Patagonia was once home to the largest terrestrial animals, taller than blue whales and much heavier than giant sauropods on other continents. A specimen still under excavation seems to be as large as we are naming and studying. Still, to find out, brain experts aren’t sure if they’ve found a new species, or only if we’ve already found a larger member the size of the one we already know.
Patagotitan mayorum holds the record for the world’s most extensive animal (or at least plowed). However, investigations of Cretaceous rocks in South America are still in their infancy, compared to North America, where discoveries date back to the “bone warfare” of the 19th century. The first P. mayorum was only excavated in 2014 and scientifically described in 2017, so finding something bigger is not a push at all.
In the mid-Neuquén River Valley, dinosaur hunters found parts of the pelvic and pectoral knots, as well as 24 intact tail spines as clear members of the titanosaur clade. Dr Alejandro Otero of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council told Agencia CTyS, “Remains under the rubble continue, so we will continue to rescue them in future campaigns.”
Under normal circumstances, palaeontologists looking for a bunch of bones would wait together to see all the samples they could before the scientific paper was published. It is often found in a sample within decades and in scientific publications. The rules for world records are somewhat different, and Otero is the first author of a Cretaceous research paper describing what has been found so far.
Otero said in a statement, “As for size, body mass could not be very accurately estimated, because we do not have long bones like the humerus or the femur, which are the bones that are used to make these estimates.” “However, some comparisons have been made with the Patagotitan mayorum… for example with the vertebrae and other elements of the waist; it tells us that the bones of this animal are between 10 and 20 percent larger.” This will probably make it 40-meters (130 feet) long and as tall as an 8-storey building.
In 2012, when members of a team from various Argentine organizations went for a walk to rest while sampling another sample, it was shown how easy it is to find something surprising in this under-explored part of the world. Even then, apparently the specimen was large, but adopted a slow process to remove the surrounding rock without damaging the bone to reveal the opportunity for discovery. In addition to its size, the specimen has inspired the authors because, so far, it is still much more intact than the typical titanosaur fossil, which often has to be reconstructed from a handful of scattered bones.
The rocks on which the titanosaur tail was bound are about 98 million years old; By then the flood plain of the river was lying on top of whatever it was. Teeth from muscle dinosaurs and coprolites (fossil dung) were probably found in the vicinity of the sample it was fed. It seemed impossible that even a powerful hunter could bring in an animal, so these organized fossils are thought to be from the celestials which happened to be the greatest food of all time.
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