Safari Ltd’s New 2019 Collection: Prehistoric World Preview
Our brand new Safari Ltd 2019 Collection is nearing its release, and some of the new figures have already made their way into the hands of our Safariologist ambassadors, who were the first to share them with the world.
We thought we’d take a look at what’s been revealed so far, to give our SafariFans a closer peek at some of these new 2019 Safari figures before they become available. Our Prehistoric World collection is always a favorite, so let’s see what ancient animals 2019 has in store…
Carnotaurus was an unusual theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous that was first described in 1985, but it didn’t become very well-known until it was featured in movies, books and other media. This began in the early 2000s and continues to this day.
Due to the distinctive horns just above its eyes, Carnotaurus is often depicted as a kind of “demon”, with exaggerated and frightful features. For our 2019 figure, we decided to go with a more scientific approach that is more accurate to what we know of the actual animal’s appearance.
And we know quite a bit! Carnotaurus is known from a specimen that includes almost the entire skeleton, as well as skin impressions that give a clearer picture of how this predator looked in life. In addition to its horns, we know it also had a deep, high skull, as well as tiny arms that were even smaller in proportion to its body than those of Tyrannosaurus Rex!
It also featured bony scutes arranged along its body that we’ve reproduced on our figure. This Carnotaurus also has another unique feature, though this one is a bit speculative – lips! Recently, scientists have theorized that some dinosaurs may have had lips covering their teeth when the mouth was closed, rather than having their teeth exposed all the time.
In modern reptiles, lips are found on those that live primarily on land, like lizards, whereas more aquatic reptiles – like crocodiles – had exposed teeth. This is because exposed teeth on land would quickly dry out and become easily damaged. So scientists believe this may have applied to land-dwelling dinos as well.
|Carnotaurus||Close up detail|
Prestosuchus may look like a dinosaur, but its actually a rauisuchian, like Postosuchus, that’s more closely related to modern crocodiles than dinosaurs. Found in Brazil during the Triassic Period, Prestosuchus had a large head full of sharp teeth and probably dwelt mostly on land, unlike its present day relatives.
Though it was first described in 1942, recent discoveries have helped us learn a lot more about Prestosuchus. A very well preserved specimen described in 2013 allowed scientists to learn more about this creature’s legs, and how it walked. We know that it most likely walked on all fours, and that its legs were held straight under its body, unlike modern crocodilians which walk with a more sprawled stance.
|Prestosuchus||In the "wild"|
While it may not get quite as much attention as Apatosaurus or Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus is a formidable sauropod in its own right. This long-necked beast from the Late Jurassic Period could grow up to 75 feet long!
Though it’s not quite as popular as some of its cousins, it’s actually one of the most well understood sauropod dinosaurs, known from several complete skeletons. Its most distinctive feature is its blunt, square-shaped skull, which was long used as a placeholder on mounted skeletons of other sauropods like Apatosaurus, before it was known that they had longer, more narrow skulls.
For 2019, Camarasaurus gets a figure that does justice to its large size, measuring over 13 inches long!
|Camarasaurus||Close up detail|
This dinosaur might not be known to many by virtue of its name alone, but if its appearance seems a bit familiar, it’s likely because Citipati was often used as a model for one of its more popular relatives: Oviraptor. Though more dino-fans are likely to recognize its name, Oviraptor is actually far less understood than Citipati, which means Citipati often serves as a model for depictions of Oviraptor.
Many well-preserved specimens of Citipati have been discovered, which shine new light on how this family of dinosaurs – the oviraptorids – actually behaved. Long thought to be egg-snatchers, the finding of several Citipati skeletons sitting on nests helped change the perception of these dinosaurs. As it turns out, they may have been attentive, caring mothers!
The position of these Citipati remains – sitting with their arms outstretched over their nests – also led scientists to theorize that these dinosaurs had extensive feathers, which would have helped them cover and protect their nest, much in the way some modern birds do.
So thanks to Citipati, oviraptorids have gone from scaly egg thieves to feathery egg mothers! Thanks, Citipati!
|Citipati||In the "wild"|
Aside from its larger cousin Triceratops, Styracosaurus is probably the most well-known ceratopsian dinosaur. One reason for this is probably the assortment of long spikes that sprout from its bony frill, giving it a very distinctive look, which is no small feat in the ceratopsian family.
For 2019, Safari Ltd introduces a brand new Styracosaurus figure, revisiting this genus for the first time in well over a decade. Updating this figure allowed us to include more detail and make the sculpt more scientifically accurate. This Late Cretaceous dinosaur from Alberta, Canada is a fine addition to the ranks of our many ceratopsians, which include last year’s Triceratops and Regaliceratops figures.
|Styracosaurus||Close up detail|
Another genus that Safari Ltd hasn’t revisited in quite some time is Coelodonta – more commonly known as the Woolly Rhino. The last Safari Ltd Woolly Rhino was produced over 20 years ago, so we felt it was high time for an update.
Scientists actually know quite a bit about what these woolly beasts looked like in life. Unlike non-bird dinosaurs, which went extinct around 66 million years ago, Woolly Rhinos lived up until about 10,000 years ago. This means they interacted with early humans, who depicted them in cave paintings, which give us valuable information about the shape and coloration of these rhinos.
They also lived in very cold climates, which means some of their remains have been remarkably well preserved. Mummified Woolly Rhinos have been discovered in Siberia, and some have even had traces of fur still attached. Several Woolly Rhino horns have also been found as well. Long ago, humans believed these horns were the claws of some great bird, but now we know what they truly are.
All of these elements paint a pretty clear picture of these prehistoric mammals, and we’ve incorporated this knowledge into our figure. Unlike modern rhinoceroses, whose horns are thick and cone-shaped, the horn of the Woolly Rhino was thin and blade-like, with a banded pattern along its length. Cave paintings show that the rhino’s fur featured darker areas in its mid-section, which has also been reflected in our new figure.
This new rhino figure makes a great companion piece to our 2018 Sumatran Rhino, which is actually the Woolly Rhino’s closest living relative! It also fits in well with our other prehistoric mammals, including our Woolly Mammoth and American Mastodon.
|Woolly Rhino||Close up detail|
But Wait, There’s More…
While all these new Prehistoric World figures we just discussed may be a lot to take in, this isn’t all we’ve got in store for our 2019 Prehistoric World collection, and it's not even close to everything we've got to share for our new 2019 Safari Ltd product line. So stay tuned, because we’ve got quite a bit more in store…