All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 10, 2019

The Beautiful Artwork Associated with PNSO Models

By |2023-12-31T16:54:40+00:00October 31st, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Fantastic Box Art (PNSO Age of Dinosaurs)

At Everything Dinosaur, we spend a lot of time focusing on prehistoric animal models.  It is what you would expect from a company that specialises in the mail order sale of museum quality dinosaur figures and such like.  However, we have been most impressed with the artwork associated with the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs model range.  We have been involved with PNSO for some years now and we have watched how this company has evolved, but the standards set by renowned palaeoartist Zhao Chuang and his colleagues continue to be emphasised by the addition of some splendid examples of box art.

PNSO Models

Take for example, the clean lines associated with the carton that contains the new for 2019 PNSO Dakosaurus model “Paulwin”.  Rather than describe the box we thought it best to create a short twenty second video showcasing how this particular prehistoric animal model is presented.

Highlighting the Beautiful Presentation of the PNSO Dakosaurus Marine Crocodile Model “Paulwin”

Video credit: Everything Dinosaur

PNSO Models “Paulwin” the Dakosaurus

Models of prehistoric crocodiles are quite rare.   We know that this replica of “Biter lizard” has been very well received by collectors.  The box that the model comes in is very classy too.

The Box Containing the PNSO Marine Crocodile Model “Paulwin” the Dakosaurus

PNSO Dakosaurus box art.
An image showing the classy box art for the PNSO “Paulwin” the Dakosaurus model.

Beautiful Packaging

The clean lines, the carefully printed and positioned text and the large picture of the actual model make the packaging of this PNSO figure really stand out.  Our congratulations to the design team at PNSO for taking such care and consideration.

The Dakosaurus is just one of new additions to the range of PNSO models and figures that Everything Dinosaur stocks.  More figures will be announced in the near future.  Fans of dinosaurs and PNSO models in particular can expect to hear news on this blog site soon.

The PNSO Dakosaurus Marine Crocodile Model -“Paulwin”

Marine crocodile model Dakosaurus.
A close-up view of the head of the PNSO marine crocodile model Dakosaurus.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

For dinosaur model collectors and fans of prehistoric animals, you do not have to wait until next year to see the most recent model releases, they are all in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

To see the range of PNSO dinosaurs and prehistoric animal models available at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Models and Figures.

30 10, 2019

Preparing and Planning for the New Atlasaurus

By |2024-02-25T07:59:17+00:00October 30th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Preparing for Atlasaurus

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy with the preparations for the arrival of the latest model in the Eofauna range, the Eofauna Atlasaurus dinosaur replica.  Stocks of this sauropod figure are due to arrive in a couple of weeks or so and staff have been finishing the fact sheet that will be sent out to accompany sales of this new figure from those talented people at Eofauna Scientific Research.

Due in at Everything Dinosaur Very Shortly – Eofauna Atlasaurus Dinosaur Model

The Eofauna Scientific Research Atlasaurus dinosaur model.
Atlasaurus (Eofauna Scientific Research).  This is the second dinosaur figure that Eofauna have produced and the fifth prehistoric animal figure in this range in total.

Elephants Three Dinosaurs Two

The Atlasaurus model (A. imelakei), measures around thirty centimetres in length and that impressive head stands nearly twenty-three centimetres high.  The genus name honours the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, whilst the species name is from the Arabic for giant.   At an estimated fifteen metres in length, Atlasaurus was certainly a sizable resident of the Middle Jurassic!

To date, Eofauna have produced five prehistoric animal figures in this series, three prehistoric elephants and two lizard-hipped dinosaurs.  The elephant figures are (in the order in which they were released), – Steppe Mammoth, Straight-tusked elephant and the recently introduced Deinotherium (Mammuthus trogontherii, Palaeoloxodon antiquus and Deinotherium spp.).  For our part, we have referred the Eofauna Deinotherium replica to D. giganteum.

The Five Models in the Eofauna Scientific Research Model Range

Five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.
The five Eofauna Scientific Research prehistoric animal models.  From left to right – Palaeoloxodon, Mammuthus trogontherii, Atlasaurus imelakei, Deinotherium and Giganotosaurus.

Eofauna Models and Figures

New this Month at Everything Dinosaur – Eofauna Deinotherium

Eofauna Deinotherium model.
The Eofauna Scientific Research Deinotherium replica. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

To purchase the range of Eofauna figures and models at Everything Dinosaur: Eofauna Scientific Research Models.

