Artistic reconstruction of live Saltasaurus loricatus

  • Saltasaurus loricatus

Saltasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the group of Titanosauria that lived during the Late Cretaceous of South America. The only recognized species is Saltasaurus loricatus.

So far parts of the skeleton of at least five individuals are known, including the skull, - vertebrae - and leg cooking. These fossils date back to the layers of Lecho formation of the Argentine province of Salta and can be dated to the late Campanian to early Maastrichtian.

Saltasaurus showed armored with osteoderms ( dermal bones plates), which consisted of large slabs and mosaic-like surfaces of small bones. He is one of abgeleitetsten ( advanced ) Titanosaurier and is classified within the subfamily Saltasaurinae and Saltasauridae family.


With a length of twelve meters Saltasaurus belonged to the smaller sauropods. He was the first sauropod could be unequivocally established in the osteoderms. This skin bony plates found in immediate connection with the remains of different individuals. It can be distinguished from osteoderms two types: The first type is characterized by oval, decimeter -sized plates, some of which were provided with combs or spines. The second type, the " mosaic " type, is present in the form of tessellated surfaces of small, about 10 mm large bones.

The skeleton is provides only very sketchy. But related genera show a shorter compared with other sauropods tail, a more flexible spine and a skull with elongated snout and thin crowns, similar to those of the diplodocids. Saltasaurus is probably followed a similar blueprint. The front and rear legs of Saltasaurus and other titanosaurs were not directly under the body, as in other sauropods, but were bent slightly outward. Thus, the canted outwardly at Saltasaurus femur viewed from the front was considered more than twice as wide as the side of which the further amplified by the leg position of the diffraction moment counteracted.

Various anatomical features limits Saltasaurus of other genera from ( autapomorphies ): For example, the anterior caudal vertebrae were about twice as wide as high. The ribs of the anterior caudal vertebrae were robust and thickened at its lower end. The anterior and middle cervical vertebrae also show a ridge at the bottom of the vertebral bodies.


A large nesting site of titanosaurs, the reference Auca Mahuevo, was discovered in 1997 by Luis Chiappe and his team in Patagonia. The roundish eggs contained embryos with complete fossil skin impressions. Although these remains can no known Titanosaurier genus are attributed so far; the large number of located at a single location can, however, suggest that at least some Titanosaurier have formed large nesting colonies.


Saltasaurus is often classified within the Titanosauria within a Saltasauridae mentioned family. Within this family, often the two subfamilies Opisthocoelicaudiinae (especially Opisthocoelicaudia and Alamosaurus ) and Saltasaurinae (especially Saltasaurus, Neuquensaurus and Rocasaurus ) are performed. While the phylogenetic relationships within the Titanosauria today are highly controversial, there is general consensus indicated by virtually all studies that Saltasaurus the abgeleiteste or one of the abgeleitesten ( most advanced ) Titanosaurier - genera.

Findings, research history and naming

Saltasaurus 1980 was described by José Bonaparte and Jaime Powell with the type species Saltasaurus loricatus first time scientifically. The name Saltasaurus ( Salta, gr sauros " lizard" ) is named after the Argentine province of Salta in northwestern Argentina, in which the first fossils were discovered.

McIntosh (1990 ) considered Titanosaurus Titanosaurus australis robustus as well as other types of Saltasaurus ( Saltasaurus robustus and Saltasaurus australis). These two Saltasaurus species are no longer recognized today. While Titanosaurus australis is considered as a separate genus ( Neuquensaurus ), Titanosaurus robustus is considered noun dubium ( dubious name), which could be identical to Neuquensaurus or Saltasaurus.