All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
31 03, 2021

Studying the Brains of Australia’s “Thunderbirds”

By | March 31st, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|2 Comments

Australia boasts a weird and wonderful flora and fauna. Millions of years of isolation has led to the land “down under” evolving a very unique biota, perhaps most marked by the abundance of marsupial mammals. Today’s fauna, remarkable as it might be, is overshadowed somewhat by the incredible megafauna that once existed on the continent.

Australia’s Giant “Thunderbirds”

For example, giant, flightless birds thrived and evolved into a myriad of different sized forms as climates and habitats changed. Some of these birds, members of the extinct family the Dromornithidae, were giants and have been nicknamed Australia’s giant “Thunderbirds” or even “Devil Ducks”. A newly published study examines the evolutionary development of “bird brains” in a bid to settle the phylogeny of these giant birds.

Dromornis stirtoni life reconstruction.
A life reconstruction of the giant Australian “Thunderbird” Dromornis stirtoni of the Late Miocene. At around 3 metres tall and weighing approximately 600 kilograms, D. stirtoni is one of the largest avian dinosaurs to have ever lived. Picture credit: Peter Trusler.

Mapping the Brains of “Mihirungs”

Scientists had puzzled over the phylogeny of these extinct birds for some time. Earlier studies suggested that they were related to waterfowl – hence one of their nicknames “Devil Ducks”. Researchers from Flinders University (Adelaide, South Australia), reconstructed the brains of a number of dromornithid genera in a bid to better understand the family’s origins and to learn more about their place in the Australian megafauna dominated prehistoric ecosystems.

One of the birds studied was the enormous Dromornis stirtoni, the largest of the “mihirungs” (the Aboriginal word for “giant bird”).

Dromornis "Thunderbird" fossils
Dr Warren Handley and Associate Professor Trevor Worthy – the authors of the scientific paper, hold a skull (left) and partial upper bill (right) of the mihirung Dromornis planei. Picture credit: Flinders University.

Plant-eater or Meat-eater?

Heavier than a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) Dromornis stirtoni is known from Upper Miocene deposits from Australia’s Northern Territory. Dromornis had a huge skull, more than half a metre long, but its brain was squeezed for space.

It possessed a big, powerful beak, but its diet along with the diets of other dromornithids remains a mystery. It could have fed on leaves, nuts and fruit, or perhaps it was a predator. The lack of a “hook” and the absence of talons in this and other species suggests that these flightless birds were probably not hypercarnivores.

Examining Bird Brains (Australia’s Giant “Thunderbirds”)

Writing in the academic journal “Diversity”, the researchers examined the craniums of giant “Thunderbirds” looking at a variety of genera including the earliest Dromornis murrayi from the Late Oligocene to Dromornis planei and Ilbandornis woodburnei from the middle Miocene Epoch and Dromornis stirtoni, that roamed northern Australia around 7 million years ago (Messinian, the last stage of the Miocene).

Examining the brain structures of living and extinct Australian fowl
Fossil study reveals lost diversity in the brain structure of Australian fowl. Picture credit: Flinders University.

Related to Gamefowl (Galliformes)

The researchers conclude that these birds were probably more closely related to gamefowl (Galliformes) than they were to waterfowl (Anseriformes).

Commenting on the research, one of the authors Dr Warren Handley (Flinders University) stated:

“Together with their large, forward-facing eyes and very large bills, the shape of their brains and nerves suggested these birds likely had well-developed stereoscopic vision, or depth perception, and fed on a diet of soft leaves and fruit. The shape of their brains and nerves have told us a lot about their sensory capabilities, and something about their possible lifestyle which enabled these remarkable birds to live in the forests around river channels and lakes across Australia for an extremely long time.”

An Evolutionary Experiment

The researchers suggest that the Dromornithidae were the result of birds distantly related to chickens getting a free reign in evolutionary terms on the isolated continent. They took a very different evolutionary path when compared to their relatives the megapodes which still exist in Australasia.

The researchers postulate that the range in body sizes exhibited by dromornithids were due to climate change and the availability of food within the ecosystem. The Late Miocene was a period of dramatic climate change with the continent becoming more arid and cooler. Rainforests retreated and were replaced by more open woodlands, these changes may have played a role in the evolution of giant forms such as D. stirtoni.

