The move into our bespoke offices and warehousing has prompted us to revamp and revise our corporate clothing. Although, very pleasant and cool in the summer, a characteristic of our premises much appreciated by all the couriers and delivery people who visit us, our offices and warehouse are very chilly in winter. When the offices and other facilities were being built in February and March it was noticed that it was very cold. Several layers were required. In the light of this, we have invested in new corporate clothing including beanie hats for team members.
Incorporating the Everything Dinosaur Logo
The practical workwear includes sweatshirts, polo shirts, shorts and waterproof jackets, all of which will prominently display the Everything Dinosaur logo. We work very long hours and weekends, so we might as well be comfortable and warm especially when picking orders prior to sorting them in the packing room and preparing them for despatch.
Sue from Everything Dinosaur commented that the new clothing was quite smart, practical and sensible and would also prove beneficial when going out fossil hunting. Even the polo shirts had been given pockets – a handy place to store a small fossil if one was spotted whilst walking in a quarry or along a beach.
Everything Dinosaur can confirm that PNSO will add a replica of the controversial tyrannosaur Nanotyrannus to their mid-size model range. Logan the Nanotyrannus should be available from Everything Dinosaur in the late summer.
The Controversy over Nanotyrannus
Nanotyrannus lancensis is a disputed taxon, attributed to fossil skeletal and skull specimens that overlapped in time and space with Tyrannosaurus rex. The shape of the skull that was constructed based on the disputed Nanotyrannus material is very different from that of T. rex, but palaeontologists now know that the body shape and skull morphology of the “king of the tyrant lizards” changed dramatically as this predator grew and matured.
Named and described in 1988 (Bakker et al), based on a slender skull (CMNH 7541) from Lance Formation exposures in Montana, at the time the researchers concluded that the skull represented an adult animal, but this has been refuted by a number of authors since publication.
Nanotyrannus Model Measurements
The new for 2021 Nanotyrannus is the latest tyrannosauroid to be added to the PNSO mid-size model range following the introduction of the introduction of A-Shu the Qianzhousaurus and the recent announcements concerning Chuanzi the Tarbosaurus and Yinqi the Yutyrannus which are due to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur very soon (summer 2021).
The model measures 17 cm long and although PNSO does not propose a scale for their mid-size models, team members speculate that based on the original holotype material associated with Nanotyrannus which suggests an animal around 5.2 metres in length, the figure is in approximately 1:30 scale.
It Could Represent a Model of a Juvenile T. rex
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:
“Whilst this taxon remains is dispute, model collectors and dinosaur fans will be delighted to see a replica of Nanotyrannus come into the PNSO model series. Recently, PNSO has focused on showcasing some of the remarkable fauna associated with the Late Cretaceous of North America and Logan the Nanotyrannus will be a welcome addition. It will no doubt foster a debate about whether Nanotyrannus is a valid genus but after all, this figure could always represent a juvenile T. rex and as such it will work well with the other Tyrannosaurus rex models that PNSO offers”.
Supplied with a Transparent Support Stand
Logan the PNSO Nanotyrannus is supplied with a handy, transparent support stand to aid the replica’s stability when it is on display.
The PNSO Logan the Nanotyrannus dinosaur model is expected to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the late summer (summer 2021), to view the range of PNSO figures in models currently in stock: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.
A new study into those bizarre theropods the alvarezsauroids, indicates that they became much smaller in the Late Cretaceous. Newly published research in “Current Biology” suggests that these dinosaurs reduced in size about 95 million years ago when they became specialised insectivores.
The research team, which included PhD student Zichuan Qin and Professor Michael Benton (Bristol University), along with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, George Washington University (USA) and Jonah N Choiniere from the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), conclude that the miniaturisation of the alvarezsauroids probably coincided with adaptations to feeding on termites and ants. It has been a busy week for Professor Choiniere, as Everything Dinosaur recently published an article summarising a study of Heterodontosaurus that Professor Choiniere had co-authored: Breathing Life into the Dinosauria.
Miniaturisation in the Dinosauria is Very Rare
The research team define sustained miniaturisation within a group of animals as a drop in body size of at least two orders of magnitude from ancestors to descendants. This trait has been recorded many times in terrestrial vertebrates such as dwarf hippos and elephants, diminutive chameleons and tiny frogs. Miniaturisation is often associated with animals living in environments with limited resources such as islands and as such dwarf forms of dinosaurs associated with “island dwarfism” are known. However, in general terms miniaturisation within the Dinosauria is rare.
