If somebody has heard of just one Paleozoic fish, it’s probably Dunkleosteus, designated yesterday as Ohio’s official state fossil fish! Toy companies have made more than a dozen different versions over the years, and several higher-end models exist as well. Earlier this year, a Thai studio called Like Hobby/ThinkArt released one of the latter.
350 million years before the advent of humans, reindeer, or consumerism, our distant gnathostome forebears celebrated Fishmas. Fishmas originated when Santa Claus turned the wrong dial on the time machine he uses to travel to every house in the same night, landing him in the Devonian and the gaping maw of a Dunkleosteus.
It isn’t often that a toy company offers us a prehistoric fish, but when they do, it’s usually Dunkleosteus. Small wonder, since this gigantic arthrodire was imposing and distinctive, reaching 8 meters in length. It was probably the largest animal alive during the Devonian period, 100 million years before the first dinosaurs.
Next to the giant shark Megalodon, the armored Devonian placoderm Dunkleosteus is probably the most famous prehistoric fish, featuring frequently in publications and other media. Naturally, many toy and model companies have given the great fish a go at least once. Favorite Collection, which released one Dunkleosteus in 2014 under their Soft Model line, produced another figure of the genus under the Vinyl Model series.
As of late, Safari’s newcomers really have become something to look forward to, even more so if one of those newcomers is a late Devonian Placoderm (Placodermi are an exotic but fertile terrain only Kaiyodo, Prehistoric Panorama and Starlux had dared to explore) The Dunkleosteus is a fresh idea from Safari, and as such, it’s had a warm welcome among collectors.
The interval of Earth’s history which shows fossil evidence of animals is known as the Phanerozoic Eon (literally “visible animals”). The Phanerozoic is divided into three Eras. We live in the Cenozoic, which was preceded by the Mesozoic (during which dinosaurs were the largest terrestrial animals).
This stand was purchased separately and is not included with the model.
270 million years before orcas, 250 million years before megalodon sharks, 170 million years before even the mosasaurs, the largest macropredators in the ocean were probably eugeneodontids, large fishes with bizarre tooth arrangements and cartilaginous skeletons.
In today’s global internet market, searching for a particular figure could prove daunting and often overwhelming especially if information about that particular item is scarce. Online site such as ebay, Aliexpress, and even Amazon are like the vast abyss with thousands of items flooding our senses.This figure we are reviewing today is a gem that I was not really looking for but came up as an amazon suggestion based on my “searches”.
Outside of Dimetrodon and more recently, Dunkleosteus, toy companies rarely produce species from the Palaeozoic era. Maybe it’s due to them not being as large or as popular as dinosaurs. In any case, there are relatively few of the amazing and bizarre creatures from this huge expanse of time.
Ancient fish, with the exception of sharks, are a rarity in toy lines. Perhaps most believe they are all small and aren’t noteworthy. This is far from the case, as many ancient fish were large and bizarre enough to contend with dinosaurs. Fortunately, our own Jetoar has been able to prove they are worth making with figures like this: Hyneria, a Devonian Sarcopterygian from Pennsylvania, a 12 ft fish that would have terrorised all creatures smaller than it.
Brazilian paleontologist Tito Aureliano published the time-travel dinosaur adventure novel Dino Hazard: Realidade Oculta (English subtitle: Hidden Reality) in 2015, and since then he and a team including other paleontologists and artists have been spinning off paleo-themed merchandise and media, including a video game.
From July-October 2015, the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo hosted an exhibit called “Leaps in Evolution: Tracing the Path of Vertebrate Evolution.” To commemorate the exhibit, Kaiyodo made a set of five vending machine capsule figures, most representing a stage in the evolution of vertebrates.
About 300 kilometers from Sydney lies the town of Canowindra, New South Wales. In the 1950s a road worker in Canowindra chanced upon some fossils, and in the 1990s paleontologists started working on the site in earnest, eventually revealing one of the world’s finest assemblages of freshwater animals from the Late Devonian.