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

The scientific paper: “Endocranial Anatomy of the Giant Extinct Australian Mihirung Birds (Aves, Dromornithidae)” by W. D. Handley and T. H. Worthy published in Diversity.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

30 03, 2021

Papo Dinosaurs used In Warhammer

By | March 30th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

Our thanks to Warhammer enthusiast Jeffery who sent into Everything Dinosaur some pictures of his customised dinosaur models that he had created so that they could participate in Warhammer miniature wargames.

A Papo Dinosaur Model Army Designed for Warhammer
Papo dinosaur models have been used to create a dinosaur army for use in Warhammer miniature wargames.

Papo Dinosaur Models

Jeffery has used a range of Papo dinosaur models to create his stunning dinosaur army. There is the Papo Allosaurus, Acrocanthosaurus, Ankylosaurus and the massive Brachiosaurus in the ranks.

Customised Papo Allosaurus for Warhammer
The Papo Allosaurus dinosaur model has been customised for Warhammer battles. Whilst Papo models stand perfectly well on their own, bases have been added so that these figures can be used on a variety of surfaces and battle landscapes.

The models have been repainted and given bases and they look a very formidable fighting force. The level of detail is astonishing.

Papo dinosaurs customised for Warhammer
Papo dinosaur models ready for battle! Customised Papo prehistoric animals prepared for a Warhammer game.


Warhammer is a tabletop, miniature wargame featuring an array of amazing creatures doing battle with each other. Players take turns to move their model warriors around a battle landscape, the warriors being a mixture of aliens, monsters, humans and fantasy figures including customised dinosaur models. Battles are won or lost depending on the roll of a dice. Warhammer is believed to be the most popular miniature wargame played in the world. Jeffery has used several Papo models to help create this amazing formation of fighting dinosaurs.

Papo Dinosaur Army on the March
An epic Warhammer dinosaur army inspired by Papo dinosaur models. The head of the Papo Allosaurus figure has been skilfully painted a bright crimson colour to give this meat-eating dinosaur an even more frightening appearance.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is always a pleasure seeing how our customers use their prehistoric animal model purchases. We know that many of the models that we supply are used in various wargames and it was very kind of Jeffery to send into us his pictures of the dinosaur army he had created that was inspired by Papo models.”

The extensive range of Papo prehistoric animal models and figures can be viewed at Everything Dinosaur here: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

29 03, 2021

Limited Edition PNSO Bronze Thalassodromeus

By | March 29th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

PNSO have announced that they will be producing fifteen bronze statues of the pterosaur Thalassodromeus. Everything Dinosaur customers are being offered these once in a lifetime, 1:6 scale, bronze sculptures at £2,550.00 GBP ($3,500.00 USD) the price includes delivery.

PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus Bronze Statue
Just 15 bronze statues will be cast. Each will weigh 7.75 kilos and the figure measures 22 cm x 25 cm x 43.5 cm.

Limited Edition Pterosaur Bronze Statue

Just a handful of these fantastic figures will be available outside of China. Once fifteen have been cast in solid bronze, no more will be made.

The beautiful PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus bronze figure
Only a handful of these stunning bronze statues are being made available outside China.
PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus flight case
Each PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus figure is supplied in its own custom-built flight case.
Each of the fifteen PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus models has a unique number.
Each of the fifteen PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus bronzes has a unique number.

A Very Special Limited Edition Bronze Figure

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“This is a stunning bronze figure, superbly detailed and a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a truly remarkable statue. With only a handful being offered to customers outside China, this is a rare chance to purchase a pterosaur cast in bronze.”

As these figures are so rare, sales will be made to customers and on first come, first served basis.

PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus measurements.
PNSO Simon the Thalassodromeus measures 22 cm x 25 cm x 43.5 cm and weighs 7.75 kilos.

To enquire about purchasing one of these extremely rare PNSO pterosaur figures email Everything Dinosaur: Contact Everything Dinosaur.

28 03, 2021

Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape

By | March 28th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Today, the clocks have gone forward in the UK, this means that this is the official start of British Summer Time (BST). Whilst it might be pouring with rain outside and chilly, better weather and better times are hopefully on the way.

Tomorrow, some of the lockdown restrictions in England are being lifted. Restrictions have been lifted elsewhere within the UK, as the country begins to move cautiously out of the COVID-19 lockdown. We have noticed a small change in our customer’s buying habits over the last week. The Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack and Playscape has been selling really well.

