Camarasaurus

Category: Dinosaur

Camarasaurus (Cam-ah-rah-sore-us) lived during the Late Jurassic Period in North America, around 150 million years ago. It was the most common sauropod in North America. It shared the environment with Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and the main predator, Allosaurus.

Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus

Genera and Species

Classification:
Sauropoda, Camarasauridae.

Genus:
Camarasaurus (Chambered lizard)

Species:
C. supremus, C. grandis, C. lentus

Characteristics

Unlike many other sauropods, Camarasaurus is known from complete skeletons, including the skull. In sauropods, the skull is fragile and rarely preserved. Camarasaurus had a boxy head that was large for a sauropod, with a relatively short neck and moderately long tail. The front legs are slightly longer than back legs, meaning it stood taller at the shoulders than at the hips, unlike some other sauropods like Apatosaurus or Diplodocus. Its skull was lightly built, and it probably had a good sense of smell.

Size

LENGTH: 14 m (46 ft) for C. grandis and C. lentus, 23 m (75 ft) for C. surpemus.

WEIGHT: 10 - 12 tons for C. grandis and C. lentus, 52 tons for C. supremus.

Behavior

Camarasaurus was a medium to high browser with teeth able to process course vegetation. Camarasaurus seems to have preferred a different diet than other sauropods of the same time and region, allowing them to co-exist without competition. Based on groupings of individuals found, it is believed by scientists that Camarasaurus may have traveled in herds, or at the very least small family units.

History of Discovery

Discovered by Edward Drinker Cope in 1877, Camarasaurus is known from many partial skeletons, skulls, and isolated bones. A complete skeleton of a juvenile was discovered by Charles Gilmore in 1925.

It is known from 3 well documented species form the Morrison formation in North America. The initial occurrence is C. grandis. Later in the formation it coexists with C. lentus. Then C. grandis disappears and C. lentus continues. Both these animals are about the same size, 50 feet long with a range in individual animals. In the last of the Morrison many different dinosaurs seem to get bigger as the climate changes to arid. C. supremus gets about 50% larger making it the heaviest dinosaur in the Morrison and 75 feet long.

Paleoenvironment

Camarasaurus lived in North America (Utah and Colorado USA) in semi-arid plains with forested rivers and a short rainy season. It shared its environment with a number of other dinosaurs, including predators such as Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus, which likely fed on Camarasaurus.

References

  1. Paul, G. (2016). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, 2nd Edition. Princeton, New Jersey: University Press Princeton.
  2. Worth, G. (1999). The Dinosaur Encyclopaedia (pp. 523). Scarborough, Western Australia: HyperWorks Reference Software.