Point in time within the Titans – Which had been the best Dinosaur in history?
One of the very interesting areas of dinosaurs for children is learning about how diverse this number of reptiles actually were. For instance, to date there has been over 1,000 different species formally named and described. A good several known species were quite small, the indisputable fact that all dinosaurs were huge is a bit of a misnomer, and museums which love to have a huge and spectacular dinosaur display often give the wrong impression. As dinosaurs evolved, they filled virtually every niche in the meals chain, just like terrestrial mammals do today. If land mammals can range in size from a shrew to an African elephant, then it’s not surprising to learn that dinosaurs varied in size too.
But what about the really big dinosaurs? Children love to master facts and figures about these prehistoric animals and amongst their favourite questions is always to enquire that has been the biggest dinosaur of them all? To identify the giants among the dinosaurs is a relatively easy task. There’s one particular group that grew much bigger than every other known type of dinosaur – indeed some of the members of the group were undoubtedly the biggest, the longest and the heaviest land animals that have ever roamed planet Earth.
A well-known dinosaur such as for instance Triceratops (Triceratops horridus) was big. The largest species of Triceratops is estimated to have existed nine metres long and it may have weighed around seven tonnes. If this species of dinosaur were around today it would be classed as the largest land living animal, with only the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) to rival it. However, Triceratops could have been dwarfed by most of the members of the Sauropoda, a small grouping of long-necked, long-tailed, lizard-hipped dinosaurs, representatives of that may claim to be the biggest land living animals known to science.
Introducing the Sauropods
Put simply, the Sauropods (the name means “lizard foot”) were Saurischian, that’s owned by the lizard-hipped clade of dinosaurs that also included the mainly carnivorous Theropods. These plant-eating dinosaurs had small heads, long necks and tails with massive bodies. Their weight was supported by four trunk-like legs and these animals were slow-moving, ponderous creatures. Some of these kind evolved dermal armour and 1 or 2 unusual genera even had tail clubs and spikes, just like the armoured dinosaurs like the Stegosaurs and the Ankylosaurs. These dinosaurs come in the fossil record in Upper Triassic strata and they survived till the conclusion of age dinosaurs. Sauropods could have been familiar to the likes of Triceratops and Tyrannosaurids such as for instance Tyrannosaurus rex. It had been the Victorians who first marvelled at how big these dinosaurs. The very first really big dinosaur fossil bones being wear display during the reign of Queen Victoria and it’s from this aspect onwards that the debate concerning that has been the biggest dinosaur really got going.
Defining the Biggest Dinosaurs
There are lots of problems with attempting to identify that has been the biggest of the Sauropods. For a start, many of these colossal creatures are known from just a few fragmentary and far from complete skeletons. Although how big a dinosaur may be deferred from several bones like the femur (thigh bone) using a process linked to comparative anatomy it’s not precise. One other problem is, new species are now being discovered constantly and this may lead to changes in size estimations. Indeed, once a new dinosaur is named and described the resulting press publicity can lead for some inaccurate size estimates becoming highlighted in the media. It would appear that adults and children too are thinking about record breakers. We recall working on some papers linked to the fossilised track method of a large Sauropod found in Upper Jurassic aged rocks in France. The tracks contains several metres of clearly defined and very large footprints, some higher than a metre in diameter. By the full time the press agencies had got hold of the story and seen some of the photographs, there is speculation that the dinosaur that walked within the soft mud that preserved their tracks was one of the biggest of time. This is not easy to confirm when you yourself have only got the footprints to go on. The soft mud could have been easily compacted by the animal’s weight and the tracks distorted somewhat as a result. The fossilisation process would also have distorted the prints, and perhaps their size was overestimated in the press pictures as only the biggest, clearest prints were photographed.
The Biggest Dinosaurs of All Time – The Contenders
Let us focus on the present record holder, the dinosaur officially described as the biggest known to science, at least for the full time being. This honour goes to the South American Sauropod Argentinosaurus (Argentinosaurus huinculensis). This huge dinosaur was formally named and described in 1993. It’s only known from several fragmentary bones, including a femur and some vertebrae, (backbones). what dinosaur has 500 teeth The fossils were found in Argentina, hence the name. The tallest vertebrae are over 1.2 metres high. In comparisons with better known Sauropods size estimates because of this dinosaur have been made. These estimates vary considerably, with some scientists suggesting this dinosaur may have been over forty-five metres long and weighing something close to seventy tonnes. Other more conservative estimates regarding size of the animal have been made, with a length of only a little over 100 feet being agreed upon by some palaeontologists. It is unquestionably, true this Cretaceous giant was an enormous animal, but until more fossils are observed the true size of the dinosaur can only be estimated. A number of museums have capitalised on the popularity of the largest dinosaurs and prepared mounted replicas of this particular giant. The largest of those museum exhibits measures over thirty-five metres long, but here again, without more fossil evidence this display is largely speculative.
Fragmentary remains of a really huge Titanosaurid Sauropod were discovered in southern India during the 1980s. Initially scientists believed that the fossils were from an enormous meat-eating dinosaur. However, in 1995 the fossils were reclassified as owned by a Sauropod, simply because no other animal was known to be so big. A tibia (lower leg bone), ascribed to the dinosaur was significantly more than 1.25 times how big the equivalent bone ascribed to Argentinosaurus. Predicated on scaling up using this single bone as evidence, the dinosaur from India known as Bruhathkayosaurus (Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi) is the largest dinosaur known to science. However, the fragmentary nature of the fossils found to date are keeping this particular specimen out from the record books.
Diplodocus and the Big Sauropods from the United States
Some of the best known long-necked dinosaurs lived in what was to become the United States. Dinosaurs such as for instance Diplodocus and Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus). However, these dinosaurs were not as wide-bodied as their Titanosaur relatives and not contenders for the biggest, that’s the heaviest dinosaur of time. However, there’s one mysterious fossil discovery from the United States that can rival the South American dinosaurs in size. In 1878, the American palaeontologist Edward Cope described a one and a half metre long portion of a vertebrae from Upper Jurassic strata from Colorado. The whole bone could have been something like two and a half metres long, making it the biggest back-bone fossil ever found. Cope named this dinosaur Amphicoelias fragillimus and some scientists have estimated this dinosaur may reach lengths in excess of fifty-five metres, stood nine metres high at the hips and weighed something approaching 100 and fifty tonnes. Unfortunately, the bone is no further around to be studied, having less knowledge regarding fossil bone preservation meant this fossil crumbled into dust, it’s only known from drawings made at the time. Still, if the size estimates are to believed then this dinosaur from the western United States could claim to be the biggest of time.
When it comes to longest dinosaur, then this is the realm of the Diplodocids but discussing these animals will have to await another time.
Everything Dinosaur is a company run by parents, teachers and real dinosaur experts. It specialises in developing educational dinosaur toys, models, clothing and games and strives to simply help young people learn more about science through their fascination with prehistoric animals. Most of the items featured on the Everything Dinosaur website http://everythingdinosaur.com/ have been designed and tested by the teachers and real dinosaur experts in the company.