Safari Ltd’s 2017 Tylosaurus: the Cretaceous Tiger of the Sea?

I was really on the fence with purchasing the 2017 Safari Ltd Tylosaurus which is surprising considering how much I love Mosasaurs; particularly this species. Last summer I traveled throughout the southwest and smack dab in what was once prime Tylosaurus territory. In fact, the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah was once the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway and rife with their fossils; one of which (affectionately named “Tyrone”) is on display at the Visitor Center. In that regard, Utah is far from alone as these marine reptiles were some of the world’s most prolific animals and their fossils can be found all over the globe.

“Tyrone” the Tylosaurus greets guests of Bryce Canyon National Park

“Tyrone” the Tylosaurus

The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Colorado, which I spoke of in a previous post, also paid homage to this amazing animal. The photo below depicts one of their amazing life-like models with a color scheme much more likely in real life than the subject of today’s review.

Tylosaurus model – Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

Safari Ltd’s new Tylosaurus model is a bit controversial among collectors. The issue lies in its color scheme which makes you wonder if there wasn’t a flubbed memo floating around the company where someone accidentally wrote “Tigersaurus” instead “Tylosaurus.” Not only does this model look like its parading as a Bengal tiger, it’s breaking a fundamental rule of nature. As mentioned in my last post about Kronosaurus, successful sea hunters likely had countershading (dark on top/light on the bottom) and this form of camouflage would have been necessary for the animal’s success. So why did they do it?

Well, there were actually two reasons and one of them is directly linked to the aforementioned Kronosaurus figure. Simply put, the company was worried about releasing two prehistoric, aquatic reptiles that looked so similar they might confuse their consumers. There was also a more scientific reason as well.

Safari Ltd prides itself on making models that are the most accurate based on modern theories and discoveries. In this regard,  the 2017 Tylosaurus is exemplary. The clearest evidence lies in the model’s mouth. Some scientists believe that, like a snake, Tylosaurus may have had a forked tongue. Mosasaurs had paired fenestrae (holes in the top of their skull) which are like that of modern snakes and monitor lizards. As this feature is also associated with having a forked tongue, the artist not only designed this model with having one but also gave it a more colorful look, like that of modern day sea snakes. So it was actually a serpent and not a tiger that supposedly inspired the 2017 Tylosaurus look.

A Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Another realistic touch given to this model is its secondary set of teeth. These were used to tighten the grip on its prey and not usually seen in toy form.

One thing I did like about this model is that its scales have texture; something the Kronosaurus model sure could have used! I also love the way they use metallic gold paint for the eyes like their new Gigantosaurus I reviewed.

So what are the stats?

GENERAL APPEARANCE: You’ll either love it or hate it.

SIZE: Over 9″ long and 1.5″ high.

SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY:  If you painted this model like their 2017 Kronosaurus, you’d likely have the most realistic representation possible.


DISPLAY OR DIORAMA WORTHYThis color scheme guarantees that it’ll stand out on your shelf (but I’m not going to lie, it ain’t going on mine)

~Dave Fuentes

One thought on “Safari Ltd’s 2017 Tylosaurus: the Cretaceous Tiger of the Sea?

  1. Pingback: A+ Uintatherium Model Flunks Anger Management! |

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