What scientists believe to be the largest dinosaur to ever work the planet now has an official name: meet the Patagotitan, scientific name Patagotitan mayorum.
The massive dinosaur is estimated to have weighed 70 tons – more than 10 African elephants put together, with a thighbone taller than a man, NPR reports. It was so large – stretching to over 120 feet long – that its reconstructed fossil, on display now at the American Museum of Natural History, could not even fit in a single room.
A team of researchers finally decided on what to call this prehistoric behemoth, whose name roughly translates to “the giant from Patagonia.”
It’s a nod to the Mayo family as well, on whose farm the fossils were unearthed.
A ranch workhand first stumbled on the bones in the southern desert of Argentina, uncovering what would turn out to be six different dinosaurs. Paleontologists have since been putting together not just a representative skeleton, but have been working on identifying its features. They believe that this specific dinosaur fits into a lineage called titanosauria, which is a subset of the giant, four-legged plant eaters known as sauropods.
However, the scientists wanted to get a better understanding of the species’ family before giving it a proper name.
These fossils, dating back to 100 million years ago, “represent the largest species described so far and one of the most complete titanosaurs,” according to the paper’s authors. Diego Pol of the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio said, “Estimating the body weight of an extinct animal is a challenging task. We only have left the bones and from these remains we have to infer the body weight through the use of indirect methods.”
Comparing the more famous dinosaurs, such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, would be little more than a joke. The infamous carnivore would “look like dwarfs when you put them against one of these giant titanosaurs,” Pol said.
It’s like when you put an elephant by a lion.
Other paleontologists argue that this holds the record when it comes to size, given the margin of error involved. Mathew Wedel argues that Patagotitan and two other titanosaurs, Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus would be in a “three-way tie” for the title of the World’s Largest Dinosaur.
But Wedel does agree with José Luis Carballido, the study’s lead author, in that this species is special is being “the most complete super-giant sauropod by far.”
Carballido said, “The most amazing moment for us was realizing that the dinosaur is not only large, but also more complete than any other titanosaur.”
The paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.