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18 06, 2020

Tracking Down Australia’s Big Carnivorous Dinosaurs

By | June 18th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Tracking Down Australia’s Largest Ever Terrestrial Predator

Scientists from the University of Queensland have conducted a review of the data associated with a series of Jurassic-aged theropod dinosaur prints preserved on the ceilings of coal mine galleries deep underground.  They conclude that some of these prints represent predatory dinosaurs around ten metres in length, making these trace fossils evidence of the largest terrestrial carnivores ever to have lived in Australia.

A Life Reconstruction of a Large Carnosaur Compared to a Person and a Silhouette of Tyrannosaurus rex

Calculating the size of a theropod dinosaur from its tracks.

By measuring the length of a print the approximate hip height of the track-maker can be calculated.  In this case, the largest theropod tracks indicate a hip height of 3 metres.  This suggests an overall length of around 10 metres.

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

Australia’s Big Carnivorous Dinosaurs

Dinosaur tracks from the coal-mines from Rosewood near Ipswich, and Oakey just north of Toowoomba in southern Queensland have been known about for decades.  The prints and trackways are located in sediments directly above coal seams and give the impression of dinosaurs defying gravity by walking on the ceiling.  The explanation for the trace fossils is rather more mundane but still quite remarkable when the age of these tracks (estimated at around 151 to 161 million years old) is considered.

Large Theropods (Carnosauria) Left the Prints When Walking Across Swampy Ground

T. gurneyi.

Trace fossils from theropod dinosaurs indicate that giant carnosaurs roamed southern Queensland during the Middle to Late Jurassic (Callovian to Tithonian).

Picture Credit:  Sergey Krasovskiy

How Were These Trace Fossils Formed?

Tridactyl prints made by theropod dinosaurs onto mats of compressed swamp-vegetation became covered with silt, mud and sand from flood-water.  Over millions of years the remains of the swamp vegetation became compressed and turned into coal, which was then excavated by Australian miners deep underground during the 19th and 20th centuries.  As the coal seams were removed, these left exposed on the ceiling of the mine galleries, the inlaid 160 million-year-old dinosaur tracks.  Many of the mines exploiting the Walloon Coal Measures from the Clarence-Morton Basin have been closed, with their access shafts filled in.  Access to many of these prints in the mines is no longer possible, so the researchers relied on previous research and unpublished archival photographs from which they were able to create three-dimensional images of some of the individual prints.

Photograph and False-Colour 3-D Map of a Tridactyl Print from the Oakey Coal Mine

Photograph and false-colour image of a theropod print.

One of the dinosaur footprints from the Oakey mine (photograph on the right and corresponding false-colour deep map on the left).

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

The three-toed (tridactyl), prints with claw marks, typical of theropod dinosaurs, dominate the tracksites.  The size of the prints varies, most of the prints measure between 30 to 50 cm long.  However, a number of trace fossils from the eleven track-bearing sites analysed in this study, are much bigger.  The largest measures 79 cm in length, the biggest carnivorous dinosaur footprint discovered to date in Australia.

Footprint size can be used to calculate an approximate hip-height of the theropod dinosaur that made the track.  Once a hip-height has been estimated, then palaeontologists can quickly work out just how big that dinosaur actually was.

Lead author of the research, published in Historical Biology, Dr Dr Anthony Romilio explained:

“Most of these footprints are around 50 to 60 centimetres in length, with some of the really huge tracks measuring nearly 80 centimetres.  We estimate these tracks were made by large-bodied carnivorous dinosaurs, some of which were up to three metres high at the hips and probably around 10 metres long.  To put that into perspective, T. rex got to about 3.25 metres at the hips and attained lengths of 12 to 13 metres long, but it didn’t appear until 90 million years after our Queensland giants.”

Examining the Theropod Prints from the Walloon Coal Measures

False colour images and an assessment of theropod size

A variety of different sized theropod tracks were identified with the largest 79 cm long.

Picture Credit: Dr Anthony Romilio et al (University of Queensland)

Intriguingly, all the tracksites studied are dominated by the three-toed prints of theropods.  These theropod dominated trace fossil assemblages are unique among Australian dinosaur tracksites.  In the absence of any contemporaneous dinosaur body-fossils, these prints and tracks preserved on the ceilings of the coal mines provide palaeontologists with important data helping them to fill in gaps about the composition of Middle and Late Jurassic Australian dinosaur fauna.

What Type of Meat-eating Dinosaur Made the Tracks?

The strata in which the tracks are preserved span around ten million years or so (Callovian to Tithonian faunal stages of the Jurassic).  Palaeontologists are aware that during this time there was a change in the types of large, carnivorous dinosaurs that dominated terrestrial ecosystems.  The fossil record, although far from complete, suggests a decline in the Megalosauroidea during the Middle Jurassic and the rise to prominence of the Avetheropoda clade consisting of the Allosauroidea and the Coelurosauria.

