Review of the 1:40 Scale Model of the Dinosaur Baryonyx (Procon / Collecta range)
A number of replicas of the Theropod dinosaur Baryonyx have been introduced in recent years, the first models were launched into the market only a couple of years after this dinosaur had been formally named and described. It is always a pleasure to see that this unusual, bipedal, meat-eating dinosaur is still attracting attention from designers and being included in new replica dinosaur ranges.
The early prototypes of this particular model have been improved and comments from palaeontologists taken on board as the designers strive for accuracy. It was pleasing to note that as well as featuring the likes of Tyrannosaurus rex, some more unusual and perhaps, less well-known dinosaurs were included in the new model range. For example, this range includes a scale model of Baryonyx ( Baryonyx walkeri ), a bizarre carnivore that may have been an ancestor of the Spinosauridae. A model series with some of the lesser known prehistoric animals is a refreshing change.
The Dinosaur with Huge "Thumb" Claws
One of the most remarkable features of Baryonyx are the two huge 30cm long claws on the first digit (thumbs). The claw was the first part of this dinosaur's fossil to be discovered. An amateur fossil hunter, William Walker was exploring a Surrey clay pit and unearthed a large manual ungual (claw). Nothing quite like it had been found in the fossil record at that time (1983). A team from the Natural History Museum in London was dispatched to investigate and over the next few months nearly 70% of the skeleton was recovered.
Baryonyx was a Theropod dinosaur. It was a meat-eater, although many scientists believe that it specialized in hunting fish, scooping them out of the water with its huge claws. The few fossils we have of this bipedal dinosaur are dated to the Barremian faunal stage of the early Cretaceous, approximately 125 million years ago.
Baryonyx was formerly named and described in 1987 ( Baryonyx walkeri ), the species part of the scientific name being in honor of the amateur palaeontologist who first found evidence of this fearsome creature.
This particular scale replica depicts Baryonyx as a dark brown dinosaur with black, vertical stripes running along the back to the tip of the tail. This dull, mottled coloration would have helped camouflage this 10 meter long predator as it moved through undergrowth in conditions where light would have been broken up by trees and branches. These markings would have provided excellent camouflage in dappled light. The head of the model has a greenish hue, which would have helped obscure it from fish as this fish-eating dinosaur stared into rivers and lakes trying to spot its prey.
The underside of the jaw is quite lightly colored. It has been speculated that the lower jaws and chest of this piscivore would probably have been quite dark, again providing effective camouflage as it leaned over water trying to spot fish. Any form of camouflage to help break up the animal's outline against a dark background of vegetation would have been been useful for Baryonyx, especially if the speculation about it being a silent stalker of fish such as the one meter long Lepidotes is to be believed.
The model shows fine detailing, the prominent humped back is in evidence, indicating that the model makers have read up on recent papers concerning Baryonchidae anatomy. The jaws are well painted and the distinct kink in the upper jaw is visible on the model, although not very prominent. The strong, powerful forelimbs and those famous claws are accurate portrayed.
But why the Humped-Back?
The Baryonyx specimen discovered in Surrey (England), does not represent a fully grown adult, but based on the structure of the backbone from this fossil and other evidence of Baryonchids from Spain, scholars think that this dinosaur may have had a hump on its back . Such a feature is not unique in the Dinosauria fossil record. The shape of the neural spines running along the back bone indicate that they may have supported a fleshy hump, perhaps used to store reserves of fat to help these animals survive when food was short. It has also been suggested, that like Spinosaurs, Baryonchids may have had a sail-like structure running down the top of their backs.
The Baryonyx model measures approximately 30cm long and stands 10cm high at the hips. It makes a good, contrasting Theropod model when compared to the more robust looking T. rex model from the same model series.
Marketed under the "Deluxe" banner, this 1:40 scale model of a Baryonyx provides a contrast to the earlier models of this dinosaur as depicted in the Carnegie Safari and Natural History Museum model ranges. It makes an excellent addition to any dinosaur model collection.