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Dinosaur Unearthed in Argentina Could Be Largest Land Animal Ever
The skeleton is still far from complete but paleontologists say what they’ve found suggests the dinosaur may be more than 120 feet long
By Alex Fox
JANUARY 22, 2021
The fossilized bones of what may have been the largest animal ever to walk the Earth are slowly emerging from the ground in Argentina, reports Amy Woodyatt for CNN.
Beginning in 2012, paleontologists set about excavating a hulking set of 24 vertebrae as well as elements of the pelvis and pectoral girdle from the Candeleros Formation in Argentina’s Neuquén Province. At first, it wasn’t clear to researchers what they’d found, only that it was enormous. Now, in a new paper published this month in the journal Cretaceous Research, paleontologists say the remains suggest a type of long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur called a titanosaur, potentially the largest ever unearthed.
They can’t yet speculate as to whether the gigantic bones belong to a known species or something new entirely, but, per CNN, the team says that the specimen could be even bigger than a 122-foot, nearly 70-ton titanosaur called Patagontitan.
Researchers have dated the new specimen to around 98 million years ago, reports Harry Baker for Live Science.
“Given the measurements of the new skeleton, it looks likely that this is a contender for one of the largest, if not the largest, sauropods that have ever been found,” Paul Barrett, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London who was not involved in the study, tells Live Science. “This new skeleton provides yet another example of sauropods pushing at the extremes of what’s possible with respect to maximum animal size on land.”