All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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25 08, 2019

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

By | August 25th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Oxfordian Britain – The Kingdom of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Our thanks once again to young Thomas who has spent part of his summer holiday compiling blog articles for Everything Dinosaur.  In this, his second piece, he focuses on the theropod fauna of the Late Jurassic of the British Isles and in particular a dinosaur known as Metriacanthosaurus parkeri, fossils of which come from Dorset.

The Oxfordian in the UK is a rather mysterious faunal stage of the Late Jurassic, especially when it comes to what was living on land at the time.  There are four described dinosaurs from this time one of which lived later in the Oxfordian than the others.  These three are the metriacanthosaurid Metriacanthosaurus parkeri at 7.5 metres long and just over 2 metres tall, the megalosaurid Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis which had a juvenile length of 5 metres and hypothesised adult length of 6 metres and the ankylosaurian Priodontognathus phillipsii which was probably, only a few metres long, maybe 2 to 3 metres long.

Approximate Size Comparisons of Late Jurassic British Theropods

Late Jurassic theropods size comparison.

Size comparison of Late Jurassic theropods.

Image credit: Eotyrannu5 (Dan Folkes)

Key

red = Juratyrant langhami

tan = Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis

blue = “Megalosaur”

green = Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Note – scale bar = 1 metre and J. langhami and the blue “Megalosaur” are dated to approximately the same time (Late Jurassic).

Indeterminate Dinosaur Fossil Remains

Strata associated with the Oxfordian faunal stage, (early Late Jurassic), yields fragmentary, indeterminate dinosaur remains including an indeterminate sauropod found nearby to Metriacanthosaurus, a femur of a juvenile stegosaur and a large tooth from North Yorkshire belonging to a theropod, possibly metriacanthosaurid in nature.  In addition, footprints have been found indicating other types of dinosaur present and based on fossil discoveries associated with strata from geologically older and slightly younger rocks than those ascribed to the Oxfordian, it can be concluded that megalosaurine megalosaurids, tyrannosauroids and ornithopods would have lived in the Oxfordian too, we just haven’t found them yet.

A Scale Drawing of Metriacanthosaurus parkeri

Scale drawing of Metriacanthosaurus.

A scale drawing of the Theropod dinosaur Metriacanthosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The British Isles During the Late Jurassic

The ecology of the time is also mysterious.  We know for certain that the UK was separated into a series of islands, many of the islands were close enough to allow dinosaurs like Metriacanthosaurus and Eustreptospondylus to travel between them.  However to reconstruct the flora and habitat we can look back to the Callovian stage as its likely the environment wasn’t too different from then which allows for the conclusion to be drawn that the islands were semi-tropical and lush in plant life with forests located in the middle of the islands spreading outwards and ending near or in some places at the coast.  Mixed in with the forests would have been rivers, streams, small lakes, swamps, floodplains, open woodland areas closer to the coast and at the coast, estuaries, marshes, ooid beaches, bars, lagoons, coves and other coastal structures.

A Seasonal Climate

The dry season on the islands would have been long and dry with humid areas and during the wet season, the islands would have had to endure harsh tropical storms with hurricane force winds.  Plant life consisted of pollen and spore releasing plants, gymnosperms like ginkgoes, conifers and cycads, ferns, other pteridophytes along with other plants such as horsetails.  The climate would have been warm and subtropical to tropical.

Ooid Beaches – an Explanation and Metriacanthosaurus

For context, ooid beaches are where beaches are made of small, fine sand-like granules of calcium carbonate, the largest quarry in the UK (Ketton Quarry), has a portion of it that dates to just before the Oxfordian stage and might help unravel the mystery behind the Oxfordian of Britain.  Metriacanthosaurus was most likely the apex predator of the time, hunting anything from smaller theropods to perhaps the sauropod dinosaurs it coexisted with, it would have had powerful jaws with large sharp teeth and long powerful arms tipped with large hand claws for grasping prey. Metriacanthosaurus’s raised neural spinal ridge was probably used for extra back muscle attachment anchor points allowing the animal to be physically stronger than other similarly sized theropods of the time, although this assessment remains largely speculative.  Metriacanthosaurus means “moderately-spined lizard”.

The CollectA Prehistoric Life Metriacanthosaurus parkeri Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Metriacanthosaurus.

“Parker’s moderately-spined lizard”.  This dinosaur was named after its tall neural spines.

Eustreptospondylus is a rather unique megalosaur, it may have been a lot like today’s Komodo dragon frequenting many islands combing beaches, hunting down smaller animals, perhaps raiding nests of larger dinosaurs and possibly even hunting fish.  Despite Eustreptospondylus’s hypothesised adult size, it would have still been prey for the likes of Metriacanthosaurus.  A specimen of another dinosaur found from this geological time is an ankylosaur called Priodontognathus.  It was around 2 to 3 metres long and is known from Yorkshire.