The Eofauna Atlasaurus Figure – Expected in November

A reserve list has been open for the Eofauna Atlasaurus for some time.  Everything Dinosaur customers on this list can rest assured that they will be contacted when this exciting new figure arrives.  As to when this dinosaur might be in stock, a spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is difficult to pinpoint a delivery date to our warehouse, there are lots of exogenous factors outside our control that can hinder a swift delivery.  However, we are expecting the figures to arrive around week three of November, perhaps around the 20th November.  Of course, the Atlasaurus models could arrive a little sooner, or they may take a couple of days longer.”

The Scale Drawing of Atlasaurus (A. imelakei) Prepared for the Everything Dinosaur Fact Sheet

Atlasaurus scale drawing.
A scale drawing of the bizarre north African sauropod Atlasaurus. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

29 10, 2019

A Clever and Creative Pine Cone Dinosaur

By |2023-12-31T16:46:24+00:00October 29th, 2019|Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

A Pine Cone Dinosaur

Here in the UK, it is definitely autumn.  British Summer Time (BST), has officially ended, the clocks went back an hour over the weekend and we have had our first frosts.  Still, team workers are snug in their offices working hard to prepare and pack orders for customers.  However, occasionally, just occasionally we get a little time to be creative and make something with a dinosaur or fossil motif.

A Pine Cone Dinosaur

Take for example this pine cone dinosaur that has been constructed.

A Pine Cone Dinosaur – a Pinoceratops Perhaps?

Pine cone dinosaur.
Making a horned dinosaur (ceratopsian) out of a pine cone. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

We used four acorns for the dinosaur’s limbs, the base of the head crest is the bottom of one pine cone, whilst the body is made from another pine cone.  To complete our dinosaur, we made a small head using an off-cut of cardboard and the large brow horns are also made from card too.  To finish our horned dinosaur, we wanted to add a small nose horn, but what to use, how about a pine nut, after all, it is in keeping with the rest of our prehistoric animal.

For educational prehistoric animal themed toys and games: Dinosaur Toys and Crafts for Kids.

28 10, 2019

The Rise of the Mammals – Remarkably Quickly

By |2023-12-31T16:40:08+00:00October 28th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Remarkable Fossil Treasure Trove Plots Recovery after Dinosaur Demise

Corral Bluffs, a dry and somewhat dusty region some sixty miles south of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science did not look all that promising when visited by Ian Miller and Tyler Lyson on one of their many field trips out from the Museum when they visited the site back in 2014.  The strata associated with this part of central Colorado, just to the east of the city of Colorado Springs, represents and almost uninterrupted depositional sequence from the Maastrichtian faunal stage of the Cretaceous to the Danian of the Palaeocene, a time of great faunal and floral turnover on our planet with the End-Cretaceous mass extinction event.

A View of the Corral Bluffs (Central Colorado)

Corral Bluffs - Colorado.
Corral Bluffs – Colorado and important site for Palaeocene mammal fossils.

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

The Rise of the Mammals

Given the age of the sedimentary rocks, this site should yield important information on how terrestrial life recovered after the Chicxulub impact event, however, fossils proved elusive until the field team members literally hit upon the idea of cracking open the various, small, hard concretions associated with the site.  Many of the concretions contained fossils, including the preserved skulls of numerous mammals.  The subsequent treasure trove of plant and animal fossils excavated from the site have provided palaeontologists with a detailed chronology of how plant and mammalian life recovered from the mass extinction event.

Many Hard Nodules (Concretions) Contain Fossil Remains

Cracking a Corral Bluffs concretion.
Cracking open a concretion from the Corral Bluffs site.

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

One or two firm blows with a sturdy geological hammer and the concretion will reveal its treasure, more than a dozen genera of prehistoric mammal have been recorded from the site.

Once Open the Contents of the Concretion are Revealed

A concretion that has been cracked open.
A concretion is opened (Corral Bluffs site).

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

A Television Documentary

In addition to the academic paper published in the journal “Science”, a television documentary programme is being broadcast in America on the 30th October – “Rise of the Mammals” streaming on PBS).  A special exhibition entitled “After the Asteroid: Earth’s Comeback Story” has already opened at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, visitors will be able to view some of the thousands of plant fossils that have been found.  These fossils document how flora recovered after the bolide impact that saw the demise of the Dinosauria.

