Tiny titan shows baby dinosaur's adult-like proportions



Editor and Artist
Baby animals, out of all things, are known for their characteristic proportions. One infant dinosaur fossil was found to resemble its adult form.

While sifting through bones collected from Madagascar, Kristina Curry-Rogers of Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, noticed familiar shapes in the mix. She immediately recognized them as parts of Rapetosaurus krausei, a dinosaur her team named back in 2001. Strangely, the bones which came from the animal's limbs, backbone, and hip, were much smaller than the adult specimens which could have reached 15 meter (49') long.

This particular juvenile, likely died from starvation between the age of 39 to 77 days, weighed roughly 40 kg (88 lbs) and was 35 cm (14”) tall at its hip—a staggering numbers considering it weighed only 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs) at birth. It fits the rapid growth pattern commonly associated with titanosaurs, a group of four legged herbivores which represented the largest animals that ever walked the Earth. This growth rate likely helped juvenile titanosaurs to quickly overwhelm potential predators with sheer size, providing better safety.

Most other dinosaur groups, however, would have had the typical adolescent-proportioned babies. Such trait is associated with parental care, suggesting that the gigantic titanosaurs probably grew up independently after birth.

Original findings published in EurekaAlert!