All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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4 07, 2021

Dinosaur Water Bottle BPA Free

By | July 4th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur do all they can to respond to customer queries and questions. We appreciate how busy all our lives are and our hard-working staff are on standby to answer emails and to do all they can to help customers.

Take for example, an email we received from Sammy, who wanted to know about the dinosaur themed water bottle that we sell. Sammy asked:

“Is this dinosaur water bottle BPA free?”

Dinosaur water bottle
The dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed water bottle available from Everything Dinosaur. The bottle holds 500 ml and the plastic that it is made from is BPA free.

BPA Free Dinosaur Water Bottle

This colourful dinosaur and prehistoric animal themed water bottle is indeed BPA free.

BPA (Bisphenol A), is a chemical used to make some plastics, including food storage containers and refillable drinks bottles. Microscopic amounts of this chemical can be transferred from packaging into the food and drinks that we consume, however the level of BPA found in food is not considered to be harmful.

The design on the dinosaur drinking bottle
The colourful prehistoric animal themed design on the 500 ml drinking bottle. Ideal for school or picnics, this water bottle is BPA free. Can you name all the prehistoric animals featured?

BPA (Bisphenol A) Safety Assessments

Some people are concerned about BPA because it’s one of a large number of substances that could possibly interfere with human hormone systems. Extensive assessments have been carried out on BPA by the UK Food Standards Agency. Their current full assessment has found that dietary exposure to BPA is not a health concern for any age group.

However, Everything Dinosaur are pleased to confirm that this water bottle that we supply is BPA free.

To view the range of dinosaur and prehistoric themed merchandise available from Everything Dinosaur: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

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3 07, 2021

Dinosaurs Nested in the High Arctic

By | July 3rd, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Analysis of sediments taken from the famous Prince Creek Formation of northern Alaska has revealed tiny, fossilised bones and teeth representing perinatal dinosaurs – either embryonic (just about to hatch) or dinosaurs that have recently hatched. Several different types of dinosaurs are represented, which means that high latitudes in the northern hemisphere were probably the dinosaur’s permanent home and that they nested there.

High Arctic was a Nursery for some dinosaurs
The discovery of tiny teeth and bones from perinatal dinosaurs provides strong evidence for dinosaurs nesting in the Arctic. This in turn suggests that many different dinosaurs were year-round residents and supports the hypothesis that most theropod and ornithischian dinosaurs were endothermic (warm-blooded). Picture credit: James Havens.

A Dinosaur Nursery

Researchers from the University of Alaska Museum, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Florida State University and the University of Colorado writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, report the discovery of tiny teeth — some less than 2 mm in length along with bones from seven species of perinatal dinosaurs. These tiny fossils were found after conducting a microscopic analysis of sediments from the bluffs that can be found along the shores of the Coleville River. These sediments are from the Prince Creek Formation and represent deposition that took place around 70 million years ago,

The field season is very short at such a high latitude. In the three weeks of field work that are possible, the team removed hundreds of kilograms of sediment from the face of the bluffs. The buckets of sediment are hauled down to the river’s edge, where team members wash the material through smaller and smaller screens until they have removed any large rocks and soil.

Researchers pose next to buckets of sediments that will be sieved for microfossils.
Field team members pose for a photograph next to buckets of sediment that they will sift through to search for tiny mammalian teeth end evidence of perinatal dinosaurs. Picture credit: Jaelyn Eberle.

Once back at the lab, researchers run the material through more screens to remove all the clay, until all that’s left is sandy particles. Then, teaspoon by teaspoon, the team, including graduate and undergraduate students examine the sand under microscopes to find the tiny bones and teeth. This work has revealed tiny teeth of mammals, but in addition, tiny teeth and bones of dinosaurs have been discovered.

dinosaurs nested in the Arctic
A map of Laramidia in the Late Cretaceous showing the position of the Prince Creek Formation in relation to other deposits where Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils have been found. At this latitude, around 120 days each year were in total darkness. The scientists have found perinatal bones and teeth representing a wide variety of dinosaurs. Picture credit: Druckenmiller et al

Endothermic Dinosaurs

Although not as cold as today, conditions in this part of northern Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous were extremely challenging. For around 120 days each year there was total darkness and it has been calculated that the mean average temperature was just 6.3°C ± 2.2°C (43.3°F ± 4.0°F). The Eumeralla and Wonthaggi Formations of Australia at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south, have also provided evidence of recently hatched dinosaurs and yearlings. However, the Prince Creek Formation at a latitude of 80°– 85° north represents the most extreme environment yet described for the Dinosauria. Intriguingly, whilst dinosaurs living in southern Gondwana (Eumeralla and Wonthaggi Formation fossil remains), would have experienced around 45 days of total darkness each year, this palaeoenvironment was still warm enough for ectothermic animals such as crocodilians and amphibians to thrive. However, no such “cold-blooded” animals are found in association with Prince Creek Formation sediments.

