Given how frequently Ceratosaurus shows up in pop culture, it is a little surprising that so few people can identify it. Certainly, one cannot fault it for lack of a catchy name, which makes it sound like a walking nightmare composed of dripping gore and massive steak knives. Indeed, its horny visage must have inspired visions of reptilian monstrosities, echoing our earliest impressions of a lizard-like Iguanodon. This image of dinosaurs has endured, and can still be seen today. From ancient paleoart to cheap bargain-bin toys, it seems our basic view of dinosaurs has been characterized by two features: giant teeth and devilish horns.
The educated enthusiast knows these animals don’t deserve to be portrayed as villains. Still, the Ceratosaurus – and in particular, this 2016 reconstruction from Sideshow’s Dinosauria line – does little to soften our instinctive terror at the thought of a gnashing, horny beast. In fact, this predator is best recognized for those very features. Its skull bears a pair of impressive lacrimal horns, as well as a third nasal horn for bonus badassery. Even better still, its jaws were lined with exceptionally large teeth. In juveniles, these teeth were even longer in their relative length to the skull, making it quite possibly the most terrifying tot ever to trod the earth.
The spectacle is enhanced even further in this reconstruction with Steve Riojas’s hellish-looking paint application. It’s been suggested this style was inspired by the Ceratosaurus in Jurassic Park 3, though I wonder if the striped tiger wasn’t a bigger influence on this design. In any event, it works very well, providing a believable yet bold quality to a predator that too often goes unnoticed by casual paleo-fans. Some of the lateral stripes fail to break in a natural pattern along the ribs, but given how well the rest of the piece resembles the original design, I am not terribly bothered.
In many previous Dinosauria models, the base has been largely plain and dull. This time, we are treated to a more immersive diorama. A pair of pterosaurs flee as the predator approaches, pressing one huge foot along a massive fallen log. If you look closely, you’ll see how the bark buckles and sinks beneath his weight. Fortunately, the log is not actually hollow, so the base is still more than adequate to support the main character. The entire piece has a length of about 19 inches, so it can sit comfortably among your other Dinosauria collectibles (assuming you haven’t run out of space).
The head of the theropod is faithfully modeled here, with an excellent sheen running through the mouth and trademark teeth. It is also held perpendicular to the body, which ensures the model really looks interesting from a variety of angles. I recognize that not everyone can appreciate this dinosaur, and the prominent position it held in the Jurassic ecosystem, but I think this makes it all the more intriguing. For a closer look, please consider the brief video in the link below.
Video available here
Available to order here