Recently, in southern Argentina, the bones of one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the Earth was excavated. Dreadnoughtus schrani, an enormous sub-group of the long-necked, plant eating sauropods is also known as a titanosaur and is believed to be so large that it was impervious to attack by predators.
According to a recently published study in Scientific Reports on Sept. 4, the well-preserved bones of this species had been slowly excavated between 2005 through 2009. The bones of two individual dinosaurs were discovered in the rocks located in a flood plain that were originally laid down as sediment. This was believed to have occurred between 66 million and 84 million years ago.
Kenneth Lacovara, a vertebrate palaeontologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, states that over 45 percent of the post-cranial bones have been discovered. If researchers can create a mirror image of at least one side of the head they can construct a fossil reconstruction. This would also include 70 percent of the bones from the neck, body and tail.
Using measurements from the recovered bones and the proportions from the closely matching kin, it is estimated that Dreadnoughtus schrani stretched about 85 feet from snout to tail. Not only that but they were also able to estimate that the creature would have weighed around 59.3 metric tons at the time it died.
According to Lacovara, this makes the Dreadnoughtus schrani the largest animal to have ever walked the Earth (for which body mass can be accurately calculated).
This all may seem impressive as it is, but the bones that are currently being studied are believed to be the remains of a creature that wasn’t even fully mature yet. Yes, it still had some room to grow.
What’s important about this recent find is that it will help paleontologists assess the growth patterns of the species if bones were discovered of a fully formed adult