To survive such harsh conditions, the researchers conclude that the dinosaurs of Prince Creek Formation were endothermic, just like modern mammals and birds.

Evidence of perinatal dinosaurs from the Prince Creek Formation.
Perinatal skeletal elements of Prince Creek Formation dinosaurs. Insert (A) medial and distal views of distal femur(?), Ornithischia indet. (UAMES 41721). (B) Lateral, articular, and ventral views of caudal centrum, Ornithischia indet. (UAMES 41633). (C) Lateral, ventral, and articular views of caudal centrum, Theropoda indet. (UAMES 51934). (D) Transverse thin section of Ornithischia indet. long bone (UAMES 52384) showing the extreme porosity attributable to large, irregularly shaped vascular canals and the incompletely formed primary vascular canals on both the endosteal and periosteal surfaces. (E) Extensor, distal, and flexor views of distal tarsometatarsus, Avialae indet. (UAMES 41722). bol, bulbous osteocyte lacunae; end, endosteal surface; ipvc, incipient primary vascular canals; per, periosteal surface.

Lead author of the research Patrick Druckenmiller (University of Alaska Museum) commented:

“Recovering these tiny fossils is like panning for gold. It requires a great amount of time and effort to sort through tonnes of sediment grain-by-grain under a microscope. The fossils we found are rare but are scientifically rich in information”.

Dinosaurs were Year-round Residents of Northern Alaska

The presence of such young dinosaurs, who were not capable of making long, seasonal migrations is strong evidence to suggest that the dinosaur biota was present all year. The palaeoenvironment was extreme but numerous different types of dinosaur were able to thrive in this harsh habitat.

Tiny teeth suggest dinosaurs nested in the Arctic
Comparative sizes of immature and mature teeth from Prince Creek Formation dinosaurs. A) Troodontidae indet. (UAMES 52268, UAMES 51652). (B) Saurornitholestinae indet. (UAMES 52292, UAMES 29574). (C) Thescelosauridae indet. cheek teeth (UAMES 52230, UAMES 52272) (D) Leptoceratopsidae indet. (UAMES 42720, UAMES 39298). (E) Hadrosauridae (cf. Ugrunaaluk) (UAMES 42739, UAMES 12491). (F) Ceratopsidae (cf. Pachyrhinosaurus) (UAMES 52467, UAMES 29413). (G), Tyrannosauridae (cf. Nanuqsaurus) premaxillary teeth, Picture credit: Druckenmiller et al.

This discovery demonstrates just how adaptable members of the Dinosauria were and hints at a diverse and rich dinosaur dominated ecosystem hundreds of miles inside the Palaeo-Arctic Circle.

The scientific paper: “Nesting at extreme polar latitudes by non-avian dinosaurs” by Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Gregory M. Erickson, Donald Brinkman, Caleb M. Brown and Jaelyn J. Eberle published in Current Biology.

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2 07, 2021

Triassic Beetle Described from Fossil Poo

By | July 2nd, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A new species of ancient beetle has been named and described based on preserved remains found in the poo (coprolite) of an ancestor of the dinosaurs. The beetle named Triamyxa coprolithica, is the first insect to be scientifically described from coprolite and this research, suggests that coprolite remains could become as important as insects preserved in amber when it comes to identifying new species.

Images of the Triassic beetle Triamyxa coprolithica
Images of the newly described Triassic beetle Triamyxa coprolithica, the first insect to be named and described from a coprolite. Picture credit: Qvarnström et al.

Published in Current Biology

The researchers from Uppsala University (Sweden), in collaboration with entomologists from Sun Yat-sen National University (Taiwan), Jena University (Germany) and Guadalajara University in Mexico used synchrotron microtomography to examine the coprolite’s contents and sophisticated computer software to rebuild the tiny insects so that they could be studied. The coprolite contained numerous insect remains preserved in three-dimensions. Most insect fossils are squashed so flat that deciphering them is extremely difficult.

