This week, a farm worker in Argentina stumbled upon what has turned out to be a bone belonging to the largest known animal to have ever walked the planet. Here's your Quick Fire Science on the find...
- The creature is a type of dinosaur known as a sauropod, and related to the previous contender for the ‘biggest dinosaur’ title, the Argentinosaurus.
- Sauropods like this new dinosaur and it’s famous relative the Diplodocus, had large bodies, long necks and tails, and very small heads.
- The newly discovered sauropod is thought to be 40m long and 20 m tall - the height of a 7 story building.
- It weighed 77 tonnes which makes it as heavy as 14 African elephants.
- The animal was a herbivore, and lived during the late Cretaceous period - 100 million years ago.
- Scientists think that sauropods grew so big because being bigger may have helped them fend or scare off predatory dinosaurs.
- They had long necks which allowed them to reach many different food sources to fuel their large bodies, and light bones which helped them to overcome structural constraints.
- This discovery is particularly important as they have found 150 bones, from 7 individuals, which are said to be in ‘remarkable’ condition.
- Previously, researchers have only had a few bones to go on, making it difficult to estimate the size and weight of the creature.
- The weight of the previous contender, Argentinosaurus was revised down from the initial estimate of 100 tonnes to 70, because estimating weight from so few bones is unreliable.
- It can also be difficult to work out the dinosaurs’ proportions and overall shape when not all the bones are present.
- This dinosaur hasn’t yet been named- but researchers have said the name will honour the region it was found, and the farm workers who made the discovery.