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18 08, 2022

The De-extinction of the Thylacine

By | August 18th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

On the 7th of September, 1936 the last known Thylacine died at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart (Tasmania). Although most of the scientific community believe that the Thylacine, or as it is sometimes called the Tasmanian Tiger, is extinct there are occasional reports of sightings, either from Tasmania or elsewhere in Australia.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne believe that extinction does not have to mean forever, and they are pursuing a Thylacine de-extinction project to bring back one of the last of Australia’s marsupial apex predators.

The research team led by Professor Andrew Pask of the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Lab is confident that a newly signed partnership agreement with Dallas-based Colossal Biosciences will bring the resurrection of the Tasmanian Tiger one step closer.

Thylacine De-extinction project (Melbourne University)
Professor Pask leading the Thylacine de-extinction project. For the time being, the closest scientists can get to a Thylacine is to examine museum specimens and stuffed animals. Professor Pask is holding the Thylacine pup (specimen number C5757), that played a pivotal role in the sequencing of the Thylacine genome. Picture credit: Melbourne University.

Conserving Australia’s Wildlife Heritage

The new American/Australian partnership will provide access to CRISPR DNA editing technology and allow scientists to pool their resources in their quest to bring back the Thylacine and to prevent many of Australian’s endangered mammals from going the same way.

Commenting on the significance of the new partnership and the access to state-of-the-art gene editing technology, Professor Pask stated:

“We can now take the giant leaps to conserve Australia’s threatened marsupials and take on the grand challenge of de-extincting animals we had lost.”

A Tasmanian tiger exhibit.
Stuffed Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) in a museum case alongside other Australian mammals. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

The Professor added:

“A lot of the challenges with our efforts can be overcome by an army of scientists working on the same problems simultaneously, conducting and collaborating on the many experiments to accelerate discoveries. With this partnership, we will now have the army we need to make this happen.”

Genome Sequenced

Thylacines (family Thylacinidae) are part of the marsupial order Dasyuromorphia. In 2018, researchers led by Professor Pask sequenced the genome of the Thylacine. This was achieved by extracting DNA samples from the pouch of a young Thylacine preserved in a jar of alcohol (specimen number C5757), part of the marsupial collection at Melbourne Museum. The team were able to read the approximately 3 billion nucleotide “letters” of the Thylacine genome and with the help of powerful computers to sequence them.

Armed with this knowledge, the research team could establish the genetic relationship between the extinct Thylacine and living, closely related members of the Dasyuromorphia such as the Tasmanian devil.

It would be theoretically possible to mimic the Thylacine genome and reconstruct it using marsupial stem cells.

A Focus on Protecting Extant Marsupials

Professor Pask explained that TIGGR will concentrate efforts on establishing the reproductive technologies tailored to Australian marsupials, such as IVF and gestation without a surrogate, as Colossal simultaneously deploy their CRISPR gene editing and computational biology capabilities to reproduce Thylacine DNA. This research will also help in the long-term protection of many of Australia’s indigenous marsupials, study of Thylacine DNA will help scientists to better understand the genetic makeup of closely related, extant genera. This research will influence the next generation of Australia’s marsupial conservation efforts.

The CollectA Thylacine replica.
A replica of a female Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). Perhaps in the next decade or so this iconic Australasian species will be resurrected.

This partnership with Colossal follows a significant philanthropic donation of $5 million AUD for the TIGGR Lab earlier this year.

Sharing Expertise

Colossal’s experience in CRISPR gene editing will be partnered with TIGGR’s work sequencing the Thylacine genome and identifying marsupials with similar DNA to provide living cells and a template genome that can then be edited to recreate the genetic instructions required to resurrect the extinct marsupial.

Professor Park added:

“The question everyone asks is ‘how long until we see a living Thylacine’ – and I’ve previously believed in ten years’ time we would have an edited cell that we could then consider progressing into making into an animal. With this partnership, I now believe that in ten years’ time we could have our first living baby Thylacine since they were hunted to extinction close to a century ago.”

The TIGRR Lab is believed to be close to producing the first laboratory-created embryos from Australian marsupial sperm and eggs.

