The Plateosaurus was one of the first dinosaur genera to inhabit the planet, specifically during the Triassic period (about 214 million years ago). It is classified within the group of the Plateosaurus dinosaurs.

This genus would have had a medium to large size of about 5 to 10 meters long. Even so, the weight of the dinosaur was not in accordance with its size, as it barely weighed between 500 kilograms and a maximum of 4 tons.

The most peculiar feature that these dinosaurs had was the great difference in size between them. Two adult specimens of the same age could have a great difference in terms of their size.

Are you interested in finding out more about the Plateosaurus? Stay with us and find out everything about this herbivorous dinosaur from the Triassic period!

Plateosaurus Taxonomy

  • The Plateosaurus belongs to the Animalia kingdom.
  • It corresponds to the phylum Chordata.
  • Of the Sauropsida class.
  • Belongs to the superorder Dinosauria.
  • The Plateosaurus corresponds to the order Saurischia.
  • It belongs to the suborder Sauropodomorpha.
  • Being part of the infraorder Prosauropoda
  • Considered to be within the Plateosauria clan.
  • Within the family Plateosauridae.
  • From the genus Plateosaurus.

History of the Plateosaurus

This enormous specimen developed its existence in the territories that we know today as the northern zone of Europe, without forgetting that it could also have inhabited the central zone of the same continent and what we identify today as Greenland.

This specimen is actually one of the most important basal sauropodomorphs, so it is also known as prosaurus. One of these specimens is known to a great extent as Plateosaurus engelhardti.

Due to the extensive scientific debate about the taxonomy of the specimen, a series of confusions or mistakes have occurred, which has led to the fact that the matter has not yet been resolved, so that to this day there are still many synonyms for this specimen and others that have not been adequately resolved, causing unparalleled confusion to those who study and read about these magnificent specimens, unfortunately.

The main discovery of the remains of this specimen was made by a renowned paleontologist identified under the name of Friedrich Engelhardt, who in the 19th century had the fortune of locating these remains, however, only three years later another prestigious scientist took on the task of providing details about this magnificent animal, the name of this researcher is that of Hermann von Meyer.

Nowadays, it is known that this specimen is one of the best known, due to an unparalleled event in the history of Paleontology. Almost a hundred traces of bone structures were found in total, which obviously belong to the Plateosaurus.

Many of these bone structures are in an almost intact state, so it has not been a big problem for scientists to try to reveal the greatest secrets that this animal hid, these vestiges were located in a place located in the central European country of Germany, in Swaziland.
Due to the detail presented above, the best German researchers have taken the opportunity to study this curious creature in a slow and careful way, therefore the specimen got a nickname in that language, which would be something similar to Schwäbischer Lindwurm, which comes to mean something similar to “soft dragon” due to the size of the animal and its location.

Another thing we know about this curious specimen until today is that its diet was based mainly on the consumption of vegetables, as well as other specimens that we have recently studied in this site.

It could be moved from one place to another only by using two of all the limbs it possessed, so we can say that it was quite fast to do so. We can also observe that the area of its neck was quite long and it even had the capacity to perform manoeuvres that are impossible for other specimens from that prehistoric era.

This dinosaur also had teeth of a very aggressive quality, they were very well sharpened but also enjoyed robustness, a quality that was also necessary to be able to crush the vegetables that it was responsible for extracting from the trees of its environment.
About their extremities we can affirm that those located in the back part of their body had a lot of power and strength, so they were probably the main ones for locomotion, the extremities of the front zone were much less elongated but powerful enough to be able to carry out defense maneuvers.

Similarly we can observe the claws that were located at the end of each limb, claws that can only be seen in three of all the fingers of each limb, which possibly had the function of extracting food and attacking any threat that was presented.

One of the particular characteristics of this unique animal was that when it reached the stage of maturity the size of all these specimens was never the same, in fact there were strong and prolonged variations in it.

While a specimen reaching adulthood would probably be 500 centimeters larger or smaller than another one of the same age, a rather strange fact in these prehistoric animals, uniformity was not something they presented, unlike other specimens of their time.

As we have already mentioned, these animals were between 5 and 10 meters long, while their weight could range from 5000 to a surprising 4000 kilos, a fascinating detail that unsettled the whole scientific world when it was first known.

His age could have been a maximum of 20 years, while the less fortunate could have lived only 12, not to mention others that were eaten by larger predators, so the exact figures are totally unknown both in this specimen and in many others that are subject to study.

Before the day in which all those fossil remains were found, the mysteries of this dinosaur remained undiscovered, and many of those mysteries are still unsolved until our days, but also the great majority of them have already been solved due to the fact that we mentioned.

Characteristics of the Plateosaurus

The neck of this specimen was made up of a total of ten vertebral elements, which obviously gave the elongated appearance to this structure, as well as possessing a body of extraordinary dimensions, which gave the animal sufficient power and strength to defend itself.

The extremities that scientists now call arms were not capable of capturing or taking any type of object, so they probably would not perform such a function.

As for its waist we can easily see that it was not as robust as many researchers thought at the beginning and before the massive discovery, the same thing happened in other specimens called sauropodomorphs.