Dimetrodon (“Kamsaurier Permzeit” Margarinefiguren by Wagner)

2.8 (6 votes)


Just recently someone on the forum asked what would happen if there was nothing more to review, and I thought, well, this probably will never happen. Since there are still so many interesting old collectibles and oddities out there which could keep us busy for years. And do not forget about the new releases which seem to get more and better every year!
Here I don´t have the latest highly correct model or figure, I don´t even have a “toy”, I have a small and interesting vertu: The “Kamsaurier” (sic!) by Wagner Margarinefiguren. Just like Linde coffee, German food company Wagner put small plastic figures into their food packages. They did so between the 1920s and 1950s, so the figures are vintage and there is a specialised collectors´ scene for these ones.
There were equivalent kinds of figures in England. They were cereal premiums from the late 1950s, according to Cain´s and Fredericks´ “Dinosaur Collectibles” book.
Due to the fact that the Wagner figures probably were put between the lid of the margarine package and a a film saving the content, they had to be flat.
Wagner added many different lines of different themes to their packages, among which was also a line of interesting prehistoric animals such as Archaeopteryx or Palaeotherium for example.
I am going to review the figures of the line I own over the next months, if you like.
Let me know in the comments or on the forum.
The “Kamsaurier” (sic! – it should mean “Kammsaurier”, the missing “m” in the name under the base is a typo!) figure depends on classic paintings of this animal, such as the one by Charles Knight, for example (which is not the one below!). Back then, the “Pelycosaurs” were not seen as mammal-like as they are nowadays, but rather more crocodyle-like. I don´t have to tell you more about the animal itself, do I?
At the base if the figure there is the company logo, the “number of the beast” (it says 20), and it says “Kamsaurier Permzeit Nordamerika 3m”)
The reproduction of the animal as a figure is of course obsolete. Given the fact the figure itself is 60 or so years old, this is not remarkable.
Therefore I don´t find it necessary to talk about scientific correctness in this case. The goggle-eyes, the silly muzzle with its funny lips, the oversized nostrils, the overall very “odd lizard with a crest on its spine” – look, the bent tail, nothing holds contemporary standards, but back then it probably did, and the Margarinefiguren were a gate into long lost times for many German children. They must have been fascinated by the look of such an odd creature. There are many detailed scales and spines and one could even think the fracture point from the spray cast mold is a small horn.
Marginally, it´s interesting what cultural scientist Alexis Dworsky wrote about depictions and colourings of prehistoric animals across the times. In his highly readable dissertation “Dinosaurier! Die Kulturgeschichte”, which in parts refers to W.J.D. Mitchell´s “The Last Dinosaur Book”, Dworsky states that depictions of animals do not only correlate on the fossil finds, but also to the spirit of the times they developed. This dimetrodon could be put in the “depictions as giant lizard” and “crown of reptilian creation” period. According to Dworsky, for example, dinosaur paintings were often coloured in camouflage or tank – green in times of the cold war.
If you look at the comparison picture you see it´s quite small, even smaller than the Invicta classic figure.
I love old, highly collectible figures who are only a little younger than the animals they depict 🙂 I love them as objects, I love speculating about the history of the object and I love being their keeper for the next fifty or so years! So of course I recommend this figure to everyone nourishing similar points of view and feelings.
Try ebay to find some.

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Comments 8

  • This looks a great deal like a set of flat plastic ivory plastic dinosaurs/prehistoric animals that I just recently obtained, supposedly from a Canadian cereal called Nabisco Shreddies from the late 50’s (or early 60’s). I have no idea of how to post a picture of them here, but there are at least 7 of them…does anyone know what I’m talking about???

  • Ilja Nieuwland: Sorry for my late reply. Actually, I put the critter on an old German opened book called “Vom Nebelfleck zum Menschen, it´s not a special article on Naosaurus itself.

  • It’s great to see something I remember from the old days. It’s also nice to see an article that is so informative. More!!

  • This is probably not based on Dimetrodon, but on the chimaeric “Naosaurus” – basically an Edaphosaurus-like body with Dimetrodon‘s head stuck on. In 1905 and 1907, the German paleontologist Otto Jaekel published two papers about “Naosaurus” remains that had been found near Dresden in Germany and that created some attention in the press. This was in roughly the same time in which the Halberstadt Plateosaurus remains were first discovered, when the first Tendaguru remains came to light, and when German scientists sought to pretty much redesign all sauropods. In short, suddenly there was a lot of attention for paleontology in Germany. Initially Jaekel was convinced that the spikes did not hold a sail, but that they were a defensive measure that could be directed towards an attacker by the animal. Later, he seems to have followed more orthodox views, as the Greifswald museum has a model of Naosaurus (now re-dubbed Dimetrodon) with a sail that stems from the time he worked there.

    The article you show is interesting though – I don’t know it. Do you have a reference for me?

  • What a neat critter! It may not be accurate but it certainly has panache.

  • You always review the most interesting stuff, love the review!

  • Nice addition to this blog and a well written review, Libraraptor. I recently found some offered on ebay and am considering starting to collect them aswell, but did not deciede on it yet 😀

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