Marsupials have a much shorter gestation period when compared to placental mammals. It is conceivable to produce a marsupial without the aid of a surrogate mother. Growing a marsupial, even a Thylacine in a test-tube from conception to the stage at which it would have been born.

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

17 08, 2022

Sinopliosaurus – Theropod or Pliosaur?

By | August 17th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

With the announcement of the new PNSO spinosaurid figure Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus earlier this week (Monday, 15th August), team members at Everything Dinosaur thought it might be helpful to outline the taxonomic history of this enigmatic theropod. Fragmentary fossils that led to the establishment of the Sinopliosaurus genus were originally thought to represent a marine reptile. One that had lived in a huge freshwater lake during the Early Jurassic around 180 million years ago (Toarcian faunal stage).

Everything Dinosaur expects this dinosaur model to be in stock in the autumn.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus dinosaur model.
PNSO are adding a second member of the Spinosauridae family to their mid-size model range. Joining Essien the Spinosaurus is Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus. The taxonomic history of Sinopliosaurus is somewhat complicated.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus – an Explanation

Fragmentary bones including three vertebrae, a tooth, elements from the hips (the ischium) and a femur (thigh bone) found in Lower Jurassic (Toarcian faunal stage) Ziliujing Formation exposures at Weiyuan (Sichuan Province, China) were thought to represent a freshwater pliosaur. Although very little of the skeleton was known, the fossil bones that were found were preserved in three-dimensions and not flattened and the pliosaur species Sinopliosaurus weiyuanensis was confidently erected (1944). The femur for example, was described as being of the “usual Plesiosaurian type”, robust, rather squat and not elongated. The ischium was noted as being reminiscent of the Late Cretaceous Canadian plesiosaur Leurospondylus ultimus, which had been erected by Barnum Brown in 1913. L. ultimus itself is a disputed taxon, classified as “incertae sedis”. This marine reptile was described based on fossil material most likely from a juvenile and the material might represent an elasmosaurid.

The taxonomic status of Leurospondylus ultimus remains unresolved.

Elasmosaurus scale drawing
The Elasmosaurus scale drawing commissioned by Everything Dinosaur as the company’s fact sheet was updated. When Sinopliosaurus weiyuanensis was described, the ischium was thought to closely resemble the hip bones associated with Leurospondylus (L. ultimus). This helped to confirm the diagnosis that S. weiyuanensis fossil material represented a marine reptile – a member of the Plesiosauria clade.

The genus name (Sinopliosaurus) means “Chinese more lizard”, reflecting the assumed close taxonomic relationship with pliosaurs found elsewhere in the world.

Who Named the Pliosaurus Genus?

It was the English anatomist Sir Richard Owen who first used the genus Pliosaurus (Pliosaurus brachydeirus) back in 1841. Owen mistakenly believed that Pliosaurus was “more” closely related to “saurians” (including crocodilians) than it was to Plesiosaurus.

Pliosaurus scale drawing.
A scale drawing of a Pliosaurus. Fossils from the Lower Jurassic Ziliujing Formation and later fossil discoveries from the geologically much younger Xinlong Formation (sometimes referred to as the Napai Formation), were originally thought to represent a freshwater pliosaur. Only later did some of these fossils become ascribed to a species of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Sinopliosaurus weiyuanensis (Chung Chien Young) 1944

The scientific description of S. weiyuanensis was published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of China in 1944 by the eminent, Chinese palaeontologist and zoologist C.C. (Chung Chien) Young. Regarded as the “Father of Chinese vertebrate palaeontology”, his diagnosis was not challenged or questioned.

Spinosaurid fossils from Asia were unknown, the only substantial research into this enigmatic family of dinosaurs had been taking place in Germany (Stromer – Spinosaurus aegyptiacus). As the fossils were similar to those fossils ascribed to pliosaurs, it was thought that these Chinese fossils too, also represented a marine reptile.

Sinopliosaurus fusuiensis (Hou et al) 1975

Five isolated teeth from the Early Cretaceous Xinlong Formation (sometimes referred to as the Napai Formation) found in Fusui County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (South China), were described by Chinese palaeontologist Hou Lian-Hai and colleagues and a second species of Sinopliosaurus was erected – S. fusuiensis (1975).

