Speculating on the new for 2016 Safari Ltd Prehistoric Animals

Thoughts and Comments on the New for 2016 Prehistoric Animals (Safari Ltd)

We had hoped that today we could provide our readers with comprehensive details regarding the new for 2016 Safari Ltd prehistoric animal models.  In addition, we wanted to discuss the changes to the company’s prehistoric animal models, potential retirements, re-issues and so forth.  However, we can’t and we at Everything Dinosaur do apologise for this, but we do understand the position of the manufacturer and we do respect their wishes.

However, since we intended to write about Safari Ltd today, let’s not waste this opportunity.  We can speculate on what we do know with regards to Safari Ltd’s plans.  For example, in the fall/autumn edition of “Prehistoric Times” there is a double page, full colour spread advertisement which can provide dinosaur fans and model collectors alike with a wealth of information.  We have reproduced the first half of the advert for you below.

Toys that Teach – the Safari Ltd Advert 

As seen in Prehistoric Times magazine

As seen in Prehistoric Times magazine

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

What does the Advertisement Show?

The format of the advertisement follows a very similar line to previous print adverts from Safari Ltd.  A range of models, new and old are featured and we expect such images to be incorporated into other marketing communications media.  From a model fan’s perspective it shows that Safari Ltd remain committed to producing replicas of sea creatures, extinct terrestrial animals and of course Pterosaurs.  Note the pair of Dimorphodons flying over the scene.  These two Pterosaurs are soaring over quite an eclectic group of models, that’s see if we can dissect this picture further.

Three types of replica can be seen:

  1. New models (five new models can be seen)
  2. Existing models (three models can be seen, we are only counting Dimorphodon and the Ammonite  once)
  3. Models that have been retired (four models can be seen, all of them prehistoric mammals).  With Carnegie Collectibles all retired, we can expect some re-issues next year – the welcome return of the Woolly Mammoth calf, Megatherium, another distant modern elephant relative, the “shovel tusked” Amebelodon and good old “pestle tail”, the wonderful Doedicurus replica.

New Models from Safari Ltd for 2016

It Looks Very Much Like a Metriorhynchid (Marine Crocodile)

Truly adapted to a marine environment - Plesiosuchus or what?

Truly adapted to a marine environment – Plesiosuchus, Dakosaurus or what?

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

This looks like a new model for 2016.  It’s a marine reptile but no Mosasaur or Pliosaur for that matter.  From the limb proportions, the broad, powerful snout, that shark fin tail fluke and simply because Safari Ltd have not produced one before, we suspect that this is a representative of a metriorhynchid.  The Metriorhynchidae are a group of marine crocodiles that flourished during the Late Jurassic and into the Early Cretaceous.  A number of genera have been described, they are not closely related to modern crocodiles, or indeed to dinosaurs for that matter, but they do seem to have had an almost global distribution.  As an English company (Everything Dinosaur is based in the UK), it is great to see a picture like this.  A lot of metriorhynchid fossil material has been excavated from Dorset for example, but what species is it?  Hard to say, after all, there are a lot of species named, it could be Metriorhynchus, but the snout is not narrow enough.  We think this is something like Dakosaurus or Plesiosuchus.

Could be “Vicious Lizard” – Masiakasaurus

New, green Theropod

New, green Theropod

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

One of two Theropod dinosaurs featured in the advert is a curious looking green, meat-eater.  From those teeth and with those grasping claws this could not be anything else but a meat-eater, but which dinosaur could this possibly be?  There are clues and if you know your Theropoda, especially the terrestrial fauna of Late Cretaceous Madagascar you can have a good guess.  We think this is a replica of the bizarre Masiakasaurus, the first dinosaur model to be made by Safari Ltd which was named after a member of the rock band Dire Straits.  The species name is M. knopfleri, honouring the front man of Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler.

A Close up of the Head Reveals Tantalising Details

Tell tale teeth!

Tell tale teeth!

