Fossil discoveries of dinosaurs are often found on a regular basis, but the discovery of a massive dinosaur is a rare occurrence. Paleontologists from Argentina have recently experienced that “rare occurrence” by discovering the fossils of the Titanosaur.
According to Paleontologists, their discovery shows that the dinosaur weighs around 59.3 metric tons, which is equivalent to 59,300 Kg or 130,734 pounds, and measures 26m from its nose to tail. The Titanosaur is a late cretaceous herbivore that was considered as one of the largest animals that ever existed (Dreadnoughtus schrani), and its fossils are often found incomplete thus disabling them to correctly determine its size. The meaning of Dreadnoughtus is “fear nothing” and the “schrani” part was picked from Adam Schran, an entrepreneur who provided support for this research. Despite the massive size of this dinosaur, Titanosaurs were herbivores.
The fossils discovered in Argentina are considered as 70% complete and has been excavated from 2005-2009. The size of dinosaurs is often measured using the size of the femur (thigh bone) and humerus (upper forelimb). From there, paleontologists can calculate the estimated size of the animal. In this case, the skeleton discovered by the team includes 100 elements ranging from the vertebrae to the tail (30 ft.), a new vertebra with a diameter of 1 yard, scapula, ribs, toes, a claw, a portion of the jaw, and a single tooth. This discovery has led them to accurately determine its probable weight during the time that it was alive. Dreadnoughtus were the second largest animal after Blue Whale that ever walked on Earth.
Kenneth Lacovara, PhD, an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the leader of the expedition remarked that this type of dinosaur was “astoundingly huge”. He also added that this new discovery “weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex”. Despite the massive size, the professor highlighted that the “skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it wasn’t yet full grown. It is by far the best example we’ve of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet.”
Matthew Lamanna, one of the members of the dig and a member of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History described the Titanosaurs as a “remarkable group” because the species has a wide size range from the smallest one resembling the weight of a cow to the largest one even exceeding the weight of a sperm whale or more. He also added that the “biggest titanosaurs have remained a mystery, because, in almost all cases, their fossils are very incomplete.”