All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
30 11, 2017

“Fuzzysaurs” Dinosaurs May Have Been Fluffier Than Previously Thought

By |2023-08-26T10:41:30+01:00November 30th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

For Dinosaurs Think “Fuzzysaurs”

A new study suggests that dinosaurs may have been somewhat more fluffy than previously thought.  To date, most illustrations of feathered dinosaurs have been analogous to modern, living birds, after all, the majority of scientists believe that birds are living dinosaurs and closely related to a group of theropod dinosaurs (Maniraptora).  However, in a paper published in the journal of the Palaeontological Association, a team of Bristol University researchers have revealed new details about feathered dinosaurs, allowing palaeoartists the chance to refine how these animals are depicted.

It seems that dinosaurs may have been quite fluffy, a feathered theropod dinosaur is one thing, but a fuzzy Velociraptor, that may take a little while to sink in.

New Study Gives Anchiornis a New Look

A clambering Anchiornis with contour feather illustration.
A clambering Anchiornis illustration with a drawing of the forked contour feather.

Picture credit: Rebecca Gelernter

The Contour Feathers of Anchiornis

The researchers, which included Dr Jakob Vinther (Bristol University), examined, at high resolution, an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of an Anchiornis (A. huxleyi) comparing its fossilised feathers to those of other dinosaurs and extinct birds.  Anchiornis is known from numerous fossil specimens from north-eastern China (Liaoning Province).  It is likely that the specimens hail from the Tiaojishan Formation of Upper Jurassic rocks and these fossils are estimated to be around 160 million years old.  Where this crow-sized, four-winged creature sits (or should that be perches/or clambers), on the Dinosauria family tree remains open to debate.

The fossils may precede Archaeopteryx by several million years and when first described Anchiornis (the name means “near bird”), was seen as a transitional form, very close to the split between dinosaurs and birds (Aves).  Other studies have challenged this placement, with an affinity with the troodontids being proposed.

Currently, the consensus seems to be that Anchiornis is a basal member of the Paraves clade, a part of the Maniraptora that incorporates the dromaeosaurids, the troodontids and the avialans, those dinosaurs that lead directly to birds as we know them today.

Anchiornis huxleyi – The PNSO Figure

PNSO Luffy the Anchiornis Dinosaur Model
The PNSO Luffy the Anchiornis dinosaur model from the “Age of Dinosaurs” model range.

To view the range of prehistoric animals made by PNSO: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Models.

The feathers around the body of Anchiornis, known as contour feathers, revealed a newly-described, extinct, primitive feather form consisting of a short quill with long, independent, flexible barbs erupting from the quill at low angles to form two vanes and a forked feather shape.  The scientists conclude that the details of the contour fossils were preserved as some of these feathers became detached from the body during decomposition.  When buried and fossilised, this taphonomy made the feather structure easier to analyse.

Fluffy Anchiornis

Such feathers would have given Anchiornis a fluffy appearance relative to the streamlined bodies of modern flying birds, whose feathers have tightly-zipped vanes forming continuous surfaces. Anchiornis’s unzipped feathers might have affected the animal’s ability to control its temperature and repel water, possibly being less effective than the vanes of most modern feathers.  This shaggy, fuzzy plumage would also have increased drag when Anchiornis took to the air.  It was probably not capable of powered flight, most likely it was a glider, however, these contour feathers lacked the aerodynamic qualities of the feathers of extant birds.

Comparing Contour Feathers – Anchiornis Against a More Recent Fossil Specimen

Contour feather comparison.
Anchiornis contour feathers (left) compared to a modern form of contour feather preserved in the fossil record.

Picture credit: Bristol University

Having to Compensate for the Forked Contour Feathers

In addition, the wing feathers of Anchiornis lack the aerodynamic, asymmetrical qualities of modern flight feathers.  This new study shows that the vanes on the feathers of Anchiornis were not so tightly “zipped” together when compared to those of modern birds.  The feathers of Anchiornis would have provided little lift for the animal, so to compensate paravians like Anchiornis packed many rows of long feathers into the wing, in contrast to extant, volant birds where most of the wing surface is formed by just one row of feathers.

Anchiornis had four wings, feathers on the legs as well as the arms and elongated feathers on the tail.  These structures would have increased the surface area of the animal assisting with gliding and helping to keep the animal stable in mid-air.

