Gigantic Trackers by Mattel) – Dinosaur Toy Blog

One of the biggest and admittedly funniest fiascos in paleontological history involved the legendary American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope and the famous plesiosaur Elasmosaurus platyurus. The latter’s fossil remains were first discovered in 1867 in the Pierre Shale Formation of Kansas and formally described by Cope in 1869. But then in 1870, fellow paleontologist Joseph Leidy pointed out that Cope had reconstructed Elasmosaurus with its head at the end of its tail instead of its neck! 

Naturally, Cope was mortified by his error, which was especially ،ing given the fact that the Elasmosaurus specimen included the axis and atlas ،s, which are part of the neck and ought have been a dead giveaway as to which end was which. He did his best to recall all the copies of the preprint article containing the faulty reconstruction, but one of them still managed to fall into the hands of his hated rival, Othniel Charles Marsh. For years afterward, Marsh maliciously made sure to bring up Cope’s colossal ،-up at every opportunity.

And that brings us to the Jur،ic World: Gigantic Trackers Elasmosaurus. Not gonna lie, I really wanted Kenner to make such a toy back in the day, but better late than never, I reckon. From the tip of its snout to the end of its tail, this toy measures a little over 37 cm long and has a ،mum flipper span of 26.5 cm. That makes it Mattel’s second longest marine reptile after the Mosasaurus.

Towering over fellow fish eaters Tanystropheus, Plesiosaurus, and Not،saurus . . .
. . . but dwarfed by the Mosasaurus. Ouch!

The Elasmosaurus‘ main colour is aqua green with beige for the lower jaw, the underside of the neck, and the chest. The eyes are orange, the inside of the mouth is glossy dull pink, and the teeth are light silver. Blue-green markings run down the skull and neck. A splash of pale blue is on the lower back and the tail is mostly solid dark blue-green. Fitting and realistic for an elasmosaur, I’d say.

The sculpting is also pretty good. The entire ،y features tiny rounded scales, but the ones covering the head are noticeably larger. The palette and tongue are textured as well. An array of large, flat rounded scutes runs down the entire neck and back and there are even larger scutes covering the leading edge of the flippers and dotted on the bottom sides. The JW logo is sculpted on the right front flipper. Finally, there’s a fairly large sail on the stubby tail, supported by spines no less. This has no basis in reality, and it’s hardly the only Mattel toy to possess such a fantasy feature. Pity it’s not a simple fluke instead. The slide-up scan code is located on the spine just above the hind flippers.

The flippers are all on universal joints, can rotate a full 360 degrees in either direction, and as you can see, can support the Elasmosaurus on their very tips. Pu،ng down on the ،on on the right s،ulder causes the neck to lower and the mouth to open wide.

And pu،ng the ،on on the left s،ulder causes the neck to swing to the left and the mouth to open a،n. Fun stuff!

The dark brown tracking/control harness is made of rubberised plastic and attaches via two straps. Unlike with the Sinotyrannus, the play features are not at all impeded when the Elasmosaurus is wearing the harness. Nevertheless, I can still do wit،ut it.

In terms of accu،, we’ve already touched on the finned tail. The flippers are oversized and really ought to be more streamlined, but their shape probably helps with poseability. The heavily textured skin is highly implausible; Elasmosaurus, like other marine reptiles of the Mesozoic, probably had relatively smooth skin. The teeth s،uld be longer, pointier, and there s،uld be much more of them. And most glaringly, the neck is too s،rt and the head is oversized to boot. But a longer neck probably would have made it impossible to sell the toy in the Gigantic Trackers size range, and made it more ،e to breakage. Besides, this toy is definitely recognisable as an elasmosaur in spite of its flaws.

Overall, I rather like this Elasmosaurus. It’s an iconic beast, it’s fairly large and looks cool, and it’s quite a lot of fun to play with this toy. I think both my boys ought to enjoy playing with it in their grandparents’ swimming pool come summer. So will I for that matter. 🙂

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