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|Aliases||Startooth, Pleurocoelus altus, Pleurocoelus nanus|
|Reproduction||Sexual; Lays leathery eggs|
|Average Height||9 m (30 ft)|
|Average Length||15 to 18 m (50 to 60 ft)|
|Predators||Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, Utahraptor (Raptor Red)|
|Distinctive Features||Star-shaped teeth|
Astrodon (from aster: star, and odon: tooth) is a genus of large herbivorous sauropod, related to the far-better known Brachiosaurus, which lived during the Albian Stage of the Early Cretaceous Period, around 112 million years ago. Adults of the species were estimated to have been over 9 m (30 ft) high and between 15 to 18 m (50 to 60 ft) long.
They were found in what is now Maryland and Oklahoma, but during that time was at the edge of the then-expanding Atlantic Ocean basin: This region at the time was a broad and generally flat plain adorned with streams, probably similar to the modern-day coastal regions of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
At least within its now-Maryland ranges, Astrodons shared their paleoenvironment with other dinosaurs, including but certainly not limited to the coelurosaurian Dryosaurus grandis, the ankylosaurian Priconodon crassus, the nodosaurid Propanolosaurus marylandicus, a possible basal-level ceratopsian, and potentially the ornithopod Tenontosaurus. Beyond this, evidence also points to the presence of many predators, such as the poorly known theropods Dryptosaurus medius, Capitalsaurus potens, Coelurus gracilis, and Eubrontes, as well as the larger, better-known Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, which can be assumed to have been the local apex predator of the region.
There were also numerous other vertebrates to inhabit the area, including freshwater sharks, lungfish, and at least three genera of turtles, which included Glyptops caelatus, and the crocodilian Goniopholis affinis. The early mammal Argillomys marylandensis, and the pterosaur Pteraichinus were also present, as well as trees, cycads such as Dioonites, Ginkgo, the ground plant Selaginella and the giant redwood conifer Sequoia.
Prehistoric Oklahoma ranges included a different variety of species as one might expect, which included rival sauropod Sauroposeidon proteles, the dromaeosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus, and again, the carnosaur Acrocanthosaurus atokensis. Tenontosaurus was also extremely common in this area, though the gar Lepisosteus was by far the most common vertebrate in the region.
Other vertebrates in the region were the amphibian Albanerpeton arthridion, reptiles Atokasaurus metarsiodon and Ptilotodon wilsoni, the crurotarsan reptile Bernissartia, the cartilaginous fish Hybodus buderi and Lissodus anitae, the ray-finned fish Gyronchus dumblei, the crocodilian Goniopholism, and the turtles Glyptops and Naomichelys. Though ultimately indeterminate, it is believed that birds also resided here. Early mammals included Atokatherium boreni and Paracimexomys crossi.
- In 1998, Astrodon johnstoni was named the state dinosaur of Maryland.
- Astrodon appears in the novel Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker, as prey of Utahraptor.
- A life-sized Pleurocoelus (a synonym for Astrodon) model (featuring a wound on its left rear leg) is displayed in the Terror of the South exhibit on the third floor of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.