Fun Nigersaurus Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 04, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read these mind-boggling Nigersarus facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

Nigersaurus also knows as the Mesozoic cow is a dinosaur of the sauropod group. Its fossil remains were discovered by Philippe Taqueti, a French paleontologist in Niger, Africa.

It has a lot of unique features like the short neck consisting of only 13 vertebrae which are quite rare for a sauropod.

The neck length of this dinosaur is shorter than its tail length. It is also the only tetrapod animal whose jaws are wider than the rest of the skull.

The mouth consists of teeth batteries and keratinized teeth which were mainly put to use to grind the food collected from the ground. Though it was discovered sooner, a complete idea of the animal looked was clear only in the late 2000s.

It was understudied until 2005, owing to the presence of air sacs throughout the skull and skeleton, which made the fossil susceptible to breakage.

Did you know Paul Sereno, a professor of paleontology at the University of Chicago called the Nigersaurus a weird dinosaur? He made this comment in reference to the unique features of this dinosaur which include the wide muzzle like jaws, vacuum-shaped mouth, thin bones, and 500 teeth.

Nigersaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Nigersaurus'?

It is pronounced as 'ne-ger-sau-rus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Nigersaurus?

Nigersaurus was a rebbachisaurid sauropod dinosaur.Sauropods are saurischian dinosaurs, also known as lizard-hipped dinosaurs. O.C. Marsh created the term Sauropoda in 1878, which is taken from Ancient Greek, which means lizard foot. Sauropod dinosaurs are well-known and popular. One of the sauropod families is Rebbachisauridae. In 1990, Jack Mcintosh was the first to include this genus in the family.

In which geological period did the Nigersaurus roam the earth?

This dinosaur roamed the earth between the Albian - Aptian age of the middle cretaceous period. Alcide d'Orbigny suggested the Albian stage for the first time in 1842. It was named after the Frances river Aube the Latin name of which is Alba. Similarly, the Aptian was also named after the town of Apt in France's Provence area.

When did the Nigersaurus become extinct?

Nigersaurus probably became extinct after the extinction of the Aptian period which is said to be a minor incident that mainly wiped out a major part of the dinosaurs. Some scientists even suggest that its adaptations were not suitable for all environments which might have also been a reason for the extinction.

Where did Nigersaurus live?

Nigersaurus lived in the Elrhaz Formation of the cretaceous period. It probably lived around the flood plains and woodlands of Niger, Africa. A portion of the formation is now a parched desert, however millions of years ago it had trees, rivers, and plants which were occupied by these dinosaurs.

What was the Nigersaurus' habitat?

Nigersaurus mainly inhabited flood plains. As its diet mainly consisted of plant matter, it occupied regions filled with lush vegetation surrounded by wide rivers. It favored ferns a lot and is said to have lived in conifer forests too.

Who did Nigersaurus live with?

In order to avoid predators, herbivorous dinosaurs typically cluster together and stay in packs. This dinosaur may have foraged with others, but it is typically timid and does not interact with other members. It most likely stayed alone or in small groups.

How long did a Nigersaurus live?

It lived 105-115 million years ago. Dinosaurs, in general, could live up to as much as 300 years, with small dinosaurs living up to 10 or years. It is estimated that sauropods might have lived for 50-100 years.

How did they reproduce?

They were oviparous and reproduced by laying eggs. 

Nigersaurus Fun Facts

What did Nigersaurus look like?

Nigerasaurus was a small sauropod.It had a vacuum-shaped mouth that had 100’s of teeth, with 68 teeth on the upper jaw and 60 on the lower jaw. The jaws also possessed tooth or dental batteries with almost 500 replaceable teeth arranged in 50 columns. The teeth were thin, small, and sharp.

It had a short neck and robust limbs. The skull and neck vertebrae were delicate with the skull consisting of four openings. The limbs were sturdy and the forelimbs were two-thirds the size of the hind limbs.

Unlike other sauropods, the snout tip was sunken rather than protruding. Their brain size is almost the same as other sauropods.

The snout was small and wider than the back of their head. The tail was prominent. The tooth section of this dinosaur is wider than the back of its head.

Nigersaurus had muzzle-like jaws .

How many bones did a Nigersaurus have?

Dinosaurs in general have as many as 200 bones. A partial nigersaurus skull and multiple postcranial bones were discovered during the expeditions. The exact number of bones of this species is not computable.

How did they communicate?

Growls were most likely used to communicate. They would have occasionally made additional noises similar to modern-day owl hoots.

How big was the Nigersaurus?

This dinosaur is small compared to all other sauropods. The length from head to tail was about 30 ft (9.1 m) and its height at the hip was 8 ft (2.4 m).

How fast could a Nigersaurus move?

These small sauropods had a complex respiratory system as observed in modern-day birds. They also had air sacs to reduce their weight and well-built legs. All of this indicates that they were fast.

How much did a Nigersaurus weigh?

The weight of this dinosaur is almost the same as a modern-day elephant; it was around 4.4 t (3991 kg). The skeleton was filled with air sacs, which probably helped to lessen the overall weight.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Almost all dinosaurs only have collective names. The male and female species weren't given any specific names.

What would you call a baby Nigersaurus?

The baby Nigersaurus can be called a chick, hatchling, or juvenile.

What did they eat?

The skull of this dinosaur was specialized for feeding. The wide muzzle was specially made for taking up a lot of food close to the ground. From the short neck, it is evident that it fed on low-lying plants. Its diet mainly consisted of soft plants, ferns, horsetails, and angiosperms.

How aggressive were they?

This small dinosaur was semi-aggressive. Though herbivorous dinosaurs are generally said to be less aggressive and gentle compared to meat-eaters, they still had to defend themselves and their young ones from predators. They did not go out trying to pick fights but when threatened they can resort to violent methods in order to protect themselves.

Did you know...

Unlike other dinosaurs, who could detect predators by their sense of smell, this dinosaur lacked a keen sense of smell. This was due to the fact that the olfactory lobes, which aid the brain in the perception of scent, were small.

Only after the discovery of new fossils in the year 1997 the tooth or dental batteries were properly understood.

The teeth sitting on the wide muzzle like jaws were replaceable every 14 days.

After the two discoveries, almost 80% of the Nigersaurus skeleton was reconstructed using the remains.

This dinosaur is the only sauropod to have these tooth or dental batteries.

The reconstructed skeleton of this dinosaur was handed over to the National Geographic Society in Washington.

Who named Nigersaurus?

Nigersaurus taqueti was named by a french palaeontologist, Philippe taquet. Though it was discovered earlier it was only named in 1999 after finding the rest of the remains during the second expedition.

This dinosaur was named after the place it was first discovered, Niger and the species name was given to honor the paleontologist who first discovered the fossils. It was said to be a cross between a vacuum cleaner and Darth Vader. This dinosaur is called a Mesozoic cow by Sander, a German paleontologist.

Who discovered Nigersaurus?

The Nigersaurus fossil was discovered for the first time by Philippe Taquet in the '50s. Most of the bones were just fragments. However, in the year 1997, another discovery was made when the Taquetis field team spotted the Nigersaurus skull bones.

Paul Sereno, a professor of paleontology, and Jeffrey A.Willson gave the first skull description and feeding habits of followed by a detailed description of the anatomy of the dinosaur by Philippe his team.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Rapetosaurus facts and Vulcanodon facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Nigersaurus coloring pages.

Image one by Nobu Tamura.

Image two by Conty.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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