The Exhibition will Include Many of the Plant Fossils Found at the Site

Plant fossils from Corral Bluffs - Colorado.
Thousands of plant fossils have been found.

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

After the “Fern Spike”

After an initial “fern spike”, the scientists were able to plot the rise of forests dominated by palms, then the emergence of legumes with the introduction of a wider variety of trees over hundreds of thousands of years.  Pollen grain analysis, analysis of mineral radiometric decay from two volcanic ash deposits associated with the site, along with data from magnetostratigraphy enabled the researchers to date quite accurately the age of the layers that contained fossil material.

At first mammals were no bigger than rats, with the largest specimens estimated to weigh around 600 grammes.  However, within three-quarters of a million years many more species of mammal had evolved, the largest of which would have weighed around 50 kilograms.

George Sparks the President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, commented:

“Thanks to the expertise, vision and grit of the scientific team, we are gaining a clear understanding of how our modern world of mammals arose from the ashes of the dinosaurs”.

Numerous Mammal Skulls Have Been Found at the Corral Bluffs Location

Dozens of skull fossils from ancient mammals.
Many different types of prehistoric mammal have been identified from fossil skulls.

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

The Corral Bluffs Location Maps the Change in Flora and the Increase in Size of Palaeocene Mammals

Corral Bluffs timescale.
A timescale showing the change in flora and body size of Palaeocene mammals.

Picture credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the compilation of this article.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur’s Website.

27 10, 2019

A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast

By |2023-12-31T16:29:25+00:00October 27th, 2019|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast – Fossil Collecting Guide Due Out in Early 2020

Exciting news for fossil collectors and fans of the “Jurassic Coast”, authors and fossil hunters extraordinaire Craig Chivers and Steve Snowball will publish another book on fossil collecting on the south coast of England in early 2020.  Entitled “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast”, this new publication takes the reader further east, exploring the fossil treasure trove of the Weymouth area and the Purbeck limestone, strata that is associated with a plethora of invertebrate fossils, as well as marine reptiles and of course, the Dinosauria!

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast”

Due Out in Early 2020 – “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast

"Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast"
Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers.

Picture credit: Siri Scientific Press with kind permission by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers

In Collaboration with Siri Scientific Press

This is the second book that the pair of produced, once again, it will be published by Siri Scientific Press and available via the company’s website.  The first book – “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”, focused on the Blue Lias Formation along with the Charmouth Mudstone and took the reader to the West Bay area culminating in an exploration of the Bridport Sands Formation.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s review of this book: A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast – A Review.

The second volume in this series follows a very similar format to the first.  Purchasers can expect fantastic full-colour photographs of the coastal landscape plus beautiful images of many of the fossils to be found in the vicinitiy.  Hints and tips about successful hunting abound and at 224 pages long, this is going to make a fabulous companion guide to this part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.  As with the previous publication, all author profits will be donated to the Charmouth Coast Heritage Centre, who do so much to promote the safe collection of fossils from the area and run a great educational programme too.

In Search of Dinosaurs

Whilst Lyme Regis and the surrounding environs are associated with ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles, when moving east towards the Purbeck peninsula, it is possible to find terrestrial vertebrate fossils including dinosaurs and pterosaurs, many of which are unique to this part of the world.

Author Steve Snowball commented:

” The Middle to Late Jurassic was an important time in the evolution of both dinosaurs and plant life, which flourished under the favourable climatic conditions.  The area that became Britain was a crucial land bridge for creatures moving between North America and Eurasia, this has given our paleoartist, Andreas Kurpisz, a great opportunity to provide, once again, some superb reconstructions of prehistoric life, which have been exclusively produced for this book.”

Southern Britain in the Late Jurassic (Tithonian Stage- Kimmeridge Clay Formation)

"Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast" - illustration.
An illustration from “Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast” by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers.

Picture credit: Andreas Kurpisz

The image above shows the tyrannosauroid theropod Juratyrant (J. langhami), stalking a large herd of sauropods, whilst various pterosaurs circle overhead.  Titanosauriformes such as Duriatitan are associated with the Lower Kimmeridge Clay Formation of Dorset, whilst the southern Dorset coast is synonymus with a variety of different types of flying reptile.  In the image (above), the dsungaripteroid Germandactylus, the tentative wukongopterid Cuspicephalus scarfi and rhamphorhynchids all feature.

To visit the Siri Scientific Press website: Siri Scientific Press.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This is exciting news, we look forward to reviewing this new fossil collecting guide when it comes out in early 2020.”

Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

26 10, 2019

New Prehistoric Times Reviewed (Issue 131)

By |2023-12-31T16:25:07+00:00October 26th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Magazine Reviews, Main Page|0 Comments

Prehistoric Times Reviewed (Issue 131)

The latest edition of “Prehistoric Times” magazine has arrived at the offices of Everything Dinosaur and team members have been perusing the extensive articles and features as well as admiring all the reader submitted artwork.  The front cover of this issue (131 – autumn 2019), features an illustration by the American artist Ray Troll.  The Alaskan-based illustrator has produced a number of illustrations for the magazine over the years.

“Prehistoric Times” Magazine

The front cover depicts a member of the Desmostylia, an extinct group of placental mammals, that adapted to an aquatic existence.  This is in keeping with one of the featured prehistoric animals in the magazine – ancient hippos, although the Hippopotamidae are not closely related to the Desmostylia, which are in fact distantly related to the Order Sirenia (Sea Cows, Manatees and Dugongs).

The Front Cover of Issue 131 – “Prehistoric Times” Magazine

Prehistoric Times magazine (issue 131).
Prehistoric Times Issue 131 (autumn 2019). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Burian’s Pterosaurs

John Lavas continues his long-running series providing an in-depth assessment of the palaeoart of the influential Zdeněk Burian.  In part 13, he discusses how Burian depicted pterosaurs and the accompanying notes provide an insightful commentary.  Tracy Lee Ford outlines how views regarding the skull morphology of diplodocids and other sauropods has changed.  He looks at how the narial opening on the skull has been interpreted and examines the hypothesis that these dinosaurs had trunks.

This topic will be revisited in the next issue of “Prehistoric Times” along with a reconstruction of how the head was positioned in relation to the cervical vertebrae.  Look out for some fascinating insight into diplodocid occipital condyles!

Issue 131 also includes a short-story of a person changing into a salamander, new prehistoric animal models, book reviews (including “Dinosaur Facts and Figures – The Theropods” by our chums  Rubén Molina-Pérez and Asier Larramendi) and an update on dinosaur fossil discoveries.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s review of this book (the version published by the London Natural History Museum): The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs – The Theropods.

The Front Cover of “The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs – The Theropods”

Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods"
The “Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs The Theropods” (front cover).  The American edition is reviewed in the magazine.

T. rex Stamps and Julius Csotonyi

Recently, the United States Postal Service introduced a set of colourful stamps highlighting the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex.  The artwork for these four stamps was created by renowned artist Julius Csotonyi and issue 131 features an interview with Julius outlining how he got the commission, what other stamp projects he has been involved in and what inspired the four images that show T. rex at various growth stages.

Appropriately, the envelope that contained the magazine had all four of the T. rex stamps on it.

Four Stamps Depicting Tyrannosaurus rex Thanks to the U. S. Postal Service

Dinosaur stamps on an envelope.
Dinosaur stamps on the envelope that contained “Prehistoric Times” magazine. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

Reader Submitted Artwork and Deinocheirus – A “Cretaceous Grizzly”

Look out for some amazing reader submitted artwork including illustrations by JA Chirinos, Luis Rey, Fabio Pastori and the skeletal reconstruction of Deinocheirus by John Sibbick.  A detailed review of “terrible hand” – Deinocheirus mirificus, is provided by Phil Hore, who describes this bizarre theropod as a “Cretaceous Grizzly”.

An Illustration of Deinocheirus

Deinocheirus mirificus scale drawing.
A scale drawing of Deinocheirus. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

This magazine is certainly jam-packed with interesting articles, dinosaur fossil discoveries, research news and views and lots of well-written features.

To subscribe to “Prehistoric Times” magazine – visit their website: Visit “Prehistoric Times” Magazine

25 10, 2019

Reception Classes Create Beautiful Prehistoric Landscapes

By |2023-12-31T20:49:55+00:00October 25th, 2019|Adobe CS5, Educational Activities, Main Page, Teaching|0 Comments

Reception Classes Create Prehistoric Landscapes

The three classes of Reception-aged children at Broughton Primary in Flintshire have been busy learning all about dinosaurs and fossils this term.  With the half-term break approaching, a team member from Everything Dinosaur was invited into the school to deliver three dinosaur workshops, one for each class, to help reinforce their learning as the topic came to a conclusion.  During the visit, our dinosaur and fossil expert was given a tour of a couple of the spacious and tidy classrooms and shown the prehistoric landscapes that the children had created.

