All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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20 11, 2019

First Fossil Evidence of Feathered Polar Dinosaurs

By | November 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fossilised Bird and Dinosaur Feathers from Australia

Palaeontologists know that dinosaurs roamed high latitudes, that is to say that fossil finds have demonstrated that dinosaurs once inhabited parts of the world that are now in the Arctic Circle and similar fossil discoveries have been made in the southern hemisphere demonstrating that the Dinosauria also inhabited Antarctica.  Although, the climate during the Mesozoic was much warmer than it is today, in these high latitudes the fauna and flora would still have had to endure challenging conditions, such as freezing temperatures and many months of darkness with the sun not rising above the horizon.  It has been suggested that many dinosaur residents were feathered, their integumentary coverings of protofeathers and down helping to keep them warm.  However, actual evidence of fossilised feathers was lacking, but scientists writing in the journal “Gondwana Research”, describe several feathers from the Lower Cretaceous-aged sediments at the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve located in Victoria (Australia).

A Fossilised Feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

A protofeather likely to have come from a theropod dinosaur.

A fossilised filamentous protofeather associated with the Theropoda from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

Picture Credit: Kundrát et al (Gondwana Research)

Different Types of Feathers Found

Researchers from the Pavol Jozef Safarik University (Slovakia), Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology (both in Australia), Lund University, Uppsala University (Sweden) and from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (USA) in collaboration with other colleagues have identified the first record of avian and non-avian integumentary structures described from Mesozoic polar regions.

In essence, feathered dinosaurs and birds were present at a latitude of around 70 degrees south between 118-115 million years ago.  Finding feathers this far south reinforces the view that feathered dinosaurs were ubiquitous for much of the Mesozoic.

Importantly, the handful of fossilised feathers from this site show a lot of variation.  Some fossils consist of the preserved remains of tufted body feathers, whilst others show asymmetrical bird-like flight feathers.  Fossils of simple, open-vaned contour feathers reminiscent to those of the Liaoning theropod Caudipteryx have also been found.

A Tufted Body Feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

Feather fossil from the A fossilised feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

A fossilised feather from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve.

Picture Credit: Kundrát et al (Gondwana Research)

One of the co-authors of the scientific paper, Dr Benjamin Kear (Uppsala University) commented:

“Dinosaur skeletons and even the fragile bones of early birds have been found at ancient high-latitudes before.  Yet, to date, no directly attributable integumentary remains have been discovered to show that dinosaurs used feathers to survive in extreme polar habitats.  These Australian fossil feathers are therefore highly significant because they came from dinosaurs and small birds that were living in a seasonally very cold environment with months of polar darkness every year”.

The Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve

The feathers come from the Koonwarra Fish Beds Geological Reserve located in South Gippsland, Victoria.  The sediments represent the fine-grained clay deposits formed in a large, shallow lake. Many different fossils have been found at this location, including a fossilised flower and Ginkgo leaves.  Invertebrates are well represented, the fine grained deposits preserving insects, freshwater mussels, spiders and even the remains of a horseshoe crab.  Apart from the feathers, the only evidence of vertebrates associated with this location are the remains of fish.  The strata consist of alternate light and dark bands indicating an extreme seasonal environment, what you would expect in a part of the polar region where lakes would have frozen over during the extremely long winter.

A Life Reconstruction of a Theropod Dinosaur – A Likely Inhabitant of the Polar Region

Life reconstruction of a polar theropod dinosaur.

A life reconstruction of a polar theropod dinosaur.  Feathers found in Victoria indicate the presence of feathered polar dinosaurs in southern Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous.

Picture Credit: Peter Trusler

Feather fossils from this site were first described in the 1960’s but at the time they were thought to represent bird feathers, thanks to feathered dinosaur discoveries from elsewhere in the world, most notably north-eastern China, this fossil material has been reassessed and the researchers conclude that the variety of feathers at this site augments the limited skeletal evidence for a range of insulted non-avian theropods and birds living at extreme high latitudes in the southern hemisphere.  Analysis of some of the feathers has revealed residual patterning and the preservation of rod-shaped structures at the cellular level suggests the presence of eumelanosomes which in turn could help scientists determine pigments and colouration.

The scientists infer that many of the feathers indicate a dark pigmentation, such a colouration might have provided effective camouflage or permitted the absorption of a greater proportion of the energy from the rays of the sun – very useful if you inhabit a cold, dark world for much of the year.

