All about dinosaurs, fossils and prehistoric animals by Everything Dinosaur team members.
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20 07, 2022

Unique Dinosaur Fossil to be Returned to Brazil

By | July 20th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

A unique, chicken-sized dinosaur fossil excavated from the Lower Cretaceous deposits of the Araripe Basin (Brazil) and currently residing at the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) will be returned to Brazil. The specimen (Ubirajara jubatus), lacks properly documented paperwork detailing its acquisition and it may have been obtained without legitimate export permits.

Holotype of Ubirajara jubatus preserved as slab and counter slab.
The holotype of Ubirajara jubatus preserved as slab and counter slab. The fossil material is to be returned to Brazil after evidence emerged that the specimen may not have been obtained legally. Picture credit: Smyth et al/Cretaceous Research.

Conflicting Accounts about Fossil Acquisition

Conflicting accounts regarding the fossil’s acquisition emerged prompting the Baden-Württemberg science ministry to launch an internal investigation.

In the scientific paper (now withdrawn) published in the journal “Cretaceous Research” it was stated that the fossil specimen was brought to Germany in 1995. However, this statement was contradicted by researchers at the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe claiming the fossil was imported in 2006 by a private company and then acquired by the Museum in 2009.

As the documentation providing an audit trail for the obtaining of this specimen has not been supplied nor any evidence given to confirm the fossil material was imported before a German cultural protection law took effect in 2007, it has been decided to return the fossil to its country of origin.

Ubirajara jubatus life reconstruction.
Ubirajara jubatus life reconstruction by the very talented palaeoartist Bob Nicholls.

“Parachute Science”

In the days of empire and colonialism, many western powers took fossils from their colonies. These precious artefacts were then put on display. What we see today is another form of colonialism, whereby scientists from the more prosperous countries go to poorer countries to collect fossils. Scientists are “parachuted in” and there is a limited exchange of knowledge with local researchers.

There is a considerable movement to “kick back” against such practices.

To read an article from 2008 about calls from the Government of Tanzania to return fossils in German institutions: Return our Fossils.

Palaeontologists and other researchers are being accused of taking advantage of the natural resources of countries without leaving anything behind in return.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s original blog post about the formal naming and scientific description of this bizarre dinosaur: One Very Flashy New Dinosaur.

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19 07, 2022

Titus the T. rex Exhibition Unveils a Microscopic T. rex Model

By | July 19th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos|0 Comments

Fans of dinosaurs like to collect scale models, and there is one scale model on show at the Titus T. rex is King exhibition at Wollaton Hall Nottinghamshire, which puts any model collection into perspective.

Internationally renowned micro-sculpturist, Dr Willard Wigan MBE, has created and installed a new extraordinary micro-sculpture of a perfectly formed Tyrannosaurus rex, measuring just 0.5 mm in length.

This amazing figure is so small, it sits comfortably within the eye of a needle.

Microscopic T. rex Model
The remarkable microscopic Titus the T. rex sculpted by Dr Willard Wigan MBE. The T. rex model measures 0.5 mm in length and it sits within the eye of a needle. Picture credit: Wollaton Hall/Dr Willard Wigan.

Celebrating the First-year Anniversary of this World-exclusive Event

The “microsaur” has been installed to mark the first-year anniversary of the opening of the Titus T. rex is King exhibition. Based on the estimated size for an adult T. rex at around 13 metres, the tiny “tyrant lizard king”, complete with fearsome teeth and sharp claws is approximately in 1/26,000th scale.

Now the very tiniest micro-depiction, and, Titus, the first real Tyrannosaurus rex to be exhibited in England for over a century, stand side by side. Titus the T. rex, demonstrates the immense power and impact of this king of the dinosaurs, while Willard Wigan’s creation presents the smallest, but no less powerful.

Dr Willard Wigan commented:

“It is a real honour to be exhibiting one of my sculptures alongside the breath-taking Titus T. rex exhibition. Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum is renowned for being home to rare specimens from across the globe, including Titus himself, which made it the perfect home for my T. rex sculpture.”

