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The biggest dinosaur in the world – Patagotitan Mayorum

Credits : Museo paleontologico Egidio Feruglio (MEF)

Weighing almost 70 tonnes and measuring close to 37 meters, Patagotitan Mayorum is officially the biggest dinosaur known in the world today.  Exhibited at New York, the dinosaurs neck and head are so long that they had to extend further than the gallery.

Despite the dinosaur’s popular reputation since its discovery in Argentina in 2014, it has not received an official scientific name until recently.  However now it is a done deal.  Measuring more than 35 meters long and weighing 62 tonnes, Patagotitan Mayorum’s impressive dimensions mean it is considered by many as the biggest dinosaur in the world.   Walking on earth around a hundred million years ago, the sauropod from the Cretaceous period bares similarities to the Diplodocus and the Brachiosaurus.   It was a herbivore and walked on four legs with a long neck.  The team of paleontologists, led by Luis Carballido and Diego Pol who unearthed the fossils, unveiled the name of this enormous dinosaur in a scientific study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal.

The name is a tribute both to the region where the remains were discovered, in Patagonia, and to the rancher family who owned the land where the fossils were found. The American magazine The Atlantic reported that the family hosted the paleontologists while they excavated the site for four years, giving advice and welcoming them into their homes.

The paleontologists compared data collected from the dinosaurs bone study to other large sauropods known to have lived during the Cretaceous period.  By doing so they finally reconstructed the most complete anatomy of the dinosaur to date. After having scanned the fossils with laser technology, the researchers could then recreate the skeleton of Patagotitan Mayorum on the computer before adding flesh. In total, it is believed that the dinosaur weighed more than the weight of ten African elephants.

Credits : Jorge Gonzalez

Luis Carballido said that the discovery of the Patagotitan Mayorum is “a real paleontological treasure,” He continued that, “there were lots of fossils in great preservation, practically intact, something that does not happen often. In fact, the remains of giant Titanosaurs known so far are scarce and fragmentary.

Photo showing the 2.4 meter long femur bone taken during the excavations in 2013. Credits : Museo paleontologico Egidio Feruglio (MEF)

Some people however, remain cautious about boldly proclaiming Patagotitan as the biggest dinosaur in the world. Mathew Wedel, a paleontologist at California’s Western University, recently told Smithsonian Magazine that the Patagotitan is more likely to resemble the size of the Argentinosaurus that held the previous record. “I think it would be more accurate to say that Argentinosaurus, Puertasaurus and Patagotitan are so similar in size that it is impossible to say which one was ultimately the biggest of them all.”

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