Feeds

North America makes entry into dino fatty league

73-tonne dino is US's biggest yet

The essential guide to IT transformation

Seems like Americans have been fatties for longer than we thought. The heaviest creature to have walked on land lived in New Mexico circa the Late Cretaceous period, according to an article by Montana State Uni researchers.

Until now Alamosaurus sanjuanensis was only thought to have lived in South America. But after palaeontologists turfed two vertebrae and a femur out of the desert in New Mexico's badlands back between 2003-6, scientists have been reassessing the geographical spread of the lumbering uber-dino. And it looks like it roamed about eating plants in North America as well as Brazil and Argentina. It also looks like the dino was a lot bigger than paleontologists had previously estimated.

Bone findings before 2003 suggested that only smallish 30 tonne (about 30,000kg) Alamosaurus sauropods lived in the United States. But Montana PhD student Denver Fowler says that the earlier bone discoveries most likely came from young sauropods and didn't show just how big the dinos could actually get. After studying the newly-unearthed fossilised vertebrae he has concluded that they come from a creature in the same league as the largest sauropod of all, the Argentinosaurus.

"We used to think that a fully grown Alamosaurus measured around 60 feet long and weighed about 30 tonnes, but a 2009 study by another MSU researcher, Dr Holly Woodward, found that a femur thought to belong to an adult was still growing," Fowler said. "This told us that Alamosaurus got even bigger, but we didn't imagine that it could get quite this big."

The Argentinosaurus also weighed about 73 tonnes and, until now, was widely considered to be the biggest dinosaur of all.

In an article analysing the bones, Denver says:

Although 73,000kg [about 73 ton] may seem extraordinarily large, Argentinosaurus and other derived giant titanosaurians had wide−gauge bodies and were probably considerably stockier than more basal titanosauriforms like Giraffatitan, although confirmation of this awaits discovery of more complete specimens.

Montana University says that the finding puts the US "back in the fight for the number 1 spot".

Denver also said that further studies were required to understand what sort of evolution allowed dinosaurs to become so big. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?