Rapetosaurus krausei dorsal vertebra
~12 inches W x 8 inches H
The strange-looking bone seen in the picture above is a portion of one of the rib-bearing vertebrae from a brand new skeleton of Rapetosaurus krausei. The spinal cord passed through the small hole at the bottom of the bone. Since this and other vertebrae were found with lots of other small bones from this skeleton, we know that this particular Rapetosaurus was a juvenile, about 20 feet long from the tip of its snout to the tip of its tail. Rapetosaurus is a member of the group of long-necked dinosaurs called titanosaurs, and it was a plant eater.
Rapetosaurus was recently discovered in Madagascar and was named in the science journal Nature (Vol. 412, pg. 530-534) by Kristi Curry Rogers of the Science Museum of Minnesota's Paleontology Department. The specimen is currently held here at SMM, and parts of it will be on display at the Science Museum's Dino Day event on September 22, 2001. Make sure to come and learn more about Rapetosaurus and Kristi's work in Madagascar!