Velociraptor and T. rex are easily the most recognizable dinosaurs known to mankind, thanks to their ferocious man-eating displays in the Jurassic Park trilogy. But a newly excavated member of Titanosaur clan could soon change that.
Welcome Dreadnoughtus schrani – a sauropod whose fossils have just been unveiled and which is the largest land animal whose size can be estimated with reasonable accuracy.
According to paleontologists who discovered it, this gargantuan creature weighs in at 65 tons and its head-to-tail length is a staggering 85 feet. The important thing about it is that around 70 percent of its fossilized remains were found and excavated, meaning that scientists' task of guessing its actual size was at a minimal.
Many larger fossils of other dinosaurs have been previously discovered, but they were only partial and the rest of their structure was estimated through computer modeling.
"For the [largest] dinosaurs, which we call titanosaurs, finding anything around 20 percent of the fossil is usually considered a home run," says Kenneth Lacovara, the lead Drexel University paleontologist behind the find. "Normally you only find a handful of bones, and the previous record was a 27 percent complete skeleton. With Dreadnoughtus we found 70 percent."
The Dred in question is so large it took Lacovara and his team four austral summers to fully excavate it, and another five years to study it.
To check out and download Dreadnoughtus Schrani's 3d models, come this way.