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Sauropod

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Sauropod
Sauropod Skeleton.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genus

Family: Cetiosauridae

  • Cetiosaurus
  • Patagosaurus

Family: Euhelopididae

  • Euhelopus
  • Lourinhasaurus
  • Mamenchisaurus
  • Omeisaurus
  • Tehuelchesaurus

Family: Vulcanodontidae

  • Barapasaurus
  • Ohmdenosaurus
  • Vulcanodon

Incertae sedis:

  • Amygdalodon
  • Aragosaurus
  • Hudiesaurus
  • Rhoetosaurus

Incertae sedis:

  • Xenoposeidon
  • Brontomerus

Incertae sedis:

  • Blikanasaurus
  • Cardiodon
  • Chuanjiesaurus
  • Datousaurus
  • Duriatitan
  • Isanosaurus
  • Klamelisaurus
  • Kotasaurus
  • Oplosaurus
  • Tendaguria[2]
Sauropod Pelvic Bone.jpg
The pelvic bone of a Sauropod.

Sauropods were a group of dinosaurs, that are best known as the largest creatures to walk the face of the earth. They could be as long as 100 feet and weigh almost 100 tons. These massive creatures had incredibly large necks, allowing them to reach any food they need. Their massive tails also benefited them, whether to call mates of fend off predators. Sauropods are thought to have mostly eaten conifers and other plants, making them herbivores. There are also a few different species of Sauropods that differ in size and stature, but the smallest of them still was 89 feet long.

Appearance

Two sauropods put next to a human for size comparison.

Sauropods were the largest creature to ever roam the earth. The largest of these, the Apatosaurus, could reach 110 feet in length, all the way up to 54 feet high, and weighed up to 100 tons. Sauropods had incredibly large necks but not very large heads, which allowed them to cover lots of ground as they swept the fields looking for things to eat.[3]. One Sauropod, the Mamenchisaurus, had a neck that was about 46 feet in length. Some dinosaurs held their necks in a more vertical position, therefore reaching high up in trees to reach leaves and things, while others held their necks in a more horizontal position to reach food on the ground easier. One theory stated that Sauropods may have had a second brain in the end of their tail, but scientists later discovered that to be a large obtrusion of the spinal cord, which may have controlled movements in the legs and tail. This enlargement was larger than the small brain in the Sauropod, however, which at first confused scientists. These dinosaurs walked on four legs, each foot having five toes. They had very large stomachs to eat all of the food they needed to energize their ginormous bodies. Their teeth were blunt and pencil-shaped. [4]. One belief is that Sauropods would use their massive tails to intimidate other predators, or to attract mates. A Microsoft study proved that a 13-ton tail could actually break the sound barrier. Many Sauropods had stress fractures or other injuries in that area of the tail, possibly showing that they were males trying to attract mates. [5].

Diet

Sauropods ate mostly conifers, which dominated plant life when they lived. They also might have eaten foods such as: Ginkos, seed ferns, cycads, bennettitalean ferns, club mosses, and horsetails. There is no way to determine what the exact diet of these dinosaurs was, but they certainly could have had different diets according to the different species. [6]. Their long necks gave them the ability to eat the foliage they needed to stay at their gigantic size. A few of the largest Sauropods may have needed to eat about a ton of vegetation each day. [7]. There are two basic tooth types for Sauropods; a robust tooth form, and a peg-like tooth form. The Diplodicus, which had the peg-like tooth, is thought to have eaten soft and aquatic vegetation, or it softly pulled from terrestrial vegetation. The Camarasaurus, which had the robust tooth form, is thought to have eaten rougher and more firm vegetation. Scientists try to determine a dinosaur's eating patterns by looking at the patterns on the teeth of the dinosaurs, but these are all simply guesses and cannot be proven. Some things can be learned from looking at tooth-marks, but certainly not everything. [8].

Types of Sauropods

"Based on what we have found so far in the fossil record, sauropods were likely the largest family of land creatures ever to walk the earth."[3] Species in this family dominated size throughout the world. The Brachiosaurus was 82 feet long, weighed 88 tons, had nostrils on the top of its head, and had longer front legs than back legs. The Diplodocus was the smallest Sauropod of all, because it had almost completely hollow bones. It was 89 feet long and weighed 10 tons. The Apatosaurus had a large muscular tail that scared away predators, but it had a small head with a very small brain. This dinosaur was 70 feet long and weighed 30 tons.[3] These are not the only types of Sauropods as there are many more not listed.

Video

This video shows how a dinosaur could survive with such a large neck and small head. {{#ev:youtube|fzLW-I0iipE}}

References

  1. Sauropod Dinosaurs "Dinosaur Jungle" 13 January, 2015 (Date-of-Access)
  2. Sauropoda Wikispecies. Web. last modified on 13 March 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Riddle, Mike.Sauropods Answers Magazine. February 27, 2007
  4. Sauropods "Enchanted Learning" 16 December, 2014 (Date-of-Access).
  5. Dinosaurs whipped mates into line? "Creation.com" 13 January, 2015 (Date-of-Access).
  6. Sauropods "Enchanted Learning" 16 December, 2014 (Date-of-Access).
  7. What the Fossils Really Say about Dinosaurs "Institute for Creation Research" 13 January, 2015 (Date-of-Access).
  8. Sauropod Diets "UCMP Berkeley" 16 December, 2014 (Date-of-Access).