Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Giant Dinosaur Unearthed In Argentina 85

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-a-bigger-rock-hammer dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers working in Argentina have discovered the most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a group of gigantic plant-eating dinosaurs that dominated the Southern Hemisphere beginning about 90 million years ago. The new dino, named Dreadnoughtus schrani, was 26 meters long and weighed about 59 metric tons—that is, twice as long as Tyrannosaurus rex and as heavy as a herd of elephants. That puts it on a par with other well-known giants such as Argentinosaurus (but it's four times as large as the perhaps better known Diplodocus). The researchers say that the beast was so big it would have had no fear of predators. And it was about to get bigger: A close examination of the fossils, especially its back and shoulder bones, indicates that the animal was still growing when it died.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Giant Dinosaur Unearthed In Argentina

Comments Filter:
  • Predators (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oh, I don't know about no fear. The way to hunt giant animals is with pack behavior. And if they could hobble one of these suckers and get it to fall over ... well, there's no way it would ever be able to get back up again with that kind of weight. This is the kind of beast that would have to spend its life standing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sure. That's why you always see lions and hyenas taking down elephants and hippos.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        Sure. That's why you always see lions and hyenas taking down elephants and hippos.

        Lions and hyenas are almost carrion eaters. They will perfer food that is dead (or dying) over having to hunt live prey.

        A better example of pack hunters taking down a larger animal would be wolves taking down a moose or ox. Also you have ants that will work together to take down a much larger insect.

        However most large predators tend to become selfish (solitary hunters) for evolutionary reasons (competition for food and mates). However to say it had no fear from predators solely due to its size is a bi

        • Re:Predators (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Xest (935314) on Friday September 05, 2014 @05:34AM (#47833147)

          "A better example of pack hunters taking down a larger animal would be wolves taking down a moose or ox."

          Sure but the point he was making I think is that those aren't good examples of animals being quite big enough to survive pack hunters. I think the point is that there are at least some animals that have grown so big that nothing really bothers them much, even in packs- sometimes their smaller young get hunted but that's about it.

          Blue whales are a fine example like elephants, sure orcas have been known to go after the young, but adults? Not a chance - there's just too much animal there for even a pack of them to deal with.

          I think the summary was pointing out simply that the colossal size of this animal meant it was in that category- the set of animals that have managed to grow big enough in their environment that when fully grown even packs aren't going to dick around with.

          I suspect a pack probably could take down these animals, just as a pack of hyenas probably could take down an elephant and a pack of orcas probably could take down a blue whale, but when the risk is so high no such packs are ever going to bother in practice. Why shouldn't this animal fall into the same category? It doesn't seem unreasonable to think that it's sheer size meant it was never hunted when fully grown or near fully grown whether by packs or solo hunters, it was just too fucking big to bother with.

          • by phayes (202222)

            I'm more a believer in pack animals hunting oversize prey since I read about the following:
            While it wasn't hyenas, there is a pride of lions that adapted to a dry spell by hunting new prey: Adult elephants. Until that point there were no records of predation by Lions in the area but the pride switched over to preferring elephants when other prey became abundant once again even after the dry spell ended. Over the course of the next few years they hunted out every elephant from the pride's area.

            • by Xest (935314)

              I guess that's a form of specialisation though? Effectively what you're seeing there is evolution in action- the only Lions that could survive the drought were those that adapted to hunt elephants and that continued afterwards, but whether it's a viable long term strategy is a different question, if you whipe out all your prey in your area then suddenly those elephant hunting lions will be back to square one, such that those who adapted simply to hunt elephants will die due to lack of elephants forcing them

              • This isn't evolution. Evolution is slow. It takes quite a few generations. This is learned behavior.

                • by Xest (935314)

                  No, not at all, evolution occurs due to natural pressures. If a natural pressure such as a drought forces Lions to change behaviour then that's a point at which evolution is forcing the attempting of something new - that learned behaviour goes hand in hand with evolution. Were the elephant populations to remain stable in the face of suddenly being hunted by lions such that they become normal predators of elephants you'd then find the evolutionary pressures would force slowly those elephant hunting lions to

              • by phayes (202222)

                Lions that could survive the drought were those that adapted to hunt elephants

                No. I never said that. IIRC while the pride that was learned & went on to prefer attack elephants prospered, other prides in the area suffered through the drought, but survived.

                if you wipe out all your prey in your area

                Lions weren't the only reason or even the most important one in the extinction of elephants in the pride's area. Humans reduced the elephant population to the point that they could be locally exterminated.

