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26 05, 2020

New PNSO Dinosaur Models Coming into Stock

By | May 26th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|2 Comments

New PNSO Dinosaur Models Coming into Stock

Two new PNSO dinosaur models are coming into stock at Everything Dinosaur!  Aaron the baby Tyrannosaurus rex figure along with A-Qi the young Sinoceratops will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in just a few weeks.  These two beautiful figures are just the latest in a long line of exciting prehistoric animal replicas to be produced by PNSO.

Aaron the Baby Tyrannosaurus rex Coming to Everything Dinosaur

Aaron the baby T. rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Aaron the baby Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A-Qi the Young Sinoceratops Dinosaur Model

PNSO baby Sinoceratops dinosaur model.

A-Qi the baby Sinoceratops model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson for the UK-based company stated:

“Everything Dinosaur team members are really looking forward to the arrival of these two very cute and beautifully sculpted dinosaur figures.  Both models have been carefully created based on ontogenic studies of baby dinosaurs and Aaron the young T. rex figure will sport a coat of “dino fuzz”, that would not only have served to keep this baby dinosaur warm, but also offered it some camouflage, just in case a dromaeosaurid or some other predator decided that baby dinosaurs were on the menu.”

Lots of PNSO Figures Coming into Stock at Everything Dinosaur

As well as these two new exciting replicas, the shipment will contain a lot of other PNSO prehistoric animal replicas, helping to replenish Everything Dinosaur’s stock of Patton the Megalodon, Duke the Spinops, Paulwin the Dakosaurus, Essien the Spinosaurus, Nick the Ceratosaurus and Lucas the Giganotosaurus.  In total, seventeen different product lines will be re-stocked.

Lots of PNSO Figures Coming to Everything Dinosaur

PNSO figures and replicas coming back into stock at Everything Dinosaur

Lots of PNSO figures and replicas coming back into stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The PNSO prehistoric animals are due to be shipped from the factory this week (end May 2020).  If all goes to plan, these exciting prehistoric animal figures and replicas including Aaron the young Tyrannosaurus rex and A-Qi the cute, baby Sinoceratops will be in stock on-line at the company’s website in July.

The Young Sinoceratops Coming into Stock at Everything Dinosaur

PNSO baby Sinoceratops dinosaur model.

A-Qi the baby Sinoceratops model (PNSO).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Aaron the Young T. rex Complete with a Coat of “Dino Fuzz”

Aaron the baby T. rex dinosaur model (PNSO).

Aaron the baby Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur model (PNSO).  Both PNSO baby dinosaur replicas exhibit characteristics associated with young animals, such as the proportionately large eyes and in the case of Aaron the T. rex, large feet, indicative of distal growth.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

If you want to enquire about the two new PNSO baby dinosaurs, ask about reserving a figure or to request further information on any of the PNSO prehistoric animals, simply: Email Everything Dinosaur.

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

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25 05, 2020

Nanotyrannus lancensis Fossils and the Link to Edmontosaurus annectens

By | May 25th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Nanotyrannus lancensis Fossils and the Link to Edmontosaurus annectens

Recently, Everything Dinosaur posted up an article featuring the research work undertaken on an extensive Edmontosaurus (E. annectens) bonebed located at Hanson Ranch in eastern Wyoming.  The dinosaur fossils associated with the five quarries and three exploratory quarries are almost entirely representative of Edmontosaurus annectens.  Approximately, 94 percent of all the dinosaur bones found at this site represent this Edmontosaurus species.

To read our article about the Hanson Ranch bonebed: 13,000 Edmontosaurus Bones and Counting.

While the quarry is clearly dominated by the remains of Hadrosauridae, the researchers report finding a few skeletal elements assigned to bird-hipped dinosaurs such as ceratopsids, pachycephalosaurs, armoured dinosaurs (nodosaurids) and small ornithopods associated with the Thescelosauridae family.  Such a large number of Edmontosaurus carcasses did not go unnoticed by carnivorous theropods.  Shed teeth from meat-eating dinosaurs are common in the bonebed, evidence of these animals scavenging the decaying Edmontosaurus remains.  The most common teeth associated with Hanson Ranch have been ascribed to the Dromaeosauridae and Troodontidae with the larger teeth identified as Tyrannosauridae.

The Fossil Bones of Nanotyrannus lancensis

Nanotyrannus (N. lancensis), is a controversial genus of tyrannosaurid dinosaur known from several fossil specimens including a remarkable fossil found in association with a ceratopsid nick-named “Bloody Mary”.  The validity of this taxon is debated.  Many palaeontologists claim that fossils ascribed to Nanotyrannus (dwarf tyrant), represent the remains of juvenile, sub-adult Tyrannosaurus rex.

