Kotasaurus: Unveiling the Early Jurassic Gem from India

Let’s embark on a jurassic journey, one that takes us back to a time when colossal creatures roamed the Earth. Our focus today is on a rather remarkable dinosaur, Kotasaurus. Discovered in the Kota Formation of India, this herbivorous sauropod offers a fascinating glimpse into the Early Jurassic Period.

Kotasaurus Key Facts

Meaning of nameKota Formation Lizard
Type SpeciesKotasaurus yamanpalliensis
When it Lived199.3 to 182.7 MYA
PeriodMiddle Jurassic (?)
Length29.5 feet
Height9.8 feet
Weight2.5 tons
First Discovery1970
Location of first findKota Formation, Telangana, India
First Described by1988 by P. Yadagari

Kotasaurus Origins, Taxonomy and Timeline

Kotasaurus yamanpalliensis, a name that echoes through the corridors of time, is the only known species of its genus. Discovered in the lower member of the Kota Formation of Telangana, India, this sauropod shared its habitat with the related Barapasaurus, painting a picture of a diverse ecosystem. Remarkably, remains have been uncovered, offering a substantial glimpse into its existence. However, the puzzle remains incomplete as the skull, barring two teeth, eludes discovery.

A pencil sketch of Kotasaurus, a genus of sauropod dinosaur, depicting its elongated neck, robust body, and distinctive markings along its neck. The drawing captures the gentle expression on the dinosaur's face and highlights its characteristic sauropod features with simplicity and elegance.
Aaa232355, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This sauropod, a large, quadrupedal herbivore with a long neck and tail, is known from an area of 2,400 square meters near the village of Yamanpalli in Telangana. The proximity to the Barapasaurus type locality, about forty kilometers north, hints at a shared landscape.

Kotasaurus stands at a crucial junction in sauropod evolution. It’s one of the earliest-diverging sauropods known, showcasing a general body plan typical of sauropods but retaining several basal (plesiomorphic) features reminiscent of Prosauropods. Unlike the primitively bipedal prosauropods, Kotasaurus was an obligate quadruped. 

In regards of the timeline, there’s a debate on the datation of the Kota Formation. It is considered to be either Early Jurassic or Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous.

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Discovery & Fossil Evidence

The discovery of Kotasaurus in the late 1970’s marked a significant addition to the world of paleontology. P. Yadagari’s efforts in the Kota Formation led to the unveiling of a dinosaur that would provide invaluable insights into the early stages of sauropod evolution. The discovery site, near Yamanpalli, became a treasure trove, yielding the remains of at least 12 individuals and a staggering 840 skeletal parts. However, the absence of a complete skull, save for two teeth, adds an element of mystery to Kotasaurus.

The fossils, confined to a relatively small area, paint a picture of a sauropod that once thrived in what is now Telangana, India. The proximity of these finds to the Barapasaurus type locality suggests a shared habitat, offering a glimpse into the diversity of life during that era. The degree of preservation and the types of fossils found provide a window into the past, allowing scientists to piece together the puzzle of Kotasaurus’s existence, despite the missing pieces.

Kotasaurus Size and Description

Kotasaurus, a distinguished member of the sauropod family, was an obligate quadruped. This means it moved exclusively on all four limbs, a characteristic that set it apart from the primitively bipedal Prosauropods. Its physical form was a harmonious blend of strength and size, with a long neck and tail that are hallmarks of sauropod anatomy. Despite the absence of a complete skull, the available skeletal parts paint a picture of a robust and well-adapted herbivore.

Size and Weight of Type Species

Kotasaurus, with an estimated body length of 30.0 feet and a weight of 2.5 tons, already mirrored the size of later sauropods. This impressive stature highlights its significance in the evolutionary timeline of sauropods. Its size not only reflects its adaptability to the lush, plant-rich environment it inhabited but also positions it as a substantial figure in the Early Jurassic landscape. The fact that Kotasaurus achieved such dimensions, comparable to its later relatives, speaks volumes about the evolutionary journey of these magnificent creatures.

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Interesting Points about Kotasaurus

Kotasaurus in its Natural Habitat

Imagine a world where Kotasaurus roamed freely. The landscape was likely lush, with a climate that supported a diverse range of vegetation. As a herbivore, Kotasaurus would have grazed on the abundant plant life, using its long neck to reach leaves and branches. Its locomotion, whether on two or four legs, would have played a role in its interactions with the environment and other creatures. The social behavior of Kotasaurus remains a subject of speculation, but it’s fascinating to consider how it might have lived and interacted with its surroundings.

Contemporary Dinosaurs

In the lush, verdant world of the early Jurassic Period, Kotasaurus, a gentle giant, lumbered through the jurassic landscape. This behemoth, with its long neck stretching towards the canopy, was a sight to behold. It shared its world with the likes of Barapasaurus, another colossal herbivore. 

These two giants, while similar in their plant-munching habits, were like skyscrapers walking among trees. Kotasaurus, though slightly smaller, was no less magnificent. Their interactions were likely those of peaceful coexistence, perhaps wandering the same paths to find the juiciest leaves, their massive bodies casting shadows over the underbrush.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was this dinosaur discovered?

It was discovered in the 1970’s.

What does its name mean?

Its name means “lizard from the Kota Formation”

What type of dinosaur is it?

It is a sauropod.

Where was it first found?

It was first found in the Kota Formation, Telangana, India.

What did it eat?

It was a herbivore.

How old are its fossils?

Its fossilsare likely to be Middle Jurassic but the timeline is debated.


The information in this article is based on various sources, drawing on scientific research, fossil evidence, and expert analysis. The aim is to provide a comprehensive and accurate overview of Kotasaurus. However, please be aware that our understanding of dinosaurs and their world is constantly evolving as new discoveries are made.

This article was last fact-checked: Joey Arboleda, 11-03-2023