Titanosaur Fossil Excavated In Argentina May Belong To The Largest Land Animal That Has Ever Existed

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Titanosaur Fossil Excavated In Argentina May Belong To The Largest Land Animal That Has Ever Existed

A recent paper published in the academic journal Cretaceous Research has announced the discovery of a new dinosaur that may be the largest to have ever existed. The excavation is still ongoing, but it is believed to be a member of the 'titanosaur' family, a species of sauropods, and is dated back to around 98 million years ago.

An author of the paper, Dr. Jose Luis Carballido, said:

"The specimen is terrific, because it is practically articulated and we have more than half of the tail, many hip bones and, obviously, the specimen is still [in] the rock, so we are going to have a few more years of excavations."

Sauropods were huge vegetarian creatures who grazed trees. They were notable for their long necks and have been often referenced in popular culture related to dinosaurs. Famous species of sauropods include brachiosaurus and diplodocus. The tallest yet known sauropod is believed to have stood at around 22 metres, (a giraffe is around 17 metres tall), and the heaviest of the sauropods is thought to have weighed almost 100 tonnes, (an African elephant weighs around 10 tonnes).

The bones discovered are huge and around 10% to 20% larger than those normally found in the same familial group. The discovery was made in Patagonia, which lies mostly within the nation of Argentina and is regarded as one of the best areas in the world for excavating dinosaur remains.

Paul Barrett, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum, said of the discovery:

"Given the measurements of the new skeleton, it looks likely that this is a contender for one of the largest, if not the largest, sauropods that have ever been found. This new skeleton provides yet another example of sauropods pushing at the extremes of what's possible with respect to maximum animal size on land."

While Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist at La Plata Museum in Argentina, told LiveScience that there have been significant difficulties in advancing the excavation during the pandemic:

"The place of the finding is very hard to access, so the logistics is pretty complicated. But we expect to return there after the pandemic situation. It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we'll have the possibility to address with confidence how big it really was."

The largest dinosaur ever previously discovered was also found in Patagonia. Argentinosaurus was like the new discovery a sauropod and had a length of between 30 and 40 metres and weighed an estimated 50 to 100 tonnes.

[h/t: My Modern Met]

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Thinking Humanity: Titanosaur Fossil Excavated In Argentina May Belong To The Largest Land Animal That Has Ever Existed
Titanosaur Fossil Excavated In Argentina May Belong To The Largest Land Animal That Has Ever Existed
A recent paper published in the academic journal Cretaceous Research has announced the discovery of a new dinosaur that may be the largest to have eve
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