History: Saurophaganax is not a well known theropod dinosaur from the late Jurassic, even though it was originally found in the early 1930’s. Considering how large this dinosaur was, which has been estimated to be around 43 feet long, you would think it would get a little more press. In size it would be comparable to Tyrannosaurus Rex, in looks; it would be closer to Allosaurus. In fact it may turn out to be an Allosaurus, but as with many good mysteries, this is where the story gets murky.
In the early 1930’s remains of a large theropod where discovered in Oklahoma USA. This was the depression era and the workers were not familiar with handling fossils. This would mean that many bones were destroyed and no one kept adequate field data. So that created a terrible mess. Luckily they recognized some bones that belonged to a carnivore, but the bones were bigger than the usual Allosaurus found in that strata of the Morrison formation. Its original name that was given was Saurophagus maximus. Unfortunately, that name was already given to a bird, so it went nameless until 1995 and was given the title Saurophaganax.
Allosaurus and Saurophaganax look to be closely related, as they lived during the same time, and co-existed with the same fauna. Due to the fact that it is still only known from very partial remains, some of which bear a strong resemblance to the smaller but more common Allosaurus, it is debated if it should have its own genus. It is the vertebra that makes it different from Allosaurus but it has been proposed that these differences are due to age, not species. Some research basically states that Allosaurus lived fast and died young, even before reaching skeletal maturity. If that were true, it could mean that only a few would have lived long enough to reach size of Saurophaganax and that would make the fossil evidence rare. This could explain why very few remains have been found. Due to the incomplete skeleton, it has not been possible to answer these questions; only with more fossil evidence will we know.
Like any good mystery, the speculation is part of the fun, and time will tell if this is a distinct theropod or an Allosaurus. Until that time let’s take a look at the 2014 CollectA Saurophaganax .
About the toy: In size, I would say it is 18 cm long which is around 1:60th to 1:65th scale. Like a few other CollectA models, this one stands on a base. The feet are proportional to the body, and there are imprints on the base that make the feet look like they are sinking into the ground. There are some leaves on the base but they are not overly detailed and are painted the same sandy brown color as the base. The toy stands with a low center of gravity, looking down with its long skull toward the ground. In this position it could be ready to dine on the CollectA dead Stegosaurus though they are not the same scale. On its head there is the familiar Allosaurus crests above the eyes. The mouth is open with many small uniform teeth and tongue. The front arms are almost touching the base and facing inward. The hips are wide and have some good heft. The tail is longer than the body with some curves to it. Along the back are some small spiky bumps.
Texturally there are very small bumps that cover the body along with skin folds and muscle bulges. Along the flanks there are a few raised bumps that may be scutes. The head has a sunken look to it, showing off its bone structure, but it is well detailed. Interestingly, on the underside of this figure, beginning under the hips, is a texture that looks like crocodile scales that runs in a very narrow line all the way down the tail.
The main color on this figure is green, which feels kind of boring, but wait there is black tiger striping, suddenly it is a menacing, and clever hunter. There is also a yellowish green that is faded into the main green on the flanks and legs. The head is black with a faded pink splash running down from the crest above its eyes. Inside the mouth is pink and the teeth are gleaming uniform white. Behind the skull, in the beginning stage of the neck, there is a splash of white over the green. The underside is white, yellow creamy color.
Playability: Unfortunately the base can hinder play. Many children will still find a way to use this predator due to the head sticking out far away from the base in position where it can be used. Basically kids will have this figure hop along with its base. The teeth are small and blunt and even the crest, hands and tail, none of them are sharp. The paint job holds up fairly well, but on the eye crests, it can ware especially easy.
Overall appraisal: This figure is well detailed and nicely painted. It is obviously based upon the Allosaurus, but as there is not enough fossil evidence to say what it exactly it look liked, so why not. The base will be a hindrance to some, other will not mind. It is a very small figure, so those who like things in scale, this is in the 1:60 range so that could be a turn off for some. It may not be the best kids toy, though it is still striking enough that most kids will find a use for it during playtime. In my opinion, it looks nice, has an interesting pose, and would look nice on a desk, shelf, or diorama. Two thumbs up to CollectA for another well done figure.
Available at Amazon.com