Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Sauropodomorpha
Family Plateosauridae
Genus Plateosaurus
1st Species Plateosaurus engelhardti
2nd Species Plateosaurus gracilis
Other attributes
Time Range 214-204 mya
Location Germany, Greenland
Name Meaning Broad reptile
Physical Dimensions 10 meters long for P. engelhardti; 6.1 meters long for P.gracilis
Weight 3.9 tonnes for P.engelhardti; 900 kilograms for P. gracilis
Dietary Classification Herbivore

Plateosaurus is a plateosaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Late Triassic of Germany and Greenland. It was named in 1837 by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer. It was one of the first dinosaurs discovered; however, due to being poorly known at the time, it wasn't considered to be a dinosaur until later.


Despite being related to sauropods, Plateosaurus more resembled an ornithopod dinosaur. It was a bipedal dinosaur with long legs, moderately long arms, a moderately long tail, a long neck, and a small head with jaws. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin.


Plateosaurus was an herbivore, feeding on leaves. Its flat, leaf-shaped teeth were used to slice into plants and mash them before the sauropodomorph swallowed them.


For a while, there was a debate as to how Plateosaurus moved, with a few reconstructions showing it walking on two legs (and on its toes), walking on four legs (and on flat feet), and even hopping around like a kangaroo; today, the former prevails as the most accurate reconstruction for it. As well as this, due to its leg proportions, it was a relatively fast runner; however, instead of full-out sprinting like modern mammals, it increased its speed through quick strides. Due to a large, muddy bonebed containing many individuals, we can assume that the plateosaurids lived in herds; when they attempted to wade across the muddy bogs, larger individuals sunk and drowned, while smaller individuals were able to cross without sinking. A comparison of its sclerotic rings to those of modern reptiles and birds indicates that it was cathemeral.

In popular cultureEdit

Plateosaurus was first introduced to the public in the Rite of Spring segment of the 1940 Disney musical movie, Fantasia. Since then, it has been featured in many books focusing prehistoric animals, with an occasional movie appearance. So far, its biggest public appearance was in the first episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where a huge herd of the plateosaurids get attracted to the once-again lush river; in this case, it was misplaced through space, as while Europe was connected to North America at the time, Germany was quite a distance away from the United States, and the narrator had not explained that the sauropodomorphs migrated there.

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