Mastodonsaurus (“breast tooth lizard”) was a Russian and European temnospondyl that belonged to a group of advanced, mostly Triassic amphibians called capitosaurids. It lived in swampy pools and fed mainly on fish, but probably did not avoid land living animals such as small early archosaurids. The giant head was a powerful tool for those feeding habits.
Bullyland made a wonderful, popular and sought after figure out of it that definitely pays due to the beauty of this animal. It´s not common as a prehistoric toy or figure, as much as I know it´s even the only Mastodonsaurus figure out there. It is approximately 18cm long and 4cm tall. This means it´s 1:20 in scale. Its dark brown / tan colouring seems credible – good camouflage at the shores of ancient swampy pools.
Although some scientists say it never left the water, Bullyland chose a pose showing Mastodonsaurus actively pacing at land rather than lurking in the depths of muddy water. It had a crocodile – or giant frog – wise lifestyle, being supported by the eye sockets opening midway along the skull. Thus Bullyland gave it eyes and nostrils protruding from the skull – just like Jar Jar Binks´ eyes or those of a frog.
The head reveals another lovely detail: There are two knobs in front of the nostrils. At first I thought those belonged to an additional sense organs. But no: Those are teeth! Two triangular tusks pointed up from near the tip of its lower jaw. When the jaws closed, these slotted through openings on the palate and projected through the top of the skull – it is great that Bullyland bore that in mind!
Skin texture reveals knobs and wrinkles who are following the pacing pose.
At the back of its skull and at its shoulders Bullyland Mastodonsaurus has circular structures, unfourtunately I can´t say anything about those. Maybe some of our experts can comment on them?
Conclusion: Bullyland made a great prehistoric figure that is worth having. Due to a small charge and other collectors being aware of its beauty it’s rare and highly sought after. Sometimes it shows up on eBay here. Try your luck!
i just received this figure today. I must say i am pleased with it. Such an uncommon creture, now a part of my collection. Oh, about the pose, I think it can be inteperated as crawling on the shallows.
This hobby needs more temnospondyls! They were ridiculously diverse and successful (look here http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/09/temnospondyls_dissorophoids_1.php and scroll down to the phylogenetic tree), there even were marine forms in the ealy Triassic. My eight-year old niece owns the Bullyland *Mastodonsaurus*, carrying it with her whereever she goes. The colour rubs off, but somehow this adds to the figurine’s charm, giving it a vintage look, like a family heirloom that has survived several generations. Some modern reconstructions show *Mastodonsaurus* with a long, crocodile-style tail, but, personally, I like the traditional overgrown *Cacops* look of the Bullyland figurine better.
As for the eardrums, they have vexed palaeontologists for years: at least one school of thought considers our modern amphibians to be derived temnospondyls, but temnospondyls – or at least the more derived ones – have eardrums, but the salamanders and caecilians haven’t (although frogs have).
Figura perfecta donde las haya de anfibios prehistóricos en plástico es una copia absoluta de la reconstrucción de la obra de enciclopedia de dinosaurios y de la vida prehistórica cuyo título original en inglés es: Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Life (En asociación con el Museo Americano de Historia Natural) en la versión española páginas 60 y 61.
The circular structures are most likely supposed to be the eardrums like in extant anurans. Nice to see your review up so quickly!;-)
Jar Jar Binks!? Oh dear 😉