methocarbamol robaxin 500 mg canadian Name Meaning:  Rebbach lizard

us pharmacy viagra online Geologic Age:  Early Late Cretaceous

Area Discovered:  North Africa

Estimated Range:  North Africa, possibly South America

Size:  20 meters long

Extinction Date:  99 million years ago

Rebbachisaurus is considered a diplodocid sauropod.  This group of animals generally have whip like tails, long necks, and have a posture that is mostly parallel with the ground.  This in contrast to sauropods like Brachiosaurus, which had a more vertical orientation and shorter tails.  Another feature that sets Rebbachisaurus apart is the row of spines along its back.  This anatomical trait is seen in several animals in that region, including Spinosaurus.  Aside from that, Rebbachisaurus is a rather ordinary sauropod.

Tooth

The teeth of Rebbachisaurus are peg-like in nature.  This type of tooth is not especially suited for chewing, but are very good at stripping leaves and other plant material from branches.  These leaves would have entered Rebbachisaurus’ digestive tract mostly intact.  How sauropods like Rebbachisaurus carried out digestion is up for speculation, as soft tissue such as organs generally doesn’t fossilize.  However, there are clues from other herbivorous species, even modern ones.  There is little evidence of gastroliths (stomach stones) in sauropods, meaning they did not employ a system like modern birds.  

They probably functioned more like horses, using a system of hindgut fermentation.  Most animals cannot break down cellulose (plant fiber) by themselves; they use microbes to do this.  This is one reason carnivores and omnivores cannot extract nutrition from fiber, but herbivores with a strong gut microbe population can do so.  This also means that wherever sauropods such as Rebbachisaurus went, there would be a monumental amount of excrement. Animals such as dung beetles would have taken advantage of this, as they do with modern day elephants. 

Limaysaurus (closely related animal)

What makes Rebbachisaurus unique isn’t so much its conformation, but what its conformation implies.  A very similar species has been found in South America called Rayososaurus.  Both species are nearly identical, with the only real difference being that Rayososaurus is a great deal smaller than Rebbachisaurus.  Such similarity implies that there was still a land connection between South America and Africa near the time these animals were alive.  These sauropods were not the only animals that share similarities.  A spinosaurid dinosaur called Irritator (yes, that is its real name) has also been found in South America.  

It has long been thought that Africa and South America shared a connection, as evidenced by index fossils from earlier eras.  However, it was thought that this land bridge was already gone by the time Rebbachisaurus and its kind evolved.  Perhaps we must now re-evaluate how long this land bridge existed, and what other animals we can expect to find in the South American fossil record.

Image Credits:

Skeleton: By FunkMonk, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10959407


Life Restoration:”Rebbachisaurus BW” by Nobu Tamura (http://spinops.blogspot.com) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rebbachisaurus_BW.jpg#/media/File:Rebbachisaurus_BW.jpg