Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Dinosaur Fossils Could Belong to Largest Creature to Walk on Earth

Science
New Dinosaur Fossils Could Belong to Largest Creature to Walk on Earth
A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.


Scientists attribute the fossils, which so far consist of 24 tail vertebrae and parts of the pelvic and pectoral girdle, to a titanosaur, CNN reported. Titanosaurs are a kind of sauropod dinosaur that stood on four legs, had long necks and were large in size.

"It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we'll have the possibility to address with confidence how really big it was," Alejandro Otero, study corresponding author and a paleontologist with Argentina's Museo de La Plata, told CNN via email.

The research was conducted by the Museo de La Plata, along with the Museo Egidio Feruglio and the universities of Río Negro and Zaragoza. It was published in Cretaceous Research Jan. 12.

The research further expands the scientific understanding of sauropods. When their fossils were first uncovered in the nineteenth century, scientists thought that sauropods lived under the water because of their large size, The Independent explained. However, later research revealed that air sacs and hollow bones helped the creatures to stand on land.

Titanosaurs are the largest of the sauropods. They have been found on every continent except Antarctica, according to CNN, but the largest specimens — weighing more than 40 tons — have largely been discovered in Argentina's Patagonia.

This includes the Patagotitan, which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago, measured as long as122 feet long and weighed up to 77 tons. (For comparison, an African elephant weighs as much as 9 tons.)

"Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth," researchers said when the Patagotitan was first announced in 2014, as The Independent reported.

However, scientists now think the new dinosaur may be even larger.

"[It] is here considered one of the largest sauropods ever found, probably exceeding Patagotitan in size," they wrote.

The new dinosaur lived 98 million years ago during the Cretaceous period and was found in an area of thick sediment in Patagonia known as the Candeleros Formation, according to CNN.

Researchers do not believe the specimen is a new species, but they are not yet sure which species it belongs to. Its closest relative so far is the Andesaurus, which could grow to be 18 meters (approximately 59 feet) long, according to The Independent.

In addition to its size, the new fossil discovery is important for what it can tell scientists about how sauropods interacted.

"The specimen here reported strongly suggests the co-existence of the largest and middle-sized titanosaurs with small-sized rebbachisaurids at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous in Neuquén Province, indicating putative niche partitioning," the researchers wrote.

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less