All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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10 11, 2018

The Last Quagga in the Wild

By | November 10th, 2018|Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The Last Quagga in the Wild

The Quagga (Equus quagga), was a type of zebra (plains zebra), that lived on the savannah and scrublands of southern Africa.  Sadly, with the arrival of European settlers, this animal was hunted as it was thought that it would compete with domestic livestock for grazing.  It was also hunted for its meat and hide.  Within two hundred years of the founding of the first Dutch settlement in what was to become South Africa, the once common and ubiquitous Quagga was a rare sight.  The last population of wild animals lived in Orange Free State, but soon their numbers dwindled and the last known wild Quagga died 140 years ago (1878).

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of a Quagga

Quagga - scale drawing.

A scale drawing of Equus quagga.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Quagga was once thought to be a distinct species of zebra, but genetic research, including a study carried out ten years ago (2008), using the few hides and bones that had been retained by museums and zoological collections, revealed that it was the southern-most sub-species of the geographically widespread plains zebra (Equus quagga).

The Mojo Fun Quagga Model

Mojo Quagga replica.

The Mojo Fun Quagga model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Replicas of this sadly extinct member of the Perissodactyla (odd-toed, hoofed mammals), are few and far between, but fortunately Mojo Fun have produced a figure (see above), it is included within their “Prehistoric and Extinct” range of models.

The Mojo Fun Quagga Model

Measuring around ten centimetres in length and with a head height of nine centimetres (approximately), this figure is a welcome addition to the Mojo Fun model range and joins the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), as representatives of recently extinct animals within the “Prehistoric and Extinct” portfolio.

To view the Mojo Fun replicas, including the Quagga figure which is available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Animal Models

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“With so much pressure on megafauna today and with so many iconic, large terrestrial mammals in danger of becoming extinct, it is important to remember animals such as the Quagga, that were driven to extinction due to the behaviour of our own species.  Let us hope that replicas such as the Mojo Fun Quagga can help to educate and to lead to improved conservation policies to help to protect animals endangered today.”

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9 11, 2018

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 2)

By | November 9th, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|11 Comments

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 2)

Here is the second part of our series of articles introducing the new for 2019 prehistoric animal models from CollectA and fittingly, part two features two new figures to be added to the range.

The two new prehistoric animal figures are:

  • A 1:20 scale replica of the sail-backed reptile Edaphosaurus (available first quarter 2019).
  • A 1:40 scale replica of the “meat-eating bull” Carnotaurus (available first quarter 2019).

The New for 2019 CollectA 1:20 Scale Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA Edaphosaurus model.

The CollectA 1:20 scale Edaphosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Deluxe 1:20 Scale Edaphosaurus Model

CollectA have expressed a wish to increase the number of Palaeozoic creatures represented in their range, hence the introduction of the Permian pelycosaur Edaphosaurus.  This beautiful figure is a great accompaniment to the Dimetrodon model that came out last year.  It is great to see another synapsid introduced into the CollectA range, especially a herbivore.

Commenting upon the 1:20 scale Deluxe Edaphosaurus model, designer Anthony Beeson stated:

“I have tried to make the Deluxe Edaphosaurus a more active animal than generally portrayed and again less sprawling.  My version of the sail is quite thickly fleshed, unlike the sails of Dimetrodons and you will see that only the knobs of the cross-pieces protrude from the sides.  I have always liked Edaphosaurus and never really understood why there are so few toy versions around.  The shape of the sail is very pleasing.”

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Carnotaurus

2019 will see CollectA add to their collection of abelisaurid dinosaurs.  Joining the Rugops, Rajasaurus and the Majungasaurus will be a spectacular Carnotaurus figure.  Unlike the existing members of the Abelisauridae within the CollectA portfolio, this will be a scale model (1/40th), the first of this type of dinosaur to be added to CollectA’s Deluxe range.

The New for 2019 CollectA 1:40 Scale Carnotaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Deluxe Carnotaurus.

The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs 1:40 scale Deluxe Carnotaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fans Requesting Carnotaurus

Fans of the CollectA dinosaurs have been requesting a Carnotaurus for quite a while.  It is wonderful to see a replica of this Argentinian giant from the Late Cretaceous added to the scale model range.  Dinosaur enthusiasts will probably know that skin impressions have been found in association with the fossils of this dinosaur.  A considerable portion of the right side of the dinosaur left a skin impression which was preserved in the rock.  The design team at CollectA have taken great care to ensure that the texture of their Carnotaurus reflects what is known about the skin of this carnivore, although, the striking flashes of colour on the head and neck are purely speculative.