Palaeoartist Works with Palaeontologists

Scientific illustrator Rebecca Gelernter collaborated with researchers Evan Saitta and Dr Vinther, (University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and School of Biological Sciences), to produce a life reconstruction of Anchiornis (see above).  The colour patterns in Rebecca’s illustration are very similar to those in the earlier drawing produced by Julius Csotonyi, details of the feather pigmentation of Anchiornis had been revealed in a previous study, but this new illustration shows a more fuzzy, fluffy prehistoric animal.

Commenting on the new depiction of Anchiornis, researcher Evan Saitta said:

“The novel aspects of the wing and contour feathers, as well as fully-feathered hands and feet, are added to the depiction.  Most provocatively, Anchiornis is presented in this artwork climbing in the manner of Hoatzin chicks, the only living bird whose juveniles retain a relic of their dinosaurian past, a functional claw.  This contrasts much previous art that places paravians perched on top of branches like modern birds.  However, such perching is unlikely given the lack of a reversed toe as in modern perching birds and climbing is consistent with the well-developed arms and claws in paravians.  Overall, our study provides some new insight into the appearance of dinosaurs, their behaviour and physiology, and the evolution of feathers, birds, and powered flight.”

Anchiornis Fossil Material (Liaoning Province)

Anchiornis fossil specmen.
The fossilised remains of an Anchiornis (A. huxleyi).

Picture credit: Thierry Hubin

Rebecca Gelernter added:

“Paleoart is a weird blend of strict anatomical drawing, wildlife art, and speculative biology. The goal is to depict extinct animals and plants as accurately as possible given the available data and knowledge of the subject’s closest living relatives.  As a result of this study and other recent work, this is now possible to an unprecedented degree for Anchiornis.  It’s easy to see it as a living animal with complex behaviours, not just a flattened fossil.”

For an article published in March 2017 that provides further information on Anchiornis research: Very Near to “Near Bird”.

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

The scientific paper: “Additional Information on the Primitive Contour and Wing Feathering of Paravian Dinosaurs” by E. Saitta, R. Gelernter and J. Vinther published in Palaeontology, the journal of the Palaeontological Association.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

29 11, 2017

Last Recommended Posting Dates for Christmas (2017)

By |2023-08-26T10:30:28+01:00November 29th, 2017|Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Christmas Posting Dates – Information (2017)

There are only twenty-seven days left before Christmas day, so, if you have not started already, time to start thinking about Christmas shopping, especially if you wish to send something overseas, a dinosaur themed gift for a relative abroad for example.  In a bid to help our customers, Everything Dinosaur will be extending packing hours once again in the run up to Christmas and we will continue to pack and dispatch orders for customers as quickly as we can, even arranging for collections from our warehouse on Saturday mornings.  We try to do all we can to ensure items ordered from Everything Dinosaur are sent out as quickly as possible.

The information below is the guide published by Royal Mail as to the last safe posting dates for Christmas mail sent in the UK and overseas.

A Table Illustrating the Last Safe Posting Dates for Christmas (2017)

Last posting dates for Christmas.
Last recommended posting dates for Christmas (Royal Mail).

Table credit: Everything Dinosaur and Royal Mail

For dinosaur and prehistoric animal models: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.

Please note these recommended last safe posting dates also to apply to our other international services such as tracked, signed and tracked and signed.

Everything Dinosaur Helping Customers

Staff at Everything Dinosaur will do all they can to help customers and below is a list of helpful hints about the Christmas post.  Please remember the dates listed above are guidelines only and they are the last recommended posting dates, as always, the best advice we can give is to post early for Christmas, in this way you are helping to ensure that parcels get there in time for the big day.

Helpful Tips and Advice About Christmas Parcels

1).  Remember to include the house number or house name with the delivery address information.

2).  Check postcode/zip code details carefully.  We do have our own automatic address checking software and we do all we can to check delivery addresses.

3).  Before pressing the “submit” button to send an order to Everything Dinosaur, check the delivery address one last time, just to be sure.

4). Remember, with purchases from Everything Dinosaur, customers can write a message to us in the order message box.  You can write in confirmation of delivery address or any specific, relevant information required to help ensure a rapid delivery.

5).  If you want to specify a different delivery address to your billing address, our website allows you to do this easily and without any fuss or bother.

6).  If you want to send an item to your work address, please ensure that you include the company name in the delivery address information.  Once again, we will do all we can to check delivery addresses.

