What’s this – the Carnegie Dilong again? Haven’t we seen it around these parts before? Well, yes, we have. Unfortunately, the original reviewer left the blog some time ago and, for whatever reason, deleted all his posts upon departure. As such, what you are reading now is a replacement – written by me, I’m afraid. So, without further delay, let’s take a good gander at the Carnegie Dilong from 2005. Again.
Dilong paradoxus lived in China in the Early Cretaceous, as did Caudipteryx and Beipiaosaurus (although perhaps not at exactly the same time), both of which have also subsequently made it into the Carnegie Collection. While it’s definitely a plus that this Dilong and the Beipiaosaurus are sculpted at roughly the same scale, Dilong was a somewhat more diminutive creature than Beipiaosaurus (or at least, the type specimen was). As such, fine details are a little more fudged than on the therizinosaur, particularly around the head; the teeth are indistinct while the eyes, apart from probably being a little too large, have asymmetrical splodgy pupils.
Of course, Dilong is most famous for having been preserved with evidence of a fuzzy ‘protofeather’ covering, and fortunately this is far more attractively rendered. The details remain very crisp up close, giving a pleasing impression of a ‘furry’ fluffiness. While the colours could be considered a little conservative, in this case it’s probably actually a good thing – a bright blue (for example) Dilong would actually have been incredibly unlikely, as the nature of ‘protofeathers’ all but prevents this colouration from being physically possible.
Anatomically, this model is very good even if it’s not perfect, and certainly excellent given its very cheap price tag. Perhaps most obviously, the hands do not match up especially well, the real Dilong having quite long hands and fingers of more differing lengths. The tail is also rather thin where it joins the body (not allowing room for muscles), although this was common in palaeoart until fairly recently. Other than that, the proportions are good – the legs are nice and long and the head is deep and narrow, with the characteristic low Y-shaped crest evident.
The Carnegie Collection has, since 2005, been so far ahead of the pack as regards feathered (nonavian) dinosaurs that it’s been a little embarrassing (although that naked Velociraptor is a very unfortunate black mark), with Collecta only now catching up. Although certain aspects of the sculpt could use a little more finesse, this Dilong is certainly a worthy addition to a lineup that now also includes Microraptor, Oviraptor and of course the aforementioned Beipiaosaurus and Caudipteryx. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of them – starting with a Velociraptor resculpt!