All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
28 03, 2020

Fossil Skull Reveals Origin of Modern Birds

By | March 28th, 2020|General Teaching, Key Stage 3/4|Comments Off on Fossil Skull Reveals Origin of Modern Birds

“Wonderchicken” Fossil Reveals Origin of Modern Birds

The oldest fossil of a modern bird yet found, dating from the very end of the Cretaceous, has been identified by an international team of palaeontologists led by researchers from the University of Cambridge.  Sophisticated CT scans (computerised tomography), of a limestone rock, not much bigger than a pack of cards, revealed the exquisitely preserved fossil skull.  Fragments of bone exposed on the rock’s surface suggested that there were more bones buried deep in the rock, but the scientists were not expecting to find the near perfect fossilised skull of a modern bird (neornithine), once the CT scans had been completed.

The bird has been nicknamed “wonderchicken” as its skull shows characteristics found in modern ducks and chickens.  This suggests it is close to the last common ancestor of these types of birds.

A Life Reconstruction of “Wonderchicken” – Asteriornis maastrichtensis

Life reconstruction - Asteriornis maastrichtensis .

Asteriornis maastrichtensis life reconstruction.

Picture Credit: Philip Krzeminski

The fossil comes from a limestone quarry on the Netherlands-Belgium border, making it the first modern bird from the age of dinosaurs to have been found in the northern hemisphere.

Named Asteriornis maastrichtensis, this quail-sized bird (to which it is distantly related), exhibits a previously undocumented combination of galliform-like (landfowl) and anseriform-like (waterfowl) anatomical traits.  Its presence alongside a previously reported Ichthyornis-like bird from the same quarry provides direct evidence of the co-occurrence of crown birds and avialan stem birds.

The Limestone Rock which Contains the Fossil Skull

The lump of limestone ontaining the skull of Asteriornis maastrichtensis.

The limestone containing the skull of Asteriornis maastrichtensis.

Picture Credit: Dr Daniel Field (Cambridge University)

Small Size Could Have Saved Modern Birds from Extinction

Asteriornis was quite small, certainly much smaller than the pterosaurs that it shared the skies with.  The fossil has been dated to 66.8-66.7 million years ago, a few hundred thousand years before the dinosaurs and lots of other animals including many types of bird, died out.

The authors of the scientific paper (published in the journal Nature), speculate that as it was small and it lived by the sea, this way of life, fitting a particular niche in the Late Cretaceous ecosystem, may have helped the ancestors of today’s birds to survive the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

28 03, 2020

First Batch of New for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Animals in Stock

By | March 28th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

New for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Models in Stock

The first batch of new for 2020 prehistoric animal models from CollectA are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  The first six prehistoric animal figures are available from Everything Dinosaur.  These figures are the 1:40 scale CollectA Deluxe Fukuisaurus, the CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus (also in 1:40 scale), the 1:6 scale Microraptor and the Protoceratops in the same scale.  We also have the Baryonyx model along with the new rearing Diplodocus colour variant (grey).

Six new CollectA Dinosaur Models are in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

The six new CollectA dinosaur models.

Six new for 2020 CollectA dinosaur models.  Top left, the new rearing Diplodocus colour variant, top right the CollectA Baryonyx.  Middle row the 1:40 scale Bajadasaurus and the Fukuisaurus.  Bottom row the 1:6 scale Protoceratops and the Microraptor.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Six of the Best!

CollectA intend to introduce a total of eighteen prehistoric animal figures in 2020.  Due to coronavirus production plans have been interrupted, but Everything Dinosaur has been able to receive stocks of the first six models to be released.  These six new dinosaur figures help to demonstrate the great variety of body plans within the Dinosauria.  As for the models, we could say that they represent “six of the best”.

The Beautiful 1:40 Scale Fukuisaurus Dinosaur Model (CollectA Deluxe)

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus dinosaur model.

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus dinosaur model.   A wonderful model of an ornithopod from the Early Cretaceous of Japan.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Prehistoric Life Baryonyx Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Baryonyx dinosaur model (2020).

The new for 2020 CollectA Prehistoric Life Baryonyx dinosaur model.  The figure has been placed on a display base so that the feet can be kept in proportion with the rest of the dinosaur’s body.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The Rearing Diplodocus – New Colour Variant (Grey)

CollectA rearing Diplodocus - grey

New for 2020 CollectA rearing Diplodocus – grey.  The model is the same sculpt as the rearing Diplodocus figure which was introduced in 2013.  It is likely that the 2013 Diplodocus will now be retired, but at the time of writing, this had not been confirmed by CollectA.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Deluxe Scale Figures

Four of the newly arrived CollectA dinosaur models are scale figures.  As well as the 1:40 scale Fukuisaurus (pictured earlier), there is a 1:40 scale replica of the recently described (2019), sauropod Bajadasaurus (B. pronuspinax).

The 1:40 Scale CollectA Deluxe Bajadasaurus Dinosaur Model

The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Bajadasaurus dinosaur model.

The new for 2020 CollectA Bajadasaurus dinosaur model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur.  That’s a very impressive set of spikes on the neck of this herbivorous dinosaur.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA 1:6 Scale Protoceratops Dinosaur Model

CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Protoceratops model.

The new for 2020 CollectA Deluxe Protoceratops dinosaur model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Deluxe 1:6 Scale Microraptor Model

CollectA Deluxe Microraptor - new for 2020

The CollectA Deluxe Microraptor model (1:6 scale).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The new CollectA Baryonyx and the rearing Diplodocus can be found at this section of the Everything Dinosaur website: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models.

The Fukuisaurus, Bajadasaurus, Protoceratops and the 1:6 scale CollectA Deluxe Microraptor dinosaur model can be found here: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models.

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