Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dinos: Sauropod Family: Stateliness

Often featured as children’s toys or logos for oil companies, the Members of the Sauropod Family are iconic Dinosaurs. These quintessential Dinosaurs had long bodies, long necks, and long tails. When giant leg bones of various Sauropods were first found, people could not imagine anything so huge that lived on land. These days, people take the enormous size of these plant-eaters for granted.
            In the 1840s, people originally thought that Sauropod bones were those of Whales. Since these bones were hollow, people then thought they could be those of Pterosaurs (Flying Reptiles). Then in the 1870s, complete skeletons of various Sauropods were discovered in the United States. Diplodocus and Apatosaurus astonished people with their great size. In the following years, larger and larger Sauropods were found. Argentinosaurus of Argentina is now the largest of the known Dinosaurs (117 feet (35 meters) long).
            The Members of the Sauropod Family can be roughly divided into three groups. Appearing in the Late Triassic (205 million years ago), Primitive Sauropods established the basic body plan for the entire Family. One difference between these early Sauropods and the later Members of the Family is their super-long neck. A Primitive Sauropod, Mamenchisaurus of China had one of the longest necks of any animal. (His neck was about 82 feet (25 meters) long.)
            The later Members are split into the Whip-tailed (Diplodocoids) Sauropods and Big-nosed (Macronaria) Sauropods. Diplodocus, with her agile whip-tail, gave the name for her group. Meanwhile the Big-nosed Sauropods possessed a large nose-opening on their foreheads. However, their nostrils were further down on their faces. Brachiosaurus, the tallest of all the Dinosaurs, was a member of this group. Meanwhile, Argentinosaurus was the largest of the Titanosaurs, who were the biggest of the Macronarians.
            Sauropods demonstrate stateliness and grace. Despite their immense size, They roamed serenely across the land. Moving majestically, these excellent walkers left their foot prints everywhere. With their flexible whiptails, Diplodocoids snapped at hungry predators, without breaking their stride. Unafraid of anyone, Sauropods lived their lives undisturbed. The stately bearing of the Sauropods is something that we can emulate in our lives.

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