The short, deep skull and those amazing horns that give this dinosaur its name have been beautifully crafted.  Note the use of a base to support the figure, this has permitted the sculpting team to give the Carnotaurus appropriately sized feet, after all, this dinosaur was nicknamed by palaeontologists studying the locomotion of this Theropod, the “Dinosaur Speed Demon” .

Commenting on the introduction of a Carnotaurus, designer Anthony Beeson remarked:

“The Deluxe Carnotaurus is the result of repeated requests from fans for a CollectA version of this creature.  I was never very keen to do it in the past as, when we started, almost every firm was producing models in the wake of the Disney dinosaur film and Jurassic Park.  I am glad that we waited.  I have tried to emphasise in the tail the shape proposed in the work of Currie and Persons and the fact that the caudofemoralis muscle in Carnotaurus was very large enabling great speed to be maintained.”

It was W. Scott Persons IV and Phil Currie who looked at the tail muscle structure in Carnotaurus sastrei and published a paper in 2011, suggesting that this dinosaur had a larger caudofemoralis muscle than any other Theropod described at the time – hence the “Dinosaur Speed Demon” nickname.  This muscle provides the power to help move the dinosaur forward and such a huge muscle indicated that Carnotaurus was capable of great bursts of speed.  Ironically, straight line running was its speciality, the shape of the muscle and the tail bones supporting it suggested that Carnotaurus was not so good at making tight turns.

We suspect that both the new 1:40 scale Deluxe Carnotaurus and the 1:20 Deluxe Edaphosaurus will be flying off our shelves in the warehouse when they come into stock in early 2019.

Model Measurements

Here are those all-important model measurements:

  • CollectA Edaphosaurus 1:20 scale – length 20 cm, height of sail just under 8 cm.
  • Carnotaurus Deluxe 1:40 scale The Age of Dinosaurs – length 28 cm, height 10.5 cm.

To view the current range of CollectA Deluxe scale prehistoric animal models including that superb Dimetrodon: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life

To read about the first of the 2019 models to be introduced: New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

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8 11, 2018

Caterpillars and Bees Learn All About Dinosaurs

By | November 8th, 2018|Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Reception Children at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy Learn About Dinosaurs

The children in the two Reception classes at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy (Caterpillars and Bees), have had a very busy term learning about fossils and dinosaurs.  As part of a rich and diverse scheme of work devised by the hard-working teaching team, a staff member from Everything Dinosaur was invited into the Birmingham-based school to spend a morning delivering two workshops to the eager, young scientists.  The enthusiastic learners were keen to demonstrate their knowledge about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals and our workshops were well received by the children and teachers alike.

Prior to the start of the school day, our dinosaur expert was given the opportunity to view some of the wide range of activities that the classes had undertaken.  Part of one of the well-appointed and very tidy Reception classrooms had been turned into a special “dinosaur” exhibit.  The centrepiece of this display was a beautiful volcano that had been made from crumpled brown paper with bright red cellophane making excellent lava.

A Centrepiece of the Dinosaur Display in the Reception Classroom

A volcano on display in a classroom.

Reception classes learn about volcanoes and dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

Lots of Amazing Arts and Crafts on Display

The children had been making their very own fossils out of clay and during our workshop we explored in simple terms how fossils are formed and helped the children to learn about some of their properties (hard/soft, heavy/light, hot/cold).  Our dinosaur expert spotted some dinosaur bones made out of straws that the children had used to create shapes and patterns.

Creating Shapes and Patterns Using Straw Dinosaur Bones

Straws used to make skeletons of dinosaurs (shapes and patterns).

Using straws to make dinosaur skeletons – shapes and patterns.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

At Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy, the dedicated staff encourage the children to think big and to push boundaries so as to build their confidence.  One of the teachers explained that the children had been making dinosaurs out of paper plates and she was amazed when our dinosaur expert explained that there actually was a dinosaur called Plateosaurus!  The young palaeontologists had not just been looking at dinosaurs, their cousins the pterosaurs (flying reptiles), had been studied too.

A beautifully crafted model of a pterosaur had been carefully placed above one of the dinosaur themed areas of the Reception classroom.

Flying High Over the Classroom Dinosaur Display

Pterosaur on display in a classroom.