26 08, 2019

Praising Eofauna Models

By | August 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Eofauna Models Scheduled for Autumn 2019

Recently Everything Dinosaur in collaboration with Eofauna Scientific Research announced the introduction of two new prehistoric animal models for the autumn of 2019.  The first model to be announced was a replica of the amazing African sauropod Atlasaurus.  A few days later, a second new Eofauna prehistoric animal figure was announced, this time, it was a prehistoric elephant, a beautiful scale model of Deinotherium.

To celebrate this news, Everything Dinosaur included pictures of these two new figures in their latest customer newsletter.

The Two New for Autumn 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research Models Feature in Everything Dinosaur’s Customer Newsletter

Eofauna Deinotherium and the Eofauna Atlasaurus.

The Eofauna Deinotherium model (left) and the Atlasaurus model (right).  Two new Eofauna scale models are scheduled for autumn 2019.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Two Models Due out in October

The two models are due out in October and Everything Dinosaur has already opened a reservation list for these eagerly anticipated prehistoric animal figures.

To join our priority reserve list for the Eofauna Atlasaurus and the Eofauna Deinotherium, just email Everything Dinosaur: Email Everything Dinosaur and our team members will be happy to add you to our special, priority reserve list.

Reserving a model or models is easy with Everything Dinosaur, there is no deposit to pay, no need to hand over credit/debit card details and you will not be bombarded with emails.  Our team members will contact you when the model is stock, ensuring that you have the opportunity to acquire a model.  There is no obligation to purchase, it is just our way of helping collectors out, after all, we are dinosaur model collectors too.

Everything Dinosaur is proud to have featured the two new Eofauna models scheduled for release in 2019 (Deinotherium and Atlasaurus) in the company’s recent newsletter.

To view the range of Eofauna Scientific Research scale models of prehistoric animals available from Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Prehistoric Animal Models.

14 02, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day

By | February 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Happy Valentines Day

For some parts of the world, (but not all), today is Valentine’s Day.  This is as good an excuse as any to post up some artwork that Everything Dinosaur team members commissioned when they were working on some new children’s t-shirt designs with a dinosaur theme.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love in the time of the dinosaurs.

I love dinosaurs!  Love in the time of the dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaurs Go Courting

Little is known about the courtship and mating habits of non-avian dinosaurs, after all such behaviours are difficult to interpret from the fossil record, but some insight might be gained by studying the behaviour of avian dinosaurs – the birds.  Some birds engage in very elaborate and sophisticated courtship displays.

In August 2016, Everything Dinosaur published a blog post about a remarkable piece of research, scientists from Poland, the USA, China and South Korea has studied Late Cretaceous dinosaur trace fossils and some of these impressions were interpreted as representing nest scrape displays, as seen in living birds.

To read our article: The Dance of the Dinosauria

Reproduction Might Have Been an Awkward Affair Especially for Armoured Dinosaurs

A life reconstruction of Acantholipan gonzalezi.

A model of the Mexican nodosaurid Acantholipan gonzalezi.

Picture Credit: Museo del Desierto (Mexico)

Happy Valentine’s!

24 06, 2018

Fossil Fungi

By | June 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mesozoic Mushrooms

The evolutionary history of the Fungi – (Kingdom Fungi), toadstools, yeasts, moulds, mushrooms and such like is very poorly understood.  These soft-bodied eukaryotes, which are so important when it comes recycling nutrients in ecosystems, have an exceptionally sparse fossil record.  Twelve months ago, researchers writing in the on-line academic journal described a very remarkable fossil, that of a mushroom that had been found preserved in Cretaceous-aged rocks from Brazil.

The Oldest Fossil Mushroom

Early Cretaceous mushroom Gondwanagaricites magnificus.

Gondwanagaricites magnificus fossil and line drawing.

Picture Credit: PLOS One

The picture (above) shows a picture of the gilled mushroom (A) and an accompanying line drawing (B).  The fossil from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of north-eastern Brazil, represents the oldest fossil mushroom discovered to date and the first to be identified from the southern super-continent of Gondwana.

Gondwanagaricites magnificus

The specimen was collected from the laminated limestones of the Crato Formation, which outcrop on the northern flanks of the Chapada do Araripe in Ceará, (Brazil).  Other fossil mushrooms, (Class Agaricomycetes, Order Agaricales) are preserved in the fossil record, but these fossils are associated with amber inclusions, all of which relate to younger material (Mid-Cretaceous to Miocene amber).

