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Camarasaurus ("Chambered Lizard"), often spelled Camerosaurus, was a genus of quadrupedal, herbivorous, sauropod dinosaur from North America that lived during the Late Jurassic period over 150 million years ago. It is the most abundant member of fauna in the Morrison Formation and was a very heavily built member of the long-necked sauropod family of Jurassic dinosaurs.

It was the most common of the giant sauropods to be found in North America. Its fossil remains have been found in the Morrison Formation of Colorado and Utah, dating to the late Jurassic Period (late Oxfordian to Tithonian stages), between [160-155].

Facts

Time/Era/Period

Camarasaurus lived during the Middle to Late Jurassic Period, 170-154 million years ago.

Size/Description

Although small compared to other sauropod dinosaurs, Camarasaurus was one of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived. They could grow to a staggering 20 feet tall at the hips, measured 60 feet in length, and tipped the scales at 20 tons, 9 times the mass of an elephant. Serving the purpose of weight-saving, as seen in other sauropods, many of the vertebrae were hollowed out or pneumatic, riddled with passages and cavities for an intricate system of air sacs connected to the lungs. This feature was relatively unknown at the time Camarasaurus was discovered, and was the inspiration for its name, meaning "chambered lizard". The strong, robust teeth of Camarasaurus in particular were more developed than those of most sauropods, indicating that it may have processed food in its mouth to some degree before swallowing. Camarasaurus is among the most common and frequently well-preserved sauropod dinosaurs.

Compared to some of the other sauropods, Camarasaurus had a relatively short neck and tail. It also had a large head compared to other sauropods, but the head was almost hollow. The skull openings for the nose and eyes were very large. This is the most common North American sauropod found, with more than ten fairly complete skeletons unearthed to date. At least four species have been identified within this genus.

Fossels

It is very well known by scientists and recently a family of these large creatures was discovered in the Western U.S. Camarasaurus is also a part of one of paleontology's big mistakes when its head was put on the body of Apatosaurus and called Brontosaurus.

Camarasaurus gets its name from the hollow spaces in its neck vertebrae. These would have made the neck lighter and easier for the dinosaur to lift and move about. This dinosaur also had the largest teeth among sauropods.

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