A Faunal Turnover in Theropod Dinosaurs During the Jurassic

Theropod faunal turnover in the Jurassic.

Theropod faunal turnover (taxa estimated to be <250 kgs) the rise of the Allosauroidea.  It is likely that the type of dinosaur(s) that made the Queensland ceiling prints will never be known.

Picture Credit: Palaeontologica Electronica

However, the taxonomy of the Theropoda, even at the superfamily level is controversial and open to debate.  For example, the Carnosauria clade had been redefined, constraining it to the allosaurs and their closest relatives.  In 2019, a new basal allosauroid from the Middle Jurassic of Argentina was described Asfaltovenator (A. vialidadi).  Asfaltovenator had a combination of primitive and more derived anatomical features.  As a result, a new phylogenetic analysis extended the Carnosauria clade to once again include the Megalosauroidea.

A Life Reconstruction of Asfaltovenator from the Middle Jurassic of Argentina

Asfaltovenator illustration.

Asfaltovenator life reconstruction.  The scientific description of this carnivorous dinosaur led to a reassessment of the components of the Carnosauria clade.

Picture Credit: Gabriel Lio/Conicet

In short, the researchers are uncertain as to what types of meat-eating dinosaur left the prints.  In the absence of any other fossil evidence, we shall probably never know.

To read a related article examining three-toed tracks from the ceiling of the Australian Mount Morgan caves complex preserved in Lower Jurassic deposits: Mystery of Dinosaur Prints on Cave Ceiling Solved.

The scientific paper: “Footprints of large theropod dinosaurs in the Middle–Upper Jurassic (lower Callovian–lower Tithonian) Walloon Coal Measures of southern Queensland, Australia” by Anthony Romilio, Steven W. Salisbury and Andréas Jannel published in Historical Biology.

17 06, 2020

It’s Not a Deflated Football – It’s Probably an Egg from a Mosasaur

By | June 17th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Antarcticoolithus bradyi – An Egg from a Giant Mosasaur

A football-sized palaeontological mystery might have been solved.   A strange object found by a research team from Chile whilst exploring the López de Bertodano Formation on Seymour Island, in Antarctica back in 2011, is probably the fossilised remains of a mosasaur egg.  That is the conclusion of a scientific paper published this week in the journal Nature.  The strange object, described as looking like a deflated football was found in Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) deposits and these strata yield the fossils of dinosaurs and early birds, but they are essentially near-shore marine deposits and mosasaur fossils are found in the vicinity.  The massive egg is the largest soft-shelled egg known to science and the second largest egg ever recorded.  Only the enormous, hard-shelled eggs of elephant birds (family Aepyornithidae), that once lived on the island of Madagascar, are larger.

A Scientist Holding the Strange “Deflated Football” – Probably the Egg of a Giant Mosasaur

The largest soft-shelled egg known to science.

The strange object identified as the giant egg from a mosasaur.  It was nicknamed “the Thing” in recognition of the 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter that told the story of an alien life form attacking a base in Antarctica.

Picture Credit: Legendre et al (Universidad de Chile)

One of the scientific paper’s co-authors, David Rubilar-Rogers from Chile’s National Museum of Natural History had been part of the field team that found the fossil.  It remained in the Museum’s fossil collection for years, unstudied and not classified.  Visiting scientists and academics were not able to identify what it was until Julia Clarke from the University of Texas at Austin visited in 2018 and proposed that the specimen represented a giant, soft-shelled egg.

A Thin Eggshell

Microscopy confirmed that the object was indeed an egg, one with a shell five times thinner than that associated with the hard-shelled eggs of elephant birds.  The structure of the fossil was similar to vestigial eggs laid by some snakes and lizards today (lepidosaurs).  These types of eggs are laid but hatch almost immediately, the babies are fully developed and entirely altricial.  Further analysis of the fossil discovered no evidence of an embryo to help confirm identification of the egg-layer, this was an eggshell, the baby having hatched.  However, mosasaurs are lepidosaurs, (Order Squamata) and the scientists propose that the egg was laid by a giant mosasaur.

Photographs, Illustrations and Microscopic Analysis of the Fossil Egg

Photographs, drawings and a microscopic analysis of the fossil egg.

Photographs and illustrations of the fossil egg with (bottom) a microscopic structure analysis of the eggshell layers.  In the illustrations (b, d and f) actual eggshell is shown in dark grey whilst the surrounding matrix is light grey.  Note the scale comparison with a person on the far right.

