Eurypterids, popularly known as “sea scorpions” are among the more charismatic of extinct invertebrates, and rightly so. Although they weren’t true scorpions these aquatic arthropods were an extremely successful group of predators that dominated both fresh and saltwater environments between 470–252 million years ago. Although most only reached about 8” the largest genus (Jaekelopterus) reached 8’, making them the largest arthropods to have ever lived.
The most well-known genus of eurypterids was Eurypterus, with 15 species known. This genus is well represented in Silurian deposits within New York State. In fact, the state fossil of New York is the species Eurypterus remipes, the first species in the genus described, back in 1818. E. remipes fossils average 5 or so inches but the largest ever found measured 4.3’.
So when a museum located in upstate New York sets out to commission a line of plush collectables, that celebrates New York’s Paleozoic fauna, the first thing that needs a representative is this important fossil animal. Eurypterus remipes was the first in the line of Paleozoic Pals which is sold exclusively through the Museum of the Earth and Paleontological Research Institute and their website. Other plush toys in the series include a trilobite (Greenops), and an ammonoid and Dunkleosteus that have yet to be released.
Measuring 16” in length the plush Eurypterus is a formidable sized toy. It’s a close match to, but simplified version of the actual species. A series of walking legs are present on the prosoma (head) and followed by two large, paddle-like swimming legs. The end of the elongated body is tipped with the telson (tail). Two eyes are present on the head and made of hard plastic. In life, these eyes would have been compound. The body consists of 11 segments and there really should be 12 but how picky can we get with a plush toy? Like I said, it’s simplified, and it’s the only toy Eurypterus that I’m aware of.
This is a well-made toy, the seams are all tightly sewn and the appendages firmly attached. I don’t see this toy falling apart easily. The entire body of the toy is tan colored with black eyes. It’s surprisingly cute for a relatively simple stuffed toy of an arthropod.
The Paleozoic Pals Eurypterid is a must have for fans of this often overlooked but intriguing group of animals. 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. The production of more Paleozoic Pals can be supported through their Kickstarter campaign.