In the scientific paper, detailing the Edmontosaurus bonebed, reference is made to a Nanotyrannus fossil discovery.  In 2001, the remains of the foot of a Nanotyrannus lancensis were found on the surface at a nearby site designated Stair Quarry (not included in the Edmontosaurus study).  The paper cites that over the next fifteen years or so, fifty additional bones from this specimen including a right maxilla with teeth in situ and a left dentary, also with some teeth present were discovered.

A Close View of the Anterior Portion of the Jaws Ascribed to the Controversial Genus Nanotyrannus

A close view of the anterior portion of the jaws.

Science goes up for auction.  A photograph of fossil material assigned to the genus Nanotyrannus.

Picture Credit: Bonhams (New York)

Not Scientifically Described

In the scientific paper, the researchers comment that although these fossil remains have yet to be formally scientifically described, they have enabled the research team to clearly distinguish the slender, blade-like shed teeth of Nanotyrannus from the more robust, D-shaped crushing teeth of Tyrannosaurus, both of which are commonly found in the bonebed.  It is intriguing to speculate that if this material ascribed to Nanotyrannus is studied extensively, then it might prove helpful in resolving the debate over the validity of the Nanotyrannus genus.

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24 05, 2020

The Most Dangerous Place and Time in the Cretaceous

By | May 24th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A Comprehensive Guide to the Fossils from the Kem Kem Beds of Eastern Morocco

A team of international researchers have documented the fossil vertebrates associated with the early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) of the famous Kem Kem beds of eastern Morocco.  They conclude that with the abundance of hypercarnivores such as Spinosaurus, abelisaurids, Carcharodontosaurus and Deltadromeus, several large pterosaurs and a multitude of giant fish and crocodyliforms, no comparable modern terrestrial ecosystem exists with a similar bias toward large-bodied carnivores.

Arguably, the sediments that make up the Kem Kem Group, which is composed of the lower Gara Sbaa and upper Douira formations, represent the most dangerous place and time in the whole of the Cretaceous.

Examples of Theropod Teeth Associated with the Kem Kem Group of Eastern Morocco

Indeterminate theropod teeth from the Kem Kem Group.

Indeterminate theropod teeth from the Kem Kem Group with (H) showing the denticles of (F) and (N) close up view of denticles in (M).  Scale bar equals 2 cm in A-C and I-M whilst 3 cm in D and 5 mm in H and N.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

An Ambitious Target

The researchers which included Nizar Ibrahim and Paul Sereno (University of Chicago), David Unwin (University of Leicester), Samir Zouhri (Université Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco) and David Martill (University of Portsmouth), had an ambitious objective.  The scientists set out to document and summarise the taxonomic status of the fauna that had been described based on the major collections of Kem Kem fossils, as well as to report on the geological age of the various strata and to plot the palaeoenvironment of this part of north Africa during the early stages of the Late Cretaceous.

The team’s comprehensive report has been published with free access in the journal ZooKeys.

The Changing Palaeoenvironment Represented by the Kem Kem Group Sediments

The palaeoenvironment of the Kem Kem Beds.

Schematic paleoenvironmental stages depicting the Kem Kem region during the Cretaceous.  Stages: (1) wide rivers, (2) large river systems with substantial sandbanks, (3) deltaic conditions and (4) rise of the limestone platform.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

A Very Dangerous Place to Be (Large Crocodyliforms and Pterosaurs)

The strata have provided evidence of large number of crocodyliforms from one-metre-long insectivores, herbivorous forms to giant predators such as Sarcosuchus imperator.  Several different types of pterosaur are also associated with these deposits.  The first pterosaur remains recovered consisted of isolated teeth collected in the late 1940s and early 1950s but at the time their affinity with the Pterosauria was not recognised.  For an article from Everything Dinosaur about recent pterosaur discoveries from Morocco: Pterosaurs, Pterosaurs and Even More Pterosaurs.

Cervical Vertebra (Bone from the Neck) Ascribed to an Azhdarchid Pterosaur

Third cervical? attributed to an azhdarchid pterosaur.

Near complete third cervical? of an azhdarchid pterosaur from the Kem Kem Group.  FSAC-KK 3088 in (A) ventral, (B) dorsal, (C) right lateral, (D) left lateral, (E) anterior and (F) posterior view.  Scale bar equals 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

In addition, the first tapejarid pterosaur from Africa was reported recently (Afrotapejara zouhrii), the trivial name honours Professor Samir Zouhri, one of the authors of the extensive review.  To read an article about Afrotapejara: The Fourth New Moroccan Pterosaur – Afrotapejara.

