Friday, September 21, 2012


Ampelosaurus atacis
Ampelosaurus is one incredible looking Dinosaur. Not only are they members of the gigantically long Sauropod group, but they also had armor on their backs!

Ampelosaurus wasn't as long, or even as long-necked as some of its Sauropod relatives, but at 50ft in length they were far from tiny. They bony plates on the back are called osteoderms, and they grow from the dermal layers of the skin. Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus are two other Dinosaurs famous for their Osteoderms.

This Dinosaur is also pretty distinct because its fossils have been found more-or-less complete. Typically, Titanosaurs (the very large sauropods that lived in the Late Cretaceous) have to be reconstructed using only a handful of found remains. Ampelosaurus has provided us with dozens of fossils, including a skeleton that is very close to complete! They are one of the best known Dinosaurs in Europe.

Ampelosaurus ("Vineyard Lizard") lived between 70 and 65 million years ago, at the very end of the Dinosaurs' reign. They stomped around what is now Europe, and most of their fossils have been recovered from the Marnes Rouges InfĂ©rieures Formation in France. They were first uncovered near a Vineyard, hence the name's translation.

Status : Extinct for 70 million years
Location : Europe
Size : Length up to 50ft (15m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Superorder : Dinosauria -- Order : Saurischia
Infraorder : Sauropoda -- Genus : Ampelosaurus -- Species : A. atacis

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