The researchers conclude that coprolites may prove to be an important source of information for exploring insect evolution. Their paper is published this week in “Current Biology”.

Using synchrotron microtomography, the beetle fossil was virtually reconstructed while still remaining in the coprolite. Picture credit: Qvarnström et al
Using synchrotron microtomography, the beetle fossil was virtually reconstructed while still remaining in the coprolite. Picture credit: Qvarnström et al

Silesaurus opolensis

Although the scientists cannot be certain, they speculate that the coprolite represents the scat from a relative of the dinosaurs called Silesaurus opolensis, which is known from the same Polish deposits associated with the coprolite. An animal (probably S. opolensis), swallowed a large number of these tiny insects 230 million years ago, the greedy reptile inadvertently giving palaeontologists a rare opportunity to study a beetle, at a time (the Triassic), when many different types of insect were evolving and diversifying.

Phylogenetic analysis suggests that T. coprolithica is a member of Myxophaga (fungal beetles), a small suborder of beetles with a sparse fossil record whose extant representatives are small and often associated with wet environments.

An illustration of the Triassic dinosauriform Silesaurus.
An illustration of the Triassic dinosauriform Silesaurus opolensis, the coprolite has been putatively assigned to this reptile. Picture credit: Małgorzata Czaja

Complete Specimens Preserved

Some of the beetles were almost complete with even their antennae and thin legs intact and attached to the body.

Commenting on the significance of this research, lead author of the scientific paper, Martin Qvarnström, (Uppsala University), remarked:

“We were very positively surprised by how many beetle remains there were in the coprolite and above all how well preserved they were. We really have to thank Silesaurus, who was probably the animal that helped us collect and preserve the beetles”.

The labrador-sized Silesaurus did not usually dine on such small insects, it probably was a generalist eating a wide variety of prey. It had a beak that was possibly used to bite insects just like today’s living dinosaurs – the birds. Despite the fact that Silesaurus ingested lots of individuals of Triamyxa coprolithica, these small beetles probably did not constitute its main food. Triamyxa lived in the same environments as larger insects and it was these insects as well as small vertebrates that probably made up the majority of the diet of this fast running, agile reptile.

Silesaurus body plan
A skeletal reconstruction of the Late Triassic dinosauriform Silesaurus.

The beetle fossils are reminiscent of other beetle remains associated with amber. Both coprolites and amber are capable of preserving insects in three-dimensions and this study suggests coprolites can be extremely valuable for studying early insect evolution and extinct animal food chains at the same time.

The scientific paper: “Exceptionally preserved beetles in a Triassic coprolite of putative dinosauriform origin” by
Martin Qvarnström, Martin Fikáček, Joel Vikberg Wernström, Emmanuel Arriaga-Varela, Per E. Ahlberg and Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki published in Current Biology.

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1 07, 2021

Titus the T. rex Roars into View

By | July 1st, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Press Releases|0 Comments

Team members from Everything Dinosaur were lucky enough to get a preview of the new “Titus T. rex is King” exhibition at Wollaton Hall (Nottinghamshire), the first time that actual Tyrannosaurus rex fossils have been exhibited in England for more than a century.

Titus the T.rex exhibit
The spectacular Titus the T. rex exhibit at Wollaton Hall.

The exhibition entitled “Titus: T. rex is King” opens on Sunday 4th July 2021 and will run until August 2022, giving visitors the opportunity to view a real Tyrannosaurus rex specimen, the actual fossilised bones and teeth of arguably, the most famous dinosaur of all. The stunning T. rex mount has been created by talented conservator Nigel Larkin who has over 30 years’ experience of conservation and curation. His expertise in skeletal reconstruction enabled this Late Cretaceous apex predator to be exhibited, the actual fossil bones of a T. rex combined with casts from a second specimen and then skilfully painted and mounted to provide a stunning display.

Nigel Larkin next to the Titus T. rex specimen
Conservator Nigel Larkin who was tasked with creating the Titus the T. rex specimen combining the actual T. rex fossil bones with casts from “Stan” the T. rex specimen STAN-BHI3033.

A Titan from the Hell Creek Formation

This T. rex specimen comes from Montana (Hell Creek Formation). In September 2014 palaeontologist Craig Pfister found a handful of fragmentary T. rex bones. Working in the extremely harsh conditions of the “Badlands”, Craig was able to recover around 20% of the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Skilled conservator Nigel Larkin was given the task of combining these real fossil bones with casts from another similar sized T. rex specimen to create this spectacular display which is over 12 metres in length.

