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Today is so exciting for a ton of fellow palaeontologists, students, researchers, and myself… Dreadnoughtus has finally been published!

The video above gives you guys a bit of history to where this titanosaur was discovered back in 2005. Almost ten years later and it’s finally gone public! With a name like Dreadnoughtus, it’s hard not to want to run around saying its awesome name.

These fossils spent a lot of time being excavated out of the matrix they were found in; around 4 years with multiple labs working tirelessly to clean and repair them. We had to get it done at least in some sort of quick time, right? With such a huge specimen, a lot of man power is required!

I’m so proud and happy for everyone involved that we can now share this gorgeous dinosaur to the public! It’s MASSIVE. The fossils are just mind blowing to look at, and now we continue to move forward with its preservation, education, and further research. It’ll be going back to Argentina next year.

You can read the article about Dreadnoughtus here on Drexel University’s website, and the scientific paper on Nature.com (which some super awesome people I know worked on).

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Palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina have discovered the fossilized bones of what they believe to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth - a truly awesome discovery. Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol led an excavation team which unearthed about 150 huge dinosaur bones in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia.

Using its massive thigh bones, they’ve estimated that the dinosaur measured 40m (130ft) long, stood 20m (65ft) tall, and weight 77 metric tons. That’s just shy of 170,000 lbs or as heavy as 14 African elephants. It’s believed to be a new species of Titanosaur - enormous herbivores from the Late Cretaceous period.

‘Titanosaur’ is easily one of the most awesome words we’ve ever heard.

Head over to BBC News to learn more about this spectacular discovery.

“World’s Biggest Dinosaur” Found In Argentina

Scientists in Argentina have uncovered the bones of a creature believed to be the world’s biggest dinosaur. The big guy would have weighed 77 metric tons, seven heavier than the previous record holder, the Argentinosaurus. Truly a sad day to be the ghost of an Argentinosaurus.

Scientists who spoke to the BBC believe that it is a new species of titanosaur, which is an enormous herbivore from the Late Cretaceous period, characterized by small heads, long necks, and long tails. Based on measurements of its thigh bones, the dinosaur would have been 130 feet long and 65 feet tall.

After a local farm worker stumbled upon the remains, paleontologists unearthed the partial skeletons of seven individuals, about 150 bones in total, all in “remarkable condition.”

The dinosaur doesn’t have a name yet, but the researchers told the BBC, “It will be named describing its magnificence and in honor to both the region and the farm owners who alerted us about the discovery.”

[Image via BBC]

A jokey illustration from Mark Witton's informative and fun post on the new African titanosaur fossil find. I love his suggestion at the end:

I’ve developed a real hankering for a good sauropod book. You know, a readable, fully referenced overview of their history of study, anatomy, palaeoecology, biomechanics, evolutionary history and diversity (so, nothing major then). I’m quite serious here: they’re an awesome, popular group of animals, fully deserved of their own semi-technical overview, ideally with lots of images to showcase their anatomy and habits. I’m sure this idea has sufficient legs to interest a major publisher. I lack the expertise to write it, so this is my attempt to plant a seed in the minds of those who can. For what’s it’s worth, I’d gladly help illustrate it: sauropods are fantastic fun to draw, and it’d be terrific to bring the diversity of this group to life in artwork.

GIRAFFATITAN
“Giant giraffe”
Late Jurassic, 150-145 million years ago

Originally classified as a species of Brachiosaurus, this massive sauropod (of the titanosaur family) grew up to 74 feet long! For several decades it was the largest dinosaur known. Although it may have since been eclipsed in size, this majestic creature retains the dignity of dying before hearing itself called “Giraffatitan.”

Scientists say newly discovered dinosaur species may have been largest land animal that ever lived.

The specimen named Dreadnoughtus schrani is exceptionally complete, with about 70 percent of its bones recovered. Scientists believe the creature, which lived about 77 million years ago, measured 85 feet (26 meters) long and weighed about 65 tons, heavier than a Boeing 737.


Look at this fucking thing.

Direct link to the original and highly detailed journal article (also source of the image I included).