Our thanks once again to Thomas for sending in his article to us.

To read the first article submitted by Thomas: The “Scunthorpe Pliosaur.”

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24 08, 2019

Picking the Brains of Psittacosaurus

By | August 24th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Psittacosaurus Gets its Head Examined

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) and Bristol University, have produced a new study on the Early Cretaceous Asian dinosaur Psittacosaurus (P. lujiatunensis).  This new research, published in PeerJ, provides the first detailed survey of Ceratopsian braincase changes as a dinosaur grows.  Three growth stages were studied – hatching, juvenile and adult and as Psittacosaurus got bigger, so its brain changed in shape.  Furthermore, the study suggests that these little, herbivorous dinosaurs changed posture as the aged.  When young they were facultative quadrupeds, but as they matured they favoured a bipedal stance.

Psittacosaurus Gets Its Head Examined

CollectA Psittacosaurus dinosaur model.

A typical psittacosaurid.  A model of Psittacosaurus (CollectA Psittacosaurus).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Hundreds of Fossil Specimens Examined

Hundreds of Psittacosaurus fossil specimens were examined.  These fossils herald from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian–Aptian) of China, specifically from the Yixian Formation.  The lack of fossils representing dinosaurs at different growth stages limits ontogenetic studies, but Psittacosaurus is an exception, it is one of the better represented members of the Ornithischia.  The cranial and endocranial morphology of Psittacosaurus has been well documented, but only cursory details have been published on the bones surrounding the brain.

Comparing Skulls Psittacosaurus “Parrot Lizard” Compared to a Parrot 

The skull of parrot lizard compared to the skull of a parrot.

Comparing skulls.  The skull of an adult Psittacosaurus – P. gobiensis (left) is compared with an adult parrot (right).

Picture Credit: Mike Hettwer

From Hamster-sized Hatchlings to Two-metre-long Adults

From hamster-sized babies these dinosaurs grew relatively quickly into two-metre-long adults.  As they grew, their brain changed in shape from being crammed into the back of the head, behind the huge eyes in the hatchling, to being longer, and extending under the skull roof in the adult animals.  The braincase provides evidence that supports the idea that these dinosaurs changed posture as they got older.  The position and the orientation of the semi-circular canals, which helped these dinosaurs with their balance, changed as they grew.

Corresponding author of the paper, Claire Bullar (University of Bristol School of Earth Sciences), commented:

“I was excited to see that the orientation of the semi-circular canals changes to show this posture switch.  The semi-circular canals are the structures inside our ears that help us keep balance, and the so-called horizontal semi-circular canal should be just that – horizontal – when the animal is standing in its normal posture.  This is just what we see, with the head of Psittacosaurus pointing down and forwards when it was a baby – just right for moving on all-fours.  Then, in the teen or adult, we see the head points exactly forwards, and not downwards, just right for a biped.”

Dinosaur Brains from Baby to Adult (left to right)

Changing head position of Psittacosaurus.

A study of the brain of Psittacosaurus (ontogenetic study).  Head posture if the lateral (horizontal) semi-circular canal is parallel to the ground, in hatching (A), juvenile (B) and adult (C) Psittacosaurus lutjiatunensis.  Images not to scale.

Picture Credit: Claire Bullar/Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology

The change in posture is supported by postcranial fossil evidence.  The relative limb lengths indicate that a juvenile Psittacosaurus would have moved around on four legs, but by the age of two or three, they switched to a bipedal posture, standing upright on their elongate hind legs.  This would have freed up the arms and hands to help with gathering food.  The team used reconstructions created from micro-computed tomography scans of well-preserved skulls to plot the ontogenetic changes.

Co-supervisor Dr Qi Zhao from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, where the specimens are housed, added:

“It’s great to see our idea of posture shift confirmed, and in such a clear-cut way, from the orientation of the horizontal ear canal.  It’s also amazing to see the results of high-quality CT scanning in Beijing and the technical work by Claire to get the best 3-D models from these scan data.”

Skulls of Psittacosaurus (P. lujiatunensis) Showing Different Growth Stages

Brain and skull study - Psittacosaurus.

Ontogenetic skull sequence from hatchling to adult (Psittacosaurus).  Hatchling (IVPP V15451) – (A) in lateral view.  (B) Hatchling in dorsal view.  (C) Juvenile (IVPP V22647) in lateral view. (D) Juvenile in dorsal view.  (E) Adult (IVPP V12617) in lateral view.  (F) Adult in dorsal view. All shown to the same scale; scale bar represents 2 cm.