When entering the room in which this dinosaur is exhibited, visitors immediately get a sense of just how big and powerful this dinosaur was. The jaws of this huge predator loom over you as if you are about to become a snack for this formidable monster. Nigel Larkin was able to utilise his three decades of experience of working with dinosaur fossils to design and build the metal armature that enables Titus to be shown in such a dynamic pose.

Titus the T. rex Skull and Jaws
The skull of the T. rex exhibit on display at Wollaton Hall until August 2022.

Interactive Virtual Media Displays

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the life and habitat of Tyrannosaurus rex using digital and interactive virtual media displays that tell the tale of the dinosaur’s discovery, the excavation work, the painstaking and time-consuming process of piecing together the life story of an enormous predator.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur were fortunate to meet Simon Wallett of Hot Knife Digital Media, who was responsible for creating the interactive digital displays. Those lucky enough to get tickets for the exhibition will be able to excavate key bones from the dig site, identify where they fit on the skeleton and to discover some of the secrets that the bones reveal. In addition, visitors will be able to reconstruct their own Tyrannosaurus rex decide whether to add feathers or scales and to transport their digital creation back to a Cretaceous landscape.

Remarkably, all the displays designed by Hot Knife Digital Media operate without the need to be touched. Clever software interprets the movements of your fingers enabling you to try your hand at palaeontology without the need to touch anything. A very smart solution, permitting participation at an event where COVID-19 safety precautions are meticulously complied with.

Simon Wallett of Hot Knife Digital Media.
Simon Wallett of Hot Knife Digital Media demonstrates one of the clever interactive displays. The innovative design of these machines enables visitors to operate them without the need to actually touch them. It’s a tactile, immersive experience without the need to touch!

Telling the Tale of a Tyrant

Prominent and informative display panels help visitors to understand what these fossilised bones of T. rex have revealed. They help to tell the tale of a tyrant that had a tough life. For example, disease identified in a toe bone represents the first time this specific pathology has been found in a dinosaur.

A deep puncture in the underside of a bone in the tail, suggests that Titus battled other tyrannosaurs. The wound in the tail shows signs of healing, so this traumatic injury is unlikely to have been the cause of this titan’s ultimate demise.

Damaged tail bone of a T. rex
The single tail bone of the T. rex showing the deep puncture mark which was probably inflicted during intraspecific combat (a fight with another T. rex).

Sue Judd from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Visitors to the Titus T. rex is King exhibition will be able to view real Tyrannosaurus rex fossils, the first time in more than a century fossils like these have been on display in England. We are sure this magnificent dinosaur will feel very much at home at the majestic Wollaton Hall. This wonderful building surrounded by fantastic parkland houses an amazing natural history collection – a fitting home for the king of the tyrant lizards.”

Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire
The majestic Wollaton Hall, home to real T. rex fossils until August 2022.

For further information and tickets for the “Titus T. rex is King” exhibition can be found here: Wollaton Hall – Titus T. rex is King.

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30 06, 2021

Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)

By | June 30th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur and One Stop Shop

On Thursday, July 1st new VAT rules for sales into the European Union come into force. Everything Dinosaur has registered for Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) enabling this UK-based company to comply with their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods.

Everything Dinosaur and IOSS
Everything Dinosaur is ready for the start of Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). The thousands of Everything Dinosaur customers in the European Union can continue to rely on them for easy and straightforward deliveries to the EU.

What is Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)?

IOSS facilitates the collection, declaration and payment of VAT for sellers that are making distance sales of imported goods to buyers in the 27 countries that make up the European Union. Everything Dinosaur customers based in the European Union will find very little change in the way that Everything Dinosaur handles their purchase, team members had already ensured that parcels could be despatched delivery duty paid (DDP) from the beginning of 2021 and they will continue to do so.

The subsidised fully tracked parcel delivery service to customers in the European Union will continue as before.

Royal Mail parcels being sorted.
IOSS will simplify VAT collection rules across the European Union. It also means that the exemption status for parcels valued at less than 22 euros excluding shipping will be removed.

Benefits for the Buyer

Import One Stop Shop makes the process of placing an order even easier for the buyer. Everything Dinosaur will only charge the customer at the time of purchase. There are no hidden or surprise fees when the goods are delivered to the customer in Europe.

