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Astrodon
Astrodon johnstoni
General Information
Universe Real Life
Raptor Red
Aliases Startooth, Pleurocoelus altus, Pleurocoelus nanus
Classification Astrodon johnstoni
Species Type Titanosaur
Homeworld Earth
Environment Coastal grasslands
Intelligence Non-sapient
Biochemistry Carbon-based lifeform
Discovered 1859
Discoverer Christopher Johnston
Biological Information
Reproduction Sexual; Lays leathery eggs
Average Height 9 m (30 ft)
Average Length 15 to 18 m (50 to 60 ft)
Locomotion Quadrupedal
Feeding Behavior Herbivorous
Prey Sequoia
Predators Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, Utahraptor (Raptor Red)
Distinctive Features Star-shaped teeth
Lineage Information
Cultural Information
Alignment Neutral
Organization Herds (presumed)
Sociocultral characteristics
Scientific Taxonomy
Planet Earth
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Eumetazoa
Infrakingdom Bilateria
Superphylum Deuterostomia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptiles
Subclass Archosauria
Infraclass Avemetatarsalia
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Sauropodomorpha
Infraorder Neosauropoda
Superfamily Titanosauriformes
Family Pleurocoelidae
Genus Astrodon
Species johnstoni
Other Information
Status Extinct

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.

PaleoecologyEdit

PaleofaunaEdit

MarylandEdit

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.

OklahomaEdit

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.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • 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.
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