All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
23 03, 2024

A New Iguanodontian Dinosaur from Portugal

By |2024-03-26T15:21:16+00:00March 23rd, 2024|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils, Uncategorized|0 Comments

A new species of Late Jurassic iguanodontian has been described from fossils discovered in western Portugal. The dinosaur has been named Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum. The discovery of this dinosaur adds to the diversity of relatively small ornithopods known from the Lourinhã Formation.  The fossil material consisting of a partial left hindlimb and isolated forelimb bones were excavated from the cliffs at the picturesque Porto Dinheiro beach (Lourinhã, Portugal). The fossils probably represent a single, individual dinosaur.

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum life reconstruction.

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum life reconstruction. Picture credit: Victor Carvalho.

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum

The researchers conclude that this dinosaur had a body length of between 3-4 metres. It was rather small when compared to Early Cretaceous iguanodontians such as Iguanodon bernissartensis which had an estimated length of approximately 10 metres and weighed around 5 tonnes. The forelimb bones lack modifications for quadrupedal locomotion. Hesperonyx probably was a biped and considerably more agile than later, much larger iguanodontians.

Hesperonyx roamed western Portugal approximately 150 million years ago (Late Jurassic). The research project was a collaboration between scientists from the NOVA School of Science and Technology, University of Zaragoza and University of Bonn, supported by the local Museu da Lourinhã and Sociedade de História Natural de Torres Vedras.

Co-author Bruno Camilo studying dinosaur limb bones.

Co-author of the study Bruno Camilo, head of Sociedade of História Natural of Torres Vedras (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa). Picture credit: Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

A New Dinosaur Taxon

The almost complete and semi-articulated left hindlimb was discovered in the summer of 2021. The fossil material was cleaned and prepared in the Museu da Lourinhã laboratory. The morphology of the bones puzzled the researchers. 

Student and co-author of the scientific paper Lucrezia Ferrari who worked on the fossilised material commented:

“It simply did not match anything we have seen before.”

The team were quietly confident that these fossils represented a new dinosaur taxon.

Fossil preparation (Hesperonyx paper).

Student Lucrezia Ferrari who worked on the fossil preparation and presented a thesis on this new ornithopod dinosaur as part of her Master’s degree. Picture credit: Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Filippo Maria Rotatori, lead author of the paper published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology added:

“It was something familiar, but it has several features that just looked unusual.  It was some kind of bipedal herbivorous dinosaur, but such animal was never recorded in Portugal before.   It’s a new species. One more in the highly diverse ecosystem of the Portuguese Jurassic.”

What’s in a Name?

The genus name is derived from “Hesperus” the Greek God, whose name is associated with the planet Venus and it being seen in the western sky. This is a nod to the fact that the fossils come from the western region of Portugal. The genus name also contains the Greek “onyx” meaning claw. The specific name honours Micael Martinho and Carla Alexandra Tomás for their dedicated work as fossil preparators at the Museu da Lourinhã.

Hesperonyx toe bones and researchers.

Lead author of the scientific paper, Filippo Maria Rotatori with the preparators Micael Martinho and Carla Tomás (Museu da Lourinhã) with the toe bones. The trivial name of this new dinosaur honours Micael and Carlo and recognises their dedication to the work of fossil preparation. Picture credit: Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum – A Small Iguanodontian Dinosaur

The Iguanodontia is an extensive and specious clade of ornithischian dinosaurs. These herbivores were abundant during the Jurassic and Cretaceous. Their early origins are not well understood. This is due to the lack of fossil material representing basal members of this clade. The fossil record of early iguanodontians is particularly poor in Europe. Only a handful of European species are currently recognised. For example, Cumnoria prestwichii and the geologically older Callovosaurus leedsi, both these dinosaurs are associated with English Jurassic deposits (Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire respectively).

The discovery of Hesperonyx adds to the diversity of small ornithopod dinosaurs already recognised in the fossil record of the Lourinhã Formation.  It was an unexpected fossil find. Hesperonyx demonstrates that there are probably many more types of dinosaur awaiting discovery in the Upper Jurassic strata of western Portugal.

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum limb bones in life position.

The partial left hindlimb of Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum assembled to reflect the position within the skeleton. Picture credit: Inês Marques.

Miguel Moreno-Azanza, the main advisor of Filippo, noted:

“This is a wonderful discovery, and also a great example of how scientific collaborations in palaeontology can help to reach great results.”

Hesperonyx martinhotomasorum paper co-author Miguel Moreno-Azanza, from Zaragoza University

Miguel Moreno-Azanza, from Zaragoza University, co-author of the Hesperonyx scientific paper with a titanosaur egg fossil and an Ampelosaurus model. Picture credit: Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Everything Dinosaur recognises the assistance of a media release and personal email correspondence with the lead author in the compilation of this article.

