Shonisaurus was an upper Triassic Ichtyosaur from Northern Ameria that probably fit the ecological niche of today´s sperm whales. The fact that adult animals did not have teeth can as well lead to the conclusion that it could have been a plankton filtering animal. Shonisaurus sikanniensis with a length of some 23m is the largest marine reptile that has been described by now.
Schleich Shonisaurus was released in 2004. It is a real heavy, solid piece of rubber, paying tribute to the animal it represents. It is probably by far the biggest Ichtyosaur reconstruction out there. Being 32cm long, 11cm tall and 15,5cm broad, it dwarfs other Ichtyosaur figures such as Bullyland Ophthalmosaurus or Invicta Ichtyosaurus.
Its colour scheme is, a typical Schleich quality, a dull and monotone tan with a grey underside, with only some brightly blue stripes at the back and some grey dots at the sides for a little variety.
The skin pattern is smooth. Holding this figure in the hands is really fun, for its smoothness makes it a real hand charmer. The figure reveals a big dorsal fin, of which scientists are not sure if it even had one. The head has a nearly triangular shape, showing the closed mouth, the big black eyes and the nostrils.
Its bulky belly and the long snout make Schleich Shonisaurus unique amongst other Ichtyosaur figures. It really claims attention on a shelf or in a cabinet. While Schleich is usually well known for their at best average quality of their prehistoric animals, their Shonisaurus is definitely a highlight.
I highly recommend the figure for every collector that does not only focus on the land living dinosaurs! It is out of production and was released only in a small quantity. Yet it´s not as rare as one would suppose. There are always two or three offerings at the same time on ebay Germany, offering this beauty for about 20€ Buy it now, so try your luck there. Also frequently available here on Ebay US.