News / Science & Technology

Scientists Unveil Gigantic, Largely Complete Titanosaur Fossil

Artist rendering of Dreadnoughtus (Courtesy: Jennifer Hall)
Artist rendering of Dreadnoughtus (Courtesy: Jennifer Hall)
VOA News

About 77 million years after being buried in a flash flood, one of the most massive creatures ever to walk the earth has been recovered and described by scientists from Philadelphia's Drexel University.

Kenneth Lacovara, who led the team, estimates the 26-meter-long Dreadnoughtus schrani weighed more than 59,000 kilograms when alive, and was not yet full grown.

Kenneth Lacovara, PhD, next to the tibia bone of Dreadnoughtus schrani, a new "supermassive dinosaur species."Kenneth Lacovara, PhD, next to the tibia bone of Dreadnoughtus schrani, a new "supermassive dinosaur species."
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Kenneth Lacovara, PhD, next to the tibia bone of Dreadnoughtus schrani, a new "supermassive dinosaur species."
Kenneth Lacovara, PhD, next to the tibia bone of Dreadnoughtus schrani, a new "supermassive dinosaur species."

Its fossilized remains, excavated in southern Argentina between 2005 and 2009, include more than 70 percent of the bones, more than any other skeleton of the huge plant-eaters.  That gives researchers a rare opportunity to study the anatomy, growth rate, and biomechanics of this dinosaur species, known as titanosaurs.

Lacovara says he imagines the dinosaur spent most of its day eating, in order to take in all the calories it needed.

Lacovara notes that with a body as large as a house, weighing as much as herd of elephants and swinging a weaponized tail, Dreadnoughtus would not have feared any other creature, so he named it after the battleships of a century ago, which were huge, iron-clad and virtually impervious.

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