Review and images by bmathison1972; edited by Suspsy
Ampelosaurus atacis is a titanosaur described in 1995 from fossils from the Late Cretaceous (Early Maastrichtian) of present day France. Interestingly, in 2012 morphometric studies of titanosaur fossils from the area showed the presence of a second, currently undescribed species of titanosaur, bringing into question historic reconstructions of the animal (a little more on that later in the review). Ampelosaurus was believed to have lived in open habitats, such as open woodlands and savanna, probably near riparian areas and floodplains. It probably shared its habitat with the aforementioned second titanosaur, the ornithopod Rhabdodon priscus, and an undescribed ankylosaur, pterosaur, and dromaeosaurid. The genus has not received a lot of attention in figure/toy form but has been previously produced by Mattel, CollectA, and a miniature version by PNSO. Today, we will be looking at the 2023 version by Haolonggood, a rapidly-rising company out of China.
The figure measures roughly 39.5 cm, not accounting for curvatures of the body. Because of the uncertainty of fossils attributed to the genus, I was not sure what metrics to use for calculating scale. Using the left ulna as a metric (n=2.5 cm), the scale comes to approximately 1:29, slightly larger than the advertised scale of 1:35 (but using different metrics one might get something closer to 1:35).
The figure is sculpted in a pose as if gently strolling through savanna or a floodplain, with no cares in the world. The texture is finely-detailed (more on the osteoderms later). It has a titanosaur head; there is actual cranial material known for Ampelosaurus. Some have commented on the lack of thumb claws on the forefeet, but the truth is we just don’t know, since Ampelosaurus, like most titanosaurs, doesn’t have well-preserved forelimbs below the ulna.
The figure is adorned with multiple osteoderms of at least two morphotypes. Large spine-like osteoderms run in two parallel rows down the spinal area of the animal with accessory spine-like and more flattened osteoderms on the upper sides of the body. It is believed there are at least three morphotypes of bulb and root osteoderms, and they can all be present in a same individual animal. Current reconstructions of Ampelosaurus favor a more parasagittal arrangement of the larger osteoderms with them changing in morphotype from the anterior towards the posterior end of the animal, unlike what’s shown in this figure. That’s not saying Haolonggood’s figure is incorrect, because the truth of the matter is we just aren’t 100% sure either way, but as of now the arrangement does not follow current understanding of the genus. That being said, researchers are not even sure now that osteoderms historically attributed to Ampelosaurus actually belong to this genus, since the discovery of the aforementioned second undescribed titanosaur at Bellevue. It has been suggested that fossils from that area should be reexamined to clarify their taxonomy. At the time of this writing, the new species is being described along with an emended description of Ampelosaurus. The bottom line is, stay tuned for more information . . .
Like most Haolonggood figures, this one comes in two colors: green and charcoal. These colors refer to the base color of much of the body, except for the neck, which is orange in both. There are also pale stripes down the tail and pale accents to some of the osteoderms. My figure is the charcoal (or black) version, which is appropriate since it’s October and black and orange are traditional Halloween colors (interestingly, forum member Gwangi reviewed the aforementioned black-and-orange Mattel Ampelosaurus last October).
Identity and therefore potential accuracy issues aside, this is a fine figure for anyone needing this genus in their collection, and certainly an improvement over earlier examples. I mentioned in my last Haolonggood post that I am becoming a huge fan of this company, so I may be a little biased LOL. It’s available wherever Haolonggood models are available, including Lana Time Shop, eBay, Amazon, and AliExpress, among several others, I presume.