Of all the product lines offered by stalwart manufacturer Safari Ltd, the “Toob®” line gives them the freest rein to explore unusual taxa. I’m personally fondest of the Toobs that furnish small versions of small animals that might scale well with Safari’s full-size figurines. We’ve reviewed some of their most interesting Toobs featuring “alive” animals here, here, here, here, and here.
Axelrodichthys (Dinotales Series 1 by Kaiyodo)
When you hear the term “living fossil,” one of the first examples you’re likely to think of is the coelacanth. Fossil coelacanths were first described over 160 years ago, and their fossil record spans the Mesozoic, even reaching back to the Devonian. That means coelacanths have been on Earth for more than twice as long as mammals, but there are no fossils known from later than the Cretaceous.
Some of the commonest vertebrates on earth during the Devonian period were the antiarchs, a group of armored fishes that lived all over the world while the ancestors of you, me, and Triceratops were just barely starting to crawl out of the water.
The earliest vertebrates didn’t have jaws, but once true jaws evolved the animals that had them quickly became more numerous and diverse. These days, the only jawless fishes left are a few dozen species of lampreys and hagfishes, but in the Early Devonian most fishes lacked jaws. One of those Early Devonian beasts was Cephalaspis, which despite its lack of jaws is more closely related to us than to lampreys.
Cladoselache (Kaiyodo series 1)
Ah, Cladoselache. The first shark! How exciting. Up for review today is the first rendition of the first shark, made by Kaiyodo.
Cladoselache is believed to be a very agile and swift predator – this is very well represented in this replica. The smooth (and scaleless) skin, the large keels, and the thick caudal fin are all features of this replica that point to it being a swift predator.
Coelacanth (Wild Safari Prehistoric World by Safari Ltd)
Coiled-Toothed Shark/Helicoprion (Lost Kingdoms Series B by Yowie)
Evolution has thrown out some wonderful oddities across time life has existed on earth. The shark family has shown some incredible adaptations leaning towards the bizarre. From early examples like Stethacanthus, to the modern species, like the Hammerhead and Saw shark. One of the more bizarre sharks known from the fossil record, found Asia, Australia, North America and Eastern Europe: Helicoprion, with it’s weird tooth whorls.
Cretoxyrhina (Aidan) (Prehistoric Animal Models by PNSO)
Jaws author Peter Benchley once stated in an interview that “every young man in the world is fascinated with either sharks or dinosaurs”. With that in mind, you would think that the sharks that lived alongside the dinosaurs would be doubly fascinating. Alas, prehistoric sharks in general don’t receive much interest or fascination.
Dinosaur Advent Calendar 2016 (Schleich)
This year Schleich followed in the footsteps of companies like Lego and Playmobil in offering an advent calendar, but this one is dinosaur-themed! 24 days of dinosaur goodies sounds pretty attractive, so I bit the bullet and picked one up. I opened it long before Christmas, so that maybe this review can help you decide whether to buy one yourself.
Dinosaur Advent Calendar 2020 (Schleich)
Well, the holiday season is nearly upon us. No matter what this time means to you and what holiday you celebrate, it is a time to spread joy. This year certainly seems to need some, with everything that happened. It is now the time when many will choose a calendar to count down the days til the 25th.
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.
Dunkleosteus (Chap Mei)
In the past few years we’ve seen an explosion of Dunkleosteus figures from all kinds of companies, from masterpieces like Favorite Co’s rendition to worthy-but-flawed efforts like CollectA’s to fairly bad ones like the subject of today’s review. It’s the most popular prehistoric fish in plastic, eclipsing the huge but otherwise utterly boring C.
Dunkleosteus (Deluxe by CollectA)
Dunkleosteus (Favorite Co. Ltd)
In the Devonian period, the largest animals were arthrodires, huge armored fish informally referred to as placoderms. ‘Arthrodire’ means “joint-necked,” referring to the fact that there was a hinge in their armor between the thorax and the back of the head. One of the largest arthrodires was Dunkleosteus, a fish so ancient that when Tyrannosaurus rex was walking around, Dunkleosteus had already been extinct for almost 300 million years!