Dusty the Diplocaulus (Paleo Pals)

4.9 (8 votes)

“I dig these things.”

Dr. Robert Bakker was speaking more literally than figuratively when making the above statement regarding the genus in question (he has excavated numerous fossils of this particular animal), but there is also a genuine seal of approval in there from the esteemed paleontologist. What is this toy that receives such high praise? It is Dusty the Diplocaulus, the second large plush toy from Paleo Pals, funded through Kickstarter in 2017 and newly released to the collecting world in spring 2018.

Diplocaulus magnicornis was a large amphibian from the Permian period, 290-270 million years ago. Its distinctive shape – described cheekily by Dr. Bakker as a “cross between a whole wheat pancake and a banana” – has made Diplocaulus one of the most recognizable amphibians from the fossil record.

Dusty the Diplocaulus measures 20 inches long, placing him within “life-size” range of the real animal, which grew up to 3 feet long. Although Dusty’s appearance is understandably simplified for the sake of design, all the major anatomical features of the animal are present: the massive boomerang head, the rotund body, two tiny pairs of limbs, and a long paddle-like tail. The patterns on his back and head are highlighted with embossed outlines, and he has a small, down-turned mouth underneath his head. He has two beady, amber eyes with wide pupils that are extremely cute in closeup.

Dusty is a light brown in coloration, with mocha brown mottling atop his head and body. A line of silvery white spots runs down his spine, and his belly and tail fin are a light pink. It’s a very aesthetically pleasing color scheme, reminiscent also of modern-day salamanders. Dusty’s size and shape make handling him easy, and – quite honestly – ideal for hugging and cuddling.

I have yet to “test” him with children, but I have no doubt Dusty will be a hit for paleo nerds of all ages. He’s a delightful addition to my room, for sure! You can order one of your own (or more – Dr. Bakker recommends a second one for your truck) directly from the Paleo Pals online shop.

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