STL Science Center

STL Science Center

25 January 2017

Speculative Characteristics

There are a number of characteristics of Neuquensaurus that set the sauropod apart from other members of its family. These include dorsoventrally flattened posterior caudal centra as well as a well developed tibial tuberosity. These skeletal characters are not the most exciting characters that could possibly set Neuquensaurus apart from other sauropod dinosaurs. However, the more intriguing, and speculative characteristic that has been hypothesized to have existed on Neuquensaurus skin. The osteoderms that are hypothesized to have developed on the skin of Neuquensaurus would have acted like an armor plating on the dinosaur, much like its cousin Saltasaurus is though to have possessed. This hypothesis is based on the discovery of a pair of osteoderms uncovered in Patagonia in 2005 that were associated with a Neuquensaurus skeleton. These osteoderms were illustrated in the Salgado paper shared yesterday. If anyone missed the illustration, here it is for your perusal:
From Salgado, et al. 2009; osteoderms are labeled B

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