Picture Credit: Claire Bullar/Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology

Co-author Professor Michael Ryan (Carleton University) contributed:

“This posture shift during growth from quadruped to biped is unusual for dinosaurs, or indeed any animal.  Among dinosaurs, it’s more usual to go the other way, to start out as a bipedal baby, and then go down on all fours as you get really huge.  Of course, adult Psittacosaurus were not so huge, and the shift maybe reflects different modes of life: the babies were small and vulnerable and so probably hid in the undergrowth, whereas bipedalism allowed the adults to run faster and escape their predators.”

Professor Michael Benton (Bristol University), another collaborator in this study commented:

“This is a great example of classic, thorough anatomical work, but also an excellent example of international collaboration.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Bristol University in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “Ontogenetic braincase development in Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) using micro-computed tomography” by C. Bullar, Q. Zhao, M. Benton and M. Ryan in PeerJ — the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences.

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23 08, 2019

North Africa’s First Stegosaur

By | August 23rd, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Adratiklit boulahfa – The Oldest Definitive Stegosaur

A team of British scientists in collaboration with colleagues from Morocco, have announced the discovery of a new species of armoured dinosaur, described from remains found in the Atlas Mountains.  The dinosaur has been named Adratiklit boulahfa and it is the first stegosaur to have been found in northern Africa.  Adratiklit is also the oldest definitive stegosaur described, it having roamed Morocco some 168 million years ago (Bathonian faunal stage of the Middle Jurassic).  This fossil discovery is significant, as it hints at the possibility of more armoured dinosaurs likely to be found on the continents that once made up the ancient landmass of Gondwana.

A Life Restoration of the Newly Described North African Stegosaur Adratiklit boulahfa

A life restoration of Adratiklit boulahfa.

A life restoration of Adratiklit boulahfa based on the closely related Dacentrurus.  The scale size estimate for this dinosaur has been compiled using the left humerus (NHMUK PV R37007).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Third Stegosaur from Africa

The fossils were acquired by the Natural History Museum (London).  The material consists of cervical and dorsal vertebrae and the left humerus.  Although fragmentary, these fossils permitted the scientists to erect a new armoured dinosaur genus.  Although the exact provenance of these fossils is unclear, they probably came from the siltstone deposits of the El Mers II Formation located in the Middle of the Atlas Mountains (Fès-Meknes, northern Morocco).  The age of this formation has been dated biostratigraphically based on ammonite fossils.  Adratiklit is only the third stegosaur known from Africa, although a phylogenetic assessment carried out by the researchers, indicates that it was probably more closely related to European stegosaurs such as Dacentrurus (D. armatus).

Views of the Left Humerus Ascribed to A. boulahfa

Views of the left humerus ascribed to Adratiklit boulahfa.

Views of the left humerus ascribed to A. boulahfa.  NHMUK PV R37007, left humerus referred to Adratiklit boulahfa in A, lateral, B, posterior, C, medial, D, anterior, E, dorsal and F, ventral views.  Note the white scale bar.

Picture Credit: Gondwana Research/Maidment et al

The two other stegosaurs known from Africa described to date are:

  • Kentrosaurus – K. aethiopicus from the Late Jurassic (approximately 156-148 million years ago), fossils found in Tanzania
  • Paranthodon P. africanus from the Early Cretaceous (approximately 139-131 million years ago), fossils come from Cape Province, South Africa

What’s in a Name?

The generic name (Adratiklit), is from the local Berber terms for “mountain” and “lizard”, whilst the trivial epithet refers to Boulahfa, the likely site of the fossil discovery.  Commenting on the significance of this stegosaur from Morocco, lead author Dr Maidment commented:

“The discovery of Adratiklit boulahfa is particularly exciting as we have dated it to the Middle Jurassic.  Most known stegosaurs date from far later in the Jurassic period, making this the oldest definite stegosaur described and helping to increase our understanding of the evolution of this group of dinosaurs.”

One of the Two Dorsal Vertebrae Preserved (A. boulahfa)

Views of the holotype fossil specimen (dorsal vertebra) of A. boulahfa.

Views of the holotype fossil specimen (dorsal vertebra) of Adratiklit boulahfa.  NHMUK PV R37366, holotype specimen of Adratiklit boulahfa.  Dorsal vertebra in A, anterior, B, posterior, C, left lateral, D, right lateral, E, dorsal and F, ventral view.

