One of the very interesting facets of dinosaurs for children is learning all about how diverse this number of reptiles actually were. As an example, up to now there have been over 1,000 different species formally named and described. A great many of these known species were quite small, the proven fact that all dinosaurs were huge is really a bit of a misnomer, and museums which love to have a huge and spectacular dinosaur display often give the incorrect impression. As dinosaurs evolved, they filled practically every niche in the foodstuff chain, just as terrestrial mammals do today. If land mammals can range in size from the shrew to an African elephant, then it’s not surprising to find out that dinosaurs varied in size too.
But think about the really big dinosaurs? Children love to understand facts and figures about these prehistoric animals and amongst their favourite questions is always to enquire which was the greatest dinosaur of all time? To identify the giants among the dinosaurs is really a relatively simple task. There is one particular group that grew much greater than every other known kind of dinosaur – indeed a number of the members with this group were undoubtedly the greatest, 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 been around nine metres long and it could have weighed as much as 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 would have been dwarfed by a lot of the members of the Sauropoda, several long-necked, long-tailed, lizard-hipped dinosaurs, representatives of which can claim to be the greatest land living animals recognized to science.
Introducing the Sauropods
To put it differently, the Sauropods (the name means “lizard foot”) were Saurischian, that is belonging to 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 the kind evolved dermal armour and one or two unusual genera even had tail clubs and spikes, like the armoured dinosaurs including the Stegosaurs and the Ankylosaurs. These dinosaurs can be found in the fossil record in Upper Triassic strata and they survived right up until the finish of age dinosaurs. Sauropods would have been familiar to the kind of Triceratops and Tyrannosaurids such as for instance Tyrannosaurus rex. It was the Victorians who first marvelled at how big is these dinosaurs. The very first really big dinosaur fossil bones being put on display during the reign of Queen Victoria and it’s from this time onwards that the debate concerning which was the greatest dinosaur really got going.
Defining the Biggest Dinosaurs
There are many problems with trying to identify which was the greatest of the Sauropods. For a start, most of these colossal creatures are known from just a few fragmentary and far from complete skeletons. Although how big is a dinosaur could be deferred from several bones including the femur (thigh bone) using an activity related to comparative anatomy it’s not precise. The other problem is, new species are increasingly being discovered constantly and this will result in changes in size estimations. Indeed, once a brand new dinosaur is named and described the resulting press publicity can lead to some inaccurate size estimates becoming highlighted in the media. It would appear that adults and children too are enthusiastic about record breakers. We recall taking care of some papers related to the fossilised track means of a large Sauropod present in Upper Jurassic aged rocks in France. The tracks contained several metres of clearly defined and huge footprints, some more than a metre in diameter. By the full time the press agencies had got your hands on the story and seen a number of the photographs, there clearly was speculation that the dinosaur that walked over the soft mud that preserved their tracks was one of many biggest of time. This is not easy to ensure when you have only got the footprints to go on. The soft mud would have been easily compacted by the animal’s weight and the tracks distorted somewhat as a result. The fossilisation process would also provide distorted the prints, and perhaps their size was overestimated in the press pictures as only the greatest, clearest prints were photographed.
The Biggest Dinosaurs of All Time – The Contenders
Let’s begin with the current record holder, the dinosaur officially referred to as the greatest recognized to science, at the least for the full time being. This honour visits the South American Sauropod Argentinosaurus (Argentinosaurus huinculensis). This huge dinosaur was formally named and described in 1993. It is only known from several fragmentary bones, including a femur and some vertebrae, (backbones). what dinosaur has 500 teeth The fossils were present 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 already been made. These estimates vary considerably, with some scientists suggesting this dinosaur might have been over forty-five metres long and weighing something close to seventy tonnes. Other more conservative estimates regarding the size with this animal have already been made, with an amount of only a little over a hundred feet being agreed upon by some palaeontologists. It is obviously, true this Cretaceous giant was a massive animal, but until more fossils are found the real size with this dinosaur can only be estimated. Numerous museums have capitalised on the popularity of the largest dinosaurs and prepared mounted replicas of this kind of giant. The largest of the museum exhibits measures over thirty-five metres long, but here again, without more fossil evidence this display is essentially speculative.
Fragmentary remains of a really huge Titanosaurid Sauropod were discovered in southern India during the 1980s. Initially scientists thought that the fossils were from a massive meat-eating dinosaur. However, in 1995 the fossils were reclassified as belonging to a Sauropod, simply because no other animal was considered to be so big. A tibia (lower leg bone), ascribed to the dinosaur was more than 1.25 times how big is the same bone ascribed to Argentinosaurus. Predicated on scaling up applying this single bone as evidence, the dinosaur from India referred to as Bruhathkayosaurus (Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi) will be the largest dinosaur recognized to science. However, the fragmentary nature of the fossils found up to now are keeping this kind of specimen out of the record books.
Diplodocus and the Big Sauropods from the United States
Some of the best known long-necked dinosaurs lived in the thing that was to become the United States. Dinosaurs such as for instance Diplodocus and Apatosaurus (formerly referred to as Brontosaurus). However, these dinosaurs were not as wide-bodied as their Titanosaur relatives and not contenders for the greatest, that is the heaviest dinosaur of time. However, there is one mysterious fossil discovery from the United States that may rival the South American dinosaurs in size. In 1878, the American palaeontologist Edward Cope described a one and a half metre long percentage of a vertebrae from Upper Jurassic strata from Colorado. The complete bone would have been something such as two and a half metres long, making it the greatest back-bone fossil ever found. Cope named this dinosaur Amphicoelias fragillimus and some scientists have estimated this dinosaur may have reached lengths in excess of fifty-five metres, stood nine metres high at the hips and weighed something approaching a hundred and fifty tonnes. Unfortunately, the bone is no further around to be studied, the lack of 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 greatest of time.
When it comes to longest dinosaur, then this is actually the realm of the Diplodocids but discussing these animals will need to await another time.
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