STL Science Center

STL Science Center

11 November 2011

One Good Momma

Maiasaura. Made famous by Jack Horner over the past thirty years and the subject of one of my favorite books for children. Hadrosaur. Horner named and described the dinosaur and attributed the name, meaning "caring mother lizard", to the discovery of the dinosaur in postures which the dinosaur seemed to be exhibiting care for and protection over the eggs. The site and surrounding area has since been dubbed Egg Mountain. This is some of the best proof for dinosaur care of eggs and young alike so far discovered.

Maiasaura was a Hadrosaur with very little to no natural defensive abilities that was mostly quadrupedal, though partially bipedal as well. Herd mentality and, possibly at times, the thick muscular tail are the only things that could have saved Maiasaurs from the teeth of their contemporaries like Daspletosaurus, Troodons, Chirostenotes, and other small predators which probably loved when a 10,000 member herd forgot to watch a baby Hadrosaur for a moment. Not being able to walk right away due to possessing incompletely formed legs at birth made the babies highly vulnerable to predators and, while a herd of Maiasaura would be daunting, someone had to lay their eggs on the outside rings of the herds and a quick darting predator like a Troodon was probably not against eating on the run. More to come on the Good Mother over the next week.
©Keiji Terakoshi

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