Titus T. rex is King has a new attraction.
Titus the T. rex and the Willard Wigan miniature masterpieces exhibit at Wollaton Hall. Everything Dinosaur team members estimate that the 0.5 mm long T. rex sculpture is in approximately 1:26,000 scale! Picture credit: Wollaton Hall.

A Message to Humanity

Through his incredible sculptures, Dr Wigan is sending a message to humanity – just because you cannot see something does not mean that it does not exist. In palaeontology, including the study of the Dinosauria, a similar metaphor can be demonstrated in the concept of “ghost lineages”. A hypothesis that an animal would have existed in the past, but no fossils to prove its existence have been found, but fossils of related genera imply that it did exist.

Titus the T. rex is King Exhibition

Titus the T. rex is King opened in July 2021, to international acclaim. Over 70,000 visitors have already met Titus and engaged with the bespoke interactive exhibition designed around the remarkable skeletal mount.

Rachael Evans (Museums Development Manager at Nottingham City Museums and Galleries at Wollaton Hall), one of the UK’s most important Natural History Museums, added:

“It is an astonishing moment for us. We will have one the largest dinosaurs ever exhibited in the UK on display alongside one of the smallest. The T. rex that has been introduced to the exhibition is 0.5mm in size, with miniscule teeth made from glass. Since new information about the T. rex has been researched and made available, Willard has remodelled the sculpture to be as accurate as possible in his depiction. We can’t wait to see our visitors’ reaction to this new addition.”

Titus the T. rex Skull and Jaws
The skull of the T. rex exhibit on display at Wollaton Hall until August 2022.

Exhibition Details

Tickets for TITUS T. REX IS KING are on sale now, set at £13.00 for an adult, £8.75 for a child (under 16 years), students and concessions, £34.00 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children under 16 years) and under 3s and carers have no entry fees to pay. Car parking charges apply.

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from Wollaton Hall in the compilation of this article.

For further information: Wollaton Hall Titus T. rex is King Exhibition.

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18 07, 2022

The Eotyrannus Monograph

By | July 18th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A new scientific paper on the Early Cretaceous tyrannosauroid Eotyrannus lengi has been published. It is confirmed as a valid genus and the phylogenetic assessment places the enigmatic Megaraptora clade within the Tyrannosauroidea superfamily.

First named and scientifically described back in 2001 (Hutt et al), Eotyrannus is helping to provide significant insights into the early evolution of tyrannosauroids as well as potentially redefining how enigmatic “megaraptors” such as Australovenator, Megaraptor and the recently described Maip macrothorax fit within the Theropoda.

Eotyrannus scale drawing.
Isle of Wight tyrannosauroid (E. lengi). The recently published monograph (Naish and Cau) supports the earlier hypothesis that this dinosaur had proportionately long arms and a rectangular snout. The holotype specimen (IWCMS: 1997.550) indicates an animal around 4.5 metres in length. However, these fossils represent a sub-adult and the fully-grown, adult size of this Early Cretaceous predator remains undetermined.

The Carnivorous Dinosaurs of the Wessex Formation

Since the first fossils of Eotyrannus were found (1997), this theropod has attracted a lot of scientific interest. It is one of numerous carnivorous dinosaurs associated with the Wessex Formation (part of the Wealden Supergroup), indeed, back in 2021 we blogged about two new members of the Baryonychinae named and described from fossil remains found on the Isle of Wight (Wessex Formation). Last month, we wrote about an even bigger predator, an as yet, unnamed spinosaurid known as the “White Rock spinosaurid”.

For the article on the recently described baryonychids Ceratosuchops inferodios and Riparovenator milnerae: Two New Spinosaurids from the Isle of Wight.

To read about the Isle of Wight “White Rock spinosaurid”: Super-sized Isle of Wight Carnivorous Dinosaur.

The newly published paper provides further information on Eotyrannus autapomorphies (characteristic traits) that help to distinguish it from the often, fragmentary remains of other theropods associated with the Wessex Formation.

