Titanosaurians are a quite poorly known group of sauropod dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period. Saltasaurus, from Argentina, is one of the better known representatives of this group and it provided the first conclusive evidence for osteoderms (bony armour) in a sauropod; many titanosaurians are now known to have been armoured.
The Carnegie Collection Saltasaurus was released in 1996 and is one of the smallest sauropod figures in the collection (the baby Apatosaurus perhaps shouldn’t count, but the tiny Amargasaurus figure is slightly smaller that the 28 cm long Saltasaurus). The pose is quite simple and elegant, the neck points straight forward and the raised tail points straight backwards. The legs look a little uncomfortable because both the left ‘arm’ and left leg are sculpted in mid-step so only their claws contact the ground. This Saltasaurus looks like it could be in for a nasty fall.
The surface of the back is covered with those distinctive bony osteoderms which form rounded bumps. The texture of the skin between these large osteoderms is sculpted as rough closely packed scales or ossicles. This covering of osteoderms and ossicles seems to be the only character in the figure indicative of its titanosaurian identity. The hips in titanosaurs were very wide and their rear legs were widely spaced, corroborated from fossil bones and fossilised trackways. However, this Saltosaurus figure is very narrow when looked at from above, it’s a generic sauropod shape.
The neck is thin and the head itself is tiny. The skull of Saltsaurus is unknown except for parts of the jaws so maybe this explains the nondescript head in this figure. With it’s huge wide black eyes and tiny mouth agape, it looks almost shocked and rather cute, as far as dinosaur figures go that is.
There are some black spots on the sides of the head and these are also present on the flanks of the body and add character to the piece. The figure is coloured in shades of brown, grey, and lighter teal on the legs and tummy. The osteoderms are highlighted in white and also give a lot of texture to the sculpture.