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Rapetosaurus krausei

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Rapetosaurus krausei
Rapetosaurus krausei, the only known species of the extinct genus Rapetosaurus, stands as a titanosaurian sauropod colossus that lived in what is now Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 70 to 66 million years ago, in the Maastrichtian.

This giant herbivore had an anatomy that characterized it as a typical sauropod, with a long and robust tail, a long neck and a voluminous body that gave it an imposing presence. Its skull, reminiscent of that of diplodocids, exhibited an elongated snout and two thin pits at the top, with small pencil-shaped teeth, ideal for tearing leaves from trees.

Although modest in size for a titanosaur, juvenile Rapetosaurus reached approximately 8 meters from head to tail and weighed as much as an elephant, while adults could reach 15 meters in length. However, more recent estimates suggest that adults could have reached 16.5 meters and weighed around 10.3 tonnes.

The discovery of Rapetosaurus revolutionized our understanding of titanosaurs, providing a rare, nearly complete specimen, including a skull, allowing scientists to clarify its classification and better understand its anatomy and behavior. Rapetosaurus fossils were found in the Mahajanga Basin, in northwestern Madagascar, in a Maastrichtian sandstone layer, providing valuable information about the fauna of that time.

The genus name, Rapetosaurus, derives from Rapeto, a giant in Malagasy mythology, and "sauros", meaning lizard in ancient Greek. The specific epithet, "krausei," honors the expedition leader, David W. Krause, whose team discovered the fossils in 2001.

This sauropod not only expanded our knowledge of dinosaur evolution, but also revealed details about the paleobiology of these prehistoric giants. A juvenile specimen discovered provided insight into the growth and development of Rapetosaurus, suggesting that they could survive with little or no parental care and cope with environmental challenges such as the Cretaceous droughts of Madagascar.

Approximate measurements of the Rapetosaurus:
  • Scale 1:100 - Complete
    • Length 147mm
    • Height 114mm
    • Snout-tail length 165mm

  • Scale 1:57 - 3-piece assembly kit
    • Length 258mm
    • Height 200mm
    • Snout-tail length 290mm

  • Scale 1:35 - 3-piece assembly kit
    • Length 420mm
    • Height 326mm
    • Snout-tail length 471mm