The Implications for Stegosaurs and Ankylosaurs from Gondwana

The Stegosauria together with the Ankylosauria form a clade within the Ornithischian dinosaurs, this is referred to as the Eurypoda, which has been defined to include the iconic armoured dinosaurs Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus and their most recent, common ancestor and all its descendants.  The fossil record suggests that stegosaurs were more common than ankylosaurs in the Jurassic, but during the Cretaceous the ankylosaurs rose in prominence and the stegosaurs as a group went into decline.

It is important to note that numerous members of the Eurypoda are known from Mesozoic rocks that made up the northern landmass of Laurasia, but only a few Eurypoda taxa are known from the super-continent of Gondwana.

The Global Distribution of Eurypoda Fossil Finds (Stegosaurs and Ankylosaurs)

A map showing where stegosaur and ankylosaur fossils have been found.

A map showing the known fossil distribution of the Eurypoda.  The grey dots indicate the presence of fossils associated with the Eurypoda clade.  More dinosaurs assigned to the Eurypoda have been found in areas associated with Laurasia, in contrast fossils representing the Eurypoda from Gondwana are relatively sparse.

Picture Credit: Tom Patterson, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso et al from naturalearthdata.com, along with Bjørn Sandvik via Wikimedia Commons.

Writing in the academic journal, “Gondwana Research”, the scientists conclude that it remains unclear whether these types of armoured dinosaurs were genuinely rare in Gondwanan Mesozoic ecosystems, or whether their poor fossil record on southern continents is the result of sampling bias.  The discovery of a Moroccan stegosaur hints at the possibility that there could be many more armoured dinosaurs awaiting discovery in South America, India, Africa, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica.

The scientific paper: “North Africa’s first stegosaur: Implications for Gondwanan thyreophoran dinosaur diversity” by Susannah C. R. Maidment, Thomas J. Raven, Driss Ouarhache and Paul M. Barrett published in Gondwana Research.

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22 08, 2019

Praise from America

By | August 22nd, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|2 Comments

Praise from America

Everything Dinosaur has thousands of customers all over the world.  We are always delighted to hear feedback from our customers, here at home in the UK and of course, overseas.  For example, we recently received this kind email from one of our customers in the United States, she had just purchased some Papo prehistoric animals and wrote to say:

“I just received my order from Everything Dinosaur and once again, I am just BLOWN AWAY at the quality and workmanship of the Papo dinosaur figures.  I mean, truly blown away!  They are so realistic!  I really enjoy and appreciate the info sheets that accompany my order from Everything Dinosaur as well.  I have been collecting for my four-year-old daughter since she was two years old.  I loved dinosaurs myself as a little girl.  I lived in Germany growing up and the toys in the stores there were top notch.  I collected Schleich animals as companies really didn’t have nice dinosaur figures available like this then.  It has been so fun sharing this love of dinos with my daughter and learning more about the prehistoric world through the toys we get her.”

Our thanks for the feedback and kind comments, Everything Dinosaur is a 5-star rated company as monitored by the independent survey company Feefo.

Everything Dinosaur Has Been Awarded Feefo’s Highest Accolade for Customer Service

Gold Trusted Service Award to Everything Dinosaur.

Feefo awards top marks to Everything Dinosaur.  Everything Dinosaur has been awarded the accolade of the “Gold Trusted Service Award” from Feefo for its 5-star service.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Customer Feedback

As a mail order company, Everything Dinosaur gets a large number of emails from customers offering us feedback and praise on our products and customer service.  Potential customers can view over five hundred independently verified customer reviews by clicking the “Feefo” tab on our website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.  In addition, we have over 1,800 customer and product reviews on our website.

Dinosaur model collector William, for instance, has posted up several reviews of his recent PNSO Age of Dinosaurs purchases.  One of his reviews concerned the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Abelisaurus (Martin the little Abelisaurus).

William commented:

“PNSO’s Abelisaurus  is a mighty mini.  Paint applied to perfection and very natural markings.  Martin has a wry little cheeky expression fantastic.  GREAT SERVICE from Everything Dinosaur.”

Praise for the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Abelisaurus Model

PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Abelisaurus dinosaur model.

PNSO prehistoric animals that accompany your growth – Martin the Abelisaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur explained that they were always pleased to receive feedback from customers and that each and every email that the company received was read by team members and the company did all it could to respond quickly to customer queries.

Wonderful Customer Service

Our American customer went onto add:

“I am very impressed with Everything Dinosaur.  Your prices are so much better than they are here in the United States and I appreciate the wonderful customer service.  Thank you so much for letting me know when all the figures I was looking for came back in stock.  I will definitely be back to shop at Everything Dinosaur in the future.”

