There are only about 22 species of crocodilians now living, but they belong to a much larger and more ecologically diverse group called Pseudosuchia. Pseudosuchia includes the living crocodiles and gharials as well as the crocodile stem-group, namely the vast array of extinct animals more closely related to crocodilians than to birds. Essentially, pseudosuchians are to modern crocs what dinosaurs+pterosaurs are to modern birds. Today we’ll get acquainted with one of the many stem-crocodiles, and its first representation in plastic.
This is Armadillosuchus, whose name means–you guessed it–“armadillo crocodile,” or, if you want to get really literal, “little armored crocodile,” as the name “armadillo” is Spanish for “little armored fella.” Armadillosuchus was a medium-sized, fully terrestrial pseudosuchian that lived in what is now Brazil during the Late Cretaceous. It was roughly 2 meters long and weighed about as much as a large jaguar. It had long legs that it held directly underneath in an efficient landlubber gait, and a cloak of hexagonal osteoderms that looked a bit like that of a gigantic armadillo, although armadillo-like mammals wouldn’t appear until tens of millions of years later.
This particular Armadillosuchus is made by Sonokong, a Korean company that we met in this review. It’s part of the “Dino Mecard” marketing onslaught, which includes a TV show (also dubbed into Spanish, I learned from YouTube) and a game that, like Pokémon and Dinosaur King, inculcates acquisitiveness in the young. Where would our hobby be without marketing like this, I ask you?
This figure comes on a blister card with two pog-like cards and a little egg. In this photo the cards are face-down, so I guess if you were buying these in a store you wouldn’t know what you were getting.
It turns out I got a Dunkleosteus and a Tupandactylus! There’s also a little information sheet with a few basic facts about Armadillosuchus and a serviceable but unremarkable illustration.
The toy folds up to fit very neatly into the egg for, I guess, safekeeping, thanks to hinges in the tail, hind legs, and neck. The forelegs stay put.
The figure is fairly recognizable as an Armadillosuchus, but it’s obviously very much a caricature. The armor that should be over the nape is instead on the top of its head, but other than that it’s actually a fairly reasonable caricature.
Underneath there’s a little stamp saying “©Choirock,” the company that is jointly marketing these figures with Sonokong, and “Made in Vietnam,” for a change.
I can’t really recommend this to people who like realistic dinosaur figures. I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t the only figure of this genus I’m aware of. Over the last year, Sonokong has been releasing these cartoony miniatures followed by mid-sized semi-realistic figures of the same species. I therefore suspect that soon a larger and better-looking Armadillosuchus will be released. Unfortunately, it will have the same coloration, which is a little vivid for a terrestrial predator, even one that probably had three-color vision (like a bird) rather than two-color (like a mammal). Maybe down the line one of the respectable figurine companies will give this animal the treatment it deserves. In the meantime, this is the only game in town, so if you’ve gotta have an Armadillosuchus, here it is. You can get it from a friend in South Korea or from the usual secondary market sites.