Fun Rhoetosaurus Facts For Kids

Ritika Katariya
Nov 29, 2022 By Ritika Katariya
Originally Published on Oct 11, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Discover interesting Rhoetosaurus facts about the earliest dinosaur from Australia.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Discovered in the Middle Jurassic Gondwanan period, the Rhoetosaurus brownei was named after a Greek monster 'Rhoetos.' The sauropod resided near Roma, in the north-eastern state of Queensland.

The first discovery was made in 1924 on Durham Downs station where the station manager Arthur Browne brought the bone to Longman.

In 1926, the self-trained paleontologist and director of the Queensland Museum, Heber Longman named and described Rhoetosaurus with Arthur Jemotte Browne's assistance. After Browne gave the bone to Longman, Heber Longman collected a larger skeleton with more bones in 1926 which included the cervical vertebrae and tail vertebrae.

He described it in 1927. For a long time, the Rhoetosaurus brownei was the unrivaled dinosaur among the sauropods in Australia.

Since it was the only species recovered from Australia it became an important specimen to study patterns for sauropods in Australia and carry out correlational studies across the globe. Only two more were discovered in Australia, recently.

Even though it's a relatively newer species of dinosaurs it does not classify under the category of neo-sauropod Gravisaurian dinosaurs.

The Gravisaurian dinosaurs are the most recent sauropods of the descendants of a common ancestor. Initially, only scanty skeletons have been found which add up to 16 consecutive bones, a collection of 22 tail vertebrae.

Mary Wade and Alan Bartholomai found more fossil material in 1975, and others like Tom Rich, Anne Warren, Ralph Molnar, and Zhao Xijin found more even later. All in all, there have been up to 40 vertebrae fragments uncovered so far.

These include parts of the sacrum, hip bones, and most of the right hind limb, and more that have been found.

Among these, the tail vertebrae and the right hind limb were among the first to be unearthed. The original form still leaves room for more fossils and other material to be excavated.

Since Queensland is pretty much the heart and soul of the recovery and exploration of the sauropod, the Queensland Museum stands as an important site for the history of the Rhoetosaurus brownei. Other prominent paleontologist teams related to the discovery were the Latrobe University and Melbourne Museum and it finally has the complete skeleton as of now.

The team from the University of Queensland continued to visit the locality of the origin of the Rhoetosaurus on an irregular basis. Recently, the Rhoetosaurus brownei is frequently being related with another sauropod called 'Shunosaurus.'

The two sauropods have their origin near the same timeline.

The relationships that have been drawn between the two comes from the Shunosaurus supposedly having a similar appearance and mass structure to Rhoetosaurus. There are no proper results suggesting this but the Shunosaurus is popularly referred as to the 'clubbed tail Rhoetosaurus.'

Keep reading to learn more about this species. And for other dinosaur articles, read our Heterodontosaurus facts and Incisivosaurus facts for kids.

Rhoetosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Rhoetosaurus?'

The name of the dinosaur is pronounced as Rhi-to-saurus. There are some popular misspellings like Rhaetosaurus (Rhay-to-saurus) and Rheteosaurus (Rhi-ti-oh-saurus).

What type of dinosaur was a Rhoetosaurus?

The Rhoetosaurus was a huge herbivorous reptile belonging to the Dinosauria order. It was further classified as a Saurischia Sauropodawhich meant 'lizard-hipped' dinosaurs.

In which geological period did the Rhoetosaurus roam the Earth?

The beast from Queensland inhabited the Earth a really long time ago during the Middle Jurassic age, in the Late Cretaceous period.

When did the Rhoetosaurus become extinct?

As the procured material suggests, the Rhoetosaurus was a primitive species and its estimated extinction was after the Mid Jurassic period, which was around 177-169 million years ago.

Where did a Rhoetosaurus live?

The primitive sauropod used to reside in the current day Durham downs area in the north-eastern state of Queensland in central Australia. Unlike many dinosaurs of the world, its range was only limited to Australia and no other part of the world.

What was a Rhoetosaurus's habitat?

The habitat of Rhoetosaurus consisted of drier grasslands than that of tropical vegetations. They are known to have resided on the Jurassic of Gondwana.

Who did a Rhoetosaurus live with?

Since its widely acknowledged that the Rhoetosaurus was the only sauropod from Mid-Jurassic Australia, it is difficult to define who were the other inmates of the era. However the Ozraptor, an early abelisauroid is known to inhabit the same landmass during the same period as that of the Rhoetosaurus.