Miniaturisation is recorded twice within the Dinosauria:
Once in the avialan theropods as powered flight evolved (the lineage leading to birds).
Once in the Alvarezsauroidea -a bizarre group of dinosaurs nested within the Maniraptora.
Measuring Alvarezsaurs and Calculating their Age
The scientists measured the fossilised remains of dozens of these dinosaurs and assessed bone histology to separate juvenile, not fully grown specimens from adult fossil remains. They demonstrated that alvarezsaurs ranged in size from about 10 kilograms up to 70 kilograms for most of their evolutionary history, but from about 95 million years ago, very much smaller, chicken-sized forms, weighing less than 5 kilograms evolved. This miniaturisation coincided with these dinosaurs adopting a more specialised diet, that of consuming ants and termites.
Professor Michael Benton commented:
“Perhaps competition with other dinosaurs intensified through the Cretaceous. The Cretaceous was a time of rapidly evolving ecosystems and the biggest change was the gradual takeover by flowering plants. Flowering plants changed the nature of the landscape completely, and yet dinosaurs mostly did not feed on these new plants. But they led to an explosion of new types of insects, including ants and termites”.
The Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution
The rapid evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms), led to a dramatic change in ecosystems with modern-looking woodlands and forests evolving with a diverse flora and fauna, including an enormous increase in insects that specialised on feeding on the leaves, nectar, petals and pollen of the flowering plants. This restructuring of ecosystems has been called the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution.
Whilst most other types of dinosaurs got bigger as they evolved, the alvarezsaurs seem to be the exception. When the first of these bizarre theropods evolved some of them were ostrich-sized, such as Haplocheirus, with sharp teeth and strong, flexible forelimbs suggesting a mixed and varied diet. However, from about 95 million years ago, body size plummeted and claw shapes changed from grabbing and tearing types to more robust forms. Arms became reduced as did the number of digits.
Mononykus (M. olecranus) typifies the Late Cretaceous alvarezsaurids. It roamed southern Mongolia around 70 million years ago and it measured about a metre in length and weighed around 3.5 kilograms. The forelimbs of Mononykus were tiny and they terminated in a hand that had just one digit topped with a very robust probe-like claw. This claw seems ideally suited to punching holes in termite mounds.
The Second Case of Miniaturisation within the Dinosauria
Whilst most scientists accept the link between getting smaller and the evolution of powered flight within the branch of the Dinosauria leading to the evolution of birds, not much research had been undertaken into alvarezsauroid miniaturisation.
Professor Xing Xu (Chinese Academy of Sciences), a co-author of the study added:
“This is a very strange result, but it seems to be true. All other dinosaurs were getting bigger and bigger, but one group of flesh-eaters miniaturised and this was associated with living in trees and flying. They eventually became birds. We’ve identified a second miniaturisation event – but it wasn’t for flight, but to accommodate a completely new diet, switching from flesh to termites.”
The scientific paper: “Growth and miniaturization among alvarezsauroid dinosaurs” by Zichuan Qin, Qi Zhao, Jonah N. Choiniere, James M. Clark, Michael J. Benton and Xing Xu published in Current Biology.
A beautifully preserved and almost complete fossil specimen of the early ornithischian Heterodontosaurus (H. tucki) has provided palaeontologists with a fresh perspective on how bird-hipped dinosaurs breathed.
An international team of scientists including Richard Butler, a professor of palaeobiology at the University of Birmingham, Jonah Choiniere, a professor of comparative palaeobiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Kimberley Chapelle, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History (New York), subjected the 200-million-year-old fossil to a series of extremely powerful X-rays courtesy of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, (France). The data from these scans permitted the researchers to construct computer models reassembling the skeleton in unprecedented detail and to learn how this dinosaur breathed.
Getting to Understand the Unique Ornithischian Dinosaurs
Vertebrates like reptiles, birds and mammals all move air through their lungs in different ways. Mammals like us have a diaphragm, whilst lizards use rib movements to help them move air through their lungs. Birds have another, very different respiratory system which is more efficient than our own. Birds have thin-walled air sacs connected to their lungs. These air sacs fill a considerable portion of the body cavity. They are not involved directly in gas exchange but function as bellows to direct airflow through the lungs in one direction, from back to front. This increases lung efficiency. To read an article from 2007 that examines how non-avian dinosaurs might have breathed: Dinosaur Breathing Study.