Picture Credit: Legendre et al

A Massive Egg Laid by a Massive Mosasaur

The scientists, which include lead author Lucas Legendre, of the Department of Geological Sciences (University of Texas at Austin), estimate that the egg would have weighed around 6.5 kilogrammes and it would have measured about 29 cm long when it was laid.  The actual fossil measures 28 cm by 18 cm.  The team compiled a data set comparing the body sizes of living and extinct amniotes to calculate the potential size of the animal that produced the massive egg.  They calculate that the egg was probably laid by a mosasaur that had a length of around 7 metres (excluding the tail).

A Mosasaur Hatching

A hatching mosasaur.

An artist’s impression of the hatching mosasaur emerging from the soft-shelled egg moments after the egg was laid.

Picture Credit: Legendre et al (Universidad de Chile)

A Scale Drawing Showing the Proposed Size of the Female Mosasaur that Laid the Egg

Scale drawing showing the size of the female mosasaur.

Scale drawing showing the female mosasaur, the egg and the size of the hatchling with the fossil specimen.  Scale bar = 1 metre

Picture Credit: Francisco Hueichaleo

The First Fossil Egg from Antarctica

The visibly collapsed and folded fossil specimen represents the first vertebrate egg of any kind to be discovered in Antarctica.  The researchers speculate that the near-shore, marine sediments of the López de Bertodano Formation represent an estuarine environment that linked onto a large, shallow bay.  Vertebrate fossils found on Seymour Island include dinosaur bones and poorly preserved footprints, shorebird and waterfowl fossils as well as the remains of marine reptiles such as elasmosaurs and mosasaurs.

Legendre, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geological Sciences, commented:

“Many authors have hypothesised that this was sort of a nursery site with shallow protected water, a cove environment where the young ones would have had a quiet setting to grow up.”

Was the Egg Laid on Land or Was it Laid in the Sea?

Did mosasaur females struggle ashore to lay their eggs in nests like turtles or did they lay vestigial eggs that hatched almost immediately having been laid in the open sea.  The scientific paper does not specifically discuss how mosasaurs reproduced, but there are three competing hypotheses:

1).  Mosasaur females left the water and excavated nests on the beach in which their eggs were deposited.  When the eggs hatched, the young mosasaurs would scuttle down the beach and enter the water.

2). Mosasaurs were ovoviviparous – mosasaur embryos developed inside eggs that were retained inside the mother’s body until they were ready to hatch. This method of reproduction is similar to viviparity, but the embryos have no placental connection with the mother and they receive their nourishment from the yolk sac although some gaseous exchange between the egg and the mother takes place.

Ovoviviparity Reproduction in a Mosasaur

A hypothesis that mosasaurs were ovoviviparous

Ovoviviparity reproduction in mosasaurs.

Picture Credit: Legendre et al (Universidad de Chile)

3).  The female mosasaur remained mostly in the water, which helped to support its body weight, but manoeuvred its body so that it could reverse out of the water and deposits its eggs on the shore.

Although not convinced that mosasaurs laid their eggs on land, co-author of the scientific paper Julia Clarke explained:

“We can’t exclude the idea that they shoved their tail end up on shore because nothing like this has ever been discovered.”

An Artist’s Impression of an Ovoviviparous Marine Reptile

The Seymour Island fossil site could represent a mosasaur nursery.

An ovoviviparous mosasaur lays its egg in the bay and the young mosasaur quickly emerges.

Picture Credit: Legendre et al (Universidad de Chile)

This remarkable egg fossil has been given the oogenus Antarcticoolithus which translates as “late Antarctic stone egg”.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Universidad de Chile in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “A giant soft-shelled egg from the Late Cretaceous of Antarctica” by Lucas J. Legendre, David Rubilar-Rogers, Grace M. Musser, Sarah N. Davis, Rodrigo A. Otero, Alexander O. Vargas and Julia A. Clarke published in the journal Nature.

16 06, 2020

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe “Turntable Tuesday”

By | June 16th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe “Turntable Tuesday”

It is “Turntable Tuesday” on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel once again and this time, it is the turn of the new for 2020 Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe to go for a spin on our studio turntable.  The Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” range of figures is a little T. rex top heavy at the moment, Everything Dinosaur has seven Mojo tyrannosaur figures in stock at the moment, if the baby T. rex figure is included.  However, a number of the older models have been de-listed and are likely to be out of production very soon. All the more reason to focus on some of the sixteen new for 2020 dinosaurs introduced into this line, hence our decision to highlight the Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe dinosaur model.

Taking a Spin for “Turntable Tuesday” – The Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe

This carefully crafted dinosaur figure shows plenty of detail, the bright yellow eye can be easily seen in the close up shots of the model when the articulated lower jaw is demonstrated.  The jaw opens quite well and the tongue has been skilfully painted.