How long did a Rhoetosaurus live?

The earliest sauropods were known to live as long as 300 years. Since the Rhoetos lizard was one of the earliest sauropod, it would have probably had the life span of a good 100-200 years.

How did they reproduce?

Like most of the sauropods, the Rhoetos lizard was an oviparous reptile. After mating, the female was estimated to lay anywhere between 5-20 eggs.

Rhoetosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Rhoetosaurus look like?

Although the bones were discovered with fragments, it wasn't difficult to figure out their appearance. The fossil material from the discovery which consisted of ​bits of tail vertebrae, cervical bones ribs suggested that the specimen was that of a sauropod.

It had a long neck, long tail, and hollow bones and had the typical clawed-toe foot. Out of these, cervical vertebra and ribs were are preserved in the Queensland Museum. Later additions to the skeleton were the partial remains including ribs, caudals, rear limbs, ischium and partial pubis.

Depiction of the bone structure as given by researchers.
We've been unable to source an image of Rhoetosaurus and have used an image of Diamantinasaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Rhoetosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Rhoetosaurus have?

The Mid-Jurassic sauropod had more than 40 vertebrae from the neck, back, hips and tail.

How did they communicate?

The Rhoetosaurus, like most of the other dinosaurs, probably communicated through hissing or bellowing. In fact, none of the species are known to have loud roars as shown in the movies.

How big was a Rhoetosaurus?

The Rhoetosaurus size was estimated to be 49.2 ft (15 m) in length. The only known dinosaur after the Rhoetosaurus, was the Ozraptor which was a really tiny dinosaur, only being 6.6 ft (2 m) tall, making it almost eight times smaller than the Rhoetosaurus.

How fast could a Rhoetosaurus move?

Like other sauropods, the Rhoetosaurushad a complete hind limb and even front and hind foot which probably enabled them to have a fair speed.

How much did a Rhoetosaurus weigh?

The Rhoetosaurus had an average weight of 19,841.6-44092.5 lb (9000-20000 kg). It was 200 times bigger than the Ozraptor which only weighed around 100 lb (45.4 kg)!

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male dinosaurs were called bucks and the female dinosaurs were called cows. Otherwise, both males and females of the species were known by the same name Rheotosaurus.

What would you call a baby Rhoetosaurus?

The babies were called hatchlings, just like their cousin reptiles.

What did they eat?

The Rhoetosaurus dinosaur may have eaten Araucaria conifers, seed, and ferns since they were herbivores by diet. All the plants were known to originate from the Middle Jurassic of central Queensland.

How aggressive were they?

Sauropods were known to be non-aggressive dinosaurs. So it's unlikely that the Rheotos lizard was an aggressive species.

Did you know...

Many authors and scientists have mispronounced the sauropod as 'Rhaetosaurus' and 'Rheteosaurus' (Yadagiri, Prasad & Satsangi).

The Saurischia was the first known pre-cretaceous dinosaur from Australia to have a name and identity. It was followed by another sauropod called Austrosaurus in 1932.

Rhoetus, after whom Heber Longman named the dinosaur, was a titan in Greek mythology.

Only one specimen of Rhoetosaurus has been found by paleontologists.

Self-trained Longman honored station manager Arthur Browne when he announced the species name 'Brownei.'

Both Heber Longman and Alan Bartholomai who discovered much of the fossil material of the Rhoetosaurus brownei were former Directors of the Queensland Museum. 

Heber Longman had one of the most friendly relationships with the leading German paleontologist Friedrich Huene, he was another important figure in the Queensland Museum. This relationship helped them together announced the Rhoetosaurus as a Cetiosaurid in the initial stages.

Did they hunt?

The Mid-Jurassic dinosaur was a herbivore and certainly did not 'hunt' for other creatures to be its food.

Were they social?

The Rhoetosaurus existed in an age and place where there weren't many dinosaurs around. Thus the Rhoetosaurus probably did not have enough companions or opponents to judge their attitude towards other species. However, sauropods are usually known to be calm-headed and moderately social dinosaurs as they have often been pictured in small groups in many records.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Homalocephale facts, or Crichtonsaurus facts for kids.

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

Second image by T. Tischler, Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History.

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Written by Ritika Katariya

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritika Katariya picture

Ritika KatariyaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated content writer and language enthusiast, Ritika holds a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Fergusson College. With a keen interest in linguistics and literary adaptations, she has conducted extensive research in these domains. Beyond her academic pursuits, Ritika actively volunteers at her university, providing academic and on-campus assistance to fellow students.

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