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Maiasaura is one of the only dinosaurs of the world who have the word "saura" instead of "saurus", hence prioritizing the feminine aspect. The most interesting fact about this animal is that paleontologists have been baffled by how amazing parents each egg fossil proves them to have been. It is speculated and estimated that the parents of the species Maiasaura peeblesorum (Horner and Makela) fed their young ones for the first few weeks after birth.
The fossils of this animal of the late cretaceous period were discovered in present-day Montana, and since have interested paleontologists and intellectuals from around the world through the diverse behavioral cultures that have been revealed.
The Maiasaura pronunciation sounds somewhat like "may-ah-saw-rah".
The Maiasaura dinosaur was a hadrosaur, whose fossil remains have been discovered from present-day Montana and give us an insight into the history of the earth.
The geological period during which this animal is estimated to have tread earth in the late cretaceous period of the earth. If you happen to be wondering how far that extends into ancient history, you will be astounded to know that these dinosaurs inhabited earth no less than about 76.7 million years ago!
The exact timeline as to when the Maiasaura became extinct is not known to us, however, the fact that Maiasaura lived during the late cretaceous period gives us scope for making assumptions. If these dinosaurs did not get extinct until the end of the cretaceous period, they may have been washed off the surface of earth around 66 million years ago - since it was around his time that the cretaceous period was brought to an end with a meteor collision!
There is considerable evidence include the site in which the bones of these dinosaurs were found that Maiasaura lived in inland forests and woodlands. The estimated Maiasaura habitat would also have been best for them given the fact that they moved in large herds and would require ample vegetation to feed on!
The Maiasaura fossils have been discovered from a site in present-day Montana, North America, which is known as the Two Medicine Formation. Such a huge amount of nests and other fossils of the adults, hatchlings, and eggs were found in this part of western Montana that it eventually came to be known as the Egg Mountain!
Maiasaura is known to have shown herd behavior that is considered normal for any hadrosaur. Paleontologists suggest, through the bones of many adults and the huge number of nests that were found in close proximity to the next, that these animals would live in large groups. A herd of Maiasaura could have consisted of more than 10000 dinosaurs!
These herds not only served as nesting colonies but also helped in protecting individual dinosaurs from predators. The adult or baby Maiasaura would thus hardly be seen alone.
The average lifespan of a typical Maiasaura dinosaur is yet to be estimated from the range of various fossils of this dinosaur genus. At the same time, even the time span that this dinosaur may have inhabited earth is also unclear due to the lack of relevant evidence.
Like other dinosaurs from all around the world, Maiasaura was also an oviparous genus of animals. That is to say that adults of the genus reproduced by laying eggs. Unlike most other dinosaurs, however, a lot has been researched about the Maiasaura nest and the process of raising young ones. The adult "good mother lizard" raised the young by feeding them in the nest, which was very evident from the worn-out tooth fossil of the fossilized hatchling.
The Maiasaura eggs were laid in a circular or spiral pattern, in a nest that was usually shaped like a crater. Nests were made in close proximity, which means that the groups of parents would also have been helpful. The fact that the young Maiasaura did not have to worry about what it ate for some time after birth does make the genus sound like good parents, doesn't it?
The characteristic feature of this animal species has been gathered from the Maiasaura skull. The skull of this dinosaur shows that individuals had a crest at the top of the head. Apart from this, these past inhabitants of present-day Egg Mountain are also characterized by their four feet. Usually quadrupedal, this animal would run on the stronger hind legs, when threatened.
Interestingly, the young feet of the young ones, however, were seen to have been under-developed. While this small detail about the feet of the hatchlings may seem insignificant, it actually revealed substantial information regarding the nesting habits of the animal!
The exact number of bones that an average Maiasaura had in its body is a figure that is difficult to estimate since the complete skeleton of this member of the family of duck-billed dinosaurs has been made with bones of different individuals. Although, a look at the Maiasaura skeleton is definitely enough to understand that would take quite some time to count all of the bones!
The Maiasaura size is quite clearly suggestive of the fact that these animals would have had a very loud and harsh call. Additionally, since these dinosaurs lived in large herds, it would also have been very important to have ample communication.
The length of an average Maiasaura is estimated to have been around 30 ft (9 m) from head to tail. Meanwhile, the height of a fully ground dinosaur would be around 8.2 ft (2.5 m) from crest to feet!
The average speed at which an individual dinosaur of the genus could move is not known, however, we can gather from their enormous size that Maiasaura may not have been the fastest in the lot!
These animals mostly ran on their hind legs when trying to escape predators, and while grazing in a relaxed way, they would use all four feet!
The average weight of a Maiasaura is estimated to be around 3.3-11 short tons (3-10 tonnes)! Needless to say, the length and weight of these dinosaurs were way more than many hadrosaurs.
The male dinosaur of this genus would be called a Maiasaurus, while the female would be called a Maiasaura. However, we must note that paleontologists have been able to find no anatomical differences in the fossils, which would suggest any dimorphism.
The young ones of this genus would be called hatchlings! It is also interesting to know that Maiasaura eggs were similar in size to Ostrich eggs!
The diet of duck-billed Maiasaura peeblesorum (Horner and Makela) consisted mainly of food such as woody plants, tree bark, leaves, ferns, branches, and rotting wood. When searching for food, these animals from present-day North America used to graze on on four legs.
It is very unlikely that a Maiasaura would be aggressive. This assumption is based on the fact that herbivorous, herd animals are hardly known to have been hostile. Additionally, the name "good mother lizard" hardly allows animals of this genus to be aggressive in any way!
The duck-billed Maiasaura diet was predominantly herbivorous.
One of the most interesting Maiasaura dinosaur facts is that the crest on the skull may have been used for attracting mates through head-butting!
This animal is called Maiasaura or "good mother lizard" due to the evidence found in the form of fossilized eggs and hatchlings. Features such as the under-developed feet of the hatchlings suggested that the parent dinosaurs brought food to the young ones for a considerable amount of time.
The word "Maia", in Greek, refers to a goddess and means "good mother"; while "saura" is the female word for "saurus", meaning lizard or reptile.
The only two means of protection available to the Maiasaura were its muscular tail and its herd. When attacked by predatory dinosaurs, the Maiasaura would swing its massive tail in an attempt of warding the carnivore off!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover!
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Maiasaura coloring pages.
Image two by Nobu Tamura.
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