A beautiful flying reptile flying high over a dinosaur classroom display at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

Plant-eaters, Meat-eaters, Habitats and Homes

The Academy had been graded “Outstanding” in all areas following a recent Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), inspection.  There was certainly much to admire in the Foundation Stage part of the school that our dinosaur expert visited.  The staff were highly motivated and our team member observed that the school was providing a very creative and exciting curriculum for the pupils.  We are confident that the additional resources that we supplied and the lesson plan suggestions would help to augment the challenging and inspirational scheme of work that had been devised for the Reception classes.

The children in Bees and Caterpillars had been learning about meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs along with the sort of conditions a dinosaur needs to be happy and to feel safe.  The Reception classes had even built one or two little dinosaur worlds for their dinosaur figures to live in.

An Armoured Dinosaur Finds a Home in the Dinosaur Display

A dinosaur on display in a Reception classroom.

An armoured dinosaur (Ankylosaurus) finds a home at Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy

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7 11, 2018

Preparing for Prestosuchus

By | November 7th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Maintenance on Website, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Preparing for Prestosuchus

Everything Dinosaur team members are preparing for the arrival of some of the new for 2019 Wild Safari Prehistoric World models including the Prestosuchus replica.  The beautiful Prestosuchus figure is just one of a number of new Wild Safari Prehistoric World figures that Everything Dinosaur hopes to stock before Christmas.

Coming Soon – The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

Prestosuchus model.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Formidable Predator of the Middle Triassic of Brazil

Prestosuchus (P. chiniquensis) was not a dinosaur, but a member of the Archosauria, just like the dinosaurs, but from a lineage that is more closely related to modern crocodilians than to living birds and extinct dinosaurs.  Fossils of this large predator have been found in south-eastern Brazil from strata that date from the Middle Triassic.  Prestosuchus was named by the German palaeontologist Friedrich von Huene in 1942, the genus name honours Brazilian self-taught palaeontologist Vicentino Prestes de Almeida and the trivial name honours the town where Vicentino Prestes de Almeida was born (Chiniquá, Rio Grande do Sul).

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

New for 2019 the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus model.   A close-up view of the new for 2019 P. chiniquensis model from Safari Ltd.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Producing a Scale Drawing

It had been thought that this animal measured around 5 metres in length, about the size of a Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), however, a specimen described in 2010 indicated that this quadruped may have reached lengths of around 7 metres and it might have weighed 1,000 kilograms or more.  Everything Dinosaur team members have had to examine a number of scientific papers in order to produce a scale drawing for use in their Prestosuchus fact sheet.  This fact sheet will be sent out with purchases of the Prestosuchus model.

Everything Dinosaur Prepares a Fact Sheet for the Arrival of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Prestosuchus Model

Prestosuchus chiniquensis scale drawing.

A scale drawing of Prestosuchus chiniquensis.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read an article from Everything Dinosaur published in 2010 that describes the discovery of this new, larger fossil specimen of Prestosuchus chiniquensisThe Most Complete Fossil of a Crocodylotarsian found in Brazil

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6 11, 2018

Red Plates on a Stegosaurus

By | November 6th, 2018|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Red Plates on a Stegosaurus

This morning, we feature a superb illustration of the Late Jurassic armoured dinosaur Stegosaurus by the renowned palaeoartist from China, Zhao Chuang.  Enormous diamond-shaped plates were located on the neck, back and tail of Stegosaurus.   These plates were not just made of bone, they also had a horny, keratin covering.  This covering has not been preserved in the known fossil record so palaeontologists don’t know how big the plates were or indeed, what shape they were in life.

A Life Reconstruction of the Armoured Dinosaur Stegosaurus

A life reconstruction of the armoured dinosaur Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurus illustration by Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

What Colour were the Plates on Stegosaurus?

When first described by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1877, the bizarre plates of Stegosaurus were thought to provide protection against attack.  They were regarded as armour, however, it was soon noted that although their exact position in life was difficult to determine (the plates are embedded in the skin and not attached to the bone), it was likely that these structures were too high on the back to be effective armour-plating for this plant-eating dinosaur.  As palaeontologists employed more sophisticated techniques to study these plates, it was revealed that they were quite thin with lots of blood vessels running through them.  The theory that these plates played a role in thermoregulation was postulated.  On cold mornings a Stegosaurus could face towards the sunrise and warm its plates.  The blood running through the vessels close to the surface of the plates would then be warmed up, helping the dinosaur to raise its body temperature.  Furthermore, in order to cool down, the Stegosaurus could face the sun in such a way that only a small surface area of the plates was exposed, thus permitting the body to cool down.  As the largest plates were high on the animal’s back, their position several metres in the air, would permit cooler air away from the ground surface to circulate around them, thus cooling the dinosaur still further.

