Fun Rapetosaurus Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Nov 29, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Read more fun and interesting Rapetosaurus facts here.
?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

Rapetosaurus is a genus of the sauropodian titanosaur dinosaur group of the family Saltasauridae and subfamily Saltasaurinae. This dinosaur occurred in the Mahajanga Basin, northwest Madagascar, at the end of the Cretaceous period around 70 to 66 million years ago. Rapetosaurus krausei with narrow snout and nostrils is the only species identified in this genus. Rapetosaurus was a quadrupedal herbivore like the other sauropods. The calculated length these species reached was 49 ft (15 m). The discovery of this species was noted that it was the first time of titanosaur species to be recovered with an almost intact skeleton and even the skull. So, this has helped clear up some classification doubts and allowed a better understanding of sauropods. Kristina Curry Rogers and Catherine A. Forster published the discovery of Rapetosaurus in their scientific journal called Nature in 2001. Rapetosaurus is a derivation of the name of a giant deity called Rapeto of the Malagasy folklore honored for the geographical characteristics of their land combined with the Greek Saurus, meaning, 'lizard.' The species name krausei was given after David W. Krause, team leader of the expedition. The length of this species is still less than half the length of its gigantic kin like Paralititan and Argentinosaurus.

If you enjoy reading these fun Rapetosaurus facts, then make sure to check few amazing facts about the Panphagia and Vulcanodon.

Rapetosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Rapetosaurus'?

The pronunciation of Rapetosaurus is 'Rah-PAY-too-SOR-us.' Krausei is pronounced as 'krow-sie.'

What type of dinosaur was a Rapetosaurus?

Rapetosaurus (species Rapetosaurus krausei) is a dinosaur classified within the Lithostrotia group and sauropod group, subfamily Saltasaurinae, and phylum Chordata of Madagascar. Titanosaur was the last of the dinosaur titans of sauropod dinosaurs. The discovery of Rapetosaurus marked the first time to recover a full-sized titanosaur with a skull. The discovery of Rapetosaurus allowed a better understanding of sauropod. This understanding also led to resizing of Titanosaur (last dinosaur titans) group. The herbivore juvenile length and weight were measured from head to tail and 'probably weighed as much as an elephant' according to Kristina Curry Rogers. This adult species was still less than half the length of its gigantic kin like Paralititan and Argentinosaurus. Rapetosaurus was an atypical titanosaurid and shared the Mahajanga basin with one other huge herbivore titanosaur.

In which geological period did the Rapetosaurus roam the earth?

The time period Rapetosaurus (species Rapetosaurus krausei) was in Madagascar at the end of the Cretaceous period around 70 to 66 million years ago.

When did Rapetosaurus become extinct?

This sauropod herbivore of the Titanosauria group was were the dominant herbivore in the Late Cretaceous time period. Rapetosaurus (species Rapetosaurus krausei) became extinct probably in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event about 66 million years ago killing almost all of the dinosaurs. Analysis of the juvenile's bones showed this young Rapetosaurus probably died because of starvation due to the harsh draughts of Madagascar in the Cretaceous period.

Where did Rapetosaurus live?

Rapetosaurus (Rapetosaurus krausei) occupied the Mahajanga Basin, northwest Madagascar 70 to 66 million years ago.

What was the Rapetosaurus' habitat?

Rapetosaurus (Rapetosaurus krausei) occupied terrestrial habitats. Madagascar was drifting northwards around 20 million years ago, Rapetosaurus might have roamed around coastal environments even in tidal flats.

Who did a Rapetosaurus live with?

Rapetosaurus (Rapetosaurus krausei) might have lived and died in groups like all the other dinosaurs.

How long did a Rapetosaurus live?

The lifespan or maximum age of the Rapetosaurus (Rapetosaurus krausei) is not known. When Kristina Curry Rogers found the skeleton, this was of a juvenile that was just around 39-77 days by the time of death.

How did they reproduce?

Rapetosaurus (Rapetosaurus krausei) reproduction was oviparous. However, the process of breeding and incubation of this sauropod herbivore has been derived. After the remodeling of the juvenile bones, it was believed that the juveniles could survive with very little to no parental care.

Rapetosaurus Fun Facts

What did Rapetosaurus look like?

This sauropod herbivore of Madagascar has an elephant-like huge body with a very long neck and slender and short tail. The head is similar to diplodocid with an elongated, narrow snout and nostrils on top of the skull. There were pencil-like teeth that were used for ripping out leaves but not for chewing them. Juvenile skeletons were measured to be 26 ft (8 m) and adults twice the size from head to tail and 'probably weighed as much as an elephant' according to Kristina Curry Rogers.

Rapetosaurus krausei was a large herbivore probably starved to death due to climate changes.

How many bones did a Rapetosaurus have?

The exact number of bones in the skeleton of a sauropod herbivore of Madagascar is not known.

How did they communicate?

This sauropod herbivore of Madagascar might have communicated using calls and songs.

How big was a Rapetosaurus?