If the retailer is not registered under IOSS, then the buyer will have to pay VAT and usually an administration/customs clearance fee charged by the delivery company.

Such fees and payments will have to be made in full before the parcel can be handed over.

What Parcels Does IOSS Cover?

The Import One Stop Shop covers the sale of goods from a distance that are:

  • dispatched or transported from outside of the EU at the time they are sold – so parcels sent from Everything Dinosaur’s UK warehouse need to comply (UK designated a third country).
  • dispatched or transported in consignments with a value not exceeding a total of 150 euros even if the order contains several items.
  • not subject to excise duties (typically applied to tobacco or alcohol products).

The End of the VAT Exemption for Parcels under 22 Euros in Value

From July 1st 2021, the VAT exemption for the importation of goods with a value less than or equal to 22 euros will be removed. As a result, all Everything Dinosaur sales to the European Union that are less than 150 euros in value will be subject to VAT. The amount of VAT for each transaction will be clearly stated at the checkout and shown on the invoice – all part of Everything Dinosaur’s policy on being transparent with its pricing.

The European Union and IOSS
Everything Dinosaur will be IOSS compliant.

If the retailer is not registered in the IOSS, the buyer has to pay the VAT and usually a customs clearance fee charged by the transporter.

Some Temporary Disruption to European Deliveries

As these new procedures are implemented, customers in the European Union might experience a short delay in the delivery of their parcel. Delays can be expected as couriers and national postal companies get used to these new regulations.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Team members have done all they can to prepare for the beginning of IOSS. We have been registered and we are ready to operate under these new VAT simplification rules. However, we do anticipate that there will be some delays in the system. These delays will in part be caused by other companies not recognising what they must do in order to meet these new requirements. We apologise to our customers in the EU for any inconvenience caused.”

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29 06, 2021

Updating the Everything Dinosaur Blog

By | June 29th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

The address details for Everything Dinosaur have been updated in the footer section of the Everything Dinosaur blog. Everything Dinosaur relocated to new, bigger premises in April 2020 and team members have been busy updating all the contact details on their various websites on social media platforms.

Everything Dinosaur's Offices and Warehousing
The new Everything Dinosaur offices and warehousing. Team members have been busy updating all the contact details on the company’s various social media platforms and websites.

A spokesperson for the UK-based company commented that they had moved into larger premises and have created purpose-built packing rooms and offices. One of the main reasons for the move into a bigger warehouse was that the company intended to offer even more dinosaur and prehistoric animal models in the future.

One of the last things to do was to ensure that the contact details on the Everything Dinosaur blog were updated.

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28 06, 2021

PNSO Bronze Sinosauropteryx

By | June 28th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Our thanks to dinosaur and prehistoric animal model and figure collector Anne who sent into Everything Dinosaur some pictures of the stunning, limited edition PNSO bronze Sinosauropteryx figure that she had recently purchased from us. Marketed as the “Galley Series”, only 300 of these remarkable sculptures have been produced.

PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx Bronze sculpture
The limited edition PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx Bronze sculpture the box (left) the beautiful statue in its foam packaging (middle) and the model with its box cover (right).

Limited Edition Bronze Dinosaur Statues

Of the 300 sculptures only a handful have been made available for sale outside of China. As Everything Dinosaur has the longest relationship with PNSO of any company based outside China, we were given special permission to bring some of these fantastic figures out of China and to our warehouse in the UK.

PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx limited edition bronze sculpture
The PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx limited edition bronze sculpture with its information cards, illustration and certificate of authenticity (left), the statue itself (middle and right).

The PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx bronze statue is in 1:3 scale and comes in a beautiful presentation box complete with a certificate of authenticity, a Zhao Chuang Sinosauropteryx illustration and notes from Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang.

Views of the PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx Bronze Sculpture

This beautiful figure will take pride of place in the family home and it was very kind of Anne to send some pictures to Everything Dinosaur of her latest acquisition.

PNSO Bronze Sinosauropteryx statue
Views of the PNSO Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx limited edition bronze sculpture.

The model measures a fraction under 17.5 cm high and the figure is 17 cm long.

PNSO Bronze Sinosauropteryx statue.
More views of the spectacular PNSO Bronze Sinosauropteryx statue, a stunning limited edition figure.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The bronze 1:3 scale Yuyan the Sinosauropteryx was created to celebrate 10th anniversary of PNSO. It is wonderful to be able to supply these exceptionally rare and beautiful figures to our customers.”

