|“||A huge type of Triassic dinosaur. This is Plateosaurus, the first of the giant dinosaurs.||„|
| — Allen, describing Plateosaurus|
in Dawn of the Mesozoic
Plateosaurus (name meaning "Broad Lizard") is a genus of large prosauropod plateosaurid dinosaur that originated during the Late Triassic period in what is now Europe and North America. An early ancestor of the sauropods measuring 10 meters in length, Plateosaurus was the first and best known of the early giant herbivores.
In the Series 2 premiere "Birth of the New Blood", a number of six Plateosaurus were brought back to the park from Late Triassic Arizona, 225 million years ago.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
As the first giant dinosaurs, Plateosaurus lived during the Late Triassic Period from 225–208 million years ago. This Triassic dinosaur was first described in 1837 by H. von Meyer. Plateosaurus is known from more than 100 partial to complete skeletons, including 10 skulls. Plateosaurus is the most common and well known European Triassic vertebrate fossil from the Late Triassic.
Being the first of the giant dinosaurs, Plateosaurus was also a very large animal compared to the other types of animals it lived alongside. In fact, they were the largest herbivorous land animals of their time period.
Plateosaurus size was the key to their success, and ranging from 15.7–33 feet (4.8–10.1 m) in length and weighing at between 600 kg to a massive 4 tons (8,000 lbs.), four times the weight of a Saltwater crocodile (the largest reptile alive in the 21st century), these vegetarians were simply too large to be threatened even by Liliensternus and Postosuchus. Plateosaurus was mainly dark green, save for several white stripes along its back and a lighter tint on its underbelly.
An ancestor of the sauropods, Plateosaurus was a large, four-legged dinosaur. It is unknown what exact position it walked in, but balanced on its long hind legs and reaching up with its long neck, Plateosaurus was able to rear up into a bipedal posture and feed on higher branches of conifers and ferns. This posture is incredibly different compared to the later sauropods.
The neck of Plateosaurus was short compared to its successors. The reason for this may be that if its neck was any longer, the weight of it would not be supported by the rest of its body. However, despite this minor downfall, it was still able to browse on many different types of vegetation including cycads and low-lying shrubs, using its chisel-shaped teeth. It had distinctive hands with small fingers and a large clawed thumb. The hands had an effective grasping ability and the claw was possibly used for ripping up roots or tearing at branches.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Like many herbivores, for the protection of younger individuals, Plateosaurus also lived and traveled in large herds of up to 100 or more individuals. It is hard to believe that these four-legged beasts are related to Coelophysis, but these were herbivorous dinosaurs. Rearing up, Plateosaurus was also able to use its long thumb claws for defense against predators such as Postosuchus.
Since these creatures were so large, the adults were nearly indestructible. However, while on their own younger Plateosaurus were prone to be attacked by predators like Liliensternus. Due to them being so large, they would also need to feed on lots of vegetation each day. Their ceaseless search for food would often lead them to foreign areas and continents. Once the area is depleted of a sustainable amount of food, the lumbering herbivores would move to new feeding areas.
- Plateosaurus was the first giant dinosaur brought to the park. Additionally, it was the largest Triassic dinosaur brought to the park.
- The sound effects of Plateosaurus are that of llama, camel, and elephant sounds.