Riojasaurus

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Riojasaurus
Temporal range: Upper Triassic
Skull cast
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Infraorder: Prosauropoda
Genus: Riojasaurus
Bonaparte, 1967

Riojasaurus was a herbivorous prosauropod dinosaur. It was one of the earliest of the large, plant-eating dinosaurs. Riojasaurus lived during the Upper Triassic, roughly 225 to 219 million years ago. Fossils have been found in La Rioja Province in Argentina. There are include incomplete skeletons from about 20 individuals.

Riojasaurus had a heavy body, bulky legs, and a long neck and tail. Its leg bones were dense and massive for a prosauropod.[1] By contrast, its vertebrae were lightened by hollow cavities, and unlike most prosauropods, Riojasaurus had four sacral vertebrae instead of three.[1]

It probably moved slowly on all fours and could not rear up on its back legs.[1][2] The nearly equal length of the fore and hindlimbs is also suggestive of a quadrupedal animal.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Riojasaurus." In: Dodson, Peter et al The Age of Dinosaurs. Publications International, 41. ISBN 0-7853-0443-6.
  2. Van Heerden J. and Galton P.M. 1997. The affinities of Melanorosaurus a late Triassic prosauropod dinosaur from South Africa. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Monatshefte. (1):39-55