Mojo Fun Dinosaur Backpack with Playscape.
The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack with playscape features two Mojo Fun dinosaurs on the decorative front panel, a T. rex (left) and an Allosaurus (right). Team members at Everything Dinosaur have noticed an upturn in sales of this backpack figure, we suspect that with the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted (in a small way), so more people are travelling and visiting friends and family.

A Sturdy Backpack with Dinosaurs Too!

This sturdy backpack which folds out to reveal a stunning prehistoric playscape is supplied with two dinosaur models. It can be used for carrying bits and bobs and yet, when unzipped the backpack transforms into a prehistoric play scape.

The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack is supplied with two model dinosaurs.
The dinosaur backpack opens up to provide a playscape for dinosaur models. Two dinosaurs are included with the backpack along with a Mojo Fun collector’s catalogue.

An Ideal Travel Companion

The bright and colourful front panel features two Mojo dinosaur models, the Mojo Fun Allosaurus and a fearsome Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex. The panel itself is embossed and raised slightly providing a stylish three-dimensional effect.

Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack - embossed dinosaur print.
The Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack with playscape has a raised and embossed dinosaur -themed design on the front panel.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We do understand how desperate families have been to get out for the day and to visit relatives. The increase in sales of the Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape has coincided with an easing of restrictions that had been imposed due to COVID-19. Perhaps this is merely a coincidence, but we like to think that for young dinosaur fans they will soon be going on some more dinosaur adventures.”

Whilst stressing the need to stay safe and to obey those restrictions that remain, the spokesperson added that team members at Everything Dinosaur were happy at the thought that this backpack would be used by lots of young people on their travels this year.

Robust but conforrable straps on the backpack.
Study straps on the Mojo Fun dinosaur backpack and playscape. This is an ideal backpack for young dinosaur fans to take with them on their travel adventures. It can also be wiped over with a damp cloth with anti-viral treatment to help keep children safe and well.

To view the Mojo Fun Dinosaur backpack and playscape and the rest of the figures currently available from Everything Dinosaur (more model stock due in soon): Mojo Fun Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

27 03, 2021

Selecting a Rebor T. rex for a Customer

By | March 27th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur as fans of prehistoric animals themselves don’t mind helping out fellow collectors. For example, we often receive emails from prehistoric animal model enthusiasts asking us to select a particular replica for them. We are happy to take some photographs of the figure that we have chosen and then email the images to the potential buyer for their approval.

Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A (Anterior View)
The Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A in anterior view. An Everything Dinosaur customer wanted us to select a dinosaur model.

Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Model

Recently, we received a request from one of our customers based in Europe to select a Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex dinosaur model. These vinyl figures are very popular and the first two versions of the Tyrannosaurus rex (02 and 03) have been retired and production has been discontinued. Our customer was keen to obtain the figure and asked us to check over the seams and the paintwork.

Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A dinosaur model in right lateral view
Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A dinosaur model in right lateral view. A selection of T. rex pictures taken by Everything Dinosaur team members.

We were happy to take photographs of a Rebor T. rex model in one of our packing rooms. We made sure that we emailed over several images, each showing the dinosaur figure from a different angle. It was just like photographing a fossil specimen for a collection. When documenting a fossil, a number of photographs are taken, each one is carefully labelled identifying the specimen number and the angle of view.

Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A (Left Lateral View)
The Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A in left lateral view. The Rebor GrabNGo range of figures are very photogenic. Team members had fun selecting a Tyrannosaurus rex figure and then photographing it in one of our packing rooms.

When taking photos of dinosaur models, we tend to provide several shots of the head of the model, so that the potential customer can see the detailing around the mouth and any seams between the head and the body.

Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A in right lateral view
The Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex Type A in right lateral view. We like to take lots of photographs of the model to show our customers.

The customer was happy with the figure we had selected for them. This particular Rebor GrabNGo 02 T. rex dinosaur model is now safely stored on our reserve shelf in our warehouse so that when the customer places their order, the figure we chose can be despatched to them.

To view the range of Rebor dinosaur and prehistoric animal figures and replicas available at Everything Dinosaur: Rebor Figures, Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Replicas.

