Plateosaurus engelhardti

  • Pronounced:  Plate - e - o - Saw - rus

  • Diet:  Herbivore (Plant-Eater)

  • Name Means:  "flat lizard"

  • Length:  18 to 30 feet (6 m to 10 m)

  • Height:  up to 10 feet (3 m)

  • Weight:  up to 1500 pounds (700 kilos)

  • Time:  Jurassic

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Europe

Plateosaurus is the earliest known member of the huge plant-eating, sauropod (long-neck) dinosaur family. These include all the great long-necked dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus  Diplodocus and Mamenchisaurus  Compared to these huge monsters Plateosaurus was small, but it was a giant compared to the other early dinosaurs.

Unlike its later relatives, Plateosaurus probably spent some time on its hind legs. These back legs were quite a bit stronger and larger than its front legs, which would have enabled it to rear up to get food or to defend itself. It had a large, sharp claw on each had that would have made a formidable weapon. Plateosaurus also shows the characteristics that became so pronounced in later sauropods - a long neck, long tail for balancing, and great size. Its teeth were all the same size and shape - small and pointy. Bone ridges around its mouth indicate that it likely had cheek pouches that would have enabled it to keep gathering food into its mouth while it chewed.

Like Coelophysis  a great many Plateosaurus skeletons were discovered in one location, possibly the result of some local catastrophic event such as a flash flood. This has given scientists a good picture of the individual variations of this dinosaur.

Recently, some scientists are classifying the prosauropods, including Plateosaurus, as a separate group of creatures and not simply as the ancestors of the later Jurassic sauropods.

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