Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous
|Juvenile skeleton next to adult
Field Museum of Natural History
Rapetosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur. It lived in what is now Madagascar from 70 to 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Only one species, Rapetosaurus krausei, has been found. Like other sauropods, Rapetosaurus was a quadrupedal herbivore.
The discovery of Rapetosaurus was the first time a titanosaur had been recovered with an almost perfectly intact skeleton, complete with skull. It has helped to clarify some difficult issues in this large group of sauropod dinosaurs. It provides a baseline for the reconstruction of other titanosaurs that are known only from partial remains.
By the early part of the Upper Cretaceous all sauropods, except the titanosaurs, were extinct. The titanosaurs were the dominant herbivores of the Upper Cretaceous on the southern continents which made up Gondwana. Their reign was cut short by the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Juvenile[change | change source]
The specimen discovered was a juvenile. It is 8 metres (26 ft) from head to tail, and "probably weighed about as much as an elephant", according to Kristina Curry Rogers. An adult would have been about twice as long (15 metres (49 ft) in length), which is still less than half the length of its gigantic kin, like Argentinosaurus and Paralititan.
References[change | change source]
- Parsell D.L. 2001. Skeleton of new dinosaur 'titan' found in Madagascar. National Geographic News. 
- Rogers, Kristina Curry & Forster, Catherine A. 2001. The last of the dinosaur titans: a new sauropod from Madagascar. Nature 412, 530–534.
- Rogers, Kristina Curry & Forster, Catherine A. 2004. The skull of Rapetosaurus krausei (Sauropoda: Titanosauria) from the late Cretaceous of Madagascar. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 24(1), 121–144.