The scientific paper: “An unexpected early-diverging iguanodontian dinosaur (Ornithischia, Ornithopoda) from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal” by Filippo Maria Rotatori, Lucrezia Ferrari, Cristina Sequero, Bruno Camilo, Octávio Mateus and Miguel Moreno-Azanza published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

27 02, 2024

How Accurate is the New CollectA Polacanthus?

By |2024-03-20T16:10:33+00:00February 27th, 2024|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Uncategorized|0 Comments

A new 1:20 scale Polacanthus foxii model will be added to the CollectA Deluxe range this year. This armoured dinosaur was named in 1865. At the time, it was one of only a handful of armoured dinosaurs known to science. It was named before Stegosaurus (Marsh 1877) and Ankylosaurus (Brown 1908). The CollectA Polacanthus model represents the very latest scientific interpretation of this iconic dinosaur.

The Sacral Shield

This dinosaur is famous for its shield of armour located over the hips (sacral shield). This fused sheet of dermal armour was repaired and restored by Caleb Barlow (1882). He did a remarkable job considering the fossils had deteriorated and the work was regarded as a “hopeless undertaking” by the geologist John Whitaker Hulke. Most descriptions of the osteoderms and raised bosses associated with this sacral shield refer to four rows of osteoderms on each side of this pelvic shield. However, these features do not seem to be present in the fossil material.

CollectA Deluxe Polacanthus armour.
A close-up view of the sacral shield on the CollectA Polacanthus model. Damaged spikes are highlighted by red arrows. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

The shield on the CollectA Polacanthus model does reflect the morphology of the fossil material. It closely follows the layout of dermal armour as indicated in lithographs of the actual fossils that were produced in the late 19th century.

To view the range of CollectA Deluxe figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Animal Models.

No Presacral Spines on the Model

Hulke described the specimen based on the restored material in 1887. The Hungarian polymath Franz Nopcsa created the first skeletal reconstruction and hypothesised that tail armour consisted of eleven rows of parallel spines that became smaller towards the distal end of the tail. The CollectA Polacanthus model has eleven rows of caudal spines. However, unlike Nopsca’s illustration, the armour is orientated horizontally reflecting the arrangement of tail armour associated with better known nodosaurids like Gastonia burgei.

He also suggested that there were two rows of upward pointing presacral spines. The first reconstruction of the skeleton occurred in 1905 when the fragmentary fossils of P. foxii were put on public display.

CollectA Deluxe Polacanthus.
The new for 2024 CollectA Deluxe 1:20 scale Polacanthus figure. The model lacks presacral spines. Whilst the configuration of dermal armour remains unknown, it is likely that the spines and spikes were located on the flanks and were directed outwards rather than upwards.

CollectA Polacanthus Model

The CollectA Polacanthus model does not have vertically orientated presacral spines. Instead, the model has spines that are located on the flank and point outwards. This is a more modern depiction of the armour and reflects the fact that much of the fossil material previously associated with this genus has been reassigned.

Polacanthus illustration.
An illustration of Polacanthus from circa 1950. Polacanthus is depicted as lizard-like with round, conical and upward pointing armoured spikes. This reconstruction of Polacanthus foxii is now regarded as outdated. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

The CollectA Polacanthus model is due in stock at Everything Dinosaur later this year.

Visit the award-winning and user-friendly Everything Dinosaur website: Dinosaur Toys and Prehistoric Animal Models.

11 02, 2024

Mojo Fun Pays Tribute to Dinosaurs in the Movies

By |2024-02-19T06:24:23+00:00February 11th, 2024|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Our thanks to Mojo Fun for sending Everything Dinosaur some new images of the Mojo Fun prehistoric life dinosaur models. The images we received includes a clever illustration of a Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex model.

We think this T. rex dinosaur model was introduced into the Mojo Fun prehistoric and extinct range in 2020. It has certainly proved to be popular with dinosaur fans and model collectors. The manufacturer has paid tribute to dinosaurs in films by mimicking a famous scene from the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” franchise.

Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex model in the spotlight.
Mojo Fun pays tribute to the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” franchise with this clever piece of artwork featuring a Mojo Fun T. rex model.

Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex

The Mojo Fun T. rex figure is escaping from captivity. The image parodies scenes from the famous Universal Studio’s film franchise.

To view the Mojo Fun prehistoric life model range available from Everything Dinosaur: Mojo Fun Prehistoric Life Figures.

The Mojo Fun Tyrannosaurus rex Deluxe figure measures around 30 cm in length. Team members at Everything Dinosaur estimate its head height to be approximately 11 cm.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Every dinosaur fan will get the connection between the Mojo Fun T. rex image and the movies. There are rumours circulating that a new film in the “Jurassic Park/Jurassic World” franchise will be released in 2025. Mojo Fun’s timing of the release of this new image is apposite.”

Visit the award-winning Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

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