Lots and Lots of Dinosaurs – A Bias Towards the Theropoda

Dinosaurs are strongly associated with these strata, but there is only very fragmentary evidence of Ornithischians including a single, large footprint.  This suggests that bird-hipped dinosaurs were present but, in contrast to most other Cretaceous biotas, they seem very much underrepresented by the fossil material.  Sauropods such as the rebbachisaurid Rebbachisaurus garasbae and titanosaurs are known from both the Douira and Gara Sbaa formations, however, it is theropod specimens that dominate the Dinosauria associated with the Kem Kem Group.  There is evidence to support one medium-sized to large Kem Kem abelisaurid and the discovery of single neck bone (cervical vertebra) indicates a Noasauridae presence.

Huge hypercarnivores such as Carcharodontosaurus saharicus and Spinosaurus aegyptiacus have been reported.  The habitat seemed to have an overabundance of large, carnivorous dinosaurs, although extensive niche partitioning is proposed by several authors.

Perhaps the Most Famous African Dinosaur of them all – Spinosaurus aegyptiacus

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus skull and skeleton.

Skull and skeletal reconstruction of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.  Scale bars equal 40 cm in A and B, whilst in C the scale bar is 1 metre.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

Deltadromeus agilis

One of the most mysterious of all the theropods from Morocco is Deltadromeus agilis.  The taxonomic position of this meat-eater remains controversial.  A partial skeleton (UCRC PV11), was discovered in a coarse sandstone layer in the upper portions of the Gara Sbaa Formation.  The bones were found in association with teeth of the huge sawfish Onchopristis as well as teeth from crocodyliforms.  Fossils associated with D. agilis from eastern Morocco show a resemblance to isolated material recovered from the roughly contemporaneous Bahariya oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt by the German palaeontologist Ernst Stromer.  The Egyptian fossils were assigned to the taxon Bahariasaurus ingens, but the Moroccan and Egyptian material could represent the same genus.  If this is the case, then D. agilis would become a senior synonym of B. ingens.  A single thigh bone from the Bahariya oasis measures 144 cm long.  This suggests that whatever sort of carnivore Deltadromeus/Bahariasaurus was, it was huge.  Some commentators have suggested that based on femur proportions Deltadromeus could have been only slightly shorter (but more lightly built), than Tyrannosaurus rex.

Holotype of D. agilis (A)  and Compared in Size to the Egyptian Femur Specimen (B)

Deltadromeus agilis skeleton reconstruction.

Deltadromeus agilis from Morocco and Egypt.  A (A) revised reconstruction based on UCRC PV11 (B) holotype compared to a large femur (now lost) referred to the genus and species from the Bahariya Formation, Egypt.  Known elements in white.  Scale bars: 1 m.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

Sadly, like much of Stromer’s material from the Egyptian expeditions, the femur has been lost.

It is very likely that there were lots of smaller predatory dinosaurs too. Dromaeosaurid teeth have been reported from several localities but bones are exceptionally rare and the only positively identified dromaeosaurid skeletal elements are some foot bones found in Sudan and recovered from Cenomanian-age rocks.

A Predominance of Aquatic Predators

The authors state that the Kem Kem assemblage is dominated by aquatic and subaquatic invertebrates and vertebrates, the majority of which are predators. They suggest that as most of the taxa are exploiting aquatic food resources, then like modern marine food chains, the habitat is predator dominated.  As to the overabundance of carnivorous dinosaurs compared to plant-eating ones, the researchers conclude that this is not due to sampling bias or preservation factors.  Large theropods in the food web were supported primarily in the case of Spinosaurus or secondarily in the case of the terrestrial carnivores by the huge amount of aquatic protein sources.

The dissected deltaic plain and nearshore environments may have enhanced aquatic resources while limiting, or rendering patchy areas of available vegetation for large-bodied dinosaurian herbivores. Hence the bias towards carnivores when it comes to assessing the fossilised remains of dinosaurs from the Kem Kem beds.

The Presence of So Many Carnivores could be Explained by the Abundance of Aquatic Food Sources such as Small Fish

Serenoichthys kemkemensis from the Douira Formation.

Serenoichthys kemkemensis from the Douira Formation.  Scale bar equals 1 cm.  The abundance of predators could be explained by the large amount of aquatic protein sources present in the environment.

Picture Credit: Ibrahim et al (ZooKeys)

The scientific paper: “Geology and paleontology of the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem Group of eastern Morocco” by Nizar Ibrahim, Paul C. Sereno, David J. Varricchio, David M. Martill, Didier B. Dutheil, David M. Unwin, Lahssen Baidder, Hans C. E. Larsson, Samir Zouhri and Abdelhadi Kaoukaya published in ZooKeys.

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23 05, 2020

The Principle of Superposition

By | May 23rd, 2020|Educational Activities, Geology, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Explaining The Principle of Superposition

Everything Dinosaur received an enquiry earlier this week from a young student studying rocks and fossils at their school as part of a geology project.  The student asked, “what is the law of superposition?” Our team members were happy to provide a short explanation.

The principle of superposition, often referred to as the law of superposition is an observation that sedimentary layers of rock at the bottom of a sequence if they undeformed, then they must be older than those at the top.  The bottom layers must have been in existence in order to permit the upper layers to have been deposited on top of them.

