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Re: Largest Dinosaurs



> Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 13:52:22 EDT
> From: AAAAM49@aol.com
> 
> Thanks, Mike.  Are you familiar with any recent discoveries.  I know
> some on that list are questioned due to the fossil no longer
> existing or whether it is animallian at all.

There are various rumours and undescribed sauropods that may or may
not be bigger than anything that's been formally described yet, but I
think the biggest ones are pretty much all mentioned (if briefly) in
the FAQ entry.

The strongest contenders for biggest sauropod that we have _any_ real
evidence of if probably _Amphicoelias fragillimus_, which is also a
classic tale of tragedy.  Only one specimen has ever been found, and
all that was found of that was the neural arch (top half) of a dorsal
(back) vertebra.  That portion closely resembles the corresponding
bones in diplodocoids such as _Diplodocus_ and _Amphicoelias_, and
scaling from the size of the better known bones suggests a length of
something in the range 50-60m.  The tragedy is that this sole specimen
was lost when Cope's collection was moved; so all that remains is a
sketchily drawn figure.  One has to wonder whether Cope made the whole
thing up in order to annoy Marsh.

A likely contender to take the crown in the future is
_Bruhathkayosaurus_, which is being studied by Sankar Chatterjee
(although I get the sense that he's frittering his valuable time away
on birds and other such rubbish when he ought to be getting on with
important sauropod work).  This specimen includes a 3m femur, which is
pretty damned colossal.  It's clearly not in great condition: it has
been identified at various times as a theropod femur and as a tree
trunk(!) but Chatterjee is apparently now quite sure that it is indeed
a titanosaur femur.  When he's going to publish -- if ever -- I really
don't know.  But there's every indication that when he does, it'll be
a description of an animal bigger than anything yet published.

> I know there was a recent find in Spain of a Paralititan like
> titanosaur that was 80-100 ton range.

I have seen several very contradictory reports on this specimen, plus
a photo of its humerus that looks like nothing I've seen before.  I'll
be fascinated to see that they have to say about it when it's
published, but this one -- even more than others -- seems like
unfruitful ground for speculation at the moment.

> I also believe dig that unearthed Paralititan may contain a fossil
> to a dinosaur much larger that it.

Sorry, I couldn't make that out.  I am pretty certain the expedition
that discovered _Paralititan_ didn't find anything even bigger,
though.  Josh Smith, who led that expedition, is a long-time list
member and would very likely have said something here if so.

> I recently read something on anew discovery in Argentina the last 12
> months on a dinosaur that may be larger than Argentinosaurus.  Have
> you heard or seen anything on these.

I've seen bits and pieces drifting by on this one.  It's strange
animal, for sure.  According to the brief article at
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/news/Biggestargentina.shtml
the femur is apparently about two meters long.  While that's certainly
big, it's not outrageous for a sauropod.  But apparently a cervical
(neck) vertebra is about 1.20m _tall_, which is a crazy size.
Unfortunately, those are the only measurements given, so it's not
possible to say whether this is an absurdly huge neck, or merely a
bizarrely proportioned one.  The length estimate of 48-51m (which you
shouldn't take _at all_ seriously, BTW) suggests that the cervical
vert that they're working from is _probably_ pretty damned long, too.
BUT the standard caution applies: wait for the paper.  (I know it's
frustrating.  Believe me, I am _much_ more frusatrated than you are
about this!)

 _/|_    _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@indexdata.com>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  Tom Holtz's rule of dinosaur restorations: if you can't fit
         the skeleton inside the model, the model is wrong.

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