BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Paleontologists in Argentina’s remote Patagonia region have discovered fossils of what was likely the largest dinosaur ever to roam the earth.
The creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.
The dinosaur “weighed the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants,” or about 100 tonnes, said Jose Luis Carballido, a paleontologist at the Egidio Feruglio Museum in the southern Argentine city of Trelew.
“This is a true paleontological treasure,” Carballido said in a statement on Friday on the museum website. “There are many remains and they were practically intact, something that does not frequently happen.”
Known fossils “of a giant Titanosaur are scarce and fragmentary.”
Museum director Ruben Cuneo told local media that the remains belong to “the largest known specimen” of its kind and “the most complete find of this type of dinosaur in the world”.
The fossils were accidently discovered in 2011 by a farm worker in a remote area in the Patagonian province of Chubut, some 1,300km south of Buenos Aires. The creature was plant-eating and measured some 40m from head to tail, Cuneo said.
Photos posted on the museum website show a fossilised femur larger than the paleontologist pictured next to it. Experts believe that the remains of seven dinosaurs, as well as the broken teeth of carnivores, are among the 200 fossils found at the Chubut site where the giant femur was found.