Dinosaurs were the largest animals to have ever walked the earth. These truly massive reptiles ruled for millions of years, only to be cut short by an asteroid. Even with teams constantly digging, scientists are constantly uncovering new dinosaur species each year. Today, we are going to learn about one of the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived. Let’s discover the dinosaur that was two and a half times larger than a T-Rex!
What dinosaur was two and a half times as big as a T-Rex?
Patagotitan was a supermassive group of titanosaurian dinosaurs that lived around 100 million years ago.
If you’ve never heard of Patagotitan, its sheer size could be shocking! With how new the discovery of Patagotitan is, most people haven’t, but its popularity is certainly rising. The first fossils of Patagotitan were discovered in 2008 in a desert near La Flecha, Argentina. First publically announced in 2014, it was named and made official in 2017.
During the dig, more than 200 fossils were discovered, with at least six partial skeletons and around 130 bones. Together, this fossil set made for one of the most complete titanosaurs to have ever been found. Contained with the Patagotitan genus is one species, Patagotitan mayorum. Since only one species exists within the genus, it is often referred to simply as Patagotitan.
How big was Patagotitan?
With a name that contains the word “titan,” it’s safe to assume that this dinosaur was large. Recent studies have placed the total length of a young adult at around 121 feet long and weighing around 76 tons.
Patagotitan was extremely large and had thick, short legs and extremely long necks and tails. Media hype surrounding the discovery of the dinosaur abounded. As a result, many outlets began to release articles claiming that the Patagotitan was the largest dinosaur to have ever been found, although this wasn’t really true. Instead, the femur was longer than any previously known dinosaur, most notably, longer than the Argentinosaurus. Despite this extra long femur, Patagotitan is still believed to have been smaller than Argentinosaurus in almost every regard.
Fossilised bones of a dinosaur believed to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed in Argentina, palaeontologists say.BBC
What kind of dinosaur was Patagotitan?
Patagotitan was what’s known as a titanosaur sauropod. A titanosaur was a group of dinosaurs that had species in every single continent. They were known for their massive size and extremely long necks. Together with the brachiosaurids and other closely related dinosaurs, they make up the Titanosauriformes clade. Titanosauriformes are the largest dinosaurs to have ever lived. The group gets its “titan” name from the mythological greek Titans, a group of divine beings who fathered the gods themselves.
Patagotitan was also a sauropod. Sauropods are a commonly recognized group of dinosaurs that can be identified by their long necks and tails, small heads, and thick legs. Other famous sauropods include the Brachiosaurus and the Brontosaurus.
Titanosaurs were among the last living group of long-necked sauropods before the famous extinction event during the Cretaceous period.
Where did Patagotitan live?
Patagotitan lived around 100 million years ago in a forested region of what is now referred to as Patagonia. Many other large sauropods live in this region during the age of the dinosaurs, including Argentinosaurus. Although the region is mountainous now, it was densely forested during the days of Patagotitan and was likely a floodplain near a large river system.
What did Patagotitan eat?
Like all sauropods, Patagotitan was a vegetarian. In fact, the diet of Patagotitan was what allowed it to grow so large! The extremely long neck and tiny head of most sauropods allowed them to graze the tops of tall trees and eat to their fill. Similar to a giraffe today, these dinosaurs could reach places where no other animals could. Additionally, their size kept them safe from most predators, although juveniles would have still been at risk.
Was Patagotitan dangerous?
Although Patagotitan was large, it wouldn’t have been dangerous to humans, at least not intentionally. These dinosaurs would have only eaten vegetation and didn’t worry much about other small animals. Still, they most definitely had the potential to harm a human, even if it was by accidentally stepping on one!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Basilio Dovgun/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.