The discovery of a new supermassive species of dinosaur, one of the biggest ever found, is detailed in new research published today.
With a 37-foot neck and weighing in at 65 tonnes – the equivalent of seven Tyrannosaurus Rex – the 85-foot Dreadnoughtus schrani was one of the largest dinosaurs to walk the earth. It is the biggest land animal for which a body mass can be accurately calculated, say scientists.
The findings, revealed in the journal Scientific Reports, are the result of years of work by a team of researchers from the US and Argentina. It took five years to excavate the remains of the massive animal, which were found in in southern Patagonia in Argentina, during trips made between 2005 and 2009. Researchers were able to make an accurate calculation of its size due to finding the most complete skeleton to date of a giant dinosaur, with more than 70 per cent of its bones represented. They included the femur (thigh) and humerus (upper arm), measurements of which are used to help calculate weight.
“Dreadnoughtus schrani was astoundingly huge,” said Professor Kenneth Lacovara, Drexel University, Philadelphia, who discovered the skeleton and led the excavation and analysis. “It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T-rex. Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet,” he added.
The new dinosaur belongs to a group of large plant-eaters known as titanosaurs. It lived 77 million years ago in a temperate forest at the southern tip of South America and was so enormous that it would have been unlikely to be threatened by even the likes of the T-rex, according to researchers.
- Drexel Team Unveils Dreadnoughtus: A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Sauropod Dinosaur (DrexelNOW | Drexel.edu)
- Professor Kenneth Lacovara (Twitter)
- Argentine dinosaur may shed light on huge beasts (Associated Press)
- A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from Southern Patagonia, Argentina (Nature.com | Scientific Reports)
- Battleship beast: colossal dinosaur skeleton found in southern Patagonia (The Gaurdian)