Eotyrannus teeth.
Isolated Eotyrannus teeth from the Wessex Formation.

Deciphering the Fossil Evidence

Many of the fossil bones associated with the Eotyrannus genus remain entombed in their concrete-like matrix. Anatomical traits helping to define and classify this dinosaur are only beginning to emerge and there is a substantial amount of further preparation work required to permit a comprehensive analysis.

However, by combining all the new data since the formal description, the authors (Darren Naish and Andrea Cau) were able to produce a new skeletal reconstruction. The maxilla is confirmed as being quite rectangular in shape. Eotyrannus did not have the long, narrow snout (longirostrine) as seen in other early tyrannosauroids such as Dilong and Xiongguanlong from the Early Cretaceous of China. This suggests that longirostry evolved several times within the Tyrannosauroidea, perhaps in response to adaptations to permit these theropods to exploit a particular predatory niche.

Longirostry in Early Members of the Superfamily Tyrannosauroidea
Longirostry (having a long, narrow snout) in early members of the Tyrannosauroidea. Eotyrannus is confirmed as not exhibiting longirostry.

Where do the Megaraptora Fit?

The scientific paper also incorporated a revised phylogenetic analysis of Eotyrannus. No significant support was found for Eotyrannus having a close evolutionary relationship to Juratyrant (J. langhami), known from the Late Jurassic of Dorset or indeed to the Late Jurassic early tyrannosauroid Stokesosaurus (S. clevelandi) from the western United States.

Instead, it is grouped with gracile, mid-sized tyrannosauroids that represent a more derived state than proceratosaurids, stokesosaurs and Juratyrant.

If megaraptoran dinosaurs are tyrannosauroids and therefore coelurosaurs, then this challenges long-held views on Theropoda classification and suggests that after the Early Cretaceous most of the hypercarnivore niches within dinosaur dominated ecosystems were increasingly occupied by coelurosaurs. It also suggests that tyrannosauroids were much more diverse and widespread during the Cretaceous than previously thought.

Eotyrannus remains a fascinating dinosaur, a genus that has led to new insights into the evolution and radiation of the Theropoda. It offers a tantalising glimpse into the ecology represented by the Wessex Formation deposits and how a mid-sized theropod co-existed with other, larger members of the ever-widening collection of Wessex Formation meat-eating dinosaurs.

Everything Dinosaur Helping to Fund Research

The authors wanted to make their paper available to everyone. To do this they set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover publishing costs. Everything Dinosaur assisted with the funding.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“We were happy to support this excellent paper and we helped to make such studies possible. Your purchases from Everything Dinosaur genuinely help science”.

Everything Dinosaur helping to fund research.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur were happy to assist with funding a newly published paper on the early tyrannosauroid Eotyrannus lengi.

The scientific paper: “The osteology and affinities of Eotyrannus lengi, a tyrannosauroid theropod from the Wealden Supergroup of southern England” by Darren Naish and Andrea Cau published in PeerJ.

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17 07, 2022

A Consequence of Extreme Heat – Landslides

By | July 17th, 2022|Geology, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos, Press Releases|0 Comments

Hot weather can increase the risk of landslides and rockfalls, visitors to the seaside trying to avoid the extreme heat are advised to stay away from the cliffs.

For many parts of England, Monday and Tuesday (18th and 19th of July 2022), red extreme heat warnings have been issued. Such alerts have never been issued for the UK before. Temperatures could reach as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), although this system of alerts was only introduced last year (2021). The risk of a landslide can increase in hot weather, visitors to the beach should take care to avoid areas where there are cliffs.

Rock fall at Stonebarrow Hill (Dorset).
A significant rock fall at Stonebarrow Hill (Dorset). Extreme heat can cause cliffs to become unstable and collapse. Visitors to the seaside in search of relief from the hot weather are advised to avoid cliffs due to the increased risk of landslides and rock falls. Picture credit: Brandon Lennon.

