|Lifespan||41 - 92|
|Medical Dart Resistance||82|
|Harmful Paleobotany||Paw Paw|
Unlocked by research in a Science Center
|Duration||02:05 - 02:20|
Ouranosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Period. It lived in what is now modern day Africa.Ouranosaurus featured large spines that ran along its entire back and tail. These spines supported a large sail, similar to those of Spinosaurus. Like Spinosaurus, the exact purpose of this sail is not known - hypotheses include display, thermoregulation, or energy storage.Ouranosaurus featured a spiked thumb, that, whilst much smaller than that of the Iguanodon, could have been used for defense, or in food consumption. The cheeks of the Ouranosaurus contained a row of teeth that would have been used to chew tougher plant matter that made up their diet.
The holotype specimen of Ouranosaurus was discovered in 1965 in the Upper Elrhaz Formation, at a site near Gadoufaoua, an area in Niger's Tenere desert. Gadoufaoua is the site of other notable fossil discoveries, such as Sarcosuchus imperator, an extinct, distant relative of modern crocodilians. In Tuareg, a local language, the name 'Gadoufaoua' means "where camels fear to tread".The animal was named by its discoverer, paleontologist Philippe Taquet, after the Tuareg word 'ourane', meaning "monitor lizard". To the Tuareg, the monitor lizard is a sacred animal. Originally assigned to Iguanodontidae due to superficial similarities, specifically the thumb spikes, Ouranosaurus is nowadays placed in Hadrosauriformes.
Nowadays, Gadoufaoua is a hot and dry desert, but when Ouranosaurus was alive it would have been a freshwater, fluvial environment, with a humid, tropical climate. Grasses did not evolve until the Late Cretaceous, so Ouranosaurus' diet was likely largely composed of conifers. Ouranosaurus would have shared its environment with river-dwelling animals like semionotid fish, and Sarcosuchus.