Quirks & Quarks

Tiny Titanosaur with perfect proportions

A baby dinosaur, one-thousandth the mass of its parent, has no babylike features, but looks just like its bus-sized parent

Baby dinosaur has proportions precisely like those of an adult

Artist's conception of baby titanosaur, with human figure for scale (Macalester College)
Many baby animals look quite different from their adult forms, with larger heads, shorter legs, and blunter features. But the discovery of fossils of an infant Rapetosaurus - a tiny baby that would grow into a long-necked four legged bus-sized adult - suggests something surprising about this kind of dinosaur.

According to Dr. Kristi Curry Rogers, a paleontologist and professor of Biology and Geology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, the baby, which was likely about two months old and perhaps knee-high, was actually a perfectly proportioned copy of the adult.

What this suggests is that this animal hatched as a fully functional, independent creature, capable of surviving on its own, and didn't depend on the kind of parental care that is thought to have been common in other dinosaurs.

Related Links

Paper in Science
- Macalester College release
Science news story
- National Geographic story
- Minnesota Public Radio story