Titanosaurus is Named For the Titans
Titanosaurus lived about 75 million years ago and is a member of the family Titanosauridae that consists of enormous and armored Sauropods. The genus Titanosaurus, pronounced tye-TAN-uh-SAWR-us, is another dubious name due to many discoveries of species since Titanosaurus was first discovered in 1877 by Richard Lydekker. Since that time, Lydekker’s discovery has been marked as Titanosaurus blanfordi, and to this day is based on fragmentary remains only. The name is Greek and means “Titan Lizard”, or God-Lizard—named after the mythological “Titans” or deities of ancient Greece. Another—since named—Titanosaurus species type is Titanosaurus Isisaurus, previously known as Titanosaurus colberti.
What did Titanosaurus Look Like?
Titanosaurus looked a lot like the Godzilla of popular culture. Like all Sauropods, the genus was large and heavily set, with a long and narrow head, but small in proportion to the body. Titanosaurus had a long neck, and tail. It is believed that its tail was used as a whip.
Titanosaurus resembled diplodocus, whose posture has been found to be primarily horizontal, which would have allowed a leveling balance on the waters for ease of movement and flexibility, along with surface feeding of various plant life and fungi, etc. at the water’s surface area. The genus had a low back that was armored with small plates. In addition, Titanosaurus may have had several lumps on its back that were pointed like spikes, for protection from other large and aggressive dinosaurs, in addition to even larger spines sticking out of its back. The legs, like the body, were thick but short in comparison to the long neck and tail.
Relative to other Sauropods, Titanosaurus had a very small head that looked like a cross between a duckbill and a taller snout dinosaur. Titanosaurus had large nostrils with nasal crests.
What did Titanosaurus Eat?
Despite its fearsome appearance, Titanosaurus was merely an herbivore and most likely to feed on the plentiful supply of Late Cretaceous plant life, from algae to conifers. However, it is possible that Titanosaurus was already in trouble, due to immense changes taking place over a relatively short time during the Cretaceous Period. In the time of Titanosaurus fossil finds, the Late Cretaceous was losing varietal species of plant life as it was gaining others. Flowering plants began to thrive where greener varieties were declining. It was not long before the flowering varieties greatly outnumbered the other plants. Plant varieties which had been valuable resources of sustenance for many dinosaurs (horsetails, trees, ferns) were disappearing. Titanosaurus would have needed a vast supply of these to survive.
It’s possible that Titanosaurus would migrate to and mainstay the coastal areas in order to expand its diet to various fungi, sponges and diatoms available close to the water. (While diatoms are typically uni-cellular, varieties are known to exist as colonies of filaments and ribbons and these diatoms are major producers in the food chain at any time.)
The teeth of Titanosaurus were relatively small, spatulate, and set in a light skull via thecodont implantation. The skull had room for much muscle and tissue, which helped to bite and hold plant material foods by increasing skull flexibility when eating.
How did Titanosaurus move?
Titanosaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur, but a massively heavy one in the trunk, and therefore likely spent significant time in water. This genus is thought to have existed during much of its time in chest-deep swampy waters and coastal areas. Titanosaurus was likely to be found near any floodplain or tropical estuary. There were at least certain species of Titanosaurus that had straight hind limbs. The appearance of bodily movement of Titanosaurus could have looked much like today’s elephant. This would have allowed for much land movement, but due to the size of Titanosaurus, this would have put it in a prime position to fall prey to other large dinosaurs of the carnivore variety. This could explain development of the spiny and plate like protections on its back. Titanosaurus’ most likely predator was Tyrannosaurus rex.
During the Late Cretaceous, sea level began to drop which caused land exposure, increased seasonality, and greater extremes of temperature from poles to equator. Plate activity was gearing up and modern continents took form. It is thought that Titanosaurus withstood much of this in stride, relative to other prehistoric animals, by moving around and adapting for as long as it could.
Where did Titanosaurus live?
Titanosaurus lived in the Late Cretaceous Period during a time when great change was taking place in the earth’s crust and atmosphere. They were the last great group of Sauropods, before the Cretaceous—Tertiary extinction event, about 90—65 million years ago. During that time, Titanosaurus was the dominant herbivore, being large and existing in great number. Titanosaurus could have traveled in herd, much like the elephant today, and likely started out as clusters of herds on their continent of origin. In fact, it is theorized that Titanosaurus actually took the place of previous large Sauropods Brachiosaurid and Diplodocid, which became extinct during the Late Jurassic to Mid Cretaceous time.
Titanosaurus lived on the supercontinent of Gondwana and ended up being found in Australia and New Zealand. A versatile genus, Titanosaurus has been found to have been capable of much travel and adaptability to living abroad, since its remains have been found in much more wide-spread locales than any other dinosaurs of its time.
Their land was covered with tropical forests which were themselves surrounded by shallow seas, during a time when there was no polar ice.
The Discovery of Titanosaurus
Titanosaurus was first discovered by Lydekker in 1877, and described in 1879. since then several specimens (14 species) have been found all over the world. It is notable that all remains have been found near ancient sources of water. In 1996 an excellent skull specimen was discovered. Discoveries of note have been made in Europe, Argentina, Madagascar, India and Laos.
While Titanosaurus, found in great number and spread, has provided much in the way of clues to life during the prehistoric Cretaceous Period, its remains are unfortunately scattered and affected, so that in some ways we know less today about this prolific prehistoric dinosaur than we do about other lesser found yet more robust specimens of others.
The Titanosaurus Godzilla Epic
The real Titanosaurus was a prehistoric dinosaur that captures our feather today, while the Titanosaurus many of us will remember is the one of reality-based science fiction film Terror of Mechagodzilla. This Titanosauris looked much like the real Titanosaurus, and was a hugely popular Japanese giant monster (kaiju).
Kaiju Titanosauris was an enemy of Godzilla that could whip its tail and generate winds powerful enough to tear down buildings. In the water, Kaiju Titanosauris used its tail as a high-powered propeller and rudder. Portrayed as standing toe-to-toe with Godzilla and landing kicks and punches that propel its opponent great distances, Kaiju Titanosauris was one of the first glimpses everyday people would get into what such prehistoric and massive creatures as dinosaurs may have lived like and what they would have been capable of and presented with in their own every day existence, at least as far as basic movements and sentiments.
Actual similarities between Kaiju Titanosaurus and real Titanosaurus are minimal, though Kaiju Titanosaurus was loosely based on the real one.
The Significance of Titanosaurus
This genus was last of the giant Sauropods. Even dwarf Sauropods were considered the largest animals of their ecosystem. Titanosaurus are considered the most unusual of the Sauropods since they completely lost their front limb digits. Advanced Titanosaurus walked on stumps made up of columnar bones only.
Recently a large Titanosaurid nesting area was discovered which unveiled the tactics of at least one species to find a land spot well-hidden to lay many eggs together—a few hundred nests were found in this area. The eggs found were about 4—5 inches (11—12 centimeters) in diameter and complete with skin impressions. This Titanosaurus egg finding tells us more about just how these large creatures may have nested together and possibly returned to the same nesting areas to lay their eggs.