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21 08, 2019

Rebor Oddities Foetus Models are in Stock

By | August 21st, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Rebor Oddities T. rex and Velociraptor Foetus Models

The Rebor Oddities Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor models are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  They are fantastic dinosaur display pieces, consisting of a beautifully sculpted theropod (either T. rex or Velociraptor), a special display jar with lid and a light-up base, so that you can highlight the figure inside.  To complete the display, simply carefully add water to the jar (tap water is fine) and then immerse the model into the water and place the lid back on.  Don’t forget to turn the light on, which is incorporated into the base (there is even a battery included).

As part of Everything Dinosaur’s promotional activities, we shot a quick unboxing video in our still to be completed studio.

The Rebor Oddities Foetus T. rex Contents

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Oddities Foetus Tyrannosaurus rex Figure

In this short video, we unpack one of the Rebor Oddities T. rex models and we demonstrate how this intriguing display piece is put together.  The video is just under 1 minute 40 seconds in length.  Our studio is not yet complete, we have still got some sound proofing to do and there are more lights to sort out, but we could not wait to put together a brief video highlighting this most original item from the extensive Rebor range.

The Rebor Oddities Foetus Tyrannosaurus rex Figure

The Rebor Oddities Foetus (T. rex) figure on display.

The Rebor Oddities Foetus (T. rex) figure with the uplighter in operation.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Rebor Oddities Foetus Velociraptor Replica

In addition to the excellent T. rex figure, those talented people at Rebor have created a second display piece, this time featuring a Velociraptor foetus.  The Velociraptor figure is the slightly smaller of the two, it stands twenty-two centimetres high when on its uplighter display base, whilst the T. rex figure is a little taller at approximately twenty-four centimetres high.

The Rebor Oddities Foetus Velociraptor Figure

The Rebor Oddities foetus Velociraptor figure.

The beautiful Rebor Oddities Foetus (Velociraptor).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view these Rebor figures and the rest of the Rebor prehistoric animal replicas and models: Rebor Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models

At Everything Dinosaur, the Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus rex foetus replicas are sold individually, but for a limited period these two figures are available as a pair at a special offer price with additional subsidy on the postage and shipping costs.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“These are fascinating prehistoric animal figures and it is great to see such innovative models being introduced by Rebor.  We were so impressed that even though our film and photography studio is not finished we wanted to shoot an unboxing video anyway.”

The Rebor Oddities video is up on the Everything Dinosaur YouTube page, we intend to make lots and lots of prehistoric animal model videos in the future, including more model reviews.

To visit Everything Dinosaur on YouTube: Everything Dinosaur on YouTube

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20 08, 2019

New for 2019 Eofauna Deinotherium

By | August 20th, 2019|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium Model Due October 2019

The second, new for 2019 Eofauna prehistoric animal figure has been announced.  A replica of the huge, prehistoric elephant Deinotherium (D. giganteum) is being added to this exciting range.  The model will be available in the autumn, probably in October, a short while before the Atlasaurus figure, which was announced a few days earlier.

The New for 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium Model

The Eofauna 1:35 scale Deinotherium model.

The beautiful, 1:35 scale Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The “Famous Five”

With the addition of the Atlasaurus and the Deinotherium, this brings the total of Eofauna Scientific Figures to five.  Eofauna Scientific Research is staffed by researchers, creatives and specialists with a focus on prehistoric fauna.  The company has demonstrated expertise in the study of ancient members of the Order Proboscidea (elephants and their relatives), three of the five models produced so far are prehistoric elephants.   The D. giganteum figure will be joining a Straight-tusked elephant (Palaeloxodon antiquus) and the first of this range to be introduced, a Steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii).

A Fact Card will be Supplied with the New for Autumn 2019 Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium Model

The Eofauna Deinotherium model (2019)

Eofauna Deinotherium (2019) will be supplied with its own Eofauna fact card as well as an Everything Dinosaur Deinotherium fact sheet.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Deinotherium giganteum

Deinotherium fossils are known from Africa, Europe and parts of Asia.  It was not closely related to extant elephants or the Mammuthus genus.  The Eofauna model shows the long legs and long, low skull associated with this genus.  It is believed Deinotherium became extinct around 2.5 million years ago.

Everything Dinosaur has opened a priority reservation list for this figure, which should be in stock in October.  To join our no obligation, priority reserve list for the Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium, just drop us an email: Email Everything Dinosaur.

To view the range of Eofauna models currently in stock including the Straight-tusked elephant and the beautiful Steppe mammoth: Eofauna Scientific Research Models.

The New Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium Model

The Eofauna Scientific Research 1:35 scale Deinotherium model.

