There’s a new king of the dinosaurs. Researchers working with bones found half a decade ago in Argentina have finally classified and named the new species that is thought to have been the largest of all the mighty reptiles. It’s called Patagotitan mayorum, and it was so incredibly huge that it would have made even fearsome carnivores like the Tyrannosaurus rex look downright tiny by comparison.
Patagotitan mayorum — whose name is derived from Patagonia, Argentina, where its fossils were first discovered — lived some 100 million years ago. A half dozen examples of the species have been unearthed so far, and by averaging their sizes, scientists have been able to get a rough idea for what they looked like in the flesh. The research was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The massive plant-eaters were true titans of their day, averaging 122 feet in length with a shoulder height of around 20 feet. When the animal raised its mighty neck its height would have been several times taller, and like other sauropod dinosaurs it likely used its impressive reach to pick plant material from towering trees.
With a weight that could top 80 tons, the creature was roughly as heavy as the Space Shuttle (minus a full tank of fuel) and are thought to have been extremely slow moving. Compared to the Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed just shy of 9 tons in adulthood, the Patagotitan mayorum would have been hard to miss, and scientists believe it could be the largest land animal that ever walked the Earth.