Orthoceras (Paleozoic Pals)

4.9 (10 votes)

Paleozoic Pals is a line of plush toys commissioned by the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) and sold at the Museum of the Earth, located in Ithaca, New York. Since its launch in 2015 the line has done quite well, and now has 13 distinct plush toys to its name (as well as slippers, a body pillow, and other merchandise) with more on the way.

Distribution of these plush toys has improved as well. When first released they could only be found at the Museum of the Earth but now they’re available in other museums as well, in addition to online, and even on Amazon via the museum giftshop. It warms my heart seeing this line succeed, readers of my other Paleozoic Pal reviews will understand my fondness for the company.

Since NY is rich in Paleozoic invertebrate fossils this tends to be the focus of the Paleozoic Pals, although some Paleozoic vertebrates have been produced too. Today we’re looking at their plush Orthoceras regulare, released in 2020.

This plush is marketed as a Nautiloid but its tag, and the Palezoic Pals website, specifically identify it as O. regulare. The toy measures about 20” which makes it considerably larger than life size, since Orthoceras only reached about 6” in length. Other, larger, straight-shelled cephalopods existed in prehistory as well, but they belonged to different taxonomic groups.

O. regulare is the only member of its genus and lived in the Middle Ordovician in what is now Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, and Lithuania. Make sure you check out my review of the CollectA Orthoceras, if you haven’t already.

This plush is purple! The shell is darker in color than the soft portion of the body, and the inside of the 10 arms are paler still. The color is reminiscent of the Giant Microbes trilobite that I also reviewed, and I really like this color for these plush toys.

Eight arms are attached in a ring that runs around where the beak should be, if it had one. Two more arms come out from the center. The eyes are large and brown with black, rounded pupils. The shell comes complete with a hood and rings run down its length. No syphon is present. Missing parts like a beak and syphon are disappointing but with plush toys especially, simplification should be expected.

At this point I’ve now reviewed 8 of these plush toys over the last 6 years and so I can safely vouch for their quality. They’ve all remained intact over the years without any seams splitting or eyes or other bits falling off. My kid has an extensive collection of plush toys in general, and there are definitely some out there of questionable quality. It’s no fun when a kid’s favorite plush busts a seam or loses an eye. These Paleozoic Pals are always a safe bet. If what you, or the young person in your life needs, is a giant purple Orthoceras then look no further. This toy is among the most appealing in the Paleozoic Pals lineup, it retails for about $15.  

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