The remains of possibly the largest land creature to have ever walked the Earth were found in Argentina. Several bones belonging to a sauropod family of dinosaurs were discovered in layers of rock at “Candeleros Formation” in Neuquén Province.
This dinosaur species had extremely long necks and tails in addition to legs that looked like pillars. Unfortunately, it was an incomplete skeleton as the majority of the bones recovered came from the vertebrae of the tail and the pelvic area. However, researchers are hopeful that more bones belonging to the dinosaur will be found as additional digs are being conducted.
Analysis suggested that the dinosaur could be part of the Patagonian sauropod family with its closest relative being a “super-sized titanosaur” called an Andesaurus that grew as long as 18 meters (59 feet) and lived in South America during the middle part of the Cretaceous Period.
Based on the bones that were unearthed, it is strongly believed that the newly discovered dinosaur was much larger than the Andesaurus and possibly even bigger than the Patagotitan and Argentinosaurus (both were types of sauropods) which were the largest known land creatures that existed at that time. For reference, the Patagotitan was thought to have measured more than 31 meters in length (102 feet) and weighed about 60 tonnes.
The researchers reiterated this by writing in part, “It is clear that the titanosaur partially recovered from the Candeleros Formation can be considered one of the largest titanosaurs,” adding, “Probably of a body mass comparable to Patagotitan or Argentinosaurus or even larger.”
As for the newly discovered dinosaur, experts described its huge stature by noting “Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth.” The team has not yet been able to confirm if it is in fact a new species but have named the specimen “MOZ-Pv 1221”. (An artist’s impression of what the dinosaur would have looked like and a picture of some of the bones can be seen here.)
And apparently several different sauropod species co-existed as the researchers explained, “The specimen here reported strongly suggests the co-existence of the largest and middle-sized titanosaurs with small-sized rebbachisaurids (a family of sauropod dinosaurs) at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous in Neuquén Province, indicating putative niche partitioning.” Interestingly, sauropod remains have been unearthed all over the planet.
For now, the biggest ever creature to have lived on Earth is the blue whale that can grow as large as 33.5 meters in length (110 feet) and weigh as much as 173 tonnes.
The research was published in the journal Cretaceous Research where it can be read in full.