Rock Fall and Landslide Risk

In very hot weather, the risk of landslides and rock falls increases. The heating up and then cooling of rocks can increase the instability of the rock face and this can lead to a collapse. The risk of landslides after heavy rain has been widely documented. Saturated, unstable ground can collapse, however, extreme daytime temperatures can also increase the risk of landslides and rock falls.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We do advise visitors to places such as the “Jurassic Coast” and the north coast of Yorkshire to heed the warnings about unstable cliffs. The very hot weather is likely to lead to packed beaches and we urge everyone to stay away from dangerous areas.”

Landslides are common around some parts of the British coastline. Tragically, some incidents cause fatalities. In 2012, a woman was killed when she was caught in a massive landslide at Bridport (Dorset).

We urge seaside visitors to follow local advice and to avoid straying too close to the cliffs and the cliff edge when walking above the beach area.

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16 07, 2022

The New for 2022 Papo Protoceratops

By | July 16th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products, Product Reviews|0 Comments

The new for 2022 Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model is in stock at Everything Dinosaur. This long-awaited replica of “first horned face”, the first of the new for 2022 prehistoric animal models from Papo is now available.

Papo Protoceratops in left lateral.
The Papo Protoceratops in left lateral view. This model of an early horned dinosaur has an articulated lower jaw.

Papo Protoceratops Dinosaur Model

The Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model is around sixteen centimetres long. The model stands about eight centimetres high when measured from the top of that impressive head shield. Everything Dinosaur announced that this figure would be produced and made available this year (2022), back in the late autumn of 2021.

The Papo Protoceratops in anterior view
Papo Protoceratops in anterior view. A close-up view of the impressive head shield of the Protoceratops. There are two eyespots painted on the headshield.

Papo Protoceratops with an Articulated Jaw

The Papo Protoceratops has been provided with a prominent beak for cropping tough vegetation and the model has an articulated lower jaw. The inside of the mouth has been well painted, and the Papo design team have provided the Protoceratops with rows of small white teeth in both the upper and lower jaw.

Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model.
A close-up view of the head of the Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model. The figure has been given a prominent beak and, in the mouth, the Papo design team have added some teeth to their model.
Papo Protoceratops model
Papo Protoceratops model in lateral view. In this image the mouth is open and some of the small, white teeth can be seen.

The Protoceratops Genus

The Protoceratops genus was erected in 1923 when the first species (P. andrewsi), was formally named and described (Granger and Gregory). The first fossils of this dinosaur were collected during the famous American Museum of Natural History expedition to the Gobi Desert. Protoceratops andrewsi is associated with the Mongolian Djadokhta Formation (Upper Cretaceous), a second species, the slightly larger Protoceratops hellenikorhinus was named and described in 2001 (Lambert et al). Fossils of P. hellenikorhinus are associated with the Bayan Mandahu Formation of Inner Mongolia (China).

Both the Djadokhta Formation and the potentially contemporaneous Bayan Mandahu Formation represent arid, desert-like palaeoenvironments.

Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model.
Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model. This dinosaur model is one of three new Papo prehistoric animal models expected in stock in 2022.

Three Papo Prehistoric Animal Models Expected in 2022

The Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model is one of three Papo prehistoric animal models expected in 2022. A new colour variant of the Styracosaurus is expected in stock and, towards the end of the year (quarter 4), Papo are expected to introduce a model of a Mosasaurus.

Papo Protoceratops model
The new for 2022 Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model in posterior view.

To view the Papo Protoceratops dinosaur model and the rest of the Papo prehistoric animal figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Models.

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15 07, 2022

PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus Model Reviewed

By | July 15th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Product Reviews|0 Comments

Our thanks to dinosaur fan and model collector William who sent into Everything Dinosaur his detailed review of the recently introduced PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.

William starts his review by discussing the head sculpt. He states that the head is “a thing of pure magic, a true Acrocanthosaurus”. When compared to known skull material the life reconstruction from PNSO is praised.

The reviewer goes on to add:

“Thank you both ZHAO Chuang and YANG Yang from us, we are all humbled.”

PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus
PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus has an articulated lower jaw.

No Hint of Shrink Wrapping

The superb skin texturing associated with the head sculpt is mentioned and the reviewer states that the figure shows no signs of shrink wrapping. He comments that the orbits, external ears and the lacrimal crests are perhaps the best around. The model has a fully articulated lower jaw, no lips and the jaw opens smoothly revealing lots of fine detail in the mouth.

William also highlights the placement of the eyes, giving stereoscopic vision.

The Main Body Sculpt

In William’s opinion PNSO have created the most detailed and scientifically accurate Acrocanthosaurus made to date. The cloaca is in the correct position and the neural spines, running from the base of the neck to the pelvic region are praised.

“When viewed from above you can see what makes this figure very rare and special. His massive musculature begins just behind the shoulders and travels down towards the tail. Within the folds of the model’s skin the ribs can be observed and touched these are the anchor points to which the muscles are attached.”

PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus.
The PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.

The forelimbs are described as providing a realistic likeness to the living dinosaur. William also comments upon the hind legs stating that they look robust and powerful, not made for speed but being ideal to help this large carnivore overpower sauropods.

He explains that the tail might look a little shorter when compared to previous examples of the Carcharodontosauridae, but it only seems short due to the presence of the neural spines.

PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus
Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus model new from PNSO for 2022.

Similar to a Burmese Python

The reviewer suggests that the model’s colouration is similar to that of a Burmese python. He states that the colour scheme chosen is an inspired choice for an apex predator. The base colour of light ochre contrasts with the darker wash and the Burmese python markings.

William comments that the pink maw of the mouth has a real natural feel and look about it, with the white teeth blending into brown/white at the roots.

He adds:

“The lacrimal crest has a subtle red applied which is very pleasing to one’s eye.”

PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus
PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus in anterior view.

The Size of the PNSO Acrocanthosaurus Model

William suggests that the figure has a scale of 1:37 and provides model measurements:

Estimated scale: 1/37.
Length: 12.7 inches.
Height: 4.1 inches.

The PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus model is supplied with a number of accessories.

  • Clear plastic support stand.
  • Beautiful, illustrated 64-page booklet.
  • Stunning A3 colour poster.
  • QR code to watch a short design video.
PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus posters and booklet.
The model is supplied with a clear plastic support stand, a 64-page full colour booklet and colour poster. A QR code on the packaging links to a short video that explains how the figure was made.

Acrocanthosaurus Fossils

As is customary with William’s model reviews he concludes by providing information about this Early Cretaceous dinosaur and details of fossil discoveries.

He states that Acrocanthosaurus fossils have been found in four U.S. states (Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Arizona).

Weight: 6.2 tons.
Length: 38 feet.
Height: 10 feet.

As hypercarnivores the Carcharodontosauridae were the ultimate big game hunters, feasting on sauropods. William suggests that these predators were probably pack hunters.

In the information supplied to Everything Dinosaur, William explained how “high spine lizard” was discovered and named and recounted the tale of the discovery of the specimen nicknamed “Fran”.

Whilst the evolution of such high neural spines in members of the Theropoda remains uncertain, William postulates that the spines could have supported a hump or perhaps played a role in visual displays or regulating body temperature.

Theropod and Sauropod Tracks from the Glen Rose Formation

The reviewer also commented upon the famous theropod and sauropod tracks, in what is now known as the Dinosaur Valley State Park (Texas). The tracks may represent a theropod dinosaur stalking a sauropod. These tracks have been attributed to dinosaurs similar to Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon respectively.

Dinosaur Tracks Preserved
Famous dinosaur tracks – theropod and sauropod tracks. Picture credit: John Sibbick with additional annotation by Everything Dinosaur.

William closes his review by stating that the PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus figure is:

“PNSO’s greatest theropod”.

Our thanks to William for providing Everything Dinosaur with such a detailed model review.

To view the PNSO Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus and the rest of the PNSO models and figures in stock at Everything Dinosaur: PNSO Age of Dinosaurs Figures.