PNSO bronze Sinosauropteryx statue
A close-up view of the jaws of the stunning PNSO bronze Sinosauropteryx statue and confirmation (right) that this sculpture is just one of 300 made in total.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

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27 06, 2021

“Dragon Man” from North-eastern China

By | June 27th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|1 Comment

No sooner have we praised the remarkable artist Zhao Chuang for his work illustrating the mammaliamorph biota associated with Early Cretaceous China, then he produces another stunning piece of palaeoart – this time illustrating the newly described “Dragon Man” or to give the proposed formal scientific name Homo longi.

Dragon Man life reconstruction.
A life reconstruction of “Dragon Man”. Picture credit: Zhao Chuang.

A Completely New Species of Human

Researchers including Professor Chris Stringer from the London Natural History Museum have published a paper in the journal “Innovation” that describes and dates a remarkable and very complete fossil skull from Heilongjiang Province. The team have concluded that the ancient skull believed to be at least 146,000 years old represents a completely new species of human. They postulate that the skull could be from our closest evolutionary relative among known species of hominin such as Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.

Harbin hominin skull.
The skull of the archaic hominin from the Harbin region of China. It could represent a new species of human. Picture credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Dragon Man”

The skull was reportedly discovered in 1933 by a construction worker helping to build a bridge over the Songhua river running through the city of Harbin. The river means “Black Dragon River” in the local language which explains why this skull representing a male was nicknamed “Dragon Man”.

The province was occupied by imperial Japanese forces at the time, so the construction worker hid the skull at the bottom of his family’s well to prevent it falling into the hands of the Japanese. According to media reports he only told relatives about the fossil find shortly before his death. The specimen was handed over to scientists so that a full examination of this extraordinary fossil could be carried out.

Where the fossil was found remains a mystery, but geochemical analysis suggests it came from lakebed sediments (lacustrine sediments). The research which involved non-destructive X-ray fluorescence, the analysis of rare earth elements and strontium isotope degradation, placed the date of this fossil between 138 to 309 thousand years old.

Uranium isotope analysis indicated that the fossil was at least 146,000 years old.

The face of "Dragon Man"
Views of the face of “Dragon Man”. Picture credit: Kai Geng

Commenting on the significance of this discovery, Professor Chris Stringer stated:

“The skull has a large brain capacity, fully within the range of modern humans and Neanderthals. It also shows features resembling our species, including flat and low cheekbones with a shallow canine fossa, and the face looks reduced and tucked under the braincase. It’s widely believed that the Neanderthals form the sister group of the Homo sapiens lineage. But our analyses suggest that this skull, and some other Middle Pleistocene human fossils from China, form a third East Asian lineage, which is actually closer to sapiens than the Neanderthals are”.

Other researchers have suggested that the skull might represent an example of the ancient human known as a Denisovan. Where “Dragon Man” fits on the human family tree remains uncertain, but it is true that the evolution of hominins during the Pleistocene Epoch has yet to be fully explained. There may have been a number of human lineages inhabiting our planet and the exact taxonomic relationships between them will continue to attract controversy and lively debate.

The scientific paper: “Geochemical provenancing and direct dating of the Harbin archaic human cranium” by Qinqfeng Shao, Junyi Ge, Qiang Ji, Rainer Grün and Chris Stringer published in the journal Innovation.

For the article featuring the mammaliamorph illustration by Zhao Chuang: The Jehol Biota and a Wonderful Illustration.

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26 06, 2021

Tickets Snapped Up at T. rex Premiere

By | June 26th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|4 Comments

Excitement is mounting as we approach the start of the “Titus: T. rex is King” exhibition at Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum in Nottingham which officially opens to the public on Sunday 4th July (2021). Tickets for the Exclusive Premiere Event are also being snapped up as dinosaur fans grab the chance to be the first people to see a real Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skeleton in England for 100 years.

Titus the T. rex bones from the jaw.
The fearsome upper jaws (premaxilla and maxilla) of the T. rex known as Titus going on display at Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum in Nottingham.

Tickets for Exclusive Premiere Selling Fast

Organisers have revealed that the T. rex has safely arrived in Nottingham and this precious cargo is currently being unpacked and made ready for the grand opening of the exhibition. The organisers have also revealed that a third of the tickets for the Exclusive Premiere Event to be held on Saturday 3rd July have already gone.