7).  For deliveries in the UK, Royal mail are once again offering a helpful “deliver to your neighbour” service, if you let us know that the parcel can be left with a neighbour, this information will be added to the front of your parcel as part of our labelling procedures, remember to tell us the house number and we will make sure this information is put on the front of your parcel for you.

If you have a query about Christmas deliveries, or indeed any aspect of Everything Dinosaur’s delivery service please feel free to contact us: Email Everything Dinosaur.

For prehistoric animal themed Christmas gift ideas, visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website.

28 11, 2017

Sauropod Feet Had Plenty of Traction

By |2023-08-26T10:26:18+01:00November 28th, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Sauropod Print from South Korea Reveals Polygonal Scales

A team of scientists based in South Korea have published a paper in the academic journal “Nature” that reports on the discovery of a sauropod dinosaur footprint that has preserved the impression of the underside of the foot. The polygon-shaped scales on the underside of the long-necked dinosaur’s feet (plantar surface), would have provided grip and traction, helping these large creatures to traverse soft mud and slippery ground.

Sauropod Foot Impression Fossil (South Korea)

The preserved impression of the underside of a Sauropod's foot.
Distinct skin impressions in a sauropod footprint (a) and on its cast (b) described in the study published in the journal “Nature”.

Picture credit: Nature

Largest Sauropod Print with Underside Surface Preserved

The very distinctive foot impression and its cast, reported upon in this study, represent the largest known sauropod footprint with skin details found to date.  The single print measures more than fifty centimetres across.  The footprint impression was left in silty mudstone as a large sauropod crossed a mudflat in the late Early Cretaceous (Albian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous).

The researchers from Pukyong National University, Busan (South Korea) and Seoul National University (Seoul), describe a single footprint from the Lower Cretaceous Haman Formation discovered in south-eastern South Korea, they suggest that the floodplain sediments were formed by sheetflood processes, where shallow water moves relatively slowly across slightly sloping ground.  The palaeoenvironment is interpreted as being a semi-arid area with lakes and ponds which was occasionally subjected to wetter weather, resulting in some flooding.

Microbial mats formed across the low-lying ground, adjacent to the water sources and the presence of these microbial mats may have helped with the preservation of the foot details.

A Reconstruction of the Sauropod Foot (Underside)

Illustration of the underside surface of the Sauropod foot.
Reconstruction of the plantar surface (underside) of a sauropod foot with polygonal skin.

Picture credit: Hyun Jeong Yoo

The researchers conclude that some sauropods by the late Early Cretaceous had a well-developed polygonal skin texture covering nearly the whole of their foot pads.  This foot pattern is reminiscent to that found on the pads of extant elephants.  These scales would have helped increase stability when these large and heavy animals crossed wet ground.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

27 11, 2017

“Shovel-Dart Tooth” Amebelodon

By |2023-08-26T08:42:56+01:00November 27th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments


Time to focus on one of our favourite members of the once very diverse Proboscidea – Amebelodon (A. fricki).  The Amebelodon genus is a member of a group of primitive proboscideans called gomphotheres, a group that also gave rise to the modern elephants.   Like other typical gomphotheres, Amebelodon possessed two sets of tusks, two uppers (much like those found on modern, extant elephants), and two lowers that extended from the very front of the lower jaws.  However, the lower tusks of Amebelodon were distinctive in that they were relatively long, slender and somewhat flattened.


These lower tusks reminded the first palaeontologists to study the fossils of shovels, hence Amebelodon and its close relatives are often referred to as “shovel-tusked”.

The Wild Safari Prehistoric Life Amebelodon Model

Wild Safari Prehistoric World Amebelodon.
Wild Safari Prehistoric World Amebelodon (2016)

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

In 2016, Safari Ltd re-introduced an Amebelodon model into the “Wild Safari Prehistoric World” range.  This replica was broadly similar to an earlier model that had been retired, but this figure was brought back with a new colour scheme.

Amebelodon and Platybelodon

Another “shovel-tusked” gomphothere that may or may not be closely related to Amebelodon is Platybelodon, the exact taxonomic relationship between these two types of prehistoric elephant remains controversial.

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of Amebelodon fricki

Amebelodon scale drawing.
A scale drawing of Amebelodon. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

There has long been an assumption that these lower tusks were actually used as shovels by the animal during feeding, presumably to scoop up water plants.  An analysis of wear patterns on the tusks has shown that these teeth were most likely used in a variety of ways in addition to shovelling, including scraping bark from trees.

