However you look at it, Opabinia was a remarkably odd-looking creature – so it’s a natural choice for a big cuddly plush toy, right?
I’m guessing most people wouldn’t look at a five-eyed worm with a snaggle-toothed trunk and react with, “Aw, how cute!” Granted, most people aren’t paleontology nerds, either, so your mileage may vary in perspective.
This model is reconstructed with ample attention to detail for this alien-looking wonder from the Cambrian.
I’ve had a soft spot for the weirdos in nature since my early childhood, so Opabinia has always been a favorite of mine. This 3 inch long stem arthropod was a denizen of the ocean floors during the middle of the Cambrian Period, about 505 million years ago.
Review and images by bmathison1972, edited by Suspsy
Opabinia regalis is an enigmatic arthropod (or arthropod-like animal) from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale Lagerstätte of present-day British Columbia. It was a benthic predator, scouring the bottom of the Cambrian Seas for soft-bodied prey nearly 505 million years ago.
Paleozoic Pals is a line of plush toys commissioned by the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) and sold at the Museum of the Earth, located in Ithaca, New York. Since its launch in 2015 the line has done quite well, and now has 13 distinct plush toys to its name (as well as slippers, a body pillow, and other merchandise) with more on the way.
Orthocones, conical fossil shells belonging to extinct cephalopods, are among the most popular and easily obtained fossils. So abundant are they that they’re often included in mass produced fossil dig kits for children, made into jewelry, or sold as souvenirs in museum gift shops. Orthocones are found around the world with most of the specimens being sold coming from Morocco.
Colorata has been making boxed sets of dinosaurs for several years now, which occasionally include dinosaur contemporaries like pterosaurs or mosasaurs, but in December of 2017 they released their first boxed set of prehistoric figures featuring exclusively non-dinosaur taxa. Say hello to the Extinct Animals: Paleozoic Creatures set.
Alongside trilobites, ammonites are far and away the most popular group of prehistoric invertebrates. These shelled cephalopods belong to the broader Ammonoidea, which evolved over 400 million years ago during the Devonian. Keep in mind that not all ammonoids are ammonites and actual ammonites from the Ammonitida clade lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, a time during which they flourished.
Review and photos by Charles Peckham, edited by Suspsy
How does Kaiyodo find new animals to make toys of? Much of their Dinotales series consists of strange and obscure animals that even a seasoned paleontologist might not have come across before. Case in point: Pleurocystites, an echinoderm from the Late Ordovician.
Most paleontology enthusiasts are familiar with ammonites, the predatory mollusks with muscular arms and calcium carbonate shells. Most ammonites’ shells were disc-shaped coils (planispiral) that contained chambers, some of which afforded buoyancy, and one of which housed the squishy parts of the animal. One lineage of ammonites went a little wild with their shell coiling, producing some very strange shapes.
CollectA has emerged as one of the most prolific producers of dinosaur figures, with a few other Mesozoic reptiles and some mammals here and there for variety. They’ve developed a reputation for giving some obscure species the plastic treatment, but in general those species have been fairly close relatives of the old standards.
Like many readers of this blog, one of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to check out the local natural history or science museum. For getting a sense of the scale and proportions of ancient life, nothing beats seeing specimens, or even reproductions of specimens, up close and personal.
Kaiyodo has to be one of the best prehistoric animal lines out there. At a small size, they gave us a wide spread of species from across earth history in glorious detail and beautiful paint schemes. Today’s review shows just this: Pterygotus, a Silurian Sea Scorpion, one of the largest arthropods ever known, reaching a body length of 5.7 ft.
Review and photographs by Indohyus, edited by Suspsy
In my last review, I mentioned how Palaeozoic creatures are rarely produced in toy form. There is, however, a group that is even rarer: prehistoric invertebrates. Outside of toob sets and the Bullyland figures, they are incredibly hard to find immortalized in plastic.
In spite of their fame and importance to biostratigraphy, trilobites rarely ever get models made of them, outside of toobs and box sets with other Palaeozoic creatures. This year it seems CollectA is tackling the common creatures of the past that rarely get figures. And even better, they actually named their species: Redlichia rex.
Another all-new animal in the 2013 Playmobil Dinos line is the famous Stegosaurus. This one is a mother whose eggs are about to hatch, but she’d better keep a close eye on that hungry crocodilian who lives nearby!
This version of the “roofed lizard” measures 23 cm long from nose to tail tip and stands just over 11 cm tall at the tip of its plates.