we cut it and had a look inside.  The anatomy is preserved, meaning that we can still observe the walls of million-year-old cells.  We compared the plant with other plants from the same period based on its anatomy only, which provide a lot of information.”

The research team found that this early land plant represents a new genus of plant, sharing some similarities with modern ferns and horsetails.

Antoine added:

“It is an extraordinary discovery, since such exquisitely-preserved fossils from this period are extremely rare.  We named the genus Keraphyton (like the horn plant in Greek), and the species Keraphyton mawsoniae, in honour of our partner Professor Ruth Mawson, a distinguished Australian palaeontologist who died in 2019.”

To read about a bizarre, giant predatory marine worm from the Devonian: Monster Worm of the Devonian.

The scientific paper: “Keraphyton gen. nov., a new Late Devonian fern-like plant from Australia” by Antoine Champreux​, Brigitte Meyer-Berthaud, and Anne-Laure Decombeix published in the open access journal PeerJ.

19 06, 2020

The First Dinosaur Eggs were Soft

By | June 19th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The First Dinosaur Eggs were Soft like a Turtle’s

The scientific paper has a succinct title, but the repercussions for vertebrate palaeontologists are seismic.  This week has seen the publication in the journal Nature of a paper entitled “The first dinosaur egg was soft”.  Palaeontologists have inferred and implied a great deal about dinosaur reproduction, but the assumption had been that, just like living archosaurs today, the crocodiles and birds, dinosaurs laid hard-shelled eggs.  Dr Mark Norell (American Museum of Natural History) and his co-authors propose that calcified, hard eggshells were not the “default setting” for the Dinosauria, the first dinosaur eggs were soft-shelled like those of a turtle or a snake.  In addition, the researchers conclude that hard-shelled, calcified eggs evolved at least three times independently within the Dinosauria.

Protoceratops Protects a Nest from a Marauding Oviraptorosaur

Protoceratops defends its nest from Oviraptor.

Protoceratops confronts Oviraptor- the egg thief.  An inaccurate portrayal of both the Oviraptorosaur and Protoceratops, but until now, not many had questioned the accuracy of those hard-shelled eggs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur (from Zalinger)

Unscrambling Dinosaur Eggs

The research led by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with colleagues from Yale University, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montana State University, University of Calgary (Canada) and the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, Trelew, (Argentina), applied a series of sophisticated geochemical techniques to analyse the eggs of two different non-avian dinosaurs.  They discovered that the eggs resembled those of extant turtles in their composition, microstructure and mechanical properties.

Commenting on the significance of this research, corresponding author Mark Norrell stated:

“The assumption has always been that the ancestral dinosaur egg was hard-shelled.  Over the last 20 years, we’ve found dinosaur eggs around the world.  But for the most part, they only represent three groups – theropod dinosaurs, which includes modern birds, advanced hadrosaurs like the duck-billed dinosaurs and advanced sauropods, the long-necked dinosaurs.  At the same time, we’ve found thousands of skeletal remains of ceratopsian dinosaurs, but almost none of their eggs.  So why weren’t their eggs preserved?  My guess – and what we ended up proving through this study, is that they were soft-shelled.”

Ceratopsian Eggs Were Probably Soft-shelled and This Explains their Rarity in the Fossil Record

The leathery, soft shells of turtle eggs.

The leathery, soft shell of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). The eggs of the first dinosaurs were probably very similar.

Picture Credit: Jasmina Wiemann (Yale University)

Calcified Eggshells – An Evolutionary Hedge Against Environmental Stress

The amniotes, a group of tetrapods that includes the mammals, birds and the reptiles all produce eggs with an inner membrane, known as the amnion.  This inner membrane helps to prevent the embryo from drying out.  Some amniotes such as many turtles and squamates (lizards and snakes), lay soft-shelled, leathery eggs, whilst others such as birds and crocodilians produce eggs with a heavily calcified shell.  It is thought that these calcified eggs help to protect the developing embryos inside the eggs from environmental stresses, thus giving the calcified egg layers an evolutionary advantage.  The evolution of the hard-shelled egg is seen as a major step in the global dominance of the amniotes, it leading to greater reproductive success for those members of this group that developed this trait.

The Eggs from a Member of the Theropoda (Domestic Chicken)

Chicken eggs (theropod dinosaur eggs).

Calcified, hard-shelled eggs such as these from a theropod (domestic chicken) were thought to be representative of all Dinosauria eggs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Fossil Record Shows Bias in Favour of Calcified Eggs

Soft-shelled eggs rarely preserve in the fossil record.  It is very likely that ancient turtles laid soft-shelled eggs, just like their modern counterparts, but such evidence is hard to find in the fossil record.  The same could be inferred for other amniotes, they too might have laid soft-shelled eggs but such evidence would be very difficult to find.  Therefore, studying the transition from soft-shelled eggs to biomineralised, calcified eggs is a substantial challenge for palaeontologists.  As birds and extant crocodilians lay hard-shelled eggs, this type of eggshell has been inferred for all the non-avian dinosaurs.

