Paleontologists may have discovered the largest dinosaur that ever lived

Paleontologists may have discovered the largest dinosaur that ever lived

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The largest land animal alive today is the African jungle elephant, with a weight of about 20,000 pounds. As big as elephants, they have nothing on some extinct megafauna. Scientists excavating a new species of dinosaur in Argentina have reported that the specimen may be the largest ever. Even if it didn’t set a record, the animal was much larger than anything alive today.

Only part of the animal has been excavated from its stone coffin, but paleontologists know that it is from the sauropods. These creatures, like Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus, have long tails and necks with four thick legs that resemble columns. This body design allowed some species to grow to unintelligible proportions – the current record holder of a dinosaur is a species of sauropods named Patagotitan swimsuit. This animal was about six times the size of the modern African elephant, and the new find appears to be even bigger.

The new dinosaur being excavated is not far from where scientists are discovering Patagotitan swimsuitIt’s still buried in the rock. Therefore, it has no name, and the team did not risk guessing the size of this animal in life. However, some human-sized bones are 10 to 20 percent larger than the same bones in Patagotitan swimsuit. The site makes sense, too. Patagotitan swimsuit It is also from this region of Argentina, which has built a reputation for being home to several record-breaking types of enormous sauropods.

a Patagotitan swimsuit Reconstruction on display at the Field Museum, Chicago. Credit: Ryan Whitwam

Researchers discovered the remains of this animal for the first time in 2012. The team did not arrive at the site to conduct excavations until 2015, but the animal was lying there 98 million years ago. A few more seasons wouldn’t be of any significance. Currently, the team exposed the tail, some pelvic bones, and some vertebrae. Of these, paleontologists know that they are looking at a very large, possibly even the largest dinosaur.

It’s rare for an entire animal to fossilize – in fact, many dinosaur species are known only from a few collections of incomplete skeletal remains. This specimen appears to be mostly intact, but the bulk of it is still buried in the rocks. The team expects to spend several more years carefully removing the rocks from around the excavations. Hopefully, the remains include an intact cheekbones or humorous bones. From these, the researchers will be able to make an accurate estimate of the animal’s size. When that happens, this unnamed creature may take the crown as the largest dinosaur known.

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