Sauropods – The Largest Known Land Animals

Sauropods are a type of dinosaur which are related to saurischians. At this time, they are the largest known species of dinosaurs, as well as the largest land animal ever recorded in history. They were a herbivorous species, and enjoyed eating plants. They are known for their very long necks, and have four legs instead of two.

Despite their large bodies, their heads were relatively small. Many of them laid eggs, and some paleontologists believed their hind lips were large and quite flexible, which would have allowed them to better eat plants. The sauropods have become well known because of their size. Even the smaller species of sauropods were at least 20 feet long. The only other animal which could rival their size is the sea dwelling creature known as the blue whale.

Many sauropods had very long tails, and could have created sonic booms just by snapping them. The Supersaurus is the longest, with a length of about 130 feet. This makes the longest species today, which is the reticulated python, seem miniature in comparison, as it only has a length of 35 feet. While many of the sauropods were long, others were massive. Some species, such as Argentinosaurus, weighed as much as 100 tons. Even African elephants weigh no more than 10 tons at most.

When you compare the sauropods to large species today, you find that there is no comparison. Sauropods lived during the Triassic period, but by the early part of the Cretaceous period they had mostly died out. A second appearance of sauropods occured near the end of the late Cretaceous period, but this species also became extinct during the event which destroyed virtually all dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

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The Classification of sauropod dinosaurs is very challenging, and in June of 2005 a new type of sauropod species was discovered which has a short neck instead of the long necks commonly found with these dinosaurs. With the exception of Antarctica, the fossils of sauropods have been found on virtually every continent.

Today, it is hard to imagine creatures of this size and magnitude. Most paleontologists believe that the sauropods are the largest species of animals to ever inhabit planet Earth. With the exception of the blue whale, there are no animals today which can match the size of these species.

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