Andrewsarchus mongoliensis could be thought of as the mammalian equivalent of Spinosaurus in that it was a gigantic carnivore known only from scant remains. Namely, a single skull discovered in Mongolia by the legendary Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923. Once thought to have been a mesonychid, Andrewsarchus has since been determined to be an artiodactyl, and thus related to entelodonts, hippos, and whales.
The 2016 CollectA Andrewsarchus is a massive monster measuring 20 cm long from nose to tail tip and standing nearly 9 cm tall at the shoulder. Most of its fur is coloured a combination of light and medium brown with pale fur on the underbelly, black for the hooves, eyes, and nose, pink for the mouth, bone white teeth, and dark brown stripes and spots. A slightly reddish brown is used for the long muzzle and the short mane running from the top of the head to just past the shoulders.
The Andrewsarchus is in a walking stance with its right paw forward and its great head turned to the left. The ears are perked and the mouth is wide open in an angry bark or snarl or roar or whatever sound it made in real life. Perhaps this individual has cornered some potential prey. Or maybe it is defending its meal against another Andrewsarchus, an equally dramatic scenario.
The sculpting on this toy is really fantastic. The fur has a fine, shaggy feel to it. The muscles in the neck and the limbs are well-defined and powerful. And the huge, sharp teeth and the angry expression make it clear that this is not an animal to be trifled with. It’s one of the most realistic-looking prehistoric mammals CollectA has done to date. Oh, and it’s clearly yet another male.
But how accurate is this toy? Well, given that only the skull of Andrewsarchus is currently known, it’s impossible to say. The head itself is definitely correct, with a long muzzle and huge teeth. The body, held high off the ground on long limbs, looks more like that of an entelodont than a mesonychid. The feet have blunt hooves instead of claws. And the long tail looks good, but it could just as easily have been a mere stump on the real deal. And as an artiodactyl, Andrewsarchus may well have had a much thinner coat of hair, like on a warthog. We simply don’t know. But in the absence of further fossil evidence, this is a very reasonable rendition. Incidentally, while Andrewsarchus has often been described as the biggest carnivorous land mammal of all time, Arctotherium augustidens, a gargantuan short-faced bear from South America, was probably even bigger and more powerful. Man, it sure would be great if CollectA made a toy of that monster! *hint*
Beginning in 2012 with the award-winning Megacerops, CollectA’s prehistoric mammals have been nothing short of spectacular and the Andrewsarchus continues that proud trend. Beautifully sculpted, dynamic, and very, very scary, it’s definitely a must-have in my opinion.