Named By: Powell - 1987.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropoda, Titanosauria, Aeolosauridae, Aeolosaurini.
Species: A. rionegrinus (type), A. colhuehuapensis, A. maximus.
Size: Estimated at 14 meters long, quite possibly larger.
Known locations: Argentina and Brazil.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Several individuals, but of partial remains.
is one of the better known South American titanosaurs
of the late
Cretaceous period. The name is derived from the mythical figure of
Aeolus who was dubbed the ‘keeper of the winds’ in Homer’s
Odyssey. It might seem rather obscure to name a
dinosaur after this
figure, but it is actually in reference to the prevailing winds that
blow across Patagonia where the first specimen of Aeolosaurus
Aeolosaurus has a close relationship with the titanosaur Gondwanatitan which stems from the fact that Gondwanatitan was named from a species of Aeolosaurus, A. faustoi. Both of these titanosaurs have caudal (tail) vertebrae that are both elongated and have neural spines that angled anteriorly (towards the front of the animal when the vertebrae are horizontally level). These special vertebrae have been proposed to have formed to better support Aeolosaurus when it reared up on its hind legs granting this dinosaur an optionally bipedal stance when feeding. Such a stance would have allowed Aeolosaurus to reach higher into the tree canopy and feed upon parts that were beyond the reach of other dinosaurs without physically having to grow a longer neck for the purpose.
Some remains of Aeolosaurus have confirmed the presence of osteoderms (sometimes called scutes) which were bony lumps that grew in the skin. These have been seen in some other titanosaurs and are thought to have been for additional defence against predatory theropods which in the case of Aeolosaurus may have included abelisaurs like Abelisaurus and Carnotaurus.
- The Late Cretaceous fauna of Los Alamitos, Patagonia, Argentina part VI—the titanosaurids. - Revista del Museo Argentina de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia" e Instituto Nacional de Investigacion de las Ciencias Naturales: Paleontología 3(3):147-153 - J. E. Powell - 1987.
- El genero Aeolosaurus (Sauropoda, Titanosauridae) en la formación Allen (Campaniano-Maastrichtiano) de la Provincia de Río Negro, Argentina. - Ameghiniana 30(2): 119-128 - L. Salgado & R. A. Coria - 1993.
- Presence of the genus Aeolosaurus (Sauropoda, Titanosauridae) in the Los Alamitos Formation (Late Cretaceous) of the Río Negro Province. Revista Guarulhos. - Geociencias 2(6): 44-49. - L. Salgado, R. A. Coria & J. O. Calvo - 1997.
- Aeolosaurus colhuehuapensis sp. nov. (Sauropoda, Titanosauria) de la Formacion Bajo Barreal, Cretacico superior de Argentina." Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia, 10(1): 53-62 - G. Casal, R. D. Martinez, M. Luna, J. C. Sciutto & M. C. Lamanna - 2007.
- A new sauropod (Macronaria, Titanosauria) from the Adamantina Formation, Bauru Group, Upper Cretaceous of Brazil and the phylogenetic relationships of Aeolosaurini. Zootaxa 3085:1-33 - R. M. Santucci & A. C. D. Arruda-Campos - 2011.