This study showed that Heterodontosaurus was using its oddly shaped ribs connected to its sternum to breathe, but that it also showed the first steps towards a muscle attached to the hips that would inflate the lung – similar to how crocodiles breathe.
Lead author of the scientific study published in the journal eLife, Viktor Radermacher (PhD student in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences), commented:
“This specimen represents a turning point in understanding how dinosaurs evolved”.
Fossil Discovered in 2009
The specimen, representing a sub-adult Heterodontosaurus was discovered in 2009, eroding out of a riverbed. It is the most complete Heterodontosaurus fossil known to science. The surrounding matrix is very hard, so removal of the individual bones was not possible, but employing extremely powerful X-rays allows the scientists to peer inside the matrix and reconstruct the anatomy of this dinosaur.
Described in 1962, Heterodontosaurus is thought to one of the most primitive members of the Ornithischia (bird-hipped dinosaurs), although the exact taxonomic placement of the Heterodontosauridae is still debated and their early evolution remains obscure. Ornithischian dinosaurs include the armoured dinosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, ceratopsians and the ornithopods – which encompasses such well-known dinosaurs as Iguanodon and the duck-billed dinosaurs.
Research team member Richard Butler (Birmingham University), explained the importance of this study:
“We’ve long known that the skeletons of ornithischian dinosaurs were radically different from those of other dinosaurs. This amazing new fossil helps us understand why ornithischians were so distinctive and successful”.
Not All Dinosaurs Breathed in the Same Way
The research revealed that Heterodontosaurus possessed numerous gastralia (belly ribs), the first time this anatomical feature has been found in an ornithischian and several other, unique autapomorphies (characteristics), that are unknown in other bird-hipped dinosaurs. For example, it had paddle-shaped sternal ribs and a forward projecting sternum. The team concluded that this suite of anatomical features enabled Heterodontosaurus to breathe in a different way when compared to other members of the Dinosauria. Heterodontosaurus forced air into its lungs by expanding both its belly and chest.
Lead author Viktor Radermacher stated:
“We have actually never known how these ornithischians breathed. The interesting thing is that Heterodontosaurus is the ancestor of this group and it has these [newly discovered] pieces of anatomy, but its descendants don’t. What that means is that Heterodontosaurus is a missing link between the ancestors of dinosaurs and the bigger, charismatic species we know. This gives us a whole bunch of information and fills in some pretty glaring gaps in our knowledge of the biology of these dinosaurs.”
Different Solutions to the Need to Breathe
Viktor Radermacher explained that this research demonstrates that there is still a lot to learn about the Dinosauria and that many different types of tetrapod evolved different solutions when it came to getting oxygen to their muscles.
“The takeaway message is that there are many ways to breathe. The really interesting thing about life on Earth is that we all have different strategies to do the same thing, and we’ve just identified a new strategy of breathing. This shows that utilising dinosaurs and palaeontology, we can learn more about the diversity of animals on Earth and how they breathe.”
The scientific paper: “A new Heterodontosaurus specimen elucidates the unique ventilatory macroevolution of ornithischian dinosaurs” by Viktor J Radermacher, Vincent Fernandez, Emma R Schachner, Richard J Butler, Emese M Bordy, Michael Naylor Hudgins, William J de Klerk, Kimberley E J Chapelle and Jonah N Choiniere published in eLife.
A few days ago, Everything Dinosaur published a drawing of the marine reptile Elasmosaurus that we had commissioned. Today, we publish an illustration of the monstrous fish that was a contemporary of Elasmosaurus, another resident of “Hell’s Aquarium” otherwise known as the Western Interior Seaway. The fish is Xiphactinus and we have commissioned an illustration of this predator as we prepare for the arrival of the 1:40 scale CollectA Deluxe Xiphactinus replica in a few weeks’ time.
Xiphactinus “Sword Ray”
Xiphactinus was a large, bony fish that was both geographically and temporally widespread. The genus name is from the Latin and Greek and translates as “sword ray”, with some specimens over six metres in length, this was one very voracious predator and prehistoric animal model collectors have been keen to get a figure of Xiphactinus introduced into a mainstream model series.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that this figure, along with the other remaining new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal figures should be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in August or thereabouts.