26 03, 2021

Study Shows Lots of Variation in Dinosaur Species

By | March 26th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Researchers from the University of Bonn (Germany), in collaboration with colleagues from Liverpool John Moores University examined cranial material of the Plateosaurus species – P. trossingensis and discovered that the skulls of these dinosaurs demonstrated a high degree of variation. Just like people, this Plateosaurus species demonstrates a high degree of individual variation within a species.

Plateosaurus trossingensis fossil skeleton
Fossil of a Plateosaurus trossingensis, on loan from the Sauriermuseum Frick and on display at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) in Bonn. Doctor Katja Waskow (left) from the Zoological Research Museum and on the right, Prof. Dr Martin Sander from the University of Bonn. Picture credit: Volker Lannert/University of Bonn.

Not All Dinosaurs of the Same Species Looked Alike

Plateosaurus from the Late Triassic of Europe is one of the most extensively studied of all the dinosaurs, thanks mainly to the huge bonebeds containing thousands of fossilised bones that have been found. It is by studying the fossilised remains that palaeontologists can put forward evidence to suggest the erection of a new species. However, this new study published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, suggests that the anatomy of Plateosaurus was significantly more variable than previously thought.

A Plateosaurus dinosaur model.
A rearing Plateosaurus. A model of a Plateosaurus (CollectA Plateosaurus), this Late Triassic member of the Prosauropoda is one of the most extensively studied of all the Dinosauria.

The picture (above) shows a CollectA Plateosaurus figure.

To view this range: CollectA Age of Dinosaurs Models and Figures.

Natural Variation

The researchers examined the complete skulls of fourteen individual Plateosaurus trossingensis specimens, eight of which had not been studied before, along with numerous other skull bones and discovered that there was considerable variation in the skulls. Such variation had been noted before and it had been suggested that the extensive bonebeds at Frick (northern Switzerland), Trossingen (south-western Germany) and Halberstadt (central Germany) might contain the fossilised remains of more than one species.

However, the researchers which included PhD student Jens Lallensack (University of Bonn), could not group these variations according to specific anatomical traits, locality or their stratigraphy. The team concluded that there was no evidence to indicate the presence of more than one species, but these types of dinosaurs showed considerable variation within their species (intraspecific variability).

Plateosaurus trossingensis skull and drawing.
A Plateosaurus trossingensis skull in right lateral view with a colour coded diagram (below) showing individual fossil bones. Picture credit: Jens Lallensack (University of Bonn).

Taking into Account Bone Deformation

The careful documentation of the skull variation will assist other palaeontologists when it comes to understanding the distinct individuality of dinosaurs within a given population. The team were able to distinguish these differences from those characteristics of the bones that are deformed and altered as a result of their fossilisation. Being able to attribute bone deformation due to taphonomy (the fossilisation process), is extremely useful in helping to determine unique anatomical traits that could lead to the identification of a new species.

Photograph (top) and a model of a deformed skull resulting from the fossilisation process (below)
Photograph (top) and a model of a deformed skull resulting from the fossilisation process (below). Picture credit: Jens Lallensack (University of Bonn).

The scientific paper: “New skulls of the basal sauropodomorph Plateosaurus trossingensis from Frick, Switzerland: Is there more than one species?” by Jens N. Lallensack, Elżbieta M. Teschner, Ben Pabst and P. Martin Sander published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

25 03, 2021

Cephalopods Evolved 30 Million Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

By | March 25th, 2021|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Cephalopods those advanced sophisticated molluscs such as octopi, squid and cuttlefish evolved some thirty million years earlier than previously thought according to some new research published this week.

Nautilus scale drawing.
A scale drawing of an extant nautilus (Nautilus pompilius). Newly published research suggests the ancestors of the modern Nautilus were around at least 522 million years ago.

Cephalopods belong to the phylum Mollusca. Animals such as the octopus are regarded as highly intelligent, capable of complex behaviours and are regarded by many scientists as being as sophisticated, if not more so, than many vertebrates. The ancestors of the extant cephalopods around today originally possessed a chambered shell, indeed, the pearly nautilus still retains this feature (see above for a nautilus illustration). Researchers from Heidelberg University in collaboration with colleagues from the Bavarian Natural History Collections examined a 522 million-year-old outcrop from the Lower Cambrian Bonavista Formation exposed at Bacon Cove (south-eastern Newfoundland, Canada). Slices of the red sandstone which represent a shallow, marine depositional environment revealed tantalising glimpses of ancient Cambrian animals.

