Einiosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

Described in 1995 by Scott Sampson the Einiosaurus has been known to science for over 20 years but has never really caught on in popularity. Although not as iconic as Triceratops, or as flashy as Styracosaurus, the Einiosaurus has to be among the most bizarre looking ceratopsians. Imagine something like Centrosaurus, except with a bottle opener on its head instead of a spiky tyrannosaur deterrent. Indeed, the curved horn of Einiosaurus makes a strong case for the hypothesis that these head ornamentations were not primarily used for defense.  The genus has long been among my favorite ceratopsians and ever since I took up dinosaur collecting I’ve hoped someone would produce an Einiosaurus (aside from the cartoony “Dinosaur Train” toy) and then, for whatever reason, three of them have popped up within the span of a year. One by PNSO which I reviewed recently, this one by Safari, and another upcoming one by CollectA which I won’t be reviewing (I’m not that obsessed with Einiosaurus).

The Safari Einiosaurus is just one model in a huge (and dare I say historic) lineup of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals from Safari Ltd. It’s also another great addition to Doug Watson’s lineup of ceratopsians for the company (something that was sorely missed last year was the addition of another ceratopsian from Doug). This one was worth the wait though, not only is it an Einiosaurus but it’s also one of the best models of the five ceratopsians released thus far, though I may be biased.

Measuring 6.34” in length and 2.54″ tall it scales in well with the other Safari ceratopsians. They’re not in scale with each other of course but with them all being about the same size they still display well together. The Einiosaurus is sculpted with all fours planted on the ground. The left arm is bent at the elbow and the left leg is stretched out behind the animal. This position, and with its head lifted and mouth open, makes the animal looks like it’s bracing itself for something.

At this point I think we can safely say that Mr. Watson is a proficient ceratopsian sculptor. When you buy one of his ceratopsians you can rest assured it’ll be well researched and accurate. The digits are all correctly numbered and accurately portrayed with the forelimbs possessing two clawless little digits on each hand. The hide on this model is particularly noteworthy with many raised scutes along the body. This is in keeping with what we know about the integument of Triceratops and a logical choice for this dinosaur. The scutes also add that much more detail to the toy with its muscular limbs and fleshy skin folds. Unlike the PNSO model this is a full bodied ceratopsian too, full bodied and strong looking.

The head matches well with the skull of Einiosaurus but there is one peculiarity I must point out. Directly above the eyes there are small knobby horns but behind the left brow horn there is another horny bit that is absent from the right side. I’m not sure why this would be and maybe the sculptor knows something I don’t. It’s something I didn’t notice until I sat down to write this review and it’s only mildly distracting. (EDIT: The extra horn was indeed intentional, refer to Doug Watson’s comment below)

The model is painted in earthy greens and browns that blend nicely into each other. The horns and beak are also brown but the nails are painted black. The fenestra on the frill are highlighted with red rings and a yellow spot in the center. It’s nice to see the frill painted as a display structure.

It’s nice to finely have a few representatives of this obscure genus to choose from. Although I have not yet seen the CollectA model I feel confident that this model from Wild Safari is probably the best of the bunch. When the Nasutoceratops was released a couple years ago it was hailed as one of the greatest toys of that year. I think this Einiosaurus is just as good as that model, although it might be forgotten amongst the other offerings from Safari this year. Don’t let this model go unnoticed, it’s a must have for any serious dinosaur collector.

Now available at Dan’s Dinosaurs and wherever Wild Safari models are sold.

15 Responses to Einiosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

  1. What an amazing model! Kudos to Doug Watson and Safari Ltd. for yet another life-like ceratopsian.

  2. “Imagine something like Centrosaurus, except with a bottle opener on its head instead of a spiky tyrannosaur deterrent.”

    There are specimens of Centrosaurus with nose horns that look similar to the nose horn of Einiosaurus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Centrosaurus_skulls.png

  3. My Safari ceratopsian quintet just arrived in the last 2 days. Very impressive bunch. And top notch, sure! Great details, varying paint job, dynamic enough poses. Will fit on my shelf perfectly!

  4. “Directly above the eyes there are small knobby horns but behind the left brow horn there is another horny bit that is absent from the right side. I’m not sure why this would be and maybe the sculptor knows something I don’t.”

    If you check Sampson’s 1995 paper “”Two new horned dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana; with a phylogenetic analysis of the Centrosaurinae (Ornithischia: Ceratopsidae)” The holotype skull that I used for reference here exhibits that asymmetry. As Sampson states ” On evidence from all well-represented centrosaurine taxa, it appears that ontogenetic loss of supraorbital horn cores (or bosses in Pachyrhinosaurus) was common in the subfamily, resulting in structures of variable morphology.”
    There is a very nice reconstruction of the holotype skull MOR 456 8-9-6-1 in the paper my skull is based on that reconstruction.

  5. Of course when releasing on the market Collecta’s einiosaurus will make a good pair. Collecta today is one of Safari’s competitors, even PNSO is another major commercial adversary.

    From my point of view it is perhaps one of the best centroauridos better done to date. Especially I like your warts on the back, they give a much more realistic character to the figure.

  6. RE: Ornamental vs Useful horns. Imagine a downward thrust with the “bottle opener” (extended by a keratin sheath) onto the foot or shin of a large (hollow boned) theropod, followed by an upward thrust of those two frill spikes (similarly clad) into the throat or belly. And all this as a “knee-jerk” reaction. Works for me…

    • Seems like an awfully specific set of circumstances would be required to employ that attack method. I tend to think that like most structures in nature, display was the primary purpose.

      • Tell that to the stag, the wild boar, the water buffalo, the rhinoceros, the elephant…

        • None of those animals use those structures primarily for defense. A stag? Seriously? Their antlers fall off after the breeding season. Boar, rhino, and elephant also use their structures primarily for combat and display with their own species, which is why those structures are typically more pronounced in males of those species.

          • You just don’t get it at all, do you?

          • Actually, I’m not sure you get it. I’m not suggesting that these animals can’t or don’t use their various horns, antlers, or tusks for defense what I’m telling you is that defense is not the PRIMARY reason these structures exist. This is common knowledge among biologists and paleontologists tend to agree that the same was true for extinct animals too. Again I stress the word PRIMARY, as in the reasons these structures exist and evolved in the first place. Primary as in “of chief importance; principal.” That’s all I have left to say on it, do the research yourself. If you can’t figure out why only male deer grow antlers and keep them only during the breeding season than I don’t know how else to explain the concept. If there is something I’m supposed to get and am not then you just need to articulate yourself better.

    • I’m siding with Gwangi on this. The only way for an Einiosaurus to successfully best a tyrannosaur in the way you’re describing would be for the predator to remain perfectly still while the ceratopsian made its precision strike. At best, I can see the Einiosaurus possibly using its head as a battering ram.

  7. It looks fantastic! I just wish these companys -(safari ltd, papo, ect)- would make a line of jumbo/deluxe/ large scale animals/dinosaurs- like xplus, and sega did. I know these are more educational- but as a collector of many diffrent toy lines- it would be awsome to have big animals compatible and in proper scale with the 6-8″ action figure scale. That would be most epic. Obviously that couldnt do a many in a large scale like that- but afew pieces a year would just be fantastic.

  8. Safari ceratopsians really are top notch. As much as I adore this one, I really want Doug Watson to churn out either a brand new version of Triceratops (the current one is really showing its age) or a Torosaurus. Something to go up against the T. rex.

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