title_bones_2x

Hi, I’m Bruno, and I’m at the American Museum of Natural History. Today I’m in the fossil halls to interview a titanosaur (tie-TAN-o-SAWR). It’s one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered!

Let’s find out how this dinosaur lived millions of years ago, how it came to the Museum, and what it’s like to be one of the biggest members of the collection.

Bruno: I hear you come from a big family—as in, you guys are large! Tell me about them.

Titanosaur: Like all titanosaurs, I belong to a group of dinosaurs called sauropods. Sauropods were plant-eaters with long necks and whip-like tails. All the biggest dinosaurs were sauropods. You’ve probably heard of sauropods like the Apatosaurus and Diplodocus. You can think of them as my cousins.

A2.1_image_fullwidth

Bruno: Did all sauropods live around the same time? And in the same place?

Titanosaur: Sauropods, in particular titanosaurs, have been found on all continents, even Antarctica ! And different species of dinosaurs in the sauropod family roamed the planet for 140 million years. They all disappeared , though, around 65 million years ago, along with most other dinosaurs.

A2.2_image_fullwidth

Bruno: Which dinosaur was the biggest sauropod?

Titanosaur: I don’t mean to brag, but titanosaurs were the largest of the bunch. I’m about 36 feet longer than the  Apatosaurus  at the Museum, and weigh twice as much!

A2.3_image_fullwidth

Bruno: So tell us what it was like living in such a large body. You must have had a giant appetite. What did you eat?

Titanosaur: Well, like other sauropods, I ate a lot: about a ton—yep, 2,000 pounds—of plants a day.

Bruno: How did you get that much food in your body?

A2.5_image_alignright

Titanosaur: For one thing, I’m not picky. I’d eat just about any plant I could reach—and with my long neck, I could cover a lot of ground without ever moving my feet! I also scraped leaves off trees with these long, rake-like teeth, then swallowed without stopping to chew. And I spent most of my day eating.

Bruno: But didn’t you have to watch out for predators?

Titanosaur: Are you kidding? Look at me—I didn’t have any predators!

Bruno: Titanosaur babies must’ve been huge, right?

A2.7_image_alignright

Titanosaur: Actually, sauropods were pretty tiny when they hatched. Some probably weren’t much bigger than you as a baby. Each mom probably laid up to 40 eggs at a time in shallow nests she dug out with her feet.

Bruno: Really? So did sauropods live a long time to grow so large?

Titanosaur: Large animals do tend to live longer, but sauropod life spans weren’t any longer than most dinosaurs. They just grew really fast—faster than any other land animal. Scientists think that some sauropods doubled in size in the first five days of life!

Image Credits:

illustrations of Bruno and titanosaur, Ebony Glenn; illustration of saurapod parade, ©Raúl Martin; excavation, ©Dr. Alejandro Otero; titanosaur modeling and installation, ©AMNH/D.Finnin; all other illustrations and photos, ©AMNH.