Striding confidently into view the Eofauna Deinotherium model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We are delighted to announce that this figure will be in stock at Everything Dinosaur during the autumn.  We should have stocks of this new exciting prehistoric elephant figure and the sauropod Atlasaurus in plenty of time to ensure a happy Christmas for collectors of Eofauna models.”

Deinotherium Model Measurements – Tale of the Tape

The new Eofauna Deinotherium model has a stated scale of 1:35.  The model measures around 20 centimetres in length and stands and impressive 13 cm high.  Observant model collectors will note that this new figure is depicted on the move.  Elephants do not have the gaits associated with faster moving, large mammals such as the trot and the gallop.  Instead, when an elephant moves slowly, its limbs remain relatively straight and column-like.   Locomotion studies have shown that when moving quickly, the limbs become more mobile and flexible acting like “pogo sticks”,  helping the animal to maintain velocity.  Even when moving at full speed, the four feet of the elephant do not leave the ground simultaneously, as opposed to the limbs of a horse when galloping.

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19 08, 2019

Ancient Jurassic Volcano Landscape Found Under Central Australia

By | August 19th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Geology, Main Page|0 Comments

Volatile Jurassic Landscape Named after Fiery Australian Cricketer

An ancient landscape of 100 volcanoes has been discovered underneath Australia’s largest onshore oil and gas region.  Researchers from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia), have identified a network of volcanoes that formed between 180 and 160 million years ago, buried deep within the Cooper-Eromanga Basins of central Australia.   A considerable portion of the scientific paper, published in the journal “Gondwana Research”, was written whilst the University of Aberdeen researchers were in Adelaide, watching an England versus Cricket Australia XI match (November 2017).

The scientists have called the volcanic region the Warnie Volcanic Province, in recognition of the formidable spin bowling talent of former Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who had a seismic impact on the sport.

The Scientists were Able to Map Characteristics of the Region Highlighting the Violent Past of the Landscape

Lava flows and volcano cones identified.

Characteristics of the volcanic region as mapped by the scientists.

Picture Credit: University of Aberdeen/University of Adelaide

Sixty Years of Petroleum Exploration

The Cooper-Eromanga Basins in the north-eastern corner of South Australia and south-western corner of Queensland have been the site of about sixty years of petroleum exploration and production.  However, evidence for a volcano dominated ancient Jurassic underground landscape had gone largely unrecorded.  The volcanoes developed in the Toarcian through to the Oxfordian faunal stages and have been subsequently buried beneath hundreds of metres of sedimentary rock.  The researchers used advanced sub-surface imaging techniques, analogous to medical CT (computerised tomography) scanning, to identify the multitude of volcanic craters and lava flows, and the deeper magma chambers that fed them.  In contrast, today, this area of Australia is a very arid and barren landscape.

The Study Identified Around a Hundred Volcanoes

Identifying a Jurassic World of Volcanoes in Australia

Line drawings and seismic data from the Warnie Volcanic Province.

Picture Credit: University of Aberdeen/University of Adelaide

This study demonstrates that during the Middle to the early Late Jurassic this area would have been a landscape of craters and fissures, expelling hot ash and lava into the air, surrounded by networks of river channels forming large lakes and coal-swamps.  This area was inhabited by dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

Co-author of the scientific paper, Associate Professor Simon Holford (University of Adelaide), stated that the discovery raised the prospect that more undiscovered volcanic worlds resided beneath the poorly explored surface of Australia.

Associate Professor Holford commented:

“While the majority of Earth’s volcanic activity occurs at the boundaries of tectonic plates, or under the Earth’s oceans, this ancient Jurassic world developed deep within the interior of the Australian continent.”

One of the authors was Jonathon Hardman, at the time a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, as part of the Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas.  Jurassic-aged sedimentary rocks bearing oil, gas and water have been economically important for Australia, but this latest discovery suggests a lot more volcanic activity in the Jurassic period than was previously supposed.  The area has been named the Warnie Volcanic Province, in honour of the explosive Australian cricketer Shane Warne.

Co-author Associate Professor Nick Schofield (University of Aberdeen), explained that the Cooper-Eromanga Basins had been substantially explored since the first gas discovery in 1963.

He added:

“This has led to a massive amount of available data from underneath the ground but, despite this, the volcanics have never been properly understood in this region until now.  It changes how we understand processes that have operated in Earth’s past.”

A Typical Jurassic Landscape

A Jurassic landscape.

A typical Jurassic landscape.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from “The Lead South Australia” in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The Warnie volcanic province: Jurassic intraplate volcanism in Central Australia” by Jonathon P.A. Hardman, Simon P. Holford, Nick Schofield, Mark Bunch and Daniel Gibbins published in the journal Gondwana Research.