Class 1 (Dosbarth 1) – Prehistoric Landscape

Reception class children build their own "prehistoric park".
A very colourful prehistoric landscape created by a Reception class. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

What do Dinosaurs Need to Keep them Healthy and Happy?

As part of an enriched and varied scheme of work, the Reception classes have been learning about animals and what they need to help keep them safe, healthy and happy.  The children have incorporated some of this learning into their prehistoric landscapes that they have been building.  For example, class 1 ensured that there were plenty of plants for the herbivores to graze upon and lots of rocks for the dinosaurs to hide amongst to keep them safe from Tyrannosaurus rex.

As part of the extension activities for the classes following our workshops, we supplied extra resources for the teaching team.  Each class was given their very own hard hat to wear when they went out looking for fossils.  Dinosaurs as a term topic certainly lends itself to lots of creative play and exploration.

For dinosaur and prehitoric animal themed toys: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

A Prehistoric Landscape Created by a Reception Class – Can you See the Three Fossil Hunting Hard Hats?

Class One build a dinosaur landscape.
The prehistoric scene created by a Reception class (Dosbarth 1).  The three fossil hard hats donated by Everything Dinosaur can be seen in the background.  These hard hats have a lamp on the front to help the children search for fossils. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

Prehistoric Landscapes

The enterprising teaching team had used a variety of materials to help create the mini “Jurassic Parks”, these items will help the children to explore and learn about the properties of different materials.  Class 3 had even included a large, cardboard and cloth cave for their dinosaur models to hide in.

The Prehistoric Landscape Created by Class 3 (Dosbarth 3)

Class 3 build their own prehistoric landscape.
The prehistoric landscape created by class 3.  A very colourful landscape for the dinosaur models to play in. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Cretaceous Conifers

The children in class 3 had created a large cardboard and crepe paper forest for the plant-eating dinosaurs to browse.  The forest would provide lots of handy nesting places for the dinosaurs too.

Cretaceous Conifers – A Prehistoric Forest for Dinosaurs to Explore

A forest fit for dinosaurs.
Cardboard and crepe paper trees for the dinosaurs to hide amongst. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

For further information about Everything Dinosaur’s teaching and science outreach work: Email Everything Dinosaur.

24 10, 2019

Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

By |2023-12-31T15:47:52+00:00October 24th, 2019|Early Years Foundation Reception|Comments Off on Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

Reception Children Make Dinosaur Landscapes

The children in the three Reception classes at Broughton Primary (Flintshire), have certainly enjoyed learning about dinosaurs this term.  A team member from Everything Dinosaur visited the school this morning to deliver three dinosaur and fossil themed workshops to help round off the scheme of work for the first half of the autumn term.

During the visit, our team member was shown some amazing dinosaur landscapes that the children had built.

Children in Class 1 (Reception) have Created a Prehistoric Landscape

Reception class children build their own "prehistoric park".
A very colourful prehistoric landscape created by a Reception class. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Everything Dinosaur home page: The Website of Everything Dinosaur.

Dinosaur Landscapes

The Reception classes have been learning about animals and what they need to keep them safe and happy.  The children created a river to allow the dinosaurs to catch fish to eat.  The river would also provide water for the prehistoric animals to drink.  The plant-eating dinosaurs have plenty of leaves to chew but all the dinosaurs have to be careful as the volcano has erupted and bright red lava is spilling out down its slopes.

Class 1 Children Constructed a Volcano as part of their Dinosaur Landscape Project

Class One build a dinosaur landscape.
The prehistoric scene created by a Reception class (Dosbarth 1). The three fossil hard hats donated by Everything Dinosaur can be seen in the background. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Class 3 also constructed a home for their dinosaur models.  Their very own version of “Jurassic Park” included a big forest for the dinosaurs to hide in so that they felt safe and a huge cave for them to explore.  The hard hats we provided with the lamps on their front might come in handy when it comes to exploring the depths of the cavern.

The Prehistoric Scene Created by Class 3 (Dosbarth 3)

Class 3 build their own prehistoric landscape.
The prehistoric landscape created by class 3. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Reception classes enjoyed their dinosaur workshops and demonstrated some amazing counting and recall of dinosaur facts during the morning.  We hope they like the dinosaur hokey cokey activity we provided too.

For educational dinosaur themed toys and games: Dinosaur Toys and Gifts.

