All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
25 11, 2020

First Dinosaur Remains from Ireland

By | November 25th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

First Dinosaur Remains from Ireland

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth, National Museums of Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast have confirmed that fossils found by the late Roger Byrne on the east coast of County Antrim (Northern Ireland), are dinosaur bones.  These are the only dinosaur bones known from the island of Ireland.  Roger Byrne donated a number of specimens to Ulster Museum but they had not been closely studied, a scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association remedies that and confirms that two of the pieces are Dinosaurian and although they were found at the same location, they represent bones from two different dinosaurs.

Lead Researcher Dr Mike Simms Holding the Two Dinosaur Fossil Bones

Dr Mike Simms holds the two precious fossils.

Dr Mike Simms (National Museums Northern Ireland) holds the theropod tibia on the left and the thyreophoran femur on the right.

Picture Credit: The University of Portsmouth

Lead author of the research Dr Mike Simms stated:

“This is a hugely significant discovery.  The great rarity of such fossils here is because most of Ireland’s rocks are the wrong age for dinosaurs, either too old or too young, making it nearly impossible to confirm dinosaurs existed on these shores.  The two dinosaur fossils that Roger Byrne found were perhaps swept out to sea, alive or dead, sinking to the Jurassic seabed where they were buried and fossilised.”

Lias Group Exposures

The two fossil bones found by the Roger Byrne, a schoolteacher and avid fossil collector, come from Lower Jurassic strata exposed in Islandmagee.  They had been suspected of representing dinosaur bones, although they were found in marine deposits.  A detailed analysis of their histology and shape indicated that two of the pieces that Roger donated were indeed the bones of dinosaurs.  Originally, it had been thought that the bones represented a single type of dinosaur but the research team were surprised to discover that they represent bones from two very different types.

One specimen has been interpreted as the proximal end of the left femur of a basal thyreophoran ornithischian.  It has been tentatively assigned to Scelidosaurus, a primitive armoured dinosaur, fossils of which are known from Dorset (southern England) and date from the Sinemurian to the Pliensbachian faunal stages of the Early Jurassic.  The strata from which the femur fragment was found dates from slightly earlier, both the fossil bones are around 200 million years old.

A Model of the Early Armoured Dinosaur Scelidosaurus

CollectA Scelidosaurus model.

A model of a Scelidosaurus.  The CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Scelidosaurus model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Evidence of a Meat-eating Dinosaur

The second fragment of bone has been identified as the proximal part of the left tibia of an indeterminate neotheropod, perhaps a member of the averostran-line similar to Sarcosaurus, or a megalosauroid.  Sarcosaurus fossils are associated with Lower Jurassic strata (Hettangian-Sinemurian faunal stages), of England.  Together, the two fossil bones represent the first dinosaur remains reported anywhere in Ireland and some of the west westerly in Europe.

An Illustration of Sarcosaurus

Sarcosaurus drawing.

Sarcosaurus scale drawing.  A speculative drawing of the Early Jurassic theropod Sarcosaurus.  It is not known whether this dinosaur had head crests like the distantly related Dilophosaurus.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The researchers used high-resolution, three-dimensional replicas to confirm the identity of the items donated by Roger Byrne.

University of Portsmouth researcher Robert Smyth explained:

“Analysing the shape and internal structure of the bones, we realised that they belonged to two very different animals.  One is very dense and robust, typical of an armoured plant-eater.  The other is slender, with thin bone walls and characteristics found only in fast-moving two-legged predatory dinosaurs called theropods.”

An Illustration of the Fossil Bones from County Antrim

Illustrations of the dinosaur bones from County Antrim.

Drawings of the dinosaur fossil bones by the late Roger Byrne and incorporated into the scientific paper.  Illustrations e, f, k and l are views of the theropod partial tibia and d, e are illustrations of the partial femur assigned to Scelidosaurus.  Note scale bar 5 cm.

Picture Credit: Roger Byrne/National Museums of Ireland

Very Important Fossil Discoveries

Despite their fragmentary and weathered nature, these fossils are extremely important as they date from the Hettangian stage of the Early Jurassic, shortly after the End Triassic extinction event when the Dinosauria start to diversify and become more widespread.  Very few dinosaur fossils are known from this stage of the Early Jurassic, so Roger’s fossils are globally significant.