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18 08, 2019

Prehistoric Predator with a Mouth Like a Slice of Pineapple

By | August 18th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

The Predatory Cambroraster falcatus from the Burgess Shale

Palaeontologists at the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto have announced the discovery of a new 500-million-year-old predator, adding to the diversity associated with the Cambrian-aged Burgess Shale biota.  The animal, a distant relative of today’s spiders, insects and crustaceans, has been named Cambroraster falcatus.  At around thirty centimetres in length C. falcatus was one of the biggest animals around in the Late Cambrian and it was a distant relative of the formidable Anomalocaris, the apex predator on Earth during this time in our planet’s history.

A Life Reconstruction of Cambroraster falcatus

Illustrating the newly described Cambroraster from the Burgess Shale biota.

Cambroraster life reconstruction (dorsal view) and top, a view of the animal’s underside.

Picture Credit: Royal Ontario Museum

Providing New Information About the Diversity of Early Arthropods

Fossils of this newly described species were found in the Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies.  Cambroraster has rake-like claws and a pineapple-slice-shaped mouth at the front of an extremely large head, it probably used its rake-like claws to sift through sediment and trap prey.

Lead author of the scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology), Joe Moysiuk, based at the Royal Ontario Museum stated:

“Its size would have been even more impressive at the time it was alive, as most animals living during the Cambrian Period were smaller than your little finger.  Cambroraster was a distant cousin of the iconic Anomalocaris, the top predator living in the seas at that time, but it seems to have been feeding in a radically different way.”

Revealing a Fossil of a Cambroraster at the Kootenay National Park Field Site

Cambroraster fossil excavation.

Excavating a Cambroraster fossil from the Burgess Shale. Although flattened, enough detail has been preserved in the fine sediments for paleaontologists to reconstruct the animal.

Image Credit: Royal Ontario Museum

Remarkable Claws and the Millennium Falcon

The name Cambroraster refers to the remarkable claws of this animal, which bear a parallel series of outgrowths, looking like forward-directed rakes.   With the space between the spines on the claws at typically less than a millimetre, this would have enabled Cambroraster to feed on very small organisms, although larger prey could also likely be captured, and ingested into the circular tooth-lined mouth.  It is this specialised radial mouth that links Cambroraster to the Radiodonta, a clade of stem arthropods that were geographically widespread during the Cambrian, with many genera evolving into large nektonic predators.  The species or trivial name “falcatus”, is in honour of another of this marine animal’s distinctive features – the large, shield-like carapace covering the anterior part of the body.  This shield reminded the scientists of the iconic spaceship the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movie.

Graduate student Moysiuk added:

“With its broad head carapace with deep notches accommodating the upward facing eyes, Cambroraster resembles modern living bottom-dwelling animals like horseshoe crabs.  This represents a remarkable case of evolutionary convergence in these radiodonts.”

The researchers conclude that such convergence is likely reflective of a similar environment and mode of life, like modern horseshoe crabs, Cambroraster may have used its carapace to plough through sediment as it fed.

A Large Number of Specimens Found

Co-author of the paper, Dr Caron, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto commented:

“The sheer abundance of this animal is extraordinary.  Over the past few summers we found hundreds of specimens, sometimes with dozens of individuals covering single rock slabs.”

Based on over a hundred exceptionally well-preserved fossils now housed at the Royal Ontario Museum, the researchers were able to reconstruct Cambroraster in unprecedented detail, revealing characteristics that had not been seen before in related species.

Dr Caron added:

“The radiodont fossil record is very sparse, typically, we only find scattered bits and pieces.  The large number of parts and unusually complete fossils preserved at the same place are a real coup, as they help us to better understand what these animals looked like and how they lived.  We are really excited about this discovery.  Cambroraster clearly illustrates that predation was a big deal at that time with many kinds of surprising morphological adaptations.”

A View of the Underside of Cambroraster with a Close-up View of the Radial Mouth

Cambroraster Life Reconstruction

A life reconstruction of Cambroraster showing the underside (ventral view) and the unusual mouth parts with the pair of raking appendages.

Picture Credit: Royal Ontario Museum

The Significance of the Burgess Shale

The fossils from the Burgess Shale of British Columbia document a remarkable time during the evolution of life on Earth.  There was a huge increase in biodiversity and food chains became much more complex as most of the major Phyla of animals that are around today evolved.  The Cambroraster fossil material comes from several locations in the Marble Canyon area of Kootenay National Park.  These locations and others like them are being explored and mapped by field teams from the Royal Ontario Museum.  These sites are about 25 miles (40 km) away from the original Burgess Shale fossil site in Yoho National Park that was discovered in 1909.  Scientists are confident that more new species will be discovery in this area of Kootenay National Park

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the Royal Ontario Museum in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “A new hurdiid radiodont from the Burgess Shale evinces the exploitation of Cambrian infaunal food sources” by J. Moysiuk and J.B. Caron published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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17 08, 2019

A Ferocious Carnotaurus

By | August 17th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Main Page|0 Comments

A Ferocious Carnotaurus

The image below is an illustration of the Late Cretaceous South American abelisaurid Carnotaurus (C. sastrei), by the renowned Chinese palaeoartist Zhao Chuang.  This is one of our favourite illustrations of the dinosaur known as “meat-eating bull”.

