Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous
Saltasaurus was a large plant-eating dinosaur with an elongated neck and bony armored plates on its body. It was a titanosaurid sauropod which lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 83 to 79 million years ago. Fossils have been found in Argentina.
It was the first genus of sauropod known to have armour of bony plates embedded in its skin. The small bony plates (called osteoderms, a feature of modern crocodiles) have since been found on other titanosaurs.
Description[change | change source]
Saltasaurus was named by paleontologists José Bonaparte and Jamie Powell in 1980. Salta is the name of the Northwestern Argentinian Province where fossils were found. They include: a few oval and circular armored plates, hundreds of bumps which covered its back (roughly 1/4 inch = 6-7 mm in diameter), and several incomplete skeletons, including some vertebrae, limb bones, and jaws.