It is likely that Amebelodon was a versatile browser (an animal that eats broad-leaved plants rather than grass), feeding in both wet and dry settings in a variety of ways.   The length of the trunk is not known, but this elephant is usually depicted with a relatively short, broad trunk.  Fossils of the species Amebelodon fricki have been found in Oregon, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.

To view the Amebelodon model, visit: Safari Ltd – Wild Safari Prehistoric World.

26 11, 2017

JurassicCollectables Reviews the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus

By |2023-08-26T08:32:09+01:00November 26th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Product Reviews|1 Comment

A Video Review of the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model

JurassicCollectables have produced another fascinating video review of a dinosaur model.  This time, it is the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus model that is put into the spotlight.

Mojo Fun was formed in 2009 with the objective of creating enjoyable and accurate model figures.  The “Prehistoric & Extinct” range contains a wide range of dinosaurs, prehistoric animals and recently extinct creatures.  This model range helps to highlight the link between extinctions of the past and the plight of many animals today and it includes replicas of animals such as the Tasmanian Tiger and the Quagga, animals that largely due to the actions of our own species, have become extinct.

The JurassicCollectables Video Review of the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Model

Video credit: JurassicCollectables

The Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Figure

In this short video review, the narrator compares the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus with the brachiosaurids seen in the original “Jurassic Park” film, released in 1993.  The model is described as being “desk top size”, it is an ideal size for creative, imaginative play, yet retains enough detail to make it the target of model collectors.

Various features of the model are highlighted.  The skin texture is commented upon as is the paintwork around the eye, the use of shiny, glossy paint for the eye is praised.  The model represents a traditional view of a macronarian sauropod and we particularly appreciated the comments about the skin creases that have been incorporated into the model.

The Mojo Fun Large Brachiosaurus Dinosaur Model

Mojo Fun large Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.
The Mojo Fun Large Brachiosaurus dinosaur model.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Reference to a Deleted Scene in “Jurassic Park”

“Off-colour Alan” provides a useful scale reference and the narrator comments that this figure resembles the Brachiosaurs that were to be included in a scene featuring these dinosaurs that was left on the cutting room floor when it came to piecing together the original “Jurassic Park” movie.  The Mojo Fun dinosaurs do seem to have been heavily influenced by the CGI dinosaurs from the “Jurassic Park” franchise and this makes them ideal for film fans who are trying to re-create mini-scenes from their favourite movie.

To view the “Prehistoric & Extinct” Mojo Fun model range available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Fun Prehistoric & Extinct Models.

Measuring Dinosaur Models

One of the features of a video review by JurassicCollectables is the measuring of the model.  Providing the “vital statistics” of a brachiosaur might be quite a tricky business, but JurassicCollectables cope admirably and providing a size guide helps model collectors to get a better idea of the scale of any figure.  It was also great to see the recently reviewed, new for 2017 Mojo Fun Hunting T. rex model also included in the video review.  It too, provides a helpful guide to scale and size.

For an article that features the recent review of the Mojo Fun red Hunting Tyrannosaurus rexJurassicCollectables Reviews the Mojo Fun Red Hunting T. rex.

Mojo Fun has produced a number of dinosaur models, this range is gaining a very good reputation amongst discerning figure collectors and it is great to see such a well-shot and informative video review of the Mojo Fun Brachiosaurus.

Everything Dinosaur recommends that readers visit the YouTube channel of JurassicCollectables.  This channel is jam-packed with informative videos all with a dinosaur/prehistoric animal theme and we strongly recommend subscribing to this channel.  Visit: JurassicCollectables Videos on YouTube.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

25 11, 2017

Apatosaurus Scale Drawing

By |2023-08-26T06:58:51+01:00November 25th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

A Scale Drawing of Apatosaurus ajax

Further to a number or emails that we have received in recent days, we have posted up a scale drawing of Apatosaurus, specifically Apatosaurus ajax, the first species of Apatosaurus to be named and described by the American palaeontologist Othniel Charles Marsh (1877).

Everything Dinosaur’s Scale Drawing of Apatosaurus (A. ajax)

Apatosaurus scale drawing.
Scale drawing of Apatosaurus (A. ajax).

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur model fans will recognise the fact that we have based our illustration on the highly popular Papo Young Apatosaurus dinosaur model that was added to the Papo “Dinosaures” range in 2015.  2015 was a special year for fans of diplodocids, as, following a systematic review, the genus Brontosaurus was resurrected.  The Papo model has certainly proved to be a big hit amongst collectors and dinosaur fans.

