Move over T. Rex, there’s a new big, bad dinosaur in town: the Titanosaur. The latest paleontology news is about the remains of this enormous animal. The fossils found are just the most recent new dinosaur discovery to gain attention. What will these recently uncovered dinosaur fossils reveal about the giant beasts and their time on our planet?
Titanosaur is a colossal creature
The new dinosaur discovery of the Titanosaur dates back about 95 million years to the late Mesozoic Era. The current name pays homage to the giants of Greek mythology and reflects the fact that the new fossils found are the largest creatures to-date to ever walk the Earth, clocking in at about 130 feet long and 180,000 pounds. Only the blue whale weighs more, but is shorter in length, and, of course, lives in the ocean and not on land.
Greg Botelho wrote about the find in “As heavy as 14 elephants, as long as 2 tractor trailers: Meet Mr. Titanosaur” for CNN on May 18, 2014. The paleontology news is credited to Argentina’s Museo Paleontologico, which was instrumental in the uncovering of the dinosaur fossils. “In 2011, scientists exploring a remote swath of Argentina’s Patagonia some 160 miles (260 kilometers) from the city of Trelew came across a site with 200 fossils — a find that the museum characterized as ‘a dinosaur cemetery,’” he said.
To get a feel for the size of the jumbo herbivore, L. Carol Ritchie suggested in her NPR blog post, “A Giant Among Dinosaurs, Discovered in Argentina” from May 19, 2014, “the creature weighed some 5,000 pounds more than a Boeing 737’s maximum takeoff weight, and would have stretched a half-foot longer than the airplane.”
Other paleontology news about the dinosaur remains includes that the Titanosaur was “a sauropod, like the apatosaurus or brachiosaurus, that roamed the forests of Patagonia” according to Ritchie’s post. The site in Argentina was found by a farmer in the desert near La Flecha and contained the remains of about seven of the creatures, totaling about 150 bones in all.
Researchers have yet to give the new dinosaur discovery an official name, but say that whatever they decide upon will reflect not only the greatness of the beast’s size, but the area and farmer who initially uncovered the trove of fossils found.
From largest to smallest
But paleontology news also comes in smaller finds, such as the “itty-bitty fossils” Erin Wayman reported on for Science News on May 4, 2013, in “Fossil Embryos Offer Glimpse at Dinosaur Growth: Hundreds of Bones Found in Southwestern China Reveal Rapid Development.”
Wayman wrote that the fossils “may also retain some of the oldest preserved organic remains found.” From the fossils found, scientists were able to determine that some dinosaurs grew rapidly in their eggs with only a brief incubation period before hatching.
This dinosaur discovery of “more than 200 jaw, rib, spine, limb and hip bones that once belonged to at least 20 different embryos whose eggs were crushed prior to fossilization” were believed to be early relatives of sauropods, such as the Apatosaurus.
The structure of cells and tissue within a fossilized bone offers a look at a developing embryo. By comparing differences inside bones of varying sizes, the scientists involved in the dinosaur discovery were able to piece together how the embryos grew.
Additionally, the fossilized embryos were all highly perforated. Wayman wrote, “In modern animals, a lot of hollow spaces in a bone means it’s growing quickly and allowing plenty of blood vessels to enter and bring nourishment.”
What dinosaur remains will be reported on next in paleontology news? Will other dinosaur fossils be found that dwarf even the Titanosaur? Only time will tell.
What do you find the most fascinating about the discovery of the Titanosaur? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.