The genus name for this remarkable discovery (paper published in 2017), is derived from Gondwana and the Greek “agarikon” meaning mushroom.   The species epithet is from the Latin, meaning splendid or magnificent, a reference to the remarkable state of preservation of the specimen.

The scientific paper: “The Oldest Fossil Mushroom” by Sam W. Heads , Andrew N. Miller, J. Leland Crane, M. Jared Thomas, Danielle M. Ruffatto, Andrew S. Methven, Daniel B. Raudabaugh, Yinan Wang published in the open access on-line journal PLOS One

A correction to the original paper, concerning the correct nomenclature to be used when referring to this amazing example of a fossilised fungus has just been published.

The Crato Formation, might be more famous for its Pterosaur fossils, but the preservation of a gilled mushroom in this Lagerstätten is nothing short of astonishing.

24 12, 2017

Focus on Safari Ltd New for 2018 Synapsids

By | December 24th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Safari Ltd Prehistoric Mammals and Dimetrodon

Yesterday, Everything Dinosaur focused on the new dinosaur models for 2018 being introduced by Safari Ltd.  In this blog article, we take a look at the other non-dinosaur models that have been added, these models including the Dimetrodon replica along with the dinosaurs, are all in stock and available from Everything Dinosaur.

Safari Ltd – Focusing on the Synapsids

New prehistoric animal models from Safari Ltd (2018).

New for 2018 synapsids from Safari Ltd.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Why Call them Synapsids?

Usually, it is quite straightforward when it comes to categorising new models from a manufacturer, but with the fourteen figures stocked by Everything Dinosaur, a couple of them present us with a dilemma.  Firstly, we have included the “Winners Circle” Safari Ltd Przewalski’s horse, this is a replica of the world’s only truly wild horse, an animal that very nearly went extinct in the 20th Century, but a dedicated zoo breeding programme enabled these magnificent animals to be re-introduced to some specially selected wildlife refuges.  Once this horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), was a common site across the Mammoth Steppe, it has even been depicted in cave paintings.  As an animal of the Ice Age very much at home with Mammoths and Mastodons, we have added this model of Przewalski’s horse to our replica range.

The Beautiful Przewalski’s Horse Model from Safari Ltd

Przewalski's horse figure.

Przewalski’s horse model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As this magnificent equine has not, thankfully, died out, we could not call the eight non-dinosaur models that we have stocked extinct animals, but these new for 2018 figures from Safari Ltd have given us another problem, one with a big sail on its back.

Adding Dimetrodon

The addition of a Dimetrodon also adds a degree of complexity when it comes to coming up with a collective term for these new models.  Although often mistaken for a dinosaur, any self-respecting primary school pupil will soon correct you, if you mistakenly state that the sail-backed reptile is a dinosaur.  Dimetrodon lived long before the first dinosaurs, it is a member of the Pelycosaurs and as such, it is actually more closely related to the prehistoric mammals depicted in the Safari range than it is to the dinosaurs.  Dimetrodon and its relatives, like the mammals are Tetrapods, whose skull morphology differs from those Tetrapods on the dinosaurs/crocodiles/birds side of the tree of life.  They are synapsids, distinguished by a single hole, known as the temporal fenestra, in the skull, located behind the orbit towards the back of the skull.  Dinosaurs and their relatives on the other hand, are diapsids, they have a pair of openings in the skull behind the eye socket, an upper and lower temporal fenestra.  We can’t refer to these Safari Ltd models as mammals, as Dimetrodon is the exception, being a reptile, but they are all synapsids.

The New for 2018 Safari Ltd Dimetrodon Model

Dimetrodon model.

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimetrodon model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Introducing the Safari Ltd Synapsids

As well as the stunning Dimetrodon and the beautiful replica of Przewalski’s horse, Safari Ltd have added a Hyaenodon gigas, Uintatherium, Megacerops, Macrauchenia, a Daeodon and a model of an American Mastodon (Mammut americanum).  Each of these new figure is supplied with its very own fact sheet, so collectors can learn about the creature that the model represents.

Everything Dinosaur’s Drawing of the American Mastodon

Scale Drawing American Mastodon.

American Mastodon scale drawing.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view the full Wild Safari Prehistoric World model range available from Everything Dinosaur: Wild Safari Prehistoric World

For our earlier article focusing on the new dinosaur models from Safari Ltd: Safari Ltd New Models for 2018

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