Amargasaurus

Amargasaurus recreation

The name of Amargasaurus means “Reptile of Bitterness” of which only one species is known. It was a sauropod that lived in the Cretaceous about 130 million years ago in South America. This curious dinosaur is related to the oldest dinosaur in Africa, the Dicraeosaurus, as both have spina bifida. It could measure up to 10 meters long, 4 meters high and weighed about 8 tons and yet it was not one of the largest sauropods, in fact it was a bit small for its species. He was four-legged and had a very long skull; his neck was short and he did not have much mobility.

Like other sauropods, the Amargasaurus laid eggs, however, because it had to move continuously to places with food, they did not care for their eggs as much as other dinosaurs.

Only a skeleton of Amargasaurus is known to be almost complete, it has a skull, neck, back bones, hip and part of the tail, it also has some bones of its shoulder and some of its arm, which allows it to have an almost complete limb. Its name comes from Leonardo Salgado and Fernanda Ojeda, Argentine paleontologists who gave it this name not long ago, in 1991. They named it after him because they found his bones on the banks of the river La Amarga in Patagonia, Argentina. It was originally discovered by Dr. Luis B. Cazau. A replica of the dinosaur can be found at the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales. Also in this site that is now called La Amarga Formation some other remains have been found.

Amargasaurus was herbivorous, i.e. it ate plants, like others in the sauropod family. This dinosaur had a short neck in relation to others in his family, but that did not prevent him from eating tall plants. Due to its large size it is believed that he had to eat many leaves to survive, this was achieved by swallowing the leaves without chewing them, to process them had gastrophy, ie stones in his stomach that facilitated the process of digestion. His teeth were perfect for pulling up plants at high speed and with great effectiveness.

It is believed that his favorite food was conifers, but he could also feed on cicadas, Ginkos horsetail and many more. Probably to feed himself he would travel in herds until the leaves of the trees around him were gone and then go to other places where there was more food.

The Amargasaurus is special because it has the highest thorns among the sauropods, the peculiar thing about its thorns besides its length is that they forked, that is, they split in two. Their spines were connected to their vertebrae which are the bones of the back and went from the neck to the middle of the back, the most accepted theory being that they were covered with muscles. These spines were much higher in the neck where they also formed two parallel rows. The most interesting theory is that they could have used their spines to communicate with other members of their species, they could also defend themselves with them in the sense of making them much more difficult for large predators to eat. They were also useful for making them very attractive and finding a partner.

Finally, it is believed that these thorns were used to regulate their temperature, since being such large dinosaurs the heat could kill them, especially because they were eating and moving all the time. It is believed that they could move this part of their body and use it to transmit freshness and cool their body that was not designed to regulate their temperature by itself.

Because there are better known dinosaurs that are very similar to Amargasaurus, unfortunately there are not many places where it can be found specifically. However, to many dinosaur toys with bones and candles similar to Amargasaurus, the double row of bones that Amargasaurus had has been added to make them even more scary or interesting. Although they are not recognized as such, every time you see a sauropod dinosaur with two rows of thorns you are sure to see an Amargasaurus.