A Close View of the Head and the Articulated Jaw of the T. rex Dinosaur Figure

The Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe figure has an articulated jaw.

A close view of the head and articulated jaw of the Mojo T. rex dinosaur model.  Can you spot the yellow eye?

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The head sculpt has been designed to emphasis the stereoscopic vision of this apex predator.  The orbit in the skull of mature T. rex specimens suggest that the actual eye of this carnivorous dinosaur was about the size of a tennis ball.  Many palaeontologists believe, that just like its close relatives the birds, Tyrannosaurus rex had excellent colour vision.

A View of the Front of the Dinosaur Model (Anterior) Showing the Stereoscopic Vision

The Mojo Fun T. rex Deluxe dinosaur model approaches.

The Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe figure demonstrates stereoscopic vision.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur’s Video Review

In our short “Turntable Tuesday” review, (the video lasts 1:45), we compare this new figure to the Papo brown running T. rex figure, that was originally introduced in 2013.  Although the figures are similar and both dinosaurs have articulated lower jaws, the Mojo model is slightly smaller and has a leaner look to it.  The Mojo Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe has a darker colour scheme providing emphasis on the countershading.

A Comparison Between Two Excellent Dinosaur Figures

Comparing T. rex dinosaur models.

A comparison between the Mojo T. rex deluxe and the Papo running T. rex dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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

To view the Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe model and the rest of the Mojo “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range: .Mojo Prehistoric Animal Models.

15 06, 2020

Overoraptor chimentoi On the Road to the Birds

By | June 15th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Overoraptor chimentoi – Closer to Birds than Most other “Raptors”

Time for Everything Dinosaur team members to catch up on their reading.  Whilst browsing through the various press releases, emails and news bulletins from around the world, our attention was drawn to the scientific description of a new, gracile “raptor” from the Upper Cretaceous of Argentina.  Named Overoraptor chimentoi, fossils of this 1.3 metre-long, theropod dinosaur were first discovered in 2013 during field work on 90 million-year-old strata associated with the Huincul Formation in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro.  Further fossils were found during excavations in the same area in 2018.  Although fragmentary, the bones of this small dinosaur suggest that it was more closely related to that lineage of dinosaurs that led to the birds than it is to the likes of Velociraptor and other dromaeosaurids.

A Life Reconstruction of a Pair of Overoraptor chimentoi

Overoraptor life reconstruction.

A life reconstruction of a pair Overoraptors.  Although no feather impressions were found in association with the fragmentary fossils, it is very likely that Overoraptor chimentoi had feathers.

Picture Credit: Gabriel Lio

A Very Bird-like Theropod

The fossil record of members of the Eumaniraptora group of dinosaurs known from the southern hemisphere is sparse.  Evidence of those “raptors” that were closely related to that branch of this group that led to the modern birds is even rarer.  At present, (2020), the fossil evidence is limited to the Unenlagiinae (mostly from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina such as Buitreraptor [B. gonzalezorum]) and the bizarre, bird-like Rahonavis (R. ostromi) from the Upper Cretaceous Maevarano Formation of north-western Madagascar.

Overoraptor exhibits a range of anatomical traits.  The feet and legs are very typical of a dromaeosaurid.  There is the second toe “killing claw” associated with the “raptors” and the lower limb bones indicate that this was a fast-running, cursorial predator.  However, the upper limb bones are very different.  The ulna for example, is very robust and long, reminiscent of the upper limb bones of modern birds.

The Fragmentary Fossils of Overoraptor chimentoi

Overoraptor fossil remains.

Tiny but very significant Overoraptor fossil material including unguals.

Picture Credit: Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”

The picture above shows the fragmentary fossils associated with the new species – Overoraptor chimentoi.  The genus name is from the Spanish “overo” which means piebald, a reference to the mixed colour of the fossil bones.  The trivial name honours Roberto Nicolás Chimento who found the first remains.

Close to the Bird Part of the Dinosaur Family Tree

A phylogenetic analysis conducted by the researchers revealed that Overoraptor was closely related to Rahonavis, that roamed Madagascar some twenty million years later.   The analysis suggests that these two dinosaurs are descended from a common ancestor (they form a monophyletic clade).  Together they are stem avialans within the Eumaniraptora, a line of theropods in which some flight-related adaptations of the forelimbs are present in non-flying taxa.

Commenting on the importance of Overoraptor, one of the co-authors of the paper, Fernando Novas (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”) stated:

“Contrary to what we originally assumed, the Overoraptor is not part of the Unenlagia family, but from another group including a Madagascan species called Rahonavis.”

The discovery of Overoraptor sheds light on the acquisition of flight-related traits in non-avian dinosaurs and on the still poorly known paravian radiation in Gondwana.

