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Ouranosaurus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Ornithischia
Suborder Ornithopoda
Family  ???
Genus Ouranosaurus
1st Species Ouranosaurus nigeriensis
Other attributes
Time Range 125-112 mya
Location Niger
Name Meaning Brave (monitor) reptile
Physical Dimensions 6 meters long
Dietary Classification Herbivore
Ouranosaurus is an ornithopod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Niger. It was named in 1976 by Philippe Taquet. It was one of the many iguanodontians (advanced ornithopod dinosaurs) that roamed Africa, as well as one that had a few unique traits.

PhysiologyEdit

Ouranosaurus was a quadrupedal ornithopod with a bulky body, long forelimbs, long, muscular hindlimbs, a moderately long tail, and a large head with a beak in front of its mouth. However, its snout was longer than that of other iguanodontians, two small, rounded, horn-like crests sat atop its head, and a large, ridged hump ran down its back. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.

DietEdit

Ouranosaurus was an herbivore, feeding on leaves, ferns, horsetails, and reeds. Its round beak was used to strip leaves off branches, while the many teeth in the back of its mouth would grind together, processing the leaves.

EcologyEdit

Like many other iguanodontians, Ouranosaurus was a generalistic browser, feeding on plants low to the ground and leaves off of high branches alike; it is likely that, when feeding on the latter, it would have reared on its 2 legs to reach them. However, its jaw muscles were relatively weak, and, since the back of the skull was narrow and could not make up for the (relatively) small anchors for jaw muscles, it had a weak bite relative to other iguanodontians; combined with a wide beak, this says that Ouranosaurus may have eaten large amounts of soft, low-quality vegetation, a diet very fitting for an animal living in a river delta. Although Ouranosaurus could move both quadrupedally and bipedally, it was not able to run very quickly due to its leg proportions (its upper leg was longer than its lower leg) and weak leg muscles; as well as this, contrary to some reconstructions, it wasn't an exceptional swimmer either, as the spines on its lumbar vertebrae were stiffened by ossified tendons (stiffening its back), and its forelimbs were very thin compared to its hindlimbs. Finally, the function of the hump on Ouranosaurus' back remains open to debate; a previous theory at the time decreed that it used its to regulate its body temperature, although possible other theories include being used for display or for being used to store fat so that the dinosaur could survive harsh dry seasons (similar to a bison or camel).

In popular cultureEdit

Ouranosaurus was featured in both the 1st and 5th episode of the 2011 documentary Planet Dinosaur, where it is inaccurately displayed as living alongside Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus. In the actual former episode, it is shown as being a prey animal that Carcharodontosaurus need to fight over, with the winner achieving the right to hunt them.

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