Remember the Brachiosaurus from Jurassic Park? We were in awe when the long-necked behemoth reared up to grab a bite from the top of a tree, only to slam the earth and shake the theater with its immense weight. The newly discovered remains of “Patagotitan” more than qualify it as the world’s biggest dinosaur, and it easily dwarfs famous long-necked sauropods like Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Diplodocus.
Patagotitan’s rise to fame began in 2013, when an Argentinian shepherd discovered an 8-foot long thigh bone sticking out of a rock, and reported his finding to a team of local paleontologists. The beast has since been completely unearthed, and a cast of the dinosaur skeleton has since been put on display at the American Museum of Natural History this past January, but the titanosaur hadn’t been named — until now. Its full official title is “Patagotitan mayorum,” which refers to the Patagonian region where the fossil skeleton was unearthed, and for the owners of the sheep farm where it was found.
What makes the Patagotitan so incredible is just how long it is; Brachiosaurus is estimated to stretch about 85 feet from nose to tail and weigh approximately 50 tons, but Patagotitan is 130 feet long, and weighs between 60 and 80 tons. Putting that into perspective, an adult Patagotitan is as long as “14 elephants, a seven-story building, and two trucks (with trailers) parked end to end.”
While a young Patagotitan could be a potential meal for a large theropod, the only way that a relatively smaller 40-foot-long adult Tyrannosaurus Rex could even hope to safely eat an adult Patagotitan would be if it stumbled upon a dead one. Diego Pol, one of the paleontologists who dug up the dinosaur, estimates that this animal constantly grazed on leaves, ferns, and seeds to ingest 100,000 calories each day because it would’ve taken plenty of energy for this giant of giants to move, run, and forage for more food:
“I don’t think they were scary at all. They were probably massive, big, slow-moving animals. Getting up. Walking around. Trying to run. It’s really challenging for large animals,” he said.
Patagotitan is the current world record for the largest dinosaur and land animal to ever walk the earth, but who knows how long it will be before some lucky rancher unearths an even bigger lizard?