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14 07, 2022

New CollectA Models in Stock at Everything Dinosaur

By | July 14th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Photos of Everything Dinosaur Products|0 Comments

The new for 2022 CollectA prehistoric animal models are now in stock at Everything Dinosaur. Team members have been busy contacting all those customers that requested that they be informed when the CollectA prehistoric animal model delivery arrived.

New CollectA models in stock at Everything Dinosaur
The new for 2022 CollectA prehistoric animals have arrived at Everything Dinosaur. Team members have been busy contacting all those customers who requested an email alert. There are seven figures in the photograph, can you name them all?

New Dinosaurs, Pterosaurs, a Prehistoric Mammal, a Nautiloid and ?

The new figures include dinosaurs, two pterosaurs (the 1:15 scale P. longiceps figure having been held over from 2021), a stunning nautiloid and an updated Paraceratherium replica. In addition, a model of the enigmatic Late Triassic predator Smok (S. wawelski) is also in stock. This Polish carnivore is classified as an archosaur, but its exact taxonomic placement remains ambiguous.

CollectA Deluxe Smok wawelski.
The new for 2022 CollectA Deluxe Smok wawelski replica reflects the view that this large Late Triassic predator was not a theropod dinosaur. Classified as a member of the Archosauria, its exact taxonomy remains unknown. Fossil bones reveal anatomical characteristics associated with the Dinosauria (Theropoda), but also show traits that indicate an affinity to the Pseudosuchia – the crocodile lineage of archosaurs. To further confuse the taxonomy of this carnivore, analysis of the fossil bones also identified features associated with very primitive archosaurs.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We have been looking forward to getting these new CollectA prehistoric animal figures into our warehouse. The shipment contained over a hundred different types of models including fresh stock of the award-winning Doedicurus and the 1:15 scale Pteranodon longiceps figure that we were unable to bring into the UK last year. We know that many collectors have been patiently waiting for these figures, now their wait is over.”

CollectA Pteranodon longiceps box.
The front of the CollectA Prehistoric Life Deluxe Pteranodon longiceps model. This figure is now in stock at Everything Dinosaur.

To view the CollectA Prehistoric Life model range: CollectA Prehistoric Life.

To view the scale models available from Everything Dinosaur in the CollectA Deluxe range: CollectA Deluxe Prehistoric Life.

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13 07, 2022

A Scottish Stem Salamander

By | July 13th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page, Palaeontological articles, Photos|0 Comments

The fossils of an ancient amphibian found on the Isle of Skye (Scotland), are helping scientists to better understand the evolutionary development of salamanders. Writing in the academic journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), the researchers suggest that the fossils represent the oldest salamander fossil found to date in Europe.

A skeletal reconstruction of the stem salamander Marmorerpeton wakei.
A skeletal reconstruction of the stem salamander Marmorerpeton wakei (dorsal view). Picture credit: Jones et al.

Marmorerpeton wakei

The stem Salamander genus Marmorerpeton was named and described in 1988, but detailed analysis of the Isle of Skye fossil material, including CT scans demonstrated that this was a new species, which has been named Marmorerpeton wakei. The species name honours the late Professor David Wake, who was a world-renowned authority on early salamander evolution.

Lead author of the study, Dr Marc Jones (University College London, Cell and Developmental Biology), commented:

“The fossil is definitely a salamander but unlike anything alive today. It highlights the importance of the fossil record for preserving combinations of anatomical features that do not exist in any living animal.”

The anatomical features of the new Scottish fossils of Marmorerpeton wakei were only revealed thanks to the detailed CT scans and subsequent computer-generated models. This scanning technology provides a powerful and non-destructive tool for revealing fine details on fossil bones. One specimen, collected in 2016, was found to be part of a specimen collected in 1971 but left undescribed until now.

Marmorerpeton wakei skull reconstruction.
A three-dimensional image showing the skull bones of Marmorerpeton wakei. Following detailed CT scans of the fossil material a computer programme was used to interpret the data and reconstruct the skull. Picture credit: Jones et al.