24 10, 2019

First Vertebrates Capable of Walking on Land May Have Never Left the Water

By |2023-12-31T15:38:36+00:00October 24th, 2019|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Parmastega aelidae – Hunting Like a Crocodile

A fascinating new paper has just been published in the journal “Nature” that suggests that some of the very first animals with backbones that were capable of terrestrial locomotion may have never left the water.  Instead, these creatures distantly related to animals that walk on land today, including ourselves, hunted rather like extant crocodiles and ambushed animals on the shore.  That is the conclusion of a group of international scientists that have studied the fossils of Parmastega aelidae, a needle-toothed early tetrapod that lived around 372 million years ago.

A Tropical Lagoon 372 Million Years Ago – P. aelidae Hunting Behaviour

Parmastega aelidae life reconstruction.
Sosnogorsk lagoon with Parmastega aelidae hunting behaviour.  The image (above) shows a tropical coastal lagoon at Sosnogorsk in Russia, about 372 million years ago.  The lagoon is inhabited by various kinds of fish, but also by the early tetrapod Parmastega.  One of creatures – which had eyes positioned at the top of their heads – can be seen on the bottom, with another in the foreground diving down from the surface (with bubbles).  A few more are shown in the middle distance resting at the surface with their eyes above the water, and one in the background crawling onto the beach.  In the far distance, a storm is approaching from the sea.  The sediment in which the fossil bones are found seems to have been deposited during a storm event that killed the inhabitants of the lagoon.

Picture credit: Mikhail Shekhanov for the Ukhta Local Museum

What are Tetrapods?

Tetrapods include all living and extinct amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.  They are predominantly terrestrial, although some animals, whales for example, are entirely marine but had land-living ancestors.  Most tetrapods have four limbs, although some such as snakes have lost their limbs, but evolved from four-limbed ancestors.

These types of animals evolved from lobe-finned fishes (Sarcopterygii), during the Middle to Late Devonian.  Recent fossil discoveries have greatly increased the number of tetrapods known from Upper Devonian strata, but most genera are still only described from very fragmentary remains.  Most of what palaeontologists know about this extremely important group of vertebrates is based on the better known and more complete fossil specimens representing Ichthyostega and Acanthostega.

A Life Reconstruction of the Late Devonian Tetrapod Ichthyostega

Ichthyostega life reconstruction.
Ichthyostega – life reconstruction.

Picture credit: Julia Molnar

A Gap in the Fossil Record

Trouble is, both Ichthyostega and Acanthostega along with the less complete but partly reconstructable genera Ventastega and Tulerpeton date from around 365-359 million years ago (late Famennian age of the Devonian), but palaeontologists have found tantalising fragmentary fossils that are at least ten million years older and the oldest known tetrapod footprints date from nearly 395 million years ago – read about their discovery here: Footprints from a Polish Quarry Suggest Land Vertebrates 35 Million Years Earlier than Previously Thought.

In this newly published paper, the researchers that include Jennifer Clack (University of Cambridge) and Pavel Beznosov (Russian Academy of Sciences), describe Parmastega aelidae, a tetrapod from Russia dated to the earliest Famennian age (about 372 million years ago), represented by three-dimensional material that enables the reconstruction of the skull and shoulder girdle.

The raised orbits, lateral line canals and weakly ossified postcranial skeleton of P. aelidae suggest a largely aquatic, surface-cruising animal.  Phylogenetic analysis supported by Bayesian statistics indicates that Parmastega might represent a sister group to all other tetrapods.

Skull Bones of Parmastega – Numerous Skull Bones Have Allowed Palaeontologists to Reconstruct the Skull

Skull bones of Parmastega.
Diagrammatic images showing the associated bones (in orange) of two individual skulls associated with Parmastega.  Fossil material includes several examples of skull bones from individuals which permitted scientists to reconstruct the skull in great detail.

Picture credit: Nature

Parmastega aelidae Comparisons with a Crocodile

The fossil material representing several individual animals comes from north-western Russia.  This area in the Late Devonian was a large tropical lagoon on a coastal plain, inhabited by many types of ancient fish including placoderms.  The unusual suite of anatomical features identified in Parmastega include elasticated jaws, slender needle-like teeth and eyes located towards the top of the head so that it could keep a look out for prey whilst remaining almost totally submerged.  These anatomical features are reminiscent to those found in today’s aquatic ambush predators such as crocodilians.

