Deep hollows made the vertebrae of this huge
dinosaur lighter, but its limb bones were massive and solid in order to support the vast
body. Riojasaurus had relatively longer hands and feet than a sauropod, and more of its
digits were tipped with claws.
It was once believed that enormous melanorosaurld
prosauropods like Riojasaurus were carnivores and not herbivores. This misconception arose
largely because sharp, pointed teeth were found mixed up with headless melanorosaurld
remains. Scientists now think that the old, worn teeth had fallen from the mouths of
carnivorous dinosaurs feeding on the prosauropods' corpses.
Riojasaurus really had leaf-shaped teeth that were
designed for shredding plant fibres, not for slicing through flesh. Riojasaurus, with its
elevated back and long neck, was one of the first land animals capable of browsing on
vegetation growing high above the ground. Another benefit of Riojasaurus's enormous size
was the protection afforded by sheer bulk against attack from early, large, flesh-eating
dinosaurs, or from predatory, carnivorous rauisuchid reptiles.
Diet: Tree leaves
Size: Length 10m
Time (million years ago): 219