Middle Jurassic Salamander

The fossils are thought to be around 166 million years old (Middle Jurassic) and although the Marmorerpeton genus was first described over 30 years ago, the material analysed in this new paper has permitted the researchers to build up a more complete picture of this 20-centimetre-long amphibian.

Marmorerpeton wakei had a wide but shallow frog-like head with powerful jaws and distinctive, prominent, bony projections behind its eyes. The skull roof bones show that it was ornamented like that of a crocodile or a temnospondyl, distinguishing it from extant salamanders. The limb bones and deep tail of Marmorerpeton wakei suggest this animal was aquatic, perhaps using its wide jaws to catch prey by suction feeding, similar to the lifestyle seen in the modern Hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) of North America.

The bony bumps behind the orbit are unusual and Dr Jones commented:

“The big bony projections behind the eye were a bit unexpected but smaller projections do exist in fossil salamanders from slightly younger rocks. Their purpose remains unknown.”

The early evolution of salamanders is poorly understood, their small and delicate bones are rarely preserved as fossils. This research also included a detailed survey of modern salamander anatomy which informed the subsequent analyses.

The Karaurus Genus

Several previous studies of Mesozoic salamanders have relied on fossils from the Late Jurassic, found in Kazakhstan, assigned to the genus Karaurus. As the Marmorerpeton fossils are older, they help to provide an improved understanding of how early salamanders evolved.

Daohugou salamander
Even the fine gills have been preserved, a delicate salamander fossil from China. Picture credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Senior-author Professor Susan Evans (University College London Cell and Developmental Biology), who first described Marmorerpeton in 1988 explained:

“The origin and early history of modern amphibian groups remains mysterious and new fossils like this one are key to developing a better understanding of amphibian evolution. In theory, the Skye salamander should give us a clue as to what the ancestors of modern salamanders looked like. However, it could be that they are a highly specialised off-shoot.”

To read an article from 2008 about a transitional fossil from the Early Permian that helped to define the evolutionary origins of modern amphibians: Amphibian Ancestry a Little Clearer Thanks to New Discovery.

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

The scientific paper: “Middle Jurassic fossils document an early stage in salamander evolution” by Marc E. H. Jones, Roger B. J. Benson, Pavel Skutschas, Lucy Hill, Elsa Panciroli, Armin D. Schmitt, Stig A. Walsh and Susan E. Evans published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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12 07, 2022

PNSO Dinosaurs Feature in Newsletter

By | July 12th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Everything Dinosaur Newsletters, Everything Dinosaur Products, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

New PNSO models, the Torosaurus pair, Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus and Xinchuan the Sinraptor all feature in the latest Everything Dinosaur customer newsletter. In addition, fresh stocks of the PNSO Olorotitan, Tsintaosaurus and Harvey the Iguanodon have arrived, and these ornithischians also feature in the latest customer newsletter.

PNSO Torosaurus pair feature in customer newsletter.
The Torosaurus adult and juvenile pair (Aubrey and Dabei) are featured in Everything Dinosaur’s latest customer newsletter.

Torosaurus Pair and a Pair of Theropod Dinosaurs

The new for 2022 Torosaurus adult and juvenile (Aubrey and Dabei) have arrived in stock. A pair of Torosaurus dinosaur models in 1:35 scale complete with posters and a full-colour information booklet.

Two new PNSO theropods also feature, namely Xinchuan the Sinraptor and the eagerly awaited Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur model.

PNSO Xinchuan the Sinraptor and Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur models.
Two theropod dinosaurs, the PNSO Xinchuan the Sinraptor and Fergus the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur models feature in Everything Dinosaur’s latest customer newsletter.

PNSO Ornithischians

Not to be outdone, there are some plant-eating dinosaurs too showcased amongst the theropod duo. The Everything Dinosaur newsletter also features the 1:35 scale PNSO Xiaoqin the Tsintaosaurus which comes complete with full-colour booklet and posters. The newsletter also highlights Harvey the Iguanodon, another splendid plant-eating dinosaur model in 1/35th scale.

