The Biggest Dinosaur Ever: What We Know About Patagotitan

Biggest dinosaur ever

After years of digging and research, paleontologists have identified a new species of dinosaur - and it seems to be the largest land animal to ever walk the Earth. Its neck and head are so long that they extend outside the gallery. The second part of the name remembers the Mayo family, which owned the land and welcomes the scientists studying the fossil.

A cast of the dinosaur's skeleton is on display at the American Museum of National History in NY.

Despite its fame, the dinosaur did not have an official scientific name - until now.

Excavating the site was a three-year project, as the team pieced together at least six different animals, all young adults, from over 150 fossils, spread across three layers of rock.

As the fossils would have been too heavy to mount, the colossal 37.2-metre cast is made up of 3D fibreglass prints of the bones.

Carballido said, "The most incredible moment for us was realizing that the dinosaur is not only large, but also more complete than any other titanosaur". "There were lots of fossils in great preservation, practically intact, something that does not happen often".

Paleontologists discovered its bones four years ago in Argentina. The dinosaur - which was not fully grown - was an herbivore and weighed an estimated 76 tons, or the equivalent of a space shuttle or 10 African elephants.

The study notes, "Although recent findings have improved our knowledge on giant titanosaur anatomy, there are still many unknown aspects about their evolution, especially for the most huge forms and the evolution of body mass in this clade". "Based on the taphonomical, histological and ecological data available, we interpret this monospecific sauropod association as the first evidence of social behaviour among giant titanosaurs".

Lacovara points out this size assessment does have error bars, so 69 tons is not absolute: "Think of it as a bracket, not a point", he says.

But despite their intimidating size, Pol believes the vegetarian P. mayorum was a gentle giant. Researchers believe it is the largest dinosaur species ever discovered. But unlike Patagotitan, scientists had to rely on a limited number of bones to get a sense of their weight and size, Carballido said.

The study's lead, Luis Carballido, told The Atlantic that researchers uncovered 200 Patagotitan bones.

Some, however, are cautious about proclaiming Patagotitan the biggest of them all. On top of that, Wedel says, the measurements reported in the media so far hint that Patagotitan was comparable in size to the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus, also known from Cretaceous Argentina.

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