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Newly found Patagonian dinosaur is a contender for largest ever

A new dinosaur belonging to a group of large plant eaters known as titanosaurs is the most complete giant dinosaur fossil ever unearthed. The Patagonia dinosaur is the only titanosaur ever found that has all the bones necessary to make an accurate estimate of the animal’s weight and size. Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, an associate professor in Drexel University's College of Arts and Sciences, and an international team of scientist uncovered the monster dinosaur between 2005 and 2009. The discovery was reported in the Sept. 4, 2014, edition of the journal Scientific Reports.

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara with the 30-foot tail of Dreadnoughtus schrani stretching along the length of the wall and around the corner in his lab.
Dr. Kenneth Lacovara with the 30-foot tail of Dreadnoughtus schrani stretching along the length of the wall and around the corner in his lab.
Drexel University

The gigantic beast weighed about 65 tons and was at least 85 feet long. The animal the researchers found was not yet an adult. Two of the Dreadnoughtus schrani dinosaurs were found in the same spot. The animals were buried quickly in a flood. This tragic event resulted in the quality of the fossils.

Dreadnoughtus was a herbivore. The animal probably browsed the tops of trees and larger plants about 77 million years ago in a temperate forest. The dinosaur had a 37-foot-long neck and a 30-foot-long tail. The tail provided balance for the head and neck.

The find includes almost everything but the head. Almost 70 percent of the bones of the animal’s body have been exhumed from the rock it was buried in. The find included the thigh bone and the upper bone of the limbs. These two bones allow an exact calculation of the animal’s size and weight.

Other dinosaurs of extreme size have been found in Patagonia and other parts of the world. The majority of the other extremely large dinosaur finds have not included sufficient material to make an accurate calculation of the animal’s weight and size possible. A three-dimensional mount of the bones done with laser scans confirmed the dinosaur to be one of the largest ever known.