Dreadnoughtus, “Fearing Nothing”

Dreadnoughtus schrani, a giant titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur discovered in southern Argentina, has been confirmed as the largest land animal whose mass can be calculated today. Said by paleontologists to have still been in the process of growing at the time of its death in the Upper Cretaceous period, Dreadnoughtus already measured eighty-five feet long and weighed sixty-five tons—about seven times the weight of a Tyrannosaurus rex. It is only appropriate, therefore, that its discoverers chose to give it a name that essentially translates to “fears nothing”. Below, a woman poses with Dreadnoughtus’ shoulder blade in Argentina.

 

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Of course, this discovery is extraordinary first and foremost by virtue of its completeness–about 45 percent of Dreadnoughtus’ skeleton was found in Argentina, a figure that is raised to more than 70 percent by including the bones that would be mirrored on the other side of the skeleton. This is particularly meaningful in comparison with the skeleton percentages that are typical for other dinosaurs of comparable size to Dreadnoughtus, which range from three to twenty-seven percent. As of now, Dreadnoughtus is “by far the best example we have of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet”, according to paleontologist Ken Lacovara, who led the team that discovered Dreadnoughtus’ remains. 

Today, Dreadnoughtus serves as a potent reminder of the existence of a time prior to humanity on Earth, an incredible and awe-inspiring period about which we still know relatively little. It speaks to the power of scientific inquiry, and what it can reveal about not only the present and the future, but also the distant past.

 

-Maria Juran, Science Editor

 

Posted by on September 25, 2014. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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