PNSO Tsintaosaurus and Iguanodon feature in customer newsletter.
The stunning PNSO Xiaoqin the Tsintaosaurus and the amazing PNSO Harvey the Iguanodon are back in stock at Everything Dinosaur. Both these members of the Ornithischia feature in Everything Dinosaur’s latest customer newsletter.

Olorotitan and Celebrating Everything Dinosaur’s Blog

The latest issue of the newsletter also features the return into stock of the greatly admired PNSO Ivan the Olorotitan model. This plant-eating dinosaur figure was introduced in late 2021, it has been a top-seller ever since. The PNSO Ivan the Olorotitan is a beautifully detailed scale model.

PNSO Ivan the Olorotitan and celebrating the Everything Dinosaur blog
The PNSO Ivan the Olorotitan is back in stock, and we celebrate posting up our 6,000th blog article.

The newsletter also included a short section on Everything Dinosaur’s free to access blog. The company recently celebrated posting up their 6,000th blog post. For the last fifteen years a new post has been uploaded every day! The Everything Dinosaur blog contains news about dinosaurs, the latest research, articles about model collecting, updates on fossil finds and lots and lots of helpful information and dinosaur facts.

The Everything Dinosaur newsletter is sent out periodically to subscribers, it contains updates on new products, competitions, exclusive information and support.

To subscribe to Everything Dinosaur’s newsletter, simply contact us: Email Everything Dinosaur.

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11 07, 2022

Everything Dinosaur Helping to Fund Science

By | July 11th, 2022|Adobe CS5, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Educational Activities, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

On July 7th (2022), a new scientific paper providing a review of the Early Cretaceous Eotyrannus lengi was published. Everything Dinosaur helped to fund the publication of this research. The authors, Dr Darren Naish (School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Southampton) and Andrea Cau (Parma, Italy) concluded that E. lengi was a valid tyrannosauroid taxon from the Barremian Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight.

In order to make a new study into the dinosaur Eotyrannus open access, so that everyone could view this research, the authors set up a GoFundMe campaign. Everything Dinosaur helped to fund this study. We are happy to support this excellent paper and we are helping to make such studies possible. Your purchases from Everything Dinosaur genuinely help science.

Everything Dinosaur helping to fund research.
Team members at Everything Dinosaur were happy to assist with funding a newly published paper on the early tyrannosauroid Eotyrannus lengi.

The publication costs of this manuscript were supported by a successful gofundme campaign (July 2018). The fund target was reached in less than 24-hours and Everything Dinosaur was happy to make a substantial contribution to ensure that this research could be published allowing free access.

Our congratulations to all the other funders, who helped make this possible.

We hope to produce an article on this excellent scientific paper in the very near future, after all, it sheds light on an amazing dinosaur dominated ecosystem. The researchers conclude that Eotyrannus was a mid-size predator with much larger megalosauroid or allosauroid apex predators present. There were certainly many different types of theropod in the environment including carcharodontosaurian allosauroids, baryonychine spinosaurids as well as probable compsognathids and members of the Maniraptora.

To read a recent Everything Dinosaur article about two, newly described spinosaurids from the Isle of Wight: Two New Spinosaurids from the Isle of Wight.

Two new Isle of Wight spinosaurs
Two new species of spinosaurids described from the Isle of Wight Ceratosuchops inferodios (foreground) challenges a Riparovenator milnerae (background) over the carcase of an iguanodont. Picture credit: Anthony Hutchings

To read a related article about the discovery of an even bigger spinosaurid on the island: Super-sized Carnivorous Dinosaur from the Isle of Wight.

Customers purchasing dinosaur models and dinosaur toys from Everything Dinosaur are helping to support research.

To visit Everything Dinosaur’s website: Everything Dinosaur.

The scientific paper: “The osteology and affinities of Eotyrannus lengi, a tyrannosauroid theropod from the Wealden Supergroup of southern England” by Darren Naish and Andrea Cau published in PeerJ.

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