Protoceratops and Mussaurus

The research team undertook an intensive study of two fossil egg specimens appertaining to two very different dinosaurs – the neoceratopsian Protoceratops (P. andrewsi), known from the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation exposed in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and Mussaurus (M. patagonicus) from the Upper Triassic-aged El Tranquilo Formation located in southern Argentina.   The beautifully preserved Protoceratops fossils include a clutch of at least a dozen eggs with embryos, half of which preserve nearly complete skeletons.  Most of the Protoceratops embryos are preserved in a posture in which their vertebrae and limbs are flexed, synonymous with a posture adopted by animals still inside their eggs.

The Protoceratops (P. andrewsi) Nest Fossil

Protoceratops Fossil Nest

The beautifully preserved nest with embryos of Protoceratops andrewsi.

Picture Credit: M. Ellison (American Museum of Natural History)

Some of the skeletal material is obscured by a black and white egg-shaped halo.  In contrast, two potentially recently hatched Protoceratops in the fossil specimen are largely free of this mineral halo.  The research team analysed tiny slices of this halo material using a petrographic microscope.  Further analysis was undertaken using Raman microspectroscopy, where light scattered by a high powered laser provides information on the molecular composition of a sample.  The scientists discovered chemically altered trace residues of the proteinaceous eggshell membrane that makes up the innermost layer of the eggshell of extant archosaurs.  Almost identical results were observed when the Mussaurus specimen was examined.

The Fossilised Remains of the Mussaurus Egg

Mussaurus fossil egg.

The fossilised remains of a Mussaurus.

Picture Credit: Diego Pol (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio, CONICET)

Comparing Biomineralisation Residue Signatures

The research team which included Diego Pol (Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio CONICET), Darla Zelenitsky (University of Calgary) and Jasmina Wiemann (Yale University) then compared the data from the fossil material to eggshell data from other living amniotes such as turtles, birds, lizards and crocodiles.  They determined that the Mussaurus and the Protoceratops eggs were non-biomineralised and therefore they would have resembled the leathery, soft-shelled eggs of living turtles.

Graduate student Jasmina Wiemann explained:

“It’s an exceptional claim, so we need exceptional data.  We had to come up with a brand-new proxy to be sure that what we were seeing was how the eggs were in life and not just the result of some strange fossilisation effect.  We now have a new method that can be applied to all other sorts of questions, as well as unambiguous evidence that compliments the morphological and histological case for soft-shelled eggs in these animals.”

Creating a “Supertree” to Track Eggshell Evolution

In total, data from 112 extinct and living amniotes was analysed by the research team.  This enabled them to build a “supertree” to track the phylogeny of egg-shell evolution over geological time.  They concluded that the ancestors of the Dinosauria probably produced an egg that lacked a calcified layer, that these animals laid soft-shelled eggs and that the first, true dinosaurs had the same type of egg.  This element of the research suggests that calcified, hard-shelled eggs evolved independently at least three times throughout the Mesozoic era in the Dinosauria, explaining the bias towards eggshells of derived dinosaurs in the fossil record.  The calcified layer of eggshell evolved independently in ornithischian, sauropodomorph and theropod dinosaurs.

Co-author Matteo Fabbri (Yale University) added:

“From an evolutionary perspective this makes much more sense than previous hypotheses, since we’ve known for a while that the ancestral egg of all amniotes was soft.  From our study, we can also now say that the earliest archosaurs, the group that includes dinosaurs, crocodiles and pterosaurs had soft eggs.  Up to this point, people just got stuck using the extant archosaurs – crocodiles and birds to understand dinosaurs.”

Implications for the Pterosauria

This research has implications for the Pterosauria clade.  Pterosaur eggs are exceptionally rare, a fossil of the wukongopterid (Darwinopterus modularis), reveals the outline of a single egg inside the body cavity. The egg confirms that the pterosaur fossil represents a female that was gravid when she died.  More significantly, scientific papers detailing extensive fossil remains associated with the debris from a nesting colony of the pterosaur Hamipterus tianshanensis have been published and the three-dimensionally preserved eggs do resemble the leathery soft-shelled eggs now associated with members of the Dinosauria.

Fossilised Eggs of Hamipterus tianshanensis – Could They have the Same Biomineralisation Profile of Soft-shelled Dinosaur Eggs?

Egg fossils (Pterosaur).

Pterosaur egg fossils (Hamipterus tianshanensis).

Picture Credit: Xinhua/Wang Xiaolin

To read our 2017 blog post about the Hamipterus colony: Hamipterus Nesting Ground Discovery.

To read our recent article about the discovery of a giant soft-shelled egg associated with a marine reptile: It’s Not a Deflated Football, it’s Probably an Egg from a Mosasaur.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the American Museum of Natural History in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The first dinosaur egg was soft” by Mark A. Norell, Jasmina Wiemann, Matteo Fabbri, Congyu Yu, Claudia A. Marsicano, Anita Moore-Nall, David J. Varricchio, Diego Pol and Darla K. Zelenitsky published in the journal Nature.

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