Travelling through the wonderful world of Oz (as the Aussies tend to call their country) one sure plans some things before starting. I deceided to cramp a few toy figures into a box to take on the chance to shoot some of them in their “natural environment” – at least kind of, Australia sure changed a fair bit since most of the represented animals went extinct.
Ducabrook Rhizodont (Yowie)
Yowie is a Perth-based company that markets nature-themed toys in little chocolate eggs. These days they have some extant animals that you can buy at places like World Market (at least in the United States), but around a decade ago they had an Australia-only line of prehistoric figures called Lost Kingdoms.
Eric the Pliosaur/Umoonasaurus (Lost Kingdoms Series B by Yowie)
Fossil discoveries can often turn up in the most unlikely places. From quarries to Chinese medicine shops, fossils may appear where least expected. This was the case for the species Umoonasaurus, better known as Eric the Pliosaur. The bones of this animal had not only fossilized, but opalized, making them appear like jewels, hence why they were nearly sold to a jewellery shop, if it hadn’t been sold to a business man.
Falkland Islands Dog (Forgotten Friends Series A by Yowie)
The canid family has produced some incredible species, though many are no longer around. Here we have one such, the Falkland Islands Dog. Related to Maned Wolf, this canid was isolated to the Falkland islands (perhaps unsurprisingly) and was likely the apex predator, as it lacked fear. This could be seen when sailors could get them to eat out their hands… usually before hitting the animal and killing it.
Flat-headed Amphibian/Siderops (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
Even amongst collectors Yowie isn’t a well known company I dare say, so here’s a short introduction… Yowie is an Australian publishing brand that developed the mythical Yowie kingdom with stories and toys concentrating mostly on the Australian fauna. In the mid 90’s Yowie approached the British confectionery company Cadbury with the idea to market the toys with sweets as a vehicle.
Fleet Footed Dinosaur/Fulgurotherium (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
Speculation makes up a lot of palaeontology. Often it’s behaviour, or diet, but sometimes it can be what the entire creature actually looked like, based on the fragments of bone found. Many a species has been erected based on the tiniest fragments. Here, we see one such example: Fulgurotherium, a dinosaur species based off a opalized femur from the Griman Creek formation of New South Wales, Australia.
Flexiraptor/Pengana (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
The Riversliegh formation in Queensland is a heritage site for good reason, it gives us a fascinating glimpse into the ancient past of Australia, full of magnificent marsupials and brilliant birds, plus a bunch of bats! The fossils show how Australia once was, full of rainforests and the animals inhabiting the area are amazing.
Fossil Whale/Mammalodon (Yowie Lost Kingdoms, Series B)
Recently, a thought occurred to me. I’ve been reviewing ancient fauna for several years but, in spite of having a user name based on ancient cetacea, I have yet to review a fossil whale. Time to change that with none other than THE fossil whale. At least, what Yowie refer to as a fossil whale, Mammalodon.
Giant Moa (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
The largest bird today is the Ostrich, and this is owing to it’s flightlessness. The recent past, however, provided greater flightless giants. One such came from New Zealand, in the form of the South island Giant Moa, Diornis robustus, with females able to reach up to 11ft 10″ if they stretched up, being 6ft 6″ on a horizontal plane.
Giant Penguin/ Anthropornis (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
Since their discovery in the Antarctic and other parts of the southern hemisphere, penguins are seen as rather adorable creatures. In the past, there were many large examples of this family, with even a subfamily featuring these giant examples. Here, we see a figure of one such species, Anthropornis.
Giant Wonambi (Lost Kingdoms Series A by Yowie)
I love picking up rare species on the toy market, especially where they are part of groups that are rarely made. As mentioned previously, snakes are incredibly rare on the toy shelves, likely because they don’t vary too much so don’t sell well. Thankfully, Yowie comes in to the rescue, giving us the Giant Wonambi, a constrictor from the Pleistocene of Australia, the first fossil snake found in Australia.
Giralia Pterosaur (Lost Kingdoms Series B by Yowie)
I do like Yowie for it’s diversity, especially among the animals of Gondwanaland. What I often get irritated about is that a proportion of them are based on very limited fossil material. I have reviewed several already, all named. This one, however, is not. This is the Giralia Pterosaur, an as yet unnamed pterosaur from Australia, being one of the largest and youngest found there.
Great Auk (Forgotten Friends Series A by Yowie)
The tragedy of the Great Auk is a tale that covers much of the globe. These sea birds lived across the Atlantic, catching fish and having large flocks across islands throughout the Atlantic. They were killed for down in pillows, the bills for Native American charms and for fuel and food for sailors.
Groenlandaspis (Lost Kingdoms by Yowie)
Hawaiian ‘O’ o (Forgotten Friends Series A by Yowie)
As a volcanic island chain, Hawaii is not known for it’s ancient fossil fauna, but it has a selection of modern extinct species. The ‘O’ o (or Moho, based on the scientific name) were a group of birds that were native to Hawaii, now all extinct, the last being recent enough to have recordings of it’s mating call (worth hearing, though prepare to be moved to tears).