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Dinosaur species


Plateosaurus adopts a threatening posturePlateosaurus adopts a threatening posturePlateosaurus was a prosauropod that lived during the Triassic Period. Prosauropods were part of a larger group of dinosaurs, called the sauropodomorphs. This group also included the sauropods which rose to prominence in the Jurassic. Although Plateosaurus had a large, stocky body with a long neck and tail, it stood and walked on its hindlegs most of the time. Its powerful hindlegs had elongated upper foot bones, while its short but muscular arms each had a five-fingered hand with a large thumb-claw. Plateosaurus had a small skull with powerful jaws and rows of small, leaf-shaped, saw-edged teeth.


PlateosaurusPlateosaurusFossil Plateosaurus clawFossil Plateosaurus claw
If it were ever attacked, Plateosaurus had fearsome claws on its thumbs, as well as claws on its other fingers and toes to defend itself with. It could also rise up on its hindlegs and swing its hefty tail at its attacker.

Fossil discoveries

Some Plateosaurus feed on vegetation near a waterhole.Some Plateosaurus feed on vegetation near a waterhole.Two Plateosaurus square up to one anotherTwo Plateosaurus square up to one anotherPlateosaurus means “flat lizard”, a reference to the flattened shape of the bones when it was first discovered in 1834. From the large number of fossil discoveries, palaeontologists think that Plateosaurus must have been very abundant in its time. It probably lived in large herds, roaming across the dry plains of Europe in Late Triassic times.


In 1997, some fossil bones from Plateosaurus were discovered in rocks drilled from 2200 m (7200 ft) below the bed of the North Sea, making it the deepest-ever dinosaur find ever recorded.

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