Forked parallel rows of spines ran down the entire neck and foremost back of Amargasaurus. Some spines reach almost two feet long near the center of the neck. At the rear of the dinosaur’s back the spines form odd paddles rather than forking into two rows.
No one knows definitively how Amargasaurus used its unusual spines. Scientists have proposed that the spines formed sails that either allowed the dinosaur to regulate its body temperature or were used for display. At least one eminent paleontologist has dismissed this suggestion and others have suggested the spines could have been used for defense or mating display purposes.
For a sauropod, or long-necked dinosaur, Amargasaurus was unusually short and small. It was only about eight feet tall, 30 feet long, weighed four tons and had a short neck. By comparison, Brachiosaurus stood 30 feet tall, more than three times the height of Amargasaurus. Diplodocus was 16 feet tall at the hips and 90 feet long. Like all other sauropods, it was a plant eater.