Lirainosaurus lived in the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian / Maastrichtian, some 71 million years ago) and its fossil remains have been found in northern Spain. It is considered one of the lightest sauropods from the constitution.
This dinosaur is known for the scattered remains of some specimens, both young and adults, including skull fragments, teeth, pencil-shaped, dorsal and caudal vertebrae, a scapula, a coracoid, part of the sternum, part of the hind legs and front, fragments of a pelvis and two bony plates (osteoderms). The appearance of this animal had to be rather light for a sauropod, and feet were unusually slender. The length should not exceed 10 meters, while the body was protected by an armor of small bony plates embedded in the skin, as in many Titanosaurus (eg Saltasaurus).
Lirainosaurus has been described for the first time in 1999, and was attributed to the Titanosauridae, a group of sauropods which were very numerous and widespread in much of the world in the Cretaceous period. In particular, it seems that Lirainosaurus was a relatively primitive, perhaps close to the origin of the family of Saltasauridae, which also includes the most advanced Titanosaurs.
The name Lirainosaurus derives from a word in the Basque language, â€œlirainâ€, which means “slender”(with reference to the unusual structure of slender leg bones). The specific name, is in honor of Humberto Astibia, leader of the researchers who excavated the site where the fossils were found.
Species: L. astibae Sanz et al., 1999