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Biggest Dinosaur Yet Discovered 113

An anonymous reader quote the BBC: "Fossilised bones of a dinosaur believed to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed in Argentina, palaeontologists say. Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall. Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus. Scientists believe it is a new species of titanosaur — an enormous herbivore dating from the Late Cretaceous period. A local farm worker first stumbled on the remains in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia."
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Biggest Dinosaur Yet Discovered

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  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @11:44AM (#47025643)

    quit using synonyms for very big. it's getting tedious. thank you.

    • by mr_resident ( 222932 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @11:53AM (#47025705) Homepage

      Aw come on, what about "HUMUNGOSAURUS"? That sounds pretty bad-ass.

      • without the "saurus" on the end sounds even more bad-ass, and then could be name for something other than a dino

        • A super villain or old-timey wrestler maybe...
        • by flyneye ( 84093 )

          Give him x number of horns and make it -cerotops
          How badass is that?
          Hed have to breath fire or have Gatling guns mounted to get any badder!

          • Give him x number of horns

            There is no reported evidence for horns on this fossil. In fact, in the whole Sauropodomorpha, there's only moderate evidence for skull crests and the like, but no horns at all, I'm afraid (as far as I can remember ; IANA sauropod palaeontologist).

            Do you think people just make this stuff up?

            • there is no evidence they had wings or beaks either, so I'm snickering at your signature

              • Does my signature claim that all dinosaurs are birds? All the currently existing ones are, but there used to be a lot of non-avian dinosaurs too.

                Didn't you read Hennig when you were at school?

            • by flyneye ( 84093 )

              .50 caliber sideguns it is then!

      • by flyneye ( 84093 )

        It always makes me wonder how the new discovery must taste ,steak on grill. Lizard is generally one of the tastes like chicken critters, but by the time you get up to gator its got a pleasant uniqueness. Gimme a Steakosaurus Rex! If they ever recoup some $ from genetic research/farting around , it would be to resurrect some delicious species to mass consumables level.
        The oddest meats can just be excellent. I could go on to the shock and horror of many, but we will keep this on topic.
        Alligator is good, there

        • Fantastic news for you, the dinos are actually ancestors of our modern birds, not lizards. We're talking white and dark meat, drumsticks, breasts, liver, necks for soup, eggs.......the entire culinary realm of poultry applies!

      • Aw come on, what about "HUMUNGOSAURUS"? That sounds pretty bad-ass.

        Humungosauras? that's what I had after the vindaloo.

    • Hm... microsoftsaur... hopeful the lastone will die soon....
    • Well it hasn't quite reached the stupidity of "unobtainium" yet...
    • Right! They could just start using synonyms for "very funny" and "great personality". Also, if thigh size is the determining factor in overall size Mrs. Wolowitz (mother of Howard Joel Wolowitz) may have them beat...
    • Just wait until we get to Ginormasaurus, then maybe Megalosaurus!!!

      • by Smauler ( 915644 )

        Megalosaurus [] already exists. Its original scientific name was "Scrotum humanum []". No, I'm not making this up.

        • That may still be it's proper name, with Megalosaurus a junior synonym. There was a petition to suppress Scrotum humanum in favour of Megalosaurus bucklandii on the grounds that the former name hadn't been used in published work since 1899, but that petition was turned down. So the possibility remains for Megalosaurus to be suppressed in favour of a senior synonym.

          I doubt that it'll happen though. It might cause as much of a stink as suppression of Brontosaurus.

          There is however considerable grounds for th

          • by Smauler ( 915644 )

            The chances of "Scrotum Humanum" being accepted as a taxon are essentially nil.

            We can accept silly names in the scientific community when they are not important, but when they're so central to understanding dinosaurs, and their discovery by modern man, silly names give idiots ammunition.

            • Fear of giving idiots ammunition is not a valid reason for declaring a name invalid. Unless the ICZN have brought out a new revision recently ; if so, enlighten me!

              There's a damned good reason for thinking long and hard before revising rule books : once you've revised the rule you've got to live with it's consequences. Or you admit that you were an idiot to vote for the revision.

              This is science. Not populism. Or politics.

              • by Smauler ( 915644 )

                You want the rule : it's first to name, and that's basically it.

                If you want to go around calling a dinosaur "scrotum humanum", feel free, but everyone will think you strange.

                It definitely breaks the rules in terms of nomenclature, but scientific naming changes all the time anyway, redefining species into other places, etc.

                My personal pet peeve is "Reptile". That contains every land vertebrate that was not a bird, mammal, dinosaur or amphibian. What people don't mention is that mammals evolved from separat

                • "Reptile" is a polyphyletic clade. Well everyone who knows more about the subject than the average creationist knows that. (This even includes some of those rare beasts - relatively bright creationists!)

                  But the point of the question is - is the fossil figured in 1730-or-so (1)well-enough characterised to be considered identifiable - which is arguable unless the actual holotype is found (I don't think it's known, but the store-rooms of museums are strange and wonderful places); and (2) is the name scientifi

    • I agree, it's so exponentially annoying that it literally makes my blood boil.

    • quit using synonyms for very big. it's getting tedious.

      Firstly, "titan" is only a synonym for "very big" if you're ignorant of any culture other than modern American culture. There's a seam of both ancestors and descendants of the Titan pantheon to be explored if you want some different-sounding synonyms.

      Secondly, the ICZN rules (you do know who the ICZN are, and what their relevance to this is, don't you? Of course you do - you raised the subject.) express a preference for Greek or Latin roots for names.

      • My, what a pontificating prattling gasbag you are.