The strata associated with these fossils is difficult to date accurately, but the consensus is that these sediments were deposited around 120 to 100 million years ago (Aptian-Albian faunal stage of the Early Cretaceous). The fossils ascribed to S. fusuiensis were around sixty million years younger than the fossil material associated with S. weiyuanensis.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus has an articulated jaw.
PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus has an articulated jaw. The genus was originally erected under the presumption that the fossil material including isolated teeth represented a pliosaur (marine reptile).

The Emergence of Asian Spinosaurs – Siamosaurus suteethorni

Fossil teeth collected from the Lower Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation (Barremian faunal stage) in north-eastern Thailand by a joint Thai/French team in the early 1980s led to the conclusion that they represented an unusual theropod dinosaur or possibly an, as yet undescribed crocodyliform. A reassessment of the fossil material in 1986 led to the establishment of the Asian spinosaurid species Siamosaurus suteethorni. Subsequently, other fossil material has been described and assigned to this genus, principally fossils excavated from the slightly geologically younger Khok Kruat Formation of Thailand.

Siamosaurus was the first Asian spinosaur to be described and following its scientific description (Buffetaut and Ingavat, 1986), teeth and other material found in Asia has been reassigned to the Spinosauridae.

In 2008, Buffetaut and colleagues published a scientific paper (Cambridge University Press), that challenged the placement of Sinopliosaurus fusuiensis as a marine reptile. It was concluded that the conical teeth assigned to S. fusuiensis were not typical of a member of the Plesiosauria. Specifically, it was noted that these teeth bear carinae (sharp edges) on the plane of the crown’s curvature, a characteristic not seen in Plesiosauria teeth. Buffetaut et al subsequently re-described the material and stated that the teeth came from a spinosaurid theropod closely allied to Siamosaurus suteethorni.

The exact taxonomic position of S. fusuiensis remains unresolved, although the discovery of potential spinosaurid fossil material in Japan and the naming of the spinosaurid Ichthyovenator (I. laosensis) by Allain et al in 2012 confirms the presence of this enigmatic family of theropod dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous of Asia.

“Fish Hunter” from Laos. A scale drawing of Ichthyovenator laosensis.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus

The PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus (S. fusuiensis), is expected in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the autumn of 2022.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus landscape view
The PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus is depicted walking close to a river. Fossils now ascribed to this theropod come from a fluvial/lacustrine palaeoenvironment (Xinlong Formation).

To view the wide range of PNSO models and figures available from Everything Dinosaur including Essien the Spinosaurus models: PNSO Spinosaurus and Other Prehistoric Animal Figures.

16 08, 2022

Prehistoric Animal Models from PNSO Feature in Newsletter

By | August 16th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

The PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong and six other PNSO prehistoric animal figures feature in the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter. Lingwulong, the first replica of this Chinese diplodocoid dinosaur to be made by a mainstream manufacturer has arrived in stock at Everything Dinosaur along with replenishment stocks of other PNSO prehistoric animal models in the latest shipment to reach Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse.

PNSO Lingwulong features in customer newsletter.
The new for summer 2022 PNSO Lingwulong sauropod model features in the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter.

PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong

This large model (the figure measures over forty-seven centimetres in length), is a replica of the dicraeosaurid from the Middle Jurassic of China. It is the earliest known diplodocoid and the first of this type of sauropod dinosaur to be reported from Asia.

PNSO Kronosaurus and the Stegosaurus Pair
Fresh supplies of the Kronosaurus figure (Jeff the Kronosaurus) and the stegosaur pair (Biber and Rook) have arrived at the Everything Dinosaur warehouse.

PNSO Kronosaurus and Biber and Rook (Stegosaurus Pair)

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been busy unloading and checking the latest PNSO product delivery. The PNSO Jeff the Kronosaurus and the stegosaur pair (Biber and Rook) are now back in stock. These figures would make a welcome addition to the model collection of a prehistoric animal fan.

To join the subscription list for the free Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter: Email Everything Dinosaur.

