Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Meet the new heavyweight champion of dinosaurs: Patagotitan

Meet the new heavyweight champion of dinosaurs: Patagotitan

The dinosaur's fossils were found in southern Argentina in 2012. The top of its shoulder reached 20 feet high (6 meters), or about four humans stacked on top of each other's shoulders. Researchers who examined and dated them said the long-necked creature was the biggest of a group of large dinosaurs called titanosaurs.

Scientists soon realized that a new species of dinosaur had been unearthed, and it was so big that its femur alone measured 7.8 feet (2.37 meters) in length.

Now, Scientists have officially named the species Patagotitan mayorum and have discovered that it belongs to a group of extra-large titanosaurs that lived around 100 million years ago.

In short, the dinosaur was as heavy as a space shuttle or a Boeing 737. The dinosaur averaged 122 feet long (37 meters) and was almost 20 feet high (6 meters) at the shoulder.

But despite their intimidating size, Pol believes the vegetarian P. mayorum was a gentle giant.

"There was one small part of the family that went insane on size", said study co-author Diego Pol of the Egidio Feruglio paleontology museum in Argentina. "They may be slow moving animals, wake up, walk around, try to run, this is really challenging for the big animals", he said.

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"Getting up. Walking around". Blue whales, which can weigh as much as 400,000 pounds, are still the largest animals known to have appeared on Earth-past or present. "This suggests we are approaching the maximum possible body size for a terrestrial animal, which was unknown until recently, and it is an exciting discovery". A similar dinosaur called Argentinosaurus has been calculated to have weighed more than 80 tonnes, but Jose Carballido, from the Museo Paleontologico Egido Feruglio, Argentina, says vertebrae fossils suggest this species was in fact 10 per cent smaller than Patagotitan. Titanosaurs were herbivores, so certainly they had the food they needed, and plants are directly constrained by the weather.

Researchers say the new species would have dwarfed more fearsome predators, like Tyrannosaurus rex.

The new dinosaur species serves as the model for a 122-foot dinosaur skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History in NY. However, it's so big that its head sticks out into a hallway.

It is a great month for paleontology because the latest discovery holds great importance to the way people view dinosaurs.

"There could be [bigger], but probably we are pretty close to the size limit".

P. mayorum was discovered by a shepherd on the La Flecha Farm in the Chubut Province in the Argentinian desert.

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