World's Largest Dinosaur Discovered in Argentina, And It's So Huge It Doesn't Even Have a Name Yet
Think you know your dinosaurs? Think again: the largest dinosaur ever was discovered in Argentina, paleontologists announced on Friday, and it's so gigantic that it makes the T. Rex and the Argentinosaurus — which had held the title of biggest dinosaur until now — look almost puny (well, ok, maybe not quite puny, but certainly smaller). Although it hasn't even got a name yet, researchers think that this vast creature is probably some kind of herbivorous titanosaur, dating back from the Cretaceous period, 95 million years ago.
"Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth," paleontologists told BBC News. "Its length, from its head to the tip of its tail, was 40m. Standing with its neck up, it was about 20m high — equal to a seven-storey building."
The discovery was first made by a local farmer, who found the remains in the desert near Trelew, Patagonia. Paleontologists were then able to unearth roughly 150 bones (all, incredibly, almost intact), making up what they estimate to be the partial skeletons of seven prehistoric animals, some of which were carnivores. The setup of the remains seems to indicate that the dinosaurs may have gotten stuck in the mud, and possibly wasted away from lack of water.
Until today, the Argentinosaurus was believed to be the earth's largest sauropod (known in Land Before Time lingo as "Longnecks"), a type of herbivorous dinosaur known for long tails, super long necks and tiny heads. Titanosaurs were an especially successful type of sauropod, surviving until as recently as 65 million years ago. In spite of this, titanosaur fossils have tended to be much more fragmented than other dinosaur types, and so a lot of what's known about creatures like the Argentinosaurus has been extrapolated from a few vertebrae, ribs, and leg bone.
"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," Dr Paul Barrett, a dinosaur expert from London's Natural History Museum, cautioned the BBC.
Still, based on the size of those new bones, this as-yet-nameless dinosaur was pretty gigantic. Now the question is: who would win in a fight between Pinocchio Rex and this giant sauropod?