Until now, the largest dinosaur specimen ever discovered was a monster of 70 tons and 40 meters long, in the Argentine Patagonia. But it could well be dethroned by one of its neighbors, according to a study published on Wednesday, January 20: according to the analysis of elements of a skeleton discovered in 2012, still in Argentina, this dinosaur could be “10 to 20% larger” as the current record holder.
“What has been found so far are the first 24 vertebrae of the tail, elements of the pelvic girdle, the pectoral girdle,” said Alejandro Otero, lead author of the first communication in this titanosaur, a group of long-necked dinosaurs whose representatives are found on all continents, published in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research.
However, Mr. Otero explained that long bones such as the humerus or femur, which are traditionally used to make accurate estimates of body mass, had not been extracted from the rock in which they are trapped.
A few more years of digging
The anatomical analysis performed “does not allow not currently considering it as a new species “, say the researchers in the report, “but morphological disparity and the absence of equivalent elements compared to contemporary fossils also prevent us from attributing [les ossements] to already known genres ”, they emphasize.
“It is a beautiful specimen because it is practically articulated and we have more than half the tail, a lot of hip bones. Now it’s still mostly buried in rock and we still have a few years of excavation, ”said José Luis Carballido, a researcher who had led the studies on Patagotitan.
“We suspect that the sample can be drawn complete or almost complete. Everything will depend on how the excavation develops. But regardless of whether it is the largest or not, the fact that an articulated dinosaur appears, a dinosaur of these dimensions, is something extraordinary, ”says Alberto Garrido, director of the Museum of Natural Sciences. de Zapala, in the province of Neuquén.