The Late Cretaceous hadrosaur Maiasaura has become famous for being the first large dinosaur to be discovered alongside direct evidence that it cared for its young. Fossil nests associated with this dinosaur show that young dinosaurs stayed in the nest well after hatching. First discovered in Montana and described by Jack Horner, its name means “good mother lizard”. As such, a lot of scale models of this dinosaur usually depict it associated with a nest. This particular model may have gone a little too far…
This Maiasaura was the original Carnegie sculpt of this dinosaur, being released in 1989. The scale is 1:40, and it’s about 7.5 inches long and 3 inches high, including the base, which is as you can see supposed to be a nest. This nest makes it a VERY hefty figure. The paint job isn’t too interesting, with the animal having a rusty orange base coat with dark brown spots and stripes. The underside of the neck is a creamy color and the nest and visible eggs are colored tan. The paint job is a bit sloppy, particularly around where dino meets nest, as the color of the animal has run onto the nest in places. There aren’t too many fine details but there are some scales and wrinkles around joints. Its nails are not painted a different color, but the eyes are yellow with black pupils.
The main thing that stands out about this Maiasaura is that it’s sitting on its nest, presumably to incubate the eggs. However, this is pretty absurd when you think of a 30 foot, multi-ton animal doing such a thing, because the eggs would have been hopelessly obliterated. More likely the nest would have been incubated with brush and other vegetation brought by the parents. No evidence has ever suggested that these animals sat on their nests, but hey, Safari was just being creative at the time I guess. However, they rectified their Maiasaura in the late 90s by releasing a separate parent and nest with babies and retiring this model.
Nest aside, the sculpt of the animal itself isn’t too awful, but it’s not very good either. For starters, this is a VERY fat Maiasaura. It’s just chunky all around. The skull is also just too broad and short. The hind limbs are very fat and crude, and they look pretty goofy in that squatting position. The forelimbs aren’t any better, and the digits on its hands should be fused together into hooves for walking. The tail is also a bit too short and should look stiff, not slightly snaky as it is here. One thing I do like about this Maiasaura is that the sculptor managed to reproduce the fleshy keel along its back.
In short, this is a pretty ambitious but outdated sculpt of Maiasaura. If you are into collecting the older Carnegies I’d get it if you can find it for a decent price because it is a pretty unique piece, and I can’t think of any dinosaur figure that would make a better paperweight!