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Erketu

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erketu

Erketu (American Museum of Natural History)

Name:

Erketu (after a Mongolian deity); pronounced ur-KEH-too

Habitat:

Woodlands of central Asia

Historical Period:

Early Cretaceous (120 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 50 feet long and 5 tons

Diet:

Plants

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; extremely long neck

About Erketu:

All but a handful of sauropods--as well as their lightly armored descendants of the Cretaceous period, the titanosaurs--possessed extremely long necks, and Erketu was no exception: the neck of this Mongolian titanosaur was about 25 feet long, which may not seem all that unusual until you consider that Erketu itself measured only 50 feet from head to tail! In fact, Erketu is the current record holder for neck/body-length ratio, outclassing even the extremely long-necked (but much bigger) Mamenchisaurus. As you may have guessed from its anatomy, Erketu probably spent most of its time browsing the leaves of high trees, grub that would have been left untouched by shorter-necked herbivores.

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