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Jurassic Episode 2: Ampelosaurus

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Ampelosaurus

Maastrichtian to Late Cretaceous

Ampelosaurus, a titanosaur-sauropod, lived in the late Campanian or early Maastrichtian Cretaceous. It died out around France, between 70 and 66 million years ago. The Ampelosaurus dinosaur was characterized by a long neck, four thick legs and a broad head. It was slow and was a herbivore that fed on vegetation.

The unique feature of Ampelosaurus was its osteoderms. These were armor-like plates that he wore on his back, from where his tail started to his head. These bony osteoderms proved very useful when Ampelosaurus had to defend itself against potential predators like Pyroraptor and abelisaurids, as well as the mighty Tarascosaurus.

Ampelosaurus, a dinosaur that ate over a ton of vegetation a day, was able to digest it using its large intestine with gastroliths. A study has revealed that the Ampelosaurus dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous were not very intelligent. Their brains were as big as a tennis ball and their bodies were wide.

Where did an Ampelosaurus live?

France was the first European country to find the Ampelosaurus dinosaur. Near Campagne-sur-Aude, France, the Ampelosaurus dinosaur was discovered. It is located in the department of Aude. It was found in the lower levels of the Lower Red Marls formation. This formation corresponds to the Maastrichtian stage at the end of the Cretaceous. Jean Le Loeuff, a French paleontologist, was the first to describe the Ampelosaurus.


Ampelosaurus means in French "lizard of the vine" or "lizard of the vine". It refers to the Blanquette de Limoux, a vineyard in France. This vineyard is located south of where the discovery of Ampelosaurus was made.
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In 2007, another specimen of the genus Ampelosaurus and its species was found near the construction site of a railway linking Valencia and Madrid. It was located in the Villalba de la Sierra formation. This site, known locally as "Lo Hueco", is located in Castile-La Mancha, Spain.

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