Patagosaurus (Patagonian lizard)
José Bonaparte - 1979
Estimated 50 feet in length
P. fariasi (type)
Mid Jurassic, 165-155 million years ago
Patagosaurus, whose name means “Patagonian lizard,” was a long-necked sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Middle Jurassic period, about 165-155 million years ago. It was first discovered in Patagonia, Argentina in 1903, and has since been found in other parts of South America as well.
Patagosaurus was a relatively small sauropod, measuring around 50 feet in length and weighing around 10-15 tons. Like other sauropods, it had a long neck and tail, and a small head with blunt teeth for cropping vegetation. Its forelimbs were shorter than its hind limbs, and it walked on all fours. Its long neck likely allowed it to reach high into trees and other vegetation to feed.
One interesting feature of Patagosaurus is the structure of its hip bones, which have been found to be more similar to those of early sauropodomorphs (the ancestors of sauropods) than to other sauropods. This suggests that Patagosaurus may have retained some primitive features that were lost in other sauropods over time.
Patagosaurus is known from only a few fragmentary fossils, so much of what we know about this dinosaur is still speculative. However, it is an important part of the evolutionary history of sauropod dinosaurs and provides valuable insights into the diversity of Jurassic dinosaurs in South America.