Diplodocus is without question one of the most famous dinosaur species, not least because its history goes a fair way back in the science of paleontology. In 1877 Samuel Wendell Wilson in company of his mentor Benjamin Franklin Mudge led an expidition for Othniel Charles Marsh (this name may ring a bell with a much wider range of people) and discovered first fossils of Diplodocus. As the principal of the expedition, it fell to Marsh to name the species in 1878 who coined it Diplodocus (from the Greek works diplos for double, and dokos for beam) the twin chevron bones on the underside of the tail vertebra, a feature that he deemed unique back then.
The exact taxonomy of the individual species of Diplodocus (D. longus, D. carnegii and D. hallorum) is still under debate as the remains of the type specimen (longus) are very incomplete and other remains show debatable overlap with one or another species. This also makes it uncertain, how the skull of any Diplodocus species looked exactly. This however should not concern us too much here, as a fleshed skull (as in a toy model) can represent the exact features of a bare skull only in a very limited way. And with this I want to jump into the “accuracy” department. Does Eofauna deliver what we expect of them? Let`s have a look….
Probably the first thing to mention: If you want to display this figure you need to free up some serious shelf length. In direct length the figure measures 58.5 cm, along the spine it comes to around 68 cm and 10.5 cm height over the hips and a comparably narrow 4.6 cm in width. Diplodocus is famous for its very (!) long tail, in fact there`s very few animals that can muster a longer tail. Terrestrial contenders are the monitor lizards of the prasinus-group and lizards of the Takydromus-genus. With such a percentage of the enormous length counting for the tail, Diplodocus was a comparably “low slung” sauropod, that by far did not reach the massive sizes (in terms of weight and height in “neutral” stance) that usually comes to mind when you think about a sauropod. With around 4 m height at the hips, it sure was not a small animal by any terms however and the center of mass near the hips allowed for rearing to a staggering 12 to 13 m height. The long tail then served as a prop and according to Hallett and Wedel (2016) the animal could sustain this stance repeatedly and for prolonged time.
Eofauna`s Diplodocus comes in a horizontal pose, the gait straight forward, head turned slightly to the left and down and the tip of the tail like swinging around in a matter of communicating with conspecifics as we already have seen it in Walking with Dinosaurus 20 years ago. The position of the limbs may be debatable. I personally would prefer an ambling walk pose (as in elephants) as I deem that more likely for animals of the mass we see in large dinosaurs. However, I think the recent PNSO Stegosaurus may be my only dinosaur figure with such a gait shown and recent findings by Lallensack and Falkingham (2022) support the alternating side movement in sauropods.
The paint job boast no flashy colors but is far from boring nor too garish for an animal that size. As the general rule in all animal groups seem to be, that the larger the size, the less outrageous (to the human eye) the colors, Eofauna found a believable and nevertheless interesting palette and pattern to bring their behemoth to live. The base color is a medium tan that goes all along the underside. The flanks of the body and tail are held in a darker brown with even darker blotches at the legs and sides of the body and stripes along the first two thirds of the tail. Then follows small dark blotches again and no pattern at all at the last quarter. Along the neck and back runs a light grey tan dry brush, the very same color is used for the striping at the sides of the neck and the throat. The face shows a dark brown snout and forehead, the eyes are held in dark orange with accurate tiny black pupils, the inner mouth is held in pink.
Spines of varying size run along the full back and the feet are as you would expect: horseshoe shaped in the front with a single claw on the inside and three big claws at the hind feet. Maybe the front claws could be a bit bigger, as they are reported as unusually larger compared to other sauropods and laterally flattened. However, this is nitpicking on a high level. The sculpting detail is right on spot as we are used with Eofauna. Detailing may not be as crisp as in Papo or PNSO, but the more “diffuse” style fits quite right for the scale and the animal depicted and gives a very authentic impression. Scales are individually sculpted and represent the variety of forms found in Diplodocus skin impressions. Folds, wrinkles and muscle bulges seem very natural and the animal looks well fleshed despite its comparably lean build.
Now, what else is there to say….. oh yes, our Diplodocus is supposed to represent D. carnegii and therefore the most popular species, though the skeleton is a composite and so are also the many casts that Andrew Carnegie, the American industrialist, gave as presents to many museums over the world in the beginning of the 20th century. As a composite these casts represent features of several species, but one has to admit, that most dinosaur skeletons are either pieced together with parts of more than one individual, different, species or just reconstructed with what scienstist deem probable. So I guess we accepts them as D. carnegii? The 1:40 scale fits quite right to a 26 metres individual of D. carnegii. So with whom could you group it? The comparison shot with Eofauna`s Atlasaurus shows the comparably low build of Diplodocus, but those two are no contemporaries. Let`s have a look at some Jurassic fauna.
If you are no scale fetishist who only accepts exact scales for maximum size individuals, the Eofauna Diplodocus goes well in style with the Papo Apatosaurus, both PNSO Stegosaurus and a customized Vitae Chilantaisaurus as a stand-in for Allosaurus. I especially like the grouping with Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus, as this emphasizes the differences in morphology and size.
Despite its popularity and frequency of representation in museums, there are comparably few Diplodocus figures around. Yes, there`s that holy grail, the Battat Diplodocus, but talking about availability, Safari and CollectA are your best bets. The latest Safari is a very nice and big figure, but its coloration makes it more a toy than a model. It also differs greatly from Eofauna`s version in terms of build, bulk and stance. CollectA`s rearing Diplodocus is not bad, but the skin detail quite crude and it scales not well to other figures. In my opinion, Eofauna hit it straight with this sauropod figure. They delivered a convincing and well made (yes, mine has some paint scraps at the snout, but I blme packaging and will touch that up) figure that fits in perfectly with figures of other brands and Eofauna`s own line up. The price of 30 €uro is well justified. What do you think?