In 1989 a team of French paleontologists were digging in a bonebed called Compagne-sur-Aude when they came across very large limb bones, vertebrae, and ribs. They were found in the levels of the Marnes Rouges Formation and were from the Cr
etaceous Period. They were sent to a museum and forgotten about until in 1995 a French paleontologist named Jean Le Loeuff was digging in a vineyard in Southern France when he came across some v
ery large bones. He knew right away they belonged to sauropod and sent them in for study. They were found to belong to the same kind of dinosaur that was found in 1989. It was unnamed until that time so Le Loeuff decided to name it Ampelosaurus, or "vine lizard", after the vineyard he found it in. This fossil find has made it one of the most popular dinosaurs from France. This sauropod is a significant find because it's one of the only known sauropods that lived during the Late Cretaceous besides Alamosaurus.
Ampelosaurus was a type of sauropod, meaning it was a long-necked, very large dinosaur that walked around on four thick but slow
legs. It was a type of titanosaur, some of the biggest dinosaurs that ever walked the Earth. It was closely related to Saltasaurus from South America. Like other sauropods, it was a herding animal and had a small head. It also ate over a tons of vegetation a day and with the help of gastroliths was able to digest it within its huge gut. It grew to be about 50 feet (15 meters) long and over 10 tons in weight. It's tail was very long and was robably used for defense to whip at predators like the fearsome Tarascosaurus and deadly Pyroraptoror possibly against rivals. One feature that sets it a bit apart from most other sauropods is that it had armor-like plating that ran all the way down its bac
k to the beginning of the tail. It's not quite known why this is so, but it could be
for extra protection against the poewrful jaws of the predatory abelisaurids that it shared its habitat with. Another strange fact about Ampelosaurus is that a species that's four times smaller than it has been found in bonebeds on islands around Europe. This is probably caused by island dwarfism, which is caused when a group of animal species has been trapped on an island and over time they grow smaller to survive on the smaller food and water rations that are on the island. This has also been found with dinosaurs that lived in the same area as it, such as Tarascosaurus, Pyroraptor, Iguanodon, and even Troodon. A recent study seems to show just how unintelligent sauropods truly were when scientists CAT-scanned the skull of Ampelosaurus and found it to be no bigger than the size of a tennis ball, so if brain-to-body size ratio showed how intelligent an animal was, then that makes sauropods very low on the IQ charts.
In Popular Culture
Ampelosaurus was featured in an episode of Dinosaur Planet, where it was first shown at its normal gigantic size and
then later on an island a Pyroraptor named Pod was washe
d onto only a quarter of its original size and was hunted by smaller Tarascosaurus. It also made an appearance in an episode of Dinosaur King.