The Paralititan (Paralititan stromeri) was a genus of tidal giant and type of sauropod which lived during the Upper Cretaceous period. The discovery of this dinosaur was made in 2000 by Joshua B. Smith and his team in the tidal flat deposits in the Bahariya formation in Egypt, and it was deduced that this new species of dinosaur lived among the mangrove coasts along the Tethys sea. The fossils found were quite fragmented and incomplete, but the reconstruction of this dinosaur based on other species showed that the Paralititan is the second biggest dinosaur found to date! Despite being quite large and intimidating, they followed a herbivore diet, using their long necks to reach the treetops and munch on various leaves.
Paralititan is pronounced as 'pa-ral-ih-tie-tan'.
The Paralititan was a species of an enormous tidal sauropod dinosaur.
The Paralititan dinosaur could be found walking the Earth from around 99-94 million years ago, during the Upper Cretaceous period.
The Paralititans were all mostly wiped out by 94 million years ago.
Since the fossils of this sauropod species were first discovered in coastal deposits in the Bahariya formation Egypt in Northern Africa, we can deduce that this dinosaur lived along the mangrove coasts along the southern shore of the Tethys Sea, in the continent of Africa.
Research has shown that the Paralititan dinosaur location is mostly in tidal areas (hence the name tidal giant) and is the first species of dinosaur discovered to have lived among mangroves. The scavenged skeleton of this dinosaur was found along the shore of the Tethys Sea, in coastal deposits.
The Paralititans, like most other dinosaurs, mostly lived in packs. There are high chances of herbivorous dinosaurs living and feeding together in groups, and this theory has been developed due to the discovery of a number of fossilized trackways containing a sequence of dinosaur footprints, all suggesting the presence of dinosaurs traveling in groups.
Though the exact lifespan of a dinosaur cannot be determined, it has been estimated that they lived quite long lives, akin to those of similar reptiles like crocodiles and turtles. Due to their slow metabolisms and herbivorous diets, these beasts have been estimated to live between 80-300 years.
Paralititans were oviparous in nature and reproduced by laying eggs. Their mating process was mostly similar to that of modern-day reptiles, with internal fertilization taking place inside the female's body.
Like most sauropods, the Paralititan had a long neck, thick body, and long, tapering tail. Its four legs were quite stumpy, similar to those of an elephant, but ending in three or four pointed toes each. It was mostly light gray, cream or green in color, with the possibility of osteoderms on its back to defend itself from predators.
Though no complete Paralititan skeleton has been discovered to date, its reconstruction has been done on the discovery of around 100 bone fragments from 16 different bones. The number of bones possessed by the average dinosaur has been worked out to be around 200, which is most likely how many bones the Paralititan possessed as well. Though being a giant dinosaur, its bones must have been much larger than usual.
Dinosaurs are known for their loud, earth-shaking roars which are mostly how this dinosaur communicated. They mostly used bellowing roars, grunts of low rumbling noises to communicate, in order to mate or chase away other dinosaurs from their territories. Visual displays were also probably used, with raising of the front legs, stomping, and tail whipping involved.
The Paralititan was massive, being around 108.5 ft (33.1 m) in length and 30 ft (9.1 m) in height.
Though the Paralititan was huge, it most likely had a very slow pace. Its strides were quite long, however, and it is thought to have a similar speed to the Argentinosaurus, of around 5 mph (8 kph).
The weight of this giant dinosaur has been estimated to lie between 55.1-71.7 tons (50-65 met tons), which is quite a lot! That's almost four times the weight of a blue whale!
A male dinosaur has been termed a saurus whereas the female dinosaur is known as saura. We do not make any distinction in sex while referring to dinosaurs though.
Since baby Paralititan dinosaurs hatched from eggs, they were known as hatchlings.
This herbivore dinosaur most likely sustained itself on a diet of leaves, twigs, roots, and rudimentary fruits, vegetables, and seeds. It was estimated to eat around 720 lb (326.6 kg) of plant matter every day and had a special stomach in order to digest all the plant material consumed. It could reach the tops of the tallest trees due to its long neck, and munch on all types of leaves present there as Paralititan food.
Though herbivorous dinosaurs did not prey on smaller creatures, they still had to be quite aggressive in order to protect themselves from the larger predatory dinosaurs such as various therapods and velociraptors. They had a number of defensive mechanisms such as tough, scaly armor, bludgeon, and mace-like tails and sharp horns and spikes on their body, in order to attack any incoming predators head-on. The Paralititan mostly possessed osteoderms (armored plates in the back) to defend itself from vicious carnivores, and a wide-gauge stance in order to intimidate other dinosaur species.
A 5.5 ft (1.7 m) humerus bone was found as a part of the Paralititan fossil- which is the height of an average human woman!
The Paralititan is considered to be the second biggest dinosaur discovered to date, the first being the Argentinosaurus, another plant-eating dinosaur of the Late Cretaceous age belonging to the Argetinosaurus genus.
It is also called Stromer's tidal giant in honor of Ernst Stromer, named by Joshua B. Smith and his team.
Paralititan means tidal giant - a name given to this cretaceous sauropod due to its giant size (it's the second biggest dinosaur found to date!) and its fossils being discovered in tidal flat deposits near mangrove coasts, which is where it lived. The name was given by Joshua B. Smith, Matthew C. Lamanna, Kenneth J. Lacovara, Peter Dodson, Jennifer R. Smith, Jason C. Poole, Robert Giegengack, and Yousri Attia in 2001 to honor Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach who was a German paleontologist who discovered many more fossils in the same area in the early 1900s.
The Paralititan, though one of the biggest dinosaurs found to date, is still second in size to the Argentinosaurus, another sauropod found during the Late Cretaceous age in Argentina.
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 Martharaptor interesting facts and Claosaurus fun facts for kids pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Paralititan coloring pages.
Main image by Dmitry Bogdanov.
Second image by Conty.