It was the scientist Kenneth Carpenter who first proposed that the plates could be flushed with blood at will and this led to the idea that these adornments could be used to display or to intimidate predatory dinosaurs.  As a result, numerous Stegosaurus illustrations and indeed models, have tended to give Stegosaurus some reddish colour plates.

A Model of a Stegosaurus (Bullyland Stegosaurus) with Red Coloured Plates

Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

The Bullyland Stegosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

As for the colour of Stegosaurus plates, when they were not being flushed with blood, nobody knows.

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5 11, 2018

Super Efficient Lungs Powered Dinosaur Success

By | November 5th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Bird-like Lungs Could Have Helped Dinosaurs to Dominate

There has been a great deal of debate regarding the rise of the Dinosauria.  How and when did these relatively unassuming members of the Dinosauria, which only made up a small proportion of terrestrial biota during the Middle Triassic, rise to dominance, out-competing a host of other reptilian groups?  The respiratory system of dinosaurs could provide a clue.  In a new study publised in the open access journal of the Royal Society (Royal Society Open Science), a team of researchers postulate that the lung-air sac system could have helped dinosaurs thrive in Earth’s oxygen-depleted atmosphere.

Did a Super-efficient Pumonary System Help the Dinosaurs to Thrive?

Dinosaurs probably had a super-efficient respiratory system.

New research suggests super-efficient dinosaur lungs assisted the rise of the Dinosauria.

Picture Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Studying the Breathing Systems of Modern Birds and Alligators

Birds have a super-efficient respiratory system that is unique amongst the vertebrates.  However, palaeontologists remain uncertain as to when the avian-style lung evolved.  Did it evolve in dinosaurian ancestors or is it restricted to birds?  After all, if you are going to fly, then you need a very efficient and powerful set of lungs to get enough oxygen to your flight muscles.

This area of anatomy has attracted a great deal of debate.  Recently, Everything Dinosaur reported on a study conducted on a specimen of Archaeorhynchus spathula, a primitive bird (basal member of the Ornithuromorpha), from the Lower Cretaceous of China, that may show preservation of an advanced avian lung.  To read more about this research: Breathing Life into the Bird Lungs Debate

The scientists, including researchers from the University of Manchester, compared dinosaur lungs to those of living crocodilians and the lungs of extant birds.  Lead researcher, PhD student Robert Brocklehurst (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Manchester University), stated:

“The respiratory system of non-avian dinosaurs has been the topic of considerable study over the years, both in an attempt to shed light on the biology of now extinct members of the dinosaur family, and in order to understand the origins and evolution of modern birds and reptiles.”

Low Oxygen Levels in the Triassic and Early Jurassic

Today, our atmosphere contains approximately 21 percent oxygen, however, things have not always been like that.  During the Middle Triassic, through to the Early Jurassic, a time that saw the evolution and the radiation of the Dinosauria, the atmospheric oxygen percentage of our planet fell to around 15-17%.   With less oxygen in the air, a group of vertebrates with more efficient lungs would have had a definite evolutionary advantage over other terrestrial animals.

During the Triassic A Wide Variety of Terrestrial Reptilian Vertebrates Co-existed

The flora and fauna of the Late Triassic.

Dinosaurs, Aetosaurs, Phytosaurs and and Rauisuchians co-existed in the Triassic, but did super-efficient lungs help the Dinosauria to become dominant.

Picture Credit: Victor Leshyk

To investigate the different kinds of respiratory systems the team used Computerised Tomography (CT) scans to look at the lung cavities of four modern crocodilians and twenty-nine modern birds, including the largest living bird today, the ostrich and compared their structure with those of sixteen different dinosaur species.  The detailed scans revealed that all the dinosaurs had vertebrae more similar in shape to those of birds than those of crocodilians.  In addition, the scientists discovered that the dinosaur vertebrae jutted into the lung cavity, the same as found in living birds.

Robert explained:

“We thought some of the dinosaurs would have lungs more like birds, and others would be similar to reptiles, but this wasn’t the case at all.  Every dinosaur sample we scanned just looked like the birds we scanned.”

Dissection Used in this Study

As well as using CT scans, the team removed the lungs of an alligator and an ostrich, and found the skeletal support structures surrounding the lungs were very different in each animal.  The alligator’s lung cavity was smooth and allowed the lungs and other internal organs to glide as they move to pump air in and out while the animal swims.  However, the ostrich lung cavity was found to be furrowed, similar to the anatomical condition found in the dinosaurs.

