Review and photographs by Funk, edited by Suspsy
Parasaurolophus seems to be the hadrosaur with the most toy representations by far, no doubt due to its charismatic, iconic head crest. It just looks neat, design-wise, compared to, for example, Lambeosaurus with its weird hatchet, Corythosaurus with its dull plate, or Tsintaosaurus and the unfortunate way its crest used to be depicted. Most major dinosaur toy lines seem to have had a Parasaurolophus, with the notable exception of Dino-Riders, which featured Saurolophus with its diminutive spike instead.
This review deals with the AAA baby Parasaurolophus, which though charming, has some serious accuracy issues. First off, hatchling hadrosaurs did not have crests, let alone crests recognisable as that of the adult (that goes for you too, Land Before Time Ducky!). Parasaurolophus is known to have begun its crest development earlier than Corythosaurus; one 2.5 m long juvenile (specimen RAM 14000) estimated to have been in its first year when it died only shows a low, hemispherical “bump” at the base of where the crest would later grow out. A hatchling Parasaurolophus would have been many times smaller, so there would probably not have been even a hint of a crest. To the sculptor’s credit, the crest doesn’t seem to be as proportionally long as that of an adult.
As for the other proportions, they are closer to those of an adult Parasaurolophus than a hatchling. Hatchlings had large heads and eyes compared to their bodies, which would have made them very cute-looking, yet the manufacturer didn’t capitalise on this obviously appealing feature for some reason. Perhaps this was done to make it more recognisable as a Parasaurolophus? But then the crest alone would have done the trick, so it is a bit of a baffling choice. The other AAA babies seem to have the same problem, but it is just more noticeable in this case, because unlike the others, hatchling hadrosaurs have been known for quite some time, so there should be no excuse.
As most of the rest of the animal is hidden by the egg, little more can be said about the dinosaur’s body, other than that its forelimbs are also rather inaccurate, being very thick, with individually sculpted fingers. Hadrosaur fingers are known to have been joined together in a fleshy “mitten,” and there is really no excuse for this common mistake, as this feature has been known since 1908, back when the first Edmontosaurus mummy was found. The skin is scaly, which should be fine, if the scales didn’t look more like protruding warts.
The colouration of the skin is a nondescript turquoise with a lighter crest, which is surprising given that these are unusually depicted with a darker colour than the rest of the animals. The eyes are yellow (with the paint sloppily applied so that it bleeds onto the surrounding skin), and interestingly, the pupils are horizontal slits like in some herbivorous mammals, though I wonder if this is really due to a sloppy paint job rather than design. Here it should be noted that when the figure is viewed from the front, it is apparent that the eyes are placed asymmetrically on the head, which does not exactly work in its favour.
Then there is the egg itself, which constitutes at least half of the toy. Again, hadrosaur eggs had been known for a while even when this figure was produced, and they are known to have been spherical with a rough surface. Moreover, dinosaur eggs appear to have had hard, thick shells. What we have here instead looks like a crocodilian egg: oval, smooth, and soft with the shell literally being ripped open by the emerging hatchling. The shell is white with splotches that seem to indicate cracks or creases, and yellowish yolk appears to cover the dinosaur where it emerges from the egg.
So what can I say, it is a cute 90s’ dinosaur baby that would have been fun for kids to play with, but it is almost entirely inaccurate, though this fact would probably have been lost to most people. For collectors, it would probably only have nostalgic value, and the paint on mine doesn’t seem to have aged very well, having rubbed off in places. I have a vague memory of playing with it in the bathtub as a kid, though, which may explain the flaky paint and some of the filthier looking areas of the toy.