Futabasaurus suzukii
(formerly Wellesiosaurus suzukii)

L 600, H 105, W 240 (mm)
Hand-cast polyurethane resin from silicon molds

BrantWorks Futabasaurus, progress photo Jan 2010 

I originally heard about this model from Gene Kube (GK Scale Models and Figures Illinois, USA; now closed). Gene told me he once stocked an example of a Kaiyodo “elasmosaur” skeleton model but had no images or further details. That was in 2003.

Despite many attempts, I found no evidence of the model again until October 2009, when I was contacted by John Carlson, President of Monstrosities Inc., the company that originally imported these models to the USA. John confirmed the model really did exist and kindly sent information and photos of a built-up model.

The kit was originally labeled “Wellsiosaurus suzukii ”, making researching the model a little more challenging as the correct spelling is Wellesiosaurus.

The Kaiyodo model is a reconstruction of a juvenile ("baby") skeleton, however the original fossil is an adult, with an estimated length of between 6.4 m and 9.2 m and a maximum forelimb-span of about 3 m.  Because the species is represented only by this single Type specimen, its paleobiology is largely unknown.

I will substantially modify a copy of the model to build an accurate Elasmosaurus platyurus skeleton (see progress photos here).

Wellesiosaurus suzukii is well known in Japan, having been discoverd in 1968 by fossil-hunting high school student Tadashi Suzuki who found it in a riverbank near his home in Fukushima Prefecture. A large portion of a mostly articulated skeleton was recovered from a Late Cretaceous Futaba Group geological outcrop.

The 85 million year old plesiosaur became an iconic fossil in Japan. Popularly known as "Futaba Suzuki Ryu" (ryu = dragon) and its skeleton was reconstructed and displayed in the National Science Museum in Tokoyo.

While the specimen was originally named Wellesiosaurus suzukii, this became a nomen dubium when, almost 40 years later it was formally described as Futabasaurus suzukii in 2006.

Natioanl Science Museum centenary postage stamp issued November 1977, featuring the skeleton of Wellesiosaurus suzukii and the museum building.

Reconstructed skeleton of Futabasaurus suzukii in the National Science Museum, Tokyo.

Cast of the fossilized remains of Futabasaurus suzukii in the National Science Museum, Tokyo.