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Digging Up A New Dinosaur47:04Download

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Move over T-Rex, there’s a new heavyweight champion of dinosaurs. Say hello to Patagotitan.

A replica of a 122-foot-long dinosaur is displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 2016. A study proclaims a newly named species the heavyweight champion of all dinosaurs. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
A replica of a 122-foot-long dinosaur is displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 2016. A study proclaims a newly named species the heavyweight champion of all dinosaurs. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

We know dinosaurs are big. That’s the whole point of our fascination. But the latest dinosaur to enter the scientific literature is super big. Patagotitan, the super heavyweight dino out of Argentina – Patagonia – weighed in at 60-plus tons. Tall as a seven story building. Big as a Boeing 737. It makes the T-Rex look like a munchkin. Biggest land animal ever found. How did it live at that scale? We’ll ask. This hour On Point: the biggest dinosaur ever known. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Traci Watson, science contributor for USA Today.

Diego Pol, Argentinian co-author of a new study that confirms Patagotitan mayorum is the largest dinosaur – and land animal – ever discovered. Paleontologist at Argentina’s Egidio Feruglio Museum of Paleontology. (@poldiego)

Jeff Wilson, associate curator at the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan. Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan. (@diapophysis)

From Tom's Reading List

National Geographic: New Dinosaur Species Was Largest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth — "A newly named species of sauropod is not only the largest known dinosaur, it now also holds the record as the largest animal that has ever walked on land. That's the conclusion of the first scientific description of an especially large titanosaur, which lumbered across what is now Argentina during the Cretaceous."

USA Today: Dinosaur that weighed the same as a Boeing 737 is biggest ever found — "It’s official: an Argentine dinosaur as heavy as a Boeing 737 is the biggest ever discovered. The behemoth weighed more than 65 tons and perhaps as many as 77, a new study says. That makes the animal not just the biggest known dinosaur but also the biggest known land animal ever. Only a few whale species are heftier — and this dinosaur’s bones show it was still growing."

Proceedings Of The Royal Society B: A new giant titanosaur sheds light on body mass evolution among sauropod dinosaurs — "Titanosauria was the most diverse and successful lineage of sauropod dinosaurs. This clade had its major radiation during the middle Early Cretaceous and survived up to the end of that period. Among sauropods, this lineage has the most disparate values of body mass, including the smallest and largest sauropods known. Although recent findings have improved our knowledge on giant titanosaur anatomy, there are still many unknown aspects about their evolution, especially for the most gigantic forms and the evolution of body mass in this clade. Here we describe a new giant titanosaur, which represents the largest species described so far and one of the most complete titanosaurs."

'I Picture A Giant Dinosaur The Size Of 15 Cars'

Woodbury, a 10-year-old boy, called in to our show today to satiate his curiosity about his new friend Patagotitan. But Woodbury said he wouldn't be getting too close to this huge new herbivore under any circumstances.

Meet Patagotitan

The titanosaur, seen here nearly spanning the width of a hangar, is considered the largest known dinosaur in the world. (D. Pol/Courtesy of the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio)
The titanosaur, seen here nearly spanning the width of a hangar, is considered the largest known dinosaur in the world. (D. Pol/Courtesy of the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)
(Proceedings Of The Royal Society B)
(Proceedings Of The Royal Society B)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)
(Mary Altaffer/AP)

This program aired on August 10, 2017.

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