The spokesperson went onto explain that the Xiphactinus (pronounced Zee-fak-tin-us), drawing would be used in a fact sheet that would be sent out with purchases of this CollectA model.
Xiphactinus and Elasmosaurus
As well as being contemporaries in the marine biota of the Western Interior Seaway, Everything Dinosaur expects these two models to arrive at their UK warehouse at the same time. These figures will no doubt provide double delight for fans of marine monsters.
As Everything Dinosaur team members have written quite a lot about staying safe when visiting the beaches around Lyme Regis on the famous Jurassic Coast of southern England, we are now receiving emails from first time visitors to Dorset asking for our advice.
Our dedicated team members are happy to provide assistance and to direct these enquiries to the local tourist information office and various visitor centres.
As the school holidays approach many families are wanting to have a vacation in the UK rather than travel abroad. The Dorset coast is a popular destination and first-time visitors have turned to Everything Dinosaur for advice on staying safe when visiting the beaches. Whilst team members can provide general information and guidance it is important that visitors obey any local notices that have been posted up.
Avoid the cliffs, don’t go near them and whatever you do please do not attempt to climb them. For further information about visiting the beaches around Lyme Regis: Visiting Lyme Regis in Summer. If you are at Charmouth, pop into the local Heritage Centre and ask their advice, you may also be able to book a fossil walk or at least enquire about availability.
Supervised fossil walks are always a good idea, most are now fully booked but it might be worthwhile emailing local guides and enquiring. Brandon Lennon is one of the most respected in the area, he can be contacted here: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks.
For further advice you can visit the local Lyme Regis Tourist Information centre located in the town centre of Lyme Regis – 62, Church Street, Lyme Regis DT7 3BS. Local knowledge can be invaluable.
If you want specific information about tides and beach safety, you can enquire at the lifeboat station down on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. Alternatively, there are a number of websites that provide information about high and low tides on this part of the coast, or for a small fee, an annual tide timetable can be purchased.
The results of the independent tests undertaken by Eurofins on the YvY Figures Dino Hazard 1:20 scale Irritator challengeri dinosaur model have arrived. In Everything Dinosaur’s next YouTube video, we will announce the results and explain a little more about the steps required in order to allow Everything Dinosaur to bring this replica into the company’s UK warehouse.
Independent Product Tests
Once a sample of the Dino Hazard Irritator challengeri figure had been received, Everything Dinosaur set about commissioning independent product safety tests under the General Product Safety Directive. Eurofins was the testing company that Everything Dinosaur sent this dinosaur model to so that an assessment could be carried out.
Eurofins is one of the largest and most respected testing companies in the world. It employs over 50,000 staff across a network of more than 900 independent companies and it has more than 800 laboratories located in 50 countries. The Eurofins Group is committed to providing the highest quality services, accurate results and expert advice from its highly qualified staff. The reliability and accuracy of their analytical services help customers like Everything Dinosaur make decisions about which dinosaur models to bring into the UK and then sell around the world.
Subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube
In a few days, Everything Dinosaur will post up a short video on the company’s YouTube channel discussing the Eurofins assessment and the next steps that the UK-based company needs to take in order to bring this exciting dinosaur model out of China.
The Everything Dinosaur YouTube channel is packed with lots of prehistoric animal model reviews, collecting hints and tips and lots of helpful information. There are over 170 videos on the channel, we recommend that you subscribe to Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube.
A new species of dinosaur has been named and described from a jawbone found in Castellón, Spain. The dinosaur has been named Portellsaurus sosbaynati and it has been classified as a member of the Ornithopoda subgroup Styracosterna. Its discovery could help shed light on the evolution of the Hadrosauroidea – the duck-billed dinosaurs, from other large-bodied dinosaurs more closely related to the iguanodontids.
The fossil material, consisting of a right dentary (lower jawbone), specimen number MQ98-II-1, comes from Mirambell Formation exposures at a site near Mas de Curolles, Portell, Castellón (Spain). The fossil is around 129-130 million years old (Barremian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous). The strata represent a shallow lagoon and although no other fossil material has been described, unique characteristics associated with the dentary combined with the fossil’s geological age, permitted the research team to erect a new genus of herbivorous dinosaur.