The scientific paper: “New theropod dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia sheds light on the paravian radiation in Gondwana” by Matías J. Motta, Federico L. Agnolín, Federico Brissón Egli and Fernando E. Novas published in The Science of Nature.

14 06, 2020

A Video Review of “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”

By | June 14th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

“Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved” Video Review

Everything Dinosaur Facebook fans and followers will know that recently we ran a special competition to win one of three signed copies of the new dinosaur book by Darren Naish and Professor Paul Barrett.  The contest may have drawn to a close but for those of you not lucky enough to win one of the “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”, we have produced a short video, providing a brief overview of this excellent publication.

A Whizz Through “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

Completely Revised and Updated

In our short video review, we highlight “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”, a book originally published in 2016, but this edition has been updated and revised.  Conveniently split into six comprehensive chapters, starting with an introduction to the Dinosauria and concluding with the End-Cretaceous mass extinction event that saw the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs.  The final chapter also looks at those theropods that survived the extinction event – the birds.  This well-written book briefly highlights the diversity of the birds but also leaves the reader in no doubt that the Aves suffered extinctions at the end of the Mesozoic.

Beautifully Illustrated Dinosaur Book

Wonderful illustrations in the dinosaur book.

As well insightful writing, the book features the work of famous artists such as John Sibbick, Davide Bonadonna, Bob Nicholls and Mark Witton.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur (from Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved)

Fantastic Dinosaur Illustrations and Artwork

Aimed at the general reader with an interest in the Earth sciences and especially palaeontology, this new publication is eminently suitable for teenagers and above.  It is crammed full of fascinating information and provides a comprehensive overview of dinosaurs, with many detailed illustrations and cladograms provided by Darren Naish (University of Southampton).  Look out for amazing artwork produced by such luminaries as Bob Nicholls, Davide Bonadonna, Mark Witton, John Sibbick and Dr Julius Csotonyi (pronounced Chit-en-Knee).  It was Bob Nicholls who created the fascinating illustration of a ginkgo-chewing heterodontosaurid (Tianyulong confuciusi) that features on the front cover.

Tianyulong confuciusi Features on the Front Cover

The front cover of the dinosaur book.

Artwork by the very talented Bob Nicholls features on the front cover of “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved”.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx prima

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx prima.

An illustration of Sinosauropteryx with its countershading and “bandit mask” produced by Bob Nicholls, just one of large number of superb illustrations and examples of palaeoart included in the book.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur Facebook Competition

Everything Dinosaur Facebook fans and followers will probably remember that we recently ran a special competition to win one of three signed copies of this brilliant dinosaur book.  Co-author Darren Naish had produced a personalised drawing on the inside front cover of each of the prizes that Everything Dinosaur gave away in their free to enter contest.

A Personalised and Signed Dinosaur Illustration on the Inside Front Cover

A sketch of Caudipteryx.

A sketch of the primitive oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx by Darren Naish.  Lucky Everything Dinosaur competition winners received a personalised and signed copy of this dinosaur book.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel, is packed with lots of amazing videos all about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals: Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

13 06, 2020

Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Deluxe Dinosaur Model

By | June 13th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Deluxe Dinosaur Model

Brachiosaurus has been a mainstay of the Mojo Fun “Prehistoric and Extinct” prehistoric animal model range since this series was introduced.  Recently, new members of the Sauropodomorpha have been added, a colourful Diplodocus was included back in 2018 and this year, the long-necked dinosaur numbers have been swelled with the addition of a Mamenchisaurus, Brontosaurus and a new Brachiosaurus deluxe model.

The New for 2020 Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Deluxe Dinosaur Model

The new Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus deluxe dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Subdued Colouration

The new Brachiosaurus figure has a more subdued colouration than the Mojo Fun Diplodocus.  There is certainly much to be admired in this new replica of “arm lizard” and at around eighteen centimetres tall, this is quite a sizeable dinosaur model too.  Prior to the model’s arrival we took the opportunity to take some photographs of the Brachiosaurus and other sauropods in the Mojo Fun “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.

Getting to Grips with a Brachiosaurus

Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus dinosaur model measures around 25 cm long and that detailed head stands nearly 18 cm high.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The 2018 Mojo Fun Diplodocus Dinosaur Model

Mojo Fun Diplodocus model (2018).

Mojo Fun Diplodocus dinosaur model.  This 2018 replica had a more colourful paint scheme than the other long-necked dinosaurs within the “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Very little if anything is known about the colouration of the Sauropodomorpha.  Many of these dinosaurs were giants and although their colouration is speculative, the largest terrestrial vertebrates today, animals such as elephants and rhinos, tend to have subdued, grey colouration.  Whilst scientists cannot be certain what colour these dinosaurs were, a number of model making companies including Mojo have tended to depict these animals with more subtle colour schemes with greys and browns predominating.”

