Dinosaurs through Time, pt 2

                                                                                                         By Mace Baker 


Plateosaurus or “Flat Lizard” was named by H. Von Meyer in 1837.

The many well-preserved skeletons of Plateosaurus found in central Europe enable us to have a

clear picture of the shape and size of this dinosaur. Members of this species attained a length of

at least 26 feet. Plateosaurusforelimbs were shorter than hind limbs. However, the forelimbs

appear to have been well constructed so as to easily bear the weight of the body. It probably

grazed in a quadrupedal position, but was quite capable of bipedal stance and locomotion, and

had the ability to rear up on its hind legs for the purpose of feeding on trees and tall shrubs. It

had broad hands and grasping fingers with a pronounced thumb claw. The fourth and fifth digits

of the hands were much shorter and weaker than the other three. Though the teeth were flattened

and leaf like in shape, the edges were serrated. The head was small and the neck and tail were long.


Cetiosaurus or “Whale Lizard” was named by Richard Owen in 1841.

This was the first sauropod to be found. It differs from most of the other sauropods in that its

backbone appears to be solid rather than hollow. Cetiosaurus was originally classified by Owen

as a crocodile. An almost entirely complete Cetiosaurus skeleton was discovered in Morocco.

In shape it was similar to Diplodocus and Apatosaurus. However, like Brachiosaurus, its front

legs were longer than its hind legs. Its neck, however, was much shorter than that of

Brachiosaurus and its tail was relatively short. The centrum of Cetiosaurus was much larger

than that of Brachiosaurus, but its neural spine was much narrower. Further, the zygapophysis

(spines jutting out sideways below the neural spine) were not as long as those in Brachiosaurus.

It had a rather short head, and its jaws contained spoon-like shaped teeth.


Massospondylus or “Massive Vertebrae” was named by Richard Owen in 1854.

Massospondylus had a lightly built, slender body with a long neck and tail. It had a small,

narrow skull with large eye sockets and large nostrils. The teeth in the front of the mouth were

round, while those in the back of the mouth were more oval. Some of the teeth were serrated. It

walked about on strong hind and forelimbs. Its hands may have had the capacity to grasp. The

thumb possessed a large, curved claw. The first fossils of this giant plant eater were found in

South Africa. In shape, this dinosaur is similar to Plateosaurus and to Lufengosaurus.





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