Kristina Curry Rogers:Titanosaurus were self sufficient

Posted on May 3, 2016 12:34 am

Associate Professor Kristina Curry Rogers, from Macalester College, Minnesota has said world’s largest dinosaurs were born ready to roam in a researcher published in the latest edition of Science.Macalester College paleontologist Kristina Curry Rogers dubbed them Rapetosaurus in 2001, and she has continued to study the armor studded titan ever since.The bones, found in 70 to 66 million year old rock in Madagascar, belonged to a long-necked, herbivorous dinosaur named Rapetosaurus krausei. This species was a titanosaur, the group that includes the largest known dinosaurs, as well as celebrities like Apatosaurus, the sauropod formerly known as Brontosaurus.”This most likely meant that they required a less significant parental investment after hatching or birth,” Associate Professor Kristina Curry Rogers, from Macalester College, Minnesota, said.”They were probably capable of more independent locomotion and able to forage more quickly after they arrived on the scene.”It’s like wildebeest that stand only six minutes after birth, walk 30 minutes later, and outrun hyenas only one day after they are born.”The research, published in the latest edition of Science, was conducted on the fossilised bones of the youngest hatched sauropod unearthed so far.”We have a number of limb bones, pelvic bones, fingers, toes, and a few vertebrae,” Professor Rogers said.”They are excellently-preserved.”

Rapetosaurus found in Madagascar.Image by Kristina Curry Rogers
Rapetosaurus found in Madagascar.Image by Kristina Curry Rogers

A Rapetosaurus is a type of sauropod known as a titanosaurus, meaning ‘titanic lizard’.Calculations show the long-necked, plant-eating sauropod could grow to a length of about 15 metres.It had a small head, a very long neck, an elephant-like body, and a short, slender tail.”We took a series of detailed measurements of the baby and compared the proportions of things like mid-shaft circumference and bone length to a number of other, older Rapetosaurus skeletons in our collection,” Professor Rogers said.”Despite massive changes in body size the proportions stayed the same.”The researchers estimated the young dinosaur weighed between 2.5 and 4.3 kilograms when it was born.When it died between 39 and 77 days later it weighed 40 kilograms and was around 35 centimetres tall, around the knee height of an average sized woman.”That’s only 11 per cent of the size of the largest known Rapetosaurus,” Professor Rogers said.The first Rapetosaurus, a specimen a third the adult size was first discovered in the 1990s by Professor Rogers and her colleague Associate Professor Catherine Forster, of George Washington University.”There have been around 30 new species of titanosaurs found in the last 15 years across the globe,” Professor Rogers said.”The difference with this fossil though is that it grants us access, for the very first time, to the smallest stage of growth after hatching in a sauropod.”It shows that it had an evolutionary advantage in that the young could get out of the nest fast and hopefully avoid being eaten by something much larger.”

Contador Harrison