STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 June 2013

Planets of Dinosuars

Screen capture from Planet Dinosaur
Models of Paralititan and illustrations have been made by many different artists. In all of these images one thing is similar regardless of the artist; Paralititan is a supremely large dinosaur. Large sauropods are fairly uniform in their depiction. Over time things have changed, as with other dinosaurs, such as the removal of sauropods from the swamps and altering the feet on both hindlimb and forelimb. Paralititan, as an illustrated dinosaur, missed a great deal of these incorrect versions since it was only unearthed, described, and named fairly recently. As such, it appears like many other sauropods, particularly the other titanosaurs that it is related to, in illustrations, computer models, and statue representations. One thing that Paralititan does tend to reverse in terms of modern illustration is the habitat in which it lived. The swampy habitats of the past have been generally forgotten and abandoned, but Paralititan, in life, lived in mangrove friendly areas. Essentially, this means that Paralititan lived along shores and, potentially, in swampy estuarine environments.
Illustrator unknown
The trouble and terror of living near a shore is that there are terrible threats not only on land, often in the form of Carcharodontosaurus, but also in the water. The Tethys Ocean at the time of Paralititan's existence was filled with sharks and giant reptiles including, close to shore, large crocodiles.Though large crocodiles probably would not have been able to pick off and drown the largest Paralititan adults, juveniles and sub-adults were probably on the menu. Crocodiles have not picked a new way to hunt or kill in hundreds of millions of years and thus the takedown of something large like a gnu was probably somewhat similar, though obviously scaled down many times over, to the takedown of a Paralititan. This illustration shows that attack being carried out and, scavenging of an already dead Paralititian can be seen in the middle ground on the right side by some feathered friends of the crocodiles.

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