The head to tail length of the juvenile skeleton found is about 26 ft (8 m) and the adult might have been 49 ft (15 m) and is still less than half the length of its gigantic kin like Paralititan and Argentinosaurus. The Rapetosaurus height range is not known. In 2020, the size of a probable adult skeleton (MAD 93-28) known from a femur was estimated by Larramendi and Molina-Perez to be 54 ft (16.5 m).

How fast could a Rapetosaurus move?

The exact speed of this sauropod herbivore is not known.

How much did a Rapetosaurus weigh?

The Rapetosaurus weight range is about 7.8 lb (3.4 kg). The herbivore juvenile length and weight were measured from head to tail and 'probably weighed as much as an elephant' according to Kristina Curry Rogers. MAD 93-28 skeleton weighed 25,022.4 lb (11,350 kg). The estimated weight at the time of hatching was about 7.8 lb (3.4 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The specific name of the male and female sauropod herbivore dinosaur has not yet been given.

What would you call a baby Rapetosaurus?

There is no specific name given to the baby Rapetosaurus. The baby is usually referred to as a juvenile.

What did they eat?

These species were herbivores and probably fed on leaves and tree foliage. Their teeth allowed them to rip leaves off of trees but they couldn't chew on them.

In 1996, a skull of the abelisaurid theropod Majungasaurus was discovered. In their natural habitats, Majungasaurus dinosaurs were the largest predators. The only other coexisting herbivore dinosaurs were the Rapetosaurus. Scientists suggested that these Majungasaurus species were hunters especially of sauropods, which was indicated by tooth marks on the bones of Rapetosaurus that Majungasaurus at least fed on these dinosaurs.

How aggressive were they?

There is no data on how aggressive these dinosaurs were.

Did you know...

Three other fossils were also recovered while excavating the Rapetosaurus skeleton. A partial skull named UA 8698, a holotype, unrelated vertebrae, another partial skull, and a juvenile skeleton with missing tail vertebrae. The juvenile was the full almost attached skeleton of Rapetosaurus. In the Mahajanga Basin, northwest Madagascar not far from Mahajanga's port city, fossil remains were found. This fossil was recovered from a sandstone layer called Anembalemba Member, a part of the Maevarano formation. This rock formation dates back to the Maastrichtian stage belonging to the late Cretaceous which means these fossils were about 70 million years old.

Few other fossils of lizards, frogs, snakes, fishes, seven separate species of crocodylomorphs, Vorona, five to six mammal species, and other birds were also recovered from the same Maevarano. Some more species recovered were gondwanatheres, flighted Rahonavis of Dromaeosauridae, Majungasaurus of Abelisauridae, Masiakasaurus of Naosauridae, and non-placental eutherins.

There are about nine genera in the subfamily Saltasaurinae. Jaime Powell and Salgado et al. defined this subfamily Saltasaurinae as 'the clade including the most recent common ancestor Saltasaurus loricatus, Neuquensaurus australis, and all their descendants.' The weight range of this subfamily was found by Thomas R. Holtz Jr. to be 15,000-46,000 lb (7,000-21,000 kg). This is the only known group of sauropod dinosaurs to have armor from all the species.

The first species of the family Saltasauridae was Alamosaurus, which was found in Utah by Charles Gilmore, a paleontologist in 1922. P. Upchurch and J. Wilson, a paleontologist, defined this family as the 'least inclusive clade' consisting of Saltasaurus loricatus, and Opisthocoelicaudia skarzynski, their recent ancestors, and all the descendants of that species. Most of the species of this family are small-sized. They held their tails and necks almost parallel to the ground and were quadrupeds like the other sauropods with small heads and peg-like teeth.

The term Titannosauria refers to the mythological Titan in ancient Greek mythology through the Titanosaurus type genus. Richard Lydekker, a British paleontologist first-named Titanosaurus indicus in 1877. There are poor fossil records of the Titanosaurs, which are only completed in five particular titanosaurs. It was determined by the skin impressions found with the fossil that the skin of these species was armored.

What does 'Rapetosaurus' mean?

The genus name Rapetosaurus is derived from the name of a giant deity called Rapeto of the Malagasy folklore honored for the geographical characteristics of their land combined with the Greek Saurus, meaning, 'lizard.' The specific scientific name krausei was given after David W. Krause, team leader of the expedition. So, Rapetosaurus krausei translates to 'Krause's mischievous giant lizard.'

How were Rapetosaurus dinosaurs discovered?

The skeleton of Rapetosaurus with a matching skull was recovered by a field team Stony Brooke Univerisity with Universite d'Antananarivo's assistance. David W. Krause, team leader of the expedition had been excavating fossils since 1993 from this site.

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 Isanosaurus facts and Abrosaurus facts for kids.

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

 

Second image by Lisa Andres.

Rapetosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Tree foliage and leaves

what Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

What Did They Look Like?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

Newly hatched: 7.8 lb (3.4 kg)

Skin Type

Scales

How Long Were They?

Head to tail: 26 ft (8 m) [juvenile] Adult: 49 ft (15 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Rapetosaurs

Family

Saltasauridae

Scientific Name

Rapetosaurs krausei

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

Maevarano formation, Madagascar
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

Read full bio >