Introducing the new king of the dinosaurs, at least in terms of size. Researchers in the Patagonia region of Argentina found a brute they've named Dreadnoughtus, and they're laying claim to it being the largest land animal whose size can be accurately measured—thanks mainly to the fact that they found 70% of a skeleton. Some highlights of the study in Scientific Reports.
- Dimensions: It was 85 feet long and weighed 130,000 pounds. Dreadnoughtus had a 37-foot-long neck that enabled the plant-eater to feast without having to move around much. Also: It was still growing when it died about 77 million years ago.
- Context: "To put [the dino's 65-ton size] in perspective, an African elephant is about five tons, T. rex is eight tons, Diplodocus is 18 tons, and a Boeing 737 is around 50 tons," says study author Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University in the Washington Post.
- Demise: The big guy and a smaller companion got stuck in something akin to quicksand, which is why the bones are so well preserved.
- Name: Dreadnoughtus means "fear nothing." The full name is Dreadnoughtus schrani, with "schrani" an homage to tech entrepreneur Adam Schran, who helped fund the research, notes the New York Times.
- New king coming? Maybe. Researchers think a cousin in the titanosaur group named Argentinosaurus might have been bigger, reports Discovery. They just need to collect enough bones to prove it.
Another recent study says a meteor strike's "bad timing"
is to blame for dinosaurs' mass extinction. (Read more dinosaurs