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Saltasaurus was around 39 feet (12 meters) long. It probably weighed about 8 tons. In other words, although a massive animal, it was comparatively small for a Sauropod dinosaur.
Saltasaurus was discovered in 1980. The first fossils found came from the Salta province in Northwest Argentina, and hence the name, which means "lizard from Salta". Subsequently, additional fossils have been found in Uruguay.
Prior to the discovery of Saltasaurus, scientists assumed that their great size was sufficient protection for Sauropod dinosaurs. However, when Saltasaurus was discovered, the fossils found, include bony armor plates ("osteoderms") about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) in diameter, and thus it is believed that Saltasaurus had some armored protection against predators. There is even some suggestion that the bony plates may have had spikes, although more fossils are needed to confirm ot disprove this hypothesis. Since the discovery of Saltasaurus, scientists have also begun to investigate whether some other Sauropods may also have had armor, and again there seems to be some evidence that for some types of Sauropod, this was the case.
In 1997, hundreds of eggs containing fossilized embryos of Sauropod dinosaurs, most likely Saltasaurus, were found in Patagonia, Argentina. Each egg was about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) in diameter, and it appears that the female dinosaurs buried these eggs in sand and vegetation. Particularly noteable, is the large number of animals which must have been at the same location at the same time - if these are Saltasaurus eggs, this would suggest that Saltasaurus lived in herds.
Saltasaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 75 to 65 million years ago
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