Last of the Titans

Last of the Titans
Paleontologists in Argentina's remote Patagonia region, near the locality of Las Plumas, have discovered fossils of a creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.

Gigantor.

That is probably the name a layman would have given to this huge beast.

The remains of this dinosaur, which may have been the largest creature ever to walk the Earth, were excavated in the town of Las Plumas in Argentina's Patagonia region earlier this month.

Based on its 2.4m-long thigh bone, its full length would have been about 40m. That is longer than the blue whale, which is currently the largest animal in the world and can grow up to 30m.

Standing with its neck up, it would have been about 20m tall, equal to the height of a seven-storey building, said the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (Egidio Feruglio Palaeontologic Museum) in a statement to the BBC.

The creature is believed to be a new species of titanosaur, a group of sauropods that lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.

Sauropods are a group of four-legged herbivorous dinosaurs known for their small heads, long necks and thick legs.

Dr Jos Luis Carballido, one of the palaeontologists who led the dig, told The Guardian: "It was like two trucks with a trailer each, one in front of the other, and the weight of 14 elephants together.

DISCOVERY

The team announced their find on May 16. The site was reported to the museum in 2011 after a farm worker discovered fossils there.

The dinosaur has not been named yet, but researchers plan to give it a name which would describe its "magnificence" and honour both the region where it was found and the farm owners who alerted the scientists to the discovery.

Argentinosaurus, the sauropod previously considered the biggest dinosaur, was also discovered in Patagonia.

Dr Paul Barrett, a dinosaur expert from London's Natural History Museum, said: "One problem with assessing the weight of both Argentinosaurus and this new discovery is that they're both based on very fragmentary specimens as no complete skeleton is known." But palaeobiologist Paul Upchurch of University College London said: "Certainly, the new animal appears to be at least as large as Argentinosaurus and is a new species."


This article was first published on May 30, 2014.
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