From the Western United States

The first Apatosaurus fossils to be discovered were found close to the town of Morrison in Colorado (USA).  Subsequently, fossil material assigned to the Apatosaurus genus has been found in Wyoming and Utah.  Apatosaurus was one of the so-called “mega-herbivores” of the Upper Jurassic of western North America.  A number of sauropod fossils are associated with the Upper Jurassic sediments in this region, including Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Barosaurus, Haplocanthosaurus and Camarasaurus.  Several different families of sauropod have been identified and as a result, many palaeontologists regard the Morrison Formation fossil material as the high watermark for Jurassic Sauropoda diversity.

The Papo Young Apatosaurus Dinosaur Model

Papo Young Apatosaurus dinosaur model.
Available from Everything Dinosaur.

To view the Papo range of dinosaur and prehisoric animal figures: Papo Dinosaur Models.

How Big was Apatosaurus ajax?

Everything Dinosaur team members estimate that Apatosaurus ajax grew to around 25 metres in length and would have measured between 3 and 4.6 metres high at the hips.  Mass estimates indicate a body weight of around 30 tonnes.  Size estimates do vary, for example acclaimed dinosaur expert and author Gregory S. Paul states that Apatosaurus ajax was around 23 metres long and considerably lighter at approximately 20 tonnes.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

24 11, 2017

New CollectA Models 2018 (Part 4 of 4)

By |2023-08-25T17:16:09+01:00November 24th, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|1 Comment

New CollectA Models 2018 (Part 4 of 4)

Today, Everything Dinosaur reveals the last of the new for 2018 CollectA prehistoric animal models and they are all dinosaurs.  With the reassessment of the diplodocids back in 2015, the genus name Brontosaurus was resurrected and “thunder lizard” comes back with a bang with the introduction of a Brontosaurus model into the CollectA Prehistoric Life model range.

The New for 2018 Brontosaurus Model from CollectA

CollectA Brontosaurus replica.
The CollectA Brontosaurus dinosaur model.

CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models

Eagle-eyed collectors will note that the whip-like tail has been retained but there are rows of prominent scales depicted on this finely detailed figure.  This is a very up-to-date replica of a dinosaur first named and described back in 1879.  Our congratulations to CollectA, they have excelled themselves in creating a model of Brontosaurus excelsus.

Commenting on the introduction of this extra-large dinosaur model, designer Anthony Beeson stated:

“In celebration of the recent return to something like respectability for Brontosaurus, that well loved sauropod of our childhoods, I thought it high time that a toy company brought out a model which I believe is the first modern one of the species.  I have given him dermal spines.  There is no way of knowing if the tail spines, where present on sauropods, formed one central row or diverged in two rows rather like those found on crocodiles.  I have chosen the latter position, which I believe has not been tried before on a toy.”

To view the existing prehistoric animals in the CollectA Prehistoric Life model range: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

A Roaring Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex

Next up, is a wonderful CollectA Deluxe roaring T. rex figure.  A fine accompaniment to the 1:40 scale feathered T. rex that was introduced into the Deluxe range in late 2015, just a few weeks after the scientific paper that led to the re-establishment of Brontosaurus.

This dinosaur has an articulated lower jaw and will prove popular, no doubt, with those model collectors who prefer their dinosaur figures to be provided without a base.  The replica has fewer feathers than shown previously on other CollectA tyrannosaurid models.  This version of an adult Tyrannosaurus rex roaring incorporates the latest ideas about adult dinosaurs having less plumage than previously imagined, after all, when you weigh in excess of seven tonnes, retaining body heat is much less of a problem!

The CollectA 1:40 Scale Deluxe Feathered Tyrannosaurus rex Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale roaring T. rex.
CollectA roaring feathered T. rex dinosaur model.

CollectA Deluxe Mapusaurus Dinosaur Model

The last of the new for 2018 model introductions from CollectA is another giant, predatory dinosaur, although one not closely related to the Tyrannosauridae and a dinosaur that lived more than thirty million years before T. rex evolved.  Mapusaurus was a member of the Carcharodontosauridae and it was closely related to another South American giant Giganotosaurus.  Anthony Beeson explained to Everything Dinosaur, that this Deluxe model had been given a different colour scheme from the other Mapusaurus figure made by CollectA, this new colour scheme had been requested by dinosaur model fans.

