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    • Abstract:
      Riojasaurus, a 3-ton sauropod from the Late Triassic period, was one of the first large herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs to evolve. Sauropods, which flourished in the Jurassic, were a group of large herbivorous dinosaurs that walked on all fours and had long necks, long tails, and small heads. As a sauropod, Riojasaurus may be a distant relative of sauropod giants such as Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus, but the exact connection between Riojasaurus and its potential sauropod cousins is widely debated. To date, Riojasaurus is classified with the prosauropod dinosaurs. Prosauropoda is a group of dinosaurs that were originally believed to be the ancestors of sauropods. Critics argue, however, that prosauropods have too many distinct characteristics for that theory to be valid. They contend that Riojasaurus, with its pillar-like legs and hollow spaces in the vertebrae of its spine, should be removed from the Prosauropoda infra-order and grouped with Sauropoda.