The name Deinotherium means “terrible beast,” and this powerful pachyderm must have seemed like one to our early hominid ancestors who lived alongside it in Africa during the Pleistocene epoch. Standing around 4 metres tall and weighing anywhere from 10 to 13 tons, it was possibly the third largest proboscidean of all time after the 24-ton Asian straight-tusked elephant Palaeoloxodon namadicus (the largest land mammal of all time!) and the 15-ton mastodon Mammut borsoni.
Mojo released this Deinotherium toy in 2013. Appropriately, it’s a massive mound of solid plastic that stands 11 cm tall at the shoulder and measures 18 cm long. This is another figure you certainly wouldn’t want falling off the shelf and hitting you on the head. Such a painful incident is unlikely though, as it stands very firmly on its pillar-like legs. Indeed, the casual walking pose gives this animal a calm, confidant air. It knows full well that it’s the biggest and strongest thing in its environment, and that any would-be predator who tries something is only going to end up either fleeing or flattened.
The Deinotherium‘s colour scheme is based on that of a modern African elephant: taupe grey with faint patches of dusty brown, black eyes, toenails, and tail tuft, and white tusks with airbrushed rust near the roots. The hide is also sculpted like an elephant’s, with thick folds and wrinkles covering huge muscles. It’s not as intricate as the sculpting on the CollectA version, but it works. Oh, and looking at this individual’s underside, it appears to be a female, which is pretty rare among prehistoric mammal toys!
In addition to its sheer bulk, this toy displays the other characteristic features of Deinotherium: curved tusks extending from the lower jaw, small ears, and a large but relatively short trunk. It’s unknown just how precisely this animal employed its tusks; they may have been used to strip bark from trees or pull down branches to reach leaves. They also would have been dangerous weapons in battles between rival males. The length of the trunk is another matter of ongoing speculation. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do prefer the longer trunk on the CollectA version. I think it would’ve made it easier for an animal as tall as a double-decker bus to take a drink. Or you can pretend that the Mojo version represents D. giganteum while the CollectA represents D. proavum, which may have had a longer trunk, as depicted in the National Geographic link in the intro.
Say what you will about Mojo Fun’s dinosaurs, but their prehistoric mammals have been pretty darned swell. This Deinotherium is well-sculpted, accurate, looks very naturalistic, and is certainly big enough to appear imposing among your other toys. And it bears repeating: it’s great that it’s a female instead of yet another male. Overall, an excellent toy!