The Sauroposeidon proteles is the only species that has been found within the Genus Sauroposeidon. It is a dinosaur that belonged to the suborder of sauropods. This spectacular and fascinating dinosaur inhabited our planet a few million years ago in the past.
The most remarkable feature of the Sauroposeidon proteles was undoubtedly the relatively large size it possessed. This extinct dinosaur shares many similarities with the titanosaurs. Its discoverer was amazed when he saw its remains, and his words were: it is amazing, it is probably the largest creature that has ever walked the Earth.
Basic information about the Sauroposeidon
The Sauroposeidon was a genus of animal belonging to the interesting group of dinosaurs. Every discovery that is made about the world of dinosaurs is truly fascinating and the discovery of the Sauroposeidon is not far behind. Just to think that we have only been on the planet for 200,000 years and that this genus was a few million years ago…
- How long is it? – About 34 meters in length.
- How tall is he? – He was about 60 feet tall.
- What’s his weight? – The mass of this animal is about 55 tons.
- When did he live? – It lived about 112 million years ago.
- What’s its suborder? – It belongs to the suborder of sauropods.
The taxonomy of the Sauroposeidon
Kingdom Animalia > Filo Chordata > Reptilia Class > Dinosaur Clade > Saurischia Order > Eusaurischia Clade > Sauropodomorpha Sub-order > Neosauropoda Clade > Macronaria Clade > Titanosauriformes Clade > Somphospondyli Clade > Genus Sauroposeidon
Within the genus Sauroposeidon we can only find one species called S.proteles. At the moment it is the only species that has been found in this genus, although it is not definitive. At any time new species of this genus can be found and even the only species of the genus can be discarded and added to another one. That is why in this page we will be careful to keep this section updated in case of any variation.
The suborder: the sauropods
In order to understand and get a more concrete idea about this extinct genus of dinosaurs, it is convenient to find out more about the family to which it belongs. All the genera are classified within certain families, and the families are grouped within larger classifications such as suborders, orders or class. In the case of the genus we are talking about today, it belongs to the suborder of the sauropods. Next we will see the main characteristics and features of sauropods.
The evolutionary process of this group of dinosaurs is really curious. The first known sauropods were small and thin, like the Saturnalia which was only one and a half meters long. At the end of the Triassic, they evolved to become the largest dinosaurs of all times, with the Argentinosaurus leading the ranking with about 30 to 40 meters long and weighing up to 110 tons.
Sauropods are generally associated with large dinosaurs and the fact that they have really long necks and tails. Besides that, they were quadruped animals and are considered to be the biggest animals in history. The funny thing is that their ancestors were small compared to them and they were biped animals.
They had really fragile and weak teeth. This group of dinosaurs had teeth that were not sharp at all, but were shaped like spatulas. The teeth did not crush the food, but the food was crushed in the stomach. In this respect, it is very similar to today’s birds, which also do not chew or grind their food in their mouths, but in their stomachs.
The nostrils of these dinosaurs were really big; they were just two large openings in the face (window-shaped nose). In addition, they had a large claw on their legs that they would have used as a defensive method (in addition to their large size). Something very curious is also that they reached sexual maturity well before they were grown-up adults.
Due to their bipedal origins and their theropodic origin, their front legs are shorter than their hind legs. This is because the origins of sauropods are carnivorous dinosaurs that walked on two legs while the other two limbs were arms.
Due to the long evolutionary process, some of them grew in size (those who would end up being classified as sauropods) and in order to support the large size they acquired, they gradually became four-legged animals.
Description of the Sauroposeidon
“It’s really fascinating, it’s probably the biggest creature that ever walked the Earth” were the words of its discoverer Richard Cifelli to the press in 1999. If there is one quality that should be summed up in this genus of dinosaur, it is undoubtedly the great size it had.
The Sauroposeidon is undoubtedly the tallest dinosaur ever found, although it cannot be considered the largest dinosaur. Even though the height of this dinosaur exceeds that of other dinosaurs, its length and weight do not.
The Argentinosaurus is much longer and heavier than the Sauroposeidon, as if it were the official candidate to be called the biggest dinosaur in history. The Sauroposeidon is very similar to the Brachiosaurus, although 20% larger, which is why it is possible that the Sauroposeidon comes from the Brachiosaurus.
