WHICH DINO IS THE BIG­GEST? THERE’S A NEW CON­TENDER

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

Weigh­ing nearly 70 tons, heav­ier than 10 adult African ele­phants, this di­nosaur was the largest an­i­mal to ever walk on Earth, ac­cord­ing to some sci­en­tists.

This plant-eat­ing beast first made head­lines in 2014, af­ter a rancher from Patag­o­nia in Ar­gentina dis­cov­ered a fos­sil bone. Last year, the Amer­i­can Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory in New York added a cast of the 122-foot-long di­nosaur to its ex­hibit. Its neck and head are so long that they ex­tend out­side the gallery.

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

A re­port, pub­lished Wed­nes­day in the jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the Royal So­ci­ety B., calls it Patagoti­tan may­o­rum. “Patagoti­tan” can be in­ter­preted as “gi­ant from Patag­o­nia,” and “may­o­rum” is a tribute to the rancher fam­ily that hosted a team of pa­le­on­tol­o­gists, ge­ol­o­gists, stu­dents and vol­un­teers as they ex­ca­vated dozens of fos­sils from the area.

More than 150 Patagoti­tan fos­sils have been un­earthed there in a few years. Find­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of fos­sils be­long­ing to the same species is not rare, di­nosaur spe­cial­ist José Luis Car­ballido said. But for such a big an­i­mal, it is.

These dis­cov­er­ies have al­lowed sci­en­tists to cre­ate the most com­plete anatomic re­con­struc­tion of any large ter­res­trial her­bi­vore in the planet’s his­tory, ac­cord­ing to the Egidio Feruglio Pa­le­on­tol­ogy Mu­seum in Trelew, Ar­gentina.

Patagoti­tan, which lived about 100 mil­lion years ago dur­ing the late Cre­ta­ceous Pe­riod, is con­sid­ered a ti­tanosaur, a di­verse lin­eage of plant-eat­ing, long-necked di­nosaurs with long tails that walked on four legs. The study re­vealed that most of the gi­ant ti­tanosaurs dis­cov­ered in Patag­o­nia be­longed to a single lin­eage, ac­cord­ing to the mu­seum. — The Wash­ing­ton Post

Cour­tesy of José Luis Car­ballid

A re­con­structed Patagoti­tan may­o­rum, a 70-ton di­nosaur dis­cov­ered in Ar­gentina.

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