The scientists concluded that having more efficient bird-like lungs permitted the dinosaurs to adapt and thrive in an oxygen depleted environment, whereas other groups including the the Crurotarsi clade of Archosaurs that gave rise to modern crocodiles, struggled.

Commenting on the research, co-author Professor Bill Sellers (Manchester University) added:

“If even the very first dinosaurs to evolve had bird-like lungs, this goes some way to explaining why dinosaurs became the dominant animal species of their time.  Other animal groups simply may not have had lungs as well suited to extracting oxygen from the air.  That simple evolutionary difference may have let dinosaurs rule world.”

The scientists concluded that respiratory and pulmonary modifications would have provided dinosaurs with more efficient means of oxygen uptake relative to other vertebrates during the environmentally hypoxic conditions which pervaded much of the early part of the Mesozoic.  This anatomical advantage enjoyed by the Dinosauria could thus potentially have contributed to their radiation and dominance over terrestrial ecosystems, which was to last for around 150 million years.

The Lungs of Dinosaurs Helped to Power Their Evolutionary Success

The sophisticated respiratory system of Ingentia prima.

The air sacs of Ingentia prima (green) the lungs shown in brown.  This large, Early Jurassic Sauropod had a super-efficient respiratory system.

Picture Credit: Jorge A. González

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Manchester University in the complilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Vertebral Morphometrics and Lung Structure in Non-avian Dinosaurs” by Robert J. Brocklehurst, Emma R. Schachner and William I. Sellers published in Royal Society Open Science.

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4 11, 2018

A New Species of Rebbachisaurid is Named

By | November 4th, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Lavocatisaurus agrioensis – A New Long-Necked Dinosaur from Argentina

A team of palaeontologists from Argentina and Spain have announced the discovery of a new species of long-necked dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Argentina.  The dinosaur, represented by a set of bones that indicate the remains of at least three individuals, has been named Lavocatisaurus agrioensis and it will help to shed more light on a rare and enigmatic group of Sauropods known as the rebbachisaurids.

A Skeletal Reconstruction and Photographs of Key Fossils from L. agrioensis

Skeletal reconstruction and fossil bones attributed to Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.

Skeletal reconstruction based on the holotype and paratype specimens of Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.  Scale bars = 10 cm.

Picture Credit: AFP/Agencia CTYS

The picture above shows the skeletal drawing of the adult dinosaur with illustrations of key bones from the excavation.  Most of the neck and the skull has been recovered.  Cranial fossils associated with the Rebbachisauridae are rare, the discovery of these specimens from Agrio del Medio (Neuquén Province, Argentina) will help scientists to better understand taxonomic relationships amongst members of this Sauropod family, largely associated with Gondwanaland fossil deposits.

Fossils of a Family Group?

Writing in the journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica”, the scientists report the discovery of one large, presumably adult animal with two smaller sub-adults found in association.  The fossil material come from terrestrial sandstone deposits laid down around 110 million years ago (Aptian to Albian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous), in an arid environment with isolated oasis and other water sources (Rayoso Formation).

One of the authors of the scientific paper, José Luis Carballido, of the Egidio Feruglio Museum (Argentina), stated:

“We found most of the cranial bones: the snout, the jaws, a lot of teeth, also the bones that define the eye sockets for example and in that way, we were able to create an almost complete reconstruction.  Not only is this the discovery of a new species in an area where you wouldn’t expect to find fossils, but the skull is almost complete.”

The fossils represent one large dinosaur estimated to be around twelve metres in length and two smaller animals around six to seven metres in length.  The research team postulate that this could represent a family group that lived together and perished together, perhaps unable to find a water source in a time of drought.

Preparing to Move Some of the Fossil Material (Lavocatisaurus)

Fossils of Lavocatisaurus are prepared for removal.

The jacketed remains of one of the Lavocatisaurus specimens is prepared for transport away from the dig site.

Picture Credit: AFP/Agencia CTYS

Lead author of the paper, José Ignacio Canudo (Zaragoza University, Spain) added:

“This discovery of an adult and two juveniles also signifies the first record of a group displacement among the Rebbachisaurus dinosaurs.”

