They're spiny and they're ancient, the sauropod family
February 19, 2019 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Two for Tuesday: the Sauropoda family got a bit bigger, weirder and older in the last few years, with two discoveries in Argentina. Most recently, Bajadasaurus pronuspinax gave Amargasaurus cazaui (Wikipedia) a spiked- or frilled-neck cousin, but unlike the Amargasaurus, Bajadasaurus's spines point forward, for use as defense, to attract a mate, or regulate temperature (Phys.org; "A new long-spined dinosaur from Patagonia sheds light on sauropod defense system" - Science Reports, full article on Nature.com). Last year, a fossil of 'first giant' dinosaur discovered in Argentina (BBC).

Named Ingentia prima, Latin for the 'first giant', as this dinosaur dates back to the Triassic, some 215 million years ago, about 30 million years before the better known long-necked giants, Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus (Wikipedia x2). "An early trend towards gigantism in Triassic sauropodomorph dinosaurs" (Nature Ecology & Evolution, paywalled).
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's interesting how dinosaurs got bigger, weirder, and older over time, and now they are doing the same thing as abstractions inside our understanding.
posted by bleep at 3:44 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


It said Bajadasaurus could have had a fleshy hump between the spines that served a similar role to that of a camel.

And yet the spines just look prickly! Come on, people, draw the hump! I'm a big boy, I can handle the hump! Show me a humpy critter!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:52 PM on February 19


It's interesting how dinosaurs got bigger, weirder, and older over time, and now they are doing the same thing as abstractions inside our understanding.

The increasing complexity, diversity, and out-and-out weirdness of dinosaurs as we know them is one of my favorite parts about getting older.
posted by bettafish at 4:40 PM on February 19 [7 favorites]


Have we considered that the spines could have been for better cell reception?

Or to focus the occult energies of the Black Moon?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:49 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


I guess one of the issues of fossil examination is looking for places that soft tissue rubbed against bone. Those marks show where something might have been. Like looking at the hand and wrist of someone that had carpal tunnel. The tendon is gone. But the mark is there?
posted by Splunge at 5:05 PM on February 19


“Graphic on spiny herbivorous dinosaur from 140 million years ago discovered in Argentina.”

wow I had no idea we’d discovered infographics from so long ago.
posted by russm at 9:25 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


I guess one of the issues of fossil examination is looking for places that soft tissue rubbed against bone. Those marks show where something might have been. Like looking at the hand and wrist of someone that had carpal tunnel. The tendon is gone. But the mark is there?

Those are known as skeletal markers, as described (for humans) in "Life in Bone: A Look at Skeletal Markers for Activity" (Ceilidh Lerwick, via Academia.edu)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 PM on February 20


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