The CollectA Deluxe Mapusaurus Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Mapusaurus dinosaur model.
CollectA Deluxe Mapusaurus dinosaur model.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

This beautifully proportioned Mapusaurus (M. roseae) comes complete with an articulated jaw and it is great to see more large theropods added to the CollectA Deluxe range, joining the likes of Neovenator, Acrocanthosaurus, Torvosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus.

To see the range of CollectA Deluxe scale prehistoric animals: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life.

New for 2018 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models

The new for 2018 Mapusaurus figure sports a fringe of brightly coloured large scales running along the underside of the lower jaw.  This feature on the model has been inspired by the dewlap – a flap of skin that hangs down from the jaw and neck, a feature found in many modern lizards, for example.

Anthony Beeson commented:

“I tried an iguana type run of hanging scales under his throat for the new Mapusaurus for a change and to make him different from other interpretations of theropods.”

The dewlap of iguanas has a number of functions and in males the dewlap is often larger and more prominent than in females.  The fringe of scales play an important role in signalling and communication between individuals.  It is likely that many of the Dinosauria had similar features too and these played an important part in visual communication.

CollectA Model Measurements

Here are the all-important model measurements:

CollectA Brontosaurus (classified as extra large, like the recently introduced Basilosaurus) – length a fraction under 30.5 cm long with a height of just over 10.5 cm (release date mid 2018)

The CollectA Deluxe Roaring Tyrannosaurus rex – length just over 34 cm long with a maximum height of just under 16.5 cm (release date mid 2018)

CollectA Deluxe Mapusaurus – length 32 cm long with a height of 12.5 cm (available quarter 1 2018)

As for when these models will be available, we expect them to be available from Everything Dinosaur around the middle of next year, could be earlier, could be later, we will update readers when we have more information.

For an article that provides an update on the Brontosaurus genus and provides information on the reassessment of the diplodocids: The Return of Brontosaurus.

Previous New for 2018 CollectA Model Posts

All in one location, here are links to the three other blog posts that provide information on new prehistoric animal models from CollectA in 2018.

New for 2018 CollectA models (part 1): New CollectA Prehistoric Life (Part 1).

The New for 2018 CollectA models (part 2): New CollectA Prehistoric Life (Part 2).

New for 2018 CollectA models (part 3): New CollectA Prehistoric Life (Part 3).

Visit the award-winning Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

23 11, 2017

Scaling the Heights of Feather Evolution

By |2023-08-25T17:04:42+01:00November 23rd, 2017|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

How Reptilian Scales Became Feathers

Birds and alligators might look very different, but they are related, belonging to the Archosauria clade, that diverse and extensive group of diapsids that dominated life on Earth during the Mesozoic. There are a number of groups of reptiles that are more closely related to birds than alligators, for instance there is the Dinosauria.  At least dinosaurs and birds belong to the same sub-clade of the archosaurs (the Avemetatarsalia), whereas, in contrast, alligators and their crocodilian cousins are placed in the other major sub-clade of the Archosaurs – the Crurotarsi.

A team of scientists based at the University of Southern California have shed light on the evolutionary process that led to the development of feathers from reptilian scales.  The manipulation of genes in embryonic alligator skin and developing chicks has enabled the researchers to replicate the evolutionary process that led to the development of primitive feathers within members of the Archosauria.

Numerous Feathered Dinosaur Have Been Described – But How Did Feathers Evolve?

Huanansaurus dinosaur illustrated.
A new feathered dinosaur from China, but how did feathers evolve from the scales of reptiles?

Picture credit: Chuang Zhao

Genetic Research Maps the Transition from Scaly Skin to Filamentous Feathers

Most scientists believe that feathers evolved primarily for insulation or display and that powered flight was secondary.

Over the last two decades or so, there have been remarkable dinosaur fossil discoveries, mainly from the Cretaceous deposits in Liaoning Province (north-eastern China), that have revealed a myriad of different types of feathered dinosaur, but the mechanism for feather evolution was poorly understood.  For example, many different types of feather-like structures have been identified in the fossil record, the famous Archaeopteryx (A. lithographica) from the Upper Jurassic limestone deposits of Solnhofen, Germany, has asymmetrical flight feathers, very similar to those found in living birds.  These feathers are more complex than those seen in non-avian, non-volant dinosaurs of the Jehol Biota, that lived some 30 million years after Archaeopteryx was flying around.

Archaeopteryx Possessed Both Asymmetrical Flight Feathers and Symmetrical Feathers

Feather preservation on Archaeopteryx.
Excellent feather preservation.  Asymmetrical feathers (flight feathers on the wings), whilst the hind limbs of Archaeopteryx had symmetrical feathers that probably played very little role in powered flight.