One of the other items donated by Roger Byrne probably represents an element from the skull or jawbone from a large marine reptile, perhaps an ichthyosaur or a pliosaur, whilst a polygonal-shaped piece was determined not to be a fossil at all, but a piece of Palaeocene basalt, similar to that found at the famous Giant’s Causeway on the northern coast of County Antrim.

Scelidosaurus a Beachcomber?

Commenting on the number of Scelidosaurus fossils associated with marine deposits, Professor Martill (University of Portsmouth), suggested:

“Scelidosaurus keeps on turning up in marine strata, and I am beginning to think that it may have been a coastal animal, perhaps even eating seaweed like marine iguanas do today.”

The fossils were on display at the Ulster Museum during the “Dippy on Tour” exhibition in 2018, but it is hoped that these important fossil bones will be able to go on permanent display once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the University of Portsmouth in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “First dinosaur remains from Ireland” by Michael J. Simms, Robert S.H. Smyth, David M. Martill, Patrick C. Collins and Roger Byrne published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

25 11, 2020

CollectA New for 2021 Models (Part 3) Video

By | November 25th, 2020|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Everything Dinosaur videos, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases, Product Reviews|0 Comments

CollectA New for 2021 Models (Part 3) Video

Having posted up information about the latest batch of new for 2021 prehistoric animal models to be introduced by CollectA, team members put together a video review for Everything Dinosaur’s YouTube channel.  The video review provides information about the new Age of Dinosaurs Popular Elasmosaurus, discusses the famous mistake made by the American palaeontologist Edward Drinker Cope and looks at the scientific evidence for giving this huge plesiosaur a tail fin (fluke).

The Everything Dinosaur Video Review of the New for 2021 CollectA Prehistoric Animal Figures (Part 3)

Video Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Summarising the Scientific Evidence for a Tail Fluke in Plesiosaurs

Did Elasmosaurus have a tail fluke?

Providing information about the scientific evidence for a tail fluke in members of the Plesiosauroidea.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

CollectA Deluxe 1:40 Scale Xiphactinus Model

The YouTube video review lasts about thirteen and a half minutes and provides a comprehensive review of the new CollectA Deluxe 1:40 scale Xiphactinus, a contemporary of Elasmosaurus.  However, team members stress that this prehistoric fish was much more widely distributed and it was not limited to the Western Interior Seaway.

Looking at the Distribution of the Ancient Predatory Fish Xiphactinus

Distribution of Xiphactinus (geological and chronological evidence).

The widespread Xiphactinus (geographically and temporally).  Xiphactinus fossils are known from North America, Europe, Venezuela and even from the southern hemisphere (Argentina).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

We recommend that you take a look at Everything Dinosaur on YouTube where you will find this new CollectA video review.  Here is a link to our YouTube channel: Everything Dinosaur – YouTube.

Everything Dinosaur encourages you to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

The New Set of CollectA Mini Prehistoric Animal Models

As well as providing information on fossils relating to Xiphactinus and Elasmosaurus, the new for 2021 set of mini prehistoric animal models is also discussed.  This set will feature ten figures, nine of which are entirely new sculpts.  These models are great for use in prehistoric landscapes or dinosaur dioramas where they can represent juveniles or sub-adults.

Reviewing the New for 2021 CollectA Mini Prehistoric Animal Model Set

CollectA mini prehistoric animal figures (set 3).

The new for 2021 set of mini prehistoric animals from CollectA features 10 figures.  There are 8 dinosaurs (Alamosaurus, Argentinosaurus, Iguanodon, Mapusaurus, Mercuriceratops, Oviraptor, Therizinosaurus and Utahraptor).   Also included in this set is a miniature replica of the marine reptile Pliosaurus and a flying reptile figure – Guidraco.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We aim to educate and inform with our CollectA model reviews.  Our intention is to provide some of the scientific information that is reflected in the figures.  For example, we examine amazing fossils showing the preserved remains of a victim entombed within the stomach cavity of a Xiphactinus audax specimen.  We discuss elasmosaurids and we provide pictures of plesiosaur tail bones that might indicate the presence of a tail fluke.  We have one more video to produce about new CollectA models for next year.  This video will be posted up on our YouTube channel next week.”

To see the existing range of CollectA Deluxe models: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models.

CollectA prehistoric animal models and figures: CollectA Prehistoric Life Models and Figures.

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