The New for 2020 Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Deluxe Dinosaur Replica

Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus deluxe.

Photographing the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus deluxe model in the Everything Dinosaur studio.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Many of the recently introduced models in this range are larger than their predecessors.  For example, the new for 2020 Brachiosaurus is around 4 centimetres longer than the Mojo Fun “large” Brachiosaurus model.  In order to help collectors to distinguish the bigger models, many of these are termed “deluxe”.  As a further assistance, on the Everything Dinosaur website, actual model measurements are provided by clicking the “additional information” link on each product page.

To view the range of Mojo Fun “Prehistoric and Extinct” figures: Mojo Fun Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures.

12 06, 2020

Were Some Ancient Crocodiles Bipeds?

By | June 12th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Fossil Tracks Attributed to Crocodiles Show Bipedal Stance

Fossilised narrow-gauge tracks from the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation of South Korea suggest that some types of ancient crocodylomorphs were bipedal.  Writing in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”, the researchers which include palaeontologist Martin Lockley, an emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, describe a series of trackways discovered near Sacheon City, (south-eastern, South Korea).  Only prints made by the hind limbs are preserved and there are no manus (handprints) identified.  The quality of the trace fossils, the presence of well-preserved foot pads with skin traces and the absence of any foot-on-hand overprinting suggest that these ancient reptiles walked on their hind legs.

The tracks have been assigned to the ichnogenus Batrachopus and the largest tracks are believed to have been made by animals around three metres long.

A Life Reconstruction of the Ichnogenus Batrachopus (B. grandis)

Fossilised footprints suggest bipedal Cretaceous crocodylomorphs.

A life reconstruction of the crocodylomorph ichnogenus Batrachopus (B. grandis).

Picture Credit: A. Romilio (University of Queensland)

Batrachopus grandis

The tracksite covers approximately 800 square metres and has yielded four track-bearing levels from a series of strata the represent about 5 metres of the Jinju Formation.  The deposits consist of mudstones, shales and fine-grained sandstones that represent the margins of a large freshwater lake.  Based on the size of the prints, some of which measure up to 24 cm in length, the researchers have erected the ichnospecies Batrachopus grandis.  One track shows well-defined scale impressions on the heel that resemble those of modern crocodilians.

Tracks of the Ichnospecies Batrachopus grandis with Skin Impression Preserved (Photograph B).

Crocodylomorph tracks - Batrachopus grandis.

Photographs of well-preserved in situ Batrachopus grandis ichnosp. nov. track impressions from surface 2.  Left foot (A,B) and right foot tracks (C, D).  Scale bar = 20 cm.

Picture Credit: Kim et al

An Upright Bipedal Posture

The absence of any tail drag marks and the depth of the heel impressions support the idea that these reptiles were moving in a similar way to most theropod dinosaurs.  Team leader, Professor Kyung Soo Kim (Chinju National University of Education, South Korea), also stated that the width of the tracks indicate that these crocodiles were walking upright in a terrestrial environment.

The Professor remarked:

“Our trackways are very narrow-looking, more like a crocodile balancing on a tight-rope.  When combined with the lack of any tail-drag marks, it became clear that these creatures were moving bipedally.  They were moving in the same way as many dinosaurs, but the footprints were not made by dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs and their bird descendants walk on their toes.”

Plantigrade Prints

The Dinosauria generally, non-avian and avian forms, walk on their toes (digitigrade), whilst crocodiles walk on the soles of their feet, just like humans and bears (plantigrade).  The plantigrade nature of the tracks rules out them having been made by a member of the Dinosauria clade.

Photographs and Line Drawings of Trackways (Batrachopus grandis)

Batrachopus grandis - photographs and line drawings.

Photos and outline drawings of trackways and trackway segments of Batrachopus grandis.

Picture Credit: Kim et al

The picture above shows photographs and line drawings of trackways and trackway segments associated with the ichnospecies B. grandis.  The holotype track (T16), is enlarged and shown as a line drawing on the right.

These Tracks Shed Light on Pterosaur Locomotion

These tracks may also help to determine the track-maker from another tracksite from South Korea that was described back in 2012.  Professor Lockley was part of a research team that uncovered a set of less-well defined prints that were thought to have been made by a huge pterosaur.  It had been suggested that these tracks represented a flying reptile wading through shallow water with just its hind feet in contact with the sediment.  Although these tracks are geologically younger than the trackways discovered near Sacheon City, Professor Lockley discounts the wading pterosaur theory and suggests that these tracks too, were probably made by a bipedal crocodylomorph.

The Scientists Compared the Tracks to Other Tracks from the Fossil Record and with Those Made by American Crocodiles

Comparing fossil trackways.

