Paleontologists in Argentina say they recently discovered fossils belonging to the largest dinosaur on record. During its lifetime, the new species of titanosaur is believed to have stood 65-feet-tall, was more than 130-feet-long, and weighed 77 tons (177,000 pounds).
"Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth," researchers Dr. Jose Luis Carballido and Dr. Diego Pol told the BBC.
Its enormous length was spread out across a long neck and tail, with a relatively small skull. To put the newly discovered titanosaur’s enormous size in context, a T-Rex weighed about 7 tons.
The fossils were first spotted by a local farm worker in 2011 and were fully excavated by a team from the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio led by Carballido and Pol. The fossils, taken from seven different titanosaurs, were described as being in “remarkable condition.”
"Standing with its neck up, it was about 20m high -- equal to a seven-story building." Carballido said.
Despite its overwhelming size, the giant titanosaur, belonging to the larger sauropod group of dinosaurs, is believed to have been a herbivore, roaming through the forests of the Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago.
“This is a true paleontological treasure,” Carbailido said in a statement.
Carballido and Pol said in choosing a name for the newly discovered species, the researchers want to honor both the historic size of the fossils but also the farming community that first stumbled upon the remains.
"It will be named describing its magnificence and in honor to both the region and the farm owners who alerted us about the discovery," they said.
This was the second major titanosaur find in 2014. Back in January, a team of Pennsylvania scientists uncovered fossils belonging to the Yongjinglong datangi during an excavation in China.
Carbaillido and Pol say the 150 fossils were found in close proximity to other species, including carnivores. They say the unusual placement means the dinosaurs likely died in a draught, either due to dehydration or after getting stuck in the mud.
"It's like two semi trucks, one after another, and the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants together in weight," Carballido said. "Such dimensions put the focus on the extent to which these animals may have grown. It's a real paleontological treasure," he added.