Pterosaurs are known for their often outlandish headgear with one of the most extreme examples coming from the late Cretaceous genus Nytosaurus. The crest on this genus was truly gigantic, being as long as the body of the animal itself with a tall spike protruding from the back of the head and another horizontal crest jutting off the back. Despite this bizarre feature the Nyctosaurus hasn’t achieved the level of popularity that its relative Pteranodon has, perhaps this is due to the small size of the pterosaur with only a modest 6’ wingspan. Nyctosaurus has recently generated some attention however, landing a starring role as the villain in the 2015 film “The Good Dinosaur” and now being produced this year by the Chinese company PNSO (Pecking Natural Science-art Organization).
PNSO has launched onto the scene this year in a big way producing not only a series of small, highly detailed models but also some truly impressive larger scale collectables that rival the best from the majority of other dinosaur toy companies, even reaching a level of Sideshow-like quality at a fraction of the cost. I have yet to delve into the larger models although I’m sure the time will come, first I wanted to sample their smaller offerings and I haven’t been disappointed.
Standing just over 3” tall and 2” in length this little pterosaur is about the same size as your Kaiyodo Dinotales or Safari Toob figures. In the level of detail it certainly measures up to the level you would expect from Kaiyodo. The color choices serve this figurine well with vibrant patterns of orange, purple, and white on the crest and wings. The body is blue with a pink underbelly, the beak is orange like the crest and wings, and the eyes are a blaze orange color.
Although a well detailed and beautiful little pterosaur there is one glaring inaccuracy. On the beak the lower jaw is longer than the upper, much like the extant black skimmer. Some specimens seem to suggest that this is the case but it seems far more likely that they represent broken fossils, and in life the thin pointed jaws would probably have been of equal length. Most reconstructions depict the animal this way so why PNSO chose to elongate the mandible is unknown. You may also notice that the hands are absent but this unusual omission is accurate. As if Nyctosaurus was not odd enough it is also known to have lost its fingers, indicating that it probably spent a lot of time flying or at sea.
Of course the most notable feature of Nyctosaurus was the large crest extending from its head. On the model the size and anatomy of the crest is depicted accurately, it really was that large! The webbing between the two prongs of the crest and between the crest and neck is purely speculative, with no fossil evidence indicating that it was there. Although I find it unlikely it is a commonly reconstructed feature and certainly makes for a more dramatic figure.
In addition to being small this figure is also very thin. It stands in a quadrupedal posture which is nice but since it is so tall, and so thin, it is prone to tipping over. That said this is a really stunning figure at this scale and a nice rendition of an obscure pterosaur. For pterosaur collectors in particular I think this little model is a must have and can be found for a reasonable price on amazon.com here. Hopefully in the future we’ll see more models of this intriguing animal.
Available from Amazon.com here