From T. Rex times seven: New dinosaur species is discovered in Argentina (original article here)
Recent news describes the uncovering in Argentina of a new dinosaur species that is seven times the size of a T. Rex and could have weighed as much as a dozen African elephants! What is impressive about this discovery is the amount of bones found intact that can be used for analysis, and perhaps even more impressive is that details of soft tissue, such as muscle scars, are also preserved.
Although about three-quarters complete, researchers still have to extrapolate from the preserved bones- for example, there are only two vertebrae suggestive of a long neck rather than short-necked forms. And the absence of a skull means the skull of a related species has to be scaled up to give some idea of skull size. Interestingly, 3-D laser scans of the bones were made and put online, thus saving museum space and allowing scientists all over the world to access the data and study it. This represents the future of collaborative study and progress in paleontology.
This discovery, while profound, raises many questions that entice paleontologists in the field to explore further. Did such extreme size evolve only once within the Titanosaur family, or did it evolve multiple times in separate species? How much did it have to eat in a day to support the metabolism of such a large body? Were there any other large species of herbivores at the same time period, and if so, how did the ecosystem support multiple large dinosaur species in the same place?
Edited by SITN Waves Editor Ankita Shastri. Special thanks to Jeff Betz for his insight on the article.
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(SITN article here)