Fossil crocodylomorph tracks compared to an American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), the prehistoric crocodile Mehliella jeffersonensis and the pterosaur trackway Haenamichnus uhangriensis.

Picture Credit: Kim et al

The picture above, shows (far left) the trackway created by an extant crocodile species, the American crocodile (C. acutus).  A line drawing of a track associated with B. grandis is adjacent.  Note that the B. grandis tracks are narrower.  The third track represents a crocodilian known from trace fossils from Colorado (Mehliella jeffersonensis).  These tracks indicate quadruped locomotion and a clear tail drag mark is preserved in the centre of the trackway.  The line drawing (far right), represents tracks that had been thought to represent a pterosaur trackway (Haenamichnus uhangriensis).

Haenamichnus uhangriensis

The flying reptile tracks come from the Lower Cretaceous Haman Formation located in South Korea.  The large, bipedal plantigrade prints were assigned the ichnospecies Haenamichnus uhangriensis and it had been proposed that the tracks represented a pterosaur wading through shallow water, trying to avoid its wings becoming mired in the substrate.  The researchers confidently conclude that these tracks do not represent a large flying reptile and that they are actually poorly preserved bipedal crocodylomorph trace fossils.

To read a related article about the discovery of tiny dinosaur tracks: Smallest Dinosaur Tracks Known to Science.

The scientific paper: “Trackway evidence for large bipedal crocodylomorphs from the Cretaceous of Korea” by Kyung Soo Kim, Martin G. Lockley, Jong Deock Lim, Seul Mi Bae & Anthony Romilio published in Scientific Reports.

11 06, 2020

Still Time to Enter Everything Dinosaur Book Competition

By | June 11th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur Book Competition Closes Midnight 14th June (2020)

There is still time to enter Everything Dinosaur’s fabulous competition to win one of three signed dinosaur books!  However, time is running out as our competition closes at midnight on Sunday 14th June.  Everything Dinosaur is offering to give away three very special signed copies of “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved” by Darren Naish and Paul M. Barrett, a fantastic book published by the Natural History Museum of London in our free to enter competition.

PLEASE NOTE THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Win a Fantastic Book – “Dinosaurs – How they Lived and Evolved”

A free to enter competition organised by Everything Dinosaur.

Win a signed copy of the brilliant new book “Dinosaurs how they lived and evolved” by Darren Naish and Paul M. Barrett courtesy of Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Competition Time at Everything Dinosaur!

To enter our competition, all you have to do is “Like” Everything Dinosaur’s Facebook page, then comment on the “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved” picture, providing a suggested name for the Tianyulong dinosaur featured on the front cover.

Everything Dinosaur on Facebook: Visit Everything Dinosaur on Facebook.  Then “Like” our Facebook page, provide a name for the dinosaur in the comments suggestion and you have entered the competition!

We will draw the lucky winners at random and the “Dinosaurs – how they lived and evolved” competition closes at midnight Sunday 14th June.  Good luck to all those that enter, we hope you win one of these unique dinosaur books.  Each one of our prizes has been signed by Darren Naish one of the authors.  He has also included a little drawing on the inside front cover, making these prizes truly unique.

Comprehensive History of the Dinosauria – Great Photographs of Famous Fossils Too!

Coelophysis features in the dinosaur book.

The book contains lots of amazing colour photographs of famous dinosaur fossils.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

“Dinosaurs – How they Lived and Evolved” Features the Work of Famous Artists

Wonderful illustrations in the dinosaur book.

As well insightful writing, the book features the work of famous artists such as John Sibbick and Mark Witton.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We wish everyone the very best of luck in our free to enter, dinosaur book contest.  For details of the competition including terms and conditions, hit this link here: Dinosaur Book Competition – Terms and Conditions.

PLEASE NOTE THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

10 06, 2020

Bullyland Ichthyosaurus Model Postponed

By | June 10th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New Bullyland Ichthyosaurus Model Postponed

The new Bullyland Ichthyosaurus model that was exclusively revealed by Everything Dinosaur in May has been postponed until 2021.  The model, representing an iconic marine reptile synonymous with Jurassic strata both in UK and in Germany was due to be in stock in the early summer but production issues related to the COVID-19 crisis has led to the postponement of this eagerly anticipated prehistoric animal figure.  The future of this figure remains uncertain.

Delayed Until 2021?  The Bullyland Ichthyosaurus Marine Reptile Model

The Bullyland Ichthyosaurus model.

