Safari, the U.S. based model manufacturer is well respected for its excellent dinosaur models. Their premium range, known as the Carnegie Dinosaur Collectibles series is authenticated by palaeontologists and other dinosaur researchers at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, as well as providing a range of highly detailed dinosaur models, the company also produces an excellent model series featuring prehistoric mammals. This collection is marketed under the banner “Prehistoric Life” and features a variety of famous extinct mammals from the Cenozoic.
Although a number of models from the Prehistoric Life collection have been recently retired, the set still features a total of five prehistoric mammal models. Each one has been hand-painted, and produced with great care. The models are ideal for the professional collector, for illustrating museum and school projects and for children, who are passionate about dinosaurs and extinct creatures. Amongst the set there are the usual suspects, a Woolly Mammoth model, with a calf to collect as well, plus the almost obligatory Sabre Tooth Cat model. It is pleasing to note that Safari refer to their Sabre Tooth Cat (model ref: 279729) using the correct scientific name for this genus – Smilodon. One of the more unusual animals featured, and our particular favourite model in this range is Andrewsarchus, a replica of a huge, carnivorous mammal, possibly the largest, land living mammalian carnivore of all time.
Andrewsarchus – “Andrew’s Flesh Eater”
This bizarre mammal although featured on several television documentaries such as the BBC series “Walking with Beasts” is actually only know from just one fossil which represents part of the skull and the upper jaw. This superbly well preserved fossil specimen was discovered in 1923 by members of the American Natural History Museum’s (AMNH) expedition to Mongolia. This particular expedition, one of a number of organised by the American museum was led by the famous naturalist and explorer Roy Chapman Andrews. Andrewsarchus was named in honour of Andrews, the name means “Andrew’s flesh eater”, and although these expeditions to the Gobi desert found many fossils including the first dinosaur eggs, the original aim was to trace the origins of early humans. However, spectacular finds such as the partial skull and jaws of a huge ancient predator soon captured the public’s imagination.
Andrewsarchus was formally named and described by Henry Fairfield Osborn, the American scientist responsible for naming and describing Tyrannosaurus rex. The specific name for this animal is Andrewsarchus mongoliensis the species name honours the country in which the fossil was found.
The fossil skull measures over 80 centimetres in length, and at its widest part it is more than half a metre across indicating a huge animal. Reconstructions of Andrewsarchus are based on fossil evidence from smaller, but related prehistoric mammals, most notably Mesonyx, an earlier predator that lived during the Eocene. Based on these comparisons Andrewsarchus has been classified as a Mesonychian, a bizarre group of hoofed mammals related to sheep and cows, but they were mainly carnivores.
Andrewsarchus is estimated to have been up to six metres long, to have stood more than 2.5 metres tall at the shoulder and to have weighed approximately 850 kilogrammes, although some experts suggest that these animals could weigh as much as a tonne. The toes were tipped with short hoofs, not claws like carnivorous mammals such as cats and dogs today. The Mesonychians were related to Artiodactyls (animals with even toed hoofs), this means that Andrewsarchus was related to Bovids such a cows and to sheep. This is why palaeontologists often refer to Andrewsarchus as “the wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
The Safari Prehistoric Life Andrewsarchus Model
The Andrewsarchus model from Safari measures a fraction under thirteen centimetres long from the nose to the tip of the tail and stands just under five centimetres high at the shoulder. The model is painted a sandy, brown colour in the main with a dark muzzle and a series of spots and stripes along the flanks and limbs. The artwork is very similar to the computer generated images as seen on the “Walking with Beasts” television series (chapter 3 – Land of the Giants), although we at Everything Dinosaur are not sure which came first, the Safari model or the BBC programmes.
The painting has been done very well, the choice of colouration makes sense as the colours and markings would have helped break up the animal’s outline and camouflage it as it stalked prey. The animal is depicted with its mouth open, permitting the model makers to show the teeth and jaws in fine detail. A nice touch are the hooves which can be clearly made out on the end of each foot. The model makes an unusual and interesting addition to any prehistoric animal model collection, although when compared to the Smilodon, it is perhaps a little under scale to be entirely accurate. However, since no further fossil bones of this particular prehistoric beast have been found, we think that the sculpting team can be let off for this oversight. After all, every measurement given for Andrewsarchus is an estimate, nothing more than an educated guess.
It is just a pity that no other Oligocene predators are included in the Safari series, however there is a model of a Paraceratherium available in the Procon/Collecta range, a model that has also been researched and reviewed by Everything Dinosaur team members. It is a rare item, but with careful searching the two models can be united to help model makers re-create an authentic scene from the thirty million years ago.
Everything Dinosaur is a company run by parents, teachers and real dinosaur experts. It specialises in developing educational dinosaur toys, models, clothing and games and strives to help young people learn more about science through their fascination with prehistoric animals. Many of the items featured on the Everything Dinosaur website http://everythingdinosaur.com/ have been designed and tested by the teachers and real dinosaur experts in the company.
To learn more about the products and services we offer at Everything Dinosaur click on our website links.
Our aim is to help young people learn more about Earth sciences through their fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Team members are happy to provide advice and support supplying free quizzes, drawing materials, puzzles, games even recipes for dinosaur themed biscuits and birthday cakes. With something like 600 products on line including dinosaur party supplies, Everything Dinosaur http://everythingdinosaur.com/ has built up a strong reputation assisting parents, guardians and fellow teachers, helping young people to learn more about science through creative play.
Can NHL officials officiate in the playoffs if they are set to retire?
All retiring this season, but looking through the NHL officials for the first rd of the playoffs, none are participating. Is this just a coincidence, or is there a rule about this?
There’s no rule but in the past (Bruce Hood excepted), most officials retire at the end of the regular season because if gives then some finality in the date. In the playoffs, officials are re-rated after every round so it would be rather embarrassing to schedule a ‘ceremony’ for an official and have him not make it to that round.
Fraser will be missed…Marouelli, not so much!
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln 2001 RETIRED 3/3 Animatronic
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