Fun Antetonitrus Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Antetonitrus Facts For Kids

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Antetonitrus is the earliest known sauropod dinosaur found in the lower Elliot formation in South Africa. Antetonitrus or Antetonitrus ingenipes species is known to be important to study the evolution of sauropod dinosaurs. Australian expert Adam yates and South African vertebrae paleontologist James Kitching studied the holotype to find its actual genus. The discovery of Antetonitrus from the lower Elliot formation cemented its existence in the late Triassic period in South Africa. The discovered species retained both the features of primitive and modern sauropod dinosaurs with a flexible first digit capable of grasping and strong feet, implying the evolving characteristics of sauropods.

Fun Antetonitrus Facts For Kids

What did they prey on?


What did they eat?


Average litter size?


How much did they weigh?

4409 lb (2000 kg)

How long were they?

33 ft (10 m)

How tall were they?

6.5 ft (2 m)

What did they look like?


Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Natural disasters

Where were they found?

Terrestrial habitats


South Africa









Scientific Name

Antetonitrus ingenipes

How scary were they?


How loud were they?


How intelligent were they?


Antetonitrus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Antetonitrus'?

Antetonitrus is pronounced as  An-te-toe-nie-truss. The name is inspired by its existence before another dinosaur species known as 'thunder lizard'.

What type of dinosaur was an Antetonitrus?

Antetonitrus belonged to the sauropods subgroup of dinosaurs. This sub-group of dinosaurs refers to the giant, plant-eating dinosaurs with elongated necks and heavy-weight bodies.

In which geological period did the Antetonitrus roam the Earth?

Antetonitrus roamed the Earth in the late Triassic, Hettangian geological period of Earth.

When did the Antetonitrus become extinct?

Antetonitrus existed through the late Triassic period geological period, reaching its extinction in the Sinemurian age, which refers to the early Jurrasic period, which occurred around 199.3 million and 190.8 million years ago.

Where did an Antetonitrus live?

Antetonitrus lived in the Hettangian period in Africa. Antetonitrus ingenipes fossils were found in the Free state of South Africa in 1981 by Adam Yates and James Kitching, confirming these sauropods existed in the same region.

What was an Antetonitrus' habitat?

Antetonitrus environment persisted in a terrestrial habitat composed of grasslands, shores, forests, caves, and deserts.

Who did an Antetonitrus live with?

Antetonitrus lived along with several other sauropods.

How long did an Antetonitrus live?

The life span of Antetonitrus is still a mystery that paleontologists are actively working on learning.

How did they reproduce?

Antetonitrus, identical to other sauropods, were oviparous and laid eggs to reproduce offspring.

Antetonitrus Fun Facts

What did an Antetonitrus look like?

Antetonitrus belonged to the basal sauropods dinosaur subgroup and carried generic sauropods features while also exhibiting primitive features. Antetonitrus was a quadrupedal dinosaur, with front limbs larger than hind limbs as compared to its ancestor animals. Front limb wrists are thick and wide to support weight with pollex or 'thumb' attached to its hand. Instead of using forelimbs for weight support like its ancestors, Antetonitrus' primitive adaptations show usage of limbs specifically for grasping things.

The holotype of Antetonitrus helped understand the evolution of Sauropods.

How many bones did an Antetonitrus have?

From the holotype of an Antetonitrus, the remaining fossils contain partial cranium remains, ribs, limbs, and vertebrae. Antetonitrus showed developing features seen in later sauropods compared to the earlier ones, depicting the fossil as a significant link between the primitive and evolving sauropods species. Antetonitrus fossils show similarities with other basal sauropods such as Lessemsaurus, where it shares the same vertebrae. Fossils also point to an interesting feature depicting the remains did not belong to a fully grown species. The neural arches found in the Antetonitrus holotype vertebrae did not fuse with the centra, indicating the derived individual was not fully developed.

How did they communicate?

Researchers are yet to know the communication modes and mediums among Antetonitrus and other species.

How big was an Antetonitrus?

