The largest animal in existence is the elephant, but about 250 million years ago, dinosaurs held the title. Thanks to paleontologists and archeologists, we now have an idea of how it was like when the large mammals ruled the earth. The biggest dinosaurs that ever existed were the sauropods, which were four-legged herbivores with long tails and necks. The sauropod fossils have been unearthed on all continents. Here is a list of the most massive dinosaur fossils ever found.
The Argentinosaurus was first discovered in 1987, but it was fully known to science in 1993. When a rancher unearthed a fossil the size of a grown human being in Argentina, he thought that it was massive petrified wood. The fossil was re-classified as being that of a vertebra belonging to a new sauropod species in 1993. Although archeologists are yet to find a complete skeleton of Argentinosaurus, it is estimated to have been 40 meters long according to projection from its body size. It may have weighed 110 tons. According to the dimensions and weight, Argentinosaurus is probably the largest animal ever known.
The Dreadnoughtus is among the giant dinosaurs to have ever lived. It weighed about 65 tons and had been 26 meters long. Their remains were found from rock deposits in Southern Patagonia in Argentina. The mammal is said to have lived about 77 million years ago. D. Schrani is the only known species of the Dreadnoughtus.
When researchers in Northern Madagascar unearthed the juvenile Rapetosaurus Krausei, it revealed one of the complete dinosaur skeletons ever to be discovered. Besides the skull of the young mammal, there was also an adult skull by its side. The juvenile skeleton was about 8 meters long. Paleontologists estimated that a grown member of the species might be as large as 15 meters. The bones of Rapetosaurus have been dated to about 70 million years ago, about four million years before one of the most significant mass extinctions on earth.
It’s believed that the Patagotitan Mayorum was the world’s largest terrestrial mammal, according to size estimates from what archeologists have collected. The compilation includes its thighbone that measures 2.4 meters. Because of its projected large size, it was known as the titanosaur between its unearthing in 2014 and official naming in 2017. The Patagotitan Mayorum is likely to have weighed about 70 tons and was 37.2 meters long. However, some researchers believe that the dimensions are overestimated. The mammal lived between 95 and 100 million years ago.
The mammal was named after the city of Salta in Northern Argentina, where it was unearthed. The species was described in 1980 for the first time. Considering the large sizes of other dinosaurs, the Saltasaurus is believed to have been a medium-sized one. Unlike other dinosaurs that used their massive volumes to keep predators away, the Saltasaurus had a unique defense strategy. Its body was covered in osteoderms, which are bony rock-hard plates that made it impossible for predators’ teeth to penetrate its flesh.