Just 100 tickets were available for this unique event on Saturday 3rd July, the day before the exhibition officially opens to the public. For those eager to claim that they were the very first to meet Titus, they are being urged to purchase tickets now via the Wollaton Hall website, before, just like a T. rex they are gone forever!

To find out more about ticket sales including the Exclusive Premiere Event: Wollaton Hall Website.

The tail bones of Titus the T. rex.
The articulated caudal vertebrae of Titus the T. rex ready to be unpacked for display.

T. rex Proving to be an Irresistible Attraction

Ever since tickets went on general sale, the chance to view a real Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and to visit this exciting exhibition has proved irresistible. Interest in “Titus: T. rex is King” has been so high that virtually all the weekend tickets for the whole of July have gone already.

In response to the huge demand the organisers decided to launch the special one-off premiere event on Saturday 3rd July to mark the century since a real T. rex was last exhibited in the country.

The exhibition will officially open its doors to the general public on Sunday 4th July at Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum – an appropriate date, revealing an iconic North American dinosaur on U.S. Independence Day!

Visitors will be able to get up close to the skeleton Titus and enjoy an immersive experience of digital and interactive media displays that takes them from his discovery in the Montana Badlands in the USA, through the journey of excavation and curation.

The ticket price of £53 (inc. booking fee) includes a conversation with renowned palaeontologist Dr. David Hone and an exhibition Goody Bag of Titus merchandise worth over £30.

The famous clawed hand of a T. rex
Unpacking the famous limbs of the Tyrannosaurus rex exhibit (Titus the T. rex).

Palaeontologist Dr David Hone, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of London has played a key role in the story of Titus and has helped set up the Exclusive Premiere Event. Dr Hone will be the host for the premiere event, taking guests on a “A Walk with Titus”. What a fantastic opportunity to learn from the UK’s top expert about the biology and behaviour of the most famous of all the dinosaurs.

Event Details

To comply with Covid-19 regulations in place, arrival times will be staggered with 11.00a.m., 12.00p.m. and 1.00p.m. slots available to purchase. Visitors will be required to wear face masks throughout, unless exempt.

Details

Titus: T. rex is King Premiere Event
Saturday July 3rd, 11.00a.m., 12.00p.m. and 1.00p.m.
Ticket Price is £50.00 (plus £3.00 booking fee), to include a specialist talk by Dr David Hone and exhibition Goody Bag of merchandise to the value of £30.00.

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25 06, 2021

New Type of Ancient Human Unearthed in Israel

By | June 25th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A scientific paper has been published this week in the journal “Science” that suggests that interactions between different species of human during the Middle and Late Pleistocene Epoch were much more complex than previously thought.

Researchers working in Israel have identified a previously unknown type of ancient human that lived alongside our own species (H. sapiens) more than 100,000 years ago. The remains consisting of a fragment from the top of the skull (parietal bones), the mandible and a lower second molar tooth discovered near the city of Ramla in the Central District of Israel, have been dated to around 140,000 – 120,000 years ago and these fossils represent one of the very last members of an ancient human group that may have been the ancestors of the Neanderthals.

Nesher Ramla hominin.
The skull fragment (right) and the jawbone complete with some teeth (left). Picture credit: Avi Levin and Ilan Theiler, Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Human Remains Found Amongst Stone Tools and Other Fossil Bones

Yossi Zaidner from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found the fossils during excavations to salvage Middle Pleistocene material and fossils that had been uncovered during construction work. Thousands of fossil bones depicting a rich and varied fauna including aurochs, horses and deer were also recovered. Stone tools were also found, analysis of these tools suggest they were constructed in the same manner that modern humans of the time also made their implements.

The researchers made virtual reconstructions of the fossils to permit their analysis using sophisticated computer software and to compare them with other hominin fossils from Europe, Asia and Africa. The results suggest that the Nesher Ramla hominin fossils represent late survivors of a population of humans who lived in the Middle East during the Middle Pleistocene period.

Rolf Quam, one of the co-authors of the scientific paper commented:

“The oldest fossils that show Neanderthal features are found in Western Europe, so researchers generally believe the Neanderthals originated there. However, migrations of different species from the Middle East into Europe may have provided genetic contributions to the Neanderthal gene pool during the course of their evolution.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Binghamton University State University of New York in the compilation of this article.

The study, “A Middle Pleistocene Homo from Nesher Ramla, Israel,” was published in Science, along with a companion paper discussing the culture, way of life and behaviour of the Nesher Ramla hominin.

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