Astrodon (as-STROH-dahn), meaning "star-tooth", was a large sauropod dinosaur that lived in North America from the Early to Mid Crectaceous. It's was the state dinosaur from Maryland one of the State dinosaurs from the United States.
DiscoveryIn 1859 by Christopher Johnston discovered some strange looking fossilized teeth in the Arundel Formation in Maryland. It was quickly named Astrodon johnstoni, which means "Johnston's star-tooth", and was rightly named, since the teeth looked so star-like in shape. Since then, several more teeth and even fossilized bones, such as vertebrae, have been found of this medium-sized sauropod.
PaleobiologyAlthough Astrodon wasn't one of the largest of sauropods, it was still large even in dinosaur terms. It grew to be over 18 meters (60 feet) long, 9 meters (30 feet) tall, and over 30 tons in weight. It was a slightly smaller descendant of the more famous Brachiosaurus, and even retained some of its features. It had a very long neck that allowed it to reach high into the tops of the trees where no other herbivore could. It had four thick legs that may have allowed it to trot along at fairly high speeds when in need. It had a relatively short tail, like most brachiosaurs, but it was more muscled than most other sauropods, and would've been a potentially deadly weapon against predators. Astrodon was by far the biggest animal in its environment, and used that to its advantage in getting food and protecting themselves against predators. It's torso was very high off the ground and is very well muscled, like its relatives. Astrodon lived in what is now North-East North America and likely lived in flat, forested areas. It lived alongside dinosaurs like Tenontosaurus and Sauropelta, and predators like Acrocanthosaurus and Deinonychus.
In the Media
- Astrodon was featured in the Discovery Channel documentary, Prehistoric Washington DC, where it was shown to be the prey of Acrocanthosaurus.
- It was also in Robert T. Bakker's book Raptor Red, where it's attacked by a pack of Utahraptors. Astrodon has been named as the official state dinosaur of Maryland. A statue of Astrodon being attacked by Acrocanthosaurus is on display in the Maryland Museum of Natural History.
Prehistoric Washington DC