Atlasaurus (Greek for "Atlas lizard"); pronounced AT-la-SORE-us
Woodlands of Africa
Middle Jurassic (165 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 50 feet long and 10-15 tons
Large size; relatively long legs
Atlasaurus is only indirectly named after Atlas, the Titan of Greek myth who propped up the heavens on his back: this sauropod was discovered in Morocco's Atlas Mountains, which were themselves named after the same legendary figure. The unusually long legs of Atlasaurus--longer than any other known genus of sauropod--point to its unmistakable kinship with the North American and Eurasian Brachiosaurus, of which it seems to have been a southern offshoot. Unusually for a sauropod, Atlasaurus is represented by a single, near-complete fossil specimen, including a good portion of the skull.