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Monday, October 9, 2017

THERE IS NOW AN EVEN LARGER DINOSAUR...BUT

A recent study describes a 76-ton Patagotitan (Argentinosaurs huinculensis) as the largest dinosaur.  As the name indicates, the fossil was found in Argentina, while the second term honors the ranch family name.  Dated to about 100 million years ago, this titanosaur averaged 122 feet long and 20 feet high at the shoulder.

I should note that Wikipedia indicates this adult beast to range from 50-96.4 tons and length from 82-130 feet.  These sauropods are further distinguished as sauropodomorphs, where the second largest is the Antartosaurus giganteus (80 tons), and was mostly also found in South America, but also India and Kazakhstan.

But back to the Patagotitan, as long as it was alive, it continued to grow.  Eggs were 8.7 inches in diameter and it took about 15 years for a hatchling to reach adulthood, increasing in weight by a factor of 25,000.  A human, by example, might increase by a factor of 25 or so.  Note how small we humans are (bottom left).


There were also the smaller theropods, the largest being a Spinosaurus aegyptiacus (20.9 tons and 49 feet long), with #2 in weight being a Tyronnosaurus rex (18.5 tons).  Interesting that the TRex, at 41 feet, was tenth in length within this class.

The heaviest among ceratopsians was the Triceratops horridus at 13.5 tons, with the longest being the Eotriceratops xerinsularis at 30 feet.  Then, there were ornithopods, non-flying grazers that had bird-like characteristics.  The largest was Shantungosaurus giganteus at 22.5 tons and 61 feet.

Flying animals are many times confused, for the pterosaurs were not really dinosaurs, and had wingspans up to 40 feet:

The largest flying dinosaur was the Changyuraptor yangi from Liaoning Province in China, which flew 125 million years ago with two sets of wings and were not really that large at 4 feet and 9 pounds.

However, while the depiction above seems to diminish the size of the blue whale, this currently existing mammal has actually been measured at 173 tons.  Thus, the ....but in the title, for the longest and heaviest dinosaur was only half the weight of this current cutie:


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