STL Science Center

STL Science Center

17 January 2015

Any Old Sauropod

©Mariana Ruiz Villarreal
Saltasaurus, like any true sauropod, was a quadrupedal giant. The ability of these enormous dinosaurs to rear themselves up onto their hindlimbs has been debated for years with views alternating and swaying with every new discovery. There is always a contingent that holds to obligate quadrupedality and a contingent that holds to facultative, but short, bursts of bipedality. Regardless of camps of thought, the vision of a sauropod like Saltasaurus rearing back on its hindlimbs and using its tail as a prop is commonplace in the annals of sauropod illustration. This illustration is classic for sauropods but also specifically detailed for Saltasaurus with the addition of the many rows of osteoderms along the neck, back, and tail. These osteoderms may not have been entirely useful to the enormous adults, but their protection, no matter how small, would have been of great use to juveniles and sub-adults.

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