A Review of the Papo Dimetrodon (Pelycosaur) Model

The last of Papo’s 2013 releases in the company’s prehistoric animal model range is Dimetrodon, Papo’s first model of a animal that lived before the dinosaurs existed.   Dimetrodon is not even closely related to the Dinosauria, it is a synapsid, a member of the pelycosaur group of reptiles.  Models of this sail-backed reptile have appeared very frequently in dinosaur model ranges and this is Everything Dinosaur’s review of the Papo Dimetrodon replica.

Dimetrodon Prehistoric Animal Model

Why Dimetrodon should be so strongly associated with the Dinosauria alludes us, but a few years ago team members at Everything Dinosaur wrote a short article about this: Why is Dimetrodon regarded as a Dinosaur?

The Papo Dimetrodon Model

Fearsome sail-backed reptile, with exquisite detail.

Fearsome sail-backed reptile, with exquisite detail.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur/Papo

A Large Predator

Dimetrodon was a large predator of the Permian geological period, a number of species are known, one of the largest of which, Dimetrodon grandis measured over 3.5 metres in length and would have weighed up to 200 kilogrammes when fully grown.  The genus Dimetrodon was named by the American Edward Drinker Cope, it is one of over 1,000 prehistoric animals that this famous palaeontologists named in his lifetime.

The most prominent feature of Dimetrodon is its enormous sail which stretched across the animal’s back.  This sail was supported by spines and the sail was actually quite thin.  Papo have taken care to depict the spines and thin sail very carefully on their replica.  This structure was most likely used to help regulate body temperature, although it may also have a played a role in courtship displays or other forms of visual communication between individuals, this perhaps helps to explain the patterning that the Papo design team have given the sail on their model.

Fantastic Detail on the Skin

The detailing on the skin is exquisite with individual scales clearly picked out.  The presence of skin folds and the detailed scaling gives this model a very lizard-like appearance.  The Papo Dimetrodon has a relatively long tail, early reconstructions of Dimetrodon showed this reptile with a short, stubby tail, but palaeontologists now know that this pelycosaur did indeed have a long tail.

The lower jaw is articulated and Papo have been careful to depict the different sized teeth in the jaws with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the prominent notch in the upper jaw is present, providing a space for the oversized teeth in the lower jaw to fit into when the mouth is closed.  Like the rest of the model, the head is very well painted and there is lots of detail to admire.

Model Measurements

This new Dimetrodon model measures  approximately 16.5 centimetres in length.  If we assume that this is a model of Dimetrodon grandis, then we can conclude that this replica is in approximately 1:21 scale.  Although, we are not aware of any scaling actually being stated by the manufacturer, this model would work well with any other replicas produced in a 1:20 scale format.

To view Papo models available at Everything Dinosaur: Papo Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animal Figures.

Intriguingly, Papo have chosen to give their Dimetrodon model only four toes on the hind feet.  We think that this reptile had five toes on its feet, the front limbs of the model do have five digits which is correct.  Trackways, trace fossils assigned to the Dimetrodon genus, showing a large animal with five digits on each foot have been discovered in North America.

All in all, this is an excellent Dimetrodon model and one that is a welcome addition to the Papo range of replicas.  Perhaps, Papo will be encouraged to introduce other non-dinosaurian models into their prehistoric animal model series.

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