As a dinosaur lover growing up in New York State I often dreamed of digging up a dinosaur in my own back yard, and what child didn’t? I had always hoped that I might uncover a Tyrannosaurus skull, a new species, or at least a tooth! Unbeknownst to me at the time, however, was that the forces of nature had conspired against me and conspired against dinosaur preservation in my home state. There are no dinosaur remains in New York, save for a single footprint. That said New York does have fossils. And we’re mighty proud of what we have. Fossils from the Paleozoic are here in abundance, especially from the Devonian (419.2–358.9 million years ago) when much of the state was submerged in water.
Situated in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State, just outside the town of Ithaca, and near Cornell University, sits a celebration of New York’s natural history, the Paleontological Research Institute and its museum, The Museum of the Earth. Over 3 million specimens are housed at the PRI, many are displayed in the museum for the public and its collections are among the ten largest in the United States. Naturally, many of those fossils were uncovered in New York and hale from the Paleozoic era.
So why all of this backstory for a plush toy review? Well it’s because I have a lot of local pride I guess and because I proudly volunteer at the Museum of the Earth, on the rare occasion that time allows. Also, the entire Paleozoic Pals line is commissioned by the PRI and sold at the Museum of the Earth.
Measuring 8” in length the plush Trilobite by Paleozoic Pals represents Greenops boothi. It’s pretty cool that the toy tries to represent a specific genus at all, let alone a specific species. The Greenops genus is known from upstate New York as well as southwest Ontario which is no doubt why this species was chosen. Greenops is commonly found in the mid-Devonian Hamilton Group. It reached a length of only about 1-1.5” and lived in warm, deeper waters.
For a plush toy this one is about as accurate as you could expect. It closely matches Greenops fossils and features various characteristics of the genus. The prominent genal spines project off of the cephalon (head). Stiff spines cut from fabric are present around the thorax and pygidium.
I’m not used to reviewing plush toys but from what I can tell this one is well made and should hold up to years of abuse from children (or adults). The seams are all tightly sewn and it holds together well. Originally I bought it for my 13 month old daughter but the recommended age is 3+ on this toy. Supervised play only for my little girl. The head and spines are dark green in color, the body a paler green. There are no hard bits on the toy with the features of the head being sewn on.
I highly recommend this little toy to anyone with children, plush collectors, or those with a love for trilobites and the Paleozoic. Every kid has a teddy bear but who has a trilobite? Although this toy is only available through the Paleontological Research Institute you can purchase it and the other Paleozoic Pals through the PRI website. Limited quantities are being made so get it while you can. Other toys in the pipeline include an ammonoid and Dunkleosteus, the production of more Paleozoic Pals can be supported through their Kickstarter campaign. Next up for review will be the Paleozoic Pals “sea scorpion” Eurypterus remipes.