A newly named varieties of sauropod is not only the largest recognized dinosaur, that now also holds the document as the largest animal that has ever walked ~ above land.

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That"s the conclusion of the an initial scientific description of an especially huge titanosaur, i beg your pardon lumbered throughout what is currently Argentina throughout the Cretaceous.

Dubbed Patagotitan mayorum, the long-necked behemoth lived around 102 million years ago and to be likely an ext than 120 feet long and also weighed 69 tons, or about the same as 12 afri elephants (the present largest land dweller).

By those numbers, Patagotitan just edges the end the vault “largest dinosaur ever,” one more titanosaur called Dreadnoughtus.


A repair of the newly called titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum.
Photograph through chrisstockphotography, Alamy

When paleontologists José louis Carbadillo and Diego Pol indigenous the national Scientific and also Technical research Council (CONICET) and the Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum very first saw hints of the fossil ~ above a farm in the Patagonia an ar of Argentina, they knew it to be going to be big.

The team spent over a year painstakingly excavating the fossil. Kenneth Lacovara, a paleontologist in ~ Rowan University and the discoverer of Dreadnoughtus, commiserates v this task.

"I, an ext than most, i think, have the right to empathize v them end the quantity of sweat, toil, frustration, and aggravation experienced once attempting to acquire bones of this size and also quantity the end of the ground and also safely to a museum."

Sizing increase Dinosaurs

A complete model the the large titanosaur discovered its way into a major permanent exhibit in ~ the American Museum of Natural background in brand-new York in beforehand 2016. However the team just just defined the brand-new species in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal culture B.

The official weight calculation is obtained from its monumental leg and also arm bones: The femur alone is eight feet long and also weighs half a ton.

Lacovara points out this size assessment does have actually error bars, for this reason 69 tons is not absolute: "Think of it as a bracket, not a point," that says.

Still, the specimen is likewise special due to the fact that it is substantial complete, consisting of vertebrae, ribs, foot bones, arm bones, and also parts the the hip.

“For the an initial time, we have the chance to assess how these giants were built, what adaptations they had actually in their anatomy, how they could cope through such a massive weight,” Pol explains.

The fossil is help paleontologists figure out how and when titanosaurs obtained so enormous. Part weighed in in ~ a mere six tons, making castle the the smallest of the sauropods.

The new analysis that this giant says that a formerly unknown group of especially substantial titanosaurs resided in the Patagonia region. “One subgroup that titanosaurs appeared to have actually gone crazy and grew to huge body sizes,” Pol says.

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However, Pol think dinosaurs—and probably all soil animals—were hitting their upper dimension limit with creatures prefer Patagotitan.

“All contenders for the biggest dinosaur species were similar sized, in ~ a 10 come 15 percent difference," he says. "This suggests we room approaching the maximum feasible body size for a terrestrial animal, which to be unknown until recently, and also it is an interesting discovery.”