Looking for evidence of the oldest cephalopods known to science.
Scientists documenting the evidence at Bacon Cove (Newfoundland). Picture Credit Anne Hildenbrand (Heidelberg University).

The Oldest Known Cephalopods

Tiny calcareous shells measuring no more than 14 mm high and around 3 mm wide discovered in cross-sections of the red sandstone rock are interpreted as representing phragmocones, part of the internal skeleton of a marine invertebrate. The researchers postulate that as similar structures are found in cephalopods, then these fossils represent the earliest evidence of the Cephalopoda.

Longitudinal and cross-sectional images of the fossils that could represent the oldest cephalopods known to science.
Longitudinal and cross-sectional images of the fossils that could represent the oldest cephalopods known to science. Picture credit Gregor Austermann, Heidelberg University / Communications Biology.

An Extraordinary Find

Co-author of the research, Dr Gregor Austermann (Institute for Earth Sciences at Heidelberg University), commented:

“This find is extraordinary. In scientific circles it was long suspected that the evolution of these highly developed organisms had begun much earlier than hitherto assumed. But there was a lack of fossil evidence to back up this theory.”

Documenting the fossil finds.
Carefully documenting the fossil finds at Bacon Cove. Picture credit Anne Hildenbrand (Heidelberg University).

Plectronoceras cambria

Although molecular studies had suggested that cephalopods evolved earlier than indicated by the fossil record, there was very little physical evidence to back this up. Many palaeontologists regard Plectronoceras cambria, fossils of which come from Texas limestones and date from the Middle/Late Cambrian as the earliest cephalopod. These Canadian fossils, if proved to represent the body fossils of cephalopods, push back the evolutionary origins of this important group by at least 30 million years.

The specimens described here may represent the earliest cephalopods capable of regulating the buoyancy of their shell through a siphuncle. This view supports the molecular studies that suggest that cephalopods originated in the Early Cambrian. These animals may have been the first to actively control their buoyancy and therefore to be capable of moving up and down the water column. It could be speculated that these fossils which are around 522 million years old, represent the remains of some of the first animals living above the sea floor (pelagic animals) and able to swim (nektonic).

The scientific paper: “A potential cephalopod from the early Cambrian of eastern Newfoundland, Canada” by Anne Hildenbrand, Gregor Austermann, Dirk Fuchs, Peter Bengtson and Wolfgang Stinnesbeck published in Communications Biology.

24 03, 2021

Dig Those Ankylosaurs

By | March 24th, 2021|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A study of the fossilised remains of an as yet unnamed species of ankylosaurid suggests that these dinosaurs were adapted for digging. Whilst it seems unlikely that these large herbivores could have lived in burrows, they may have been able to dig for roots and tubers, excavate wells in dried up rivers to reach subsurface water and dig into sediments to obtain supplementary minerals in a similar way that extant elephants do today.

The compact and low-slung Pinacosaurus could have been adapted for digging.
A compact and low-slung body shape with powerful limbs could be adaptations for digging. The low profile of the PNSO Pinacosaurus ankylosaurid model. A newly published scientific paper suggests that these types of dinosaurs may have dug shallow pits in which they could protect themselves from attack. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Digging Pits to Protect Their Undersides

Furthermore, many palaeontologists have postulated that these armoured herbivores might have been able to hunker down to defend their limbs and undersides from theropod predators. If these animals dug shallow pits they might have been able to protect themselves from attack and make it difficult for carnivorous dinosaurs to spot them when they were partially buried. Horned lizards (Phrynosoma) have a similar flat body and lateral fringe scales as seen in some types of ankylosaurid, these extant reptiles adopt these types of defensive strategies.

Discovered in the Early 1970s

Remains of an armoured dinosaur was first reported by a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the southern Gobi Desert of Mongolia in the early 1970s. The skeleton consisting of dorsal vertebrae, elements from the limbs, ribs parts of the pelvis and the pectoral girdle along with several armoured scutes, was partially prepared for removal, but the excavation was not completed. The fossil specimen remained uncollected but crated up until 2008 when it was taken away for preparation by members of a Korean/Mongolian research team.

The crate containing (MPC-D 100/1359)
A close view of the crate containing the postcranial remains in a dorsal orientation. The fossil specimen was partially crated up but not removed from the site at Hermiin Tsav in the southern Gobi Desert (Mongolia). Abbreviations sc = scapula, dr = dorsal ribs, il = ilium.