                Pack animals predating much larger prey isn't a freak event. It has happened throughout time & all over the earth whenever

        • by Optali (809880)

          It may have no fear from Predator but it shuddered in terror for Cthulhu!

          "The things once rearing and dwelling in this frightful masonry in the age of dinosaurs were not indeed dinosaurs, but far worse. Mere dinosaurs were new and almost brainless objects... but the builders of the city were wise and old [...] They were the Great Old Ones that filtered down from the stars when the earth was young [...]

      • by LienRag (1787684)
        There is footage of a pack of lionnesses taking down an adult elephant. Quite impressive actually...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I believe the proper name for this is "Kaiju."

    • Pack behaviour - that was my thought as well. I have seen video of a pack of lions exacting revenge on an elephant. The elephant got so exhausted with all those lions on it that it fell over and the writing was on the wall after that. What a slow, horrible way to go. An article recently suggested that T-Rexes may have hunted in packs which makes it plausible that an animal like the Dreadnoughtus could actually be taken down.
      Also worth considering what vulnerabilities being that large could pose, such as

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @07:46PM (#47831361) Homepage
    But if it is so big, instead of tiny insectoid parasites, a pack of rats might just burrow into its hide and make a nest, instead of fleas it might have ferrets like creatures crawling over it and biting it to drink its blood. And I do not even want to think about what it might have instead of the standard tapeworms. It would be interesting to research what type of ecosystems build up around such giant creatures.
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      And I do not even want to think about what it might have instead of the standard tapeworms.

      Spelunking fecalphiliacs armed with SCUBA gear?

    • by Drishmung (458368) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:11PM (#47831787)
      Brian W. Aldiss [wikipedia.org] wrote a story about this [smithsonianmag.com] many years ago.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      But if it is so big, instead of tiny insectoid parasites, a pack of rats might just burrow into its hide and make a nest, instead of fleas it might have ferrets like creatures crawling over it and biting it to drink its blood.

      i'm guessing the fact that it was aquatic dissuaded the rats and ferrets. I'm not sure the size of the creature means the small parasites would ignore it, either.

      I'm guessing leeches and little shrimp-like things and jesus that's disgusting. No wonder it's extinct. Good thing, too.

      • i'm guessing the fact that it was aquatic dissuaded the rats and ferrets. I'm not sure the size of the creature means the small parasites would ignore it, either.

        I'm guessing leeches and little shrimp-like things and jesus that's disgusting. No wonder it's extinct. Good thing, too. You wouldn't want one of these wandering into your backyard to get into your garbage. It would give your dog a heart attack.

        Thanks, now we know what was swimming around in the Death Star's garbage disposal. They've just unearthed a Dianoga [wikia.com]!

    • ... a pack of rats might just burrow into its hide and make a nest, instead of fleas it might have ferrets like creatures crawling over it and biting it to drink its blood.

      Thanks a lot. Now I have to live with that image in my mind.

    • by Xest (935314)

      I don't know, would they ever get through the skin? chances are this thing is going to be basically armour plated on the thickness of it's skin alone and I don't think the parasitic ability of biting through to drink blood that you see in things like tics, leeches and so forth would scale particularly well. I may be wrong though, I'm just guessing.

      It strikes me that a Titanosaur sized tick would make a tasty simple to find meal for something like a velociraptor sized creature, so any such parasite would pro

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @07:46PM (#47831369)

    A creature weighing 59 short tons of course would be wimpy and easily bullied and not at all impressive.

  • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @07:48PM (#47831389)
    Unless the original headline is accurate, in which case get Michael Bay on the phone.
    • by Lexible (1038928)
      I logged in just to make this point... a moment or two after giggling at the giant bird-lizard that had been cooped up for some-odd millions of years, but was now free to roam around.
  • include some scale - you know, a standard metric - a Volkswagen Beetle, football field, Rhode Island?
    • the original article has a human next to the fossil for scaling. and it's open access apparently http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep... [doi.org] (the link is in the sciencemag.org "story").