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

The advert shows large nostrils placed high up on the front of the snout, large eyes and a set of lower teeth far bigger than the upper teeth.  Most importantly of all the teeth at the front project forwards, these are all distinguishing characteristics of Masiakasaurus, the name means “Vicious Lizard” and with teeth like that you can see why.  We speculate that Safari Ltd will add Masiakasaurus to its prehistoric animal model range.

 Herbivorous Dinosaurs to be Added to the Safari Ltd Range for 2016

Plant-eaters join the range.

Plant-eaters join the range.

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

Well, there are at least two plant-eating dinosaurs being added.  The one in the foreground represents a member of the Iguanodontia, the front limb and digits are the give-away here.  Which member though?  The absence of a scale does not help here.  It looks very typical of a modern interpretation of the very well known Iguanodon. Introducing an Iguanodon replica would  make some sense, it would be a replacement for and an update of the 1:40 Carnegie Collectibles Iguanodon that was introduced eight years ago.  Iguanodon is certainly a popular dinosaur, but the Iguanodon family is big, this model could represent a number of genera, however, it looks too robust to be Hypselospinus or indeed a Mantellisaurus, but at the same time it does not quite have the look of a real bruiser such as Barilium (B. dawsoni).  Could it be a Dollodon?  Or moving out of the Wealden Clay and the Wessex Formation of southern England altogether, this green-eyed plant-eater could represent the immense Iguanacolossus  which once roamed Utah.  For us, our money is on an Iguanodon, (but we would not bet the farm on it).

Who’s that in the Background?

Just behind the iguanodontid stands a very peculiar looking dinosaur indeed.  Most definitely a quadruped but with a row of raised scutes along the back and tail, but with no other signs of body armour, except for some oversized scales clearly visible on the shoulder,  a box-like skull and a short, thick neck.  A staff member described this critter as a “Llama crossed with a Sauropod”, we can sort of see the resemblance.  The proportion of the limbs suggests that this is no Sauropodomorph, the lack of armour along the flank discounts a basal member of the Thyreophora.  Those strong looking limbs, with the rear legs larger than the front legs, that short, ever so short neck, we think that this is a model of a dicraeosaurid, a member of the diplodocid group of long-necked dinosaurs, that,  for a start, seemed to be evolving shorter and shorter necks.  From an evolutionary point of view going in the opposite direction to the brachiosaurids, diplodocids, camarasaurids and so on.  Could this be the bizarre Brachytrachelopan (pronounced Brak-ee-trak-hel-oh-pan), from the Late Jurassic of Argentina?  Brachytrachelopan (B. mesai) has the shortest neck of any known member of the Sauropoda.

Apex Predator

Last but not least, standing behind the re-issued Amebelodon is a very formidable looking meat-eating dinosaur.  This is an apex predator, but which one?  The forelimbs are obscured in the picture but the left arm suggests that it is too big to be a tyrannosaurid.  There is a lack of cranial ornamentation, but the skull is deep and the dentary (lower jaw) robust.  It is difficult to make out any substantial antorbital fenestra, so we move on from the likes of Tyrannotitan, but this could be a carcharodontosaurid.

Brutal Killer But Which One?

It's a big Theropod.

It’s a big Theropod.

Picture Credit: Prehistoric Times Magazine (issue 115)

Let’s go out on a limb, this could be a Megalosaur.  Have Safari Ltd produced a replica of Torvosaurus, or perhaps have they added a replica of the very first dinosaur described – Megalosaurus to their dinosaur model repertoire for 2016.  It would be appropriate if they had, the first ever illustration of a dinosaur bone ever published in the occidental world took place in 1676,  this bone was a partial femur from a Megalosaur.  Could Safari Ltd have introduced a Megalosaurus to mark the 340th anniversary of this momentous event?

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of Safari Ltd prehistoric animal models: Safari Ltd Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

When we have definitive information we will publish it, rest assured, Everything Dinosaur will be stocking these models.

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