Discovered in the Lealt Shale Formation on the Isle of Skye in Scotland in 2017, Dearc sgiathanach (pronounced ‘jark ski-a-naw-ka’) was a Middle Jurassic rhamphorhynchine pterosaur, and quite a large one at that. Its precise size is uncertain, but the estimated wingspan is between 1.9 and 3.8 metres, which makes it the largest known aligerous animal of its time as well as one of the largest known rhamphorhynchids.
New for 2024, this Dearc is CollectA’s sixth colossal pterosaur figure, and also their very first ever rhamphorhynchid. Like its predecessors, it is sculpted in a standing pose with its wings folded up. Its head is tilted slightly to the left and its left wingtip is raised higher than the right one. This gives it a height of almost 18 cm and a length of 38.5 cm. And also like its predecessors, it’s quite light, weighing in at just 246 g compared to 266 g for the smaller 2024 Dreadnoughtus shown with it below.
And of course, this wouldn’t be a CollectA pterosaur if it didn’t feature some striking colouration. The body is very dark grey on top and light grey on the bottom with white spots. Medium grey is used for the wings and the hands and feet are dull orange with very dark grey claws. The neck is white and the head features a medium grey bill, dark grey markings, and a large and loud splash of yellow on the cranium. The eyes are glossy black and ringed with white and the mouth has a pink tongue and pinkish beige teeth. Finally, the vane at the end of the tail is striped with white and blue. If the head strikes you as being familiar, it’s because it strongly resembles that of the northern gannet, which includes the coasts of Scotland in its present day range.
Moreover, paleontologist and artist Natalia Jagielska, who not only officially described Dearc, but also collaborated with CollectA to create this toy, was kind enough to inform me that the colour scheme is in fact a homage to the Isle of Skye and Scotland, hence the inclusion of yellow, white, and blue. And do check out Natalia’s website, as her artwork truly is delightful!
The Dearc‘s body is completely covered in pycnofibers, with the largest and thickest ones on the head and neck and the smallest on the underbelly and tail. The hands and feet are scaly with smooth claws and the wings, not at all surprisingly, have a subtle wrinkled texture similar to a bat’s. The throat pouch is also wrinkly and the bill is grooved to give it a worn appearance. Like all the colossal CollectA pterosaurs, the Dearc has a hinged lower jaw that opens to about 30 degrees to reveal all the dentition and the flat, wrinkled tongue. The waterdrop-shaped vane at the end of the tail has a large cleft in the top section, as though it got nipped by another pterosaur.
Aside from its particularly large size, Dearc shared essentially the same overall appearance as Rhamphorhynchus, Dorygnathus, and other rhamphorhynchids, and this toy does a solid job reflecting that. The head is robust with a triangular-shaped bill. The first four rows of teeth in the skull and the first three rows in the mandible are very large, pointed, and angled forward, all crucial adaptations for spearing and gripping slippery fish, or possibly small land animals. The remaining four rows of teeth in the skull and three in the mandible are much shorter and more peg-shaped. When the toy’s mouth is closed, the front teeth interlock like clasped hands. As you can plainly see in the image below, the Dearc can grip fish toys in its jaws rather well.
The neck is relatively short and thick and the torso is small and narrow. The pteroids are clearly visible attached to the propatagium on the arms and the hands end in very large, curved claws, and there is some speculation that rhamphorhynchids were good climbers. Unlike the hands on pterodactyloids, which were oriented outward to the sides, Dearc and its relations had forward-facing hands. We know this for a fact thanks to preserved rhamphorhynchid trackways which clearly show the orientation of the hands and feet. The Dearc‘s hands have three digits, while its feet have five. The outermost digits have the attached uropatagium clearly visible as well.
The Deluxe Dearc is CollectA’s sixth slam dunk in their titanic pterosaur trend. Scientifically accurate, visually striking, fun to display and play with, and the very first toy of the species. My deepest gratitude goes out to CollectA for this early review sample and to Natalia Jagielska for contributing to this review. I hope she continues to collaborate with CollectA on any future Deluxe pterosaurs, because I’m still hoping for an adorable Anurognathus someday!