PNSO T. rex and Carnotaurus models feature in newsletter.
A fantastic pair of short-armed theropod dinosaurs. Wilson the T. rex (latest version) and Domingo the Carnotaurus dinosaur model are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

PNSO Wilson the T. rex and Domingo the Carnotaurus

The shipment also contained Wilson the T. rex dinosaur model (latest version) and the popular PNSO Domingo the Carnotaurus figure.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur welcomed these fine examples of a tyrannosaurid and an abelisaurid back into stock at the company’s warehouse.

PNSO Nick the Ceratosaurus and Brook the Ophthalmosaurus feature in company newsletter.
The huge Nick the Ceratosaurus and the equally impressive Brook the Ophthalmosaurus are also back in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

Favourites Back into Stock Too

The enormous Nick the Ceratosaurus dinosaur model is back in stock. Brook (the not quite so big but still an impressive 48 cm long), Ophthalmosaurus is also available once more.

The spokesperson confirmed that Everything Dinosaur was committed to stocking older PNSO products as well as the latest additions to the PNSO Age of Dinosaurs model series.

To view the huge range of PNSO models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: PNSO Sauropod Models and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

15 08, 2022

PNSO to Add a Sinopliosaurus Model

By | August 15th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

PNSO have announced that they will be adding a replica of the Chinese spinosaurid Sinopliosaurus to their range of mid-sized prehistoric animal models. This new for 2022 dinosaur model is expected in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the autumn (2022).

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus model measurements.
PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus measures 29.3 cm long and stands 8.5 cm high.

Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus

Say hello to Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus, a genus of spinosaurid dinosaur with a rather convoluted and complicated taxonomic history. This is the second member of the Spinosauridae family to be added to the company’s mid-sized model range after Essien the Spinosaurus was announced back in quarter 4 of 2020.

The Sinopliosaurus measures an impressive 29.3 cm long and it stands around 8.5 cm high. As with other figures in the PNSO mid-size model range, it has no declared scale (helpful as the size estimates for Sinopliosaurus are speculative).

It has been given a deep, broad tail, in keeping with some of the latest research associated with the Spinosauridae, specifically Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.

PNSO Sinopliosaurus model.
The broad, deep tail of Sinopliosaurus can be seen in this image of the new PNSO dinosaur model.

Spinosaurid Supplied with Posters and a Full-colour Booklet

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur confirmed that this exciting, new dinosaur figure would be in stock in the autumn and that it would be supplied with a 64-page, fully illustrated booklet and an animal poster. The model would also have an articulated lower jaw.

PNSO Sinopliosaurus supplied with poster and booklet.
The PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus dinosaur model is supplied with an animal poster and a 64-page, full-colour illustrated booklet.

Spectacular Spinosaurid – Sinopliosaurus

Known from highly fragmentary fossils, once thought to represent a pliosaur (marine reptile), Sinopliosaurus (S. fusuiensis) was named and scientifically described in 1975 (Hou, Yeh and Zhao), but eventually assigned to the Spinosauridae family when evidence of Asian spinosaurids emerged.

It is the only spinosaur described to date from China. The spectacular Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus will have an articulated lower jaw.

PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus has an articulated jaw.
PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus has an articulated jaw. The genus was originally erected under the presumption that the fossil material including isolated teeth represented a pliosaur (marine reptile).

Expected in Stock – Autumn 2022

The PNSO Chongzuo the Sinopliosaurus dinosaur model is expected to be in stock at Everything Dinosaur in the autumn (2022).

Why does a spinosaurid have a name that sounds like Pliosaurus – a genus of marine reptile? The taxonomic history of this theropod is both convoluted and complicated. It involves Early Jurassic fossils, Sir Richard Owen and his mistakes, Early Cretaceous fossil material, excavations in Thailand and Laos plus a lot of confusion. We will post up an explanation on Wednesday 17th August (2022), that hopefully, sheds some light on all this.

To view the range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Age of Dinosaurs (PNSO).

14 08, 2022

A Majestic Kingfisher

By | August 14th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Animal News Stories, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Our thanks to model collector and keen bird watcher Elizabeth who sent into Everything Dinosaur a fantastic photograph of a Kingfisher with its lunch. The lack of rainfall in most areas of the UK in recent months has led to water levels in rivers and lakes dropping. This has concentrated fish (the preferred prey of the Kingfisher), into ever decreasing pools and fish-eaters such as the beautiful Kingfisher have been taking advantage of the easier access to prey.

