The genus Alamosaurus groups a series of sauropod dinosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous, being one of the dinosaurs that became extinct in the Cretaceous-Tertiary transition.
The name Alamosaurus means “poplar lizard” because it was discovered in the Poplar Eye Formation in North America.
It was a dinosaur that is considered to have weighed between 25-40 tons, and unlike other sauropods this weight fell mainly on the front extremities instead of the back ones.
This peculiar characteristic is due to the fact that the front extremities were longer than the hind extremities, something that, although it is rare in animals that descend from bipeds, allowed in the Alamosaurus this distribution of body weight.
Do you want to find out more about this dinosaur? Throughout this page we will see all its characteristics and detailed information about the Alamosaurus. Keep reading and learn more about this herbivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous!
Taxonomy of the Alamosaurus
- The Alamosaurus belongs to the Animalia kingdom.
- It is a species corresponding to the Chordata division.
- This dinosaur belongs to the class Sauropsida.
- It is classified within the super-order Dinosauria.
- The Alamosaurus corresponds to the order Saurischia.
- It belongs to the suborder Sauropodomorpha.
- It is classified as part of the sub-order Sauropoda
- Finally the Alamosaurus is classified in the family Saltasauridae
If we talk about the taxonomy of the Alamosaurus it is necessary to emphasize that although it is considered a Titanosaurus, this taxon is nomen dubium, that is to say, it is a scientific name whose application implies doubt or ignorance.
The vestiges of this singular specimen were found in some formations of very rocky qualities, for that detail many great scientists assume that this was one of the last dinosaurs that could survive until the moment just before the famous massive extinction.
This prehistoric animal that stands out mainly for its enormous size was reviewed because many of its remains were found, and not only of a specimen, but of several of the same ones, that for fortune of many great investigators were in a full state of conservation.
This achievement of findings facilitated to a great extent the study of this specimen, although obviously not all of these fossils were in good condition, although most were.
This good fossil conservation is a really strange phenomenon but that in the end has left the entire scientific community amazed, because by that same detail they have managed to discover things that could never have been known.
Although there is a tendency to compare this situation with that of other titanosaurs of a different size, scientists say that the large amount of fossil remains in this specimen is very abundant, unlike other cases.
This enormous animal was a sauropod, so it can be assumed and verified that the head of this specimen was not of greater dimensions; however, its neck was one of the parts of its body that caused “envy”, since it possessed a great length as well as a robust structure, at first sight quite strong enough to perform dangerous and reckless maneuvers.
On the other hand, if we focus on its enormous body, we see that this animal was really titanic, and because of that if we keep on looking down at its legs, we will see that these have the precise shape to fulfill the function of supporting or sustaining that large and corpulent animal.
This form of which we speak is the cylindrical shape, which allowed to distribute the weight of the whole dinosaur and give it much greater mobility in any terrain, something exceptional since a large size could be at odds with good mobility.
Characteristics of the Alamosaurus
Many may wonder about the details of the tail, which was actually quite stylish, thin and obviously also served the function of providing balance to this huge animal, which surely needed it.
As for this, we can say that it was quite similar to a specimen identified as Brachiosaurus, although some others compared it to another specimen known as Diplodocus, however, in my opinion, this animal has more physical similarities with the first specimen than with the second one we just mentioned.
On the other hand, as for these physical specifications, which could be known due to the remains we mentioned in previous paragraphs, specimens have been found that reached a length of up to 20 meters, some others could reach a height of almost 13 meters.
As for its volume, the matter was not going to change either, 32 tons were not going to be enough to describe this animal, that is why some scientists assured that the limit might have been 50 tons, so they established a range between those numbers.
The figures we mentioned before belong to adult specimens, that is, dinosaurs in their already mature stage, unlike the ones we will mention now, which could have been over a ton in weight, but these specimens turned out to be much younger.
Therefore, a pattern can be established about the way these huge animals developed their organisms.
On the other hand, if we go a little more towards the south of America, we will find a territory that we know today as Mexico, territory within which several quite interesting remains have been found, of which we are not completely sure which animal they belong to, but as almost everything in Paleontology, it is presumed that it is a fractured tibia of the dinosaur protagonist of this article, which had a length of approximately 165 centimeters.
After a long time of studies, calculations and research, a large group of scientists reached the consensus that this animal could have been much larger than initially thought, since its maximum volume could have been actually more than 70 tons, while its size was about 30 meters, a giant.
It is for this great reason that this animal is considered as one or as the largest of all that American territory, that is to say, of the northern zone, by those figures that we indicated, which leave impressed even the most skeptical.
From that moment on, this Alamosaurus is frequently compared with huge specimens worthy of it, such as the identified and mentioned Argentinosaurus, without obviously forgetting to name the extinct Puertasaurus.
A not unimportant detail is a characteristic that its vertebrae had, and it is that after various studies, it was detected that those depressions in such elements were something that was repeated frequently. Therefore, this made scientists remember the similar depressions that other specimens such as the Saltasaurus had, in addition to the fact that other dinosaurs such as the Malawisaurus also presented quite similar characteristics.
Location and study of the fossil remains of the Alamosaurus
The bone remains of this singular specimen were found in the south-eastern area of the United States, as we have already mentioned, making scientists think that their remains would only be found in one state, which was not the case, since as years went by, several structures were found in other states of the American territory.
A famous scientist known as Gilmore, took the license to study two bone elements of great importance, all this was carried out two years after the beginning of the 1920’s, time in which he took a scapula and extracted all kind of details about it, he did the same with another element scientifically called ischium.
However, six years after the beginning of the 1940s, this same great researcher managed to find another bone structure, which was in a much more desirable state of conservation, all of which was developed within what we know today as the state of Utah.
In summary, what he was able to find in that place was the area of the tail, which was intact, a right limb that only lacked the structure of the foot and was also able to do with the possession of two elements identified as ischions.
From that moment on, many young and daring scientists went to that place to carry out several explorations, and the result of all that fever was that numerous bone structures and several fossil footprints were found, which would later be studied.
After a while many of these fossil remains were going to be assigned to another dinosaur, with good reason, but also many other vestiges were assigned to other specimens that we will mention later.
It was even said that they found a bone structure which practically gave them almost everything we know today about this animal, both its physical characteristics and the behavior of this dinosaur, an unprecedented fact in this field of science.
It was another scientist who actually realized that these remains belonged to an Alamosaurus, a famous researcher by the name of Michael Brett-Surman, even though Gilmore himself had managed to study this specimen before.
The curious thing about the findings of the bone structures of this animal is that thanks to them many scientists can know how the fauna of that territory was in those years, so it was not an unimportant finding, quite the contrary.
Another thing that has been discovered is that the remains found seem to be arranged in a pattern that indicates that these animals could have migrated from the southern part of the American continent, and there are many details that make this argument not as crazy as it seems at first glance.
However, the argument has also been made that there is a possibility that this specimen could have come to the American continent from the Asian continent, but this argument is still being questioned due to the lack of scientific evidence to prove it, in fact it is said that this dinosaur was not very skillful to move over long distances.
What it was a determinant specimen was dominating its environment, it was able to organize itself very efficiently and get to invade large portions of land in an unparalleled way, an animal that migrated almost by nature.