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Skeleton of dinosaur the size of a house and weighing 65 tons found in Argentina

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The skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani is 85 feet long and has been discovered with more than 70 per cent of its bones

A new supermassive dinosaur measuring 26 metres (85ft) long and weighing around 65 tons, has been discovered by scientists.

The skeleton of the Dreadnoughtus schrani - seven times bigger than T.Rex - is also the most complete skeleton ever found of its type, with more than 70 per cent of its bones - excluding the head.

Because all previously discovered supermassive dinosaurs are only known from partial remains, Dreadnoughtus offers an unprecedented window into the largest animals to ever walk the Earth.

Dr Kenneth Lacovara, associate professor at Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, who discovered the fossil, said: “Dreadnoughtus schrani was astoundingly huge.

“It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T.rex. Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet.”

The fossil skeleton was found in southern Patagonia in Argentina according to the journal Scientific Reports from the Nature Publishing Group.

The new dinosaur belongs to a group of large plant eaters known as titanosaurs, and the fossil was unearthed over four field seasons from 2005 through to 2009.

More than 100 elements of the Dreadnoughtus skeleton are represented from the type specimen, including most of the vertebrae from the 30-foot-long tail, a neck vertebra with a diameter of over a yard, scapula, numerous ribs, toes, a claw, a small section of jaw and a single tooth.

Most notably for calculating the animal’s mass, nearly all the bones from both forelimbs and hindlimbs including a femur over 6 feet tall and a humerus, were also present.

A smaller dinosaur with a less-complete skeleton was also unearthed at the site.

Before the discovery of Dreadnoughtus, another Patagonian giant, Elaltitan, held the title of dinosaur with the greatest calculable weight at 47 tons, based on a recent study.

“Titanosaurs are a remarkable group of dinosaurs, with species ranging from the weight of a cow to the weight of a sperm whale or more. But the biggest titanosaurs have remained a mystery, because, in almost all cases, their fossils are very incomplete,” said Matthew Lamanna PhD from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The 3D laser scans of Dreadnoughtus show the deep, preserved muscle attachment scars that can provide a wealth of information about the function and force of muscles that the animal had and where they attached to the skeleton

Dr Lacovara said: “With a body the size of a house, the weight of a herd of elephants, and a weaponized tail, Dreadnoughtus would have feared nothing.

“That evokes to me a class of turn-of-the-last century battleships called the dreadnoughts, which were huge, thickly clad and virtually impervious.”

As a result, Dr Lacovara chose the name “Dreadnoughtus,” meaning “fears nothing.”

“I think it’s time the herbivores get their due for being the toughest creatures in an environment,” he added.

The species name, “schrani,” was chosen in honor of American entrepreneur Adam Schran, who provided support for the research.

To grow as large as Dreadnoughtus, a dinosaur would have to eat massive quantities of plants and researchers say it would be like having “a life-long obsession with eating”.

Dreadnoughtus lived approximately 77 million years ago in a temperate forest at the southern tip of South America.

Dr Lacovara added: “Every day is about taking in enough calories to nourish this house-sized body. I imagine their day consists largely of standing in one place.

“You have this 37-foot-long neck balanced by a 30-foot-long tail in the back. Without moving your legs, you have access to a giant feeding envelope of trees and fern leaves. You spend an hour or so clearing out this patch that has thousands of calories in it, and then you take three steps over to the right and spend the next hour clearing out that patch.”

Souece: Mirror


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