Layers of Sedimentary Rock Demonstrating the Principle of Superposition

The Church cliffs at Lyme Regis.

Fossil hunting can be fun but beware of the cliffs.  The Church cliffs at Lyme Regis are notoriously unstable and dangerous but they do help to demonstrate the law of superposition.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A Fundamental Principle of Geology

The law of superposition is regarded as one of the fundamental principles that underpins modern geology, although this principle is very much applicable in other research fields such as archaeology.  It helps to provide a basis for the relative dating of strata.  As the oldest strata will always be found at the bottom of an undeformed, observable sequence of sedimentary rocks.  It is extremely helpful when considering stratigraphical dating, which is governed by the proposition that a layer cannot be older than its constituents.

The introduction of this principle is accredited to the Danish polymath Nicolas Stenos (1638-1686), often referred to as the “father of modern geology”.  In 2012, Nicolas Stenos was honoured with the creation of a Google doodle demonstrating his principle complete with illustrations of fossils.

The 2012 Google Doodle Honouring Nicolas Stenos

Remembering the Contribution of Nicolas Stenos.  Danish scientist honoured with a Google doodle.

Picture Credit: Google

This geological principle was popularised by the famous English geologist William Smith (1769-1839), who used this law to create the first ever map showing the geology of a landscape.  In 1815, the year of the battle of Waterloo, William Smith published a map outlining the geology of England, Wales and parts of Scotland.

The “Ground-breaking” First Geological Map to be Published

The William Smith Geological Map (1815).

Can you see the geology in your part of the world?

Picture Credit: The Geological Society of London

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22 05, 2020

13,000 Edmontosaurus Bones and Counting

By | May 22nd, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Massive Edmontosaurus Bonebed Provides Data on Dinosaur Decomposition

A team of scientists have produced a study mapping an astonishing dinosaur bonebed that has so far yielded a staggering total of 13,000 individual fossil elements.  In truth, the bonebed contains many more fossils, but individual dinosaur teeth, ossified tendons and other fragmentary elements under five centimetres in length have not been counted.  The site is located in eastern Wyoming and consists almost entirely of the preserved remains of a single type of dinosaur, a hadrosaur (Edmontosaurus annectens).  The bonebed study has not only provided a great deal of information about this duck-billed dinosaur but shed light on how death assemblages consisting of a large number of corpses are formed and how various bones of differing sizes might be transported before final deposition.

Dinosaur Bonebeds such as the Danek Edmontosaurus regalis Bonebed in Edmonton Have Yielded Thousands of Fossil Bones

Excavating an Edmontosaurus.

The Danek Edmontosaurus bonebed is typical of an Edmontosaurus-dominated bonebed which are widespread in the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian to Maastrichtian) of western North America).

Picture Credit: Victoria Arbour

The Hanson Ranch Bonebed (Lance Formation)

Writing in the on-line, open access journal PLOS One, the scientists which include Keith Synder of the Biology Dept. of the Southern Adventist University, Tennessee, document the taphonomy and depositional history of an extensive E. annectens bonebed known as Hanson Ranch, in the Lance Formation of eastern Wyoming.  The bonebed includes five main quarries and three exploratory quarries.  Approximately 13,000 elements including around 8,400 identifiable bones, have been recovered in 506 square metres of excavated area in twenty years (1996-2016).

Virtually all the fossils are located within a fine-grained (claystone to siltstone) bed that has a maximum depth of two metres.

Mapping the Stratigraphy of the Main Bonebeds at the Hanson Research Station (Wyoming)

The Stratigraphy of the Hanson Research station.

Local stratigraphy associated with the main bonebeds at the Hanson Research station.  The green arrow indicates position of main bonebed.

Picture Credit: Synder et al (PLOS One) with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur

An Excellent State of Preservation

Almost all the fossils recovered from the site exhibit exquisite preservation with little or no abrasion, breakages or signs of weathering prior to deposition.  All the material is disarticulated and scattered although over a relatively confined area.  This evidence in conjunction with analysis of the sediments associated with the fossils indicates that the bones were moved and buried after a period of initial decay and decomposition of the Edmontosaurus carcasses.

Mapping the Distribution of Fossil Bones in a Bonebed

A map showing the distribution of fossil material in an Edmontosaurus bonebed.

A map showing typical disarticulated fossil bone distribution in a bonebed.

Picture Credit: Synder et al (PLOS One)

Gaining a Better Understanding of Edmontosaurus Biostratigraphy

The thousands of fossil bones represent mainly adult or sub-adult specimens.  Due to the huge number of fossils associated with the Hanson Research site, the scientists have been able to gain a deeper understanding of Edmontosaurus biostratigraphy including how elements from the skeleton can be transported over distances prior to deposition.  The most abundant fossil bones are ischia, pubes, scapulae, ribs and limb bones.  In contrast, vertebrae, ilia and chevrons are rare.