Probably a New Species of Armoured Dinosaur

The sandstone sediments of the Upper Cretaceous (Middle to Late Campanian stage), Baruungoyot Formation have yielded the remains of three ankylosaurid taxa, namely Saichania chulsanensis, Tarchia kielanae and Zaraapelta nomadis. Writing in the journal “Scientific Reports” the researchers which include such luminaries as Phil Currie and Eva Koppelhus (University of Alberta), Michael Ryan (Canadian Museum of Nature) and corresponding author Yuong-Nam Lee (Seoul National University, South Korea), state the unnamed ankylosaurid has some similarities to S. chulsanensis, but there are anatomical differences. Unfortunately, very little postcranial fossils of Tarchia kielanae and Zaraapelta nomadis have been found making it impossible to undertake a direct comparison with this specimen (MPC-D 100/1359).

Photograph (a) and line drawing (b) of ankylosaurid fossil material.
The new ankylosaurid postcranial specimen (MPC-D 100/1359). Photograph (a) and line drawing (b) of the specimen in ventral view. Note scale bar equals 1 metre.

Adapted for Digging

The scientists speculate that several anatomical features identified in MPC-D 100/1359 could indicate that this ankylosaurid was adapted for digging. The bones in its front feet are arranged in a shallow arc, which could have enabled it to dig soft earth. The fused vertebrae and the reduced number of bones in its hind feet, compared to other dinosaurs, may have helped anchor the ankylosaurid when digging or moving its tail. The body shape of MPC-D 100/1359, which is wider in the middle and narrower at the front and rear, may have helped its body to remain straight when digging. These traits such as the narrow-wide-narrow body shape and the manus (hand) and pes (foot) bone configuration are also known in other ankylosaurids.

Dig Those Ankylosaurs

Digging for resources out of reach from other animals and excavating shallow pits as part of a defensive strategy might have been prevalent amongst these armoured dinosaurs.

Ankylosaurid skeletal drawing.
Line drawing of the ankylosaurid skeleton, known elements in white (c) dorsal view, (d) left lateral view with armour shown, (e) left lateral view with armour removed. Note scale bar = 1 metre.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article from 2014 about the discovery of Zaraapelta nomadis: New Species of ankylosaurid in Praise of Victoria Arbour.

The scientific paper: “A new ankylosaurid skeleton from the Upper Cretaceous Baruungoyot Formation of Mongolia: its implications for ankylosaurid postcranial evolution” by Jin-Young Park, Yuong-Nam Lee, Philip J. Currie, Michael J. Ryan, Phil Bell, Robin Sissons, Eva B. Koppelhus, Rinchen Barsbold, Sungjin Lee and Su-Hwan Kim published in Scientific Reports.

23 03, 2021

Smaller Amphibians More Vulnerable to Extinction

By | March 23rd, 2021|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

New research published this week shows that smaller amphibians may be more vulnerable to extinction than larger amphibian species.

A study led by Queen’s University Belfast has found that the risk of extinction among amphibians, the most endangered vertebrates on the planet, increases for species of smaller body size as their females produce fewer babies per birth.

Red-eyed Tree Frog of Central America
The red-eyed tree frog (scientific name: Agalychnis callidryas). This tropical frog species produces on average about 40 eggs per clutch. Small numbers of offspring can lead to concern over the extinction threat. Picture Credit: Roberto García-Roa.

Scientists had thought that animals of larger body size, be they hypercarnivores, or megaherbivores were more vulnerable to extinction. In popular culture, most people are aware of the threat of extinction to animals such as whales, pandas, big cats and polar bears. These large-bodied animals are certainly in danger. It has been postulated that we are currently experiencing a mass extinction event, brought on mainly due to the behaviour of Homo sapiens.

This newly published research in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, which represents a collaboration between Tel Aviv University, the University of Lincoln, Exeter University, Queen’s University (Belfast) and Nottingham Trent University, is the first to suggest amending the theory to focus on reproduction levels of animals rather than on body size when assessing extinction risk.

A Global Challenge

Regarded as one of the most pressing challenges facing our world, scientists are determined to better understand the factors that drive extinction.

Amphibians, such as frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, in particular, have become the iconic example of human-induced extinctions. Amphibian species are dying out faster than any other group of vertebrates on Earth. It has been calculated that something like forty per cent of all known species of amphibians currently face the threat of extinction.