The Bullyland Ichthyosaurus model.  It was due to be introduced this summer but it has now been delayed until 2021.  The model’s future remains uncertain.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

On May 18th (2020), Everything Dinosaur revealed a picture of the Bullyland Ichthyosaurus model on the company’s social media pages.  Sadly, we have been informed by Bullyland that this figure has now been postponed.  It is one of a number of new models and novelties that have had to be cancelled due to the current economic conditions brought about by the pandemic.  In an email sent to Everything Dinosaur, a spokesperson from the German manufacturer explained that “Bullyland had to cancel articles and postpone novelties to 2021.”

Bullyland did not introduce any new, large prehistoric animal model figures last year (2019).  Indeed, the last new prehistoric animals (Triceratops and Archaeopteryx) came out in 2017.  In meetings with Everything Dinosaur, team members were informed about new product plans and a concept “diapsid” range of smaller figures available as a set, but like so many organisations at the moment, production plans have had to be revised.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Many companies are having to take appropriate strategic decisions at this difficult time.  Manufacturing has been affected and there are difficulties being encountered with global logistics.  Lots of organisations have delayed, postponed or cancelled production plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bullyland figures and models are very popular with collectors and fans of dinosaurs and although they may be disappointed to hear this news, we suspect that they will understand the reasons for this decision.”

Bullyland Company Logo

The Bullyland logo.

The Bullyland logo. The company was founded in 1973.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Founded in 1973 in the town of Spraitbach near Stuttgart, Bullyland offers a wide range of high-quality figures and models across several ranges.  Everything Dinosaur estimates that currently, Bullyland offers around 700 different figures and ranges like “Safari” and “Paddock” have been affected by the closure of zoos, safari parks and other attractions.

As and when Everything Dinosaur receives an update from Bullyland we will make sure that we post this information up onto our social media pages.

The Bullyland Prehistoric Animal Range Already Contains a Trio of Ancient Marine Creatures

Bullyland prehistoric marine models.

A trio of Bullyland models representing prehistoric animals that lived in ancient seas.  Elasmosaurus (top), the Liopleurodon model that was introduced in 2016 (middle) and (inset) the Bullyland ammonite model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the current range of Bullyland prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: Bullyland Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

9 06, 2020

Mojo Fun Baryonyx “Turntable Tuesday”

By | June 9th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Mojo Fun Baryonyx “Turntable Tuesday”

For this week’s Everything Dinosaur YouTube feature “Turntable Tuesday” we take the new for 2020 Mojo Fun Baryonyx dinosaur model for a spin.  The figure we selected to take a turn on our turntable is the Baryonyx figure with the articulated jaw.

The Mojo Fun Baryonyx Dinosaur Model (Articulated Jaw) Goes for Spin for “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Mojo Fun Baryonyx Dinosaur Model

The Baryonyx dinosaur model is one of sixteen new dinosaurs introduced by Mojo this year (2020), within their prestigious “Prehistoric and Extinct” model range.  In the Everything Dinosaur video, the model is put through its paces and viewers are given the opportunity to get a 360 degree impression of Baryonyx walkeri.  The video review lasts for just over a minute and a half, it is the thirteenth video made in the Everything Dinosaur “Turntable Tuesday” feature,

The Beautiful Colouration on the New for 2020 Mojo Fun Baryonyx Dinosaur Model

Mojo Fun Baryonyx dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 Mojo Fun Baryonyx dinosaur model with an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

This hand-painted replica measures around 25 centimetres in length and it is one of five new Mojo theropod figures to have an articulated lower jaw.  The other new figures with articulated jaws are the Tyrannosaurus rex deluxe, the new Allosaurus, the feathered troodontid and the Spinosaurus deluxe.  Dinosaur fans will know that Baryonyx was distantly related to Spinosaurus, although it lived many millions of years before Spinosaurus evolved.

Mojo Baryonyx with an Articulated Jaw

The Mojo Fun Baryonyx model.

Taking its turn on the Everything Dinosaur turntable.  The new for 2020 Mojo Fun Baryonyx with an articulated jaw.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two Baryonyx Models

There are two Baryonyx dinosaur models in the Mojo Fun model range.  These models replace the “blue” Baryonyx figure that was introduced by the company in 2018.

The Mojo Fun Baryonyx Deluxe Model

Mojo Baryonyx deluxe dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 Mojo Fun Baryonyx deluxe dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Our weekly Turntable Tuesday feature on the Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel is our way of showcasing new models to fans and collectors of prehistoric animal models.  So many new Mojo models have been introduced this year, that if we were to produce a video for each one we would still be showing a Mojo Fun video in early November.  Much as we would like to cover them all, we have so many other prehistoric animal models to highlight.  Still, our studio permits us to take photographs as well so, if we don’t make a video we can take plenty of photographs and share these on-line via our various social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.”

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel: Visit Everything Dinosaur on YouTube and Subscribe.

Link to Mojo Fun: Mojo Fun Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

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