Columbia Alum Unearths 'Biggest Dinosaur Ever'

If you thought that the fictional 'Indominus‚Äć Rex'¬†in the sci-fi adventure film Jurassic World was big, just wait until you get a glimpse of the real-life remains of the¬†enormous titanosaur that has recently invaded NYC's American Museum of Natural History¬†(AMNH).

This 122-foot-long beast (about the length of three school buses - or twenty-two Alma Maters placed side-by-side) is a species so new that it has not yet been formally named by the team of paleontologists who discovered it - a team led by Dr. Jose Luis Carballido and Columbia alumnus, Dr. Diego Pol '04GSAS.

In 2012, a local rancher in southern Argentina reported that he found fossils on his land to the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina. 

By 2014, Dr. Pol and his team of paleontologists excavated 223 fossil bones belonging to six titanosaur dinosaurs at the site, including an 8-foot-tall femur bone now on exhibit at AMNH.  These giant herbivores roamed the earth some 100 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period. 

By measuring the length and circumference of the femur, Dr. Pol and his team estimate that the behemoth dino may have tipped the scale at 70 tons - more than 10 African elephants. 

 

Photo: Pol next to the femur of the behemoth titanosaur via BBC News. 

How does one go about measuring the size of a prehistoric daunting dino? In this video, Dr. Pol explains how the measuring process works. 

Today, you too can marvel at this prehistoric wonder at AMNH, where the titanosaur has invaded not one, but two rooms at the museum. It dwarfs AMNH's famous blue whale by nearly 30 feet (although the blue whale still takes the crown in mass, weighing as much as 200 tons, or 3x as much as the titanosaur).

Photo: PBS NewsHour via AMNH

 

Congratulations, Dr. Pol, for the incredible discovery. And for the record, we think "Columbia-osaur" has a nice ring to it, if you're brainstorming names.  

 

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Article Sources:

Meet the Titanosaur, American Museum of Natural History

122-Foot Titanosaur: Staggeringly Big Dino Barely Fits into Museum, Scientific American

Massive titanosaur, biggest dinosaur ever found, squeezes into Museum of Natural History, PBS NewsHour

'Biggest dinosaur ever' discovered, BBC News