Paleontologists have discovered a new type of dinosaur that might just be one of the biggest creatures ever to have walked the earth. Say hello to the Dreadnoughtus.
According to The New York Times, the dino was 85 feet long, 30 feet tall and weighed an astounding 130,000 pounds. Even crazier? Scientists believe the Dreadnoughtus was still growing when it died, meaning that eventually it could’ve been even bigger than the fossils that have been unearthed.
The skeleton was found in the Patagonia region of Argentina, and is the first of its species and the most complete fossil set ever found for a titanosaur, the name scientists have given to the biggest dinosaurs recorded. Drexel University paleontologist Kenneth J. Lacovara explained the find in a recent article in Scientific Reports.
For the sake of size comparison: The already massive Brachiosaurus weighed 75,000 pounds, while an empty Boeing 737-900 weighs 93,700 pounds. If you’re looking for a point of reference for a living animal, the African elephant is the largest land animal today and weighs a (relatively tiny) 15,000 pounds. The only thing bigger than this beast would be a blue whale, which can grow to 300,000 pounds.
Here are some excerpts from what Dr. Lacovara told The Times about the find:
“What we can say with certainty is this is the biggest land animal that we can actually put a number on. We’ve got 16 tons of bone in my lab right now … Probably a pretty surly beast. I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near this guy. If he leaned against you, you’re dead.”
The research team recovered more than 200 bones, totaling 45 percent of the skeleton, including 70 percent of the bones from behind the head. The left thighbone was also recovered, and clocks in at more than 6 feet tall. Whoa.
This is a fascinating find, and the above rendering shows just how big this fella could’ve been. If we ever get Jurassic Park up and running, we want to see this one up close and personal. Well, not too close.
(Via The New York Times)