Can you imagine an animal twice the size of a fully grown elephant? Well, the Magnapaulia laticaudus was a herbivore Lambeosaurine hadrosaurid dinosaur that walked the planet in the period of the Late Cretaceous of Baja California, in Mexico and went extinct almost 66 million years ago. The species was discovered in the El Gallo Formation of Mexico, by the geologist William Morris and his team between the years 1968 and 1974 and was named Lambeosaurus laticaudus in 1981. Later in 2012, Albert Prieto Márquez described and named the dinosaurs as 'Magnapaulia'. The specimens of LACM 17712 included a partial skeleton varying in size, skin impressions, and parts of the skull of several individuals, aging about 73-73.6 million years ago. The most peculiar feature was their great size, almost 41 ft (12.5 m) long, and their unique tail, which had elongated vertebral spines and chevrons. These dinosaurs had a peaceful nature, lived in terrestrial habitats, and only fed on ground vegetation. They moved slowly browsing for leaves and twigs mostly on the ground.
To pronounce the word Magnapaulia, the phonetic must be 'mag-nah-pawl-e-ah', breaking the big word into five small words. The name was coined by Albert Prieto Márquez in 2012.
Magnapaulia laticaudus, belongs to the genus Lambeosaurine hadrosaurid dinosaurs, class Reptilia, and clade Dinosauria.
The Magnapaulia laticaudus roamed the Earth in the Late Cretaceous period, which was 100.5 million years ago to 66 million years ago.
The Lambeosaurus laticaudus became extinct at the end of the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 66 million years ago. Geological evidence indicates that a large celestial object had a collision on the Earth's surface due to which there was worldwide change in the ecosystem causing natural calamities, wiping the era of dinosaurs from Earth.
The Magnapaulia fossil from the period of Late Cretaceous of Baja California in Mexico, North America was discovered between the years 1968 and 1974 by geologist William J. Morris. The specimens found gives evidence of their existence there in the late Campanian period, almost 73.6-73 million years ago.
The Magnapaulia had a terrestrial habitat consisting of the ancient grassland of uplands and lowlands of the formation depositional environment, with adequate ground vegetation.
The Magnapaulia laticaudus species (Lambeosaurus laticaudus) co-existed with other hadrosaurids and herbivore Lambeosaurines like the Hypacrosaurus, Lambeosaurus, Ornithischia, Corythosaurus, and many other various species.
There is no clear report of the lifespan of the Lambeosaurus laticaudus. The species went extinct at the end of the Late Cretaceous period.
Although, there is not much knowledge about the reproduction of a Hadrosaurian dinosaur. Unlike other species of the Dinosauria clade, for Magnapaulia laticauda, once the mating was done, the females laid their eggs in cup-shaped nests or mudded burrows. They nested both in ancient upland or low grounds of the formation depositional habitat. There has been no report about the number of eggs, the process of mating, or the incubation period of the eggs.
The Magnapaulia laticaudus is known for its great size and the form of its long tail. Its tail has elongated chevrons and vertebrae spines all along the center spine. From the fossil discovery by Morris and description of Prieto Márquez, the largest known specimen of this species is the LACM 17712, which contains a humerus with an approximate length of 31.6 in (80.3 cm), along with partial parts of the Magnapaulia skull and skeleton. Skin impressions have been preserved and the specimen LACM 17712 had large vertebrae scales up to 1.6 in (4 cm) wide and was covered by 0.4 in (1 cm) wide hexagon and round-shaped scales and they also had a crested head. There is no detailed description of the facial structure of this Hadrosaurian dinosaur.
The Magnapaulia model discovered from the period Late Cretaceous of Baja California in Mexico by William Morris, consisted of a partial skeleton and partial skull. There is no accurate estimation of the number of bones the Lambeosaurus laticaudus had.
As dinosaurs were considered an intelligent species, some scientists believe that these creatures engaged in dialogue. They communicated using grunts and hoots, also cracking sounds and clapping their jaws.
The Magnapaulia size, also known as Lambeosaurus laticaudus, was large and they had big bodies. Their size was estimated to be 41 ft (12.5 m) by Prieto Márquez et al. William Morris estimated their size to be larger, in between 49.2 ft (15 m) and 54.1 ft (16.5 m) in length. The Mangapaulia Dinosauria is presently the longest Ornithischia and one of the largest considered Lambeosaurine hadrosaurids from North America when compared to the other Hadrosaurian dinosaur species. They were half the size of a blue whale and twice the size of Asian elephants.
As the Magnapaulia laticaudus (Lambeosaurus laticaudus) was a bulky Hadrosaurian dinosaur species, they had slow ground movement and browsed for food mostly on the ground.
The average Magnapaulia dinosaur weight was estimated to be 50706.3 lb (23000 kg). They had a weight four times greater than African bush elephants.
There is no name assigned to the male and female dinosaurs of this species, Magnapaulia laticaudus.
A baby Magnapaulia laticaudus (Lambeosaurus laticaudus) after hatching from the egg is called a hatchling, just like modern-day reptiles like crocodiles and turtles.
The genus of Magnapaulia were herbivores or plant feeders. Instead of feeding on tree leaves and twigs, they mostly browsed on vegetation close to the ground. Some research concludes that they used the same movement of jaws over and over again and their diet mostly included leaves and lacked heavy items like twigs and branches.
Magnapaulia dinosaurs were peaceful in nature. As they were herbivores, they fed only on vegetation and did not hunt for meat. We can conclude that they were not aggressive.
There are some theories, saying it might be possible that the Magnapaulia even with its large size and bulky weight, could swim. While swimming with its limbs, it would float in water, just like elephants today.
The dental features of Magnapaulias are known from the LACM 17713 specimens. They had at least three teeth per socket arranged dorsoventrally in both jaws. Several maxillary teeth are preserved in the specimen of LACM 17715, discovered in Mexico.
The Magnapaulia laticaudus species was discovered by a team from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, which was guided by the geologist, William Morris between the years 1968 and 1974. They excavated huge-sized Lambeosaurine hadrosaurid fossil remains, from the period of Late Cretaceous of Baja California, in Mexico, North America. On the basis of the partial skeleton and partial skull found from the specimen of LACM 17715, Morris named the species Lambeosaurus laticaudus and suggested it to be a species of Hypacrosaurus.
Later in 2012, Albert Prieto Márquez in his study concluded that the fossil specimens had been found in El Gallo Formation and were from the Late Campanian period, and they were around 73.6-73 million years old.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Qijianglong fun facts and Puertasaurus facts for kids pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Magnapaulia coloring pages.
Main image by Laisa Naomi Martínez
Second image by Albert Prieto-Márquez, Luis M. Chiappe, and Shantanu H. Joshi