Writing in the on-line academic journal PLoS One, the researchers from Universitat Jaume I, Grup Guix and Valencia University, conclude that Portellsaurus is closely related to Ouranosaurus (O. nigeriensis) from Africa and Bolong (B. yixianensis) from north-eastern China.
Based on comparisons with other fossil material from other better-known iguanodontids and hadrosauroids, the scientists estimate that Portellsaurus could have been up to 8 metres long. The genus name for this new Spanish dinosaur honours the town of Portell, whilst the trivial name honours Vicente Sos Baynat, a Spanish geologist born in Castelló de la Plana and the first scientist to be awarded the accolade of honorary doctorate by the Universitat Jaume I.
Not Closely Related to Other Large-bodied Iberian Ornithopods
In addition, the scientists including corresponding author Andrés Santos-Cubedo (Universitat Jaume I), conclude that Portellsaurus sosbaynati is less closely related to other Iberian taxa such as Iguanodon bernissartensis and Proa valdearinnoensis than it is to the other Early Cretaceous Iberian styracosternans Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis and Morelladon beltrani, although Portellsaurus is geologically several million years older than both Mantellisaurus and Morelladon.
The scientific paper: “A new styracosternan hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous of Portell, Spain” by Andrés Santos-Cubedo, Carlos de Santisteban, Begoña Poza and Sergi Meseguer published in PLoS One.
Editor Mike Fredericks kindly sent Everything Dinosaur a preview image of the forthcoming summer edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine. This quarterly magazine is aimed at prehistoric animal enthusiasts and collectors of dinosaur models. Each edition is packed with amazing articles, reviews of the latest models and interviews with leading artists and Earth scientists.
Issue 138 (summer 2021), features the stunning artwork of renowned American palaeoartist Mark Hallett.
Oregon-based Mark was working on a book describing the evolution of the horse, to be published by Columbia University Press. He had been busy preparing illustrations for “The Horse: A Natural History”, however, he has found time to produce some stunning artwork reflecting current thinking about our close cousins the Neanderthals.
Our views of the hominin Homo neanderthalensis have changed dramatically over the last three decades or so. Early perceptions about Neanderthals being brutish ape-like creatures have largely been replaced with a very different view. They made a variety of sophisticated tools, cooked using fire, lived in shelters and made and wore clothing. Neanderthals were very capable hunters of large game, hence the herd of mammoths in the background of Mark Hallett’s front cover art as a wooden spear wielding female Neanderthal looks on.
Neanderthals Made Jewellery
Evidence has emerged that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and in some instances marked the graves and provided grave goods and offerings such as shells and flowers. They probably had language skills and they made jewellery. Artefacts found in the Iberian Peninsula and dated to around 40,000 years ago prove that Neanderthals used eagle talons as necklace pendants. The female in the Mark Hallett illustration is wearing a shell necklace and has a very fetching eagle talon earring. Only two species of hominins are known to have demonstrated such sophisticated behaviour, the Neanderthals and our own species Homo sapiens.
We look forward to reading the article about Mark Hallett’s work in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.
We are expecting the rest of the new for 2021 CollectA prehistoric animal models to be in stock in a few weeks’ time. As team members at Everything Dinosaur prepare for their arrival, we have been updating our illustration of Elasmosaurus on our Elasmosaurus fact sheet.
Everything Dinosaur commissions illustrations of prehistoric animals – just one of the many ways in which we support the palaeoart community.
A Change in the Tail
Observant readers will spot that the tail of our Elasmosaurus has been given a fin. This reflects some of the latest research into this Late Cretaceous, long-necked member of the Plesiosauria. The CollectA Elasmosaurus has also been given a tail fluke. Back in November 2020, when we announced the new for 2021 CollectA figures we created a short video highlighting the fossil evidence that supports the presence of a caudal fluke in members of the Plesiosauria.
For virtually every named prehistoric animal model we supply, Everything Dinosaur researches and writes a fact sheet on that creature. These fact sheets are then sent out free to our customers with their model purchases. This is one of the ways in which team members help to inform and educate the public about the amazing animals that once existed on our planet.
CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Model Range
The CollectA Age of Dinosaurs model range contains a wide variety of prehistoric creatures including lots of marine reptile models including the elasmosaurid Hydrotherosaurus. Team members are looking forward to the arrival of the new CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Elasmosaurus replica and sending out free fact sheets with purchases.