Kingfisher image.
The “King of the River” one of the most spectacular of Britain’s birds – a close-up view of the beautiful plumage of a Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Picture credit: Elizabeth.

The drought could have long-term implications for local Kingfisher populations, particularly if ponds and other water sources dry up. Team members at Everything Dinosaur do occasionally catch the glimpse of a pair of iridescent wings, or a splash of orange colour, as they walk along the canal and the river on their way to work. There are Kingfishers in our neighbourhood, but these short-lived birds are notoriously difficult to spot.

Our thanks to Elizabeth for sending in her superb photograph. We think this might be a male. Female Kingfishers have an orange/pinkish tinge to their lower beak. In contrast, the males tend to have black beaks. A tip to help you remember the difference between male and female Kingfishers is to think of the female birds wearing pink lipstick on their lower mandibles.

It is a superb, close-up view of one of our country’s most colourful birds.

13 08, 2022

A Very Strange Armoured Dinosaur from South America

By | August 13th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

Researchers have announced the discovery of a new species of Late Cretaceous armoured dinosaur from fragmentary fossils found in North Patagonia, (Río Negro Province, Argentina). It may represent an entirely new and previously unknown branch of the armoured dinosaur family tree from South America (Gondwana). Named Jakapil kaniukura (pronounced Jack-a-pil can-nee-ook-your-rah), it is the first definitive thyreophoran species from the Patagonia of Argentina and it might have been a biped with short, stumpy arms reminiscent of the abelisaurid theropod dinosaurs.

Jakapil kaniukura life reconstruction (thyreophoran).
Life reconstruction of Jakapil kaniukura, the first thyreophoran dinosaur of its kind from Argentina and South America. Picture credit: Mauricio Álvarez and Gabriel Díaz Yanten (paleogdy).

Fossils from the “La Buitrera Paleontological Area” (LBPA)

Writing in the academic journal “Scientific Reports”, researchers from the Universidad Maimónides (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in collaboration with a colleague from the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (Bilbao, Spain), report the discovery of a fragmentary, disarticulated skeleton representing a sub-adult animal, from the upper beds of the Candeleros Formation (early Late Cretaceous 94-97 million years ago). The sandstone exposures represent aeolian (wind borne) sand dunes indicating an arid to semi-arid palaeoenvironment in what is now termed the “La Buitrera Paleontological Area” (LBPA). The holotype (MPCA-PV-371), consists of skull elements including bones from the jaw, rib fragments, bones from the shoulders, two partial upper arm bones (humeri), a possible partial right ulna and other assorted fragmentary limb bones. Fifteen partial teeth were also recovered along with numerous osteoderms (dermal armour).

Jakapil kaniukura skeletal reconstruction.
Skeletal reconstruction of Jakapil kaniukura with known fossil material in white. Fragmentary fossil material pictured, note scale bar = 40 cm. Picture credit: Riguetti et al.

The sub-adult animal is estimated to have had a body length of less than 1.5 metres, perhaps weighing around 4.5 to 7 kilograms.

Commenting on the significance of this fossil discovery, lead author of the paper Facundo Riguetti (Universidad Maimónides), stated:

“Our finding is important for several reasons. On the one hand, Jakapil expands the fossil record known in the region and allows us to know a little better the prehistoric ecosystem of our land, and specifically of the ancient Kokorkom desert, today northern Patagonia.”

Jakapil kaniukura excavation site.
First author of the scientific paper, Facundo Riguetti at the dig site. Picture credit: Sebastián Apesteguía.

The PhD student went onto add:

“Moreover, this new species represents a lineage of thyreophoran dinosaurs previously unknown in South America. The Thyreophora originated about two hundred million years ago and evolved rapidly into several species distributed throughout the world. However, of these early thyreophorans, the lineage represented by Jakapil was the only one that persisted until at least a hundred million years ago.”