Comparing the Skull of Parmastega to that of a Caiman

Parmastega compared to a Caiman.
The head of Parmastega compared to a modern crocodile.

Picture credit: Nature

The scientists also discovered that part of Parmastega’s shoulder girdle consisted of cartilage, and its vertebral column and paired limbs could also be made of cartilage, indicating it probably spent most or all its time in water.  The large concentration of the fossil remains also suggests that it may have lived in large groups.

An Analysis of Sensory Canals

Co-author of the scientific paper, Professor Per Ahlberg (University of Uppsala, Sweden) stated that clues as to the lifestyle of Parmastega were found by analysing sensory canals identified in the fossil bones.  These sensors probably helped Parmastega to detect vibrations in the water, a trait inherited from its sarcopterygian ancestors.

Professor Par Ahlberg stated:

“These canals are well developed on the lower jaw, the snout and the sides of the face, but they die out on top of the head behind the eyes.  This probably means that it spent a lot of time hanging around at the surface of the water, with the top of the head just awash and the eyes protruding into the air.  We believe there may have been large arthropods such as millipedes or ‘sea scorpions’ to catch at the water’s edge.  The slender, elastic lower jaw certainly looks well-suited to scooping prey off the ground, its needle-like teeth contrasting with the robust fangs of the upper jaw that would have been driven into the prey by the body weight of Parmastega.”

Parmastega aelidae Fossils

Dr Marcello Ruta from the University of Lincoln, a co-author of the paper added:

“These fossils give us the earliest detailed glimpse of a tetrapod: an aquatic, surface-skimming predator, just over a metre in length, living in a lagoon.  The evolution of tetrapods is one of the most important events in the history of backboned animals, and ultimately led to the appearance of our own species.  Early in their history, tetrapods evolved many changes in their feeding strategies, movement abilities, and sensory perception, but many of these are still shrouded in mystery.”

Comparing the Head Morphology of Late Devonian Tetrapods

Late Devonian tetrapods.
Silhouette views of known Late Devonian tetrapods in approximate scale with head shape indicating different ecological niches.  Parmastega aelidae is estimated to be around a metre in length.

Picture credit: Nature

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

The scientific paper: “Morphology of the earliest reconstructable tetrapod Parmastega aelidae” by Pavel A. Beznosov, Jennifer A. Clack, Ervīns Lukševičs, Marcello Ruta and Per Erik Ahlberg published in the journal Nature.

The Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

23 10, 2019

Illustrating the Famous Morrison Formation

By |2023-12-31T15:10:50+00:00October 23rd, 2019|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Illustrating the Famous Morrison Formation Fauna and Flora

We tend to get sent a lot of drawings and illustrations depicting prehistoric life.  Everything Dinosaur team members view all the images that we receive and where appropriate and if requested, we respond via email with comments.  Recently, we received a drawing depicting a scene relating to the palaeofauna and palaeoflora associated with the famous Morrison Formation of western North America.  Our thanks to M. Elliot Massion (Mark), for sending this illustration to us.

The scene is shown from an aerial view perspective, the viewer is looking down onto the drawing, as if the events depicted were being observed by a pterosaur flying past.

A “Bird’s-eye” View of Prehistoric Fauna and Flora (Upper Jurassic)

Life in the Late Jurassic.
An aerial view of life in the Late Jurassic (Morrison Formation).

Picture credit: M. Elliot Massion

The Famous Morrison Formation

The illustrator commented:

“A ‘bird’s-eye’ view of the Morrison during the Jurassic.  An Allosaurus fragilis has found a camptosaur carcase, while a Harpactognathus [rhamphorhynchid pterosaur] is drawn to the drama by the smell of blood.”

Mark went onto explain that Allosaurus was an apex predator of western North America in the Late Jurassic, but, it was certainly not above scavenging a carcase, after all, very few predators around today would let the opportunity to have a free lunch slip by.  Allosaurus did not have the powerful bite force, and mega teeth of a T, rex; however, adaptations to its jaws, skull, and neck muscle attachments, allowed it to hunt huge sauropods.  Its teeth and claws created massive wounds that eventually caused prey to die of shock and blood loss.

For further details about the potential hunting prowess of allosaurids, Mark recommends Robert T. Bakker’s “Brontosaur Killers: Late Jurassic Allosaurids as sabre-tooth cat analogues” in Gaia, issue 15, December 1998.

Our thanks to Mark for sending in the illustration and accompanying notes.

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