Mating frogs (2017).
A pair of mating frogs (2017) Rana temporaria (European Common Frog).

Not Focusing Just on Mammals

One of the most accepted theories regarding extinction risk is that larger body size significantly increases the extinction threat. This hypothesis has been mainly driven via research into the Mammalia. This research is the first to investigate the causes behind extinction in amphibians based on the theory that it is not body size, but the number of babies a female produces per clutch that determines extinction risk.

Thousands of species from around the world were studied, irrespective of their conservation status. The researchers then mapped their level of endangerment against body size and their number of babies produced per batch of eggs.

The Fewer the Offspring the Greater the Risk

Strong evidence was found indicating that extinction risk increases towards species that produce fewer offspring, such as the “rain frogs” (Eleutherodactylus), whereas extinction risk decreases towards species that produce more, such as different species of American water frogs (Lithobates) or the large-bodied ‘bufonid’ toads.

Japanese Giant Salamander
The increasingly rare Giant Salamander of Japan. In some species, large body size makes you exceptionally vulnerable to extinction. This is demonstrated by the largest extant amphibian species. Picture Credit: BBC News.

Lead author, Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso (Queen’s University), explained:

“More babies per clutch or birth means more variety among the babies. To some extent, it is like playing the lottery, the more tickets you play the higher your chances to win. In this case, more numerous and diverse babies increase the chances that at least some can survive the stress of environmental alterations, such as progressive climatic changes.”

Focusing on the number of offspring rather than looking solely at body size, may permit a more effective approach to amphibian conservation.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from Queen’s University Belfast in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “The global macroecology of brood size in amphibians reveals a predisposition of low‐fecundity species to extinction” by Daniel Pincheira‐Donoso, Lilly P. Harvey, Sheena C. Cotter, Gavin Stark, Shai Meiri and Dave J. Hodgson published in Global Ecology and Biogeography.

22 03, 2021

Zhenyuanlong and Zuniceratops Mix Up

By | March 22nd, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

On Friday (March 19th, 2021), Everything Dinosaur received a telephone call from a worried customer. They had purchased a Beasts of the Mesozoic Zhenyuanlong suni articulated “raptor” figure for their son’s birthday. Unfortunately, we had sent a Beasts of the Mesozoic ceratopsid (Zuniceratops christopheri) instead. Whoops!

The birthday was the following day (Saturday), could Everything Dinosaur sort this out.

Zhenyuanlong suni packaging (Beasts of the Mesozoic).
The beautiful Zhenyuanlong suni in its packaging (Beasts of the Mesozoic). The customer had ordered a Beasts of the Mesozoic Zhenyuanlong suni, but by mistake we had sent a different dinosaur model.

Customer Service

Our dedicated team don’t often make mistakes, but with dozens of different Beasts of the Mesozoic models in the range, all of them packed into brightly coloured and illustrated packages, then sometimes confusing one model for another does happen. This is usually spotted and corrected during picking, packing and checking prior to despatch. On this occasion, the error was not found.

The beautiful markings on the Beasts of the Mesozoic Zuniceratops model.
Beasts of the Mesozoic Zuniceratops (lateral view). Showing the colourful markings on this articulated dinosaur model. The attractive Beasts of the Mesozoic models with their beautiful packaging can lead to confusion in the Everything Dinosaur packing room.

Once we had been notified of the mix up, our team members quickly got things resolved. With Velociraptor velocity, a Zhenyuanlong suni was located in our warehouse, packed and despatched. It was on its way to the customer in just a couple of hours.

Thank You Everything Dinosaur

The Beasts of the Mesozoic Z. suni articulated figure duly arrived on Saturday. The parcel was delivered in time for the birthday celebrations.

Our customer emailed this morning to say:

“Can I just say thank you so much for sending the dinosaur the Zhenyuanlong suni, on Friday after the mix up. It managed to get here on Saturday in time for my son’s birthday. He loves it, so thank you so very much for helping make his day. So fast and prompt service. Excellent. Thank you again.”

Everything Dinosaur might not make that many mistakes, but when we do it is reassuring to know that we get them resolved quickly.

To see the range of Beasts of the Mesozoic models (both raptors and horned dinosaurs) in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Beasts of the Mesozoic Articulated Models and Figures.

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