A giant that Walked Among Giants: The Patagotitan Mayorum
The elephant holds the title of the biggest land animal on earth today but we can find much greater creatures if we reach further into history (Montanari, 2017). According to some experts, there existed an animal heavier than 10 adult African elephants and had a height of a five-storey building. Its name was the Patagotitan Mayorum (Carballido et al., 2017). This dinosaur which stood at over 40 meters long and weighed 70 tons belonged to a group of extra-large dinosaurs known as Titanosaurs that lived between 102 to 95 million years ago giving it a life span of 7 million years. It was also from the sauropod family hence the long neck (Ruel, 2018).
In 2016, a cast of the 122-foot-long dinosaur was added to its exhibit by the American Museum of Natural History in New York (AMNH, 2016). The towering figure forces the head and neck to extend outside the gallery. This plant eating giant made headlines in 2014 following the discovery of a fossil bone by a Patagonian rancher in Argentina (AMNH, 2016). Considering its size, scientists argue it could not have been a fast-moving animal (Borenstein, 2017).
Scientists also believe this was its best defense against carnivorous dinosaurs such as the T-Rex. The Patagotitan would have been difficult to bring down even with the T-rex’s infamous dagger like teeth (Carballido et al., 2017). The cretaceous period despite having a fluctuating temperature was much warmer than it is today. The tropic and sub tropic conditions worked in the dinosaur favor meaning it existed just at the right temperature (Otero, Carballido & Moreno, 2020).
In current times there is no way the dinosaur would have survived. There are so many living species that are dependent upon the resources that helped it thrive. Direct conflict with humans would have also been a problem. Climate change would not allow its eggs ample time to develop. The tools we have are not big enough for the capturing it leave alone treating it (Otero, Carballido & Moreno, 2020). Its extinction looks like it as a blessing in disguise.
AMNH. (2016). Meet the Titanosaur [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTIJc4j5F9c&feature=emb_logo
Borenstein, S. (2017). Patagotitan mayorum: New study describes the biggest dinosaur ever. Retrieved 12 October 2020, from https://phys.org/news/2017-08-patagotitan-mayorum-biggest-dinosaur.html
Carballido, J., Pol, D., Otero, A., Cerda, I., Salgado, L., & Garrido, A. et al. (2017). A new giant titanosaur sheds light on body mass evolution among sauropod dinosaurs. Proceedings Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1860), 20171219. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1219
Montanari, S. (2017). New Dinosaur Species Was Largest Animal Ever to Walk the Earth. Retrieved 12 October 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/08/largest-dinosaur-ever-titanosaur-fossil-patagotitan-science/
Otero, A., Carballido, J., & Moreno, A. (2020). The appendicular osteology of Patagotitan mayorum (Dinosauria, Sauropoda). Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology, e1793158. doi: 10.1080/02724634.2020.1793158
Ruel, M. (2018). Meet Patagotitan Mayorum, the Largest Dinosaur Ever. Retrieved 12 October 2020, from https://medium.com/words-by-maxime-ruel/meet-patagotitan-mayorum-the-largest-dinosaur-ever-ff50a9a7f8d0
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