The Illustration of Carnotaurus (C. sastrei)

Carnotaurus illustrated by the renowned artist Zhao Chuang.

An illustration of the fearsome theropod dinosaur Carnotaurus by Zhao Chuang.

Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang

The artwork (above), was produced as part of a series of commissioned pieces to illustrate the science/art world by Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang for PNSO (Peking Natural Science-Art Organisation).

Carnotaurus sastrei

Known from an almost complete skeleton found in Argentina, this large, carnivorous dinosaur was scientifically described in 1985.  Zhao Chuang has chosen to focus on the remarkable skull of this Late Cretaceous abelisaurid.  The head is short and blunt with two imposing horns positioned over the eye sockets sticking out sideways.  The deep skull contrasts with the slender lower jaw which for such a large dinosaur (estimated at more than seven metres in length), indicates a relatively weak bite.  For many years, Carnotaurus was regarded as a hunter of large prey, however, analysis of the bite force exerted by the jaws indicated a surprisingly weak bite for a carnivore weighing in excess of a tonne.  Research (Mazzeta et al 2009), indicated that this dinosaur could generate a bilateral bite force – measured on both sides of the jaw, of around 3,400 Newtons.  In contrast, the much smaller extant lion (Panthera leo) and the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) are capable of generating bite forces of at least 1.3 times the bite force calculated for Carnotaurus, even though these living carnivores are considerably smaller.

As to what Carnotaurus ate, this is open to speculation, but it could have specialised in catching smaller animals or perhaps it was a specialised scavenger, the narrow jaws proving adept at removing flesh from corpses.  Whatever, Carnotaurus consumed, we still take time out to admire this marvellous illustration by the very talented Zhao Chuang.

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16 08, 2019

Posing the Papo Pentaceratops

By | August 16th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Posing the Papo Pentaceratops

The Papo Pentaceratops model has a rearing pose, but the model is so well designed that it can rest in a horizontal position with three legs resting on the floor.  The Papo Pentaceratops is a beautiful figure, but it is also so well balanced that it can be placed in a couple of different poses if model collectors don’t want to feature it rearing up in their model displays.  To illustrate this point, we created a short video demonstrating the Papo Pentaceratops dinosaur figure in a rearing pose and showing how it can be displayed in other poses too.

Posing the Papo Pentaceratops Dinosaur Model

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Papo Pentaceratops Model

Although the French manufacturer (Papo), has produced several ceratopsian models in the past (Triceratops, baby Triceratops, Styracosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus), this is the first horned dinosaur to be depicted in a rearing pose.   Much praise has been heaped on the broad shoulders of the Pentaceratops figure, it has proved to be a big hit with collectors and dinosaur model fans.

The New for 2019 Papo Pentaceratops Dinosaur Model

The new for 2019 Papo Pentaceratops and the Papo Gorgosaurus dinosaur models.

The new for 2019 Papo Gorgosaurus (left) and the Papo Pentaceratops dinosaur model (right).  The Papo Pentaceratops figure is much larger than the Gorgosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Attracting 5-star Reviews

The Pentaceratops may only have been out for a short while, but it has already received several 5-star reviews from Everything Dinosaur customers.  For example, Ryan left a review on the Everything Dinosaur website saying:

“Fantastic figure!  A really dynamic pose, plenty of finer details and a great realistic paint job.  This one will really stand out amongst my collection.”

Our thanks for your comments, Ryan, we really like the cryptic quip about the model “standing out”, it certainly does with its upright rearing pose.

Model collector David, also piled praise on the model exclaiming:

“Beautiful model!  Very convincing sculpt, full of life with lovely colouration.  Excellent service from Everything Dinosaur!”

For David, the Papo Pentaceratops and our awarding winning customer service are two things worth praising.  A great big thank you to all those very kind people who have taken the time and trouble to review our models, both on our website also via our Feefo feedback pages.

The Papo Pentaceratops and the Papo Gorgosaurus model for that matter, are available from Everything Dinosaur, to view these models and the rest of the extensive Papo prehistoric animal model range: Papo Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

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