One of the positive outcomes from the release of Jurassic World: Dominion was its launching of the generally obscure Lystrosaurus to stardom. Although relegated to what was basically a cameo appearance in the film it was enough to give the little synapsid far more public attention than it would have otherwise received. Named Leonard, the Jurassic World Lystrosaurus garnered a nice little fan base, especially among those that saw his deleted scene. Lystrosaurus now features on various Jurassic World merchandise, in the Jurassic World: Evolution video game, and of course…in toy form.
With the release of Jurassic World: Dominion I got Lystrosaurus fever. It was the only Mattel Jurassic World mini figure that I HAD to get and although the standard action figure came packed with two figures I didn’t want, I still had to buy it just for the Lystrosaurus. Then I caught wind of the Jurassic World Captivz toys, and I knew that there was one more Lystrosaurus I had to add to my collection.
For a brief rundown of what the Captivz figures are I suggest reading my review of the Captivz Dimetrodon. What I will echo from that review is that these small, some assembly required, blind bag toys are significantly better than Mattel’s minis. So much so that I’ve basically started ignoring the minis altogether. When you’re standing in the isle at Walmart, and you’re faced with a box of Mattel minis vs. a Captivz egg at about the same price, the choice is clear. At least for me.
A little about Lystrosaurus. Lystrosaurus is a genus of dicynodont therapsid notable for surviving the Permian extinction and persisting into the Triassic. Most Lystrosaurus fossils come from Africa, but they’ve also been found in Antarctica and various Eurasian countries. They didn’t just survive the Permian extinction; they thrived in its aftermath. In some fossil beds where they’re found they account for 95% of the preserved terrestrial vertebrate fossils. It’s an unassuming little generalist, but extinction survivors usually are.
Currently there are four described species of Lystrosaurus, and they range in size from 3-8’ (0.9-2.4 meters). It’s not clear what species Jurassic World’s is so it can range anywhere from 1/12 to 1/32 in scale. The figure itself measures 3” (7.62 cm).
Predictably, the Jurassic World Lystrosaurus is not entirely accurate. It gets a few things right, however, which are faithfully depicted with this figurine. It has a beak and only two teeth in the form of tusks. The limbs are semi-sprawled which is a feature that Mattel didn’t execute as well with their versions. The skin is hairless with a wrinkled texture like what we see in Lystrosaurus fossils. The overall body shape is correct too, being somewhat squat and pig-like with a short tail.
What the figure does get wrong, thanks to the film, is the shrink wrapping of the misshapen head that, as a result, makes the figure impossible to identify at the species level. A strange ceratopsian-like crest can be seen at the back of the skull but in life this was an attachment site for neck muscles and shouldn’t be visible. Additionally, the head is the wrong shape, it’s more elongated and rectangular than the boxy skulls of actual Lystrosaurus.
Forum members Halichoeres and Faelrin have suggested that the design of the head ends up matching more closely with Placerias and other Kannemeyeriiform dicynodonts and I agree. If you want to use it as Placerias you certainly could, and it would come out to be about 1/45 in scale.
Accuracy aside, the figurine itself is quite nice and shockingly lifelike for what it is, barring the seam where the head attaches and the silver Jurassic World logo on the chest of course. The figure is standing sure-footed on its four sturdy limbs with the mouth open and the head gently lifted skyward, as if observing a threat from above or letting out a call.
The figure is painted in various brown tones that blend nicely together and add a lot of realism to the diminutive figure. It’s darker dorsally and gradually fades to a pale underbelly. The feet, tail tip, beak, and top of the forehead are all darker brown. The tusks are not painted, and the eyes are black with tan orbits.
Lystrosaurus is incredibly rare in our hobby and figures of them should not be taken for granted, even with their inaccuracies. The Captivz figure is undeniably the best of the Jurassic World figures when it comes to representing the creature in a realistic way. Even if you don’t collect Jurassic World toys the Captivz Lystrosaurus is worth seeking out. It is retired now so your best bet for finding one are places like eBay. You might also be able to find other collectors that have doubles of them, a common occurrence with blind bag toys.