When it comes to cranial material lower jaw bones (dentaries), nasals, quadrates and jugals are prevalent whilst premaxillae (upper jaw bones), predentaries and bones associated with the braincase are seldom found.  The researchers suggest that following decay and break-up of the carcase, water action sorted and removed the articulated sections such as the backbone and the smaller bones such as the digits and toes, before, or at the same time, the remaining material was swept up in a subaqueous debris flow that created the final deposit.

The scientists suggest that similar processes may have been at work that created the other hadrosaurid-dominated Upper Cretaceous bonebeds associated with such geological formations as Hell Creek, Two Medicine, Horseshoe Canyon, Prince Creek as well as the Lance Formations of western North America.  It is noted that there is a remarkably similar skeletal composition among the fossil bonebeds studied.  It is also noted that there is a significant correlation between the hadrosaurid bonebeds and fluvial assemblages representing thanatocoenosis* events seen with modern-day vertebrate death assemblages.

Thanatocoenosis* Explained

Thanatocoenosis refers to a site where a collection of fossils representing a variety of organisms are found together.  Such sites are often referred to as death assemblages.  The organisms represented at the location may not have been associated in life, but their remains have been transported and deposited together thus forming a fossil bed composed of an extensive amount of fossilised material.

Not All of the Dinosaur Fossils are Edmontosaurus

The bonebed can be described as monodominant as the vast majority of the fossil material found can be assigned to just one species Edmontosaurus annectens.  Non-dinosaurian terrestrial taxa identified include mammals and squamates along with the remains of many aquatic creatures such as crocodiles, turtles, gar and other fishes and numerous molluscs.  Some other types of plant-eating dinosaur are represented notably, ceratopsids, pachycephalosaurs, nodosaurs and members of the family Thescelosauridae.  Numerous shed theropod teeth are also associated with this location.  Everything Dinosaur will post up a separate article detailing one rather special theropod fossil associated with a quarry close to the Hanson Research station in the near future.

A Life Reconstruction of the Hadrosaurid Edmontosaurus

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Emontosaurus model.

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

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The scientific paper: “Over 13,000 elements from a single bonebed help elucidate disarticulation and transport of an Edmontosaurus thanatocoenosis” by Keith Snyder, Matthew McLain, Jared Wood and Arthur Chadwick published in PLOS One.

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21 05, 2020

Scientists Discover Giant Megaraptor

By | May 21st, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Ten-metre-long Giant from Patagonia

A team of international scientists led by Dr Fernando Novas of the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (Buenos Aires, Argentina), have been exploring the Upper Cretaceous, fossil rich beds at Estancia La Anita in the Province of Santa Cruz, Patagonia.  In a media release, circulated this week, the researchers from the Museo de Ciencias Naturales report the discovery of the fossilised remains of a giant megaraptorid dinosaur.  At an estimated ten metres in length, it potentially represents the largest confirmed member of the Megaraptora clade discovered to date.

A Field Team Member Carefully Removing Overburden Close to a Fossil Bone

Excavating the remains of a megaptor.

A field team member works close to a fossil bone.

Picture Credit: Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales

Upper Cretaceous Sediments

The research team, which includes scientists from a number of Argentinian universities as well as colleagues from the National Museum of Tokyo (Japan), have spent much of the early part of the southern hemisphere autumn, working in the remote and mountainous Estancia La Anita which is some 1,750 miles (2,800 km), south of Buenos Aires.  Many different vertebrate fossils were found, including those of the basal iguanodontid Isasicursor.  The palaeontologists speculate that rather than attack the titanosaurs that lived in this region during the Late Cretaceous, megaraptors may have specialised in catching smaller, more agile prey such as the five-metre-long Isasicursor.

Members of the Megaraptora were quite lightly-built, long-armed carnivores.  Very little is known about these dinosaurs, although they do seem to have been both geographically and temporally widely dispersed.  They were not closely related to the dromaeosaurids, a family of dinosaurs that includes the “raptors” such as Velociraptor.

A Speculative Life Reconstruction of the Giant Megaraptor from Argentina

Scale drawing of giant megaraptor from Argentina.

A speculative life reconstruction of the giant megaraptor from Patagonia.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Elements from the rib cage and vertebrae have been found, but sadly no skull material has been reported.  It is likely that a new genus will be erected as a result of these discoveries, the scientific paper is likely to be published next year.

The Field Team’s Campsite at the Remote Location

Remote Patagonian fossil dig.

The remote campsite at Estancia La Anita in Patagonia.