Picture credit: Helmut Tischlinger with additional labelling by Everything Dinosaur

What are Feathers and Reptile Scales Made Of?

The feathers of birds and the scales of reptiles are essentially, made of the same protein – keratin.  However, there are subtle differences in the composition of the keratin that makes up feathers and scales.  It has been known for more than ten years, that the type of keratin that forms feathers is present in embryonic alligator scales.

This form of feather-forming keratin, is suppressed by the expression of genetic information during the embryological development of the alligator, and as a result, as far as we at Everything Dinosaur know, the form of keratin that leads to feathers has not been detected within the dermal scales of adult crocodilians.  The presence of this homologous keratin in both chicks and alligators suggests that this trait was inherited from a common ancestor, a member of the archosaur clade (Archosauriformes), that existed prior to the evolution of the two basic types of archosaur based on their ankle bones (Avemetatarsalia and the Crurotarsi).

An Evolutionary Heritage Embedded in the DNA of Living Archosauria Clade Members

A team of scientists, led by researchers from the University of Southern California have started to unravel the genetic mechanisms that dictate how the outer skin and related tissues of living archosaurs is formed.  They have been able to focus in on the variety of genes that are involved in scale and feather development.  The scientific paper detailing this research has been published in the academic journal “Molecular Biology and Evolution”.

Commenting on this new study, corresponding author for the paper, Dr Cheng-Ming Choung (Department of Pathology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California), stated:

“We now have a potential molecular explanation for these hypothesised missing links.  Our analyses led to the identification of five morpho-regulatory modules that are essential for modern feather formation.  We propose that these modules may originally evolve as different strategies for better adaptation.  Eventually, the integrative combination of five morpho-regulatory modules achieves the highly successful feather architecture today, allows the Aves class to claim most of the open sky as their ecological niche.”

Mapping the Genes of Developing Embryos

In this study, the scientists first mapped the genes of developing chicks and embryonic alligators to identify the differences in gene expression between the two archosaurs and to pin-point the key genes involved in the formation of feathers or scales.  Once this phase of the research had been concluded, the team then placed the genes associated with feather development in chicks into alligator eggs to see if the alligator genes for scales could be overridden by switching on the chicken feather genes.

Highly-magnified Thin Slice Through an Alligator Scale Showing Filamentous Development

Growing feathers in embryonic alligator skin cells.
Normal embryonic alligator scales (left) compared with the elongated feather-like appendage following genetic manipulation of the alligator scales (right).

Picture credit: University of Southern California

In addition, the gene replacement led to the identification of several intermediate types of shape from scales to more complex forms of filamentous feathers.  Some of the shapes identified resemble the filamentous appendages associated with feathered dinosaur fossils, whilst other shapes formed have similar characteristics to those found in the feathers of modern birds.  This research has provided a further insight into how a new organ might evolve and has significantly increased the list of genes and molecules known to influence feather development.  It has also highlighted the growing role of developmental biology and genetic mapping when it comes to interpreting the fossil record.

The scientific paper: “Multiple Regulatory Modules are Required for Scale-to-Feather Conversion” by Ping Wu Jie Yan Yung-Chih Lai Chen Siang Ng Ang Li Xueyuan Jiang Ruth Elsey Randall Widelitz Ruchi Bajpai Wen-Hsiung Li Cheng-Ming Chuong and published in the journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

For an article on a recently described feathered, terrestrial dinosaur: Silky Dinosaur Ruffles Feathers.

To read a recent article on the discovery of a troodontid dinosaur with pennaceous feathers: Chinese Dinosaur with Pennaceous Feathers.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

22 11, 2017

Dinosaur Fan’s Amazing Dinosaur Diorama

By |2023-08-25T16:56:36+01:00November 22nd, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|1 Comment

Prehistoric Landscape with Special Effects

Around four years ago, Everything Dinosaur was contacted by customer requesting advice on suitable models to help populate a prehistoric landscape that was being constructed.  Dad Paul, was keen to acquire a number of prehistoric animal figures that worked well together in terms of approximate scaling, so that his son, Luke, could learn about the sizes of different dinosaurs through his creative play.  At the time, some pictures of the finished dinosaur diorama were sent through to us, however, they were lost in cyberspace and we never got to see the fruits of Paul’s labour.

