Wandering about in search of his lost sheep, one morning in the spring of 2014, an unassuming Argentinian farmer stumbled across something that has since been hailed as the greatest discovery in the last century. Located in the Patagonian desert was an oddly-shaped ledge, which later turned out to be the 8 foot-long thigh bone of a hitherto-unidentified species of dinosaur. According to the archaeologists, responsible for unearthing the fossilized bones in the region, the 122-foot-long Titanosaur was the largest known animal to ever tread the earth.
Since the discovery, a team, led by Diego Pol and José Luis Carballido of Argentina’s Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio, spent nearly 18 months at the dig site, excavating as many as 223 dinosaur bones, possibly belonging to six individuals of the newly-found species. Examination of the remains has revealed that this prehistoric herbivore, measuring around 37 meters in length, weighed an astounding 70 metric tons, which is the same as 10 African elephants.
Regarded by experts as the largest animal to have ever lived, the titanosaur looked like a colossal lizard, possessing small head, long neck and narrow whip-like tail. According to paleontologists, the quadrupedal animal inhabited the thick forest that existed in the Patagonia region some 100 million years ago. Discovered in the excavation site were bones of seven separate individuals, who died at the exact same location, during three different ocassions around 101.6 million years ago. Speaking about the find, the spokesperson at the American Museum of Natural History said:
This animal is so new it doesn’t even have an official species name yet.. Titanosaur fossils have been unearthed on every continent, and an abundance of discoveries in recent years has helped us appreciate the deep diversity of this group.
On January 14 this year, a life-size replica of the dinosaur was unveiled at New York City-based American Museum of Natural History. The skeleton replica was developed using 3D-printed fiberglass, cast from 84 pieces of the original titanosaur bones. Towering at around 20 feet from the ground, the display, which exceeds the museum’s blue whale model by 30 feet, is indeed so huge that part of its 39-foot-long neck extends out of the museum’s gallery, greeting visitors exiting the elevator. The museum’s spokesperson added:
This is the first time this skeleton has been mounted for public display… We are pleased to present this awe-inspiring exhibit as yet another icon in an inspiring journey of discovery that the museum offers throughout its galleries.