I think many dinosaur enthusiasts first got acquainted with the “turtle-shaped sickle lizard” with the “Walking With Dinosaurs” special dedicated to it. Although there is no doubt that his popularity among the general public has grown exponentially with “Jurassic World Dominion”. Many of the collaborators of this site, however, hoped that PNSO would release a Deinocheirus and a Therizinosaurus following their appearance in the first season of “Prehistoric Planet” and after a few months our wish was fulfilled. This model recalls in many respects its documentary counterpart both for the brownish coloration and for the distribution of the plumage and we could not fail to like it.

There is little to say about the packaging. PNSO standard for the “Prehistoric Animal” line. White cardboard box with photo of the figure. Inside there are the usual transparent plastic blisters that house the model, the classic transparent base, booklet and poster dedicated in this case to Therizinosaurus.

To talk about Qinge the Therizinosaurus, however, a huge premise must be made. Unfortunately, the fossils of this genus are extremely fragmentary. Not even on purpose until a few years ago both he and Deinocheirus, his giant neighbor with equally impressive hands, were mostly know thanks to the remains of the frightening arms and little more. And while for Deinocheirus there was no lack of practically complete specimens of related genera, we are not so lucky for Therizinosaurus. Not to mention that Deinocheirus itself turned out to be much more than an extra large version of its smaller relatives. So even if any current reconstruction seams convincing and is rooted in our minds, it could easily be overturned by new discoveries. But isn’t this also the beauty of paleontology?

Therizinosaurus and Deinocheirus PNSO

Officially the model is 19.5 cm long. If you consider that it should be a 1:35 scale, the math doesn’t add up, given that the dinosaur is estimated to have exceeded eight meters from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. But therizinosaurs were aberrant animals by theropod standards and are thought to have had a more upright posture, somewhat like a modern bird. So the actual length of Quinge is not what is stated in the promotional material. To measure it you need to tilt the model forward so that the head and tail roughly form a horizontal line. We thus reach more than 24 cm, and fit perfectly into the scale.

The pose is very characteristic and allows the model to stand out among other large theropods of the same scale. Unfortunately the weight is poorly distributed. The center of gravity is not perfectly in the middle of the support surface formed by the feet but slightly shifted forward, perhaps due to the left hand. So even if it tends to quickly deform the yielding plastic of the thin toes and in a short time Qinge falls. The supplied base is essential.

The anatomy mirrors that of therizinosaurids. Unfortunately, only the pectoral girdle with the forelimbs, some ribs and the lower limbs from the legs down to the feet are known from the genus Therizinosaurus. So we will focus our attention on these parts.

“I’m the best at what I do, but… I’m missing a lot of pieces!”

The remains of the rib cage suggest a large, barrel-shaped chest, typical of a vegetarian who needs space to house the viscera necessary for the digestion of the plants he feeds on. This has been faithfully reproduced, so much so that the model is almost twice as wide as similar-sized carnivorous dinosaurs from the same company. Shoulders and forelimbs are massive and the various parts have the right proportions. Unfortunately, from most of the angles they are not well defined due to the feathers that cover the model, but looking from the internal side it is possible to appreciate the excellent work done in the reconstruction of the muscles

The claws are perfect and enormous. It is not for nothing that they are the largest ever discovered to date in a land animal. The shape fully reflects its real counterpart and distinguishes Therizinosaurus from all the other members of its family. They are long and tall, but compressed laterally, the curvature is more accentuated at the end while the part near the finger joint is straighter. The claw of the first finger is the most robust and curved, although slightly shorter than that of the second. The third is relatively thinner. The fingers have large fleshy pads and this is also suggested by the fossils, in fact in that place the ungual (the bone that forms the claw) has a well-developed bony tubercle on which the tendon of the flexor of the fingers, that is the muscle that causes the finger to bend, was anchored. The second finger of the hand has two phalanges and we can also confirm this from the bones.

The hind limbs are short and robust as can be seen from the fossils. The feet, although less striking, are as characteristic as the hands and also reproduced very well in Qinge. Therizinosaurs, unlike other theropods, rested their weight on all four toes, including the first which in the other groups was reduced to a spur raised from the ground. Furthermore, the fingers have the right length: first and fourth shorter and second and third longer. The nails are fine too, narrow and pointed, unlike most vegetarian dinosaurs.

The other parts are well represented. The tail is relatively short as in other similar therizinosaurs and the same applies to the neck which is instead very elongated. The head is based on Erlikosaurus, another older and much smaller genus of therizinosaur. Unfortunately, to date, his is the only complete skull of an adult therizinosaurid specimen, so there isn’t much choice. In any case, here too the work was painstaking, every detail perfectly follows the indications given by the fossil. The eyes and nostrils are in the right position, while the ears are covered by feathers. By opening the mouth equipped with a beak it is possible to see the inside. As usual in PNSO models, the choanae are sculpted on the palate, but even more surprising are the teeth which, although very small, have been sculpted as raised and colored lines with a shade of white inside the mouth. Furthermore, the entire intraoral portion was treated with a glossy varnish which enhances the normal humidity present in the mucous membranes.

As for the integument, PNSO opted for the typical ratite-style plumage (tha ratite is the group of birds that includes ostriches, emus, etc). Qinge is covered from head to tail with thread-like feathers that are more or less long depending on the part of the body examined. The only uncovered portions are the beak, the ends of the hind legs and the entire ventral portion of the model where, just before the tail, ther’s the cloaca. Even the hairless parts are very reminiscent of ostriches and the skin is furrowed by a very dense pattern of folds which give it a very realistic appearance. The scales are mostly confined to the feet.

Feathers in therizinosaurids are not a novelty, they are part of the maniraptors, the clade that also includes birds. Furthermore until the discovery of Yutyrannus the largest known dinosaur in which the presence of plumage was ascertained from fossil remains was Beipiaosaurus, a therizinosaurid which however it is much smaller. Would it therefore be legitimate to hypothesize an animal less densely covered if not hairless? It’s not impossible, but at the moment this is the image of the animal that has established itself and almost no one seems to complain about it. Personally I consider both options valid until proven otherwise.

The coloring is good, as per PNSO standard. Maybe the brown tones don’t particularly stand out, but they do their job especially on the head and claws. The eyes and the pupil in particular are perfectly centered despite being tiny.

The final judgment is absolutely favourable. The model perfectly reflects the current knowledge of this animal and all its bizarre characteristics make it immediately stand out among the other dinosaurs. Size and finishes justify the price which is average for a PNSO model. Obviously it cannot be a “definitive” figure given the fragmentary nature of the genus represented, new discoveries could overturn the anatomy of Therizinosaurus as happened for Deinocheirus and as continues to happen for Spinosaurus. But until then I think it can’t get any better.

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