The Rebbachisauridae Family

The Rebbachisauridae family of Sauropods are a group of basal members of the Diplodocimorpha clade that includes more famous Late Jurassic dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus.  The rebbachisaurids are known from both Lower Cretaceous and Upper Cretaceous strata and had a wide geographical distribution throughout Gondwana and southern Laurasia with fossils reported from north and central Africa as well as South America and Europe (Spain).

An Illustration of a Typical Rebbachisaurid Dinosaur (R. garasbae)

Rebbachisaurus scale drawing.

Scale drawing of Rebbachisaurus (R. garasbae)

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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3 11, 2018

Elaborate Plumage in Confuciusornis

By | November 3rd, 2018|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Patterns on the Feathers of Confuciusornis as Complex as Modern Birds

A team of international scientists, including researchers from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing), the University of Ghent (Belgium) and the University of Texas at Austin (United States), have discovered that the patterns on the feathers of an Early Cretaceous bird may have been very similar to and as complex as the patterns seen on the feathers of extant Aves.  Writing in the academic, on-line journal “PeerJ”, the researchers conclude that the patterning of Confuciusornis feathers probably performed similar functions to the patterning on modern bird’s feathery coats, that is, they provided camouflage and also played a role in display.

Confuciusornis Integumentary Covering – Elaborate Plumage

Study suggests Confuciusornis had elaborate plumage.

Reconstruction of the plumage of Confuciusornis (specimen number CUGB P140).

Picture Credit: Li et al (PeerJ)

Complex Patterning Detected by Sophisticated Chemical Analysis

The specimen studied consists of a slab and counter slab of a single, individual bird from Early Cretaceous deposits in Fengning County, Hebei Province (north-central China).  The fossils are from the vertebrate collection of the China University of Geosciences and represent an example of Confuciusornis sanctus.  The research team identified exceptional feather preservation but poor preservation of the bones, the unusual state of preservation permitted the scientists to identify melanin signals in the fossilised feathers indicating a complex patterning of spots on the wings, throat and on the tuft of feathers at the back of the head forming a small crest.  The shape of the structures that form these patterns in conjunction with chemical analysis confirmed the diagnosis of the pigment melanin.  However, specific colouration associated with the patterns could not be discerned.

The Slab and Counter Slab or a C. sanctus Specimen Reveals Complex Patterning on the Plumage

Evidence of Confuciusornis plumage.

Evidence of plumage diversity in the Confuciusornithidae from the new specimen (CUGB P1401).

Picture Credit: Li et al (PeerJ)

The photograph (above) shows various views of the main slab of the fossil specimen showing details of the plumage.  The dots in (A) indicate places that were subjected to sampling, whereas B and C reveal the crest located on the back of the head.  Parts D and E show elements of the integumentary covering in close detail.

Using a range of analytical techniques including scanning electron microscopy and ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) the researchers concluded that the elaborate spotting on this specimen exceeds that found in exceptionally-preserved troodontids and compsognathids and rivals that in modern birds, suggesting that plumage patterns evolved greater complexity through avian evolution.

The exact age of the strata is uncertain, although it is believed that the deposits from Fengning County are approximately equivalent in age with the Dawangzhangzi Member of the Yixian Formation, around 122-123 million years old (Aptian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous).  The data from this study suggests that Confuciusornis had more complex patterning than the patterning identified in Achiornis or in the stripes of the compsognathid Sinosauropteryx.  The research team conclude that this specimen of a primitive bird provides evidence to support the idea that complex patterning of feathers evolved at a relatively early stage in avian evolution.

The Link to Barn Owls

Integumentary patterns and colours play a variety of roles in living birds.  Such patterning in fossil specimens probably performed the same sort of functions and in addition, they can help to inform on the habitat in which the extinct creature lived.  In some modern bird groups, barn owls for example (Strigiformes), it has been observed that the size and placement of the spots on the feathers play a role in mate selection.  Male barn owls tend to prefer females with larger spots.  The patterning identified on this C. sanctus specimen leads to the intriguing idea that for confuciusornithids, just like barn owls, the location and the size of the spots on the plumage played a role in choosing a mate.

The scientific paper: “Elaborate Plumage Patterning in a Cretaceous Bird” by Quango Li, Julia A. Clarke, Ke-Qin Gao, Jennifer A. Peteya and Matthew D. Shawkey published in PeerJ.

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2 11, 2018

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

By | November 2nd, 2018|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|9 Comments

New CollectA Models 2019 (Part 1)

At this time of year, our friends at CollectA give Everything Dinosaur official clearance to publish information and pictures on the new for 2019 CollectA prehistoric animal models.  Working closely with this manufacturer, we intend to put up a series of posts over the next few weeks informing dinosaur fans and figure collectors about what they have to look forward to in terms of new model introductions.

