Review by Dan, Photos by Boki
Ask someone to name a sauropod, and “Apatosaurus” will often be the first species to come to mind. Consequently, this prototypical animal will often be the answer if you ask “What was the first sauropod ever discovered?” In fact, that title belongs to a relatively obscure creature known as Cetiosaurus. Any fan of Cetacea would do well to guess the relationship between this animal’s name, and the group of massive marine mammals. When Owen first found the fossils of this immense beast in the 1840’s, he did indeed suppose they belonged to an aquatic creature. Surely life this size could not have been supported on land.
Today, we would think little of the great girth of Cetiosaurus. After all, sauropods were the biggest damn things that ever lived, and this little guy was practically a runt compared to the later giants. However, it’s important to remember that Cetiosaurus was only a primitive sauropod; during its lifetime, it probably was one of the biggest damn things around. Both its discoverer and location of discovery can be traced to England, which is almost certainly the reason the British Museum of Natural History line of dinosaurs included this oft-overlooked critter. Comical and stocky-looking, one could think of Cetiosaurus as the Ricky Gervais of sauropods.
It’s the uniqueness of the species that really helps Cetiosaurus shine among his Invicta brethren, but being deep purple and over a foot long certainly helps. His robust physique is practically bulging from every angle, but this is how sauropods very likely appeared in the flesh, with great internal mechanisms for digesting huge quantities of low-nutrient plant material. This low-slung creature is known for having an unusually short tail, a feature which pops quite clearly on this figure. It also keeps this tail well above ground level, something which can’t be said of many other Invicta sauropods.
Despite their relative scarcity, most Invictas fetch only a modest price at auction, and Cetiosaurus falls nicely within that range. For a bit less money, you might be able to swing CollectA’s tiny rendition of this animal, but it is relatively cartoonish and doesn’t help convey the creature’s scale or majesty, something which Invicta does in spades. For those interested, the ventral stamp on this figure lists the production year as 1985, a testament to the tremendous achievements of Invicta that stand tall even to this day.