Feeds

North America makes entry into dino fatty league

73-tonne dino is US's biggest yet

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.