Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

Largest ever dinosaur may have been as long as 7 elephants

Largest ever dinosaur may have been as long as 7 elephants

A skeleton of the dinosaur is already on display at the American Museum of Natural History in NY. Researchers who examined and tested the fossils said this long-necked creature was the largest of a large dinosaur group called titanosaurs.

Based on these proportions, the beast likely weighed about 76 tons - to put that into perspective, the Space Shuttle only weighed about 74.8 tons.

The fossils, which include vertebrae and rib bones, are from six young adult dinosaurs, and were all found in the same Patagonian quarry in Argentina. They christened the beast Patagotitan mayorum, for the region where it was discovered (Patagonia) and the Greek work "titan" which, you'll never guess, means "large".

Researchers aren't quite clear on how the species became so big, but study co-author José Luis Carballido, from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina, believes part of it had to do with available food. It's so big that the dinosaur's head sticks out into a hallway at the NY museum. "It's like you're putting an elephant near a lion".

Scientists have known titanosaurs for a while, but this is a new species and even a new genus, which is a larger grouping, Pol said.

Scientists soon realized that a new species of dinosaur had been unearthed, and it was so big that its femur alone measured 7.8 feet (2.37 meters) in length.

"I don't think they were scary at all", Pol said.

"Getting up. Walking around". Rather, given the margin of error surrounding such size estimates - especially estimates of other massive (but far less complete) sauropod skeletons - paleontologist Mathew Wedel argues the competition for World's Largest Dinosaur™ is closer to a "three-way tie" between Patagotitan and two other titanosaurs, Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus. Researchers are still studying it, but said it probably has to do with an explosion of flowering plants at the time. "Trying to run. It's really challenging for large animals". Along with a forest, it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet for these dinosaurs and they just got bigger.

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