      • by jpellino (202698)
        Thx. The dino is in mid-stride, the figure is just standing in its path, waving. Yup, that's a human alright!
    • by MrKaos (858439)

      include some scale - you know, a standard metric - a Volkswagen Beetle, football field, Rhode Island?

      It's about 10,000 kilos heavier than an (empty) 737 and about 10 metres longer.

    • In the UK the standard metric is units of London double-decker buses.
      • by jrumney (197329)
        For things of this scale, yes. For smaller things, there are also units of Black Cabs and Pints of Lager (the latter being probably the most consistently regulated unit of measure in the world).
  • indicates that the animal was still growing when it died

    And this was found in South America? I only ask 'cause it sounds like it would have fit right in in Oklahoma... :p

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      sounds like it would have fit right in in Oklahoma...

      Yeah, it'd probably be an offensive tackle for the Sooners. Coach Stoops likes them big boys.

    • by necro81 (917438)

      I only ask 'cause it sounds like it would have fit right in in Oklahoma

      Nah, it would have been discounted as misinformation - placed there by God to test the faith that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

  • by Wycliffe (116160) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:10PM (#47831781) Homepage

    It's not uncommon in many reptiles to just never stop growing. I wonder if some of these dinosaurs are
    just exceptionally large specimens of already know dinosaurs instead of entirely new species.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @10:07PM (#47831977) Journal
      They can look at the shape of the skull, the number of bones in the neck, things like that to determine the species. I don't think palaeontologists would be tricked by a dinosaur being a different size.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Some folks are not so sure, with the the apparent case being that Triceratops was a juvenile form of Torosaurus. We've got a ways to go! http://www.walkingwithdinosaurs.com/news/editorial/triceratops-torosaurus-same-dinosaur-debate/1/

        • The same geniuses who decided that Brontosaurus, "thunder lizard" should be discarded for the bland terminology, Apatosaurus "deceptive lizard".

    • by reanjr (588767)

      Sure, but dinosaurs aren't reptiles, so not sure what relevance that has. Now if an ostrich continued to grow throughout its life, or perhaps a chicken...

      • by gtall (79522)

        Now there's a thought, a herd of 8 foot tall chickens rampaging around the country-side. If you mange to kill one, you could eat for two weeks with proper refrigeration. Now about those venomous ducks...

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        Sure, but dinosaurs aren't reptiles, so not sure what relevance that has. Now if an ostrich continued to grow throughout its life, or perhaps a chicken...

        Kangaroos, fish, and crocodiles (which are commonly refered to as one of the closest living relative) never stop growing.
        I'm sure there are some birds that do as well but if nothing else the shear size difference between the dinosaurs and the birds
        means that at some point the mechanism that is in charge of growth probably changed.

        • Sure, but dinosaurs aren't reptiles, so not sure what relevance that has. Now if an ostrich continued to grow throughout its life, or perhaps a chicken...

          Kangaroos, fish, and crocodiles (which are commonly refered to as one of the closest living relative) never stop growing.

          Also kreetles from Star Wars: Galaxies

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Can some one answer a couple of questions for me? Its always reported how big it's believed these beasties grew but how many years did it take to grow that size and what would have been it's estimated natural lifespan?

    • On the other hand, you can't scale things up forever, so you won't just see species grow to arbitrary sizes. They may grow increasingly slowly, or they may grow until the square-cube law or other consequence kills them slowly. To get much bigger, you'll need a new species.

  • Video (Score:4, Informative)

    by chameleon3 (801105) <thishastobeafake@gmail.com> on Thursday September 04, 2014 @11:51PM (#47832329)

    Nice video with the researcher here [youtube.com]

  • Is that a standard unit of measure now? What are the conversion factors?
  • by Max_W (812974) on Friday September 05, 2014 @03:09AM (#47832767)
    Almost everybody has an HD photo-camera nowadays. Why not make some images from the excavation site and publish them together with the text about the discovery?

    Drawings are OK, but nothing can substitute an HD JPG image.
  • Just about exactly the same size....

                          mark

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.

Working...