Review and Photos by Dr Andre Mursch (“Brontodocus”). Edited by Plesiosauria.
One of the most bizarre dinosaurs ever found was Therizinosaurus cheloniformis from the Nemegt formation of Mongolia, which is approximately 70 million years old. Today it is a famous dinosaur every enthusiast has an image about how it looked like but that was not always the case. Initially, Therizinosaurus was described by Maleev in 1954 as the remains of a gigantic turtle. So far, only the arms and few other bones have been discovered. But these arms were especially large at 2.5 m (or even 3.5 m as mentioned by Paul 2010). The hands ended in peculiar scythe-shaped unguals of up to 0.7 m length which would have been even longer in life when they were still covered by their keratinous sheaths. Later discoveries of closely related dinosaurs and the assumption that the Segnosauria and Therizinosauroidea were identical have lead to a composite reconstruction of a truly grotesque animal with semi-erect posture, short tail, very wide hips and belly, stout hindlegs with four weight-bearing toes and a small, prosauropod-like head atop a long and slender neck. The eight to ten metre long Therizinosaurus itself may or may not have had feathers, at least they are generally assumed as belonging to a therizinosauroid ground pattern since a basal member, Beipiaosaurus inexpectus, has been discovered with a featherlike integument.
The Dinotales figures by Kaiyodo are famous for being incredibly detailed and well researched figures despite their minute size. The Therizinosaurus from Series 4 is no exception from this to say the least. This figure is truly amazing in every respect: It is highly accurate (as for what is the current consensus of how Therizinosaurus looked like), superbly detailed with a complex, very convincing colour pattern. The figure stands 66 mm high (62 mm if the base is deduced) and 99 mm long measured along the back from tip of snout to tip of tail (85 mm in direct line). If fully stretched out the arms would be 36 mm long which gives a reference for estimating this figure’s scale to be between 1/70 and 1/97. It is also in scale with its presumed arch-nemesis, the Tarbosaurus, from the same series.
The figure shows all peculiar characteristics of therizinosaurs, it stands semi-erect on rather stout hindlegs with four weight-bearing toes, the hips and belly are very broad, even the retroverted pubic boot is traceable. The short tail is tilted up from the pelvis so it is held almost horizontally. The long, slender neck carries a tiny head of just 9.5 mm length that looks similar to that of a Plateosaurus.
The arms are raised and slightly angled backward at the wrist where the semilunate carpal would cause a bend in the real animal. The claws are huge and well-proportioned, in other Therizinosaurus figures they are mostly too small. Any traces of feathers have been omitted in this figure, the skin shows a lot of creases and wrinkles instead.
The colouration is quite complex. The body is brown and blends into ochre on flanks and belly. The limbs are much darker. Arms, legs, flanks and the back are covered with beige spots. The sides of the neck show some dark longitudinal stripes and a dark shade is around the eye. The only minor paint flaw in my figure is that the second and third toe of the right hind leg show reddish claws in contrast to all others. This may be due to the fact that these are part of the base piece and were painted separate from the legs.
All in all this is yet another gem among the never really disappointing Dinotales. It has a very pleasing colouration, a vivid pose and is accurately based on modern reconstructions of Therizinosaurus. The fact that it lacks feathers is a question of taste. Even if featherlike structures belonged to the therizinosauroid ground pattern it would not be implausible for a giant species of the group to have lost them later on. As it is a rare occasion of a really well made therizinosaur figure this one would be like a must for most collectors – if only it was available more easily. Like most figures of the Dinotales 4 Series it is less common than most figures from e.g. Series 1, 3, and 7. Sometimes it shows up on eBay here