REASON 18 TO VISIT #ULTIMATEDINOS: AMARGASAURUS!
In many ways, getting up close with Amargasaurus has been a dream of mine come true. Growing up, Amargasaurus was my go to “hipster dinosaur”, you know, that dinosaur you bring up when you wanna impress your friends. It was so new, and different. Even after I got over this lameness, I still maintained my love for this beauty. A small sauropod (if that’s even a thing, considering a “small sauropod” is still around the size of an elephant), with these incredible spikes coming out of its back. Amargasaurus was just a wonder.
It was also a dinosaur I thought I’d never see. Just in books. But I’d never actually see in real life.
When I originally saw the floor plan for Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants of Gondwana, I absolutely jumped for joy seeing Amargasaurus on it. Sure Giganotosaurus was pretty cool. Majungasaurus, ya sweet. Suchomimus, wow, that’s a big one. But Amargasaurus? That just threw me. This was a dream come true.
When construction on the gallery started, I was invited down by David Evans to take a look at the space, and take some photos. Of course the first thing I wanted to was Amargasaurus. Amargasaurus was one of the first dinosaurs put up in #ultimatedinos, and really represents what the gallery is all about, challenging our established perceptions of dinosaurs. They were so much more diverse, special and beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE SPIKES?
- No other sauropod found supports spikes as large as Amargasaurus. Amargasaurus is related to another spike supporter, Dicraeosaurus, but they’re MUCH smaller.
- There’s a lot to debate about these spikes. Did they support a sail, or were they free standing? Other dinosaurs like Ouranosaurus and Spinosaurus also have large spines sticking out of… well, their spines. However in their case, the debate between sail and spike is instead between sail and hump (like that of a bison).
- The sail could have been highly colourful, perhaps to scare away a competitor or to attract a mate.
- At the ROM, we’re on #teamsail, but of course this is palaeontology, and everything could change, like tomorrow!
- If you’re looking for something a bit more technical, but still awesome, Mike Taylor has written some great pieces on Amargasaurus, specifically those spikes!
-Small African primate possibly sheds light on soft-tissue morphology of Cretaceous diplodocoid
-My neglected paddle-shaped dorsal neural spines, by Amargasaurus
- National Geographic has some pretty sweet digital renderings here.
- Learn more about sauropod teeth, "The Case of the Pencil Toothed Dinosaur".
- Amargasaurus is my mom’s favourite dinosaur. Her name is Margaret.
Have you visited? What’s your favourite part of #ultimatedinos?