        Good names for taxonomy are descriptive, but you defend the non-descriptive useless ones, How unscientific.

  • it was as heavy as 14 African elephants

    Next time, could you please use car analogy?

  • It wasn't fat, it was big-boned!

  • With a small herd of these pet pandasauri—and an enormous harvest of coprolignum—one could well up the Great Wall of China in record time. It would still required great hordes or workers, but the workers would be highly obedient. Anyone who slacks off would have their highly-prized long-handled trowel promptly confiscated. With no hall pass, it's crenellation duty for you. From there it's years fighting your way up the rank just to obtain the corner-pocket edge-finishing tool.

  • Or did it weigh as much as 50 F150 trucks? Come one, we have a metric system for a reason on this planet.
  • We know that mass generally increases with the cube of a creature's height, and the tensile strength of bone can only support so much pressure from a creature's own weight, so it seems that if there should be some limit to how large a creature in earth's gravity can be (and, for the sake of argument, not being provided any additional buoyancy due to being under water, for instance). This particular creature is alleged over 60 feet tall, and more than 10 times the height of a man, which makes it more than 1000 times the mass of a human. Cross sectional area generally increases with the square of height difference, meaning that more than 10 times as much pressure would be exerted on every square inch of a lateral cross section of bone as what human bones endure. Now granted, this creature was not shaped like a man, and having four legs instead of just two could give it some additional advantage in this department. Additionally, it could have denser bones, capable of supporting more weight, but denser bone structure in turn requires more muscle mass to move, and will tend to further increase the creature's size. Still, it seems like there's still got to be a maximum possible size. Does anyone know what this might be?
    • This animal must have been partially aquatic. Otherwise it is difficult to believe it could actually walk on the earth without some help from the buoyancy provided by water. Since it still has a fully developed femur, it is not totally aquatic like the cetaceans. Must be similar to the hippopotami.
      • This animal must have been partially aquatic.

        Speaking as a geologist, I keep the word "must" locked up in a drawer, the handle of which is wired to the mains to deliver an electric shock every time I touch it, and a loudspeaker booms out "Are you sure? 'MUST??' Are you really absolutely sure?" But then again, my pay cheque depends on being confident of the correctness of what I say, because back-tracking harms my client's confidence in what I say.

        Otherwise it is difficult to believe it could actually walk

    • I'd substitute "compressive" for "tensile", but yes, I'd imagine this fellow spent a lot of time wallowing in mud, a behavior I believe is ascribed to some other dinos.

      The square/cube relation certainly affects birds: the larger ones have to employ soaring techniques to extract energy from air movement, in order to find food.

    • by Smauler ( 915644 )

      This particular creature is alleged over 60 feet tall, and more than 10 times the height of a man, which makes it more than 1000 times the mass of a human.

      Well.... no. If we take human height to be 2m and weight to be 100kg (This is me, by the way, I've just used these numbers for simplicity) :

      Elephant = 4 metres or so, 2 * height, therefore should weigh 800kg. Actually, they weigh about 7000kg.

      Giraffe = 6 metres or so, 3 * height, therefore should weigh 2700kg. Actually, they weigh about 1200kg.

      The ea

      • People have been claiming that giant sauropods must have been semi-aquatic (or fully aquatic) because of their huge size for centuries, and this was the prevailing paradigm until the last 50 years or so. There's quite a lot of evidence now showing that they were at least mainly terrestrial.

        Someone who doesn't use "must" when they mean "possibly,maybe,perhaps"! Excellent!

        TFA describes the environment as "forest". Which is not incompatible with an elephantine lifestyle, since they live in forests - and also

        • by Smauler ( 915644 )

          Anything this big will be able to eat what it wants, generally. This is seen with elephants now.

          Climate change and predation on young are about the only things that can stop massive herbivores.

          That is, until humanity. There's lots of evidence for stone age people wiping out swathes of huge mammals, for good cause some of the time.

          • There's lots of evidence for stone age people wiping out swathes of huge mammals, for good cause some of the time.

            There are pretty fair correlations in a number of places that the arrival of humans and the disappearance of the "megafauna" are coincident to within a few tens of generations.

            And what is the mantra to chant when you hear the word "correlation"? All together now : "correlations are not, of themselves, evidence for causation."

            There's also no reason not to think that a large part of the effect o

            • by Smauler ( 915644 )

              What I meant by "good cause" was that hunting generally is much easier with things we can easily hunt. Getting rid of stuff that can easily kill us is a good thing, even if it is difficult. Humanity also drove off loads of large carnivores, not to eat obviously.

              There's also no reason not to think that a large part of the effect of humans on the megafauna was by killing the young.

              I agree, and that could be the predominant means of humanity wiping out things like mammoths. However, there's no evidence fo

  • Newtasaurus Gingrichii?
  • "(...) largest creature ever to walk the Earth have been unearthed (...)"

    If some words, manifestly "to this date" or something synonymous to them, are not
    missing here, then article's author should prepare to travel to Norway for imminent
    Nobel prize.

    • Personally, I'd blame the BBC's science journalists for that. Using too short a timescale is something that gets my geological ire up too, and many of my colleagues.
  • Don't worry guys, it is just some ancient dinosaur hardly 77 tons in weight and about six stories tall. It can never challenge the current holder of the title "The Biggest Dinosaur", Microsoft.
  • You know, no matter how large a dinosaur you find, how can you prove that it's the largest?

    Not without digging up every cubic meter of the Earth's crust to some reasonable depth.

    • even then you can't, it's not like every animal (and we are limited to those with extensive bone structures) gets fossilized. If that were the case, fossils would be much easier to come across and much more complete.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"