Scientists are well on their way to getting a complete picture of the Dreadnoughtus schrani. The name is a throwback to the giant battleships of the early 20th century. Schrani acknowledges Adam Schran, an entrepreneur who helped fund the research into the dinosaur.
“With the body the size of a house, the weight of a herd of elephants, and a weaponized tail, Dreadnoughtus would have feared nothing,” study leader Kenneth Lacovara said in a statement. “That evokes to me a class of turn-of-the-last century battleships called the dreadnoughts, which were huge, thickly clad and virtually impervious.”
The team discovered the fossils in Argentina with about 45.3% of the massive dinosaur’s total skeleton recovered. More than 70% of the type of bones in its body were recovered.
While not at 100%, 70% can tell us quite a bit. Scientists estimate the Dreadnoughtus measured about 85 feet from head to tail and pushed the scale to about 65 tons.
“Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full-grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet,” said Lacovara.
To put 65 tons into perspective, that would be about twelve massive African elephants. Or about 43 Volkswagen Beetles.
Lacovara and his team published a write-up in the journal Scientific Reports. Check out the video from Drexel University below to learn more about the team’s discoveries.
The research team believes the bones are between 75 million and 77 million years old.
The discovery is big because previous discoveries of these ‘super-massive’ dinosaurs were limited by the amount of fossils recovered.
“Titanosaurs are a remarkable group of dinosaurs, with species ranging from the weight of a cow to the weight of a cow to the weight of a sperm whale or more. But the biggest titanosaurs have remained a mystery, because, in almost all cases, their fossils are very incomplete,” said Matthew Lamanna in a statement.
Is the Dreadnoughtus schrani the biggest? Many would argue no. The Argentinosaurus is believed to be bigger, but so little of its fossil has been discovered. Just a handful of bones along its back and a few others.
Until future discoveries, Dreadnoughtus schrani is a clear favorite for the biggest dinosaur crown.
Image credit: Drexel University/Video