Macrauchenia is one of the more confusing prehistoric mammals ever discovered with nasal openings high on the animal’s skull suggesting a tapir-like nose. Since soft tissue doesn’t fossilize, however, this can only be theorized. What is known is that the animal lived in South America during the Pleistocene (20,000 – 10,000 years ago) in an environment, not unlike today’s African Savannah. It shared its habitat with other herbivores such as camels and ground sloths while likely serving as a favored prey item for terror birds and saber-toothed cats. Their lineage has long been debated, though recent DNA tests may have finally revealed their place on the mammal family tree. They’re likely the last twig on a now extinct, sister branch of perissodactyls – odd number of toes/grinding molar teeth such as rhinos. And now, Safari Ltd. has added this rare and wonderful animal to their collection.
At first glance, I love the paint job and detailing, especially the fur which is reminiscent of pronghorn sheep or gazelles. I particularly love the darker legs as well as the pattern on its face. The extended upper lip is black and in contrast with the rest of the head’s color – drawing even more attention to its signature nose. This figure is impressive and, dare I say, cute all at the same time.
One thing that really impressed me with this model was the presence of teeth. This attribute is generally dismissed with herbivore models and illustrates Safari Ltd.’s commitment to scientific accuracy.
Like its upper lip, the creature’s small tail is also painted darker for added definition.
This figure seems born for a diorama! So much so, I decided to take this one on a field trip to my local preserve.
Appearance: A perfect Pleistocene mammal with a realistic paint job. If you’ve seen Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, it’s a very similar color scheme. Considering this animal’s environment and niche, this makes sense.
Size: 5 inches long and 3.5 inches tall
Display/Diorama Worthy? If you’re planning a South American Pleistocene diorama, you’ll want multiples of this figure to make it complete!