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Baby titanosaur was parents’ Mini-Me

Adultlike bone proportions show hatchling was active and independent

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2:00pm, April 21, 2016
baby titanosaur

GROW UP  A species of titanosaur, Rapetosaurus krausei, was about the size of a dog just weeks after its birth (left). The baby dino had similar proportions to an adult titanosaur (right), suggesting that youngsters didn’t require much parental care. 

A baby titanosaur looked a lot like a grown-up — and it probably acted like one, too.

The (relatively) tiny fossils of a roughly 1- to 2-month-old dinosaur, Rapetosaurus krausei, discovered in what is now Madagascar, suggest that babies and adults had similar limb proportions, researchers report in the April 22 Science. That’s a sign that the babies were precocious, or didn’t require a whole lot of parental care, says study coauthor Kristi Curry Rogers, a vertebrate paleontologist at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. After hatching, she says, the tiny titanosaur may have been more self-reliant than babies of other dinosaur species.

A lack of very young titanosaur specimens has made it tough to understand the enormous dinosaurs’ growth patterns. Curry Rogers and colleagues estimate that when newly hatched, the baby weighed 3.4 kilograms — about

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