Like a draconic seagull, Rhamphorynchus
could be seen swooping around the coastlines of Europe 150 million years ago,
catching fish and insects with its snaggly teeth. It’s particularly well-known
from the Solnhofen Limestone of Germany, where fossils preserve even the soft
membranes on the wings and tail. Despite being so distinctive, Rhamphorynchus
doesn’t turn up too often as a toy. Fortunately, Safari gave us a beautiful
rendition in 2010.
Posed with its wings open, it’s easy to imagine this
Rhamphorynchus gliding above some Jurassic beach. The brown and red colours are
quite attractive, with the cream underside washed with brown to bring out the
sculpted detail. There’s also a gloss applied to the eyes, making them look
alive in certain lights.
As far as accuracy to the actual animal goes, it’s mostly
good, with everything in the correct (albeit odd) proportions for this
pterosaur. Unlike the majority of reconstructions, this toy has the wing
membranes connect to the back, rather than the ankles. There’s been a lot of
different reconstructions of pterosaur wing membranes, but unlike most of them
Rhamphorynchus is known from many fossils that preserve impressions of the
membranes, which show that they connected to the legs. Additionally, it is now
known that Rhamphorynchus’ distinctive diamond tail vane was actually found
only in younger individuals, as it transformed into a triangular shape in the
adults. So this toy could represent a young pterosaur, though it still has the
inaccurate legs. Also, for whatever reason, it’s sculpted without the covering of fur-like pycnofibres that were present in nearly all pterosaurs (and thus almost certainly in Rhamphorynchus). Other Wild Safari pterosaurs have this, even their earliest ones like their Quetzalcoatlus. Why this Rhamphorhynchus is missing pycnofibres is a mystery.
Regardless, Safari’s Rhamphorynchus is still an excellent
model. While it’s not like you have much choice if you want a plastic version
of this pterosaur, at least the most easily available one is top quality!