Dinosaur Models – Why are most of them shown with their Mouths Open?

When it comes to designing dinosaur and other prehistoric animal models, the artists and sculptors take great care, trying to ensure that their particular model reflects the latest scientific thinking.  Staff at Everything Dinosaur get involved in this process and we have been consulted on a number of aspects related to prehistoric animal models; from suggestions as to which models should be made, to advising on anatomical features and colouration.  Interestingly, sometimes life can imitate art, for many years we were most insistent that models depicting members of the Pteranodontidae were toothless, now toothed forms of Late Cretaceous Pterosaurs have been named and described, muddying the water somewhat.

However, most model makers attempt to depict the animals as accurately as possible, although liberties are taken with a number of bipedal models.  For example, to make a dinosaur model that stands on its two hind legs stable; the feet may have to be made slightly over-sized, or the tail position adjusted to give a tripod effect, helping the model stay upright.  This is most noticeable in models of Dromaeosaurs and Maniraptorans.  These type of dinosaurs walked on two toes, not the normal Theropod three, so feet have to be adjusted accordingly to help the model remain stable.

A Typical Dromaeosaur Model (Big Feet)

Walking on just two toes.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view this Velociraptor model and other dinosaur replicas in more detail: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

Models do get make overs from time to time, with new colour variants being added.  This is a cheap way of refreshing a range without the need to introduce new sculpts.  There is nothing wrong with this, as afterall, since pigment rarely fossilises the colour of a prehistoric animal such as a dinosaur is largely speculative.

One of the interesting points that we often make to designers is that they are preoccupied with showing the animal with its mouth open.  Whether it is a meat-eater such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus or even a Sabre-Toothed Cat, or indeed a herbivore such as Stegosaurus or Triceratops, mouth open models seem the order of the day.

Anyone observing how animals move around, a study of your pet dog or cat, perhaps watching a pride of lions on a television programme and you will see that most animals keep their traps shut for most of the time.  Teeth and open jaws are more exciting for model makers, but the reality is most animals keep their mouths closed, in essence only opening their mouths to communicate, make threat gestures, attack or to eat.  We do point this out when advising sculptors and the like, but we suspect that there are going to be lots more open mouthed dinosaurs made.

The London Natural History Museum’s Large T. rex Model

T. rex model

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To view this model and other dinosaur models in more detail: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

Whilst the gape is impressive and the paint job on the teeth is very good, T. rex would not have walked around all day with his mouth wide open.  However, a closed mouth T. rex is perhaps not as appealing and so the open mouthed Tyrannosaurus model seems here to stay.

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