Rhamphorhynchus (Dino Rivals)(Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom by Mattel)

3.3 (11 votes)

Out of all the weird and wonderful pterosaurs, Rhamphorhynchus is arguably the one we know the most about thanks to many gorgeous fossil specimens with preserved soft tissues such as beak tips, crests, and even brains as well as the wing membranes and the tail vane. Unfortunately, there have not been very many toys of this fantastic flyer, with the best and most popular being the 2010 Wild Safari version

In this review, I shall be looking at Mattel’s JW:FK Dino Rivals Rhamphorhynchus. At 13 cm long with a wingspan of nearly 19 cm, it is one of the smallest toys in the series. The main colours are dull muddy green and sickly green-yellow with red eyes, white teeth, a pink tongue, and also some very pale green patches on the wings. Not exactly what I’d call a gorgeous ensemble of colours, but they do go together well. The arms are only partially painted on top and not at all on the bottom, so they look unfinished.

The sculpting is pretty much what you’d expect by now from a Mattel toy. The head, neck, back, and wings are covered in pebbled scales while the underbelly has a wrinkled texture. The musculature in the hind limbs is sharply defined and the tail vane is ribbed, which makes it look rather like a leaf. The JW logo and the facts app are on the underside of the wings. The wings also have a bit of wear and tear along the edges, which is a nice touch.

This Rhamphorhynchus’ greatest strength lies in its articulation. The mouth opens very wide, the neck and shoulders have universal joints, and the hind limbs rotate on a single joint. Mind, you can’t put the wings in very many poses without them looking torn where they meet the body.

Another positive aspect is the dentition. The jaws are lined with long, forward-facing teeth, ideal for a diet consisting primarily of fish. It was long assumed that Rhamphorhynchus would have flown low over the water and plucked up fish swimming close to the surface, but more recent research suggests that it was perfectly capable of diving right in and swimming after its prey just as many modern seabirds do. This was a calculated risk, though; plenty of bigger predators would have thought nothing of snapping up a small pterosaur for dinner. Indeed, one of the most unusual fossil finds of them all is a Rhamphorhynchus with its wing pierced by the narrow jaws of a fish known as Aspidorhynchus. Moreover, the Rhamphorhynchus has a smaller fish still lodged in its throat! It appears that in the course of their desperate struggle, the pterosaur and the larger fish entered an anoxic layer of water and both drowned. Tragic for them, but great for paleontology!

Unfortunately, this toy has a number of glaring flaws. First off, there’s the total lack of pycnofibres. Whether it’s Kenner or Hasbro or Mattel, JP franchise pterosaurs suffer from the same lack of integument as the coelurosaurs. Second, the neck is too short. Third, the head lacks a tapering, slightly upturned beak, which is something well-documented in Rhamphorhynchus fossils. And finally, the vane at the end of the tail is held flat when it should be vertical. We know this because soft tissue fossils have revealed that the vane was asymmetrical; such a shape would have thrown off the animal’s balance during flight if it was held flat. It’s odd that Mattel made this error given that their previous Dimorphodon toy featured a vertical vane on its tail.

Anatomical errors aside, a final problem I have with this toy is its size. Compared to other Dino Rivals toys sold at the same price point, this one’s small size honestly makes it feel like a little less bang for your buck. Truth be told, one of the reasons I snapped this Rhamphorhynchus was because, in addition to its relative rareness in toy form, I’d never reviewed a genus starting with the letter R before. Yes, I am eccentric that way. 🙂

At any rate, my most important reason for buying this pterosaur was to add to my son’s growing prehistoric collection, and he doesn’t seem the least bit disappointed by it. Similarly, I imagine many other children will enjoy playing with this toy. As I’ve noted in the past, Mattel definitely deserves credit for the diversity of genera in this line. The Rhamphorhynchus is available wherever JW:FK toys are sold.

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