Picture Credit: Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales

One of the Last of its Kind

The fossils represent the youngest material discovered to date that have been assigned to the Megaraptora.  It is therefore quite likely that these types of theropod persisted until the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.  Fernando Novas has been instrumental in the development of our understanding of this type of carnivorous dinosaur.  It was Dr Novas who co-authored the review of theropod dinosaurs from Argentina in 2013, that led to the establishment of the Megaraptor clade.

To read a related article from Everything Dinosaur that looks at the ancient biota from this part of the Late Cretaceous of Argentina: Dinosaurs from the End of the World.

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20 05, 2020

The First Elaphrosaurine Theropod Reported from Australia

By | May 20th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Curious Cervical Leads to Startling Conclusion

Think of a theropod dinosaur and a ferocious carnivore with a large head and big teeth probably comes to mind.  However, the Theropoda is an extremely diverse clade within the Dinosauria, not all of them were big, particularly ferocious or even had teeth.   One group the elaphrosaurines, were very bizarre indeed and the discovery of a single neck bone in Victoria has led to the conclusion that these strange, light-weight dinosaurs distantly related to Carnotaurus, roamed Australia in the Early Cretaceous.

A Life Reconstruction of the Australian Elaphrosaurine

Life reconstruction of the elaphrosaur from Victoria.

A life reconstruction of the first elaphrosaur from Australia.

Picture Credit: Ruairdh Duncan (Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria)

From the Lower Cretaceous of Australia

Volunteer Jessica Parker discovered a 5-centimetre-long bone whilst helping out at the annual Dinosaur Dreaming excavation near Cape Otway, Victoria (2015).  The sediments at the site, known as Eric the Red West, date from the late Albian faunal stage of the Lower Cretaceous and are part of the Eumeralla Formation.  At first, the bone identified as a cervical vertebra (neck bone), was thought to have come from a pterosaur.

Intriguingly for Swinburne University palaeontologist Dr Stephen Poropat and PhD student Adele Pentland, once the fossil specimen had been prepared it became clear that this was not a bone from the middle portion of the neck of a flying reptile.

Dr Poropat explained:

“Pterosaur neck vertebrae are very distinctive.  In all known pterosaurs, the body of the vertebra has a socket at the head end, and a ball or condyle at the body end.  This vertebra had sockets at both ends, so it could not have been from a pterosaur.”

The Cervical Vertebra – Evidence of Australia’s First Elaphrosaur

The cervical vertebra (elaphrosaur0.

The five-centimetre-long bone identified as a middle cervical from an elaphrosaur.

Picture Credit: Dr Stephen Poropat

Geologically Much Younger Than Most Elaphrosaurines

The taxonomic affinity of the subfamily Elaphrosaurinae within the Theropoda remains controversial.  A number of authors have placed this little-known group, characterised by their small, light, graceful bodies, tiny heads, long necks and reduced forelimbs within the Noasauridae family, which means that they are distantly related to abelisaurids such as Ekrixinatosaurus, Majungasaurus and Carnotaurus.

Most elaphrosaurs are known from the Late Jurassic, but this new elaphrosaur from Australia, lived some forty million years later. Only Huinculsaurus (H. montesi), from the Cenomanian/Turonian (early Late Cretaceous), of Argentina is geologically younger, than the Australian fossil remains.

The Fossil Find Location, Typical Elaphrosaurine Body Plan and Placing the Fossil Find in a Chronological Context

Elaphosaur timeline and typical body plan.

A silhouette of the elaphrosaur with a map showing fossil location and a timeline showing elaphrosaurine chronology.  The newly described elaphrosaurine from Victoria is geologically the second youngest member of this group known.

Picture Credit: Poropat et al (Gondwana Research)

A Dinosaur of the Polar Region

The discovery of this single, fossilised neckbone adds support to the idea that the elaphrosaurines were geographically and temporally much more widespread than previously thought.  The similarity of these dinosaurs to the much better-known ornithomimosaur theropods (bird mimics), could help to explain why few other Cretaceous elaphrosaur specimens have come to light. Fossil material may have been found but misidentified as representing ornithomimids.

As the Cape Otway location would have been situated much further south during the Early Cretaceous (110-107 million years ago), at around a latitude of 76 degrees south, this implies that elaphrosaurines were capable of tolerating near-polar palaeoenvironments.

Recently, Everything Dinosaur wrote a post about the discovery of noasaurid from an opal mine close to Lightning Ridge (New South Wales).  Noasaurids and elaphrosaurines were related, most scientists classifying them as different branches within the Abelisauroidea.  Coincidentally, the New South Wales noasaurid was identified from a single cervical vertebra too.  Both it and the Cape Otway elaphrosaurine dinosaur have not been assigned to any genus, but both fossils are likely to represent new species.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article about the recently discovered noasaurid from New South Wales: Noasaurids from Australia.