A Survivor from an Ancient Armoured Dinosaur Line

Phylogenetic analysis recovers Jakapil kaniukura either as a basal member of the Thyreophora or a stem ankylosaur, closely related to Scelidosaurus, fossils of which are associated with the Lower Jurassic Charmouth Mudstone Formation of Dorset, England. Its discovery suggests that early thyreophorans had a much broader geographic distribution than previously thought and that an ancient lineage persisted into the early Late Cretaceous.

One of the dermal scutes associated with the Jakapil kaniukura fossil specimen.
Fossilised fragment of dermal bones that act as armour for the plant-eating dinosaur. Picture credit: Facundo Riguetti.

A Bipedal Armoured Dinosaur

Evolutionary trends observed in armoured dinosaurs suggest a transition between small, cursorial, light-weight species to much larger, heavily armoured quadrupedal forms epitomised by the likes of Stegosaurus in the Late Jurassic and Ankylosaurus and Edmontonia in the Late Cretaceous. The relative dimensions of the forelimb and hind limb bear a greater resemblance to those of bipedal theropods and basal ornithischian dinosaurs than they do to members of the Thyreophora.

The reduced nature of the upper arm, indicated by the fragmentary humeri resembles the arm bones of abelisaurids – famous for their tiny, almost vestigial front limbs.

Life reconstruction Jakapil kaniukura.
A life reconstruction of the newly described Cretaceous thyreophoran Jakapil kaniukura. Picture credit: Daniel Boh with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur.

Etymology

The genus name is from the northern Tehuelchean language meaning “shield bearer”, whilst the species name is derived from the Mapudungun language for “crest” (kaniu) and “stone” (kura) which references the diagnostic bony crest on the lower jaw.

Co-author of the scientific paper Sebastián Apesteguía at the Jakapil dig site.
Co-author of the scientific paper Sebastián Apesteguía at the Jakapil dig site. Picture credit: Pablo Destito.

The researchers, including co-author Sebastián Apesteguía (Universidad Maimónides) speculate that Jakapil, if it was a biped, resembled Scutellosaurus, which is known from the Early Jurassic of Arizona. However, they caution against defining this little armoured dinosaur as bipedal. They observe that it still retains some anatomical characteristics associated with a quadrupedal stance and they comment that more complete limb bones are required to make a more accurate assessment of its locomotion.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a media release from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “A new Cretaceous thyreophoran from Patagonia supports a South American lineage of armoured dinosaurs” by Facundo J. Riguetti, Sebastián Apesteguía and Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola published in Scientific Reports.

12 08, 2022

PNSO Lingwulong Dinosaur Model in Stock

By | August 12th, 2022|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Press Releases|0 Comments

The PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur. The latest PNSO new for 2022 prehistoric animal model has arrived at Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse. Team members at the UK-based mail order company have been busy contacting all those customers who requested that they be alerted when this new Jurassic sauropod figure arrived.

PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong in stock at Everything Dinosaur.
The PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model has arrived at Everything Dinosaur. Team members inspect boxes and check contents prior to booking this new for 2022 sauropod figure into stock.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur reported that the cartons containing the PNSO Lingwulong would be checked over before all the boxes were put on pallets once again and stored in the PNSO designated area of the company’s warehouse.

The picture (above) shows some cartons in one of the packing rooms having been opened and the contents checked over.

The posters for the PNSO Chuanchuan Lingwulong model
Posters and booklet for the PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model. The new for 2022 PNSO diplodocoid figure is supplied with a prehistoric animal poster and a full-colour, 64-page booklet. A QR code can be scanned which allows access to a short video that explains how this new dinosaur model was created.

Model Measurements

The Lingwulong model is quite large, it measures around 47.5 cm in length and stands approximately 13.5 cm tall.

To view the PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model and the rest of the figures in the extensive PNSO prehistoric animal model range, take a look at the PNSO section of Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: PNSO Lingwulong and Other Jurassic Dinosaur Models.

11 08, 2022

Eye Socket Study Provides New Insight on the Shape of Dinosaur Skulls

By | August 11th, 2022|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles|0 Comments

Newly published research suggests that super-sized theropod dinosaurs such as Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex evolved different shaped eye sockets to better withstand high bite forces. That is the conclusion postulated in a scientific paper published today in “Communications Biology”.

