May 18, 2014
Newly Discovered Dinosaur May Be Largest Creature Of All Time
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A 130-foot long, 65-foot tall, 180,000-pound dinosaur believed to have been the largest creature ever to walk the Earth has been discovered by an agricultural worker in Argentina, various media outlets have reported.
According to The Telegraph, the currently unnamed creature is believed to be a new species of titanosaur, a massive herbivore belonging to the long-necked sauropod group that lived in the Late Cretaceous period. The specimen was found in a desert in the southern region of Patagonia and was excavated earlier this week by paleontologists at the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio (MEF).
The team reported they were able to retrieve a total of 150 bones from seven different individuals, all of which were said to be in “remarkable” condition. The dinosaur’s thigh bones alone were taller than the size of an average human, and the investigators believe that the dinosaur would have weighed as much as 14 African elephants, making it seven metric tons larger than the previous record-holder, the Argentinosaurus.
Initial measurements were based on those of weight-bearing bones such as the femur and the humerus, explained Dante D'Orazio of The Verge. If the estimated measurements of the new specimen hold true, the creature would be roughly as long as a 13-story building from head to tail – making it not only the largest dinosaur ever, but also the biggest creature of any kind to have ever lived.
“The remains are quite complete, so the size and weight estimates have good precision. If there ever was a larger one, it remains to be seen,” MEF dinosaur specialist José Luis Carballido, who was involved in the research, told Elisha Fieldstadt of NBC News.
In a statement, he added that the find was “a real paleontological treasure. There are plenty of remains and many were nearly intact, which is unusual. In fact, the fossils from other giant titanosaurs were few and fragmented.”
The research was led by Dr. Carballido and his MEF colleague, Dr. Diego Pol, and their team also included Drs. Leonardo Salgado and Ignacio Cerda of the Universidad Nacional de General Roca; Alejandro Otero of the Universidad Nacional de La Plata; Alberto Garrido of the Museo Olsacher de Zapala; Juan Ignacio Canale of the Museo Paleontológico del Chocón; Jose Ignacio Canudo of the Universidad de Zaragoza; Martin Umazano of the Universidad Nacional de la Pampa; and Marcelo Krause of MEF.
In an interview with BBC News, London Natural History Museum dinosaur expert Dr. Paul Barrett cautioned against prematurely declaring the new creature the largest creature in the world. While he said the creature is undoubtedly “genuinely big,” he noted that there are “a number of similarly sized big sauropod thigh bones out there.”
“Without knowing more about this current find it's difficult to be sure,” Dr. Barrett said. “One problem with assessing the weight of both Argentinosaurus and this new discovery is that they're both based on very fragmentary specimens - no complete skeleton is known, which means the animal's proportions and overall shape are conjectural.”
“Moreover, several different methods exist for calculating dinosaur weight (some based on overall volume, some on various limb bone measurements) and these don't always agree with each other, with large measures of uncertainty,” he added. “So it's interesting to hear another really huge sauropod has been discovered, but ideally we'd need much more material of these supersized animals to determine just how big they really got.”