Futalognkosaurus

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Meet a Mount #5: Futalognkosaurus

Taxon: Futalognkosaurus dukei

Specimen Number: Cast based on MUCPv-323

Year Created: 2012

Dimensions: 110 ft long

Futalognkosaurus was discovered in Argentina by paleontologist Jorge Calvo in his team, and is the largest dinosaur known from reasonably complete remains. Although there are several dinosaur species projected to be larger than Futalognkosaurus, they are only known from a handful of skeletal elements. As such, amount of Futalognkosaurus requires considerably less extrapolation and fewer sculpted elements than a mount of Argentinosaurus or Sauroposeidon. 

In 2012, the Royal Ontario Museum commissioned Research Casting International, today’s industry leaders in museum-caliber fossil mounts, to create more than twenty new mounts for their “Ultimate Dinosaurs” exhibition, including the giant Futalognkosaurus. The sauropod manufactured by RCI, based on three Futalognkosaurus partial skeletons that reside in Argentina, is by necessity a cast. It is made of several “chunks”, combining multiple bones into single casted pieces for ease of transportation and assembly. The crew at the ROM reportedly were able to unload and assemble the sauropod mount in a single night. 

The Futalognkosaurus, which was the largest dinosaur mount yet displayed in North America,stood in the main lobby of the ROM until March 2013. “Ultimate Dinosaurs” has since started traveling, and is next scheduled to appear in Minneapolis, although it is unclear whether Futalognkosaurus will be included.

Photos from RomKids.

Futalognkosaurus (dukei )
Name means: Giant chief lizard
Period: Late Cretaceous (80 mya)
Length: 100 ft (20 M)
Weight: 50-75 tons

A titanosaur that lived in the tropical region of Patagonia. Three fossil specimens have been discovered so far, which make up about 70% of the completed skeleton.

Notable about this dinosaur are its large, shark-fin shaped neural spines on its vertebrae. It also had large hips, about 9.8 ft (3 M) wide. This dinosaur is believed to have rivaled the Argentinosaurus in size.

A herbivorous dinosaur, this one coexisted with other sauropods, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, fish, and plants, which is represented by the large variety of fossils discovered in the same area as Futalognkosaurus.

(Image taken from commons.wikimedia.org)

(Futalognkosaurus dukei specimen at ROM, photo by me. Ignore the sunfish in the window.)

Futalognkosaurus dukei was a titanosaurian sauropod from Cretaceous Argentina and, fortunately for us, they had a propensity to be very well preserved through fossilization.

Near-complete skeletons of large sauropods are almost impossible to find, since bigger animals aren’t as easily covered by the sediment needed to preserve them as fossils. Yet despite this, peleontologists have found about 70% of Futalognkosaurus, making it the most complete sauropod known to science. 

It also happens to be one of the biggest, measuring in at a massive 26 metres. Futalognkosaurus also had very tall neural spines, which form the distinct shark-fin shapes along its neck. 

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Inside the belly of a giant.

Titanosaurs, like Futalognkosaurus, had a very wide ranging diet, including all differnet sorts of vegetation. Considering it’s size, and how slowly vegetation breaks down in the digestion cycle, Futalongosaurus would have to have eaten A LOT. 

I’m uncertain, when Futalognkosaurus was alive, if it would be wise to sit underneath him. For copperlite reasons.