The first three we can announce are:

  • A Caiuajara pterosaur model with a moveable jaw (CollectA Supreme Deluxe range) – available first quarter 2019.
  • A Borealopelta armoured dinosaur model (CollectA The Age of Dinosaurs Popular range) – available first quarter 2019.
  • A CollectA box of mini prehistoric animals (prehistoric mammals, a “terror bird” and Estemmenosuchus – available first quarter 2019.

CollectA Borealopelta Model

CollectA will be adding another armoured dinosaur replica to their excellent not-to-scale range of dinosaur figures, a model of the Canadian nodosaurid Borealopelta (B. markmitchelli).

The CollectA Borealopelta Dinosaur Model

CollectA Borealopelta dinosaur model.

The Age of Dinosaurs Popular – CollectA Borealopelta.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Borealopelta was officially named and described only last year, but this remarkable fossil was actually found back in 2011.   It took the team of dedicated preparators more than five and half years to separate this 5.5 metre long giant from its fossil matrix.   The lead preparator and one of the most patient people on the planet, was Mark Mitchell and the species name honours his efforts in the restoration and preparation of one of the most perfectly preserved large dinosaur specimens ever discovered.

The CollectA figure accurately portrays this Early Cretaceous nodosaurid, the reddish/brown colouration and the presence of counter-shading reflects the conclusions drawn from a scientific paper describing the exquisite details of the armour published in August 2017.  The fossil, found at the Suncor Millennium Mine in north-eastern Alberta, was so well-preserved that the armoured scales and plates were in their original position.  Small amounts of keratin that would have covered the spikes and skin was detected.  The CollectA design team have done their own restoration work on this model.  They modelled this figure to match the position of the fossil in situ and restored the missing pelvic area, which was unfortunately destroyed when a digger at the mine first broke into the block of stone that held the specimen.

CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara

Large pterosaur models are becoming a bit of a CollectA speciality.  Joining the large Dimorphodon and Guidraco figures will be a beautiful and very colourful model of a Brazilian flying reptile – Caiuajara.  The genus name is pronounced “Kay-you-ah-jar-rah”.

The New for 2019 CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara Pterosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe Caiuajara with moveable jaw.

The Age of Dinosaurs Deluxe Caiuajara pterosaur figure with a moveable jaw.

Picture Credit: CollectA

Most pterosaur fossils associated with Brazil come from the north-eastern part of the country, but Caiuajara comes from southern Brazil (Paraná State).  It is a member of the Tapejaridae family and like most tapejarids it had a very flamboyant crest.  Both males and females sported crests, although it is thought that it was the males that tended to have the larger and more spectacular head ornamentation.  The team at CollectA have provided their model with a vivid crest, complete with an eye-spot.  Most palaeontologists believe that these crests were used in displays, so as far as a pterosaur is concerned, the flashier the crest the better.  Like the other CollectA supreme pterosaur models, this figure is depicted on the ground.

Hundreds of fossils of Caiuajara have been discovered, all from the same locality.  The first fossil discoveries were reported in 1971 but a formal analysis and scientific description was only completed in 2014.  The remains are found in a series of sandstone layers that represent an arid area adjacent to a lake.  The majority of the bones come from sub-adults and juveniles, palaeontologists have speculated that this was a colony and that these flying reptiles were highly social.

Model designer Anthony Beeson commented:

“The Brazilian taperjarid Caiuajara has been requested by a number of CollectA fans and we were happy to oblige.  He is in the Supreme range for scale and has a moveable jaw.  I chose to portray a fully grown adult because the head-crest was then at its most extreme.  The head-crest seemed to need a striking decoration if it was to be used for species recognition or mating ritual, so I have given him a false eye decoration.”

Intriguingly, when the scientific paper describing Caiuajara (C. dobruskii) was published, the authors postulated, that the fossil site represented a staging post on a migration route for these pterosaurs.  Expect this excellent CollectA Caiuajara to be migrating into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse in the spring of 2019.

CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animal Models

The third and final item to be announced this week is a box of mini prehistoric animals.

CollectA Mini Prehistoric Animals

The CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animals (2019)

The CollectA box of mini prehistoric animal models which is going to be available in 2019. Twelve prehistoric animal models.