Prehistoric Animal Figures in a Prehistoric Landscape

Recently, we were contacted again, Paul is about to embark on a second prehistoric landscape project, this time for his youngest son Raef.  Once again, Everything Dinosaur was able to provide advice about suitable models. Paul wanted to add a seascape, so further assistance was required, but this time the focus was on marine reptiles.  He very kindly sent over pictures of his original diorama, complete with working volcano and other amazing special effects.

An Overview of the Dinosaur Diorama Complete with an Active Volcano

A dinosaur and prehistoric animal landscape.
An overview of the superb dinosaur and prehistoric animal landscape.

Picture credit: Paul

We congratulate Paul for his superb dinosaur diorama.

A Playscape for Familiar Favourites

The pictures sent into Everything Dinosaur include some of the wonderful models that were around four years ago.  Sadly, a number of these figures have been retired and are no longer available.  It is great to see favourites from Schleich and CollectA featured in the images.

Herbivores Gather Around the Waterhole

A small pond in the dinosaur diorama.
Horned dinosaurs come to drink against the backdrop of a volcano.

Picture credit: Paul

A Dinosaur Diorama with Special Effects

Young Luke had his very own “Jurassic Park” complete with working volcano, Paul explained how he created the special effects:

“The volcano has a smoke channel (old hosepipe and a smoke machine), a lava injector (intravenous giving set), plus an incendiary fountain chamber created by placing a sparkler fountain in a tin can”.

The Diorama Even has Geysers Belching Smoke and Fumes

Special effects in the dinosaur diorama.
Smoke coming out of a crater close to the volcano.

Picture credit: Paul

What a fantastic landscape!  We are always eager to see how the prehistoric animal models that we supply are used and some of the landscapes and dioramas that our customers make are amazing.  Our thanks to Paul and his family for sharing these pictures.

To purchase dinosaurs and prehistoric animal figures: Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

Paul is not finished with his model making.  Raef will be getting his own prehistoric themed play set very soon.  This will be an additional dinosaur landscape, this time a mixed land and sea diorama that will also include a cliff-face for the resident Pterosaurs.

Exciting news!  Paul has promised to send in pictures of his completed prehistoric scenery in the New Year, we are looking forward to seeing his new dinosaur themed landscape in 2018.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

21 11, 2017

Another Day – Another Pterosaur Fact Sheet

By |2023-08-25T14:11:24+01:00November 21st, 2017|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Tupandactylus imperator – Big-headed Pterosaur

Another day and another pterosaur fact sheet is being prepared by Everything Dinosaur team members.  The flying reptile in question is Tupandactylus imperator, known from the famous Crato Formation in the Araripe Basin of north-eastern Brazil.  Known from only four skulls and a fragmentary jawbone, discovered in commercial limestone quarries, this pterosaur sported the largest crest of any known flying reptile.  The head crests of the two species so far described (T. imperator and T. navigans) may have been different shapes.

A Pterosaur Fact Sheet

The head crest of Tupandactylus navigans was taller and more sail-like, whilst the crest of T.  imperator was more swept back and broader.  Both crests were huge, with the largest specimens of T. imperator having a head crest that makes up 5/6th the total lateral area of the skull.

Everything Dinosaur’s Illustration of Tupandactylus (T. imperator)

Tupandactylus illustration.
A scale drawing of the tapejarid pterosaur Tupandactylus imperator.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For models of pterosaurs and other prehistoric animals: Mojo Fun Prehistoric and Extinct Figures.

Closely Related to Tapejara

When described, back in 1997 (Campos and Kellner), the fossil material was assigned to the Tapejara genus, but subsequent, better preserved skull material showed enough anatomical differences to permit a new genus – Tupandactylus to be established in 2007.  The genus name means “Tupan finger”, a reference to the god of thunder of the indigenous Tupi Indians of north-eastern Brazil.  It may not be part of the Tapejara genus anymore, but it was closely related to Tapejara, although some palaeontologists, using what little stratigraphic evidence associated with the fossil material, suggest that Tupandactylus lived earlier in the Cretaceous than Tapejara (Tapejara wellnhoferi).

What Did Tupandactylus Eat?

Fossils of this flying reptile are associated with a lacustrine (lake), inland environment.  A number of sources report that this pterosaur ate fish (piscivore), although more recent research suggests that this pterosaur may have feasted on a variety of foods and was probably omnivorous – feeding of fruit and seeds as well as small vertebrates.

Visit the award-winning Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

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