The scientific paper: “First elaphrosaurine theropod dinosaur (Ceratosauria: Noasauridae) from Australia — A cervical vertebra from the Early Cretaceous of Victoria” by Stephen F. Poropat, Adele H. Pentland, Ruairidh J. Duncan, Joseph J. Bevitt, Patricia Vickers-Rich and Thomas H. Rich published in Gondwana Research.

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19 05, 2020

Turntable Tuesday – Gryposaurus Dinosaur Model

By | May 19th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus “Turntable Tuesday”

It’s “Turntable Tuesday” and today, it is the turn of the award-winning Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus to be put through its paces on the Everything Dinosaur turntable.  This fantastic model of a hadrosaur was introduced in 2013 and it was awarded the accolade of best dinosaur toy of the year by readers of the prestigious “Prehistoric Times” magazine.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus Dinosaur Model – “Turntable Tuesday”

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus Dinosaur Model

Our short video (it lasts under two minutes), shows the beautiful, blue-eyed Gryposaurus figure.  We also use this opportunity to compare it to the recently introduced Edmontosaurus model, also from Safari Ltd.  Within the large Hadrosauridae family, both Edmontosaurus and Gryposaurus are members of the Saurolophinae sub-family, sometimes referred to as the Hadrosaurinae, although these duck-billed dinosaurs were not that closely related.  Both genera are associated with the North American landmass Laramidia, in general terms, Edmontosaurus specimens tend to be associated with younger strata.  For example, Edmontosaurus annectens is confined to the late Maastrichtian, whilst the species within the Gryposaurus genus are associated with older Campanian-aged deposits.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus Compared to the Edmontosaurus Figure

Gryposaurus compared to Edmontosaurus.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus compared to the 2020 Edmontosaurus from the same model range.  The Gryposaurus (left), compared to the recently introduced Wild Safari Prehistoric World Edmontosaurus (right).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

For an article about the Gryposaurus winning the best new dinosaur toy of 2013: Gryposaurus Model Wins Top Award.

“Hook-nosed Lizard”

Named as a result of its prominent nasal arch, that gives Gryposaurus its distinctive bulbous-looking snout, this dinosaur compares very well to the 2020 Edmontosaurus.  Although no scaling for these figures is given, the two models are roughly comparable in scale, Gryposaurus being regarded as smaller than both E. regalis and E. annectens.  When these two figures are together on our turntable we refer to them as “a dazzling duo of duck-bills”.

A Close View of “Hook-nosed Lizard” – Gryposaurus

The Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus dinosaur model.

“Turntable Tuesday” Gryposaurus on display.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

The short video highlighting the Gryposaurus figure can be found on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel.  We plan to post up one new video a week, plus more in-depth reviews of prehistoric animal models and replicas.

To view these videos check out our YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.

Sales of the Wild Safari Prehistoric World Gryposaurus model at Everything Dinosaur are accompanied with a fact sheet, researched and written by team members that provides further information on this herbivorous dinosaur.

To purchase the Gryposaurus figure (as well as the new for 2020 Wild Safari Prehistoric World Edmontosaurus), click this link: Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models and Figures.

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18 05, 2020

Tiny Crystals Can Stop Contaminants in their Tracks

By | May 18th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Tiny Crystals Plug Gaps Limiting the Uptake of Contaminants in Rocks

Research published today by a UK-based team of scientists has shown for the first time that the mobility of potentially harmful contaminants in crystalline rocks over long periods of time may be severely limited due to the presence of tiny crystals, meaning contaminant movement is likely to be focused to water-bearing fractures only.  Movement of contaminants through rocks below ground can act to spread contamination, an issue relevant to the geological disposal of some wastes.  Scientists and academics undertake studies to enhance their understanding of how this process works, helping to reduce uncertainties and to assess potential environmental risks.

These new results shed light on the difficult problem of how contaminants may move over extremely long time periods and should improve our ability to calculate long term risks.  This study, published in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”, examined crystalline (granite) rock samples from an underground system in Japan (Upper Cretaceous Toki Granite) and the results imply that in many cases the importance of “rock matrix diffusion” may be minimal.  Additional analyses of a contrasting crystalline rock system (Carnmenellis Granite, from the UK) confirm and corroborate these results.

The Japanese samples were taken from the Toki Granite pluton which was formed around 70 million years ago.

CT-Scans Permitted the Researchers to Map Voids and Fractures in the Granite Samples

Pore space analysis in the igneous rocks.

Pore sizes and pore distributions within the Toki and Carnmenellis granite proximate to primary fractures (indicated by solid blue regions at upper surfaces) as determined via X–ray CT analysis.

Picture Credit: Wogelius et al published in “Scientific Reports”

These findings, which apply to long-lived systems, build on previous field studies and laboratory assessments over short periods of time which also suggested that contaminant mobility in crystalline rocks, such as granite, will be limited to short distances in parts of the rock that are away from large fractures.  This new work has examined rocks from ancient crystalline rock systems in Japan and the UK to show that even over immensely long periods of geological time the movement of elements within such crystalline rock is indeed small, in large part because the formation of large quantities of small crystals during the aging of the rock acts to seal small openings and limit fluid access to only a few millimetres of the rock bordering fractures.

