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Mamenchisaurus

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Mamenchisaurus 2
Mamenchisaurus is one of the most unique long-necked dinosaurs for a very good reason - it has a really long neck. In fact, it had the longest neck of any creature that ever lived. Stretching [18 metres (59 ft)], the neck on Mamenchisaurus was longer than a school bus! The rest of it was just like other members of its family; a long tail, stout legs and really big.[1]

The architecture of the neck of this dinosaur is incredible. It had 19 neck vertebrae, more than any other dinosaur. The vertebrae had long struts running between them that would have limited the ability of Mamenchisaurus to turn its neck too sharply, but it could still reach well up into the trees to feed. This plant-eater had spatula-shaped teeth that seem to have been well designed to chew coarse plant material. This is one feature that makes it different from the members of the Diplodocidae family, which had peg shaped teeth, to which it has been thought to belong. It is now being thought of as possibly part of a group of sauropods unique to Asia. Most of the big Asian sauropods, such as Omeisaurus, had spatulate teeth. In fact, the Asian sauropods, including Mamenchisaurus, seem to share more characteristics with Brachiosaurus than with Diplodocus. For evidence of this, one needs to look no further than the nose - Mamenchisaurus and other Asian sauropods are very close in evolutionary terms to that of Brachiosaurus. It is also thought that another aspect that these creatures had in common was that they were finding their food high off the ground. Diploducus and Apatosaurus on the other hand were likely feeding on low growing plants.

Mamenchisaurus 1

Mamenchiasaurus in museum.

Mm-mamenchisaurus-illustration-big

References

  1. Jurassic Park Institute, Dinopedia/Mamenchisaurus. Link

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