Gargantuan. Gigantic. Massive. Huge.
Witnesses of the first-ever unveiling of what just might be the world’s largest dinosaur have struggled to find an adjective to aptly capture the sheer enormity of the prehistoric creature.
“From a distance, everything looks roughly proportional so it's difficult to appreciate just how big everything is,” John Timmer at Arc Technica wrote on Thursday of the towering animal, which is now on display at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. “It's only when you drop your gaze low enough to see how the legs compare to full grown people that the size of it is really driven home.”
Dubbed the “biggest dinosaur ever” discovered, the daunting dino was excavated in 2014 in Argentina.
Scientists have identified it as a new species of titanosaur -- a group of particularly massive, but herbivorous, dinosaurs known for their lizard-like appearance. The species is still so new, however, that scientists have yet to formally name it.
“This is the first time this skeleton has been mounted for public display,” AMNH curator Mark Norell told CNN about the museum's new exhibit, which will go on public view on Friday.
So, how big is this new titanosaur?
The AMNH specimen is 122 feet long, 30 feet longer than both an NBA basketball court and the museum’s iconic blue whale model. It’s so huge that it can’t quite fit inside the room that it’s currently housed in; the creature's neck and head jut out of the doorway and into the hall beyond.
“The animal is so gigantic that if we had put the neck going up, it wouldn’t fit,” Diego Pol, one of the paleontologists who helped excavate the species, told The Wall Street Journal.
According to the museum, the dino, with its neck extended, would be able to peer into the top floor of a five-story building.
This titanosaur species, which lived about 100 million years ago, is believed to have weighed more than 70 tons -- the weight of at least 10 African elephants.
When Pol and his team first uncovered the fossils of the species in Argentina, photos of the paleontologist lying next to the animal’s colossal thighbone went viral:
The thighbone alone weighs more than 1,100 pounds, Ars Technica reported. Because of the staggering weight of these bones, the skeleton on display at the museum is made of lightweight fiberglass casts.
The specimen was cast from 84 of 223 fossil bones unearthed at the Argentina discovery site, CNN reported. The fossils belonged to six individuals -- all young adults who once “roamed the lush forest of Patagonia.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “some of the best-preserved bones” from the 2014 excavation will be exhibited alongside the titanosaur cast. This will include the animal's 8-foot-long thigh bone.
The titanosaur specimen is on display in the Wallach Orientation Center on the fourth floor of the American Museum of Natural History.
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