The Late Jurassic landscape of North America would not have been complete without its most abundant sauropod resident, Camarasaurus. Meaning “chambered lizard” due to its chambered vertebrae, Camarasaurus was among the earliest sauropod genera to be described in detail, likely due to the fact that its discovery occurred right in the middle of the famous “Bone Wars” between American paleontologists Edward D. Cope and O. C. Marsh during the 1870s-1880s. Both men discovered and described a number of Camarasaurus species, and even named a few “new” dinosaurs from remains which are today attributed to Camarasaurus. A fantastic place to view Camarasaurus fossils in situ is Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, USA.
The Carnegie Collection has always been my absolute favorite dinosaur series. This beautiful Camarasaurus was released alongside the now retired Styracosaurus in 2002. This figure is 15 in. (37 cm) long and stands 7 in. (17.5 cm) tall, making it a figure that, while not too large, certainly has a presence. As this figure is supposed to be scaled at 1:40, its size also suggests that it likely represents Camarasaurus lentus, the most common species, which grew to around 14-15 m. in length rather than the massive 22+ m. C. supremus. This dinosaur is not well known to the general public, and this is the only widely manufactured figure of it currently available, that I know of.
This is a very well detailed model and was released around when the Carnegie Collection was really starting to churn out some beauties. There are elephantine wrinkles as well as visible scales all over the sculpt, and some muscle detail, particularly in the neck and tail. It also has a very elephantine coloration. The figure is molded in gray plastic, which is painted darker gray along the spine and flanks, with a light gray, almost cow-like pattern of splotches on the trunk of the body and stripes on the neck. Simple, yet effective and natural coloring in my opinion. The nostrils are black and the eyes, like so many other Carnegie dinosaurs, are painted gold with black pupils. The pose appears to be in stride, but with all four feet firmly planted on the ground. The tail is accurately held high and straight behind the animal.
For the most part, this is a wonderful and very accurate sculpt of Camarasaurus, with really only one main problem: the feet! Every digit on each foot has a claw, when the most recent views of sauropod limb anatomy suggest that only the large “thumb” claw would have been present on the forelimbs in life, with the remaining four digits internal and arranged like a pillar for maximum support. As for the hind limbs, only the three largest digits had claws on them with the remaining two being completely internal. Of course, the folks at the Carnegie Museum can’t really be faulted for this because it is data which didn’t exist back in 2001 when this model was being designed.
Once you get past the feet, this is a very true-to-life Camarasaurus. Everything is perfectly proportioned. It was a very stout sauropod with a relatively short but thick neck and a short, boxy skull. The skull of Camarasaurus was incorrectly mounted to an Apatosaurus skeleton during the initial reconstruction of that animal, leading to the naming of the dubious, though famous, composite genus Brontosaurus.
This is probably my favorite Carnegie sauropod, and I’d definitely recommend it to any dinosaur collector, despite its minor flaws.
This figure is available here