Supersaurus

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Strauss, Bob. "Supersaurus." ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/supersaurus-1092982. Strauss, Bob. (2017, March 7). Supersaurus. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/supersaurus-1092982 Strauss, Bob. "Supersaurus." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/supersaurus-1092982 (accessed September 26, 2017).
supersaurus
Supersaurus (Luis Rey).

Name:

Supersaurus (Greek for "super lizard"); pronounced SOUP-er-SORE-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (155-145 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

Over 100 feet long and up to 40 tons

Diet:

Plants

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Extremely long neck and tail; small head; quadrupedal posture

 

About Supersaurus

In most ways, Supersaurus was a typical sauropod of the late Jurassic period, with its exceedingly long neck and tail, bulky body, and comparatively small head (and brain).

What set this dinosaur apart from enormous cousins like Diplodocus and Argentinosaurus was its unusual length: Supersaurus may have measured a whopping 110 feet from head to tail, or over one-third the length of a football field, which would make it one of the longest terrestrial animals in the history of life on earth! (It's important to keep in mind that his extreme length didn't translate into extreme bulk: Supersaurus probably only weighed about 40 tons, max, compared to up to 100 tons for still-obscure plant-eating dinosaurs like Bruhathkayosaurus and Futalognkosaurus).

Despite its size and its comic-book-friendly name, Supersaurus still lingers on the fringes of true respectability in the paleontology community. The closest relative of this dinosaur was once thought to be Barosaurus, but a more recent fossil discovery (in Wyoming in 1996) makes Apatosaurus (the dinosaur once known as Brontosaurus) the more likely candidate; the exact phylogenetic relationships are still being worked out, and may never be fully understood in the absence of additional fossil evidence.

And the standing of Supersaurus has been further undermined by the controversy surrounding the oddly spelled Ultrasauros (previously Ultrasaurus), which was described around the same time, by the same paleontologist, and has since been classified as a synonym of the already-dubious Supersaurus.