The Collecta Miragaia Dinosaur Model Reviewed

Fossils of European Stegosaurs are very rare.  What fossil material that has been excavated provides evidence of a number of Stegosaur genera from the Jurassic, but most of the specimens are incomplete and highly fragmented.  Little is known about the evolution of  the Thyreophora (armoured dinosaurs) in Europe.  However, over the last few years a number of better preserved and more complete Stegosaur fossils have been discovered in western Portugal.  One of these recent fossil discoveries, that of a dinosaur that came to be known as Miragaia has inspired Collecta to make a replica of this armoured dinosaur.

In contrast to most other European Stegosaur remains, much of the front part of the skeleton of this Late Jurassic Stegosaur is known.  Paleontologists have excavated at least two specimens, one adult, one sub-adult from the same dig site in Upper Jurassic strata attributed to the Lourinhã Formation of western Portugal.  Elements of the skull have been discovered and from this scientists have been able to reconstruct this dinosaur.  Collecta, the dinosaur model makers, have used the scientific data to produce a colourful, not-to-scale dinosaur model of this Portuguese herbivore.

The New Collecta Miragaia Dinosaur Model

A European Stegosaur – Miragaia

Picture  Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Skull material includes the premaxilla, maxilla and the naris post elements that comprise the back of the skull.  Post cranial material comprises of shoulder bones, most of the front legs,  neck bones and a number of armoured plates.  Miragaia seems to have had a remarkably long neck for a Stegosaur.  It had an estimated fifteen cervical vertebrae (neck bones), more than long-necked Sauropods such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus.

The Miragaia model from Collecta shows this long neck in fine detail. In fact the head and the neck make up about twenty-five percent of the length of the entire model.  Scientists have debated how flexible the neck of Miragaia was, ironically the plastic compound used to make this replica has left the model with a rather bendy neck, but this does not detract from the overall quality of the model.

The head is narrow and the front legs are smaller than the hind legs, a trait seen in most other Stegosaur genera. The model has been painted light brown, with a red flash on the throat pouch. The armour plating and the tail spikes are painted in a dark green colour, mimicking the colouration of the top of the spine and down to the tail.  The model has two shoulder spikes, these are large, more than two centimetres in length and painted bright red.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s model range,  including Miragaia: Dinosaur Models

The Miragaia dinosaur model has been given a rough skin texture, to give the impression that this dinosaur had large scales, with some dermal armour embedded along the flanks.  Scientists are not sure what the tail of this dinosaur was like.  There have been no fossils of the back-end of Miragaia found.  The model makers at Collecta have given their replica a row of spines running back from over the hips to the tip of the tail.

The model’s overall length is nineteen centimetres approximately and it is a welcome addition to the Collecta model range, one that will no doubt delight fans of Stegosaurs.

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