All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
27 05, 2017

New Giant Piscivore Pliosaur Discovered

By |2024-05-09T08:28:31+01:00May 27th, 2017|General Teaching, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on New Giant Piscivore Pliosaur Discovered

Luskhan itilensis – Giant Pliosaurid from Russia

A team of international researchers have announced the discovery of a new species of giant marine reptile, a pliosaur that has been named Luskhan itilensis.  Writing in the academic journal “Current Biology”, the scientists state that the fossils, which represent a single animal, indicate that this Early Cretaceous reptile was huge.  The skull is estimated at 1.5 metres long, suggesting that L. itilensis might have reached lengths in excess of ten metres.

The New Giant Marine Reptile (Luskhan itilensis) Compared to a Frogman

Luskhan itilensis.

An illustration of the pliosaurid Luskhan itilensis from Russia.

Picture credit: Andrey Atuchin

Three-dimensional Fossil Skeleton (Luskhan itilensis)

The fossil material was excavated from a bank on the river Volga, close to the town of Ulyanovsk, in the Volga Federal District of Russia.  It is estimated to be around 130 million years old (Early Cretaceous).  Members of the family known as the Pliosauridae typically have very large skulls, strong, powerful jaws with big teeth.  These marine reptiles, distantly related to the plesiosaurs, “fly” through the water propelled by their large flippers.  Most of these animals are regarded as fearsome, apex predators.  Pliosaurs such as Kronosaurus, Pliosaurus and Liopleurodon represent the top predators within their ecosystems.

A Model of the Apex Predator Kronosaurus (K. queenslandicus)

Swimming into view the PNSO Kronosaurus marine reptile model (Jeff the Kronosaurus)

Swimming into view the PNSO Kronosaurus marine reptile model (Jeff the Kronosaurus).

The model (above) is a PNSO Kronosaurus.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal figures in stock: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs.

A Specialised Fish-eater

Examination of the snout of this new pliosaurid, the rostrum, suggested to the scientists that this marine reptile may have filled a different niche in ancient marine ecosystems compared to other Pliosaurs.  The long jaws reminded the researchers of the snouts of gavials (gharials), a type of crocodile that is a specialist fish-eater.

A Photograph of a Gharial Skull (Gavial)

The skull of a gharial.

The skull of a gharial from the Grant Museum of Zoology (London).  Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The research team postulate that Luskhan itilensis was not an apex predator but a specialist fish-eater (piscivore).  This suggests that over the long history of this marine reptile group, the pliosaurs evolved into different forms and occupied a variety of niches in Mesozoic marine ecosystems.

Teaching Extensions

Linking to adaptation and inheritance, ask students to look at pictures of various crocodilians, paying particular attention to the skull and jaws.  What similarities can the students identify?  What differences can the students detect?  A clue – look at jaw shape and teeth.  How does the shape of the jaws and the size of the teeth relate to diet?

For educational themed prehistoric animal toys and games: Educational Prehistoric Animal Toys and Games.

27 05, 2017

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Papo Polacanthus

By |2023-07-23T07:01:26+01:00May 27th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page|0 Comments

Papo Polacanthus Video Review (JurassicCollectables)

JurassicCollectables have produced another very informative video of a Papo, new for 2017, prehistoric animal figure.  This time, the armoured Polacanthus takes centre stage and in this brief video review (duration 4:08), dinosaur model fans have the opportunity to take a really good look at this model.

The JurassicCollectables Video Review of the Papo Polacanthus

Video credit: JurassicCollectables

The Papo Polacanthus Dinosaur Model

Polacanthus is one of those iconic dinosaurs, an animal that would be well-known to most dinosaur enthusiasts, but there have not been too many replicas of this armoured dinosaur produced.  Not need to worry, as Papo have gone a long way to making amends by producing a beautifully detailed sculpt, a model that although very much characteristic of Papo’s modelling style, provides enough accurate anatomical detail to keep even the most ardent dinosaur fan happy.

The narrator takes viewers on a guided tour of the Papo Polacanthus.  Exquisite details are highlighted such as the careful sculpting and painting around the beak and comments are made about the lovely folds of skin down the legs and the great variation in the body scales and osteoderms that that model has.

One of Everything Dinosaur’s First Looks at the New for 2017 Papo Polacanthus Replica

Papo Polacanthus replica.

Papo Polacanthus dinosaur model. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables provides a comprehensive resource for prehistoric animal model reviews and dinosaur themed merchandise.  The videos are expertly shot and provide viewers with the chance to get a really close look at replicas.

Visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables here: JurassicCollectables on YouTube , Everything Dinosaur recommends that prehistoric animal model fans subscribe to JurassicCollectables.

That Famous Sacral Shield

The dermal armour is very well described and JurassicCollectables chose a novel way of showing off that beautiful characteristic sacral shield – a thick, fused plate of armour over the hips.

Regular cast member “off-colour Alan” uses the Polacanthus sacral shield as a saddle, this is a first for Everything Dinosaur members, we had not considered the sacral shield as a saddle before!  Although, we would not recommend trying to ride a Polacanthus, these animals were certainly capable of carrying a person as indicated by their robust limb bones and wide hips, but in all likelihood, it would have been a very bumpy ride.  Some of our American palaeontologist chums refer to the sacral shield as “the buckler”, perhaps they have theorised about the potential to use these particular members of the Thyreophora as transport!

The Papo Polacanthus Dinosaur Model

Papo Polacanthus model.

Papo Polacanthus dinosaur model.

It’s great to see Papo making a model of Polacanthus, it is a very welcome addition to the Papo “Les Dinosaures” range and we look forward to seeing further video reviews from JurassicCollectables as more of the new for 2017 Papo models come into the JurassicCollectables spotlight.

To see the entire range of Papo prehistoric animal models at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Prehistoric Animal Models.

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