Supersaurus ‭(‬Super lizard‭)

Short Info

Supersaurus ‭(‬Super lizard‭)

Phonetic : Su-per-sore-us

Named By : J.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jenson‭ ‬-‭ ‬1985

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated 33 – 34 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod

Type Species : S.‭ ‬vivianae‭ (‬type‭)

Found in : USA,‭ ‬Colorado,‭ ‬Montrose County‭ ‬-‭ ‬Morrison Formation,‭ ‬Brushy Basin Member.‭ ‬Wyoming,‭ ‬Converse county‭ ‬-‭ ‬Morrison Formation

When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 154-142 million years ago

Supersaurus (meaning “super lizard”) is a genus belonging to diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs that was found within North America during the Late Jurassic period. The species that is the type, S. vivianae, was first discovered by Vivian Jones of Delta, Colorado during the middle Morrison Formation of Colorado in 1972. The fossil remains were found in the Brushy Basin Member of the formation, which dates back to approximately 150 millennia ago. Another species that could be a second, S. lourinhanensis, (Dinheirosaurus) is located in Portugal which has been found to be dated to the same time.


SupersaurusZach Tirrell from Plymouth, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Supersaurus is one of the largest dinosaurs that can be identified from the remains of good specimens that could reach 39-40 meters (128-131 feet) in length. the weight is 31.8-36.3 tonnes (35.1-40.0 shorter tons).

The first specimens described of Supersaurus were bones in individual pieces that indicated a large diplodocid. A large cervical vertebra , BYU 9024, from that same quarry has been later given to Supersaurus. The vertebra measures 1380 millimeters (54 in) and is the longest known cervical. The huge vertebra was classified as an Barosaurus vertebra in the hands of Mike Taylor and Matt Wedel However, Brian Curtice assigned it to Supersaurus on the basis of other specimens.

The designation of the more comprehensive piece, WDC DMJ-021, to Supersaurus indicates that in many ways it was like the anatomy of Apatosaurus but was not as robustly constructed, with particularly elongated cervical vertebrae. This results being one of the longest-running sauropod necks.

The first fossil remnants of Supersaurus were found at the Dry Mesa Quarry in 1972. The find only yielded the bones of a handful: mostly the shoulder girdle and an ischium and the tail vertebrae. The paleontologist James A. Jensen described Supersaurus and identified the Scapulocoracoid BYU 9025 (originally designated by the name of BYU 5500) as the model specimen. The shoulder girdle was 2.4 meters (8 feet) tall when set at the end. The specimen was named “Supersaurus” informally as early as 1973, but it was not officially identified and named until nearly a decade later in 1985.

Sauropod researches Jack McIntosh at one time considered of the BYU Supersaurus material could be the largest species of Barosaurus but later he believed there was evidence to support Supersaurus being an authentic Genus.

A more comprehensive specimen, WDC DMJ-011, was discovered at Converse County, Wyoming in 1986 by Brandon Flyr and Bart Lesco when they were hiking. The discovery was disclosed to the owners who owned the property in the area at that time. The find was later named “Jimbo” in 1996 by the family who purchased the land. It was identified and given to Supersaurus in 2007. The specimen accounted for about 30 percent of the skull. The bones are currently being kept in the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. A comparison between WDC DMJ-021 with other specimens that were previously designated to Supersaurus was carried out in order to determine if the materials of the Dry Mesa Quarry belonged to the Genus. It was discovered that a sequence of tail vertebrae, as well as an ulna might be belonging to a diplodocid of another species.

Supersaurus is found in the stratigraphic zone 5 in the Morrison which dates back to the Tithonian.

Source: Wikipedia