Sauropods are known to have gigantic stature; similarly, the discovered fossils of Antetonitrus implied the species owning an enormous shape. Being a link between the primitive bipedal sauropods and the modern ones, Sauropod Antetonitrus' size was greater than usual, according to the fossils. The found remains may have belonged to a sub-adult individual, but its 4409 lb (2000 kg) weight, 33 ft (10 m) Antetonitrus length, and 6.5 ft (2 m) Antetonitrus height described it to be one of the taller sauropods of the time. Compared to further evolved sauropods like 15ft (4.5 m) tall Apatosaurus, Antetonitrus was smaller.

How fast could an Antetonitrus move?

Antetonitrus' exact speed is unknown, but being a member of the sauropods family, researchers estimate its speed to be similar to sauropods. 4.7 mph (7.2 kph) is the highest a sauropod can go; hence Antetonitrus supposedly had the same speed.

How much did an Antetonitrus weigh?

Discovered fossils of the sub-adult Antetonitrus reflected an estimated weight of 4409 lb (2000 kg) for the individual. As the remains probably belonged to a still-growing dinosaur, this weight is more than likely to increase in fully grown animals.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Due to the lack of evidence and fossils, there is no discovery or discussion about male or female Antetonitrus or any particular name for the species.

What would you call a baby Antetonitrus?

No particular titles are created to refer to a baby Antetonitrus.

What did they eat?

Antetonitrus, similar to the sauropods, relied solely on greens. Their herbivorous diet supposedly contained green leaves, shrubs, small plants, and other foods as such. In addition, their long necks would have helped them to reach for taller plants for food.

How aggressive were they?

Sauropods displayed no aggressive characteristics, as their diet was entirely herbivore. The only aggressive behavior they were known to display was against predatory attacks as a defense mechanism.

Did you know...

The initial classification of the Antetonitrus genus was wrong. The fossil discovered by Kitching in 1981 was initially labeled in the wrong genus called Euskelosaurus. Over two decades later, Adam Yates conducted a study on the remnant fossil bones only to find the fossils belonged to a different taxon. It took him a few other years to publish a detailed description of this.

Before Antetonitrus was found, Isanosaurus was the oldest known sauropod. After the correct classification, Antetonitrus chronologically became the oldest sauropod.

Antetonitrus' first digit and feet played a key role in mapping the transitional changes from earlier sauropod to evolved ones. The first digit in primitive species was flexible against the foot to grasp things. However, more derived species showcased stronger bones and first digit lacking flexibility against the foot, making the limbs impossible to grasp. Lack of flexibility against the foot strengthened the bones to support more weight and a quadrupled stature.

Preserved remains of this Triassic species were kept in the Bernard Price Institute, now known as Evolutionary Studies Institute, in South Africa.

Currently, paleontologists have only one specimen of the Antetonitrus species.

Some of the found bones under Yates' study were metacarpal from right forelimb, humerus, dorsal neural arch, a 'thumb' claw. The limbs were not joint when discovered but were found closely; therefore, it was easy to conclude that the bones belonged to the same individual species.

What does the name 'Antetonitrus' mean?

Antetonitrus is made out of Latin words. Adam Yates and James Kitching named the species with a combination of two Latin terms called 'ante' meaning ' before, and 'tonitrus' for 'thunder'. The known species of Antetonitrus ingenipes was similarly composed using two Latin terms- 'ingens' for 'massive' and 'pes' for 'foot', as Antetonitrus feet displayed initial development of strong feet, evolving specifically to support the heavy-weight of the creatures. Yates and Kitching named Antetonitrus precisely to narrate its presence 'before the thunder' as it existed before other sauropods, specifically Brontosaurus, the "thunder lizard" where Bronte meant 'thunder' and 'saurus' meant lizard.

What is the oldest sauropod?

Antetonitrus is the oldest known sauropod dinosaur. This earliest known sauropod dinosaur is significant to showcase the evolution of earlier sauropods to the later ones found in the lower Elliot Formation. The discovery of Antetonitrus led researchers to make comparisons between sauropod evolution from bipedal animals to quadrupedal animals with strong legs, adapted feet, and robust front limbs evolved fully to lead dinosaur walk on four legs.

*Please note that this is an image of a Saudomorph, not an Antetonitrus. If you have an image of Antetonitrus, please let us know at [email protected].

*Please note that this is an image of a Saudomorph, not an Antetonitrus. If you have an image of Antetonitrus, please let us know at [email protected].

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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