ARGENTINOSAURUS
“Argentine lizard”
Late Cretaceous, 97-94 million years ago

Argentinosaurus is the longest vertebrate known from extant fossils – it’s estimated at anywhere from 98 to 130 feet long! That’s longer than a blue whale! Its only competition, another titanosaur called Amphicoelias fragillimus, is only known from written records of fragmentary remains, the fossils now tragically lost to modern science.
So…
[sung:] Don’t cry for us, Argentinosaurus.
The truth is we won’t forget you
You’re still the largest
Whose bones are extant
Until a new find
Brings obsolescence.

RAPETOSAURUS
“Rapeto lizard”
Late Cretaceous, 70-66 million years ago

This sauropod belonged to a group called the “titanosaurs” – some of the largest animals to ever walk the earth! However, Rapetosaurus was on the small side, only maxing out at about 49 feet long. (Imagine that being small!)
Discovered in Madagascar, it was named after Rapeto (‘ra-PAY-to’), a beloved giant in Malagasy folklore known for his superhuman ability to make English readers incredibly uncomfortable at the mention of his name.

James Morgan:

Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall.

Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus.

We keep creeping closer to real-life Godzilla. Isn’t it sort of strange that nothing even remotely close to this size roams the Earth today?

Dreadnoughtus Day: Saturday September 20th.

Everyone’s been asking if we will have Dreadnoughtus on display for the public, and luckily it is coming true this Saturday! If you’re in the Philadelphia area, come visit The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for a day full of titanosaur epicness. Here is the day’s breakdown:

Auditorium

The Discovery of Dreadnoughtus
11 a.m.

Join Drexel University paleontologist Ken Lacovara for a tremendous talk on his discovery ofDreadnoughtus.

Life in the Field
2:30 p.m.  

Meet Jason Poole, the Academy’s own dinosaur hall coordinator, artist, and fossil preparator. Poole was part of the team in Argentina that discovered Dreadnoughtus. He leads the team in the Fossil Prep Lab—the experts who prepared fossils of Dreadnoughtus right here at the museum.

At Science Live 
Ongoing, all day

Actual fossil specimens from Dreadnoughtus, a massive plant-eater will be on display at the museum for one day only at Science Live! Talk to team members who were on the dig in Argentina, as well as the experts who helped prepare the fossil in the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Fossil Prep Lab.

North American Hall

Learn more about sauropods, titanosaurs, and how paleontologists find fossils at a discovery station in North American Hall. Touch specimens, do experiments, and see how long Dreadnoughtus really was! Hint: way longer than the Academy’s T. rex!

Dinosaur Hall

Measuring up to 42 feet in length and weighing in at an estimated 7.5 tons, Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest predators to ever walk the Earth. This impressive animal is one of many dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures you’ll encounter in Dinosaur Hall. More than 30 species are represented, about half of which are full skeletal mounts, including Avaceratops, Chasmosaurus, Corythosaurus, Deinonychus, Pachycephalosaurus, Tenontosaurus, and Tylosaurus.

Fossil Prep Lab

If you want to see paleontology in action, check out the Academy’s Fossil Prep Lab. You can watch as our staff, volunteers, and other skilled workers prepare fossils for study by scientists from other research institutions.

It’s going to be an awesome day!

Argentina gives us another whopper

Until recently, the largest dinosaur was Argentinosaurus, known only from fragmentary fossils. A new find near Trelew in Patagonia of seven fossilised skeletons has given us the largest sauropods ever found. Dating from the Cretaceous of 90 million years ago, the adult critters were 40 metres long (Just for reference, a London double decker bus is 9.5 metres), 20 tall, and is estimated to have weighed 80 tons, about the same as 14 adult elephants. Preservation is excellent, and scientists hope to understand more of the mechanics involved in the life of these enormous beasts. The fossils seem to be a species of Titanosaur, based on the research so far. While not as big as the blue whale, this new discoverey is the largest land animal to have walked the Earth…until the next discovery, maybe.

Loz

Image credit: BBC
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/may/16/largest-dinosaur-unearthed-in-argentina