In the majority of vertebrates including most of the Dinosauria, the eye socket (orbit) is just a circular hole in the skull housing the eyeball. However, eye socket shape is very different in large, dinosaur carnivores (Theropoda).

Eye socket study in the Dinosauria
Only large theropod dinosaurs with a skull length in excess of 1 metre evolved different eye socket shapes. Herbivorous dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus retained circular orbits. Picture credit: The University of Birmingham.

Dinosaur’s Evolved Different Orbit Shapes to Accommodate Stronger Bites

In the new study, University of Birmingham researchers examined the unusual, elliptical, keyhole-shaped or oval eye sockets found in predatory dinosaurs. They postulate that these orbit shapes could have evolved to help the skull absorb the impact as these carnivores attacked or fed on prey.

Author of the scientific paper, Dr Stephan Lautenschlager (Senior Lecturer for Palaeobiology at the University of Birmingham), analysed the shape of the eye sockets of around five hundred different dinosaurs and related species.

Dr Lautenschlager explained:

“The results show that only some dinosaurs had eye sockets that were elliptical or keyhole-shaped. However, all of those were large, carnivorous dinosaurs with skull lengths of one metre or more.”

Computer modelling was used to assess bite force stresses on skulls. The results demonstrated that skulls with a circular orbit were more prone to high stresses during biting.

Assessing the impact of orbit shape on skull stress.
Elliptical or keyhole-shaped orbits were better able to cope with the stresses on the skull generated by strong bite forces. The darker the shading the lower the bite force stress on that part of the skull. Picture credit: The University of Birmingham.

Accommodating Bite Force Stress

Stresses on the bones surrounding the eye were reduced when other non-circular orbit models were analysed in the computer tests. This suggests that large theropods evolved non-circular orbits to accommodate the higher skull stresses as their bites became more powerful.

The study also showed that most plant-eating species and juvenile individuals retained a circular eye socket. Only large carnivores adopted other morphologies.

T. rex skull labelled.
A diagram of a T. rex skull with the fenestrae in the top half of the skull labelled. The keyhole-shaped orbit is highlighted. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Skulls with non-circular orbits, such as the skull of Tyrannosaurus rex (above), are better able to cope with the stresses generated as the bite force increases.

A Reduction in Eyeball Size Compared to Skull Length

The research also demonstrated that as the skulls of theropods got larger, the relative size of the eyeball was reduced.

Dr Lautenschlager added:

“In these species, just the upper part of the eye socket was actually occupied by the eyeball. This also led to a relative reduction of eye size compared with skull size.”

If the eyeball of T. rex had increased at the same rate as the skull length so it remained in proportion, the eyes of Tyrannosaurus rex would have been up to 30 cm in diameter and would have weighed nearly twenty kilograms.

T. rex - what big eyes you've got!
If the eyes of T. rex had increased at the same rate as skull length, the eyes of Tyrannosaurus rex would have been up to 30 cm in diameter and would have weighed an estimated 20 kilograms. Whereas, based on fossil assessments the eyes of T. rex were around 13 cm diameter and weighed 2 kilograms. Picture credit: The University of Birmingham.

Think of a T. rex with eyes as big as footballs, rather than the true size of the eye about as big as a tennis ball.

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

The scientific paper: “Functional and ecomorphological evolution of orbit shape in Mesozoic archosaurs is driven by body size and diet.” by S. Lautenschlager published in Communications Biology.

10 08, 2022

Preparations for Lingwulong

By | August 10th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Drawings, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Team members at Everything Dinosaur are busy making preparations for the arrival of the latest PNSO model shipment including the PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model. This exciting, new Jurassic sauropod figure is expected to arrive at our UK warehouse in a few days and we have been busy finalising the Lingwulong fact sheet that will be sent out with sales of this model.

The Everything Dinosaur fact sheets include a scale drawing of the prehistoric animal. Our illustration of Lingwulong with a human figure providing the scale has been reproduced below.

Lingwulong scale drawing
A scale drawing of Lingwulong ready for the Everything Dinosaur fact sheet.

PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong

Measuring nearly forty-eight centimetres in length the PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model is one of the largest prehistoric animal figures to be added by PNSO to their Age of Dinosaurs range for some time.

