Melanorosaurus (Greek for "Black Mountain lizard"); pronounced meh-LAN-oh-roe-SORE-us
Woodlands of South Africa
Late Triassic (225-205 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 35 feet long and 2-3 tons
Large size; thick legs
Just as its distant cousins, the sauropods, dominated the later Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, Melanorosaurus was one of the largest prosauropods of the Triassic period, and very possibly the largest land creature on the face of the earth 220 million years ago. Save for its relatively short neck and tail, Melanorosaurus displayed all the adaptations typical of later sauropods, including a heavy trunk and sturdy, tree-trunk-like legs. It was probably a close relative of another contemporary South American prosauropod, Riojasaurus.