Picture Credit: CollectA

This skilfully crafted set of mini figures features replicas of prehistoric animals already represented in the CollectA range termed “other prehistoric animals”.  There are twelve figures in the set namely: Moropus, Deinotherium, Woolly Mammoth, Paraceratherium, Kelenken (terror bird), Uintatherium, Estemmenosuchus, Daeodon, Andrewsarchus, Arsinoitherium, Smilodon and Megacerops.  CollectA have built up a strong reputation for the prehistoric mammal figures and it is great to see a mini set of these models introduced.

To view the current range of CollectA “Prehistoric Life” figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life

For the CollectA Deluxe scale models: CollectA Deluxe Scale Models and Figures

To read an article describing the amazing preservation of the Borealopelta fossil: Amazing Armoured Dinosaur Fossil Reveals Camouflage and Shading

For an article outlining the discovery of the tapejarid Caiuajara: New Species of Flying Reptile from a Pterosaur Graveyard

Model Measurements

  • CollectA Supreme Deluxe Caiuajara with moveable jaw length = 19 cm, height = 23.5 cm.
  • CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Borealopelta length = 15 cm, height = 4.5 cm.
  • CollectA Box of Mini Prehistoric Animals – models measure around 3 cm long with some models up to 4.2 cm in height.
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1 11, 2018

Everything Dinosaur October Newsletter

By | November 1st, 2018|Adobe CS5, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Rebor “Vanilla Ice”, Papo Update and the CollectA Brontosaurus

The October newsletter from Everything Dinosaur features the Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Tyrannosaur figures, a Papo update and the CollectA Brontosaurus.  The latest Rebor figures, the “Vanilla Ice” – Jungle (green colour scheme) and the “Vanilla Ice” – Mountain (slate grey colour scheme), have arrived at the company warehouse and after having alerted all those customers who had requested a model to be reserved for them, a newsletter was emailed out announcing that these two excellent figures were in stock.

The Two Tyrannosaur Figures “Vanilla Ice” Mountain and Jungle Headline the Everything Dinosaur October Newsletter

The Everything Dinosaur newsletter features the Rebor "Vanilla Ice" Mountain and Jungle.

The Rebor “Vanilla Ice” Jungle and Mountain Tyrannosaur figures feature in the October newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Replicas

The Rebor 1/35th scale Tyrannosaur figures are stunning models.  Each figure measures 42 centimetres approximately and both Mountain and Jungle have articulated lower jaws and poseable tails.  In addition, to the arrival of these two tyrannosaurids, lots of other Rebor figures have come back into stock, including the very popular “Scout” series featuring juvenile dinosaurs such as “Hazelnut”, a young Triceratops and “Stan”, a baby Velociraptor.

To view the range of Rebor figures and replicas available from Everything Dinosaur, including the “Vanilla Ice” Tyrannosaurs and the “Scout” series models: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

Lots of Rebor Replicas and Figures Have Come Back into Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur October newsletter features lots of Rebor models.

Rebor models feature extensively in the October newsletter.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The October newsletter features the set of hatching Velociraptors.  These hand-painted Rebor Velociraptor figures are supplied in a mystery blind box.  With nine different designs in the series, these little pocket money models are fun to collect.

Papo Prehistoric Animals and the CollectA Brontosaurus

Everything Dinosaur has also received a big shipment of Papo figures.  The majority of the Papo range is now in stock at Everything Dinosaur including the superb Spinosaurus juvenile, the Iguanodon and the new for 2018 Quetzalcoatlus figure.

Papo Models and the New for 2018 CollectA Brontosaurus

The CollectA Brontosaurus and the Papo model range.

Papo figures and the new for 2018 CollectA Brontosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The newsletter features the Papo Ceratosaurus figure, a famous dinosaur from the Morrison Formation of the western United States.  Another replica of a Morrison Formation dinosaur is included as well, the CollectA Brontosaurus model.  The CollectA Brontosaurus measures an impressive 30.5 centimetres long and the head height of this Sauropod model is a fraction under 11 centimetres.

Everything Dinosaur newsletter subscribers are amongst the first to learn about new models coming into stock.  Subscribers can also be the first to join a priority reserve list to ensure that they can acquire new figures.  Our newsletter is sent out periodically and it is free to join.

To reserve a Rebor replica figure such as the Velociraptor figure “Sweeney” for example, or to request a subscription to Everything Dinosaur’s regular company newsletter, simply drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The newsletter is a great way for our customers to be kept informed and to stay in touch with developments at Everything Dinosaur.”

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