However, the Sauroposeidon does not have much to envy from the Argentinosaurus either. With a length of 34 meters and a height of 18 meters, it has little to envy. The most curious thing is that despite having such dimensions, it would have weighed only 55 tons.
This can be deduced from the vertebrae found, which are 1.4 meters long. The latter also gives it the title of being the sauropod with the longest neck vertebrae in history.
The problem these large sauropods have generally lies in the size of the neck. In most cases the neck is so heavy that they can hardly move it. This is not the case with this genus, whose bones have air cells in addition to being very thin.
This would have made its neck more flexible than that of other sauropods, besides being the main reason that it “only” weighs about 55 tons in spite of its large size.
The Sauroposeidon could have lifted its head to a not inconsiderable height of 18 metres. This height would have been equivalent to a six-storey building and would have made a “fool of” his competitor Giraffatitan who could only raise his neck 13.5 metres above the ground.
The man’s height of this animal was 7 meters, leaving his neck about 11 meters long. Another reason he is not overweight is that his body is small compared to the size of his neck.
How was his discovery and appointment?
The first samples found on this genus were in 1994. It consists of a specimen of four neck vertebrae found in the Antlers Formation of Atoka County, Oklahoma.
This exploration was carried out by the Oklahoma Natural History Museum headed by Dr. Richard Cifelli. They were found specifically on an outcrop of clayey stones about 110 million years old.
There was a little curious anecdote about their discovery. At first, they came to think that these were tree trunk remains. This is because the vertebrae found were much larger than the vertebrae of most animals.
This confusion was understandable, in fact, they are now considered the longest dinosaur bones in history. In any case, because they were not considered very important fossil remains (but a simple tree) no one was interested in them.
In 1999, Dr. Cifelli commissioned one of his recent graduate students, Matt Wedel, to examine the remains. When this student discovered that they were actually very large vertebrae, he classified them as the OMNH 53061 holotype of the species named Sauroposeidon proteles.
The meaning of its name comes from the already very famous Greek word, saurus which means lizard and possessor, which refers to the god of the sea in Greek mythology. Even so, very few know that the Greek god Poseidon is also associated with earthquakes, meaning that he takes the name of this genus.
Sauroposeidon would have come to mean as “earth-shaking lizard” due to the fact that it is a large animal, its footprints would have caused tremors in the earth.
The name of the first and only species also comes from the Greek. The word proteles is Greek and translated into our language would literally mean “perfect before the end. This refers to the fact that it is the last known sauropod from North America.
When did the Sauroposeidon live?
Now that we have made a little clearer about the physical appearance and characteristics of this extinct dinosaur, let’s talk a little more about when it lived. If we wanted to see this dinosaur in action we would have to go back a few million years and go back to the Mesozoic era.
The Sauroposeidon was on our planet during the Cretaceous period. It is not really known how long it was there, let alone when it appeared, but what is clear is that at least during the Early Cretaceous Aptien it was present on earth. Still, if we talk about sauropods in general, they appeared during the Jurassic Period.
The discovery of the Sauroposeidon is really curious because of its large size. Sauropods disappeared at the end of the Jurassic period and the few that survived decreased in size, with specimens of 15 metres in length being common. Therefore, the discovery of a 34-meter-long superdinosaur was something very shocking and unusual.
Where did the Sauroposeidon live?
It is not known for sure where the area dominated by the Sauroposeidon was, since only one sample of fossil remains has been found. Even so, most sauropods are found in the North American area, as is the only sample. That is why the area that would have dominated this giant sauropod, at least would have been the area where North America is located today.
What did the Sauroposeidon feed on?
As we have seen, these dinosaurs were endowed with a long neck and a generally large body. This allowed them to access vegetation located at great heights, such as trees. The neck they had was very heavy so for this reason the heads they had were really small, otherwise they could not keep their necks up.
The digestion of these animals takes a great importance in their esophagus. Because these dinosaurs didn’t chew their food. They ate the food directly without grinding it, since the spatula shape of their teeth did not allow them to chew.
Once ingested, the food is crushed by the process of gastrolitis. These gastrolitis are small stones along their neck that performed the action of cutting and grinding the food. Gastrolitis is a very common process in birds, including modern-day birds.