If the diverse and numerous dinosaurs are extinct, how can we understand how they are inhabited? Even though the dinosaurs are extinct, they have left numerous clues. Dinosaur fossils are not restricted to bones but include skin, eggs, nests, footprints, and other fossils that give us clues about their lifestyles. In 1978 a Maiasaura dinosaur fossils site was discovered near Choteau, U.S. The remnant of an adult Maiasaura was found with a nest of juvenile dinosaurs, each about 1 meter (3.3 feet) long.
Quick Facts About Maiasaura
- Maiasaura was a giant, plant-eating, duckbilled dinosaur.
- The first Maiasaura dinosaur fossilswere found alongside its young, eggs, and nests.
- Maiasaura measured about 9 meters long, 2-2.5 meters tall, and weighed around 1800 kg.
Nest Of Maiasaura
Scientists have documented evidence of a significant nesting area used by hadrosaurian (duckbilled) dinosaurs. These dinosaur fossils were named Maiasaura, "good mother reptile," referring to the closely packed nests containing fossilized eggs, embryos, and juveniles. It is one case where they were confident that parental care was involved in these dinosaurs' lifestyles.
Footprints Of Maiasaura
Thousands of non-avian dinosaur footprints are scattered around the globe, from the Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous age. You might be confused about how a footprint could tell us much, but it can tell us some vital things about the biology of dinosaurs. With the help of trackway data, we can tell that:
- Some non-avian dinosaurs spanned extensive groups.
- These dinosaurs moved with their feet held underneath their body.
- Some dinosaurs moved rather quickly, but some plodded along more leisurely.
Structure Of Maiasaura
Maiasaura was extensive, attaining an utmost known length of about 9 meters or 30 ft. According to Maiasaura dinosaur fossils, we can state that they had flat beaks and thick noses. They had a tiny, spiky crest in front of their eyes. This crest may have been used in male headbutting contests during the breeding season. The Maiasaura is embedded in the Hadrosaur group. These were known as the duck-billed dinosaurs. Its scientific name is Maiasaura peeblesorum. Its body mass is approximately four metric tons (4.4 short tons). These dinosaurs could stand on their hind legs, so they would've been much taller than eight feet if they had stood up!
Specification Of MaiasauraTeeth
Paleontologists know the Maiasaura was a vegetarian because of the design of Maiasaura dinosaur fossils teeth. It had over 900 short, sturdy teeth for chewing and crushing plants. Their teeth were found in the cheek area of their mouth. All the chewing frequently wore down its teeth. Replacing them was not a problem. Each tooth had four teeth growing and ready to replace it. Like other types of dinosaurs, the Maiasaura lost a lot of teeth throughout its lifetime.
Diet Of Maiasaura
This dinosaur was herbivorous like other members of the duck-billed group. So, what did a Maiasaura eat? A study from 2007 showed that Maiasaura had a diet consisting of fibrous plants, wood, rotting wood, tree bark, leaves, branches, ferns, angiosperms, and possibly grasses. It would imply that Maiasaura was both a browser and a grazer.
The Anatomy Of Maiasaura
Fifty individuals of Maiasaura tibiae found that Maiasaurs had a mortality rate of about 89.9% in their first year. If the dinosaurs survived their second year, their death rate would drop to 12.7%. The dinosaurs would spend their next six years growing. Sexual maturity occurred in their third year, while skeletal maturity was attained at eight years of age. In their 8th year and beyond, the death rate for Maiasaura would return to around 44.4%. The studies that followed also found that Maiasaurs were primarily switched to a more quadrupedal stance as they aged. Unlike carnivorous dinosaurs, Maiasaura didn't need to discover how to stalk prey, entrap them, or fight back if there was resistance from prey. Maiasaura relied on good hearing, eyesight, and the reactions of their cohorts to danger.
When And Where They Resided?
Maiasauras date back seventy-six million years ago. They lived in Canada and North America. Specifically, their fossils were found throughout Montana and Alberta, Canada.
Threats And Predators To The Maiasaura
A dinosaur named the Troodon was one of the giant predators. However, Troodon dinosaurs were known to be eleven feet tall and weighed a hundred ten pounds. Moreover, Troodons were very intelligent, fast, and sly dinosaurs. Paleontologists think Troodons preyed on old, weak, or young Maiasaura dinosaurs. They would likely have been indecisive about assaulting a significant Maiasaura!
The Tyrannosaurus rex was also known as the hunter of the Maiasaura. The Maiasaura had few defenses against these giant carnivores. Paleontologists believe the most significant defense of the Maiasaura was its speed. It is believed these dinosaurs traveled in herds. So, herd behavior protects against its predators.
Extinction – When Did It Die Out?
Paleontologists aren't acquiesced to how the Maiasaura died out. But many paleontologists think these dinosaurs vanished because of an asteroid that hit during the Cretaceous Period. Paleontologists believe an asteroid created a tremendous cloud of dust. This dust accumulates in the earth's atmosphere, intercepting the sunlight. Due to this, Maiasaura lost its food source and died off.
Another theory on extinction involves disease. Some scientists think a malignant disease traveled throughout the population of dinosaurs, causing their extinction. The one thing about the death of the Maiasaura and other dinosaurs is that scientists have never agreed on the precise cause!
More About Maiasaura
Hundreds of skeletons and dinosaur bones are maintained in one specific ash bed in Montana, and those preserved in nesting sites suggest that Maiasaura was migratory. Such proof also indicates that these dinosaurs were social animals nested in groups. They probably came back to the same nesting site year after year. Studies of bone structure indicate that it would have taken about seven or eight years for Maiasaura to reach an adult size of eight meters.
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