Palaeontologists are uncertain as to the actual size of this dicraeosaurid, (Superfamily: Diplodocoidea/Family: Dicraeosauridae). Size estimates vary with a consensus, based on the currently known fossil material coalescing around the 17-20-metre-long mark.

Named and described back in 2018 (Xu et al), Lingwulong is the first ever member of the Diplodocoidea discovered in Asia and also the oldest known to science. Its fossils (several individuals), coming from the Yanan Formation in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China. The strata are estimated to be around 175 to 168 million years old (late Toarcian to Bajocian faunal stages of the Jurassic).

PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model.
PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model.

An Eagerly Anticipated Jurassic Sauropod Figure

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Lingwulong is an eagerly anticipated Jurassic sauropod figure, it is one of the largest figures that PNSO have put into production over recent months, and we know that there are more new model announcements to come from PNSO.”

To read about the discovery and scientific description of Lingwulong shenqi: Lingwulong shenqi New Dinosaur Discovery from China.

The posters for the PNSO Chuanchuan Lingwulong model
Posters and booklet for the PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model. The PNSO model will be supplied with an animal poster, a 64-page, full-colour booklet and of course, an Everything Dinosaur Lingwulong fact sheet.

The PNSO Chuanchuan the Lingwulong dinosaur model should be in stock in a few days. Team members will ensure that Everything Dinosaur customers who requested to be contacted, will be notified when this new dinosaur figure arrives.

To view the extensive range of PNSO prehistoric animal models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Models and Figures.

9 08, 2022

Royal Mail Postal Strikes (Summer 2022)

By | August 9th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur have been informed that the forthcoming industrial action at Royal Mail will lead to delays in parcel deliveries both in the UK and overseas. Our customers can be assured that Everything Dinosaur team members will be putting in place measures to protect customers and to minimise disruption as much as is possible.

Team members working hard to despatch parcels.
Everything Dinosaur working hard to manage the despatch of parcels during the period of industrial action at Royal Mail. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Following a ballot amongst its members back in July, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) threatened strike action.

Royal Mail has issued the following statement:

“The Communication Workers Union has informed Royal Mail that they will call upon their members to undertake strike action on the following dates: 26th and 31st August and 8th and 9th September 2022. Royal Mail believes there are no grounds for industrial action. Royal Mail is ready to talk further with the CWU to try to avert damaging industrial action, but it must be about both change and pay.”

Contingency Plans in Place

We have already put in plans to try to mitigate the impact of the proposed industrial action. We intend to implement our Christmas period action plan. This means that we will work longer hours including Sundays to ensure orders are picked, prepared and packed as quickly as we can so that they can be sent out as soon as Royal Mail collections commence.

Dinosaur parcels being loaded
Everything Dinosaur works with several courier companies not just Royal Mail and will be exploring how we can support our delivery service in the light of the announcement of industrial action by the Communication Workers Union (summer/autumn 2022). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We have an exceptionally good relationship with all the delivery companies that we work with. We have gone out of our way to build effective, strong communication between ourselves and our delivery partners. We have already implemented an action plan to help mitigate this disruption and to minimise any inconvenience that customers might face.”

The proposed CWU strike days:

  • Friday 26th August (Friday before the UK Bank Holiday on Monday 29th August).
  • Wednesday 31st August.
  • Thursday 8th September.
  • Friday 9th September.

CWU must provide Royal Mail with 14 days’ notice prior to any other strike action.

Buy Early – Consider Christmas Purchases

The advice to customers is to buy a few days earlier than they normally would. Please allow extra time for deliveries to be made. If the industrial action continues into the autumn, then it will start to have an impact on Christmas deliveries, so the clear message is shop early for Christmas.

Last year, many retailers had problems obtaining stock in the important sales period in the run up to the festive season. These problems were largely caused by issues with global logistics. Customers were advised to buy early to avoid disappointment, this advice is still relevant. There are on-going problems with global logistics which are likely to be exacerbated by industrial action at Felixstowe port. With potential disruption to mail services, it is advisable and sensible to shop early.

For further information, advice and assistance: Email Everything Dinosaur.

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