In a report published on Thursday, Drexel University scientists announced that a recently discovered dinosaur, termed Dreadnoughtus schrani, has earned the distinction of being the largest dinosaur that we know of. The report describes that the excellent preservation of the dinosaur’s bones has allowed scientists to accurately measure its weight to around 65 tons. Even more remarkable was that the over 85-foot-long dinosaur was still growing when it died.
According to the Washington Post, the dinosaur takes its name, which literally means “fears nothing,” from early 20th century battleships. The amazing conditions of the dinosaur’s fossilized bones show that it had the muscle to live up to its name. The creature’s incredible strength and size had a downside, however, as the width of its skeleton suggests that even one fall would have been certain death for the animal.
Researchers are finding inventive ways to use the dinosaur’s well-preserved remains. The New Scientist reports that an experiment to create a 3-D model of the dinosaur’s muscular structure is already underway. Scientists are hoping to drive interest in the new dinosaur by uploading 3-D scans of the bones and making them publicly available. Several of the lead researchers hope that the new dinosaur will enter pop culture. In the Washington Post article, author and paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara stated that “Kids are going to be able to download the Dreadnoughtus bones and play with them.” Additionally, Luis Chiappe, Director of the National History Museum of Los Angeles's Dinosaur Institute, said “This is the kind of creature that will soon make it into Hollywood.”
The fossilized remains of the Dreadnoughtus schrani were discovered in southern Argentina in 2005 and are estimated to be 77 million years old. Scientists and researchers are hoping that its discovery will yield unprecedented breakthroughs in the study of the biology and evolution of the group of massive dinosaurs it belonged to, termed titanosaurian sauropods.