Professor Roy Wogelius, the senior author on this paper, commented:

“We set out to test exactly what we could resolve in terms of fluid access to the matrix of these rocks and we were amazed at the extremely limited volume involved.  But what was most amazing to us was the distribution of tiny crystals of carbonate minerals throughout what we usually think of as a uniform block of crystalline rock.  Here, unexpected little crystals of calcite appear throughout the rock plugging up all the tiny openings.  These crystals clog everything up and keep most of the fluid in large cracks with no access to smaller openings.  This effectively shuts down contaminant access to the rock mass, meaning any contaminant movement would likely focus in rock fractures only. “

This study in combination with other collaborative research projects will help geologists to produce more accurate models of how pollutants and other contaminants can persist in the environment and threaten groundwater.

The work was completed by researchers from UK academia (The University of Manchester and the University of Leeds), in partnership with the British Geological Survey, two environmental consultancies – Quintessa and NSG – and was funded as part of collaborative work with the UK organisation Radioactive Waste Management.

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

The scientific paper: “Mineral reaction kinetics constrain the length scale of rock matrix diffusion” by R. A. Wogelius, A. E. Milodowski, L. P. Field, R. Metcalfe, T. Lowe, A. van Veelen, G. Carpenter, S. Norris and B. Yardley published in Scientific Reports.

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17 05, 2020

Preparing a Script for the Wild Past Protoceratops

By | May 17th, 2020|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Scripting a Video Review of the Wild Past Protoceratops Model

Everything Dinosaur team members have been working on a video review of the recently introduced Wild Past Protoceratops dinosaur model.  The model, representing Protoceratops andrewsi is the first prehistoric animal in this exciting new range.  Our video review, due to be published shortly on Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel, will look at the model, the nest of young Protoceratops and comment on the excellent packaging.  We also intend to provide a little bit of scientific information about Protoceratops and the two species that currently comprise this genus (P. andrewsi and P. hellenikorhinus).

The Wild Past Protoceratops Dinosaur Model (Still from Video Review)

Wild Past Protoceratops model.

A bird-hipped dinosaur in the hand.  The Wild Past Protoceratops andrewsi model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Synonymous with Dinosaur Eggs

Protoceratops is synonymous with the discovery of dinosaur eggs.  Eggshell fragments were found in the area of the Flaming Cliffs by the American Museum of Natural History expedition in 1922 and they returned to the same area in the following year and discovered several nests full of fossilised eggs.  As Protoceratops was the most abundant dinosaur known from the Djadokhta Formation it was assumed that the nests had been created by “first horned face”.  The discovery of a fragmentary bird-like fossil found within ten centimetres from the eggs, immediately put this strange theropod under suspicion of having been overtaken by a sandstorm whilst in the process of raiding the Protoceratops nest.  This new dinosaur was subsequently named Oviraptor philoceratops which translates as “Egg thief with a liking for Protoceratops”.

A “Classic” Dinosaur Illustration Protoceratops Confronts the “Egg Thief” Oviraptor

Protoceratops defends its nest from Oviraptor.

Protoceratops confronts Oviraptor- the egg thief.  A “classic” dinosaur illustration by Rudolph F. Zallinger.  A re-interpretation of the fossil evidence indicates that “egg thief” was actually brooding the eggs on the nest.

Picture Credit: Rudolph F. Zallinger

Slandering Oviraptor

We now know that the name Oviraptor slanders this dinosaur, it was not stealing the eggs but brooding them, a more appropriate name might be “conscientious lizard”, the first oviraptorid dinosaur ever to be scientifically described, died whilst protecting its own young.  However, the rules surrounding zoological names are clear, you cannot change a name, no matter how inappropriate it subsequently turns out to be.

The Wild Past Protoceratops andrewsi with Nest

The Wild Past Protoceratops and Nest.

The Wild Past Protoceratops and the nest of Protoceratops babies that accompanies the model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In 2011,  a scientific paper was published that finally described a nest associated Protoceratops andrewsi that had been recovered from the Djadokhta Formation.  Just like the Wild Past model, the nest contained recently hatched babies.  Analysis of their tiny fossil bones demonstrated that the baby Protoceratops were incapable of moving far on their own and that Protoceratops probably was an altricial species, that is, the young relied on their parents to feed them and to look after them.  There is much to be admired in the details shown in the Wild Past Protoceratops nest and it is great to see that this replica comes with a nest of youngsters reflecting the fossil record.

To view the Wild Past section of the Everything Dinosaur website including the Protoceratops model: Wild Past Prehistoric Animals.

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