Camarasaurus(meaning chambered lizard) was a relatively small sauropod that lived in the late Jurassic about 145 million years ago. It was about 18 meters long and weighed about 18 metric tones. Its name comes from its skull, which is in the shape of an arch. These dinosaurs may have lived in herds. Camarasaurus is said to be a well-preserved Sauropod dinosaur.
The arched skull of Camarasaurus was square with wide nostrils and 7.5 in long teeth that bordered the jaw, though it was strong and is often found in good condition by paleontologists. The strength of the teeth indicates that Camarasaurus ate coarser plants than the thin-toothed diplodocids.
Each front limb bore five toes; the inner toe had a large, sharp claw. Like most sauropods, the front limbs were shorter than the hind legs, but the high position of the shoulders meant that the back was flat.
Camarasaurus could reach a length about 15 meters long. The neck and tail were shorter than usual for a sauropod of this size.
It was in the camarasaur group, which is named after it. The group consisted on dinosaurs like the Camarasaurus itself and the infamous Brachiosaurus (even though it had its own family group). The camarasaurs had square-shaped heads and possibly trunks. The four Camarasaurus species are C. grandis, C. supremis, C. lentus and C. lewisi.
Camarasaurus grandis was once called Apatosaurus; Camarasaurus also had other names such Morosaurus and Cauldon.
It was first found in 1877 in Colorado by Oramel W. Lucas. The paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope paid for the bones, as part of his long and harsh feud with Othniel Charles Marsh (known as the Bone Wars) and named them in the same year. Marsh later named some of his sauropod findings Morosaurus grandis but most paleontologists now think this is a species of Camarasaurus . Such naming conflicts were common between the two rival dinosaur hunters, the most famous being Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus.
It was not till 1925 that a whole skeleton of Camarasaurus was found, by Charles W. Gilmore, but it was the skeleton from a young Camarasaurus, which is why so many illustrations of the dinosaur from the time show it to be much smaller than it is now known to be.
The Morrison Formation, along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, is home to a rich stretch of Late Jurassic rock. A large number of dinosaur species can be found here, including relatives of the Camarasaurus such as Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus, but camarasaurs are the most abundant of all the dinosaurs in the Formation. Its bones have also been found in New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
There is a fossil record of two adults and a 40 ft long juvenile that died together in the Late Jurassic Period, close to 150 million years ago (in north east Wyoming, USA, dug up by the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Center, in the 1997 and 1998 'field seasons'). It is thought that their bodies were washed to their final resting place, in mud, by a river in spate. This may mean that Camarasaurus roamed in herds or, at least, 'family' groups. Also, camarasaur eggs have been found in lines, not in neatly set up nests as with most dinosaurs, which seems to show that, like most sauropods, Camarasaurus did not tend its young.
Camarasaurus was one of the most common sauropods in North America. Camarasaurus just like other Sauropods lived in large herds and had peg-like teeth for chewing on high leaves and pines
In the past, some scientists had thought that Camarasaurus and other sauropods may have swallowed stones to help grind the food in the stomach and then regurgitated or passed them when they became too smooth. But, more recent studies of the proof for stomach stones has suggested that this was not the case. What's more, the strong teeth of Camarasaurus in particular were more developed than those of most sauropods, meaning that it may have processed food in its mouth up to a point before swallowing.
Camarasaurus in The Land Before Time
Camarasaurus (or "Longnecks") appear as background characters in several Land Before Time movies. They are usually either pale brown or a reddish-brown color with a darker brown stripe and a pale cream underbelly. Some of these can be seen as part of Bron's herd. They can be distinguished from other Longnecks by the extra lump of skin, or trunk, on their noses.
C. grandis also appears in the TV series.