While many dinosaurs looked very different from their parents, German researchers have found that some species actually look like miniature copies of adults.
Paleontologists at the University of Bonn discovered while examining the skeleton of a young Plateosaurus. The nearly complete skeleton, named “Fabian”, was found in 2015 in Switzerland (pictured above).
According to research in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, researchers were “surprised” to find that the young specimen’s physical features and proportions were “significantly similar” to the adult Plateosaurus.
Jens Lallensack, a paleontologist involved in the study, told the DPA news agency: “The fact that the young Plateosaurus fry look so similar to an adult is even more amazing because they are 10 times heavier.
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The long-necked Plateosaurus can grow to weigh up to 4,000 kg
The other dinosaur babies, on the other hand, looked very different from their full adult version.
Researchers have found that young Mussaurus offspring, linked to Plateosaurus, emerge on all fours – although the adults only move on two legs, DPA reports.
From small to large
The team determined that “Fabian” was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) long and weighed between 40 and 60 kg (88 to 132 pounds).
By comparing “Fabian” to adult fossils, they found many anatomical similarities, with only a few exceptions.
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“The hands and necks of the young are probably a little longer – the arm bones are somewhat shorter and thinner,” Darius Nau, a researcher at the University of Bonn’s Institute of Geosciences, told DPA.
The long-necked, plant-eating Plateosaurus species lived about 220 million years ago in Northern and Central Europe and Greenland. Adults are between 4.8 and 10 meters long and weigh up to 4,000 kg.