What do the Massospondylus and the crocodile have in common? We’ll give you a hint: their nurseries.
- The Massospondylus lived in what is now South Africa in the Early Jurassic, 200 to 183 million years ago. It belonged to the dinosaur family that later evolved into the sauropods, which included the largest land animals ever to walk the earth, animals like the Brachiosaurus and the Dreadnoughtus.
- Massospondylus had a small head, a long neck, and a long tail.
- It was a plant eating dinosaur that grew 15 feet long. This seems small compared to its descendants, but it was actually a pretty large animal for its time.
- Massospondylus nests have been found containing unhatched eggs and embryos as well as babies. The smallest babies were about 6 inches long. The babies were born with large heads, short necks, and no teeth. Some of the babies discovered were too old to be newborns.
- The eggs, the oldest dinosaur eggs ever found, were also placed in rows in the nests, rather than in piles. And layers of nests have been found, showing that the dinosaurs returned to the same nesting place year after year.
- All this suggests that the Massospondylus stayed with its nest, caring for the eggs and babies in some way, much like modern crocodiles and some snakes.
Questions and Answers
Question: What did Massospondylus eat?
Answer: This dinosaur was a plant eater.
Read more about the dinosaur eggs.