That Is A Great Big Pile Of Bones

That's a scientist for you, always laying down on the job.
For anyone interested in paleontology, one the more fascinating regions to study are the animals of Gondwana, now South America and Africa. These animals tended towards extremes, in size and design. Inhabitants of this area included Amaragasurus, the sauropod with huge neck frills, or Giganotosaurus, which is to our current knowledge, the largest land predator every. In fact, both of those animals were discovered in modern Argentina, as well as many other giants of the era. Including this new discovery.

What is being touted as the world's largest dinosaur has been unearthed outside of Patagonia. It is such a new discovery, the animal doesn't even have a name yet. It is so new that scientists aren't certain if it is a new species of Titanosaur. What is mostly clear, based on the thigh bones excavated by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol and a team from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, is that the 100 million year old creature weighed weighed 77 tonnes, stood 20m high, and was 40m long from tail to nose. This unseats Argentinosaurus from the claim by about 5 metres each way and about as many tonnes.

The challenge to scientists now is to determine within the realm of reasonable certainty, that their discover is that of a new species, and not that of a larger more mature form of a previously identified creature, which continues to plague scientists with animals described for more than a century. This new animal is known from only 150 bones from 7 individual animals. By comparison, Argentinosaurus is described based on only a handful of bones as well. For myself, I love geographic-based biological anomalies, because it allows us to ask questions like: why in the hell were animals in the Argentina area of Gondwana this massive? What environmental factors caused the herbivores to grow to such massive sizes, and as a result, forced the predators to match, and strain the upper limit of what a complex, warm blooded creature is physically able to achieve? It's fascinating stuff, and discoveries like this are how we will be able to eventually answer those questions.

Via the BBC.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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