New Schleich Parasaurolophus

Schleich the German based model manufacturers have added three new dinosaurs to their Saurus range of 1:40 scale model prehistoric animals.   The models are of a Stegosaurus, the duck-billed Parasaurolophus and a new Tyrannosaurus rex.  Each model is hand-painted and based on research from palaeontologists.

New Parasaurolophus 1:40 scale Model from Schleich

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

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We had the opportunity recently to put some questions about the new Saurus range models to the designers at Schleich, for example we wanted to know why Parasaurolophus had been given a spotted coat.  A great deal of thought goes into the colours used by the artists, the black spots on a tan skin tone support a theory held by some palaeontologists about the lifestyle of this large herbivore.

The large backward pointing crest may have been used as part of an “ice-breaker” system for travelling through forests.  In the dinosaur’s backbone there is an unusual feature, a notch just between the shoulders.  This notch was placed just where the tip of the crest would have rested.  Scientists have put forward the hypothesis that Parasaurolophus may have used the crest to push its way through woodland and undergrowth.  Anchored into the notch, the crest would have acted like a plough or an ice-breaker on the bow of ship, parting the leaves and branches making it easier for this dinosaur to move.

It is certainly, an interesting theory, compared to the hadrosaur,Corythosaurus, fewer Parasaurolophus fossils have been found indicating that Corythosaurus may have lived near water (where there is a greater likelihood of fossilisation occurring), whereas, Parasaurolophus may have preferred a forest habitat.

If Parasaurolophus spent most of its time in woodland, then a spotted coat would help break up it’s outline and would provide effective camouflage, just as a Leopard’s spots would do.  This big spotted animal would be difficult to see in dense forests and if they travelled in a group the spotted pattern would make it difficult for predators to single out individuals.

The previous Schleich Saurus model of Parasaurolophus showed the animal rearing up onto its hind legs.  We know that duck-billed dinosaurs such as Parasaurolophus were capable of walking on two legs.  They may have adopted this stance to reach higher branches so they could feed or to escape quickly from predators such as Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus or Albertaceratops.  Close analysis of the bones in the shoulder area (scapula and coracoid) so large scars where big muscles were attached.  Parasaurolophus had strong muscular front legs so it has been speculated that this animals spent most of its time as a quadruped – hence the new model from Schleich depicts it in this pose.

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