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CLARIN

Notocolossus: Is This The Biggest Dinosaur Find Ever?

Enters the mighty Notocolossus gonzalesparejasi
Enters the mighty Notocolossus gonzalesparejasi

BUENOS AIRES — It's a dinosaur battle of titanosaurian proportions.

Argentine paleontologists announced last week the discovery of remains of what they termed the Notocolossus gonzalesparejasi — a dinosaur likely to dwarf another sauropod found in Patagonia in May 2014, whose cast skeleton has just made its debut at New York's American Museum of Natural History.

The remains of the titanosaurian species, which lived about 86 million years ago (in the late Cretaceous period), were found recently in Malargüe, in the Argentine province of Mendoza. The found, which was first reported in the Scientific Reports review, are being hailed as possibly those of the biggest dinosaur ever. Its name means "giant of the south," while gonzalesparejasi is a tribute to Jorge González Parejas, a lawyer from Mendoza and benefactor of local paleontology.

While it remains to be seen which of the two ancient lizards was the biggest, the fossils of this sub-specie may reveal crucial information on how the sauropods moved and kept their balance.

Dr. Bernardo J. González Riga, who led the excavating team, hailed the findings: "Titanosaurs were the heaviest land creatures to have existed. Their back extremities, which are fundamental to knowing how they moved and bore their own weight, were not entirely known. Now we have new evidence to help us solve that part of the mystery."

Dr. Bernardo J. González Riga and the foot of the Notocolossus gonzalesparejasi — Source: Clarin

The titanosaurs included 60 types of sauropods, large herbivores with long necks and tails, living across the world. Their size could vary from that of a cow to a whale, and they were the most numerous herbivores of the world's southern continents, Gondwana.

Yet little is known about their anatomy, evolution or habits because most of the remains found have been incomplete. The humerus bones of the Notocolossus suggests it was one of the heaviest animals on Earth — much bigger than other titanosaurs like Dreadnoughtus, Futalognkosaurus and Paralititan.

The Notocolossus gonzalesparejasi may have measured 25 to 28 meters in length and weighed between 40 and 60 tons, equivalent to between nine and 13 elephants.

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